March 2007


Hello!

This week’s issue is an ode to my mom. For as long as I can remember, every Friday night she would make a special dinner for Shabbat. I think these recipes are perfect to make when you have company, or on a Sunday night when you want a comforting meal.

I’m sure Cornish Hens don’t strike you as an easy meal to make, but they really are! The most labor you will put into the dish is cleaning the bird. If you are squeamish at all, ask the butcher? at your local supermarket to do the dirty work for you. They’re small birds, 1-1.5 pounds each, so my mom usually makes one for every two people.

Cornish Hens are a great alternative because they are very easy to come by and also inexpensive! You can usually find them in the meat department at your local supermarket in packages of two. If you’re just making one, clean both and freeze the other for next time!

There will be no Hillman’s Helpings next week, as I will be in Mexico on my “spring break,” so expect the next issue on April 5th.

Enjoy!

ROASTED CORNISH HEN
Serves 2

Cleaning the Hen
When you take your hen home, put on a pot of water. Place the hen in a large bowl in the sink. Once the water boils, pour it over the hen. The skin will tense up and any remaining feather pins will come to the surface. Take a pair of kitchen tweezers (or those tweezers that you don’t use anymore) and pick out the remaining pins. Run water through the bird a few times to clean it out. (There might be a plastic bag with the gizzards in the cavity – throw this away)

If you see excess fat around the neck of the hen – pull this off if you want. If not, it will just add flavor to the bird. You’re done! See, that wasn’t too bad.

Cooking the Hen
Preheat the oven at 375 degrees.

Place the bird in a roasting pan (remember, line the pan with foil for easy clean-up). Cut a lemon in half and squeeze one half over the hen. Place the other half in the cavity of the hen.

Pour 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/2 chicken stock and 1/4 cup white wine in the roasting pan. Put 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme in the pan and sprinkle a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves on the bird. Season the bird liberally with kosher salt and pepper.

Roast the bird in the oven for an hour. Halfway through the cooking process, turn the bird over onto its other side and baste the bird (with a baster, or with a spoon).

Basting means to moisten (meat, for example) periodically with a liquid, such as melted butter or a sauce, especially while cooking.

When the hour has passed, turn the bird back over, baste again and roast for 4-5 more minutes. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut the leg/thigh/breast off with a knife (the bones are easy to cut). If you mess up, who cares! It’s the taste that matters.

The skin has a lot of flavor and has kept the meat moist while cooking – so you don’t even have to eat it!

OVEN-BROWNED POTATOES
Serves 2

Wash and scrub 8-10 red-skinned potatoes. Cut them into quarters and place them in a roasting pan.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut two tbs. butter into small squares and scatter over potatoes. Liberally sprinkle seasoned salt (I use McCormick’s brand – it has a blue top) all over the potatoes.

Roast the potatoes in the oven for 25-30 minutes turning them once halfway through the cooking, or until they’re sufficiently “browned.” The smaller pieces will get really crispy – these are the best ones!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!

Bon Appetit!

Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

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I don’t think I’ve blogged about this recipe (even though I know I provided it in a Hillman’s Helpings e-mail) and its a shame because it is sooooooooo good! It’s only a few ingredients but its so easy to prepare and super flavorful. I probably make it once a month. Enjoy!

Rosemary Chicken
Serves 2

This dish is super easy – the chicken should be marinated for at least 30 minutes but I would recommend 1-2 hours.

Marinade: 1/4 c. white wine (I use either white cooking wine or a regular bottle of white wine – don’t worry, either will work), 3 cloves of chopped garlic (I use fresh but you can use 3 tsp. powdered garlic if you’d like), 1 tb. chopped fresh rosemary (please splurge on the rosemary – it is worth it, I promise), 1 tb. vegetable oil, 1 tb. soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. lemon pepper (in the spice aisle).

This marinade will work for 2 servings (2 breasts of chicken) so if you’re making it for 4, just double the recipe. Also, if you like a lot of sauce for your chicken (ahem, Jamie) you might want to double it anyway. You can NEVER have too much sauce! 🙂

Once the chicken has been marinated, heat a skillet or saute pan at medium-high heat and just pour the entire bowl, chicken, marinade – everything into the pan. Cook chicken 5 minutes on each side or until done.

If the sauce is burning the bottom of the pan, lower the heat and add some veggie or olive oil to the pan.

It’s no secret I love Cooking Light. This recipe came out in the January 2007 issue and I’ve probably already made it four times! It takes no time and the guacamole sauce is AMAZING!

Enjoy!

Cumin-Dusted Chicken Breasts with Guacamole Sauce
Serves 4

Sauce:
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 ripe peeled avocado, seeded and coarsely mashed

Chicken:
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

To prepare sauce, combine first 8 ingredients; set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°.

To prepare chicken, combine sugar, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper; sprinkle evenly over chicken. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Turn chicken over. Place pan in oven; bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until done. Serve chicken with sauce.

Hello!

