Thai Basil Chicken

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I wanted to show you a recipe that consists of common pantry staples in case you wanted to skip going to the grocery store due to the coronavirus (don’t get me started), but this is not that recipe. Unless you happen to have oyster and fish sauces hiding about, you will need to pick up a few items, but it’s worth it. If you want to practice social distancing and hide out, I recommend making a huge vat of spaghetti sauce and call it good.

This recipe is super easy. Chop up a red bell pepper into large pieces, and then thinly slice shallots and garlic. Heat up some oil and cook it up over high heat for a couple of minutes.

Thai Basil Chicken

Add ground chicken and cook that through. The original recipe from Delish claims it’ll take you 3 minutes, but that’s a lie. Cook it until the chicken is no longer raw, which is way more than 3 minutes.

Now the recipe takes a turn. It calls for another common pantry item (note sarcasm), Thai bird’s eye chilis. These spicy chilis make the recipe more authentic, but I couldn’t find them at my upscale grocery store so I’m guessing you have to hit the Asian markets. I decided to substitute them with the less spicy jalapeno, which somehow made it into my cart, but never home. They went MIA. Argh! So when you make this and you want a little spice, you can use your favorite chili or nothing at all, in my case.

Pour in your broth, oyster and fish sauces, and sugar, and stir until thickened. At the last minute, add basil and mix it up until the basil is wilted. I couldn’t find Thai basil (I need to reconsider this upscale grocery store), so I used regular basil, which turned out great.

Thai Basil Chicken

That’s it. Serve it over rice or if you are low carbing it, make it a lettuce cup. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Except for locating the ingredients, with a few substitutes, you’ll end up with a tasty dish everyone will enjoy.

Thai Basil Chicken

Even your picky eater who won’t eat anything green (except for the single obliging piece of basil) or touching will love it.

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai Basil Chicken

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped into large chunks
  • 3 shallots thinly sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 Thai bird's eye chilis or other favorite chili thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons granulated white sugar
  • 2 cups Thai basil leaves or regular basil leaves stems picked off, packed

Instructions

  • Prep your ingredients. Stem, seed and chop red bell pepper into large pieces. Thinly slice shallots, garlic, and chili. Remove the stems from the basil leaves.
  • In a wok or large cast iron skillet over high heat, heat oil. Add bell pepper, shallots, and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 2 minutes.
  • Add chicken and cook, breaking up the chicken into small bits, until cooked through. Add chilis and toss to combine.
  • Pour chicken broth, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar into the wok. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Add basil and toss until wilted.
  • Serve over rice or in a lettuce cup.
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Parmesan Chicken

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I love Parmesan chicken. It’s one of my favorites, but one that I’ve never made well. I usually end up ordering it at restaurants, wishing I could replicate it at home. I think I figured out the problem. I had the wrong recipe.

The two biggest flaws: breading is soggy and doesn’t stick. Other recipes have you dip the chicken in a wash of egg or milk, roll it around in bread crumbs with Parmesan cheese, and then hope all would go well. Wrong. There’s a lot of science behind this recipe, but if followed, you’re guaranteed to make perfectly breaded, crispy chicken with cheesy goodness on the outside, and moist chicken on the inside.

First, let’s thank Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, for this recipe. She makes the best food. Fancy yet comforting. Her recipes are solid and reliable. BTW, I split the recipe because it’s just the three of us, and find that reheating the leftovers isn’t that successful. You lose the crunchiness that makes it so good.

Purchase thin chicken breasts or pound them yourself to about 1/4-inch thick. I like to cover the chicken with wax paper and pound it with a mallet. The wax paper protects the chicken from tearing., but frankly, if I can find chicken already sliced thin, I buy that instead.

You’ll need three dishes to coat the chicken. One reason why the breading falls off is because most recipes skip the important flour dredge. This is a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper. I think it helps the egg wash, which you dip the chicken into after the flour, stick to the chicken, which you absolutely need for the last layer, a mixture of dry bread crumbs and cheese. Each layer builds on each other. When you are done coating your chicken, everything should stick to the chicken rather than slide off. This method is fool-proof, and I mean that in the best possible way. I would be the first to screw it up. And with other recipes, I have. Many times over.

