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How Many Ways Can You Make Chicken? Part 2! Eat Chicken Every Night Of The Week And Love It!
Great Chicken Recipes For Week 2! So Good!
Eating chicken every night for 30 days may not sound appealing, but with these recipes, chicken is never boring and makes everyone happy! Chicken is the most affordable meat with whole chickens priced as low as 77 cents a pound. Bargains like that are hard to find! Part 1 of this series gave you the first 7 recipes. This will give you 7 more for the second week. Get ready to keep these! They are not from any cookbook. They come straight from this grandma's kitchen and years of good cooking! I have friends that come from hundreds of miles away to eat my food. They say it is not the food, it is my company, but I know the truth. If you want good food, go to Jillian's house! I take it as a compliment.
Let's Get To The Food!
Some of these are more difficult than others, and I will let you know the ones that are. I am an amateur home chef, so if I can make them, you can, too!
1) CHICKEN SAUSAGE WITH PEPPERS AND ONIONS IN A HOAGIE ROLL:
This one is definitely a keeper and easy! You can buy Italian chicken sausage already made, right in your regular grocery store, or you can make your own. The sausage you buy in the store is in nice sized links, ready to go. If you want to make your own, connect to the article at the bottom of the page and substitute ground chicken for the pork. I serve these sandwiches without marinara sauce, just plain, but I will also give you a quick, simple marinara recipe that you can use if you prefer it that way.
- 1 or 2 packages of Italian chicken sausage (use one pack for 4 people, 2 for 8 people)
- 1 or 2 large onions, chopped (1 for 4 people, 2 for 8 people)
- 1 or 2 bell peppers, chopped (1 for 4 people, 2 for 8 people)
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 4 to 8 hoagie rolls or some nice crusty Italian bread or rolls
- shredded mozzarella or provolone, to melt over the top of the hoagie (optional)
You will need two skillets for this. In the larger pan, heat most of the olive oil (minus 1 Tablespoon) and add the peppers, onions, red pepper flakes, garlic and the salt. Saute until the veggies are tender, making sure that you do not burn the garlic. At the same time, in the smaller pan, heat about 1 Tablespoon of oil and add the sausage. Brown it thoroughly on all sides. Remove it from the heat and cut it into 1/3 inch slices. Return to the pan and crisp up a little more, making sure that the chicken is fully cooked. I brown it before slicing, because if I slice it uncooked, I have a hard time keeping the pieces together, without falling out of the casings. Tastes good either way, just easier for me.
Once the sausage is finished, scoop it into the veggie pan and mix together. Heat thoroughly to blend all of the flavors. Test it for salt. It is great just like this and is how I prefer it. But if you like sauce, I am including a quick, easy marinara that I would not use for pasta, but will use for sandwiches. With marinara, I really like the melted cheese on top. At that point, you might as well go for broke!
SANDWICH MARINARA SAUCE:
This will make just enough sauce to coat the sausage, but not drown it. You can either mix it in with the sausage, peppers and onions or just use it to top the sandwich.
- 1 29 to 30 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 medium onion, diced
- 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- some freshly ground black pepper (you can use red pepper flakes)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 small bunch of basil leaves, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a pot that will be large enough to hold the tomatoes. Add the onion, garlic, pepper and salt. Saute until the onions are tender, being careful not to burn the garlic. Any time I offer a recipe that has sauteed garlic, I always make sure that I tell people to be careful. Garlic is in almost everything I cook (Italian heritage) and there is nothing sweeter than garlic cooked correctly. Once it is burned, you have to throw everything out, clean the pan and start over, because there is nothing worse than burned garlic. Add the tomatoes and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes. Test for salt and remove from the heat. Stir in the basil and ladle over the sandwiches. Enjoy!
I understand that this is an article about chicken, but these sandwiches can also be made with Italian pork sausage. Mixed in with some scrambled eggs (minus the marinara sauce) and they make a great breakfast sandwich. They are great either way!
