Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Another day, another crockpot recipe! Seriously, this is the EASIEST “recipe” ever, and it is so, so good! It’s no secret we’re big fans of Mexican food, especially tacos. I’m pretty sure my oldest can eat more tacos than me! I discovered these Crockpot Chicken Tacos on Pinterest almost a year ago, and I’ve made them at least every other week ever since (in fact, I’m making them again this week!). We almost always use the chicken for tacos (crunchy shells only…God forbid we try soft shell!), but the husband and I usually enjoy the leftovers for late night nachos. I highly recommend this one…definitely a Rookie Baker household favorite!

1 (1 oz) Envelope Taco Seasoning
6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, thawed
1 (16 oz) jar Salsa

Dump all ingredients into a crockpot and give it a little stir to blend the seasoning with the salsa. You do not need to add any water to the taco seasoning. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. When done, the chicken should shred easily when stirred with a fork.

Source:  Tasty Kitchen via Chocolate Therapy

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Chicken Piccata with Orzo

chicken piccata w orzo

I married a red meat lover. If the husband had his choice, we would eat steak/roast/hamburgers every single night of the week. While I appreciate and enjoy red meat, and often order steak when we go out for dinner, I prefer to cook chicken at home. Generally it’s much healthier (we only do white meat here), and is almost always cheaper. I always laugh at his reaction when I tell him we’re having chicken for dinner as it usually involves a heavy sigh, or a complaint about us not eating enough red meat. The boys, on the other hand, love chicken and are always happy to have it for dinner. In fact, baby boy (who doesn’t really talk much yet), kicks his feet excitedly as I cut up his chicken and will start crying if I don’t get it on his high chair tray fast enough!

Suffice it to say, we eat A LOT of chicken, so I am constantly on the lookout for fast, healthy and delicious ways to jazz up our chicken dinners.  When I found this recipe on Pinterest, I instantly added it to our weekly meal plan.  I love chicken piccata and orzo, so this was the perfect combination!  The only change I made was cooking the orzo as done here as I think it adds more flavor and creaminess.  Everyone, including our resident red meat lover, enjoyed this to the point of complaining that there wasn’t more!  A healthy dinner loved by the whole family and on the table in 20 minutes?  Fantastic!

1 cup uncooked orzo
1 tablespoon butter
1 (14.5 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chilled butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (I used 2 tsp dried parsley)

Melt butter in pan over medium heat.  Add orzo and stir 2-3 minutes to lightly toast.  Add broth; bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Turn heat to low, cover, and cook 15 minutes or until broth is almost absorbed and orzo is soft.  Stir in rind.

While orzo cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until liquid almost evaporates, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add broth and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat; add butter, stirring until butter melts. Stir in parsley. Serve over orzo.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Cooking Light

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets – Crazy Cooking Challenge #11

This month’s Crazy Cooking Challenge theme was fried chicken. I was excited and not excited about this challenge all at the same time. I’ve been trying to lose this stubborn baby weight, so accordingly, I’ve been eating a bit more healthy. Fried chicken isn’t known for its health benefits. However, I’ve never fried anything before, and I love to try new things in the kitchen, so off I went in search of the perfect fried chicken recipe. I bookmarked seven different recipes, but when I saw this recipe for a copy cat of Chick-Fil-A’s delicious chicken nuggets, I knew I had a winner! Chick-Fil-A is without a doubt my favorite fast food restaurant, and I probably ate there once a week when we still lived in Virginia. The small town we live in now has every single fast food joint known to man, except my beloved Chick-Fil-A, so I’ve had to do without except for the rare treat if I’m shopping somewhere that has one. So Chick-Fil-A, if you happen upon my little blog here, please, please, please come to my town! I promise I’ll visit frequently. 🙂

Photobucket

I found this gem on Pinterest (of course!) and it led me to the fabulous Amy of My Name is Snickerdoodle. This must be a popular recipe, because it has been pinned over 250,000! I can see why it is so popular, because it was so, so, so good and tasted almost exactly like the chicken nuggets at Chick-Fil-A! The chicken bites soak in a milk and egg mixture for a few hours, then they are coated in a mixture of flour, powdered sugar, salt, and pepper, and finally fried in either peanut or canola oil (or in my case a mixture of both) until crispy and cooked through. So easy and so good! We devoured these for dinner tonight, and I will certainly make them again! I can’t wait to see what everyone else cooked up this month…I am on the lookout for a more traditional fried chicken recipe to try!

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour
2 TBSP powdered sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
peanut oil (is best) or canola oil

In a medium bowl whisk the egg and stir in the milk. Trim any fat away from chicken. Cube chicken into bite size pieces. Place chicken in milk mixture,and cover. Let it ‘marinate’ for 2-4 hours in the fridge. This will make the chicken very nice and tender. In a gallon size resealable baggie combine flour, powdered sugar, salt and pepper. Seal and shake to combine. Place about 2 inches of oil in a medium deep pot. Over medium high heat (more towards the high side) heat oil until hot. If using a thermometer let the temperature reach 375°. If you don’t have a fancy gadget like most people, I always test my oil by dropping a few drops of water into it. You want it to sizzle and not pop too much. Adjust your heat if necessary. Using a fork or tongs remove cut chicken from milk mixture and place in the flour mixture. Seal and shake until nuggets are completely coated. Place about a 6-8 nuggets into hot oil and let them cook until golden brown, turning half way through once the edge of your chicken starts to turn white. About 1 minute each side. Always double check to see if any chicken you make is cooked through. I always just make a tiny cut to see if it’s pink. Remove and drain on a paper towel. Repeat until all nuggets are cooked. Serve with your favorite sauce!

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Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken Breasts

Hello? Is this thing on? Anyone still out there? I have definitely been lacking with the blog posts lately. The husband started a new job 3 weeks ago (YAY!), but the downside is he has been working and traveling a lot as he’s getting started. I normally don’t cook much at all when he’s out of town, and if I do, it’s never a new recipe. We’ve been eating a lot of tried and true weeknight recipes lately. So, I may be a bit slow as we adjust to our new schedule, but I have some great stuff coming up as my tiny man is turning FOUR and we’re having his party on Saturday. I can’t wait to share his cake and cupcakes!

Enough about all of that, let’s talk about this dynamite chicken! I made this well over a month ago, and have thought about it multiple times since then. This was another Pinterest find (oh how I love Pinterest!), and I think I made it about 5 days after I pinned it. The coating on this chicken gets super crispy and the honey garlic sauce is divine…the sweet/salty combination really takes this over the edge. We could not stop eating it. I wish I would have made some noodles or rice or something to serve with the extra sauce because the sauce was that good. I will definitely do that next time. The only change I will make next time is to cut the flour mixture and egg wash in half…I had way too much left over (I reflected that change in the recipe below).  Delicious and on the table in under 30 minutes…this will be a repeat here soon!

4  large boneless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp ground sage
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs
4 tbsp water

Place the chicken breasts between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and using a meat mallet, pound the meat to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Alternatively, you can slice the breasts by placing them flat on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife to slice them into halves horizontally.

Sift together the flour, salt, black pepper, ginger, nutmeg, thyme, sage, paprika and cayenne pepper.  Make an egg wash by whisking together the eggs and water.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then dip the meat in the flour and spice mixture. Dip the breast into the eggwash and then a final time into the flour and spice mix, pressing the mix into the meat to get good contact.

Heat a skillet on the stove with about a half inch of canola oil covering the bottom. You will want to carefully regulate the temperature here so that the chicken does not brown too quickly. The thinness of the breast meat practically guarantees that it will be fully cooked by the time the outside is browned. I find just below medium heat works well. I use a burner setting of about 4 1/2 out of 10 on the dial and fry them gently for about 4 or 5 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.

Drain on a wire rack for a couple of minutes before dipping the cooked breasts into the Honey Garlic Sauce. Serve with noodles or rice.

Honey Garlic Sauce

2 tbsp olive oil
3 – 4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
¼ cup soya sauce (low sodium soya sauce is best)
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a medium saucepan, add olive oil and garlic.  Cook over medium heat to soften the garlic but do not let it brown.  Add the honey, soya sauce and black pepper.  Simmer together for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Watch this carefully as it simmers because it can foam up over the pot very easily.

Source:  Slightly adapated from Rock Recipes

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

Yikes, I just realized it’s been almost 3 weeks since I’ve posted anything! About 12 hours after I wrote my last post, baby boy got very sick, got better for a few days, then got so sick again that he had to spend a night in Children’s Hospital. He is perfectly fine now, but we’ve had a scary and hectic few weeks. Now that he’s feeling better, I finally have my new laptop (thank you credit card reward points!), and I’m back to cooking again, I can start updating my poor, neglected blog!

This is actually a recipe I made well over a month ago, and I’m so happy to finally share it here! I am really starting to enjoy the fruit/meat combo, so when I saw this recipe online, I knew I had to give it a try.  I really love chicken and pineapple together, and stuff it between some tortillas with cheese, you’ve got yourself a winner!  I’ve now developed a new love affair for grilled pineapple, and cannot wait to make it again as well!  We absolutely devoured these quesadillas, and it’s been a long time since my dinner table was so quiet.  I highly recommend making these!!

