Thursday, February 28, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Faux au Vin

The party’s over. No more daily recipes. Today is the final recipe in the Month-of-Series. And me stuck with a bunch of chicken recipes I never got to share! Sigh!

Cooking and creating recipes has been an important part of my life ever since I can remember. Really. One of my very earliest memories is of cooking. To this day, I am a recipe and cookbook junkie.

I was thrilled to purchase a Julia Child cookbook soon after I was on my own. The first Julia Child recipe I ever made was her Coq au Vin. I had watched Julia regularly. Her recipes were so easy! So you spill a little wine in the process. No big deal. Julia always pulled together this fabulous meal that had me eager to buy her cookbook and become the Julia Child of Athens, Ohio.

Well! That didn’t happen.

Instead I converted, subverted, diverted, and otherwise messed up her recipes to simplify them for my limited repertoire of skills and access to ingredients.

Coq au Vin became Faux au Vin. Cherries Jubilee transformed to Cherries Jubilant. You get the idea. If only she knew, she woulda sued me big time for tarnishing her heritage.

Still, people seemed to enjoy the food. So here is my version of Coq au Vin.

Faux au Vin (serves 6-8)

4 strips of bacon
1 T olive oil
1 package baby bella mushrooms
1 bag frozen pearl onions
8 chicken thighs
1 c chicken broth
1 T tomato paste (or spaghetti sauce if you don’t have paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 c red wine

In a dutch oven, brown the bacon. Remove and crumble. Set bacon aside in a medium bowl.

Add olive oil then the mushrooms to the dutch oven and cook over medium high heat for about 3 minutes. Remove and add to the bacon bits.

Brown pearl onions. Remove and add to the mushroom and bacon bowl.

Add chicken thighs to the dutch oven. Brown both sides (about 5-7 minutes). Remove to a platter.

Add chicken broth and deglaze the pan to loosen all the bits of browned food. Add the tomato paste. Stir thoroughly to blend. Add garlic, bay leaf, and wine. Stir to blend.

Add contents of bacon, mushroom, and onions bowl to the liquid in the dutch oven. Turn heat to medium low.

Add chicken. Coat with the liquid. Cook over low heat for 1 hour. Remove chicken and keep warm. Turn heat to medium high and reduce the liquid until it thickens some (about 20 minutes). Add chicken back in and coat with liquid. Serve immediately with noodles.

DH’s Rating: 10 Tongues Up! Okay, he broke the rules, but he really loves this dish with his side of noodles and some crusty bread to sop up the sauce.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken Scampi ala Cucina Tagliani

We like to eat at local restaurants rather than chains when we go out to dinner. We go out so rarely that it feels good to spend our few bucks where it does the most local good! We have our favorites, of course, and mention some of them in my culinary mystery series books.

One of these great local restaurants is Cucina Tagliani which has two locations, the original in Glendale and a newer one in Peoria, Arizona. I love their chicken scampi, and this is my attempt to replicate it. Their’s is better; there is no doubt. But when I can’t get to Cucina Tagliani, this works pretty well for our family.

Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps. This is really easy to do. Honest! And this is the sauce for my shrimp scampi, so you're getting a two-fer here!

I list red pepper flakes as an option. I prefer without. Guess who likes it with red pepper! Oh, and if you’re looking for diet food, this ain’t it! So with apologies to Cucina Tagliani, here’s my . . .

Chicken Scampi ala Cucina Tagliani (serves 4)

Chicken Strips:
2 chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 c flour
1 t salt
1 t pepper
3 eggs
¼ c milk
½ c olive oil (add more if needed while frying)

Scampi Sauce:
4 T butter
2 T olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 T basil
1 t parsley
1 t red pepper flakes, optional
1 c white wine
1 c chicken broth
½ lemon, juiced; remaining half cut in thin slices

1# angel hair pasta cooked according to package directions

Chicken Strips:
Heat olive oil in large skillet.

Whip eggs with milk. Set aside. Combine flour and spices. Dip chicken strips into flour mix, then into egg mix, then into flour mix again. Place in hot skillet and brown on both sides. Cook about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and drizzle with ¼ cup scampi sauce. Cover and keep warm until ready to serve.