Parmesan Chicken

When you cook it, you don’t need a super hot pan. Heat up the pan with butter and olive oil to medium-low heat. The lower heat setting helps the chicken brown nicely while not drying it out. Cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Carefully, try lifting a corner of the chicken. If the chicken sticks to the pan, do not flip it over! Wait another 30 seconds and try again. Be patient and gentle. When it looks like the chicken is not glued to the pan, slip the spatula under the chicken and flip it in one motion. Sometimes I use my fingers to guide and balance it to the correct side. Now would be a good time to show you a video of this. If only I had such technology. Just try to imagine it instead. If you can’t, just flip it. It’s all good.

When it’s all toasty brown on one side, it should look gorgeous like this.

Parmesan Chicken

I’m pretty proud of myself here. It’ll be this way for you too.

Meanwhile, make the lemon vinaigrette for the mixed green salad. I don’t think a salad is really necessary and found the dressing to be a bit too acidic for my taste, but my husband loved it. It does compliment the richness of the cheese, but I’m a ranch girl. I would put ranch on everything if I could.

When the chicken is golden on both sides, it’s ready. I placed the chicken over the greens, but the recipe instructs you to place the greens on the chicken. Either way. I wanted my greens a little wilted so under the chicken they went. I shredded plenty of extra Parmesan cheese on top. Like ranch, one cannot have too much cheese.

This makes a super impressive, fancy looking dinner that really didn’t take much time at all.

Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salad greens for 6 washed and spun dry

Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Using a meat mallet, pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick.
  • Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture, and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and golden. Remove from pan and set aside, covered to keep them warm. Add more butter and oil to the pan, and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.
  • Make the vinaigrette in a small bowl by whisking together the juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss the salad greens with vinaigrette.
  • To serve, place a mound of salad on each plate and then place a chicken breasts on each salad. Shredded additional Parmesan cheese on top.
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Sweet and Sour Chicken

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I don’t think I’ve ever been to a Chinese restaurant that didn’t have some variation of sweet and sour chicken. It might have even been one of the first Chinese dishes I’ve ever had. It has fruit in it so it’s kid friendly, right?

So much of our Chinese food is westernized beyond recognition so I am almost embarrassed to call this Chinese food. To educate myself, I decided to learn more about the origins of this dish. I am glad to report that sweet and sour sauce actually originated in China, but it is more of a light vinegar and sugar mixture. It wasn’t until it came to America did we decide to bread and deep fry the meat, throw in peppers and pineapple, and then toss it in that glossy syrupy thick sauce common in most restaurants in the US. Naturally we would take a relatively healthy dish and supersize it. It’s the American way.

Although this recipe has peppers and pineapple, I’m also glad to say that this recipe is way more mellow and delicious than what you’d find at Chinese restaurants. It doesn’t have any of that sickly sweet goop smothering everything. You might not go back to restaurant sweet and sour chicken. I definitely will think twice and stick to Mongolian beef.

Prep all your ingredients. This is known as “mise en place.” Leave it to the French to come up with a phrase for prepping food. Ok, I actually love it. Makes me feel organized.

Be sure to use canned pineapple in 100% juice because you’ll need to save the juice for your sweet and sour sauce, which you’ll make next. After making the sauce, chop up your veggies and chicken into bite-sized pieces. Chop the chicken after the veggies so you don’t contaminate the board and have to use a second board for the veggies. Less mess. Coat the chicken with cornstarch and season with salt. I chose to use thighs instead of breast meat for the extra flavor.

Mince your garlic and ginger. To mince the ginger, I actually use a cheese grater. You don’t have to peel the ginger or deal with any of the tough fibers found in ginger. You could also grate your garlic, but I know I’ll grate my fingers and that’s just not right.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Once you have everything ready to go, making the dish goes pretty fast.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Stir-fry your veggies in a little oil. This recipe comes from the Kitchn, who recommend waiting until you have charred spots in the peppers, but I disagree. I like my veggies to be firm and slightly hold their shape, which means you should stir the veggies often. Next, add the garlic and ginger.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

In less than a minute, everything should smell pretty good, which means it’s time to transfer all this to a plate or bowl, and cook the chicken separately. This is the trick to ensure everything is ready at the same time. You won’t end up with mushy veggies or dried out chicken.

