Blackened chicken with Brussels sprouts

Chicken and brussels sprouts

I took last Thursday and Friday off to spend my mom’s birthday with her, and wanted to cook her delicious meal. The night of her actual birthday (Wednesday) my aunt cooked since I had to work and drive three hours that day. I made it just in time for my mom’s favorite, pork chops and potatoes. The next day I wanted to cook her other favorites so she wouldn’t have two meals of pork in a row. She also had a grill that I had been wanting to use. The meal was light and delicious, perfect for summer grilling!

Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside. Add the onion and sweet potato to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the brussels sprouts, saute until tender, about 5 minutes, let sit until the bottoms start to caramelize, about 5 minutes, mix everything up, let sit for 5 minutes and mix it all up. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Blackened Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (2 1/2 pounds total)

Directions:

Set up a grill for indirect cooking over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. In a bowl, combine paprika, ground pepper, salt, cayenne, oregano, thyme, garlic, and oil; rub on chicken.

Grill chicken, skin side down, directly over heat source until skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken; move to cooler side of grill. Cover grill and cook chicken until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Let chicken rest 10 minutes.

Crusted honey mustard chicken

photo

I don’t make recipes with chicken very often. I prefer to use more fish, ground turkey or even veggie based meals, but I saw this recipe and thought it was a great alternative to fried chicken. I loved the crunchy crust – and you can’t go wrong with the honey mustard flavoring. This is a recipe surely anyone can enjoy!

  • Cooking spray
  • 2/3 cups honey mustard
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp dill, freshly chopped
  • 1 medium uncooked scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 cup cornflake crumbs
  • 1 pound uncooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, four 4 oz pieces

Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a shallow pan with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine honey mustard, salt, pepper, dill and scallions; remove 1/3 cup and set aside.

Place cornflake crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dip chicken into dressing mixture and then cornflake crumbs; place in prepared pan.

Bake until chicken is golden and no longer pink in center, about 15 minutes.

Drizzle remaining dressing mixture (the 1/3 cup that was set aside) over chicken breasts and serve.

Freezer cooking part one: chicken spaghetti

chicken spaghetti

Cooking on a budget is hard. Cooking for one is also hard. That’s why I like to do “freezer cooking” where I can use what I want now and store the rest for a later date (like on a week that I’m running tight on cash…I get to say, “oh look, I have food in the freezer!”). And sometimes you just gotta make those decisions. New pair of shoes or lots of fresh groceries. Think of the freezer food as your rainy day fund.

Obviously some foods freeze better than others. I like to make pastas, soups, chilis and stews. Another thing to note is that you can store all these foods and keep your fridge stocked with fresh veggies and fruits to give you a balanced meal! You can also store the pastas and casseroles in cheap foil freezer containers from the grocery store, or gallon zip lock bags for the soups and stews to help save space.

There are SO many casseroles out there, and over the series of freezer cooking posts I will introduce you to more ideas, but I had to start with a classic that just has a special place in my memory.

Growing up with just my mom and sister, my mom was unable physically to cook since she is paraplegic. It was well before my interest in cooking began, and my sister and I were still pretty young to be in the kitchen on our own. My mom also had her accident right after she was married, so she didn’t know enough about cooking to even instruct us. So of course my Mimi would save the day by making a bunch of casseroles and freeze them, providing us with a fully stocked freezer up so we would not starve. 🙂

  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken
  • 3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • 2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
  • 2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Cook chicken according to your preference, like grilling, roasting or frying and cut the meat into cubes to make two cups. Cook spaghetti according to directions until al dente. When spaghetti is cooked, combine with all remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Chicken roll-ups with goat cheese and herbs

Chicken

I have to admit, the main reason I chose this recipe is for two reasons: 1) Goat cheese makes EVERYTHING better. 2) When you make roll-ups with any kind of meat, you usually pound the meat to flatten it, so it’s fun to hit stuff. 🙂 You can use the actual tool (meat tenderizer) to do this, but I wrapped it up in plastic wrap and used a roll pin. Maybe save it for a day when you need to let some frustration out? The flavors and gooey goat cheese will melt all of your problems away.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 3 oz. each
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

On a cutting board, place one chicken thigh between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound to an even thickness, about ½”. Set aside and repeat with remaining chicken thighs.

