Monday, March 18, 2013

"CHICKEN DINNER WINNERS"--a whole roost of recipes full of fabulous flavors to freshen up a favorite food!

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Caesar Chicken Pasta Salad

1 (16 oz) pkg tri-color rotini pasta, cooked al dente, drained & cooled
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cooled, cut in bite-sized pieces*
*(recommended method: spray a non-stick skillet lightly with cooking spray & saute chicken until done)
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/8 tsp coarsely grated black pepper
1 (16 oz) bottle creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
romaine lettuce leaves
cooked crumbled bacon
additional grated Parmesan cheese

In a large bowl, combine pasta and chicken. Stir to mix. Add in tomatoes, minced garlic, green onions, 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. Stir until combined. Add dressing, and stir to coat well. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to develop. To serve: arrange lettuce leaves on plate, add a scoop of salad, and top with bacon, Parmesan cheese, and croutons.

Butter-Fried Chicken

one whole chicken, cut into fryer pieces
one to two sticks real butter
salt & pepper
poultry seasoning

In a large ziploc bag, add about one cup flour with a good shake of salt & pepper and a pinch of poultry seasoning. Add chicken pieces a few at a time and shake in sealed bag to coat well. Repeat until all chicken pieces are well-coated. Save any leftover flour mixture to make pan gravy. In a large (10 inch), deep cast iron skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until crispy brown on bottom. Turn chicken pieces and cook until well-done and golden, crispy brown. Arrange chicken pieces on serving platter. While skillet is hot, brown leftover flour in grease (add extra flour if needed). Carefully add enough cold water (be careful of hot grease splatters) to make gravy. Stir gravy continuously until smooth and thick. If needed, add extra seasoning to taste.

Chicken Salad Stuffed Tomatoes

2 pints (4 cups) chicken salad (homemade or premium deli)
6 to 8 firm, ripe medium tomatoes
lettuce leaves for garnish
hard-boiled egg wedges for garnish

Place a couple of lettuce leaves on each serving plate for garnish. Top each bed of lettuce with one tomato that has been quartered but not cut entirely through to form a cup for the chicken salad. Scoop chicken salad into the tomato cups. Add a couple of hard-boiled egg wedges to each plate for garnish.

Sweet & Saucy Grilled Chicken

2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup apricot or peach preserves or orange marmalade
2 tsp  Dijon-style mustard
2 tsp honey
1 tsp vinegar
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Combine all ingredients except chicken in small bowl; mix well. Grill chicken 5 inches (11.5cm) from heat for 12 to 15 minutes or until juices are clear when pierced, turning once and brushing frequently with prepared sauce.

Chicken Tenders with Cranberry-Mustard Sauce

1 pound fresh, uncoated chicken breast tenders
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons oil
2/3 cup dry white wine
2/3 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1/2 cup  Dried Cranberries
1/4 cup sliced green onions, green part only

Lightly toss chicken pieces with flour; shake off excess. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and oil in a large skillet. Add half of the chicken; cook about 2 minutes, turning once until chicken is golden brown on each side and cooked through. Add more butter and oil if needed. Remove to a platter; keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken. Add wine, chicken broth and mustard to skillet, scraping up browned bits. Combine cornstarch and water in a small bowl. Stir into skillet. Add dried cranberries. Boil 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions; cook 1 more minute. Pour sauce over chicken.

Chicken Salad Pita-Wiches

1 pint best-quality deli chicken salad
1 3oz pkg or jar real bacon pieces
1 thinly sliced red, ripe tomato
fresh lettuce leaves
white or whole wheat pita bread halves

Stir bacon pieces into chicken salad. Stuff pita pocket half with a lettuce leaf and a couple of tomato slices. Add chicken salad to pita pocket, filling well. Serve with chips and dill pickle strips. Enjoy!

Roast Chicken with Apples and Onions

1 Whole chicken
3-4 Apples (mix tart and sweet for best flavor)
2 Yellow onions
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1/4 tsp dried sage1/4 tsp dried thyme
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop onions and apples into one-inch chunks. Toss together with lemon juice, half of the melted butter, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. Rinse chicken thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the remaining butter into the skin. Stuff as much of the apple mixture into the chicken as possible. Cover and set aside any remaining apple mixture. Place in a roasting pan breast up and put in oven. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350 degrees and cook for 45 minutes. Take chicken out. Baste and add remaining apple/onion mixture to the pan. Roast for up to another 30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160 degrees. Test for doneness. Let chicken stand for about 10 minutes at room temperature before carving.

"White Heat" Chicken & Bean Chili

3 1/2 c. water
1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinned chicken breasts
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 c. frozen white corn kernels, thawed
1 can (15 1/2 oz.) Great Northern beans, undrained
3 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chilies, undrained
3 tbsp. lime juice
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black peppersalt to taste1/3 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. cilantro, fresh, chopped

In a Dutch oven or large saucepan, bring water to a boil and add chicken. Lower the heat; cover the saucepan and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is fork-tender. Drain. Cut chicken into 3/4 inch cubes. In the same saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onion; saute 5 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1 minute. Stir in the corn, beans, chilies, lime juice, cumin, coriander, pepper and salt. Bring to boiling. Add the chicken. Lower heat. Cook just until heated through. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in sour cream and cilantro.

Savory Sauced Chicken with Wild Rice

1 1/2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolve in a small amount of cold water before adding)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut in halves
1 small green apple, unpeeled, sliced thin
1 small yellow onion, sliced thin

Combine apple juice, mustard, honey, and cornstarch; set aside. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet until hot. Cook chicken until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add apple and onion; cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in reserved sauce. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes until sauce thickens. If sauce becomes too thick, thin it with additional apple juice. Serve over hot cooked wild rice.

Chicken & Bacon Spinach Salad with Honey-Dijon Dressing 

Salad:fresh spinach leaves (washed & dried)cooked chicken breast meat, cut in bite-sized pieces; fresh white button mushrooms, sliced; crumbled cooked bacon; small red onion, thinly sliced; cherry or grape tomatoes, halved; crumbled or shredded cheese, like Blue, Feta, or Parmesan; sliced hard-boiled eggs; croutons

Dressing:1 tbsp minced garlic; 1 tsp salt (or to taste); 1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper; 2 tbsp Dijon mustard; 2 tbsp honey (or to taste); 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar; 1 cup olive oil

For the dressing: In a bowl whisk together garlic, salt, black pepper, Dijon mustard, honey and balsamic vinegar; add in olive oil slowly until blended. Adjust honey and salt to taste. Chill for several hours before using to allow flavor of dressing to develop.

For salad: In a large glass bowl, sandwich layers of spinach with chicken, sliced mushrooms, bacon, onion, tomato, and cheese. Garnish with sliced eggs and croutons. Serve with prepared dressing on the side. Store any remaining dressing covered in refrigerator.    

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