Instead of deep-frying the chicken, only add a couple tablespoons of oil to the pan. After heating up the oil, spread the chicken into an even layer in the pan. Now, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Resist the urge. It will not burn. You want to brown the chicken to provide flavor to the dish, and you want the cornstarch to stick to the chicken, creating an almost crispy texture that resembles deep-frying. You’ll flip it after it’s brown on one side. You’ll know this because the chicken will no longer stick to the pan. You definitely want to wait until this happens so all your cornstarch doesn’t stick to the pan.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

After the chicken is cooked, return everything to the pan plus the pineapple and pour the sauce over it all. Stir until everything is coated. Wait a few minutes, stirring a couple times, until the sauce is thickened to your liking. The cornstarch you used on the chicken will help thicken the sauce.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Serve over rice if you don’t care about carbs. Eat.

What I really liked about this recipe is how healthy and fresh it tastes without any overwhelming sugary taste. After all, it’s a main dish, not dessert. The apple cider vinegar really stands out for that sour element, but it has just enough sugar to make it sweet. Two-thumbs up.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces canned pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice with juice reserved
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon canola oil divided
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 2 medium bell peppers any color
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger grated
  • steamed rice

Instructions

  • Drain the pineapple, but save keep 1/4 cup of the juice from canned pineapple. Set the juice aside in a small bowl. Set the pineapple aside.
  • In the bowl with your pineapple juice, add ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Cut onions and peppers into 1-inch pieces. Set aside. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and cornstarch. Toss until well coated.
  • Mince garlic with a knife. Using a cheese grater, grate ginger.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the peppers, season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and stir-fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and ginger to the vegetables and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and spread into an even layer. Cook without stirring until browned on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and cook without stirring until the chicken is browned on the second side and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  • Return the vegetables to the pan. Add the pineapple and sauce into the pan.
  • Stir-fry until thickened and coats the chicken and vegetables, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve over rice.
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Chicken Noodle Soup

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The days are chilly and crisp, yet often bright. Everyone and everything just wants to be cozy. We’re in the midst of soup season. I’ve made this chicken noodle soup recipe a few times before (thank you Food Network!) and now I’m spoiled. No more canned chicken noodle soup for me. No more mushy noodles and veggies, if I can even find any goodies. A bit of carrot? A scrap of chicken?

This recipe calls for parsnips, which I rarely use and barely familiar with. I also get them mixed up with turnips. And how does the rutabaga fit in, other than it’s a funny word to say? Let’s educate ourselves, shall we?

The parsnip is a long, tuberous root vegetable, has cream-colored skin and flesh root, and is related to carrots and parsley.

Turnips look completely different. They are round and mostly white, with some purple, red, or green, depending on the variety. So what’s a rutabaga? Some say it’s the same as a turnip, but others disagree. The rutabaga is larger and sweeter, is a cross between a cabbage and turnip, and has a yellow flesh.

The secret soup ingredient is fresh dill. Don’t skip it. I’ve made this soup with and without, and there’s something about that sweet, slightly licorice flavor that enhances the chicken and veggies. It sounds weird, but it works.

My only issue with this recipes is that there’s way too little broth, but I ended up using that in my favor. If you are eating the soup in one sitting, use 1 1/2 to 2 times the amount of broth the recipe calls for, about 9-12 cups. For our family of three, I split the original recipe and used 4 cups of broth instead of 3. The original recipe makes 4 large portions, but these people must be giants. We were able to get 8 servings from the full recipe. On the first day, I will serve the soup with most of the broth. This prevents your noodles from soaking in the broth and becoming mushy for when you have it for leftovers. When you do heat it up again, add another 4 cups of broth so it’s more like soup instead of a plate of pasta.

I like to prep everything first. First chop your veggies.

Then dice your chicken. If you do it the other way around, you’ll need to use two cutting boards instead of one to avoid cross-contamination.

First add your carrots. Wait a minute or so. Then add your parsnips and wait another minute or two. The recipe assumes you are chopping as you go along so if you prep like me, don’t add the veggies all at once. Space it out. Add the onions next. Another couple minutes later, add your celery. Adding your veggies in this order ensures that the carrots are cooked the longest and the celery is not over cooked.

