Category Archives: Chicken

Fancy Schmancy Chicken Sammie

Okay, can you say inspiration?  I always seem to get food inspiration at the weirdest times, for instance, when I’m sick at home with the flu or even at 2a.m. when I can’t sleep a wink.  That being said, the idea for this sandwich came to me at the most obvious time possible, while grocery shopping at Costco.  I was perusing the imported cheese case, as I’m usually prone to do, when I found a very reasonably priced triple-creme French cheese by the name of le Delice de Bourgogne.  Between the cheese and a fresh loaf of rosemary olive oil bread, a plan formed and my excitement was honestly not to be contained.  All I needed was a few more ingredients, a killer sauce, and magic was around the corner.  I attended to the rest of my weekly errands with one goal in mind, and basically went on a food buying spree, grabbing anything and everything that peaked my curiosity.  I’m a total food geek and it was the most fun I’d had in a long time.  Plus, by the time I got home I knew exactly what I was making and even thought of a way to use a brand new gadget, courtesy of my brother.  This is one of those recipes that I’m going to have to insist that you try  because, yes, it’s really that good.

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Fresh Rosemary

Fresh Tarragon

Fresh Garlic

Maple Bacon

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Butter

Flour

White Wine

Heavy Cream

Rosemary Olive Oil Bread (or any nice crusty bread)

le Delice de Bourgogne Cheese (or a nice triple-creme brie)

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Process

Yay!  Here’s the debut of my new gadget…a pilon, straight from Puerto Rico.  As I’ve mentioned before, my family is Puerto Rican and we really enjoy our heritage through food, so when my brother returned from a recent trip to the island with a handcrafted pilon, sort of a wooden mortar and pestle, I was thrilled.  My mom bought an almost identical one almost 10 years ago, and I’ve wanted my own for a long time.  Well, I’ve digressed much too far now, so first off, you should tear the leaves off of your tarragon and rosemary and remove the skin from the garlic.  Throw it all in your mortar and pestle with some salt and pepper.

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Now have some fun and crush it up as much as you can.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle just coursely chop it all together.

004Set aside and begin prepping your chicken.  As usual, you want to clean off any excess fat and then you should split the breasts as demonstrated in my Cheesy Chicken Roll-Ups.

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Toss them all in a dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle on the herb and garlic mixture.

006Mix everything up and set aside to marinate well you work on the other components.  Now’s a good time to cook up your bacon.  In the past year, I’ve discovered that I really like to cook bacon in the toaster oven when I have the time.  The bacon doesn’t curl up and the scent doesn’t infiltrate your home so much.  So that’s what I did hear.  Depending on the thickness of the bacon, I usally cook it on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, if the bacon is thinner, decrease the time.

008While the bacon cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and throw in your chicken.

012Sautee on both sides until nicely browned, add a couple tablespoons of butter, and sprinkle the whole thing with some flour.

014Toss everything around to work in the flour and allow it to cook out for a few minutes to lose the raw taste.  Once a bit of a roux has formed and cooked up, add a few ounces of a tasty white wine.

015Bring to boil and let the alcohol cook out.  This is important!  If you don’t give the alcohol a few minutes to cook out, the sauce will curdle in the next step.  Once it comes to a boil and simmers for a minute you can add in the cream.

017Stir to combine and allow to simmer so the sauce is thick enough to coat the chicken with a couple tablespoons leftover for drizzling.  While the sauce thickens, cut the bread into 2-3 inch wide pieces, spread each side with a healthy amount of the cheese, and layer bacon on both sides.

019Once the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is nice and thick, place one breast portion on the bread and drizzle with a little more sauce.

020To fancy it up a bit more, serve with a bistro salad of greens, dried fruit, and nuts and some roasted potatoes.  Now, please, please, please ENJOY the creamy, bacony goodness!

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Almost Blackened Chinese Chicken

This Make Your Own Takeout installment made a fantastically quick and easy Saturday night supper.  It involved absolutely no planning (with the exception of defrosting the chicken), and honestly came together as I went along.  After work last Saturday, I threw together the marinade, added the chicken, and went for a nice long bike ride with my hubby.  When we returned, of course we were ravenous, and I was so glad that all I had to do was sautee the chicken, and throw together some quick sides.  Dinner was on the table in less than 20 minutes, candlelight, music, and all.  Combined with some quick-cooking brown rice and stir-fried veggies, neither of us missed our local Chinese joint one bit.

