Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and Orzo

Creamy Chicken with Mushrooms and OrzoI’m all about quick, easy and one pot dinners. Here’s a recipe for all you busy people out there that want a home cooked meal but don’t have the time or energy to spend more than 30 minutes making it. This is a fun take on chicken and rice. Except we are using orzo pasta instead of rice. For my vegetarian friends out there, feel free to omit the chicken, substitute vegetable stock and add more veggies to this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt, pepper and garlic powder to season chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces sliced baby bella or cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach
  • Parmesan or Romano grated cheese for garnish
  • Italian parsley for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sprinkle liberally both sides of chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  2. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
  3. Add olive oil and butter. Heat until bubbly.
  4. Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes per side until a nice crust forms. (chicken will not be cooked through but will continue cooking with the orzo.)
  5. Remove seared chicken to a plate.
  6. Add mushrooms to hot skillet and saute until cooked about 2 minutes.
  7. Reduce heat to medium.
  8. Add garlic and orzo to pan and saute for 2 minutes.
  9. Add chicken stock, cream and spinach.
  10. Place chicken into orzo mixture.
  11. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 F degrees.
  12. Top with grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and Italian parsley leaves.

Makes 4 servings.

Easy Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

chichen-fajitas-1Okay. I admit it. I am a picky eater. You will not find green bell peppers or yellow onions in my fajitas. I love every type of bell peppers except green. I will always substitute whenever a recipe calls for green bell peppers. As for red onions, they just happen to be my favorite type of onion. I always have them on hand. Don’t get me wrong, I like yellow onions too. But I ALWAYS have red onions. So feel free to substitute your favorite colors of the rainbow for this dish. You can even omit the chicken and use sliced portabella mushrooms and add other vegetables to make a fantastic vegetarian fajita.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into strips
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons Mexican seasoning (chili powder, crushed red peppers, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and paprika)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • tortillas and your favorite fajita sides for serving
  • lime wedges for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place onions, peppers and chicken in 9×13 baking pan or dish.
  3. Drizzle and coat with olive oil. Sprinkle Mexican seasoning over dish. Top with lime juice. Toss to coat.
  4. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway.
  5. Serve with tortillas and your favorite fajita sides. Add lime wedge to each plate for garnish and extra lime juice if wanted.

Makes 3-4 servings.

chichen-fajitas-2

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

sweet-and-spicy-wings-1Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I cannot resist chicken wings. I wanted to try another Asian style chicken wing, so this is a cross between honey sriracha and orange chicken. I made these fairly mild because my son can’t handle the heat. But if these were just for me, you know the amount of red pepper flakes and sriracha would be doubled or tripled. Feel free to adjust to your taste.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-3 pounds chicken wings

MARINADE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (juice of one lime)
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 3-4 tablespoons sriracha sauce

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Make the marinade. Combine soy sauce, garlic, lime juice and ginger in a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Add wings to marinade. Seal and toss well. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F degrees. Place wings on a baking rack over a baking sheet or parchment sheet lined baking sheet. Cook the wings for 35 to 40 minutes.
  3. Make the sauce while the wings are cooking. Whisk all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  4. When the wings are done cooking, take the wings out and  turn up the oven to 450 F degrees.
  5. Baste the wings in the sauce you prepared. Be sure to turn wings over and baste all sides thoroughly.
  6. Return wings to oven. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until sauce caramelizes.

sweet-ans-spicy-wings-2

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Rice

cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-platedI love a one pot dish. Less mess, less to clean. So keep it simple and stop there I tell myself. But alas, I always have to go an extra step. Why not make an avocado cilantro dressing to garnish this chicken with? You could make a double batch of the dressing and save the extra for your salads. If you are going to give yourself extra things to clean, might as well make it worth your while. Plus you have half an avocado left to use. Just saying….

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup uncooked white rice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, reserve a teaspoon for garnish
  • juice of 2 limes

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Be sure to use a covered skillet for this recipe. Melt butter over medium high heat. Once butter is melted, add chicken and cook 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add rice and garlic to skillet and stir for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add chicken stock, cilantro and lime juice. Stir until combined. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-1
  4. Place chicken breasts on top of the rice mixture. Cover skillet with lid and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 25 minutes until chicken and rice is fully cooked and liquid is absorbed. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-2
  5. While the chicken breasts and rice are cooking, prepare your dressing.
  6. Add all dressing ingredients to your food processor or blender. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-3
  7. Pulse until smooth. Add more water or lime juice if needed. cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-4
  8. When chicken and rice are ready, drizzle dressing over chicken and sprinkle with reserved cilantro. Dress with sliced limes for more flair.

