Tag Archives: Chicken

Blackened Chicken Broccoli Tortellini

Here you have a family pleasing meal that can be made on a hectic weeknight, because…it take’s just 30 minutes!  Yep, a 30 minute meal that didn’t even use a jar of sauce to create a creamy yet more dreamy alfredo sauce!

To offset the richness of the cheese tortellini and sauce, the blackened chicken gives just the right amount of kick and since you basically are just blanching the broccoli, it keeps a great crisp texture!  Even my 5 year old had seconds AND leftovers for lunch the next day, score!!

*You can use any noodle of your choosing if not a tortellini fan; you can also use fresh broccoli if available.

The Starting Lineup

Chicken

  • 1-1/2 lbs chicken, I like the thin cut breasts
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic power
  • hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Pasta

  • 16oz  package frozen cheese tortellini
  • 10oz frozen broccoli
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 container parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

broccoli2

In a small bowl, mix together all of the seasonings to create a blackening rub.  Pat some olive oil all over each chicken breast and then coat in the blackening seasoning.  *Often, if I am using thin cutlets of chicken, I will just coat one side.  If using larger chicken breasts, coat both sides..

Bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil and either bring your grill to medium high heat or a cast iron pan to screaming high heat.

Now, I used our grill, so once ready I made sure the grates were oiled and cooked each side of the thinly sliced chicken for about 2 minutes and then transferred to a plate tented with foil to let rest.  *If using a pan, do the same, just remember to turn your vent on as it WILL smoke a bit inside your kitchen.  Cook till the juices run clear.

Meanwhile, add the tortellini to the boiling water and cook to package directions.  The last 2 minutes of cooking, toss the frozen broccoli right in with the tortellini.  Drain in a large colander.

In a large pan, melt the butter and whisk in the heavy cream.  Add in the cooked tortellini and broccoli.  Sprinkle and fold in all of the parmesan cheese and a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  *I like lots of pepper.

Hey, you’re DONE!!  Slice the blackened chicken and lay overtop the broccoli tortellini alfredo and you have yourself a tasty dinner!  Serve with garlic bread, a side salad and vino of course!!

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Bahn Mi

Basically, I’m in love with any sort of meal that involves meat between two slices of crusty bread, aka the glorious “sandwich”!  This version is known as a Bahn Mi and is of Vietnamese roots…Now, I do not claim this to be truly authentic, like from those great Viet markets along the gulf coast of Texas.  I do, however, claim that this juicy pull-apart sweet heat sandwich WILL knock your socks off and be a keeper when at a loss for a dinner idea!

*Feel free to tweak the ‘spicy mayo’ to your liking.  I like mine pretty spicy, so I typically add more Sriracha to kick it up!

**I use my mandolin to cut the veggies for the pickled slaw; be careful as these are SHARP!  You can also cut with a knife or in round slices.

***Feel free to use pork or even shrimp (Just don’t put the shrimp in the slow-cooker please ;).  Also, you can make this into a rice bowl, a salad, tacos or even lettuce wraps!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (or water)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp each garlic powder, cayenne, smoked paprika, red pepper flake

Pickled Slaw

  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Pinch of both salt and sugar

Spicy Mayo

  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • squeeze of lime juice

Garnish

  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Crusty French rolls

BahnMi1

Slow Cooker:  Spray the slow cooker with non-stick spray and place in the chicken.  Next whisk together all of the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken.  Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.  *When finished, shred with two forks and keep in the pans juices.

In a small pan, bring the 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1/2 cup water and a pinch each of salt and sugar to a boil.  Place the thinly sliced carrots, cucumber and jalapenos into a bowl and pour the hot vinegar/water over top.  Cover and allow to “pickle” for at least 30 minutes.  *This can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator overnight as well.

BahnMi2

Spicy Mayo:  Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.  Feel free to tweak the ingredient amount to your liking.

To assemble:  Slice each crusty roll in half lengthwise (I like to give it a light toasting), then slather on a good amount of your spicy mayo on each side.

Lay down some of the sweet-heat, shredded chicken and top with the pickled vegetables.  Finally, garnish with the chopped, fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime and the top of the toasted roll!  Enjoy!

BahnMi3

Mexican Street Corn & Chicken Chowder

It’s one of those weird weather times of year…Is it hot out?  Is it cold??  Will it be both of those in just one single day?  Yep!  Yep!  Yep!

