Dijon and Chive Grilled Chicken

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While I was home this past weekend at my parent’s house my mom supplied me with some very delicious fresh herbs.  And when I say some, I mean a seriously hefty amount.  I am going to start up an herb series to help everyone get their own herb garden started and give you ideas of what to do when you are faced with a large amount of fresh cut herb goodness.  Herbs are such an easy way to add flavor and spice to your food without the calories or fear of processed chemicals.  Before I get the series started I wanted to share this amazing chicken recipe.

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In a traditional glaze, which I typically use with a ham, I combine some sort of sugar (brown sugar, regular sugar, honey, agave, etc) with a mustard (honey mustard, yellow mustard, brown mustard, dijon mustard, you get the point), and maybe a splash of citrus (lemon juice, pineapple juice, orange juice, etc).  Today I wanted to use my abundance of chives, so I combined agave and dijon mustard with a small handful of fresh cut chives.  The result was fantastic.  It turned our grilled chicken into a flavorful and juicy treat.  I drizzled the extra glaze over the finished product, you can thicken it with some mayo or greek yogurt if you want a creamy gravy for on top.

The key to a sugary glaze is to hold off on adding it to the meat until the last few minutes of cooking.  The sugars will get activated and can burn if you put it on too soon.  When added at the end and given a few minutes to adhere to the meat, you will get the full benefit of the glaze and you will also seal in moisture!

Ingredients:

2-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3-4 Tbsp of agave (or sugar of choice)
1-2 Tbsp of dijon mustard (or mustard of choice)
1-2 Tbsp of fresh cut chives
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  If you want to cut back on cooking time and increase glaze coverage, either butterfly the breasts or beat with meat hammer.

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2. Mix together agave, mustard, and chives in a small bowl.  Adjust proportions to taste preferences.

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3. Grill chicken on a hot grill (around 400-450 degrees).  In the few minutes before the chicken is fully cooked glaze on all sides and finish cooking until center reaches 165 degrees.

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4. Drizzle with extra glaze if desired.

This goes really well over a salad or with a side of grilled vegetables for a complete healthy meal.  Don’t forget you can eat the flower of the chives as well.  Just remove the center stem and sprinkle over your salad or chicken for a little extra chive flavor!

Enjoy and Eat Well!

Skillet Baked Chicken

This recipe is incredibly easy, uses only 1 dish, and a handful of ingredients.  I made this for a quick weeknight dinner but will definitely be making it again for a crowd.  The key to this is good quality bacon, shocking I know.  You want a thick cut applewood smoked bacon if you can find it.  I get our bacon at the Paulina Meat Market usually so the slices are fresh and as thick as I want, but I also like Wright brand from our local grocery store.  This is not for turkey bacon or a thin sliced lean bacon, the smokey fat makes all the difference in giving depth and keeping the chicken moist.

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Ingredients:

3 slices of bacon, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
2 chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In an oven safe skillet cook the bacon stirring frequently.  When half-way cooked add the bell pepper and cook about 5 minutes on medium low heat.
3. Push the bacon and peppers to the edge of the skillet and turn heat up to medium.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, place in the center and brown about 5 minutes on each side.
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4. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking for about 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Coconut and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

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After Thanksgiving you are likely looking for something to eat that is healthy but perhaps with flavors that are out of the comfort food category.  This dish is full of vegetables and has a spicy flavor that is perfect for this time of year.  Serving on a bed of spaghetti squash cuts back on calories and sneaks in some extra fiber.  I made this dish with coconut milk to keep it dairy free and change the flavor profile even further out of the comfort food zone.  I used chicken, but this would be good with pork or even shrimp.

Ingredients: 

1 Onion, diced
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp sriracha (or red pepper paste)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
3 red peppers, roasted with skins removed
1 jalapeno, roasted
1 15oz can of coconut milk
1 tsp truvia or sugar

Directions:

1. Slice red peppers and jalapeno into flat pieces, spray with olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.

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2. While the peppers are roasting heat grapeseed oil, coconut oil, or olive oil in large dutch oven, saute onions over medium heat for 5 minutes.

3. Add coriander and cayenne, simmer for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.  Stir in garlic and ginger, continue to heat for 5 minutes.

4. Add can of diced tomatoes including juices and mix well.

5. When the peppers are blackened, remove from oven and place in bowl covered with saran wrap.  Allow to sit in bowl for at least 5-10 minutes before removing skins (sitting in steam will allow skins to slide off easily).

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6. Roughly chop peppers and add to pan.  Add sriracha and truvia or sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.

7. While your sauce is simmering start to brown chicken (seasoned lightly with salt and pepper) in heavy skillet for 5 minutes on each side.

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8. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing.  I used an immersion blender, but if you don’t have one you will have to transfer to a regular blender to puree in batches.

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9. Nestle browned chicken into sauce and simmer on low for 15 minutes to finish cooking.

