Tag Archives: poultry

Smoked Mozzarella & Chicken Panini

2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Pageant
This recipe was featured in the 2nd Annual Grilled Cheese Pageant at PaniniHappy.com

I’ve been wanting a panini grill for a while now, but I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money on a (as Alton Brown says) “uni-tasker.” So when I thought I saw a Cuisinart 4-in-1 Griddler on sale at Amazon for only $43.95, I immediately ordered it!

Woo hoo!

It turns out, what I actually ordered was just the regular Cuisinart panini press, NOT the 4-in-1 I thought I was ordering. No WONDER it was such a great price! Doggone it!

However I ended up with it, it is definitely easier to make panini with this, than trying to press a sandwich using a cast iron skillet and a grill pan. We tried it out for the first time last night on these yummy Smoked Mozzarella and Chicken Panini sandwiches, and it worked like a charm.

This recipe is fairly quick and simple but packs in lots of flavor, and the sandwiches are large and filling. This made two large panini sandwiches for us as a one-dish meal, but if you were serving sides, you could probably serve just one-half to 4 people and be fine.

Don’t wimp out and sub regular mozzarella for the smoked – it’s what makes it so amazing!


Chili Pappardelle with Chicken & Mushrooms

I find that pasta is like a backup singer. It supports the star without being in the spotlight, fills in where needed and makes the show complete.

Sometimes, the backup singer becomes the star. Such as the chili flavored pappardelle I found recently at World Market! Unfortunately, I threw away the package without noting the brand, but any of these would probably be a good substitute:

I also discovered that there are lots of other interesting flavored pastas available – check it out:

      Plus a bunch more. After loving the chili pappardelle so much, I can’t wait to try these others!

      This dish could certainly be made with a standard pasta, but the chili flavored pasta gave it a wonderful, subtle spicy flavor, so if you use regular pasta, be sure to increase the crushed red pepper flakes. If you can, definitely do try the flavored kind. We loved it!


Cajun Oven Fried Chicken

Like just about everyone else, I love fried foods. They’re just so crispy, savory, and delicious! But I don’t love frying them.

Not only does it add loads of calories and fat that my hips really don’t need, but it always makes such a mess. Despite my best efforts, I get a fine layer of grease spattered all over the stove, counter, wall and anything else within a couple of feet of the fry pan.

That’s why I love this chicken recipe. No, it’s not really like true fried chicken. But it is crispy! And savory! And delicious! And there is no spatter zone. The Panko bread crumbs are required to get the desired crispiness here. I can get them in the Asian aisle at my local grocer, but if you can’t, try an Asian market. Trust me – Panko rocks! I don’t even have regular bread crumbs in my kitchen anymore.


Easy Chicken Adobo in the Slow Cooker

I’ve had a slow cooker for as long as I can remember. I think I got it as a wedding gift many years ago (no longer married, btw), but I never used it until a couple of years ago. Although I love using it, I don’t as much as I should.

Why? Because you have to think ahead and well, let’s just say that’s not my strong point. Every now and then, though, I manage to think beyond just the next hour of my life and manage to get something put together in the crockpot. And I’m always thrilled when I do.

It’s great to open your door and immediately smell the aroma of your meal, cooked and waiting for you. Maybe a few last minute preparations, but basically, all the work has been done and you can just sit down and eat. It’s a lovely, relaxed feeling that I need to do more often.

With this in mind, I had picked up this book a while back – The Gourmet Slow Cooker: Volume IIby Lynn Alley. One of the problems with many slow cooker recipes is that they tend to be a) only soups / stews and b) they use a lot of canned goods (read: high sodium). This book is great because it has a variety of types of dishes and it uses mostly fresh ingredients, so I’ve been excited to give it a try.

This is the first recipe I’ve tried and it was easy and delicious. I will definitely be trying others. The only changes I made were to bump up the amount of ginger, add the cinnamon sticks and reduce the sauce at the end to make a glaze. The book shows a lovely picture of glazed chicken, but on its own, it doesn’t come out that way. The last step of reducing the sauce is a simple way to add the visual appeal, as well as really get that delicious sauce to stick to your chicken.

The book indicates to use fresh meat and cook for 6-8 hours. I used frozen drumsticks and cooked it on high for about an hour and a half, then on low for another 3 and a half and it was almost falling off the bone. So I have adjusted the cooking times below to reflect my experience. Your mileage may vary, and while I stopped cooking at about 5 hours, I’m sure you could go 6-8 (so that you can leave it cooking while at a full day of work), and it would still be good. It would just probably be off the bone by then. Delicious, nonetheless.

