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Chicken

Easy + Delicious Bruschetta Chicken

May 20, 2022

There is nothing my husband and son love more then a chicken breast slathered in flavor + cheese for dinner. So when I eyed all of the tomatoes and basil I saw in the produce section, I thought what if what I love slathered on bread they would love on a chicken breast?

Turns out I love it too.

This dinner gets bonus points for being totally easy + doable on a busy sports night. You can easily chop up the shallots, garlic and tomatoes earlier in the day, and then prep is a snap.

Turn on a 350 oven, pour the marinade over the chicken breasts for 10 min.

Toss the tomatoes with a duplicate version of the marinade plus some julienned basil, and voila, your prep is done.

Add some mozzarella cheese and the tomatoes to the chicken and let it cook while you do any of the million tasks you have to do in your house before you leave to go pick up someone from some field.

It also reheats beautifully for anyone who has to eat later or for lunch the next day (yum! flavors just get better).

What is amazing about this dish is how the sweetness of the tomatoes combines with the acidity of the balsamic, plus those lovely aromatics of shallots and garlic, to become one of the most flavorful bites of food you will ever have. The 10 minute marinade infuses the chicken with that flavor so well. And the gooey cheese is the perfect textural combination.

I had mine with spaghetti squash but the others had it over pasta. And those tomatoes look like a lot but they are the perfect amount to create the perfect tomato/chicken/pasta ratio with every bite.

My goal for this blog is always to give great dinner rotation ideas – almost everyone likes them, they are super doable, but they also could make you happy if you ordered it in a restaurant. This one is a winner on all counts. Hope you get to try it soon!

Happy Eating,

xoxo Katie

Bruschetta Chicken

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella

For the tomatoes:

  • 2 pounds ripe heirloom or cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots (2 shallots)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup julienned fresh basil leaves, plus extra for serving
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the marinade: shallots, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 350. Place chicken breasts in a cooking dish and pour marinade over them for 10 min.

While it marinates, combine a second marinade for the tomatoes (minus the Italian seasoning). Toss tomatoes, marinade, and basil together and taste. Add more salt, vinegar or oil if necessary.

When 10 minutes are up, add 1/4 cup mozzarella to the top of each chicken breasts (feel free to add more if you like of course), the spread tomatoes over all of the chicken breasts and cook in the oven for 30-35 min. or until chicken is cooked through.

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash.

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

January 26, 2022

What could be better on a cold winter night then lighting a fire, turning up the music and making a one-pot pasta dish?

I love artichokes, and will use any excuse to use them in a dish. I actually almost always have some open in my fridge to use in omelets, salads, sandwiches (they are so yummy on egg sandwiches with grainy mustard). I also have a family to feed where half of them want pasta at every meal, and the other half wants meat. Voila! Everyone is happy with this dish.

The first step is to brown the artichokes. This brings out there flavor and the cartelized color is so pretty.

Then you remove them from the pan (I doubled this recipe, so I used a heavy-bottomed pot for this recipe).

You add oil to the pan, season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper, and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pan and sauté onions, then add garlic and oregano. Then add tomatoes and broccoli and season with salt and pepper. Finally add lemon juice and chicken broth (which adds a lot of flavor but you could use water in a pinch) and the pasta, cover and let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the chicken back in and you’re done. If there is too much liquid you can cook it off, and if the pasta seems al dente you can add a little more broth and let it cook for a few minutes. 

Serve with plenty of shaved parmesan cheese on top, and crusty bread. This is a great dish for a busy weeknight but it’s also nice enough for company. The leftovers keep very well and get better the next day. The lemon, garlic and oregano add lots of flavor. I also added red pepper flakes to mine. Crumbled feta or olives on top would also be delicious.

The best part is this dish is pretty healthy, especially if you use whole wheat pasta (which my kids cannot abide so I didn’t.)

Hope this dinner warms up your insides and is an easy meal to add to your dinner rotation! It is delicious and easy.

Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

One-Pot Chicken and Artichoke Cavatappi

Serves 4  (I doubled this recipe) 

INGREDIENTS

  • Olive oil
  • 15-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1pound chicken tenders
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1-2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 small onion chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic, about 5 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, divided
  • 3 ounces julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3 cups broccoli, fresh or frozen (you can use kale or spinach instead)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1/2 lemon, plus more to taste
  • 2.5 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces cavatappi, regular or whole wheat (you can use penne or other shape)
  • 2 ounces shaved parmesan, (optional)

Directions: 

Heat a large non-stick skillet with high sides (or a large pot if you are doubling the recipe) over medium heat.

Heat 1 T. olive oil. Working in two batches, add artichokes and char until dark golden—3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a plate.

Season chicken with 1 teaspoon each garlic powder, onion powder and salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

Heat another 1 T. olive oil in pan, add chicken and cook 5 minutes, turning half way through cooking. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Heat an additional 1 T. olive oil, then add onions, garlic, and 2 teaspoons oregano. Cook, stirring, until onions are softened and golden, 4 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes and broccoli, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice and 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth. Stir in cavatappi, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.

Remove cover, stir in chicken and artichokes. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 5 more minutes or until pasta is al dente and chicken is reheated. Remove cover and cook off any excess liquid if necessary. Serve topped with parmesan (if using), remaining oregano, and more salt and black pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com

Chicken Schwarma

September 26, 2019

Ok, this post has been at the top of my  list of ‘things I have to make for the food blog’ since the spring. That’s because in the spring I had to drive past this amazing middle eastern cafe called Habibi in Portsmouth to take my kids to their LaCrosse practices and games all the time.  And after just. one. taste. of their chicken schwarma wrap, I couldn’t get enough. And then I let my kids order it and they couldn’t get enough. And then I’ll be chatting with my friends or at a party, and someone will bring up Habibi. And inevitably the conversation goes to ‘have you tried the chicken schwarma?!’ ‘Oh my gosh, its so good!’

You get the idea. It’s addictive. Chicken schwarma is like a pillow of flavor…a flavor bomb cloud…a pocket full of chewy aromatic creamy tangy flavors that just hit every taste bud.

But don’t take my word for it. It’s really easy to make too.

I may have stalked asked the owner who is a LOVELY woman how she makes it. And she told me the key is to marinate it in the seasonings, lemon, garlic and Greek yogurt OVERNIGHT. There are all kinds of schwarma recipes online that don’t use greek yogurt in the marinade or they say ‘2 hours’ and if you’re between not having the schwarma or having it marinated only 2 hours, fine, go for it. But really do your self a solid and just make it while your making dinner one night and it will be ready for lunch/after school/dinner the next day.

Also, in my experience the lettuce can vary, the tomatoes be sliced cherry or diced, but you are really going to want to add some sliced onions to the marinade and toss them in those flavors before you cook the chicken.

And you are really going to want some of the creamy garlic sauce. A store bought pita warmed is a totally yummy flavor vehicle, but if you want to find a homemade recipe I really want to try this one.

This recipe is great for crowds and is really cost effective IF you already have a pretty well stocked spice cabinet. Pro Tip: I actually keep all my middle eastern spices on one shelf and my regular spices on another so its easy to pull together something like this or a curry.

If you don’t it is worth it to invest in all of these spices since they the backbone of every curry recipe. If you can’t find ground cardamom I listed it as optional because this recipe has a TON of flavor and its the one that isn’t as essential. The cumin, coriander,  turmeric and paprika are all pretty important, and the cayenne just adds heat – if you are making it for kids you can leave it out too. If you love heat, go ahead and add a whole teaspoon.

So next time you’re at the store don’t forget to get a few pounds of chicken thighs, pitas and some Greek yogurt and veggies. And then throw it together and forget about it. And then…

Prepare to fall in love.

