Change Your Life Grilled Chicken Marinade (Seriously)

In our home, I rule our kitchen and Chris is the king of the grill.  We are getting close to twenty-two years of marriage and we have not blurred those lines at all.  It’s like that line on Dirty Dancing where Patrick Swayze tells Jennifer Grey, “This is my dance space. This is your dance space. I don’t go into yours, you don’t go into mine.”  It is our happy places and we love it. 

During the last few months of really cooking at home, we have found a marinade that has taken our grilled chicken game to the next level.  Like Will (14.5 yo) can take down 2 or 3 chicken breasts because he loves them.  I will ask Chris to double the amount just to have extra for grilled chicken salad the next day.  This chicken is so good and yummy! 

Keep Singing and Dancing!
Amanda

Change Your Life Grilled Chicken Marinade (Seriously)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/8 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 t dried rosemary
2 T Dijon mustard
2 t  kosher salt
2 t ground black pepper
2 t garlic powder
6 chicken breasts 

Combine all ingredients, except for chicken, in a large mixing bowl. Whisk all the ingredients together until well blended.
  
Remove a half a cup of marinade and reserve for basting the chicken later.

Take chicken breast and remove any extra fat.  If needed, flatten chicken breast to a consistent level to guarantee  the breast will grill at the same consistency.

Place chicken in a large ziplock bag and pour marinade over the top. Close securely. Or you can put in a big glass container with a lid.

Marinate for at least 4 hours.  You can marinate up to 24 hours.  

Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  
Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off.

Grill chicken for 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until cooked through (165 degrees)

Use the additional marinade to baste the chicken occasionally.  

Once your chicken is complete, remove from the grill.  Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes for serving.  

Business/Party Nacho Cheese Dorito Chicken

The last ten weeks have been like nothing we have ever experienced.  I have used the words “quarantine”, “shelter-in-place”, “Covid19”, “Coronavirus” so much that even my 6 year old understands everything is completely different because of one of those words.

I have been introduced to Zoom calls.  While not my favorite thing, I understand it is a way to connect and get to “see” others.  I also understand like many that you only have to be presentable from the waist up!  Business/Professional/Put Together on top and Party/Whatever/PJ pants I have been wearing for three days on the bottom.

During this ten weeks of our “Corona Chronologicals”, Will (14.5) and Chris, my hubby, have talked about the idea of a Mullet.  (Like “Business in the Front, Party in the Back” haircut.)  Will had no where to be and why not go for this look during his time off.  Chris watched a few Youtubes and felt confident that he could make this look happen.  So, a couple Saturday nights ago, on our outdoor deck, Chris and Will proceeded to make a memory with hair clippers. Within a few minutes, Will was ready for business and party!  I will admit that Will could pull off any haircut.  (The kid has good hair!)

This whole experience of Zoom calls in PJ pants and teenagers with mullet reminded me of a meal.  A meal that says, “I look like a hot mess with the ingredients I bring to the table but trust me.  I mean business!”  A meal that says, “Yes, I have Nacho Cheese Doritos all over me but guess what Fancy Pants?  You are going to be drooling over the business I bring to your mouth.”  

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In all seriousness, my boys loved that this momma brought a little party to the dinner table.  Don’t knock it until you try it.  Seriously, we are all trying new things right now.  Go for it!

Looking Forward,
Amanda

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Nacho Cheese Dorito Crusted Chicken 

4 chicken breasts, pounded
1 cup mayo
1 t Italian seasoning
2 cups Nacho Cheese Doritos, crushed
¼ cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put chicken breasts in a zip-lock bag and pound to flatten.
Combine mayonnaise and Italian Seasoning in a pie plate.
Crush Doritos in a zip-lock bag.  You want chips small.
Dip chicken breast into mayo mixture and then roll in Dorito crumbs.
Place in a casserole dish and drizzle with melted butter all over the chicken.
Bake uncovered for thirty minutes.

Rotisserie Chicken Tacos

Have you ever made a meal and then you feel like you completed cheated because it was so easy? Those are my favorite meals! Let me introduce to Rotisserie Chicken Tacos. Guys, this is so easy. First off, I am the girl that will always pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store. I mean all the work is done for you for 5 bucks.

Now you will take that magic chicken you bought and create chicken tacos that will have your family thinking you are a goddess in the kitchen. Chop up your favorite toppings and you are ready to roll. You have just changed the Taco Tuesday Game.