Season and add a couple bay leaves. Add your preferred amount of broth, boil, add chicken, and boil again. Turn it down to simmer, cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, and then add the noodles.

When the noodles are tender, your soup is about ready. You just need to add fresh parsley and dill (don’t use dried!), remove bay leaves, and serve. Yum. Now you are all cozy.

Chicken Noodle Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 parsnip peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 9-12 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound chicken breasts diced
  • 1 1/2 cups egg noodles
  • handful fresh parsley chopped
  • handful fresh dill chopped

Instructions

  • Heat extra-virgin olive oil in a very large pot over moderate heat. Prep the vegetables by chopping/or peeling them. Keep them in separate piles.
  • Add each vegetable to the pot in the order they are listed, waiting a couple minutes between each vegetable before adding the next.
  • Add bay leaves and season vegetables with salt and pepper, to taste. Depending on how thick you want your soup, add broth to the pot until it's the amount you prefer. Bring it to a boil.
  • Add diced chicken, return soup to a boil, and reduce heat back to moderate. Cook the chicken for 2 minutes and then add the noodles. Cook the soup for 6 minutes or until noodles are tender. Remove soup from the heat.
  • Stir in parsley and dill, remove bay leaves, and serve.
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Chicken Quesadillas

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My son just finished a home ec class at his middle school. He learned how to make quesadillas and said they tasted good. I was surprised because when he was 5, he suddenly declared he disliked cheese quesadillas and would only eat grilled cheese. On raisin bread. Without the crust. Sigh.

When I asked him why the sudden acceptance towards quesadillas, he said it was because I left out the chicken. Seriously? All this time, it was missing chicken. I was determined to make the best damn chicken quesadilla for my picky kid.

Making chicken quesadillas barely requires a recipe. It’s just meat and melted cheese, sandwiched between a couple tortillas, right? How hard can it be? The most difficult part is flipping it over without losing half of the filling, but there’s a trick to prevent that. Regardless, I wanted to get some inspiration, which I found in The Pioneer Woman’s recipe. And then completed changed it up.

I recommend making the pico de gallo first. The longer it sits, the better it’ll taste so feel free to make this the day before.

To make the pico de gallo, cut up six Roma tomatoes with a serrated knife. I usually cut off the stem end, and then use the flat stem end side to slice the tomato down the middle. Face the flat side down on the cutting board and cut lengthwise into strips, and then dice across. Don’t worry if the pieces are not perfect. People will just be impressed that you made fresh pico. Of course, you could buy it pre-made and pour it in a bowl. I won’t judge.

I know this is incredibly time consuming so trust me when I say it goes much faster (and safer) if you use a serrated knife, which cuts through the tomato skin easily. This prevents the knife from slipping around so you don’t accidentally cut yourself.

Chop up some onions and cilantro. It looks like a lot of cilantro, but it wilts easily (sort of like spinach). Then, finely dice a jalapeño with the white membrane for more heat. Scrape out out the membrane first if you want less heat.

Squeeze a lime over it all and mix. Now you have pico de gallo. Yes, it’s that easy. This recipe makes a lot so you’ll have plenty for leftovers on chips or even a salad.

After that’s done, chop up your chicken and then in a bowl, season it with salt, pepper, and taco seasonings. Sauté it in a large skillet until it’s cooked through, but not overdone. Don’t forget you’ll be cooking it some more later. Remove the chicken.

Slice up some veggies and throw them in the same pan that you cooked the chicken in. I like using colored peppers and red onion, but you can use any veggie you you like. Sauté them in the pan until the peppers are slightly tender. They might have a few char marks, which is fine.

Confession time. This is when I should have taken another picture to show you what to look for, but I was busy nibbling on the chicken. Sorry. My bad.

Turn down the heat (or your tortillas will burn) and melt some butter on the skillet. You could use a separate griddle to make more at a time, but I like having only one pan to clean.

Lay down a tortilla and add a ton of cheese. Adding the cheese first acts like a glue and helps the chicken and veggies stay inside. Place the chicken and veggies on top and pile on more cheese. Cover with another tortilla. This makes a very large quesadilla so if you want to make a smaller one, feel free to place the cheese, chicken, and veggies on one half of the tortilla and fold it over like an omelet. I have to admit that this makes it easier to flip too.

