Tag Archives: chicken

Weekly Eating – 10/23

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Monday:

Breakfast – I had a few applesauce muffins still left from making friends with the neighbors, and half a raspberry NOOSA yogurt

Lunch – the rest of a pasta salad I made from last weekend’s Triangle on FIRE Meetup, and a mason jar salad

Dinner – Minestrone Soup. I had this bag in the freezer from my batch freezer meal prep session a long time ago.  I defrosted it overnight, and then tonight just put it in a pot with the broth from the rib bones last week until boiling.

I was a little worried that the noodles would be mushy and gross from being frozen and then thawed, but it actually turned out to be the perfect consistency. This was a really tasty batch, I would use this recipe again.

Snack – I had a little packet of a nut butter sample in my desk drawer, combined with some pretzel crisps I keep as well it made a perfect little afternoon pick me up snack

Tuesday:

Breakfast – applesauce muffins 

Lunch – the last of the Buffalo Chicken Potato Bake leftovers

Dinner – I had a quick burrito before running off to the October Bull City Food Swap. This month’s swap was awesome, there were some really outstanding goodies. Especially the homemade smoked sausage made by my new best friend!  😉

I had brought several items for trade, including some marigold seeds from my yard, hickory nuts (we have 3 trees, and more nuts than we know what to do with) and some homemade garlic rosemary bread. The bread was a hit, as baked goods usually are. I think I found my niche, as you can trade for really good items with homemade bread.

I got lots of caramel corn, jerky, baked goods, fresh pasta, and some pesto. Luckily, pesto was already on the menu for tomorrow! I had also taken out a giant pack of chicken quarters I got on crazy clearance a few weeks ago.

It was $4.44 for 6 leg quarters! That is a lot of chicken for less than a buck a piece. I roasted them up on a sheet pan to keep in the fridge for the boy to snack on whenever he’s hungry this week.

Snack – blender hummus and veggies

Wednesday:

Breakfast – peanut butter granola bar

Lunch – leftover minestrone soup

Dinner – Pesto pasta, using up the fresh pasta from the Food Swap and the rest of some frozen blender pesto I’d made when the basil was done for the season. So garlicy and delicious!

Snack – a mini snicker bar at work

Thursday:

Breakfast – egg sandwich with 2 slices of my garlic rosemary bread

Lunch – a chicken quarter with some brown rice and edamame

Dinner – Beef roast in the slow cooker. I just chopped up some carrots, celery, and potatoes and tossed them in with a beef roast from the freezer. I paid about $10 for a ~3 lb roast, which is not bad

Luckily I have a programmable slow cooker, so I could set it on high for 4 hours, and then it automatically switches to “keep warm” setting so it doesn’t burn. It was a perfect meal for a chilly fall evening. I love that it is just starting to turn kind-of-cold now.

Friday:

Breakfast – I bought a pack of white corn tortillas with the idea to make quick breakfast burritos this week. They were delicious, but the tortillas fall apart and are way too flaky to eat in a car. Flour tortillas from now on.

Lunch – Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with a coworker. I did spend about $7, but this is my first lunch out all month, and the salad was really delicious. No regrets.

Dinner – Burritos, because there is never a bad day for a burrito.

Snack – chocolate peanut butter granola bar

The Weekend

This weekend is pretty exciting, we have a housewarming for a neighbor on Friday and will take a bottle of red wine over to say welcome to the ‘hood. They are about our age, so I’m hoping for a future friendship there. We got invited because I am the only one who has come to say hi since they moved in! It pays to be friendly.

Saturday is the NC Wine Festival in Raleigh! There will be 36 wineries, all from North Carolina, and all tasting is included. There will be food places too I believe, but you probably have to pay. We plan to have a big lunch, and hydrate well prior to going. The tickets were my 1-year ‘paper anniversary’ gift.  🙂

And then Sunday will be recovery and chores. Sleeping in, raking leaves, doing dishes and laundry. You know, all the fun adulting things you have to do. But probably a healthy dose of video games thrown in too.

Food Total: $63.85

This week I am quite pleased with groceries, especially since I was going for super healthy and lots of produce. Most people see winter as the time to gain a little “insulation”, but since we have plans for the holidays which may involve a swimsuit, I’m actually cracking down on my diet, meaning even more produce than normal, and hopefully lower volumes of carbs and dairy. We will see how the next few months go.

