Oh Mon Dieu! C’est Poulet à la Provençale!

I made chicken Provençal for dinner tonight and it was a smash hit! If I hadn’t stuffed myself on the actual dinner, I’d have licked the baking dish clean, too! Oh sweet baby jesus! This is the best chicken I’ve ever tasted! How the hell have I gone my whole life not knowing this beautiful melody of flavors on my palette?!

Chicken5

Let me start out by saying how easy this is to make, and I really mean that! The hardest part of making it is the basting. It’s simple and bursting with flavor. I served it over a bed of plain polenta, with chunks of baguette on the side to mop up the sauce with.

Chicken2

I don’t normally enjoy dark meat chicken, but I just don’t think this dish would be the same with breasts. The dark meat works so well and it doesn’t come out feeling overly greasy and yucky, even though this dish is heavy on the oil, because the skin gets crispy.

Chicken4

The next time I make this, I want to try it with Cornish game hens. I bet this would work fantastically with them! I think splitting them down the back and laying them flat in the pan would keep them from drying out on one side while staying soggy on the other. Don’t be surprised if you see me post an update with Cornish game hens used in this recipe.

Chicken1

There is one thing I’d like to make note of about this recipe: Don’t be afraid to use extra of ANYTHING (except the flour.) If it doesn’t look right, add more. If your liquid has evaporated off halfway through the roasting time, add more. Consider any amounts listed in this recipe as mere guidelines. It’s better to err on the side of more rather than less. Trust me!

Ingredients:
Flour, for dredging
Salt and pepper
AT LEAST 2 Tbsp herbes de Provence
olive oil
vermouth
one head of garlic
2-3 medium to large shallots
1 preserved lemon
1 fresh lemon
4-6 chicken leg quarters

Directions:
1) Preheat your oven to 425F.
2) Pat your chicken pieces dry if they seem wet. Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge it in flour and pat/brush off any excess. You want your chicken lightly coated with it. Too much flour will leave you with a raw flour taste at the end.
3) Peel all the cloves from your head of garlic. You can chop the larger cloves in half if you’d like.
4) Quarter your shallots and your preserved lemon.
5) Drizzle olive oil in your oversized baking dish or large roasting pan and tilt it around until the oil has completely covered the bottom of the dish. Try to use a pan or dish that is deep. If you can’t, a baking sheet (with raised sides) will work, but please note that the lower the sides of your dish are, the more liquid will evaporate.
6) Place your chicken pieces skin side down in your baking dish, leaving room between them. Do not crowd the chicken, or your skin will not get crispy. Place your lemon slices around the chicken on the outside edge of the dish, and tuck your cloves of garlic and shallots around, between, and slightly under your chicken pieces.
7) Season your chicken liberally with herbes de Provence.
8) Gently pour the vermouth along the edge of the dish, so as to not rinse the herbs off the top of your chicken. You want to put enough vermouth in that you have about a half-inch to an inch of vermouth.
9) Bake for 1 hour total, basting every 15 minutes, and flipping the chicken pieces at the 30 minute mark. When you flip the chicken, you’ll want to add more herbes de Provence to the top of the chicken.

Squeeze a little fresh lemon juice over your chicken pieces and serve the chicken over a bed of polenta with chunks of baguette to sop up the sauce with.

Chicken Lazone! Mama Mia!

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This stuff is so damn good! I’ve made it a few times, and my husband literally licks his plate clean every single time I do! He can’t get enough of it! He will eat himself sick if I don’t stop him. You’re going to love it too, once you make it.

Ingredients:
Approximately 2 lbs chicken breast tenders, or breasts cut into strips
4 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup butter, divided
3 cups real, heavy cream (36% fat or higher)
1 box spaghetti

Directions:
1) Start a pot of salted water on the stove for your pasta.
2) Mix all your spices in a pie plate. Save 1 teaspoon of this mixture for later.
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3) Coat half of your chicken strips in the spice mixture. I like to push the spices to one side of the plate, and stack the spice-coated chicken strips on the other.IMG_37394) Check your pot of water. It’s probably either close to boiling or is boiling by now. Add your pasta and stir it well.
5) Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. When the skillet is hot, add dollop of butter (around a tablespoon, or so,) and make sure it coats the bottom of the skillet.
6) Lay out the chicken in the buttered skillet and let it pan-fry for 3-4 minutes.
IMG_37437) Flip the chicken pieces and add another tablespoon of butter, if necessary.
IMG_37448) After about 4 minutes on the second side, remove the chicken pieces to a plate and keep warm. Repeat this process with the second half of your chicken strips.
9) When you’ve pan-fried all of your chicken, melt another tablespoon of butter in your skillet, and add your reserved spice mixture. With a wire whisk, combine the spices well with the butter and cook for about 30 seconds.
IMG_37458) Add the cream to your skillet and whisk it well to incorporate the spices and pan scrapings into the cream.
IMG_37469) Bring your cream to a boil and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Cook until the cream is thickened. This should happen around the time your spaghetti is finished.
10) When your spaghetti is al dente, drain it, return it to the put, and stir in 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Make sure your pasta is well coated with butter, and cover with a lid. Check your cream. When it is thick, it’s ready.
11) Serve the chicken over a bed of spaghetti, drenched in the cream sauce.

