Chicken

How to Cook Perfect Chicken Breasts

Imagine this:

I am sitting in my PJs watching Brazil and listening to the lid of the crock pot bubble and pop as my tri tip simmers.  As I put my dogs up and sip my beer I have this sudden urge to get up and dance.  I burst up, shooting droplets of beer everywhere in a golden frenzy and my feet start to move!

First, my toes begin tapping to a latin beat.  Then my whole foot gets into it.  Before I know it, I’m bounding and leaping across my entire apartment, spinning and dancing as if I were in a musical.  Completely magical.

Huh.  This is strong stuff.

Anywho, this post has nothing to do with dancing, Brazil or tri tip for that matter (that will come in due time my faithful friends).  Instead, I discovered this fantastic method of cooking chicken breast.  The results are moist and tender and practically fool-proof.  That’s right, I said it.   I’ll even say it again … FOOL-PROOF.

Whoa.  That was intense.

Try it out for yourself.

Props to The Kitchn for this one.

How to Cook Perfect Chicken Breasts

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 to 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour (or more)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly chopped herbs (optional)
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Pound the chicken breasts to an even thickness.
  2. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts.
  3. Mix about a half teaspoon of salt in with the flour along with a little pepper. Chop the herbs finely, if using, and mix in well.
  4. Quickly dredge the chicken breasts in the flour, so they are lightly coated with flour.
  5. Heat the saute pan over medium-high heat. When it is quite hot, add the butter and the olive oil. Let them melt and swirl the pan.
  6. Turn the heat to medium. Add the chicken breasts. Cook for just about 1 minute to help them get a little golden. Note that you are not actually searing or browning the chicken, you are simply creating a layer to lock juices in. Flip each chicken breast over.
  7. Turn the heat to low. Put the lid on the pan. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and walk away. Do not lift the lid. Resist ever urge to peek!
  8. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat. Reset the timer for 10 minutes and leave the chicken breasts in the pan. Again, do not lift the lid and do not peek.
  9. After the 10 minutes are up you can finally peek! You should have soft, tender, juicy chicken that isn't dried out. Double check them to make sure there isn't any pink in the middle. Slice and devour.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/how-to-cook-perfect-chicken-breasts/

 

Slow Roasted Jerk Chicken

Like anything that is slow roasted, this recipe takes a lot of patience.  It’s great for those days when you have nothing better to do than watch a nice piece of meat slow roast or smoke in your grill for hours and hours (accompanied by some cold brews of course).  My favorite Sunday activity.

The secret is to keep things low and slow and use indirect heat.  You will not be disappointed with the result.  The meat is tender and juicy and falls right off the bone.  Delish!

I typically do a homemade BBQ sauce for chicken like this. This time I jazzed  things up by creating my own Jamaican jerk sauce.  Turned out pretty awesome if I don’t say so myself.

Here’s the skinny.

Slow Roasted Jerk Chicken

Prep Time: 24 hours

Yields: About 1 Serving per Pound

Slow Roasted Jerk Chicken

Cooking time: 1 Hour per Pound

Ingredients

  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 fresh habanero chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 whole chicken, cut in half

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients (excluding the chicken) together in a blender until smooth. Cut chicken in half and place in a large ziplock bag (or two if there isn't a lot of space). Pour in your marinade, seal bag, and press out the excess air. Turn bag several times to distribute marinade. Put the chicken and marinade into the fridge and marinate for 24 hours, turning once or twice. Rinse the chicken, pat dry, then let it stand at room temperature 1 hour before grilling. Reserve some of the marinade for basting later.
  2. Start a charcoal, wood or gas fire in a grill big enough to bank coals to one side until they get hot. With a gas grill, turn heat to high on one side and leave the other side off. If there are three burners, you can set the two side ones to medium or low and cook in the middle. When the grill is at about 220 degrees F, put the chicken on the least hot part, skin-side up, and cover grill. Let chicken cook for about 20 minutes.
  3. When the bottom of the chicken is lightly seared and the meat is beginning to look cooked, turn meat over in the same part of the grill. Cover again and check after about 10 minutes. When skin is lightly browned, turn again. Continue to cook in the least hot part of the grill until the chicken looks close to done (about an hour per pound at this rate). Time will depend on your heat, the size of your chicken, and the size of your pieces of chicken too.
  4. When the chicken is cooked (about 185 degrees F), brush each side with some of the marinade. Let the sauce caramelize a bit then remove the chicken from the heat. Cover and let the meat rest for 8 - 10 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/slow-roasted-jerk-chicken/

Chicken Parmesan Mini Dippers

I saw this recipe online and immediately had to try it out for myself.

