Tag Archives: chicken

Crock Pot Creations: White Chicken Chili

2 Oct

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In the summertime, I suspect that most of us prefer low-temperature cooking and cuisines. (Amirite?) Summer’s most famous dishes from around the world — Caprese salad, Gazpacho, a crisp and fresh Margarita — are all refreshing and require little to no stovetop slavery.

But now that the weather’s turning a bit cooler (depending on the day, it seems — some mornings I’m reaching for my sweatshirts, and other days, I’m in short sleeves!), it’s time to whip out that crock pot and rock some all-day, all-delicious chili.

This particular White Chicken Chili comes from the Mensa-level culinary geniuses lovely ladies and gentlemen of Fix It and Forget It, a collection of Crock Pot-licious cookbooks that my mother (and grandmother) have sworn by for years.

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This recipe could not be simpler. (No, really! I challenge you to find a simpler recipe. Unless its directions are along the lines of, “Peel Banana. Eat.”) If you’re vegetarian, simply double the quantity of beans, or add an equal amount of a different variety of legume. That version is also vegan, if you’re of the no-animal-products persuasion.

My other favorite thing about this recipe is its lack of canned soups. As much as I love a traditional crock pot recipe, watching your sodium gets tricky when you used multiple cans of condensed soup! With this chili, the creaminess comes from those delicious Great Northern beans in all of their slow-cooked glory.  Eat All the Noms!

I’d recommend serving this chili with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro and chopped white onion to garnish, a bottle of Belgian beer or Dos Equis, and a slice of cornbread. Enjoy the deliciousness, and happy early Fall!

White Chicken Chili

Serves 8-10, depending on portion sizes

You’ll Need:

  • 2 16-oz cans of Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 4.5-oz cans of green chiles (try Old El Paso or Ortega)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 14.5-oz can chicken broth (try low-sodium broth, chicken stock, or veggie stock as alternate ingredients)
  • 1 cup water

Here’s What You Do:

  • Brown chicken in a large saucepan, if desired. (Not necessary for the dish, but it adds a nice layer of flavor)
  • Add beans, chicken, onion, chiles, seasoning, chicken broth, and water to crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 8-10 hours.
  • Eat. Yup, that’s really it.

What are your favorite Crock Pot dishes for fall? Share away! Here’s to seasonal eats, chili dinners and chillier mornings!


Laissez Les Bons Temps Roulez! Quick Jambalaya for Mardi Gras

12 Feb

Hi Y’all! Today is that greatest of holidays, Mardi Gras!

Image sourced from google.com

Image sourced from google.com/images

Also known as Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day (Hullo hullo, UK friends!), Carnivale, and a slew of other names, it’s the last day in the Liturgical (read: church) year before the season of Lent begins. Once upon the middle ages and Renaissance, Christian folks would give up sugar, butter, meat, and most of what makes a diet pleasurable during those 40 days and 40 nights, leaving them with nothing to do the day before but … eat, well, everything. Hence, one of the world’s best food-fests was born!

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February Resolution: A Month-Long Passport to … ?

3 Feb

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Back again with my 2013 Monthly Blogging Resolutions! As I posted a month ago, I’ll be tackling monthly resolutions about GKG all through 2013. Rather than a few year-long goals, I’ve broken them up into month-by-month challenges. Here’s to growth and new adventures! Want to read the original post? Check out all of my 2013 girls here!

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Takeout Fakeout: Homemade Teriyaki-Lime Stir-Fry

27 Jan

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Pop quiz, kiddos: What do you get when you combine broccoli, carrots, onions, celery, chicken, ginger, lime juice, teriyaki, soy sauce, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and chicken broth? (Phew! That was a mouthful … of tasty! … I kill myself.)

Answer: You get the best homemade version of takeout stir-fry you’ve ever made.

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Budget (Ethnic) Eats: Curry Chicken with Peas & Carrots

14 Jan

ImageI’m somewhat experienced with eating Indian food. So good. So, so delicious. So spicy, flavorful and fun. Samosas? Tikka Masala? Saag Paneer? Sign me and my belly up, please.

But cooking Indian food? Um … I’ve baked frozen, pre-made samosas before. And … okay, that’s about it. Embarrassing, right? At least, as someone who loves to eat Indian cuisine, I should attempt to cook something within that family of foods, right?