Lay the chicken thighs out flat on a cutting board, rough side up. Season the inside of each with salt and pepper.

Place ½ oz. of goat cheese in a line down the middle of each thigh. Roll each thigh carefully around the goat cheese and secure with kitchen twine or tooth picks. Place on baking sheet about 2” apart.

Brush the outside of each roll up with olive oil and season with additional salt and pepper.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time, or until the internal temperature of the chicken tests 165°F.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving.

Fried – no scratch that – oven baked chicken

Well, we all make mistakes right? One of the best ways of learning in the kitchen is making those mistakes. Megan and I definitely learned our lesson yesterday! We were craving fried chicken so we thought we’d make our own. Everything was ready – even the buttermilk ranch we made from scratch….but when we started to fry the chicken, everything went downhill.

As soon as I placed the chicken in the oil, it immediately began to burn the chicken. It was smoking so much and I had no idea what to do, I froze. Then I started screaming “where are the thongs?” and Megan immediately pulled them out so I could take the chicken out of the pan. Unfortunately our actions were a little too late because it set off the fire alarm. First in our apartment, then in the entire apartment complex! People evacuated and were left standing out in the rain for 30 minutes! That’s how long it took the fire department to get there to turn the alarm off. We felt so horrible, but thankfully nothing was actually damaged!

So, I immediately called Richard to ask what we did wrong. Lesson of the day: if the oil looks like it is smoking slightly (which it was) then it is too hot and needs to be thrown out.

We used the right oil for frying. Canola oil is a good one to use since it has a high smoke point (400 degrees) which means the temperature to which an oil can be heated before it smokes and discolors. But apparently our oil had hit its smoking point.

After all that, we were not ready to try frying again any time soon. So we decided to bake it in the oven. It still turned out great!

For the chicken:

  • 3 boneless- skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp sea salt (divided)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl combine the buttermilk, 1 teaspoon salt; then add the chicken. Refrigerate and marinate 1 hour or longer.

Meanwhile in a plastic food bag combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of sea salt, baking powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, turmeric, onion powder, and add black pepper to taste.

Using a slotted spoon to drain off the buttermilk remove the chicken several pieces at a time; about enough that your deep fryer can hold without crowding. Shake chicken in the bag of flour mixture to coat, shaking off any excess flour.

Place on a baking sheet lined with oil and spray each piece of chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 165F is reached.

For the buttermilk ranch:

  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon of dry dill (or a teaspoon chopped fresh)

In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk and mayonnaise until fully mixed. Add in the other ingredients, adjusting for taste.

Keeps for a week, covered in the fridge.

Salmon piccata

This is the first time I’ve made salmon piccata and I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to make. The salmon can easily be substituted with chicken. I made both because my room mate isn’t a fish person, but I let her try the salmon and she really liked it!

I served it with spaghetti and drizzled some of the leftover sauce. Perfect Sunday night meal!

  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half OR 4 salmon fillets, about 1 lb
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup All-purpose flour, for coating, plus additional 1 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup capers

Cook pasta according to directions.

Season chicken/salmon with salt and pepper. In a bowl, dredge chicken/salmon in 2 tbsp olive oil. In another small bowl, dredge chicken/salmon in flour until well coated.

In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. When butter starts to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken/salmon and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken/salmon is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.

Melt 2 more tablespoons butter. When butter starts to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken/salmon and brown both sides in same manner. Remove chicken/salmon and add it to the plate.

Immediately into the same pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Return all the chicken/salmon to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken/salmon to serving plates. Then add remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons flour to sauce and whisk vigorously until thickened. Immediately pour sauce over chicken/salmon and serve with cooked pasta.

Crusted Honey Mustard Chicken

In my last blog post I talked about moving into my new apartment with my new room mate, Megan. We decided to take turns cooking for each other. With her schedule working as a nurse, she has long days and will probably want to come home to a cooked meal. And she has some off days where she might have more time to cook.

Megan started a cooking blog a while ago, so I thought I would start reblogging some of her recipes to share as well!

So check out my roomie’s blog for the recipe!