Posts tagged chicken
Posts tagged chicken
Weeknight dinner: Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake
Have you ever actually made one of the recipes that is on the back of a milk carton? I had not until just recently, when an abundance of leftover 3% milk was sitting in my fridge begging for a purpose. I had bought it for when my niece was visiting, and it had ended up not being completely used while she was here.
I had no idea what to use it for, as neither the husband and I would drink it straight up, and since I no longer take milk in my coffee, I couldn’t use it in that way. So when I noticed the recipe for a cheesy chicken and broccoli bake right on the carton, I thought, why not?
The result was comfort food heaven! A rich, cheesy sauce coated the chicken and broccoli to make for a hearty and comforting dinner. We served it over a bed of rice to help absorb the extra sauce.
Cheesy chicken and broccoli bake
Slightly adapted from Sealtest
Preparation Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes
Serves: about 6 servings
- 4 cups (1 L) cooked chopped broccoli
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and sliced or cubed
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) butter
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
- 2 packets (4.5 g each) chicken stock powder (I used OXO)
- 2 cups (500 ml) homogenized milk
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1.5 cups (375 ml) grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Paprika to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Put broccoli in 9” (23 cm) square baking dish. Arrange chicken slices on top.
To make the sauce:
Make a roux: melt butter in saucepan. Add flour, stirring until smooth. Gradually add bouillon cubes, milk, mustard and dried herbs. Heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil and is thickened.
Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pour evenly over chicken. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.
Serve over your favourite starch!
Weekend dinner: Cilantro and lime marinated chicken fajita kebabs
The husband and I are loving kebabs this summer! They have been an easy, delicious and quick weeknight meal for us to simply put together and toss on the grill. So far this summer we have kept things simple, which has allowed for us to be able to whip them up so quickly, so recently I decided we needed a bit of a flavour punch for the meat. I was thinking a marinade for the meat would be the perfect way to spice things up. I found this recipe on one of my favourite foodie sites, Serious Eats, and decided to give it a whirl.
If you want to save time and make kebabs on a busy weeknight, with a little bit of prep, making kebabs is a breeze. I like to cut up my veggies (usually bell pepper and onion) into 1 inch pieces in advance to save some time. As well, I get my wooden skewers soaking in the morning, and let them soak all day. You don’t have to do this but I find it really helps to prevent the skewers from burning up. All they really need is a good half-hour soak in some cool water, and you can soak them leading up to dinner time if that works better for you. I like to lay them out on a cookie sheet and add water until they float a little bit. Then I use a heavy mug to press them down into the water until they are completely submerged.
For this particular recipe, due to the timing of the marinade (the recipe indicates to marinate the meat anywhere from 1 to 5 hours), we decided to try it on a weekend so as not to over-marinate the chicken. The result was amazing! The chicken was tender and jam packed with flavour from the cilantro and lime.
I followed the recipe exactly as noted on Serious Eats except for that we used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of thighs, so click here to head on over to their site for the recipe. Happy kebab-ing!
Dinner at the Rex
I first went to the Rex a while back for lunch, and totally loved it (see here). I knew I had to go back to try their weekend dinners, which feature a different themed menu each Friday and Saturday nights.
The husband and I happened to stumble on a perfect night for our taste buds, which was a World Cup theme, featuring all the great flavours of South America. The weekend menu at the Rex features two appetizers, two main dishes and two desserts: the three course meal for one is $35 - a great deal for such amazing food!
Considering there is only two choices for each course, the husband and I ordered one of each and shared everything. The appetizers were the perfect start to the meal: an Albacore tuna ceviche on sweet potato chips for me, and black bean, corn and cheddar empanadas for the husband. Both were amazing!
Next were our main courses, which we shared equally. My favourite of the two was the spice rubbed chicken breast served with grilled baby red potatoes which were tossed with chorizo, goat cheese and baby spinach, all drizzled in a roasted garlic jus. The chicken was ridiculously moist and tender, and I adored the flavour that the chorizo imparted in the mixture with the potatoes and spinach. The second main course was the striploin steak served with frites and a mixture of grilled king oyster mushrooms and zucchini, all with a side of chimichurri aioli. The steak was cooked perfectly, and the frites were crispy and light. My favourite part of the steak dish was the chimichurri aioli - wow!
I couldn’t wait to taste dessert; the words ‘dark chocolate,’ ‘dulce de leche’ and ‘coffee’ all in one description make my heart (and my taste buds) sing. Obviously my favourite dessert of the two was the dark chocolate cake with dulce de leche frosting and coffee ice cream. The cake was rich and moist, and the frosting and ice cream added sweetness to counter the gentle bitterness of the dark chocolate. I also enjoyed the second dessert, a rum and strawberry sorbet with candied lime zest and fresh mint; it was like an explosion of fresh flavours on the tongue.
