Category: Chicken

Baked Buffalo Wings and Fried Okra

I don’t really know how to explain it.  I kind of have a big thing for chicken wings. I can’t tell you how it started or when it started but there’s a fire burnin’. I originally intended to make this recipe for superbowl sunday as I was going to head over to a friends house and felt the need to come with gifts.  However in a change of events I had to work that day and wasn’t able to make it, but since I had already found the recipe it just wouldn’t leave my mind.  Luckily my friends are also pretty into wings so I’ve had the opportunity to make these a couple times.

In terms of the okra… well that was all Jessica. I’d heard of the stuff before, seen it at farmers markets, seen it pickled, but never purchased it or really looked up how one cooks okra.  The first time I had it was a couple months ago when we went out one night to a southern BBQ place where they had it offered as a side (which of course Jessica got).  Here’s my best stab at describing okra.  It’s pretty tasteless but has the consistency of a small squash inside. Tempting I know. But its actually delicious, especially when friend in cornmeal or just flour.  Add a pinch of salt and before you know it, you’ve eaten every last one of ’em!  So as convincing as my description was, I really do recommend trying them either in your own kitchen or if you find them on a menu.

Now here is my disclaimer about the chicken wings.  1.) We ended up getting a big back of raw frozen sings/ drummettes from smart & final for this recipe.  In hindsight it would have been worth shelling out a bit more to not have them frozen and also to have the skin removed already.  Because the recipe I followed involves baking the wings instead of frying them, the skin would never have crisped up enough to enjoy so I found myself skinning the wings before cooking them…not very appetizing and also very labor intensive.  2.) I didn’t take any pictures of the wings mid process because lets be honest…raw chicken isn’t very pretty.

THIS is the recipe that we used for the wings.  Jessica took over the okra but here is how we did it.

Fried Okra

Ingredients 

3/4 cup all purpose flour (you can also coat with cornmeal but the flour gives it a nice even breading)

salt and pepper to taste

1 bag frozen sliced okra (use as much as you want to serve)

oil for frying

Recipe

1. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-high heat (I dont’t own an oil thermometer so I usually just splash a drop of water and if it crackles then I assume its ready..yup real official)

2. Place flour, salt and pepper and okra in a mixing bowl, toss to coat

3. When the oil is hot enough place one floured okra slice in the pan, if it sizzles and floats the oil is ready.  Add enough to fill the pan but not to crown the okra at one time.

4.  keep an eye on them, when they start to brown take them out and place them on a paper town to drain the excess oil.  (keep in mind that they will continue to brown/ fry when out of the pan so long as the oil is hot on them so pull them out right before they are too brown)

5. Enjoy!

{Sometimes you just have to take the spice into your own hands}

{The finished wings}

{Hello, meet Okra}

{Instagrammed}

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Roasted Chicken with Shredded Brussel Sprouts

Ok, lets get a few things straight…apparently I suck at consistently posting on here. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy writing and posting my pictures (as most of you on facebook/ Instagram know).  But for some reason it takes more for me to sit down and relay the recipe to you guys.  At any rate, as I take a break from the inexplicable clutches of the Hunger Games series and with a little more time on my hands now, I have decided to catch up on all the posts I have been meaning to write about.  Starting with a simple roast chicken recipe.

I know I have written about roast chicken before, particularly rotisserie chicken and the wonders of how easy and delicious it can be to simply pick up a pre-roasted chicken from the store to slice up for dinner.  But to reiterate the ease of it all I thought I would post this variation, along with my tricks of brussel sprouts.

I’d say every about 4 months I get the urge to roast a whole chicken, not that it takes effort or anything but there is some planning involved, like knowing you can roast it the day you buy it, not really having any other leftovers waiting in the fridge, because for one person a whole chicken lasts me about a week of leftovers, etc.  But this instance in particular I was SO excited to test out my new meat thermometer, yup I said it.  I broke down (with the help of a Target gift card) and bought one that has a metal prod connected to a digital reader on the outside of the oven.  I probably should have read the directions before using it but I was just too anxious, it worked just great but I did end up needing to cook the chicken a little longer for it to be completely done after the thermometer registered the correct temp.  Regardless, it was very exciting to use it and of course a delicious chicken in the end (as you’ll see below).  And with the leftovers here are some ways I use the chicken up:

  • Chicken quesadillas
  • Added to salads
  • Simply re-heated (usually for the legs)
  • Sliced to make rotisserie chicken sandwiches with a little balsamic drizzle

Ok, on to the dreaded topic of brussel sprouts, although I feel like I should stop phrasing it that way since brussel sprouts seem to be much more common now, so hot right now. I have done the typical procedure of halving the sprouts and roasting them that way but I have come to much prefer shredding them and sautéing them.  They are a little easier to eat and resemble more of a cabbage, which is just more approachable overall. So here goes, ENJOY!

