Hot! Hot! Hot!! Rachael Ray's Chipotle-Barbecue Chicken

We have yet another winner! This one is not for the faint of heart or tongue! I saw this recipe years ago, in the 'EveryDay with Rachael Ray' magazine:

It's way simple and quick, with just a few ingredients and a few minutes of prep to make the sauce. Since we are trying to eat just a touch healthier, though, I did swap out the butter for olive oil and probably only used two tablespoons, tops. And since her recipe serves four, I made just a touch less sauce and only cooked two pieces of chicken.

This recipe is hot, hot and MORE hot...but I do believe you can alter, lessen or increase the heat depending on how many chipotles in Adobo you use. I used 2, scraped out as many seeds as possible and removed the ribs/membranes/whatever you call them....yet, I could easily have knocked that down to half of ONE pepper, scraped, and probably still had adequate heat for our delicate palates. 

Unless you like scrubbing your baking pans, you will definitely want to line the pan with a piece of foil. That way, once it's cooked, discard the foil and clean up is much easier!  

I'm guessing that if you wanted to save hassle, you could just use a premade BBQ sauce of your choosing, in place of everything but the onion and garlic, but I highly recommend just making it as the recipe directs, it's a different flavor than processed BBQ sauce. Much brighter, less full of all those nasty chemicals and preservatives and sugars. 

Here's the final product. I served it with asparagii and some instant baby red mashed taters, which really helped counteract the heat. My beloved loaded up on carbs to get through his piece....I think he ate four pieces of bread and two helpings of taters. This chicken will definitely clear out your sinus cavities, so be prepared if you make it at full strength!

All in all, it's definitely a winner and will remain in rotation here, just with much less chipotle in future occurrences!  


The Winning Streak Continues: Bourbon Chicken

I found this delightful little recipe for Bourbon Chicken over on BigOven.com, via Pinterest, of course..and I knew I would eventually have to try it.  Whenever we eat at the foodcourt at the local mall, I tend to aim towards the Bourbon Street Grille, which has absolutely NO correlation to the street in New Orleans. Instead, the menu contains nothing but Chinese food, stir-fries, rice, egg rolls, etc.  and they have this divine rendition of Bourbon chicken that, for some reason, cannot be repeated at home. 

Regardless, always up for a challenge and already having tried the Bourbon Chicken seasoning mix from the International aisle at the store, I was ready to give this a shot. Other than chicken, most of the ingredients, you might already have on hand, like ketchup, soy sauce and apple cider vinegar. The only thing I amended was to use powdered ginger, instead of fresh....and the recipe really doesn't specify which form to use, so that's not much of a change. 

I used 3 thin-sliced chicken boobs, which admittedly was WAY less than enough, but made the full amount of sauce, which is fine, especially if you don't want dry rice!  

See...not enough chicken.  Fine for two servings, but not enough for seconds or leftovers. Bummer!

This was almost too easy. Sauteed the chicken, took it out, whipped up the sauce.....

Added chicken back to sauce, simmered for about 10 minutes, then DONE.  25 minutes, top to bottom.

Of course, I was so hungry by the time it was ready that I forgot to provide you with that finished product presentation shot...but you get the drift....add a scoop or more of rice to your plate, then top it with this. Dinner. Served. 

Way less hassle than the packaged seasoning mix variety...and you can control the heat, by decreasing or increasing the amount of red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce....(I used about a tablespoon of Sriracha and just a sprinkling of flakes..) 

Yeah, the sugar content is higher (with the brown sugar) and sodium, but you could substitute a low-sodium soy sauce and use a brown-sugar substitute (to which I say NAY....), but other than that, it's very low fat, high protein and very good on the tastebuds! 

Oh yeah, and just start rice before you start the chicken (if you have a rice cooker)....or start the chicken about 20 minutes before the rice will be done, if you're making it via stovetop, and it'll all be ready at the same time!  

That and the husband really, really liked it!!! ( A bonus, when you consider that he doesn't order much more than Orange chicken -NO VEGETABLES and rice when we dine at Chinese restaurants!!)  

Seriously, try it.  Just use more chicken than I did!  

