Tag Archives: chicken

Simple Mustard Chicken

Sometimes, I just buy chicken breasts without a plan.

I’ve had to extend a BUNCH of grace to myself in the kitchen (read here). Unpredictable pain and the fatigue that settles in afterwards will do that. I am getting better on that front – read about that here – but it’s still something heavily managed.  Girlfriend’s gotta have major flexibility in what she’s planning.  (Haha… there’s a pun there… if you’re looking for it and you’re up-to-date on the health issues in the previous post!)

This means, many times, I cook up a storm in the kitchen. I’ll make a bunch of things at once to carry us over in the event my health issues or our schedules don’t align.  So, yeah. Buying chicken breasts without a plan.

This recipe is EASY for those nights without a plan. Aside from the fact it’s crazy easy to prepare, it never takes long to cook.

Confession: this is based on a recipe that once existed – where? I do not know.  I know I scoured my pinterest boards, googled, and everything… and I ended up making my own recipe for this over the last few years since I can’t seem to locate the original. So while I cannot take credit for the creative idea for this dish, I can for instructions, measurements and pictures – that is all my own.

INGREDIENTS:

4 cuts of boneless (here is 1 breast cut to tenderloin and 3 thighs)
1/2 c whole grain mustard (dijon will work ok, too)
salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Grease your pan. If you use well-season stoneware, you won’t need much. Otherwise, do it well. Or grab some parchment paper. I usually drizzle, then use my hand to finish spreading. (Olive oil is a great moisturizer! And it now means other stuff won’t stick to my hands as I continue to work with the chicken.)

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

I found this awesome mustard at Aldi’s. Man, I love that store. You can find neat stuff there. (Read my ramble on good finds at Aldi’s, here.)

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

Use a spoon, spatula, and probably a finger or two to smear the mustard all over both sides of the cut of chicken.

Note about the cuts: I’ve never tried drumsticks, but I gotta imagine you’d have to lower the temperature and cook for much longer – bones do that, ya know.

Salt and pepper the chicken.

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

I wish it looked as good as it tasted.

Cook in oven at 425 degrees for a total of 15 minutes – I recommend flipping the cuts at about 10 minutes.

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

The mustard does something wonderful about keeping the moisture in, I love it. They also come out nice and golden.

I served this with roasted potatoes (recipe soon!) and green beans cooked with bacon. (You can do those green beans up with a easy step, here! Veggies never go wrong with bacon!)

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

All of these three items cook simultaneously in about the same time – aside from preheat, I don’t think I spend more than 15 minutes active cooking all of this and voila! Masterpiece!

Simple Mustard Chicken - Foodies Gone Real

Perfect… and simple.

Simple Mustard Chicken.

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Ancient Grain Lazy Chicken Pot Pie

It’s ancient grain because it uses Einkorn wheat, which is the “original wheat” (no hybridizing or bred for production.  It just is what it is.  And it’s GOOD).  I give quite a bit of information on why I prefer Einkorn in this post – my recipe for waffles.

It’s lazy because I didn’t bother with the crust.

Well, I bothered, but didn’t go crazy.

See what I mean?

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A) I didn’t make it in a pie dish – I actually made the pie right in the cast iron skillet.  So there’s only a top here.

B) I didn’t bother making it perfect looking. And point a) to this is… this was food for my belly, not for presentation.

I’ll add this in now — This recipe =  1/2 green, 1 yellow, 1 red for those on 21 Day Fix. Yes, I did the 21-day fix, and yes, I promise to post my thoughts soon. But for those on the plan now and watching what they eat… there ya go. :)

I grew up on stuff like chicken pot pie.  This time of year I tend to really miss comfort foods. I think, at least here in upstate NY, it’s because we’re inside, and you actually want to cook because there’s the side benefit of warming your home.  You want hot food.  I don’t tend to miss it so much in the summer – for me, this has to do with the amount of grilling I do.

But I digress.  Let’s deal with the weather at hand, and make a clean chicken pot pie.

TOOLS:
Cutting Board
Good Knife
Cast Iron skillet… I would go bigger rather than smaller

NOTE:
I ate a quarter of this in one sitting without guilt. So, if you’re planning on serving this to more than four people, I recommend throwing in some side dishes.

Also, you can cook the chicken and prep the pie crust ahead of time.  No real changes to the latter parts of the recipe are necessary if you choose to do so.