 

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Chicken Schwarma:

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic minced
1 T cumin
1 T ground coriander
1 T ground cardamom (optional)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
Pepper
2 T lemon juice
3 T olive oil
1 cup Greek yogurt

FOR YOGURT SAUCE:
1/2 c. Greek yogurt

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Kosher salt

FOR SERVING:

Pitas (warmed)

Mixed greens, chopped romaine, or shredded iceberg lettuce

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Sliced Cucumber

DIRECTIONS:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together garlic, seasonings, lemon juice, olive oil and greek yogurt. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover or transfer to a ziplock back and refrigerate overnight, or even better up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 425° and grease a large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray. Add onion to marinade and toss to coat. Remove chicken and onion from marinade and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until chicken is golden and cooked through, 25-30 minutes. Let chicken rest on cutting board for 5 minutes, then thinly slice.
  3. Meanwhile, make yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, oil, and garlic. Season with salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes. To serve as a pita, top warmed pitas with chicken, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and yogurt sauce.

 

Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps

September 4, 2019

You know when you’ve had something delicious, and it was in a specific time and place that you won’t ever get to visit again, but the memory of it just kind of haunts you?

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can recreate it at home. It’s crazy, but this post is brought to you by a craving that has lasted for over fifteen years. 

Yes I realize that makes me sound old, but let’s just focus on the fact that the flavors of this Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap are that good, shall we?

Long ago when I was a young, spritely twenty something, I worked in Boston at a mutual fund company (where I met my husband, so they were wonderful years). I used to run out to lunch and grab wraps from this amazing wrap place because they were so quick and so good. They had a ton of different kinds of wraps but I kept returning for their warm, tangy, salty, comforting Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap because the flavors from the peanut sauce were amazing, the crunchy veggies the perfect counter to the soft rice and chicken, and everything was so warm.  Warm rice, warm wrap and warm chicken all succeeded in making my belly very full and happy.  So when I was trying to think of new dinner ideas that could produce the same feeling in my kids, I knew I had to try to recreate this wrap.

I love to make food that is driven by cravings…they can lead you to some very good places. Like this Thai Peanut Satay Sauce.

I have tried to make a good peanut sauce many times before, but I could never get it to be as good as my memory of this wrap. So I kept researching and fiddling and finally…I discovered two game changers. The first is to start with coconut milk. It makes it so thick and creamy and the perfect consistency. The second is white vinegar. SO many recipes for satay sauce use rice wine vinegar but I found a food blog by a woman whose mother hailed from Thailand and sounded like a wonderful cook, and she swore that you should only use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar in your sauce. I actually taste tested this with my big kids and she is SO right. (Can’t re-find her blog either or I would share!)

This sauce actually comes together very fast, and most of these are already in your pantry. Some of the flavor notes like lemongrass and chili I’m listing as optional because if you have coconut milk, peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and ginger, lime and white wine vinegar, you’re going to get something approximating this crave worthy sauce. And then you need to make buckets of it and put it on everything. Noodles, rice, chicken, pizza crust, whatever you prefer.

If you were super smart and made the sauce on a weekend, then your weeknight dinner prep looks like: shred rotisserie chicken and toss it in a pan with some of the sauce to your desired thickness (I would say about 1.5-2 cups per chicken), slice some veggies…

and throw some rice in the rice cooker. I’m not going to lie, jasmine rice is delicious here. But when I had the leftovers for lunch I used the more virtuous brown rice and it was delicious too.

If you don’t have a rice cooker, this recipe (along with literally thousands of others) will make it worth your while. I love it for the use of the steamer tray on top which is completely helpful in steaming broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. But for these wraps I used it for getting the wrap nice and hot. I just put it in and shut the lid after the rice was done for about 1-2  minutes. You can also microwave it in a moist paper towel for 30 seconds too, which I did the next day.

Then you try to build the wrap with rice straight from the rice cooker, still steamy.

The dense packing of the rice is pretty important, so make sure when you wrap it you fold it over and secure all the fillings with one hand and then fold in the ends and roll.

If for any reason you wait to eat this trust me and microwave it for 30 seconds as it is best to eat it pipping hot. You can also wrap it in foil to stay warm if needed.

My kids LOVED this dinner. As did my husband. It is definitely a keeper and I’m so glad to have it in back in my life again. It’s kind of like meeting an old friend again after a long time. Also, how cute is she? She’s basically a dream 11-year-old. I’m glad she gets to know about this wrap young.

Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps

For the sauce:

1 can coconut milk

3/4 cup peanut butter (natural is the best)

3 garlic cloves, finely minced or grated

1 inch piece of ginger, finely minced or grated

4 T. soy sauce

juice of 1 lime

2 T. sweet chili sauce, optional

2 T. lemon grass puree (or let 4 1-inch pieces simmer in the sauce), optional

1/4 c. white vinegar (apple cider vinegar works fine too)

For the filling:

2 cups cooked rice (jasmine is best, brown works too)

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 3 cups)

2 cups peanut sauce

red pepper, thinly sliced

shredded carrots

scallions, sliced

cilantro and lime, if desired

Directions:

While rice cooks in rice cooker, heat 2 cups peanut sauce with shredded chicken. When rice is done, warm wraps in top of rice cooker or microwave in a wet paper towel for 30 seconds. Then quickly build wrap with rice, sauced chicken, veggies, and more sauce if desired. Wrap and serve immediately. If needed, you can make wraps ahead and wrap them in tin foil and keep them warm in the oven at 200 degrees.

 

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Bake

May 17, 2019

You guys, it’s been a while since we had a casserole here on THO. But I have a friend who just had a baby girl (hi Meaghan!). When I thought about what meal I could bring her I was bored with every casserole I had made before.

Enter this Chicken BLT one.

I’ve been on a BLT kick ever since I ordered one at Panera a few weeks ago. So simple! So delicious! My daughter even asked me if I had bought a large package of bacon or something because I had been cooking with it a lot. Does bacon come in bulk? If so, sign me up.

We all loved this dinner, it’s comfort food and it freezes and travels well, so it makes a great dish to share. Like most casseroles there are a few steps, but you could bake it in the same pot as the pasta is cooked in and you stir it all together if you wanted to.

The thing that makes this SO delicious is I cooked the tomatoes and the spinach in the bacon grease so it would take on the bacon flavor. I got the idea from a pasta dish at the Mother’s Day brunch we went to, where I bit into a cherry tomato and was like, that tastes like bacon! Wait, it’s been cooked in bacon grease!  This had to be duplicated. And voila! It works perfectly here. I love when greens are cooked in flavor too.

I didn’t use bacon grease for the roux as I thought it would make the dish too heavy. Instead in the same pan as I cooked the diced chicken (to save time though you could use rotisserie or bake the chicken in the oven and then dice it) I made a roux with butter, onions and chicken stock and just a little cream and parm to make it delicious.

Then I poured it over the pasta to combine it. It’s important to let the sauce coat the pasta first and then add the tomatoes, spinach and bacon so you don’t burst the tomatoes or crumble the bacon too much.

Then you toss it all together and add this delicious parm and panko topping that really mimics the toast in a BLT.

Drizzle the top with a little olive oil so it turns brown in the oven (channeling my inner Giada here since she does this topping for every casserole she makes).

Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until the panko turns golden, and then when you remove it, add another little crumble of bacon because why not?

True story, when I was taking these photos, I was getting my kindergartener ready to go to LaCrosse practice, and I took a few bites from this plate. It was so ridiculously good that the whole time we were at practice I was counting the minutes until we could go home and have this for dinner. (I finished reading My Brilliant Best Friend to keep my mind off of it thankfully).

Here’s to new babies, comfort food, and good books!  Happy Eating, xoxo Katie

Chicken, Bacon, Spinach and Tomato Pasta Bake

Ingredients:

1 pound penne pasta

1 pound of bacon

2 c. cherry tomatoes

4 c. packed fresh spinach

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 chicken breasts, diced (or meat from 1 rotisserie chicken)

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

1 onion, diced

4 Tbsp. of butter (½ a stick)

¼ cup flour

2 cups chicken stock

¼ cup cream

½ + ⅓ cup freshly grated parmesean

⅓ cup panko

Directions:

