Chicken

Cheap and lean, chicken is an excellent source of protein.

Mustard Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

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This is a good show of how much I've learned over the last 2 years:

  1. The chicken breasts were seasoned with Lawry's, pan-seared on a hot pan with a bit of oil for browning, and then finished in a 400° oven
  2. While the chicken finished in the oven, I prepared the risotto, mostly from this recipe from myrecipes.com (though I've learned from Emeril's recipe, and these risotto techniques from The Awl
  3. A cup of milk deglazed the pan, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 2 tbsp of dijon mustard, some salt, some pepper, and 1 tbsp of flour created a pan sauce

And one thing I haven't learned:

  1. Frozen broccoli looks kind of silly next to the rest of this...

Altogether I like the formula: One difficult or involved thing (risotto), one moderately-complex thing (the pan sauce), and the rest easy things (chicken and broccoli). I spent about an hour in the kitchen, and created something wonderful!

mustard chicken with mushroom risotto on a plate

Chicken Paprikash

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Tonight, I made Chicken Paprikash, a Hungarian stew featuring Paprika, from this recipe by A Dish of Daily Life.

I only had plain paprika, not the hungarian paprika called for in the recipe, so I gain no points for authenticity. It didn't matter, because this still tasted delicious. It takes a bit of time, but it's pretty easy to make, and absolutely worth it.

Chicken paprikash in a bowl

Chicken Lunch Wraps

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I've been looking for a quick, easy, and healthy lunch. Unfortunately, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches fill only two of those requirements (especially when eaten daily). I've also been looking to up my greens intake.

In the building I used to work in, they had an excellent deli that served fresh sandwiches and wraps. For the longest time, I ate the club sandwich. But, one day I decided to try their grilled chicken wrap, and I was hooked.

So here's a chicken lunch wrap recipe. It requires a little prep, but the chicken can be made in large batches and kept for a week. I went with cabbage, which has a different flavor. I tried two variations: Ranch dressing (unhealthy) with cheddar, and fat-free Italian dressing (healthy) with pepperjack, both to good effect.

Here's to a week's worth of healthy lunches!

chicken lunch wraps on a plate

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Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes

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I'm clearing out the chicken from my freezer, which means finding at least a couple new ways to do it. Unlike last week's chicken parmesan, which I've made dozens of times, this week, I found this recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes from SimplyRecipes.

I've seen recipes like this before, simply tossing some chicken on top of some veggies and shoving it in the oven for an hour, but this is the first one I've ever tried. It turned out pretty well, all things considered, and I was pleased at how easy it was.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes in the oven

I didn't have any red wine vinegar, so I substituted an equal amount of balsamic. The shallots I replaced with small yellow onions, and I ran out of fresh garlic, so I used 1/2 tsp of garlic powder (1/8 tsp powder per clove).

All told this is a great, easy, inexpensive dinner, and you can vary the herbs and sauce for infinite possibilities. Something hot and spicy sounds good, or a heaping helping of your favorite seasoned salt.

Next time, I might try a different cut of meat. Thighs and legs might not be the right cut of meat to use, due to their higher fat content. Roasting the chicken on the potatoes means the fat can't drain away.

Herb Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Corn

Chicken Parmesan

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I've made this recipe a lot. It was one of the first real things I learned to make. It's one of my favorite recipes: Easy, delicious, and filling. It combines my favorite meat with my favorite pasta sauce. Chicken Parmesan is the perfect chicken dish.

But I've always ever made it with boneless, skinless chicken breasts. In my effort to also learn how to be cheap, and having some stuff to use up from last week's tortellini, I decided to try making it with the bone-in, skin-on chicken thigh quarters I had in the freezer.

It worked better than I expected. The chicken turned out great in the oven, and the tomato sauce worked well with a little extra cooking time. I added some cauliflower to complete the meal.

Get the recipe for Chicken Parmesan

Chicken parmesan served on spaghetti with tomato sauce and
cauliflower