Roasted Chicken Stock-Stove Top

So after making this outstanding roast chicken I had put the carcass and gizzards in the freezer to make stock another time.  It worked so well-I just let them defrost on a baking sheet for about an hour.

This stock is delicious. It’s got that deep chicken flavor that amazing chicken soups have-so many layers of tasty.  Roasting the carcass and gizzards makes a huge difference in the end product. It really brings out the great flavors in what’s left on the bones. Don’t skip that step. This photo really shows the deep color well.

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Roasted Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • Carcass, gizzards, and neck from one 5-6lb roast chicken
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Pat of butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped large
  • 2 celery stalks cut into 1/2 inch lengths
  • 1 large carrot cut into 1/2 inch rounds
  • 2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 9-11 cups water
  • 2 cloves garlic cut into a few pieces
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 glurg of apple cider vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425
  2. Place carcass and chicken pieces on a roasting pan lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for 30 minutes.
  4. While chicken is roasting sautee the onion, celery and carrot slowly to brown them in a large dutch oven. When they’re brown but still very firm add the broth and scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the garlic and all of the chicken pieces to the vegetables. Pour water over all until it covers the chicken completely plus a bit more. Add the bay leaf and cider vinegar. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  6. Cook for 3 hours, skimming any foam that appears and adding water as needed to cover the chicken.
  7. Discard the carcass and pour through a strainer into a large bowl to remove any pieces. Press the vegetables to remove all of the liquid. Discard carcass and left over vegetable pieces.
  8. Allow to cool then place the bowl in the fridge overnight. In the morning skim off the fat that has collected on the top. It’s very easy to use a fine screen spider for this.
  9. Pour, through the same spider, into jars or bags for freezing.

This recipe makes 1 28oz jar and 1 quart sized zip lock bag.

This is the roasted carcass and bits. Those extra roasted pieces make a big difference in flavor!

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Perfect Roast Chicken

Winter is one of those times of year when I love to have something cooking for a while that fills the house with an amazing cozy aroma. Chili, stew, soups-they all fit the bill. So does a fabulous roasting chicken.  I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have a serious mental aversion to touching cooked chicken on the bone-except for buffalo wings for some reason-so if I roast a chicken husband has to be home to help me out.  I don’t think he minds 😉 he gets to pick off as many bits as he likes. But I digress. I do not have an aversion to touching raw chicken. So……

Anyway, here’s the recipe for what really is the Perfect Roast Chicken. Crisp skin. Juicy meat. Look at that beauty!

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Perfect Roast Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 roasting chicken (5-6lbs)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2-3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thick
  • 4 carrots cut into 2 inch chunks
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425f.
  2. Remove the giblets, neck etc.. and put aside.  Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Check out your chicken for any feathers, large pieces of fat etc.. and remove.
  3. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the chicken. Really load it up. Then put the thyme, lemon and garlic inside.
  4. Brush the butter all over the chicken. Liberally salt and pepper the outside then tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wings under the body.
  5. Toss the veggies with olive oil and spread around the bottom of the pan.  Rest your chicken right on top of them.
  6. Roast for 40 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook until an instant read thermometer stuck into the thickest part reads 165. It will be about 90 minutes.
  7. Place the chicken and veggies on a tray and let them rest, covered with foil, for 15 minutes. Carve and serve.

You’ll want to keep the giblets, neck and carcass for stock. Just throw them all in a ziplock and put them in the freezer. Here is the recipe for the stock!! It’s delicious!

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Recipe adapted from Ina Garten.

Baked Chicken with Herb & Parmesan Panko

I’ve made this chicken a few times since I found the recipe I’ve liked it so much. Each time it’s been fast and easy to put together and comes out perfectly done.  You probably already have all of the ingredients on hand.

What a great healthy weeknight dish! Enjoy!!

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Baked Chicken with Herb & Parmesan Panko

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp light butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1&1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped small
  • 1/2 tbsp rosemary, chopped small
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped small
  • 2 lbs (4 half pound pieces) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Line a small rimmed baking sheet just large enough to hold the 4 pieces of chicken with parchment paper.  Set it aside.
  3. Spread breadcrumbs out into a wide bowl or dish.  Use a bowl large enough to stir the breadcrumbs around in.
  4. In a small skillet melt the butter, then add the garlic and stir gently for 2 minutes.  Set it aside for a few minutes to cool then pour it over the breadcrumbs in the dish and stir to evenly coat them then stir in the cheese and herbs, stirring again to mix evenly. 
  5. Set the 4 chicken pieces next to each other.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides.  Using 1/4th of the dijon for each breast, spread the mustard evenly on the top side of the chicken then press the mustard side into the breadcrumbs. Set the chicken, breadcrumb side up, on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes until breadcrumbs are golden and juices run clear or a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 165.