It’s amazing how quickly the weather changes here! Last week I wrote about the snow and this week it’s in the 70s – that’s D.C. for you I guess! I love to cook with basil in the warm weather.

Last summer I had a small herb garden on my balcony in which I grew basil, rosemary and thyme. The basil pretty much killed the thyme, but that’s another story for another day.

I tried to come up with creative ways to use the basil before it went bad. Today’s recipe is one of my favorite brainstorms. When you hear the words “creamy” and “pesto” you usually don’t think healthy. I promise you that this recipe is healthy, easy and delicious.

Enjoy!

CREAMY PESTO CHICKEN
Serves 2

Preheat a skillet at medium-high heat and add 1 tbs. extra virgin olive oil.

Slice two boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a diagonal and saute browned. (Don’t worry if they are not cooked all the way through – we do that later) Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 3.5 tbs. sherry (or sherry cooking wine) into the pan. Cook until chicken is cooked through.

Mix in ¼ cup pine nuts and cook 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Mix in 1/2 cup chopped FRESH basil, 1-8 oz. container of light sour cream, 3 tbs. Parmesan cheese and freshly gound black pepper.

Once all incorporated, eat! Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!

Bon Appetit!

Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

This recipe came from (can you guess?) Cooking Light. I hardly ever book steak in my apartment, save for meatloaf patties and the occasional special filet mignon night :-). But this looked too good to pass up! The flank steak took minutes to cook and was so flavorful with the soy sauce mixture. Enjoy!

Stir-Fried Szechuan Steak on Rice
Serves 4

1 (3 1/2-ounce) bag boil-in-bag rice
1 (1-pound) flank steak, trimmed
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed (about 8 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (I didnt use this)
3 tablespoons chopped dry-roasted peanuts

Cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set rice aside, and keep warm.

Cut steak diagonally across grain into 1-inch-thick slices. Combine steak, garlic, and pepper in a bowl; toss well to coat. Combine soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth.

Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sugar snap peas to pan, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add meat mixture to pan, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture to pan; stir-fry 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick. Place about 1/2 cup rice on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 1 1/4 cups steak mixture. Sprinkle each serving evenly with 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro and 2 1/4 teaspoons chopped peanuts.

Hello!

It’s still frigid up here in the Northeast. We got some snow yesterday, but the Cherry Blossoms are scheduled to bloom here in a few weeks so I haven’t lost all hope for a warmish March. Maybe if we eat Latin-inspired meals we’ll start to feel warm.

One of today’s recipes, Sautéed Chicken with Latin Citrus Sauce, comes from Cooking Light – my favorite cooking magazine. A staple on my menu rotation, it is both easy to throw together and full of flavor! These flavors will definitely remind you of warmer days.

I’ve also included a no-brainer recipe for roasted broccoli. I bet you never knew you could roast broccoli, did you? It’s a very nice variation to the traditional steamed broccoli that your mom (and mine) used to make. It definitely has more flavor and depth. Like most of the recipes I provide, it takes almost no time to prepare.

Enjoy!

Sauteed Chicken with Latin Citrus Sauce
Serves 4

Chicken:
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper/cayenne
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Sauce: (feel free to double the recipe if you’re a sauce lover)
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly minced (finely chopped) garlic
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Make sure your chicken breasts are thin to allow for quick cooking. To prepare chicken, combine brown sugar, cumin, salt, garlic powder, and red pepper in a small bowl; rub over chicken. Heat vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, and cook for 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm.

To prepare sauce, add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add juices and honey; cook 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; stir in mint. Serve over chicken.

This dish is great with cous cous or rice!

Roasted Broccoli

I usually use one broccoli head per person, but feel free to modify as you like. This recipe is all about what flavors you like the best. Here is my version:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wash the broccoli and chop into florets. Place florets in a foil-lined baking pan. Drizzle the broccoli with extra virgin olive oil. (Not too much or you will drown the broccoli)

Sprinkle some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper on the broccoli. Then add a combo of your favorite spices. I usually add some crushed red pepper flakes and garlic powder – just a sprinkle because you don’t want to overpower the broccoli.

Roast for 13-15 minutes. Eat!

When I’m only cooking for myself, I like to experiment with recipes that my boyfriend might not like. Last night, it was a recipe from this month’s Cooking Light – Cumin-Coriander Crusted Salmon.

As I’ve said before, I don’t really like salmon too much, so I really only make it when I have a stellar recipe. This one was great! So tasty and easy! I substituted flat leaf parsley for the cilantro (becuase I’m one of those people who HATES cilantro) but feel free to use it if you wish.

Cumin-Coriander Crusted Salmon
Serves 4

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
Cooking spray
4 lemon wedges

Combine cilantro, shallots, oil, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, stirring to form a paste. Place fish, skin side down, in a shallow baking dish. Coat top of fish with cilantro mixture. Cover; refrigerate 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Arrange fish on the rack of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray, and place rack in pan. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Serve with lemon wedges.

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