I served this over rice with some pineapple bits in it. Did you know that you can make a big batch of rice, let it cool, then portion it, freeze it and microwave it as needed? It comes out fluffy and delicious, just like new. Add that quick tip to your slow cooker meal and it’s really a perfect no-work meal after a long day.

Even the Anything-Healthy-Hating boyfriend and his son, the World’s Pickiest Eater liked this. Give it a try!


King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Every place has its regional specialties, which became very obvious to me after moving to Texas. Certain dishes – like Red Velvet cake – I was aware of in California, but had no idea they were so very prevalent in other areas. And some things I’d never even heard of until I moved here.

One of those is King Ranch Chicken. This is a delicious Tex-Mex casserole layered with corn tortillas, chicken, tomatoes, a mildly spicy (or however you make it) creamy sauce and topped with cheese. Usually, the sauce is made using a can of condensed soup.

I have a lot of reasons for disliking recipes that use condensed soups. One is that I have high blood pressure, so I have to watch my sodium, and canned foods have sooo much sodium in them, it’s ridiculous. Another is that it just seems so artificial to use condensed soups. Finally, I don’t want to use up all my pantry space with can after can of the various condensed soup flavors.

I love casseroles, but so many of them call for those stupid condensed soups. After some research, I have found substitutes so I can still enjoy a creamy, delicious casserole without that can. Some cornstarch, dry milk powder and chicken broth gives me a lovely creamy result, without all the junk. If you want to use this method for any other recipe, just remember you may need to add seasonings to approximate the condensed soup you are replacing. Here, I didn’t add any, because the rest of the casserole has plenty of flavor. But if you were doing something milder, you would want to add some herbs and spices to round it out.

Here’s my version of King Ranch chicken, which even my anything-healthy-hating boyfriend loves! It’s hearty, delicious and very satisfying.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 426
Fat: 13g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 6g
Protein: 41g

King Ranch Casserole on FoodistaKing Ranch Casserole

Easy Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken & Potatoes

I’m a mean pseudo-stepmom (we’re not married, but we live together, so…). Most nights, I do not cook for my boyfriend’s son. He is forced to fend for himself.

Why, you may ask, would I be so unkind? Well, Morgan is about the World’s Pickiest Eater and I mean that sincerely. Not only is he uber-picky, but he’s fickle too. On some nights, he will refuse to eat things that he normally loves – pizza, for instance. If he’s not in the mood, you can just take your meal and….well, you know.

After struggling to find things to cook that we would enjoy AND he would eat, I finally gave up. I stopped trying to get him to eat veggies. I stopped complaining about the junk food. Now, I’m happy if he will just eat. If it happens to be boxed mac ‘n cheese and corn dogs all the time, well, at least it’s something. Plus I am now free to cook things that Bill and I enjoy without having to worry about Morgan at the same time.

He is 17, after all. He can make his own dinner.

Some recipes, however, call even to the World’s Pickiest Eater. Chicken is almost always a winner. Chicken seems to be one of those things that almost everyone likes (or will at least tolerate). And juicy, flavorful chicken can be so very satisfying. When it’s also quick and easy to make – what can I say? I’m all over it!

I have to tell you; I was so excited yesterday before I made this meal. I had picked up some purple potatoes recently. I had been watching for them for months, hoping to try some out so when I saw them, I snatched them right up! I had these visions of gorgeous pictures of chicken with rich purple potatoes and bright green broccoli.

But then, I sliced the potatoes. They weren’t really purple, just purple-skinned. I was so disappointed! So, I am still on the lookout for real purple potatoes. Anybody know where to get them in the Houston area?

Even with just regular potatoes, this is a very easy, delicious and healthy meal. Throw it together in just a few minutes and relax while it roasts. Then sit back with a satisfied smile while all the carnivores dig in.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 251
Fat: 2g, Sat Fat: 1g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 20g

Lemon Pepper Chicken on FoodistaLemon Pepper Chicken

Oven Fried Chicken Chimichangas

I have a confession to make. Some nights, I’m too tired to really cook. Some nights, I just don’t want to. I’m sorry! I WANT to be that person who makes everything from scratch every single night, I do! But sometimes, I’m just not. That pesky day job (and the second job, the kid, the pets, the man, the house, sometimes pure laziness….) just really gets in the way.