Really though, any recipe that caters to my recent wonton wrapper obsession trumps any other recipe these days anyway.  Just saying.

These little chicken parm wraps are so addicting!!  It’s everything you love in a chicken parmesan dinner but in bite-sized form.  Plus their finger-friendly characteristics make them super convenient for a potluck party or one of the million BBQs you plan to attend this summer.  They are great warm but keep very well at room temperature too.

Recipe adapted from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Chicken Parmesan Mini Dippers

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yields: 30 Bite-Sized Minis

Chicken Parmesan Mini Dippers

Ingredients

  • 8-ounces raw chicken breast
  • 1 cup homemade marinara sauce, plus more for serving
  • 1 package wonton wrappers
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Place the chicken breast in a small pot and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil on your stovetop, reduce the heat slightly, then simmer for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain and let cool before shredding with two forks, pulling against the grain of the meat. Mix the meat with the marinara sauce in a small bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the wrappers on a clean work surface. Layer each with a few leaves of spinach, then chicken, followed by mozzarella and parmesan.
  3. Lightly brush two adjacent sides of the wrapper with water and fold the upper left corner downward, covering the filling, and press to seal on the bottom right corner. Press to seal each of the sides. Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
  4. Place all filled wraps on a greased wire rack set over a cookie sheet, coat each in cooking spray or a light brushing of olive oil, and bake for about 12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn a golden brown.
  5. Serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/chicken-parmesan-mini-dippers/

Lemon-Tarragon Brine for Roasted Chicken

This chicken is to die for!  If you treat this with extra tender loving care, this plump little creature will satisfy you unlike any other has satisfied you before.  Erotic?  I think so.

If you’ve never brined anything before… shame on you!  Once you brine, you never go back.  Unless of course you marinate the hell out of something.  But that’s a different story.  Brining usually consists of a ton of salt, water, and a ton of fresh herbs.  Your thirsty bird soaks the heck out of this amazing combination and BAM!  You have a juicier, more flavorful chicken.

I can’t express how important trussing your bird is to the entire process.  Do this.  Here is a great tutorial by the wonderful Alton Brown on how and why you should truss.  Note that I trussed my chicken but I’m still not the best at it and wrapped the string in the wrong place… eh, it gets the job done.

I usually roast my bird on a bed of potatoes and veggies in a cast iron skillet.  This way my chicken is elevated away from the bottom of my pan and my veggies simmer in the chicken fat and end up being really flavorful after everything is said and done with.  I put the potatoes and top it with chicken first, roast for a half an hour, then add the carrots.  I have this weird issue with soggy vegetables… but that’s just me.

I got this recipe from Mister Michael Ruhlman.  With a name like that, you know it’s going to be good.  This guy knows his stuff!

Lemon-Tarragon Brine for Roasted Chicken

Prep Time: 23 hours

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 24 hours

Yields: 1 Amazingly Juicy Chicken

Ingredients

  • 3 3/4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 2 lemons, quartered
  • 1 large bunch fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 large bunch tarragon, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 or so ice cubes

Directions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pan, bring to a simmer, remove the pan from heat and cover to let the ingredients steep. Add the ice to cool down the brine (if you're not in a hurry, you can measure out 40 ounces of water instead of 30 and omit the ice).
  2. To brine your chicken, put it in a large plastic bag, pour in the brine. Press as much air out of the bag as possible and twist and tie off your bag so that no air is touching your bird. Put the bag in a large bowl and refrigerate it for 8 to 24 hours, turning the bird a couple of times to ensure all surfaces are receiving the brine.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine at least an hour and up to two days before cooking it (discard the brine). Rinse the bird, pat it dry, and stuff the bird with a few lemon wedges. Gently wedge your fingers between the skin and the meat of the breast and stuff with a few tabs of butter and extra fresh herbs if you desire. These will melt while the bird is roasting and sink deep into your white meat breast. Truss and roast the chicken at 400 degrees F for about an hour (for a 3-4 pound chicken), legs toward the back of the oven. Time will vary depending on the size of your bird. If your skin is getting too dark too quickly, lower heat to 375 degrees F. Your cooking time will be longer, but your skin will still be a beautiful golden brown.
  4. Your bird is cooked when the drumstick of the bird has loosened enough that it wiggles easily when you touch it. You should also stab the thigh of the bird with a small knife to see if the juices run clear. If you have a meat thermometer, insert it into the inner thigh area between the thigh and the drumstick being careful not to touch bone. The internal temperature should be at 165 degrees F.
  5. Allow the chicken to rest for 20 minutes, cut into pieces and serve.