Adapted from Rachaelrayshow.com’s recipe.

Spicy Chicken, Crispy Halloumi and Avocado Wrap

While in London last month we had dinner one night at Nando’s which is a chicken restaurant with locations all over the UK (and world?) but there’s only one or 2 in th US. It’s a South African PERi-PERi chicken restaurant and it was delicious. I had a wrap with chicken and ordered a side of avocado and grilled halloumi with it. I love that they had that cheese-you never see it on menus here.

When I returned home I wanted to make a similar sandwich as the sauce was so delicious!  I found that my Fairway Market sold the sauces-yay! Check your market-they may sell it. If not the closest that I would use is Franks Wing Sauce with a touch of sour cream mixed in.  The avocado is so nice and creamy and soothing, offsetting the spice of the sauce, the grilled cheese gives just a touch of crunch and tangy goodness.

This is not a tremendous over-stufffed wrap, it’s very simple with very easy ingredients which compliment each other wonderfully.

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Spicy Chicken, Crispy Halloumi and Avocado Wrap

Ingredients:

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, 6-8 ozs
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • half of an avocado
  • 4 ozs halloumi cheese
  • Nando’s Medium Sauce
  • 2 whole wheat wraps

Instructions:

  1. Slice the chicken breast in half horizontally to make two pieces of similar thickness. season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill-either outside or with a grill pan, panini press etc.. then chop into small pieces. Drizzle with a little of the Nando’s sauce, stir and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
  3. While the chicken is cooking slice the cheese into 1/4 inch strips and place in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Watch it carefully. It will heat and begin to darken. when it reaches a nice brown, flip it over to cook the other side. Remove and set on a board. Cut into long strips.
  4. Slice the avocado into thin strips.
  5. Warm the wraps in the microwave for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Starting with the cheese spoon half of the cheese down the center of each wrap, followed by half of the chicken, followed by a drizzle (or river-it’s up to you) of the sauce finishing with the avocado.

Makes 2 wraps

If you’ve never had halloumi cheese-it’s a tangy, salty cheese that can be heated but won’t melt-it jut gets a little crispy. I’ve also seen it sold as ‘grilling cheese’.

 

Chicken Chili-slow cooker

It seems like this winter just goes on and on and on and on. In the usually average temperature of 40 island I live upon it has been freezing-single digits, tens, teens etc.. and we’ve been introduced to the ‘arctic vortex’ which sounds like some kind of ice cream treat they’d make at Carvel. Sadly it’s not ice cream.  So I’ve had the makings of a lot of soups, chilis, stews around all winter and it was time to clear some of them out of the cabinets to make room for (hopefully soon!!!) spring-time stuff! This chili is great for cleaning out the pantry. Adjust to what you have on hand. It’s delicious!!!

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Chicken Chili-slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 24ozs boneless skinless chicken breast (about 2 large)
  • 1 small can diced green chilies (7oz)
  • 1 15oz can sweet corn kernels
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 1 15oz can red kidney beans
  • 2 14.5 oz cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen organic)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (or you could use one of the packets)
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • Toppings-avocado, grated cheese, sour cream, fresh chopped cilantro etc…

Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker insert. Add everything else, stir to cover chicken and combine.
  2. Cook on low for 8.5 hours. Shred chicken with forks, check seasoning and add salt and or pepper if needed. Allow to cook for another 30 minutes on low.
  3. Top with anything you’d like.  Eat!!

Chicken Panini with Pesto, Roasted Red Peppers and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Sometimes something really great comes out of needing to make a meal when you didn’t think you’d need to. That’s where this sandwich comes in.  It was so very very very tasty and so many different layers of flavor!!!  And mmmmmmmm melty cheese.

I had plans for Saturday which, super-sadly, fell through due the weather being awful. Torrential rain, dangerous winds etc..  I watched the figure skating championships instead. I can’t wait for the Olympics to start in February-figure skating is probably my favorite of the winter sports. Remember that whole Nancy Kerrigan thing years ago? Lifetime made a really great (well as far as a Lifetime movie goes) about that and boy did they make it dramatic and fun to watch.  I think we have some great contenders for medals this year.

