Chicken Stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone

This is a great dinner party entrée to impress your guests. It’s super easy and you can make it ahead and put it in the refrigerator without the bread crumbs.

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Chicken Stuffed with Asparagus & Provolone

Seves 4

½ cup mayonnaise
3 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 lemon, juiced and zested
2 tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
16 thin spears of asparagus, trimmed
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish. In a bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, lemon zest, tarragon, salt, and pepper until the mixture is well combined. Set aside.

Place a chicken breast between two sheets of heavy plastic (resealable freezer bags work well) on a solid, level surface. Firmly pound the chicken breast with the smooth side of a meat mallet to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts.

Place 1 slice of provolone on each chicken breast, and top the cheese with 4 asparagus spears per breast. Roll the chicken breasts around the asparagus and cheese, making a tidy package, and place, seam sides down, in the prepared baking dish. With a pastry brush, apply a coating of the mayonnaise mixture to each chicken breast, and sprinkle each with panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the chicken to make a coating.

Bake in the preheated oven until the crumbs are browned and the chicken juices run clear, about 25 minutes.

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Chicken Enchiladas with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

I have a client that is on a very restricted diet, which means I have to make almost everything from scratch. All the canned enchilada sauces available have salt in them. I use no salt added tomatoes and tomato paste. It’s actually really easy to make your own and you can make it mild or spicy. Instead of making one big casserole, I made individual servings for the freezer.

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Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 6

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
Cooking spray
1½ Tbs onion, chopped
1½ Tbs cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
3 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
2 cups enchilada sauce, divided (see recipe below)
1½ cups (6 oz) shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup sliced ripe olives

Preheat oven to 350°

Place the tortillas in the microwave for about 1 minute to soften.Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, cilantro, and jalapeño; sauté until onion is tender. Add chicken, diced tomatoes and 1 cup enchilada sauce; cook 5 minutes.

Spoon chicken mixture evenly down centers of tortillas. Roll up tortillas; place, seam sides down, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over enchiladas, and top with cheese. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until enchiladas are thoroughly heated and cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with tomato and olives.

Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce

Makes 2 cups

2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 Tbs flour
2 Tbs chili powder
2 cups water
3 oz tomato paste
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¾ tsp salt

Add the vegetable oil, flour, and chili powder to a medium pot. Turn the heat on to medium and whisk the ingredients together. Continue to whisk as the mixture begins to bubble. Whisk and cook the mixture for one minute once it begins bubbling.

After one minute, whisk in the water, tomato paste, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer it will begin to thicken slightly then add the salt. The sauce is now ready to use.

Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Pulled pork sandwiches are high on my list. I love them. This is a “healthier” version. To reduce more of the fat, I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. You can serve these sandwiches on those super thin “buns” to ease the guilt! Also, you can throw it in the crockpot and forget about it!
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Barbecue Pulled Chicken

Serves 8

8 oz can reduced-sodium tomato sauce
4 oz can chopped green chiles, drained
3 Tbs cider vinegar
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sweet or smoked paprika
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dry mustard
1 tsp ground chipotle chile
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced

Stir tomato sauce, chiles, vinegar, honey, paprika, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground chipotle and salt in a 6-quart slow cooker until smooth. Add chicken, onion and garlic; stir to combine.

Put the lid on and cook on low until the chicken can be pulled apart, about 5 hours.

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return the chicken to the sauce, stir well and serve.

Make Ahead Tip
Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Chicken in Lemon & Wine Sauce

I made this for my client last week minus the salt. This is a great healthy, low-fat recipe that you can make ahead and freeze.
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Chicken in Lemon & Wine Sauce

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 Tbs flour
salt and pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 lemon,  juiced & zested
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tsp fresh Italian parsley, minced

Pat the chicken dry; sprinkle with salt and pepper and dredge with flour.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Sauté the chicken until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken and add the garlic and onions to the skillet. Sauté until soft.

Add the wine and chicken stock, lemon juice, thyme and chicken. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the sauce is thickened.

