Cozy and Hearty Apple Cider Chicken

 

cider chicken plated

It’s fall and that means it’s time for cozy, warm, hearty meals. It’s also a great time to use up all of those delicious apples you harvested from your local orchard. I love to use apples in my cooking as they add a delicious flavor and sweetness to meals. They are also really amazing in salads because of their unexpected crisp, they go best with salads that have a lighter, sweeter dressing. Pure, fresh pressed apple cider is another wonderful ingredient to use in cooking and it’s what makes this chicken dish out of this world. Since the apple cider is a very forward flavor in this meal I recommend getting the best cider you can, name brand packaged cider will work however, fresh farm cider is really the absolute best.

This recipe comes from Sunny Anderson at Food Network®, for the original recipe click here . Please be aware, I did notice in the comments that people complained of the dish being “sour” and upon further reading, I realized that many people made the HUGE mistake of using apple cider VINEGAR in the dish instead of pure apple cider. These two ingredients are vastly different and cannot be interchanged whatsoever so please ensure you are using pure apple cider in this recipe. If you don’t have cider on hand, you can substitute apple juice however, you might find the end result a little less rich and a touch more sweet. 

One suggestion, because you are cooking so many pieces of chicken at once you’ll want to get as much in the pan at one time (without overcrowding) so you don’t have to cook multiple batches. I suggest using a large electric skillet because it can easily accommodate a large batch of chicken ensuring that your meal cooks quickly and all at one time. Lastly, I served this with homemade mashed potatoes and glazed carrots. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider

Instructions

Heat oil and 1 tbs butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper then add to pan and sear until golden, about 4 minutes each side. Remove chicken from pan, and set aside.

Add remaining butter and onion, apple, garlic, thyme and bay leaves. Sauté until apple begins to get color and onions soften, about 6 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 to 3 minutes. Nestle chicken back into pan, add cider, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes.

apple cider chicken

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 Ribs with Homemade BBQ Sauce

ribs

Who doesn’t love a good, charred, meaty rib slathered in rich BBQ sauce? I know I do and these ribs are so delicious and absolutely perfect for your next summer BBQ! Unlike traditional rib recipes which can be time-consuming this recipe is as easy as 1-2-3 and produces a perfectly tender and super yummy piece of meat. The recipe comes from one of my most favorite cookbooks, The Complete Cook’s Country TV Show Cookbook 10th Anniversary Edition: Every Recipe and Every Review From All Ten Seasons .

Aside from the recipe being foolproof, the BBQ sauce is divine! You’ll never go back to a bottled version again. You can make a batch of this BBQ sauce anytime and use it on chicken, burgers or any other grilled meat. Save yourself time when making the sauce (and the ribs!) by mixing together a batch of the spice rub ahead of time. Triple the recipe and store it in a small spice jar in your cabinet. Anytime that you need a flavorful spice rub or you want to make homemade BBQ sauce you’ll have the mixed spices already on hand.

This recipe calls for St.-Louis style ribs however, when I was in the store they were out so I went ahead and used bone-in country-style ribs instead. They were nice and meaty and worked really well in this recipe. As a bonus, since they come individually cut there was no need to trim the ribs beforehand or separate them after cooking.

Lastly, to finish the ribs the recipe has you using your boiler which is perfectly fine and simple however, I chose to finish them off on the grill. Follow the same steps as if you were broiling the ribs only instead of putting them under the broiler, put them on the grill for a few minutes until nice and charred. The ribs had the amazing smoky flavor of the grill as if they had been cooking on there for hours but with the simplicity of having being cooked in the slow cooker. This meal was a HUGE hit in my house. Enjoy!

Ingredients

For the ribs

  • 2 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs Kosher salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 3 lbs of St. Louis style ribs (each rack cut in half)  OR bone-in country-style ribs

For the BBQ sauce

  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 6 tbs apple juice
  • 2 tbs molasses
  • 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp liquid smoke

Instructions

For the ribs – Combine the paprika, brown sugar, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic in a bowl. Reserve 1 tbs of the spice rub for later use in the BBQ sauce. Pat the ribs dry with paper towels and coat all over with the spice rub.

Arrange the ribs vertically with the thick ends pointing down and the meaty side against the interior of the slow cooker. It is fine if the ribs overlap. Cover and cook until ribs are just tender. Low setting, 6-7 hours OR high setting, 5-6 hours.

For the BBQ sauce – In a medium saucepan, whisk together the ketchup, apple juice, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, pepper, liquid smoke and the reserved 1 tbs of spice rub. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened and reduced down to a cup, about 10 minutes.

To finish the ribs – Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack in the pan. Using tongs, transfer the ribs, meaty side up, to the rack. Let the ribs sit for about 10 minutes to allow the surface to dry out.

