Tag Archives: chicken

I Need to Make this Chicken…STAT!!

It happens to everyone at one point another. You take a package of chicken breasts out of the freezer and put them in the fridge to thaw with plans to use them a few days later. Something happens and for whatever reason, the day you plan to use them comes and goes. Now there is thawed chicken in fridge and all you can think about is how you need to do something with it right away. Like it makes you lose sleep…gotta make that chicken, gotta make that chicken now…now…NOW!

That happened to me this week. I was so worried I was going to miss my window to cook this chicken, I pulled it out of the fridge this morning and poached the entire package without any real plan of what I was going to do with it. I figured I’d come up with something later and if worst came to worst, I’d make a couple of quesadillas for us to chow down on.

For dinner tonight I was craving the two things I’m always craving….bread and cheese. HA! Since I already had cooked chicken already to go, the chicken parmesan calzone was born! YUM. These were so so good. Eric really enjoyed them. Simple to throw together too, especially if you have cooked chicken sitting around you need to use up. 🙂

CHICKEN PARMESAN CALZONES (Recipe Source: ME!)

INGREDIENTS:

  • About 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce (I used a homemade sauce, but you can use your favorite jarred sauce too!)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 can refrigerated pizza dough (like Pillsbury)
  • Egg wash
  • Additional Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top
  • More marinara for dipping! 🙂

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In large bowl combine chicken, sauce, cheeses and basil. Stir to coat. (Note: The mixture will not be really saucy, just moistened.)
  3. Unroll pizza dough and divide into two portions. Roll the dough on a floured surface into a thin circle….just eyeball it until it looks big enough.
  4. Fill each circle with a generous portion of the filling, fold over and pinch edges with a fork to seal. Cut three small slits in the top. Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle with additional parm cheese.
  5. Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with additional sauce for dipping.

ENJOY! 🙂

5 Comments

Filed under chicken, pizza

It’s a Fiesta…

That you can hold in the palm of your hand!!

I was browsing chicken recipes on the Food Network on Thursday night and happened to stumble along a recipe for chicken empanadas from Paula Deen. Now, normally I wouldn’t even bother opening a link to a Paula Deen recipe. It’s not that I don’t like her…I’ll watch her if she’s on, but nothing she makes ever looks like anything I would want to make at home. Too much butter and cream and what not. And too much mayo!! Has anyone else noticed how often she uses a lot of mayo. I LOATHE mayo and I refuse to cook with it. I had her on TV the other day and she was making something all white and creamy per usual and Eric came in just as she was glopping a big ole’ scoop of mayo down into a bowl in all it’s white, jiggly glory. He says to me: “You know what? Mayo on a big screen TV in HD is unbelievably disgusting.”

It certainly is, Eric…it certainly is. A scoop of mayo as big as your face = the ultimate in appetite killers.

Anyway, I opened the link because I was curious and was pleasantly surprised to see that they were not fried! Reading through the ingredients, the wheels immediately began turning on how I could put my own spin on these. I knew these would be right up Eric’s alley. Now, I’m claiming they are healthy – as they use refrigerated pie crusts, but at least they are baked and not fried! They are a bit laborious to make – but you’ll have that. I don’t mind doing it. It was worth it in the end.

Eric loves little finger food appetizer type things so he mowed down on a whole plate of these and loved them. I liked them too, but I kinda wished they were a bit more crunchy. Next time, I might forgo the pie crust in favor of a prepared pizza or french bread dough so they get a bit more crisp.

I made some changes to the original recipe. Per some reviews, I halved the chicken and it was more than enough. I actually only had one pie crust to work with, because I used the other crust for an actual pie (coming soon to a blog near me) so I had some extra filling left. If I had used both pie crusts in the package, I think it would have been just the right amount. Because of that, I also halved the amount of shredded cheese, and the spices. I kept the 4 oz. of cream cheese, because 2 oz. didn’t seem like enough to bind it together. I swapped a jalapeno for chipotles in adobo and added a green onion, just because I like ’em. 🙂 I cooked down the peppers and the green onion in a tiny bit of olive oil for a couple minutes to mellow them out for my hubby – who I have a feeling would have been turned off by crunchy veggies inside. Yeah, yeah…I know, I know…

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN EMPANADAS (Recipe adapted from: Paula Deen – Foodnetwork.com)

**I served with cheese sauce for dipping. I’d like to say I made it but it’s the Tostido’s stuff. You know…from a jar. Disgraceful, huh? Meh…**

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1.5 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup package shredded Colby and Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 scallion (whites and greens), chopped
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts
  • Water
  • Olive Oil, for brushing on top.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a skillet, cook red pepper, scallion and chipotles in a teaspoon of olive oil until crisp-tender.