Roasted Chicken 

Ingredients

  • Whole roasted chicken (base size on how many you are trying to feed)
  • 1 tbl chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbl butter
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbl chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon (half left whole, the other juiced)

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Remove any giblets or anything left as a present to you in the cavity of the chicken
  3. Rinse chicken and pat dry, this will help the skin brown better
  4. In a small prep bowl mix the rest of the ingredients (up to the lemon) together until a buttery paste forms
  5. Lather the chicken with the seasoning mixture outside as well as under the skin. You can usually pry the skin away from the body around the bottom with the breast side up. This will also help the skin crisp up and season the actual meat
  6. Place chicken in a roasting pan or oven safe dish
  7. Brush the lemon juice over the chicken, place the whole half in the cavity.
  8. Insert thermometer (if you have one) in the thick part of the thigh, avoiding bone (if you hit a bone the temp will be inaccurate)
  9. Bake for about 1.5-2 hours or until the temp registers 180 degrees.  Don’t fret if you cut it open and its not fully cooked, just place it back in the oven and check it every 20 min.
  10. When the chicken is done, let rest for 10 min before slicing into it so the juices soak back into the meat.

Sautéed Brussel Sprouts 

Ingredients (serves 2-3)

  • About 5 or 6 whole brussel sprouts
  • 1 tbl rice wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp celery seed (if you have it)
  • 1 tbl olive oil

Recipe

  1. Shred the brussel sprouts with a knife (see picture below)
  2. Heat oil over medium heat
  3. Add the shaved brussel sprouts
  4. Constantly stir for about 2 min or until slightly wilted
  5. Add seasoning, continue stirring for another 3-4 min depending on desired crunchiness (less time will be crunchier, more will be wilty-er).
  6. Serve hot!

{Ugly uncooked chicken, but sweet new meat thermometer}

{Shaved Brussel Sprouts}

{The finished plate, with white rice}

 

Thanksgiving part 2: Side Dishes and the Turkey

Ok, so my original hope of getting through three posts in three days obviously didn’t happen.  But these recipes are too good to go unposted no matter how many weeks have passed.  So now, the side dishes.  We made some traditional thanksgiving dishes (that our family always makes) and some that were new to the table but just as delicious.  We had two kinds of cornbread dressing (stuffing), mashed sweet potatoes, roasted green beans, and please don’t hate me, but scalloped potatoes instead of mashed.  And now, I have a confession.  I am really not a huge fan of mashed potatoes.  Yes, they can be delicious with garlic or chives or whatever you wish to add, but I always end up doing the same thing…leaving the mashed mountain on my plate and go for the greens or meat or main dish.  So this year we stuck to the mashed sweet potatoes but substituted the regular mashed po’s for scalloped deliciousness.  So here we go….

Our Traditional Cornbread Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 batch cornbread (see chili and cornbread post)
  • ½ cup old white bread
  • 1 cup celery
  • 1 cup chopped green onions
  • Chicken or turkey stock until very moist (more moist is better than less.  just not dripping.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste

