Archives for category: Chicken

Who doesn’t love macaroni and cheese? Especially when you’re a kid and it’s from that wonderful blue box, right? Well, not if you’re Wing. Wing claims he’s always disliked macaroni and cheese and it makes me very sad because I personally love the stuff whether it’s from the ever-famous blue box or homemade. Even though Wing doesn’t eat it, I always keep a box or two of Kraft macaroni and cheese because I grew up eating it and will still get the hankering for it nowadays.

Thankfully that little blue box was in the cupboard one day when Wing and I had no plans for dinner. The box seemed to jump from its shelf and say, “eat me.” We also wanted to use up some frozen meatballs, and I then remembered that I have a recipe that calls for ground beef and macaroni and cheese. So we used that recipe as a base but enhanced it by using the meatballs instead of the beef and adding a few ingredients of our own.

After one bite of this recipe, Wing was a new macaroni and cheese convert. He loved it! He even went so far as to ask me why macaroni and cheese hadn’t been in his life when he was a kid. I can’t exactly help him with his deprived past, but I can help his future become enriched with the cheesy goodness. And so we have had a few macaroni and cheese dinners since then, all rather non-conventional, but very tasty and Wing was impressed that he was actually loving the mac and cheese.

So for this Themed Thursday, I present to you the Wing-approved macaroni and cheese recipes. But we are far from finished with experimenting in the kitchen. Oh, and these recipes are beyond easy to make!

Mac_and_cheese

Macaroni and cheese with meatballs

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 5-6 store-bought meatballs, diced  (I used Aidells)
  • 1 can (roughly 4 oz) tomato sauce
  • Dash of salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder

Prepare dinner as directed. Lightly sauté pepper and onion. Add meatballs. Stir in remaining ingredients. Add macaroni and cheese. Simmer 5-10 minutes.

Southwestern macaroni and cheese

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1 cup cooked pollo asado (I used Del Real)
  • 1 can (4 oz) diced green chiles
  • 1/2 cup pepper jack cheese

Prepare dinner as directed. Heat chicken as directed. Mix all ingredients together until cheese melts.

Buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese

  • 1 package macaroni and cheese dinner
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • 1 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery (optional)

Prepare dinner as directed. Heat chicken. Mix all ingredients together.

 

Welcome to Themed Thursday — every third Thursday of the month, I post a themed blog. This month, it’s all about Alfredo sauce. I made a batch of it and there was a lot left over! I don’t like to waste food, so I  had to figure out how to use it all. Below are the recipes I came up with using the sauce.

What are your favorite dishes using Alfredo sauce?

Alfredo sauce (from allrecipes.com. Click here to view original)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 2 tsp garlic powder (I sometimes use fresh, minced)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 oz grated Parmesan cheese
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Melt butter in a medium, non-stick saucepan over medium heat. Add cream cheese and garlic powder, stirring until smooth. Add milk, a little at a time, stirring to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Remove from heat when sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will thicken rapidly. Thin with milk if cooked too long.

alfredo sauce

Cajun style pasta

  • Your favorite type of pasta such as spaghetti, angel hair, macaroni, or spiral (I used spaghetti)
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Red bell pepper, diced
  • Tomato, diced
  • Spinach
  • Pre-cooked, Cajun-seasoned chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat Alfredo sauce, adding Cajun seasoning to taste. When pasta is cooked, toss all ingredients together. Add extra Cajun seasoning to taste.

Alfredo pizza This is based on the ingredients I had on hand that day. Feel free to add your favorite pizza ingredients.

  • Alfredo sauce
  • Your favorite pizza crust (I used Boboli)
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Spinach
  • Red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • Store-bought meatballs, diced (I used Aidells)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread Alfredo sauce on the crust. Layer with cheese and top with remaining ingredients. Bake in oven 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Alfredo and meatballs

  • Your favorite type of pasta such as spaghetti, angel hair, vermicelli, or fettuccine (I used spaghetti)
  • Alfredo sauce
  • Store-bought meatballs (I used Aidells)
  • Broccoli, chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat Alfredo sauce. Over med-low heat, in a small non-stick pan, heat meatballs, turning to evenly brown. When pasta is cooked and meatballs are heated through, toss all ingredients together.

Every once in a while, I’ll go through my collection of cookbooks that are gathering dust on my bookshelves and pull some out that I haven’t really used since purchasing. Just a bit ago, I decided to do this again. I found a ton of magazines that were awaiting their turns to be recognized and used. The chicken recipe comes from one of those. It’s a “Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications” magazine called 5-Ingredient Meals from 2008. I changed the recipe up a bit, mainly using fewer shallots, which this blog reflects, so feel free to add more depending on your taste. As a side, I made couscous using a recipe (click here for original recipe) I found on allrecipes.com. Each dish was bursting with flavor and they tasted great together.

