Tag Archives: Chicken/Poultry

Pan Fried Chicken Breast with Rustic Herb Tomato Sauce

Pan Fried Chicken Breast with Rustic Tomato Sauce

I’ve been super busy the past few days.  I’m planning a baby-shower for my friend–Summer–for this Saturday, so I’ve been menu planning, shopping and crafting.

I’ve also been occupied with my little gardens–which are finally almost completed!  It was super-sunny outside, but I tried to click a few photos…

2 of my heirloom tomato plants–I’m growing 7 varieties this year

I decided to plant my tomatoes and peppers in 5 gallon buckets this year.  I figured they’d be easy to move around if any of my plants start to get sick.  Last year, one of my plants got some sort of fungus–and within days, all of my plants had fungus!  Yuck!

onions (2 varieties), shallots, garlic and a few potatoes

peppers

After all that work (including tons of mulching and weeding perennial beds)…I cracked open a cold one.  —I deserved it! 🙂

We keep this on hand for beer-can chicken, but I got into the stash! I could only drink 1/2 of it though…that is one big can!

I wanted to get back out to the gardens today and finish weeding and weed whacking…but that didn’t happen.  Instead I cooked and baked nearly all day–trying to do what I can before Saturday.  Before I knew it, it was 6pm–and I hadn’t even started dinner!

Earlier in the day I had thrown 2 chicken breasts in a giant zip-lock bag along with some olive oil, lemon juice, tarragon, garlic, salt and pepper.   I had no idea what I was going to make with them, but I wanted it to have some flavor.

When I was finally ready to begin making dinner, I opened the fridge to check out my produce.  I had a container of grape tomatoes (Aldi’s had them on sale for 79 cents…Score!), mushrooms, and lots of fresh parsley.

I found some cous cous in my pantry…and dinner began to take shape.

20 minutes later, and it was done!

I pan-fried the chicken in a little goats butter, marjoram, parsley and garlic.  Once the chicken had a beautiful brown sear and was cooked all the way through, I removed them from the pan and covered them with aluminum foil.

Covering the chicken with foil and letting it rest for at least 10 minutes is very important.  Chicken breast has a tendency to over-cook and dry out–this keeps that from happening.

While the chicken cooked, I made the cous cous.  It took about 5 minutes.  Literally.  I tossed about 2 cups of fresh, homemade chicken broth (I told you I was busy today!)  into a medium sized saucepan.  I didn’t add any butter or oil because my broth hadn’t been strained yet, and was fatty enough.

I tossed in a handful of chopped parsley, 2 tsp. dried tarragon, 1 bay leaf, about a half cup of chopped mushrooms, a pinch of saffron, salt and pepper.  I let this mixture come to a boil, then added 1 cup. whole wheat cous cous.  I covered the pan and let the cous cous soak up all of the fragrant broth.

Then I got started on the tomato sauce.  It was really simple, actually, and it came together really quick.

I tossed the grape tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic (smashed and minced), and a handful of chopped parsley in the same pan that I had previously cooked the chicken.  I turned the heat to high and stirred until the tomatoes started to blister and burst–forming a sauce.  To keep things from sticking, I added 1/2 c. chicken broth and 1 tsp of flour.

I thought the tomato sauce was a little tangy, so I added 1/2 tsp of sugar.  Perfect!

A fantastic dinner doesn’t have to take tons of time.  In fact, I think the easiest meals are often the best!

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On another note, look what’s coming next!

Goat Cheese Swirled Brownies!!!  and they’re pink! …Summer is having a baby girl!!!  🙂

Easy Chicken Biryani with Cucumber, Carrot and Mint Raita

I absolutely love Indian biryani.  It’s such a beautiful and comforting dish that is reminiscent of the rice hot-dishes  (or casseroles…for all you non-Minnesotans out there) that I grew up eating as a kid–only a million times better! (sorry, Mom!).

Biryani is simply basmati rice cooked with spices and meats (and/or vegetables).   There are many different styles and types of biryani, each as unique as the people who make (and eat!) them.

