Posts Tagged 'Chicken Recipes'

Chicken and Spinach Casserole

I initially hesitated to post this recipe because I knew it wouldn’t photograph very well, but what the heck?  It’s too yummy not to share.

I’m not usually one for recipe repeats (unless I’m entertaining), but I’ve made this dish twice in the past couple of weeks.  Both times, I was motivated by the need to use an excess amount of spinach in my refrigerator.  (I can’t pass up organic baby spinach at Costco since, at under $4, it’s less than the tiny containers I would get at the regular grocery store.  A pound of spinach is a lot of spinach, though!)  The first time was a test; the second time, I knew I’d be making something absolutely delicious.

What do I like about this recipe (besides the flavor, obviously)?  I like that it uses fresh spinach instead of the frozen stuff, since I think fresh tastes so much better. I like that it incorporates the convenience of rotisserie chicken.  I also appreciate that there isn’t much prep work, since the only ingredient that requires chopping is one onion.  (I used jarred minced garlic.)  I love that it can be made ahead, though I haven’t taken advantage of that option just yet.  Here’s the dish after Dr. O and I had devoured half of it:

Chicken and Spinach Casserole

Think of this dish as creamed spinach with shredded chicken and fabulous, salty toasted bread on top.  If that appeals to you (and it does to me!), you’ll love this dish.  I also enjoy that I get something super creamy that isn’t completely nutritionally devastating because the base is made with half-and-half instead of cream.

Note:  I baked this in a 1 1/2-quart Corningware dish, and I’ll admit that the amount of food the recipe produces isn’t huge.  This is perfect for Dr. O and me to have dinner with enough left over for one person’s lunch the next day.  If you wanted to serve four (or even six) adults, I would double the recipe.  Also, be generous with seasoning during the cooking process.  It makes all the difference.

Recipe link: Chicken and Spinach Casserole

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Football party season is upon us (Dr. O is out enjoying one as I write), which means it’s time to break out our very best game day recipes.  I found one this past week that is easy, perfect for entertaining (slow cooker!), and is actually pretty healthy: Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches from the January/February 2011 issue of Everyday Food.  The recipe isn’t on the Everyday Food site yet, so I’ll share it with you here.

Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches
Serves 8 | Active time: 25 min. | Total time: 4 hr. 25 min.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and diced small
1 can (14.5 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup hot-pepper sauce, such as Frank’s (I used Cholula)
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
8 hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high.  Add chicken thighs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring once, until meat is golden brown, 5 minutes.  With a slotted spoon, transfer to a slow cooker, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Repeat with chicken breasts.

To skillet, add onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until onion is translucent, 6 minutes.  Add 1/4 cup water and cook, stirring and scraping up browned bits from skillet, 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper and transfer to slow cooker.

To slow cooker, add crushed tomatoes, hot-pepper sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, and molasses; stir to combine.  Cover and cook on high until chicken is very tender, 4 hours.  Shred chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serve on buns.

Note: Refrigerate the finished dish in an airtight container, up to 5 days, or freeze, up to 3 months.

Nutrition per serving: 358 cal; 10 g fat (3 g sat fat); 35 g protein; 31 g carb; 3 g fiber

Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich

These sandwiches were SO good!  I have a basic barbecued chicken sandwich recipe that I’ve been using for years, but this recipe has so much more depth of flavor. Unless I’m short on time, I’ll take this sandwich any day.  I should note, though, that the inclusion of the word “spicy” in the recipe title isn’t a joke.  I was cautious and cut the hot sauce to 3 tablespoons instead of 4; the heat was still enough to make our noses run.  (Our New Mexico and Arizona friends joke that we’re still “in training” when it comes to eating spicy food…  Somehow, I think this will be a lifelong process!)  Anyway, if you like it hot, go with the full 1/4 cup; if you don’t do spicy food, you might still get a hint of heat if you cut the hot sauce to 2 tablespoons.

Since I’m used to cooking fattier cuts of meat (like pork shoulder or chuck roast) in the slow cooker, I was a bit skeptical about how well the chicken breast would shred.  It was amazingly easy!  I guess that just goes to show that the slow cooker can do amazing things with meat, lean or not.

I won’t be cooking on Super Bowl Sunday, but I’m absolutely putting these sandwiches in my game day arsenal.  Give them a try the next time you need to make a casual supper for a crowd.

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Dr. O’s brother and his girlfriend came to stay with us this past weekend (our seventh set of houseguests in under three months!).  I planned a barbecue for Sunday afternoon, knowing that we had family and friends who would want to see them before they left that evening.  The challenge, though, was in the timing… Every minute of their visit was scheduled until Sunday morning.  What kind of menu could I put together in a pinch that would still allow me to spend time with my guests?

