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Category Archives: Chicken

Maple Chicken and Veg

I’ve been working and tweaking this recipe for a while now. It’s a one-pot-dish (my favorite kind) and it involves chicken quarters (always very budget friendly) and some root veggies flavored up with some maple syrup (always yummy!)

This is a dish I tried on a whim not too long ago – and to my shock the 4yr old had seconds…AND thirds – the picky eater 6yr old ate her whole meal without endless talking and talking and talking – AND the Hubby who gets bored with chicken and hates potatoes asked if we could put this dish into regular rotation for dinner meals because he liked it so much!

You can change up the potatoes and vegetable to what ever you like, but I feel the carrots and sweet potatoes in particular really compliment the maple flavoring. Try to stay in the same tastes 😉  Hubby also really likes it when I add one large yellow onion cubed up.

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Ingredients
4 Chicken Leg Quarters
2 Red Potatoes
2 White Potatoes
1 Sweet Potato
3 Large (FAT) Carrots
20 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/4 cup melted Butter
salt/pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and gather all your ingredients along with a good cutting board and a trusty knife. You’re going to be doing some prep work on this dish – but I promise it’s easy and worth it.

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Prep your veggies. Peel your carrots, peel your potatoes, peel all those cloves of garlic. Peel EVERYTHING!! Some people like to eat the skins on their potatoes. If your family is of this crowd then CONGRATULATIONS! Your prep time has just been cut in half! My family on the other hand won’t go near anything that’s not fully peeled – – – I know, I know, pick your battles, right?

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Cube the potatoes and carrots into roughly one inch cubes. Try your best to keep everything about the same size. Place all those cubed vegetables into a large bowl.

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Combine the maple syrup and the melted butter together and give it a good stir. Slowly pour over all the cubed veggies in the bowl and then toss the veggies to get a good even coating of that mapley goodness. Set the bowl aside for a few minutes.
Pull out two large casserole dishes. Pam spray or grease the bottoms of them and place two chicken quarters into each dish. Salt and pepper the chicken.

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Scoop out your buttered and syrup’d veggies and sprinkle them around the chicken quarters in both dishes. Pour any remaining syrup from the bottom of the bowl over the chicken. Place in the oven for an hour and 15 minutes. Now you can sit back and relax while dinner cooks itself in the oven and the aromas of garlic and maple and chicken float through your home.

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And that’s it! That’s all there is to it! You get your delicious sweet veggies, some roasted garlic cloves, and some juicy chicken meat on a plate and chow down!  Enjoy!!!

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2015 in Chicken, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Healthy, Kids, Potatoes

 

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Mediterranean Chicken

I love chicken legs. They’re always cheaply priced at the store, there’s a bazillion ways to flavor and cook them, and it seems almost everyone loves them!  Fried, baked, grilled, marinated. Yum.

We call this recipe our Mediterranean Chicken, but to tell the truth I have no idea exactly how ‘Mediterranean’ it really is. The difference in this dish is that we marinate the chicken legs in yogurt for a few hours before cooking – have you ever tried that before? There’s something about yogurt that completely changes the texture and feel of a meat when you use it as a marinade. If you’ve never tried it before, give it a go! It is a great way to get incredibly moist meat – just be careful not to over-marinate or the flavor gets a little off.

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Mediterranean Chicken
Ingredients:
1 package Chicken Legs
1 cup Greek Yogurt
1 TBSP Paprika
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp Kosher Salt

Directions:
1. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, paprika, olive oil, and salt. Add the chicken legs to the bowl and turn to coat each leg evenly with the mixture.
2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 8 hours.
3. Bake at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the skin is crispy and meat is cooked through.
4. Enjoy!

