Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

The weather is getting warmer by the day, which means that it is almost grill season in the Lavarnway and Cardillo houses. We love cooking on the grill as an easy way to get outside and add a little smoky char to whatever we are cooking. If you’ve been around for a while, you know that one of our signature dishes is our steak with chimichurri. In that recipe, we blended the ingredients of a traditional chimichurri into a smooth and delightfully zingy sauce. For today’s recipe, we have stuck to a more traditional variation. 

Chimichurri is a loose, herb based sauce that is held together by olive oil and red wine vinegar. It has a ton of flavor thanks to the additional of garlic, a pinch of chili flakes, and some shallot. For this recipe, we like to marinate the chicken thighs in the chimichurri for a few hours to help break down the meat – making it incredibly tender after cooking. To make sure that the chicken has the ultimate punch of flavor, we reserve 1/3 of the chimichurri before we marinate and drizzle it over top after cooking. 

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Chimichurri

  • Servings: 4
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Char grilled chicken thighs with a zesty chimichurri. We can’t imagine a more perfect and quick summer entrée.

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup packed parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup packed cilantro
  • 1 tbs fresh oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 small red chili, stem and seeds removed
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Put the dry chimichurri ingredients (parsley through red chili) in a food processor. Pulse the food processor to break down the ingredients. The ingredients should be finely chopped but not pulverized. Remove the ingredients and place into a large bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil and red wine vinegar to the dry ingredients and whisk well to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour 2/3 of the chimichurri into a large ziplock bag and leave 1/3 of the chimichurri (about 1/2 cup) in the bowl. Cover the 1/3 with saran wrap and set aside.
  3. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Submerge the chicken into the chimichurri in the ziplock bag. Make sure that all of the chicken is coated in the sauce and that the air is removed from the bag before sealing it. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, up to overnight, before grilling.
  4. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator 15-20 minutes before you want to cook it. Preheat the grill to 500 degrees. Cook the chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until the juices of the chicken run clear and the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle with the remaining 1/3 chimichurri and serve immediately.


Beer Braised Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

During the fall and winter months, it is so comforting at night to have a warm cooked meal on the table. The problem with that is we don’t always have the time to be in the kitchen for hours on the weeknight. This recipe helps bring both together by giving you a delicious meal that can be ready in less than 30 minutes. This is a fun Mexican spin on a traditional shredded chicken. The beer, limes, and dried chiles blend together for a tangy, citrusy chicken that has just a hint of heat. We love this recipes because there are endless options for how you can use this chicken. We put it in tacos, over salad, or even on a burger bun- you can truly incorporate this any way you would like. We have found through some trial and error that our favorite beer for this recipe is a lighter ale, specifically, Corona. The key to cooking with any alcohol is that if you like to drink it, you will likely enjoy eating it as well. So if you don’t like Corona, just swap it out for something that suits you.

Beer Braised Instant Pot Chicken

  • Servings: 6-8 for taco preparation
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A quick & easy recipe for shredded chicken that is perfect for tacos, enchiladas, and salads.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 4 dried guajillo chilis (these can be found in the Mexican section of most grocery stores)
  • 6 oz Corona Beer or another beer of your choosing
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~6 chicken thighs)
  • 1 lime, cut into segments

Directions

  1. Put the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and add the olive oil and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes until the onion becomes translucent.
  2. Add the salt, pepper cumin, chilis, beer, and limes to the pot and give everything a quick stir. Place the chicken breasts into the Instant Pot and try to submerge them in the liquid as much as possible. It’s ok if they are not fully submerged. Switch the Instant Pot setting to the Pressure Cook setting on High and set for 12 minutes.
  3. Use the quick release once the chicken has finished cooking. Use two large forks to shred the chicken. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve in tacos with rice and salad or in any other format you would like!


Skillet Lemon Chicken

Tuck’s dad was called up to the Marlins this week and our whole family immediately gathered to watch him play Wednesday night. On nights like this – where we are unexpectedly entertaining – we love the ease of cooking a recipe in one pan. We made this skillet chicken using the base for a traditional gravy and adding lots of lemon and capers to keep the taste fresh. This recipe is hearty and flavorful and can be served with just about anything on the side that you already have in your kitchen. 