Our friend Paul made part of the menu planning easy for me.  His family owns Gold’n Plump Chicken, so he bought me a whole pile of it at SuperTarget on Wednesday.  (He was our houseguest earlier in the week, so I got wine and chicken as my hostess gifts.  I’ll take it!)  I’m all for supporting his family’s business, but I don’t typically buy Gold’n Plump chicken because I don’t do my grocery shopping at Target.  I was curious to see, though, how it would compare to my usual generic grocery store brand.

I wanted to marinate the chicken in something before I grilled it, so I settled on Prudence Pennywise’s recipe for Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken.  Since I tripled the recipe for my crowd, I combined 1 cup of lime juice, 1 tablespoon of lime zest, 3/4 cup of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of minced garlic, 1 finely chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon each coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, 6 tablespoons of honey, and 1 cup of chopped cilantro in a medium bowl.  I divided the marinade equally between two large zip-top bags and placed six boneless, skinless chicken breasts in each (about 3 pounds total).  (I had pounded the chicken to 1/2-inch thickness for faster and more even cooking.)  I stashed the chicken in the refrigerator until it was time to grill it; my marinating time ended up being about six hours.

When we were ready to eat, I heated my gas grill to medium heat and grilled the chicken breasts for 5 minutes on each side and then let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.  I rounded out the menu with Hill Country Coleslaw, Southwestern Two-Bean Salad (my next post, promise!), and watermelon wedges.

Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

I adore this recipe.  It’s so simple but incredibly delicious!  The lime is the predominant flavor, though you can definitely taste the garlic and cilantro as well.  I should have been braver with the jalapenos since they didn’t really come through; next time I’ll use two or three.  Other than that, though, the flavor balance was spot on; everyone at the table commented on how good the chicken turned out.

As for Gold’n Plump versus my regular grocery store chicken…

I promise I’d never sell out for a freebie (it would take a lot more to buy me off than some free chicken!), but I do think the Gold’n Plump product is superior to the stuff I buy on sale at King Soopers.  The breasts I grilled were exceptionally tender and juicy.  My cousin and I were talking about it on Sunday, and she said that she likes to buy it occasionally because she doesn’t have to trim hunks of fat or stringy veins off of it.  So true.  Plus, Gold’n Plump doesn’t add any hormones or fillers, which is a positive in my book.  It reminds me a lot of the chicken we used to get at Central Market when we were living in Dallas…  It’s more expensive, but you get what you pay for.  I will probably start picking it up for entertaining from here on out.

Recipe link: Cilantro Honey-Lime Grilled Chicken

Curried Chicken Salad

Dr. O and I finally had our first picnic of the summer last week.  He loves – and I mean loves – ’80s music, so I thought it would be fun for us to check out That Eighties Band (music will play when the window opens – beware! 🙂 ) when they played a free outdoor concert at the Streets of Southglenn.  An outdoor concert definitely equals a picnic event, so I set to planning the perfect menu.

I decided to plan the meal around a recipe I’ve wanted to try for a long time: Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad.  For sides, I went with extremely easy, portable treats: grapes, pepper strips with hummus, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was picnic perfection.  I enjoyed the chicken salad so much that I made it again on Monday, but this time I took pictures.  Here’s Ina’s recipe if you’d like to give it a try:

Curried Chicken Salad
Serves 6

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil.  Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked.  Set aside until cool enough to handle.  Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.  Process until smooth.

Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well.  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

Source: Ina Garten/

Curried Chicken Salad

If you like curry, this chicken salad is simply the best.  It’s creamy (mayo), crunchy (celery and cashews), sweet (raisins), and spicy (curry and scallions).  I could happily eat it at least once a week for the rest of my life, and it’s my new go-to summer recipe.  Yum, yum, yum!

In the interest of full disclosure, I did modify the recipe a bit the second time around since it has three small issues: One, the full-fat mayo and the olive oil are heavy on calories; two, you end up with far more dressing than you need if you make the recipe as written; three, there’s absolutely no need to dirty the food processor in order to make the dressing.  Here’s my lightened, easier version, which is still incredibly delicious:

Lighter Curried Chicken Salad
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Curried Chicken Salad
Makes four 1-cup servings

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
Kosher salt
3/4 cup light mayonnaise (recommended: Hellman’s Light)
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons chutney (recommended: Major Grey’s)
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
2 tablespoons chopped scallions, white and green parts (1 large scallion)
2 tablespoons raisins
1/4 cup whole roasted, salted cashews

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the chicken breast and boil for 20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside until cool enough to handle.  Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces.