Adjust the oven rack 3″ from the broiler and heat. Liberally brush the ribs with about 1/2 cup of sauce and broil until bubbling and beginning to char, about 4 minutes. Remove the ribs from the oven, brush with the remaining 1/2 cup of sauce, tent with foil and let rest for 20 minutes. Serve warm.

**Tip – The BBQ sauce can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.**

Veggie and Cheese Frittata

Frittata2

Frittatas are super simple, can be made with almost anything you have in your fridge and are the perfect meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When I’m feeling lazy and need something to eat in a pinch, frittatas are one of my “go-to” meals. Despite a little bit of cheese, they are also pretty healthy as well since you can load them up with a ton of delicious fresh veggies and herbs.

There really isn’t a specific recipe you need to follow in order to make a delicious frittata. It’s really a matter of grabbing some eggs, cheese, meat, and veggies OR any combination of those and get cooking. I generally like to make a twelve egg frittata because I love the leftovers! Don’t have a crowd to feed? Use fewer eggs. As for the mix-ins, include as many (or as little) of all the things you love to eat as you want. I’m partial to onions, cheese, spinach, peppers, and potatoes but feel free to change up my “recipe” and be as creative as you wish. Some other great additions are breakfast sausage, bacon, various cheeses, fresh herbs, and literally any veggie you can think of. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • Pat or two of butter, for pan
  • 12 large eggs
  • 12 tsp heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 2 cups of assorted veggies/meats/herbs
  • 1/2 – 1 cup shredded cheese
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Crack all of the eggs into a large bowl, add in the cream/half-and-half and salt and pepper. Whisk until well combined.

Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to the pan and allow to melt. Add the vegetables to the pan and cook until slightly softened.

Lower the heat to medium-low and turn on the oven broiler. Pour the eggs into the pan and using a rubber spatula, continue to move the eggs around until they begin to cook. Gently lift the eggs/frittata with the spatula while tilting the pan to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath the and set. When the frittata looks set around the edges and mostly cooked, sprinkle with the shredded cheese, remove the pan from the stovetop and place under the broiler. Cook until the eggs slightly puff and are set in the middle.

Slice into wedges and serve.

*If using potatoes, be sure to cook them first or they will remain hard once the frittata is done cooking. To quickly cook a potato, use a fork to poke a few holes all over a cleaned, unpeeled potato. Place in the microwave and cook on high for about 5 minutes. Flip the potato and cook for another 3-5 minutes, depending on size. Allow to cool, peel (if desired), and cut into chunks. Add to the pan once the other vegetables are done softening. 

 

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.

 

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.

Mommy’s Chicken Soup

chicken soup

There is nothing better when you’re feeling a little under the weather than a hot, steaming bowl of homemade chicken soup. It is so warm and comforting and for me, it always reminds me of being a kid. I grew up on my Mom’s chicken soup, it was a staple in our house in the wintertime and one of the meals I’d often request if I got to choose. It’s a very basic, simple recipe but it’s just perfect!

I use to make this on the stovetop and let it simmer most of the day until the chicken was cooked through and falling from the bone. The problem is, cooking it this way binds you to the house for hours so instead, I starting making it in my Crock Pot. It comes out great every time and you’re free to go about your day and then come home to a nice, hot meal. I usually cook this on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken easily falls from the bone. If you get a late start and are pressed for time, you can also cook it on high for about 5 hours or again, until the chicken falls from the bone. You can even cook it with frozen chicken, you will just have to adjust the cooking time and let it go a touch longer.

This soup will keep for about 2-3 days in the fridge and it can also be frozen. If you freeze it, you may need to add a little more stock to the pot when you warm it back up. Also, do NOT add the pasta directly to the pot of soup. The pasta will absorb all of the broth and become mushy so I keep the pasta separate and add it it to the individual bowls as I am serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 box (32 oz) of good chicken stock (I like Kitchen Basics brand)
  • 2 cups of cold water
  • 2 large bone in split chicken breasts
  • 2 cups of petite baby carrots or about 2-3 carrots sliced
  • 3 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbs parsley
  • 1 package of wide egg noodles or orzo pasta

Instructions

Place the chicken in the bottom of the Crock Pot then add all of the veggies and seasonings. Pour in the chicken stock and water. Cover and cook on low for about 7 hours or until the chicken falls easily from the bone.

Towards the end of the cooking, boil the pasta and set aside. You can a little olive oil to the pasta to prevent it from sticking and forming a clump.

Remove the chicken from the Crock Pot and using two forks, pull the chicken from the bone. Discard all of the bones and skin and then return the chicken to the pot. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Place a scoop of pasta into a soup bowl, cover with a hearty ladling of soup, and serve hot. Enjoy!

chickensoup