Recipe: Onion Roasted Chicken

What do you do when you have to make a quick, no-hands-on dinner?  In my house, you make Onion Roasted Chicken Breasts.  My son and his girlfriend were coming over for dinner and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time slaving over a stove top, so this was my way of making something that was tasty, low “tech”, and “guest-worthy”.  I hope you enjoy it!

I started with two large chicken breasts.  Since I was feeding three people (one of whom was my son), I decided to slice the breasts in half, width-wise, to extend the amount of food without having to wait for three thick chicken breasts to cook through.  Once the breasts were cut into four separate cutlets, I put them into a bag with a sliced onion and a mixture of salad dressing (I used a lite sesame Asian vinaigrette), Chardonnay (a stainless steel Chardonnay works best here… just be sure to use what you like), and some salt/pepper.  I let the chicken/onion mixture marinate for a half hour.OnionRoastedChicken

When my guests arrived, I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and covered a baking pan with foil for easy cleanup.  I used tongs to remove the chicken and onions from the marinade and placed them in the baking sheet (as shown in the photo).  I decided against pouring the small excess marinade over the chicken.  I could have poured it into a pan to create a sauce, but this wasn’t that sort of  a dinner… I wanted something more simple.

The chicken took about 20 minutes to roast.  While the chicken and onions were roasting, I popped a bag of green beans into the microwave and cooked them for 6 minutes (until they were steamed thoroughly).  I then pulled everything out of the oven/microwave and plated our dinner.  Had I been feeding my husband, I would have added some garlic toasts or a “starch” of some sort, but this was the simple, easy dinner that my son preferred.

You can also make this dinner with fish, if you’d like.  There are many options when it comes to a dinner recipe such as this… try your hand at using your own favorite ingredients and have fun.  You’re feeding the ones that you love… enjoy!

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Recipe: Chardonnay Chicken Piccata

Wow… this recipe was a huge hit last night.  It’s not a difficult recipe, but it has such huge presence and flavor that it’s quickly going to become one of my favorite recipes to make for company.  I really hope that you’ll consider making this for your family… It’s hard to imagine any chicken fan *not* enjoying this dinner!

Again, I started by using an actual recipe that I found by flipping through allrecipes.com and searching out a basic recipe that would utilize the half bottle of chardonnay that I had in my fridge.  Of course, I had to alter the recipe to fit my family’s preferences, but isn’t that what I do with every recipe I make?  NOTE: Most Piccata recipes also call for capers, but since my family isn’t big on them, I left them out of this recipe.  Here are the basics of Chicken Piccata:

Ingredients:

ChardonnayChickenPiccata

  • 3 whole chicken breasts (one package from my freezer), sliced in half, lengthwise
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Flour – enough to dredge breasts, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup White Wine (I used a half bottle of James River Cellars Chardonnay)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (I didn’t have any on hand, so I used 1 packet of G.Washington Golden bouillon and a little water)
  • 2 whole lemons (I used both juice AND zest)
  • Fresh Parsley
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (I never have cream on hand, so I used 2 Tablespoons of nonfat plain greek yogurt instead)
  • Egg noodles or your favorite pasta

Instructions:

  1. Start by simmering your water so you can drop your pasta when your dinner is almost finished.
  2. Slice chicken breasts in half, lengthwise, so they are fairly thin and each person can have two breasts per serving and still not feel like they’re over eating.
  3. Sprinkle each chicken breast piece with salt/pepper and dredge in flour.
  4. Heat one Tablespoon of butter with one Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Fry each chicken breast until golden brown on both sides, in batches as needed so as not to crowd the pan.  Once breasts are golden, remove to a separate plate and keep warm.  NOTE: I did this in two batches and used another Tablespoon of butter and olive oil each for the second batch.
  5. Once the chicken is done, reduce the heat in the skillet to medium low.  Pour wine into the skillet, add the juice and zest of both lemons, and use the liquid to stir in all the bits from the bottom of the skillet.  Add chopped parsley to the sauce and allow it to cook long enough for all the flavors to combine.  Add greek yogurt (or heavy cream, if you are so inclined) and whisk in to thoroughly incorporate.  This is when I taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings – add salt/pepper as needed while it’s cooking so you don’t have to add more when you’re serving your meal.  I also add a spoonful or so of pasta water to lighten up the sauce if it seems to be thickening too quickly.
  6. While you’re making the sauce, start your pasta so you have everything done at the same time.  Drain pasta and get it ready to serve.
  7. For this meal, I added a bag of green beans, so I microwaved the bag for about 5 minutes to cook them quickly.  My favorite way to serve beans (especially for company) is to put a sliver of butter in the bottom of the serving dish, top with salt/pepper/seasonings.  I then toss the hot beans in the serving dish, distributing the butter and seasonings throughout the beans and making them look impressive!
  8. As the sauce thickens, add the cooked chicken back into the sauce and flip them so both sides get covered in the sauce.
  9. To plate your dinner, put the egg noodles on the plate, top with two chicken breasts, and spoon a bit of sauce over both.  Add a serving of green beans on the side and you’ve got a well-rounded meal that will impress your friends and any company that may happen over for a special dinner.

I really did love this dinner.  I’m a fan of anything that has a great punch of flavor and still looks pretty when plated, so this recipe really fit the bill for me.  Add capers, heavy cream, or whatever else makes this recipe taste best to you.  The idea isn’t to follow *my* recipe exactly… it’s to create a meal for those you love.  Enjoy the process… it’s what makes cooking such a fun thing to do!

Recipe: Red Steak Stir Fry

The house smelled soooo good when I was making dinner last night…. a definite plus after a weekend of pizza and dinners out, no matter how yummy.  Since M asked me to make a stir fry, I stopped by the grocery store on the way home from work and was able to throw this delicious meal together without too much difficulty.  Picking up two sale packages of “stir-fry beef”, a package of sliced mushrooms, a small package of Haricot Verts (long thin green beans), a bag of onions, and a bottle of Korean Teriyaki sauce, I started cooking in “layers”.  Let me explain what I mean by that…

RedSteakStirFry

Start with the onions and mushrooms.  Slice half an onion and half of the package of sliced mushrooms, and saute them in a pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil until they start to brown.  To this mixture, add some Napa Valley Pinot Noir red wine (this is what I had in the fridge… any tasty red wine will work well in this recipe) and allow the veggies to soak up the wine (here’s your first layer of flavor).  Remove the veggies and add another pat of butter and a little bit of olive oil, allowing the pan to get hot.  Add salt and pepper to the beef and add to the melted butter/oil in the saute pan.  Brown the beef thoroughly and then add more red wine (this is your second layer of flavor) so the beef can soak up more of this flavor.  Once the beef is cooked, return the onion/mushroom mixture and bring everything to temperature.

While sauteing the vegetables and beef, take a moment to pull the stir-fry sauce together.  This sauce was a blend of 2/3 cup red wine, 1/3 cup of Teriyaki sauce, some garlic, some ginger, and a spoonful of flour.  Whisk the sauce thoroughly to incorporate the flour into the sauce and wait to add the sauce until the beef is thoroughly cooked and toasty and the veggies are returned to the pan.  This will be your third layer of flavor.

Since the Haricot Verts are so incredibly delicate and quick cooking, I would suggest adding the beans and the sauce close to the same time in the cooking process.  Toss everything together for a few minutes to allow the flour to cook and the beans to warm.  I did add 1/4 cup water to thin the sauce a bit, but the stir-fry sauce I had made was absolutely delicious.  Served over a bit of brown rice (I microwaved a package of brown basmati rice), it was a thoroughly satisfying meal… warm, tasty, and totally yummy.

Try your own version of this stir-fry at your house… chances are that it will become your family’s favorite as well!