The problem is, on those nights, I still don’t really want to get fast food or order in, either. What’s a girl to do? Well, I try to keep a few basics on hand for nights like those.

One of the things I keep on hand are some frozen, mesquite grilled chicken breasts. They can be quickly defrosted in the microwave and used in an easy recipe or, on a really lazy night, just warmed up and slapped between some bread for a decent warm sandwich. I also like them for recipes that call for “cooked chicken,” which unfortunately, usually means “canned chicken.” While canned chicken is fine for some things, it is pretty bland, kind of mushy and all canned things tends to have too much sodium.

Thanks to Sam’s Club, these frozen chicken breasts take cooked chicken a step up. They are mesquite grilled, so have some decent flavor, are white meat, so pretty healthy and do not have loads of added sodium. And they are perfect for lazy nights.

This is one of our favorite quick, lazy-night recipes. It’s very easy, quick to throw together, hearty, filling, tasty and fairly healthy. If you wanted to take it to the next level, by all means, cook your chicken fresh, adding your own spices and flavorings to kick it up a notch. But on a lazy night, when you still want something delicious for dinner, this one is a winner.

Although I haven’t done it yet, these would be easy to customize – add beans, use beef or pork instead of chicken, use a salsa verde instead of the red salsa, etc.


Nutritional Info (not including garnishes) calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 338
Fat: 15g, Sat Fat: 7g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 2g
Protein: 27g

Chicken Chimichangas on FoodistaChicken Chimichangas

Pan Fried Gnocchi with Goat Cheese Sauce

Ah, gnocchi. Have you tried it? I hadn’t until about last year sometime, when I found some at the local Sam’s Club. I’d seen lots of recipes to make it, but I rarely have time for things like making fresh pasta, so hadn’t yet had a chance to try it.

Even though I’d never tasted it, I bought the economy pack of over 3 pounds. I mean, after all, it’s potatoes – starchy, fluffy, filling potatoes. What’s not to like? Let’s just say that 3 pounds did not go to waste.

Dried gnocchi cooks very fast. It takes a lot longer for the water to come to a boil in the first place than it does for the gnocchi to cook in it. Consequently, gnocchi has become a go-to quick meal staple. Boil some gnocchi, top it with a jarred or homemade sauce, add in some grilled chicken, sausage and/or veggies and it’s a filling, yummy one pot meal.

Recently, I saw this post with such a gorgeous photo of pan fried gnocchi that it made my mouth water. Immediately, I knew I had to try it that way.

After much cogitating and surfing and considering what I had in my fridge and pantry, this was the result. The gnocchi was delicious – crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. Slightly salty from the seasoning I put on it as it was cooking. The sauce was also delicious – tangy and creamy. If I were to do it again, I might actually separate the gnocchi from the rest of it and leave it sauceless – it was so good in its crispy state, and the sauce, though minimal, was somewhat distracting.


Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 730
Fat: 15g, Sat Fat: 8g
Fiber: 5g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 37g

Gnocchi on FoodistaGnocchi
Soft Goat Cheese on FoodistaSoft Goat Cheese

Chicken Portobello Fajitas

Fajitas are a staple here in Texas. You can get them at almost any restaurant, you can buy them pre-marinated and ready to cook at the meat section, or frozen and ready to heat up from the freezer section. But why?

They are so easy to make from scratch and when you do, you can customize them to your liking. Beef or chicken? Peppers or no peppers? Onions? Mushrooms? The options are endless.

Whenever I prepare fajitas, I double the batch so I can freeze some for those days when I’m too busy (or too lazy) to really cook. We all love fajitas at my house, even The World’s Pickiest Eater (that would be my boyfriend’s son). And it’s one of my boyfriend’s very favorite meals. AND they are pretty healthy and low calorie (if you keep the sour cream and guacamole to a minimum), so I make them fairly often.

This time, I added some sliced portobello mushrooms to the mix to extend the amount and to give a new twist to our old standard. The great thing about portobellos is that they are so meaty all by themselves. Marinate them and grill them and they bring a delicious, earthy note to the party.



Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 423
Fat: 15g, Sat Fat: 2g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 4g
Protein: 29g

Chicken Fajitas on FoodistaChicken Fajitas
Portobello Mushrooms on FoodistaPortobello Mushrooms


B’stilla – Moroccan Chicken Pie

My company’s Christmas party last year was held at a local Tapas restaurant called Mi Luna. It was my first time at a Tapas restaurant and I was happy and excited to sample their little plates. One of the most interesting dishes was called B’stilla, which is a chicken pie made with cinnamon and sugar, wrapped in a flaky phyllo crust. I loved it!

