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Not Just Take Out » chicken

Tag Archive for chicken

::spicy nights:: Chicken Paprikash


I’m starting to get back in the kitchen finally. My first attempt at cooking resulted in PTB learning how to make Gumbo. My second official attempt was much more successful. The little man is settling down a little bit and I am learning to take shortcuts a little more.

I made Chicken Paprikash once before and my only complaint was that it was too incredibly hot (it has officially taken me 6 months to write this post). It was so spicy that I couldn’t eat any of the leftovers. Which made me so sad since it tasted so good. This time around, I had to make it faster and I learned to adjust the spice a bit to be more reasonable. And, sadly, you don’t get too many photos when I am rushing through making dinner.

What You Need
400F oven
Step One
1-1.5 lbs chicken, cut into 1″ chunks
salt & pepper
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Step Two
medium yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp double concentrate tomato paste
Step Three
1 cup chicken broth
Step Four
Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes with Roasted Garlic
3 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika
1 Tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika (more if you want it spicy)
Step Five
8oz sour cream (room temp)
1lb egg noodles

I typically use chicken tenderloins to make this dish. When I trim my chicken breasts to freeze, I package the tenderloins in 1-2lb batches so that I can quickly make dishes that require any chopped up chicken.

Cut the chicken into 1″ pieces, pat dry and salt and pepper. In a large oven-proof skillet or a dutch oven, heat the oil over a medium high heat until smoking. Add the chicken, cooking until browned on all sides. Remove form the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

If necessary, add a bit more oil to the pan and add the onions cooking 5-7 minutes until they begin to brown. Once they are browning, stir in tomato paste and cook for approx. 1 minute.

Using the chicken broth, deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Add step four ingredients and bring to a simmer.

Add the chicken (and any juices accumulated in the bowl) back to the pan and transfer the entire thing to the hot oven. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. When your timer has about 5 minutes left, start your egg noodles.

Once you remove the pan from the oven, allow it to sit for about 3 minutes, then stir in the sour cream. Serve hot over the egg noodles.

Mmmm…now that I have typed this up I want to make it again  🙂

::savory supper:: Chicken with Prosciutto and Tomatoes


With my love of pasta, it’s no surprise I have another sauce to add to my list. I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for Cooking Light ideas. I have been loving the new Cooking Through the Seasons book I got, but needed some other recipes as well.  And now, I have a package of prosciutto I need to cook my way through.

This meal ended up being the highlight of my week earlier in the month.  Everything kept highjacking my plans and prevented me from making dinner.  I had a menu planned, and kept having to shift everything.  This was the only home-cooked meal the entire week!  It completely through me off and I am just starting to get back on track.  Last week wasn’t much better, but at least I have some restaurant posts to write up because of it.

As (almost) always, a recipe that calls for thighs, I must immediately change to use breasts. Why not?  It is the taste we prefer. If you want to use thighs, use two for each of you.

What You Need:
Step One

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp chopped fresh sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour
Step Two
2 tsp Olive oil
Step Three
1/2 cup dry white wine
Step Four
1 cup chopped, seeded & peeled tomato
Step Five
1 tsp lemon juice
2 slices of prosciutto
Step Six
Cheesy Polenta for Two

Pat the chicken dry and coat with sage, salt and pepper.  Dredge (see above) through the flour shaking off excess.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the chicken on each side (~4 min), add the wine, and cover to simmer for about 20 minutes.

Since you have some time, this would e a good point to star the polenta and chop up your tomato and prosciutto.

Remove the chicken from pan once it is cooked through (should register 160F) and add tomato.  Allow to cook for 1 minute and then ad lemon juice and prosciutto.

Spoon sauce over chicken and polenta, and enjoy!

Serves: 2  Cost: $4/serving

::cajun cooking:: Chicken & Sausage Gumbo


adminDespite the fact that I don’t like seafood, I am still a huge fan of cajun cooking. There is something in Jambalaya that gives me hives.  I have no idea what.  Every time I have eaten it, my arms break out in hives.  It is so weird.  I’ll have to make it at some point.  Maybe breaking it down will help me figure out the problem.  Anyway, I am already going off topic.

