Tag Archives: chicken

Lemon Chicken Breast

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In many ways I can’t believe that April is almost over!  When I think back to where we were this time last year…our basement was about to flood and begin a month-long craziness, Brad was about to have interviews in Texas, and I was starting to fill out job applications for Texas districts around the places Brad had interviews.  A LOT has happened in this last year.

On the other hand I am so glad that May is around the corner.  Because of all the craziness from last year, we didn’t get much of a summer to relax and regroup.  This will be the first summer in a while that we have been able to just breathe.

I’ve missed blogging for those two people that actually read my posts 😉

Believe me I think many times about sitting down to share a recipe for the table or a recipe for life—but working as a full-time teacher again keeps me hopping!  The last time I was in the classroom I didn’t have children of my own at home—that is a game changer in the world of education.

This year our family dinners have taken on a different look.  The weekends used to be for quick and casual while our weeknights were the meals I spent time on preparing.  Now it has flipped.

Here is a quick and easy dinner that I found this week.  We all enjoyed it and I was able to get it into the oven and the kitchen cleaned up before it came out of the oven.  (And with no dishwasher now for almost a month—that is a big deal!….Home Warranty company has finally decided to replace the ailing dishwasher but now we wait on that!)

Lemon Chicken Breast

Preheat the oven to 400°

Warm in a small saucepan over medium-low heat

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

Add to the warmed olive oil and cook for just one minute (don’t allow the garlic to brown):

  • 3 Tablespoons minced garlic (about 9 cloves)

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add to it:

  • 1/3 cup of dry white wine
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice (I used the juice freshly squeezed from the lemon I had zested)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Pour the saucepan mixture into a 9 x 12 inch baking dish

Add to the baking dish:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (I used skinless too but you could have skin on them…put them skin side up if you do)

Coat the chicken, on both sides, with the olive oil mixture in the pan.  Sprinkle the coated chicken with:

  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Cut what remains of your lemon into slices and tuck it among the chicken pieces.  If you have a second lemon you could just slice that one into wedges and use that.  I only had one lemon so we just used it thoroughly!

Bake for 30-40 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts.

After removing the chicken from the oven, cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

We all enjoyed this dish and it was quick and easy for me to prepare after giving state tests all day long 😦

 

(I based this recipe off of one that I found online at shescookin.com that was called “Ina Garten’s Lemon Chicken Breast”)

Preparing for the New Year

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I forgot how precious the holidays are when you teach school!  I have really enjoyed my time off and we were so blessed to be near our family and able to see them multiple times throughout the holidays.  As this first day of 2015 wraps up, I have begun to think about work again (I might have to start a summer countdown calendar though).  One thing that I will be doing before school starts back up and I am busy-busy again is that I will freeze some meals for those days that I just can’t spend time cooking.  I am planning to put two different “main entrees” into the freezer before Sunday night.  One of them, Porcupine Meatballs, I’ve blogged before.  This new one is a recipe my Aunt Gwen shared with me.  Neither of us have made it after it was frozen, yet we have made it fresh.  However, I’m going to try freezing it and bought gallon-sized freezer zip bags at the store this week for that very purpose!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Place into a resealable gallon-sized freezer bag:

  • 1 1/2 pounds of chicken breast (if they are crazy big chicken breasts, cut them to make thinner)
  • 4 Tablespoons of lime juice (about 2 limes if using fresh)
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (this was about 3 cups prior to chopping it)
  • 1, 16 oz, bag of frozen corn
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Once all the ingredients are in the bag, mix it all together and zip the bag closed.

Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.  When you are ready to prepare the dish, remove it from the freezer and thaw it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Cooking times:

Slow Cooker: This recipe works great in the slow cooker.

  • Low for 8 hours
  • High for 4 hours

Stove:  I found this site that helps convert recipes from stove to slow cooker.  I may try this when I cook this for my family as the slow cooker and my teaching hours don’t mesh well.  According to this on stovetop it would take about 45 minutes to cook this meal.  I will most likely pull the chicken out and brown it on both sides and then pour the rest in on top to finish cooking it all together.  I will update this post after I try it to let you know how it works!

 

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Family time is priceless!

 

Cajun Chicken and Cheese

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Looking for something a bit different to bring to the table this week?  Or do you have some anger to work out?  This Cajun Chicken and Cheese recipe is a good one to help with either of those!  I found this recipe on facebook from a high school cheerleading friend- thanks Rebecca!  She used gluten free cajun seasoning….but I just used regular.

