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Archive for the category “chicken”

Pecan Crusted Chicken

pecan crusted tenders

A few years ago we stopped eating wheat for a number of reasons. We have not been perfect about it, but try really hard. It is amazingly difficult to avoid wheat in convenience foods at stores and restaurants in America. Take a quick look at kid menus in quick serve and sit-down service restaurants – you are most likely to see choices like burgers,  grilled cheese sandwiches, corn dogs, macaroni and cheese, and some sort of breaded chicken. Most often included are the lovely and mysterious chicken nuggets and tenders – lovely because they are often crispy and mysterious because it not always clear what parts of the chicken are tendered or nuggetted. Little B and I like having such things on occasion, and am glad I have found a few versions that are not only wheat free but completely grain free. I like using the baked crispy chicken recipe for tenders and nuggets too, but wanted something with a little more crunch and bulk. The pecans sure fit the bill in this new recipe! The nuts chop up into various sizes, adding a nice texture which mixes well with the chicken. Little B eats them plain, but I like dipping in spicy dressing or mustard. They are filling too – instead of feeling hungry soon after eating like with wheat, the nut coating fills me up fast and keeps me full for a while. My in laws generously let me take over their kitchen during a recent visit and really liked them. Little B inhaled this stuff too – another score!

Pecan Crusted Chicken

3 pounds boneless skinless chicken pieces (tenders and thighs recommended)
2 pounds raw pecans
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garlic powder
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp dijon mustard
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor pulse pecans, salt and garlic powder until nuts are finely chopped. In a medium bowl whisk together egg whites and mustard until well combined, but stop short of the whites becoming stiff. Line one to two shallow baking sheets with aluminum foil. Spread the nuts on a third sheet or large plate. Generously season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken in the egg wash, letting the excess run off. Roll chicken in the nuts, gently pressing them into the meat. Place chicken on the foil lined baking sheets with about an inch between pieces. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until juices run clear (whole chicken breasts or bone-in chicken may take longer). Serve immediately, plain or with desired dipping sauces.

Tangy Wings

tangy wings

We eat wings often, but mostly when Big D is not around for the meal. It is not a sneaky thing, for it is based on historical fact. He is not a big fan of high maintenance food, even if it tastes good – lobster, crab, quail, cornish game hens…and even chicken wings. In spite of all this I still make them sometimes when he will be home for dinner. I usually just toss wings in a bit of oil and some spices, then toss them on a tray for the oven, like I did with these mustard parmesean wings. I would like to think I can evolve, so I attempted to do so. These wings take a little longer to prepare than the others I posted, but I think the time is well spent. I got the idea from my brother’s efforts to brine some chicken before smoking it. Doing the soaked portion of this recipe is not a pure brine, but I think it had a similar effect of adding flavor to the chicken without doing much else, which is how his wonderful smoked chicken works. I love the result I got with these wings. The acids and bases in the ‘brine’ worked well to make the wings tangy and juicy. Since it was a meal when Big D would be home I added some larger,  lower maintenance chicken legs to the mix. The legs got done cooking about the time the smaller wings were perfectly browned and crispy, so all was well. People kept eating and eating, so there were no leftovers. I think I will make these again, regardless of who is noshing on them.

Tangy Wings

24 – 36 chicken wing drumettes
12 chicken legs
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning (or other general seasoning mix)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp yellow mustard powder

In a large bowl combine the oil, vinegar and lime juice. Add all the chicken and toss, making sure all pieces are coated. Marinate for at least 90 minutes to four hours, tossing to coat every 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain liquid from chicken and pat all pieces dry. In large bowl add the seasoning mix, garlic powder, onion powder and mustard powder. Add chicken and toss to coat. Place chicken pieces on shallow baking sheets, leaving some space between each one. Bake for 45 – 60 minutes, switching pans halfway through cooking if multiple pans are used at different levels in the oven. After chicken is cooked and juices run clear, remove from oven and let cool about five minutes before serving.