I did find some great deals, for example grass fed free range bison, which is absurdly expensive, was marked down nearly half off. It is still shockingly expensive to me, but we do love the flavor and so since I was far within my budget I picked it up to have as a treat at some point. Eggs were on super sale, at 79 cents per dozen, so that will likely be my go-to snack this month. And I found marked down crab meat for 0.99, so I’m going to try some new recipes.

Lessons Learned

This week really reinforced the benefits to eating leftovers. Every dollar spent on food is a sunk cost, so not eating leftovers and throwing away food is like throwing dollars in your trash can. I’m so glad hubs and I both don’t mind, and in some cases prefer, leftovers. I even plan many meals to make more than we can eat in one day, so that we have easily reheatable meals and snacks around.

I also am finding that I have way more food than I think we do! Just pulling most of our meals from the freezer this week, has helped tremendously in keeping overall cost down. And those stocked freezers come from picking up things on sale as I see them, then putting them away for future meals. The flexibility of being able to put together a meal from pieces picked up over time is a skill which can be developed by practicing over time. I’d highly encourage it!

 

How about you guys, did you have a great week or a learning week?

Spicy Chicken Bacon Stir Fry

 

Ever come home after a long day, when you are mentally and physically exhausted, and starving because you probably only had a coffee all day long, and you want good home cooked food but you just can’t… and someone else cooked for you?!?

BEST DAY EVER, am I right??

Well, I will tell anyone who stands still long enough to listen that I’m the luckiest lady alive, and my now-husband (still makes me a bit giddy to say that) is an amazing chef when he wants to be, or is forced. 😉

So let me assure you, this recipe is easy to make, and man-tested and approved. Any son, teen, boyfriend, husband, neighbor, ex, whatever, is sure to love it. I mean, basically anyone who loves bacon will love this, so you’re set. (I’m so sorry vegetarians, vegans, and anyone who doesn’t or can’t eat bacon. I’ll post one for you next time!)

spicy chicken bacon stir fry

Ingredients:

  • 1  boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 pound thick cut bacon
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small chili pepper (jalapeno, cayenne, or serrano works well)
  • Optional: you could add a cup of extra diced veggies, stir fry is very forgiving. Try cabbage, bell pepper, mushrooms, onions, carrots…)

Step 1: Cook the rice as needed, set aside to cool (or use leftover rice).  In a frying pan, cook the bacon until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain, and crumble.

Step 2: Pour out bacon grease, leaving about 1 tbsp in the pan. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides, remove and slice thinly or shred.

chicken bacon stir fry

Step 3: In the frying pan, add the soy sauce and balsamic, cook the peppers (and any other veggies you add) until fragrant, about 5-9 minutes. Add the rice, and mix well. Add the chicken and bacon back in, mix well and serve!  With a salad or some steamed veggies on the side, this is a perfectly delicious meal.

 

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Cashew Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

 

You know my biggest topics I love to talk about are: 1) Healthy food, 2) Delicious & New foods, and 3) Affordable food, right?  Well, if you didn’t you do now.

Not much lights me up more than finding or creating a recipe that is good for you, quick and easy to make, and also draws rave reviews from a somewhat finicky eater.  Stir fry is almost always one of those meals.  Stir fry is always in my top ten for one simple reason: you can put just about anything in it.

Seriously.  Chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, scrambled eggs, fish, tofu, tempeh.  Broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, water chestnuts.  Ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, onions, garlic, nuts.

All of the above.

Sure, there are sometimes occasional fails (for the love of god, do not put oregano into your stir fry, just trust me. Also this is proof I’ve loved stir fry at least since 2011, and how far both my cooking and writing have come since then!).  But the majority of the time, the recipe of Protein + Veggie + Rice + Sauce = Magic.

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For this particular recipe, I had just made a batch of My Homemade Pickled Ginger and it had aged in the refrigerator a week or two, so I was eager to try it out.  I also had some black sesame seeds which had been a Christmas gift and I still hadn’t yet used.  Combine that with a cheap $1 store bagged mix of broccoli slaw, free green onions that grow wild in my yard, a cup of brown rice, and some other ingredients I always have on hand, and I had a super quick, super cheap, and super satisfying dinner.