Overall, we had a great time at the Rex for dinner. Service was excellent and attentive, and while the portions are a tad on the small side, we both left feeling full. We can’t wait to go back!
Took a break from shopping in the Byward Market this afternoon to finally try the soft tacos from Corazon de Mais. We ordered one of each kind of meat on the menu, which was chicken, beef and pork. They were delicious! The meats were all tender and flavourful, and we loved the fresh tomato salsa and the beans that accompanied the meat. There was also a mini self-serve salsa bar where we found some tasty salsa verde. A great stop for a quick refuel after a long day of shopping!
Weeknight supper: grilled chicken cordon bleu
Lately I have been really inspired by Food Network Chef Bobby Flay’s BBQ Addiction television show. In this show, Bobby cooks up a variety of dishes using nothing but his various grills: gas, charcoal, etc. His creativity is inspiring!
After seeing a few episodes of this show, I decided to check out the Food Network’s website to find some of the recipes that I saw on the show. While I don’t feel confident enough yet in my bbqing skills to throw huge slabs of meat on the grill for hours at a time, I came across this simple recipe for grilled chicken cordon bleu. This isn’t the most healthy way to spice up a boneless skinless chicken breast, but it is certainly delicious!
Both the husband and I really loved this recipe! By grilling the chicken, you get the delicious flavours of the bbq, and topping it with proscuitto and Swiss cheese adds a lot of flavour. Last but not least, squeezing the grilled lemon over the whole thing just adds the most amazing burst of freshness and zing!
Grilled chicken cordon bleu - adapted slightly from Bobby Flay’s BBQ Addiction/Food Network
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast cutlets (they will cook more quickly)
- 4 slices proscuitto
- 4 slices Swiss cheese
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- fresh chives
- salt and pepper
- cooking spray
Heat your grill to high. Spray the chicken breasts with cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until cooked through. Put on your lemon halves and grill until charred.
Once the chicken is done, top each with one piece of proscuitto and one slice of Swiss cheese. Close the lid for about half a minute or until the cheese melts gently.
Remove from grill. Top with chopped chives and squeeze the grilled lemon over the top. We served ours with grilled asparagus and my husband’s mashed potatoes.
Weeknight supper: Balsamic braised chicken and peppers
This is another dish that I made when our supposed spring weather was still not feeling very spring like. But that has finally changed: it really feels like summer around here now, and today especially, since it is supposed to be 30 degrees out today!
But back to earlier in the spring, I was still craving warm, easy suppers like this one. An almost one-pot dish (I cooked my couscous separately), this is one fantastic, easy and delicious weeknight supper! I have been loving using boneless, skinless chicken thighs as a change to boneless, skinless chicken breasts lately. They have more flavour and can be just a bit more tender, which is a nice change. As well, being slightly smaller and thinner than their breast counterparts, they cook a bit more quickly in a dish like this one, which makes them convenient.
I found this recipe on the lovely Cookin’ Canuck blog, and you can click here to link to her site to view the recipe. I followed it pretty much as written, but my chicken thighs were quite large (length-wise), and I purchased a package of 6 (the recipe calls for 8) so I played with the amounts of liquid a little bit to adjust for my ingredients. As well, I found it difficult to fit the 6 thighs that I had in my pan, so you might have to adjust (or use 2 pans) depending on the largest size of pan you own.
Both the husband and I loved this dish; the flavours were fantastic and bright, and it was hearty. We served ours over Israeli couscous, but you could eat it as is, serve it over pasta, over rice, over regular couscous - basically whatever you like!
Sunday supper: chicken with balsamic bell peppers
Recently, I decided that I was going to face my fear of pan-frying chicken and finishing cooking it in the oven. You might even call it a New Year’s resolution. You see, we don’t like to bbq in the winter: it is just too cold and too annoying to strap on your boots and put on your big coat and stand outside and freeze to death. This presents a problem as eating baked chicken breast gets really boring pretty quickly. Enter the pan-fry technique, which allows you to get a nice crisp, brown crust on your chicken (which, although not totally like bbq’d chicken, is along the same lines) while keeping it moist inside by finishing the cooking in the oven.
I felt better about facing this task after finding this recipe (click on my photo above to link to the recipe) on myrecipes.com. A little trick that I figured out for myself is to use chicken breast cutlets: the ones that I found at my local grocery store (Farm Boy) are about the same size as a regular chicken breast, but about half the thickness. This makes cooking the meat easy and safe since you don’t have to worry as much about cooking through a thick chicken breast.