Red Chicken

photo 1
A while back my brother lived in an apartment complex. Not one of those little ones with just a few units, but a huge corporate monstrosity with dozens of buildings. It was not the most interesting place he has ever lived – the house on a hill in Austin with a concrete bathroom holds that honor – but it was convenient to his work and reasonably priced. There was not much around it but his office and a few local markets, all of which had a common theme – Indian food. We did not do much Indian cooking when we were younger, but the convenience and variety of ingredients, as well as the opportunity to learn from his neighbors, resulted into a foray of curries, colorful sauces and a little (or a lot of) heat. He has since moved into his own house, but carried with him the Indian food immersion from his apartment days. We are having a long visit with him, and I am looking forward to learning a bit from his experience. I am looking to play around with traditional ingredients and flavors, not necessarily copying specific dishes. Here is my first gander at being inspired by a Northern Indian dish called Butter Chicken. It is far from accurate, so I am not even trying to use butter in the title. It was great. On top of everything else, today is the eleventh wedding anniversary for me and Big D. My ongoing quest to find chicken dishes he likes has spanned the entirety of the eleven years. He is a beefy kind of guy, begrudgingly consuming chicken if absolutely necessary. He gushed with joy and satisfaction upon tasting this dish. I definitely added it to the ‘like’ category for him. Little be was not as impressed with the dish, but still ate her fill, including the green beans I cooked up to go with them. You should see what we do with the leftover sauce!
Red Chicken2 Tbsp butter
6-8 sinless boneless chicken thighs
1/2 white onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
15 ounces tomato sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 Tbsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
1tsp ground black pepper
8 ounces full fat coconut milk

In medium saute pan over medium high heat melt butter. Add chicken and partially cook, about five minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add to the the chicken juices the onion and garlic, cooking until browning begins. Add remaining ingredients except for coconut milk. Stir until all ingredients are combined, turning down heat to medium low, and simmering for about ten minutes until hot and bubbly. Add coconut milk and stir again until combined. Add chicken and simmer until cooked through, about ten more minutes. Serve immediately.


Mustard Parmesean Wings

Mustard paremsean wings

I have a love and loathing relationship with my kitchen. It has nothing to do with whether or not I enjoy cooking, it is just that I don’t always want to cook. What is worse, I think Big D is very similar. There is not always the desire to do, but there is often the desire to eat. Since we rarely bring home prepared or processed foods, there is a constant need to make food with the wonderful ingredients we bring into our home. In finding a balance between needing to eat and wanting to cook I have come up with numerous recipes that don’t take much prep time. One such recipe is my recently shared Bacon Muffins – five minutes to prepare, then the oven does the rest of the work. Here is a more dinner focused quick pick that comes in handy, especially for my wing loving self and Little B – Big D will eat them, but so very much prefers beef! The great part about this recipe is that it completely comes from our freezer and pantry, of staples we always have around. No excuses for not eating well if your pantry is stocked!

Mustard Parmesean Wings

2 – 3 pounds wing pieces, frozen or thawed
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp yellow mustard
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp ground garlic powder
1 tsp ground onion powder
2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line shallow aluminum baking sheet(s) with aluminum foil. In large bowl combine all ingredients except chicken. Stir to combine. Add chicken and stir until chicken is coated (either with a wooden spoon or hands). Place chicken in one layer on baking sheet. If the chicken is frozen the coating may not stick as well, so you may need to spread it on chicken after placing pieces on baking sheets. Place in oven and back for 45 – 60 minutes, until juices running from chicken are clear. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before serving. May be dipped in the sauce/dressing of your choice, but are wonderful without.


Baked Crispy Chicken

oven fried chicken

I have seen the use of crushed pork rinds as a ‘breading’ in a lot of different places lately. I was originally going to use our approach to breading we rely on for Scotch Eggs, using golden flaxseed meal, but wanted to try the pork rind approach first. We are usually dark chicken meat people, but our young house guest Skinny D likes white meat, so we caved in and made it too. Adding the variety gave us an opportunity to try three different chicken conditions – dark meat, white meat and skinless ‘tenders’. oven fried chicken panThe results were awesome – the pork rind breading worked on everything! Leftovers were a little soggy when microwaved instead of toasted/baked, but straight out of the oven worked for me as a fried chicken replacement. Big D found it to be a bit lacking in his pursuit of more crunch, but we have ideas to change that. Stay tuned!