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and next 7 ingredients. Unroll piecrust onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 15-inch circle. Cut out rounds, using a 3-inch cookie cutter. Re-roll dough as needed. Repeat procedure with remaining piecrusts, making 12 to 15 circles total (you will probably get more than this…FYI). Arrange 1 round on a clean, flat surface. Lightly brush the edges of crust with water. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture in the center of the round. Fold the dough over the filling, pressing the edges with a fork to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds and chicken mixture. (Up to this point, the recipe can be made ahead and frozen for up to 1 month). Arrange empanadas on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes.

ENJOY! 🙂

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    Nobody calls me chicken…

    When it comes to roasting a whole chicken…NOBODY!

    Well, not anymore anyway.

    That was my nod to Marty McFly there. You know, Back to the Future… “Nobody calls me chicken, Needles…nobody!”

    Okay, on to the food.

    I have done a whole bird once before and we really enjoyed it. I was surprised at how easy it was and it came out delicious. It took me a while to get up the courage to do it but I for sure plan on doing it more often.

    Long, long ago there was a Ina Garten special on the Food Network called Barefoot Contessa in Paris. She made the most fab looking lemon roasted chicken I had ever seen so I immediately ran off to the FN website to grab the recipe. It said right there that the recipe would only be available for two weeks and then it’d be taken down. I made a mental not to be sure to come on back and print out the recipe before it disappeared. Did I remember to do this? Well, no. Of course not! Ha! I was so bummed.

    Until this past summer when I spotted the exact recipe over at BMK’s blog Reservations Not Required! I bookmarked it immediately so that I could break it out as soon as the weather got cooler. Today was the perfect day for roast chicken. Thank you, BMK, for posting this fab recipe! It was just as great as I thought it would be! 🙂

    Now, unfortunately I have no photo today. 😦 I’m sorry! I had to go ahead an post the recipe anyway because it really was very delicious. So moist and tender. Eric devoured it! He loved the “crunchy little bread things.” (That’s a direct quote. LOL!) It was the perfect for a cool fall day. The house smelled divine while it was cooking! Mmmmm..

    Anyway, It was my own stupid fault I couldn’t take a photo. After I put the chicken in the roasting pan and prepped it to go in the oven, I’m stared at it for a while thinking…hmmm, it looks weird for some reason. Meh. Whatevs. Sure it’s fine. I stuck it in the oven.

    Once it was cooked through and it had rested, I went to cut it. I’m poking it and stabbing it with my knife and fork and it’s like I can’t find the breast meat. So now I’m baffled. What the heck is going on? It took me a few minutes of mangling what should have been a stunningly beautiful bird to realize….I roasted it upside down! No wonder I couldn’t slice into it! So, needless to say, I had already mangeled it beyond recognition and it was the bottom of the bird that got all browned up and crisp in the oven, not the meaty, yummy parts so a photo was just not meant to be. I guess you can call it an absolutely delicious kitchen massacre! Ha!

    LEMON CHICKEN WITH CROUTONS (Recipe Source: Barefoot Contessa in Paris, as seen at Reservations not Required)

    **Note:** I added some changes in italics below! 🙂

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 (4 to 5-pound) roasting chicken
    • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
    • Good olive oil
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 lemons, quartered
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 6 cups (3/4-inch) bread cubes (1 baguette or round boule) (I only used about 1 1/2 cups since it was just the two of us.)

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the giblets out  of the chicken (I bought one with giblets already removed. Just can’t handle that step.) and wash it inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.2. Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)

    3. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to
    10 minutes. Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (I also added about 1/2 tsp. of minced onion flakes just because I like onion!) Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.

    ENJOY! 🙂

    2 Comments

    Filed under chicken, fruit

    Meet the Parents

    I brought Eric home to meet my parents for the first time on January 1, 2004. It was senior year and we fled Champaign for the north and south, respectively, to spend the holidays with our families. Of course, I missed my little farm boy like crazy so we decided we meet at school for a New Years Eve bash with all our friends. There hadn’t been a memorable New Year’s Eve before that and there hasn’t been one since. EVERYone was there…they passed the champagne in Champaign and I got butterflies in my tummy kissing my honey at midnight. It was so much fun! Seriously, one of the best nights EVER!

