Tag Archives: chicken

Dijon and Breadcrumb Crusted Chicken Breasts

I’ve been on this mission lately to use whatever I already have in the kitchen to make delicious yet different meals. It’s quite the challenge but I think I’m off to a good start. Why the recent inspiration you may ask?

Here’s the thing. Cooking for one tends to leave a lot of left over ingredients, especially when it comes to herbs and veggies. So what to do with the rest of it? I certainly can’t bear to throw it away but sometimes I forget that I have it in my fridge and it goes to waste. So, in an effort to be more resourceful, I’m determined to find ways to make new meals using the same staple ingredients. Think I can do it?

I had leftover chicken and snow peas from a noodle dish I made for my cousin’s baby shower over the weekend. Everything else I already had in my pantry and fridge. I found this recipe through epicurious.com, one of my absolute favorites to visit when I’m searching for something unique. This one is a great find indeed. It adds a new twist to the regular bread crumb and egg routine. And don’t worry, this won’t taste like you’re eating chicken dipped in mustard at all, which was one of my primary concerns. (Not that I don’t like mustard-it’s delicious! But I didn’t want it to be too overpowering).

For two people, here’s what you’ll need:

2 chicken breast halves

¼ cup Italian style breadcrumbs

¼ cup cornmeal

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

salt and pepper

1 egg

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

olive oil

Step 1. Measure out the breadcrumbs, cornmeal, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper.

Step 2. Mix the breading thoroughly. Taste and add more salt if needed. That’s right, I said taste! Bland breading makes a bland chicken, ya hear?

Step 3. In a bowl, crack open one egg and add the dijon mustard. I added a few drops of honey and hot sauce just to sweet and spice it up. I’m daring like that.

Step 4. Whip up the eggs and Dijon mustard until they are evenly combined in a golden-yellow eggy mixture. I added a bit of pepper because I like to live on the edge. Just a dash is all you need.

Step 5. Take out a non-stick frying pan, add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium-high. While you’re heating the pan, take out the chicken breasts from the packaging. Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise to get thin cuts – highly recommend! Wash, pat dry, and plate. Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Chicken breasts tend to be a bit thicker in the middle. If you don’t feel comfortable slicing it yourself, get your grocery store butcher to do it for you or take a mallet, put the chicken breast in between plastic wrap, and smash the living daylights out of it! Ok, not to that extreme, but you do want it somewhat flat.

Step 6. When the oil is hot and ready, dip the chicken into the egg mixture then dredge in the breading mixture. Make sure all surfaces are covered. Shake off any excess breading and place in the hot pan. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes on one side or until golden brown and crispy.

Step 7. Flip over to the other side and also let cook for about 3 minutes, leaving heat on medium-high. Oooh my, this is the color and texture that you want. Droool. Turn off the heat and place the chicken on a separate plate. Done!

Pair the chicken with your favorite veggies and grains. I used brown rice medley from Trader Joe’s and steamed snow peas. I haven’t been excited about something so simple in such a long time. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have to purchase anything to make it, which is a rarity in this girl’s kitchen.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking

Weekend Chicken Carbonara

This weekend, I visited my sister in Maryland for a bit of countryside, a breath of fresh air, and because I just missed her so. We spent the day strolling around the quaint little town of St. Michaels, an enchanting little place tucked away by the Chesapeake Bay.

Along the water, we found bed and breakfasts covered in overgrown ivy, snuggled up next to some of the most beautiful Victorian homes I’ve ever seen. The folks seemed all tan and glowing, so carefree, without a care in the world where their next step took them. It was clear people came here to relax and unwind. How could I resist such an invitation?

My sister and I grew up learning how to cook together. As children, we were our dad’s best sous chefs, mincing garlic, chopping tomatoes, whipping eggs into a nice froth, and so forth. Through the years we’ve honed what I like to call a nice cooking harmony in the sense that we just know how each other works in the kitchen and what to do next that it hardly needs verbalization. Needless to say, it gives me absolute joy each and every time we get to cook together. This weekend, we did just that, starting with one of her personal favorites, Chicken Carbonara.