INGREDIENTS:

Pie crust ingredients (you can sub in your own recipe, but I recommend giving Einkorn a chance!) —
1 cup of Einkorn flour
4 tbl salted grass-fed butter
3-4 tbl water
sprinkling of salt

Innards of the pie —
1 1/3 cup chopped cooked chicken (I highly recommend going with dark meat! It will taste better!)
2 cup chopped veggies – what you have around will work
1 tbl salted grass-fed butter
1 cup milk
2 chopped skinned potatoes (about 1 cup)
2 cups chicken broth
lots of salt, rosemary, thyme, sage

DIRECTIONS:

Cook your chicken if you haven’t already done so.  Some families roast a whole bird and then pick off of it for other meals… this is a great option for this recipe.
I sprinkled my chicken with rosemary, thyme, salt and garlic and then roasted it.

I roasted it at 400* for about 35 minutes.  I wasn’t really worried about over-cooking it since I was going to dump it in a creamy-brothy pan later.

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While the chicken is cooking (if you aren’t using leftovers) make your pie crust.

Cut the 4 tablespoons of butter into the flour.  You want the pieces of butter pea-size or smaller. Sprinkle with a little bit of salt.

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Then, drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over the butter-flour mixture.  I would recommend using your hands to mix this together.  If you’ve made pie crust before with a food processor, feel free to do so.  I am without a food processor so it’s up to ingenuity to do without. :)

You want to mix it until it comes together in a somewhat dry dough.  Think play-dough.  You may want to add that fourth tablespoon of water if it’s really flaky or you can’t get it to combine.

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Cover it, and put it in the fridge to harden up.

Once chicken is done and cool, chop it up.  I used the breast pictured above and a few other pieces of dark meat.

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Chop up those veggies.  I used a tiny bit of celery, lots of carrots and onions.  I would recommend whatever combination you do with your veggies that you at least involve a little bit of carrot and onion for flavor. Chop up those potatoes too. (*Note: you can do without the potatoes, if you desire, and sub in more veggies. HOWEVER, potatoes help thicken up the “sauce” later, so I would recommend sprinkling a tablespoon of gluten-free, einkorn, sprouted wheat, or rice flour when you’ve combined the milk in a later step).

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Preheat your oven to 400*.

Melt some butter in your cast iron skillet.  A tablespoon will probably be enough if it’s a well-seasoned cast iron pan.  If you are not using cast iron, you’re likely going to need quite a bit more butter to prevent the veggies from sticking.

Add your veggies to the pan of melted butter. Throw a very hearty dash of your spices – I recommend dried rosemary, thyme, sage and salt.  You could add garlic if you feel so inclined.  Fresh is better, but this time of year I have no fresh, so dried it is.

See this picture below and about the amount I added?  Add twice as much.  (If you’re a visual person.)  The veggies and potatoes should be very covered in spices.  The photographer (erm… me) forgot to take the second picture where I added more. :)

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Let these cook until soft, adding more butter if the food starts to stick.

 

Once all vegetables are soft, stir in the two cups of broth and the chicken.  Bring to a rapid boil.

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While your veggies are coming to a boil, bring out your chilled pie crust.  It’s going to take a little bit of elbow grease to roll it out, but if your kitchen is hot like mine, choosing to NOT cool the crust means the butter starts to melt/soften which means a really sloppy and hardly-stick-together crust.

My preferred method of rolling out is between two pieces of parchment paper.  Roll it until it’s so think it’s nearly transparent (but no holes!) Then, once it’s super super super thin, you can slowly peel one of the parchment layers back.  Set this prepped crust aside, leaving it attached to one of the parchment pieces.

Go back to your veggies… by now they are boiling.

What’s going to happen next is this:  because it’s a wide pan, the water is going to boil off fast.  Keep stirring to prevent any sticking, and your potatoes are going to start to fall apart (only a tiny bit).  This is good because this is what’s going to thicken the sauce in the next step.

After it’s been rapid boiling for about 5 minutes and the liquid is reduced, stir in the milk.  Let it boil for another 2 minutes.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL LONGER THAN THIS. It will cause your milk to separate and turn the mixture a funky texture.  How do I know, you ask?  ;-) Let’s just say lots and lots and lots of failure in the kitchen.

Now turn off the heat, and slowly peel off your pie crust on top of the pan.

Remember… this is about appealing to your belly and not the picture.  If it’s sloppy, it’s ok.  This is a lazy pie.

