Tag Archives: chicken

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

This salad is beautiful, and scrumptious, but it’s also super easy to throw together. You can use whatever sweet citrus you have available. I used Cara Cara oranges this time, but you could use regular oranges, blood oranges, or any kind of orange cousin: tangerine, clementine, mandarin, satsuma.

The hardest parts are slicing the avocado and citrus, but that’s not really difficult, once you see a demonstration…

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Got leftovers? Make quick mini fritters.

what to make with leftover chicken - mini fritters

I picked up this idea from food writer Mark Bittman: he calls them “tiny pancakes.” (Here’s his original recipe.) It was born out of wanting to make himself something quick to eat, and finding some leftover scallops on hand. Don’t worry; you don’t need scallops to make this! Just about any leftovers will do, and you could do this for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Or brunch. Or appetizers. Or a midnight snack.

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Amazin’ Asian sauce: stir-fry, broth bowl, & crack slaw

homemade stir-fry sauce, crack slaw

This started out just being a homemade stir-fry sauce, but I’ve found that the leftover stir-fry makes a great broth bowl (curry optional), and the sauce also works for that addictive stuff known as “crack slaw.” (Sometimes also called “egg roll in a bowl.”) You could, of course, also use it in a meatless main dish or veggie side dish. And made with tamari or coconut aminos, it’s gluten-free.

You might want to make a small batch, first, to figure out how you want to adapt it to your taste; feel free to improvise on my recipe! Then make a larger batch to keep on hand in the fridge for easy, throw-together meals.

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Ginger chicken skillet

ginger chicken recipe

ginger chicken recipe

This Ginger Chicken recipe is from Kelly Bejelly at agirlworthsaving.com. She does a bang-up job of making comfort food that meets Paleo and/or AIP requirements.

This recipe is one she says her mom used to make weekly — and I can see why! It’s both easy and delicious.

My only changes to her recipe are to use thighs instead of drumsticks — I think they’re easier to eat, and we both prefer that meat. Plus, I eliminated the chopped red onion. It adds a little color, but there’s so much flavor happening I think they’re not totally necessary, and it simplifies the prep a bit. And I’m all about that!

One-Pan Ginger Chicken Recipe

4 chicken thighs

salt and pepper

about 1 T. coconut oil

1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped

1 fat piece ginger, about 2″ long, peeled and sliced pretty thin

1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped into thin slices

Make a slit in the meat that runs along the bone on the skinless side of the thighs. (There’s a line of fat and/or membrane there; just cut along that.) This isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes the meat easier to cut off the bone later on while you’re eating it.

Trim off any skin that extends beyond the meat. Season the meat generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the coconut oil, then add the chopped onion and ginger and cook for 3 minutes.

Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, skin side up, and cover with a lid. Turn the heat to low and allow to cook covered for 30 – 40 minutes, until meat is done. The juices will run clear, and the interior temperature of meat is at least 170 F.

Optional: For more color on the chicken, remove them from the skillet and broil for 3 – 5 minutes at the end.

Spoon the pan sauce over the thighs after plating, then sprinkle sliced green onions over them.

Mmm, that’s tasty!

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Antibiotics, hormones, organic, etc: What U.S. food labeling terms really mean

organic labeling on meat in US
 U.S. food labeling terms on meat in US - organic

All these terms can be confusing! Here are the official descriptions for the various U.S. food labeling terms, directly from usda.gov:

NATURAL:
A product containing no artificial ingredient or added color, and that is only minimally processed. Minimal processing means that the product was processed in a manner that does not fundamentally alter the product. The label must include a statement explaining the meaning of the term natural (such as “no artificial ingredients; minimally processed”).

NO HORMONES – pork or poultry:
[By U.S. law], hormones are not allowed in raising hogs or poultry. Therefore, the claim “no hormones added” cannot be used on the labels of pork or poultry unless it is followed by a statement that says, “Federal regulations prohibit the use of hormones.”