Recipe

  1. Crumble the cornbread in a large bowl
  2. add the remaining ingredients
  3. mix well
  4. transfer to a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 min
Ok, we don’t brulee our sweet potaotes and this isn’t even the recipe that we follow. But a.) I love this blog and b.) who doesn’t love a lightened version of a classic like sweet potatoes
Whole wheat dinner muffins 
Recipe
  • 13/4 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds for sprinkling
Recipe
  1. preheat oven to 375. Crease 9 standard muffin cups; fill the unused cups 1/3 full with water to prevent warping
  2. in a bowl stir together the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt
  3. in another bowl whisk together the egg yolks, butter, buttermilk, sour cream, and vanilla until blended. Stir the buttermilk mix into the dry ingredients just until evenly moistened.
  4. In a clean bowl, using a mixer with spotlessly clean beaters on medium speed, or a balloon whisk, beat the whites just until they form soft peaks.  Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter until blended.
  5. Spoon the batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the sesame seeds
  6. Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch 2-25 min.  a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 5 min.  Un-mold muffins and serve warm or at room temp with butter.
This was the first year that I decided to brine the turkey…ok this was the first year that I was in charge of the turkey.  But I will say it was delicious! I was a little bummed that I forgot to bring home my new meat thermometer (one of those cool ones that has a prod in the meat but then the actual temp part is outside the oven) so we used the regular one but im sure that did not change the taste..just the foodie fun of cooking a turkey.  Anyway, we were going to make this brine but instead, bought the premade brine from Cost Plus World Market which had most of the same ingredients of the Bon Appetit brine but in one convenient package.  I compromised though and still added added the apple cider for flavor.  Let’s just say I will be referencing this post a year from now when I cook thanksgiving again.
{Our traditional cornbread dressing}
{Cornbread dressing with fall root vegetables}
{Soaking the potato in water before baking will remove the starch}
{Finished potato gratin with gruyere crust}
{I substituted white flour for whole wheat but either works perfectly! And I topped the muffins with rosemary and sea salt for added flavor}
{How can you not try this recipe after this picture}

Shredded Chicken Tacos with Cilantro Lime Rice

I know I haven’t finished posting about Thanksgiving and I feel terrible about that. But I am currently waiting for one of the cornbread dressing recipes to be sent to me, and this recipe is not one that I just wing.  Believe me, it’s worth the wait.  So in the meantime I will post a different recipe that I made a couple weeks ago, shredded chicken tacos with cilantro lime rice.  My friend was coming over so naturally I spend a good chunk of the day looking for a good recipe to make.  I came across a shredded chicken recipe that instead of cooking the chicken on the stove, you poach the chicken in salsa…GENIUS! and let me tell you, I will never cook chicken for a mexican meal a different way.  the salsa gave the chicken the perfect flavor and tenderness, and after you shred the chicken you put it back in the salsa to keep marinating which just boosted the chicken flavor tremendously.

Now, once I had the chicken part of the tacos figured out I couldn’t stop there.  I have always like rice in my mexican food, burritos, tacos, you name it.  But I got to thinking, there must be a rice recipe that is easy but delicious.  I know that Chipotle is not very authentic, and I never would argue that it is, but I do love their rice.   So I searched pinterest for a similar recipe and found hundreds! The rice was really easy to make and added the perfect cilantro-y limeness without being too overpowering.  ENJOY!

Shredded Chicken Tacos 

ingredients 

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa of your choice (I chose a chipotle salsa which was delicious)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • Shredded lettuce
  • fresh salsa
  • sour cream
  • Chipotle lime rice (see recipe below)

Recipe

  1. Add chopped onions to a pot with a lid with about 1 tbl olive oil until slightly opaque
  2. Add the salsa for poaching, chicken breasts and water to cover the chicken, place lid on pot.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 30 min until chicken is cooked through
  3. In a separate bowl, place 1/2 cup same poaching salsa and 1/4 cup water.
  4. Remove chicken from pot and set on a cutting board until cool enough to handle. Discard the liquid that the raw chicken was cooked in.  Add the Salsa mixture that was set aside to the pot and heat until warm.
  5. With two forks, shred the chicken breast and place shredded chicken breast into the pot with the fresh salsa mixture.
  6. Prepare other toppings for tacos, assemble and enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Rice 

Goat Cheese, Scallion, Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Looking back on my culinary adventures, stuffed chicken breast was one of the first dishes I was overly impressed with and that actually turned out really well.  I have no recollection of what the first filling was, but the reality is that you can really stuff a chicken breast with any combination.  My suggestion, just keep it to one region, aka mediterranean, mexican, asian etc.  As long as you keep the flavors that you would typically find together under these “themes,” you are golden.

On a sweeter note…I love MASHED SWEET POTATOES.  And of course they remind me of nothing else but thanksgiving.  In fact, I can count on one hand the number of times I have made or have had mashed sweet potatoes on a day other than Thanksgiving.  But I have decided to break that mold, why must the deliciousness be confined to one day?! These potatoes are so easy (as any mashed potato) but sometimes I want an even easier method, in which case I cube the potatoes, add some butter and pop them in the microwave until fork tender and I’ve got a fantastic, healthy snack.