Cook pasta in salted water according to package, drain, and return to pot, drizzling with a little oil so it doesn’t stick. While it cooks, fry bacon (may need two pans or to work in batches if pan is too small). Once it’s cooked, remove and place on paper towel lined plate. Pour off all but 2 T. of the bacon fat. Add tomatoes and spinach to remaining bacon fat and cook on medium heat, tossing in pan instead of stirring so you don’t break tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes until spinach is wilted and tomatoes are slightly blistered, taking care not to overcook. In another large pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat, then add diced chicken, salt and pepper. (If using precooked or rotisserie chicken you can skip this step). Cook until chicken is nicely brown, then remove from pan on a plate and set aside. In the same pan, melt 4 Tbsp. butter, and then add diced onions. Cook until onions are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then whisk in flour for 1 minute. Then add chicken stock and whisk well. Then whisk in cream and ½ cup parmesan and mix until its melted into sauce. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if needed. Pour this mixture over the pasta and stir to combine. Then add the cooked tomatoes, spinach and chicken. Seperate 3 strips of bacon, and cut up the rest and add to the pot. Gently combine all these ingredients so as not to break the tomatoes and then pour them into a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Combine panko and remaining ⅓ cup parmesan and sprinkle over the top, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Cook at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until panko is slightly browned. Remove and sprinkle with remaining 3 strips of bacon, cut up.

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowls

April 5, 2019

 

 

You guys…I didn’t know how much I needed noodle bowls in my life until I started skiing at a mountain with a noodle bowl bar. You get to choose the broth: chicken, beef or miso. And the meat: chicken, beef brisket or pork belly. And the noodles: ramen, udon or soba.

The first time I ordered one it was late in the day and they only had Udon noodles left. And basically now I’m hooked on them. They are so chewy and light and velvety. The perfect mix in a bite of meat and broth and crunchy veggies.

When we’re skiing, I dream about the tender meat, and salty broth, and spicy bits of jalapeno and sriracha sauce and those luxurious noodles.  And afterwards, this food makes you feel SO good. Super nourished and comforted and charged with good things so you can ski for hours.

I usually have to fend off all of my kids from grabbing all the noodles, so I decided to try to make noodle bowls at home.

What I did not realize was how easy it could be in a crock pot. Or what an awesome family meal this is, since picky eaters usually love the noodles and the egg (why does the egg just make this dish?) and can be coaxed into some grated carrots. It actually would make great party food too – lay out all the toppings and let friends build them selves a customized bowl to their liking.

All you have to do is cook the chicken and broth with some aromatics and mushrooms for a few hours, and then add the noodles five minutes before you want to serve it.

Then you layout all the toppings…

And then you start to assemble…

Oh man. They are just so good. And I know that you could look around for complex broth recipes and boil pork knuckles with cinnamon and star anise like real pho broth. But the thing is I’m probably never going to make those because I don’t have time.

This broth takes 10 minutes has a complex flavor from the garlic and ginger and onions, as well as the soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

You could obviously swap beef broth and some cuts like flank steak or brisket to this recipe, and you could also use Ramen or Soba noodles instead. And if you’re looking for any of these ingredients, an Asian section at most grocery stores should have the Udon and Ramen noodles, and I also found some Miso Broth that I can’t wait to try too.

I hope you try these soon, because they are life changing. I don’t say that lightly but THEY’RE THAT GOOD.

Slow Cooker Noodle Bowl (I doubled this to feed 8 and have some leftovers):

Ingredients:

1 diced onion

6 garlic cloves, minced (may only want to do 8 when you double it)

1 T. fresh ginger, minced

4 cups chicken broth (1 32 oz. boxes)

1 lb. chicken breasts

8 oz. sliced shitake mushrooms

¼ soy sauce (more to taste for serving)

¼ rice wine vinegar

½ t. pepper

1 package Udon or Ramen noodles

 

Toppings:

Shredded Carrots

Bean Sprouts

Cilantro

Sliced Jalapeño

Hard-boiled egg, cut in half lengthwise

Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Add onions, ginger, garlic, chicken breasts, chicken broth, mushrooms, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and pepper to crock pot. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours.

When finished, remove chicken breasts and let rest, and add noodles to crock pot. Let cook for 5 minutes while you prep toppings. Slice chicken breasts then add back into crockpot, stirring to be sure noodles are broken up.

To serve, ladle broth, noodle, chicken and mushrooms into bowl. Add fresh vegetables and herbs, two halves of the hard-boiled egg, and Sriracha and jalapeños for heat.