A few notes on substitutions:  If you do not like cashews or don’t buy them because of cost, you can easily substitute peanuts or almonds.  Or if you’re allergic, definitely omit them!  (You could add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a boost of vitamins if you like).  If you don’t like onions, use chives, or parsley, or just don’t add it in.  I used brown rice because I like the texture and I like the nutrition as compared to white, but you can totally use white rice, or a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture!  You can use shredded or powdered ginger instead of fresh.  And if you don’t like bagged store mixes, feel free to shred your own broccoli, cabbage, and/or carrots.

Cashew Ginger Chicken Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup cooked diced or shredded chicken
  • 1 bag broccoli slaw mix
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or veggie stock or water)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp sliced pickled ginger
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp crushed cashew pieces
  • 2 tbsp chopped green onion/chives
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

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Step 1: Put the bagged slaw mix and mushrooms in a large pan with the olive oil and stock or water and cover.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 5-7 minutes.  Once the veggies are softened, remove the lid and add the soy sauce and ginger.  Add in the chicken, mix well to coat, and let the liquid evaporate until most is gone.

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Step 2: Put about 1/2 cup cooked rice and 1/2 the cooked mixture on a place in whatever way visually pleases you.

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Step 3: Sprinkle the crushed cashews and green onions on top.  Add a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and enjoy!

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

 

Ever get really tired of a certain kind of lunch?  Like say you always take a roast beef sandwich with cheddar and mustard.  Or a tuna salad pita pocket.  Or a certain type or brand of soup.  When you eat the same thing several days in a row, you can get bored easily.  But then you also want more ‘grown-up’ options sometimes than just peanut butter and jelly, or maybe you don’t have any leftovers to choose from at the moment.

This is a super simple recipe for a great tasting and healthy chicken salad sandwich mix.  It is designed to make just enough for one large sandwich or wrap, but you can easily increase the quantities to feed a family of four or a luncheon buffet for fifty.  It has a tiny bit of sweetness, which helps kids love it too, and a nice bit of crunch to make it interesting.  No one needs to know that you snuck in an extra serving of fruits & veggies.

For maximum healthy, use plain Greek yogurt to bind it, and serve as a lettuce wrap or on whole grain bread or tortilla with extra veggie toppings.  This is a great way to use up extra chicken meat from a whole bird, and is very frugal and versatile.  Try this the next time you need lunchtime inspiration, a quick after-school snack, or a buzz-worthy picnic dish.

Ingredients for Cranberry Cashew chicken salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried cranberry
  • 1/2 tbsp cashews or peanuts
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp mustard

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Step 1: Use meat from a cooked chicken (such as rotisserie) to save time, or poach 1 boneless skinless chicken breast in water or broth until no longer pink.  Shred with two forks, and use about 1/2 cup per serving you intend to make.

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Step 2: In a bowl, mix all ingredients together well.  This tastes even better if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and will keep up to a week.  Feel free to add in your own flavorings like lemon or lime juice, use raisins instead of cranberries, or add spinach rather than celery.  If you have nut allergies, omit the cashews/peanuts, and if you still want crunch add a tbsp large breadcrumbs, fried onions, or Chinese noodles.

 

 

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried cranberry
  • 1/2 tbsp cashews or peanuts
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp mustard

Instructions

  1. Use meat from a cooked chicken (such as rotisserie) to save time, or poach 1 boneless skinless chicken breast in water or broth until no longer pink. Shred with two forks, and use about 1/2 cup per serving you intend to make.
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together well. This tastes even better if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and will keep up to a week.
  3. Feel free to add in your own flavorings like lemon or lime juice, use raisins instead of cranberries, or add spinach rather than celery. If you have nut allergies, omit the cashews/peanuts, and if you still want crunch add a tbsp large breadcrumbs, fried onions, or Chinese noodles.
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Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls

 

You know how sometimes you just want to make a meal that looks really nice and impressive, but you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen?  No energy or time for that today.  Well, here’s a great recipe that can easily be customized, takes less than 5 ingredients, and in under 30 minutes you have a very nice dinner that other people will think took all day!

