Tag Archives: chicken

Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders

15 Nov

Chicken Tenders. Chicken Fingers. Whatever you wanna call it, I LOVE them.

I created this recipe to find a healthier option. Most chicken tenders are breaded & fried. I’ve seen recipes which are oven baked, but the crust of the tender is covered in breadcrumbs, eggs and cheese. No thanks.

I’ve been eating a lot of hickory smoked almonds lately. It’s the perfect combo of smokey & salty. Did you know if you’ve got a food processor or a good blender, you can grind nuts so they have a consistency of breadcrumbs? It’s true!

I made these chicken tenders for dinner, but I think they would be a great appetizer for a holiday party! I threw in some fresh rosemary, which is a perfect herb for the holiday season. Have some dipper options, like bbq sauce or honey mustard, and you’ll be all set!

I added about 1/4 cup of panko bread crumbs, but if you can’t find panko or wanting a gluten-free recipe, just cut them from the recipe.

Smoked Almond & Rosemary Chicken Tenders

  • 1 cup smoked almonds
  • 1/4 panko bread crumbs (optional)
  • 2 tbsp rosemary, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 8 chicken tenders
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:

  1. In a food processor (or strong blender), put in almonds. Grind until the texture is very fine, like breadcrumbs. Heat skillet to medium heat and toast panko until it’s slighty brown. In a shallow dish, combine bread crumbs, almonds and rosemary. Mix well.
  2. In a bowl, stir buttermilk, Dijon mustard, salt & pepper. Dip chicken one by one into the butter milk and then into the almond coating.  Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

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Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo Risotto

22 Oct

Have you ever had one of those days where everything is thrown at you and you’d really like to hide from the world? This has been my Monday…and a majority of last week. At my place of employment, I’ve been running the warehouse, which isn’t what I normally do. My counterpart who handles this has been out on vacation for the past week. During this time, I’ve had to deal with a lot of warehouse headaches which has taken time away from what I should be doing. Here are just a few things I’ve had to deal with..

  • Fix a printer..which included going out to buy new parts and installing them.
  • Handling an email migration since we switched servers.
  • Another printer broke and this one I couldn’t fix… but I spent countless hours talking & skyping with support to try to get everything resolved.
  • Trying to recover a new password for production’s email account because the girl who set the new password forgot it. Aaand since she forgot it, I wasn’t able to access things I needed from that email account.

So, I was very happy to come to work on Monday because my co-worker would be returning and I can get back to my things. Oh but guess what??!! Co-worker’s flight got delayed and wouldn’t be in the office until Tuesday. Just.My.Luck.

Thankfully, I have something to look forward to this afternoon. Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo Risotto. I know gumbo is usually a soup, but I really wanted risotto. I also really wanted gumbo. And I don’t see a reason why I had to pick between the two. Risotto is an italian rice, it just takes a little longer (and a lot more attention) to cook.

If you don’t already have a Cajun spice mix in your spice drawer, do yourself a favor and go get one. I absolutely love Penzey’s Cajun Spice Blend. It provides so much flavor and just a hint of spice. I can see myself using this blend for more than just gumbo.

I really enjoyed this recipe! It has everything I love — loads of veggies, meat, rice and spice. This is an easy recipe to make your own, too. If you don’t like chicken, replace it with shrimp. Don’t have andouille sausage in your grocery store? Try a spicy turkey sausage instead. Hate okra? Green beans would work.

The highlight of my afternoon will be this risotto. I’m planning on shutting my office door, turning off the light and hiding under my desk in hopes no one will approach me with, “Meghan, we have another problem…” Wish me luck for some solitude!

Chicken & Andouille Sausage Gumbo Risotto

  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 6 okra, sliced
  • 4 skinless boneless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 lb andouille sausage, removed from casing
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • 1 tbsp Cajun Spice Blend
  • 1/2 cup wine (could use water or chicken broth)
  • 5-6 cups of warmed chicken broth
  • 1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes, drained
  • Salt & pepper
  • Chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Put some olive oil in a warm skillet and saute green peppers and celery. Saute till tender crisp. Take off heat and set aside.
  2. Add okra to warm skillet. Okra cooks up fast, so be sure not to over do it. If you do, you will know. It gets slimy. (Gross!!) Once it’s done, remove it from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Cook chicken and sausage. Set aside when done.
  4. Add olive oil to the skillet. Saute onions and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste. Cook and stir for another minute. When all of the tomato paste is incorporated into the onion mixture, add rice and Cajun spice blend. Add salt &  pepper. Cook and stir for a minute. Add wine. Stir the rice mixture until all of wine has been completely absorbed.
  5. Are you ready for a little arm work out?? Add 1/2 cup of warm chicken broth. Stir constantly until the broth has been absorbed. Repeat this task until risotto is cooked. It took me about 25 minutes. If you run out of chicken broth, just use warm water.
  6. Once rice is cooked, add the cooked veggies, meat and diced tomatoes. Continue to stir and make sure the added elements are warm. You may need to add some broth or water to make everything come together. Season with salt, pepper and additional cajun spice blend if needed. When you’re ready to serve, garnish with parsley.

