Balsamic Chicken

Jump to Recipe

Anything balsamic is one of my favorite things. I used to think balsamic was this watery vinegar stuff, but I’ve since learned that it should be syrupy and packed with flavor. Because it’s so flavorful, it makes an awesome marinade for practically everything from chicken and beef to vegetables and potatoes. It’s this wonderful sweet, tangy glaze that comes in a bottle that makes food magically tasty. Win win.

Balsamic chicken also reminds me of Thanksgiving so it’s a great recipe to share the week before. The secret ingredient is sage, which I’m a big fan of when it comes to turkey day. Sage should have a big presence on Thanksgiving and it certainly does with this chicken recipe.

Start with fresh garlic and herbs, like rosemary and sage (of course). I used dried oregano because I was out of fresh.

In a large bowl, mix your garlic and seasonings with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a little sugar. Drop your chicken in. Combine it around with your hands until the chicken is well coated. Throw it on a foil-lined baking sheet. That’s it. You don’t have to even wait to marinade.

Bake for about 25 minutes and out comes dinner. Serve with your favorite sides. Now everyone lives happily ever after, or until the next meal.

Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic Chicken

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 8 4 oz pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh sage chopped

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray.
  • Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sugar, rosemary, oregano, and sage in a large bowl.
  • Add chicken and mix well until chicken is coated. Using your hands is the easiest.
  • Arrange chicken onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Jump to Recipe

It’s slow cooker season! Then again, when is it not slow cooker season? It’s great on those hot summer days when you don’t want to heat the house up with your oven, and it’s wonderful during those chilly fall days when you want something warm and comforting for dinner.

Instead of soup, I decided to make chili, but I didn’t want anything too heavy. Chicken chili is the perfect balance of filling, but not as rich as a beef chili. This particular chili is not very thick so it’s almost like a hearty soup.

Warning! This chili has beans. I’m not going to engage in a beans versus no beans debate. I’m from California. We do whatever we want out here.

Measure out your spices.

There’s a little prep work. If you have a slow cooker with a saute setting, even better, but you can do all of this in a skillet and it works just as well.

Brown ground chicken and set aside.

Chop up your garlic and onions, and saute them .

Add your spices and stir. Your kitchen will smell really good about now.

Add the browned chicken and rest of your ingredients, including those ever so controversial beans.

Cook for 6 hours on low. Dinner is served!

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Servings 8

Ingredients
  

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 medium onion finely diced
  • 1/8 cup chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 15 ounces canned pinto beans undrained
  • 15 ounces canned cannellini beans undrained
  • 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • cheese, onions, etc. for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Heat 2 teaspoon of the oil in a slow cooker on the saute setting (or complete the following 3 steps in a large nonstick skillet over high heat). Add ground chicken and 1 teaspoon salt, cook, breaking the meat apart with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Set aside.
  • In the slow cooker, add 1 teaspoon of oil, and then add garlic and onions, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the onions soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the chili powder, cumin, and cinnamon. Stir constantly for 1 minute to cook the spices. Pour in the chicken broth and scrape the bottom of the pan.
  • Add browned chicken to the slow cooker along with beans and liquid, canned tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons salt, and black pepper (to taste).
  • Cover and cook on the low setting for 6 hours. Garnish with cheese, onions, or your favorite chili toppings.

Oven-Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Jump to Recipe

This easy dish lets you throw a bunch of things together and presto! Out comes a meal! What’s not to love? Plus it’s something you wouldn’t expect: teriyaki chicken. Most teriyaki chicken recipes require you to cook the chicken, then the veggies, and then the rice, usually separately. Although that’s not hard, sometimes you don’t feel like standing over the stove. This recipe doesn’t require you to. Instead, you can prop your feet up and relax while it bakes in the oven. It’s also healthy and a good way to eat your veggies.

There’s a little prep required. In addition to chopping up some veggies, you’ll need to grate some ginger.

I know what you’re thinking. How do I peel this darn this before I grate it? OK, maybe you weren’t thinking that, but you could have been. Let’s go with it.