So while in the daytime I am craving my favorite warm, grilled spicy Mexican corn on the cob, I’m not about to go stand out in the cool evening rain to attempt it.  What’s my solution?  This simple recipe of course!

As I stated just above, I’m all about Mexican street corn.  I’ll take it on the cob (elote) or in a cup (esquites) and now I’ll take it out of my slowcooker in chowder form!  The added shredded chicken in my recipe helps to hearty up this meal and the garnishment of queso fresco, lime, cilantro and chili powder make this legit!  You can’t eat just one bowl, promise!!

*Vegetarian?  Simply omit the chicken and prepare as written.

*The sautéing of the onions/garlic and roasting of the corn is optional, as you can add straight to the slowcooker.  However, you’ll REALLY enhance the flavors of the chowder by doing this one extra step.   The 5 minutes it takes is worth it friends!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 cans sweet cream corn
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth (low-sodium)
  • 2 cups half & half (16oz)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (I.e. Mexican, Colby, jack)
  • 1 can green chiles, undrained 
  • 1/2 packet taco seasoning (low-sodium)
  • 1 tbsp evoo

Garnish

  • Crumbled queso fresco
  • Cilantro
  • Chili powder
  • Mexican crema (like a thinned sour cream)
  • Jalapeños 
  • Lime wedges
  • Mexican hot sauce (i.e. Tapatio)


If you read the opening paragraph to this recipe, you would have noticed the key words ‘simple‘ and ‘easy‘.   So follow along closely 😉 ….

Heat a the extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add in the onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes, till slightly soft and translucent.  Add in garlic and cook for 30-60 sceconds.  Pour the onion/garlic mix into your slow cooker sprayed with a bit of non-stick spray.

In that same pan, crank up the heat a bit and pour in the cup of frozen corn.  Toss and allow to blacken just slightly and then also add to the slow cooker.

Next, add all the remaining ingredients (except the garnishes) to the slow-cooker and stir to just combine.  Cover and set on low for 6-7 hours.  When finished cooking, remove the lid and shred the chicken with two forks.


Ladle into bowls and top with the crumbled cheese, cilantro, chili powder and a squeeze of lime.  Enjoy!!

Baked “Fried” Chicken w/ Alabama White Sauce

Not everyone is familiar with the wide variety of barbecue sauces that exist in this great country.  Most know of the thick, slightly sweet Kansas City style, the tangy vinegar or mustard based Carolina flavors and that damn good bold and spicy Texas rendition.  However, if you ever find yourself in the northern (or even not so north) parts of Alabama, you’ll find their zesty, tangy and a bit quirky WHITE version.  Yep!  White bbq sauce that I must admit is pretty darn tasty!!

It originated in 1925 by the legendary Bob Gibson (his restaurant is still there and busy as ever!) where he created a tangy, mayonnaise based concoction that is great for marinating, basting or dipping.  Really, every southern home should have this condiment on hand for the more traditional smoked or grilled chicken, pulled pork sandwiches or even a fantastic french fry sauce!  Give it a try..I know it won’t be your last time! 

*Their are a few renditions of the famous white sauce, but as long as you have mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper, you can add to it!

The Starting Lineup
Baked “Fried” Chicken

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, thin sliced
  • 3/4 cup Alabama White Sauce
  • 1 3/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Alabama White Sauce

  • 1 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Creole mustard 
  • 1 tsp horseradish, prepared
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 

Alabama White Sauce ingredients..


At least an hour before you’re planning on eating, mix up the Alabama White Sauce so that A.  The flavors can really meld together in the refridgerator and B.  You can marinate the chicken in 1/2 of the sauce prior to dredging and baking.

In a medium size bowl, simply whisk together all of sauce ingredients until thoroughly combined.  Next, in either a baking dish or a gallon-size ziplock bag, pour out about half of the sauce to coat the chicken breasts.  *Make sure not to cross contaminate here!

Cover both the bowl of remaining white sauce and the now coated chicken with plastic wrap/zip up bag.  Place in the refridgerator for at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.  

Time to eat!!  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and prepare a foil-lined baking sheet with a wire rack on top (you may need to spray the rack with non-stick).  Remove the marinated chicken from the refridgerator.