Skillet Lemon Chicken 
Makes: 6 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes     Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 8 – 10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil 
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 4 cups chicken stock 
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 cup capers
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • parsley (optional, for garnish)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Prepare your station for browning the chicken getting one bowl and one medium plate. Scramble the eggs in the bowl and set aside. Combine one cup of the flour, salt and pepper on a plate and stir to combine. 
  3. In a deep (2 inch) skillet, add the canola oil and heat on medium over the stove top. Using one hand for wet ingredients and one hand for dry ingredients, coat the chicken in the flour, the egg and then back in the flour. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and brown on both sides (roughly 3 minutes per side). You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through. Set aside on a plate and drain any excess oil from the pan. 
  4. Add the butter to the pan until it is fully melted. Using a whisk, add the 1/4 cup of flour and whisk until a thick paste is made. You may get some brown bits from the chicken – this is OK. 
  5. Continue whisking while you add the chicken stock one cup at a time. The chicken stock will start to thicken. Once it does, add the next cup and repeat until all four cups have been added. Whisk in the lemon juice and capers and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  6. Add the chicken back into the skillet and be sure that all pieces are covered with the lemon sauce. Place the skillet into the oven for 15 minutes or until the chicken thighs are cooked completely through. 
  7. Top with parsley and serve immediately. 

Lemon Chicken with Artichokes

Happy Passover! We hope that everyone had a nice Seder and a great night of eating. This year’s Seder “was not like all other nights” for a lot of reasons, and we hope that this year was still a good evening to connect with family and friends, even if it was virtually.  We had a Seder last night with our parents and Nana (we are all social distancing together). Nana goes all out for Jewish holidays and this year was no exception. 

We were finally granted permission to bring a few dishes to the Seder that we will be sharing with you through this week and next. Up first is our lemon chicken with artichokes. This dish comes together fairly quickly and holds well in the oven during the Seder. The tangy lemon was a perfect accompaniment with Nana’s savory brisket. We made it last night but plan to have it as a staple throughout the spring and early summer. 

Lemon Chicken with Artichokes
Makes: 8 servings 
Prep Time: 10 minutes    Cooking Time: 35 minutes      Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1 package of bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (about 4) 
  • 1 package chicken breasts (about 4) 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine 
  • 3 lemons, 2 juiced and the other cut in wedges
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cans (28 oz) artichoke hearts, drained and cut in half length-wise
  • 1/2 cup capers 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Heat a deep pan over high heat and add the olive oil. While the olive oil is heating, season the chicken (thighs and breasts) thoroughly with salt and pepper.
  2. Place the chicken skin side down in the pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side so that the skin gets browned and crispy. You do not need to cook the chicken through at this point. Just make sure it is nice and brown.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and lower the heat to medium. Add a little more olive oil if needed and the garlic. Saute the garlic for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the white wine. The wine will quickly boil as it deglazes the pan. Make sure you use a spatula that can scrape any of the brown bits from the chicken (aka flavor). 
  5. Add the lemon juice and wedges, chicken broth, artichoke hearts and capers to the pan. Cook for 5 and stir to incorporate all of the ingredients together. 
  6. Add the chicken back to the pan, cover and cook over low heat for 20 – 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Serve hot!

Semi-Homemade Massaman Curry

When Tuck’s mom and dad came home from Thailand, we were gifted with the ultimate arrangement of spices and curry mixes to try. We have loved making them these past few months and have found that modifying this dish is super easy and a fun way to experiment in the kitchen. Because we love spicy, we have added spicy Thai chilies to give the curry a kick. Feel free to incorporate vegetables that you have on hand and approach to make this a complete meal. We know that you probably won’t be able to find the exact packets that we used from Thailand but have included a link to something similar that you can purchase. Most mainstream grocery stores will have curry packets in the Asian aisle as well.

Semi-Homemade Massaman Curry

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Massaman curry mix (similar here)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 package boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into strips
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 – 10 thai chilis
  • chopped green onion (optional)
  • 3 -4 cups rice or 1 package thai rice noodles

Directions:

  1. Add the curry mix and 1/2 of the can of coconut milk to a pan and bring to a boil. Be sure to stir thoroughly until the mix is fully incorporated into the coconut milk.
  2. Add the chicken and onion and cook for 5 minutes. The chicken does not need to be fully cooked through.
  3. Add the water and Thai chilis and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Keep the lid off the pan so that some of the water can evaporate.
  4. While the curry in cooking, cook the rice or noodles according to the package directions.
  5. Serve the curry over rice and noodles, hot. Add the green onions on top for garnish.

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

If you look at our history of recipes it is abundantly clear that we love cooking Asian cuisine. Indian recipes are no exception to this rule. Cooking Indian dishes can be incredibly intimidating because most recipes come with a list of dozens of spices. We have created this recipe to help use some spices that you may already have on hand (cayenne, chili powder) and introduce new spices (garam masala, turmeric) in a way that is approachable. All of these spices can be found at your local grocery store or on Amazon.