Scampi Sauce (divided):
In a small to medium skillet, melt butter and olive oil together over medium heat. Add garlic. Cook for one minute. Add spices. Stir to incorporate. Whisk in wine, chicken broth, and lemon juice. Cook until reduced by ½ (~ 15-20 minutes). Remove ¼ cup sauce to coat chicken. Remove another ¼ cup to drizzle over chicken upon serving. Toss remaining sauce with pasta.

Cook according to package directions. When al dente dish, place in skillet with scampi sauce and toss to coat. Serve onto plates, top with chicken strips, and drizzle remaining scampi sauce over the chicken.

Serve with Asiago cheese on the side and a healthy portion of Caesar salad and crusty bread.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up! He likes the taste (especially with the red pepper flakes), but he is so health conscious that he feels guilty eating this dinner. Too bad! Every once in a while, I like us to indulge.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken Cupcakes

I know, you’re wondering what in the heck a chicken cupcake is. Is it like that bunny cake you made for Easter? Or maybe it’s a disgusting combo like you’ve seen on the Internet around the Super Bowl for cupcakes with a chicken wing stuck in for decoration?

Nope, keep searching the Internet. Turns out there are a whole bunch of recipes for chicken cupcakes, a savory treat that could be an appetizer or dinner. I put three links at the end for other chicken cupcakes (after you try mine!) to see what you like.

This is a recipe kids will probably like more than adults, so maybe it's what you make to let the kids eat while you and your SO have date night. Or not. It's a quick-to-the-table meal for busy nights, too.

And this is easy. You can make your own biscuits or purchase refrigerator case ones if you are pressed for time. But remember, homemade is best! Just sayin’!

Chicken Cupcake (serves 4-6 for dinner; 12 for appetizers)

2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
¼ c butter, softened
1 c plain Greek yogurt
¼ t salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 T tarragon
1½ c pepperjack cheese, shredded, divided
1½ c cooked chicken, shredded

Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly Pam the muffin tin.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, butter, yogurt, and salt to make a soft dough. Set aside to rest while you prepare the chicken mixture.

Mix cream cheese, onion, garlic, and tarragon together. Reserve 4 tablespoons cheese. Add remainder to cream cheese mixture. Add chicken. Stir thoroughly.

Spread biscuit dough on a flour surface. Roll or press to ½” thickness. Cut 12 three-inch circles. Press into muffin cups bringing some dough up over the top edge.

Divide chicken mixture among the biscuits. Tuck the top edges over the chicken mixture so it is partially covered. Top with reserved pepper jack cheese.

Bake for ~30 minutes, checking after 20 minutes so they don’t burn.

Lift out of the muffin pan and put on a platter. Serve immediately with a fruit salad.

Lift out of the muffin pan and put on a platter. Serve immediately with a fruit salad.

DH’s Rating: 3.5 Tongues Up for dinner; 5 Tongues Up for appetizer. He didn’t think there was enough there there to make it an entrée. He liked the taste, just not what he wants. You eat dinner with a fork. You don’t pick it up.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chickzza

Nobody doesn’t like pizza! (Apologies to SaraLee) This recipe is a nice alternative to the fat-heavy pepperoni/sausage combos, especially if you make the skinny Alfredo sauce. (recipe follows)

This is a great lunch. It packs well for school and work, too. If serving for dinner, allow two slices each and load the rest of the plate with fruits and veggies to fill up the family.

Chiczza (serves 6-1 slice each)

12-14” pizza crust (dough or pre-made)
¾ c Sorta-Skinny Alfredo sauce (or bottled Alfredo)
½ c Asiago cheese, shredded
½ c Fontina cheese, shredded
½ medium onion, cut into rings, separated
½ c Baby Bella mushroom slices
1 c shredded pre-cooked chicken (best if a combo of light and dark meat)
1 c spinach leaves, roughly chopped

Spread Alfredo sauce to the edges of the pizza crust. Mix together the two cheeses and evenly distribute over sauce. Layer onion rings on cheese. Add mushrooms, chicken, and spinach.

Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is browned.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up. He thought it needed spicing up a bit. (You know him!), so next time I’ll add some red pepper flakes into the Sorta-Skinny Alfredo Sauce. That should do it!

Sorta-Skinny Alfredo Sauce (~2 cups)

1 c low-sodium, low-fat chicken broth
1 c low-fat evaporated milk
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 T butter
3 T all-purpose flour
¼ c Asiago cheese
½ t nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat broth, milk and garlic until steamy hot (about 3-4 minutes). 
Melt butter in small skillet. Blend in flour then immediately add hot milk mixture. Whisk until sauce thickens (1-2 minutes).
Add cheese, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Month-of-Chicken: Sweet Drunk Chicken

 [So sorry I didn't post yesterday. I'll put up two recipes today! You'll get your 28 recipes--I promise!]

I couldn’t resist this recipe, and after messing with it a bit, I came up with this version. It is pretty simple recipe and uses techniques like other recipes this month, such as cooking the chicken a bit, deglazing the skillet, adding other ingredients, and then finishing the chicken in the sauce.

There are only so many ways to cook, after all.

Sweet Drunk Chicken (serves 4-6)

1 T olive oil
6 chicken thighs
½ t pepper
½ t salt 

12 oz Guinness Extra Stout beer
2 T soy sauce
1 T whole-grain mustard
2 T honey
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle salt and pepper on thighs with pepper and salt. Add chicken to pan. Brown both sides. Turn one more time and cook for an additional 6 minutes (or until juices run clear). Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. Drain extra fat from skillet, leaving about 1 tablespoon.

Add beer and deglaze the skillet, mixing in the browned pieces. Add soy sauce, mustard and honey to the skillet. Whisk to stir until well blended.  Cook until about ½ cup liquid remains in the pan (~3 minutes). Add chicken and coat with the sauce. Add green onions. Cook one minute and serve over rice or noodles.

A nice fruit salad and crusty bread are great sides.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up! It has beer in it? Ding ding. Automatic win for me! Big Mama liked this a lot and was surprised at the ingredients list.

Adapted from a recipe at

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken PMS

Ever have one of those days? Sure. We all have. This is the recipe for you for those days! Chicken PMS allows, nay, dare I say, requires you to pound the heck out of your dinner fixings!

Chicken PMS-Piccata Moore Style-is a quick dinner that looks and tastes like it took forever. The fun part is the pounding. So pick your chicken breast, slice it lengthwise in half and pound it down to less than ¼” thick. (If you have Mae West breasts, you may need to slice them in thirds.) Don’t you feel better already?

Chicken PMS (Piccata Moore Style) (serves 4)

½ c all-purpose flour
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut in half, pounded thin
2 T butter, divided
2 T Persian Lime olive oil (or regular EVO and add zest of half a lemon or lime)
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c white wine
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t salt
¾ c chicken broth
½ lemon, juiced
1 T caper juice
2 T capers
¼ c Half and Half
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
8 oz angel hair pasta, cooked and drained

Coat both sides of each piece of chicken with flour. Set aside leftover flour for later use.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Lightly fry chicken, turning to brown both sides. Remove from skillet.

In skillet add both garlics and stir to cook about 1 minute. Add wine and deglaze the skillet to get all the small cooked bits into the liquid.

Cook pasta in boiling water for ~ 5 minutes. Drain and keep warm until serving.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter, salt, pepper, broth, lemon juice, and caper juice. Stir in left over flour to thicken the sauce. When it starts to thicken add Half and Half. Whisk to incorporate. Add capers, stir. Add in chicken, coat with sauce, and heat to serving temp about ~5 minutes.

Remove chicken and put drained pasta into the skillet. Toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Serve on a plate with chicken on top of pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up! This is a dish I don’t make often enough. It really is a different way to serve chicken. And this late in the month of chicken, that is a welcome respite!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken with Yummy Mushroom Sauce

We have a guest post today! I am soooo excited to welcome Francine LaSala to “Parsley, Sage, and Rosemary Time”. Francine is a best-selling ChickLit author and a cook at heart. Look to the bottom of this post for more about her and her books. I can testify to what a good read book are!

