Parmesan Chicken with Arugula Salad a.k.a Pounded Chicken

My husband is what I like to call a chicken snob.  His definition of a gourmet chicken dinner is what he has dubbed “pounded chicken.”  In other words, the chicken’s edible-ness factor increases by 1000% if I take a meat mallet to it.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a chicken breast dinner and his feedback is, “You know what would make this even better…if you pounded the chicken.”   Secretly, I’ll admit that he is probably right, but I’m usually too lazy or too hurried to take the extra step.   But, believe me when I say you must pound the chicken in this dish.  It’s totally worth the extra step.

This chicken is everything you want in comfort food, yet still manages to feel light because of the fresh arugula salad piled on top.  I usually make this with a simple side of fresh berries and call it good.   It’s easy enough to do on a weeknight, but has the presentation elegant enough for a much fancier meal.  You might just be making pounded chicken a lot more often!

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Parmesan Chicken with Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

2 eggs beaten

1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for garnish

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (or cornmeal)

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp grape seed oil

3 cups arugula

1/4 cup olive oil

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 Tbsp sugar

Directions

Pound the chicken breasts thin between two pieces of parchment paper or in a gallon size Ziploc.  Combine grated parmesan, almond meal, bread crumbs and salt and pepper in a shallow dish.  Heat butter and grape seed oil in a large skillet.  Dip chicken in egg mixture and the coat in the crumb mixture.  Fry in the butter and oil until crispy and cooked through (about 7 minutes per side).  Set aside.

Combine olive oil, lemon and sugar and whisk to combine.  Pour over the arugula and toss to coat

To serve top one chicken breast with arugula and garnish with additional parmesan shavings.

 

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Cilantro Lime Chicken with Southwestern Quinoa

Last week it was absolutely roasting in the Midwest.  Our relatively mild summer was slammed with a 90 degree finale.  I was meal planning for the week and trying to come up with ideas that required little indoor cooking.  I had made this chicken and quinoa salad earlier in the summer and my mom has been bothering me to remake it ever since.   Since the recipe requires almost no indoor cooking, it was the perfect dish to make in the oppressive heat.

The chicken portion of this dish is marinated in a mixture of fresh cilantro, lime and various spices, and because it is cut in small pieces and grilled as a kabob, every bite is packed with flavor.  The quinoa salad is the perfect accompaniment to the chicken and has a fresh bright flavor from tomatoes, green onions and fresh cilantro and an added creaminess from black beans.  A winning combination if you ask me!

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I should also note that I made zero changes to this recipe.  This almost never happens to me.  My friends laugh at me because I usually look at a recipe and think of things I can add or substitute to make the recipe better.  The flavors of this recipe, however, are so well balanced that they speak for themselves.

Start by blending cilantro, spices, oil and lime juice for the marinade.  Chop 2 pounds of chicken breast into bite size pieces and pour the marinade over chicken.  Allow to marinade for  at least four hours.  I did this step in the morning and let the chicken marinade all day.

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Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.   Let it cool slightly and then mix in chopped tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and black beans.  Whisk together lime juice, olive oil and several spices to create a dressing for the salad.  Pour over the quinoa while still slightly warm and toss everything together.  This salad can be served at room temperature or cold.

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Before serving, place several pieces of chicken on each skewer.  Grill the kabobs for 15 minutes on medium high until cooked through.  Serve warm over the quinoa.

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Cilantro Lime Chicken with Southwestern Quinoa (from My Life as a Mrs)

Ingredients:

For the Cilantro Lime Chicken:
2 pounds (about) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed into 1 1/2″ cubes
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 limes juices (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup extra light olive oil (or other mild flavored oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

For the Southwestern Quinoa Salad:
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a mesh strainer
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1/4 cup extra light olive oil
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions (scallions), finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Directions: 
  Cube the chicken and place in a gallon size ziplock bag.  Blend together the garlic, cilantro, oil, salt and pepper together until smooth.  Pour over the chicken and marinate for at least four hours.
  Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, using chicken broth instead of water.  Whisk together the lime juice, oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne and salt.  Set aside.   Add the tomatoes, green onions, black beans and cilantro to the quinoa. Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix all ingredients together.  Serve room temperature or cold.
  Place 4-5 pieces of chicken on each kabob.  Grill for about 7 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Serve on top of the quinoa.