After a couple minutes, take a peek underneath to see if the tortilla is golden. When it is, using the biggest spatula you own, hold your hand over the center of the quesadilla and expertly flip that sucker in one single motion. Do not be hesitant or tentative. You want to be quick about it or you might lose some chicken, which isn’t the end of the world, but it’s nice when every stays in its proper place.

Cook for another couple of minutes until the other side is golden and the cheese is completely melted (it’s ok to lift the top to check). Slide the quesadilla onto a plate and scoop a pile of pico on the side.

Yummy and fairly quick. It tastes better than it looks. Now off I go to work on my photography skills.

Chicken Quesadillas

Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 6 large flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1/2 large red onion cut in half and then sliced
  • 1-2 bell peppers any color, seeded and sliced into strips
  • 2 1/2 cups grated Monterey jack cheese
  • butter for frying

Pico de Gallo

  • 6 Roma tomatoes diced
  • 1 1/2 red onions diced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 1 jalapeño finely diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Chop or dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning. Add the chicken to the skillet and sauté until browned. Because the pieces are small, the chicken will be cooked through. Set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet over medium-high heat. Slice onions and peppers, and add them to the skillet. Cook until the peppers are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Turn down the heat slightly to medium-low and melt 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in the skillet or griddle. Lay a flour tortilla in the skillet. Add grated cheese on the bottom tortilla, and then add the chicken and cooked peppers/onion mixture. Top with more grated cheese and cover with another tortilla.
  • When the tortilla is golden on the first side, carefully flip the quesadilla to the other side, adding another 1/2 tablespoon butter to the skillet at the same time. Continue cooking until the second side is golden. Repeat to make additional quesadillas.
  • Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve with pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo:

  • Dice tomatoes (using a serrated knife) and onions. Chop the cilantro.
  • Cut a jalapeño in half. With a spoon, scrape out the insides. For more spice, leave some of the white membranes. Dice the jalapenos very finely. Add all four ingredients to a large bowl.
  • Slice a lime in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl. Sprinkle with salt, and stir together until combined. Taste the pico de gallo and add more salt if needed.
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Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

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Yes, another Instant Pot recipe. I can’t help it. It makes cooking so much easier. You really need to run out and buy one if you haven’t. Amazon has them for under $100. You don’t need to get the fancy WiFi version either. Just break down and get one already. You’ll use it more than you think. But I digress…I’ve promised myself that from now on, I’ll try to share more traditional recipes that don’t require fancy gadgets. Next time.

I’ve been on vacation for a couple of weeks and have been super lazy. After all the Christmas cooking, I needed a rest. We’ve all been living off leftovers like turkey and dressing. While this is all fine and good, it was starting to get a little old, even with the tri tip (and more leftovers) we made for New Year’s Eve.

To break the cycle, I decided to ease back into cooking by making this delicious pressure cooker dish from Delish. For those of you who are trying to stick to your New Year resolution of healthier eating, this recipe is very accommodating. If you are watching carbs, serve it with a salad instead of rice. If you’re watching your sugar, skip the glaze.

Season your chicken with salt and pepper. In general, you always want to season your meat, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. It’ll make the meat taste better by adding the first layer of flavor. I’m usually generous with the ground pepper too.

I used boneless, skinless chicken because I like it better. I find it easier to work with, has a shorter cook time, and is just as tasty. I’m simply not a big fan of skin so when I remove the skin before eating the chicken, all those yummy seasonings disappear with it. Sadness. Granted bone-in, skin-on chicken might be juicer, it doesn’t matter for this recipe because the pressure cooker infuses so much liquid into the chicken.

Sauté the chicken in olive oil. In the meantime, make the marinade: olive oil, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil (don’t skip this ingredient!), garlic, lime juice, green onions, and red pepper flakes (don’t skip this either!). Be sure to whisk it completely so the honey is fully incorporated. The sesame oil provides that nuttiness reminiscent of Asian flavors that this dish needs while the red pepper enhances the dish. I’m always cautious with anything spicy because of the rest of my family (not big fans of red pepper), but trust me when I say you won’t be able to taste it. In fact, I usually add a pinch to spaghetti sauce because it takes the sauce over the top good in a subtle not-sure-what-that-secret-ingredient-is way. It’s the same here.