A traditional biryani can take hours and hours to make properly.  Maybe someday I’ll have that kind of time to devote towards the absolute perfection of the dish; but until that time comes, I’ve got to take some short-cuts.

And because of the short-cuts I took…my biryani is technically a pulao (it is also close to what most Indian restaurants pass off as biryani in America).

What’s the difference?  In a true biryani, each part of the dish is cooked–and spiced–separately.  Then after each component has been cooked, they are all layered together; forming a dish with mind-blowing, contrasting flavors.  It is simply amazing.

A pulao, on the other hand, is quite easier and faster to cook.  All the ingredients are cooked together and the flavors of the dish come together as one.  You miss out on the different layers of flavor, but the dish is still quite tasty–and way less time consuming!

Chicken Biryani garnished with saffron rice, cucumbers and mint

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Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza!

One night while Piyush and I were touring around India, we decided not to go out for dinner. We were so tired, we turned on the tv and ordered room service. Because we were staying at a pretty expensive hotel…the food was also expensive.

Piyush couldn’t stand the idea that we were going to pay 3 times the amount for a meal that would cost us only a few rupees a couple blocks away. I understood what he was saying, but I didn’t want to leave the hotel again–and be forced to cross the road.

You see, crossing roads in India is scary!  There aren’t any cross-walks, and traffic doesn’t stop.  Piyush could easily handle it, but it made me crazy!  So crazy, in fact,  that I possibly had a mini tantrum, acted like I was 7 years old, and convinced Piyush to order room-service.  Possibly.

Watch this video, you’ll see.  It gives me a panic attack just seeing it!

To make up for my childish behavior, I told Piyush we could order the cheapest thing on the menu.  Imagine my excitement when that turned out to be pizza!

I mean, I love pizza.  I love curry.  What could be better than eating them both at the same time (haha I’m such a glutton!)?

Piyush didn’t want pizza and didn’t think it would taste any good, but I couldn’t resist: Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza.  It sounded amazing!  …And it was!  After eating a few slices, even Piyush said it was genius!

Unfortunately, I have not been able to find anything remotely close to that delicious pizza here in the United States.  Sure, you can order a chicken curry pizza once in awhile—but I haven’t tasted one I liked.

Since I made chicken tikka masala a few days ago, I decided to use the left-overs and attempt to replicate the pizza I had in India.  …and let me tell you, it was a success!

Just seeing pictures of it make my mouth water!  This pizza was incredible!!!  I wish there was some contest or something I could enter it into, cuz I’m tellin’ you…It would win!

This pizza could also be made vegetarian—simply do not include the chicken.  A paneer tikka masala pizza would be equally amazing!

Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza on Coriander-Garlic Whole Wheat Crust

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Chicken Tikka Masala!

If you haven’t already entered, and would like to try some Darjeeling loose leaf tea I brought back from India…be sure to enter the giveaway HERE.  It ends Friday, April 6 at 7pm Central time!  

If you love Indian food, chances are that you adore Chicken Tikka Masala.  Maybe you even crave it?!  I can even get my younger cousins–who are scared to try anything new–to eat chicken tikka masala…it is that good!

It’s a flavorful Indian curry which is equally fattening as it is tasty.  This is not a curry I would make often, and if I did…I definitely would lighten it up.  Instead, this recipe is very, very similar to what you would receive at your favorite Indian restaurant.  I’m so confident, I would even say it may be better! Continue reading

Chicken Jalfrezi

Chicken Jalfrezi

It’s no secret that I love Indian style curries.  They’re delicious, spicy, and usually pretty healthy (assuming you are making them yourself!).  Yesterday, I shared my recipe for a good gravy base that will have you turning out curry after curry in no time.  Today, I’m going to show you how to use that base to make a dish that will blow your mind! Continue reading