We went to Reading Terminal Market a few times this weekend.  I never knew there was a Cajun place there!  Yum!  They offered us tiny samples.  We tried the Crawfish Etouffe and the Chicken & Sausage Gumbo.  The Etouffe was decent.  It had corn in it, so by default I think mine is better.  It also seemed a bit thinner than mine.  The Gumbo was great.  Nice and tomato-y.

So after trying these delights, and inspired by the season premiere of True Blood, I decided to take on gumbo for dinner on Sunday night.  This was my first time cooking gumbo, but it seemed fairly similar to etouffe, so I figured I could handle it.  Turns out it is actually a bit simpler than the etouffe, only taking me about an hour and a half.  Even with picture taking breaks.  Not too shabby (and I am a slow chopper/slicer).  After burning my mouth with excitement over the first couple bites, once I was really able to taste it, I realized it wasn’t very different from the etouffe.  Yes, it was a bit simpler in ingredients, but the preparation was almost identical.  The flavors were definitely different, but definitely in the same family.  Does that even make sense?  So I had to look it up.  If you already know all this, good for you, but I am still learning.

So what I learned…. is that I wasn’t very wrong.  They are almost identical.  Etouffe is more traditionally a main dish that is thicker and heartier.  It is normally made with shrimp or crawfish, but is sometimes made with chicken (like mine)!  Gumbo is actually a soup.  It can be served as a main dish, but it is still a soup.  Traditionally, gumbo has chicken and andouille sausage as the meats (just like mine!).  Ok, so far, I am making both dishes correctly.  The other main difference though is the roux.  From what I read, the etouffe is made with a blonde roux, which is made with butter and flour and is a light caramel color.  Mine is close to this.  I do use butter and flour.  But I prefer a near peanut butter shade.  Gumbo is made with a dark roux that is made with oil and flour.  Mine had a little but of oil, but was primarily butter.  All the recipes I saw differed with this step, so I stuck with butter, knowing what I was doing.  I think this led to a bit of a thicker gumbo, which I am A.O.K. with.  Oh!  And Okra!  There isn’t okra in etouffe.  It was my first time using it and I have to say I am quite pleased.

I couldn’t find a recipe I was happy with in terms of preparation and ingredients combined.  So I had to make my own.  On a scale of 1-10, PTB ranked it an 8 (and the Etouffe a 9.5).  Butter Chicken is his 10 rating.  Back on topic!  Time for the recipe!

What I Used
Step One

1.5 Tbsp Canola oil
3/4 lb chicken breast
3/4 lb andouille sausage
Step Two
4 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
Step Three
medium yellow onion, chopped
green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, minced
6 fresh okra, sliced
Step Four
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
Step Five
2 cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves

Really, I should like the vegetables as step one.  Make sure you have them all chopped and ready to through into the pan before you start.  Then cut all the meat into bite size pieces.  Salt and pepper the chicken.  In a large pan, heat the oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook until browned on all sides (~5 min).  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon, leaving the oil behind for the sausage.  Add the sausage in, browning completely.

Once the sausage is browned and set aside, add the butter to the hot pan and melt.  Once melted, whisk in the flour, and start to remove any brown bits on the pan.  The butter and flour will blend to create your roux.  It should become a perfect golden brown.  Once it is, you can add all step three veggies and cook them until they begin to soften (~3 min).

Slowly stir in your broth.  I did this in tiny increments using it to scrape up any remaining bits from the bottom of my pan (deglaze).  Once the broth is combined, add your chicken back in, and then the sausage and step five ingredients.

Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Serve over hot rice.

Serves: 6-8 Cost: ~$2/serving

::summer love:: Garden Pasta


After a quick glance at my fridge contents, I started coming up with my plan for dinner.  Since it had been a bad day for PTB, I decided to change my original planned meal to something including pasta.  What can I say?  I definitely found my match.  Noodles fix everything.