When I arrived at her house, she had already started grating the Parmesan. “We’re using Giada’s recipe by the way”, she says, “..with a bit of my twist to it”. Of course you are! For once, someone telling me what to do in the kitchen. It was a nice change, but don’t get ideas.

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 chicken breasts

1/2 lb. ziti pasta

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley

1/4 cup fresh basil

4 egg yolks

4 strips of bacon

1 1/2 cups whipping cream

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

2 tsp. minced garlic

olive oil

salt and pepper

1 tbsp. finely grated lemon peel

Adapted from Giada di Laurentiis’ Chicken Carbonara recipe, Food Network

Step 1: Grate the Parmesan Cheese

Step 2: In a separate bowl, add the whipping cream, then add the Parmesan Cheese. Don’t mix just yet.

Step 3: Wash and chop the parsley

Step 4: Wash and chop the basil

My sister’s kitchen has a wealth of colorful bowls and plates and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to photograph them every chance I could. Ah I can’t wait until I get a kitchen of my own, with room for tons of dishes and color, and copper pots.. but I digress. Here’s the chopped parsley.

And the chopped basil. I love this wooden bowl.

Step 5: Add the chopped parsley, chopped basil, and 4 egg yolks to the cream and grated cheese. The fourth one took a dive beneath the surface and the third yolk is barely hanging on! I would too if I was swimming in a pool of yummyness. Mix this thoroughly until everything is evenly combined. Then place the bowl in the fridge while you get the rest of the ingredients ready.

Step 6: After you’ve rolled up your bacon to look like flowers, unroll them, stack them on top of each other and slice them into bite size pieces. You can trim off the fat from the bacon and use double the number of bacon strips if you’d like. Set these aside.

Step 7: Begin cooking the ziti pasta. Follow instructions on the box and add salt and a bit of olive oil to the water. When the pasta is done, drain but keep the pasta warm. Their heat will help cook the cream and egg yolks later on.  I love using ziti for this because in some magical way, the carbonara sauce finds its way inside the ziti. I can’t even describe what biting into that is like. Life-changing, I think.

Step 8: In the meantime, while you’re waiting for the water to boil, heat a non-stick frying pan with olive oil on medium heat. Once hot, fry the chicken breasts until they are cooked. Set them aside to cool a bit before you start shredding them by hand. Or you can use two forks and shred them this way while they’re still hot.

Step 9: After the chicken is done, heat a deep pot with olive oil on medium heat. When hot, add the garlic, followed by the bacon. Continue until the bacon is crispy and golden brown. Then take a piece out to taste its done-ness. Then proceed with two or three more pieces. Don’t feel bad about it.

Step 10: Add the shredded chicken to the bacon. Mix, mix, mix. Then turn the heat down to medium-low. At this point, the pasta should be almost done cooking if not already drained and kept warm. Delicious things await.

Step 11: Take out the carbonara sauce mixture from the fridge and gently pour it on top of the chicken and bacon. On top of this, add the warm pasta. Mix and taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Mix some more. Taste some more. Sneak a bite while she’s not looking. Then sneak more bites. Then pass the point of not caring if she catches you. Because it’s just that. good. Oof. Turn off the heat, transfer into a separate bowl and serve.

I know this will continue to be a favorite of ours for a long time to come and I hope you enjoy it too!



8 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Super Crunch Oven Fried Honey Dipped Wings

When it comes to fried chicken, texture is key. The crispy crunch of that deep fried golden brown skin is an absolute must. Without it, it might as well be a rotisserie. The crispier the fried skin, the better, right? Who’s with me? I can see you nodding your head in approval.

