Chicken Kiev… Land of Liz style.

Every year I make the same New Years resolution; Lose weight and get fit.  I search through my back issues of Cooking Light magazine and compile an arsenal of recipes that are guaranteed to get me back to my “before I had the children” weight. With grocery list in hand I march confidently into the grocery store ready to conquer the food world. I just know THIS will be the year I fit back in my favorite jeans (the ones at the back of the closet, covered in a layer of dust).

When my cart is full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy snacks I stroll up to the checkout counter. As I put my groceries on the conveyor belt, I have this fantasy that the checker and the other housewives around me are admiring just how healthy my family must be with all of this wonderful food in the house. I can just tell they are thinking “What a good wife and mother she must be!” To add to this delusion, I even browse through a fitness magazine before paying my bill. I walk out of the store feeling very good about myself and my new healthy lifestyle.

Then it happens….about a week after bingeing on carrots, spinach, fiber muffins and Special K cereal I hear a little voice calling from inside the fridge. It says to me “Psst…Liz….come here. I miss you! Please don’t abandon me. Come back!”.  It is the sweet voice of my dear friend, butter. I curse The Land O Lakes Indian and swear she is an evil little temptress. One thing leads to another and I come up with a recipe like this: Chicken Kiev, Land of Liz style.

The Betty Crocker cookbook has a basic recipe for Chicken Kiev that involves parsley and tarragon but, I didn’t have those things. I improvised this recipe and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Hubby even said it was ‘blog worthy’! It’s a little more labor intensive than some of my other recipes but it’s totally worth it. I’d be proud to make this meal for guests.

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • all purpose flour
  • seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts (or you can go through the trouble of pounding regular chicken breasts with a mallet…I’m too lazy for that)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • two cloves minced garlic
  • 12 basil leaves, minced
  • two mozzarella string cheese sticks (or, if you want to get fancy….use fresh mozzarella)
  • salt and pepper

Step 1:  Get out three shallow bowls. In the first bowl mix eggs and 1 tbsp water. In the second, put in the bread crumbs. I the third, mix flour and seasoned salt.

Step 2: Cut butter into quarters, lengthwise and then in half (you’ll have 8 little rectangles of lovely butter). Do the same with the mozzarella cheese sticks.

Step 3: place a little bit of the minced garlic, basil, 1 butter rectangle and one of the pieces of mozzarella into the center of the chicken breast and roll it up into a tight little bundle.

Step 4: Dredge chicken roll in flour, then dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, back in the egg again and one more time in the bread crumbs. Got that? The double dip in the crumbs makes for an extra crispy crust.  Repeat steps 3 and four until all six chicken breasts are rolled.

Step 5: Heat up oil in a frying pan and fry up the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes (or until all sides are browned).

Step 6: Place all six rolls in a baking dish and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through). Pour any drippings over the top when serving. You don’t want to waste any of that fabulous butter. It’s a sin!

Mmmm.... look at that glorious butter and cheese! When I fall off the wagon, I fall HARD!

Enjoy….you can always return to the diet the next day!

My new favorite comfort food

 A monster plague hit the Land of Liz this week but I think I have managed to wipe it out with my mad cleaning skills and a huge bottle of generic Lysol. The kingdom was as sterile as an operating room and  I threatened to serve our meals on the floor just to prove it.

Everything was looking up and then… *doom music*… the big snow arrived.   Poor Hubby was trapped at work for the night. Bean and Peanut were restless after spending a full week convalescing. The house was littered with toys again and I was about to tear my hair out from a serious case of cabin fever.

In times of great stress I turn to my old pal, comfort food. I had no real menu planned for the evening so I took the rare opportunity to experiment in the kitchen. I am so very glad that I did!

I took a quick inventory of my pantry and fridge and created a new comfort food favorite.

Marsala Cream Chicken

half of a small onion, chopped

two carrots, chopped (add as many veggies as you like…I just happened to have carrots on hand)

3 tbs butter

1/4 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp flour

4 tbsp water

Salt & Pepper to taste

two fully cooked chicken breasts, cubed

1. Melt three tablespoons butter in a sauce pan. Add onion and carrots and sautee for 5 minutes  on medium high heat

2. Add Marsala and chicken stock and boil for 10 minutes (or until carrots are tender)

3. Reduce heat to low and add cream. 

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Mix flour and water together and add enough to cream mixture to thicken up your sauce. It should cling to your spoon like an alfredo sauce.

6. Add cubed chicken and simmer for an additional  5 minutes.

I served this over buttermilk biscuits with a bit of seasoned salt. I think it would be great over egg noodles or toast points too.  Oh who am I kidding?  This would be great over just about anything. It’s cream sauce for goodness sake!

By the way…I apologize for not posting any pictures. In my cleaning frenzy I managed to lose my camera charger.

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. Cream sauces and I are going to have to part ways for a bit. I’m beginning to jiggle.

The Chicken Noodle Soup Story

Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of my first date with Hubby. In honor of this, I feel it only fitting to embarrass the heck out of him with a story he will never live down. Don’t worry, I told him I’d be doing this. There will be an 11th anniversary. 🙂

 I now present the Chicken Noodle Soup Story.

Once upon a time, when Hubby and I were newlyweds, he came down with a nasty head cold. The poor guy was laid out on the couch for two days straight. He was miserable. So, I did what any good little foodie-wife would do: I decided to cure him with home cookin’.