10. Serve over rice or spaghetti squash as pictured above.

Enjoy!

Tomato Cooked Chicken with Shiitake Ricotta Topping

For dinner tonight I wanted to make something that had a lot of flavor as well as used up some random vegetables and ingredients I had in the fridge.  The dish turned out even better than I thought it would, so much flavor and depth.  My husband was pretty reluctant to let me put kalamata olives in it, but it really brought the dish to a new level.  If you are really opposed to the olives, you can add some capers to enhance the flavor or skip altogether.  To serve I roasted some vegetables on the side, but it would go great over a bed of rice or roasted spaghetti squash.

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Ingredients:

– 4 chicken breasts

– 1/2 cup white wine

-2 Tbsp fresh garlic, minced

– 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced

– 1/2 onion, diced

– 1 hungarian or green pepper, diced

– 2 roma tomatoes

– 1 8oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice

– 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, center stem removed

– 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

– 8-10 kalamata olives, sliced

– 1 cup ricotta cheese

– 10-12 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

-salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Brown the chicken breasts in a hot skillet coated with olive oil about 4 minutes on each side, remove and set aside.

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2. Add garlic, ginger, and thyme to pan and saute a few minutes, add white wine and de-glaze the skillet.  Simmer for a few minutes to cook off the wine.

3. Add onions and peppers to skillet with a 1/2 tbsp of butter and saute with red pepper flakes.

2013-09-26 19.47.464. Add diced tomatoes and can of diced tomatoes with olives, stir and simmer until heated through.

5. Place chicken back in skillet and reduce heat to low, simmer for 10 minutes flipping once.

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6. While the chicken is simmering make the ricotta topping.  Heat small cast iron skillet and saute 1 tsp minced garlic and shiitake mushrooms with a pad of butter.  Simmer for 5 minutes before removing from heat.

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7. Mix mushroom mixture with ricotta cheese and dollop on top of chicken.

8. To finish dish, put skillet in the oven on broil to heat the ricotta for a few minutes, garnish with fresh thyme.

2013-09-26 20.31.03The mushroom and ricotta cheese topping was a complete after-thought.  I wanted to put the mushrooms in the red sauce, but forgot about them.  Turns out mushrooms, garlic, butter, and cheese is delicious,  I will definitely use this again in other dishes.

Enjoy!

Garlic Chicken with Zucchini Ribbons

Tonight for dinner we had a few chicken breasts left over from the BBQ last night.  Instead of the rich and bold taste of BBQ sauce I took the chicken in a different direction…Garlic.  With the ribbons of zucchini and garlic on the chicken it has a hint of fall flavor.

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Chicken: I butterflied each breast open to decrease grill time and create more flavor from the seasoning through each bite.  I sprinkled a generous amount of salt, pepper, and garlic seasoning on each breast right before grilling.  When you butterfly chicken the risk of over cooking and drying out definitely increases, so watch closely while grilling.  These took 4 minutes on each side on a high heat grill, then let them rest for 10 minutes before eating .

Zucchini Ribbons: I read a recipe today that make the zucchini similar to this but then covers it all with an alfredo sauce.  I didn’t want such a heavy dinner, so I skipped that part entirely and added Parmesan instead.

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchini (I used a large yellow and small green one)

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil (infused with garlic, pepper, and red chili peppers)

Parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:

1. Using a vegetable peeler I sliced the zucchini into very thin ribbons length wise and gathered them into a bowl.  I drizzled olive oil, salt, and pepper onto the ribbons and mixed together with my hands to coat each ribbon.

2. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat I coated the skillet with olive oil and added the cloves of garlic and a crushed red pepper flakes.  I let this cook for 2-3 minutes, until I could smell the fragrance of garlic before adding the zucchini.  The zucchini cooks quickly and I didn’t want it to burn, so I tossed it with tongs every minute or so until the ribbons started to soften trying to be careful not to let them turn to mush.  Total cooking time was 8-10 minutes.  Finally I topped it off with some grated Parmesan cheese and cracked pepper.

On the side I made a small Caprese salad with a huge tomato from the farmers market and fresh basil.  I drizzled infused olive oil on it with fig balsamic from Old Town Oil.

Infused Olive Oil

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Making infused olive oil is a way to add more flavor to dishes without so much effort or cooking time.  Right now I have a garlic, pepper, and red chili pepper infused oil that is really complementary to cooked vegetables or even for dipping bread or pizza crust in.  I found this jar at Marshalls for just a few bucks, the stopper/latch combo is really a nice feature.

To make, I put a few cloves of garlic (cleaned and sliced in half), a table spoon of pepper corns, and 2 whole dried chili peppers into the jar.  Fill with a good quality olive oil and close the jar, done.  The flavor gets better over time, but I try to make sure to use it in a few weeks in case the garlic starts to turn bad.