Vanessa's Recipes

Posts tagged ‘Chicken’

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

“Uh, Mom?  Why are you taking pictures of the chicken?” asked my son. 

“I thought I’d blog how I make chicken,” I responded, “so people can see.”

“Then you’ll be doing them a favor, because then everyone will be able to make chicken as awesome as you.”

Isn’t he the sweetest boy?  I should tell you about all the times he was little, and he’d walk past the kitchen and cry out, “EWW!  What smells so bad in here?!” with absolute horror.  So, you know, balance.  Open-mouthed smile

Anyway, this is my son’s favorite “mom-made” chicken dish. 

Start with ordinary chicken.  You can use whatever kind of chicken floats your boat – white meat, dark meat, skinless, skin on, boneless, bone-in – doesn’t matter.  I have about 4 pounds all together in this photo.


Then, the tweaking.  I think, many years ago, I saw a recipe from Kraft for parmesan chicken, and decided to play with it.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile.  There are so many different kinds of marinade sauces out there and you have so many options!  So, you can have chicken on a regular basis but have a different chicken dinner every time simply by changing out the one sauce. 


I confess, I don’t measure.  For roughly 4 lbs of chicken I use 4 blobs of the Miracle Whip.  It’s at least half a cup, I’m sure.


Then I add about a quarter bottle of the marinade sauce.  Perhaps 3-4 oz.


Lastly, I dump in about a quarter cup of parmesan.

I should add, at this point, you could put in whatever herbs and spices your heart desires, if you wanted.  Heck, you could skip the marinade all together and just use the Miracle Whip and the parmesan and add all kinds of  different flavorings – let your imagination run!  Use cayenne for a southwest flavor, or maybe some mustard and honey for a spicy sweet taste – I’ve used mustard instead of the marinade and it turns out really well, too.  I like Gulden’s for that.  A dijon would be cool.  Ooh, even crushed pineapple for a Hawaiian flair!  I hadn’t thought of that before.


Mix it up and glop it on the chicken.  It will be thick, like a paste, so I just use the back of the spoon to kind of smooth it over the pieces. 


As a finishing touch and to help aid browning, I sprinkle some more parmesan over everything, and when I have them on hand, I also sprinkle some sesame seeds over the whole thing too.  Those don’t show up in this image.


But you can see them here!  Golden brown and delicious.  You could also add some chopped nuts, maybe sunflower seeds, almost any kind of herb – rosemary, parsley, lemon or orange zest.


This is great with rice, potatoes, even noodles would go really well with this.  Add a nice salad or vegetable and you’ve got dinner. 

This takes about 10 minutes to slap together, and I bake it at 350 for 2 hours, or 375 for 90 min, you could go 325 for 2 and a half hours, too – it will work with pretty much whatever time you need it to. 

It’s easy, fast, versatile, and budget friendly for the win. 


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> cross posted on my regular blog, Vanessence <

Chicken Chili

Sort of like chili. 


I was experimenting again!  I had some leftover chicken from my Roast Chicken* and was trying to think of something to do with it, that was also low-carb / Atkins friendly. 

Scrounging around in the fridge, I found:

Most of a jar of green taco sauce;
Some sandwich peppers left in the jar, that my husband won’t be eating since he doesn’t take sandwiches in his lunch anymore;
A  bag of frozen mixed vegetables;
A partial bag of frozen yellow squash.

I threw it all together in a skillet, but realized it still needed something.  After my husband got home, we figured that some tomatoes would help.  So I bagged up dinner, stuck it in the fridge and a couple of days later we made it to the store.

I grabbed:

A large can of diced tomatoes;
A medium can of tomato paste;
A package of pre-sliced mushrooms;
A bunch of cilantro.

I tossed everything in my crock pot, and let it simmer overnight.  It actually turned out pretty good!  We had it on low-carb tortillas, but I put it over rice for the kids.  I think it would also go really well over any kind of noodle – spaghetti, macaroni, etc.  I also topped it with some shredded Monterey Jack/Cheddar cheese combo we found at the store. 