Top with lemon zestand parsley.

Note:
You can freeze the chicken in individual containers.
Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Heat loosely covered in the microwave at 70% power until hot, about 2-3 minutes.

Chicken Lemon Sweet & Sour

I love sweet and sour anything. This is quick, easy and delicious.
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Chicken Lemon Sweet & Sour

Serves 4

2 Tbs vegetable oil
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cups all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped

Lemon Sweet & Sour Sauce

1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Juice of 1 lemon
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

To make the glaze, combine honey, soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, olive oil, pepper and garlic powder in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10-12 minutes.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season chicken with pepper.  Dredge chicken in flour, and add chicken to the skillet with the green peppers, and cook until evenly golden and crispy. Stir in the lemon sweet and sour sauce and sprinkle with green onions and serve over rice.

Heart Healthy Smothered Chicken

Last week, I got a new client who can’t have salt, carbs and sugar. I love this kind of challenge. My goal is to make it as flavorful as possible with no salt. This meal can be made ahead a frozen.

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Heart Healthy Smothered Chicken

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
½ tsp salt-free seasoning of your choice (or salt and pepper)
canola or olive oil cooking spray
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
⅛ cup flour
2 cups no sodium chicken stock (see recipe below)
1 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped

Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.  Add chicken and season with seasoning of your choice.  Cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, then remove to a plate.

Spray the skillet with more cooking spray and add the carrots, onions, and garlic.  Cook for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook until the vegetables are tender.  Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the broth and thyme.  Bring to a boil, and cook until slightly thick, stirring frequently.

Serve chicken breasts with sautéed vegetables over them.

Note:
You can freeze the chicken with the vegetables in individual containers.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Heat loosely covered in the microwave at 70% power until hot, about 2-3 minutes.

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Chicken Stock

Makes 6-8 cups

1-3 chicken carcasses
1 onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic, smashed
6 sprigs parsley
1 sprig thyme
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
water

Place everything in a large stock pot, cover with 4 inches of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Strain the solids from the stock and discard them. Optionally, let the stock cool in the fridge over night and skim off any fat before using.

Baked Chicken Wings 2 Ways

Traditional chicken wings are pretty spicy. I added a non-spicy version. You can divide the recipe in half and make both to satistfy everyone. The key to crispy chicken wings is boiling them first. These seems counter intuitive, but it works. Make sure you pat them dry before roasting. Moisture is the enemy of crispiness!

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Crispy Baked Chicken Wings

Serves 2-4

2 lbs chicken wing pieces
1 Tbs salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Heat up a big pot of boiling water with the salt.

Boil the chicken wings for 7-8 minutes, then remove them to a wire rack so the excess water can drain off. Let them drip dry a little bit, then dry them well with a paper towel.

Place the chicken wings directly on a sheet pan. Bake the chicken wings for 25-30 minutes on one side, then flip the wings and bake for another 5 minutes on the other side. The wings should have crispy crackly golden skin on the side that was in contact with the sheet pan. The wings are now ready to be bathed in the sauces below.

Spicy Chicken Wings

3 Tbs Frank’s hot sauce
2 Tbs butter
dash of worcestershire sauce
ground cayenne pepper to taste, optional

In a small saucepan or in the microwave, heat up the hot sauce, butter, worcestershire sauce and cayenne pepper, if using, until melted and combined. Toss the hot wings in the sauce, and serve immediately.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Wings

¼ cup butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion salt
¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

In a small glass bowl, whisk the melted butter with the garlic powder, onion salt and pepper.

Arrange hot wings on a serving platter and drizzle with butter mixture.

Top with parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Chicken Chasseur (Hunter’s Style Chicken)

This chicken casserole, which I made for dinner on Sunday night, is the perfect winter meal. It is prepared with tomatoes and mushrooms and herbs and served on a creamy bed of Parmesan polenta.