More than once I’ve tried to re-create the crunchy goodness of a fried chicken in the oven but nothing really came close to achieving the same crunch effect I was after. I’ve tried shake n’ bake, Kraft’s oven fry, and even panko breadcrumbs (which really felt like eating chicken tempura as opposed to shrimp) to no avail. Seasonings and flavor were intact yet I wasn’t getting the texture I craved…until of course I came across this recipe.

Who knew the answer would be as simple as cornflakes?! I’ve heard of people coating all kinds of goodies with cereal before so why not chicken? It’s probably the closest I’ve come to achieving the same crunch as fried and so I’m dying to share it with you because I absolutely love this recipe.

Messy hands are a must for this one but well worth it! I recommend this for any kind of get together – game night, football sunday, barbecues, or good ole dinner with the fam. Unconventional, but it works! Thanks to allrecipes.com for this recipe! Here’s the how to:

You’ll need:

2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons hot sauce (or more, if you’d like)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

20 chicken wings, separated at joints, tips discarded

3 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

salt and black pepper to taste

1 cup honey

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

The day before:

Step 1: Take the chicken wings and separate the joints. Trim off extra fat and cut off the tips. Give the wings a quick rinse under cold water and set aside.

Step 2: Make the marinade. In a bowl, mix together the buttermilk, hot sauce, salt, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder until equally mixed. Yummm. Buttermilk is key!

Step 3: In a large resealable bag, add the chicken wings then add the marinade, coating the wings evenly. Squeeze out as much air as you can out of the bag then seal. Pop it in the fridge and let the wings marinate for 24 hours. The longer they swim in the sauce, the better, the slurpier!

Step 4: Combine the crushed cornflakes, flour, cornmeal, and salt and pepper to taste in a tupperware. Seal and leave at room temperature.

The day of:

Step 5: Grease two baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Step 6: Take out chicken from marinade, squeeze off excess and put on a plate. Discard the remaining marinade. Press the chicken into the cornflake mixture and place on the greased baking sheets. Spray the top of the wings with nonstick cooking spray

*the cornflake mixture: the smaller components may settle to the bottom – make sure to give it a quick shake in the tupperware before coating

Step 7: Pop the chicken wings in the oven and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and is easily pulled from the bone

Step 8: While the chicken is getting crispy and juicy in the oven, make the sauce. In a saucepan over medium heat, mix together the honey, and red pepper flakes. Add more or less flakes if you desire. Continue mixing until the honey thins. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until wings are cooked.

Step 9: When wings are cooked, place them in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the honey pepper sauce on top. Very gently, toss the wings until they are evenly coated.

Step 10: Enjoy with your favorite brew, a side of celery, carrots and ranch dipping sauce (or bleu cheese if you prefer).

The crunch is undeniable in this one. It’s heaven if you like honey. MMMM I wish I could just convey how this makes my heart melt. You can substitute the honey pepper sauce with any kind you prefer: Barbecue, Parmesan-garlic, Teriyaki, Lemon-Pepper, Sesame-Ginger, the delicious mouth-watering options are endless. You’ll make new friends.

Keep in mind however, that making these chicken wings can be a double edged sword. While you yearn for the crisp of the cornflakes, you also want the flavor from the sauce. For best results, serve immediately.

A few hours after making these, the breading from the leftovers became soft as a result of absorbing the sauce – a natural casualty of course. If you plan to bring these to a party, keep the chicken and sauce separate until you arrive. Keep the chicken well vented and don’t pre-mix. Same thing goes if you’re waiting for guests. Mix the wings with the sauce right before serving.

I love making these as an alternative for the deep fried version….because it keeps me from putting that chicken place on my speed dial, which we all know would be the end of me. Until next time,

Happy Cooking!

3 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Finger lickin’ goodies from the grill

After a much adventurous romp in the concrete jungle that is New York City, I was looking forward to ending the long weekend nice and relaxed. But despite the fact that we were sleep deprived from our four day trip, and despite the sweltering southern heat that greeted us when we arrived, we decided to have a barbecue anyway in light of Memorial Day. And by “we” I mean my roomie and I, of course. The only crazies who would. Thanks for the recipe, Mr. DD. This barbecue chicken recipe is mouthwateringly good.