cilantro-lime-chicken-and-rice-pot

Chicken Zoodle Soup

chicken-zoodle-soupHere in Northern California, our September weather has been exceptionally warm. We were in the low 90’s the last few weeks. But today we were only in the 70’s. And being the typical weather spoiled Californian, it felt cold to me. I wanted soup. Actually, it gave me an excuse to try out my new vegetable spiralizer and make zucchini noodle soup. Or “zoodles” as the foodies call them. For my vegetarian friends, like Sue T., omit the chicken breasts and substitute with vegetable stock.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • handful of baby carrots (about 6-8) sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces of sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, reserve some for garnish
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2-3 zucchinis, spiralized into noodle shapes and cut into desired length
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add olive oil to large pot over medium high heat. When oil begins to ripple, add onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Stir for 2-3 minutes until vegetables soften.
  2. Add minced garlic to vegetables. Stir for 1 minute, until garlic become fragrant.
  3. Next add the chicken stock, poultry seasoning and most of the chopped parsley. Stir until combined.
  4. Add chicken breasts. Once liquid begins to boil, lower heat to simmer for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  5. Remove chicken and carefully shred into bite sized pieces. Return shredded chicken to pot. Stir to combine.
  6. Meanwhile, spiralize the zucchini. Cut into smaller noodle lengths, unless you want extra long noodles.
  7. Turn heat back up to medium high.  Add zucchini noodles (zoodles) to soup. Stir and let zoodles cook for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Serve with reserved parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

chicken-zoodle-soup-pot

Shredded Chicken Tacos

chicken-tacos-flour-tortillasTaco Tuesday? It’s taco any day in my house. And when I have all the ingredients in my refrigerator, then I like to go all out and make it taco fiesta night. I like using warmed flour tortillas, but my son likes the corn tortillas. So I always have both types on hand. This recipe makes enough for 12 well packed tacos. Which tortilla type do you like to use to make your tacos?

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup your favorite salsa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 red or white onion, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, diced
  • 2-3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded Romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • Mexican Crema to garnish (you can substitute with sour cream)
  • Cotija cheese to garnish
  • 12 flour or corn fajita sized (or smaller)  tortillas

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a covered skillet or pot, add chicken breasts, salsa and water. Turn heat on high until liquid begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 45-50 minutes, or until chicken breasts become tender and shred easily. Shred chicken using two forks and set aside in a bowl.
  2. In another bowl, make a pico de gallo, by adding diced onions, cilantro, tomatoes and jalapenos. Then squeeze half of a lime into the pico de gallo and mix well.
  3. Add shredded cabbage and lettuce together in yet another bowl.
  4. Place Mexican blend cheese in a final bowl.
  5. Warm up tortillas. For the flour ones, I just wrap in damp paper towels and microwave for 30-45 seconds. For the corn tortillas, I heat up over my stove gas burners about 10 seconds per side and flip a few rotations until they bubble up a little and get char marks.
  6. Build your tacos. Lay down the tortilla. Add shredded chicken. Then add pico de gallo. Then some cabbage and lettuce mix. Then the Mexican blend cheese. Then drizzle some crema. And finally grate some Cotija cheese over the entire taco. Serve with refried beans and Mexican rice. Muy delicioso!

chicken-tacos-corn-tortillas

Chinese Barbecue Chicken Wings

Chinese BBQ WingsIf you have been following my blog, you know I love chicken wings. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, because my son loves them too. However, we do differ when it comes to flavors. He prefers the sweet and tangy chicken wings, I prefer the savory with a spicy kick. This time around, he wins. As much as I was tempted to spice up this recipe, I refrained so I wouldn’t get that disappointed shake of the head that my son gives me when I make something too spicy for him. So for all those who like sweet, sticky and tangy wings, this recipe is for you. Don’t forget the extra napkins!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 pounds chicken wings (about 20 pieces)

BARBECUE SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce (found in your international grocery aisle)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup minced green onions, set aside a tablespoon for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
  2. Line baking pan with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Add melted butter to pan.
  3. Next mix flour, paprika, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper in a plastic resealable bag.
  4. Add in the chicken wings to the bag with the flour mixture. Shake well. Be sure each wing gets covered.
  5. Place all wings on baking pan with melted butter.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Turn over wings and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until skin is crispy and golden brown.
  8. Meanwhile in a saucepan over medium high heat, add all barbecue sauce ingredients (hoisin sauce, butter, honey, ginger and sesame oil) and stir to combine. If sauce is a little too thick, add 1/4 cup of water to thin out sauce. Reduce heat to low while waiting on chicken wings to finish cooking.
  9. When chicken wings are done cooking add them to a large mixing bowl and toss with barbecue sauce.
  10. Serve on a platter and garnish with the green onions you set aside earlier.