NO HORMONES – beef:
The term “no hormones administered” may be approved for use on the label of beef products if sufficient documentation is provided to the Agency by the producer showing no hormones have been used in raising the animals.

NO ANTIBIOTICS – red meat and poultry:
The terms “no antibiotics added” may be used on labels for meat or poultry products if sufficient documentation is provided by the producer to the Agency demonstrating that the animals were raised without antibiotics.

ORGANIC:

Organic products have strict production and labeling requirements, and are monitored by the government. Unless noted below, organic products must meet the following requirements:

  • Produced without excluded methods (e.g., genetic engineering), ionizing radiation, or sewage sludge.
  • Produced per the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List).
  • Overseen by a USDA National Organic Program-authorized certifying agent, following all USDA organic regulations.
Raw or processed agricultural products in the “100 percent organic” category must meet these criteria:
  • All ingredients must be certified organic.
  • Any processing aids must be organic.
  • Product labels must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.
On multi-ingredient products, different icons mean different things in regard to how much of the product is organic. Here’s the official guide:
U.S. food labeling terms and logos
Sources:

Mealprep: 40 recipes to stock your freezer and free your mind!

Tacos-1

One of the best ways to eat healthy is to eat at home more. But for any busy person, this becomes a real challenge when it’s 4:30 and you have no idea what to make for dinner. Prepping some ingredients and/or dishes ahead of time to stash in the freezer can save the day. Not only does it save you cooking time, it also saves you brain effort at the very time of day your brain is most overtaxed!

Sure, these mean a little more work on the weekend — but you can do it at a leisurely pace, when you’re rested and not rushed. Which I’ve found makes cooking so much more enjoyable!

NOTE: not all of these are real food/Paleo/Whole30.

Mealprep: taco kit from The Kitchn
A week of dinners in the freezer, from The Kitchn. Recipes for: Baked Manicotti – Freezer Taco Kits – Twice-Baked Potatoes – Chile & Sausage Oven Frittata – Cranberry Pork Chops – Chicken and Wild Rice Bake. (Also includes side dishes, not listed here.) You can also find this same list of recipes with additional notes on how to turn prep day into a Freezer Meals Party.
Mealprep: stocking the freezer

Here are tips for stocking your freezer with precooked and seasoned meats, which gives you more versatility than already-assembled dishes. Includes instructions (but not exact recipes) for twice-baked potatoes, two different ground beef mixes, a teriyaki marinade that you can use on any meat, poultry or seafood (lots of sugar in it, though), and shredded chicken plus broth. Also has a few nifty tricks for neater packaging.

ingredient prep, + why i like it better than meal prep

For the past several months, I’ve gotten into the habit of ingredient prep. This works really well for me! It’s less labor-intensive on the front end, and more flexible at go-time! (I was originally inspired by this post by Mel Joulwan at Well Fed.)

Mealprep from Pioneer Woman

Here’s Pioneer Woman’s freezer cooking post. Not a lot of healthy stuff on the list, but I do love her tip for grilling whole chicken breasts and freezing them to have on hand for dozens of uses. I count about 11 main-dish recipes on her list, skipping the carb-laden ones.

Mealprep: chicken breasts
I also like this method for an easy way to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts, from Small Home Big Start.
Mealprep from New Leaf Wellness

Eight healthy freezer crockpot meals in 75 minutes, from New Leaf Wellness. Well, really four different meals, double batch of each. Beef Roast and Carrots – Chicken Fajitas – Mexican Chicken Soup – Garden Veggie Soup with Ground Beef.

Mealprep shopping lists

10 meals in 1 hour – super organized and detailed; even includes shopping list! Really just five recipes; double batch of each. Honey Lemon Garlic Chicken –  London Broil – Quick Taco Soup – Orange Glazed Pork Chops – Creamy Italian Chicken

Mealprep - more shopping lists

10 meals in 1 hour, take 2; the no-bake version; includes five warm weather recipes that are cooked either on the grill or in the crockpot—no oven required!