Notes

Save your bones for amazing chicken stock!

http://foodiemcbooty.com/lemon-tarragon-brine-for-roasted-chicken/

Filipino Pancit Bihon

I always feel really good when I make pancit (not that I make it nearly as good as my family makes it).  Simply because a lot of people outside of the Philippines don’t know how to cook pancit.  It’s a little piece of my heritage that is resurfacing.

Filipino cooking is not an exact science.  Add the vegetables and seasonings according to your own likes and dislikes.  Just try not to use too much soy sauce, it can easily become overpowering.  Pork can be substituted for chicken or added in addition to the chicken.  I have also added shrimp to my pancit if I have it.  You can also substitute tofu for the meat, omit the oyster sauce and use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this a vegetarian dish.

This feeds a lot of people.  You could throw a party and serve this dish or bring it to a potluck.  Everyone will thank you.  Or make this for yourself and eat the leftovers for lunch for the rest of the week.  You’ll never go hungry again!

This recipe adapted from my family’s recipe book and a few changes of my own.

Filipino Pancit Bihon

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yields: Serves about 10

Filipino Pancit Bihon

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package bihon rice noodles, soaked for at least 15 minutes then drained
  • 2 chicken breast or pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails cut off
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly into 1-inch matchsticks
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, minced
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Mirin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lemon, for serving

Directions

  1. In a large pan or wok, add the half of the oil, onion, garlic and ginger. Stir fry until the onion is translucent. Add the chicken or pork. When the meat is mostly cooked on all sides, add the shrimp and cook until pink. Add veggies and mirin and stir fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In the same pan or wok, pour and heat up remaining olive oil. Add the chicken cubes and saute until melted. Add the water and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Add the noodles and keep tossing them until they are loosened. Add the salt and pepper to taste and cook until the noodles are almost tender. Add more water to cook the noodles if necessary.
  3. Add the meat and mixed vegeteables. Keep on tossing until ingredients are well mixed and noodles are tender but firm. Do not overcook. Remove from heat and serve hot with soy sauce and lemon.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/pancit-bihon/

Photo courtesy of Tapsilogatbp

Stuffed Chicken Divan with Sherry Dijon Sauce

At first I had no idea what “Divan” meant.  I originally thought it was a specific way you prepare the dish, like a souffle or to sauté.  After researching online, I still don’t really know if it has a meaning outside of being a dish consisting of chicken, broccoli and cheese.

Either way, those three ingredients are items that I have mixed together in casseroles in the past.  This is like that casserole but in a more gourmet fashion.  I found this recipe online, futzed with it a bit, and ended up with this healthier version of Chicken Divan.  Who says eating healthy has to be bland?

This recipe calls for transferring your chicken to a baking dish.  If you have a cast iron skillet, use it to save you the hassle of washing one more dish.

I served mine with rosemary roasted red potatoes.   Steamed vegetables or brown rice make good accompaniments as well.