Chicken Couscous

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Shallots

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 3 large shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-in slices
  • Parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat oil over med-high heat. Reduce to med. Add chicken. Brown on both sides. Add shallots to skillet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook covered for 8-10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, stirring shallots occasionally. Transfer chicken and shallots to a serving platter. Cover to keep warm. Add zucchini to skillet. Saute for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add to platter with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley.

Company Couscous

  • 1 cup couscous
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • 1 dash balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (we didn’t have Parmesan so I used Mozzarella)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir couscous into boiling water and return water to a boil. Cover and remove pot from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

While couscous is cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic, green onions, and peppers. Saute briefly. Stir in tomatoes, basil, cooked couscous, and salt and pepper. Mix together and transfer to a 1 1/2-qt casserole dish. Splash some balsamic vinegar on top.

Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese while still warm.

Although San Diego’s weather hasn’t yet realized that it’s December (trust me, I’m not complaining…), it’s finally cool enough to enjoy a piping hot bowl of soup. But in my case, since my post-operation instructions don’t allow me to consume anything piping hot, I get to enjoy my bowl of soup lukewarm. I suppose that’s an appropriate and fair trade — enjoying lukewarm soup on a not-so-hot-yet-not-exactly-cold day. Anyway, they say soup is good for the soul, but I say soup is good for the healing mouth/body. It’s perio-diet approved (when served lukewarm), nutritious, and tasty.

The chicken and dumpling soup was flavorful and the dumplings were flaky throughout. However, I made them rather large (I put them in using a whopping tablespoon and they tried to take over the pot). I recommend actually following the directions and making them the size of a real tablespoon (so they’re dainty and won’t try to take over the kitchen). Also, there was a ton of leftover dough, but I’ve left the recipe intact, just in case making them smaller allows for more room for more dumplings. Next time, too, I’ll season the dough just a bit. I think I’ll try some onion powder and parsley to see how that goes. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I got this recipe, so I’m unable to give credit where credit is due. But thanks to whoever you are!

Chicken and dumplings

Chicken & Dumplings

  • 2 cans (10.75 oz ea) condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup chopped celery (I used about two teaspoons celery seed)
  • 2 onions quartered (I used 6-8 pearl onions, whole)
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 1 package (10 oz) frozen peas
  • 4 potatoes, roughly diced
  • 3 cups baking mix
  • 1 1/3 cups milk

In a large pot combine soup, water, chicken, celery, onion, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Cover and cook over med-low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Add potatoes and carrots; cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove chicken from pot, shred it, and return to pot. Add peas and cook 5 minutes longer. Add dumplings.

To make dumplings: Mix baking mix and milk until a soft dough forms. Drop by tablespoons into boiling stew. Simmer covered for 10 minutes, then uncover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.

Over the past week, Wing and I found ourselves in East County — the cities in the eastern part of San Diego County. We went there a few times for varying reasons. I happen to be very familiar with East County so, when it was time to eat, Wing let me choose the restaurants. I picked out some that I like and wanted him to try, and now I’m sharing our East County dining experiences with you.

Downtown Cafe, El Cajon (pronounced el kah-hone; meaning the drawer due to the city being surrounded by mountains)

Our first night, we ate at a restaurant in El Cajon called the Downtown Cafe, located in the newly renovated and now quaint and semi-historical downtown area. The Downtown Cafe had a nice variety of food on their menu and their alcoholic beverage selection was huge, including beers from local breweries. But Wing and I ordered burgers and soft drinks. He ordered a bleu cheese burger and I ordered the Santa Fe. We were impressed with the amount of bleu cheese and guacamole that we received. Wing said that we will definitely be back to try their other menu items.

Downtown Cafe

Casa de Pico, La Mesa

The next time we found ourselves in East County, we decided to go for Mexican. I knew of a great place called Casa de Pico, a local favorite ever since it was located in Old Town. Wing tried the cranberry mango chicken off of the seasonal menu and I ordered the chile poblano fresco off the vegetarian menu. Both were very good. The flavors in the cranberry mango chipotle chicken blended together perfectly and were subtle, not overpowering the taste of the chicken. The chile I ordered was packed with seasoned vegetables, topped with a creamy and delicious jalapeno sauce. We couldn’t resist ordering dessert, so we ordered the fried ice cream — a battered and fried ice cream scoop that rested on top of a bunuelo. Yum!

