Tag Archives: fast chicken dinner

Chicken with Capers and Cream (serves 6)

This is one of those dinners that makes itself which is appropriate in an age when people feel no obligation to be in the kitchen and yet overwhelmed with guilt for not making a home cooked meal.

Chicken with Capers and Cream

Chicken with Capers and Cream

There are plenty of times I want to be in the kitchen all night long as this is my idea of relaxing, but I know that is not the case for many people, which is why dinners like this one are so great.

It has an air of luxury about it so is even something that can be made for a last-minute dinner party.

Anyway, here is another dish from the Crappy Kitchen that requires about 10 minutes on your part: so go ahead, be a little crazy and make dinner tonight!

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You will need:

3 to 4 tbs olive oil

freshly ground black pepper to season chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts, thinly sliced in cross sections making the breast the same size only thinner. (If you cannot buy them already like this, then just slice each breast into very thick slices)

4 tbs capers, including  juice (do not rinse)

1 tbs caper brine (the liquid from the caper jar)

3 bay leaves

1 sprig of fresh rosemary (use two if they are short sprigs)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

8 to 10 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped

Method:

Preheat 400*

1 – Season chicken with a general grind of black pepper. Put big saute pan or casserole pot on high heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When it is hot add the chicken in an even layer and sear on both side transferring to a plate as you go. You will have to work in batches and add more oil as needed.

Brown chicken

Brown chicken

2 – Turn heat down to low/medium and add the capers. Cook for 1 minutes, stirring frequently, then add the rosemary and bay leaves. Cook for another minute or two.

Cook capers with seasonings

Cook capers with seasonings

3 – Add the cream and turn heat up to medium and bring the cream to a low boil.

Add cream

Add cream

4 – Return the chicken to the pan and bring back to a low boil. Turn heat off.

Return chicekn to sauce

Return chicken to sauce

5 – Place lid on pan or casserole and put the dish in the oven for about 35 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Cook

Cook

6 – Remove from oven and add the chopped spinach. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes, allowing the spinach to wilt. Remove from oven and give everything a gentle stir. If your sauce is very thick you may thin it out by adding more cream.

Add spinach

Add spinach

Serve with basmati rice or boiled baby potatoes.

Serve with rice

Serve with rice

Chicken Breast in Lemony Rosemary Broth (serves 8)

I made this to use up a mountain of chicken breast fillets that were in danger of getting ignored in the back of the fridge, (also, I cannot stand wasting food, especially meat, where an animal’s life would serve no purpose if thrown away). There was a general outcry of hunger at lunchtime yesterday, and it was the perfect opportunity to make a big batch of something tasty!

Chicken Breast in Lemony Rosemary Broth

I decided to cook a very “hands-off” dish which left me free to leave the kitchen and get on with other important things (like reading: another equally yummy activity). The chicken was seared, then cooked in wine, water, herbs and some choice veggies. There is nothing I cannot cook if I have a bouillon cube and some celery in the house!

A brisk walk after eating is always nice

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*This is a Blood Type A friendly Dish*

You will need:

4 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

8 chicken fillets

1 onion, diced

5 scallions (green onions), sliced, including green parts

4 inner ribs celery, including green leaves, sliced

2 sprigs rosemary

1 lemon, quartered

1 cup white wine

2 cups chicken or veggie broth (or 1 good quality bouillon cube & Water: I use Rapunzel brand)

sea-salt & freshly ground black pepper to season meat

Method:

Preheat oven 400*

1 – Season meat with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Put roasting pan or oven-proof saute pan on high heat and add 1/2 of the oil. When it is hot, add 4 chicken fillets and sear on both sides until slightly golden in color. Transfer to a plate, then add more oil to the pan and sear the last batch.

sear chicken

2 – Turn heat down to medium and add all of the chopped and sliced vegetables, including the lemon wedges and rosemary. Saute for about 6 or so minutes.

Saute rest of ingredients

3 – Add the wine and bring to a boil. Add the broth (or bouillon and water) and bring to a boil.

add liquid

4 – Nestle chicken into broth in an even, snug layer and cover with lid. Place in oven for 25 minutes. Take out and test meat by piercing center of breast with a knife. If it is white and tender, it is cooked. If it is not quite there, put it back into the oven for another 5 to 10 minutes, until you are satisfied.

add chicken to broth

Serve with plenty of broth, and maybe some pasta, rice, bread or a salad.