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Homemade > Store-Bought, the Chicken Stock Edition

8 Dec

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Yes, Virginia, there IS real food somewhere in there! This lovely little display of ooey-gooey chicken guts-ness, veggies and aromatics will eventually become one of my favorite cooking items in the world — chicken stock. Simple, versatile, and capable of enriching even the simplest of recipes, chicken stock (or turkey stock, or heck, even veggie stock, which is just as easy to make and totally vegetarian / vegan) is the backbone of that “Mmmm, this tastes like something my Grandma made” flavor. If you’re looking for homey nostalgia in a dish, this is your (no longer a big) secret weapon.

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DIY Empanadas: A Pie Crust, Some Chicken, and A Dream

6 Dec

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So, how do you make your own empanadas when your life’s travels haven’t exactly taken you to El Salvador? With leftovers, killer flavors, and a little creativity. And by “a little creativity,” I mean, “a little bit of store-bought pie crust.” While I’ll willingly acknowledge that these aren’t exactly authentic, as those who can make them from scratch would (rightfully) argue, they’re still super easy and pretty darn delicious for a cold week night’s supper.

When I think of empanadas, my mind also wanders towards other “dough + filling = best comfort food ever.” Cornish pasties (hello, favorite British snack, apart from tubes of Jaffa cakes), calzones, stromboli, and even dumplings (like those at the KILLER brunch at Silver Spring’s Oriental East. To. Die. For.) are all delicious, but empanadas have that special Latin flavor that keeps me coming back for more.

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Viva Italia: Healthful Chicken Parmigiana

23 Sep

When the History Teacher mentioned a craving for Chicken Parm recently, he and I both took a peek or two at various recipes in our collections. (Cookbooks, magazines, Pinterest — which is slowly becoming a recipe book-sized collection in itself!) Each recipe we found, it seemed, called for lots of oil, gobs of cheese, and a few more calories than either of us might need in one meal. Or an entire day.

I decided to tackle the beast that was one of Italian-American cuisine’s most iconic dishes, but in a healthier way. Could it be done? Would it be a fruitless effort, like whoever decided to try manufacturing fat-free ice cream? (Oxymoronic at best, nasty at worst. Oif.) Would I end up with a chicken-tasting hockey puck of low-fat grossness? Time would tell.

But, lo and behold, I came up with this beauty:

Nommy nom nom goodness.

The recipe’s low-fat, easy-prep secrets? (I’ll let you in, faithful GKG readers, because you’re lovely and awesome.)

  1. Pound the chicken breasts to tenderize the meat.
  2. Double-Bread the chicken (directions below) to seal in moisture and create a crispy crust
  3. Downplay the cheese by only adding enough for flavor, rather than letting the chicken drown in fromaggio.
  4. If you have it, use whole-wheat pasta, which has a nuttier flavor and a hefty “bite” when cooked al dente.

Now, some of you may be raising a red flag at the mention of lowering the recipe’s cheese content. After all, what’s Chicken Parm without gobs upon gobs of melted mozzarella? Here’s my reasoning: If the chef uses less, but makes the cheese available to her guests and patrons, then they can add as much cheese as they see fit. And, thus, their future heart attacks are not on the chef’s conscience. Plus, I like a lighter layer of cheese with the whole-wheat or whole-grain pastas. Something about their nutty, wholesome flavor screams “Please don’t drown me in dairy!”

And so, friends, here’s my recipe for an easy and surprisingly healthful Chicken Parmigiana. It’s really the meat-pounding-and-double-breading that makes this recipe special, and the techniques are so simple that they can be easily applied to any cut of meat that you choose. Try it with pork chops, chicken thighs, or even a thin steak if you’re feeling particularly Southern. Happy eating!

Surprisingly Healthful Chicken Parm — Serves 4 (easily reduced to 2 or doubled)

You’ll need:

  • 4 medium-sized or two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (regular, Italian-seasoned or panko are all fine)
  • A hefty sprinkle of Parmesan, plus more for serving (approx 1 tbsp)
  • 1-2 tsp Dried or fresh basil, parsley and oregano, crushed (if dried) or finely chopped (if fresh)
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 1 recipe homemade tomato sauce (or 1 jar of your favorite marinara)
  • 1 lb whole-grain or whole-wheat spaghetti (or 1 lb regular spaghetti. Your carbs are your prerogatives, my dears.)