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For these rolls, you can use any thin cut of meat.  Try pork chops or a thin flank steak.  Even a firm white fish fillet would work.  You can then stuff it with any types of vegetables, kraut, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc.  (See my stuffed pork chops for an example).

For this particular recipe, I thawed some boneless skinless chicken breasts, and then cut them in half down the center.  Then each half I put between two sheets of wax paper, and pounded them thin with a rolling pin.  You could use a meat cleaver or heavy glass as well.  The thinner they are, the faster they cook and the better able to roll them up they will be.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 thin slices chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 slices white American cheese
  • Optional: yogurt-dill sauce

Rolling up the chicken breast

Step 1: Pound the chicken thin, or use very thin cutlets.  Lay the chicken flat, and layer on the cheese and spinach.  Wrap the chicken around itself into a roll, secure with a toothpick if needed.

Insert toothpick to hold chicken roll together

Step 2: Set the oven to 350, and place the rolls in an oven-proof baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Optional: top with *yogurt-dill sauce.

Chicken rolls covered in yogurt-dill sauce

Step 3: Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.

Chicken rolls and dill sauce baked

Serve your lovely rolls alone, or with whatever side dishes you like.  I made some rice and cranberry sauce, and let me tell you, chicken and cranberry sauce is an awesome combo!

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To make the dill sauce, the recipe is below.  This topping is great because it is so simple, and so versatile.  Spread it on sandwiches, add cucumbers to make tea sandwiches, use it on chicken, pork, or fish.  Try different herbs too, to change up the flavors.

*Yogurt-Dill Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Dill and yogurt sauce ingredients

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Enjoy!

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 thin slices chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 slices white cheese

Instructions

  1. Pound the chicken thin, or use very thin cutlets. Lay the chicken flat, and layer on the cheese and spinach. Wrap the chicken around itself into a roll, secure with a toothpick if needed.
  2. Insert toothpick to hold chicken roll together
  3. Set the oven to 350, and place the rolls in an oven-proof baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Optional: top with *yogurt-dill sauce.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.
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Slow Cooker Chicken with Peanut Sauce

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Peanut butter is a great source of health protein, as long as you don’t go overboard the fat content isn’t a deal-breaker.  It is also a very cheap staple to keep in the kitchen.  But even the most devoted lover of peanut butter sandwiches can get bored of them in time.  A simple peanut sauce goes great with chicken (or pork!) and when made in the slow cooker, it is a breeze to whip up something exotic in no time at all with basic staples.
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This sauce is a complex mixture of creamy, salty, spicy, and peanuts.  Obviously do not make it or eat it around people who have a severe peanut allergy, as it contains both peanuts and peanut butter.  You can control the level of spice by choosing what kinds of pepper to add, if any.  Feel free to tweak the seasonings to your preferences.
Ingredients:
  • 2-3 pounds chicken
  • 3 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp peanuts, crushed
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced, or 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sour cream
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, diced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • Optional: 1 tsp Thai chilie

Step 1: Mix all wet ingredients in a bowl.

Step 2: Add chicken and all of the spices.  You could either mix this in an oven-safe container and bake at 350 degrees for 2 hours, or mix in a crock pot and bake on low for 5-6 hours.

And here you have the chicken and sauce in a crock pot.

The crushed peanuts are added on top, then cooked on low.

The peanut sauce thickens over time, and is delicious served over pasta or rice.

Tomato Basil Chicken Cacciatore

 

One of a busy and/or tired cook’s favorite things is being handed an idea for an easy dinner. Don’t you just hate thinking to yourself or asking the family “what do you want for dinner?” and getting blank stares, or hearing the wind whistle between your ears? Cooking fatigue can happen to the best of cooks. And especially those who are new or new-ish to cooking on the fly have a tough time with this exact question.

Something I’ve used since college to help get the creative kitchen juices flowing (literally and figuratively) is a website called Supercook.

This website curates thousands of recipes from site members and other sites all around the web. All you do is input what ingredients you have in your kitchen or pantry, or what ingredients you want to use, and presto, hundreds of recipe ideas at your fingertips!