When the chicken is browned, add the marinade.

Lock it up and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Go make a salad or some rice.

When it’s done, make the glaze. Take out the chicken. Then, remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and whisk in some cornstarch. Add that back to the pot and simmer until thickened. Serve over the chicken and rice, garnished with green onions.

To be completely honest, everyone thought this glaze was completely unnecessary. Maybe we’re just not fancy people, but it’s just there to add a sauce to the rice. I ate the chicken without the glaze along with a salad, and found the chicken to be very flavorful and fall apart tender. My son wanted nothing to do with the glaze (and god forbid the chicken touched the rice, but that’s a different story for another day). My husband tried it with the glaze and said it wasn’t anything special. No glaze it is! Also, I found the glaze to be a bit oily. The sauce called for 1/4 cup of olive oil, which at the time I was blown away at the amount, but then again, it’s for a marinade so that’s a perfectly respectable amount. When converted over to a glaze, it’d hard to disguise. Regardless, this recipe got three thumbs up by all of us. Definitely a make again recipe.

Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons for browning the chicken
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced, plus more for garnish
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • cooked rice

Instructions

  • Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Set Instant Pot to Sauté function and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken and cook until golden, about 3 minutes. Then flip and cook for another 3 minutes more. Work in batches as necessary. Turn Instant Pot off of Sauté function.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, lime juice, green onions, and pinch of red pepper flakes. Place chicken in Instant Pot and pour sauce over. Lock lid and set to Pressure Cook on High for 10 minutes.
  • Quick release, making sure to wait until cycle is completely before, unlocking and removing lid. Using tongs, remove chicken from Instant Pot and set on plate to keep warm.
  • Ladle out about 1/4 cup of sauce from Instant Pot and whisk in cornstarch. Pour liquid back into Instant Pot and set to Sauté function. Let sauce simmer until thickened slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over chicken, and garnish with green onions, and serve over rice.
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Sheet Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Veggies

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I’ve been sharing a lot of recipes that use my favorite kitchen toys. I know not everyone has a slow cooker, pressure cooker, and air fryer so it’s time for something more conventional. Sit down for this one. The oven. I know. Scandalous.

I really like sheet pan recipes when they work, like those Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas I posted. Here’s another one that you need to try. It’s a super easy week night meal with everything you need: chicken, potatoes, and green beans. It’s perfect. Its lemony, cheesy, garlicky goodness is sure to please everyone. Did I mention it’s easy to make?

If you don’t like potatoes or green beans, skip the one you don’t like. You can also try using other veggies, such as carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, etc. Just be aware that the cooking times might vary.

In a bowl, mix an egg, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, and seasonings. This will be your marinade and the liquid to help your dredge stick to your chicken. Marinade the chicken for 30-60 minutes. Try not to skip this part, but don’t marinade longer than this (like overnight) or your chicken might end up tough.

By the way, I know I wasn’t going to talk about kitchen toys, but I really like this lemon squeezer so here’s a picture of it. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and it keeps the seeds out of your food. You should buy one. No pressure.

While you wait, it’s time for the veggies.

Let’s pause to express my opinion about dealing with green beans. Hate it. It takes soooooo long to string, trim, and cut them into thirds. But I love green beans. What’s a girl to do? You can reduce the prep time by buying bagged trimmed green beans. This is a good short-cut. Alas, I never find the beans to be as good as the fresh ones, but I will resort to trimmed green beans if the fresh ones are stringy. There’s no shame in this. This time I decided to use fresh beans and do all the work myself. Yes, sometimes I’m a show-off.

Toss your potatoes in half of the butter/garlic mixture and the green beans in the other half.

When your chicken is done marinading, combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and then dredge the chicken in the mixture.

Don’t be like me and forget to spray your foil-lined baking sheet with cooking spray. Generously spray the sheet. Then place your chicken on the sheet and surround them with potatoes. Bake!

After 15 minutes, flip your chicken and add your green beans. Be sure to embrace the amazing aroma of lemon and garlic wafting through your house. Also enjoy the fact that your entire dinner is in the oven and you don’t have to lift a finger to make a side dish.

Cook for another 10-15 minutes on broil until the chicken is golden and the veggies are cooked through.