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Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
2 cups salsa (I used Mateo’s Salsa)
1 cup water
2 T tomato paste
½ t coriander
1 t chili powder
1 t ground cumin
1 small rotisserie chicken (picked up from Costco), meat removed from the bones (you’ll want about 1½ pounds of picked chicken meat)
6 T vegetable oil
12 white 6” corn tortillas
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, shredded
4 cups shredded iceberg lettuce (I cheated and bought the bag)
8 ounces Monterey jack cheese or Cheddar Cheese, shredded

Toppings

Guacamole Homemade or My go-to
Sliced pickled jalapeños
Diced tomatoes
Thinly sliced red onion
Avocado wedges
Sour cream
Lime juice
Fresh cilantro

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Use baking sheets with high sides ready that can hold 12 completed folded tacos (or 2 pans with 6 each). Brush both baking sheets with oil. This will prevent sticking. Lay out the corn tortillas, 6 per tray and brush the tops with the other half of the oil. Set pans aside.
In a large skillet, place salsa, water and tomato paste. Using medium heat, stir and combine. Add the coriander, chili powder and cumin seasonings. Stir together completely.
Shred the cooked chicken pieces into the salsa mixture and heat to hot then hold to keep warm.
Beginning working on taco assembly, divide the pepper jack between the 12 tortillas.
Divide the warm chicken mixture between the 12 tortillas, on top of the pepper jack. Leave some room around the edges so your tacos will not be too full (yet!) Now top the tacos with Monterey jack cheese.

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Place in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to get a little crispy and the mixture is hot and bubbly. Rotate halfway through for even browning.
Remove tacos from the oven. Then pick up each tortilla, fold in half and place in the reserved dish or pan, letting each taco stay folded by leaning on the one next to it. Add the lettuce at this time.

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Serve hot with whatever toppings you want including diced tomatoes, pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced red onion, avocado wedges, sour cream, guacamole, lime juice, fresh cilantro, etc.

Chicken Burritos /Tacos /Nachos / Whatever

I have a weakness for Mexican food. Seriously, I could eat it every day and not be sad. So, I ran across this recipe about one year ago. And I maybe cook it about every eight days. There was a week that I cooked it four times, once for us and then I happened to have three friends who just had babies and needed a yummy meal.

Don’t under-estimate the silly ingredients and lack of effort you need. It is a very versatile meal. Make tacos, burritos, pile up nachos, throw it in soup, whatever you want.

It is the perfect meal to take over to a friend or have ready for the family after a long day.

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3-4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 packet taco seasoning
1 packet Ranch seasoning mix
2 cups low sodium and fat-free chicken broth

This is the easiest thing you will do today:
Put chicken breasts, taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, and chicken broth in your slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours. Shred chicken with a fork and let it soak up the broth. Then you are ready to serve.

Fixing for your tacos/burritos/nachos/whatever
shredded lettuce, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, shredded cheese, corn/flour tortillas, tortilla chips

Chicken Tetrazzini

We all need a meal that does not need a lot of thought.  A little chopping, a little mixing, and throw it together over some heat.  This Chicken Tetrazzini was a complete winner at our house served with a green salad and warm, garlic bread.  Big score that we had a yummy lunch the next day.  Here’s to an easy night in the kitchen!- AmandaChicken Tetra

Chicken Tetrazzini

3 T butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3/4 cup celery, chopped

2 cups chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite-sized pieces

6 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles, broken in half

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

1 can cream of chicken soup

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Paprika

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Add onion and celery.  Cook until clear.  Arrange chicken in a layer over the onion and celery.  Add uncooked noodles.  Mix salt, pepper, soup, and chicken broth together and pour the mixture over the noodles.  Make sure that all noodles are moistened.  Place mushrooms over the top and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and a little paprika.  Simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

Pasta dishes always make me happy!  Yes, I might need to run a few extra miles but it is so worth it.  This Spicy Chicken Rigatoni totally hit the spot.  I served it with warm garlic bread and a fresh green salad.  I’m thinking next time I will recreate this dish with linguine instead of rigatoni.  Warning:  Be careful adding extra crushed red pepper.  Of course Chris and I added the kick but we did not add to Will’s.  Keep it Spicy! -AJF

Spicy Chicken Rigatoni

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 T crushed red pepper

1/8 t salt

1/8 t ground black pepper

1 T chopped garlic

1 lb. chicken, sliced

3/4 cup. Marinara sauce

1/2 cup Alfredo sauce

1/4 cup english peas (completely optional)

2 t butter

1/2 lb. Rigatoni pasta, cooked according to package directions

additional 1/2 t crushed red pepper (for garnish)
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper, and garlic.  Sauté long enough for garlic to caramelize and red pepper to release flavor into the oil. Add sliced chicken and sauté briefly to coat in spices and garlic.

In sam pan add marinara sauce first and then alfredo sauce and bring to a simmer. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and chicken is fully cooked. (Internal temp is usually about 165 degrees.) Turn off flame, add butter (english peas if you want to) and incorporate into sauce.