In The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything, perennially absent husband Jack Clark somewhat redeems himself as a partner when he surprises protagonist Mina by not only being home at a reasonable hour from work, but by throwing together a gourmet meal from basic ingredients found around the kitchen. I wanted to share a recipe that would be close to the one Jack prepared in that scene, though his was more like a Chicken ala King.

Unlike many women in my generation, I actually love cooking. Well, maybe not mundane Monday through Friday cooking for kids... But some of my favorite date nights have involved staying in on a Saturday, feeding the kids and putting them to bed, and spending time with my husband in the kitchen whipping up something wonderful together. (Yes, my husband cooks and bakes. I am a lucky girl!)

I tend to make the recipe I’m sharing a lot because it’s one of those low-effort meals that makes you look like you put a lot of effort into it, which is especially important when you still want to impress, even if you've been pulled in a million directions over the course of a day. Easier to make than Chicken Cutlets and much more fancy. Enjoy!

Chicken With Yummy Mushroom Sauce (serves 4-6)

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each sliced lengthwise into two or three pieces (I think cooks more quickly and evenly that way)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup Italian flavored breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter melted

For the sauce:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced (fresh is better but canned is fine)
1/4 cup dry white wine (you can also use dry vermouth, if that’s what you have)
2/3 cup chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess.
Place chicken in baking dish and pour 2 tablespoons melted butter over. Bake until cooked through, about 25 minutes.
While chicken is baking, melt 1/4 cup butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add wine and boil 3 minutes. Add stock and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven and place pieces on a platter. Pour mushroom-wine sauce over the chicken and serve immediately with basic buttered noodles or rice.
(Adapted from a recipe for Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Basil recipe from

Francine LaSala has written nonfiction on every topic imaginable, from circus freaks to sex, and edited bestselling authors of all genres through her company, Francine LaSala Productions. The author of novels Rita Hayworth's Shoes and The Girl, The Gold Tooth & Everything, and the creator of The “Joy Jar” Project, she lives with her husband and two daughters in New York. Email her:

The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything
Mina Clark is losing her mind-or maybe it's already gone. She isn't quite sure. Feeling displaced in her over-priced McMansion-dotted suburban world, she is grappling not only with deep debt, a mostly absent husband, and her playground-terrorizer 3-year-old Emma, but also with a significant amnesia she can't shake-a "temporary" condition now going on several years, brought on by a traumatic event she cannot remember, and which everyone around her feels is best forgotten.

When a trip to the dentist leaves Mina with a new gold crown, her whole life changes. Slowly her memory and her mojo return. But when everything begins to crash down around her, she's not sure if what's happening is real, of if she's just now fully losing her mind...especially when she realizes the only person she can trust is the one she fears the most. What's it all going to cost her in the end?

Find Francine online:
Buy The Girl, the Gold Tooth & Everything:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Buttermilk Chicken

You know, I hate buttermilk. I can’t stand the way the glass looks after someone drinks it. Since Big Mama’s been visiting, however, we keep it in the fridge for her. She likes it. Go figure! The things you do for your parents!

What surprises me is how much I love to cook with buttermilk. This chicken dish. Oatmeal muffins. My corn bread is to die for! (She says, not at all modestly.) So it’s really no hardship to have it in the house for her. In fact, I’m going to cut her back because we’re low on muffins.

When Big Mama cooks buttermilk chicken, she soaks it overnight and into the next day. I think it is an old farm trick to tenderize tough old chickens for dinner eating. The acid in the buttermilk does a number on the meat fibers, and the meat is infused with a level of moistness most chicken dishes can only dream of!

This chicken recipe adds a bit of sugar to tame the buttermilk. This is one of my company dishes. I can get this in the oven two hours before we eat and clean the kitchen so no one even knows there is dinner to be served. Except for the aroma, of course. Delectable odors emanate from this baked chicken dish.

