Tag Archives: chicken

Grilling Season is Nearing Its End

Hello friends, family and fans! I’ve missed you. Hope you all had a great summer! And hope you all were able to get away from your lives at least a little bit with some sort of vacation 🙂

Sorry for my absence…I took an impromptu summer sabbatical from sitting on my computer. I needed to attempt to recharge my batteries whenever possible after work, getting another kitten and the awful heat of summer. Did I want to sit in front of a computer? Not so much.

So, as I sat here recuperating from the weekend, watching Julie & Julia (how appropriate), having multiple things cooking in the kitchen for the week, and looking out at a gloomy, rainy day, I felt it was time to start back up again.

In honor of the end of summer as most of us know it, I wanted to give you an amazing grilling recipe to finish off the season. I made these awhile back for some guests and they were DELISH.

What is it? Chicken and apricot skewers from my Cooking For Friends Williams-Sonoma cookbook.

20120903-154000.jpg

(You can see why you should soak your skewers for at least an hour… :))

The chicken is marinated in a yogurt and spices to tenderize the chicken. The result? Heaven. This recipe is especially good if you get sick of chicken from time to time (like me). It gives it a distinct and unique flavor that is to die for.

And throwing fruit on the skewer to grill? Amazing. Grilled stone fruit (think plums, apricots, peaches, etc) and pineapple is a fantastic side dish or dessert option for the summer.

Without further ado, here’s how to say adieu to the grill in a new and delicious way 🙂

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Apricots
(Serves 4-6)

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 c. plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tbsp. ground coriander
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. cumin, cayenne, and turmeric
4 apricots, cut into 1 inch chunks
1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, stir together yogurt, coriander, garlic, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Add in cubed chicken. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight. Put aside your apricots until you’re ready to use them (you can definitely chop them up in advance!).

When you’re ready to grill, soak your skewers (if you’re using wooden ones – I had 10″ inch ones) for at least an hour. Toss your apricot chunks in a tablespoon of olive oil. Thread about 4 chicken cubes and 3 apricot chunks onto each skewer, alternating each.

Place onto a hot grill or grill pan, brushed with olive oil. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until nicely charred.

To serve, put on a platter and squeeze a little bit of lemon over the top. Enjoy!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

A Warm, Comforting Dinner

This recipe is quite possibly my favorite dinner dish I have ever made. Crazy, right? The recipe idea came from the Willams-Sonoma Weeknight Fresh and Fast cookbook I bought a couple of weeks ago. I also bought their new Slow Cooker book…more on that later.

This cookbook is great because it highlights each season with in-season ingredients, which usually ends up making the ingredients cheaper and more fresh than out-of-season veggies.

This recipe is Chicken with Squash, Turnips and Shiitakes. YUM!

20120219-102404.jpg

I substituted a few ingredients based on what was available at my grocery store and the dish turned out great. Don’t be afraid to make changes to a recipe! For example, this recipe called for turnip greens from the turnips used in the dish. Guess what? The turnips at my store didn’t have greens on them, so I subbed for peppery arugula. I also subbed chicken breasts for chicken thighs to lighten up the dish. Feel free to also use shiitake mushrooms in place of creminis, that’s what the original recipe called for. I also added some apple cider vinegar to the dish to deglaze the pan of the delicious brown bits, along with a little cinnamon to kick up the warm, comforting flavors.

Also, take some help from the produce section when you can with precut squash. Trader Joe’s has amazingly provided its shoppers with peeled and cubed butternut squash. AMAZING. If you have ever peeled and cut butternut squash, you know it’s a pain in the butt. Thanks, TJ’s, for making my life easier one more time!

Serve this dish over rice, whole wheat egg noodles or your favorite pasta.

20120219-102612.jpg

Chicken with Squash, Turnips and Creminis
(Serves 6)

2 large chicken breasts, diced into 1″ cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
8-10 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 lb butternut squash, peeled and cubed into 1/2″ pieces
3 medium turnips, cut into 1/2″ pieces
8 oz. cremini mushrooms (or shiitakes), chopped
1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. flour
2 big handfuls of arugula
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Drizzle a large frying pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add your diced chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until no pink remains and the chicken begins to brown.

Add onions, sage, squash, mushrooms and turnips sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until just beginning to brown and veggies start to become tender.

Pour in your apple cider vinegar and scrape the bottom of the pan to get up all the browned bits. Sprinkle the flour over the top of all your ingredients, as evenly as possible. Stir to coat.

Add chicken broth and simmer until the sauce thickens and the veggies are fork tender. Add cinnamon. If you want more sauce, add in some more chicken broth and allow it to thicken up again.

