Happy Valley Chow

gour-mand (noun): one who is excessively fond of eating and drinking

Filtering by Category: "Saute"

Beerbanero Sauce

Essentially what we have here is a barbecue sauce that I made with Guinness and Habanero's. I was quite pleased with how this turned out. Had that classic barbecue sauce flavor with a nice kick to it with the addition of the habanero's. I just threw the sauce on some chicken breasts and baked them in my cast iron. Worked out really well!

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, small dice
  • 3 habaneros, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 cup Guinness 
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

Heat a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and habanero's, saute until  fragrant and the habaneros are soft. Whisk in the flour to make a roux. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk until combined. Allow to cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Use a immersion blender (blender or food processor) and blend the sauce until smooth. Let cool and refrigerate or put it on your favorite protein.

Directions for BBQ Skillet Chicken

Heat oven to 375°F.

Pound the chicken breast thin, to about 1/2" and season both sides with salt & pepper. Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add chicken, skin side down, and saute until brown, about 5 minutes. Flip chicken over and top with BBQ sauce, transfer to the oven and bake until the Thermapen registers 165°F. Remove from oven, slice and drizzle with some more Beerbanero Sauce, Enjoy!

Sautéed Chicken Breast w/ Cream Sauce

This is one of my favorite ways to do chicken breast. It is so simple that I can make it when I come home from work and it has so many great flavors! The first thing that you need to make sure when sautéing anything, particularly if you want to make a pan sauce, is to use either a cast iron or stainless steal pan. Put away the non-stick pans! The reason is you can't develop a good fond in a non-stick pan because, well...it's non-stick. Fond is a french cooking term for base and it commonly refers to the delicious browned bits and caramelized drippings from meat or veggies that form at the bottom of the pan when sautéing or roasting. We use the fond to create a much more complex depth of flavor. Enjoy!

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablepoon extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/2 cup cooking white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and coated in flour 
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan, shredded
  • 2 teaspoons italian herbs, optional

Remove chicken breast from packaging and dry thoroughly with paper towels. Lay the chicken breasts between a layer of saran wrap and pound thinly. Season the chicken breasts on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then dredge the chicken breasts in flour and pat off excess. 

Heat your pan (remember no non-stick!) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add in your the EVOO, it should shimmer when added. Carefully add the chicken breasts to the pan and sauté 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Remove from pan to a cooling rack and let rest (Don't worry, the internal temp. will reach 165°F with the carry over cooking). 

You may need to add another tablespoon of EVOO to the pan, if you have enough don't worry about it. Add in the garlic and shallot and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute. (It's very important to have all your ingredients, mis en place, ready for the pan sauce because the garlic and shallot will burn very quickly if you don't move quickly). Add in the white wine and deglaze the pan with a wooden spoon (scrap all the brown bits off the bottom). Reduce the white one until almost fully evaporated, almost syrupy consistency. Add in the chicken stock and reduce that liquid by half. Remove your pan from the heat and add the butter in a few cubes at a time and whisk in until the sauce begins to thicken. Whisk in the cream and parmesan cheese until it has melted. Finally whisk in the herbs. You want to add your fresh herbs in at the end, off the heat because cooking them can destroy their flavor. Slice your chicken breast and drizzle the cream sauce on top. 

Don't mind the grease splatter on the Thermapen :)

One of the most important tools every...EVERY kitchen should have is a quality thermometer. Thermapen is the best hands down. 

"The Super-Fast Thermapen is a professional tool (originally designed for commercial kitchens, labs and manufacturing plants) that has become the top consumer cooking thermometer for home use. Its popularity among celebrity chefs, cooking magazines, top foodies, bloggers and competition BBQ teams has made the Thermapen into an essential tool in the best-equipped home kitchens and backyard BBQ rigs. 

Made by Hand in England, the Thermapen is faster and more accurate than any other cooking thermometer on the market. Competitors have tried to copy the Thermapen with mass-produced products made in China and have flooded the housewares market with slower, less-accurate knock-offs. However, when compared to true competing commercial thermocouple thermometers, the Thermapen is not only faster and more accurate, it's also less expensive! 

The Thermapen's speed and accuracy will reveal more about food and cooking techniques than you ever imagined. You'll learn that temperatures are always changing; a roast is never the same temperature throughout while cooking. If you want to know what's really going on, get a Thermapen

If you want to experience speed and precision (traceable to National Standards) and you're on a quest for culinary perfection, you will want a Thermapen  Add up the expense of wasted meats alone and you'll justify the cost of this professional tool. 

Thermapen an be used for virtually anything that needs to be cooked or chilled. Use it on meats, fish, casseroles, re-heated foods, breads, cakes, deep frying and candy. You don't have to have a Thermapen o be a great cook; however, more than one celebrity chef and several food writers have testified that a Thermapen ill make you a better cook...AND, you can choose your own color! Order one today."

They come in various colors and are the perfect thermometer for either the home cook or cooking professionals. I've owned several thermometers in the past and all of them have either broke, melted or a pain because you have to keep on calibrating them. Save yourself the frustration and money and just buy yourself a Thermapen!

Cheesesteak Mac n' Cheese

The Super Bowl is right around the corner (Feb. 3rd). Even though my team, the six time super bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, aren't in the mix (and haven't been for some time), that doesn't mean I don't love to celebrate the tradition! This time of year usually means that parties will ensue celebrating America's past time with beer and lots of really unhealthy food. What better way to celebrate a home grown American sport, than with one of the most iconic american foods....Macaroni n' Cheese! But, instead of making it the usual Mac n' Cheese, lets give it a twist and make it a Cheesesteak Mac n' Cheese. Peppers, onions, thinly sliced sirloin mixed in a creamy cheddar and provolone sauce. Heck, why not throw a Mac n' Cheese Super Bowl party and also make Lee's Buffalo Chicken Mac n' Cheese. I based this recipe off the Buffalo Chicken Mac, so you'll notice some similarities in the preparation. Want the Mac n' Cheese to be portable and more like an appetizer?? Well then just follow the directions for the Deep Fried Mac n' Cheese Bites! 

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lbs sirloin steak, thinly sliced into bite size chunks
  • 1/2 cup onion, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, medium dice
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, medium dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt, to season pasta water
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces provolone, shredded
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • Smoked paprika 

Preheat the oven to 350°F

In a large saute pan set over medium high heat, add in the sirloin steak and saute until brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove steak from saute pan and reserve on a plate. Clean out the saute pan and melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Add in the onion and peppers and saute until tender, about 5 min. Add in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Season the mixture with salt and pepper then add the steak back into the pan and incorporate. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain the pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process, reserve noodles. *Note: if the noodles are going to be sitting for awhile, toss them in some olive oil to prevent sticking* 

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour and dry mustard and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the half-and-half and whisk until thick, about 2 minutes. Whisk in the cheddar and provolone cheeses, a little at a time until it is melted. Then whisk in the sour cream until smooth. *Note: if you have a immersion blender, use that instead of whisking. This will help emulsify the cheeses better and make a smoother sauce*

Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the macaroni in the baking dish. Then add the steak, onion and peppers mixture and then spread half of the cheese mixture. Top with the remaining noodles and cheese mixture. 

Put the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted. Stir in the panko and mix until incorporated. Sprinkle the panko mixture on top of the mac n' cheese, sprinkle some paprika on top and bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly. Let rest for 10-20 minutes on a cooling wrack (Unless you like molten cheese sauce coating your mouth). 

One of my favorite Super Bowl moments
Or was it this?? I almost puked and passed out during both...

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