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, set a pot of water (with a pinch of salt) to boil on high heat.
  • In a small saucepan, heat 2-3 cups pasta sauce.
  • Place your chicken breasts on a cutting board between two layers of wax paper or plastic wrap. (If you used 2 large breasts, cut ’em into evenly-sized portions). Using a meat tenderizer or whatever heavy, blunt object you don’t mind getting slightly covered in chicken guts (I used the bottom of a jar), pound out the breasts until they are at least 1/2 of their original thickness. They should end up about 1/2 to 1 inch thick. (The recipe can handle a little variation.)
  • Arrange 3 bowls or serving dishes. In the first, add the flour, some salt & pepper, and 1/2 of the herbs. In the 2nd, add the beaten egg (with an optional pinch of garlic salt). In the third, add the breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the rest of the herbs. Dredge the pounded breasts first in flour (shaking off the excess), then in egg, and finally in the breadcrumb and Parmesan mixture. Set aside on a serving dish.
  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. (Optional: Add 1/2 tsp butter to the pan for additional flavor. Add the chicken breasts (2 at a time) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until well browned. When browned, transfer to a lightly sprayed baking sheet. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until completely cooked through.

“Hissssss.” — Breadcrumb coating meets olive oil.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, rinse lightly, and transfer to serving bowl / dish. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and a little remaining pasta water to keep pasta from sticking together until chicken is done.

Lonely pasta, just waiting for some friends.

  • To serve, top pasta with chicken breasts. Spoon sauce over breasts and pasta until well-covered. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to garnish, and top with additional dried or fresh herbs. Serve to the hungry hordes!

Almost ready! Check out that sweet crumb-coating.

Oh yeah. Sauce & cheese take that chicken to the next level.

A few final points, my dears:

First, if you’re serving this for dinner, a simple salad and crusty loaf of bread are the perfect side dishes. Secondly, you can up the veggie quantity by using a veggie-filled sauce, adding sauteed veggies to your premade sauce, or even using peeled eggplant slices / squash slices instead of chicken breasts. And if you’re really craving that cheesy goodness, assemble the dish in an oven-safe, deep-sided pan, top with mozzarella, and broil for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is gooey, bubbly and browned to your liking. (“All things in moderation, including moderation.” — some wise, awesome person.)

Lastly, what really makes the dish is that double-breading. It creates a crisp coating that locks in moisture, leaving your chicken breasts juicy and the outsides browned, crunchy and delicious. You really can’t go wrong!

Are you guys fans of this Italian-American classic? Have you ever double-breaded chicken breasts before? What are your favorite techniques for recreating this dish at home?

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms

14 Aug

Happy Official Birthday, Julia! Here’s a beautiful tribute to la grande dame de cuisine herself, written by Marlo Thomas on HuffPo.

For those who’ve seen “Julie and Julia,” you might remember one of Julie Powell’s (er, Amy Adams’) early revelations from “Madame Scheeld” – don’t crowd the mushrooms! What does this semi-cryptic warning mean? (Given that it sounds like advice for when the shrooms were angsty middle schoolers – if you crowd ‘em, they get rebellious and cranky, apparently.)

Julie Powell (Amy Adams), NOT crowding her mushrooms.

Julia’s revelation was simple: When you sauté or cook your mushrooms and crowd too many of them in a pan, they’ll release their liquid and end up steaming each other, rather than browning. And brown, caramelized mushrooms are your goal, rather than “sweaty” mushrooms that haven’t had the chance to fully develop their flavors.

Determined to follow suit, I whipped up this recipe for Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms. The History Teacher and I noshed upon its tastiness to great effect, heartily drinking our beers alongside the dish as, I imagine, Julia and Paul enjoyed their French wines with gusto in their days in la belle France. For those of us who attempt to cook somewhat “healthily,” the butter content might stop your heart altogether. However! As Julia would say, never apologize – and never compromise with what she called “that other spread,” the infernal margarine. Bon appetit!

Julia at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, with her beloved teacher, Chef Brugnard.

