Friday, September 20, 2013

Recipe Swap: Quinoa Chicken

It's time for another recipe swap hosted by Sarah at A Taste of Home Cooking. This month's theme was blogger's choice. I was assigned to read through and select a recipe from The Jey of Cooking. I've visited Jey's blog before and was excited for the opportunity to try another recipe from her selection. It was a tough choice and I plan on pinning some of my many options. After much debating, I decided to make the Quinoa Chicken. I hadn't made quinoa in awhile and was eager to use the bag in my pantry. This chicken dish was fabulous! To make the recipe more weeknight friendly, I cooked the quinoa on the stovetop the day before and kept it in the fridge before roasting. If you are looking for a healthier alternative to a crispy breaded chicken, I suggest you give this a try. It was a great change of pace dinner for us and it'll surely be a repeat in our kitchen.

You will need:
*1 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
*2 Cups Chicken Broth
*4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
*1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
*1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme, chopped, plus additional for serving
*Olive Oil Cooking Spray

1. Preheat oven to 300.

2. Combine the rinsed quinoa and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  (This is the step I did the night before)

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread cooked quinoa onto the sheet and bake until lightly toasted, about 30 minutes. Cool a bit, then transfer to a shallow bowl.
4. Increase the oven temperature to 425. Place a baking rack over the previously used baking sheet. 

5. Combine the chicken, Dijon mustard, and thyme in a bowl; mix to coat. Place the coated chicken into the quinoa, one piece at a time, pressing to coat both sides then transfer to the baking rack. Spray the chicken lightly with olive oil and bake about 20-30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle with additional thyme if desired.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

The school year is now in full swing. We're back to later dinners, earlier sunsets, and quick fix recipes for busy nights. There are some nights a recipe like this takes too long during the week, but I enjoy dedicating time to cooking on other days when I get home earlier. I am still trying to keep our goal of trying at least one new recipe a week in our menu plan. I'm so behind on blogging, that I'm rediscovering things we tried and loved last school year. This chicken is one of those dinners that I'll be repeating soon. I like jalapeno poppers but I rarely eat them. What's not to love when something is cheesy with a bit of a kick? I found this delicious dinner on Elly Says Opa. We doubled Elly's recipe  and it worked out well. The chicken is best the day you make it, but we did still enjoy having a lunch portion as well.

 You will need:
*1 cup panko
*4 teaspoons canola oil
*3 teaspoons taco seasoning
1 egg
 (start with 1, add a second if needed)
*4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2-3 jalapeño peppers, minced-seeds removed
4 chicken breasts

1. Preheat the oven to 375 and place a baking rack over a foil lined rimmed baking pan. Spray/spead the rack with cooking oil.

2. Combine the panko and canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir and cook until the panko is crispy and golden in color. Transfer the panko to a shallow dish and mix in the taco seasoning. Lightly beat the egg in another shallow dish.

3. Combine the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and minced jalapeño in a small bowl. 

4. Cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast (this is where the stuffing will go). I found it worked best to cut horizontally into the chicken like you were butterflying it. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper, and then divide the cream cheese mixture evenly into the chicken's pocket you created. Use toothpicks to secure, if necessary.

5. Dip the stuffed chicken breasts one at a time, first into the egg and then into the panko mixture. Press to coat completely. Place the chicken on the oiled baking rack and cook for about 25-30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Rolls

Are you ready for some football? We're hosting today's Patriots season kickoff. I am planning on serving this appetizer to our friends as we start another fall football season of Sunday potlucks. We have a local restaurant that makes an amazing buffalo chicken egg roll appetizer. They're deep fried pockets of goodness. I was excited to discover this baked recipe on Can You Stay for Dinner. These rolls convey the same buffalo deliciousness with fewer calories. They may not taste the exact same, but they are a good substitute. You can adjust the amounts below to make more egg rolls. I often do that because they freeze and reheat well. I hope you all enjoy the return of football. GO PATS!

You will need:
*12 egg roll wrappers
*1 cup cooked and shredded chicken
*2/3 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (or hot sauce if preferred)
*1 cup crumbled blue cheese
*1 cup shredded slaw mix
*blue cheese dressing, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 400.

2. Combine the chicken and hot sauce in a small bowl. Mix until the chicken is coated. Place a small bowl of water near you.

3. To fill the egg roll wrappers, start with 1 tablespoon of slaw near the bottom right corner. Above (not on top of) that put 2 tablespoons of the spicy chicken. Place 1 tablespoon of blue cheese on top of the chicken. You do not want to overfill the wrappers or they will split open while cooking. Fold the bottom of the egg roll over the filling, then tuck in each side corner and continue to roll. Seal the top flap by dipping your finger in the water bowl and running it along the edge. You want to outline it like the seal on an envelope before sealing the roll. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
*The post where I found this recipe (linked above) has great photos if you've never rolled egg rolls before.

4. Place the rolls on a wire rack set over a cookie sheet. Lightly spread, or spritz, olive oil on top of the rolls. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crisp and a light golden brown.

Early prep/freezing notes:
You can prepare the rolls ahead of time on the day you're serving and keep them in the fridge until cooking. If freezing, I prefer to bake them first and then freeze them once they've cooled. The cooked rolls will also keep a couple days in the fridge.