Here's the full recipe:   Bourbon Chicken


We Have Another Winner! A Whole Lotta Chicken Enchilada Flatbread!

Hi kids!  Since the beloved is not a huge fan of Mexican fare, we rarely try anything other than some form of chicken fajitas on the homefront. I decided, however, to step out on a long, skinny, shaky limb and try this recipe that I found for "Skinny Chicken Enchilada Flatbread" on Pinterest...where else?

I changed very little, but mine is probably a bit higher in fat content, due to the fact that I used canned, shredded chicken and regular Kraft Queso Quesadilla cheese rather than any low-fat version. I also omitted the white onion, because my beloved is NOT a fan of onions and instead I just sauteed approxmately TWO green onions to add the onion flavor without going overboard. I also omitted the jalapeno, after much thought, because really, the green chiles combined with the enchilada sauce were enough heat for our wimpy palates. 

Let's face it, I am not a professional cook or chef and I do not own a professional-grade cutting board or cutting apparati, therefore, when I hand-chop cilantro, it looks abused and not all lovely like the kind you see chopped up on television. Sorry. It's still cilantro, it's still fresh and it's still chopped. It gets cooked, appearance is not top priority!  I did set a bit aside for garnish, though, along with some of the green tops of the green onions. 

In order of appearance and completion, I give you step by step photos. How lovely, right? 

Make sure you thoroughly drain the chicken (if you used canned) and skim off any visible chicken fat.

When adding the enchilada sauce to the skillet, I only added 1/2. I save the rest for constructing the flatbread.

I had sauce left over even after spreading it over the flatbread, which is much narrower than this picture would have you believe!

I only used 1/2 the enchilada/chicken mixture on this flatbread. I had enough left over to make myself a tortilla filled with it the next day and then after that, another flatbread the next night.

I think I used about 1 cup of cheese. You can go either way.

Here it is, right before cutting and serving. I'm getting hungry just looking at it!

So, much to my total shock, my beloved RAVED about this!  I think he said he loved it at least 5 times during the course of eating it. That's why I made him another one the next night. This from the guy who doesn't like Mexican cuisine.  Go figure.

It was rather tasty, I must admit.  And it really didn't take more than 20 minutes to put it all together.  I made the chicken stuff ahead of time, then assembled and baked the flatbread right before he got home. Easy stuff.

Easy is good.

You want spicier?  Get a non-mild enchilada sauce and add the jalapeno or an even spicier pepper varietal. Your stomach lining to do with as you wish, right?

So, if you want something quick and at the same time delightful, give this one a go.

You'll find the complete recipe here:

Want some more winning ideas?  Check these out: 

All recipes tested and approved (or rejected) by me and my beloved! 


No Go: Trying The "Eat Your Greens Detox Soup"

I recently came upon this recipe via my beloved. He sent me the link and said "I'd try this." After a short round of questioning his sanity, we agreed to try it. 

The only thing I changed was subbing curry powder for the required turmeric. I was NOT about to pay $4.37 for a tiny little vial of turmeric (same size as the curry powder in the picture). Nope. We do not eat nor make any Indian-inspired recipes, and therefore, it would be like paying $4.37 for 1/2 a teaspoon. And again...nope. 

I did go ahead and buy the seaweed wraps, because they were only $2. Yet, I'm pretty sure I just paid $2 for two sheets of the stuff because I seriously don't know what I'm going to do with the rest of it. 

Let's face it...I've tried two dishes now with fresh ginger and I'm fairly certain that I will safely be happy with NOT consuming it again in the future. It is just not for me. I gave it a good try. The recipe calls for 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons, I figure this was close to the 1.5 side....and I have the world's cheapest and crappiest grater, so it was more like mushed ginger. 

My only question: How can I ADORE Vernor's Ginger Ale and yet despise the taste of fresh ginger in food?  I don't get it.  

I used one container of mushrooms (14 shrooms, exactly). It was a bit over the required 3 cups, sliced, but it was fine. 

Here are the veggies before they cooked down considerably...

These are the veggies, cooked down, with the spices and ginger added. Steamy stuff!