Buttermilk Chicken (Serves 6)

1 c buttermilk
½ t salt
½ t pepper
1 T sugar
6 chicken thighs
1 T dried tarragon

In a zipper gallon bag, thoroughly mix the buttermilk, salt, pepper, and sugar. Let sit while you wash and pat dry the chicken.

Mush the buttermilk mixture again and add the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for 6-8 hours. Turn the bag over a few times so the mixture coats all sides evenly.

Preheat oven to 250°. Remove chicken from buttermilk and rinse off the mixture thoroughly. Pat dry and place in baking dish. Sprinkle tarragon over the top.

Bake for 2 hours uncovered. This is a forgiving dish with time. If you leave it in for 2½ hours, it will be just as good.

When you remove it from the oven, spoon some of the au jus over the top to moisten the herbs. Serve with fruited rice.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up! This is a family favorite dish. There’s not one thing he’d change about it! Big Mama almost licked her plate!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken Tostados

Looking for a really easy and quick school night dinner? You can have this on the table, forks optional, and eaten before leaving for the PTA meeting. And everyone will be full, too! It’s even quicker if you cook the chicken and slice up the fresh veggies in advance.

This dinner has everything you need, nutritionally, on one crispy disk! I often make a green chili cheese crisp on a flour tortilla to go along with this dinner. Some people like extra beans and corn as side dishes, too.

Chicken Tostadas (serves 4)

1 T olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1# ground chicken
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c salsa
1 can black beans, drained and mashed
1 can Mexicorn, drained
8 tostada shells
1 c Mexican cheese
½ cup plain Greek yogurt (or you can use sour cream)
Shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes

In a skillet, cook onions in olive oil until translucent.

Add ground chicken and minced garlic. Cook until chicken is done--no pink showing. Add salsa to chicken in skillet and stir to mix thoroughly. Cook for 5 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, drain the black beans and mash them to a paste. Spread the paste on the 8 tostadas. Top with corn.

Top tostadas with chicken mixture. Let your eaters add cheese, yogurt, lettuce, and tomatoes.

If you have it, guacamole is a nice addition! Extra salsa on the side is always appreciated.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up. Anything Mexican, he loves it. If it’s not hot enough, he spices it up to his taste. And he did! Sigh!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Slow Lemon-Garlic Chicken

Did you ever notice I use a lot of garlic? I mean, a LOT! Love the stuff! And, we haven’t seen a vampire around in, oh, a dozen years or more! This stuff works!

I also cook a lot with citrus. I love the freshness and brightness of the flavors of citrus. You can try this recipe with orange or limes, if you’d like some variety.

This fall-off-the-bone chicken recipe is one that will have people asking, “How did you make this?” because of the flavor layers. And who doesn’t love a slow-cooker recipe? Not only is dinner ready when you are, the house smells amazing!

The first time I made this, I put the rosemary on top of the chicken for the last half hour. Waaay too strong a rosemary taste, so now I cook it with the broth. Much better!

Slow Lemon-Garlic Chicken (Serves 6)

1 T dried basil
½ t salt
½ t pepper
6-8 chicken thighs
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
zest of ½ lemon
½ lemon, juiced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
½ packet Swanson Flavor Boost-Chicken (where bouillon is found)
½ c white wine
3 sprigs fresh rosemary or tarragon

Mix together basil, salt, and pepper. Spread on all sides of chicken thighs. Set aside while you heat olive oil and butter in a skillet.

Brown both sides of thighs in the oil and butter (~ 5 minutes per side). Remove from skillet and place thighs in slow cooker. Drain off the fat.

In the skillet mix together lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, Flavor Boost, rosemary, and wine. Bring to a boil. Throw out the rosemary sprigs and pour sauce over the chicken thighs. Cook on low for six hours.

Couscous or quinoa makes a nice side with this dish. Spoon some of the pot liquor over the chicken and carb on your plate.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up. He didn’t love the lemon of this dish and he wanted the thighs to be firmer. (Is there a message here for me, DH???) They were fall-off-the-bone tender.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Spicy Chicken Pockets

Big Mama said, “I’m going to make this when I go home.”

“NOT!” I thought to myself.