Cajun Chicken and Cheese

Preheat oven to 350°

Flatten to about 1/4 inch thickness: (this is where the anger release comes from….just put the chicken breast on the cutting board and then I put a piece of saran wrap over the chicken and take the flat side of a meat cleaver and pound away!)

  • 4 chicken breasts…you could probably get 5 filled with the following amounts but if you do more than 5 chicken breasts you will need to increase the “stuffing” mixture you prepare.

In a medium bowl combine:

  • 8oz- 12oz of shredded fiesta blend cheese (or  you could use shredded pepper jack if you like a bit more kick)
  • 2 cups of frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black Pepper to taste

Spoon about 1/4 cup of the spinach mixture onto each chicken breast.

Roll each chicken breast tightly and fasten the seams with several toothpicks.  (I used 8 in each one so that I would know how many to take out after they were cooked….that is an important thing to know!)

Brush each chicken breast with

  • olive oil (about 2 T)

Sprinkle each chicken breast with

  • Cajun Seasoning (I do this liberally)

Place the chicken seam-side down onto a foil-lined baking sheet (makes it easy to clean-up).

Sprinkle any remaining spinach and cheese on top of the chicken.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  (160° is my “done” temp for chicken)

Remove the toothpicks before serving.

Tonight I cut up some plums and then also some carrots and that was our meal.

 

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle

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Yum!  This one was fairly quick to throw together and each of my family members enjoyed it….ding! ding! ding!  Another winner!!!!

Now, it says “grilled chicken”.  Yes, you can actually turn on the grill and grill it OR you can dump it out of a freezer bag and warm it up in the microwave!  I love having a bag of Tyson’s grilled chicken in the freezer for quick quesadillas or even just as an entree for the girls on a night when I’m headed out for dinner.  So tonight as the storms rolled in once again near dinner time, I opted to not send anyone out to grill but to use the freezer bag of grilled goodness.

Grilled Chicken and Pesto Farfalle

Cook pasta according to directions: (When finished drain and reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid)

  • 16-20 ounces of farfalle (bow tie pasta)

In a large saute pan (or saucepan), heat over medium heat:

  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Add to the pan and stir occasionally:

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

Combine in a small bowl and stir with a whisk

  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 Tablespoons flour

Add milk mixture to the pan and stir constantly with a whisk

Stir into the pan:

  • 1/3 cup of a commercial pesto (I got mine at Trader Joe’s)

Gradually add and stir constantly:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half

Cook 8 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, warm

  • 1 3/4 pounds of grilled chicken (You can grill you own if you want…but I used the Tyson frozen pieces)

Add to the pan:

  • 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking liquid from the pasta
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded.

Stir until the cheese melts

Add to the pesto mixture:

  • Chicken (warmed and in bite-sized pieces)
  • 4 cups of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 of the cooked pasta

Toss gently.

Pour over the rest of the pasta and toss gently

Add 1 more cup of Parmesan cheese if desired (I forgot to do this and everyone still enjoyed it!)

 

This would be a good one to do the day after grilling chicken for a meal.  Simply grill 2 pounds more and cut it up and set it aside for this dish to make the next night.

Chicken Enchiladas

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SCORE!  I had no clue what to make for dinner tonight.  I confess…I have not done any meal planning since before Mother’s Day.  Life has been a wee-bit hectic!  I have made it by with ground beef dishes, quesadillas, and burritos…but I needed something more substantial to prepare for my family.  I flipped open a family cookbook and found “Randi’s Chicken Enchiladas”….a recipe I submitted but haven’t made in almost nine years.  I checked out the ingredients and thanks to some shredded chicken in the freezer I had all the required items.

I decided to make mexican rice, a can of corn, and pull out the jello I made earlier this week.  Score—-a meal without a trip to the grocery store.

Here is the recipe; It gets four smiley faces at my house.