For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.

Combine the chicken and the dressing.  (You’ll use most, if not all of it.)  Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well.  Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.  Top each serving with 1 tablespoon of cashews and serve at room temperature.

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

I haven’t been picking winners lately.

Crispy Baked Tilapia with Panko Crumbs?  Sounds good, but the recommended cooking time left the fish a bit tough, despite my monstrous fillets.  I also should have known better when there was no mention of salting the panko.

Spring Vegetable Carbonara?  Inexpensive and pretty tasty, but certainly not blog worthy.

Crispy Breaded Shrimp with Cannellini?  (What’s with me and “crispy” this week?) Borderline gross.  The shrimp were perfectly cooked, but the rosemary completely overwhelmed the dish.  The cooked arugula and bean salad was surprisingly bitter.


So you can imagine how pleased I was to turn out a winner this week: Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine from the May 2006 issue of Everyday Food.  The tender, juicy meat, bright flavors, and amazing sauce restored my faith in the kitchen, y’all.  Plus, this is one of those dishes where even though the cooking time is a bit long, it’s pretty hands off.  Easy and delicious?  I’ll take it.

To start, I rounded up 8 bone-in chicken thighs.  Martha specifies skinless, bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, but those are a rare beast.  In my grocery store, there are two options: boneless and skinless, or bone-in with skin on.  Since skinning chicken thighs isn’t high on my list of things I love to do, I decided to just leave the skin on during cooking and then remove it on my plate.  If you fear the fat, you’ll probably want to skin them.  I have to tell you, though, that rendered chicken fat sure adds some unctuous goodness to the sauce in the end.

I put the chicken thighs bone side up in a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid and gave them a generous sprinkle of coarse salt and freshly ground pepper.  To the skillet, I added 4 thinly sliced garlic cloves, 1 cup of dry white wine (I used Smooking Loon Sauvignon Blanc, my favorite cheapie), and 1/4 teaspoon of dried thyme.  I brought the liquid to a boil, reduced it to a simmer, covered the skillet with the lid, and cooked for 30 minutes.

(This is a good time to slice the lemon, chop the parsley, and have a glass of the leftover wine.)

When the 30 minutes had passed, I turned the chicken and placed 1 thin lemon slice on each piece.  I re-covered the skillet and continued cooking until the chicken was tender (15 minutes).  Leaving the garlic and the cooking liquid in the skillet, I transferred the chicken and the lemon slices to a platter and covered it with foil to keep the chicken warm.  Next, I raised the heat to bring the cooking liquid to a boil and cooked until it was reduced to about 1/2 cup (5 minutes).  I removed the skillet from the heat and added 1 tablespoon of cold butter (cut into small pieces), 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to the reduced liquid, stirring until the sauce was smooth.  I checked the seasoning of the sauce (mine didn’t need any adjustments) and served it over the chicken.

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

Man, was this ever good.  Peeling back the chicken skin revealed juicy, perfectly cooked chicken and the sauce was absolutely fantastic.  The rendered chicken fat made it a bit naughty, I know, but it was worth it.  Although the flavor profile was different, this brought back memories of the dripping-with-chicken-goodness vegetables that came out of my attempt at Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken. Delicious!

TIPS:  As a person who typically cooks pretty healthy meals, I feel like I should issue a warning to those of you who are accustomed to low-fat cooking.  If you leave the skin on the chicken during cooking, there will be rendered chicken fat in the sauce. And, as we all know, high-temperature fat is often liquid, while room-temperature fat is often solid.  So what’s going to happen as any leftover sauce cools in the pan?  It’s going to congeal a bit.  I could go without the reminder that I’m eating actual chicken fat, but hey – that’s how it goes.  The sauce truly is delicious when it’s hot, though, so I wouldn’t let this sway you if you’re thinking about giving the recipe a try with skin-on thighs.

Recipe link: Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

Chicken Ras el Hanout

When my mom came for a visit last month, I took her to one of my favorite places: Savory Spice Shop.  It’s locally based with several Colorado locations; for me, that’s a big reason it will always win out over some of the national competitors that have tried to move in on SSS’s market.  I love being able to get super fresh spices in a variety of quantities and I really appreciate their selection of unusual spices and custom spice blends.  I’ve also consistently received friendly, helpful service, which is a huge draw.

One of the fun aspects of SSS is that there are recipe cards available throughout the store that incorporate the spices sold there.  When my mom and I were at the Boulder location, I noticed a recipe for Chicken Ras el Hanout.  I had purchased some Ras el Hanout when I was experimenting for Greek-themed gourmet club back in September, and I still had a decent amount left in the pantry.  I purchased a small bag of crystallized ginger to round out my ingredient list (along with some mulling spices and a muslin bag for wine!), and we were on our way.

