Pan Seared Chicken Breasts with Balsamic Cream Sauce and Mushrooms and Onions – Tuesday

This is definitely a mouth-full of a recipe! I’m also going to make some angel hair pasta to go with it so we can sop up all the good juices with pasta!

1 1/2 lb. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1/2 of a Large Onion – Thinly sliced
1 Package of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 Cup of Chicken Broth
Splash of white wine (optional)
1 Cup Heavy Cream
5 Tbs. Butter – Divided
1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Sauté onions over medium heat in 2 Tbs of butter until they are nice and caramelized – About 15 Minutes. When they are a nice golden brown, remove from the heat and set aside

In a separate pan, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. of butter over medium-high heat. Place the chicken breasts in the pan. Brown on both sides, remove from the pan and set aside (Note – they will not be all the way cooked at this stage)

De-glaze the pan with the chicken stock (I’ve also used some white wine to deglaze and then pour the chicken stock in after the splash of wine). Use a rubber spatula to make sure you get all the chicken bits and butter off the pan. This helps to flavor your sauce
Add the heavy cream and the balsamic vinegar and stir/whisk
Add mushrooms and a little salt and pepper, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes

Add the chicken back to the pan, turn heat back up to medium and sauté until the chicken is cooked all the way through. About 10-15 minutes

Remove chicken breasts from the pan and plate. Add the Parmesan and caramelized onions to the sauce and keep stirring until the cheese is completely melted in.

Cover the chicken breasts with the sauce and serve! You can garnish with parsley if you want.

Balsamic Chicken

HUSBAND RATING: “Great flavor with the dish, but pretty heavy.” And then he cleaned his plate :). At the end of the cooking process my sauce started separating which created the shine in the picture. But the flavor was, as he said, great!

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My Blog Got a Shout Out!

Check it out! 50shadesofchicken featured my blog in a recent post titled “My Favourite Food-related blogs.” How cool!

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Vegetable Soup and Cornbread – Monday

This recipe is from Paula Dean, but I have altered it a bit to our taste. It’s one of our favorites, especially to make on a weekend or day-off since it does take awhile, but it makes SO much that you get many future meals out of it.

Time: About 3-3.5 hours
Yields: Enough for an army

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless chuck roast
3.5 – 4 quarts cold water
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
2 bay leaves
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced green beans canned (I throw in the whole can, drained)
1 cup frozen black-eyed peas
1 cup frozen butter beans
1 cup corn kernels canned (I throw in the whole can, drained)
2 cups diced potatoes

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the roast in the skillet (I use the same stockpot I will use for the soup) and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Remove the roast from the skillet and cut it into 1 1/2 to 2-inch cubes; discard the fat. Place the beef cubes in a large stockpot.

Add the water, tomatoes, onions, dried parsley, beef bouillon, dried Italian seasoning, House Seasoning, seasoned salt, celery salt, garlic powder, black pepper and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot; reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers, and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. Add the remaining vegetables and return the soup to a boil, stirring to distribute the ingredients. Reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Just before serving, season with salt and pepper and add more parsley for garnish. To remove excess fat from the surface of the soup, swirl a lettuce leaf around the surface—it will pick up a lot of the fat.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Vegie Soup

HUSBAND RATING: (Pause for slurping…) “Mmm, LOVE all the vegetables in here. So hearty and healthy at the same time. Good comfort food.” 

Cornbread

I just did a search, and came up with this recipe.

1/4 cup of butter
1 cup of yellow cornmeal white
1 cup of all purpose flour 
1/4 cup of granulated white sugar
4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of milk
1 egg

(Preheat oven to 425F.)

Place the butter into a 10-inch heavy bottom ovenproof frying pan or cast iron skillet and heat in the oven until butter is melted.

NOTE- Heating the butter in the skillet until it’s hot and melted before adding the batter, guarantees a desirable CRISPNESS on the outer edges of the bread.

While the pan is heating and the butter is melting, prepare your cornbread batter.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and egg until well blended- wire whisk if possible.

Pour batter into the HOT and buttery skillet (batter will sizzle), return to the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until bread is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center will come out clean.

Cut into wedges.

Makes 6 – 8 cornbread wedges.

HUSBAND RATING: “Goes great with the soup, and I like it better than last week’s cornbread. It’s less sweet and sticky.”

 

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Week of February 17

Week # 4!

Week of Feb 17 Menu

Three yummy meals for the week! Fair warning… the vegie soup takes awhile, but it makes A TON and will freeze wonderfully to provide for many more meals to come. Here is your shopping list for the week: Week of February 17 (and pdf version: Week of February 17) Enjoy!

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Eggplant and Goat-Cheese Sandwiches with Tomato Basil Sauce – Thursday

Although we are going out to eat over the weekend for Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t help but make one of our favorites today. It is a bit messy (as any frying is), but SO worth it!

Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 TB Olive Oil
1 small onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 TBs fresh Basil
1 (28oz) can San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
1 eggplant (peeled and cut into ½ to 1 inch thick rounds)
4 Eggs
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
½ cup Parmesan Cheese
 1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
Canola Oil
4 oz Package of goat cheese crumbles

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for another minute. Add can of tomatoes, breaking up the chunks with your spoon. Bring to boil. Add chopped basil and salt to taste. Turn down to simmer for 25 minutes. Add pepper to taste at the end.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.

Heat canola oil in a heavy-bottomed, deep pan/pot over moderate heat. The oil should be ½ inch to 1 inch deep. When you sprinkle water over the oil, it should pop some!