2) CHICKEN AND EGGPLANT PARMESAN (This one is awesome, but more difficult!):
I am a fan of both chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan, but could never get my kids to eat eggplant, so the only time I was able to have eggplant was when I went to an Italian restaurant. The problem with that solution was that since I am Italian and we live in Southern California, there are no truly great Italian restaurants, so we never go. I grew up cooking and eating real Italian and so did my kids. Restaurant Italian food is not the real thing, at least in Southern California. There are a couple of good Italian restaurants, but they are not conveniently located. I came up with a dish that solves the problem. In it, I have combined chicken and eggplant. It is a treat! I use either my own spaghetti sauce which is linked below, or I use a basic marinara sauce, which I use for spinach lasagna. Let's start with that. This is the sauce I use for homemade pizza also, but instead of basil, I add a tablespoon of oregano. One or two modifications to a simple sauce can change it completely!
Basic Marinara Sauce Recipe:
- 3 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves of garlic, diced
- Some people like mushrooms in the sauce. If so, chop up about 8 ounces of button mushrooms. You will saute them along with the onions and garlic.
- 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 Tablespoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1 29 to 30 ounce can of tomato puree
- 8 - 10 plum (roma) tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
- a couple of pinches of sugar
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons of fresh, flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 basil leaves, torn into small pieces(optional, some people do not like basil. I love it!)
Heat the oil in a 4 - 6 quart stockpot. Drop the garlic and onions, as well as half the salt, the red pepper flakes and the Italian seasoning. Saute over a medium heat, stirring so that the garlic does not burn. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the canned puree and the fresh puree, as well as the remaining salt and the sugar. Heat to boiling and then lower the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and make sure that the lid is slightly tilted. The sauce should simmer under a low heat. The sauce is finished after about 30 minutes, but for a fuller, more developed flavor, you may cook it longer. Test the sauce after 30 minutes for salt and if it seems a little too acidic, add another pinch of sugar. After removing the sauce from the heat, I stir in the fresh parsley and the basil. This recipe will make enough sauce for a 9 X 13 inch baking pan of chicken eggplant parmesan. You will have enough remaining sauce to place in a bowl so that if anyone wants to, they can spoon some additional sauce over the top.
Now, on to the chicken and eggplant!
- 3 skinless, boneless, chicken breasts or 3 breasts with skin and bone, poached or baked until done. You can also use leftover cooked chicken, just make sure that you have enough to cover the bottom of your pan.
- 1 or 2 nice-sized eggplants (2 insures that you will have enough)
- Italian breadcrumbs (either homemade or store bought) or panko crumbs for an even crispier coating. You can mix in some parmesan cheese, if you like.
- 2 cups of canola oil or olive oil and canola oil mixed
- flour for coating the eggplant, plus some salt and pepper mixed in to the flour
- 4 to 5 eggs, beaten
- 1 pound of mozzarella, either shredded or sliced
Prepare the chicken you will need. Chop it into bite-sized pieces and set it aside. Peel and slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds. You want them thick enough so that they don't get soft and mushy. Pour the canola oil into a good-sized frying pan and set up a breading station. I use a pie pan for the beaten eggs, another for the flour and one more for the bread crumbs. Start by dipping the eggplant into the flour, then the eggs and finally, coat the pieces with the breadcrumbs. Drop the eggplant pieces into hot oil in the frying pan. When the first side is golden brown, turn the eggplant. When the second side is brown, remove each piece to a paper towel-lined plate to drain off some of the oil. Prepare the baking pan that you are going to use. Spray the bottom and then, with a ladle, spread the bottom of the pan with some sauce. Put the chicken pieces on the bottom of the pan and put some mozzarella cheese over the top. Ladle some sauce over the chicken and create a second layer. The second layer will be eggplant. Top that with mozzarella and then some sauce. Add another layer of eggplant, cheese and sauce. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese and place into a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. When the pan is finished baking and the cheese is bubbly, remove it from the oven and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. After it has set up, it should easily cut into squares just like lasagna. A 9 X 13 pan should serve 6 people and the leftover marinara sauce spooned over the top will add some extra flavor.
I serve this with a green salad and some crusty Italian bread.
3) CHICKEN FAJITAS (recipe can also be used for tacos or nachos with some minor changes.
For fajitas, you can use any type of left over chicken (not ground beef), pork, beef or shrimp. The recipe is the same for all of them.