As for kale, it didn't specify what kind of kale, so I got the Lacinto (Black) kale. I did tear the leaves from the stems which are rather tough and therefore would be kind of gross as an addition to the soup. 

This is the kale and the seaweed combined. LOOK at the color of that seaweed! It's GORGEOUS. If I could have everything in that shade of iridescent, shiny, khaki-ish green, that would be great, thanks! I used my kitchen scissors to cut the two sheets into long strips, then just cut them into bite-sized (1-2" pieces)

This is the basic soup (before kale and seaweed)

This is the final soup, after adding the greens...I let it simmer for another 15 minutes or so. 

Here it is, in the bowl. Served with whole grain Italian bread. 

And now that you've seen how it's made, I will tell you OUR opinion. 

If I can just find the right words....

Ok, yeah, so I think we have established that we don't go much for the combination of spices (the curry, cumin, ginger thing). That's NOT to say that you won't love it to pieces. It just was not a flavor that made us go back for seconds or even finish the firsts. 

It's definitely packed with nutrients and very low in fat/calories but other than that, we could have very easily done without. I'll try anything once (within reason, of course). My husband decided that perhaps it would have been better WITHOUT the spices/ginger, with more garlic and chicken stock instead of the veg stock. I don't tend to disagree. 

However, that would then just be more of a vegetable soup and the chicken stock would deter from the health benefits. 

SO, all in all, if you like Indian foods, or anything that involves ginger, this might just suit your tastie buds. I'm not saying it sucked at all, just that it was not something we will make again. 

A side note: I think adding the broccoli so soon in the cooking process was a mistake. By the time the soup was finished, you couldn't tell by texture or flavor that anything in there used to be broccoli.  I think it might be better to blanch the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, separately, and then add it in when you add the kale and seaweed. THEN you would have substantially more texture and flavor. Just a thought. 

The complete recipe: Eat Your Greens Detox Soup, courtesy of blogger Angela Liddon, 


Another Winner! Jerk Chicken Pasta

My cooking success rate skyrocketed this past week. I planned a menu for the entire week, using recipes found on Pinterest and managed to make 3 out of the 5 selections. Go ME!  This one, Jerk Chicken Pasta comes from this nifty little blog, Plain Chicken. I was attracted to the picture before the name, because I haven't had a whole lot of Jerk Chicken dishes in my life. It just LOOKED good.

Turns out, it IS good!

There were approximately two things I changed, solely in the interest of cutting back the fat and carbs. The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of butter, 3 cups of heavy cream and a pound of bow tie (farfalle) pasta.  I swapped those for a bit of olive oil, a jar of Ragu Light Alfredo and some whole wheat couscous. While, I'm not sure how much fat or carbs was eliminated, every little bit helps, so there's that...

Here's the conglomeration of herbs and spices that make up the Jerk seasoning, as she stated in her blog, it makes quite a bit of seasoning...Please also not that garlic powder doesn't typically arrive in clumps, unless you have our cabinets-which seem to be adorned with a great amount of humidity or moisture that makes anything in a plastic bottle clump together....tightly sealed or no!  Just dump them all in a bowl and combine with a fork, or, if you're lazy like me, slap a lid on it and shake until thoroughly combined!  

We are not HUGE lovers of eyewatering spicy heat in our foods, so I did not thoroughly coat the chicken bits...just a healthy sprinkling on both sides of each piece. 

While the chicken bits were fricaseeing, I went ahead and cut up the peppers and onions. Riveting shit, I know! 

Once the chicken was nicely seared and looking like this, I set it aside to reflect...

then sauteed the peppers and onion in the same pan, with a bit more olive oil....maybe a teaspoon. I also tossed in a chicken broth ice cube to loosen up all the brown stuff on the bottom of the skillet. Now, if you're a neat freak and want a perfectly WHITE sauce, you will want to clean the skillet out before you sautee the veggies.  

Once the veggies were perfectly cooked (for me), about 5-7 minutes on medium, I added the entire jar of Alfredo, stirred and then put the chicken back in the skillet. I put a lid on it and let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes. 