There are a couple easy tricks. If you want to mince ginger, scrap a spoon along the skin and it peels right off. For this recipe, you need grated ginger so just grate it using a fine shredder. It’ll remove the skin and fibers, leaving you with a pile of pure ginger. Super easy. No peeling required.

You’ll also need to chop up chicken into cubes. Using boneless, skinless chicken is the easiest.

Whisk together your sauce and add the chicken. Throw your raw rice into a 9×13 casserole pan and pour the chicken mixture on top. All the ingredients will end up where they should, but it’s a good idea to spread out your chicken evenly.

Pile your veggies on top. I love veggies. Yes, I’m weird. The more veggies, the better. I used a lot so that it covers the entire casserole dish. Don’t feel like you have to do this. I used red onions, broccoli, and red peppers, but you can use any veggie you prefer.

Cover it with foil, pop it into the oven, and kick back. Play a word game. Chat with a friend. Watch Queer Eye. You’ll need to pause after 25 minutes to briefly remove the foil, but then go back to your “me” time. Assuming you don’t have a kid chanting “Mom…Mom…Mom….”

After another 20-25 minutes, pull out the dish. You shouldn’t see any liquid and the rice will be tender. The veggies should still retain most of their color. You don’t want mushy, overcooked veggies. If that’s what you’re used to, no wonder you don’t like vegetables.

I like to mix it all up and then serve it in a bowl, topped with green onions. Pardon my bowl choice. My pasta bowls were clean. My pretty white bowls were not. Oh well. Life goes on. It all tastes good regardless. 🙂

Oven-Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Oven-Baked Teriyaki Chicken

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons ginger grated
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups raw jasmine rice or any other white rice
  • 1 red onion sliced
  • 3 cups broccoli cut into florets
  • 2 red bell peppers sliced
  • 3 green onions white parts, sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 425F. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole pan with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, teriyaki sauce, water, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken and stir to coat.
  • Spread the rice evenly in the bottom of the pan. Pour the chicken mixture over the rice, making sure the chicken is evenly distributed. Top with onion, broccoli, and peppers evenly.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake until the sauce has thickened, the rice is tender, and the chicken is cooked through, about 20-25 minutes.
  • Let it sit for another 5 minutes before serving to allow for the rice to absorb any additional moisture.
  • Mix and serve topped with sliced green onions.

Maple Chicken and Carrots

Jump to Recipe

I subscribe to way too many cooking email lists. As a result, I read through a lot of recipes. For this weekend’s recipes, I looked for something to make that reminded me of fall.

No, not pumpkin spice fall.

Leaves falling from the trees, chilly mornings, warm fuzzy socks fall. So when I came across this recipe on Delish, I hit perfection. I imagined maple buckets hanging from trees as the leaves gently fall off the branches. Or at least that’s what’s going on in my Californian mind. Carrots are available year round, but they are still a root vegetable and more common when it’s harder to grow anything above ground. It had fall written all over it.

This main dish is fairly straight-forward and easy to make during the week. I prepped all my ingredients, including chopping the carrots into 1/4-inch round circles.

I chose to use my trusty cast-iron pan to sear the seasoned chicken. Set aside.

In the same skillet you combine the sauce ingredients, including apple cider vinegar, garlic, maple syrup (use the real stuff, not the fake maple-colored corn syrup or whatever that stuff is made of), Dijon mustard, lemon, and thyme.

Add the chicken back in and spoon some sauce over each piece. Add your carrots.

Stick the entire pan in the oven. Twenty minutes later, you end up with chicken that has a sweet, tart blend of maple, apple, and mustard flavors. It was sweet without being cloying. Tart without being too acidic. Spicy without being overwhelming. Perfection. To be eaten in fuzzy socks, next to a warm fire.