So, no beans and no chili sauce or powder, but it still had a chili sort of flavor.  According to my husbandSmile   I got a few leftovers cleared out of the fridge in the process too. 

*Actually, you can use any leftover chicken, or fresh chicken cooked, and cut into small pieces.  Just be sure to remove any remaining skin. 

Tomato Chicken

So, there I stood in the kitchen, staring at the chicken breasts I’d thawed a couple of days ago.  What to do, what to do?

I found: tomatoes that needed to be used soon; a little can of tomato paste; a jar of mayo that needed that last bit used up; and some mozzarella cheese that wasn’t so great for snacking but would be good for cooking.

This is what I came up with.


I mixed the tomato paste with some mayo, roughly equal parts, maybe more mayo than tomato paste.  Added some cream, just a splash to make mixing easier.  To that I added a hint of garlic, some parsley, and some basil.  I spooned that over the  chicken, put slices of tomato on top, topped that with slices of mozzarella, and then generously topped the whole thing off with parmesan. 

It turned out pretty well.  I think you could substitute the mayo with cottage cheese, ricotta, even sour cream.  I just happened to have mayo on hand.  And certainly you could add more herbs if you wanted a stronger Italian flavor.

Plus, it’s Atkins (low carb) friendly.  Smile


Smoky Honey Mustard Chicken

I picked up one of those 5 lb packages of chicken thighs on sale.  Already on hand was a big jug of honey – the economy size from Walmart.  It never goes bad! 

After I washed and patted the thighs dry, I put them in a 9×13 glass baking dish.  In a medium bowl I mixed about  1/3 to 1/2 cup of honey, roughly a 1/4 cup of mustard, and approximately half a cup of soft butter spread.  I use Country Crock because it’s pretty soft and still has a decent buttery flavor.  And it doesn’t burn as quickly as real butter.  Things are already dicey with the honey, right? 

So I mixed those things up in a bowl, and then I added about a tablespoon of cumin.  The mix looked almost like yellow curdled milk.  I poured that over the chicken, making sure each piece was covered.  I baked it at 325 for about 90 min, but if you’re not sure with the honey in there, you could probably bake it at 300 for 2 hours. 

The chicken was tender, and there was a nice smoky and sweet flavor to it and the mustard added some depth, but no heat.  Even my son, the super picky one, liked it.  🙂

Great Grapey Summery Salad

This is a great cool and refreshing salad for warmer months.  Of course, eating it in a nice cozy place in the Winter is great too.  😉



4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cut into small pieces – roughly 1/2 inch cubes
1 lb rotini (corkscrew) pasta, cooked to al dente
2 cups green seedless grapes 
1/4 medium onion, chopped fine
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced (I like 4, 1 per chicken breast)
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped fine – again, it’s a “to taste” thing – I usually go with 3
1 cup real mayo
1 cup cole slaw sauce – Marzetti’s brand if it’s available is my favorite
salt and pepper to taste

I tend to prepare all the cold ingredients – everything but the chicken and pasta – and toss them into a big bowl and mix.  I don’t add the chicken until it’s cooled to at least room temperature or I chill it in the fridge before adding.

I rinse the pasta with cold water after cooking and let it drain really well so the dressings stick to it.

Then I toss everything together.  It’s better after chilling overnight, but my willpower usually isn’t that strong.  😉

Roast Chicken

So, the whole cut-up chicken was on sale and you bought some, but now you’re not sure what you want to do with it.  I have something really easy and tasty.  :)  It takes only 10-20 min to prepare and you’re done.

Rinse off the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels, then toss it into a big bowl.  Pick out your favorite salad dressing.  Pour about a half cup of dressing over the chicken, and with your big spatula or wooden spoon, mix until all the pieces are evenly coated.  Place skin side up into a glass 10×13 baking dish and bake at 350° for 90-120 min. 