Baked Crispy Chicken

8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin
2 chicken breasts, with bone and skin
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 large bags pork rinds
1 cup grated parmesean cheese
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line shallow baking sheets with aluminum foil. Using a blender or food processor cut the pork rinds into small crumbs. Place crumbs in large mixing bowl. Add cheese and spices to the crumbs and stir until combined. Remove bones from chicken breasts while leaving the skin attached, removing separately the long tenderloin pieces along the bone for ‘chicken strips’. Slice chicken breasts in half, making four evenly sized pieces. Season all pieces of chicken with sea salt. One at a time coat each piece of chicken with butter, then thoroughly coat all surfaces of each one wit the crumb mixture. Place each piece, skin side up, on the baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space around each piece. Bake for about one hour, until juices run clear. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Oven Fried Chicken at Buttoni’s Low Carb Recipes.

Rolled Chicken Breasts

stuffed chicken rolls

Big D does not prefer fowl white meat. Whether it is turkey or chicken or other, more exotic birds, he goes for the dark meat as much as possible. He will eat the white stuff, but only out of necessity. When he has to resort to a chicken topped salad when dining out he will eat it, but begrudgingly and with thoughts of thighs dancing in his head.  I have similar preferences, but they do not run as deep, so when I was visiting my mom I took advantage of white fowl connoisseurs and made a recipe I have long pondered. Besides the satisfaction of pounding flesh into oblivion, the balance of flavors was supreme, with the mildness of white chicken meat and kick of the stuffing. Since the chicken was thin, the cooking time was kept short and the dish was moist, in a good way. Never hesitate to pound the meat just a little bit more, for it won’t hurt the chicken, and it can’t help but release anything lingering and seething in you. I almost called this recipe ‘stuffed’, but since I did such a good job of pounding the ‘rolled’ version of the name seemed appropriate. I served the rolls with some baked spaghetti squash and viola! Dinner!

Rolled Chicken Breasts

6 boneless chicken breasts
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 pieces bacon, cooked crisp
1 tsp dried basil leaves
2 cups mozzarella, shredded
4 ounces tomato sauce
12.5 ounces diced tomatoes
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pound chicken breasts with kitchen mallet until no thicker than 1/4 inch. Chop spinach finely, crumble bacon and combine them with feta and basil in medium bowl. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Lay a breast flat on your work surface with the longest section going left to right. Place 1/4 to 1/3 cup (divided equally among the breasts) of filling in the middle of the flat meat. Starting from the left or right carefully roll the breast until it overlaps with the chicken on the opposite side of the filling. Place stuffed breast in a 9×9 (snugly) or 10x 10 (close but not so snug) or similar sized baking dish. Repeat with the other five breasts and place them in the dish. Place in preheated oven, covered. Bake for about 20 minutes. While chicken is baking combine tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic powder and onion powder in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. When the mixture begins to bubble turn the heat down and summer uncovered for about 15 minutes. Add salt to sauce if needed. When chicken finishes cooking for 20 minutes remove it from the oven. Sprinkle half the cheese on the chicken, top with the tomato sauce and then the rest of the cheese. Return the pan to the oven uncovered and cook for 15 – 20 more minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Chicken Faux Fried Rice

faux fried rice

Chopsticks are fun. Whenever there is bite-sized food I like using them. Little B likes using them, too, and is still working on mastering their use. I do use a bit of rolled paper and a rubber band to connect them on tip, then she can practice the squeezing and picking up of food, knowing that free range chop stick use is in her near future. I don’t eat rice anymore, which makes ordering in Chinese restaurants a little challenging, but I enjoy the flavors and textures of the dishes, including fried rice. As I continue to explore the many and varied uses of cauliflower, I did some research about using it instead of rice. In the end, using it as a rice substitute, especially in a fried rice type dish, is a lot faster than using traditional rice. The saute part of this one-dish wonder is just enough time to cook it and keep it at a firmness similar to rice. The cauliflower, combined with using gluten free soy sauce made it fun to make and eat. I’m thinking next time I will make a beef and broccoli concoction on top of some faux rice. I bet it will turn out great!