My good friend Shell gave me a recipe for Chicken Noodle soup that she swore would “cure what ails ya”. I just knew this would be the miracle cure my suffering Hubby needed.

I put on my Super Wife cape, ran out to the grocery store and bought the necessary ingredients. I made the stock from scratch. I chopped the veggies into perfect little bite-sized pieces. I shredded the chicken by hand. Believe me…this was not your average chicken noodle soup with average ingredients. The love of a good woman was cooking in that pot! And there was a LOT of love because this recipe yields enough soup for a small army. I had a vat of chicken noodle soup by the time it was done.

In all honesty, it was not a difficult soup to make but I was darn proud of myself for going the distance and not just opening a can of Campbell’s (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I patted myself on the back one last time and presented my dearest love with a bowl full of my culinary cure.

I placed the bowl on the coffee table beside him, placed my cool hand to his feverish forehead, kissed his brow and whispered softly “Your dinner is ready, honey.”

My darling, glassy-eyed husband looked up at me and said “Thanks babe but, I’m really not a soup guy.”

To this day I swear that he is the luckiest man on earth because he didn’t wind up wearing that bowl full of soup. Oh well! I still love the guy with all of my heart (despite our culinary differences). I now make soup for myself or to share with friends. In fact, I’m making it this afternoon while Bean is in school and will probably deliver some to a neighbor (Frances, that means you….if you’re reading). This soup also freezes really well so I’ll have plenty for the upcoming winter months.

Shell’s Chicken Noodle Soup: aka Newlywed Soup

Please note: I don’t have exact measurements for this soup (it’s kind of a ‘to your taste’ recipe) AND the orignal recipe calls for dumplings. I’m not a fan of dumplings so I’m not including them. It’s my blog…I can do that!

1 whole chicken

1 bag frozen peas

celery

carrots

chives

bag of egg noodles

chicken seasoning

2-3 chicken bouillon cubes

In a large pot (REALLY LARGE), place whole chicken and cover with water. Add chicken seasonings (without really measuring, I’d say a good 10-15 shakes) Shell’s exact instructions were “use lots!”. Add the bouillon cubes, cover and bring to a boil for 15-20 minutes. Flip the chicken once or twice while boiling.

While the chicken is cooking away, cut up veggies into small pieces.

After the chicken has boiled, remove it from the pot and let it cool. Keep the liquid simmering in the pot. Once the chicken is cool to the touch, pick off as much meat as possible and cut into bite sized pieces (or shred…it’s your choice. Don’t you just love that freedom? God bless America.).  Throw all that meat back into the pot. Add veggies and egg noodles and return to a boil for about 10 minutes. Reduce to a simmer and cook until veggies are tender (about another 20 minutes).

And there you have it….fabulous chicken noodle soup. Serve it up for someone you love. Just make sure that the one you love is a ‘soup guy’ before you go to the trouble. 🙂

The Chicken Chronicles (part 1.) Orange Chicken Piccata

In my quest to find affordable and healthy food for my family, it has become abundantly clear to me that chicken is a budget life saver!

I have a love/hate relationship with poultry. When I was a teenager my mom got on a health kick and cooked chicken and turkey for, what seemed like, a month straight. (Sorry to reveal our dark family secret, Mom). After that (teenage rebel that I was) I decided to become a vegetarian. It lasted for six years. Now that I’m a responsible, tax paying adult with children of my own…I see the value and versatility of our fine feathered friends (Wow.. Holy alliteration, Batman!)  This week I will magically be transforming two fryer chickens into four completely different meals. Chicken…what an amazing protein!!!!

Before I get to the many uses of fryer chickens, I will first post my recipe for Orange Chicken Piccata. I found this recipe in the  August 2008 issue of Cuisine at Home magazine.  Eventually, I will be posting pictures of these dishes but…I still can’t find my camera charger. Organization is on my 2011 resolutions list…so is learning how to use punctuation properly!

Traditional Chicken Piccata is made with lemons and capers. Both of these items register pretty high on Hubby’s “Yuck” scale. This unique recipe calls for oranges and toasted, slivered almonds. How can you go wrong with a combo like that?

Orange Chicken Piccata:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup fresh orange juice

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 t. Dijon mustard

4 T cold unsalted butter, cubed

4 thin orange slices, halved

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 T minced fresh parsley

First, cut each breast in half lengthwise. Cover with plastic wrap and  pound until 1/4″ thickness. Pounding out chicken can be quite therapeutic especially when your oldest child is on the kitchen floor, protesting “I don’t WANT chicken, Mommy!”

Remove plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper

Dredge chicken in flour. Saute cutlets in oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip and saute for two more minutes. Remove cutlets from pan and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with juice, wine and mustard. This is my favorite part! My kitchen smelled so good at this point, I was ready to start chewing on the countertops. Simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

Whisk in butter until melted. Add orange slices and return cutlets to pan to heat through.

Garnish with almonds and parsley.

I was pretty happy with this meal. Unfortunately, I did not have Dijon mustard in my fridge so I substituted with honey-mustard salad dressing. It didn’t add as much flavor as Dijon would have but it was still pretty tasty!  Hubby liked it too! Bean decided to go vegetarian for the night and only ate side dishes. He gets his rebellious side from me!