 
 

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Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Soup

This is my first ever ‘guest recipe’ post!  Today’s recipe comes from a good friend of mine that always makes sure to go above and beyond for her children and family. One of her little ones needed some extra special care earlier this week and she went so far above-and-beyond, that she surprised even herself and made her best ever soup! She has been kind enough to share the recipe with us too, so with no further ado…..Here’s Jessica K.’s Hearty Chicken and Vegetable Soup!

soup

Jessica K. writes:
I don’t know about you, but I have always had a hard time making an awesome broth-based chicken soup. I always find that it turns out bland– especially the chicken part. So, when my youngest had surgery this past Monday, I decided to play around with some ideas I had on how to make my chicken soup more like the ones you can get at a restaurant. What I ended up with was so flavorful, I had to stop eating and write down exactly what I did so I wouldn’t forget. 😉

Ingredients:
1 box (32 oz) Chicken Broth (I use reduced-sodium)
2-3 cups Water
2 Chicken Bouillon cubes
2 boneless, skinless Chicken Creasts
½ a medium Onion, chopped
Veggies you have on hand (I used a handful or so of baby carrots chopped, two stalks of celery chopped and roughly a cup of broccoli pulled apart)
1/8 tsp of oregano (increase or decrease depending on how you want it seasoned)
Garlic powder
Salt/Pepper to taste
2-3 tbsp oil (I use EVOO)
1/3 cup of pasta (I used gluten-free small shells)- optional

Directions:
1. Sprinkle two chicken breasts with garlic powder (both sides).  Put oil in a pan on medium heat and brown the chicken breasts on both sides. Once the chicken is on its second side and close to being done, add the chopped onion to the pan. When both side of the chicken are browned remove them from the pan. (This is how I made sure the chicken had favor. If you just put chopped up, raw chicken, in broth I find it comes out bland.)
2. Put the chicken on a plate and cut into pieces. Don’t worry about any pink areas in the middle of the chicken because it will continue cooking in the broth. Use a bit of chicken broth to deglaze the pan.
3. Add the chopped veggies, chopped chicken, and oregano to the deglazed pan. Add more broth to the pan until the ingredients are just covered. Place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
4. Once everything has been able to mingle and soak up all that wonderful flavor, transfer it to a soup pot (a large pot). Add the remaining chicken stock, the water, and two bouillon cubes. You can also add a little salt and pepper for additional flavor. I find that you don’t need salt because of the bouillon cubes, but I did add a little pepper. Cover and keep it on a low to medium heat for at least an hour. You can leave it on a low heat, simmering away until you are close to when you want to eat.
*At this point, instead of simmering in a pot on the stove, you could also transfer it to a crock pot and leave it on low for about an hour or two and then switch it to warm.*
5. Got noddles? When you are about 20-30 minutes before you want to serve, add the pasta. If you are making this ahead and not eating it right away, I would NOT put the pasta in until the day you are eating it. Just heat the soup on the stove, bring to a boil, and add the pasta. That way your pasta is fresh and not super mushy.
*Though I have not tried this yet, I would imagine this would make a good freezer meal soup as well. Just don’t add the pasta if you intend on freezing and add it once you’ve defrosted and heated it up.*

FYI– My 3-year-old little patient LOVED it. =)

 

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Chicken Puffs

I pulled this recipe out of my old stash I have of recipes from my college days. I hadn’t made it in years and I’ve never made it for my kids. I fixed it up for dinner – making enough for two adults and three young kids – expecting it to just be another average dinner but at least it was a new recipe to re-introduce to our regular routine.

Would you believe those three kids at the entire thing!? All of it. Hubby and I didn’t get any at all. The littlest one almost immedietly went back for seconds, then thirds, and before I knew it I was hearing, “More??”! Fourths! From a two year old! Unheard of! The three year old started singing a song about it while eating. “Chicken, bread, corn and yum. Yum makes yum. Till I’m all done.” She sang it throughout the entire meal.

I had no idea this would be such a big hit. Looks like I’ll have to be making it again soon….