20120219-102449.jpg

Remove from heat and dump in the arugula. Allow it to wilt down and carefully stir to incorporate (your pan is probably pretty full!).

20120219-102532.jpg

Pour each serving over rice or noodles.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

A Soup for a Different Kind of Cold…

Well, you may or may not be happy that I’m posting 2 soup recipes in a row.

My boyfriend is feeling very under the weather, so I surprised him this morning by going over and making a spin off of Italian wedding soup. Now, when you think of a soup to make someone when they’re sick, I’m sure your mind jumps to chicken noodle soup.

Mine too. But I wanted something with more nutrients and flavor.

I made my own chicken meatballs with ground chicken and some spices. Traditionally, meatballs have some breadcrumbs, egg and Parmesan cheese in them. I tried it without all that. They turned out great! Though they were a little wet to work with, they held together beautifully.

You can really use any of your favorite small pasta for soup I decided to go with these.

20120119-153536.jpg

I used that whole little box, because my boy and I both enjoy more pasta than broth. If you like more broth, add more liquid or use less pasta.

I also cooked my pasta in water with the veggies. They absorb so much liquid that I wanted to save my chicken broth for the broth of the soup! You’ll see.

Lastly, I cheated by using one of those plastic containers of sliced carrots and celery in water in the produce section. I only had to dice the pieces! It’s a good timesaver if you need it.

So make this for someone with the sniffles and they’ll love you. Or just make it for yourself when you need a nice hot bowl of comfort!

20120119-155707.jpg

Italian Wedding Soup
(Serves 4-8)

For the meatballs:

1 lb. lean ground chicken or turkey
1/4 of a medium onion, grated
2 tbsp. flour
2 pinches each of dried basil, parsley, and oregano
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper

For the soup:

1 lb. box of acini de pepe, pastina, orzo, etc.
1-1 1/2 c. each of diced celery and carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 qt. chicken stock
1 bag of fresh washed spinach
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Red pepper flake or hot sauce to taste for a little kick

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large pot or a Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Throw in your carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes until the veggies soften.

Then, add enough water to the pot to cook your box of pasta. Bring to a boil. Cook your pasta until it’s al dente and puffs up.

Meanwhile, put all of your meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix until combined. Grab a couple of spoons and using about a tablespoon sized amount, drop onto a cookie sheet like you’re making drop cookies. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until they look like this.

20120119-155122.jpg

When the pasta is done, add in the meatballs, chicken stock, and red pepper flake or a dash or two of hot sauce.

Now, see the brown bits left on the pan from the meatballs? While the pan is still warm, put in about a cup of water and scrape the pan to get all of the good bits up. Pour into the pot of soup.

Add in your spinach and let it gently wilt down. When the spinach is wilted, the soup is done! Just make sure you taste it along the way for salt and pepper.

Ladle up a bowlful and enjoy 🙂

Tagged , , , , ,

Crock Pot Teriyaki

I’ve been looking for some more crock pot recipes because I know some of my friends use theirs for just about everything.

I spotted this recipe for teriyaki chicken on foodgawker and had to give it a shot. The original recipe made so much, so I halved it. It still made a ton of leftover.

I paired mine with some frozen mixed Asian veggies (to make it even easier) and brown rice. It would also taste great over quinoa for an extra protein kick.

Just throw all the stuff in the crock pot before work, turn on low, and when you get home from work, finish off the sauce. Make the rice in advance so you have a bunch on hand.

Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki
(Serves 6)

6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 c. chicken or beef broth
Pinch of red pepper flake
4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4 1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked long grain rice
1 bag of frozen Asian vegetables

In your slow cooker, combine the sugar, soy sauce, cider vinegar, broth, ginger, garlic and pepper.  Add chicken breasts.

Cover and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or 6 to 7 hours on low, until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from crock pot when cooked. Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil. At this point, feel free to shred or slice chicken breasts.

Meanwhile, steam or microwave the vegetables until cooked.

Stir cornstarch and water together until smooth. Slowly whisk into cooking juices and stir until sauce becomes thick.

Make a pile of your favorite rice or quinoa and top with vegetables, chicken and sauce.

Tagged , , , ,

Last Supper

Yup. This entry is all about the last meal I would ever eat if I had the choice. No, it’s not a fancy $50 steak or a ridiculously complicated, labor-intensive recipe.

It’s chicken and dumplings.

Ever since I was little, my mom would make this as a special treat. Even when I went to college, it was always my requested dish when I came home to visit.

Our family recipe uses white flour to make the dumplings (or Bisquick as we sometimes got lazy), along with bone-in chicken breasts boiled with carrots, celery, onion and spices. It created a chicken stock like broth, and when you boil the dumplings in it, it thickens up into a delicious gravy.