Chinese BBQ Wings 2

What’s In My Refrigerator Salad

Salad 9Sometimes, not often mind you, I want to eat a great big salad for dinner. Not your little foo foo salad. I mean something that is so delicious and satisfying that you won’t be hungry 4 hours later type of salad. I like to use whatever fruits, nuts and vegetables I have on hand. And of course, I always have an extra cooked chicken breast in my refrigerator that I can add as well. Feel free to make as much or as little as you like. And also feel free to add or substitute more/less ingredients to suit your tastes. I know this is just salad and not much of a recipe, but sometimes you just need to see how simple everyday items you have on hand can make a delicious meal.

INGREDIENTS:

  • romaine lettuce cut into ribbons
  • grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • red grapes, sliced in half
  • toasted almond slices
  • dried cranberries
  • strawberries, sliced into quarters
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
  • your favorite salad dressing

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut romaine lettuce into ribbons and add to bowl. Salad 1
  2. Add grape tomatoes.Salad 2
  3. Add grapes.Salad 3
  4. Add almond slices for extra crunchiness. Salad 4
  5. Add dried cranberries for extra sweetness.Salad 5
  6. Wait, I found some strawberries. Add those in too.Salad 6
  7. Add some grated Parmesan cheese.Salad 7
  8. Add sliced chicken breast pieces. (I know Sue, you will skip this part.)Salad 8
  9. Mix up your ingredients so you get a little bite of everything. And serve with your favorite salad dressing. (And maybe some extra shredded cheese…)Salad 9

Quick Braised Chicken and Vegetables

Braised Chicken and VegetablesI wasn’t quite sure what to call this recipe. It’s essentially a stir fry, but because I like to make a thin gravy that the chicken braises in does that make it braised? Oh well. It tastes good and that’s what matters the most. And this recipe is perfect for those evenings you really don’t want to make anything too complicated. One pot meal, about 30 minutes from start to finish. Can’t beat that.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon lite soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Hoisin sauce (can be found in your grocery’s international food aisle)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 bag (16 ounce) frozen stir fry vegetables (or use fresh if you have on hand)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add olive oil to large skillet over medium high heat.
  2. When oil begins to ripple, add chicken breast pieces to skillet. Stir occasionally and cook for 4-6 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Add minced garlic, sesame oil and soy sauce. Stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add Hoisin sauce and chicken broth.
  5. Meanwhile add cornstarch and water into a small bowl and stir until combined to make a slurry.
  6. Once liquid in skillet comes to a boil add the cornstarch and water slurry to the skillet. Stir to combine. Lower heat to simmer. Cover skillet.
  7. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Raise heat back to medium high and add frozen stir fry vegetables. Stir and cook for 4-5 minutes until vegetables are heated through.
  9. Serve over rice and don’t forget to add some of the gravy you just made too.

Braised Chicken and Vegetables 2

 

One Pot Chicken and Rice

Tex Mex Chicken and RiceChicken and rice are my  favorite “go to” ingredients. There are so many ways to  prepare the two. For this recipe we are taking the fabulous bold flavors of the Southwest and going Tex Mex style. This is my kind of comfort food wrapped up in one colorful, piping hot bowl of deliciousness. And for my vegetarian friends out there, just skip the chicken.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, pounded thin and cut into small chunks
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red or orange bell pepper, diced
  • 24 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Morton & Bassett Mexican Blend seasoning (cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, pepper and thyme)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
  2. Add chicken pieces and cook each side for 2 minutes or until cooked through. Remove chicken onto a plate and set aside.
  3. Add onions, bell pepper and garlic to skillet. Cook 1-2 minutes until onions and bell pepper are softened.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, broth, corn, and black beans into skillet.
  5. Next add Mexican blend seasoning, cayenne pepper and brown sugar.
  6. Bring to a simmer and then add rice.
  7. Stir, cover with a lid and turn down heat to medium low.
  8. Cook for about 15 to 18 minutes until rice is cooked and most of liquid is absorbed.
  9. Add chicken and stir.
  10. Sprinkle with cheese and cover skillet with lid for 3 to 5 minutes for cheese to melt.
  11. Serve garnished with green onions or cilantro pieces.

Tex Mex Chicken and Rice Skillet