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Slice through the top of the crust to make tiny slits.  This allows the steam to vent as necessary while baking.

Now, you can put your pie in the oven at 400* and let it cook for about 20 minutes.  This is mostly about letting the pie crust golden and the ingredients in the pie have time to stew.

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Next, your house starts to smell like heaven. And comfort. And yumminess. (How on earth do you spell that?)

You’ll know it’s done when the entire crust is golden, and maybe just a tiny bit brown on the edges.

I served mine with my favorite salad – blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and olive oil + balsamic vinegar.

My belly was soooo comforted!

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Sarah’s Chicken Cordon Bleu

You ever just crave something that you know is crazy bad for you, but you just HAVE to scratch the itch?

Yeah, me too.

Terribly.

So I created this mainly because I like those cheap, breaded, pretty-bad-for-you chicken cordon bleu frozen dinners.  And, while I could go buy some and use it as a “cheat” meal, I’m pretty sure I would just continue this bad habit and have more cheat meals than is healthy.  (This is not for everyone… I just know myself well enough.  I usually save cheat meals for special occasions, going over to someone else’s house for dinner, going out to eat, traveling, etc.)

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

I knew I was doing this a little bit different than the conventional cordon bleu recipe … I was putting the cheese on the OUTSIDE instead of in the chicken breast.  So, in order to defend the “original” way of making this dish, I titled it with my own name, just so we understand the difference… however, as it turns out, it seems to be up for debate what chicken cordon bleu “originally” was!

The recipe appeared in U.S. newspapers in the 1960s, and there’s quite a bit of indication that it didn’t even originate in France, but America, as its attempt to mimic popular French dishes that incorporate stuffing one meat with another filling.  (Another great example of Americanizing food?  Look at many popular pizza or Italian restaurant choices, then go visit Italy.)  And, contrary to any sort of “word” connection, there is no origination of this recipe from something at the famous Cordon Bleu cooking schools in France (if you’re up on your food history/gastronomy).

So, as it turns out, I can pretty much make this dish WHATEVER I want because I’m not really dishonoring some great classic piece!

To get this dish started properly, you’ll need to read up on my instructions on stuffing a chicken breast.  You can find the instructions here.  If you have another (or better!) method for stuffing a chicken breast, knock yourself out.  You do not have to use my method of stuffing for this dish to work!

Last note… I recommend that one chicken breast serves two people.  The logic is two-fold:

A) You’re getting more meat in as it’s a LARGE breast, and you’re stuffing it with ham

B) Americans tend to over-do the meat thing.  One serving of meat is the size of your fist.  (Men need a little bit more than women, due to nutritional requirements.)  I don’t have the source for this information, just recalling it off the top of my head.  I did a quick google search on the topic, though, and you can find scores of sources saying the same thing. (Point B.1.: Quality meat is also incredibly expensive.  So we hold very true to one serving of meat per meal as to keep our grocery costs down.)

So needless to say, this is instructions for one breast, serving two people.

INGREDIENTS:

For the meat:

Large, plump chicken breasts

Precooked ham – one ounce per chicken breast is usually enough

Almond Meal/Sprouted Flour (either will work) – you’ll need about 1/4 cup for one breast

For the sauce:

1.5 cups of shredded cheese, I recommend super-sharp cheddar

1 cup milk

1/4 tsp. prepared spicy mustard

Sprinkle of pepper

Sprinkle of nutmeg

2 tsp Sprouted flour, rice flour, tapioca/arrowroot (you’re using it as a thickener)

1 tbl Butter (preferably grass-fed for optimal nutrition)

dash of parsley

TOOLS:

Sharp Knife

Toothpicks

Plastic Wrap

Dredging dish

Oven-safe dish for roasting breasts

Small pan for making sauce

whisk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the over to 425*.

Go over to this page and follow the instructions for how to cut and stuff.  You are going to stuff it with all that cooked ham (as pictured in the other post).

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

You’re going to want to bread it – so now is when you’ll throw your almond meal or sprouted flour in your dish for dredging.  Very carefully roll the stuffed chicken breasts in your meal/flour.

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Once it’s thoroughly covered, move “breaded” stuffed breast to your tray for baking.

If you’re making more than one stuffed chicken breast, repeat the process.

Once all your chicken breasts are stuffed and breaded, cover your dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes at 425*.

While this is cooking, shred up your sharp cheddar cheese.