Here it is, the finished product. Since there are only two of us, I only used half the pack of chicken tenderloins (5, to be precise). There was enough sauce left over to make it again the next night. 

The couscous was a fine substitute for the pasta, but you could always use a whole grain pasta (in any shape or size) to increase the health value. The choice is yours. Regardless, I highly recommend this recipe, even if you leave the original recipe unmodified, because what's NOT to love about heavy cream and butter?  

This one's a winner, folks!  Try it!  

Here's another winner: 

Caprese Chicken


Because I am a dork, I forgot to show you what to do with all that leftover seasoning:

If you've got an empty spice bottle, toss it in there and stick a new label on it...or like me, just throw it in a zip-lock bag, sign and date it and toss it up in the cupboard.  The Jerk season could very easily work with some roasted vegetables or fish.  Carry on!  


We Have a Winner! Killer Caprese Chicken!

Hi kids! I know it's been a while! I hope your new year is treating you well. Just wanted to clue you in an a crazy-simple and crazy-excellent meal that was met with rave reviews by my beloved! I found this recipe for Caprese Chicken on Pinterest a while back and finally got around to making it this past weekend. 

The only thing I altered was the format of the basil. I forgot to grab some at the store, but I knew I had my tube of Gourmet Garden basil, so we were good to go! 

I find it kind of comical that when I poured the oil in the pan, it formed the shape of a boot...kind of like Italy itself. A sign from the Universe perhaps? 

I sliced up the cheese and tomatoes while the chicken was cooking. I bought one of those small balls of mozzarella, which gave me six slices, perfect for three pieces of chicken! 

Here we see chicken boobs in their most unnatural habitat. I forgot to trim off the excess fat, but there wasn't a profuse amount, so it didn't detract from the flavor at all. 

My apologies for this less-than-stellar shot of the sauteeing tomatoes. While the original author directs one to use two different pans, this cook is lazy and therefore transferred the cooked chicken to the baking sheet and just used the same skillet to to do the rest of the cooking. I will probably never learn to add the garlic LAST!! It did get a bit brown, but it wasn't burnt, so we proceeded. We being me. 

The assembly line. While the original author also suggests using a baking dish, I figured, again, why be that ambitious? So, I just broiled them on that baking sheet. Same difference. I put two slices of cheese on each piece then topped them with the tomatoes, as evenly as possible. 

THIS is the final product. It was a fairly simple meal. I boiled up some whole grain penne while working on the the chicken so it was ready to go by the time the chicken was finished broiling. I drained the pasta, then tossed it with about a tablespoon of butter and a few healthy sprinkles of grated parmesan cheese. 

My assessment?  This one is a winner, folks!  The beloved absolutely LOVED it and agreed that it could remain in regular rotation. So if you want a relatively inexpensive yet highly scrumptious and very easy meal....add this one to your culinary repertoire NOW!  

You can find the full recipe here:  Caprese Chicken


Another 20-Minute Meal: Balsamic and Mustard Chicken

I am having one horrific time of trying to keep track of things thus far this year!  So, anything I can do to make life easier for myself is a bonus!  I have discovered another quick, very hassle-free recipe, Balsamic Mustard Chicken that takes all of 20 minutes or less to cook.

The recipe itself hails from Erika at Everyday Paleo, a blog I found on Pinterest, of course.  After reviewing the recipe, I decided to NOT try the roasted veggies with bacon, since my beloved may be one of the few people on the planet that does not enjoy bacon.

This is the finished result from today's lunch:

I changed very little, and still ended up with a fairly tasty and very easy recipe: 

Instead of 1/4 cup of olive oil, I probably didn't use more than 1/8 cup and since I am out of spicy brown mustard, I subbed Dijon. The flavor was probably slightly more mustardly than if you use spicy brown mustard, but still it's a great flavor combination!  I did butterfly the chicken boobs, but I just added a pinch of kosher salt and coarse ground pepper to the marinade itself, instead of sprinkling the boobs pre-marinade.  I mean, really, do you think the seasoning is going to stay on the boobs if you rub it around in the sauce?  I think not.  

I did use a bowl with a lid rather than a plastic bag and I decreased marinade time to about 1 hour. 