Crock Pot Meal: Sesame Chicken & Mushroom Cilantro Rice

1 Aug

I started thinking about dinner by 8am on Tuesday. Don’t judge me. I was up at 4am to get to a client by 5am. (I know, it’s early but its the life in produce.) I’m usually thinking about dinner a couple of hours after being awake, so I guess my early morning thoughts weren’t that strange after all.

I stumbled across a new blog today. I saw a posting on Facebook about a new avocado slicer. Being intrigued by any kind of kitchen gadget, I found myself on Very Culinary. After making a mental note of  “I NEED that avocado slicer,” I surfed through some of Amy’s recipes. She had so many delicious looking posts. I probably drooled a couple of times.

There was a post on Very Culinary I kept coming back to… Crock Pot Sesame Chicken.  I’m always looking to use my crock pot, it does the work for me. I had almost all of the ingredients on hand and by adding vegetables, I could stretch out this meal for a few days.

Another reason why I loved this recipe – I was done with dinner and clean up by 6:30. That NEVER happens! I love making a great a meal, but nothing is a bigger drag than having to clean up. This recipe will not turn your kitchen into a disaster zone. All I used was my crock pot, a pot to cook the rice and a cutting board. Between the time I saved my using my crock pot and 5 minute clean up, I felt like I had my whole evening ahead me. It’s a good feeling.

Ok, so if you have left overs of this meal, I think it would make an excellent wrap! There are a lot of places in Chicago which specialize in Asian Style Chicken and making wraps. You can do this, too. All you need is a large tortilla wrap, cabbage and your sesame chicken & rice left overs. It’s like a whole new meal and requires no effort. Love that!

Crock Pot Sesame Chicken & Mushroom Cilantro Rice, serves 4

(inspired by Very Culinary)

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 6 Tablespoons water
  • 2 carrots, sliced in rounds
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 tablespoon (or more) sesame seeds
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • cilantro, for garnish
  • Mushroom & Cilantro Rice (recipe follows)

Directions:

  1. Lightly season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper, put into crock pot.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic, pepper flakes, Sriracha (if using) and lime juice. Pour over chicken. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken from crock pot, leave sauce. Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into crock pot. Stir to combine with sauce. Add veggies. Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.
  4. Shred chicken into bite size pieces. Then in individual bowls, place chicken pieces over cooked rice and spoon some sauce on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, chopped scallions and cilantro.

Mushroom & Cilantro Rice

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups instant brown rice
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Bring stock to a boil. Add rice, mushrooms and cilantro. When the rice mixture starts to boil again, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes or until all of the liquid has disappeared. Fluff with fork before serving.

Smoky Buffalo Style Chicken Chili

7 May

Eating chili in May isn’t something I usually do. Chicago has been hit with rainy and gloomy weather the past few days. While the rain came down on Sunday afternoon, I was curled up on the couch enjoying this amazing chili.

It’s smokey. It’s cheesy. It’s crunchy. It’s like a nacho chili bowl.

I’m not going to go into great detail about this chili. We all know what chili tastes like… but there are two elements in this chili which make it a stand out. Pureed chipotle chilis and blue cheese. Never thought blue cheese would end up in my chili, but in this recipe it totally worked.

And like most chilis, it tastes even better the longer it sits. You’ll enjoy the leftovers.

Monday Night’s Dinner…YUM

Smoky Buffalo Style Chicken Chili, serves 4-6

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 3 – 4 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • A couple of handfuls thin blue-corn tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • Pickled jalapeno chile pepper rings for garnish

Directions

  1. Heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook to brown, stirring to crumble. Add the carrots, celery, onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, 10 minutes or so.
  2. Place the chipotles and adobo sauce in a food processor or blender and puree. Spoon 2 to 4 rounded tablespoons into a small bowl and combine with the tomato sauce to make a chipotle-infused tomato sauce.
  3. When the vegetables are tender, stir in the chile-tomato sauce and chicken stock. Simmer for a few minutes to thicken and combine the flavors.
  4. Meanwhile, switch on the broiler and position a rack in the center of the oven. Arrange 4 bowls on a baking sheet and fill with the buffalo chili. Top with an even layer of the tortilla chips, cheeses and jalapeno rings. Broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese and crisp the chips.

Curry Honey Mustard Vinaigrette & Fruity Chicken Sandwiches

30 Apr

Wow. This was a mouthful. A delicious mouthful.

Grilled chicken sandwiches are great… but just the same ol’ recipe won’t do it for me. I changed up my everyday honey mustard vinaigrette recipe by adding in some curry and cilantro. YUM!

Switch out the traditional sandwich toppings with apple slices, red grapes and spring lettuce mix.

This isn’t your same ol’, same ol’ chicken sandwich.

I like this sandwich mainly because it’s tastes good (duh!) but it’s a great week night meal. It doesn’t require a lot of work, it’s healthy and you’ll love the way the curry flavor pairs with the apples & grapes.

Spice up your everyday chicken sandwich with this recipe…. and doesn’t it look like summer??!!