Let’s say you have a can of black beans, a can of corn, and some tomatoes from your garden. Those three simple ingredients bring up 26 recipes alone! And by adding in staples that most all of us have (hello, black pepper and salt, flour, oil, sugar, etc) your options expand even more. You can filter by type of dish you want to make, what cuisine you are in the mood for, and even filter by dietary restrictions like excluding nuts, fish, or dairy.

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Supercook is sponsoring a Back to Work cooking challenge, whereby they asked who can make magic using super simple pantry ingredients: chicken, rice, and tomatoes.

PICK ME! I can make kitchen magic with next to nothing, as abundantly proven over the years on this blog.

Conveniently, those are three of my favorite ingredients of all time. Entering them into Supercook’s website opens up over two dozen options. Several are too simple (plain steamed rice? yawn), but a recipe for chicken cacciatore catches my eye. With a few more ingredients I have on hand from an abundant harvest (fresh basil, yum!), I know this is what’s happening for dinner.

The recipe is for chicken cacciatore in the crock pot, which is even better for busy working adults! But, I’m impatient, so it had to be made tonight, and that meant on the stove top. Keep in mind you can indeed take all the ingredients and simply chuck it in the slow cooker for a truly hands-off meal that turns out like you slaved for hours.

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See? Pretty dinner, but oh so easy.

A basic cacciatore recipe includes, of course, chicken, vegetables sauteed in the chicken oils, and diced or peeled tomatoes. The seared chicken is returned to the pot of vegetables and simmered about an hour until done. I of course added a few extras, which you can choose to include, or keep it simple. I used a quart of pasta sauce I’d canned myself, with garlic & basil included. You can just use a can of diced tomatoes for the same effect.

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken (breast, thigh, legs)
  • 1 cup brown, wild, or white rice
  • 1-2 cups diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, diced
  • Optional extras: spinach, garlic cloves, zucchini, bay leaves

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Step 1: In a frying pan, sear the chicken on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Pour off most of the oil and set the chicken aside.

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Step 2: Add the onion, and any other vegetables or spices you’re using, and cook 10-15 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent and the carrots are soft when poked with a fork.

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Step 3: Pour in the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pan, cover and cook 10-12 minutes.

Pro Tip: The longer you simmer this, the softer the veggies get and the more the flavors meld. But if you’re pressed for time and don’t mind slightly crunchy carrots, this can be done in as little as 15 minutes total.

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Step 4: Serve warm over pasta, rice, or with a thick rustic bread on the side. I just made some rice in my cooker while the rest of the dish simmered on the stove.

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This dish is super tasty & satisfying, and also quite healthy. Especially if you pack it full of delicious veggies! You could throw all kinds of things in there, like cauliflower, beans, or broccoli. This flavor combination worked out very well.

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This dish is also quite frugal in addition to being healthy and delicious. A pack of chicken quarters is often on sale for $0.99/lb or less, rice is an affordable staple, and the veggies were mostly free at the height of gardening season.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and that discovering Supercook can help you too save time and energy by answering the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?”

 

Tomato Basil Chicken Cacciatore

Tomato Basil Chicken Cacciatore

Ingredients

  • 2-3 pounds chicken (breast, thigh, legs)
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1-2 cups diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • Optional extras: basil, garlic cloves, carrots, pasta, sausage

Instructions

  1. In a frying pan, sear the chicken on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Pour off most of the oil and set the chicken aside.
  2. Add the onion, and any other vegetables or spices you’re using, and cook 10-15 minutes, until onions are soft and translucent and the carrots are soft when poked with a fork.
  3. Pour in the tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Add the chicken back to the pan, cover and cook 10-12 minutes.
  4. Pro Tip: The longer you simmer this, the softer the veggies get and the more the flavors meld. But if you’re pressed for time and don’t mind slightly crunchy carrots, this can be done in as little as 15 minutes total.
  5. Serve warm over pasta, rice, or with a thick rustic bread on the side.
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This recipe & post have been entered into the Supercook “Back To Work” Cooking Challenge! #SupercookChallenge #BacktoWork