Stuffed Chicken Divan with Sherry Dijon Sauce

Rating: 41

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yields: Serves 4

Stuffed Chicken Divan with Sherry Dijon Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (4-ounces) fresh broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup (2-ounces) grated Gruyère cheese
  • tab of butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 4 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (go easy on the salt because the sherry has a lot of salt already)
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (or more)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.
  2. In the mean time, sauté your garlic in a small pan in a bit of butter, 2 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with Gruyère and sautéed garlic mixture. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a pocket. Use your fingers here to extend the pocket as large as the piece of chicken can handle. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper. You may need to stab the opening of your chicken breasts with toothpicks to prevent the stuffing from spilling out during the cooking process. If you do, remember to take these out later.
  4. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.
  5. Combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and whisk consistently. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. You may need to add more cornstarch if the sauce is too runny. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with a bit of sauce, enough to wet the chicken, and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. Once rested, cut each chicken breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with halved chicken breast, serve hot and enjoy.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/stuffed-chicken-divan-with-a-sherry-dijon-sauce/

Baked Coconut Curry Chicken Fingers

My good buddy D$Rock inspired me to make this meal.  He was nice enough to share part of his lunch with me, which happened to be chicken tenders and mashed potatoes.  After I had a taste, I really wanted to make more so I could completely indulge and satisfy.

This recipe is super tasty and really affordable.  You can make a lot of these little guys when you’re on a tight budget.

If you’re not familiar with panko, it’s a Japanese style bread crumb.  The bread crumbs are very light and crispy and once you use them, it’s hard to go back to regular bread crumbs.

{Once you go PANKO, you don’t go back}

I only had ketchup and mayo on hand, but I think these would be tasty with a sweet BBQ sauce or apricot sauce of some kind.  This dreamy sauce recipe is still in the works!  What would you use?

Baked Coconut Curry Chicken Fingers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken tenders
  • 1-2 eggs (start with one and crack another one if necessary)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, finely chopped to match the panko
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder (or to taste)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Give the coconut a rough chop so it's about the same size as the panko pieces. Combine the coconut with panko and spices in a shallow dish. Mix well to distribute all of the spices.
  2. Place the flour in another shallow dish, and the egg in another. Give the egg a quick beating.
  3. Working with one chicken tender at a time, dredge the chicken in flour, then dip in the egg mixture and then finally coat the chicken in the coconut-panko mixture. Press the coconut-panko mixture into the chicken with your fingers to make sure the entire piece is well coated.
  4. Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray (for easy clean up). You can spray or brush a bit of olive oil on the tops to help them crisp up if you'd like.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear. Flipping your tenders at around 10 minutes will help crisp up both sides of the tenders. Try not to overcook these because chicken tends to dry out very quickly. The coconut will be nice and golden and the panko crisp and light in color when the breading is done.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/coconut-curry-chicken-fingers/

 

Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites

Baked Pineapple Chicken

There is a huge market in Brighton, Colorado that offers all sorts of goodies once the spring thaw hits.  This market is so huge, in fact, that it’s named the Mile High Marketplace.  You can find anything from food to used items, and the hustle and bustle is always entertainment in itself.

I purchased a delicious smelling pineapple and had to create a recipe around it.  Although I admit that this recipe was really an excuse to make the Ginger Carrot Rice recipe I had recently fallen in love with.  I had a few leftover carrots from a previous soup adventure that I wanted to use  and jazz them up as a new and improved side dish.  This meal is chock full of flavor.  The pineapple provides the sweet and tang while the carrot ginger rice tingles your senses as it fills your belly.

If you like spice, serve this with a little jerk sauce on the side.

Oh uh, here’s a napkin… you’re drooling.

Baked Pineapple Chicken

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yields: 4 Servings

Baked Pineapple Chicken

Ingredients

  • Six half chicken breasts (drumsticks work well too)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup teriyaki
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • Fresh or canned pineapple (you will yield more sauce with canned pineapple)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoons rosemary, crushed

Directions

  1. For the marinade, place your chicken pieces in a large ziplock bag and pour about vinegar and teriyaki into the bag, enough to cover and coat your chicken. Add about garlic (the more the merrier here), mix the contents, and marinate anywhere from 2 hours to overnight in the fridge.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Drain pineapple (if canned) and reserve juice. Combine juice with garlic, cornstarch, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and rosemary.
  3. Arrange chicken in a shallow baking dish, skin side up. Broil on high until browned. Stir sauce, pour over chicken, cover and bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Arrange lemon and pineapple slices around chicken. Spoon sauce over all. Bake for 5 more minutes.
http://foodiemcbooty.com/baked-pineapple-chicken/

Suggested accompaniment:

Serve this with Ginger Carrot Rice.

Photo courtesy of ChineseFoodRecipes.org

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