Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Mexican, Quick n Easy, Recipes, Slow Cooker, Turkey

Southwestern Goulash

southwestern goulash with beans, corn, bone broth and tomatoes

I made it! I made it! I finally made it!

Aren’t you tickled-oh-so-much-that-there-are-no-words?

Or is that overstating?

Seriously, though … this must hold some kind of household record for most weeks spent on a meal plan without actually being made. I could take the time to look back and count, but I’m feeling lazy at the moment and so I’ll just send you to the page with our meal plans and you can look. If you really want to know and you’re not being lazy, of course.

This Southwestern Goulash recipe is one from our archives of things-we-made-often-before-kids-but-haven’t-made-in-years-because-we-forgot-about-it. (And because they don’t love dishes like this.)

The Man actually clipped this Southwestern Goulash recipe (you know, with scissors) from the Washington Post many years ago when we still got that paper (we are one of those dorky rare households that does actually still get a local paper delivered and even reads it). I kept that clipping for a long, long time. Of course, due to my incapability (you know – the one that prevents me from making something the same way more than one time), I have changed it significantly from what it was on that clipping – obviously for the better – and so, somewhere it ended up in the recycling.

Now I wish I’d kept it. Just so I could share it with you.

Southwestern Goulash
 
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Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (we actually prefer turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 15 to 19 ounce can drained black beans
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken or beef)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried cilantro (can use fresh, you'd just need to add more)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook beef or turkey until mostly brown.
  2. Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, beans, broth, corn, chilies, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, pepper, and salt. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes (or longer).
  5. Serve over noodles (The Man says rotini is the best).
Notes
You can easily make this in a crock pot. Brown the meat first, add to the crock pot with everything else and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

I double and triple this recipe because it freezes nicely and makes a perfectly easy out-of-the-freezer, busy-weeknight meal.

Southwestern Goulash is hands-down one of The Man’s most favorite dishes. “Easily in the top ten.” He was incredibly bothered by the roller coaster of excitement and disappointment that resulted from its being pushed from the plan so many weeks in a row. Poor guy. The kids, though, not so much. They all tried it … that’s all I’ll say about that.

Do you have things that you made before kids but don’t make as much now? Any good old newspaper recipes?

Posted in Beef, Boneless Pieces, Meat

Easy Shredded Beef

easy shredded beefDing, ding, ding!

In the category of last-minute-dinner-idea-that-becomes-a-new-favorite, we have another winner!

Shredded Beef.

(I know that the picture doesn’t really speak to this, but truthfully, I wasn’t really expecting this to be that good. But it is. And worth sharing despite the fact that I didn’t snap the pic before the vultures hungry males got to it.)

At 3pm yesterday, I had a chuck roast in the fridge and absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it. The kids had a mutiny the last time I made a pot roast “Why does it seem like this is all we’ve eaten lately?”

So, I needed to make a pot roast that didn’t look like a pot roast but by definition, was still actually a pot roast.

And so I decided to make shredded beef. If it doesn’t look like a pot roast, then it’s not really a pot roast. Semantics. Smoke and mirrors. Because that’s what good parenting is really all about, right?

This shredded beef is so darn delish, that I actually patted myself on the back. Literally. (You can thank me in the comments.)

And so stinking easy.

And four-fifths of the clan loved it!

There may even have been a bit of actual excitement in the voices of a few. About food. New food.

Shock. Awe. Astonishment.

Mr. Selective was the lone dissenter. His opinion, “The flavor gets stuck in my throat and that’s all I taste. There’s like no meat flavor just the flavor of the flavor.”

This is what I live with. Heaven help me.

Easy Shredded Beef
 
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Ingredients
  • 2-3 pound boneless chuck roast (well-marbled)
  • Steak Seasoning
  • 1 cup bone broth (or chicken broth)
  • Avocado Oil (or any oil) for searing
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Generously sprinkle the steak seasoning on both sides of the roast. And I do mean generous.
  3. Pour a glug (that is an official term) of oil into a skillet (big enough to fit your roast).
  4. Warm skillet over medium heat.
  5. Place roast in pan and sear both sides, 5-7 minutes each side. Make sure it's good and brown.
  6. Transfer roast to a roasting pan or a dutch oven and pour bone broth over top.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 2-2½ hours or until roast shreds easily.
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl and use 2 forks to shred meat.
  9. Sneak a little into a side bowl so that you can save some leftovers for yourself.
Notes
Make sure that your steak seasoning does not have any natural flavors or spice extractives because ... yuck.