- 2 chicken breasts, poached and chopped into bite-sized pieces or use 2 cups of leftover chicken, chopped into bite-sized pieces (with the chicken, remove any skin and take the meat off the bones)
- 2 red bell peppers (green or yellow can also be used) - chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, diced small, (especially if you have kids)
- 2 - 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped into bite-sized pieces. To seed a tomato, just cut in half and with your fingers and scoop out the seeds from the middle.)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- salt, to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 1 can of diced Ortega green chiles (store brand is just as good), do not drain, and these are optional. They may make it a little spicy for young children. But adults and teenagers like the spicy flavor they add.
- 8 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese (you can use monterey jack, pepper jack or a mix of all of these), grated
- flour tortillas (any size from soft taco to burrito, I use the burrito size most often)
- sour cream, for use at the table
- 3 -4 Tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 - 4 Tablespoons of chopped cilantro (optional, for garnish. I only use it if I have it on hand)
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the bell peppers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and the red pepper flakes. Saute until the onions are translucent. At this point the bell peppers will still be a little too crunchy for kids, but everything will continue to cook as the other ingredients are added. Add the tomatoes and combine well. As this continues to cook, add the diced green chile peppers, along with any liquid in the can. When the bell peppers are soft enough for your own individual tastes, add your chicken and heat throroughly, making sure that everything is well combined.
If the vegetable mixture has too much liquid in it (mine often does), simply pour it into a colander and shake it to drain off the liquid or remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Warm the tortillas in the microwave. Bring those, the cheese, sour cream and any hot sauce you like to the table and have everyone make up their own servings.
As a variation, make this into CHICKEN TACOS by using corn tortillas, fried in some canola oil. Dice up some fresh tomatoes, shred some iceberg lettuce, and chop up some green onions.
For CHICKEN NACHOS, follow the directions for the fajitas, but instead of flour tortillas, use tortilla chips. Add:
- 1 can of refried beans
- 4 - 6 ounces of Kraft Velveeta cheese, chopped into 1 inch squares
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 3 - 4 diced tomatoes
In a pot, heat the refried beans. Using a microwave safe bowl, melt the velveeta and milk, making a cheese sauce. Use the tomatoes as a garnish. Put some of the fajita mix on a plate, then top with the tortilla chips, beans, cheese sauce, tomatoes and sour cream. Use your favorite hot sauce.
4) GRILLED GARLIC AND LEMON CHICKEN (with a variation that will make it into a great lemon, garlic pasta dish):
This is a wonderful marinated chicken, as is, with salad and some risotto as a side dish. The risotto recipe is linked at the bottom of the page.
- chicken breasts or thighs, skinless and boneless, enough for your family OR bone-in, skin-on breasts or thighs
- 2 or 3 lemons, zest removed and the lemons, cut in half and juiced
- 5 or 6 cloves of garlic, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Put the chicken pieces into a large ziploc bag. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Pour into the ziploc bag and make sure that the mixture is evenly distributed all over the chicken pieces. Put into the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning the baggie over, every once in a while. If grilling only, rub your grill pan with a little bit of canola oil. Heat the oiled grill pan. With a set of tongs, remove the pieces of chicken and place each piece on the grill pan. Discard the baggie. Be patient and allow each piece of chicken to cook thoroughly on the first side before turning. You should have nice grill marks on the chicken, prior to turning. When the chicken is done, remove it to a plate and serve.
If you plan to use this as part of a lemon and garlic pasta, you will marinate the chicken in the same way, but instead of grilling the chicken, you will put the chicken into a baking pan with the marinade. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees, basting occasionally until the chicken is done, usually about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven. Put the chicken on a plate and remove some of the drippings and marinade sauce. Pour about a 1/2 cup of the drippings into a large frying pan and add 2 or 3 chopped green onions. Saute the green onions. Your pasta should be cooking in salted water (according to the package directions). Just prior to draining, remove 2 cups of the pasta water. Add the pasta water to the drippings and heat thoroughly. After the pasta is drained, put the pasta into the drippings and pasta water and mix thoroughly. Test for salt. Add in about 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and some chopped, fresh flatleaf parsley and then serve with the chicken and a salad.