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Ingredients:
1 small package of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
8 oz Cream Cheese
5 TBSP Milk
1 cup frozen Corn, warmed per instructions (or any veggie you prefer)
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Paprika
3 TBSP butter
2 packages of Crescent Rolls
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Season and cook the chicken breasts and chop into small pieces. Preheat your oven 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix the milk into the cream cheese and stir together until creamy.
3. Add the cooked chicken pieces, heated veggies, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine.
4. Take out your crescent rolls and open them up. Pinch together two triangles to make a rectangle – do your best to mush together the perforated seams so the dough stays together. On one half of the rectangle, spoon some of your chicken mixture on and fold over the empty half on top. Start pinching together the edges of the dough to enclose the chicken mixture into a pocket. Do this for the rest of the crescents and chicken.
5. Melt the butter and brush the top of each closed chicken puff with it. Sprinkle the buttery tops with some bread crumbs.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes until the puffs are flaky and golden brown.
7. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2013 in Chicken, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Kids, Quick & Easy

 

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

I’m a mother of two young toddlers, and I babysit regularly for other little toddlers. Needless to say, we are always looking for kid-friendly foods that are a little healthier than the typical boxes, bags, and cans of foods that you can purchase at the supermarket.

Chicken nuggets seem to be an across-the-board hit with kids of all ages. Even the kids that don’t typically like much meat will dig into a nugget. The problem is, how many articles have you read lately about how disgusting the meat is that goes into those frozen store-bought nuggets! It seems like every other week there’s another interview with a chicken factory employee telling us about pink slime, or about how they have to dump the nugget mixture in a vat of bleach to kill off the bacteria. Most recently there was an article from an employee of Purdue Chicken discussing the ins and outs of his factory. (See article HERE) He goes on to give a pretty positive view of the factory, the conditions, and even the quality of the food they process – with the exception of one single food product. He says to avoid the chicken nuggets! They are basically just made out of “skin, a few bones, fat, and whatever meat is attached to the skin.”  Gross!!!

65 cooked nuggets!!

So here’s my recipe. You can make your own chicken nuggets at home. You can do it easily. And you can guarantee that you’re not eating a nugget full of skin and bones! I took a ton of pictures and will break it down step-by-step. The recipe I give will be for one pound of ground chicken, but the pictures are actually from a very large batch that I made. I made 6.5lbs of ground chicken into nuggets, then separated it into several bags and tossed them into the freezer to be taken out and used as needed, just like you would do if you bought one of those freezer bags of nuggets from the store.

Nugget Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs (We used unseasoned)
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
1 cup (approx) Vegetable Oil

Breading Ingredients:
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
1 Egg, beaten

Directions:

In a large bowl, pour in the bread crumbs, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix them together well.

Seasonings

Add in your beaten egg and then your ground chicken and mix to combine. Get right in there with your hands and really mix it together well, you don’t want any clumps of bread crumbs in the middle of your nugget or they will fall apart when you cook them.

Mix all together

Your next step is to start scooping out small portions of your nugget mix and forming them into the actual nuggets. We actually placed a sheet of plastic wrap over our table and formed up the nuggets and left them right on the the plastic wrap while we finished off the rest of the batch – this method really worked out well! Try to keep your nuggets pretty small so they cook up well.

65 Nuggets!

You then need to dredge each nugget in flour. I like to pour a good amount of flour onto a plate and bring that plate right up next to where I’ve laid out my nuggets and dredge them in the flour right there and put them right back where onto the table to wait for the next step.

Dredge each nugget in flour

Ok, now that the nuggets have been floured, they need to take a quick dip in an egg bath and then get coated up in bread crumbs. Again, I like to beat my egg and bring it right up to my laid out nuggets and get a plate full of bread crumbs and keep it right there too. Simply pick up each nugget one at a time, dip in the egg wash, roll in the bread crumbs, and then you can put it back on the table or set them onto some plates to get ready to head over to the stove to be cooked.