You can easily make this in the crock pot, provided that you think about making things like this before 3pm. To make in the crock pot, after searing the meat, place meat in crock pot, pour broth over top and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4.

Inspired and adapted from Add A Pinch

This is a great recipe to freeze for leftovers.

I’m curious … what are your thoughts on flavor? In particular, do you have issues with it getting stuck in the throat?

Posted in Fish, Mediterranean, Quick n Easy

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Creamy Polenta

almond-parmesan-crusted mediterranean cod over creamy polentaThis recipe was born from an I-need-to-make-dinner-but-have-little-in-the-coffers night. When the stars are perfectly aligned, it also becomes a necessity-is-the-mother-of-creativity evening.

Some of my best dishes have been born in these moments. I wish that inspired me to relish them more. It doesn’t.

Tonight’s was particularly special because there were no leftovers. Not. A. One.

This rarely happens in our house, but especially rarely on fish nights.

Although Big Britches did tell me that he LOVES fish. And The Bread Guy decided that fish is “actually pretty good as long as you put a lot of malt vinegar on it.” I secretly gave myself a pat on the back.

I also learned tonight, mostly because of my own laziness, that if I leave the fish pieces larger, they will eat more. Eureka!

And the shocker of the evening … I need to make more polenta from now on. They were literally fighting over the last spoonful. And then requested it for breakfast the next day. Say what?!?

I’d imagine that you can use a different fish, but we are strictly a cod household. It’s low on the fish-flavor spectrum and is reasonably priced. And I find tilapia to be nasty (I know you appreciate my directness and honesty), so I refuse to buy it.

Almond Crusted Cod with Mediterranean Sauce over Polenta
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
Polenta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup yellow corn grits
Mediterranean Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil (or oil of choice)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ½ cup kalamata olives
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced (or 1 can diced tomatoes)
  • 3-4 handfuls baby spinach
Cod
  • 2 pounds cod filets, defrosted and patted dry
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Refined coconut oil, for frying
Instructions
Polenta
  1. To prepare polenta, combine milk, water and salt in large saucepan and warm over medium heat.
  2. When near boiling, slowly whisk in grits.
  3. Continue to stir until thick.
  4. Cover and keep warm. Stir occasionally.
Sauce
  1. In medium skillet, warm avocado oil over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two.
  3. Add wine and oregano and reduce by half.
  4. Add olives, capers and tomatoes and cook until just warm.
  5. Stir in spinach and remove skillet from heat but keep warm in skillet until ready to serve.
Cod
  1. Salt and pepper the fish.
  2. On a plate, combine the almond meal and the Parmesan cheese.
  3. Whisk the egg in a separate bowl.
  4. Heat an iron skillet (or whatever skillet you're using) over medium-high heat with a few hefty tablespoons of coconut oil in it.
  5. Dip each cod fillet in the egg and then in the almond/cheese mixture.
  6. Place in skillet and cook until crispy on both sides.
  7. Serve with polenta and sauce.

This looks like a lot of work, but it comes together quickly, so don’t be intimidated by all those steps. I would be. And I would quickly put that in the maybe-on-a-rainy-day file. This one, though, definitely belongs in the I’m-going-to-make-that-this-week list.

My kids will all eat cod as long as it’s crusted with something. I used to use panko but have found other things that work better. Almond crusted cod has become a go-to. I just try to mix up the sauces and I also find that I can change the seasonings in the almond meal mixture to achieve different flavors. Old Bay is also a fave in our house.

What do you make on your I-have-no-plan-and-the-pantry-is-barren nights?

Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Quick n Easy, Turkey

Cheeseburger Pinwheel

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Bisquick Ultimate Cheeseburger Pie.

This is a real thing. How is it that in my f*****y years on this earth, I had never heard of it?