After the first “set” of 15 minutes, you’ll want to turn the breasts over, uncover, and put in the oven for another 15 minutes.

Now you can start working on your cheese sauce! (And let’s be real… this is what we’re really want!)

Warm your milk to almost boiling.  Once it’s almost boiling, turn the heat down as low as it will go.  Whisk your mustard, pepper, nutmeg, and sprouted flour/arrowroot/tapioca/rice flour.  Make sure there are no lumps!

Slowly stir in your shredded cheese.  Keep stirring.

Stir some more.  You’ll see that your ingredients are combining well (keep that heat on low!) and when you bring your spoon up, it’ll be like a really thick sauce, not too stringy.  If you notice it’s starting to become “stringy,” go ahead and turn the heat off.  Just remember to stir it every so often.

About this time, it’ll be time to take those chicken breasts out of the oven!

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:

Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

Stir your cheese sauce some more.

Carefully take the toothpicks out just as soon as you can bear touching the chicken.

Plate your chicken and smother those chickens with your cheese sauce. Top with a dash of dried parsley.

Your chicken breasts will look something like this:  Chicken Cordon Bleu - Foodies Gone Real

And now, you can go guzzle.  Enjoy that cheesy chicken cordon bleu!

Sources:

Cordon Bleu (dish), http://www.en.wikipedia.org

History of Chicken Cordon Bleu, http://www.ehow.com

How-To Post: Butterfly Cut and Stuffed Chicken Breasts

So I made this super delicious stuffed Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe last week (the real recipe post coming soon!)  and as I was preparing it, I realize that it was going to be a reeeeaaaaalllly long post, because I first needed to explain how to butterfly-cut and stuff a chicken breast.  Now, if you already know how to do this, you and entirely ready to make the Chicken Cordon Bleu! If not, read this post first, and test out your method!

I don’t claim to get this right 100% of the time… but the beauty lies in the toothpick! (You’ll see why once you finish reading!)  It helps if you pick really large chicken breasts.

Want to test this BEFORE my recipe is posted?  You can try the following combinations:

GREEK: spinach, feta, kalamata olives

ITALIAN 1: mozzarella, prosciutto

ITALIAN 2: Pesto, parmesan

ITALIAN 3: spinach and ricotta

AMERICANA: shredded cheddar, crumbled bacon

My only caution is this: the more turns-to-runny-liquid-stuffing you use, the more you need to try to REALLY seal up the breast when you’re done.  For example: ricotta is going to try to squeeze out of the holes you leave open; bacon will stay put and doesn’t require as much sealing.

Also, if you are going to use a meat as part of your stuff, cook that ahead of time.  Don’t stuff the chicken with uncooked meat!

TOOLS (with links to the tools I use or recommend):

Good sturdy wooden cutting board

Knife sharpener

Chef’s Knife

Plastic wrap

Meat tenderizer/mallet

toothpicks

DIRECTIONS:

Assuming you’re going to stuff it and you’re not just practicing, go ahead and preheat your oven to 425*.

Cut your chicken breast in half like you were going to cut a chunk of bread or roll for a sandwich BUT NOT ALL THE WAY THROUGH! Leave them attached.  You have basically made two really thin slices of chicken breast that’s still “connected” in the middle..  If you do not trust yourself to do this, you can do the next steps… but I’m telling you… it’s alot easier to thin-out a breast if you’ve cut it first.

Spread the breast out like you were going to finish making that sandwich.  This is going to look similar to a popular sub-sandwich place that makes sandwiches as you order… you’ve done basically the same process they do on their bread.

It should look something like this:

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

(See how there’s still a connection in the middle?)

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

After it’s spread, put a piece of plastic wrap under and over the chicken breast on your cutting board.

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

Now you get to hammer the heck out of your chicken breast. (Might this dish be good on a frustrating day? Maybe! :) )

You want this as thin as you can make it without going THROUGH the breast.  Practicing helps, but you won’t always get it right, and that’s ok! (Toothpicks, which you have to use anyway, help with mistakes!) I’ve been doing this for years, and sometimes I get it too thin.

Try to get it around 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch thin.  The thinner you can manage the easier it will be to roll up the breast.

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

(Do you see my tiny gap in the middle? That comes from hammering too much!  I basically hammered the original cut I made.)

Now you get to stuff it! Below you’ll see I’m stuffing with pasture raised (pre-cooked) ham slices.