Enjoy! This is so delicious!

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope everyone’s Father’s Day was amazing! Ours went well. We had a very laid-back day, sitting around the house playing video games, watching TV and just chilling. I made the Italian chicken I was talking about yesterday, and as promised, I have a photo. It was delicious! I highly recommend this because it’s so fantastically easy and tastes amazing.

Italian Chicken

Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind. Our kiddo is in summer school, so he has to be up bright and early to catch the bus, and hubby dearest has work. Thankfully, I spent this weekend catching up on some of the housework that I flooded myself with this past week, so this next week shouldn’t be nearly as hard, especially considering I’m not gearing up for anymore birthdays or holidays now.

Well, except for the 4th of July, but that’s nothing! I always do something simple, kind of picnic-y, but we still have to figure out where we’re going to go to watch fireworks around here. It’s gotten harder to find good fireworks shows over the last few years, because with our extreme and intense drought, I think the cities are scared to shoot off big huge tubes of flaming gunpowder. You can’t blame them, though! It would be pretty messed up if someone’s neighborhood burned down because of 4th of July celebrations!

Saturdays are for Relaxation…

It’s too bad I never got that memo! I’ve been doing stuff since I woke up at 7 this morning. It’s probably because I conked out early last night, thanks to a little helping hand from my husband, and two friends known as Diclofenac and Flexeril. I was a hot mess yesterday. I think the entire week of doing all sorts of stuff for hubby’s birthday caught up with me finally, and yesterday was the day of reckoning.

Anyway, this morning I woke up ready to tackle everything, which made my husband grumpy, since I dragged him out of the sheets at 7:30 to help me with it. I did try to pacify him with a nice mocha latte though, and I think that helped make him a little more cheerful! He grumbled quite a bit about how early it was and now that we’re done running around town, he’s snuck off to the bedroom for a nap.

I was perusing his aunt’s blog for recipes again the other day, and found a link to one for Pork Fricassée, so I have that marinating right now in my refrigerator. I’m hoping his aunt pops into Google chat sometime in the next 48 hours, because she made it with polenta, according to her blog, and I have no clue how to properly make polenta the way she shows it. It looks like a bed of mashed potatoes with the Pork Fricassée on top, but all the recipes I find for this polenta I have are telling me to slice it and fry it, and I’m getting rather confused. I think that she may have access to dry polenta in a box, and all I can find is polenta in a tube!

Father’s Day is tomorrow. I’m planning to make something I haven’t made in a while. Growing up, my mom had this quick and super-easy way she’d make chicken that we always loved, but for some reason I rarely make it, even though I’m crazy about it. You just take one or two bottles of cheap Italian dressing (depending on how much chicken you’re making,) squeeze the oil out of them, and then marinate some chicken pieces in that for at least 30 minutes. When you’re ready to cook it, you bake them in a 350° oven. I like to lay them out in the pan or baking dish and pour the Italian dressing over them, and then sprinkle the chicken pieces with garlic powder before baking. We always serve this with baked potatoes, and when the chicken is done cooking, we take the marinade/dressing that baked with it, and thicken it with a little cornstarch and use it as a gravy. It’s delicious! I’m crazy about it! I’ll remember to post a picture tomorrow with it, so you get an idea how fantastic it looks! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Gooey, Cheesy, Creamy Deliciousness!

Want another super-easy crock pot recipe? I thought so!

This one is courtesy of Progresso. It’s my favorite chicken burrito recipe, and it’s so freakin’ easy to make, yet turns out so amazing that you’ll shock even yourself at your slow cooker skills!

Here’s what it looked like when I made it for the first time a couple of years ago.

Cheesy Chicken Sour Cream BurritosJust as an FYI, those are home-pickled jalapeños and homemade salsa all from my garden. I miss having a garden!

Anyway, like I always do, I’ve altered this recipe slightly. I add a spoonful of chicken base and some taco seasoning. I usually do this by pouring the can of cheese sauce into a mixing bowl and adding those two ingredients, and then whisking them until they’re well combined, before dumping them over the chicken. I also add nacho jalapeño slices (the pickled jalapeños in the jar) to the sauce, before turning on the heat. After that, it’s just a matter of following the recipe. You can, of course, add more cheddar cheese at the end, than what the recipe calls for, but the better idea would be to buy extra-sharp, so you get that flavor without the extra calories and fat.