Bisquick was staple in our house. We even had the brown Bisquick canister, used specially and exclusively for Bisquick.

And yet … somehow, I have never had the Cheeseburger Pie.

In all likelihood, I never shall. And neither shall my children. We don’t do Bisquick here.

Why, you ask?

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.

That’s why. (And, for the record, you shouldn’t do Bisquick either.)

Now, even though my childhood did not include Cheeseburger Pie, it did include Chicken Salad Pinwheel with Bacon and Cheese.

I have many fond memories of fighting bartering compromising with my siblings over the last piece of pinwheel. And losing.

My children don’t do chicken salad … not even cheese and bacon could sway them on that. I know. Usually bacon makes everything better. Not here.

But in every life a little pinwheel must fall.

And so Cheeseburger Pinwheel was born. And it was good.

Cheeseburger Pinwheel
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground meat (we liked turkey the best)
  • 2-3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard.
  • 3 tablespoons pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice flour (or thickener of your choice)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounce package Immaculate Baking Company Crescent Rolls
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Brown meat in skillet over medium heat.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add ketchup, mustard, pickle juice, flour, onion powder.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Stir in cheese.
  7. Grease a pie pan or the bottom of a jelly roll pan.
  8. Unroll the crescent rolls and separate.
  9. Using four of the rolls, make a square by connecting the long end of each roll at the tips. Make sure each triangle is placed the same way so that the straight edge of one roll is next to the slanted edge of the roll next to it.
  10. Do the same thing with the next four rolls, only this time you'll turn it to make a diamond shape on top of the first square.
  11. Seems so confusing ... but it makes sense as you do it. Promise.
  12. Press the rolls to flatten them a bit and give you some room for the goodies.
  13. Scoop the ground meat deliciousness all around the base of the pinwheel that you just made.
  14. Fold the top of each roll over the meat and connect it to the "base" by squishing the tip into the bottom dough.
  15. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until rolls are cooked (the top will cook more quickly than the bottom).
  16. I sprinkled shredded cheese on top just at the end, but most of the cheese just slid right off. You can try if you'd like. You may even put some cheese on top before you cook it. If I try it and it works, I'll let you know.

This smells just like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. That was the consensus anyway.

Four out of five gave it 2 thumbs way up, with Mr. Selective deciding in advance of sitting down that he wasn’t going to like it so even though he tried it, he didn’t really try it.

And after this, I don’t really feel like I missed out on that Cheeseburger Pie after all.

Posted in Adventures with Food, Bone-In Pieces, Chicken, Slow Cooker

How to Get Multiple Meals out of a Chicken – For Real

IMG_3837.JPGThere are posts all over the blogosphere about how to stretch a chicken.

You know, grab it by its legs and pull really hard … bwhahaha! Right, stick to the day job.

Stretching a chicken to make like 17 different meals.

Seriously?

Because when I make a chicken, it’s gone in like 17.2 seconds. Definitely no room for 16 more meals after my family is finished with it.

My boys like their chicken.

I do save the bones to make bone broth but that’s as far as it goes.

I can however, combine a whole chicken with a package of legs and thighs and make something usable beyond just one dinner. Not necessarily something that they will all eat because that might very well be deemed impossible, even in a world where everything is possible.

On this particular Sunday, with a whole chicken and a package of 8 chicken thighs and 6 legs in the fridge begging to be used and Brunswick Stew on the menu, I started with some basic broth with the whole chicken. I always make broth with Brunswick Stew because the chicken shreds in the stew anyway so I can overcook the chicken to get a good broth without having to worry about it.

I only use about half the broth for the stew, so I took out the chicken and scooped out the broth that I needed then added the legs …

… which I had warmed first. Never put cold items into a hot crock pot – the ceramic doesn’t prefer it … not that I would know ..

… and some water to make up for what I took out. Kept it cooking until the legs were done. I pulled out the chicken legs, strained the broth, and shoved it all in the fridge for chicken noodle soup later in the week.

At the same time, I roasted the chicken thighs in the oven for my children who have an innate inability to recognize good food and would not eat the stew. Since they only ate a couple of the thighs, I saved the meat for the soup.