You can also pour some fresh dressing into a separate bowl and use as a dipping sauce if you want after the chicken is cooked.

This has so many variations it’s not even funny, so you can always have something “new” even though it’s the same old chicken.

Some that I’ve tried:

  • Ranch dressing with some chili powder and parsley (or without the chili powder if you don’t care for it)
  • Blue Cheese dressing
  • Mandarin Orange dressing – next time I think I’ll add some canned mandarin oranges to it, or drained crushed pineapple
  • Miracle Whip (or mayonnaise) with about a half cup of parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning
  • Honey Mustard dressing
  • Creamy Italian dressing

The leftovers from this are great in a cold lunch the next day, too.  🙂

Roasted Chicken and Potatoes

This recipe is pretty much a staple in The Darc House.  I get inexpensive chicken (WalMart has a Purdue type called Tender & Tasty and runs about a dollar a pound and comes in 3-5lb packages) and a 10lb bag of potatoes and I can get several meals out of it.  Any time I refer to leftover chicken or leftover roasted potatoes in the future, this is the recipe that those leftovers will come from.  🙂

To begin, you’ll need a broiler pan.  (mine is roughly 12×15 and about 2-3” deep)  You’ll also need cooking spray like Pam, a large bowl, a long wooden spoon or spatula, and a decent knife.

The Potatoes

I start by washing off about 3lbs of potatoes – maybe 10 med sized.  Then I cut them in half lengthwise, take a half, cut it again lengthwise, then slice it in ½ to 1” pieces.  You should end up with something that sort of looks like a quarter circle.  I do all the potatoes this way and toss them into a large bowl.  I drizzle them with about 2-3 tblsp of peanut oil.  I like peanut oil the best – that’s often what they use to make potato chips, you know!  I add 3-4 large pinches of kosher salt, sprinkle on some pepper, and a good dose of parsley flakes.  (For the record, I almost never measure anything precisely.)  I take the long spatula and just stir them all together in the bowl until all the potatoes are pretty evenly coated, then dump them all into the well-sprayed bottom half of the broiler pan. 

The Chicken

Put the top half of the broiler pan on top of the potatoes and spray it with cooking spray.  Don’t worry if the potatoes make it stick up over the bottom pan a little – they’ll cook down.

Next, I rinse off the chicken. 

Plop the chicken breast side up onto the top of the pan and wash your hands – don’t want to spread those salmonella germs all over the place.  (I had to put that in there just to cover my butt, I know you’re smart enough to remember that one.)

Drizzle the chicken with more peanut oil, and then sprinkle it also with kosher salt, pepper, and parsley.

Place the whole shebang in the oven and cook it at about 350° for a couple of hours, until the chicken is nice and golden brown. 

Once it’s done cooking, what I do is take it out of the oven and run a long knife under the broiler pan top to loosen any potatoes that might be sticking and set the top with the chicken on it aside.  For me, it rests perfectly across the top of my sink.  :)  You may have to make other accommodations.  I give the potatoes a quick stir and put them back in the oven for about 10 min while the chicken is resting. 

Once that’s done, take the potatoes out of the oven, carve your chicken and serve.  For my family of 4, we don’t go through even half.  I store the leftovers and can do lots of other things with them, but those are for other posts. 

So that’s one of my staples.  Cheap and easy.  All together it takes maybe 20 min to prepare, and costs probably less than $10.  Not bad, since I can get 2-3 meals out of it.  The neat thing is that it’s really versatile.  I can use different herbs and spices – one time I mixed some cream and shredded leftover cheese with the potatoes to make sort of an au gratin thing.  It turned out good but was a pain to clean up, even with the cooking spray. 

Cooking the chicken on the broiler pan lets the juices drip down, and the potatoes in the bottom collect the drippings so they don’t smoke and burn, and adds great flavor to the potatoes. 

If you try it, let me know what you think!


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