Chicken Faux Fried Rice

1 large head cauliflower
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard
3/4 cup gluten free soy sauce
1 Tbsp coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 stalk celery
3 eggs, whisked
2 cups mini portabello mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups fresh spinach, finely chopped
1 cup mixed vegetables (peas, corn, carrots), optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. In a medium bowl place 1/2 cup soy sauce, ground mustard and ground ginger. Whisk together, then add half the mixture to the chicken, making sure it is coated. Place in refrigerator to marinate for about 30 minutes. Cut cauliflower into pieces small enough to fit in food processor. Fill processor with cauliflower and pulse until at least 3/4 of it is the size of rice grains – having some slightly larger pieces remaining is fine, for they will break down a bit during the cooking process. When all the cauliflower is chopped set it aside. Cut celery into rough pieces and pulse in processor until very fine, almost a paste. Pull the chicken from the fridge and separate the chicken from the marinade, discarding the liquid. Add the chicken to the pan and toss until cooked through, about five minutes for small pieces. In a large skillet or wok over medium high heat add the coconut oil. When hot add the celery, garlic and onion. Toss in the oil until it all begins to brown. Add the cauliflower to the pan, turning up the heat slightly to make sure the cauliflower sears. Toss the whole mixture every minute for five minutes. Add mixed vegetables if you are including them. In a bowl stir together the egg and remaining 1/4 cup soy sauce. Make a ‘bowl’ in the middle of the skillet/wok, all the way to the bottom. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and let it cook for a few seconds. Start stirring it with the chicken and cauliflower mixture until it is all coated. Continue tossing the pan contents until the egg is no longer runny. Add the spinach and toss, letting everything cook for another minute until the spinach starts to wilt. Serve immediately with salt, pepper and more soy sauce as desired.


Low Carb Layered Enchiladas

lc layered chicken enchiladas

As I have stated many times before, we are hard pressed to find good Tex-Mex food north of Austin. Actually, north of the south of Austin. Enchiladas are a dish where I find it very important to have perfect bites. If you just get tortilla and sauce, it is just off. A bite full of only filling and there is something lacking. I need filling AND tortilla AND sauce AND cheese in every bite. Otherwise, it is just a pile of stuff on a plate. A good Tex-Mex combination platter has the enchiladas perfectly rolled with just enough sauce, sandwiched between refried beans and rice. A chance of leftovers is not favorable to a combination platter. It is nearly impossible to transfer the enchiladas in a way that allows the perfect bites to be experienced in leftovers. The easy way to ensure many perfect bites when I anticipate leftovers or reheating is to approach them in layers.  One of the comfort foods from my childhood was layered enchiladas. Rolled enchiladas are good, but when you want to reheat them after playing in a late high school soccer game, the layered version has been sitting in the fridge after mom made them earlier, or even a day or two earlier. Trust me, they are much better later than the first day. Now, to make my mom’s masterpiece low carb seemed overwhelming. My approach to layered enchiladas came out so very much better than I expected! Not only was it good hot, but the leftovers were good cold, too! The texture of the coconut flatbread gave a similar effect as corn tortillas and soaked up the sauce just right, just like mom’s. I am experimenting with low carb tortillas, most recently with coconut flatbread versions. I used them for this recipe, so serving these layered enchiladas was done right before serving, as opposed to layering a casserole then baking it. I am now convinced a baked version would work, but this recipe is a quicker version without a long baking period. I hope you enjoy it, for it is filling, satisfying and has a bit of a bite that remind me of mom.

Low Carb Layered Enchiladas

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
11/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 to 2 4-ounce cans green chiles
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup water or chicken broth
4 – 6 cups cooked, shredded chicken (pre-cooked in a crock pot or strip a roasted chicken from the grocery store)
1 to 2 batches coconut flatbread or corn tortillas
2 – 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream (optional)

In a medium sauce pan over medium high heat add oil. When oil is hot add the onion and cook until translucent. Add tomato sauce, green chiles, paprika and cumin. Stir until combined and lower temperature to simmer. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes. Add water or chicken broth to thin out to the consistency of thin gravy. Let simmer for about ten more minutes, then set aside until time to serve. While the sauce simmers make the coconut flatbread, or rely on your personal preference of corn tortillas. When you are ready to serve make sure the flatbread is made and the chicken is hot. Start layering on serving plates with flatbread/tortillas. Next pour some sauce, followed by cheese and chicken. Repeat layers again, topping with more cheese. Serve immediately with sour cream.