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Chicken Chasseur (Hunter’s Style Chicken)

Serves 4-6

3 to 3 1/2 lb chicken, skin-on, parts of your choice
Kosher or sea salt
1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup boiling water
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
½ lb crimini mushrooms
2 oz red (Italian/sweet) vermouth
2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
1 small carrot, peeled and grated (about ½ cup)
3 cups chopped ripe San Marzano tomatoes (or an equivalent amount of canned peeled Italian plum tomatoes)
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
a pinch of red chile flakes
3 Tbs chopped fresh herb, like fresh thyme and flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Arrange the chicken pieces on a platter and pat dry. Season well with salt and set aside.

Cover the porcini with the boiling water and let steep until the mushrooms are soft. Remove the mushrooms, finely chop and set aside. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove any grit, and set aside.

Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, and brown the chicken parts in batches, skin-side down, until all chicken is browned and crisp-skinned. Remove the browned chicken pieces to a plate or platter and set aside. Pour off all but a thin layer of the rendered fat.

Trim and quarter the crimini mushrooms and add to the pan. Cook until browned on all sides, then add the chopped porcini and the red vermouth, cooking until the liquid has evaporated. Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Add the chopped onions to the pan with a sprinkle of salt, adding a little more oil if necessary, and cook until soft and opaque. Add the carrot and toss through, then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, chile flakes, wine and reserved mushroom liquid, stirring well and bringing to a simmer.

Toss the chopped herbs with the mushrooms and return to the pot, stirring through. Nestle the chicken pieces on top, being sure to add any of the juices that have accumulated. Cover the pot with a parchment lid, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for at least one hour, preferably more, until the chicken is falling-apart tender and the sauce thick and reduced.

Serve over creamy polenta with a sprinkle of chopped flat leaf parsley on top.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is one of our family’s Mexican comfort food recipes. I made it easier by cutting up the tortillas instead of rolling them. I also soften the tortillas in the microwave to avoid frying them in oil.
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Chicken Enchilada Casserole

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
1 onion, chopped
12 corn tortillas
28 oz can green enchilada sauce
4 oz can diced chiles
4 oz can sliced black olives
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Sauté the onion in a little bit of canola oil. Once the onions are softened, mix them with the green chiles, 3/4 of a can of black olives (I chop them up), and the shredded chicken.

Next place the tortillas in the microwave for about 1 minute. Remove and cut the tortillas into 1″ squares.

Pour 1/4 of the enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9″x13′ pyrex casserole dish. Then top with 1/2 the onion, chile, olive, chicken mixture, then top with some of the grated cheese. Repeat the layers. Top with remaining cheese and the rest of the slice olives.

Refrigerate until ready to bake. Bake 375 F for about 30 – 40 minutes.

Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

I’ve written about Chick-Fil-A before.  I am not a fan of Chick-Fil-A as a company.  They have a 65 year history of doing business according to Biblical principles.  Enough said….

Unfortunately, their chicken is really good.  Instead of patronizing this restaurant, I make it at home.

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Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets

1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite sized nuggets or strips
3/4 cup bread crumbs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp seasoning salt {like Lawry’s}
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, whisked
vegetable oil, for frying

In a large bowl, add chicken pieces and buttermilk. Marinate the chicken in the  buttermilk for one hour or overnight.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the flour, garlic powder, onion powder, sugar, seasoning salt, pepper and paprika.

In a large dutch oven, heat 2 inches of vegetable [or peanut] oil to 350 degrees over medium-high heat.

Whisk eggs in a separate bowl. Piece by piece, remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge in bread crumb/flour mixture, then egg wash, then back into bread crumb/flour mixture.

Cook  the chicken in the hot oil for about 1½ minutes, then flip chicken pieces over, if necessary, and cook for another 1½- 2 minutes. Chicken is ready when the coating is medium golden brown. Transfer chicken pieces to a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Repeat with remaining chicken.  Serve with Chick-Fil-A sauce.

Chick-Fil-A Sauce

Makes 1 cup

1 cup Ken’s honey mustard dressing (no brand substitutions)
2 tsp smoky barbecue sauce

Combine ingredients and cover and refrigerate until serving.