Unfortunately, the contents of my fridge did not include a couple zucchini as thought.  It included cucumbers!  Oops.  So, I made dinner work with what I had.  The moral of this story is – this sauce is beyond versatile.  Just include whatever vegetables you want.  It’s a good thing I did not go with my original plan since that definitely relied on zucchini.  Oops.

What I Used
Step One

3/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive Oil
Step Two
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped or grated
small-medium onion, sliced thin
red bell pepper, 1/4″ pieces
Step Three
3 oz tomato paste
5 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Step Four
1 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Step Five
1/2 lb curly pasta such as fusilli
fresh chopped basil
grated parmesan

**Since the sauce takes about 30 minutes total, I started my pasta once the tomatoes were done in step one.  Since the sauce will go straight from the pan to the paste, it is ok if the noodles are done a bit before your sauce.

In a 10″ skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add tomatoes and cook until wilted (~5 min.).  Remove from pan, add a bit more oil and add all step two vegetables.  Cover, stirring occasionally, and cook until they begin to soften.  This should take about 5-7 minutes.

Add tomato paste, and mix in, allowing to cook until it begins to brown.  Stir in garlic and pepper flakes and cook for another minute.  Lastly, add broth to pan and allow to thicken.  Along with set-aside tomatoes mix about half the sauce into the pasta and top with basil and parmesan.

We had this pasta with some parmesan crusted chicken breasts and topped the pasta and chicken with some of the extra sauce.  It was amazing 🙂  If you want just a vegetarian meal, you could easily just split the pasta between two for a hearty dish.

Serves: 4 (as a side)  Cost: $2/serving

::savory supper:: Caramelized Onions & Red Peppers on Pasta


This was so yummy!  So yummy, but by the time I loaded the images on the computer, I completely forgot what recipe I followed to make it.  I was super excited when I was paging through my Cooking for Two and realized what it was.  If you haven’t caught on yet, we love pasta, and mostly stick with chicken as our meat.  Sorry to the readers who wished we went outside this, but at least we change up how we eat those staples 🙂

This dish was no different.  An easy weeknight pasta dish without having the same old red sauce. To make it go even quicker, I highly recommend having all your ingredients ready to go before starting to cook.

What Your Need
Step One

4 Tbsp Butter (divided)
1 chicken breast, sliced thin
Step Two
large onion, sliced thin
1/8 tsp salt
red bell pepper, 1/4″ strips
Step Three
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp flour
1/8 tsp pepper flakes
Step Four
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
Step Five
1/2 lb rigatoni (about 4 cups)
1/2 cup grated asiago

*tip* to easily slice the chicken nice and thin, I cut it while it is only about half defrosted.

Ok!  Time to get started!  In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp of butter over high heat until it begins to brown.  Add the chicken and cook until it is almost cooked through.  Set aside, covered, and melt another Tbsp of butter, reducing the heat to medium.

Once the butter is melted, add the onion and salt to the pan and cook until softened and well browned.  You can mix them occasionally, but keep in mind the key to caramelizing onions is patience 🙂  It will probably take about ten minutes.  Once they are on the verge of perfection, add the pepper to the pan and cook for another 3 minutes or so, perfecting the caramelly goodness of the onions and softening the peppers just a bit.  Transfer to the same bowl as the chicken.

Add another Tbsp of butter to the pan.  Once melted, add all of your step three ingredients.  Allow them to cook for about 30 seconds and then add the broth and wine.  Start your water for the pasta around now too! The broth and wine need to cook down until about 2/3 of a cup, cover and simmer once this is done.  When the pasta water it boiling, add the pasta, as well as a Tbsp of butter, and a Tbsp of salt to the water.

Once the pasta is done, reserve about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.  Add the chicken/veggie mixture back to the sauce with the last Tbsp of butter and the cheese (I had a bit set aside for the top).  Continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Toss with the pasta, using the some reserved cooking water to adjust consistency and help the sauce bind with the pasta.  If you set some cheese aside, sprinkle it on top.  It would have been great to sprinkle some shredded basil on top of this as well, but I had none 🙁

Serves: 2  Cost: $2.50/serving