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Garlic

Ginger Root

Soy Sauce

Hoisin Sauce

Paprika

Cayenne Pepper

Cinnamon

Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cooking Spray

Process

Start by trimming and cleaning up your chicken.  Then you can prepare the marinade.  I love to marinate anything in zip-top storage bags, it makes for easy clean up and all around marination, but of course, you can use any bowl or dish.  Peel and finely mince several cloves of garlic and a good knob of fresh ginger root (the Microplane is excellent for this), and add it to your marinating receptacle of choice.

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Now, add the soy sauce, hoisin, and some lemon juice (I’m not gonna lie, I usually use fresh, but I didn’t have any, and as I mentioned, this involved no planning, so I used bottled…frown on me if you like).  Then add several sprinkles of all of the seasonings.  I normally add a little more than I would use to season the meat, to the marinade (mental images help on this one).

030Now, woosh it all around to combine.

031Add the chicken, and give it another woosh.  Then set aside and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes (if you’re using the bag, make sure to seal it), mine was in for about an hour and a half.

032When you’re ready for dinner, lightly mist a skillet with cooking spray and allow to get very hot.  Add your chicken to the pan.

034Now, don’t mess with them!  You want to let them caramelize (that is, allow the sugars from the marinade to brown on the chicken).  When you’ve achieved a nice dark brown, almost burned looking crust, you can flip them over.  And just believe me, those dark bits are awesome!

035Don’t be scared!  Now allow the second side to get equally caramelized and the chicken to cook through.  If your chicken breasts are a little bit thicker, you may need to lower the fire so that they can cook through without the outside burning.

036Conserve your money, save your time, and ENJOY!

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Filed under Chicken, Ethnic, Make Your Own Takeout

Super Slammin’ Super Bowl Buffalo Wings

As in most of America’s households, Super Bowl Sunday is a special occasion in my home.  It’s a day full of food, booze, good company, and patriotism.  Of course, for a foodie like me, it’s just a great reason to cook tasty food for people I care about.  As retro as it might seem, I really enjoy serving up some tasty snacks to my husband while he indulges in hours of sofa dwelling and shame-free machismo.  I never let the day pass without frying up a batch of classic buffalo wings.  I’m a total purist when it comes to wings, and I’ve used the same recipe that my mom gave me, five years ago, every year since.  The only alteration that I’ve made over the years is to the brand of hot sauce.  My mom always used Frank’s Red Hot, but over the years, I’ve discovered that my absolute favorite sauce is Texas Pete’s.  It packs a lot of burn with equal amounts vinegary tang and peppery goodness.  Here’s my recipe for Classic Buffalo Wings and Blue Cheese Dip.

Ingredients

Blue Cheese

Lowfat Buttermilk

Reduced Fat Sour Cream

Light Mayo

Fresh Lemon Juice

Chicken Wings and Drumettes

Kosher Salt

Black Pepper

Canola Oil

Hot Sauce

Butter

Process

You want to start out by preparing your blue cheese sauce, so that it has a chance to sit, chill, and meld.  You can either purchase blue cheese crumbles or break up a block.  It’s cheaper in the block, so that’s what I usually do.

004Add mostly buttermilk and a couple tablespoons each of sour cream and mayo (adjust amounts to reach desired thickness).  Season with salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a dash of hot sauce.

005Stir well to thoroughy incoporate all ingredients.  Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve.

006For the wings, heat about 3-4 inches of canola oil in a deep pot, on high.  While the oil heats, season the wings with salt and pepper.

008When the oil is very hot (use the shimmer test, again), using tongs, carefully add enough of the wings to fill the pot and allow to cook until a deep, dark golden brown.  We like them extra crispy, so I usually let them fry until they are a rich honey color and the meat is beginning to pull away from the bone.