I’m glad she enjoyed this so much, but the reality is, this dish, while not difficult--I don’t do hard, remember--does have a number of steps and an ingredient she isn’t likely to keep in her cupboard. Still, this is the third recipe she says she’ll try, so I take that as a compliment.

I mixed up the chicken stuff in the morning, let it sit all day in the refrigerator so the flavors got to know one another. I assembled dinner in the evening. I stuffed the pockets while the oven heated. Then, 12 minutes later, we ate!

Spicy Chicken Pockets (serves 4--2 each)

Meat mixture:
¼ medium onion, diced
1# ground chicken breast or other ground chicken
1 t cinnamon
¼ t ginger
½ medium tart apple, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 c Marsala wine
1 t cinnamon
¼ t nutmeg
½ tsp ginger

2 pie crusts
1 c chicken gravy (or turkey)

For the meat mixture:
Sauté onion to translucence on medium high heat. Add the ground chicken. Sprinkle cinnamon and ginger on top and mix throughout. Cook thoroughly.

When almost done, add apple and garlic. Finish cooking. Remove to heat-safe bowl.

For the sauce:
In the same skillet, combine wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Cook over medium high heat. Reduce wine mixture by one half (about 8 minutes from boil).

Pour hot sauce over chicken and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to assemble dinner. There will be liquid in the bottom. The longer it sits, the better.

To make dinner:
Preheat oven to 425º.

Take chicken mixture from the refrigerator and mix up to redistribute the juice. There isn’t much in the bottom of the bowl at this point.

Cut 2 pie crust rounds into four sections each, like pizza slices. Spoon chicken mixture onto a crust wedge and fold the long side together and crimp closed. Repeat with the top short dough section. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining seven dough slices.

Bake for about 12 minutes. Serve with a little chicken gravy on the top.

See how far one pound of ground chicken goes? I even had some left in the bowl. I’m going to heat that up and serve on lettuce beds for a couple of lunch salads. Yum!

I served this as an entrée, but by making smaller rounds, this can be a bite-sized appetizer, too. Because they are not really held together inside, if you are making it as an appetizer, truly make sure it is one-bite sized. (More than 2 dozen, so you’ll need 3 pie crusts to make this an appetizer.)

DH’s Rating: Five Tongues Up! He didn’t even want to add salsa to it! That’s a first!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: GarLimey Chicken

Wow, naming this baby was tricky! Big Mama was very interested in the steps and ingredients in this chicken dish. In the recipe we ate, I used chili powder, but I dropped it out of this version. The false taste that chili powder gives really tainted the dish.

Every time I use chili powder, I vow not to do it again, but then I’m out of the cocoa chili powder blend I buy, so I have to make my own. Sigh!

On to this recipe, however. It’s not a hard dish, but it does have several steps. It’s not one of my fix-it-and-forget-it recipes (like Cocoa Chili Chicken). Still, the novelty of flavors makes it worth trying. It is a nuanced dish with much layering.

GarLimey Chicken (serves 6)

1/8 t paprika
1 t onion powder
2 t rosemary, divided
¼ t sage
1 t parsley
½ t salt
½ t pepper
3 large chicken breasts, cut in half
2 T olive oil
1 T butter
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ c white wine

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut large breasts in half.

Combine paprika, onion powder, 1 t rosemary, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper. Rub all over the chicken pieces.

Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Place chicken into skillet and brown on both sides. Reduce heat to medium and put on a lid. Let chicken continue cooking through.

Zest one lime and then juice it. Mix zest and juice with garlic. Lift lid on chicken and spoon mixture over the top of each piece. Pour in wine around the chicken. Return lid and let simmer.

After ~5 minutes, remove lid and continue heating the pan liquid to reduce to a thick glaze. Spoon glaze over chicken pieces and sprinkle on the remaining rosemary. Serve.

We had quinoa with it and that was a great accompaniment to the spiciness of the chicken.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up. He is not a chili powder fan, and he didn’t like the off-taste, but he wants me to make it again. Big Mama liked it, too!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: NotFried Chicken

Do love the crispy coating on a piece of fried chicken about as much as what lies underneath? Me, too. But, sigh, we ALL know, don’t we, that that is not the wisest food choice.

