Category Archives: Chicken

Grilled Pizza

Our summer finally arrived!  We had a beautiful, sunny afternoon… a perfect day for BBQing!  I am beginning to enjoy this form of cooking!  I went from burning everything I put on the BBQ to turning out moist chicken breasts!  I’ll let you in on my secret– indirect heat.  Our BBQ has three burners.  Put one on high or medium, and the other two on low.  Cook your food over the low heat.  You still get the amazing grilled flavor and the charred marks, but without the black crust over your entire food!  Plus, food like chicken breasts, which dry out so quickly, stay moist!

Grilled pizza has mystified me for a while.  Three years ago, the last summer we had a BBQ, we tried grilling pizzas, and it was a disaster.  But, I thought that I had to try again to perfect something this enticing.  It was a giant success!  Delicious!  Impressive-looking!  Fun to make!  You can use whatever you would like on your pizza.  Let your imagination and taste buds be your guide.

The main secret.  You must, I repeat, MUST have your ingredients prepped and by the BBQ before you begin this adventure.  You won’t have time to run back into the kitchen to grab something.  It has to be within arm’s reach.  I marinated the chicken for my pizzas in Greek salad dressing and quickly grilled them before making the pizza.  You can  bake, fry, grill or do whatever to your chicken!  I would recommend making individual sized pizzas, but if you want to try making a big one, go ahead!

The first thing to do is make your pizza dough.  This recipe is quick and requires no rising.  Perfect for a weeknight!

Fast and Easy Pizza Crust
Recipe from The Best of the Best and more, by The Best of Bridge

3/4 cup warm water
1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp olive oil

In a small bowl, mix the warm water, yeast and sugar together.  Let sit until the yeast gets foamy, about 5 minutes.  In a large bowl, (I use my stand mixer with the dough hook), stir together the flour, salt and cornmeal.  Add yeast mixture and olive oil.  Knead to a smooth dough, about 10 minutes.  If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you don’t need to knead your dough.  The mixer does it for you!  You can use this dough in your normal pizza recipes for the oven.  If you’re using it for grilled pizza– keep reading.

Make sure all of your ingredients are prepped.  I made a BBQ Chicken Pizza for the husband (chicken, BBQ sauce, chopped onions and grated cheddar cheese) and a Greek Chicken Pizza for myself (spinach leaves, chicken, Greek dressing, chopped tomatoes and onions, and crumbled feta cheese).

Now, make sure your BBQ is hot and have one burner on medium, and the other two on low.  I had the burner on the far ride side on high and the other two low. 

Stretch out your pizza dough.  I spread some vegetable oil on my crusts to prevent them from sticking.  I’m not sure this is necessary, as once the grill is really hot, the dough won’t stick once it’s cooked.

Put your pizza dough on the BBQ.  Close the lid and wait for about 3-4 minutes.  Open the lid.  Using a big, metal spatula, flip over the dough.  You’ll have nice grill marks on the top.

Now, put your toppings on your pizzas!  Close the grill and let them cook for a minute or two, to melt the cheese and warm everything up. 

Using my spatula and the aid of my tongs, I successfully maneuvered both pizzas onto plates without incident!

ENJOY!

The Hungry Teacher

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Crispy Garlic Chicken and Sweet Spiced Pecans

Dinner tonight was simple, but so delicious!  We were supposed to have softball, but our game got rained out.

Now, before I get onto dinner,  I simply must share this recipe for granola bars with you.  I have been raving about for a few weeks.  Everyone keeps telling me to blog about it, but Smitten Kitchen did such a good job that there is nothing I would change about it!  These granola bars are far better than store bought and can be made with whatever ingredients you have/want in them!  They are truly delicious, and I can make them peanut free so I can bring them to school.  So, if you want to make AMAZING granola bars, check out this recipe for Thick, Chewy Granola Bars.

So, for dinner, I decided to try this recipe for Crunchy Garlic Chicken from Jamie’s Food Revolution.  There were two main reasons it appealed to me.  1.  Garlic.  2.  It looked quick.  I was not even going to blog about this recipe, but after tasting it, I decided I must!  The breading on this chicken has so much flavour it is incredible!  We had chicken and  a green salad and it was a great, simple week night meal.  I can definitely see this meal becoming a stand-by!  I baked the chicken, but it could also be fried in olive oil in a skillet, 4-5 minutes on each side.

Now, the Sweet Spiced Pecans are from Grazing, by Julie Van Rosendaal.  Oh, my, goodness!  These pecans are to die for!  You must try them.  They add so much to a simple green salad that it is incredible!  They are also amazing as a snack!  I make the full recipe and store the rest in a ziploc baggie in the freezer.  They stay good for as long  as they last (which won’t be very long!), and are amazing sprinkled on a salad.  The recipe calls for fresh rosemary, and I have substituted dry before.  But, I was all out tonight, and the pecans are still really good without it!