And I saved all of the bones to make bone broth after I make the soup.

So much multi-tasking and productivity without much actual effort beyond making dinner. Awe. Some.

Even better … dinner for Tuesday night is mostly already made. Bonus!

So, if you consider that the stew makes 8 servings for us (12 if you don’t have The Man eating it), the thighs make a dinner for the kids, and the soup is at least 8 servings. That’s 23 servings in total. For our alternate-universe family of five, in which the children eat stew and soup happily and in volume, that would be 4 meals plus some.

One Chicken. Some Parts. 4 Meals.

That’s as far as I can stretch a chicken.

Posted in Boneless Pieces, Chicken, Quick n Easy

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms

IMG_3791.JPGSo we were supposed to have Meatball Stroganoff last week but it was one of those menu items that just didn’t make the cut.

And since no one was terrifically disappointed (shocker!), I decided to repurpose the mushrooms for something a bit more crowd-pleasing.

Plus, I just wasn’t feeling the meatball love. Not that I ever really feel the meatball love. So. Much. Work.

But I had bordering-on-slimy mushrooms to use. And so, this little treat was born.

The Man was skeptical at first, but that didn’t last long.

The best part – EVERYONE ate it. I did contemplate cooking some separate chicken thighs but that was just more time, effort and energy than I was willing to put forth for my children. More points for that Mother of the Year award.

Easy Skillet Chicken and Mushrooms
 
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Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 8 oz package mushrooms, sliced (I used baby bellas, but you can use whatever)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1½ cups bone broth or chicken broth
  • ¼ cup brown rice flour
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of each chicken breast.
  3. Drop the butter in the iron skillet and melt over medium heat.
  4. When the butter has melted, swirl it around in the pan to make the bottom is covered with butter. Let it warm just until it starts to smoke but before it starts to brown.
  5. Gently place chicken breasts in hot skillet. If you don't want to do it gently, that's your prerogative. Consider yourself warned.
  6. Brown chicken breasts on both sides. Remove from skillet onto a plate or something.
  7. Drop the next tablespoon of butter in the skillet.
  8. Add mushrooms. Let cook for 4-5 minutes.
  9. Add onion and garlic. Let cook for a couple of minutes.
  10. Add wine. Cook until it's almost gone (magic in the kitchen!).
  11. Add 1¼ cups of the broth. Stir.
  12. Mix brown rice flour with the remaining broth. Add to skillet and stir.
  13. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to get thick and then add the thyme and cheese.
  14. Stir to melt the cheese.
  15. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  16. Return the chicken to the skillet and flip it so that you get the sauce on both sides.
  17. Shove the skillet in the oven. Gently, of course.
  18. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  19. Sprinkle more shredded cheese on top.
  20. If you licked the spoon before you put it in the oven, be sure to get another before you serve. People don't want your germs.
Notes
I used Parmesan because it was all that I had. I think Asiago or an aged Fontina will give it a bigger punch. If you don't like your food to punch, then stick with the Parmesan.

This would be good with a cup of peas added in before you put the skillet in the oven.I didn't want to tempt fate and give anyone any reason to turn their nose up. Next time for sure.

We had this over leftover brown rice couscous. If you haven’t tried this yet, I highly suggest it. It’s brown rice without all of the time that it takes to cook it. Score!

Personally, I think everyone was just glad that it wasn’t meatball stroganoff.

Posted in Beef, Ground Meat, Pork, Slow Cooker, Soups

The Best Chili

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I grew up in a house divided – Chili Lovers vs. Not Chili Lovers.

My dad is a chili lover. My mom is not.

I have always been on team Not Chili Lovers. Just not a fan of spicy food, which is kind of and mostly necessary to a good bowl of chili. Also not too fond of it’s density – like eating a giant bowl of meat and beans, with some oh-by-the-way veggies thrown in for flavor.

Lucky gal that I am, though,  The Man could be the quarterback of team Chili Lovers. He loves his chili.

And so I make it. Mostly for him. And in the name of good wifelihood. But also to torture my children so that my children have the opportunity to fully embrace the chili eating experience, in order to someday make their own fully-informed choice of team.