Chicken Tikka Masala is a creamy, tomato based curry and the best dish to introduce you to Indian cuisine. It is traditionally served with steamed rice, which we have done in this recipe. We created this meal as a two-part Instant Pot recipe; you can prep the masala ingredients while the rice is cooking and reuse the Instant Pot to help alleviate the kitchen cleanup.

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbs butter
  • salt

Ingredients for Tikka Masala:

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 tbs tandoori powder
  • 2 tbs garam masala
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups non-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Directions:

  1. Add the rice and water to the Instant Pot and click the “Rice” setting.
  2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the Tikka Masala ingredients. Cut the chicken into cubes or bite sized pieces and set aside in a bowl with the garlic and onion. In another bowl, combine the spices (tandoori powder – cayenne powder).
  3. When the rice is finished cooking, de-pressurize the Instant Pot and move the rice to large bowl. Add the butter and salt and cover with foil to keep the rice warm. You do not need to perfectly clean out the Instant Pot. You will be using it again for the tikka, so if a few grains of rice get left behind, that is perfectly fine.
  4. Set the Instant Pot on the “Saute” setting. Add the olive oil and the bowl of chicken, garlic and onions. Saute for 5 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the bowl of spices and saute for 2 minutes so that the spices become toasted.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and coconut milk and give everything a big stir so that the onions and chicken are lifted from the bottom of the pot. Change the Instant Pot setting to “High Pressure” for 6 minutes.
  6. Once you have depressurized the pot, open the top and add the Greek yogurt. Stir in the yogurt until the sauce is fully blended.
  7. To serve, place a large scoop of rice at the bottom of the bowl. Add the Tikka Masala with extra sauce for the rice to soak up. Top with green onions and serve immediately.

Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Mixing up our weeknight dinner routine sometimes can feel like a challenge . It’s hard to constantly be creative and inspired to try new things, particularly when we have an arsenal of go-to recipes that we can prepare with our eyes closed. What keeps us motivated is our desire to mix things up in the kitchen and make meals that feel fresh and exciting. The inspiration for this dish is pretty simple: Tuck’s dad came home from a baseball game and brought home a Chick Fil-A sandwich in the car. We don’t eat there very often, but he loves their dipping sauce that comes with the nuggets and sandwiches. The sauce is essentially a honey mustard sauce, which led us to create this version at home. Our version of honey mustard for this recipe is decadent and absurdly flavorful. The dish comes together in 40 minutes and will please any dinner guest. We’ve even served this to people who “hate mustard” and they’ve come back for seconds!

Creamy Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

Makes: 4 servings

Total Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 large chicken thighs (about 1.75 lbs)
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Season the chicken thighs on both sides with the garlic powder, paprika, and salt and pepper. Heat a large, oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil to the pan and brown the chicken thighs for 6 minutes per side, starting with the skin-side down. Turn the chicken thighs back to being skin-side down and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  3. Remove the chicken from the oven and place the pan on your stove top. Remove the chicken from the pan and onto a plate. You lightly cover the plate with foil to keep the chicken warm.
  4. Bring the pan that you cooked the chicken in up to medium heat. Remember it was just in the oven and do not grab the handle without an oven mitt! Add the wine and use a whisk to scrape all the brown bits from cooking into the wine. Cook for 3 minutes to cook the alcohol out of the pan.
  5. Add the Dijon mustard and honey to the pan. Stir well to combine. Turn the heat down to low and add the heavy cream, if you are using it. Whisk everything together and season the sauce with salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs back into the pan and let the chicken cook in the sauce on low for a 3 minutes before serving.

Semi-Homemade Creamy Cauliflower Rice Bowls

One of our favorite food trends of the last few years is the transformation of cauliflower into the ultimate substitute for carbs. Pizza crust, gnocchi, rice – you name it and you can find it on the shelf. We are fully on board with this movement and have used cauliflower rice as the base ingredient for this week’s recipe. Our semi-homemade creamy cauliflower chicken bowls take items that you can find at pretty much any grocery (riced cauliflower, pre-shredded kale and chicken sausage) and combines these ingredients through a quick cook to make an easy and healthy dinner. This recipe makes GREAT leftovers or can be used to meal prep for the week. Just cool the ingredients after cooking and reheat in the microwave when you’re ready to eat.