Crunchy Garlic Chicken
Serves 2
Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Kitchen

1 clove garlic, peeled
1 lemon, zested
6 crackers (I used Stoned Wheat Thins)
2 Tbsp butter
4 springs of fresh parsley (I didn’t have any, but I used some dried parsley)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heaped Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 450ºF.  Put the garlic, lemon zest, butter, parsley and some salt and pepper into a food processor.  Whiz until the mixture is very fine and pour onto a plate.  Sprinkle the flour on a second plate.  Crack the egg into a bowl and beat with a fork.  If you want to, you can pound the chicken breasts with a heavy pan, plate or pounder in between some plastic wrap to flatten it.  This helps it to cook more evenly.  Dip the chicken into the flour so both sides are completely coated, then dip into the egg and into the crumbs.  Press the crumbs onto the chicken to make sure it is completely coated.  Place the chicken onto a sheet pan and bake for 15 minutes, until cooked through, golden and crisp.  Serve with a lemon wedge on the side!

Sweet Spiced Pecans
Makes 2 cups
Recipe from Grazing

2 cups pecan halves
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 drops hot sauce
1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 300ºF.  Combine everything but the pecans in a medium bowl.  Add the pecans and stir until they are well coated.  Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden.  Let cool, and enjoy!

 Enjoy this quick, healthy meal!
The Hungry Teacher

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Chicken Vindaloo and Naan

Indian food is so delicious!  It’s comforting, spicy, warm and incredible.  A month or so ago, I made my first curry from scratch.  Wow!  Incredible!  You can find the recipe here: Chicken Tikka Masala.

Last time I made curry, I used regular white rice.  It was fine, but Basmati rice is the way to go!  It makes the experience of eating homemade curry seem much more authentic.  I cooked mine according to the package, and it was great!  It even smells more authentic, seriously!

I also served this with homemade naan.  Naan is an Indian flatbread, and it is so good!  I made it using the bread dough recipe found here.  This is the bread dough found in Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day.  You must check this book out!  You make your bread dough, which is really simple and requires no kneading.  Then, after letting it rise on the counter for 2 hours, you put it in your fridge, where it lasts for up to 2 weeks!   You can make it into naan, pizza dough, foccacia bread, a freestyle loaf called a boule or baguettes (and those are just the options I’ve tried!).  The bread is fantastic.  To make the naan, take out a cast iron pan (mine is 10″) and heat it over medium high heat.  Take a peach sized ball of dough, and roll it out so it is thin.  When the pan is really  hot, add some oil to it.  Then, add your dough.  Cover it with a lid so it traps in the steam.  When the bottom is browned (about 3 minutes), flip it over and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes, until the other side is browned and the dough is firm and cooked through.  Brush with some melted butter, and enjoy!  It is so good!  The husband came home for leftover curry and rice, and I even whipped up a quick naan to go with our lunch (from my pre-made bread dough, of course).

Chicken Vindaloo is spicy.  But, it is spicy in a flavorful way.  I hate food that is spicy just to be spicy.  I want FLAVOR!  The recipe, which  I got from Jamie’s Food Revolution, called for 1-2 thin red chilies.  My grocery store was out of them, so I just omitted them.  The heat from the Vindaloo paste was perfect, and next time I make this recipe, I will just leave the chilies out.

Now, this recipe calls for Vindaloo paste.  You should be able to find this in the Asian aisle at your grocery store.  The brand I used was Patak’s (and this is the same one Mr. Oliver recommends).  Now, please note that this is the PASTE, not the actual sauce you can buy pre-jarred.  The recipe also calls for cilantro.  I am a cilantro hater.  There.  I said it.  If you love cilantro, you could add a small bunch, cutting up the stalks and adding them with the onions, etc, and sprinkling the leaves on top as a garnish. 

Jamie’s recipe calls for diced pork shoulder, but says you can use chicken or lamb.

Chicken Vindaloo
Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Food Revolution
Serves 4-6

2 medium onions, halved and finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1-2 fresh red chilies, to your taste (I omitted these), finely sliced
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped in big pieces (Jamie says to quarter them, next time I’ll use a rough dice)
vegetable oil
a pat of butter
1-3/4 lbs diced chicken breast
1/2 cup vindaloo or hot curry paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. honey
natural yogurt
1 lemon

Put a large pan on medium to high heat and add some vegetable oil and the butter.  Add the onions, garlic, chile and ginger and cook for about 10 minutes, until softened and golden.  Add the chicken and the curry paste.  Stir well to coat everything with the paste and season with salt and pepper.  Add the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, honey and about 1-2/3 cups of water (enough to cover everything), and stir again.  Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 45 minutes with the lid on.  Stir regularly to make sure it’s not sticking.  Now, Jamie says to add extra water if needed, but I had to simmer with the lid off for a bit to get my curry to the proper consistency.  When the meat is cooked through, season carefully with salt and pepper.