Sit back and watch as your family is impressed with your ninja like cooking skills.

Sheet Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken and Veggies

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs

For the veggies

  • 1/2 pound potatoes quartered
  • 1/3 cup butter melted
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 3/4 pound green beans trimmed and cut into thirds

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a bowl, whisk together an egg, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Place the chicken in the egg mixture and marinade in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. You can skip this step, if necessary.
  • Wash and quarter the potatoes. Wash, trim, and cut fresh green beans into thirds. Pour half of the butter mixture over the potatoes and the other half over the green beans. Toss to coat.
  • In a bowl, mix breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Dredge the marinaded chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, making sure the crumbs stick to the chicken, pressing if needed.
  • Place chicken and potatoes on a cooking sheet, arranging the potatoes around the chicken in a single layer.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip chicken. Move the potatoes to one side and place the green beans around the chicken.
  • Turn the oven to broil. Return the baking sheet to the oven and broil for 10-15 minutes. The chicken should be cooked to 165F, golden, and crispy. The potatoes and green beans should be cooked though.
  • Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
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Air Fryer Fried Chicken

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Welcome to the world of air frying! It seems to be very popular suddenly, which is good because I finally broke down and bought the small Ninja air fryer. It’s my latest fun toy and I love it. So far, I’ve made french fries and this fried chicken, which was pretty amazing. I plan to try out fried pickles, donuts, and plenty of other goodies in the near future.

What I like about this recipe: No greasy mess. Healthier than fried chicken. Crispy on the inside, juicy on the inside. Better than oven-baked fried chicken. Period. I don’t see why to make fried chicken any other way.

Kudos to the Kitchn for this recipe! You can really use any of your favorite seasonings, but because this was my first attempt, I decided to follow a recipe…mostly. I did stray a little. Sorry people, but I’m not buying a whole chicken and cutting it up into 10 pieces. I took a knife skills class and learned how to do it, but frankly, I suck at it. My hacked up chicken looked pretty pitiful and my revolted stomach wanted nothing to do with it. I’m sure I’d get better with practice (and kudos to you if you rock the whole carving thing), but it’s not for me. Furthermore, I only wanted to use thighs and legs. Sort of wasteful to use a whole chicken.

First, you want to marinate your chicken in buttermilk for an hour or more. Don’t skip this part. Marinating in buttermilk makes the chicken super tender. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t like buying buttermilk because I never use it all so if you’re like me, make your own buttermilk with milk and vinegar. It’s a no brainer.

While the chicken is soaking up all that buttermilk, measure out a zillion seasonings and flour. This is the hardest part. 🙂

Mix it all up and when your chicken is ready, dredge it using a pair of tongs to avoid a sticky floury mess on your fingers.

Be sure to shake off any excess flour. Like I mentioned earlier, the recipe calls for a 3-4 pound whole chicken, but I used about 2 pounds of thighs and legs. I have PLENTY of flour leftover. Feel free to use more chicken if you want.

(Air) fry it up! I sprayed the racks with cooking spray, but I also sprayed the chicken so the coating would cook through. Twenty minutes later, you have fried chicken!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds chicken cut-up into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper divided
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • cooking spray

Instructions

  • Place chicken in a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Add 2 cups buttermilk and marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Overnight is better.
  • Meanwhile, whisk 1 tablespoon kosher salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, all-purpose flour, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, onion powder, and ground mustard together in a large bowl.
  • Preheat an air fryer to 390F. Coat the air fryer racks with cooking spray.
  • Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, allowing any excess to drip off. Dredge in the flour mixture, shaking any excess off. Place a single layer of chicken in the basket, with space in between the pieces.
  • Air fry, flipping the chicken hallway through, until crispy and an instant-read thermometer registers 165F in the thickest piece, 15 to 20 minutes total. Repeat with the remaining chicken.
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Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

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After reading an article about wild rice, my husband asked me if I could cook some wild rice for dinner. I completely jumped on the opportunity. You see, as much as I adore my husband, he’s not a foodie. He likes his steak. He likes tasty food. But he would be just as satisfied if he could skip the whole eating process. It takes away from his (gaming) hobbies whereas eating and making food is my hobby. So when he asked for wild rice, I was pretty excited.