Except …

Big Britches walked in the door from school, “What is that delicious smell?”

Mr. Selective, “Yeah. What is that??”

“Dinner.”

“What’s for dinner?”

“Food.”

“Mom! C’mon! Why do you always say that?”

“Because if I tell you, you’ll say you’re not eating that.”

“Just tell us!”

“Okay. Chili.”

“Blech. I’m not eating that.”

“I’m not eating that either.”

‘Nuff said.

The Best Chili
 
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Author:
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds ground beef (preferably grass fed)
  • 1 pound ground pork (pastured and/or organic)
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 1 large onion or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3½ tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika (you could also use smoked here)
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons coriander
  • dash cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 12 ounces dark beer (I use Guinness)
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup bone broth
  • 1 chipotle chili pepper in adobo sauce (just one pepper out of the can), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I used 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper)
  • 2 15 ounce cans kidney, pinto, white or black beans (I use the Chili Beans from Westbrae Natural), drained
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn
Instructions
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef and pork, stirring to break up any large pieces.
  2. When meat is paritally cooked, add ground fennel and stir well.
  3. Add onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
  4. Add carrots and green pepper.
  5. In small bowl, combine chili powder, paprika, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add spices to meat mixture and mix well.
  7. Cook 5 minutes.
  8. Add beer, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, bone broth, chili pepper, and apple cider vinegar.
  9. Stir well. Let pot come to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  10. If cooking for a long time (I'd recommend it), cover but crack the lid.
  11. Stir occasionally.
  12. About 30 minutes before you're ready to serve, add the beans, the red pepper and the frozen corn.
  13. Salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with shredded cheese, corn bread or whatever else you like with your chili.
Notes
Crock pot directions: After adding the spices to the meat, transfer to a crock pot and follow the rest of the steps in the crock pot. You may want to omit the bone broth as the crock pot tends to make it a bit runnier.

This makes a fairly thick chili. If you like your chili a bit thinner, add more bone broth.

As for Mr. Selective and Big Britches? They didn’t eat it. Wouldn’t even try it. They ate leftover sausages.

The Bread Guy – who claims to love chili – ate it, but painstakingly slowly and not a very large quantity. He did say that it was the best chili I’ve ever made. High praise coming from the kid who doesn’t often praise.

From a years-long member of the Not Chili Lovers team, I do think this is probably the best chili that I’ve ever made. Not good enough, though to sway me to switch teams.

The Man? He was speechless.

What a lucky guy to have such an awesome wife.

Posted in Boneless Pieces, Chicken

Pickle Chicken

IMG_3702.JPGI scream. You scream. We all scream for … Pickle Chicken!

I couldn’t really think of a good rhyme.  Just go with it.

Even though now I’ve got you thinking about ice cream which likely does not put you in the mood for chicken.

In the early days of switching our eating, we decided that we were not going to eat fast food (except on rare or “special” occasions because it’s part of our world and we prefer not to set ourselves up for failure). Not that we had eaten much before, but we had made our fair share of trips to McDonald’s and Chick-Fil-A.

Yes. I know. Shock and dismay. I hang my head in shame and with regret.

But not really, because we didn’t know what we know now. So, it’s all part of the learning experience of life.

Back to the early days … since we had sworn off fast food, I thought I would try my hand at some homemade Chick-Fil-A.

The first time I made this, I think the heavens opened for the children because it may have been the first time that they realized I could make something that they actually, really and truly, love. Sure, there are lots plenty of some things that they eat and enjoy, but they have some serious adoration of this chicken.

Like fist-pumping, “Yes!”-shouting … the kind of excitement that is usually reserved for everything except food.

Having made it several times, I have tweaked it (and unsuccessfully tried to gluten-free, Paleo it) to the point of near perfection in flavor. Says me. And my three minions. Which should really be enough for you. And gives me license to call it perfect.

It is time-consuming and can make the kitchen a bit fried-smelly so I don’t make it as often as my boys would like, but it is definitely a regular at our table. In fact, I buy this big ‘ole jar of pickles just so that I have enough “pickle juice” to make this chicken.