Wild Mushroom and Marjoram Chicken

I started my morning off with a trip to the dentist.   It’s not the most pleasant way to begin the day and truthfully I had no idea that I even had an appointment.  There was some sort of a mix up at the office—they thought Piyush had an appointment at 7am, so they called to remind him about it.  He said he didn’t make the appointment, so they thought maybe it was me.  They called me and I had no idea that I made an appointment either (especially at 7!  on my day off!).   Since I was free for the day, they convinced me to go in and get my pearly whites cleaned and checked out.  Unfortunately, Dr. Watkins gave me some bad news…

This princess is getting a new crown!  I’ve never had a crown before—actually I’ve never really had any dental work, aside from some cavities filled.  Sadly it’s because of one of those cavities (mostly the really bad job my prior dentist did filling it) that I now need this crown.  Ok, and it might also be that I drank too much soda as a kid…and too much hard liquor as a college student, but there’s nothing I can do to change that now.  The damage has been done, my friends.

I was out of the dentist’s office in about an hour, and since I was already awake—and functioning—I decided I might as well check out the thrift store and see if I could find anything neat.  Today was a bust.  I didn’t find anything super exciting, but I did get a new book to read, a shirt for Piyush, some canning jars, a terra cotta garlic roaster and a cake platter.  Total spent?  Around 10 bucks.

There was a big dresser that matched the one I bought for my entry way, it was obviously from the same set.  I thought it’d make an awesome buffet for our dining room (with a little elbow grease and repurposing), but the price tag said $50.  That’s about 30 dollars too much, in my opinion.  So I passed.

When I got bored of thifting, I grabbed a few groceries and headed home to a sink full of dirty dishes.  At home, I was quickly reminded that it was winter and I needed to put on boots and stop wearing my totally awesome crocs:

click photo to go to the crocs website

Seriously, I never thought I’d be a croc kind of girl…but I love these shoes!  They’re slide ons—so they’re quick.  They’re durable, comfy and rubber (or something like that…I don’t really know what they’re made from, actually).  I hate wet feet, so these do a good job of keeping them dry.   I wore them everyday in India—even when we were climbing the steep hills of Darjeeling (I have really high arches and walk more on the sides of my feet. Even without my custom insoles these shoes give me no pain.)  Basically, I love this shoe.  But sadly, they have no traction…and are terrible on ice!  Lucky for me, I am a very graceful faller.  Like, really graceful.  You should have seen it.  I slipped on the ice, went into a perfect lunge—didn’t even crack my knee on the ground—and slid back up, all in one motion.  It was like some sort of weird ice ballet.  I bet it looked awesome.

After shimmying my way down to the mailbox, trying to avoid the ice…and back up to the house, I decided to make Piyush a nice dinner.  I had some chicken breasts, so I knew that was going to be the base.

I eventually settled on seasoning the chicken breasts with marjoram, making a simple pan sauce and serving it all with mushrooms and roasted purple potatoes.  I was worried he wouldn’t like it.  But it turned out really delicious and he scarfed it down…no complaints.  He even told me the recipe was a “keeper.”  Yay.

Marjoram Chicken Breast with Mushrooms and Roasted Purple Potatoes

The purple potatoes were amazing!  I’ve never had them before so I had to try them out.  They taste really similar to red potatoes…but they’re such a beautiful color!

I cut them in half (or quarters, if they were big), drizzed them with some olive oil, seasoned with salt/pepper, added some chopped rosemary and smashed garlic and then roasted in the oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Simple.  Easy. Fast.

While they roasted away, I got to work on the chicken.

Marjoram Chicken with Mushrooms and Marsala Pan Sauce

(recipe inspired by Bon Appetit)

  • 4  skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 6 teaspoons dried marjoram (use fresh if you have it!), divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 10 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (I bought a frozen bag at the co-op…and they were awesome!)
  • 4 shallots, diced
  • 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth (make your own!)
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 tsp. flour
  • 3 tablespoons dry Marsala
  • Salt/Pepper

Directions:

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then 2 teaspoons marjoram (I didn’t really measure—just sprinkled liberally).

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1/2 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet and sauté until just cooked through. Transfer chicken to plate; tent with foil to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with1/2 tablespoon oil in same skillet. Add mushrooms, shallots, and 2 teaspoons marjoram. Sauté until mushrooms are brown and tender, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl.

Combine broth, cream, Marsala, rosemary and remaining 2 teaspoons marjoram in same skillet; boil until thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Divide mushrooms among 4 plates. Top mushrooms with chicken. Spoon sauce over and serve.

This meal came in at around 650 calories for my portion (pictured above).  It’s not something I’d eat all that often, because it’s so rich.  But it’s definitely something I’ll make again!  It had a lot of flavors and they all worked extremely well with one another.  The original recipe didn’t call for rosemary but I thought it’d be a good addition…and I was right!

If you’re looking to impress someone (Valentine’s Day is around the corner….I’m just sayin’), this will do it.  This meal is seriously restaurant quality…and I’m not talking “Olive Garden” or “Applebees” kind of restaurants.  This tasted like something I’d expect from a really fancy place.  It was that good!

Now that I have a full belly, Teen Mom is over, and my face has been cleansed…it’s off to bed!  I have a long day tomorrow!

Monday Madness! and a Greek Inspired Dinner

I really enjoy Mondays.  Though, I haven’t always.   In fact I used to spend Tuesday-Sunday dreading the upcoming Monday.  Extreme?  Probably; but when I was young(er) with few(er) worries and responsiblies, Monday meant that the weekend was ending…and work/school was starting.  Mondays were an unpleasant jolt back to reality, and I hated them for that.  Now, I work every other weekend.  And sometimes Monday signifies the end of my week, not the beginning.  Monday is the new Friday.  Sort of.

Mondays also mean I’m obligated to go to the gym.  I need routine and consistency.  I also need to feel accountable, and the only thing I’ve found that works is to sign up for a program where I know people are expecting me.  For some weird reason I feel worse letting down complete strangers than I do letting myself down.  How screwy is that?! So, Monday night has become Cable Class night.  And I look forward to it!

I really like all the trainers at the gym, but I’ve got to say I’m partial to either Paula or Angie.  I feel that they know my limits and know how to push me.  They also know when I’m being lazy, and that’s important…If they have all this faith that I can do something, maybe I really can.  And that’s usually how it works.

Tonight’s cable class was extra hard, probably for a few reasons.  The first being that I haven’t really worked out since returning from India—call it an extended holiday, if you will.  Secondly, I decided to wake up this morning and take a yoga class.  My arms were on fire!  Now, they are jello.  …But I feel good.  Like, real good!

After the gym I came home and heated up dinner.  Because my class is at 7:45 pm and I don’t really want to work out on a full stomach, I usually put together a meal and have it all ready to heat up when Piyush and I get home around 9.  I know 9 seems like a really late time to eat a big dinner, but it’s what works for us…so we do it.

Tonight we had Greek!  We love Greek food and tend to order take out way more than we should!  I decided it was probably time to make something healthy that had those same flavors, and today was as good of a day as any other.  This dinner was really simple and honestly there aren’t really any “real” recipes.


Basically it’s brown rice with a little lemon juice and greek seasoning, grilled and seasoned chicken, and steamed summer squash/zucchini.  I also smothered it in tzatziki sauce!

I wish I could say I made the sauce, but I had a container of tzatziki left from the restaurant here in town.  It’s a yummy yogurt based sauce that makes a great dip for celery sticks, so I always try to have some on hand.  It’s really easy to make too…and next time I actually make my own I’ll definitely share the recipe!

But now I have to sleep!  I have to work early tomorrow.

Tuesdays….sigh.  The only good thing about Tuesday is “Teen Mom!”  Hah!

Oh!  Before I go, I also have to just say that I am so proud of my little sister!!!  She had an interview today at the Mayo Clinic School of Med….and I couldn’t be more excited for her!!!!!  There are only 2 more spots open…and 12 more to interview, but I know she’ll get accepted!  They’d be goofy not to accept her!  She looked just like a little doctor, all dressed up in her suit and pearls.  Yay!, Michelle!