I always have boneless, skinless chicken breasts frozen individually in the freezer. I buy the large family packs (they’re FAR less expensive than the 1lb packs), I bring it home, trim up the chicken, weigh it and then use my food saver to package it up. I write the date and weight on the package.  Those are lifesavers on nights when you want to make something fast. In a bowl of cold water the chicken only takes a short time to defrost.

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Chicken, Pesto and Mozzarella Panini

Ingredients:

  • 4oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning (I use the low-sodium)
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp olive oil plus 1/4 tsp
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • 1/4 cup fresh mozzarella cheese-cut into thin strips
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced roasted red peppers
  • 1 flatbread

Instructions:

  1. Sprinkle chicken with seasoning, salt and pepper.
  2. In a small skilled over medium high heat heat up the 1 tsp oil and then add the chicken breast.  Cook a few minutes on each side until fully cooked. Remove from the pan. Chop into very small pieces and set aside.
  3. Microwave the flatbread for a few seconds to loosen it up.
  4. Brush a thin layer of the remaining olive oil onto the flatbread and then turn it over so that the oil side is down.
  5. Smear the pesto onto one half of the bread, then lay down the cheese then top with the peppers and chicken.  Fold the top of the bread over and gently press to make sure it’s all staying together.
  6. Place it on the panini press and cook until cheese is melted and bread is crisp.
  7. Eat immedately.

Makes 1 panini.

Salsa & Sour Cream Chicken-slow cooker

You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything for quite a few weeks.  It’s been crazy crazy crazy since the weekend before Thanksgiving. We spent the first 2 weeks of December on vacation in Mexico (and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly) but the weeks before Thanksgiving turned into a ludacris crunch of putting up our Christmas tree, decorating the house, finishing all holiday cards, finishing shopping, getting ready for vacation etc.. By the time we arrived in Mexico I was really ready for a margarita.

But now that Christmas has come and gone it’s time to get back to normality.

After returning from Mexico we hoped to extend the fun and vacation feeling (even if it was just in our mouths) so I pulled out a recipe that I had pinned earlier in the year. Taco Chicken!! And it was delicious! The chicken was moist and just fell apart. The taste is very nice-it has a touch of heat but isn’t spicy and is just really flavorful. I added a bit of hot sauce to my tacos as I prefer them a bit spicier but even plain they were just delicious.

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Salsa & Sour Cream Chicken-slow cooker

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 16 oz jar mild salsa (I used Fairway’s brand)
  • 1 taco seasoning packet or homemade taco seasoning spice blend
  • 3 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 cup fat free sour cream

  • 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • soft taco shells

Instructions

  1. Pour 1/3 of the salsa into the bottom of the slow cooker then add the chicken. Pour the taco seasoning onto the chicken then top with the rest of the salsa (make sure it’s all over the chicken and seasoning).  Do not add the other ingredients at this time. They’re for later.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  3. Shred the chicken and then add the rice, sour cream and black beans. Stir to combine then cook on low for 30 more minutes.
  4. Serve in warmed tortillas with grated cheese.

Adapted from TheMagicalSlowCooker.com

Fast Chicken & Cannellini Bean Chili

So what is chili exactly? Google that and you’ll find about 4 trillion different answers.  And how is it different from stew? And then what’s the difference between stew and soup?  Dizzying.

In any event the original name of this recipe did call it a ‘chili’ so I’ll keep that. I guess I’m just used to a tomato based chili with beef and beans and onion so for me having a chili that is not red and has onions and green chilis and chicken immediately makes me think its soup. But surprisingly it has the taste and consistency of chili. A subtle heat from the chilis, the beany texture, the chicken chunks and the yummy onions all make for one delicious bite.

This came together in less than 30 minutes making it perfect for a fast weeknight meal on a chilly night. If you used rotisserie or left over chicken it would be even faster.