Lemony deliciousness

Roast Chicken with Poblano Peppers & Tons of Fresh Herbs (serves 4)

Roast Chicken with Poblano Peppers & Tons of Fresh Herbs (serves 4)

Yesterday was one of those lazy summer days that I will think about when it is miserably cold outside, and I’m feeling lonely for the company of people I love. I had planned a different kind of day, a day of school with my kids in the morning, and in the afternoon planting my herb garden and maybe stick in a few tomato plants while I was at it.

Flowering Cactus by the railway tracks near my house

My friend called and requested an impromptu visit, and my very weak-self, or the part of my that would prefer to sit and chat with her rather than do any of the things I had planned, was delighted to accommodate her whim. The morning was thus spent drinking coffee while enjoying her immensely interesting thoughts on all manner of things. I have to admit I allowed this happy meeting to take place because I knew L. Fay was not one of those women who talked about the things that bore me to no end, like: other people, how she felt she wasn’t pretty enough, or her next sun vacation: yes, she is a women of substance.

The morning dragged into early afternoon and I figured it was high time for a walk. We set out (with my to lovely kids of course) on a walk around town, via a river path, ending at the university’s impressive fountain. It was hot, and the thought of cooling my feet in the water was strong enough to make us all get in!

cooling our feet in a fountain in town

When we got back to the house I made an elaborate lunch that involved tofu, spinach, turkey and pasta (this satisfied all palates). When L.Fay eventually went on her merry way, it was time for me to contemplate dinner. I decided that dinner would be whatever I had in the fridge or was growing in the garden.

Turned out to be the perfect ending to a perfect day.

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You will need: 4lb cut-up chicken,

2 large sweet onions, very large dice or chunked,

3 ribs celery, including leaves, sliced,

4 poblano peppers, left whole(for Blood Type A diet, omit the peppers),

big bunch of fresh oregano & thyme (about 4 sprigs oregano and 6 sprigs thyme, but use more of each if you like),

3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil,

3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or, 3 1/2 cups water and good quality vegetarian or chicken bouillon cube. I use Rapunzel brand),

sea-salt (I use Maldon salt),

freshly ground black pepper (omit black pepper for Blood Tye A Diet).

Preheat oven 450*

1 – Scatter veggies (except for peppers) into bottom of roasting pan or everyday stainless pan (I use my All-Clad pan for the oven all the time). top with the herbs. If using a bouillon cube, break it up and add to veggies. Add the liquid.

lay veggies in bottom of pan

2 – Place the chicken in an even layer over vegetables, and squeeze in the poblanos loosely between the chicken pieces. Drizzle with the oil and add about 1 tsp salt and several grinds of pepper. (if you are using a broth or bouillon cube that you know has plenty of salt in it, add salt sparingly until you taste the cooked broth at the end).

Add chicken and peppers

3 – Place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let everything rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with whatever you have on hand

To serve: divide chicken and peppers between plates, topping with lots of brothy onions and celery. You can serve this with rice, a salad, potatoes, green veggies or bread.

A lovely day

Earthy Chicken with Capers and Onions (serves 6)

 In the past week we had settled back into a kind of routine, and part of that routine definitely included a trip out to our friend Tom’s house to see what he had been up to these past few months, (also a nice distraction from unpacking, and weeding the garden). It was a very hot day, and hard to believe that we went from boots and scarves (in Ireland & Italy) to shorts and sandals in 24 hours.

Earthy Chicken with Capers and Onions

He was the same old Tom with a million things going on at once: cleaning out the barn for a possible Art Gallery and Antique Shop, restocking his bee hives, trying to keep up with his blog: Pizza Daily (posting a pizza recipe a day, and using his great pizza paddle invention to get them in and out of the oven), and a million other projects too numerous to mention. His recent retirement had done the opposite of slowing this maniac of a man down!