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas

8 whole Flour Tortillas
Butter Or Margarine
2 cups Grilled Pineapple, Sliced
3 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
Salt And Pepper, to taste
3 cups Monterey Jack Cheese, Grated
1 whole Jalapeno, Sliced
Cilantro
3 Tablespoons Barbecue Sauce

(To grill pineapple: cut wedges, stick on skewers, and grill over low heat. Cut into slices.)

(To pound chicken, place inside a Ziploc bag and pound with a mallet or large can to flatten to uniform thickness.)

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Cajun spice (or cumin/cayenne, etc.) Drizzle olive oil on a grill pan and grill on both sides until done, brushing with barbecue sauce. Set aside and slice into very thin slices.

Warm griddle over medium heat and put sizzling butter or margarine in the pan. Slightly warm and toast tortillas on both sides, then remove from griddle and set aside.

To assemble, sprinkle four browned tortillas with grated Monterey Jack. Arrange chicken slices evenly over the surface. Add pineapple slices and jalapeno slices. Sprinkle on cilantro. If desired, drizzle extra barbecue sauce over the top. Add second browned tortilla on top of each one. (You’ll have four complete quesadillas at this point.)

Add to oven to warm, or back to skillet to warm, until cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges. Serve with sour cream, pico de gallo, and lime wedges.

Source:  The Pioneer Woman

Lemon Chicken

I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve updated here…my laptop met an unfortunate end a few weeks ago. I normally do my blog updates from the comfort of my favorite chair with my trusty laptop, and I’m usually feeling too lazy to sit in my office to use the desktop computer once I FINALLY have the kids in bed, so my posts have certainly been lacking. However, my cooking has not been lacking, and I’m very excited to share this recipe with you!

As soon as I saw this on Tracey’s blog, I IMMEDIATELY added it to my meal plan. I love lemon in just about any dish where lemon could be appropriate, and for all of the recipes I’ve tried with lemon, this one is at the very, very top of my favorites list. The chicken was tender and delcious, and the lemon sauce was bright and flavorful. Served with a a side of some fantastic green beans (recipe coming soon!), this made a quick and healthy weeknight dinner that will certainly frequent our dinner table.

Lemon Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
8 lemon slices
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Place the chicken on a cutting board. Working with one breast at a time, place your hand on top and use a sharp knife to cut the breast in half horizontally, to make two thinner chicken cutlets. (Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly even, mine never are!) Place each cutlet between two sheets of plastic wrap and use a meat mallet or skillet to pound to 1/4-inch thickness.

Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each cutlet in flour, shaking off the excess.

Set a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil to the pan. Once the butter is melted and the pan is hot, add the chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.

Reduce the heat to medium, and add the chicken broth and lemon juice to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen any brown bits. Add the lemon slices to the sauce and let sit undisturbed for about 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat and add the parsley and remaining tablespoon of butter. Stir until the butter is melted and the sauce is smooth. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve (you can garnish with the lemon slices if desired).

Source:  Tracey’s Culinary Adventures, originally adapted from Southern Living (via MyRecipes)

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

This is yet another Pinterest find that looked intriguing.  The husband and my toddler man both love green beans, and I love lemon, so I added to my meal plan for the following week.  This dish was so easy to throw together and works great for a weeknight if you have the time for everything to cook in the oven.  We all really enjoyed it and had absolutely no leftovers.  I, a very vocal green bean hater, even ate and ENJOYED the green beans!  I’m slowly coming around to vegetables…very slowly, but this dish was a good step for me and something I will make again very soon!

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans and Potatoes

1 pkg boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 1.5 pounds)
3/4 lb fresh green beans, ends trimmed, washed
8 small red potatoes, washed and quartered, skin-on
1 lemon
5 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Lemon-Pepper seasoning

Preheat oven to 450.

Mix your olive oil, the juice of the lemon, salt, pepper and garlic in a medium-sized bowl.  Toss the green beans in the mixture, then using tongs remove the green beans to a roaster or casserole dish (coated with nonstick spray), leaving the liquid in the bowl.

Now toss the potatoes in the liquid, and using a slotted spoon remove them and add to the green beans.

Toss the chicken in the mixture and then place the chicken on top of the green beans and potatoes.  Drizzle any remaining liquid in the bowl over the chicken.  Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning on top of the chicken.

Bake/roast for 50 minutes, then remove the chicken from the pan and set aside and cook the green beans and potatoes for another ten minutes or so – until the potatoes pierce easily with a fork.  While that’s cooking, check if your chicken is done.

Return the chicken to the pan and serve.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Cooking with Christen, originally adapted from Real Simple