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You can either fry them, or to minimize the mess to the stove top and the time involved, you can flash fry in the skillet and finish them in the oven. I have found that an iron skillet or griddle pan in the oven works best to keep the chicken crispy, but you can also use a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet.  Just be sure to warm the pan before you put the chicken on it.

Be forewarned, this recipe is dish-heavy, so I try to make sides that don’t require much time or extra dish usage. If you love dishes and enjoy spending all that time cleaning up in the evenings, then please feel free to make it as complicated as you’d like.

Pickle Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 5 medium chicken breasts
  • 1 cup (or more) pickle juice
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour (or ½ cup flour and ½ cup panko breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ tsp dry mustard
  • Refined coconut oil or palm oil, for frying
Instructions
  1. About 8 hours before or, if you can, the night before, cut chicken breasts into similar size pieces. The smaller the pieces the longer it takes to cook, but the more crispy you have in each bite. It's a delicate balance. Figure out which one works for you.
  2. Place chicken in 1 cup pickle juice, adding enough so that the chicken is completely submerged.
  3. About an hour (or as much in advance of cooking as possible), remove chicken from marinade and set on a plate covered with a paper towel. It's best to let the chicken dry before coating so that the moisture doesn't cause the breading to fall off (which will disappoint most of your customers ... not that this has ever happened to me).
  4. In a bowl, combine and stir flour (or flour and panko), paprika, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, baking soda, and dry mustard and set aside.
  5. In another bowl, whisk egg and buttermilk together.
  6. If finishing in the oven, preheat oven to 450 degrees. If you're using an iron skillet, place that in the oven at the same time. If using a pan with another material, you can put it in when you start cooking the chicken.
  7. Drop a hefty tablespoon of your chosen cooking oil into an iron skillet. Warm to medium/medium high heat.
  8. Dredge one piece of chicken at a time in egg bath, ensuring each side is wet and dredge in flour mixture coating each side.
  9. Place each flour coated chicken piece on a separate plate.
  10. When oil is hot (you'll know this because a circle will form in the middle of the skillet), place chicken gently in the hot oil.
  11. If you're using a cookie sheet and not an iron skillet/griddle pan in the oven, you should put it in the oven now.
  12. Cook until crispy on either side and then transfer chicken to the pan in the oven. If not putting it in the oven, then make sure the chicken is cooked through.
  13. Remove chicken to your serving plate. If you're like me, that's just a regular dinner plate. Because I'm not trying to win any awards for fancy dinners. Especially with fried chicken pieces.
Notes
I have tried tapioca flour and arrowroot flour, which get crispy but then get gummy as the chicken cools. I have also tried almond flour and I find that the breading tends not to stick.

I have not yet successfully figured out how to let the chicken cool without the bottom losing its crisp.  Any suggestions would be most welcome!

Also, make sure to take a bit more than you might want because it will disappear quickly. Like suddenly someone pressed the fast forward button on your table and before you can hit stop, the chicken is gone. And you’re still hungry.

Which is really okay, because you know you wanted ice cream anyway.

Posted in Bone-In Pieces, Chicken, Meat, Quick n Easy

Seriously Easy Oven Barbecue Chicken

bbq chicken

Have I mentioned how much I dread treasure snow days that occur in close proximity to winter break?

Despite the hours I spent performing my most impressive do-not-snow dance (appearing on YouTube never), we are suffering through enjoying our first snow day of the year merely one day after 12 glorious days of vacation (said in the most meaningfully sarcastic tone you can imagine). As I type this, my darling children are horsing around on the floor yelling, screaming, giddy and laughing.  So fun.

If that alone wasn’t spectacular enough, The Bread Guy was home yesterday, suffering with the “worst pain he has ever felt in one place (his ear) in his whole life.”  The drama. The rest of us would call it a cold with some sinus pressure and congestion. Being the no-fruit/very-little-veggie guy, he also tends to get things far worse than any of the rest of us.

And I had to help my visiting grandmother meet up with a friend yesterday.

No surprise that the grocery supply in my house is significantly depleted.

These are the times that I am ever-so-grateful to me for having the foresight to always keep a stash of meat and chicken in the freezer.