My daughter at the little formal fountain outside of my friend Tom’s front door

He was invited to dinner that same evening and I was planning on making some variation on a pork spring roll? This kind of meal requires an amount of fiddle-y preparation and so it was important that I get an early start. Usually when Tom comes to dinner he is hungry, and usually when Tom comes to dinner I am invariably late getting the food on the table. I did not want to resort to giving him chips to keep him from passing out, so we kept our visit short and I sped away determined to be efficient.

Eastern Pennsylvania Countryside (taken by sticking my camera out the window of my car coming home from a visit to Tom’s)

Somehow I got distracted (I tend to start reading or doing mindless housework and forget the time) and before I knew it, the idea of making spring rolls was out of the question. I raced into the kitchen and it is no lie to say I had dinner in the oven in about 5 minutes. I felt guilty about not putting in more time, but equally smug, knowing dinner would be pretty darn good either way. When we tasted the dish I was assured that I was correct. Why I wanted to laboriously make spring rolls is beyond me.

The funny part is when Tom showed up and I proudly announced that dinner would be “on time”, he told me he wasn’t hungry yet! Finally, when he did eat, he described the dish as “earthy”, which gave me the name of yet another chicken dish.

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* This dinner is good for blood type A: just omit the capers and brine water. I made this with a romaine salad and fresh pineapple, which is also beneficial for type A’s*

Preheat oven 450*

You will need: 1 whole cut-up chicken, 2 large sweet onions, sliced into half moons, 2 cups veggie or chicken stock (or 1 good quality bouillon cube & 2 cups water), 1/4 cup capers, rinsed, 1 tbs brined caper water, (the liquid from the caper jar), 1 tsp course sea salt (I use Maldon salt), several grinds black pepper, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil.

Place onions in bottom of casserole

1 – Place onions in bottom of heavy casserole (with lid) and add the broth (or water and cube). Place the chicken on top in an even (ish) layer and add the salt, pepper and capers. sprinkle chicken skin with oil. place lid on pot and place in oven.

put chicken in pot with rest of ingredients

2 – Cook for 1 hour. Turn off oven and leave chicken in oven for another 15 minutes. Remove and set aside until ready to serve.

1 hour, 15 minutes later; deliciousness

You can serve this with any number of things (or alone). This is good with potatoes, rice, pasta, or bread. Some of us had it with a salad (me) while others choose rice.

Fresh Pineapple and Romaine Salad

Fresh pineapple for dessert was a lovely refreshing end to this meal.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash (serves 6)

I’ll admit to being more interested in so many other things last night than in making dinner. That being said, I absolutely always make an evening meal.

I know there are more food options nowadays, but I think making dinner should be a cheerful obligation, not a choice. Of course there are nights I cannot cook because of one thing or another, but since I was the one who decided to have a family, I really want to BE a family, and make being together as much as possible the most important thing.

Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Winter Squash

There will be plenty of nights in the future when I can read a book or watch a movie. I don’t want to look back on this time in my life and have regrets about something I had control over; like making a great dinner and all enjoying it together. So much goes along with this simple act. Do I have to state the obvious? 

So, being lazy last night just required that I make a lazy dinner! The preparations necessary took 10 minutes of my precious time. The squash I used was grown locally, as were the herbs (my garden) and the bacon.

As it turned out, it didn’t take much time or talent to make an amazing dinner!

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You will need: 6 chicken thigh cutlets, 3 chicken breast fillets, 1/2 to 3/4 lbs bacon, 1 winter squash, peeled, quartered & sliced, 5 sprigs thyme, 5 sprigs tarragon, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup chicken broth, sea-salt & freshly cracked black pepper for seasoning.

Preheat oven 425*

1 – Layer the squash in the bottom of a big saute or roasting pan. Scatter the herbs over the squash and sprinkle cream on top of everything. Season with several grinds of pepper.

squash & herbs in bottom of pan

2 –  Cut any excess fat from meat and wrap each piece in a strip of bacon. Add the broth and season with more black pepper.

ready for oven

3 – Place in preheated oven for 40 minutes, after which time, the bacon will cook and become crispy on top.

out of oven

4 – Take out of oven and cover pan for 10 minutes before serving. Taste broth for further seasoning.

you can also serve with rice

To serve; lay a portion of squash in the bottom of shallow bowls and top with whole chicken piece, or, slice the chicken and lay on top. This can be served as is, or, with a green salad, pasta, rice, or crusty bread.

Rosemary Scented Pasta with Chicken (serves 4)

 I went into a bit of a panic when I looked into the fridge last night, and saw not much of anything! It had been a long day and was getting close to the time when tummies would start to rumble, and the grumbling would begin. To make matters worse, it had been raining incessantly for 2 days straight and I was in no mood to dash of to the shop to find an easy solution.

Fresh rosemary and chives from my garden

I found 3 chicken breasts in the freezer, and I pried them apart with a knife to get them to defrost ASAP My man Dave found one of those metal plates at some garage sale or other that speeds up the thawing process, and so I stuck the 3 lumps of chicken on and willed them to thaw! 

While that was going on, I went outside (in the pelting rain!) and looked at my herbs for inspiration. I noticed a nice bunch of forgotten chives being smothered by basil on one side and my oregano bush on the other. I hadn’t remembered this poor plant all summer long. Out of sympathy and guilt I cut a big bunch and grabbed a sprig of rosemary, thinking it would punch up the flavor of any lack lustre meal?

  Rosemary Scented Pasta with Chicken topped with fresh tomatoes.

Since the chicken was still half-frozen I decided to cut it into very thin slices which would do two things; speed up the defrosting time, and the meat would also cook in lightening speed.

What can I say? – WOW! This was a magnificent dish. Being forced into making a dinner out of necessity and desperation can produce a disaster, or, you can end up with something amazing like the dinner we ate last night. The rosemary and chicken were a perfect match, and the chives had an onion-y quality that worked with the buttery pasta.

I also threw in a diced orange tomato from my sister-in-law Beth’s garden, and it made all the difference in the world. If nothing else, this dinner proved that growing a couple of herbs in pot or in a small patch of dirt yields rewards far greater than the effort it took to stick them in the ground.

I was a little hesitant thinking that my kids might find it a little too sophisticated (for want of a better word…), but there wasn’t a scrap left between us all. It is certainly at times like this I am glad to be laboriously writing down every dinner I have made this year. This one is a gem!

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You will need: 3 chicken breasts, very thinly sliced, t tsp coarse sea-salt, several grinds of black pepper, 1 small red pepper, small dice, 1 small onion, small dice, 2 small onions, halved and sliced into thin 1/2 rounds, 1 bunch chives, chopped,(1/4 cup), 1 tbs fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped, 2 tbs capers, drained & very well rinsed, 4 tbs unsalted  butter, 2 medium very good quality tomatoes, diced (heirloom & in-season are the best), 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 3/4 to 1 lb spaghetti, broken in half.

1 – Prep all ingredients. *to get the chicken very thin without driving you crazy, here’s what to do; stick it into the freezer for about 35 minutes or so. When it kind of stiff it cuts evenly and easily!

2 – Put a medium-sized saute pan on medium/low heat ands add 2 tbs of the butter. Add the 2 onions cut into half round slices. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until very soft and starting to brown. (They will be ready in about the time it takes to cook the rest of the dish).

3 – Add the olive oil to a big pan and turn heat to low/medium. Add the peppers and diced onion to the pan and cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the chives and rosemary and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or so.

saute onions and peppers, then add herbs

4 – Add the rest of the butter to the pan (2 tbs) and when it melts, add the chicken, salt, pepper, and the capers. Continue to cook for 10 minutes, at which time the chicken should be cooked.

next add butter, chicken and capers

5 – While chicken is cooking, put water on for pasta, and when it boils, cook pasta according to instructions. (don’t forget to break in half). When pasta is cooked, scoop out about a 1/2 cup of pasta water and reserve. When pasta is drained, immediately add to pan and stir into chicken and veggies, adding the pasta water and the sweet sautéed onions.

add pasta

Serve in warm shallow bowls and add diced fresh tomatoes if you like. We had some fab tomatoes from my sister-in-law’s garden and they were sweet, fresh and the best tasting tomatoes I had tasted all summer! Also, if you want to add some snipped chives to the finished dish; go right ahead!