Maple Chicken and Carrots

Maple Chicken and Carrots

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 5 carrots peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 lemon juiced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425F.
  • In a medium bowl, toss carrots with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Prep the rest of your ingredients.
  • In a cast-iron pan or other oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs and sear 2 minutes per side. Remove chicken and transfer to a plate. Do not discard pan drippings.
  • Add vinegar to pan and scrape up bottom bits from pan with a wooden spoon. Add garlic, maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and lemon juice. Bring to a simmer.
  • Return chicken to skillet and spoon sauce over thighs.
  • Nestle carrots into skillet. Bake until chicken is cooked through and carrots are tender, 20 minutes. Serve with sauce.

Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

Jump to Recipe

Sometimes a recipe comes along that you just don’t change because it’s perfect. This is that recipe. I’ve made it several times and each time, it’s amazing. Better yet, it’s super simple. I wish I could take credit, but alas, I can only provide advice. The prize goes to Jeff Mauro, the Sandwich King from The Food Network, who apparently makes a lot more stuff than sandwiches. His recipe combines dill and lemon along with coriander to make a delicious meal.

Start out with fresh dill and grated lemon for your orzo. The flavor meld together nicely and screams Greek. I should try to make a dip with this. And what is orzo, you may ask. It looks like rice, but it’s a pasta that’s often used in salads, but also in casseroles like this one.

For the chicken, you’ll be using different seasonings, but only three (see how simple this recipe is?). In addition to salt and pepper, you’ll use ground coriander. And what is coriander, you may ask. It’s actually the seeds from the cilantro plant. Who knew? They have a citrus flavor when crushed, which is why it pairs well with dill and lemon.

To cut down on the number of bowls you use, combine the orzo mixture directly in the baking dish. Then, rub the seasonings on chicken. It will be peppery so if that’s not your thing, use half the pepper the recipe states.

Choose chicken that with a consistent thickness, meaning not super thick in the middle and skimpy thin at the ends. If this is not possible, consider pounding the chicken with a mallet to thin out the middle. I have found that two breasts per pound works best for me and doesn’t require any pounding. Just be sure to avoid using large breasts or they won’t cook through.

Place the chicken in the orzo mixture. Don’t freak out. The chicken broth will not wash off the chicken seasonings and make the chicken bland. It’ll all turn out in the end. Make sure your chicken is submerged so you don’t end up with dry chicken. Top with lemon.

And let me take a moment to tell you to use chicken stock, not broth. There’s a difference, they are not interchangeable, and you’ll thank yourself for using the right ingredient.

When baked, you’ll end up with this…

And this…

Did I mention how fancy it looks? You probably could pull this dish off when you have guests to impress.

One of these days, I’m going to try making this dish with other seasoning combinations. I’m thinking that tomato sauce, oregano, and cumin with a little chopped green olives might create a Spanish twist while experimenting with orange and parsley will produce an Italian dish. I encourage you to use your favorite seasonings in the orzo and chicken. Let me know what you discover!

Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

Greek Lemon Chicken and Orzo

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Orzo

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill chopped
  • 2 lemons zested and juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 cups orzo

Chicken

  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 4 medium chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 lemon sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • For the orzo: In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, whisk together stock, butter, salt, cornstarch, dill, lemon zest and juice, and garlic. Mix in the orzo.
  • For the chicken: In a small bowl, mix together the coriander, salt and pepper. Coat the chicken all over with the seasoning.
  • Add the chicken breasts, laying them so most of the chicken is submerged. Top with lemon slices.
  • Bake, uncovered, until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, 35 to 40 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Jump to Recipe

It seems like sheet pan recipes are all the rage, which really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Throw everything on a single baking pan and pop it in the oven. Only one pan to clean. So easy. What’s not to love? Except I’ve been very skeptical that everything comes out perfectly cooked at the same time. To test my suspicions, I decided to try this Food Network recipe to see if sheet pan cooking is really all that it’s cracked up to be. I substituted a few ingredients and changed the directions a bit.

Spoiler: These fajitas are amazing.

Mix up your seasonings. Slice up your veggies. The original recipe said to use baby bell peppers and yellow onions, but you can really go with any color bell pepper or onion. I chose red for both because they are sweet. Don’t forget to line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil to cut down on the mess.

Throw your veggies onto the pan. It’s ok if the veggies touch.