    Eric had plans to visit a a fellow suburbanite buddy of his from school, so he followed me up to my parents house from school on New Years Day. I’ll tell you what, I wasn’t even nervous! Eric was a natural fit for my family! I remember telling my dad about this great new guy I was seeing before he came. An engineer…that’s plus 100 points. A baseball fan…add an additional 50. Cardinals fan though…ouch, minus 25 points. A car guy…give him those 25 points back. Then add a trillion points for being kind, respectful, hardworking, focused, smart, articulate, funny, and having impeccable taste in women (right, Dad? 😉 LOL!)

    So anyway, it was a great first meeting! So great, in fact, that he wasn’t even frightened away and decided to come back a few days later. He showed up in the middle of a horrible Chicago snowstorm with the intention of driving all the way back to Champaign that night. While the snow fell and the wind howled we sat down our very first family dinner together.

    And what did we have? Chicken Parmesan! Don’t ask me why I remember that…I just do. I remember lots of seemingly insignificant details of our relationship. But that’s the thing…they aren’t insignificant to me! They are memories. Great memories! And I can’t wait to make a trillion more with him.

    Here’s my easy-peasy, toss together with whatever’s in the house, eating in about 30 version of Chicken Parm. I like the tang of buttermilk with chicken, and it’s an easy alternative to beaten eggs to get your breadcrumbs to stick.

    ERIN’S EASY BUTTERMILK CHICKEN PARMESAN (Recipe Source: Me)

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thick
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup parm cheese, divided
    • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
    • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (I use the jarred stuff…like I said, easy-peasy!)
    • 1/2 cup italian style bread crumbs
    • 2 tbs. olive oil
    • 1/2 cup shredded mozzerella cheese
    • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (store bought or homemade)
    • Hot cooked pasta of your choice
    • More mozzerella and parm cheese for sprinkling

    DIRECTIONS

    Combine buttermilk, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, basil, oregano, parsley, and garlic in a shallow dish. Marinated chicken in the mixture for about 15 minutes. Coat in breadcrumbs.

    Heat olive oil in a skillet add chicken and cookjust a few minutes on each side, until golden brown and cruncy. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and bake  at 400 until done (about 15 minutes). Sprinkle with mozzerella cheese and remaining parm cheese during the last 5 minutes of baking and cook until melted and bubbly.

    Serve with pasta, top with sauce, sprinkle with more cheese and ENJOY! 🙂

    3 Comments

    Filed under chicken, pasta

    Cool, (no) Beans!

    Raise your hand if you have a hubby who says he doesn’t like beans. Yeah, me too.

    When I was a kid, I’d pass on anything that had beans in it, but now that I’m older I find myself liking them more and more. Eric will pick them out of everything so I rarely cook with them. I wish he’d learn to like them because they are so good for you! And filling!

    So, I really really like chili. Actually, I’d say I love it. Sadly, I’ve taken to making it without beans in order to please the ever-picky hubster. I had some extra chicken breasts that I poached on Monday night after using a portion of the package in another dish. When I got home from work tonight, I started gathering up the ingredients to make a chicken chili….sans beans, of course. Now, with chili, there has got be something of substance in with the meat. When I make it with ground beef, I serve it up over pasta. Who wants to eat a bowl of meat and nothing else? That’s way too blah! I was in the mood for something different and, since I couldn’t include beans, I decided to mix in some healthy brown rice to fill it out.

    The results were very yummy! I can tell when Eric likes one of my made up dishes by how much he eats. If he says it’s good but leaves about half his portion, that means he’s not that thrilled. If he says it’s good and eats every bite, that means he really does like it! Tonight, Eric got a gold star for being a member of the Clean Plate Club! 🙂

    BROWN RICE CHICKEN CHILI (Recipe Source: Me)

    **Note:** You will notice I don’t include measurements for the spices I used. It’s really open to interpretation. I was just seasoning as I went along, tasting and adding more as needed. I bet some chipotle chilis would really punch up the flavor of this dish. Mmmmm…I didn’t have any on hand so I had to skip that! Next time! 🙂

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 2 poached chicken breasts (I poached mine in chicken broth, half an onion cut into large chunks, and seasoned it with oregano.)
    • 1 tbs. olive oil
    • Half a medium onion, diced
    • Half a green bell pepper, chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
    • 1 14.5 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (If you prefer your chili more soupy, you can add the entire can. This is just a personal preference for me…I despise soupy chili so I drained off the liquid!)
    • Half a bottle of beer (Feel free to treat yourself to the rest of the bottle…I know I did!)
    • Salt & Pepper
    • Chili Powder
    • Cumin
    • Paprika
    • Oregano
    • Red Pepper Flakes
    • 1 cup cooked brown rice
    • Shredded cheese, for sprinkling!