Enjoy! This really is an amazing recipe!

 

Omnivores Anonymous

I’ll eat nearly anything. There are very few things that I won’t eat, and most of them I’ve at least tried before deciding they’re disgusting and will never go in my mouth again. I like to pride myself on not being a picky eater. The list is slim on my no-go’s.

Lamb and sheep are one meat I can’t stand. I’ve tried so very hard to like it. I’ve made it a few times, and I just can’t get over the flavor of the meat. My husband has loved it every time I’ve made it, but I suppose it’s an acquired taste, and it’s one that no matter how hard and desperately I try to like it, I hate it. I tell him that it must be the American in me. Europeans don’t eat as much beef and pork as we Americans do, and they eat way more meats like sheep than we do. So, it’s only natural that he’d prefer lamb to beef.

One thing we’re on the same page about is red wines. Neither one of us like them. To me they are thick and bitter and just plain vile. I’m quite partial to a nice rosé, which is sweet and fruity, but reds are horrible! I had a bottle of Merlot once, and decided I’d never drink red wine again.

As far as my husband’s tastes go, he has only a couple of things he can’t stand.

Eggs. I have no idea why he hates eggs so much, but if you manage to sneak one into his food and it makes it into his mouth, he’ll gag and practically throw up over it. He can’t stand the way they smell while cooking, either.

My husband also hates liver. Any liver is a no-go for him. I keep threatening to make calf liver and onions and he says he will leave the house for the evening if I do. Liver turns him off so much. I love liver, and living with someone who can’t stand it means I haven’t eaten a good liver dinner in years!

Today, since my hubby’s poor tummy has been giving him fits, I’m making a delicious chicken soup. I boiled the chicken this morning and made the broth, so now I’ve pulled all the meat off the bones and added the veggies and egg noodles to the broth. When that’s finished cooking, I’ll add in a can of condensed cream of chicken soup (we like our soups thicker,) and we’ll have ranch rolls with it for dinner. I’m excited! There isn’t really a recipe for my chicken soup, as it’s something I just grew up learning to make from my mother. If I had one, I’d post it, but it’s too hard to figure out exactly how much of everything I put in.

Chicken Soup

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.

Anna’s Chicken Paprika in the Crock Pot

On these hot summer days, I’m a huge fan of crock pot recipes because I don’t have to heat my whole house in order to fix a delicious dinner. I love simple, yet delicious, recipes that I can throw in my slow cooker and forget about until dinnertime.

Chicken paprika is a favorite meal in our house. It’s mildly spicy with a creamy sauce and tastes delightful even as leftovers (assuming any makes it that far!)

Ingredients you will need:
Package of dark meat chicken pieces, anywhere from 1-3 lbs, depending on how many mouths you want to feed or how much chicken you want (we only use ~1 1/2 lbs.)
32 oz. Chicken broth or stock (go organic, low sodium if you can!)
4 large Roma tomatoes (once again, organic is the best option!)
1 large yellow onion (organic!)
1 3/4 TBSP Paprika
1/4 TBSP Cayenne
(You can switch this out for hot/Hungarian paprika, if you can find it. Just use 2 TBSP of the hot paprika.)
1 TSP salt
16 oz. sour cream (say it with me, “ORGANIC!” If you can’t get organic, at least get hormone-free.)
2 TBSP cornstarch
Package of egg noodles

Let’s make it, now!

First off, dice your onion and tomatoes. Take the skin off the chicken pieces, and toss them into your slow cooker. Add in your onion and tomatoes, and follow up with the spices and salt. Pour your broth over all of this, stir to incorporate the spices as much as possible, and then place the lid on your cooker.

Cook on low for at least 6 hours, but ideally 8 if you can. You may stir every now and then, but be warned that stirring often later in the cooking time will result in the chicken separating from the bones, and you may end up with gristle floating freely in your sauce.

When you are almost ready to serve this, start a pot of salted water on the stove for your egg noodles. Boil them and drain as you’re completing the final steps for the chicken.

GENTLY remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker with tongs. Place them on a plate and put them somewhere they’ll stay warm while you finish the sauce. Turn your slow cooker up to high. Mix the cornstarch into the sour cream with a small whisk or fork. Make sure it’s well combined. Once the cornstarch and sour cream are mixed together, add this to your sauce in the slow cooker and whisk until all of the sour cream is well-incorporated into your sauce. It should thicken slightly. Add the chicken pieces back into the sauce, stir it gently to coat them, and let this all sit to thicken while you finish the noodles.

Once you’ve cooked and drained your noodles, arrange them as a bed on your plate and ladle the chicken and sauce over them.

Serve with your favorite vegetable. I like peas myself, but almost anything works with this dish!

(Note: I don’t currently have pictures of this dish, but I’ll update this post once I do!)