Randi’s Chicken Enchiladas

Combine in a bowl and mix well:

  • 2 to 3 cups of chopped, cooked chicken
  • 3/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3/4 c shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (ok, confession I had shredded fiesta cheese and two thick slices of pepper jack which I chopped up to use for the 1 1/2 cups of cheese needed here)
  • 1/3 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 c sour cream

Spoon the chicken mixture onto:

  • 8 medium tortillas (or 12 small ones)

Roll to enclose the filling and place seam side down in a 9×13 baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt in a saucepan:

  • 1/4 c margarine/butter

Blend into saucepan:

  • 1/4 c flour

Gradually stir in:

  • 1 can chicken broth (or make your own with 14 oz water and two bullion cubes)

Cook until thickened, stirring constantly.

Stir in

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 4-oz can of diced green chilies

Cook the sauce until heated through, stirring constantly.

Pour over tortillas

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Sprinkle with

  • 1/4 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded

Bake for 5 minutes to let cheese melt.

Grilling Goodness: Chicken-and-Fruit Salad

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The absolute best thing about our house is the ability to have dinners on the deck on a gorgeous evening.  Tonight was one of those evenings.  The trees still aren’t green in our view but the evening was perfect nonetheless.  We fired up the grill too in order to make another new recipe from the “Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook” that I checked out from our library (I’m going to have to purchase one of these as I’ve rechecked it now three times and I want to copy way too many of the recipes.)

The Back Deck

Not the best picture of our deck but this gives you a glimpse at why it is so wonderful. This was from the end of April last year. Our deck is up in the trees.

 

Chicken-and-Fruit Salad

Plan Ahead- Chicken and Pineapple need to marinade for 6-8 hours.

Place in a ziploc bag:

  • 4 to 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I like to prick my chicken with a fork to help the marinade ooze into the chicken a bit more)
  • 3/4 cup of Lawry’s Santa Fe Chili Marinade with Lime and Garlic (the recipe calls for a lime and garlic marinade….this was the closest I could find!)

Seal the chicken in the ziploc bag and chill for 6 to 8 hours, turning occasionally.

Cut into fourths:

  • one cored fresh pineapple

Place the pineapple into a ziploc bag and pour 1/4 cup of the marinade over the pineapple. Seal and chill for 6 to 8 hours.

Ready to Grill:

Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Drain the pineapple.

Grill chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until done.

Grill pineapple 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Meanwhile:

Wash and prepare:

  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cups of strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup of raspberries

Once the grilled items are cooked as needed, cut chicken into strips and the pineapple into bite-sized pieces.

Arrange the lettuce, chicken, and fruit into bowls.

You could toss the fruit with some of the marinade before adding to to the salad or just let each person add extra marinade as desired.  We just added as desired as my girls don’t really care for dressing on their salad.

This was a great dinner and easy to prepare.  Everyone left the table happy….even the extra child that joined us for dinner!

Chicken Lasagna Florentine- Slow Cooker

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Magic Pot Alert!  Yep, this one is a dump and go kind of recipe….my kind of slow cooker meal.  It gets four smiley faces from my family of four.  The only thing you have to plan for is to be home for the first hour of cooking as you cook on high for one hour and then reduce it to low for the next 5 hours. *  I found the base for this recipe in a Southern Living Ultimate Quick and Easy Cookbook that I checked out from a local library.

Chicken Lasagna Florentine

Combine in a large bowl and stir well:

  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup
  • 10 ounces of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry (I used frozen from Trader Joe’s and didn’t need to drain and squeeze)
  • 2-3 cups of diced, cooked chicken (I used some shredded chicken that I had in the freezer, you could also use the Tyson’s diced cooked chicken)
  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon of Penzey’s Mural of Flavor (a mix of spices, dried shallots, onion, garlic, lemon peel, citric acid, chives, orange peel)  If you don’t have this, one variation I found online has 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place in a larger slow cooker, coated with cooking spray (or maybe one of those liners would be good)

  • 3 uncooked lasagna noodles, breaking the noodles in half, to fit in the slow cooker. (will need 9 noodles in all for the layers)

Spread one third of the spinach mixture over the noodles.

Sprinkle over the mixture

  • 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Layer

  • 3 more noodles (breaking as needed)
  • half of the remaining spinach mixture
  • 2/3 cup mozzarella cheese

Top with the remaining noodles, mixture, and cheese.

Cover and cook on High for 1 hour

Reduce to Low and cook for 5 hours or until the pasta is done (mine was fine after 5 hours)

* Note: I did search around before posting this and see that someone did this same base recipe on Low for 8 hours and said it was fine—that way you don’t have to worry about the High/Low switch.