Sauteed Chicken Breasts with Julia’s Mushrooms – serves two

For the chicken breasts, you’ll need:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • A dash of poultry seasoning
  • Salt & pepper to season
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For Julia’s Mushrooms

, you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ lbs mushrooms, wash, dried and sliced. (Use basic button mushrooms)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Parsley to serve

Here’s what you do:

  • Pound the chicken breasts until they are about ½ and inch thick; to easily do this, cover both the top and bottom of each breast with plastic wrap or a paper towel. Then, use a heavy, wieldable object (an actual meat tenderizer works perfectly, but I used the bottom of a heavy jar. Be resourceful!) to pound the breast meat until it’s at the right thickness.
  • In a wide, flat bowl, combine the flour, poultry seasoning, salt & pepper; dredge the chicken breasts lightly in the flour mixture on both sides.
  • In a 10-inch flat skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat (about a 6 on your stove dial). When the oil is hot (sprinkle water droplets into the oil – if they hiss and steam up immediately, you’re ready), add the chicken breasts. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side, until lightly browned and cooked through. Set aside on a plate, lightly covered in foil.
  • Add the butter and olive oil to the pan, raising the heat to high. When the butter’s foam subsides, add the mushrooms and toss occasionally, cooking for 4-5 minutes. They will absorb the fat, then begin “squeaking” as the water (well, steam) escapes them. They’ll brown quickly at this point, so only cook them for 1-3 minutes longer, or until well-browned.
  • On a serving plate, first place your chicken breasts. Top with Julia’s mushrooms; then, sprinkle salt, pepper and dried or fresh (chopped) parsley on top.

Bon appetit! And happy birthday to an American legend.

Here, Chickie Chickie: Rotisserie Chicken 101

22 Jun

What a beaut.

Yes, I recently had a conversation with my rotisserie chicken. No, it didn’t involve hallucinogenics (other than the trance I was in after smelling its tasty, chickeny goodness after returning from the store. Hot dang, that scent is to die for).

Instead, it involved me drooling over the possibilities of using a $7.50 rotisserie chicken for four meals.

Yup, you read that right — we’re going to get four different meals (granted, that’s for two people) out of one chicken. That puts, arguably, the cost per meal per person at approximately $0.93. Well, in terms of protein. I think my budget can handle that!

Today’s post will focus on how to break up your rotisserie chicken into meat (and bones!) that you can use for multiple meals, as well as (eventually) a delicious pot of chicken stock for soups, flavorings and more. Some easy steps to follow:

  1. Cut the string tying your chicken’s wings / legs back, and dispose of it. You can also easily use the container’s plastic lid to hold your chicken pieces. (I recommend tucking the bare bones straight into a heavy-duty, freezer-friendly Ziploc, where you can store them until you’re ready to make stock.)
  2. Cut the breast pieces first — this is similar to carving a turkey. Simply slice down the center bone, then make a deep perpendicular cut along the side of the breast. Afterward, you can remove the whole breast, or easily shred it into strips / pieces.

Slicing along the center bone.

Perpendicular slice along the side of the breast.

Removing the breast from the carcass. Noshy goodness ensues.

3.  Begin shredding / tearing the pieces by hand. Keep collecting your strips of shredded chicken in the plastic rotisserie lid, and shred,         baby, shred. You should end up with meat for cooking at least 3-4 dinners for two. I usually discard the skin (the meat’s got the flavor, and skin adds unnecessary fat), but have no qualms with as much dark meat as I can possibly get. As you attack each bone and section, add the bones to your “Stock-to-Be” bag.

Shredding — and not with an electric guitar.

From this point on, you can choose to either freeze the entire bag of meat, or freeze the meat in individual, meal-size portions. That way, you’ll only thaw as much as you need, and your chicken doesn’t have to through a Han Solo cycle of freeze-unfreeze-freeze-unfreeze. (A surefire way to get semi-nasty gray-ish chicken. If you’re into that inside-of-a-McNugget sort of thing, then by all means, play Frankenstein as often as possible.)

I’ll continue with a series of posts on meals using the rotisserie chicken meat. A sneak preview: A Chef’s Salad, Chipotle-Lime Chicken Quesadillas, and Seriously-From-Scratch Chicken and Mushroom Pizza. (And, eventually, Homemade Soup Stock.) Get excited!