Sage Chicken, Salad and Balsalmic Vinegarette

Adult life is all about balancing priorities. With my career taking the majority of my time and energy, it’s a challenge to decide what deserves whatever time/energy/patience/care I have left to give.

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Fitness and nutrition are high on my list. And I am just starting to realize they always need to be for the rest of my life.

After a good workout session at the gym, I made another chicken and salad combo that I love.

In this salad, I put iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions and feta cheese. But not just any feta cheese will do for this lady. I’m talking about delicious, full fat Turkish feta.

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I managed to find some at a middle eastern grocery store in the valley. Totally worth the drive!

I’ve been looking for the perfect balsalmic vinegarette recipe and I think I found it on allrecipes.com.

I adjusted the amounts from the original recipe but this is still enough for 4 people or 2 different meals. Make sure to refrigerate if you plan to serve the next day!

Balsalmic Vinegarette

Ingredients
1/3 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsalmic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 shallot, minced
Garlic salt and pepper

Directions

1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle over salad when ready to eat.

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I also pan seared some sage chicken. All you need is some sage, a little basil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spices on each side of the chicken, pressing it gently with the knife to keep it from falling off the chicken. Heat canola oil on a pan and cook. Easy!

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Spicy Pan-Seared Chicken

I have been concentrating on making major improvements in my health. I’m exercising almost everyday and trying to watch what I eat. It’s a daily battle, but it gets a little easier with each passing day.

Tonight I decided to make a super lean meal: chicken, mushrooms and salad. But as healthy as it was, it was also full of flavor.

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Spicy Pan Seared Chicken serves 1 to 2

1 chicken breast (cut in half, lengthwise)
Buffalo sauce
Cayenne pepper
Chili powder
Red pepper flakes
Black pepper
Salt
Canola or vegetable oil

Directions

1. Cut your chicken breast in half, rinse and pat dry.
2. Sprinkle the spices over each side of the chicken.

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3. Put a couple dots of buffalo sauce on one side. Spread evenly with a pastry brush. Repeat on other side.

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4. Heat your oil on a large pan. Once oil is hot, cook your chicken. One chicken breast will take roughly 15 minutes to cook, but this will vary depending on its weight.

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Honey and Beer Glazed Chicken

I haven’t been sticking to my resolution to make weekly meal plans. So like many other nights, I found myself at the grocery store with no list, no plan.

Whenever I find myself in this place, I open my Pinterest app and check my “food to make” board. And viola…a perfect recipe appears. Isn’t technology great?

The original recipes comes from The Beeroness.

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Honey and Beer Glazed Chicken
Ingredients
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup Stout beer (I used Guinness)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large shallot, chopped
2 chicken breasts (sliced in thin halves)
Green onions
1 tbsp canola oil

Directions

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, red and black pepper, beer and mustard. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
2. In a small pan, saute the shallot until translucent.
3. Heat the canola oil on a large pan. Cook one side of the chicken, then flip over. Pour the sauteed shallots over the chicken. Cover the pan and continue to cook on high heat. Half way through, pour a little more of the marinade over the chicken. It should be ready in about 20 minutes.

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Indian Butter Chicken

This might sound strange, but I’ve been craving butter chicken ever since my trip to Dublin, Ireland. My family and I went to an Indian restaurant there with probably the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted.

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Indian Butter Chicken
Adapted from Cooking and Me
Ingredients
1 chicken breast, cubed and cooked
1/2 onion, minced
1 tomato, pureed
1 tbsp of tomato paste or sauce
1 tbsp of butter
Splash of olive oil
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of chilli powder
1 tsp of garam masala (see recipe below)
1 large pinch of ground fenugreek
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
Red pepper flakes to taste

Directions
1. Heat the butter in a pan and add the minced onions. Fry until golden brown.
2. Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, and salt. Fry for a minute until fragrant.
3. Add the pureed tomato and tomato paste and cook for 3-4 mins until the mixture bubbles uniformly.
4. Thrown in the fenugreek, milk, and the cubed chicken. Cook covered for 8-10 mins until the chicken is soft.
5. When the chicken is cooked soft, open the lid and cook for a further minute or two.
6. When done, add the garam masala. Give it a good stir, but don’t boil.
7. Adjust salt and remove from fire.
8. Serve hot with rice and plain Green yogurt.

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Garam Masala
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients together

Note: This will make a little more garam masala than you need for the recipe. Save it for another time or add to your butter chicken to increase flavor. The red pepper flakes also help to bring out the flavor of the spices.

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Chicken Bacon Quesadillas

If you’re in need of a fairly easy but delicious Super Bowl party appetizer, I have just the thing. Pair with some ice cold beer and everybody’s going to have a fantastic day no matter what the score is.

Every once in a while, I just throw something together for dinner and it turns out to be a total win. These quesadillas are the result of such an occasion.