So I feel that what would be most beneficial for this post is not to post how I made this dish alone, instead I will post basic flavor combinations that would be great stuffed in a chicken breast.  Feel free to change up the side dish as sweet potatoes may not go with all other flavors.

Chicken stuffing option #1:

  • chopped sundried tomato
  • feta cheese
  • chopped black olives

Chicken stuffing option #2:

  • cheddar cheese (or jack or pepperjack)
  • canned green chilis
  • chili powder

Chicken stuffing option #3:

  • roasted garlic (see HERE)
  • Brie cheese
  • fresh parsley

Chicken stuffing option #4:

  • goat cheese
  • cream cheese
  • chopped scallion
  • chopped spinach

Now, the method for stuffing a chicken breast really depends on how thick the meat is.  if it is a thick chicken breast steak you could slice a pocket into one end of the chicken and stuff the mixture in, then seal the hole with toothpicks before cooking.  If you have a thinner piece of meat, you are better off flattening out the chicken so that you have more surface area, place some of the filling on one end and then rolling the meat with the filling.  And finally fastening the roll closed with toothpicks.  I personally like the first method, the filing seems to stay put better. But the trick is to make sure that you are cutting the pocket very slow to make sure that you do not puncture the side .

Recipe

  1. Select your chicken breast filling
  2. Figure out what type of stuffing will be best with the chicken piece you have
  3. If you are creating a pocket, slowly take a knife to one end of the breast and slice a pocket as wide and deep as you can without puncturing the enge
  4. if you are rolling, place the chicken breast in between two pieces of wax/parchment paper.  with a meat mallet (or rolling pin) flatten the chicken breast until it is about 1/4″ thick.
  5. with both methods, season each side with salt and pepper
  6. stuff or roll the filling into the chicken and fasten with toothpicks
  7. heat 2 tbl olive oil in a pan on medium heat.  place chicken in pan, leave to brown on the first side for about 5 minutes, turn over and brown on the other side.  Make sure the ends are getting cooked too (you might have to hold it on end while it cooks)
  8. Turn heat down to low, cover chicken and cook another 10 or so minutes. turning to make sure one side doesn’t burn. ENJOY!

Recipe blast– Zucchini Fries, Chinese Chicken Salad, Ice Cream Sandwiches, and a Nectarine Galette


So, it has been a while.  A lot of changes have happened in the past few months but finally I am settled and ready to post about the past few months worth of delicious dinners and food adventures.  But a word to the wise…when moving, do not pack your camera photo uploader thinggy and then never be able to find it again.  Just a suggestion.

So where to begin…so many good meals have happened I just do not know where to start.  Let’s do this in chunks just to simplify things.  So As much as I love cooking and finding new recipes, I have to say that this summer there was a strong decline in the number of new recipes I tried and the number of times I even cooked.  Having held a job where meals were provided 6 times during the week and my hours would start as early at 7am and end as late as midnight, there was a basic lack of energy or desire to cook at those points.  But now I am back in the game and doing what I love.

I have found that I tend to think and cook by event or happening.  I’ll explain.  More than just cooking one recipe or one thing I love thinking of a theme, for example this summer (blog post to come) some coworkers and I decided to do a Greek themed dinner and with the help of 4 people we were able to make many different recipes.  Or if someone is coming to visit I like to plan out meals that I plan on making.  I guess it is basic tendency to feel more motivated when others are involved but that is mostly where my head is at.  For these particular dishes it was partly pent up cooking desire and partly a need to veer away from dining commons food but here are the dishes: Baked zucchini fries with warm marinara, Chinese chicken salad, Ice cream sandwiches, and Nectarine Galette.

Now, I don’t know how many of you are recently obsessed with pinterest.com…but I cannot tear myself away from the food section and the DIY section.  It is also a great way to find recipes.  you DO NOT have to get an invite. simply type the dish you want to make in the search bar and different pictures will come up, click on one and follow the link to the site that has the recipe!! To make this easier, I have found recipes online that I used for these dishes.  ENJOY!