You’ll need:

1 pkg chicken thighs
soy sauce
ginger
sugar
honey

Step 1: Remove the skin from the thighs and give the thighs a quick rinse.

Step 2: Stab the meat in a few places to create pockets of flavah. I honestly believe this helps the meat soak up the marinade faster and deeper. Heh.

Step 3: In a separate bowl, pour enough soy sauce to cover all chicken thighs. For every cup of soy sauce, add 1 tbsp minced ginger and  1/2 cup honey.

Step 4: Soak the thighs in the marinade for at least 30 minutes in the fridge.

Step 5: Grill ! Here are some great tips on grilling how to’s: Alton Brown is Amazing

In the meantime, prep the veggies!

The thing I love above all is grilling vegetables. I love the subtle charred flavor. It’s the taste that really defines summer in my mouth. You can toss just about any veggie on the grill but we opted for a few favorites:

Eggplants sliced into thick coins, asparagus spears, bell peppers, seeded and sliced into strips, and fresh sweet yellow corn. A light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt is all you need.

MmMmmmm cheesy bratwursts are my new fave! I never knew they existed until J&D brought them over. Thanks for sharing, my tastebuds were doing the happy dance.

I lovelovelove grilled peppers. I could eat these all day. By themselves. Or loads on top of cheesy brats.

Gotta end it with watermelon. Thanks M. *slurp* Hope you had a great weekend as well.

In remembrance and appreciation, I thought I’d share these pictures with you. For those of you with family or loved ones who have or are serving our country, get ready. These pictures will pull on your heart strings. Words simply cannot express how grateful I am for all the men and women who give their lives to protect ours. Thank you. Happy Memorial Day.

1 Comment

Filed under Cooking

Gingery Poached Chicken Breasts with Green Beans & Potatoes

I have been wanting to do this recipe since last week when I chanced upon it in Real Simple Magazine (which I lovelovelove). I have never poached chicken breasts before but I have read that poaching creates a very moist and juicy chicken breast, which is a bit challenging to achieve through other cooking methods like baking, roasting, pan frying and especially boiling. Because breast meat is lean with very little to no fat, the meat can dry up quickly and become rubbery especially when overcooked. I have since made it a goal to perfect poaching chicken breasts and this recipe was a perfect, tasty, place to start.

For those who aren’t familiar with poaching, it is simply a method of cooking at a low, gentle heat, at a little bit of a simmer. A simmering pot of water looks “shimmery” and does not bubble or boil. If you’d like a more scientific measurement, the temperature should be about 190 degrees. The poaching liquid is usually seasoned and there is enough in the pot to fully cover the food which you are cooking. And just FYI, any part of the chicken can be poached.

Gingery Poached Chicken Breasts with Green Beans and Potatoes. Interesting combination. I usually think of rosemary and sage spices when I see green beans and potatoes paired with poultry. Here’s to trying to something new! Ingredients and steps are listed below. I hoped to incorporate more pictures this time, as requested. Hope you like!


For this recipe, you will need:
– 1 piece ginger, about 3 inches long
– 2 bunches green onion
– 1/2 cup soy sauce + 2 tbsp
– 1/2 cup rice vinegar
– 4 cloves garlic
– 1 lb small gemstone or fingerling potatoes
– 4 chicken breasts
– 1 lb green beans
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1/2 tsp sesame oil
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare:

1. Fill a large wide pot with 6 cups of water and bring to a simmer

2. Thin slice 2 inches of ginger

3. Rough chop the garlic cloves

4. Chop 1 bunch of green onion

5. Add the ginger, garlic, green onion, 1/2 cup of soy sauce, and 1/4 cup of rice vinegar to the pot

MmmMmm, if you could only smell the goodness. I would have never imagined cooking potatoes in soy sauce or rice vinegar like this, but it is just unbelievably scrumptious.