    DIRECTIONS:

    Heat olive oil in a large, heavy sauce pan. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until soft. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add chicken and allow to heat through, stiring frequently. Add tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and beer. Season with spices. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 15 minutes. Taste and add additional seasoning, if needed. Add cooked rice, simmer 15 minutes more. Serve with a generous sprinkling of cheese on top!

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    Filed under chicken, soup

    A Grocery Challenge

    Does anyone else get so excited about new recipes that they run right out and buy a whole bunch of stuff to make them with little regard to what’s already in house? I do….and I’m starting to feel like it’s taking a big bite out of our bank account. I just get so psyched about trying new things! I can’t help it! So this week, I challenged myself to plan meals around solely what was already in the house. It really isn’t a coincidence I picked this week, seeing as I’m leaving town on Thursday morning for the weekend and Eric is following suit on Friday afternoon…less meals to cook. Ha ha! But a good start none the less.

    So what did I have laying around to come up with a meal? Well, wonderful tomatoes and sweet corn from the farmer’s market this weekend. I had chicken breasts. Onions and garlic, of course…I always have those. Lovely herbs from my garden. And variety of other basics. Hmmmm…well, let the creativity flow!! Here’s what I came up with! I thought it was very yummy and flavorful. Eric skipped the tomato sauce (I knew he would! Wasn’t that nice of me to not put it on his meat?), but I enjoyed my creation.

    SKILLET BRUSCHETTA CHICKEN (Recipe Source: Me)

    **Note**: The following measurements are appoximate, feel free to adjust to your tastes.

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 4 thin-cut chicken breasts
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
    • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp. dried parsley
    • salt & pepper
    • 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
    • Half a medium onion, chopped
    • 1 tsp. minced garlic
    • 1 tbsp. olive oil
    • 1 tbsp. butter
    • 1 – 1 1/2 tbsps. balsamic vinegar
    • Parm cheese and fresh basil, for garnish

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Mix flour basil, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour, shaking of excess. Set aside.
    2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add chopped tomato and balsamic vinegar, cooking until the vinegar is reduced and the tomatoes are softened, about 5 minutes more. Remove mixture from skillet and set aside. Cover with foil to keep warm.
    3. Melt butter in the same skillet. Add chicken and cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes on each side.
    4. Transfer chicken to serving platter. Spoon sauce mixture over the chicken, sprinkle with parm cheese and basil.

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    Filed under chicken, veggies

    It’s Good Being the Boss….

    Eric pretty much has no say in what we eat. There, I said it. I used to ask him what he wanted but he never had an answer. In two years of marriage, I don’t think he has ever told me what he’d like to eat. I got one of two answers: “I don’t know.” or “Whatever you think.”

    So I just stopped asking. I decided that, yes, whatever I think DOES sound great! Now, I know what he likes and what he doesn’t, and I’ve really been pushing the envelope lately on what’s considered Eric-friendly. He really is great about trying new things. Whether or not he enjoys them or not, well…he never says. I can tell though. I’m just that good.

    This dish incorporates two things that are less than Eric-friendly…lots of veggies and asian flavors. Well, I’m the boss of this kitchen and what I say goes, so when I spotted this recipe for Chicken Fried Rice from Amber over at Amber’s Delectable Delights, I knew I just had to try it. I had grilled chicken breasts for dinner the night before, so this was a perfect way to use up the leftovers. And since I had all the other ingredients on hand, it went together quick and made for a delicious, healthy meal.

    Well for me at least, Eric only ate about half his portion and then went into the kitchen for a couple brownies. Aw, poor guy… 😉 I followed Amber’s lead and used low sodium soy sauce in place of the teriyaki because that’s what I had on hand. I also added about a 1/2 cup of chopped green onion at the very end with the rice and peas, and then finished by sprinkling a bit more on top. Other changes appear below in italics.

