Tag Archives: Chicken

Southern UNfried Chicken

I’m overdue for a food post here. 🙂 I did this one a while back, and have just had too much drama to deal with.

Yes, UN-Fried Chicken

The Backstory:

Almost as fun as the cooking for me. It all started with the bottle of spice in the upper right corner of the picture. We found a cute little shop that sold spices for just about every kind of cooking you can think of. One of the bottles we bought was for fried chicken seasoning.

When it came time to do the chicken for dinner though, we were already behind schedule for the day and stressed out. I just plain didn’t feel like the mess of creating a batter dredge for the chicken. The end result is we decided to put the chicken on the smoker just using the seasonings without all the extra flour and oil.

Net Result:

Chicken that tasted exactly like fried chicken but with a deep smoke flavor also. It was really juicy and tender. Total winner; all the flavor of fried chicken with none of the fat and carbs!

Delicious!

We had it plain the first night, but the leftovers got served with veggies and topped with a bit of cream of mushroom soup as gravy:

This one was a fun experiment that turned out much better than I expected. It just goes to show that there are options for making classic unhealthy food into something healthy that still tastes great. It’s a process of discovery I’m enjoying more and more.

While I did mine on our Rec-Tec pellet smoker, this could just as easily be done baked in an oven. I’d recommend on a wire rack to let the skin crisp just a little as it bakes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today is Meals Monday so it’s time to get this recipe posted. 🙂

First, credit where it’s due. This recipe is from the “Fix It and Forget It Cookbook” that focuses on cooking things in a slow cooker.

That’s the same wire-bound version I have. Many tasty and easily thrown together recipes in it. This particular recipe was contributed to the book by one Becky Harder from Colorado. 🙂 Proper credit given, let’s jump to the recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

4 – Boneless Chicken Breast Filets

2 – 15 ounce cans of black beans, undrained

2 – 15 ounce cans of Mexican stewed tomatoes or Rotel Tomatoes

1 – Cup of your favorite salsa

1 – 4 ounce can of chopped green chilies (I prefer Hatch chilies)

1 – 14.5 ounce can of tomato sauce

1 – bag of tortilla chips

2 – Cups of grated cheese (Mexican blend, Jack, Cheddar or whatever)

PREPARATION:

Combine all ingredients except chips and cheese in large slow cooker.

Cover and cook 8 hours

Just before serving, remove chicken breasts and slice into bite sized pieces, then stir back into soup.

To server, put a handful of chips in each individual soup bowl. Ladle soup over chips. Top with cheese

PERSONAL NOTES:

First, this is simple and very flavorful. It really is a classic crock pot “fix it and forget it” meal. It’s one of my favorite meals in the cook book, and great on cold days.

This recipe makes a TON of soup. It’ll feel more like a thick stew when you stir the pot. I typically have to add a mix of chicken broth and tomato sauce after the first meal so that the remainder is a soup instead of chili. 🙂 Doing that, you can get 12 to 14 bowls of soup out of this.

I cut the chicken up ahead of time instead of fighting with it after cooking and making a mess. It’s worked out fine. Just remember the chicken pieces will shrink a little in cooking and size your pieces accordingly. If you like shredded chicken vs neat pieces, then you’ll have to shred it after cooking obviously.

There are tons of options and variations to the basic recipe. Some people add corn. Some people put avocado slices on top with the cheese. Some people put a quarter of a lime on the side to squeeze in some extra flavor. Another personal favorite is to top with a dollop of sour cream.

Normally I have a picture of the food up, but it’s been a while since I’ve made this. Chicken Tortilla Soup will show a million search engine hits anyway, LOL.

New Year’s Eve Dinner

We stayed home for New Year’s Eve this year. Avoided the crowds, the drunk drivers and the police sobriety checkpoints. Besides, the big screen provides a better view of the NYC fireworks than camping in Times Square would, LOL.

I made grilled chicken for dinner tonight. I have the usual pictures also, but I wanted to give a couple of tips for any charcoal grilling newcomers.

First is a piece of equipment that I consider essential. I was and still am one of those people who couldn’t get a traditional charcoal fire going to save my life. Then I discovered this:

It’s called a charcoal chimney. Stuff the bottom section with newspaper, junk mail sales ads or similar paper (crumpled up) then flip it over and fill the top portion with charcoal. Put the chimney on the lower rack for charcoal in your grill and light the paper. 15 minutes later you’ve got perfect coals for cooking over. Empty the chimney’s coals onto the rack, put the grilling rack on the grill and you’re ready to go. This thing really is flawless. You also avoid the need for any lighter fluid and the nasty aftertaste that it can add to food.

Here’s the end result there by the way:

Yes, it was dark out when I started. It gets dark crazy early here this time of year. The glowing charcoal at night made for a neat picture though. 🙂

Now the next thing I want to mention is how to avoid flare ups on a charcoal grill. Flare ups happen when fat melts from the heat and drips down onto the charcoal. The way around that is indirect heat. You arrange the coals along two sides:

And then put your food along the middle so that it’s not directly above the hot charcoal:

yeah, my iPhone’s flash finally decided to work, LOL.

Yes, the food is a bit too close together. Ideally you want it spaced out a little more so that it gets more uniform heat all around the individual pieces of food. By the way, indirect heat has two other advantages; you lose a bit less moisture, and it’s slower than direct heat. That gives you time to finish that side dish that’s taking longer than you thought, LOL.

So back to the chicken. It all got my usual Salt Pepper and Garlic treatment, then half got some lemon pepper seasoning and the other half got some chipotle pepper seasoning.

After grilling, add in some Au Gratten potatoes and steamed veggies and you have a nice relaxing meal at home to enjoy:

Grilled Chicken Garden Salad

I need a lighter post, and I’ve neglected my fellow foodies lately. That being the case, I thought it was also time I showed I can do more than BBQ and do eat healthy (occasionally, lol)

What I did the other day was grill some boneless skinless chicken breast fillets on the charcoal grill

Two were seasoned with lemon pepper seasoning and two were seasoned with chipotle pepper seasoning, which allowed me to customize both our salads a bit. 🙂

From there, it was a simple matter of combining all the veggies, shredded cheese, sunflower seeds, etc… into a salad.

I double layer everything so that the salad is pre-mixed without actually tossing it in large bowl. The final result is a pretty big salad, but that was the main course for dinner

Serve with fresh french bread on the side and viola, a meal. 😀