The other great thing about this recipe is that the pan-seared chicken is then topped with bell peppers and onions that have been simmered with balsamic vinegar for for a delicious kick. I served the chicken with a side of whole wheat couscous spiked with herbes de provence, lemon juice and olive oil. This was one delicious healthy Sunday supper, and now I’m excited about trying this cooking technique again soon.
Weeknight supper: chicken corn chowder
As I’ve mentioned a few times recently, I am loving the website myrecipes.com for my weeknight dinner inspiration. The recipes are easy to follow and, so far, everything that I have made has turned out delightfully!
This soup uses the most simple ingredients: you might wonder how it could be so tasty. Well, I assure you that it is! The secret to this soup’s deliciousness is in the blending of the milk and corn - it creates a wonderful smooth, creamy texture that serves as the soup’s base/broth.
Click on my photo above to link to the recipe. I made it exactly as indicated except that I added one chopped red bell pepper (I added it during the onion cooking phase) for an extra infusion of vegetable! I will definitely make this again, especially with this frigid weather we are currently experiencing in Ottawa.
The husband and I spent Christmas together at our place this year after the ice storm threw a wrench in our plans to visit my family for the holidays. Knowing that his family was going to be visiting after Christmas, we didn’t want to make a huge dinner with lots of leftovers for just the two of us, so we opted for a freshly prepared chicken Kiev and chicken cordon bleu from the Butchery, a fantastic butcher shop in Ottawa’s west end. To accompany the chicken, we steamed some fresh green beans and I made some lemon, garlic and herb couscous using this. Not too bad for a special Christmas dinner for two!
Of course, having wine with dinner is very important, so we opened a bottle of Megalomaniac Local Squeeze Red, which I had picked up while visiting the Megalomaniac winery earlier this fall (see here). Delightful!
What did you eat for your holiday meal this year?
Weeknight supper: chicken enchiladas
I’m still on the hunt for a good, simple enchilada recipe. I liked this one that I tried in 2011 (see here) from the Food Network’s Janet and Greta Podleski of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry, but I’m always tweaking.
This newest version comes care of myrecipes.com, a website that I have been loving lately! The criteria that I’m looking for in an enchilada recipe is that it is simple, (fairly) quick, and uses ingredients that I’m likely to have in my pantry/fridge and doesn’t specifically call for “enchilada sauce” as it is near impossible to find this in Ottawa! This one delivers! Click on my photo above to link to the recipe. I would make this again - it turned out great!
Weeknight supper: chipotle chicken chili
As I try to expand my knowledge and experience in the kitchen, I’m constantly faced with ingredients with which I have never worked. A great example of one of these ingredients is chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
I’m slightly ashamed to admit that my first ever cooking experience with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce was just one short year ago! The first challenge was simply finding the ingredient in a grocery store, which was a bit of a challenge and took a few tries at a few different stores. The internet helped me to get a sense of what I was looking for: most chipotle peppers in adobo sauce come in a small can, sometimes with a pull-tab top.
For the recipe that I was making at the time, I was to puree the whole can of peppers in their sauce to make a paste. One of the first things I learned about chipotle peppers in adobo sauce after getting them home and opening them up is that they are very, very spicy! A little bit goes a long way (if you’re using a puree like I did) in a recipe. The second thing that I learned is that you will have lots left over. So, what to do with the rest of it? And that’s what brings me to today’s post.
I put the rest of mine in a glass Tupperware into the freezer, and have been slowly chipping away at it since, adding it to various recipes throughout the year (one surprise: it worked very well in chicken burgers!) until I finally used up the last bit of it in this chipotle chicken chili.
Today’s recipe comes from one of my all-time favourite blogs, Bev Cooks (click on my photo above to link to the original recipe on her site). I made the recipe exactly as indicated except that I did not add the can of pinto beans (I didn’t have any); I added about a tablespoon of pureed chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (instead of three minced chipotle peppers in their adobo sauce); and I added one chopped red bell pepper. Her recipe also calls for beer, so I used a bottle of Bud Light Lime! This is a great recipe: it was very easy to make and it has everything that I keep as pantry staples which I love. The husband loved it too!
Best of all, I can finally wash the Tupperware that was sitting in my freezer holding the chipotle pepper puree for the last 12 months! Now that is something to be happy about! Hahaha.