    CHICKEN FRIED RICE (Recipe Source: As seen at Amber’s Delecatble Delights, orginally from Bakespace: motherof2boys)

    INGREDIENTS:
    6 ounces cooked diced chicken
    2 tablespoons water
    1/4 c. low sodium chicken broth or bouillon
    1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium teriyaki sauce
    1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root (I used about 1/4 tsp. ground ginger)
    Pinch white pepper
    2 teaspoon vegetable oil
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1/2 cup diced onion
    1/2 cup shredded carrot
    1 1/2 cup cooked white rice (I used brown rice)

    1/2 c. frozen peas

    DIRECTIONS:
    In small bowl, combine chicken, 2 tablespoon water, chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, ginger and pepper. Set aside. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add eggs; cook, stirring until set but moist. Remove egg to warm plate. Add remaining oil and heat. Add onion and carrot. Stir fry 3 to 4 minutes, until tender. Stir in rice and peas. Cook until rice begins to brown. Add chicken mixture and egg. Cook 5 minutes longer until heated through.

    ENJOY! 🙂

    And finally, a product rave…I don’t know if it’s just me, but I cannot cook a perfect pot of rice to save my life. It’s either overdone or underdone or sticky or mushy or any other number of things rice should not be! Perfect rice is really key to a dish like fried rice, so I was pretty psyched when I saw these instant rice cups at the store. The cups are from Minute Rice and it’s fully cooked rice that comes in two perfectly portioned plastic cups. No cooking needed, just pop in the microwave and serve. I’ve seen similar products before, but they’ve always been seasoned with other flavors…which I’m not a huge fan of these days. I’d never seen just plain white or brown rice with nothing added! I just popped open my cups and added to my skillet! FINALLY, perfect (plain) rice. 🙂

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    Filed under chicken, veggies

    The (Un)Fried Chicken

    I’ve tried a whole bunch of oven fried chicken recipes and haven’t been overly excited about any of them. I’ve tried coating the chicken in everything from seasoned breadcrumbs to french fried onions to Doritos. It always ends up bland. Or soggy. Or the coating falls off. Or the coating burns before the chicken is done. I am so excited because I finally found a keeper. The best oven fried chicken ever. Seriously. The best. We loved this! It was juicy, crunchy and super flavorful! The Dijon and cayenne pepper gave it a great kick. I can’t wait to make this again!

    CRISPY “FRIED” CHICKEN (Recipe Source: Cat Cora “Cooking from the Hip” Houghton Mifflin, 2007 as seen on thenest.com)

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
    • 11/2 lb. bone-in chicken pieces with skin
      (your choice of breasts, thighs, legs, or wings) (I used legs)
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • ½ tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 cup cornflakes
    • ¼ cup light buttermilk
    • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
    • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
    • ½ tsp. paprika
    • 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh sage (or 1/4 tsp. dried sage) (I used fresh from my little herb garden!)

    DIRECTIONS:

    1. Preheat oven to 425°f.
    2. Pour olive oil into a baking dish large enough to hold chicken pieces in a single layer without crowding. With your fingers, rub oil over dish so it’s completely but lightly coated.
    3. Rinse chicken in cold water and pat dry. In a wide bowl or on a large plate, combine flour, salt, and pepper. Dredge each chicken piece in flour until it’s completely coated.
    4. Tap chicken against the side of the bowl to loosen any excess flour, and set chicken pieces aside. Discard flour.
    5. Crush cornflakes by placing them in a large, resealable plastic bag, carefully pressing out as much air as possible. Seal bag and crush flakes with a rolling pin. Pour crushed flakes into a wide bowl or onto a large plate.
    6. In a bowl large enough to dip the chicken pieces, mix buttermilk, mustard, spices, and sage. Give each floured chicken piece a buttermilk bath; then roll it in the crushed flakes.
    7. Arrange chicken pieces in prepared baking pan. bake for 15 to 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375°f, and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until cooked through and crispy. (The juices should run clear when the meat is pierced with a knife.)

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    The whole enchilada!

    Love love LOVE Mexican food. It’s a recent thing for me too. I mean, I’ve always liked it, but I didn’t really start making it at home or requesting to go out for until about a year ago. Enchiladas are my absolute fave and this is my absolute favorite recipe I’ve found so far. I like it because it has a really flavorful red sauce and doesn’t involve any kind of creamy/sour cream based filling (ick). The cinnamon adds an interesting flavor that I love. It’s an easy and yummy recipe and it’s one of Eric’s absolute favorite meals. My changes are in italics.