Beat eggs in shallow bowl/dish. On a separate plate combine Panko, Parmesan  salt and pepper. Dip the eggplant slices in the egg wash, then transfer to coat with the Parmesan-Panko mixture (I press this on for a nice thick crust). Put these in the hot oil and fry on each side until browned (1-2 ish minutes each side). If they are getting too dark, turn the heat down. Work in batches and transfer the fried eggplants to paper towels. Once all eggplants have been fried, transfer half from paper towels to baking sheet. Cover these with goat cheese. Then place another eggplant slice on top to create sandwiches. Bake for 10 minutes.

Place sandwich on a bed of the sauce and garnish with basil.

Eggplant Sandwich

HUSBAND RATING: “Hard to believe something with no meat can be so good. Mmm, one of my favorites.” The crispy, crunch of the crust with the warm insides of eggplant and the kick of the goat cheese is just right! I love this dish!

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Chicken and Rice Casserole – Wednesday

We are always looking for yummy recipes to utilize dancing chicken left-overs, and we came across this one in “The Cheese Issue” of the Food Network Magazine I mentioned on Monday. So we’ll see how it goes!

Cook Time: 45 minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 scallions, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (skin removed)
1 cup medium-grain white rice
1 plum tomato, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
1 cup diced dill havarti cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and about three-quarters of the scallions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the broccoli, chicken, rice, tomato, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste; stir to combine.

Whisk the chicken broth and sour cream in a bowl, pour into the skillet and bring to a simmer. Stir in half each of the havarti and parmesan. Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, transfer to the oven and bake until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Turn on the broiler. Uncover the skillet and sprinkle with the remaining havarti and parmesan, then broil until golden, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with the reserved scallions.

HUSBAND RATING: “Well I like it, but I don’t think you will.” And I actually didn’t think it was bad. It didn’t have all that much flavor, but I did eat it for lunch the next day too. So it must have been OK! It was a good consistency, and I enjoyed that there wasn’t much mayo, sour cream, etc. that you usually find in a casserole.casserole 2

casserole

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Dancing Chicken, Corn Bread, and Collards – Tuesday

OK, so today is a pretty ambitious spread, but I’ve been dying to try and make my own collard greens – and you need corn bread with that (duh), and roast chicken rounds it out perfectly. So, it’s going to be a very southern Tuesday. Because the cooking times are somewhat extensive for a work day, you may want to make this on a weekend, or plan on eating late.

Total Time: 2.5 hours (If you have a smaller chicken, it will take less time)
I also baked the cornbread the evening before since the oven will be occupied. If you have double ovens – I’m jealous!

Dancing Chicken

1 whole young chicken (3-5 lbs)

Seasoning Options:
Rosemary
Herbs de Provence
Poultry seasoning
Lemon pepper
Barbecue rub

Rinse the chicken both inside and out and remove the bag of goodies inside.

Rub dry seasoning all over bird – whichever option from above you like most – NOT all of them, just one J or sometimes just some salt and pepper!

Ram the stand up through the chicken’s neck hole.

NOT like the picture here…chicken stand

This is what the stand looks like, but you need to flip the chicken so that the drum sticks NOT the wings are on top. THIS IS KEY! For some reason, people don’t do it like that, but having the drum sticks at the top allows the fat to render through the meat much better which produces an awesome, juicy chicken. This is also why my mom called it “dancing,” because you can grab hold of the drumsticks and dance with your chicken! (OK we’re a strange family).

Be warned – you WILL have to fight with it a little, and there will be some bones cracking (mmm, appetizing ) to shove the stand in through the smaller end – but you can do it! And it’s totally worth it!

Place the stand on a cookie sheet or roasting pan to catch the drippings.

Remove all the racks from the oven except the bottom one. Place the chicken in the oven and bake on 375 degrees for a 3 – 4 pound chicken. It will be done in 1.5 to 2 hours. If the chicken is over 4 pounds, set the oven temperature down to 325 and cook for about 2.5 hours. (Use a meat thermometer to register 165 degrees F  in the breast).  Also, if the legs move very easily, it’s done.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

chicken & greens 007

HUSBAND RATING:

“Love this chicken. What is a whole chicken like 12 bucks?”
“UM NO! Try $5-$6.00.”
“OH! Woah, it tastes even better now! Dang! We get so many good meals out of them.”

Buttery Corn Bread

I got this recipe by a generic Google search on tasteofhome.com. I’ve made a decent number of Corn Bread recipes, and they’re all good, but I haven’t been sold yet on any one in particular to keep it as my go-to.

2/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1-2/3 cups 2% milk
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Combine the eggs and milk.
Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture.
Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 400° for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Corn Bread

HUSBAND RATING: “Mmm, this is fluffy. I like this sweeter corn bread with the salty greens, but overall I like the more savory cornbreads.” … I’m right there with him. Perfect analysis!

Collard Greens

Who else to go to for a collards recipe than Paula Dean! I’m excited to see how these turn out!

1/2 pound smoked meat (ham hocks, smoked turkey wings, or smoked neck bones)
1 tablespoon House seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon hot red pepper sauce
1 large bunch collard greens (I just got the big, already chopped up bag)
1 tablespoon butter

In a large pot, bring 3 quarts of water to a boil and add smoked meat, house seasoning, seasoned salt and hot sauce. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 hour.

Wash the collard greens thoroughly. Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand. The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped. Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices. (Mine were in a bag and pre-cut/stripped to save a step) Place greens in pot with meat and add butter. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. When done taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with favorite dish as a side.

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

Greens

HUSBAND RATING: “They taste like real greens! You must be from the south.” And he ate every last one.

I will say they were pretty salty, and I even added extra water (about a quart) when I tasted them with 30 minutes to go. But all-in-all not bad!

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