*This next step is optional, but recommended….In a skillet heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat.  Add in the 1 3/4 cups of  Panko and the 1/4 cup of cornmeal.  Lightly brown the breading, stirring often, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a shallow dish.

To the (toasted) breadcrumbs, whisk in the spices.

Take each sauce coated chicken breast, one by one, and dredge in the spiced (and toasted) breadcrumbs.  Gently press the panko on as well as possible and transfer each to the wire racked baking sheet.  It’s ok if it’s not perfect..rustic is pretty!  

Place in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until outside is nice and crunchy and the centers are cooked through.  

Serve with a small dish of that tangy Alabama White Sauce for dipping or just pour on over the chicken!  I like to accompany ours with a side of bacon black eyed peas, a country salad and bread and butter..enjoy!!

Greek Tzatziki Chicken Pasta

Going “global” with this one guys!  Now as y’all know, I basically have two types of cuisines that I prefer to eat…constantly.  Mexican and southern comfort food!!  I do however branch out from time to time and THIS time it’s with my likely 3rd choice, Greek!

Now I used to live by this AMAZING restaurant called “Pita Jungle”, that without fail catered to my cravings of this ethnic fare..saltiness of feta cheese, brininess of kalamata olives, fresh vegetables and the Greek’s unique spices has me every(damn)time.  The only bad part of always getting my ‘fix’, was moving away and having nothing silimilar nearby.  It was time to create my 2nd masterful Greek dish and THIS one is silly easy!

This Greek inspired chicken pasta is full of flavor, yes, BUT it’s also healthy for you too!  Heck, get yourself another helping! 😉  Using non-fat greek yogurt and fresh produce brightens this dish and leaves you not feeling heavy in the least.  *I also used fantastic gluten-free noodles that really help with that after dinner bloated feeling.  Lastly..this dish is also so versatile that it is equally delicious served warm OR cold!  So it’s a fabulous choice for a leftover dinner or lunch at work too!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb chicken breasts/tenders
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cucumber, seeded/cored and sliced
  • 1/4-1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 package penne noodles

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 large cucumber, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 tsp dill, fresh is best if you have it
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Greek Chicken Marinade

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 salt and pepper, each.  

Alright friends!  In a large gallon size ziplock bag, add in all of the marinade ingredients followed by the chicken.  Seal and place in a dish (to avoid spillage) and into the fridge.  Allow to marinate for about 3 hours.  Do not go too much longer as the citrus in the marinade will change the texture of the chicken.  *You can make the marinade without the lemon juice if you’d like it overnight and add it in later.

Assuming the chicken has been marinating away and it’s time to finish the meal, you’ll next prepare the Tzaziki sauce and again, it’s just as easy as the marinade!  After you dice up the cucumber, simply whisk together all of the above mentioned ingredients, cover and set aside.  *If preparing this in advance, please keep refridgerated until ready to use.  

Onto the vegetables!  Rinse, cut, chop, dice, seed etc. etc. etc. your yummy veggies while also bringing a large stockpot of salted water to a boil.  *I sprinkled a bit of salt and pepper over the vegetables for added flavor.

In a skillet over medium/medium-high heat with 1Tbsp of oil and 1Tbsp of butter, add the marinaded chicken.  Cook through and set aside.  Add the noodles to the boiling water and cook to package directions.  

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, roughly chop into bite size pieces.

Drain the al dente noodles and pour into a 2-qt casserole dish or large serving bowl.

The finish line has arrived…Now it’s just time to cross it!

Simply add the vegetables and olives to the penne pasta, pour on your finished tzatziki sauce and gently toss together with the crumbled feta cheese.  

Serve with extra lemon slices and perhaps a bit more feta cheese and a pinch of fresh dill, enjoy!!  

Strawberry Basil & Goat Cheese Chicken w/ Grilled Romaine Salad

I’m lightening it up and fancy’ing it up (I realize that’s not real a word..but it works!)!  No despite the glamorous sounding name to this recipe, it’s actually super easy and quick!  I honestly say that this can be made in well under 30 minutes.  

It has so much flavor, so much FRESH flavor to be exact.  You get in fruit, veggies and protein here and zero guilt or that yucky “I’m stuffed” feeling.  Which is why I pair mine with a crisp glass of vino..I mean c’mon!  I have to have a little naughtiness! 