    CHICKEN ENCHILADAS (Recipe Source: Rachael Ray)

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 8 soft flour tortillas
    • 3 cups chicken broth
    • 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
    • 2 sprigs fresh oregano
    • 1 medium to large onion, quartered
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-8 ounces each)
    • 2 cups tomato sauce
    • 2 teaspoons hot cayenne pepper sauce (several drops)
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (2 pinches)
    • 2 teaspoon chili powder, divided
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Salt
    • 2 1/2 cups Monterey Jack shredded cheese (I use a Colby Jack blend)
    • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (optional) (I don’t love the flavor of raw cilantro, so I chop up some scallions to toss on top.)

    DIRECTIONS:

    Wrap tortillas in foil and warm in the oven, or wrap in a damp cloth towel and warm up in the microwave. (I’m a fan of the warming tortillas by “grilling” them on my stovetop burner, about 15 seconds on each side, just to get some color to them. I wait and do this step when I’m ready to assemble my enchiladas.)

    Place a medium size skillet on the stove over high heat. Add chicken broth, bay leaf, oregano and onion, and bring up to a bubble. Add chicken breasts and bring back to a bubble, then cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium. Poach chicken in broth 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the cooked chicken from the stock and let it cool a bit so that you can handle it. Reserve broth and set aside.

    While the chicken is poaching, make the enchilada sauce: in a sauce pan, combine the tomato sauce, hot sauce, cinnamon and one teaspoon of chili powder. Bring up to a simmer over medium heat and then reduce heat to low, keeping sauce warm until you are ready to use it.

    Shred the cooled chicken into small strips using two forks or your fingers. Transfer the shredded meat to a bowl and add 1/2 cup of reserved broth, tomato paste, one teaspoon chili powder and one teaspoon cumin; season with a little salt and pepper

    Remove tortillas from oven and switch broiler on high. (I’ve never broiled in my oven. Frankly, it makes me nervous. I know I should just get over it, but I haven’t yet! I heat my oven to 400 degrees)

    Pour a little of the enchilada sauce, about 1/4 cup, on the bottom of a casserole or baking dish. (I also grease my dish, they have a tendancy to stick.) Divide chicken mixture equally between the warm tortillas by piling it up on the bottom half of each tortilla and rolling into a tube.

    Place enchiladas seam side down on top of the sauce in the baking dish. Once all the enchiladas are in the pan, pour remaining hot tomato sauce over them and top with cheese.

    Place enchiladas in hot oven six inches from broiler and broil five minutes to melt cheese and set enchiladas. (I bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and enchiladas are heated through.) Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro (scallions) and serve. (I let mine set for about 5 minutes before serving, keeps them from falling apart.)

    ENJOY! 🙂

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    Filed under chicken

    Light and Flavorful

    I have found in all my adventures in cooking (and eating) that I am drawn to dishes that are relatively light and made flavorful with ingredients other than salt. Things like fresh herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper…and, of course, wine. 🙂 It is very rare that I will make a rich/heavy main dish at home, and I’m pretty unlikely to order something like that out too. Dessert, on the other hand, that’s a completely different story!

    This is one of my absolute favorite go-to meals at home because it satisfies both my main requirements: light and flavorful. It’s served with pasta, which we all know I adore, and it goes together lightening quick. Oh, and Eric enjoys it too. I guess that’s one of my criteria too (if I it has to be…)

    CHICKEN MARSALA (Recipe Source: Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)

    Ingredients:

    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
    • 3 tbs. butter
    • 1/2 cup chicken broth
    • 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine

    Directions:

    1. In a shallow bowl stir together flour, marjoram, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Place chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound the chicken lightly to about 1/4 inch thick. Remove plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. (Or you can do what I do…buy the already thin cut breasts!) Lightly coat chicken pieces on both sides with flour mixture, shake off excess.
    2. In a 12-inch skillet cook mushrooms and green onions in 1 tbs. of butter over medium-high heat until tender; remove from skillet. In the same skillet cook chicken in remaining 2 tbs. butter for 5 to 6 minutes, turning to brown evenly.
    3. Remove skillet from heat. Return mushrooms and green onions to skillet. Carefully add broth and Marsala to skillet. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season sauce to taste with additional salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken. If desired, serve over pasta.

    Enjoy! 🙂

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    Filed under chicken, pasta, veggies