I searched high and low for a tasty wild rice recipe. I was inspired by the weather. It’s been rainy and cold so therefore, soup weather. I decided on a soup recipe from Food and Wine. I stuck to the recipe, but if I had to do it over again, I’d leave out the cream. Don’t get me wrong, the cream makes it…creamy (duh). But apparently some of us do not like creamy soups except for clam chowder. And maybe potato and leek. Whatever. Let’s just leave it at that.

First, let’s talk about wild rice. What the heck is it exactly? Wild rice is a grain and distant cousin to white and brown rice. Like other rices, wild rice is the seed from a type of grass grown in Asian and the US, but not the same grass of other rices. It’s more common in the US and pretty healthy for you. High in fiber and protein. Full of antioxidants. That sort of thing. It’s nutty and chewy so seriously, it does feel like you’re eating a superfood.

To make this recipe, I needed 4 cups of cooked chicken. You can use a rotisserie chicken or any leftover chicken, but I didn’t have any so I cubed two large chicken breasts, seasoned them with salt and pepper, and cooked them until they were no longer opaque. I didn’t want to cook it beyond that because I knew they’d continue to cook in the soup and my family is adverse to dried out chicken. So picky.

While the chicken is cooking, I chopped my veggies. It’s important that your carrots and celery are the same thickness, about a 1/2 inch.

In a dutch oven, I melted butter and then added the veggies and seasonings.

Stir it until everything’s starting to soften, but not too much. You want the carrots to be barely tender or they’ll end up mushy at the end. Note that you will be cooking this soup for another 45 minutes. Add flour and cook for another 3 minutes. Add rice and stock. After boiling, bring it down to a simmer and let it do its thing for 30 minutes.

Your veggies will continue to soften and your rice will begin to cook. Add chicken and let it simmer for 15 minutes until the wild rice is tender. If you’ve never had wild rice before, here’s a tip. It won’t be as tender as other rice, but chewy and you can bite through it. At the very end (or not), stir in the cream. Add some salt and pepper, and then serve. This is a really hearty soup that will fill you up and not leave you hungry.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 celery stalks cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 carrots cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons thyme finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 ounces wild rice about 1 cup
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups cooked chicken cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream optional

Instructions

  • In a dutch oven (or large saucepan), melt the butter. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, until evenly coated and lightly browned, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the wild rice to the saucepan and gradually stir in the stock and water. Bring to a boil, and then simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wild rice is tender, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Stir in the cream (optional – if you want a creamy soup) and season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.
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Creamy Garlic Chicken and Rice

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If you are looking for a one-pan, easy weeknight dinner, look no further. This is the one. It comes from Tbps., but with a couple minor adjustments.

So first off, I was skeptical. How would the rice cook in time without overcooking the chicken? It all works, but I would try a few things differently in the future. Keep reading.

The recipe calls for chicken breasts. While this works fine, 33% of this household (1 out of 3 people…ha ha!) thought the chicken was dried out. 66% disagreed. Just to test the difference, I’d like to make this again using skinless, boneless chicken thighs, my current favorite cut of chicken. Regardless of what you use, you need a pound of chicken cut into chunks seasoned well with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

The recipe calls for cooking it until browned. I cooked it just under that in the hopes the chicken would not be overcooked in the end.

Throw in your rice and broth. After reaching to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Mine wasn’t ready. Too much liquid.

So I cooked it for another 5 minutes. The liquid should be mostly gone and the rice should be tender. The rice will continue to absorb the liquid so aim for what’s shown below.

Next, add the spinach. Make sure you’ve turned off the heat and removed the pan from the burner. You just want the spinach to wilt slightly. Don’t worry if you barely have enough room. In fact, I think it could use more spinach!

Mix it all up and stir in some cream. If you’re like me and never have cream around, milk works fine too. Dinner is served!

Creamy Garlic Chicken and Rice

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs cut into chunks
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 3/4 cup white rice
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream or milk

Instructions

  • Toss the chicken with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breast and cook for about 3 minutes until it's no longer pink on all sides. Add garlic to skillet and cook for 30 seconds more.
  • Stir in rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove pan from heat and place baby spinach on top of the rice. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Remove lid and stir well. Stir in cream or milk, and serve.
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