010Turn occasionally until desired color is reached, then remove, and allow to drain on paper towels.  Repeat this process until all of your wings are cooked.  While they are cooking, in a saucepan, melt equal parts butter and hot sauce and stir to combine.  Place the cooked wings in a large bowl and pour the heated sauce over them.  Toss well to thoroughly coat each wing.

012Serve on a large platter with some fresh celery and carrot sticks and your homemade dipping sauce.

013Now, grab and ice cold beer and ENJOY!

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Filed under Chicken, Make Your Own Takeout, Party Time

Down Home Chicken And Dumplings

Finally…the winner of our poll!  When I prepared this, I had not had it in a very long time, I was excited, but a little worried that I wouldn’t get it right.  So, of course, I called the authority…my mother.  She quickly confirmed that I was doing everything right and somewhere along the way, I found out that my grandmother also made a nice big pot, (she adds green peas to hers, but, I’m a purist when it comes to this dish).  The recipe did not disappoint.  It is really quite simple for a dish that sounds like it would take forever, it’s filling, it’s comforting, and the leftovers are fantastic.  Keep in mind, the measurements really involve a bit of trial and error.  For instance, I start out using 2/3-3/4 of the listed measurement for flour and water because, if your dough is too wet or too dry, you add flour or water accordingly.  Here’s how you do it:

Ingredients

Flour

Shortening

Cold Water

Black Pepper

Salt

Bone-In/Skin-On Chicken (I use breasts)

Bell Pepper

Celery

Onion

Milk

Process

Start out by rinsing your chicken with cold water and cleaning and breaking down your veggies.  They don’t need to be chopped, or diced, or minced, or anything like that, as they will be removed in a later step.

0013I left the onion and garlic whole, because they’re small, and cut the pepper and celery in half.

0022Toss the chicken and veggies in a large pot and fill 3/4 full with hot water, season well with salt and pepper(this is the only actual seasoning, but trust me, it’s good) and bring to a rolling boil.

0033Reduce to a simmer until chicken is cooked through and veggies are softened.  While the broth forms, you can make the dumplings.  The original recipe calls for one cup shortening, five cups flour, one teaspoon salt, and two cups cold water.  I halfed these amounts (keep in mind to reserve some of the water and flour in case the consistency is off).  Combine the flour, shortening, and water.

0082Generously add black pepper and use a pastry cutter until the dough resembles course meal (do not overwork!).

0104If the dough is too sticky, add more flour, if it’s too dry, add more water.

0112Place the dough on a well-floured surface, sprinkle some flour on top.  Keep in mind, if you do not use enough flour, your dumplings will stick to everything and it will get very mess

0123Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness.

0133Use a knife to cut dough into square or rectangular dumplings.  This step is very freeform, the dumplings do not have to be perfect.

017The dumplings are now ready.  Return to your broth pot and remove the chicken and all of the veggies.  Set the chicken aside to cool and discard the vegetables.

0211Gently lower your dumplings into the broth, stirring occasionally.

022Once you’ve added all of the dumplings, allow to gently simmer until cooked through.  After 20 minutes you can test a small piece for doneness.

023While the dumplings are cooking, use your hands to shred the chicken.  Some people use the fork method to shred meat but, I find it awkward and too time consuming.

024When dumplings are just about cooked you can add the chicken back to the pot and return to a simmer.

025Just before serving, add a splash of milk, for a little more depth.

0262Serve steaming hot and ENJOY the rich broth and tender dumplings!

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*This post is dedicated to my Pop-Pop, Mr. Jessie Barnes Jr.

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Just To Hold You Over: Buffalo Chicken Calzones

Okay, so I know the poll winner was supposed to be my next entry, but I won’t have time to go to the grocery store until the weekend.  So, just to hold you over until then, after getting some suggestions from my friends on the What’s Cooking board, I decided to make Buffalo Chicken Calzones for dinner tonight.  I’ve never made calzones before, but this morning, I took out a stray chicken breast to defrost and then remembered that I had a ball of frozen pizza dough in the freezer, and decided to try my hand at it.  My original plan was to do an alfredo type of filling, but I went with the buffalo chicken, because it seems a little more interesting.  I sort of made up the recipe as I went along, so this one definitely provides some insight into the culinary mind of me.  I used The Pioneer Woman’s basic method to whip up a quick homemade ranch dressing for dipping.  It was a perfect accompaniment.  I didn’t have any in the fridge but, I also think some finely chopped celery would be great in the filling, and of course, blue cheese dressing would be fantastic!  Here’s what i created:

Ingredients

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Hot Sauce (Texas Pete’s is my fave!)