More about the method…

Here are a couple resources that aren’t recipe lists, but more of a how-to go about mealprep and make it work for you.

From Mealime: Meal Planning: The Definitive Guide to Planning Your Meals Stress-Free. This is an exhaustive collection with tons of tips — how to plan, how to shop, how to cook, etc.

Mealprep - the non-planned approach

A planned/non-planned approach. No recipes here, but some pointers for stocking your freezer with ready-to-go meat and cheese portions, then how to plan meals the weekend or night before, taking into account your schedule, the weather, and what’s in your fridge that needs to be used up.

 

And here are a few ingredients to have pre-cooked and ready in the freezer:

And a few things to know about food safety and quality:
Mealprep: freezer recipes

Keeping a rotisserie chicken SAFELY warm for a few hours

how-to-keep-a-rotisserie-chicken-warm-500x440

I was looking this info up for myself; thought it was worth posting here.

What to do when you’ve bought a whole roasted chicken, still warm, but dinner doesn’t start for an hour or more? Even putting it in a low oven is going to dry it out — and they usually don’t start out all that great. Putting it in the fridge requires more oven time to warm it back up, which will also dry it out. But is it safe to leave them out?

Here’s what I found on a forum thread:

Original question: Dinner is about 1.5 hours away. The chicken was warm when I purchased it.

Normally, I buy earlier in the day and just stick it in the fridge. This time, though, it seems that it would be better to try to keep it warm. I keep picturing it lingering too long in the “bacteria growth” temp zone considering it won’t be in the fridge very long before I pull it out to start reheating.

Is my thinking off? If it’s okay to keep it warm, what’s the best temp for the oven?

Answer 1: I just leave mine on the counter until dinnertime. Then I cut it into quarters, stick it on a cookie sheet and reheat in the oven at 350 F. I’ve been doing this for years and we’re all still kicking.

Answer 2: It will be fine. It needs to sit out for a minimum of 2+ hours before you have to worry about getting sick.

Answer 3: Actually, you have 4 hours in the “temperature danger zone” from 40° to 140°F. If your store keeps the chicken at or above 140°, you have 4 hours after it is removed from the heater before it is considered unsafe. These are the numbers I was taught at culinary school and have followed without issue since.

Reply from original poster: Thank you all very much! Dinner was delicious! 

And a professional chef on another forum says:

Remember that the temperature danger zone is 40 to 140 F. When you buy a rotisserie chicken, it is being held at a higher temperature than that and they package them as such that they try to keep them warm for a decent amount of time. Then after that, once it drops to 140, it takes time for all those little buggies to grow, get married, and reproduce. The government states [the safe zone is] 4 hours to pass through the temperature danger zone. Add that to the 45-1 hour that it will take the bird to drop to 140, if left in packaging and considering the ambient room temp., and you have a considerable time before it becomes a microbe bomb. Of course, I probably wouldn’t try to stretch it that long but 1-2 hours, following government safety standards, should be more than safe.

So, I tried it. I kept two rotisserie chickens in a tote bag on the counter, with a folded dishtowel below (to prevent heatsink from my granite countertop; if you have wood or laminate counters, no need for this). I also took one of those big flat insulated foil-looking bags and folded it over the top of the closed chicken packages, then clothes-pinned the top of the tote bag shut. It sat for about an hour and a half before dinner.

Result? The temperature was a bit on the lukewarm side. It would have been better with a bit of oven time, I think. Although the breast was dry, and oven time would have made this worse. Maybe oven time sealed up with some extra chicken broth.
As for intestinal problems, that was three days ago, and we’re all good here!

Reheating rotisserie chicken

I later found this info on a forum comment on Chowhound:

Buy a Costco rotisserie chicken, the paler the better. Chill overnight.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a rectangular baking pan place sliced carrots, whole garlic cloves (still in their “sleeves”), and very thinly sliced potatoes; drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper: put in the oven for 10 minutes.