All in all, it was a meal I never attempted to make myself, but when I saw this chicken and dumplings recipe from The Gracious Pantry, I had to give it a go.

It uses a crockpot, so no need to watch the pot to make sure it doesn’t boil over. Bonus: I could put it together before playing football all day and it would be ready to eat when Tim and I got home!

I also like that the recipe uses whole-wheat flour. I incorporated some touches from my family recipe (like parsley, bay leaf and a few cloves of garlic instead of garlic powder).

You will seriously enjoy this meal, if you enjoy comfort food. And who doesn’t like comfort food?

Doesn't look like much...but man is it delicious

Chicken and Dumplings
(Serves 6)

For the Chicken:

3 large chicken breasts, diced into about 1” cubes
6 c. reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 large onion, diced
1 16 oz. pkg. carrots, either whole (sliced ¼” thick) or baby carrots
1 16. oz. pkg. celery, sliced ¼” thick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. celery seed
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. parsley
Salt and pepper

For the Dumplings:

2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. milk

  1. Turn your crockpot on high and add in the chicken stock and bay leaves.
  2. In a large pan, toss in the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, celery seed and salt and pepper (about 1 tsp & ½ tsp respectively). Cook over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes until the onions start to become translucent and the carrots become slightly soft.
  3. Add the chicken, veggies, and parsley into the crockpot. Stir.
  4. To prepare the dumpling dough: mix dry ingredients together then add in the olive oil and milk. Mix until just combined
  5. When the broth is hot, drop by rounded tablespoons (like making cookies) into the broth all around the top of the surface.
  6. Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low.
  7. The dumplings will create a crust on top, so when they’re cooked, you can break them up and mix it around. Cook for a little longer after gently mixing so the broth gets a little thicker.
  8. Serve and enjoy when the chicken is cooked through!

Tagged , , , ,

Cooking 101: Chicken Cacciatore

I love food. I love cooking. I love helping people out. So when one of my good friends asked if I could give her some cooking lessons, I jumped at the opportunity.

She had some ideas of what kinds of foods she’d like to make, so I picked something that was delicious, hearty, and easy to make. Even better the next day leftover. Great to freeze and heat up later. Easy to make for a crowd, just double or triple the ingredients.

Lesson one: chicken cacciatore.

While I come from a very Italian family on my mom’s side, this is something that is rarely made in my household. But, I’ve had it before, made it once … and hell, I’ve watched cooking shows all my life.

Some people put it over white or brown rice, some people put it over egg noodles or some other sort of pasta. I prefer putting it over buttery, chive laced egg noodles. Heaven.

Feel free to cook in a crock pot for a few hours after getting the veggies going in a pan. Chop up the raw chicken, then throw everything in the pot! Cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 on low)

So here’s my version of chicken cacciatore. I hope you enjoy it, cause we sure did 🙂

Chicken Cacciatore
(Serves 6)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1” cubes
1 large onion, sliced into half moons
1 large bell peppers (whatever color floats your boat), sliced into strips
1 pkg. cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans Italian seasoned diced tomatoes (or add in some dried basil, thyme, oregano, to taste etc.)
¼ – ½  c. flour
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. white or red wine, or chicken stock
Red pepper flake (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Meanwhile, put ¼ c. flour in a plate or shallow baking dish. Pat chicken pieces dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lightly coat the chicken breasts in the flour and place into the preheated pan.
  3. Brown chicken on both sides. About 3-4 minutes a side. (Don’t worry, the chicken won’t be cooked through, but we’ll cook it more later…)
  4. Put chicken aside. Turn the heat down to medium. Add your last tbsp. olive oil and throw in the onions and bell peppers. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add in the mushrooms. Cook another 3 minutes. You want the veggies to get slightly soft and little spots of brown.
  5. Add in your wine or chicken stock and scrape all the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Then, add your cans of tomatoes and red pepper flake if you’d like some kick.
  6. Place the chicken back in your pan. Cover. Turn to medium low and simmer for about 25-30 minutes.
  7. If the sauce seems too thin for your liking, turn the heat up to medium and cook with the lid off for about 10 minutes.
  8. Make a bed of noodles or rice on a plate, top with chicken, veggies and sauce and enjoy!

Tagged , , , ,

Pasta Bake In a Hurry: Improv in the Kitchen

Cooking in half of a kitchen – meaning one with no sink – is quite a challenge. But I didn’t stop me from making a version of this pasta recipe. Combine that with having to do it in about 45 minutes…with about 1.5″ thick FROZEN chicken. Kitchen challenge is on.