So yesterday, when I saw a reference to B’stilla go by during my online travels, I became obsessed with making it at home. I had chicken and phyllo in the freezer at home, so all I needed was a recipe. I looked at several recipes, but no single one of them matched what I had in the pantry or what I had in mind. So I made up my own! The end result was delicious and not difficult at all.

I made mine as individual pies in 5″ ramekins, but you could do this as one single large pie, as little mini pies using a muffin pan, or even just fold little envelopes with your phyllo and make hand-held pies.

You can see in my picture that the top of my pies is quite “rustic” looking. I tried a new technique with the phyllo recommended by Alton Brown in his Baklava episode. Instead of defrosting the phyllo in the fridge overnight, he suggests taking it straight from the freezer and microwaving it. He says this gets rid of any dampness and as long as you use it right away, it’s fine.

Um, not so much.

That might work (kinda) for baklava, where you are only making flat sheets. But if you want to be able to fold the phyllo at all, I DO NOT recommend this. The phyllo was quite brittle in some places and damp and stuck together in others. I usually love Alton’s techniques, but I’m afraid this one was a no-go. I had difficulty separating the sheets and folding was pretty much impossible.

Nonetheless, it all worked out okay in the end for this dish and I think the messy tops actually makes it look pretty. I might even pile some shreds on top the next time I make these to approximate the effect! But I definitely won’t be nuking my phyllo anymore.

A note on working with phyllo. I have found that using spray oil is much, much easier than trying to evenly brush a thin layer of butter or oil onto the dough. I like the spray because I can get a much more even coverage while using less oil. Plus, it saves on a few calories and saturated fat. But if you prefer, by all means use the traditional method of brushing with melted butter. It will all work out the same in the end.

B'Stilla - Moroccan Chicken Pie
Moroccan chicken pie made with flaky phyllo dough, cinnamon and sugar.
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  1. Cooking spray
  2. 1 small onion, chopped
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 1/8 tsp Saffron, crumbled
  6. 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  7. 1 tsp grated fresh ginger root
  8. 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  9. 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  10. 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  11. Salt and pepper
  12. 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
  13. 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  14. 1/2 lemon, juiced
  15. 6 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  16. Butter flavored cooking spray (or 1/4 cup melted butter)
  17. 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
  18. 1 pinch kosher salt
  19. 1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
  20. 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  1. Spray a large skillet liberally with cooking spray and heat over medium. Saute onion until tender, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and saute briefly, until fragrant. Stir in cinnamon, turmeric and saffron for about a minute, then sprinkle sprinkle flour and stir for another minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to broth. Poach chicken in simmering broth (reduce heat if needed to prevent overboiling), uncovered, until cooked through, approximately 15 minutes. Add chopped apricots. Remove chicken to a plate and allow to cool just until you can shred it. Shred coarsely and return to skillet.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. Continue to simmer until sauce thickens and covers chicken thickly, about 10 minutes. Stir in parsley and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the phyllo.
  5. Mix almonds, powdered sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor until finely ground.
  6. Take 6 sheets of phyllo and cut them in half, giving you 12 half sheets. You will use 3 half-sheets for each ramekin.
  7. Lay one half-sheet of phyllo on work area and spray lightly but completely with butter flavored cooking spray (alternatively, brush with melted butter). Gently press into the bottom of your ramekin, allowing ends to flop over sides. Lightly sprinkle with a spoonful of almond mixture. Spray another half-sheet and press into ramekin in the opposite direction of the first one. Lightly sprinkle with almond mixture. Spray one more half-sheet of phyllo and press into the ramekin, whichever direction you prefer. Repeat with remaining ramekins.
  8. Using a slotted spoon, divide chicken mixture among your ramekins. Fold ends of phyllo over top and press to seal. Sprinkle lightly with almond mixture. Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until phyllo is golden brown.
  9. Serve immediately.
Don't Forget Delicious!
Nutritional Info calculated with BigOven Recipe Software

Calories: 465
Fat: 12g, Sat Fat: 3g
Fiber: 3g
Sugars: 11
Protein: 54g

Moroccan Chicken Pie on FoodistaMoroccan Chicken Pie
Phyllo Dough on FoodistaPhyllo Dough