For the past few months, my blog has taken a back seat with catered events rolling in one after another at work, so I apologize to my loyal followers and will do a better job over the coming months of posting a weekly blog entry. About a month ago we ran across a sweet deal at Costco when we found boneless, skinless chicken thighs at a really good price. It had 6 packs containing 5 boneless thighs bundled into one pack (so you can freeze the whole pack and tear off and thaw meals as needed). I believe Costco does most all their chicken this way, but lately I’ve been buying a lot of dark meat chicken. I grew up eating white meat chicken so I’m a late follower to the moistness and deliciousness of dark meat.
Since we’ve had this big pack of thighs in the freezer, I’m constantly trying new things to cook them. Normally I make a glaze of cranberry sauce and wine cooked down to a syrup, with some garlic added, but being out of cranberry sauce forced me to try something new and that’s how this recipe came about. This is what I could make with what I had in the pantry (and bar), but the point here is to play around with what you’ve got on hand. To make a good glaze you need some sort of fruit item (preserves, cranberry sauce, jam, etc) and some sort of acid (in this case some wine). Boiling contents down to a syrup will marry all the flavors and make an incredible glaze for meat. Boiling it down also releases the alcohol and leaves only the rich flavors.
5-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or use breasts if you prefer)
1 tbsp Cajun seasoning blend (I look for Badia brand which is cheap and tasty)
1 tbsp fig preserves
zest from 1 orange and juice from same orange
1 tbsp Drambuie liqueur (made from scotch whiskey and honey)
1 tbsp Cabinet Sauvignon wine
1 tbsp mined garlic
Arrange thighs on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning. Roast in a 400F oven for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is in the oven, in a small saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until the glaze is thick and will cover the back of a spoon.
Remove chicken from the oven and spoon the glaze over the chicken. Return to the oven and cook for 5 more minutes then check the temperature. Chicken needs to be 165F to be done and kill all salmonella or other harmful bacteria. If yours if 165F, it’s done. If not, continue cooking until internal temperature is reached.
Mom agreed to host a neighborhood Christmas party the day before 40+ people are scheduled to arrive at her house on Christmas Eve for our annual family dinner. She called me for suggestions on finger foods; she’s already making my “fancy” chicken salad with apples and dried cranberries and I offered to whip up a batch of jalapeno-pimiento cheese and Southwestern style tuna salad.
We make this tuna salad every day at work, along with regular tuna, regular chicken, fancy chicken and cajun chicken salads. This has turned into one of my customer’s favorites and it’s my favorite way to make tuna salad for sure! Don’t let the name, or the ingredients fool you. This is not a super-spicy salad. The addition of honey and the dairy in the Ranch cuts the heat, so you’ll just have a zesty after taste. Give it a shot the next time you’re looking for something different than a plain old tuna fish sandwich!
2 6oz cans quality tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
2 T pickle relish (we use sweet at work, I use dill at home, so it’s a matter of preference only)
4 pickled banana pepper rings, minced (you can get these in jars on the pickle aisle)
1 small fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (don’t touch yourself after seeding the pepper without first washing your hands!!!)
2 boiled eggs, diced
2 teaspoons honey
1/3 cup + 1 T buttermilk ranch dressing (it’s best to use Hidden Valley made from a packet, but any will do)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (I normally use Texas Pete’s at work and Tabasco at home)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Taste and season to your liking. If it’s too hot for you, add a little sugar. Chill well before serving. Great on sandwiches, wraps or just to scoop and eat on a bed of lettuce.
Let me apologize to my customers at work for the delay in getting this recipe loaded to the site. In all honesty, the vinaigrette on the salad we had this week was something I threw together just before we opened, so I had to go back and re-create it for a recipe.
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (regular is too salty)
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp honey or brown sugar (I used brown sugar but honey would be more palatable)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sesame oil (optional)
In a glass bowl, combine the vinegar, soy sauce, orange juice, honey/brown sugar and garlic. Mix well with a whisk. While continuously whisking the vinaigrette, add the olive oil in a continuous stream until well incorporated. Add sesame oil just before tossing with salad greens.
* sorry there is no picture for this recipe, I will take one and load it the next time I make the vinaigrette