What’s a tongue to do?

Well, you can simulate that crispy crunch with an oven-baked version that is savory and fights back more than limp skin. Try this one tonight, and see if it doesn’t satisfy that hankering for fried chicken sorta, kinda.

NotFried Chicken (serves 6)

1 c buttermilk
6 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
3 T olive oil
2 clove garlic, minced
1 c seasoned dry bread crumbs
1 c Asiago cheese, shredded
1 t tarragon, dried

Soak chicken in buttermilk for several hours.

Preheat oven to 350º. Pam a baking dish.

Mix oil and garlic. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs with the cheese and tarragon.

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Spread oil mixture over each piece then press into bread crumb mixture. Place in baking dish. Pour any remaining crumb mixture over top of the chicken. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until juices run clear (about 165º).

I like to serve this with whole wheat egg noodles tossed with a sautéed mixture of olive oil, garlic slices, and green onions.

DH’s Rating: 4 Tongues Up. Moist, tender with a crispy crust. He didn’t like the tarragon flavor (“too green”). Next time I’ll use basil.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Chicken Pot (NOT Marijuana) Pie

Har-de-har-har! Got your attention with this recipe title, did I? Well, good, because you are going to want to do this one. What an easy supper. The kids will eat it. Clean up is minimal. And you’ll feel like you made a very special treat dinner. Who doesn’t love pot pies--meat, chicken, whatever?

This is a three-parter, however. You need to bake a chicken so you have leftover cooked meat and make the Cream of Chicken Soup from Friday’s post to use in this recipe. [I suppose you could cheat and use the canned stuff instead. But really! How hard is it to make your own?]

[Cue Jeopardy music--da da da da, da da da da, da da da da daaa da da da da da . . .] Done? Good. Now rifle through your refrigerator and cupboards for the rest of the delectable ingredients.

I’m going to give you two crust options so first, let’s make the innards of the traditional chicken pot pie.

Chicken Pot Pie (serves 6)

2 ½-3 cups leftover cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized chunks
12 oz pkg mixed peas and carrots, thawed
14 oz pkg pearl onions, thawed
1 c mushrooms, sliced
2 ½ c cream of chicken soup (or 2 cans undiluted soup concentrate)
Double pie crust

Preheat oven to 425º.

Place one crust in bottom of deep dish pie pan. In a bowl, mix together veggies, chicken, and soup. Pour into pie crust. Top with second crust, crimp edges, and cut slashes in the top to vent.

Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cover edge of crust with foil to prevent burning. Return to oven and bake another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow pot pie to “set”.

Serve with fruit salad. That’s all you need for a nutritious, hearty meal.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up! What’s not to like about this ultimate comfort food?

Now here’s an alternative: Let’s say you want to fancy up the pot pie for a casual company dinner. Let’s make a puff pastry crust for individual pot pies. You will need 5 sheets of phyllo pastry and ¼ cup of melted butter.

Preheat oven to 375º. Divide above chicken mixture among 8 ramekins.

Lay out one sheet of phyllo pastry (keeping other sheets under plastic wrap so they don’t dry out. Brush the sheet with butter. Add a second sheet on top of the first. Brush with butter. Repeat until all five sheets of phyllo are stacked together.

Cut stack (with a pizza cutter) in half length-wise. Cut into fourths from other side so you have eight stacks of phyllo. Top each ramekin with a stack.  Fold corners toward the center of the dishes.

Bake about 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Cocoa Chili Chicken

Chocolate for Valentine’s Day, but of course. And some spicy cocoa to heat up your evening is good for romance. (So they say. Hey, have you every wondered who “they”are?)

This is one of my company chicken dishes because I can make it so far in advance that were it not for the delicious aroma permeating the room, no one would know, from my clean kitchen, that I was cooking.

Cocoa Chili Chicken (Serves 2 with leftovers)

4 chicken thighs
2 T olive oil
2 T brown sugar
2 T cocoa chili powder (in the spice section-or make your own)
1 T dried tarragon

Preheat oven to 250º. A low oven is best for this dish.