That's it for recipe changes. 

Instead of the roasted veggies, I just steamed a few broccoli crowns with two cloves of garlic and made some instant baby red mashed potatoes while the chicken cooked, so it was a very low-fat, healthy kind of meal.  

Marinade took a whole 1.5 minutes to stir together, and apart from the marinade time, you have yourself a meal within 15-20 minutes. 

Final thought:  Try it!  


30-Minute Sweet and Spicy Chicken

Happy New Year!  I know I disappeared there for a few weeks, apologies! Life, of the real variety, got in the way. But, here we are on January 2nd, ready to hit that kitchen and hit it hard. Today, I'm sharing a recipe I found of Pinterest:

Being the one who can never follow directions exactly, to the letter, of course I had to tweak this baby not only just out of an incessant need to disobey, but also to eliminate the 6.5 hour wait/cook time. I was in no mood for slow-cooking today.

The recipe is way easy. Sauce + Chicken + Cook. Yeah. And regardless of how you cook it, the prep time is all of about 5 minutes. The original recipe can be found at the above link, therefore, I'm not going to repeat it.... I'll just tell you what I used instead...

1 envelope onion soup
1/2 c Open Pit Brown Sugar Bourbon BBQ sauce
1/4 c Jack Daniels Honey Smokehouse BBQ sauce
1/4 Sriracha (that stinky hot chile sauce that certain Californians don't seem to appreciate)
1/4 water
1 tsp olive oil

Please note that I drastically reduced the amount of Sriracha, as my innards cannot handle that much heat, and believe me, this dish got spicier the longer we ate at it. If, however, you appreciate a fine, painful, gastric burn, by all means, use the entire 3/4 cup from the original recipe. Please read all the way through, however, to find out what I would do different the next time!!

I was trying to think of a way to eliminate all that brown sugar (almost a CUP), since we are trying to eat much healthier. Then I recalled that I had a bottle of Brown Sugar/Bourbon BBQ just sitting in the fridge. Hello! Then, being the adventurer that I am, I decided it couldn't hurt to add some of the Jack Daniels sauce to the mix. Put this all in a bowl, stir or whisk it thoroughly to break up all the clumps from the onion soup mix, and add more water if it's too thick. You want a sauce that will allow the chicken to bathe...not just give it a coating during cooking.

The original write-up requires a crock pot. I say PFFFFT.  Someone, in the comments section of that post, stated that they used chicken tenderloins instead of the chicken thighs and sauteed then simmered them in the sauce for 30 minutes.  BINGO!  My kinda woman!

Since we don't much care for thighs, of the chicken variety, I used chicken breasts, trimmed of 98.2% of the fat and gross bits. Brush the skillet with 1 tsp of olive oil (you might need a touch more if you don't have a non-stick skillet) and heat it to medium. Saute the boobs about 4 minutes per side, til nice and golden.

Top with the sauce, cover, reduce heat to medium-low (about 4 on an oven with numerical settings) and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes, spooning sauce over and flipping the boobs about every 6 minutes for excellent coverage.

This is what I ended up with:

Oh, and I cooked up some Jasmine rice while the chicken was simmering, so yeah, 30 minutes start to finish.

The results:  Meh...(and I HATE that word with a passion, but still that's about how good it was...)

Why?  The sauce.  It's that damnable Brown Sugar Bourbon sauce, I just know it is.  No one should try to duplicate the flavor of bourbon or brown sugar synthetically. Just ewwww.

So, the next time I make it, and possibly the first time YOU make this, you will definitely NOT want to use that sauce. Teach me to NOT play by the rules, eh?  I do believe, when I make this again, I will follow the recipe (except for the amount of Sriracha), use regular brown sugar and a spicy, NON-Bourbon-flavored BBQ sauce. There really is something to be said for simplicity. All these new-fangled, "artisanally flavored" condiments ain't. got. nothin'. on plain bbq. While I did cut back the sugar count, the sacrifice came by way of flavor.

The beloved agrees....it was just "ok".

So there you do have it, my take, and mistakes, on Sweet and Spicy Chicken!