5) BREADED CHICKEN CUTLETS (that can also be used to make chicken parmesan):
Breaded chicken cutlets, with a salad, baked potato or other vegetable is one of the easiest dinners to make. I like them with either boneless thighs or breasts, but a cut up whole chicken can be cooked the same way after breading the pieces. If you decide to use a cut up whole chicken, the end result will be similar to fried chicken, but not fried or as heavy.
- chicken breasts or thighs, skinless and boneless- when using breasts, I slice them the long way into either 2 or 3 slices. They take only 30 minutes to cook, when thinly sliced.
- beaten eggs
- Italian or homemade bread crumbs
- parmesan cheese
- olive oil
Set up a breading station, using 3 pie pans. In one, put in a few beaten eggs, in the second, flour and the third, bread crumbs. If you like, add some parmesan cheese to the bread crumbs. Pour some olive oil on a cookie sheet. Dip the chicken in the flour to coat it, then dip it in the eggs and finally into the bread crumbs. Put the chicken pieces gently onto the cookie sheet. They must be cooked in a single layer. Sprinkle some olive oil over the top of the cutlets or chicken pieces. Place in a 375 degree oven. Turn with a spatula after 20 minutes. If using breasts, cook an additional 10 minutes.
If using thighs, cook an additional 20 minutes and the same for a cut up whole chicken. Remove the pieces to a paper towel-lined plate and serve with whatever sides you enjoy.
For a simple CHICKEN PARMESAN, you can cook the chicken in the same way. When it is done and the chicken is drained on paper towels, you will need some marinara sauce (recipe above) and some mozzarella cheese. Spray the bottom of a baking pan and put in the cooked cutlets. Top them with some cheese and a little bit of heated sauce. Put them back into the oven just until the cheese melts. Put the extra sauce on the table and let each person ladle it over their own chicken. Granted, this is not the traditional chicken parmesan, but it is good and it is close enough to the real thing that your family will think they ARE eating the real thing.
6) CHICKEN POT PIE:
If you are used to frozen pot pies, this is not even close! It is homemade, except for the crust. I love Marie Callender's pie crusts! They are a little more expensive, but just as good as any homemade pie crust I can make. The deep dish crusts are the best for pot pies. The best thing about homemade pot pies is that you can choose your own ingredients, the worst thing is that this is a time-consuming recipe. I don't care for peas, so I use corn instead. The following is for one 9 inch or one 10 inch pot pie. This recipe is great for leftover, cooked chicken. Two differences would be that first, with leftover chicken, you will mix it in with the other ingredients after you have made the gravy. Second, you should use a little bit of poultry seasoning or garlic powder to the gravy.
- one boned and skinned chicken breast or two boned and skinned thighs, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup of carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup of canned, frozen or fresh corn
- 1/3 cup of diced onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of celery heart, with leaves, diced
- 3 small potatoes, peeled and diced
- 2 cups of chicken broth or chicken stock (more may be needed)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/3 cup of butter
- 1/3 cup of flour
- 1 deep dish 9 or 10 (I recommend a 10 inch) inch frozen pie crust
Please remember that I have no written recipe for this. I am writing it from memory and trying to picture the amounts that I never measure. You may end up with enough for two pies, which will serve 6 to 8 people.
In a stockpot, place the raw chicken pieces, carrots, celery, potatoes and corn. You can add about 1/4 teaspoon of poultry seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, if you like. It will result in a richer tasting gravy. Add enough stock or broth to just cover all of the vegetables. Bring the mixture to a boil and allow to simmer (a slight boil) for about 20 minutes. The vegetables should be tender, but not mushy. Drain the mixture, reserving the liquid for the gravy. Set aside the mixture. When the gravy is finished, you will combine everything together.
In a pot large enough to hold 2 cups of gravy, melt 1/3 cup of butter. Add the onion and garlic, some salt and pepper (1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of ground, black pepper) and saute the onions and garlic until tender. Add the flour and whisk it with the butter. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then whisk in 2 cups of the chicken broth. While stirring, bring this to a boil. It will get thick as it comes to a boil. Allow it to boil for a minute, making sure to keep stirring it. