Spanish Chicken & Rice

Spanish Chicken & Rice

Since COVID-19 has put a temporary halt to this year’s travel plans I’ve been bringing our favorite travel destinations to our home by making the foods we’ve always enjoyed during our travels.

I know that travel restrictions have been eased and many countries are avidly awaiting the return of tourists.  But right now our family isn’t quite yet ready to resume our regular travel routines which in the summer usually includes several weeks visiting our daughter in Italy and a cruise around the Med.  So until we are ready to resume our normal traveling lifestyle we’ll just have to make do with enjoying homemade dishes from the countries we love to visit.

Recently I’ve had a hankering for Spanish cuisine, it reminds me of fun filled days spent wandering Barcelona or exploring sunny Ibiza and the Canary Islands.  So I’ve been putting together some of my favorite Tapas and other Spanish dishes to enjoy with my pitcher of Cava Sangria.

One of our favorites is Spanish Chicken and Rice.  It’s pretty easy to make, you  use just 1 skillet!  I love the taste and smell of the spices used to create this simple dish.  I make a seasoning mix to use in this dish, I usually make a jar and keep it on hand to use on other dishes we love.   I hope you’ll love it too!

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Spanish Chicken & Rice

Ingredients:

6 Chicken thighs – remove the skin

3 Tbs. Olive OIl

1 Cup long grain white rice

2 1/4 cup chicken broth

1 Lemon

Spanish Seasoning Mix (recipe below)

Directions:

Make 1 recipe of Spanish Seasoning Mix

Mix together:

2 Tsp. Smoked Paprika

2 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 Tbs. Salt

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin

1 Tsp. Chili Powder

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander

1/2 Tsp. Italian Seasoning

Place chicken thighs in a bowl and toss in 2 Tbs. Olive Oil until well coated.

Rub 1/2 of the Spanish Seasoning Mix on the chicken.  Be sure you rub it on all sides of the chicken thighs.

Heat remaining Olive Oil in a skillet.  Cook chicken about 3 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove from heat and set aside.  Chicken will not be cooked at this point.

Add rice, chicken broth, and other half of seasoning mix to the skillet.  Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over all and combine well.  Place chicken thighs on top of the rice and cover.

Cook for 25 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender and chicken is fully cooked.

Garnish with slices of the remaining lemon half and chopped cilantro.  Serve hot.

  • Instead of long grain rice I sometimes use frozen cauliflower rice.  When I do this I reduce the chicken broth to 1 1/4 cups and cook until the chicken is fully done.  If it is too watery I remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated.


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SHEET PAN SHRIMP BOIL

SHEET PAN SHRIMP BOIL

Easiest shrimp boil ever! And it’s mess-free using a single sheet pan. That’s right. ONE PAN. No newspapers. No bags. No clean-up!

I have a hot date waiting for me…

With four short legs. Massive ears. And a sweater vest.

Yes.

My Valentine’s date tonight is Butters. And we’ll be staying in, away from the crowds, the flowers and the jewelry.

Instead. We have this, and it’s better than roses or a blue Tiffany box.

It comes on a sheet pan with shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn. Plus. There’s plenty of garlic.

So maybe it worked out that I didn’t have a human date tonight. Because Butters doesn’t discriminate against garlic breath.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound baby Dutch yellow potatoes
  • 3 ears corn, each cut crosswise into 6 pieces
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (12.8-ounce) package smoked andouille sausage, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook potatoes until just tender and parboiled, about 10-13 minutes. Stir in corn during the last 5 minutes of cooking time; drain well.
  3. In a small bowl, combine butter, garlic and Old Bay seasoning.
  4. Place potatoes, corn, shrimp and sausage in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Stir in butter mixture and gently toss to combine.
  5. Place into oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque and corn is tender.
  6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges, garnished with parsley, if desired.

SHEET PAN SHRIMP BOIL
Print Recipe
Easiest shrimp boil ever! And it’s mess-free using a single sheet pan. That’s right. ONE PAN. No newspapers. No bags. No clean-up!
Servings Prep Time
6 10 MIN
Cook Time
30 MIN
Servings Prep Time
6 10 MIN
Cook Time
30 MIN
SHEET PAN SHRIMP BOIL
Print Recipe
Easiest shrimp boil ever! And it’s mess-free using a single sheet pan. That’s right. ONE PAN. No newspapers. No bags. No clean-up!
Servings Prep Time
6 10 MIN
Cook Time
30 MIN
Servings Prep Time
6 10 MIN
Cook Time
30 MIN
Ingredients
Servings:
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Torta – Spanish Omelette

Torta – Spanish Omelette

Torta can be different things depending on the type of cuisine and if the dish is sweet or savory.  It can refer to a cake or tart in several countries including Italy, Spain, Eastern Europe and the Middle East.  In Mexico it’s a sandwich.  In both Spain and the Philippines it can be an omelette.  Confusing, I know.

Well since today I want to make Tapas the word Torta will refer to a Spanish Omelette.  Tapas play a big part in Spanish social life.   Tapas refer to appetizers or small sized dishes that are served as snacks with beer, wine, or cocktails.  Sort of what in Hawaii we call pupus.  I love having Tapas, it gives you a chance to sample many different things at a time.  When we’re in Spain we usually start the evening at a cafe where I can order a refreshing pitcher of Sangria and an array of Tapas.  Many times we make a whole meal out of all the Tapas we order.

At home I sometimes make an assortment of Tapas and call it dinner or I can put together a “Tapas Board” for casual entertaining.  Tapas can be just about anything, as long as it’s a small portion.

One of my favorite Tapas is Torta, that Spanish Omelette.  It’s probably one of the easiest omelettes to make, but unlike most breakfast omelettes where the filling is folded into scrambled eggs Torta fillings are actually cooked into the egg and it comes out looking like a pie which is then cut into wedges for serving.  Served with fresh bread it’s delicious.

Here’s how to make Torta at home.  It’s really easy and you probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen.  Remember you can serve it as an appetizer or make a larger version and serve it for breakfast or lunch.  You can even make it into a sandwich, placed in a baguette it’s delicious and filling!

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Torta

Ingredients:

1 Potato – peeled and sliced very thin (I use a mandolin to slice it)

1/2 Onion thinly sliced

Olive Oil

2 Eggs beaten

Directions:

Heat about 1 tsp. Olive Oil in a frying pan.

Add onions and potatoes.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

Cook until onions start to caramelize or turn brown and the potatoes are soft.

Beat Eggs in a small bowl and add potato and onion mixture.  Stir well.

Add more Olive Oil to frying pan.  I use a 7″ pan to make this omelette if I’m making it for Tapas.

Pour egg mixture into pan.

Cook over medium low heat – you must cook this slowly to avoid burning the omelette.  Do not touch the omelette while it’s still liquidy.  The omelette will take on the shape of the pan.

Cook until the center is just about dry, it will still a bit soft in the center.

Gently separate the sides of the omelette from the pan.

Using 2 spatulas gently flip the omelette over.

Cook for about a minute then slip on to a serving dish.

Slice into wedges and serve.


Torta - Spanish Omelette
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Torta - Spanish Omelette
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Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes

Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes

Ready, sweet tomatoes and a garlicky slammed aubergine purée make this an incredible summer’s night dish

Mackerel must be my preferred fish for cooking outside over an open fire. Its skin crisps flawlessly while underneath the slick substance remains sodden and delicate. The fresher the mackerel, the more sensitive and heavenly its flavor will be, so select fish with decent brilliant eyes and energetic, bright skin.

 

Ingredients

4 good-sized, super-fresh mackerel, gutted and cleaned
2 tbsp olive oil
4 sprigs of rosemary
250g large, ripe tomatoes, halved
2 medium aubergines
2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated
1 tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
A handful of basil leaves, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Method:

Prepare your fire; you want to be cooking over glowing embers. When the fire is hot, set a grill over it, making sure it’s clean so your fish is less likely to stick to the bars. You’ll know the temperature is right when you can hover your hand above the grill for a maximum of 3 seconds.

Lay the fish on a board and, using a sharp knife, cut several shallow slash marks on both sides. Trickle 1 tbsp olive oil over the fish, sprinkle with salt and pepper and rub in, getting right into the slash marks. Place a couple of rosemary sprigs in each fish cavity. Set the fish on the grill. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place, cut side up, next to the fish. Place the aubergines (uncut) on the grill too.

Turn the aubergines every few minutes, to ensure they cook evenly. The fish will take 6–8 minutes on each side, depending on size. Don’t worry if the skin tears; the fish will still taste amazing. Once the mackerel are cooked, remove them from the grill and keep warm. Turn the tomatoes after 10–15 minutes and keep cooking them until they are soft and caramelised, then remove them to a plate.

When the aubergines are soft (this will take about 20 minutes), slit open and scoop the soft flesh out into a bowl. Add the garlic, tahini, chilli flakes, basil, extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. Mix and mash the aubergine with the seasonings.

Divide the aubergine purée between 4 plates. Add the tomatoes and fish and serve.


Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes
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Fire-broil mackerel with aubergine and tomatoes
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Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad

Watermelon on a salad like what is going on.

I’ve had this idea written up on my nice little kitchen chalkboard for at least three weeks now. The name “Watermelon Chicken Salad” sat there happily on the board right next to all my other random ideas, most of which have since gotten scratched off and erased and replaced with something new because I actually made them and posted them. For whatever reason, this little guy lingered. Another week would pass with no sign of a watermelon chicken salad, but for whatever reason when I’d clean off my board for the week, I really didn’t want to erase the idea just yet. I had this premonition of great things to come.

Speaking of great things.

In the three weeks that “Watermelon Chicken Salad” has been staring me down from the chalkboard, I’ve bought 8 million watermelons with very good intentions, thinking that each of them would be the one I’d use to make some kind of inspired and beautiful salad. But then I discovered this drink instead and every single piece of watermelon since has been doomed for the blender. Or my mouth. Today I ate it for breakfast, which is so weird, but actually not as weird as watermelon in a salad.

And I have a really important question. Why is watermelon like candy? It’s so incredibly good. Juicy, bright, sweet, red… it’s basically large 

 

cubes of all-natural Jolly Ranchers. Have you ever frozen watermelon cubes? <— That. You’re welcome.

So I got a really great bottle of balsamic and starting thinking about salads, and BAM. The inspiration for this salad finally hit and wowzzer. The long wait to actually make this combo happen was totally worth it. Here she is, in all her blue cheese crumbled, rainbow colored, crunchy almond, sweet balsamic glazed glory.

Pinky promise, as I am writing this, I can hear Bjork’s fork + plate clinking together at record speed as he is devouring this in the next room.

The salty blue cheese to me was the thing that tied it all together. You have the sweetness of the watermelon and the balsamic glaze, the savory of the seasoned chicken, the crunch of the almonds, the freshness of the spinach, and then that blue cheese. Oh, the salty, creamy tang that makes my heart go wild. I am making a weird “I LOVE IT” face right now as I’m writing this because I don’t even really know how to describe what I’m trying to say – you get it, though, right? Through computer food osmosis, are we kind of experiencing it together?

Color, crunch, and yum. I want that to be the tagline of my life.

Pretty salad, come to mama.

DESCRIPTION

This Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad has blue cheese, watermelon, almonds, herbed chicken, and a balsamic glaze. Simple and fresh.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 teaspoons all purpose seasoning (I used a spice mix I got at a specialty food store)
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups baby spinach or greens
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/4 cup sliced or crushed almonds

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the balsamic vinegar is significantly reduced and starting to become syrupy.
  2. Meanwhile, turn a grill or nonstick skillet to high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with the seasoning on both sides and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the hot grill and cook until no longer pink on the inside and nicely browned on the outside. Let rest for 5 minutes; cut into small cubes.
  3. Layer the spinach with the chicken, watermelon, blue cheese, almonds, and drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste. Top with additional olive oil if desired.

Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
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Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Servings Prep Time
4 10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
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Strawberries & Cream Pavlovas

What is a Pavlova?  It’s a sweet cloud of deliciousness!  Actually it’s a meringue based dessert that’s named after Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova.  It’s lightly crispy on the outside and light and marshmallowy on the inside.  It’s usually served topped with fruit and cream.

Pavlovas can be a cake like dessert or they can be individual shells filled with cream that’s topped with fresh or preserved fruits.  I love meringues and Pavlovas are one of my favorites.  It’s one of the desserts I always choose when we’re on a cruise.

Most folks think Pavlovas are for company desserts, yes, they’re that impressive.  But really Pavlovas a pretty easy to make.  I usually make them after I’ve made my grandmother’s flan which uses up a lot of egg yolks.  Pavlovas handily use the remaining egg whites.  Other than egg whites all you need is sugar, preferably caster or baker’s sugar (it’s super fine sugar that is between regular sugar and powdered sugar), cream or tartar, cornstarch, and vanilla.  You probably have all those things already.  (If you don’t have caster sugar you can either pick some up at the grocery store’s baking aisle or place regular granulated sugar in your blender and pulse until the crystals turn into a fine grains, sort of like sand, but not powdery.)

You’ll also want to use your standing mixer with a whisk attachment.  You can also use a hand held mixer.  You’ll need parchment paper to line your baking sheets, and a piping tip and bag if you have one.  Otherwise you can spoon the meringue onto the parchment paper for baking.

For my Strawberries and Cream Pavlovas I make individual shells that I fill with the mascarpone cream I make and top with Riesling Marinated Strawberries.  Click here for the Riesling Marinated Strawberries recipe!

Here’s  how to make these delicious Pavlovas.  Your family and friends will be impressed!

Ingredients:

Meringue:

4 Egg Whites

1 Cup Caster Sugar

1/2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar

1 1/2 Tsp. Cornstarch

2 Tsp. Vanilla

Cream Filling:

8 Oz. Container of Mascarpone Cheese

1 Cup Cold Heavy Whipping Cream

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

1 Tsp. Vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 320 degrees.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form.

Gradually add caster sugar and cream of tartar.  Continue beating at high speed.

Add cornstarch and vanilla.  Beat until stiff peaks form.

Pipe or spoon meringue on to the parchment paper. If piping start with a small circle for the base then pipe coils of meringue on top of it.  If spooning meringue drop them on the sheet and use the back of the spoon to make a shallow indentation in the  middle.  (I usually drop meringue Kisses with any leftover meringue.  I use them to top the strawberries)

Place on sheet in the oven and IMMEDIATELY lower temperature to 245 degrees.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Lower temperature to 200 degrees and back until the meringue is dry to the touch.  Touch carefully as they are fragile.

Turn off the oven and open door halfway.  Leave meringues inside to cool down to prevent them from cracking.

Meanwhile whip mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla together until fluffy.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

When meringues are cooled fill the wells of each meringue with cold cream mixture.  Top with Riesling Marinated Strawberries.  If you have a meringue kiss place one on top to decorate the pavlova, you can also add a fresh mint leaf if you like.

Serve immediately!


Strawberries & Cream Pavlovas
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