Into the egg wash and bread crumbs

At this point, we’re done making up the actual nugget itself and can move on to getting them cooked. In a large frying pan or a large skillet with a good sized lip on the sides, pour in some vegetable oil. You want the oil to be about half as deep as the nuggets you made, typically about one finger width’s depth. Allow the oil a few minutes to heat up and then place some nuggets in to get them cooking. You can cook in batches, you don’t need to crowd the pan to get it all done at once.

Fry in oil for 4 minutes each side

Pan fry your nuggets for about 4 minutes on medium to medium-high heat.

Cooked on one side, 4 minutes on the other side

Flip them over and let them cook for about 4 minutes on the other side and then remove them from the pan. I like to place them on a paper towel lined plate for a minute to help catch any extra oil.

Bagged and ready to freeze

That’s it! Your nuggets are ready to eat! Dig in and call the kids into the kitchen!
….OR…
You can make up a large batch of nuggets all at one time like I did in these pictures. We made 6.5lbs of ground chicken and actually got a nice even 65 nuggets out of it (No, we didn’t portion them out that way on purpose, it just happened to work out nicely like that!) After cooking all 65 nuggets and letting them cool down fully on cooling racks, I put them into a few freezer bags and tossed them into the freezer. Now when my kids want nuggets for lunch, all I have to do is reach into my freezer, pull a handfull out, and reheat them. They have homemade all-meat nuggets on the table within minutes and I don’t have to stress about making a mess in the kitchen to get them fed – – and I also don’t have to worry that I fed my kids a poor quality nugget from the supermarket either!

 

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Lazy Legs and Taters

This dish was an experiment of mine and I’m soo pleased with the way it turned out, I just HAD to share it! I’ve had a package of chicken legs staring at me from my fridge for a few days and I just couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with them. Spring is here and the house was getting warm enough in the evenings that I didn’t feel like running the oven to bake them up, but at the same time Hubby has been working until long past dinner time and wasn’t available to grill them for me. (I know I know, I”m sure I could figure out how to light the grill and cook on it, but I’m not interested and darn it, that’s HIS job!)

So what it all comes down to, is that these legs needed to be cooked and I needed to figure out a new approach since my stand-by methods weren’t available to me. The obvious solution would be to use the crock pot – but these were legs! Crock pots are good at tough cuts of meat, or maybe some chicken breasts with a gravy, but really, most chicken dishes come out a little mushy and bland, and just not all that appealing for a summery weather dish.

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This is where I was wrong. These legs were not mushy. They were not bland. They were not drowned in gravy or cream soups and too heavy for a summertime meal. They were moist, packed with flavor, so tender the meat fell off the bone of a few legs, and it was SOO easy! I even tossed a few potatoes in the crock pot to cook with the chicken and those came out perfectly too….So it’s a one pot meal! Score!!!

The trick is to use a rub on the chicken, brown it in a skillet, and then build yourself some braces on the bottom of your crock to keep the juices away from your chicken while it’s cooking! Easy, easy, easy! I’ll break it all down for you. First the ingredients…

Ingredients:
1 package Chicken Legs
2 Russet Potatoes, washed and halved
1 Onion, sliced thinly
2 cloves Garlic, smashed
2-3 stalks Celery
2-3 Carrots
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
1 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Directions:
First of, you need to mix all of your herbs/seasonings together in a bowl to make your rub. Once combined, proceed to rub it all over your chicken legs, both on the skin and directly onto any of the meat that is showing as well. Get a skillet on the stove top nice and hot and then place your rubbed legs in to brown them, making sure to turn them occasionally so they get a nice browning on all sides.

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While your legs are in the skillet, you can begin to prepare your crock pot. You need to work in layers so the chicken meat isn’t soaking in it’s own juices and turn all mushy on you. On the very bottom of your skillet, spread out your thinly sliced onion and smashed garlic cloves. Next up is the celery and carrots. Cut your stalks into lengths that fit nicely in the bottom of your crock, both lengthwise and crosswise. You want to put a layer or two of these ‘crossbeams’ in to allow the juice to sink, but the chicken to remain supported above it all. Next up is the potatoes. I sliced two potatoes in half lengthwise and wrapped the halves up tightly in aluminum foil. They will steam themselves nicely and will be done and ready to eat when the chicken is done!

