Pesto Chicken Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 (16-ounce) package uncooked penne pasta (or any shape) (I used penne pasta)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • Montreal chicken seasoning (optional) (I used it)
  • Salt and ground black pepper (I used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 (7-ounce) container refrigerated basil pesto (I used Buitoni pesto with basil)
  • 1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Cook the pasta to al dente based off the directions on the package they came in. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and the Montreal chicken seasoning (if you’re using the Montreal seasoning). Place the chicken in a hot nonstick skillet* and cook for 8 to 12 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (they recommend 170 degrees), flipping halfway through. Take the chicken out of the skillet and place it on a cutting board, slicing it into thin pieces.
  3. Add the peso, chicken and parmesan to the bowl with the pasta, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.

*I know the skillet is nonstick, but I still poured a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the skillet to get hot before the chicken went in and then I poured another tablespoon of oil in after I flipped the chicken.

Serves 4.

This was a fairly easy dish to put together ! You taste the pesto first and foremost but you can taste the Parmesan cheese in the background. The chicken helps this feel like a complete meal. My dad thought this tasted so good that he came back for seconds !

This recipe came from MixingBowl.

I wasn’t paid in any form to promote Buitoni or MixingBowl.

Take care everybody !

Fried Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 oz. each, halved lengthwise
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1  tsp. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. each black pepper and cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup peanut or vegetable oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • 4 White Mountain rolls or large hamburger buns, halved, brushed with mayonnaise, and toasted (we used Pepperidge Farm Sesame-Topped Hamburger Buns)
  • Green leaf or romaine lettuce (we used romaine lettuce)
  • Kosher dill pickle chips
  • Remoulade* (recipe follows)

Directions

  1. Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper, placing a rack inside afterwards.
  2. Pound each breast half into 1/4-inch-thick cutlets** using a meat mallet (we placed a piece of wax paper between the chicken and the mallet so the meat wouldn’t get stuck to the mallet).
  3. Pour the buttermilk and Tabasco sauce into a bowl, stirring to combine. Place the chicken in the buttermilk mixture, next placing the bowl in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Take a shallow dish and mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and cayenne together in it. One at a time, take the chicken out of the buttermilk mixture, letting any excess buttermilk drip back into the bowl. Place the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure the chicken is fully coated. Shake off any excess before placing it on the rack. Once all the chicken is on the rack, let it stand for 10 minutes before dunking it back into the buttermilk, letting the excess drip off before coating it in the flour (shaking any excess off) and placing it back on the rack where it’ll sit for another 10 minutes.
  5. Take a  12-inch cast-iron skillet and pour the oil into it, setting the skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil’s reached 350 degrees***, fry the chicken (we fried it one piece at a time) for 2-3 minutes  per side or until it looks golden brown (we did 3 minutes per side). Place the fried chicken on a paper-towel-lined baking sheet (we used  paper-towel lined plates).
  6. Place the chicken on the toasted rolls, topping it with the lettuce, pickles and remoulade.

Remoulade Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mustard (Creole mustard if possible) (we used Creole mustard)
  • 1 Tbsp. sweet paprika (we used smoked paprika)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Cajun or Creole seasoning (we used 2 teaspoons of Zatarain’s Creole seasoning)
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish (we used Silver Spring prepared horseradish)
  • 1 teaspoon pickle juice (dill or sweet) (we used dill pickle juice)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce (preferably Tabasco) (we used Tabasco)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced and smashed

Directions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Cover, and let it sit in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours to help all the flavors blend.

*The fried chicken sandwich actually wanted a different recipe for rémoulade but we weren’t able to get all the ingredients for that recipe and we made this one instead. Thankfully this remoulade tastes really good with the chicken sandwich !

**We tried to get chicken breasts that weighed as close as possible to 8 oz. but they still weighed more than that. We hoped that simply the fact that they were still pounded out to 1/4-inch would mean that they’d be fully cooked. They were but we still checked to make sure they were fully cooked before letting them drain on the paper towels.

***The oil was too shallow for us to register the temperature so we just placed the chicken in the skillet once we heard a nice sizzle as the coating touched the oil.