Serve with basmati rice and some yogurt spooned on top.  Serve with lemon wedges on the side to squeeze over.

Yum!
The Hungry Teacher

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Kung Pao Chicken

Stir-fry.  For some reason, my husband and I are not big fans of either Chinese food (the kinds in Chilliwack) or stir-fry.  I’m not even sure exactly what it is about it that we don’t like!  Other Asian food-Indian, Thai, Japanese  is fantastic!  We like soy sauce and ginger, but just not really Chinese food.  However, there is one recipe that we do really like.  It’s for Kung Pao Chicken.  It is spicy, flavorful and delicious!  And since we like at least one stir-fry, it gives me hope that maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try another.

Now, a few notes about this recipe.  Sambal oelek is an Indonesian spicy red chili paste that you can buy at the grocery store in the Asian aisle.  It is one of my husband’s favorite condiments (because it’s also in his favorite Dutch-Indonesian dish, Nasi Goreng).  You can buy a chunk of gingerroot, cut off what you need and freeze the rest.  I always think it would be easier to peel it before I freeze it, but I usually end up being too lazy and I have to peel it when I use it.  I used a whole green pepper and omitted the red pepper– the green pepper is at least half the price of the red pepper.  Oh, and PREP EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU START COOKING.  I’ve learned this the hard way.  It’s worth the extra five minutes before you start.  You will not have time to chop once you start cooking!!!!

Kung Pao Chicken
Recipe from Company’s Coming Most Loved Main Courses
Serves 4

Kung Pao Sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp.  Hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2-1 tsp sambal oelek (chili paste)
2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves or thighs, diced
1 tsp sesame or cooking oil
1 egg white, beaten
1 garlic clove, crushed

1 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 tsp. finely grated peeled gingerroot
2 small carrots, thinly sliced

1/2 cup diced green pepper
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1-5 fresh small red chilies, seeds and ribs removed for less heat
3 green onions, cut into 1″ pieces

1 Tbsp. cooking oil

Kung Pao Sauce: Combine the cornstarch, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sambal oelek and water in a small bowl until smooth.  Set aside.

Stir the second amount of soy sauce into the second amount of cornstartch in a medium bowl until smooth.  Add the chicken, sesame oil, egg white and garlic clove.  Stir until the chicken is well-coated.  Set aside.

Heat a wok on medium-high heat until hot.  Add cooking oil.  Add the second amount of garlic, ginger and carrot.  Stir-fry for 1 minutes.  Add the peppers, chilies and green onions and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes or until peppers are tender-crisp (mine took closer to 5 minutes).  Transfer to a separate medium bowl.

Add the second amount of cooking oil to the wok.  Add the chicken mixture.  Stir to break up the chicken.  Stir-fry for about 3 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink.  Stir the sauce and add to chicken mixture.  Stir until it is boiling and thickened.  Add the pepper mixture.  Heat and stir until it is heated through and the peppers are coated. 

Serve with rice noodles, other noodles or rice!

Enjoy!
The Hungry Teacher

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Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Ham

I have the best husband!  We stayed home for Valentine’s Day and made roasted chicken.  Yum!!  It’s one of his most favourite dishes in the world, which made it worth staying home!  I still want to go out for a date though, so we’re going to find another day to go out!  It was also totally worth staying home to watch the Olympics!  We got to witness Canada get it’s first gold medal on home soil!!!!  Yay Alexandre Bilodeau!!  It’s been pretty incredible to watch the Olympics soooo close to home!  We’re going to watch women’s preliminary curling tomorrow with school!  We’re both pretty incredibly excited!

Anyways, back to my amazing husband.  I worked a long day yesterday and finally got home at 6:00pm, exhausted.  The husband had the potatoes all cut up, the water boiling, and he helped me make dinner.  It was great!  He even plated up the meal for me AND took the picture!  Wow!  I appreciate him so much, especially on those days when I’m just tired!

So, back to this meal.  It is a super easy dinner from Jamie’s Food Revolution, which is a fantastic cookbook, by the way!  Jamie’s recipes turn out every time and they’re easy with lots of pictures and great directions!

This was a bit of an expensive meal, as it has chicken wrapped in prosciutto.  Jamie says that you can substitute Parma ham, or bacon.  I would recommend the prosciutto, simply because it lends a unique flavour and texture to the meal.  Plus, it reminds me of Italy.