You want to leave about 1/2″-1″ edge around the whole breast.  This is why I earlier recommended to go with BIG chicken breasts if possible.

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

Now, you need to get your pile of toothpicks ready.  Now, just like you’d roll a burrito, roll the chicken breast over your stuffing.  Use the toothpicks to hold it in place.

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

Then, go around the breast with more toothpicks to close up any holes, or gaps from over-hammering.

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

And voila! it’s ready to go in the oven, at 425*!

If you’re going to bread it, you’ll do that after you toothpick the chicken breast.

Cook it for 30 minutes: for 15 minutes, in a dish covered with aluminum foil – the take it out, flip it over, and cook it for the remaining 15 minutes uncovered.

Here’s a picture of my finished and stuffed chicken cordon bleu:

How-To: Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Foodies Gone Real

I look forward to your comments and questions if this works for you!!

The Chicken Dance and Wings

The moment I start talking about chickens, my girls are breaking out to their own version of the chicken dance (which is some combination of “chicka-chicka-brawk-brawk” and whatever funky chicken dance moves they imagine).  I think I sort of created this animal by introducing them to the polka chicken dance. (what do you want?! I’m from Texan-German descent! This is just what we do at weddings! I’m sorry!)

So I was mumbling under my breath about this recipe and of course now I’m surrounded by some pretty funky chickens.  ;-)

At any rate – this is what I REALLY wanted to write, in regards to chicken:

There are some foods that I admittedly really, really, really miss after cleaning up my diet.

Chicken wings weren’t one of them.

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These wings made me wonder why I’ve never been a “wings” fan. These are twice-coated BBQ wings, baked. (You can make them THREE times dipped! Instructions are below!) You could definitely fry them up (I’d highly recommend pastured tallow or lard) instead of baking, but I haven’t tried it (yet). If you do, please come back and let me know how it worked!

Someday, I’ll perfect a good, clean, nutrient-dense pizza, and make these wings, and have a guilt-free pizza and wings night. Until then – these shall do!

INGREDIENTS:

  • Chicken wings
  • Favorite BBQ sauce, separated
  • Coconut flour
  • Fat of choice (coconut oil, grass-fed butter, or pastured lard/tallow – in a liquid state)

*Note: I didn’t list any amounts.  This is because it’s largely an “eyeball” type of recipe, and is going to change depending on the consistency of your favorite BBQ sauce.

TOOLS:

  • Foil/parchment lined baking sheet
  • shallow dish for dredging (I use a plate that has a high rim! Tupperware, pie plate, casserole dish… anything will do!)
  • 2 bowls for BBQ sauce

DIRECTIONS:

Marinate your chicken wings for at least 30 minutes.  Feel free to do this overnight/all day (what I often do: start it marinating first thing in the morning, then come back to it when I’m ready to cook). Please note: you are going to need MORE BBQ sauce to coat the wings right before serving, so don’t use it all up on the marinating!

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Preheat your oven to 425*.

Coat your lined baking sheet with fat of choice.  These wings REALLY like to stick to the cooking sheet.

Remove the wings from the marinade, letting the excess drip off (don’t go crazy here, just do your best).

Dredge your marinated wings in the coconut flour. You may need to add more flour as coconut flour is quick to absorb into liquid.

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Pat some more coconut flour on the wings as needed – if it looks like the sauce has absorbed all the flour, go ahead and add more.

Spread these wings out on the cookie sheet – at least 1 inch apart.  Crowding makes it so that they won’t cook through/evenly.

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Now spoon some more sauce over these wings.

Cook for 20 minutes at 425*, turning halfway.  After you’ve flipped them at the halfway point, spoon more BBQ sauce on the other side of the wings.

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If you’re feeling really saucy, you can go for a THIRD coat after 20 minutes of cooking — let the wings cool slightly, then coat the wings in another batch of your favorite BBQ sauce.  I would suggest doing this one at a time, as the flour “likes” to come off the wings if you put them all in at the same time and then “stir” them up… this won’t work.  A good method is to use tongs to dip them back in, and pull them back out, gently. Repeat this process with all your wings.

BBQ Chicken Wings - Foodies Gone Real

(The picture above is WITHOUT the third coat of BBQ sauce.  I simply ran out.  But seriously, you can’t go wrong making these saucy!)

And serve! Viola! And, if you’re feeling so inclined, celebrate with a chicken dance. :)

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