Tag Archives: chicken


Simple Grilled Chicken

 ”You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

Abraham Lincoln

You can’t fool a good cook with a bad recipe and good cook knows most of the time that simple is better. In all my years of cooking, the most important lesson learned has been the less ingredients and steps a recipe requires, it is usually a better recipe.

It’s the same principle when spotting liar. The more information and the more complicated their story, you can usually bet they’re not telling the truth. So the problem with lying is that all the little details usually add up and get you caught. The same goes for a bad recipe – all those little details and steps add up and the result is a bad dish!


4 chicken breast halves, boneless and skinless

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup canola oil

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp orange juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Wash and dry chicken breast, place in a large ziploc bag. Whisk together remaining ingredients until well blended. Pour over chicken and seal bag. Place in fridge and let marinate for 1-3 hours.

Preheat grill to a medium-high heat. Grill chicken 8-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Juices will run clear when chicken is done.


If you like a little bit spicier marinade, just add more crushed red pepper flakes.

Make a meal on the grill. I like to grill fresh corn and vegetable kabobs when I make this chicken dish.

Craving Cajun

Chicken Creole

My first introduction to a Louisiana staple was at camp. Every summer the Louisiana girls would unpack, pull out a giant can of Tony’s and set it in the center of our cabin’s dining hall table. We ate it on everything – eggs, popcorn, baked potatoes – I truly thought it was the best thing I had ever had and still eat it on everything.

In college, I became obsessed with Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtator chips. They didn’t sell them in Tennessee and so my mom would ship them to me a case at a time. I swear I lived on Zapp’s and Dr. Pepper during my sophomore year.

And I love crawfish. I won’t touch seafood of any kind with a ten foot pole but give me a big batch of mud bugs and I can go to town!


1 lb boneless chicken breast, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp flour

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium

1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook until done. Remove chicken and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium-low, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for about 15 minutes until the roux becomes a dark caramel color.

Add onions, celery and bell peppers and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds more. The mixture will be a little thick with the roux sticking to the vegetables.

Turn heat back up to medium-high and add chicken broth to deglaze pan. It is very important to scrape up all the roux from the bottom of the pan. Cook mixture for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the broth thickens.

Add tomatoes, chicken and spices to broth mixture and reduce to a simmer for about 20 -30 minutes before serving.


Chicken Creole is best served with scoop of rice and some crusty bread to dip in the sauce. If you’d like it with a little more heat just add more cayenne.

If you’d prefer the sauce a bit thinner, add some water or broth.


Hole in the wall

Lemon-Caper Chicken

I love to stumble across hole in the wall restaurants, that’s usually where you find the best food. I have two very favorites, one is a roadside joint outside of Austin, Texas that serves the best burgers on homemade sourdough rolls. The second is The Red Bar in Grayton Beach, Florida. For those of you who vacation here, your probably thinking that this is no hole in the wall because in the summer the wait is 2 hours or more for a table.

But The Red Bar does a hole in wall right. A simple 5 item menu presented on a chalkboard, only cash is accepted and you feel like you’re in a psychedelic den from the 60′s. My favorite dish is the panned chicken, of course that means fried and covered with a buttery sauce – here’s my take with out the psychadelic den.


1 lb chicken breast, thinly sliced or pounded to about 1/4″ thick

1 tsp olive oil

salt and pepper

flour for dredging

1 1/2 cups + 1/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium

1 tbsp cornstarch

3 tbsp capers, drained

1 tbsp butter

juice of 1 lemon

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then dredge lightly in flour. Place chicken in hot oil, cooking for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups chicken broth to pan to deglaze, stirring up all the bits from the bottom. Let reduce for about 5 minutes. In the meantime, mix cornstarch and 1/4 chicken broth in a small bowl. Add to reduced chicken stock and stir until sauce is thickened.

Add juice of one lemon, capers and stir of butter. Add chicken back to pan and let simmer in sauce for about 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

If you prefer the sauce to be thinner, just add a little more chicken broth.


I usually serve this dish with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and oven-roasted asparagus but the chicken is also good over a whole grain pasta.

Stay tuned tomorrow and I fill you in on how to make the mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Roll with it lasagna

Chicken Lasagna Rollups with Creamy Marinara

One of my dearest friends frequently asks for recipe advice and I gladly pass along recipes I have collected over the years. She has been my friend since high school and I still remember the day we met. We sat outside school waiting for our rides when we discovered that our mothers were from the same small town and that we shared the same love of casseroles made famous by that little town and its great cooks.

When you think about it good recipes and good friends are a lot a like, no matter how much time passes you can always rely on both!


8 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package directions

1 bag spinach

1 rotisserie chicken

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 tsp olive oil, divided

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, whole

1/4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium

1 tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

1/8 tsp oregano, dried

1/8 tsp basil, dried

salt and pepper

1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, low-fat

1 egg

1 tbsp basil pesto

1/4 parmesan cheese, shredded

1/4 cup half and half

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat and saute spinach until wilted. Season spinach with salt and pepper while cooking. Place cooked spinach in a bowl and set aside.

In the same saute pan, heat another teaspoon of olive oil, add onions and whole garlic cloves cooking until tender. Break up garlic cloves as they cook.

