Honey Sesame Chicken with Pineapple

honey sesame chicken.jpg

Nothing beats a quick and easy dinner especially on those days when you’re exhausted but still need to get dinner on the table. This recipe is super flavorful and as delicious, if not better, than take-out! Even your pickiest eater should enjoy this sweet and sticky chicken meal.

My kids are huge rice eaters so I like to serve this meal over white or brown rice which is also nice and filling. To make this meal even more complete you can add in some vegetables during baking. Good options are onion, green pepper or baby corn. You can even try a bag of frozen vegetables, Bird’s Eye® makes a delicious Asian Medley blend that you can steam right in the microwave and add after the chicken comes out of the oven. This meal also reheats nicely so you can have a delicious lunch the next day too. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 2 lbs
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 can pineapple chunks, drained

For the sauce

  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbs cornstarch
  • sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9X13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Clean the chicken of any fat and cut into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add the cornstarch to a large Ziploc® bag. In batches, add the chicken to the bag and shake to coat. Remove chicken and dip lightly in the egg. Set aside on a plate.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Place the chicken into the 9X13 baking dish. cover evenly with the drained pineapple chunks.

Whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce and pour evenly over the chicken and pineapple. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes during cooking. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over white rice.

**Tip – If you prefer your pineapple a little more firm, you can add them in the last 20 minutes of cooking instead of at the beginning.**

 

 

Crock-Pot Pulled Chicken

 

pulled chicken

Pulled chicken is one of my favorite summer meals because it’s not only delicious but it’s super easy to make, especially in the Crock-Pot! You don’t need to heat up your oven and have it on for hours and you don’t even need to keep an eye on it as it cooks. The best part? It’ll come out perfect EVERY time!

I usually like to make my own BBQ sauce for this meal but it isn’t necessary so feel free to choose your favorite bottled BBQ sauce and run with it! The chicken will take about 6-7 hours on low, depending how thick your meat is. You will know it’s ready when it shreds easily with two forks. Also, you can substitute the chicken for pork however, you will need to increase the cooking time as the cut of pork is much bigger and thicker than a few chicken breasts. For pulled pork, I like to use a Boston butt which you can find in most grocery or warehouse stores. BJ’s® usually sells them for under $2/lb and you can easily feed a crowd.

I like to have the chicken cook in the BBQ sauce and I don’t add any additional water to the pot because the meat releases enough of its own juices. With the pulled chicken, you won’t need to drain any of the liquid however, the pork does release a ton of water and fat. When I make the Boston butt, I usually hold off on adding the BBQ sauce until the end. When it’s done cooking I pull the meat out, drain most of the liquid, place the meat back into the pot and then I add the BBQ sauce.

Serve on hearty rolls with a side of homemade coleslaw and you have a perfect summer meal that is sure to please everyone. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 bottle BBQ sauce, store-bought OR homemade

Instructions

Place the cleaned chicken breasts in the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Cover with the diced onion and season with salt and pepper. Add about half a bottle of BBQ sauce. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken shreds easily with a fork.

Remove the chicken from the pot. If the sauce is too thin, turn the Crock Pot up to high and let it simmer a little until it thickens. Shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Add additional BBQ sauce as needed. Serve hot.

Bruschetta Chicken

bruschetta chicken

Two of my most favorite foods are fresh basil pesto and fresh bruschetta. They are both light, flavorful and SCREAM summer!! Pair them with a nice piece of grilled chicken, a thick slab of fresh mozzarella and a crusty slice of oiled bread and you have yourself the perfect meal.

The inspiration for this dish came from a meal I had at a cute local restaurant by my house called “Pasta, Pasta“. After having it just once, I was craving it for days so I decided to come up with my own version which turned out fantastic. The key to this meal is fresh ingredients, well cooked chicken and a nice sturdy, crusty bread. I served it alongside pesto pasta which I know might be a tad bit of carb overload but sometimes you just need a little pasta!