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When your chicken has been browned, you can place it directly tin to your prepared and layered crock pot. Turn the crock on low for 6 hours and walk away!! Your dinner is cooking itself for you! I turned my crock on high for the last 45 minutes to try and crisp up the skins a little, but they were still a little too soft for my liking. You could place them under a broiler for a few minutes if you want to firm them up some.

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The chicken and potatoes should be cooked perfectly, the carrots and celery were really used for structural support, but if you are so inclined you could always save them aside to make them into a stock with the juices in the bottom of the pot. Just cook it down a little more. I wouldn’t recommend serving them as a veggie side with your chicken dish though. 🙂

Enjoy! I really hope you like it! This is going to become a regular around our house for sure!

 

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Cheesy Chicken Macaroni

I loved baked macaronis. My children love baked macaronis. (Ok, they like pretty much any kind of noodle dish.) My husband on the other hand, likes macaroni (or any pasta dish) as a nice SIDE dish, because he says it’s not filling enough to satisfy him.  He’s very much a meat kinda guy, and a meal without meat just doesn’t make much sense to him.

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Yeah, him and his manly appetite I guess….

Anyways, I thought that I would try to add some chicken into a baked macaroni and see if that would make the dish hearty enough for him. We almost always have some cooked chicken on hand from when I regularly cook roasting chickens in the crock pot to maintain my supply of homemade chicken stock, so adding in the chicken was a really easy change.  (You can find the recipes to Crockpotting a Whole Roasting Chicken and making Homemade Chicken Stock here.)

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Cheesy Chicken Macaroni (adapted from an old Betty Crocker Recipe!)

Ingredients:
1 box of Macaroni (1 pound)
3 cups Chicken, cooked (Don’t have any cooked chicken? You can quickly cook up some chicken breasts on the stove top. Cut the raw chicken into small bites and toss in a skillet with some olive oil. Cook all the way through.
1 bag Frozen Vegetables (I used corn, but just about any veggie would work just fine here.
2 TBSP Butter
2 TBSP Flour
3 cups Milk
4 cups Grated Cheddar – Divided    (Fresh grated will melt better, but store grated can be used. Also, feel free to improvise a little with the cheeses! Monterrey Jack would work well, so would a sharp, white cheddar.)
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup ~~~>Or you can make your own Cream of Chicken Soup!
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Mustard Powder
Salt/Pepper to taste
4 TBSP Butter
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Seasoned Salt

Directions:
1. Cook your pasta according to al dente. Strain it and pour it into the bottom of a large casserole dish.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. Spread your cooked chicken over the top of the cooked noodles.
4. Sprinkle your frozen vegetables over the layer of cooked chicken.
5. In a skillet on the stove, melt your butter and add the flour, whisking it together to make a roux. Slowly add in your milk, whisking as you go. Then add in three cups of the grated cheese. Stir until completely melted.
6. Add in the Cream of Chicken Soup, garlic powder, onion powder, and mustard powder. Stir to combine. When your sauce mix is good and creamy and well combined, pour it slowly over the top of your layers in the casserole dish. Try to pour it evenly over the entire dish so there aren’t any dry areas.
7. Top this layer with your leftover cup of grated cheese.
8. Melt your four tablespoons of butter in a small microwave safe bowl and then add the bread crumbs to it. Add 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp seasoned salt and mush the mixture together with your fingers until the crumbs have evenly absorbed the butter and the seasonings are well mixed in.
9. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of your casserole and toss it in the oven for 30 minutes or until your bread crumbs are nicely browned.
10. Let set for 5-10 minutes and then dig in! Enjoy!

 

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