Hmmm…there seems to be a lot of “throwing” going on. Please do not literally throw your food. Mom would not approve.

Next, drizzle olive oil over the veggies to add some “healthy” fat. The olive oil helps the veggies cook better and not end up dry. Don’t skip this step to save calories. Sprinkle with seasonings. All of this goes into the oven.

While the veggies are roasting, slice up your chicken into strips and toss with rest of the seasonings plus olive oil to help the seasonings stick. Pull out your veggies and place the chicken strips on top. Wait, I knew it. You can’t cook all of this at the same time, but I was surprised to see that the veggies took longer than the chicken.

Back in the oven. Go do something useful like empty the dishwasher. Before you know it, everything ready.

The veggies are perfectly cooked, not too crunchy, not wilted. The chicken is super tender and not dried out. From this point, you can squeeze a lime over the fajitas and start plating. The boys ate them with tortillas.

I made myself a fajita salad. Sorry. I ate mine before I had the chance to take a picture of it. It was delicious.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound red bell peppers stemmed, seeded, and sliced
  • 1 large red onion halved and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • juice of 1 lime
  • tortillas
  • fixings: cheese, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, cilantro, etc.

Instructions
 

  • Preheat broiler to high.
  • Combine chili powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Put sliced peppers and onions on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle veggies with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with half of the seasoning mixture.
  • Broil for 10 minutes on the top rack until softened and starting to char.
  • Meanwhile, slice chicken into 1/4-inch-thick strips. In a large bowl, toss chicken with remaining seasoning mixture and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • When the veggies are ready, place chicken strips over veggies. Return the sheet to the top rack of the broiler and cook for another 5 minutes. Chicken should be cooked through and starting to brown. Do not overcook.
  • Squeeze a lime over the chicken. Serve with tortillas and favorite fixings.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Jump to Recipe

This is one of my husband’s favorites. I’m not sure why. I mean, it’s good, but it’s nothing like REAL chicken cordon bleu with the fancy sauce. But it’s simple to make and delicious so let’s get going.

A couple of tips. Buy thinly sliced chicken breasts or pound them flat. Trust me on this one. They need to be the same thickness throughout. Next season without fear.

Layer with Swiss cheese and ham. I like to use a lacy Swiss cheese (did I mention earlier that I love cheese?) that you can get from the deli. It has a mild, nutty flavor that melts well. Your standard Swiss cheese works well too.

If there is a tricky part, here it is. Roll them up and secure with two toothpicks. Don’t worry if they flop open. Just try again. Don’t get frustrated. They are slippery little suckers. Tell them who’s boss. When you are done, they should end up resembling something like this.

Spray some cooking oil over the chicken to help the bread crumbs stick. Use whatever bread crumbs you prefer. I like Italian seasoned panko for that extra crunch, but it’s really just personal preference.

Pop them into the oven.

Now, I want you to meet your new best friend, the instant-read thermometer. Everyone must own one of these. Choose whatever brand sounds good to you, but unless you have infrared vision to gauge internal temperatures, you need this gadget. Trust me on this one.

When it’s done, your chicken should look lightly golden brown with an internal temperature of 165F. Or less. Now this is a topic of debate. I try to pull it out a little sooner and let them rest to avoid dry chicken. But I don’t want to get you sick so you do what suits you.

What I love about this dish is that it’s easy, fancy looking, and tasty. Your friends will be impressed.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken breasts sliced thinly or pounded evenly
  • 12 slices thinly sliced deli ham
  • 6 slices thinly sliced Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • cooking spray

Instructions
 

  • Lay chicken breasts flat. Sprinkle parsley, garlic powder, and white pepper over chicken. Use suggested amounts or season to taste.
  • Stack ham and cheese slices on them.
  • Season over ham and cheese again (optional, if you love strong flavors).
  • Roll chicken and secure with toothpicks.
  • Spray with cooking oil and roll in bread crumbs.
  • Place on nonstick baking sheet. Cook at 350F for 35 minutes, or until interal temperature reaches 165F.