Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekly Menu 10/22: New Ideas for Chicken

Honey Lime Chicken Burritos, Pretzel Chicken, Chicken and Barley, No-Knead Bread

For as versatile as chicken is, I so often get trapped into doing the same old, same old with it. I've been trying to branch out and try new chicken dishes, and this week I challenge you to do the same!

Need more inspiration than what you see above? Try Buttermilk Baked Chicken, which is a great oven-fried option, or Chicken with Balsamic-Honey Glaze, both of which can be found in previous Weekly Menus.

As long as we’re talking about chicken, here’s an invaluable tip from a professional chef (and good friend) that has simplified my cooking and clean-up routines when preparing chicken. Do you feel compelled to rinse raw chicken before cooking it? Turns out that only *heat*, not water, kills the bacteria in raw chicken. Makes sense, right? In fact, rinsing chicken may just splash that nasty stuff around your kitchen even more. In case you want the official word on this, the USDA tells us that rinsing raw meats is not a good idea. So pat chicken pieces with a paper towel, clean your hands and preparation surfaces and carry on. I still bleach where needed, but I don’t feel like I’m mopping up a CSI crime scene near my sink anymore.

Honey Lime Chicken Burritos

  Easy way to use cooked, shredded chicken: Homey Lime Chicken Burritos

Oh, these burritos are tangy and creamy, with just a hint of heat. I found this recipe a couple of years ago on a coupon site, of all things, and it is a total winner. Make then NOW!

Sides: Guacamole + chips or the avocado and black bean salad found in a previous Weekly Menu

Short Cuts
  • Use rotisserie chicken instead of cooking the chicken yourself
  • Use bagged, shredded cheese
Make Ahead Notes
  • If shredding cheese yourself, do this ahead and put in fridge for later
  • Juice the limes; mix up the honey-lime mixture and set aside for later
  • 4 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
  • 1 12-15 oz. bottle salsa verde (green salsa)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8-10 flour tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • In a large bowl; whisk together honey, lime juice, chili powder, garlic powder and salt.  Add cooked, shredded chicken to the lime mixture.  Let sit 10 minutes.
  • In a 9×13 pan, pour 3/4 of the salsa verde bottle to cover the bottom of the pan.  Set aside the remainder sauce.
  • Take a flour tortilla and fill with a couple tablespoons of  chicken and cheese.  Roll up and place seam side down in the salsa verde pan.  Repeat process until all tortillas are filled.  After you have removed all of the chicken, there will be some remaining lime sauce in the bowl.  Add the remaining salsa verde and heavy whipping cream to the lime sauce and mix.  Pour mixture over the filled burritos and cover with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until cheese is brown & bubbly.

Recipe adapted from The Krazy Coupon Lady site


Smothered Chicken and Barley

This incredibly warm, comforting dish is front-loaded with the prep work, but then it just simmers away while you do nothing for an hour. Since the whole process takes a little extra time, save this one for a Sunday or another day when you have more time leading up to dinner.

Sides:  This is a one-bowl meal, so the only thing you might add is crusty bread on the side.

  • Buy pre-chopped fresh onion
Make Ahead Notes 
  • Mix up dry seasonings in small bowl and set aside
  • Chop all vegetables and set aside in fridge
  • Rinse barley in a colander and set aside for later
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin 
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper
  •  6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • Cooking Spray
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked pearl barley
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes--drained
  • 6 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl, and rub chicken with half of spice mixture.
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add chicken, cook 1-2 minutes on each side or until chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  • Re-coat skillet with cooking spray; add chopped onion, bell pepper, and soy sauce. Cook over medium-high heat 3 minutes or until vegetables are lightly browned. Add broth, barley, tomatoes, and remaining spice mixture, and stir well. Add chicken to skillet, nestling into vegetable mixture. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 55 minutes or until chicken is done. Let stand 15 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.
  Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken with Mustard Dipping Sauce

A new way to use chicken breasts: Pretzel Crusted Chicken

To get the crunchy crust you see here, you must use the big, thick pretzels that usually come in a box, such as Snyders sourdough pretzels.

Sides: Roasted baby potatoes and steamed broccoli

Make Ahead Notes
  • Put pretzels in a food processor and pulse until you have mostly coarse pieces, not dust
  • Alternately, put the pretzels in a big, sturdy Ziploc bag and let a kid whack away at it to crush them
  • Prepare the dressing ahead of time and set aside for later

  • 1/2 pound hard pretzels, coarsely crushed (4 cups) - don't pulverize it all into to dust
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 6 large skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

  • Preheat the oven to 400°. In a food processor, pulse the pretzels until coarsely ground; you should have coarse chunks and fine crumbs. Transfer to a large, shallow bowl.
  • Wipe out the food processor. Add the oil, whole-grain and Dijon mustards, water and vinegar and process until smooth. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.
  • Pour half of the dressing into a large shallow bowl, add the chicken breasts and turn to coat. Dredge the chicken in the pretzel crumbs and transfer to a rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the upper third of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice the chicken and serve warm or at room temperature with the remaining mustard dressing
Recipe from Food & Wine

Extra Credit: No-Knead Bread

Try the easiest homemade bread ever: No-Knead Bread

I have never, ever made real yeast bread, so this was a first and it was dead simple. It takes lots of resting time, but only about 10-15 minutes of active, hands-on time. And look at that beautiful, golden, rustic crust and airy interior! I bought high-end Kerrygold butter to slather on it and it was heavenly.

  • 3 cups bread flour (I just used all-purpose flour that was in my pantry) 
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast 
  • 3/4 tablespoon of kosher salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water 
    • Use a covered pot (five-quart or larger cast iron, Pyrex, ceramic, enamel...something that can go into a 450F oven) - do not grease the pot
    • Mix dough: The night before, combine all ingredients in a big bowl with a wooden spoon until the dough just comes together. It will be a shaggy, doughy mess. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-20 hours on counter top.
    • Shape & preheat: The dough will now be wet, sticky and bubbly. With a wet spatula, dump the dough on a floured surface. Fold ends of dough over a few times with the spatula and nudge it into a ball shape. You can use your hands if you like, just keep your hands wet so that the dough does not stick. Place a large sheet of parchment paper that is lightly dusted with flour on counter. Plop your dough onto parchment paper. Lift parchment paper up with dough and place into a large bowl. Cover bowl with a towel. Let it nap for 2 hours. When you've got about a half hour left, slip your covered pot into the oven and preheat to 450F.
    • Bake: Your dough should have doubled in size. Remove pot from oven. Grab the ends of the parchment paper and lift entire wobbly dough blob out of bowl into pot. Doesn't matter which way it lands. Shake to even dough out. Cover. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover, bake another 15-20 minutes or until the crust is beautifully golden and middle of loaf is 210F. Remove and let cool on wired rack. If not eating right away, you can re-crisp crust in 350F oven for 10 minutes.
     Recipe from Steamy Kitchen site