This is a nice quick meal to pull together, especially if you already have your pesto prepared ahead of time. I always like to make a big batch of pesto and then freeze it in an ice cube tray. When you’re ready to use it, just pop a few cubes out and warm them up. As for Italian bread, I always buy extra when I am in the store so I can wrap and freeze a few loaves. Just take the bread out a little before you plan on eating dinner and allow it to defrost, it can be easily grilled (as I did in this recipe) or warmed in the oven. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast, pounded thin
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • Italian bread, sliced thick and brushed with olive oil
  • Bruschetta
  • Basil Pesto
  • Balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

If not made ahead of time, prepare the basil pesto and bruschetta.

In a large skillet, warm up 2-3 tbs of olive oil over medium heat. Portion out a few teaspoons of the basil pesto and rub it all over the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Gently place the chicken into the hot oil and cook for about 3-4 minutes, flip the chicken and cook until done, about 4 minutes depending on thickness. You may need to cook the chicken in batches depending on the size of your skillet. Keep the cooked chicken warm on a plate and bring the oil back up to heat before cooking the next batch. Once all of the chicken is cooked, set aside and cover.

Discard the oil and wipe out the pan OR use a raised griddle pan and warm over medium heat. Brush each side of the sliced bread with a little oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the slices face down into the pan and grill until browned and crusty, flip and toast the other side.

Set oven broiler. In a 9X13 pan place the slices of toasted bread and layer with a piece of grilled chicken and a thick slice of fresh mozzarella. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is melted and very slightly browned. Remove from the oven.

On a plate, place a portion of the bread/chicken/cheese combo, top with a heaping spoonful of fresh bruschetta and a little bit of basil pesto. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Serve warm.

 

Chicken Florentine

chicken florentine

Chicken Florentine is an easy and fairly quick meal to pull together for your family or even a small dinner party. It’s mostly cooked on the stovetop which is great for those warm days where you don’t want something baking in the oven for a long time. Meals that are prepared “florentine” style are served on or with a bed of spinach. If you aren’t a huge fan of spinach you can either use less in this recipe or even try it with your own favorite wilted greens.

This recipe is from an excellent cookbook entitled, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook 10th Anniversary Edition: Every Recipe and Every Review From All Ten Seasons . It’s filled with really delicious recipes and step-by-step instructions for every meal! I highly recommend adding this one to your collection, especially if you feel that you need a little more guidance and help in the kitchen.

This meal was so a big hit in my house so it’s a keeper! The chicken was very moist and well seasoned and I loved all of the melted cheese throughout. I served it alongside roasted potatoes which was the perfect accompaniment, you can’t go wrong with potatoes! When making this dish, be sure to drain the spinach as indicated to avoid a very wet, soggy mess and be sure to take the time to reduce down the sauce. Don’t sweat it if the sauce takes a little longer than 10 minutes to thicken and come together, not all stoves are created equal so give yours the time it needs. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 12 oz baby spinach
  • 4 (6 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1 /4 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Instructions

Adjust oven rack to the upper-middle position and heat broiler.

Heat 1 tbs of vegetable oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the spinach and cook, stirring occasionally until wilted, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a colander that is set over a bowl and press the spinach with a spoon to release the excess liquid. Discard liquid.

Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the pan and heat remaining 1 tbs of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook the chicken on both sides until golden, about 4-6 minutes. Add shallot and garlic to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the stock, water and cream and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and tent with aluminum foil. Continue to simmer the sauce until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Off of the heat, stir in 4 tbs of Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice.

Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2″ thick slices and arrange on a broiler safe platter. Scatter the drained spinach over the chicken and then cover in the sauce. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and broil until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Serve.

Chicken Caprese

Chicken Caprese

One of life’s greatest pleasures is biting into a caprese salad. Sweet, vine ripened tomatoes bursting with flavor are layered with creamy mozzarella, sweet basil and then generously sprinkled with Kosher salt and pepper. The final touch is a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a flavorful balsamic. It’s truly a perfect, yet simple, dish. All of these lovely flavors also pair well with chicken so it was only logical to turn this beloved salad into a heartier dish of Chicken Caprese.

Simplicity is key with this meal. You will want to keep the flavors clean and bright so that the caprese salad shines and isn’t overpowered by a piece of chicken that is too bold and over seasoned. A basic salt and pepper rub with a drizzle of balsamic is all the chicken needs to be perfect. The fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil will pack the flavor punch once it all comes together. I served this dish alongside Garlic Parmesan Pasta   which was a perfect accompaniment to this meal.