Toss cooked pasta with the sauce. Place pasta and sauce in pasta bowl, reserving the majority of the chicken to be placed on top of the pasta. Garnish with crushed red pepper (if you want a big spicy kick) and serve.

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

Chicken Salad is another one of those items that everyone has opinion to add.  At the end of the day, you have chicken usually mayo and then all the other ingredients that you love in your chicken salad.  This is my plain “jean” chicken salad.  We have several favorites but this is an easy go to.  I’ll share our others soon.  This was a special request from Chris for Father’s Day lunch.  We love our plain “jean” chicken salad on flaky croissants.  Happy Summer!- Amanda

Amanda Jean’s Chicken Salad

1 1/2 cups chicken, cooked, finely shredded

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup green onions, thinly sliced

1 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

1/8 t pepper, freshly ground

1/3 cup Hellmann’s light mayo

2 T bell pepper, finely chopped

2 t prepared mustard

In a mixing bowl combine chicken, celery, green onions, lemon juice, and pepper.  Stir in mayo, bell pepper, and mustard.  Cover and chill for at least one hour.

Serve your chicken salad on crackers or our family favorite, croissants.  This makes about enough chicken salad for 4 croissant sandwiches.  Plus it makes great leftovers.

Shredded BBQ Chicken

Memorial Day weekend marks the official beginning of summer!  My mind begins to think about all the yummy summer foods our family enjoys.  Throughout the coming weeks I will be sharing favorites from our table.  These recipes allow you soak up the sun and spend little time in the kitchen.  You will begin to learn that Chris has a little “Bobby Flay” attitude around the grill.  While he is the master of the grill, I play with fun side items to make our meals come alive.  There are times that we can’t make it to the grill and still want some yummy barbecue.  This Shredded BBQ Chicken will change your life.  There is no thinking involved and the outcome is delicious.  Serve as mouthwatering small sandwiches or individually with your favorite BBQ sides.  You will enjoy your leftovers the next day.  Here’s to summer!- Amanda

Shredded BBQ Chicken

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 large)
1 T onion powder
1 T smoked paprika
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
8 oz of beer* (I used Stella Artois)
32 oz barbecue sauce (I used Mark’s “Red” Sauce- Louisville, KY local- Our new favorite)

Season chicken with onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Add to crockpot, then add beer and 24 ounces of barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours, tossing once or twice if desired. After 8 hours, shred and add remaining barbecue sauce. Toss chicken to coat and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving to absorb everything. This chicken is delicious on your favorite rolls.  We used sweet Hawaiian rolls.  I tossed up some coleslaw and dill pickle spears.  Great leftovers the next day!
*You can substitute beer with water.  I have found beer to tenderize the meat.  And we all know that alcohol cooks out, just in case you were worried.

Chicken and Spinach Shells

I was in a pasta mood.  I needed a meal that would cure my craving and be healthy.  This dish controls the amount of pasta you use and adds fabulous ingredients that don’t leave you with guilt.  It’s simple and healthy.  I whipped up these chicken and spinach shells without much thought.  It has a tasty hit and has been requested in the future.     Enjoy!- AF

Chicken and Spinach Shells

12 jumbo pasta shells

1 1/2 cup pasta sauce

2 large egg whites, gently beaten

1 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced

1 cup frozen spinach (chopped) thawed (drain all excess water)

2 t garlic powder

1 T oregano

1 T chopped basil

1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cook shells in boiling water according to the directions on box.
Rinse with cold water and set aside for later use.
Lightly spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce evenly over the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Pasta shell filling: Stir together egg whites, ricotta, chicken, spinach, garlic powder, basil, and oregano. Stir in 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
Fill each shell with mixture and place filled shells in the baking dish on top of the sauce. Spread remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Buffalo chicken wings scream Super Bowl.  Mix it up a little this year with an epic dip.  Your guests will clean the dish before Madonna starts singing.  Prepare to develop an addiction!  -AF

Buffalo Chicken Dip

4 boneless chicken breast (about 2 lb.)

2 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1 (16 oz) bottle of ranch salad dressing (you can use blue cheese)

1 (12 oz) bottle Frank’s hot sauce

8 oz. shredded monterey jack or combination cheese

Boil the chicken in water until cooked through.  Drain and shred.

In a 9 X 13-inch baking pan, combine chicken with hot sauce, spreading to form an even layer.  In a large saucepan over medium heat combine cream cheese and ranch dressing.  Stir until smooth and hot.  Pour mixture over the chicken.

Cook, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Then sprinkle the cheese over the top and bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers, chips, and celery sticks.  If smaller crowd, divide recipe in half.