Ricotto Cheese (Part-skim or whole is fine.)

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Butter

Parmesan Cheese

Paprika

All-Purpose Flour

Frozen Pizza Dough (Defrosted)

Egg Yolk

Frozen Peas (Because you always need something green :))

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Process

Start by pre-heating your oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees (you can use a cookie sheet if you don’t have a stone.  Then clean, trim, and chop your chicken breasts and heat a skillet over medium fire.

0012Sautee the chicken in a small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook through and lightly brown.

0032While the chicken cooks, melt equal parts butter and hot sauce together.

0021Next prepare the cheese mixture.  Combine ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and paprika.

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Next, stir the cheese mixture into the melted butter and hot sauce.

0072Transfer the mixture to a bowl  and add the frozen peas and cooked chicken (If your pot is large enough, you don’t have to mess another bowl).  Combine well.

0103Add an egg yolk to the mixture (the number of yolks can be increased depending on how much filling you are making).  This will help bind the mixture, so it doesn’t run out everywhere when you cut into it.

0111Incorporate, well and set the mixture aside while you prepare the dough.  Flour a board and score the pizza dough to divide into the number of calzones you would like to make.  I divided mine into thirds so that I’d have one for lunch tomorrow.

0091Stretch or roll each portion of dough into as round a shape as you can manage.  Mine were more oval, but I’m just gonna call them rustic.

0122Spoon the filling onto half of the dough.  Be sure not to overfill or it will bubble out while baking (yes, this happened to one of mine).

0132Fold over th dough and pinch the edges together.

0142Once all of your calzones are formed, carefully remove the pizza stone from the oven and lightly mist with cooking spray.  Then arrange the calzones on the stone, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with some kosher salt.

0151Return stone to the oven and bake until crust is golden brown and crisp.

018ENJOY!

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Lime Thyme Chicken

This is just a quick recipe I came up with to use up some chicken breasts I had defrosting in the fridge.  I’m not a huge fan of chicken so, whenever I make it, I like to use bold intense flavors otherwise, I find it bland and boring.  This one came out exceptionally well!

Ingredients

Chicken Breasts

Limes

Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Butter

Fresh Thyme

Kosher Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Lemon Pepper

White Wine

Chicken Stock

Process

Start by cleaning boneless, skinless chicken breasts and marinating them in a mixture of a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of one lime.  Throw in a sprig of thyme, a clove of fresh garlic, and some finely grated lime zest.  Season with salt, pepper, and lemon pepper.  Allow to marinate, covered, for at least 20 minutes.  I threw mine together before I went to work in the morning.

This chicken cooks very quickly so start preparing your side dishes before you start the chicken.  To cook the chicken, heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet and toss the crushed garlic from your marinade into the pan, so as to infuse the oil with garlic flavor (you are essentially pan roasting the garlic…majorly delicious!).

Once the garlic is lightly browned and the pan is hot, add the chicken breast and sear until golden on both sides.

While your chicken is browning prepare your ingredients for the sauce:  a white wine (one that you would actually drink, of course), chicken stock, fresh lime juice, and fresh thyme.

Once the chicken has reached desired color, deglaze your pan with about 1/2 cup of the wine, squeeze in the juice of the lime, and add a splash of chicken stock, making sure to scrape up the the brown bits in the bottom of the pan and incorporate them into the liquid.  Gently pull the leaves of your thyme downward to remove them from the stem, and toss into your pan, along with a about a tablespoon of butter (to thicken and smooth the sauce).  Bring sauce to a rapid boil, reduce heat, and cover.

Allow to simmer, covered, until sauce has reduced by about half and chicken is cooked through.  I served this with brown rice and a tomato and cucumber salad and garnished with a wedge of lime, and because cheese makes everything better, a sprinkle of finely grated parmesan cheese.  Delicious, simple, and quick…Enjoy!

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