I was planning on making it in the late morning/early afternoon for both Tim and myself… It turned into me whipping it together in under an hour with frozen chicken that I took out this morning before we went shopping for a new refrigerator. This dish would be quicker if your chicken is thawed!

YIKES! Well, when I put my mind to something, I have to do it. I managed to put it together in time to have him take some to work (unbaked… but fully cooked).

I’ll be reheating it for dinner in the oven or under the broiler to get a crunchy top that I want.

I made it sans cheese, because I think sauces get creamy enough with a standard béchamel. Also, I nix heavy creams and full-fat milks and go for the skim option.

If I make this again, I’ll definitely take a little more time with it. So I’ll tell you how I would’ve done it, instead of what actually happened. It tastes great! I tried it when I was packing Tim’s dinner 🙂

Look how cute this attached pair is. PS- like the new countertop? 🙂

Baked Pasta with Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
(Serves 6-8)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 pkg. of your favorite short pasta, I used chiocciole
1 bundle of rainbow chard
1 pkg. cremini mushrooms, chopped into chunks
6 sun-dried tomato halves, chopped into ½” pieces
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4-5 c. milk
¼ c. flour
¼ tsp. nutmeg (or… pumpkin pie spice – use what you have!)
1 c. grated parm cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a pot, boil water for pasta. Cook pasta until it’s a little more firm than al dente. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
  4. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts, put into the preheated pan. Cook until brown on both sides, and cooked through (about 5-7 minutes/side depending on the thickness of the chicken).
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Separate the chard leaves from the stems. Chop the stems into ½” pieces. Stack the leaves on top of each other. Cut in half lengthwise, then slice into ribbons.
  6. When the chicken is cooked, place to the side. Add about ¼ cup water to the pan to get up the browned bits. Add in your vegetables and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the chard stems are soft. Add in some salt and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile, slice the chicken into strips, then into chunks (however big you like them).
  8. When the vegetables are completely cooked, put aside with chicken.
  9. Add in the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan. Sprinkle with the ¼ c. flour and mix until combined.
  10. Slowly whisk milk into mixture. Allow the milk to heat up and thicken, stirring constantly. If it doesn’t get thick enough to your liking (think fruit smoothie), add some more flour. Too thick, add some more milk. Now, you can add the nutmeg.
  11. Add in the vegetables, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and pasta. Stir to combine. Top with parm cheese if you’d like.
  12. Place in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until the top gets brown.
  13. Cool for about 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Those ridges really hang onto the sauce

Note: Feel free to freeze half of this dish in a baking dish like the recipe suggests. Just cook longer when you want to use it again!

Tagged , , , , ,

Need some comforting?

Earthquake? Hurricane? Tornado? Apparently bad things happen in threes, so what’s the only thing to make you feel better during those times? Comfort food. Yesterday morning when there was still high winds lingering and random spurts of rain, the first thing that I thought of was curling up with a bowl of chili with people I care about.

Now, I’m not talking about the regular old red chili, which don’t get me wrong, is also delicious. I’m talking about white chicken chili. Absolutely delicious and comforting and super easy to make. What could be better?

This recipe can be either made in a crockpot – like my pretty red one – or on the stovetop in a big pot. Whatever floats your boat. (If you’re using a pot on the stove, just saute and cook onions, garlic and chicken in the pot before putting in all the other ingredients).

I sort of have a thing for red metallic appliances...

White Chicken Chili
(Approximately 8 servings)

1 lb of chicken breast, chopped or shredded
1 16-oz can of diced tomatoes, fire roasted or regular
4 16-oz cans of Great Northern beans
1 4-oz can of fire roasted green chiles
2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 ½ cups reduced sodium chicken stock
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional toppings: Mexican cheese, scallions, sour cream, tortilla chips, etc.

  1. Chicken. I like to use split breasts (raw usually ends up being about 2 lbs) and I bake or boil them off and de-bone, de-skin, and shred in advance. I use them cause they’re cheaper and I think they have more flavor. If you want to make it easier, just throw in chopped up, raw chicken tenderloins or breasts.
  2. Saute the onions and garlic in a pan with the extra virgin olive oil until the onions are translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, put the tomatoes, beans, chiles, chili powder and cumin into the crockpot.
  4. Once the onions and garlic are cooked, put them in the crockpot with 1 ½ cups of chicken stock. Stir it up!
  5. Cook the chili 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. About an hour before serving, add the 1 cup of Mexican cheese and salt and pepper to taste (and more chili powder or cumin if you’d like!).
  6. Serve with optional toppings and enjoy!

Your belly will thank you!

*All measurements are approximate so use your taste buds, but only after the chicken is completely cooked – or before adding it!

Tagged , , , ,