Place COLD chicken atop vegetables and drizzle the chicken drippings from the bottom of the container over the chicken and vegetables; place in oven and cook until the chicken is crisp on the outside, about 25 minutes.

The chicken will be crisp on the outside and moist inside. The garlic will be roasted and is delicious spread onto bread slices. The vegetables will have been infused with the chicken drippings.

I tried this method, with a few changes. I cut the chicken up into two whole-leg sections (thigh and drumstick still attached), and the breast as one whole section. (I discarded the wings because they were overcooked, and put the rest of bones in the freezer for future chicken stock.) I put the legs and breast over sliced carrots (didn’t have the other items on hand). Because it was in smaller pieces, it didn’t need nearly as much time. The skin crisped up nicely and the dark meat was pretty good, but the breast was dry.

I think it’s probably impossible to get moist breast meat from a rotisserie chicken unless you eat it fresh out of the oven at the store. But you can still use this meat for recipes that bring some moisture to the party: chicken enchiladas or mayo-based chicken salad (have you tried my orange-cranberry chicken salad?), for example.

photo credit: terren in Virginia via photopin cc

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Quick, easy buffalo chicken quesadillas with avocado

buffalo-chicken-quesadillas_large
image and recipe inspiration from halfhourmeals.com

This is one of my go-to recipes when I realize too late in the day that I haven’t planned dinner. (AND it’s one my husband calls restaurant-worthy!) I love it because it’s a few simple things you can throw together and have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less. Also, there’s very little measuring involved.

I pick up some grilled chicken from the grocery store deli, grab an avocado and some appropriate cheese if I don’t already have some at home. Tortillas and hot sauce are usually in my fridge. Butter: always!

For the chicken, you can use any already-cooked chicken you have on hand or can easily obtain. Grilled, roasted, whatever! Tear it apart with your hands; this lets you find and dispose of any parts that are overdone and chewy. It also creates a nice, uneven surface for the sauce to cling to. Or you can use already shredded chicken, if that’s what you have on hand.

Quick easy buffalo chicken quesadillas

two small chicken breasts and one thigh, already cooked
1 T. butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
3-4 T. hot sauce (I like Cholula Chipotle)
1/2 avocado
4 flour tortillas, fajita size (6 to 7″)
4-5 oz. queso fresco or Monterrey Jack, shredded

Put the 1 T. butter and the hot sauce in a small skillet over medium-low heat. While it melts, tear the chicken apart and slice the half avocado thinly. Once the butter is melted, stir it around to mix in the hot sauce, then add the chicken to the pan and toss lightly to coat. If you still need to finish your prep, turn the heat under the chicken mixture a little lower.

Put a large skillet on another burner, and turn the heat to just-under-medium. Let this heat up while you assemble the quesadilla.

Lay one tortilla on a cutting board or edgeless cookie sheet. Sprinkle about one fourth of the cheese on it; top with half of the avocado slices (1/4 of the avocado), then scatter half of the chicken on top of that. Sprinkle over this another fourth of the cheese, and top with a second tortilla. Press it down lightly, and if any chicken bits fall out, tuck them back in.

Lightly coat the large skillet with butter — just enough for the size tortilla you’re using. Carefully slide the quesadilla onto the hot skillet, and cook for a few minutes, till the color on the underside is GBD. (Golden brown and delicious!) Turn it over and heat the second side likewise.

Remove to a cutting board, and repeat the process for the other half of the ingredients.

When both quesadillas are done, slice them into sixths. (A rolling pizza cutter works nicely.) Serve with sour cream (and/or plain yogurt) and salsa on the side.

Serves 3 to 4.

Here are the nutrition facts, based on 3 servings per recipe, via myfitnesspal.com:

Nutrition Facts
Servings 3.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 455
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 23 g 35 %
Saturated Fat 11 g 56 %
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 89 mg 30 %
Sodium 871 mg 36 %
Potassium 294 mg 8 %
Total Carbohydrate 27 g 9 %
Dietary Fiber 19 g 75 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 36 g 71 %

Based on this recipe from HalfHourMeals.