Here’s the recipe:

Chicken Ras el Hanout
Serves 4

1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons Ras el Hanout
2 tablespoons chopped crystallized ginger
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chicken stock
16 dried plums or apricots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In an oven-proof, lidded sauté pan, cook onions in olive oil until softened.  Add garlic, Ras el Hanout and chopped ginger.  Cook another 2 – 3 minutes over medium heat.  Salt and pepper chicken.  Remove onion mixture and put chicken in pan (adding more oil if necessary) and cook about 2 minutes on each side.  Return onion mix to pan with dried plums or apricots and chicken stock.  Cover and put in oven for 30 minutes, turning chicken halfway through cooking time.

Serve with rice or couscous.

Recipe courtesy of Vivian Peterson, Savory Spice Shop customer

Chicken Ras el Hanout

This dish was really tasty, and it was a nice departure from “everyday” chicken.  I’m a huge fan of the sweet-savory flavor profile created by the combination of the dried plums and the sautéed onions and garlic; the ginger added a hint of heat and spice but certainly wasn’t overwhelming (as ginger sometimes can be).  The end result was pretty “saucy.”  I was advised by a SSS employee to cut the amount of broth, which I did by 1/4 cup.  Admittedly, though, this was more because there’s actually 1 3/4 cups of broth in a can instead of a full 2 cups.  I actually liked the amount of liquid in the dish, though; I think it helped keep the chicken moist during cooking, it plumped up the dried plums, and it also made a nice sauce to go with the couscous for serving.  Since it was easy and delicious, I would definitely make this recipe again.

TIPS: Without fail, I end up touching the hot (!) handles of any cookware I’m used to using on the stove top but have placed in the oven for a particular recipe.  Stay on your toes!

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onions

As you can probably tell by my post frequency lately, it’s been a crazy Christmas season thus far.  It’s been good craziness, don’t get me wrong – we’ve been hosting and attending parties, hanging out with friends, and I’ve been baking sugar cookies like a *madwoman*.  It’s been hard to find the motivation to make a big production in the kitchen for regular old dinner, though…  The “special” stuff has really taken over.  Thirty minutes of effort is about all I can manage these days.

That’s why I really loved my “accidental” make-ahead meal – Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onions from the November 2004 issue of Everyday Food.  It was an accident because I fully intended to cook the meal the night I assembled it, but my chicken hadn’t thawed completely in the refrigerator.  (I HATE it when that happens!)  I suppose I could have thawed it some other way, but I decided to just assemble the meal according to the recipe, wrap it thoroughly in plastic wrap, and then stash it for the next night.

This meal was really easy, and it only took about 15 minutes to assemble.  First, I peeled and halved 1 pound of carrots and cut the halves into 1/2-inch chunks.  I peeled and quartered 6 garlic cloves and then cut 1 medium red onion into 1/2-inch wedges as well.

I lined a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty foil and placed 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves on the baking sheet.  I scattered the carrots, garlic, and onion around the chicken and seasoned everything generously with salt and pepper.  This is the point where I normally would have started roasting the meat and vegetables; instead, I wrapped the baking sheet with plastic wrap and placed it in the refrigerator.

The next night, I quartered 3/4 cup of pitted prunes while I waited for my oven to preheat.  When the oven reached 450F, I roasted the chicken and vegetable mixture for 10  minutes.  Next, I pulled the baking sheet out of the oven, stirred the quartered prunes into the vegetable mixture, and roasted everything for an additional 20 minutes (until the chicken was cooked through).  I served the dish over couscous.

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onions

I actually really liked this recipe.  The chicken was flavorful and juicy, the garlic and red onion added a hint of “zip,” and I *loved* the sweetness of the dried prunes.  I had a moment of panic during the roasting time when I realized I hadn’t tossed the veggies with any olive oil; that’s pretty standard for this type of dish.  When I double-checked the recipe, though, I saw that it didn’t call for any oil.  Whew.  Thanks to generous seasoning, the flavor was still terrific.  Next time, I probably will cut my carrots a bit smaller, though; they were crisp-tender, but I usually like my roasted carrots to be pretty soft.

TIPS:  I don’t know why I’ve never cooked couscous in the microwave before, but it’s so ridiculously easy.  I just followed the package directions and brought the recommended amount of water to a boil in a microwave safe dish with a lid.  I stirred in the couscous, put the lid on, and it was ready to go (after I seasoned it, of course)  in 5 minutes.  Sides don’t get much quicker or easier.

Recipe link: Roasted Chicken Breasts with Carrots and Onions

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