6. Bring the mixture to a simmer then add the potatoes. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.

I found these adorable gemstone organic potatoes in the produce section and I couldn’t resist. They tasted so fresh and delicate yet so savory after they simmered. Snag these if you see them, otherwise small, red, or yellow potatoes will work as well. Keep the potato size small, they will cook faster.

7. While the potatoes are simmering, bring a separate pot of water to a rapid boil and cook the green beans for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. When finished, drain the water and set aside.

8. When potatoes are done, quarter them and set aside


9. Add the chicken breasts and simmer for 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing. Make sure the chicken breasts are fully covered by the broth. Use a plate to keep them submerged if you have to.

10. While the chicken is simmering, make the sauce for potatoes and green beans. In a separate bowl, add the rest of the soy sauce and vinegar. Whisk in honey, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, and olive oil. After the sauce is evenly combined, add the green beans and potatoes. Toss until coated evenly.

11. Divide the potatoes, green beans and chicken. Spoon remaining sauce over the chicken and veggies. Enjoy!

Poaching has made a believer out of me. It is incredible how tender these breasts came out and it almost seemed like there was nothing to it! I was a little doubtful that the flavors would have enough time to seep in during the few minutes it was left to simmer (after all, most marinades take 30 minutes or more!). But I was wrong, thankfully! The meat soaked up just the right amount of salt and seasoning and I couldn’t have asked for a more tastier bite. Maybe one day I’ll attempt poaching eggs.. but until then, happy cooking!

5 Comments

Filed under Cooking

Roasted Chicken Relleno with Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

On this very month approximately two years ago, I set off on a journey that, unknown to me then, would become one of the most memorable experiences of my life. My study abroad experience in Spain has undeniably instilled in me a greater appreciation for a culture that I have studied for so long and an even greater curiosity in discovering new cuisine to tantalize these tastebuddies.

In essence, to know Spanish culture is to know their food. Eating in Spain is certainly a culture in and of itself. But before I go into the details, I have to give credit where it is due. My roommates and I were truly blessed to be placed in a home with a host mom whom I believe was gifted in the art of cookery.

Among her other warm motherly attributes, this by far was our favorite. With varied meals like Paella, Meatballs, Baked Trout, Pork chops and the like, we couldn’t want for anything more (but always a little bit less!! She was always stuffing us) We didn’t realize how lucky we were until we had spoken to other students in the program whose dinners usually always consisted of tuna sandwiches and cold soup. Ay yay yay !!

A little later on, we found out that particular host mom had been spending the money to cook elaborate meals for her own family while skimping on the poor students. Mind you, this was a rarity and most of the kids in my program were very pleased with their homestay food experience. I might be a little biased, but I believe ours was the best.

The reason I chose this recipe is because during the cold winter months, roasted meats were a solid part of our scrumptious meals. Antonita, as we lovingly came to call her, roasted anything and everything. Everyday in the morning, she diligently went to the produce market to get the freshest ingredients and I think this is what made all the difference.

First she would start us off with a hearty bowl of creamed vegetable soup which she always made from scratch. This was then followed by the main course and a light dessert. The eating times in Spain are a little way different from what we are accustomed to here in the U.S.

While some of us enjoy a savory breakfast of sausage and eggs in the morning, breakfast there is not much more than a cup of espresso with a side of a small creamy pastry. In our home, it was more like milk with an array of goodies any mother would label appetite-ruining sweets: chocolate covered biscottis, nutella spread, cereals of all kinds, cookies, and toast. This was “supposed” to sustain you until lunch time which started no earlier than 2:30 or even 3:00 in the afternoon.

Lunch was usually the heaviest meal of the day and this was when we would get our roasted pork chops and chicken. It did take awhile to get used to and this meant putting up with hungry stomach noises all throughout my 12pm class. It was OK, every single American in that room shared the same sentiment. Our professor would just laugh and just shake her head when we all made a mad dash out the door to get home after class.