To intensify the flavor in this dish, opt for a balsamic reduction* in place of just straight vinegar. Drizzling vinegar straight from the bottle is more than fine however, reducing it down first will create a richer and more flavorful profile. It will also thicken considerably making it more likely to cling to the chicken. Take care when choosing your vinegar, there are many cheap options out there but for the best flavor, it’s worth investing a few extra dollars for a quality vinegar. I get all of my vinegar (and oil) at The Amazing Olive  in Port Jefferson, NY. They have an exceptional collection of oil and vinegar in so many unique and delicious flavors. If you’re not local, no worries, you can order right online! For this recipe I used their Traditional Balsamic which is excellent.

*To reduce vinegar – On the stovetop bring the vinegar to a simmer over medium-high heat then turn the heat down to low to keep it simmering. It will take about 15 minutes for the vinegar to reduce down, watch it carefully towards the end so it does not burn. You will know the vinegar is ready when it becomes thick and can coat the back of a spoon.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, halved and then halved horizontally 
  • 3-4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed for browning
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tbs balsamic vinegar, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, sliced very thin and sprinkled with Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 lb fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
  • handful of fresh basil, cut into ribbons

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Rub the chicken with salt, pepper, and minced garlic until coated. Drizzle the balsamic over the chicken and lightly rub it in.

Place olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering add the chicken. Cook until lightly browned on each side, about 3-4 minutes per side. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, work in batches until all of the chicken has been browned. Place the chicken in a 9X13 baking dish coated lightly with cooking spray and drizzle with the remaining pan juices. Drizzle additional balsamic to taste.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, remove the chicken from the oven and place 1-2 slices of tomato on each piece of chicken followed by 1-2 slices of fresh mozzarella. Lightly sprinkle the tops with Kosher salt and pepper. Return the pan to the oven and finish off the chicken. To melt and brown the cheese a little more, place the pan under the broiler for 2-4 minutes, watch closely so that the cheese doesn’t burn.

Remove from the oven. Using a spoon, drizzle each piece of chicken with the pan juices. Garnish with the basil ribbons. Serve hot.

Chicken Caprese2

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

Teriyaki Stir Fry

Since I am watching my sugars nowadays I’ve been trying really hard to eat more vegetables and to always make sure I am eating some form of protein with my carbs. A simple stir fry is a delicious healthy meal that is also super quick to pull together. As an added bonus, it also keeps my sugars completely in check.

Usually I try my best to make everything from scratch but sometimes time just doesn’t allow for that so for this meal I did use a store-bought teriyaki sauce and steamed veggies from the frozen section. Feel free to use whatever fresh or frozen veggies that you have on hand, I really like the Birds Eye Asian Medley which has baby corn, sugar snap peas, carrots, and broccoli. The sauce is Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze which is slightly thicker than some other sauces so it sticks to the food nicely.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1.5 lbs chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 (10.8 oz) bags of Birds Eye Asian Medley veggies
  • Kikkoman Teriyaki Baste and Glaze
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until slightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add in 2-3 tbs of teriyaki sauce, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.

Steam the frozen veggies in the microwave while the chicken is cooking. Drain and set aside.

Add the pineapple to the cooked chicken and sauté for about a minute to warm through. Add in the steamed veggies. Toss to combine. Add teriyaki sauce, salt and pepper to taste and stir until well combined. Adjust seasonings as needed, if sauce is too thick add a little water to thin it out.

Serve over steamed white or brown rice.

 

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad

Chicken salad can be a nutritious, healthy lunch however, the ones that are store-bought are loaded with mayonnaise which really adds a ton of calories and fat . Therefore, I prefer to make my own so that I control the amount of mayo, spices, and veggies. You can use store-bought rotisserie chicken to save time but making your own fresh chicken is very easy as well. Click here for my seasoned chicken recipe which is perfect for this chicken salad. This is a great make ahead dish and will keep nicely in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 1.5 lbs of pre-cooked chicken, cubed 
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Mayonnaise, to taste
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Combine all of the above ingredients in a large bowl. Add enough mayonnaise so that the ingredients combine and the salad is moist. Add more mayo as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Serve on toasted bread topped with fresh baby spinach leaves.