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Fast Chicken & Cannellini Bean Chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1lb skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3/4 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 small onion, halved then sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup water
  • 10 ozs canned green chilis
  • 14 ozs low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder
  • cilantro leaves

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Sprinkle 1/4 tsp salt on chicken then add chicken to the pot.  Saute 4 minutes. Add onion through the pepper flakes and saute another 3 or 4 minutes. Add 2 cups of the beans and the water and, using a wooden spoon, be sure to get everything scraped and mixed thoroughly. Add 1/2 tsp salt,  7 ozs of chilis and the broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Mash up the remaining beans and chilies and add it to the pot. Reduce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and add ancho and chili powders to taste and simmer a few more minutes.
  3. Serve with cilantro.

Adapted from Fast Chicken Chili, Cooking Light, Sept 2012

 

Best Tasty Shredded Chicken BBQ-slow cooker

Real BBQ people will be rolling their eyes at this name won’t they? It’s not REAL BBQ since 1) I don’t own a smoker (and you really need that for it to be real BBQ right?) and  2) I cooked it in my slow cooker and 3) I used jarred (GASP!!) BBQ sauce.

I will assume though that I will be quickly forgiven for this naming faux pas once those eye-rollers taste this chicken. I didn’t name it what I did because it’s only mediocre.  It’s delicious. It’s also so easy to make it nearly makes itself.

I used a BBQ sauce from my local Fairway Market-it’s their own bbq sauce and was in the middle of the line-not sweet, not hot, just smokey with a fair balance of sweet and spice-but nowhere near hot. In fact, it’s called ‘Schmokey’ which I think is cute. So get yourself a great tasting sauce for this and tuck in for a few hours.  Look at that beauty!!

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Best Tasty Shredded Chicken BBQ

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, cut in half then sliced to 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced, seeds removed
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 8 breast halves)
  • 1 18oz jar BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup cola (not diet)
  • 3 (+/-) tbsp arrowroot
  • fresh bread that can hold up to the chicken (I used fresh French bread cut thickly), thinly sliced extra sharp cheddar cheese etc.. to assemble sandwiches.

Instructions:

  1. Place onion and lemon in the bottom of the slow cooker pot. Place the chicken on top of that and pour the BBQ sauce and cola over it.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour and then cook for 4 hours on low or until chicken is cooked through.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or a spider remove the chicken pieces and put them on a platter to cool slightly.  Remove the lemon pieces and discard. Leave the onions and the sauce in the pot and add the arrow-root 1 tbsp at a time, stirring to combine, allowing it to rest for a few minutes and thicken. It might take another tbsp or 2 but be patient-it will thicken eventually.
  4. While you’re dealing with the sauce resting/thickening shred the chicken.  Forget the 2 forks. If it’s cool enough just use your hands and pull it apart. 
  5. When sauce has become thick add the chicken back into it, stir, and let it cook for another few minutes to make sure every little piece has a nice coating of sauce.

As far as serving I made an outstanding, but very simple, sandwich. I also think that this would be great on nachos, baked potatoes or hell just tasty with a fork.

This made 5 sandwiches like you see in the photo and I froze about 4 cups as well.

This was an interesting adaptation. I started off originally with the Chicken Barbecue recipe from the Cooking Light Slow Cooker book.  Everything is the same until the chicken is finished cooking.  The original recipe instructions were to mix flour and water and then add that to the sauce. Disaster. It rolled up into these disgusting globs as soon as it hit the sauce. I had to pick every one of them out of the sauce. Yuck. I’m glad I was able to salvage the recipe at all-even happier that it came out so amazingly delicious.  The original recipe also didn’t shred the chicken or make a sandwich-just served the breast with sauce on it. So I guess this is highly adapted from that recipe.

Chicken Tacos (left over roast chicken)

The night after I made this roast chicken I made some of the left overs into filling for some tacos.  They were delicious!  You have total creative control here-I just used what I had on hand.

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Chicken Tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup left over chicken, shredded or chopped into small bits (I used white meat only)
  • 3 tbsp low sodium chicken broth
  • a pinch to a dash of cayenne pepper, ancho chili powder, ground cumin and chiotle chili powder
  • 2 small soft taco shells
  • toppings like avodaco, fat free sour cream, salsita hot sauce, lettuce, grated monterey jack or cheddar cheese etc..

Instructions:

  1. In a small sauce pan set over medium heat add the broth and chicken. Add the spices and cook until the broth is evaporated, the chicken is still moist and is hot. It will take maybe 10 minutes.  Stir it occasionally.
  2. Warm the tacos in the microwave the top with the chicken and any other toppings you may like.
  3. Enjoy!

This made 2 pretty stuffed tacos.

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