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We don’t really get to eat out anymore so when we come across recipes that remind us of dishes that we’ve ordered in the past, we’re excited to make them ! When you try the chicken by itself, it has this really nice, crunchy coating but it does lose some of that crunch once the toppings are placed on it so just make sure you wait to put the toppings on until you know you’re actually going to start eating. The remoulade tasted so good with the chicken, the sauce almost had a bbq taste to it. The lettuce had a nice crunch to it, the pickles bring acidity  but if you’re not a fan of pickles, this sandwich still tastes awesome without it ! Toasting the bun might seem unnecessary but it really helps support the weight of the chicken and keeps the bun from getting soggy. We’ll still keep trying other recipes for fried chicken sandwiches that we come across but we enjoyed this one enough that we’re definitely going to make it again in the future !

We got the fried chicken sandwich recipe  from Cuisine At Home and the remoulade sauce from Simply Recipes.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Tabasco, White Mountain, Pepperidge Farm, Zatarain, Silver Spring, Cuisine At Home, or Simply Recipes.

Take care everybody !

Cashew Chicken with ginger

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ¾ cup roasted cashews (we used unsalted roasted cashews)
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce
  • 1 cup sliced scallions (we cut ours on the bias)
  • Rice, for serving (optional) (I used rice to make it feel like a complete meal)

Directions

  1. Fill a large saucepan with water (don’t fill it all the way up with water though since the chicken will be going in there as well later). Bring the water to a boil and salt the water (I used table salt), adding the chicken in afterwards. Let the chicken cook for 4-5 minutes or until fully cooked. Once the chicken is fully cooked, drain the water and leave the chicken off to the side for now.
  2. Take a wok or large skillet (I used a large skillet) and pour the oil in, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, add in the cashews, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until the cashews become fragrant (we went with 1 minute). Toss the ginger in and continue to stir for another 30 seconds. Add in the soy sauce and garlic sauce followed by the chicken. Stir to make sure that the cashews and chicken get coated in the sauce and continue to stir occasionally for 2 minutes. Take the skillet off the heat and mix in the scallions.
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This was a pretty easy dish to make ! It’s just a little bit on the salty side but you can still get some heat and the fresh scallions help balance the saltiness, all combining to make a delicious dish ! It’s also nice getting different levels of crunch from the cashews and scallions to contrast against the chicken. Besides possibly adding more scallions next time, we’d be happy to eat this again !

We got this recipe from Cuisine At Home.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cuisine At Home.

Take care everybody !

Chicken Enchilada Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (we used hot red enchilada sauce)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 2 serranos, seeded and minced (we left the seeds in)
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese, divided
  • Cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Directions

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Take a baking dish (we used an 8- x 8-inch baking dish) and spray the inside of it with nonstick cooking spray. Leave the dish off to the side for now.
  2. Take a large mixing bowl out and mix the cream cheese, sour cream and enchilada sauce together until combined. Now mix in the chicken, serranos and cheese, reserving some of the cheese* to use as a topping later.
  3. Take the bowl mixture and spread it out evenly in the baking dish, topping it with that cheese you set aside earlier. Put the dish in the oven and let the dip bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese looks golden brown.
  4. Serve the dip immediately, topping it with cilantro and the chips on the side.

*We set aside ½ cup but it might be even better to set aside ¾ cup.

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This is such a delicious cheesy dip ! We thought this was going to be really spicy between the serranos, enchilada sauce and pepper jack cheese but the dairy really tempers it down to a pleasant level of heat. While the cilantro is optional, we thought it brought a nice fresh component to the dish and the flavor from the cilantro pairs wonderfully with the dip.

We got this recipe from Chile pepper magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Chile pepper magazine.

Take care everybody !