One kitchen gadget that I absolutely cannot live without is my Microplane zester.  This is an incredibly sharp grater that is perfect for Parmesan cheese, lemon zest, chocolate or nuts.  Please, please, please buy fresh Parmesan cheese and grate it.  It keeps for a long time in the fridge, and with a Microplane, it is incredibly easy to grate a bit for your meal.

We served this meal with mashed potatoes and green salad.  The potatoes took twice as long to boil as the chicken took to prepare and cook!  Start your potatoes early, because this chicken is really quick!

Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Posh Ham
Recipe from Jamie’s Food Revolution
Serves 2

2 sprigs fresh thyme (I have dried thyme from my herb garden last summer, which is a good substitute)
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon
Parmesan cheese
6 slices prosciutto

Strip the thyme leaves off the stalks.  Carefully score the bottom of the chicken breast (the ugly side) in a criss cross fashion.  Season with some pepper (you don’t need salt, because the prosciutto is salty).  Sprinkle over most of the thyme.  Grate some lemon zest over them, and sprinkle with grated Parmesan (I always grate it directly over top).  Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast, overlapping them slightly.  Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle the rest of the thyme leaves on stop.  Put some plastic wrap over the chicken breast and pound them with the bottom of a heavy pan (or use a meat pounder) until they are about 1/4″ thick. 

Place a frying pan over medium meat.  Remove the plastic wrap and carefully put the chicken in the pan, prosciutto side down.  Drizzle some olive oil on top.  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, turning halfway through.  Cook the prosciutto side a little longer, to let it crisp up.  Serve the chicken with a lemon wedge on the side to squeeze over.  Jamie Oliver says to drizzle them with some more olive oil, and who am I to argue with him?!?

XOXO,
The Hungry Teacher

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Chicken Strips and Spicy Fries

This is one of my favourite meals of all time.  We have made this meal so many times we have the preparation down to a science.  My husband loves to cut the potatoes (which I didn’t know until  yesterday.  I got out the knife and cutting board, and then he begged me to allow him to cut the potatoes…)

This is a quick, easy meal that is perfect for movie night.  I feel that it’s really rather healthy.  I mean, chicken breasts and potatoes?   There is only a bit of olive oil on the potatoes, and olive oil is definitely one of the healthier oils out there. 

We serve eating this meal with lots of Heinz Chili Sauce.  It tastes rather like spicy ketchup, and it’s something I recommend trying.  We also have plum sauce or honey mustard for dipping the chicken strips in.  Yum!

One thing I have considered doing is chopping up a box of chicken breasts, breading them all and freezing them, for those nights when I just don’t really feel like cooking.  Although, I have very few nights where I really don’t want to cook.  I think the chicken strips would freeze well though.  If you want to try it, place the strips on a baking sheet so they’re not touching each other and freeze until solid.  At this point, you can move them to a resealable freezer bag, and they won’t stick together because they’re already frozen!

A few notes I would like to mention.  I use my Pampered Chef Stoneware to cook these on.  The chicken strips would be fine on a regular cookie sheet, but the fries are much better on my stone bar pan (cooking sheet with raised edges).  The fries cook evenly (you don’t need to flip them or turn them), and clean up is a breeze!  If you cook the fries on a regular cookie sheet, they may stick.  I would recommend covering the cookie sheet with foil, to help with clean up, but even so, the fries may stick.  Buy some Pampered Chef Stoneware, you won’t be disappointed! 

One other thing I would like to mention, I cook both of these dishes in the oven at 450°F.  Put the fries in first, let them cook the five minutes with the foil on, remove the foil, put in the chicken strips (on the top rack) and continue to cook for 20-25 more minutes.  The timing usually works out quite well, but occasionally one or the other needs to be kept in the oven a bit longer.

Chicken Strips
Recipe adapted from Quick Fix Meals by Robin Miller

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips (If you ever see chicken tenders on sale, buy them!  They’re already the perfect size and don’t need to be cut!)
2/3 cup dry unseasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.  In a shallow dish, combine breadcrumbs and spices.  Add the chicken strips one at a time, and turn to coat evenly.  Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Spicy Cheese Fries
Recipe adapted from Grazing

2 medium russet potatoes, unpeeled but scrubbed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Cut potatoes into evenly sliced wedges or 1/4″ to 1/2″ fries.  Place them in a bowl and fill with hot tap water.  Soak the fries for 10 minutes.  Get a heavy, rimmed baking sheet and coat with oil.
Drain the potatoes and thoroughly dry with a clean kitchen towel.  Put the fries on the baking sheet and toss with the oil.  In a small bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Toss this mixture with the oiled fries.

Don’t crowd the fries, or else they will not get crispy!  Cover the pan with foil and bake for 5 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for 25 more minutes.  Turn these once or twice while cooking.  Serve immediately!

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