 Curry Honey Mustard Vinaigrette & Fruity Chicken Sandwiches, serves 2

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp curry powder (depending on your taste)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 apple, sliced
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup spring lettuce minced
  • 2 sandwich buns

Directions

  1. In a bowl, add garlic, mustard, honey, cilantro and curry powder. Wisk. Stream in olive oil slowly while wisking. Taste. Add salt & pepper. Set bowl aside
  2. Turn grill to medium heat. Season chicken with salt & pepper. Grill chicken 8 minutes each side, or until no longer pink. Drench chicken with vinaigrette, cook one more minute.
  3. Toast your sandwich buns. Top sandwich bun with chicken, apples, grapes, green onions and lettuce. Drizzle vinaigrette over sandwich and on the top half of the bun.

Bays English Muffin Pizza Challange

23 Apr

This post has been loooong overdue….but I’m happy to say I won’t be homeless come June 1st. We signed our new lease for a 2 bedroom apartment in Bucktown last week. I was VERY happy not to be looking for apartments this weekend. Instead, I made 3 new recipes! Here is the first.

“What is that,” do you ask?? It’s a very delicious Thai Chicken Pizza on Bays English Muffins. My sorority sister/Kendall Alum/Fellow Blogger, Rebecca from Homemakers Habitat, informed me of a recipe challenge with Bays English Muffins. Here are the details from Bays Website– Beginning April 1 through May 31, 2012, enter your original Bays English Muffin pizza recipe online at http://www.bays.com and begin competing with others for a chance to win a VIP trip for 2 to Italy, the place where pizza was born.  In addition to the grand prizewinner, five finalists will win a case of Bays English Muffins.  The winner will be announced on their webpage and on Facebook page in mid-June of 2012.

What’s your favorite pizza? Have you tried a Bays English Muffin? I must admit, I don’t buy english muffins too often. But after eating several Bays English Muffins, they are my new favorite brand. Why? This may sound strange, but I LOVE how easy they are to separate in half. No knife needed, no crumbs all over the place. And they taste really good!!

I’m challenging all of you to give this recipe contest a try. It’s so easy! Just think of your favorite foods and make it into a pizza on a Bay English Muffin. My only request is if you win the VIP trip, you have to take me. I promise I’ll be a very entertaining traveling companion. 🙂

Thai Chicken Pizza on a Bays English Muffin, serves 1

  • 1 Bay English Muffin, halved
  • 2 tbs Spicy Thai Chili Sauce
  • 2 tsp shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup shredded chicken
  • 1/4 cup reduced fat cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp basil

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread Thai Chili Sauce all over the english muffins. Top with shallots, zucchini, red chili flakes and chicken. Cover with cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  2. When the cheese is melted, top pizza with additional Thai chili sauce. Sprinkle cilantro and basil as a fresh finishing touch!

Spring Chicken?!?!!

7 Mar

Dear Mother Nature,

I want to thank you for this mild winter. It’s been relatively painless. Not a lot of snow, not too cold. And over the past two days, 70 degree weather. It blows my mind and I’m still not doubting the chance I can be bamboozled. Is this winters’ weather too good to be true??!!

Please don’t be playing a trick on me. Do you know what I did on March 6th?? Used this bad boy.

Mr. Brinkman is ready to make a full push back into my life and I can’t tell him no. Afterall, I barely used him last summer… but you’d never know b/c I forgot to clean him at the end of the season. (I was busy & distracted.) However, that didn’t stop Mr. Brinkman. He stepped up and grilled the heck out of some marinated chicken thighs.

Mother Nature, I know you’ve done crazy things. Chicago is the only place where you can experience all four seasons in one day. But just the thought of Spring so early in the year brings so smiles. I might have said some nasty things about you in the past… so to make amends, I’d like you think of this Spring Chicken meal as a token of my appreciation. Orange marinated chicken, bright-colored veggies and brown rice — it’s the perfect dish to make you feel like Spring is here to stay.

Now, if there is something you can do to fix all this wind, my hair would greatly appreciate it. I hate it when it gets stuck in my lip gloss.

Lots o’ love!

Meghan

Orange Chicken – “Spring Chicken” Meal

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs. oregano, chopped
  • 1 tbs. rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tbs. thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha
  • 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 green onion, sliced thick
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 head of brocoli, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 3 cups rice, cooked

Directions:

1. In small sauce pot combine orange juice, marmalade, vinegar, chopped herbs and sriracha. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken.

2.Pre-heat grill. (Make sure you spray it with cooking spray BEFORE you light it!) Season chicken with salt & pepper and a couple spoonfuls of the orange glaze. Work it into the chicken.

3. In a heated wok, add oil & all of the veggies and garlic except for the shredded carrots. Cook for 3-5 minutes. (I like my veggies to still have some bite, cook longer if you like them softer. Add carrots the last minute. Remove for heat & set aside.

4. Grill chicken thighs 6-7 minutes per side. Brush chicken with glaze during cooking.

5. To make your spring dinner plate, first put a heaping spoonful of rice on your plate. Top with veggies and then chicken. Drizzle orange glaze all over your meal!