I can take chicken from frozen to delicious in a blink. (Okay, so it takes at least an hour, which would arguably be a very long blink, but just go with it, will ya?) This particular chicken is one of our go-to dinners because everyone will eat it.  Big Britches will complain about the barbecue sauce, so I try to remember to leave one without.

If I have it on hand, I will use my homemade barbecue sauce, but that doesn’t seem to happen often (or ever) any more, so we use Torchbearer’s.  It’s made with real ingredients, although with more sugar than I would use.  But it’s delicious and everyone likes it.

Seriously Easy Oven Barbecue Chicken
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Bone-in chicken pieces
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Barbecue sauce
Instructions
  1. As much in advance of actually cooking the chicken as you can, generously salt and pepper the chicken on all sides.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.
  3. Lay chicken pieces flat, skin side up, in a glass dish.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once.
  5. Transfer chicken to a cookie sheet. (This is important! If you use the same dish, the meat juices will prevent the sauce from sticking to the chicken.)
  6. Give them a generous coating of the barbecue sauce.
  7. Return to oven for 4-5 minutes, or until sauce no longer looks wet.
  8. Turn over and coat the other side.
  9. Bake 4-5 minutes.
  10. Repeat with additional sauce as desired.
Notes
You can use chicken breasts, but they just aren't quite as delicious.
Save those bones! Stick 'em in the freezer and use them later for your bone broth.

With this chicken, I baked some sweet potatoes that I grabbed yesterday in my 4-minute, Guy’s-Grocery-Games-style, mad dash through the co-op. Dinner cooking itself in the oven … it’s a beautiful thing.  Combined with some green beans from the freezer and cinnamon apples, we had a tasty little feast.

A feast that also included uncontrollable giggles, an overabundance of energy, lots of potty talk and my surrender.

Time to refine that do-not-snow dance.

Posted in Ground Meat, Quick n Easy

Cheeseburger Macaroni

cheeseburger macaroniSome days you’re stuck home with a sick kid.  After having been mostly stuck home with his older brother for 2 days.  After having been out-of-town for 4 days.

And the food choices are thin.

And you’ve used this as a convenient excuse to avoid meal planning or grocery-list making.  Because you’re just completely unmotivated.

And so you wait until the absolute last minute to figure out what to make for dinner.

The fortunes are smiling upon you, though, because you have this quick and easy recipe in your “want to try” list and you happen to have all of the ingredients.  Yay.

You hope that everyone will like it, but given the circumstances, you’re past caring.  You just want to put this one in the rear-view mirror.

And that’s when you make Cheeseburger Macaroni for dinner.

Cheeseburger Macaroni
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Adapted from Foodie Crush.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 c chicken or beef broth
  • 1 c water
  • ¾ c ketchup
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2½ c elbow noodles
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 c medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground meat in a large skillet.
  2. Add onion, broth, water and ketchup.
  3. Bring to boil.
  4. Add noodles and cover.
  5. Cook 10 minutes or until noodles are done.
  6. While noodles are cooking, make the cheese sauce. Melt butter in medium saucepan.
  7. Whisk in flour (making a roux) and cook for a couple of minutes.
  8. Add milk, a bit at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition.
  9. Simmer until thick. Add cheese and stir until melted.
  10. Pour cheese mixture into noodle mixture and combine.
  11. If it's not thick enough, you can let it simmer. Just keep in mind that the noodles will continue to cook.

The Man was ecstatic. The Bread Guy said he liked it, but I wasn’t really convinced.  Mr. Selective refused to eat it, mainly because someone announced the presence of onion and that was enough for him.  Big Britches was initially swayed by the onion but when faced with the prospect of starvation, decided to try it.  He said he liked it, but didn’t eat much.

I was just glad it was over.

**Footnote: I forgot to snap a picture before I had to run out the door to take The Bread Guy to karate.  I took one of the last little bit of leftovers just before The Man scarfed up the last few bites.  I can barely even bring myself to include it in the post.  I promise this is so much tastier than the picture indicates.  And if you haven’t read my personal photo disclaimer, you should probably do that now.