Casa de Pico

Anny’s Fine Burgers, Santee

The final trip to East County led us (and Mars) to Anny’s Fine Burgers. Its original store was in Santee, but it became so popular and crowded that it expanded and opened a second store in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. I’ve only been to the Santee location so my pictures are from there. Anny’s has a large variety of unique burger options. Since its opening, it has expanded to serving hot dogs and chicken wings. The burgers are huge so Wing and I split one. We ordered the hickory BBQ burger and some garlic Parmesan chicken wings. The burger didn’t disappoint. I was a little disappointed with the wings when they first put them on our table. I don’t really like the powdered Parmesan cheese which was sprinkled on them, but I ate one anyway. I ended up loving it despite the powdered cheese.

Annys

Wing and I were planning to make something out of some chicken breast we’d thawed out, but we weren’t sure what to do with it yet. Then we saw a huge bag, almost full, of nacho cheese Doritos® that KlyRad had bought. They’d been sitting there for a while so we figured we’d use some for a dish we’d tried once before. The recipe came from the Taste of Home Simple and Delicious Cookbook. It’s called Nacho Chicken Pitas and was decent as the recipe stands, but it was lacking something (I had noted this on the recipe itself). So this time, inspired by two things, we decided to change it up just a bit. The first inspiration hit when we realized we didn’t have pita bread and neither of us felt like going to the store. But we always keep tortillas as a staple item so we decided to make wraps instead. The next bit of inspiration hit when I told Wing that the first time we ate it, we just thought the recipe was ok and that we thought it needed something to push it over that “OK” status. So we thought about it, and I’m not sure who suggested it, but we decided on lemon cayenne aioli. We had heard about this specific aioli from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives when Guy went to Show Dogs in San Francisco where they use it on a chicken sandwich. We looked up the aioli recipe online and modified a recipe from Prevention RD.

Nacho chicken prep

The combination of the nacho-cheese-chip-covered chicken plus the aioli all wrapped in a warm tortilla was great! We definitely pushed this recipe into the “wow” category. At first, I felt a little guilty about using KlyRad’s chips without asking, but when he and Avalanche tasted the wraps, they ate them up so my guilt subsided. There were no leftovers even though it made a ton of chicken strips.

Nacho chicken wraps

Nacho Chicken Wraps

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups crushed nacho cheese tortilla chips
  • Salt, pepper, cayenne
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-in strips
  • Flour tortillas, warmed but not crisp
  • Lettuce, tomato, cheese, jalapeno, any other condiments

Aioli

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Cayenne to taste (we put in enough to turn the aioli pink)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°. In a shallow bowl, beat eggs. Place crushed chips in another shallow bowl. Season chicken with salt, pepper, cayenne. Dip chicken in eggs, then coat with crushed chips. Place chicken strips in a single layer in a greased baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.

Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, mix thoroughly all aioli ingredients and place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Spread aioli on one half of the tortilla, add any desired condiments (as suggested above), add chicken, and roll the tortilla.

There’s not really much of a story to this one. Wing and I were hungry, it was dinner time, we had chicken out, and we happened to have buttermilk, so we made food with it all. This is a combination of two recipes I have (goodness knows where I got them originally) in my recipe box.

Parmesan Chicken bites

Parmesan Chicken Bites

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 or 3 garlic clove(s), minced
  • Shallots (we used dried shallots from World Market, so I’m not sure what the fresh equivalent is)
  • Garlic and wine seasoning from The Melting Pot (for those who don’t wish to run to The Melting Pot to buy the seasoning, it includes salt, dehydrated garlic, undisclosed spices, wine solids, garlic powder, parsley, and other things I didn’t mention because they are preservatives, etc.)
  • Herbed poultry seasoning
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into pieces no larger than 2×2 inches
  • Oil for frying

Pour buttermilk into a medium-sized, shallow bowl. Set aside. Combine in a large shallow bowl all of the remaining ingredients except the chicken and oil. Dip chicken in the flour mixture, then dip in the buttermilk, then dip it in the flour mixture again, making sure each chicken piece is thoroughly coated. Heat oil in a large, deep sauce pan or wok. Fry the chicken until cooked completely, or no longer pink.

Tip: poke holes in the chicken pieces with a fork to promote more even cooking, and it helps prevent the chicken from drying out (or so is our theory).

No condiments were necessary because the chicken was just so good, but I would recommend Ranch dressing or BBQ sauce if you must have something. We ate this with a salad.