Semi-Homemade Creamy Cauliflower Rice Chicken Bowls

Makes: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb riced cauliflower (we used fresh but you can easily use frozen too)
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 cups pre-shredded kale
  • 1 package (12-16 oz) pre-cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a pot, add the butter, cream cheese and milk over medium heat. Stir until the cream cheese is melted into the milk. Add the cauliflower rice and cook on low for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the rice is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale and cook the kale for 5 minutes until it is reduced. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Re-use the same pan you used to cook the kale, and saute the chicken sausage on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until browned on both sides. You don’t need to clean the pan between use. Let the chicken sausage soak up any extra garlic and oil while it browns. 4. Put it all together by adding the creamy cauliflower rice to the base of your bowl. Top with the garlicky greens and chicken sausage and enjoy!


Semi-Homemade Chicken Shawarma Bowls

We have decided to start a new series on the blog for those nights when you want to get a good dinner on the table but are short on time. Even those of us that love to cook and entertain have those days where spending even an hour in the kitchen is too much. “Semi Homemade Mondays” are meals that combine a few pre-made ingredients from the store and a simple homemade addition to reduce your overall cooking time but still have a balanced meal for dinner. For this first Semi-Homemade Monday we have made Chicken Shawarma Bowls by using chicken shawarma, hummus, and pitas from Trader Joe’s. We’ve added cooked quinoa and an easy cucumber tomato salad to complete the meal and have dinner on the table in less than 25 minutes. 

Semi-Homemade Chicken Shawarma Bowls 
Makes: 4 servings 
Total Time: 25 minutes 

Ingredients for Bowl: 

  • 1 package (1.5 lbs) Trader Joe’s Chicken Shawarma 
  • 1 container hummus 
  • 1 package pitas, warmed for a few minutes in the oven 
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa 

Ingredients for Cucumber Tomato Salad 

  • 1 cucumber, ends removed, cut in half horizontally, and sliced 
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced 
  • 2 tbs fresh dill, minced 
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 tbs red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees**. 
  2. Lay the chicken in a baking dish or on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the thighs are cooked through and the juices are clear. 
  3. While the chicken is cooking, pour 3 cups of water into a medium pot. Add the quinoa, bring the water to a boil, and cook over medium-high heat for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has popped. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. 
  4. To make the cucumber salad, combine the remaining ingredients (cucumbers – red wine vinegar) in a small bowl. Gently toss to combine and season with salt and pepper. 
  5. When the chicken has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a few minutes before slicing. 
  6. Assemble each bowl with a swipe of hummus, about 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup quinoa, the sliced chicken shawarma, and a good helping of tomato cucumber salad. Serve with warm pitas for the ultimate semi-homemade dinner. 

** This chicken is great on the grill too- the char from the grill is addicting! Cook for about 6 minutes per side on a hot grill, or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through. 


Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas

A few weeks ago we asked our Instagram followers what kind of recipes they were looking to see in the new year. A few of you asked for recipes with spaghetti squash. Ask and you will receive! Spaghetti squash is a great substitute vegetable if you are looking to eat less carbohydrates. Instead of thinking of spaghetti squash as simply a substitute for pasta, we like to think of it as a base for any casserole-type entree. Insert this recipe for spaghetti squash enchiladas. Everything you love about baked enchiladas but without the tortillas, which are really just the vessel for delivery anyway. We make dinners like this on repeat when we are trying to cut the carbs back and also stay full after dinner. 

Spaghetti Squash Enchiladas 
Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 30 minutes    Cooking Time: 30 minutes 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 small spaghetti squash, cut in half and seeds removed 
  • 3 tbs olive oil 
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 lb ground beef or ground turkey 
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning 
  • 1- 15.5 oz can red kidney beans 
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced 
  • 1- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice 
  • 1- 10 oz can enchilada sauce 
  • salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1 cup + shredded cheddar cheese 
  • cilantro, for garnish 

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Place the spaghetti squash halves on a cookie sheet (or two if they don’t all fit). Drizzle the insides with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover the squash with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. The squash are done when they are tender enough that you can easily scrape the insides with a fork to make “spaghetti”. 
  3. While the squash is cooking, start making the enchilada mix. Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Add the ground beef and taco seasoning to the pan and cook until mostly cooked though, another 6 minutes or so. 
  4. Add the kidney beans, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, and enchilada sauce to the pot. Stir well, cover, and cook on a low simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and season with salt and pepper, to taste. 
  5. When the enchiladas have finished cooking, remove them from the oven. Use a fork to gently scrape up some of the squash, creating a bed of spaghetti in each individual squash. Use a ladle to divide the enchilada filling into each of the four squash halves. Top with shredded cheese and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  6. Serve hot, topped with cilantro if desired.