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Tag 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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Taco Pie

This is a dish that I used to make all the time as a young, single, college student. It is very flexible and can be made a thousand different ways and for a thousand different tastes. The recipe I’m typing up today is just the basic bones of the dish – but please feel free to experiment away and add any sort of toppings you like! A layer of re-fried beans, some salsa, peppers, onions, whatever it is you like to put on your taco will go just fine into this dish.

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Ingredients:
1 lb Ground Beef
1 pkg Taco Seasoning (Or make your own….Homemade “Old El Paso” Copycat Taco Seasoning
1 pint Sour Cream
1 pkg Crescent Rolls
2 cups crushed Fritos (divided)
1 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Brown your ground beef, drain the fat, and add in the taco seasoning. Only use about half of the water you would normally use per the package directions. Mix together and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. While the meat is simmering, grease an oven safe pan. I use a half-sized 8×8 casserole dish and it works out pretty well. You can also use a ceramic or glass pie plate if you like. Open your crescent rolls and pinch together the perforated seams so you have several rectangles of dough. Do your best to assemble the dough pieces in the bottom of your dish so that a bit curls up the walls as well. (See picture.)

DSCF0001It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just aim for even coverage and pinch together any open seams. You can stretch the dough a bit too once it starts to warm up to room temperature.
4. Put your dish aside and lightly crush one cup of the Fritos and spread them over the dough in the dish.
5. Spread your cooked ground beef over the layer Fritos and then spread the sour cream on top of the beef. Sprinkle on your layer of mozzarella cheese and then top it all off with the remaining cup of crushed Fritos.
6. Bake uncovered for 20  minutes until cheese is melted and crescent dough crust is nicely cooked.
7. Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2013 in Beef, Casseroles, Dinner, Easy, Entree, Kids, Quick & Easy

 

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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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Basil Pinenut Pesto

There’s a restaurant that sets up at our local farmer’s market and they always offer free samples of their pesto. Every week we go to the farmer’s market and every week I try a sample and try to figure out what it is they have done differently. There is something about this pesto that sets it apart from the rest and makes you keep coming back for more. After numerous attempts this summer, I think I’ve finally gotten it.

This pesto is perfect for dipping salted bread chunks, tortilla chips, and corn chips. It pairs wonderfully with a simple pasta as a light summery sauce, and you can even incorporate it in a chicken dish (pound out a chicken breast, put a layer of pesto on top, roll it up/secure with a toothpick, and cook normally for a nice burst of flavor)!

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Ingredients:
2 cups Fresh Basil Leaves, packed tightly
3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup of a really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup plus 2 TBSP Pine Nuts either roasted or raw – I prefer a combination of the two
4-5 medium sized cloves of garlic, minced
Salt and Pepper to taste – I like to go a little heavy on the salt, several heavy grinds of kosher salt really sharpens the basil and garlic flavors

Directions:
1. Wash, rinse, and pat dry your fresh basil and dump it into your food processor or blender. Add in the pine nuts and garlic and pulse a few times to get the big pieces chopped up a bit.
2. Measure out your EVOO then turn the food processor on and slowly dribble the oil in while it’s mixing and chopping. When the oil is completely poured in, add the Parmesan cheese and let everything mix together. (You can stop the machine and scrape down the sides as needed.)
3. Add in your salt and pepper and pulse a few more times to mix and that’s it!

 

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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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