Shredded Chicken Tacos (Tinga De Pollo)

Ingredients

  • Chicken
    • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
    • Salt and pepper (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 onion, halved and sliced thin
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
    • ½ cup chicken broth (we used reduced-sodium chicken broth)
    • 2 tablespoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce plus 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
    • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
    • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
    • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • Tacos
    • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed
    • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into ½-inch pieces
    • 2 ounces Cotija cheese, crumbled (½ cup)
    • 6 scallions, minced
    • Minced fresh cilantro
    • Lime wedges

Directions

  1. For the chicken: Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before seasoning it with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of the oil into a large Dutch oven, setting the heat to medium-high. Once the oil’s hot, add half* of the chicken in so it can get browned, letting it cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place the browned chicken on a plate and repeat the cooking process with the other half of the chicken, adding the second batch of browned chicken to the plate as well.
  2. Turn the heat down to medium, pouring the last tablespoon of oil into the Dutch oven afterwards. Once the oil’s hot, toss the onion in, stirring it around frequently for 5 minutes or until the onion’s browned. Add the garlic, cumin and cinnamon into the Dutch oven, stirring constantly for 1 minute or until the mixture is fragrant. Add in the tomatoes and their juice, broth, chipotle and adobo sauce, and the sugar, stirring to combine and waiting for it to come to a boil afterwards. Once boiling, scrape up any browned bits from the bottom before moving onto the next step.
  3. Put the chicken back in the Dutch oven, turning the heat down to medium-low afterwards. Put the lid on the Dutch oven and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken registers 195 degrees, flipping the chicken after the first 5 minutes. Once the chicken’s fully cooked, take it out and place it on a cutting board.
  4. Transfer the remaining mixture from the Dutch oven into a blender and process it for 15 to 30 seconds or until smooth (we used the puree option on our blender to get the mixture smooth). Pour the smooth sauce back into the Dutch oven. Once the chicken’s cooled down enough for you to handle, shred it into bite-size pieces, returning it to the Dutch oven afterwards. Turn the heat up to medium and stir frequently for 10 minutes or until the sauce looks like it’s thickened and is clinging to the chicken**. Stir in the lime zest and juice at this point, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste afterwards.
  5. For the tacos: Spoon the chicken down the center of each tortilla, serving with the avocado, Cotija, scallions and cilantro as toppings and serving lime wedges on the side.

*We had to do more than just 2 batches in order for the chicken to get browned rather than steamed. We also added more oil into the Dutch oven for the other batches when the bottom seemed to be void of oil.

**Because of the blender, our sauce was already thicker and was coating the chicken so we only cooked the sauce and chicken until they were both heated through.

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You’ll be coming back for seconds when you try this taco ! The sauce initially was nothing to write home about but once we added enough salt to it, we really tasted the smokiness from the chipotle and some of the other components in the sauce. It tasted so good that we started trying to think of ways to use that sauce in other dishes, we loved it that much ! All the components together work so harmoniously in this taco. You get that spice from the sauce, the creamy avocado, the funky (in a good way) flavor of the Cotija cheese, the freshness from the green onion and cilantro and a sharpness from the green onion all in this taco. We’d be happy to make this again and hopefully you will too !

We got this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Cook’s Illustrated.

Take care everybody !

Corn and Black Bean Salad with Garlic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 4 ears fresh corn, husked and trimmed, kernels cut off the cob afterwards
  • Salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 12 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (we used ½ teaspoon)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Pepper (we used freshly ground black pepper)
  • 4 large or 8 small radishes, trimmed and chopped (we sliced ours)
  • 4 cups cooked or canned black beans (two 15-ounce cans) (beans should be drained and rinsed if using canned black beans)
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, halved
  • Sour cream for garnish (optional) (we didn’t use it)