Non Vodka Chicken

non vodka chicken

I have been absent for a bit, and so has chicken from my blog. I am always trying to find variety, because chicken is always chicken, and absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Busy work and busy weekends made for a quiet kitchen lately, and the repeating of old, reliable recipes. Also, Big D has been on a culinary swing while I go about other things. Work is busy, and spending a bunch of time outside in the heat makes me groggy, so hanging out reading books to Little B is much more appealing than a hot oven or stove. This recipe I almost called pizza chicken, because when Big D first took a bite he said it reminded him of pizza. Did the same for me! I was inspired by my hankering to inhale a bowl full of pasta with vodka sauce. The thing about vodka sauce is not necessarily the vodka, but what it does to the flavor of the tomatoes. The vodka, when used, actually soaks into the tomatoes and enhances their flavor with a tart tanginess. The alcohol itself evaporates. If you have had the sauce before you know what I mean. If not, then imagine a mild bloody mary – a skidge of pepper and hot sauce – not to ferocious, but an extra bite beyond plain tomato. I decided to try to find the same flavor as the vodka sauce, but without the vodka. What else could I do with a hankering for vodka sauce while experiencing an absence of vodka? It was my own fault. I used the last of it from our stash to make a Greyhound (vodka and grapefruit juice with a twist). A little bit of this, a little bit of that resulted in the sauce taste I was looking for to go on top of chicken, and then I made it chunky, a la pizza. Yum!

Non Vodka Chicken

1 Tbsp butter
8 ounces mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 onion, finely diced
4 ounces chopped black olives
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 – 14.5 ounce can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 – 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 Tbsp dried parsley leaves
2 tsp dried oregano leaves
6 – 8 chicken thighs, skin trimmed, but some left on meat
4 ounces cream cheese
2 – 3 tsp Crystal hot sauce

In medium sauce pan over medium high heat melt butter. Add mushrooms, salt, olives and garlic. Saute for about five minutes until mushrooms and garlic soften and butter browns a bit. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce, parsley and oregano. Stir and lower heat. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. While sauce simmers place chicken thighs in frying pan over medium high heat, skin side down. When skin is crispy flip thighs, turn down heat to medium and cover. While chicken cooks finish the sauce. Add cream cheese to the sauce and stir occasionally until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth (except for vegetable chunks, of course). Sprinkle one to two teaspoons hot sauce and stir. Taste to confirm there is a tang in the sauce, but not necessarily a bite. If no tang, then add more hot sauce. Simmer for about 15 more minutes. When chicken is cooked through and juices run clear, remove from heat and let rest. Remove chicken from pan and place on serving dish. Pour sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Lemon Mustard Chicken

mustard lime chicken_edited-1I know I know. You need another baked chicken recipe like you need a hole in the head. I have been on a tart and tangy kick lately, and was drawn to the mustard in the refrigerator door. I have found that mustard is a great thickener for sauces when flour or cream just don’t fit the bill. That is, if you like mustard, which I do. The flavor of these legs (I used a package of drumsticks for this batch) reminded me of roasted chicken I had many years ago, which was coated with what I decided was a mustard sauce. There was a little restaurant in Denver I liked going to in the late 1990s called Chad’s Grill. Their other food was good, too, but the chicken was addictive as far as I was concerned. I ate my share of salads and burgers and a great variety of daily specials. The atmosphere was very relaxing and open, which made for some long happy hours spent chatting with buddies. I can’t say this recipe has anything to do with that sauce I enjoyed many times in Denver, but as I said before, it sure is a pleasant reminder for me. This time of year in Denver we would be enjoying the warmer weather and trying to avoid afternoon showers that would continue throughout the summer. I would be itching for the weekend to come to explore Dinosaur Ridge or poke around Red Rocks. I will end the reminiscing and lick my lips. The sauce I whipped up worked nicely to flavor the chicken, and the turmeric turned everything it touched yellow. I am still working on getting the stain out of Little B’s white t-shirt.

Lemon Mustard Chicken

8 – 10 chicken legs, skin on
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
Salt and Pepper to taste

Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. In a 9×13 baking dish place seasoned chicken. In a medium bowl combine mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion and salt. Drizzle sauce over chicken and make sure the top of the chicken is covered. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, until juices run clear.

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