Cook 8 lasagna noodles according to package directions. Let sit in water until you are ready to use. 

Once onions and garlic have become tender, add chicken broth, deglaze the pan stirring up the bits from the bottom. Let liquid reduce for about 2 minutes then add crushed tomatoes, sugar and spices. Turn heat to medium-low and let simmer while you are preparing the rollups.

Take the white meat off of the rotisserie chicken, shred and set aside.

In a large bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, basil pesto and cheese. Then add spinach, season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pull two noodles from the water and place on paper towels to absorb excess water. Then put a spoonful of ricotta on noodle and spread the length of the noodle. Top with the shredded chicken and loosely rollup.

Spray a baking dish lightly with oil spray and spread a few spoonfuls of the marinara sauce in the bottom of the dish. Place rollups in baking dish.

Season the marinara with salt and pepper if needed. Then add 1/4 cup of half and half , stirring together well. Top rollups with marinara and place in a 350 degree oven baking for 30-40 minutes.


I love using rotisserie chicken in all types of recipes such chicken salad, quesadillas, casseroles and soups. It saves a ton of time and they taste really good.

This dish may seem like a lot of steps but it really on take about 20 minutes to prepare and then 30 minutes or so to bake. I think it’s easier than assembling a lasagna.

Lou loves tacos

Spicy Chicken Tacos

Bless her heart, Lou is our rescue dog from College Station, Texas. While my husband was an intern at the veterinary hospital, he ran across Lou who had been hit by a car on a busy highway and brought into the hospital by a good samaritan. She underwent numerous surgeries, physical therapy and was used as a teaching case for the hospital. A cranky little dog, she earned the nickname ‘bad sam’ and with that my husband was smitten. We brought her home, carrying her up the stairs and telling our other dog to be nice to the fragile, cranky, little dog.

Not much perked her up until one day I was in the kitchen making tacos. She waddled over to me, sat at my feet sniffing, hoping a taco would drop to the floor. Sharing a little of the taco with her, we became fast friends and to this day anytime tacos are being cooked up, Lou is right at my feet.


1 1/2 to 2 lbs boneless chicken breast

1 tbsp canola oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced

1/4 cup green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1/4 cup onion, sliced into thin strips

1 can Rotel, pulsed in blender

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tbsp cornstarch

Heat oil in a large frying pan (one with a lid), add chicken and brown on each side. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onions, peppers and jalapeno and cook until tender about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for a minute more.

Deglaze pan with chicken broth, stirring up all of the brown bits from the bottom. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add Rotel and spices, stirring well.

Add chicken back to pan, cover with lid and simmer on low to medium-low heat for one hour. After cooking, remove chicken from pan and shred with fork and set aside.

Turn heat back up to medium-high. Take out a few spoonfuls of the broth mixture and place in a small bowl, mix in 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Add the cornstarch mixture back into the pan and stir well until sauce thickens. Add chicken back to sauce a continue heating for 15 minutes before serving.


Serve with your favorite tortillas, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. The chicken is also a great filling for burritos or on top of a salad.

I attempted to make my own flour tortillas for this dish but still haven’t perfected them – I’ll let you know when I do!

Now days, Lou is happy, healthy and still a little cranky but she spends most of her day hovering over the baby and barking at the mail man.


True story, T.J. Maxx and MSG

Orange Chicken Stir Fry

Sometimes a true story is way better than a tall tale. You be the judge of this one. This all came about on one of our favorite mother-daughter past times, trolling through T.J.Maxx and to this day I blame it on the msg fog from the chinese food we had eaten earlier that evening.

So you see my mother and I have a knack for finding TJ Maxx stores anywhere and discovering priceless treasures during our sprees. This one evening they had put out the new arrival of winter coats and anyone that knows mother knows she loves coats. So in her excitement off came the white terry cloth hooded jacket and on went the coats – the oohs and aahs followed. While we were commenting on the coats and parading to the mirrors that little white hooded jacket got lost. We never found it…that night.

So forward 6 months later when the summer clothes were being wheeled out and yes, we were once again trolling late one evening. Mother ventured into the workout section. Still forlorn about her little white hooded jacket, she began browsing and across the store I heard a squeal of delight. She had found the little white terry cloth hooded jacket! Yes, on the rack with the same stain on the sleeve, Merona tag in tact and on a hanger complete with a price tag. The jacket was found!

The events sounded so unbelievable as we rambled on to the manager about the losing and finding of the coat. She must have felt sorry for us or was worried for her own safety that she believed our too crazy to be true story and off we went with the jacket…down the road to the Homegoods store.

Moral of the story…don’t go shopping after questionable chinese food. Make your own!


1/4 cup orange juice, the frozen kind thawed and undiluted

1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup green onions, chopped

1 lb chicken breast, diced into 1″ pieces

3 cups stir fry vegetables, I use broccoli and carrots

Combine first 8 ingredients and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for about 5 minutes then add in green onions and veggies. Cook until chicken is done and veggies are tender.

Reduce heat and pour orange juice mixture over the chicken and vegetables. Stir well making sure to coat chicken and vegetables with sauce. Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Serve over brown rice. Makes 4 servings.