Baked Zucchini Fries with Warm Marinara 

I love zucchini, I love it in pretty much every which way except raw.  So this recipe was a perfect find for a snack or for an appetizer!  HERE


Chinese Chicken Salad 

Now this dish I did not find on pinterest.com or online or in a cookbook, this dish is one that seriously brings me back to my childhood.  It gets extremely hot during the summers where I am from and all that is tolerable most of the time is a nice cold salad for dinner.  When I was younger my sister and I would spend all day at the swim club we were members at and the best nights were the ones where our parents would surprise us and instead of just picking us up would bring chinese chicken salad and their swimming suits and we would stay for the night swim.  Such great memories.  I love this salad but of course if you are against cabbage you can substitute other lettuce etc.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of green cabbage chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 c sliced almonds
  • 1 tbl olive oil
  • 3/4 package crushed top ramen noodles (raw) {or you can use another crunchy noodle but it is nice texture}
  • 3/4 tbl toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 c italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 package top ramen seasoning
  • 1 small can mandarine oranges

Recipe

  1. Put chopped cabbage in a large bowl, top with ramen noodles and mandarine oranges
  2. In a small frying pan heat up the olive oil on low to medium heat, add the sliced almonds and move around to coat. Make sure to stay by the burner!! These babies burn fast so keep moving them around until you start to see them brown then quickly turn off the heat. (the hot oil will continue to toast the almonds even with the burner off)
  3. When almonds are slightly cool (it helps to transfer them to a bowl) add them to the cabbage mixture
  4. in a separate small bowl combine the salad dressing, toasted sesame seed oil, and the ramen seasoning, whisk to combine and pour over salad.  mix to combine and ENJOY!

Ice Cream Sandwiches 

Since working at an ice cream/coffee/sandwich shop I have come to miss not only the free coffee (hence the reason I am addicted today) but also the ice cream and cookies alllways on hand.  But having moved away now, I have come to really enjoy making the famous cookiewich myself.  Combined with the influences from Trader Joes delicious ice cream sandwiches I think I have found the perfect dessert to have on hand that also looks quite impressive.

Ingredients

  • 1 roll premade cookie dough of your choice (or if you are ambitious make it yourself)
  • 1 pint/ carton of ice cream of your choice
  • chocolate chips or a par of chocolate to chop up

Recipe

  1. Bake cookies until just before done, the size is your choice, I liked having smaller sized cookies so I could make more sandwiches.  But just make sure the sizes are even.
  2. once the cookies are completely cool, dish out a scoop of ice cream on the inside of one cookie and top it with another.  Press down so that the ice cream hangs a bit over the cookies.
  3. Take the chocolate chips or chocolate bar and chop up the chocolate pretty fine (but not till it is a powder) {you could also get the mini chocolate chips and save yourself the chopping)
  4. put the chopped chocolate (or mini chips) on a small plate.  take the assembled cookie sandwich and roll it in the chocolate shavings.  You might need to use your fingers a bit to press the chocolate into the ice cream so it stays.
  5. place finished ice cream sandwiches in a baking dish and put in freezer for about 30 min to make sure it all firms up. And then you have them on hand whenever that ice cream cookie craving hits!

Nectarine Galette 

Welcome to the easiest, prettiest dessert you will ever make (even easier than the ice cream sandwiches!) I had seen these desserts made and had always wanted to try to do it but for whatever reason never did until this summer.  I had a couple extra pie crusts in the freezer which made this dessert so easy and since making the first one this summer I think I have made about 4 more. Feel free to switch up the fruit to whatever is in season and if you want to get fancy and add a type of filling that is up to you!  HERE 


BBQ Kabob transformations– Chicken Veggie Pita with Tzatziki sauce

I think this is a pretty common urge when it comes to summertime, but as soon as summer hits I cannot get enough of the BBQ.  This could very well be because a.) throughout the others seasons I get sick of cooking indoors on the stove or b.) because I don’t actually own a BBQ.  But when I get access to one my mind starts racing of what I could cook on it.  Kabobs are one of my favorites because to be honest, they just look damn pretty all put together, but also because they are so easy yet so delicious.  Now, we took it one step further and made the cooked kabobs into a pita with homemade tzatziki (yogurt cucumber dip) and a side of rice pilaf.  I think I was feeling a mediterranean itch with this dish because it was in the same trip that I also made the chicken flatbread dish (see 4th of July post) but both were delicious, a little messy, but that was welcomed with open arms when it comes to homemade tzatziki and grilled kabobs.

I took this post from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe and adapted it to get some kabobs in there, but otherwise I marinated the chicken the same and made the tzatziki from this post as well!

{Beautiful finished Kabobs}

{Tzatziki in the works}
{The finished product}