Gluten Free Cajun Chicken and Rice

By Megan 

There was a night a few weeks ago that I spontaneously invited one of the army couples we know over for dinner.  I usually invite people over before I even know if I can make a recipe stretch from 2 to 4 servings, but hey it keeps life exciting right!?  This particular recipe was very forgiving as most rice recipes are as far as serving sizes; it made my spontaneous invitation a breeze to accommodate.  Plus it was delicious! So delicious, in fact, that the girl who had come over told me she wanted more of my cajun chicken soon while I was grocery shopping with her today.  I thought this generous compliment warranted me posting the recipe to the blog.  Hope you enjoy!

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The recipe calls for chicken drumsticks and thighs, but since I don’t eat meat and I knew I was serving three other adults I thought it would just be easier to use chicken breasts.  Plus my husband enjoys chicken breasts the most….so I am biased to using them in recipes.  The chicken is sprinkled with cajun seasoning and browned on both sides in an oiled skillet.

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Set aside the chicken to rest and deglaze the skillet with chicken broth.  Add the rice, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, thyme and turmeric.  Allow to cook for just a few minutes and be sure to get all those yummy brown bits off the bottom of the skillet.

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Prepare a 13×9 inch baking dish with some cooking spray, then just simply pour the veggies and rice from the skillet into the baking dish.  Place the browned chicken over the top, cover with foil, and place in the oven to cook for an hour.  So delicious and so easy to tweak to serve a crowd!

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Tip: I used arborio rice.  This rice soaks up all the yummy juices and tastes rich and creamy with hardly any added fat.

Cajun Chicken & Rice:

4 Chicken Drumsticks, skin removed

4 Chicken Thighs, skin removed

2 tsp Cajun Seasoning

3/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Vegetable oil

1 can (14 ounces) chicken broth

1 cup uncooked rice ( more if you want to make the recipe stretch

1 medium green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried Thyme

1/4 tsp. ground turmeric

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat 13×9 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray

2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with cajun seasoning and salt. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8-10 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove from skillet.

3. Add broth to skillet; bring to a boil, scraping brown bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in rice, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, thyme, and turmeric. Pour into prepared baking dish. Place chicken on top. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through.

Rosemary Roasted Chicken

By Megan 

I think I have mentioned before in my other posts that the price of meat has gone up.  I feel as though this is a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen with ingredients you might not be the most comfortable with but that are more affordable than others.  A whole chicken, for instance.  A whole bird tends to intimidate people, but I promise you this recipe will be one of the easiest meals you have ever put together and it will look like you are a skilled culinary chef.  That’s a success in my book!

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Start by allowing your chicken to come close to room temperature; 30-40 minutes before preparation should do the trick.  Be sure to clean out the insides of the bird before seasoning.  Don’t worry, most of the time the chicken is already cleaned out.  Once your chicken is cleaned, drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the bird and sprinkle generously all over with kosher salt and pepper.  Now for the fun part; time to brown your bird.  Heat some oil in a skillet and place your bird in the hot skillet.  In 5 minutes or so flip the bird to the other side. Place the chicken in a baking dish breast-side down and surround with sprigs of fresh Rosemary and Thyme. Stuff more rosemary and Thyme inside the chicken.  So much flavor!

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Doesn’t it look pretty already!?  Now, all there is left to do is cut the veggies and disperse around the chicken.  Be sure to add the chicken broth to the baking dish before putting the chicken in the oven so everything stays juicy and delicious.  The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the chicken to get done!

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Rosemary Roasted Chicken:

1 whole chicken

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

3 Tbs. Olive Oil (1 Tbs. drizzled over bird, 2 Tbs. for the skillet)

3 carrots

2-3 Red Potatoes

1 Fennel Bulb

6 Cloves of Garlic

1 bunch of Thyme

4 sprigs of Rosemary

1/2 cup Chicken broth

1 Shallot

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and begin preparing your bird with seasoning.  Brown your bird in a heated skillet and set aside in a baking dish. Pour chicken broth into hot skillet to deglaze the pan.

2. Surround the bird in the baking dish with Thyme and rosemary sprigs; stuff more inside the bird.  Pour the chicken broth over the bird from the skillet.

3. Cut up all vegetables including the shallot and garlic and surround the bird with the vegetables. Place baking dish in the oven and allow to bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours.