Health · New Favorite · Poultry

Change Your Life Chicken

I’ve listened to the podcast ‘The Lazy Genius’ for a while and especially enjoyed the episode talking about her recipe ‘Change Your Life Chicken’.  It sounded so easy and I love roasted vegetables.  Never in my life have I set my oven for 500 degrees F, but I was up for the experiment.  I chopped carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes and onions.

My oven must run extra hot so I only needed to roast the chicken and vegetables for 35 minutes.  The chicken skin was crispy, the vegetables were cooked through and some were crispy.  It was a delicious dish and a quick meal.  I would have especially loved this recipe when I was working full-time, needing to get dinner on the table quickly.

The instructions below are taken word for word from Thelazygeniuscollective.com website.  She does a great job of explaining the process.

CHANGE YOUR LIFE CHICKEN

What You Need

  • chicken thighs with the bone and the skin
    Yes. I said thighs. That have the bone and the skin. Trust me on this. You can do breasts if you want, but we’re a thigh family to the bone. (I love chicken humor.) Adults eat one, hungry adults eat two, and weird picky tiny kids eat a half.

  • two handfuls of vegetables per person
    You can use whatever you have. Options: onion, carrot, potato, green bean, asparagus, leek, sweet potato, and cauliflower. (Avoid mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and broccoli with this method.) I’ll share some favorite combinations at the end.

  • olive oil, salt, and pepper

How You Make It

1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Not a typo. Five hundred.

2. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil. Your pan needs to hold your vegetables comfortably – not too close together, not too far apart. Heavy duty is less likely to tear, i.e. to get dirty from chicken grease. Do not use glass. It will shatter. I’d recommend not using any kind of baking dish with high sides because you won’t get the same kind of crisp. Baking sheet… like you use for cookies.

3. Cut your vegetables, and toss with olive oil, more salt than you think you need, and black pepper. These are the sizes to go for: large bite-sized. Carrots take the longest, so make those thinner than the rest. Consider cooking speeds with the vegetables you choose.

Green beans don’t need cutting, so those get tossed with the rest. Notice how cozy the vegetables are with each other but that there isn’t more than one layer.

4. Peel the skin back from the chicken. Don’t wig out. It’s cool. You want to generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper, but you want to season under the skin. So pull back the skin, season, and fold the skin back over.

5. Pat the chicken skin dry with a wad of paper towels. This is how you get magic crusty chicken skin, i.e. the state fair craze somebody needs to start. The best order is to place the chicken skin side down on the vegetables, season, flip, pull back the skin, season, put the skin back, and pat dry. The worst is drying the skin and then realizing you forgot to season the bottom.

6. Place the chicken skin side up directly on top of the vegetables. Here’s what happens: the fat from the chicken skin will seep into the vegetables underneath, imparting flavor and moisture while the exposed vegetables get a tiny bit charred. It’s a perfect marriage of texture and flavor. I’m not showing you a photo of raw chicken because raw chicken.

Ew.

7. Bake at 500 degrees for 50 minutes. Don’t worry if the chicken will be done; it will be. And we don’t have to be concerned about the vegetables burning at such a high temperature because they’re nestled closely together. The most you’ll get will be a few crusty edges, and those are delightful.

And since blog posts don’t have sound effects yet, trust me on the crispiness of the crust. In the Instagram story, I tapped it, and it sounded like a little magic chicken woodpecker. You’re allowed to invent bird species when dinner is this easy.

And that’s it! Then you eat. Bonus: any leftover vegetables are a great snack/lunch straight from the fridge for busy days. (Except for potatoes. Leftover potatoes have a weird texture and are a little depressing. See: old French fries.)

Variations

Start with what’s above, but once you feel comfortable with how it works, feel free to change it up.

  1. Add fresh rosemary or thyme to the vegetables.

  2. Rub the chicken (not the skin) with lemon or orange zest. (Rosemary and orange are a heavenly match.)

  3. Reinvent the meal with different vegetable combinations: onion, potato, carrot; leek and asparagus; onion and sweet potato, green bean and cauliflower. If you love it, try it. The worst that can happen is it’s not great and you won’t make it again.

  4. Same goes for exotic spices. Go nuts with curry powder, a taco seasoning blend, or whatever you want to try. You won’t know if it works until you try.

  5. Use chicken breasts with the bone and skin if you must; be sure to bump the time to an hour. I can’t vouch that it’ll be as good, but I’m not your chicken boss.

Meh, yes I am. Make this chicken, y’all, and change your life.

If you run into any Change Your Life Chicken issues, I dedicated an entire episode of The Lazy Genius Podcast to it. Listen to it here.

New Favorite · Poultry

Chicken Tikka Masala…Trader Joe’s Style

Chicken Tikka Masala is made easy using Trader Joe’s delicious Masala sauce.  The first time I made it, I followed the recipe below.  The second time I made the recipe, I used strips of red, yellow and green pepper, carrots and chopped onions.  Both were delicious and easy, peasy.  We were so excited when a Trader Joe’s was built fairly close to my house. There are always new products to try and enjoy!

During the pandemic, I went to Trader Joe’s only a couple of times.  Hat’s off to Trader Joe’s and how they managed shopper entry, masks, and cleanliness.  By far, the best job of any grocery store I ventured into.

CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA…TRADER JOE’S STYLE

1 (15-ounce) jar Trader Joe’s Masala Simmer Sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds total), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup frozen pearl onions
1 cup sliced baby carrots
Coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Cooked rice, for serving (optional)

  • Pour half of the sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. Nestle the chicken into the sauce in a single layer. Pour the drained tomatoes evenly over the chicken.
  • Add onions and carrots
  • Pour the remaining sauce on top.
  • Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through.  (I cooked for 4 hours) 
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over rice, if desired.

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com

Gluten Free · New Favorite · Poultry

Honey Garlic Chicken Gluten-Free or Not

Honey + Chicken = Delicious!  I am fortunate to live next to a beekeeper and have two additional friends that have hives in their yards.  Local honey is such a wonderful treat and inspires me to try new recipes.  This recipe is definitely a keeper and wonderful paired with a fresh, green salad.

HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

1 1/4 pound Chicken breasts
1/3 cup cassava flour (GF) or flour of preference
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup Chicken broth
4-5 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoon avocado oil (oil of choice)

  • Grate garlic with a grater or garlic press.
  • In a glass bowl add the sauce ingredients (honey, chicken broth, grated garlic, rice wine vinegar, yellow mustard, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt). Set aside.
  • Place chicken on parchment paper and pat dry. Add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder to your chicken.
  • In another glass bowl add the cassava flour. Coat the chicken on both sides.
  • Place your skillet on medium heat and add oil to the pan. Once oil is heated, place chicken in the pan and cook for 2 minutes per side.
  • Remove chicken from the pan and set aside. Place sauce in the pan and scrap up the pieces on the bottom of the pan. Then add chicken back to the pan.
  • Cook chicken an additional 4 minutes per side. Serve right away!

Recipe adapted from Redsreality.com

New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Butternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

Butternut Squash and Chicken Chowder is a wonderful comfort food, especially paired with a nice biscuit or crusty bread.  Squash is plentiful, the weather is cool, and soups are my favorite fall and winter comfort foods.

It’s great fun to experiment with new recipes.  Growing up the standard soups and stews were Chile, vegetable soup, potato soup, bean soup, oyster stew at Christmas (still not a favorite), and an occasional ham and split pea soup.  Now the sky is the limit, trying new combinations and flavors!

Buttternut Squash and Chicken Chowder

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely minced
½ pound carrots peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small bite sized pieces
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Few grinds black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs (or both), all fat removed and cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups onion, diced
1 cup celery diced (I substituted 1 chopped green pepper and 1/2 teaspoon celery seed)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons flour
2 14.5-ounce cans chicken stock
1 pound all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
1 14.5-ounce can kernel corn with liquid
¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Few shakes of Tabasco sauce
2 cups half and half cream

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Toss one tablespoon of the oil in a small bowl with the sage and carrots and pour out onto a small sheet pan. Roast for ten minutes.
  • Add squash and another tablespoon of oil along with salt and pepper to the small bowl and pour out onto the carrots and flip with a spatula to mix.
  • Roast for ten more minutes.
  • Remove from oven and set aside.
  • While vegetables are roasting, in a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil with the butter over medium high heat.
  • Once the fat is hot, add about a third the chicken and cook about five minutes to brown and cook through. Remove to a bowl and cook the another third then finally the last third, adding to the bowl after each batch. Set aside. The chicken should be fully cooked through at this step.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add the onions and celery. Cook, stirring often until the onions are translucent, about five to ten minutes. Add garlic and cook for one more minute.
  • Add flour and cook for two more minutes, stirring often.
  • Add stock and stir with a wooden spoon.
  • Bring to a boil and add potatoes along with roasted vegetables and all pan drippings. Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  • Add corn with juice along with Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces.
  • Add cooked chicken with any liquid that collected in the bowl, stir and add all of the half and half cream.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning and bring just to serving temperature.
Asian Dishes · Book Club · New Favorite · Poultry

Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken

Our book club met at my home for our March review oDo Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien. I must admit I did not care for the book and did not finish it. Others had the same difficulty, finding it complex and hard to follow, especially in the beginning. However, for those that finished the book, they thoroughly enjoyed it finding the Chinese Cultural Revolution to be similar to world experiences today.

Our potluck cuisine was Asian and my Asian recipe file is devoid of recipes.  I found this wonderful Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken recipe online and will definitely make it again and again.  Very flavorful and wonderful with rice and stir fry vegetables.

SLOW COOKER CASHEW CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup cashews

  • Combine cornstarch and pepper in resealable food storage bag. Add chicken and shake to coat with cornstarch.
  • Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken about 2 minutes on each side. Place chicken in slow cooker. (Frankly, next time I make it I will skip this step)
  • Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sweet chili sauce, sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and cashews in small bowl; pour over chicken. (Optional: If you like the cashews to be softer, you can add them during the cooking process.  If you like more crunch, add them right before serving.)
  • Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.
  • Service over rice. Optional: Garnish with chopped scallions.
  • Makes 4-6 servings.

Recipe slightly adapated from therecipecritic.com

Garden · Mexican Dishes · New Favorite · Soups and Stews

Chicken Pozole with Tomatillos

Tomatillos are plentiful this year so I’m always up for trying a new recipe. I love my standard Posole recipe with pork, but liked this idea with chicken and tomatillos. Tomatillos have almost a citrus-like taste to them so it pairs well with chicken and pozole.

The soup was great fresh and I’ve frozen a large batch for a cold winter’s night!

CHICKEN POSOLE WITH TOMATILLOS

1 pound tomatillos
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups chopped onion
1 pounds chicken, skinned (I used 2 cups of cooked, chopped chicken vs. raw)
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and quartered
1 (30-ounce) can white hominy, drained
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or more to taste)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
8 lime wedges (optional)
Gluten Free · New Favorite · Poultry

Crock Pot Chicken Cream Cheese Chile

Crock pot meals are the best…easy with so many options.  I love the Salsa chicken recipe that daughter, Megan, shared with me a while ago.  This recipe sounded very similar but with the addition of cream cheese.  YUM!

I used almost 2 pounds of chicken strips vs. the 2 chicken breasts called for.  It was delicious but in the future I would use about 1 pound of chicken for this recipe. Great over rice, in a burrito, over a baked potato…or invent your own combination!

CROCK POT CHICKEN CREAM CHEESE CHILE

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can mild green chiles
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

  • Put the chicken in the crock pot.
  • Top with the tomatoes, corn, the drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chile powders.
  • Stir to combine, then top with the cream cheese.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice to blend in the cheese.
  • Shred the chicken into large pieces and serve over rice. Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Family Favorites · Holidays · Soups and Stews

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Cold winter days and soup are the perfect pair.  I have such fond memories of Chicken and Wild Rice Soup from Panera and also from the little luncheonette at my work. With temperatures near and below zero this week, I was craving this savory gem especially after all of the sweets from the holidays.  It didn’t disappoint!

CHICKEN AND WILD RICE SOUP

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons onion, minced
1/4 cup flour
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 cup diced, cooked chicken
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup half and half
2 tablespoons dry white wine (or dry sherry)
minced parsley or chives

  • Melt butter in 6 quart kettle and sauté onion until tender. Blend in flour, gradually add broth and continue stirring.
  • Cook, until mixture thickens slightly. Stir in rice, chicken and salt. Simmer about 5 minutes.
  • Blend in half and half and wine. Heat to serving temperature. Garnish with minced parsley or chives.
Gluten Free · New Favorite · Soups and Stews · Vegan · Vegetarian

West African Peanut Stew

Peanut Stew is featured today thanks to this great recipe prepared by fellow Grandma-in-law (grandson Evan’s other Grandma), Chris, for our potluck last week as mentioned in Tuesday’s post.

She adapted the recipe per her notes below and it was absolutely delicious!  The original recipe serves six and is easily adaptable to vegan, omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth.  I will add this recipe to my favorites.

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW

“A hearty stew that’s super-easy to make and great for peanut butter lovers. Can be made vegetarian or with chicken. In a pinch, feel free to use vegetable or corn oil for peanut oil, powdered ginger for fresh, water for stock, etc. Kale works well in place of collard greens.”

2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used coconut oil)
one half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (I prefer to slice them thick so you can fish it out)
a pinch of sugar to caramelize onion
1 pound chicken, cut into chunks (optional)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (which for me was none)
I added about a tsp of cinnamon
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 pound collard greens, roughly chopped
1 cup chunky peanut butter

  • Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion, garlic, and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  (I used Costco rotisserie shredded chicken, so I didn’t add it until the last step, since it was already cooked)
  • Add the chicken; cook and stir until completely browned. Season with the crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour the chicken stock over the mixture. Stir the sweet potatoes into the liquid and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir the tomatoes, collard greens, and peanut butter into the soup. Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, another 20 minutes. (Mine simmered for about 30 minutes longer than that. I used a potato masher and crushed up the sweet potatoes and tomatoes a little after the recipe’s 20 minute simmer, so it would be thicker rather than chunky.)

I had extra collard greens and one review suggested to sauté them as garnish along with chopped peanuts.

The original recipe was found on Epicurious.

 

Family Favorites · New Favorite

Chicken Enchilritos

Enchilrito…what the heck is that? It’s my interpretation of a chicken enchilada made with flour tortillas instead of corn. The recipe I chose for this dish called it an Enchilada but used flour instead of corn tortillas.  I made, I liked, but would use corn tortillas next time for a truer version of Enchiladas.

The recipe is quite good and hearty.  Serve with a green salad, and if you can, a great Margarita!

CHICKEN ENCHILRITOS

1/2 cup chopped onion
2 to 4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken
2 (19 oz.) cans of Enchilada Sauce
10 count package of flour (or corn) tortillas (8-10″ in diameter)
3.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or Monterey Jack) cheese
1 can drained black beans
1 (4.5 oz.) can chopped green chiles

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Great a 9×13″ casserole dish.
  • In a heated skillet add a small amount of cooking oil and saute onion until soft. Add chicken, one can of Enchilada sauce, 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, black beans and chiles. Stir and heat slightly.
  • Place 2-4 spoonfuls of filling in the center of each tortilla.
  • Roll each tortilla up and place in the casserole dish with the open side down.
  • Pour the second can of Enchilada sauce over the tortillas.
  • Top with remaining cheese and garnish with parsley flakes.

  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped green onions and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Note:  The recipe indicates that these can be frozen, leaving off the topping of Enchilada sauce and cheese until it is time to bake.

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Libby