Weeknight dinner: chicken chipotle chowder
My cravings for soup, stew and chili are endless lately! We had our first (wet) snowfall in Ottawa this past weekend, and I was not the happiest of campers to see my old foe Mr. Snowflake. I know it is futile to complain about the weather so, with that, I’ll end my weather-related rant.
Now on to the good stuff: the soup! I used to be intimidated by the thought of making a chowder-type soup. My impression was such that these kinds of soups were complicated to make and heavy, but I’ve learned that this is not the case at all! Best of all, I think I’ve found a new favourite recipe, which is this chicken chipotle chowder. This recipe comes from the fantastic Our Best Bites blog, and you can link to the original recipe by clicking here.
What’s not to like about this soup? Lean chopped, cooked chicken breast, diced red potatoes, black beans, corn and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for that smoky kick: it is a meal of a soup! I added a diced orange bell pepper for an extra veggie infusion but otherwise stuck to the recipe as directed and was thrilled with the results. I really like that low-fat milk (I used 1%) is used in this recipe instead of cream: I guarantee that you will be satisfied by the creaminess of this soup!
Weeknight supper: slow cooker sweet and sour chicken
Once again, it had been quite a while since I last used my slow cooker, and, what with the cold weather finally settling in around here, we were in the mood for something warm and hearty.
I made this exactly as described in the recipe (except I used a yellow bell pepper instead of a green bell pepper), but, due to our schedule, I had to cook it for longer than indicated. So, although totally delicious, I would recommend to cook it for a maximum of six hours on low heat.
We served ours over a bed of basmati rice, and sprinkled on some freshly chopped green onion and sesame seeds for garnish. I would definitely make this again - the chicken was incredibly tender, and the pineapple added a nice sweet flavour.
Be sure to check out the whole slow cooker recipe collection on Cooking Light`s website; I know I have a few more lined up in my recipe queue!
Bao for lunch: Round 2
I couldn’t let the last bit of not too cold weather slip away without squeezing in one last trip to Gongfu Bao. I was still dreaming of my first taste of bao (see here) and was eager to get my hands on some more!
I was in for a treat that day, as the proprietor of the cart, Tarek Hassan, was preparing a special bao. The dough for the bao was spiked with tumeric to give it that vibrant yellow hue (I promise, it was very vibrant, although the fluorscent lighting under which I took this photo in my office may have skewed the colour a bit) and just a hint of flavour. It was also shaped differently; more like a thick, open-ended pita pocket than an enclosed stuffed pocket. The filling was the stuff of taste buds’ dreams: chicken and chickpea curry with cilantro and crispy skin. It had incredible depth of flavour with a slight kick to it. The crispy skin bits were my favourite as they were incredibly flavourful.
I can’t wait to visit the cart next year and see what Tarek has in store for us Ottawans with curious taste buds!
Lunch at Freshii
I noticed Freshii a while back when I drove past it in a blur trying to focus on the lanes of traffic and cars around me while driving into the downtown core. I didn’t think much of it until my sister mentioned the name, saying that it was a great spot for a quick, healthy lunch.
During my sister’s recent visit, we took advantage of my day off and went to Freshii for lunch so that I could see what it was all about. There are two locations in Ottawa, one on the University of Ottawa campus and one on Sparks Street. We had parked on the university campus so my sister could attend a meeting so we ate at that location.
The interior is bright, and Freshii’s colour theme is quite apparent: white, bright emerald green and black. There are menu boards displaying the myraid of options for their wraps, salads, burritos, soups and bowls. I decided to stick with their menu boards for my first time, but they have another option: design your own _____ (wrap, salad, burrito, bowl or soup). They provide little clipboards with pre-made forms that list all of the available ingredient options and prices for each choice. Wow! You could literally go in and order something completely different every day of the week. You might think that this is no different than say, Subway, but Freshii has even more toppings such as chopped beets, artichoke hearts, corn, edamame, green apple, chickpeas, celery, cabbage…and the list goes on! Definitely not your average toppings.
So as I was saying, I decided to go with one of their menu board items, and I chose the Fiesta burrito, which is basically a heated wrap that comes stuffed with brown rice, cajun chicken, avocado, corn, black beans, diced tomato, cilantro, salsa and low-fat ranch dressing. It was fantastic! A huge burrito that left me full for the rest of the day. I did feel the price was a tad steep at $7.99 plus tax, but it was a really big portion and the ingredients were all of excellent quality.
I can’t wait to go back to try more of their menu board items (or even create my own). I’m going to try to take the husband as I know he’ll love it, even though I know he’ll be totally overwhelmed by the choices! Have you been to a Freshii? Any tips? What is your favourite menu item?