Chicken Bacon Quesadillas

Ingredients

1 thin cut chicken breast
3 uncooked tortillas cut in halves
Shredded pepper jack cheese
4 strips of thick cut bacon
Red pepper flakes
Salt
Fine black pepper (like powder fine)
Chili powder
Garlic salt and parsley
Cumin
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Canola oil

Directions

1. Rinse chicken and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. Rub both sides of chicken in spices.
3. Heat a small amount of canola oil on a pan and add chicken once hot.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low, flipping chicken only once to cook each side. (I have a sort of sense of when to turn it over)
5. Once chicken is white on both sides, squeeze lemon over chicken. Cook for a few minutes, flip, and squeeze lemon on the other side. You can check that the chicken is cooked all the way through by cutting in half. If its white and the juices are running clear, it’s done. Don’t over cook it!
6. Cook bacon and set aside.
7. Cut chicken into strips and then shred it further with your hands.
8. In a separate pan, heat a small amount of canola oil and lightly cook each tortilla half.
9. Put shredded pepper jack, shredded chicken, and bacon pieces on one side of the tortilla and fold in half.
10. Put back on pan and heat on each side until cheese is melted.
11. Serve with plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

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Fire Cracker Chicken

I have been finding a lot of really great Chinese restaurant style dishes on Pinterest lately. Which is super exciting since I’ve never been thrilled with the Chinese places around my neighborhood.

But…I’m going to have to reign in my excitement a little because boy, do these sauces pack in the sugar! So I think I’ll have to try these out slowly, like maybe only one or two recipes per month.

Now on to the deliciousness…

Fire Cracker Chicken (adapted from The Recipe Critic)

Ingredients

Canola oil
3 Thin-cut Chicken Breasts
1 cup corn starch
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
Red, yellow, and orange mini peppers

Sauce:
1/3 cup buffalo sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Salt
Red pepper flakes

Directions

1. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
2. Fill 2 separate bowls: one with corn starch, one with the eggs, slightly beaten. Coat chicken with corn starch, then egg mixture.
3. Put a small amount of canola oil on a pan and lightly brown chicken.
4. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F and mix sauce ingredients in a bowl.
5. Put chicken in a baking dish and pour sauce over.
6. Cook chicken for 1 hour, mixing every 15 minutes. Add chopped peppers half way through.

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Chicken Paillard

Last night I decided to make Chicken Paillard from my Tyler Florence Family Meal cookbook. What a delicious dish!

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I’ve made this dish before but since it’s been over a year, I followed the directions step by step. Next time I’ll be making some adjustments. I’ll explain as I go on.

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To begin, I rinsed and paper towel dried to 2 chicken breasts. Once dried, I placed 1 chicken breast on a piece of plastic wrap and then put another piece of plastic wrap over the chicken. If you don’t like handling raw meat, get some vinyl or latex gloves. I always have some handy under the sink. 😉

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Then, using a rolling pin like a mallet, I beat the chicken to flatten it down. Looking back, I should have taken a little more time on this step. Make sure your chicken is nice and thin.

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Then I repeated the same process with the 2nd chicken breast. Next, I created a breading station. I made one bowl for a half cup of flour. This turned out to be a little more flour than necessary. I suggest you use a 1/4 cup and add a few spoonfuls more as needed. In second bowl, I whisked together 2 eggs. I suggest using 1 egg. I ended up having a little too much egg. Finally, I made a bag with seasoned panko breadcrumbs and French’s fried onions. The original recipe only called for regular panko breadcrumbs.

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Dip each piece of chicken in the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs (in that order). Be sure to get a good even coat, but less any excess fall off. Then put the breaded chicken in the fridge. The original recipe said for 10 minutes, but I left it in there longer. This gave me time to prepare the lemon sauce, rice, and a side of sauteed mushrooms.

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I have a fail proof method for cooking Jasmine rice. In case you haven’t heard, apparently brown rice isn’t healthier than white.

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I usually make a half a mug of rice. To begin, I rinse the rice until the water is no longer cloudy.

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Then I pour my washed rice into a pot with a can of chicken broth. Boil on medium heat. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat to low and cover. You may stir the rice a few times, but keep the lid on as much as possible. Once the water is evaporated, turn off the heat and let stand covered for 3-5 minutes.

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To make the lemon sauce, I chopped 2 cloves of garlic, juiced 2 lemons, and separated 2 egg yolks. A blended them together in my food processor for 30 seconds, then slowly added a 1/2 cup of olive oil. This sauce was delicious but too much for just the chicken. If you want to make this amount of sauce, make the mixed green salad and use the lemon sauce as a salad dressing.

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Just before the rice was finished, I took the chicken out of the fridge and fried it in a little olive oil. The original recipe called for 2 inches of oil, but that seemed like too much, so I did less.

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This was a really yummy dinner. The kind of dinner you still talk about for a few days after. It’s a little time consuming but worth the effort. Maybe a good option for a guest? A romantic dinner?