Directions

  1. Put a large skillet on the stovetop, setting the heat to medium-high. Preheat your broiler, making sure the rack is 4 inches from the heat.
  2. Once the skillet’s hot, add the corn in, sprinkling salt in afterwards. Stir the corn around now and then for 5 to 10 minutes or until the corn looks like it’s lightly charred. Place the charred corn in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Take a rimmed baking sheet out (we lined ours with aluminum foil) and place the chicken on it. Rub the chicken with the oil, cayenne, cumin, salt and pepper.
  4. Stick the chicken under the broiler and let it cook for 2 to 5 minutes, flipping the chicken over and letting it cook for another 2 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (we had to cook ours for longer than 10 minutes total).
  5. Add the radishes, beans and cilantro to the bowl with the corn, squeezing the limes over the mixture afterwards.
  6. When the chicken is done cooking, take it out from the broiler and rub the raw garlic all over the chicken.
  7. Toss the bowl mixture together and take a bite afterwards, adding more seasoning to taste. Divide the corn mixture among 4 plates or bowl.
  8. Slice the chicken, laying it over the corn mixture and top with a dollop of sour cream if you’re using it.
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This is a delicious salad you could enjoy for lunch or dinner ! We didn’t really taste the garlic in the chicken but the meat did have a nice level of heat to it. We enjoyed the soft and crunchy textures in the corn and black bean mixture. While the chicken does make this feel like a complete meal, we think we could enjoy this just as much with tofu or some other meat substitute and it would make it a vegan dish (as long as you’re not using the sour cream) !

We got this recipe from “How to Cook Everything Fast” by Mark Bittman.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote “How to Cook Everything Fast”.

Take care everybody !

Ground Chicken & Chipotle Hard Shell Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
  • 2 limes, juiced (about 4 Tbsp.) (we ended up using 4 small limes*)
  • 2 tsp. light agave
  • Salt and pepper (we used kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil (we used vegetable oil)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • A pinch ground cinnamon (we used ¼ tsp.)
  • ½-1 cup chicken stock (we used 1 cup)
  • 2 Tbsp. pureed chipotles in adobo sauce (They say to puree a whole can’s worth  and keep the leftovers in the freezer but we just finely minced 2 tablespoons worth of chipotles in adobo sauce.)
  • 6-8 large flat-bottom hard taco shells (we used regular hard taco shells)
  • For serving: crumbled Cotija cheese or queso fresco or shredded Chihuahua cheese (we used crumbled Cotija cheese), chopped romaine hearts, chopped yellow or green tomatoes (we used green tomatoes), cilantro leaves and green hot sauce (we used green Tabasco sauce)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Take a medium-sized bowl and add to it the red onion, jalapeño, 1 teaspoon of the agave and juice of 1 lime (we accidentally juiced 2 limes), stirring to combine. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste, tossing everything together. Let the onion mixture sit for at least a few minutes or until juices start to accumulate. Make sure to stir the onions around again one more time right before serving.
  3. While the onions sit, take a large nonstick skillet out and pour the oil in (making sure that the oil covers the entire bottom of the skillet), setting the heat to medium-high. Once you see the oil rippling and beginning to smoke**, add the chicken in, breaking the meat up into bite-size pieces with a spoon. Cook the chicken for 3 minutes or until browned (our chicken wasn’t browned by the 3-4 minute mark but we decided to move on ‘cause we didn’t want dry chicken). Add the onion, garlic, coriander, cumin and cinnamon and stir constantly for a minute to get the spices toasted. Add in ½ cup of the chicken stock, the 2 tablespoons of chipotle puree, and the remaining agave. Once the mixture’s bubbling, turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (we went with 10 minutes) or until all of the flavors have melded and the sauce has thickened, adding in more stock if the mixture gets dry (we added the other ½ cup during the 10 minutes). Stir in the remaining lime juice (we juiced 2 limes for this part), taking the skillet off the heat afterwards. We took a bite at this point and thought it tasted bland so we added in some more kosher salt).
  4. When there’s only 5 to 8 minutes left for the chicken to simmer, place the taco shells on a baking sheet (we lined our baking sheet with aluminum foil first) and let them bake until golden for 5 to 8 minutes (we went with 8 minutes). Since our shells weren’t flat-bottomed, we flipped them over at the 5 minute mark when we saw they weren’t golden yet.
  5. Fill up the shells with some chicken, adding on the pickled onions, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro and hot sauce afterwards.

*Since our limes were small, we had planned on using just one lime for the onions and 2 for the chicken but we accidentally used 2 limes with the onions and decided to still use 2 limes for the chicken.

**We added the chicken in when the oil was hot but not smoking.

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This was a delicious taco ! We loved the heat and acidity in this and the variety of contrasting textures as well.

We got this recipe from Rachael Ray magazine.

We weren’t paid in any form to promote Tabasco or Rachael Ray.

Take care everybody !