 

The Best Chicken Seasoning

As much I like the store-bought rotisserie chickens they tend to be pretty expensive for the amount of chicken that you get. So whenever I have a recipe that calls for cooked chicken I grab a few boneless, skinless chicken breasts and make my own. It’s super simple to make and the chicken always comes out moist and delicious! You can even make a bigger batch of the seasoning and jar it so that it’s always ready to go when you need it. Seasoned chicken will work great in chicken salads, casseroles, or any other recipe that calls for pre-cooked chicken. Feel free to adjust and substitute the spices to suit your taste. The below recipe is enough spice mix to season about 1.5 lbs of chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried onions

Instructions

Place all of the spices in a small bowl and stir to combine. Use right away or store in a sealed jar.

To make seasoned chicken – Preheat oven to 350ºF. Clean and trim the chicken. Cut each breast in half and pound it down just enough so that it’s slightly flattened but not thin. Rub each piece of chicken with the spice mix. Heat 2-3 tbs of oil in an oven safe pan, cook the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked through.

 

 

Chicken in White Wine Butter Sauce

White Wine Chicken 2

I am a big believer is using up every last ingredient in your house because I hate when things go to waste. So when I found myself with some leftover white wine, I decided to make this dish. It’s super quick and easy to pull together and there is really nothing more delicious than a wine sauce in my opinion. Serve with your favorite veggie and carb, I made seasoned rice* and steamed buttered green beans.

I found this recipe on the Framed Cooks blog site, you can find the original recipe right here . I mostly followed the recipe as written however, because I used a little more chicken then called for I actually doubled the sauce. I like having extra to smother the chicken and it was also really good mixed together with my seasoned rice. I used a Pinot Grigo for the sauce but feel free to use whatever white wine you have in the house. I finished off the sauce with a squeeze of fresh lemon which really brightened the flavor.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to ¼ inch thickness
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Fresh (or dried) parsley, to taste
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Warm olive oil and butter over medium high until butter is melted.

Add chicken and cook until golden on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove chicken and keep warm.

Add shallots and saute until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook until it is reduces down, about 3-5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cold butter and stir until melted. Add parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken back to the pan and turn the pieces over until they are coated with the sauce. Serve chicken drizzled with extra sauce.

White Wine Chicken 1

*To make the seasoned rice, sauté a finely diced onion in 2 tbs of butter until softened. Then follow the cooking instructions on the long grain rice bag substituting chicken stock (I like the Kitchen Basics brand) for the water. Season with salt, pepper, and parsley. Cook until light and fluffy.

Chicken Breasts Pierre

Chicken Pierre

What’s better than a one pan chicken dish? Ummmm……………….nothing. I love a meal that comes together quickly and easily with minimal mess. This dish fits the bill perfectly and it was also rich and delicious. Even my picky kids ate it so you know it’s good!

I came across this recipe on Facebook however, the original recipe is from the Allrecipes website, you can find it here . I made a few adjustments to this dish which I think resulted in a much better tasting meal. I cut down on the amount of chili powder it called for to only 1 teaspoon. Chili powder can be an overpowering flavor and I think 2 teaspoons would have been entirely too much. I also replaced the 1/2 cup of water with red wine and increased the amount to 3/4 cup. This was the BEST substitution and the red wine really made this dish! I used Bogle Merlot but you can use whatever red wine you like or have on hand.

I served this chicken alongside roasted Yukon Gold potatoes and fresh string beans. To season the string beans I used a little salt and pepper and then tossed them with some of the sauce from the chicken, they were absolutely delicious.

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, with liquid
  • 3/4 red wine
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Instructions

In a shallow dish or bowl, combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and ground black pepper. Coat chicken breasts with flour mixture and set aside.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown chicken on all sides. Remove from skillet, set aside.

In the same skillet, combine the tomatoes, red wine, brown sugar, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt, chili powder, mustard, celery seed, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear. 

**Tip** – If the sauce is too thin after the chicken is done cooking just remove the chicken and set aside, increase the heat to high, and mix in a little Wondra™ powder to thicken it up. If you don’t have Wondra™, combine a 1/4 water and 2 tbs flour and then slowly mix in just enough to thicken the sauce.