*Balsamic Glaze:  it’s not to be confused with “balsamic vinegar”.  This is a thicker, syrup-like glaze with a slightly sweet finish.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 chicken cutlets
  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, quartered 
  • Salt & pepper 

We’ll start this light and tasty recipe by cleaning and quartering the strawberries and chopping up the garlic and basil..or be fancy and do a chiffonade 😉   Next combine the fresh basil to the strawberries and 1 tbsp each of extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic glaze, gently toss together.  Cover and set aside.

Next, heat up either your grill or a grill pan with a couple Tbsp’s of olive oil on your stovetop to medium-high heat.  Generously season the chicken cutlets with salt, pepper and the minced garlic and place on grill/pan.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes per side, till cooked through and beautiful golden brown grill marks appear.  Set aside. 

Now that the chicken is done, it’s time for our lettuce!  To each quartered piece of romaine, drizzle a bit of evoo, balsamic glaze and a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place ‘face-down’ onto the grill pan and let the grill make those fantastic char marks. 

To serve!!   On a large family style platter (or individual plates), lay down the grilled romaine and top with the chicken cutlets.  Spoon the strawberry-basil mixture all over top and sprinkle on the goat cheese crumbles!  I also like to add another drizzle of that sweet balsamic glaze over top and another pinch of kosher salt & pepper.  Enjoy!! 

Buffalo Chicken Kabobs w/ Grilled New Potatoes (& easy blue cheese dressing)

I’m pretty sure I’ve never (ever) met a person that doesn’t like buffalo wing sauce.  Now some may like it on crispy drumette wings, some that prefer it on the battered boneless variety, but everyone just loves that sauce!  Unfortunately, most of us cannot eat that way everyday, so how about combine those great flavors into a healthier grilled recipe!

My lighter, summertime go-to is a full meal that is chocked full of protein, vegetables and even a light(er) Bleu cheese dressing!  So you will feel full without the guilt!  

*If you prefer ranch over Bleu cheese than go right ahead.

*Use whatever vegetables you prefer on your kabobs.

*Can be made outdoors on the grill or even on a stovetop grill-pan.

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, combine 1 cup of regular milk with 1 tbsp of either white vinegar or lemon juice, stir.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Done!

The Starting Lineup
Chicken

  • 2lbs chicken (breasts, tenders or thighs), cut into 2″ cubes
  • 2 Bell peppers (any color)
  • 1 red onion
  • 8 oz Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • Salt & Pepper

Potatoes

  • 2 1/2lbs New/Red Potatoes
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Celery Salt

Bleu Cheese Dressing

  • 8oz reduced fat Blue cheese crumbles
  • 8oz light sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • Salt & pepper

Garnish (optional)

  • Celery, VERY thinly sliced
  • Green onions, sliced
  • Jalapeños, sliced 

SAUCES:  

Buffalo Wing Sauce:  In a small pan or in the microwave melt the butter.  Whisk in the bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and set aside.

Easy Bleu Cheese Dressing:  In a small bowl, whisk together the Bleu cheese crumbles, sour cream and buttermilk.  Salt & pepper to taste, cover and transfer to the refrigerator till needed.

Start by rinsing and cutting the vegetables and the chicken into kabob-sized pieces. 

Skewer and salt & pepper to taste.  *If using bamboo sticks, make sure to soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes prior.   If using metal skewers, make sure to lightly coat in oil so the meat doesn’t stick.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water and the potatoes to a boil.  Cover and simmer till just fork tender (about 20 minutes).  Transfer the par-cooked potatoes to a bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and the celery salt to taste (about 1 tsp).

With either the outdoor grill or your grill pan indoors, heat to medium-high heat and make sure to oil the grill grates or pan.  Once ready to go, start your kabobs and cook through (15-20 minutes).  Transfer the kabobs to a tray and brush on the buffalo wing sauce.  *You can start to brush the sauce on during the last few minutes of grilling, just add a little at a time and finish once done to avoid flare ups.Next, add the potatoes to the grill/pan and turn often for 10 minutes, until crisped up.


SERVE:  On a large serving platter, lay out the grilled potatoes and drizzle on the Bleu cheese dressing you made earlier and sprinkle on the celery, green onions, jalapeños.  Top with the buffalo chicken kabobs (you can remove from the skewers if preferred) and serve with the remaining buffalo wing sauce for dipping. 

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