Simple soy sauce chicken

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This is a super simple recipe that I’ve used time and time again. It is great on its own, or as the base of a more complex sauce. Feel free to experiment with adding new ingredients as you become more sure of your own tastes and what flavors go well together. Ideas include: slices of lemon or orange, zest from citrus, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, fish sauce, thyme, parsley, oregano, tomato paste, pureed anchovies, olives, crushed nuts…
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Chicken is also a great meat for those on a budget. Especially if you buy dark meat like drumsticks or thighs, these are often on sale for 0.99/pound or less. You can also use chicken leg quarters, which includes both drumsticks & thigh meat. My sister, who is in college now, also loves this quick, easy, always-delicious chicken. Pair with a veggie or two & a carb for a filling, frugal meal in under 20 minutes.
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Ingredients:
  • 2-4 pieces of chicken (thighs, drumsticks, or breasts all work)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp diced garlic (or 3-4 cloves, chopped)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • Sprinkle of garlic salt or S&P
Step 1: In a frying pan, lay the chicken in a single layer. If using breasts, spray the pan or spread around 1 tbsp oil first. If using drumsticks or thighs, the chicken should release some of its own fat while it cooks so it won’t stick.
Step 2: In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, and lemon juice. Mix well, and pour over the chicken.
Step 3: Bring the heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes. Flip, and cook the other side for 5-7 minutes.
Step 4: Poke with a fork or cut a small slice in the thickest part. Once you’re sure there is no pink inside, your chicken is ready!
This chicken is especially good when paired with fried rice, but it works well with any grain (white/brown rice, quinoa, barley, couscous) or potato (mashed, baked, boiled). I love fresh asparagus & boil-in-bag edamame was on sale, which rounded out this meal nicely.

Chicken Piccata with Zoodles

 

Ask any gardener, and they will tell you that by mid-to-late summer zucchini plants are going bananas, and you can’t give the stuff away fast enough! This is an awesome time of year, when zucchini can be had cheaply at the super markets and farmers markets (or maybe your neighbor, just ask nicely).

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My striped zucchini

Be prepared, there may be lots of zucchini recipes in the near future, especially since I planted 8 plants this year! Here’s an article with a dozen recipe ideas, I’m sure at least a few will find their way to my test kitchen in the upcoming months.

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The regular and grey zucchini

This recipe was my first experience with the new food craze of “zoodles”, the cute name for noodles made from zucchini. You can try to hand-julienne them, but a mandoline slicer makes the job far easier. Bascially, the whole zucchini gets shredded into thin noodle-like strands and cooked, then treated like pasta. But way healthier! You’ll get loads of vitamins, plus fiber.

This chicken piccata recipe makes enough for 4. You could easily cut this in half, or double it and freeze some, depending on your mood. I mixed half regular pasta and half zoodles for my first taste, but you can feel free to go all-in, or even use spaghetti squash pasta instead.

Ingredients:

  • 4 half chicken breasts
  • 1 pound pasta
  • 1 huge ripe zucchini
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-6 tbsp capers
  • Sea salt to taste

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Step 1: In a frying pan, heat up 1 tbsp oil. Dice the garlic into tiny pieces, and cut the ends off the zucchini. Add the garlic and chicken to the oil, and cover the pan. Cook on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, then flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink at all.

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Step 2: Boil your pasta noodles 8-10 minutes. While pasta is boiling, take out the mandoline and slice the zucchini into thin strands*. Add the zoodles in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking with the pasta.

*See bottom of post for full instructions

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Step 3: Drain the pasta and zoodles. Add to the pan with the chicken, and pour in the oil, lemon juice, and capers. Cover, and steam cook 5-7 minutes.

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Once everything is heated through, place on plate, season to your liking, and serve! This is a double-portion, because my fiancee eats like a racehorse who just finished the Triple Crown.

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The capers and lemon juice give this dish a nice tangy flavor, while the zoodles add a mellow vegetal taste.  You could also use shrimp here, or broil or boil the chicken instead of pan-frying. Go forth and get your servings of sneaky veggies!

 

To make zoodles:

1. Set your mandoline to the thinnest setting. This will make long thin sheets. Add the comb to slice into noodles.

2. Place the zucchini flat on the mandoline top-to-bottom (lengthwise) and push down the mandoline face. This will cut the first layer. Move the zoodles from  underneath the mandoline to a plate.

3. Put the zucchini back to the top of the mandoline, now flat side down, and push down again. Continue until you have a very thin layer left. Hand-slice this layer, or be very very careful to not slice off your thumb!