Mix together oil, sugar, and cocoa chili powder. Mush the paste all over the chicken. Place in baking dish and sprinkle on the tarragon.

Bake for 2-2 ½ hours. (It’s done in two hours, but this low temperature allows you to hold the food for the length of time you need without it drying out.)

I typically serve this with fruited and nutted rice, a Caesar Salad, and good bread.

You don’t have to work that hard to put an elegant and delicious dinner on the table.

For dessert, try this Hot Chocolate Soup (or make Hot Chocolate Ice Cream from the soup ).

DH’s Tongues Up Rating: 5 Tongues Up. I could probably make this dish every other night, DH loves it so much. But it was the first time Big Mama had some. She almost licked her plate!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

That's-A-Wrap Chicken

We don’t eat vegetarian as much as we should probably, but we do reduce the amount of meat-based protein rather often. And we watch portion sizes. Typical meat servings on our small dinner plates are a little bigger than a deck of cards.

But when you can have something delicious like this, you don’t miss the meat. The assemblage of flavors is rich and deeply layered. You’ll know you did your body a favor when the meal is over!

That’s-A-Wrap Chicken (serves 4-6)

2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 T olive oil
zest of one lime
juice of one lime
2 T fish sauce
2 T chilies
3 green onions, sliced
2 T fresh mint, chopped
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
10-12 butter crunch lettuce leaves

Slice the chicken breasts into thin sliver and cook in a small skillet with garlic slices in olive oil.

After three minutes, add zest, juice, and fish sauce to the skillet. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Add chilies and onions. Stir and top with the herbs. Toss and put into lettuce leaves. Roll up and serve seam-side down.

Accompany with jasmine rice, peanuts, toasted coconut, and lime wedges

DH’s Rating: 3.5 Tongues Up. Too much lime for him and fish sauce isn’t a fave, either.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Month-of-Chicken: Hot Orange Chick-Ke-Bab

My family has always loved shish-ke-bab, and we’ve made them with all kinds of meats as well as straight veggie. I think it’s the playing with your food part that appeals to them. I know it’s not standard equipment, but we have skewers in our camper!

The hardest part of S-K-B is cutting up the foods for cooking, so this makes a perfect camping (or at home) dinner because you prepare the ingredients a day or two ahead--when you have time--put in zipper bags, and let people assemble their own skewers for grilling when you’re ready to cook.

Clean up is easy, too! The thing about shish-ke-bab is to cut the meat in bite-sized pieces for even cooking. The other thing is metal skewers are best for cooking meat-based shish-ke-bab. The heat transfers better so they cook faster than on wooden skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak the heck out of them. They won’t burn quite as quickly that way--but they will burn!

Another thing to know is that the acid in the wine and the OJ does part of the cooking for you before you add the heat. Leaving the meat too long in the marinade affects the texture, so watch it. More is not always better.

Hot Orange Chick-Ke-Bab (Serves 6-8)

1/3 c white wine
3 T olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
one orange, zested
2 oranges, juiced
2 t red pepper flakes
4 chicken breasts, cut in bite-sized cubes
1 large onion, quartered and separated
1 green pepper, cut into squares
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow crookneck squash, sliced
16 mushrooms
16 cherry tomatoes

Mix the wine, olive oil, minced and sliced garlic, zest, orange juice, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Put ¾ of the liquid in a zipper bag. Add cubed chicken and swish around to cover all the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 8 hours, along with the ¼ reserved marinade.

Preheat the grill to high. Remove chicken and let drain while you marinate the veggies in the sauce for 5 minutes. Remove veggies and let drain. Discard the marinade. Thread the chicken and veggies onto skewers. Get the reserved ¼ marinade from the refrigerator.

3. Cook on the hot grill, turning and brushing frequently with the reserved ¼ of marinade, for 7-8 minutes, or until cooked through. [May be longer with wooden skewers.]

Serve with mixed rice to which you added dried cranberries and walnuts. A fruit salad is a nice accompaniment, too.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up. He loves to grill, and he prefers chicken to beef when we shish-ke-bab. He likes the combo of fruit and hot in this dish.