It is no wonder then that many succumb to the the pleasures of siesta time (usually food coma induced) after lunch where the hours between 3 and 6 pm don’t know the meaning of work. Children are off from school, businesses close down, and the streets are fairly empty.

Many enjoyed their siestas by taking naps in the park amongst strangers (incredible! I could never do that in my city). Nothing is to pick back up until the early hours of the evening and even then, some stores may decide to extend their siesta into the very next morning.

Children are allowed out until the late hours of the night, having had a nap for 4 hours or more. Finally, the last meal of the day is served no earlier than 9 or 10 pm in the evening. For these, we usually got anything from pizza to salad or hamburgers (which I must say is unlike any hamburger I have ever had in my life – but delicious nonetheless!!).

The dinner table definitely made for an intimate ambiance between us roommates. The table was just a little bigger than a coffee table and elbows touching elbows was inevitable while eating. It was a great way to catch up on the day or to lay out plans for that night’s debauchery.

As you can see, the role of food in Spain is front and center in everyday life – in so many other ways that I haven’t even touched on (ie Tapas, Churros con Chocolate) and it was interesting to experience how a slight change in schedule can bring about a distinct way of life. With that said, I think it’s pretty telling why I picked out this roasted chicken recipe.

To make this happen, you will need:

Chicken:

1 whole chicken, about 3lbs
olive oil for brushing onto the bird
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Stuffing:

4oz. chorizo sausage, diced
4oz. lean ground pork (or ground chicken)
4 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley
4 garlic cloves crushed
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbs finely choppped onion
1 tbs chopped oregano leaves
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 egg
1.5 tbs of salt

*when I made this, I used a 6 lb chicken and I just doubled the recipe for the stuffing.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F

Step 2: Make the stuffing: put all the ingredients in a bowl and (using your hands), mix together all ingredients until they are evenly combined.

Step 3: Place the stuffing inside the chicken and tie the legs together with cooking string (if you don’t have this, don’t worry about it).

Step 4: Transfer the chicken into a roasting pan or a deep pan (I used a cake pan lined with foil) and lightly brush the chicken skin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure the chicken is evenly coated on all sides.

Step 5: Place the chicken in the oven and let it roast for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. After thirty minutes, lower the temperature to 325 degrees and roast for an additional hour or until the internal temperature of the thigh reads 180 degrees. *general rule of thumb: allow about 20-25 minutes per pound of chicken

Step 4: Remove from the oven and let the bird rest for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Don’t quite know how to carve from a whole chicken? Alton Brown keeps it simple and convincing that you too can tackle carving a bird yourself.

This chicken is quite easy to make and uses everyday ingredients which you can get at just about any grocery store. The first thing I noticed after the first bite into the stuffing was the lemony flavor and then the savory smokyness of the chorizo. The herbs were mild, but they were definitely there.

Meat from the chicken pretty much fell off the bone and the breast meat was so tender and juicy! For you skin lovers out there, the skin came out nice and crispy but it softened while we waited the extra 5 to 10 minutes before carving it. There was also a LOT of fat drippings at the bottom of the pan (about 2 cups worth) so if you DO have a roasting pan that catches the drippings underneath, I highly suggest you use it.

The recipe suggests pairing the chicken with sauteed mushrooms, roasted asparagus, and/or mashed potatoes. Imagine my pleasant surprise when my dinner guests came over with none other than, you guessed it, mashed potatoes (loaded mashed potatoes I might add) and roasted asparagus.

When surrounded with great food and great company, life slows down for awhile, and you get to enjoy the simple things and sometimes reminisce and about a moment that once existed thousands of miles away.

To Spain, to the sake of cooking for memories, to nostalgia and good company,

Happy Cooking!

7 Comments

Filed under Cooking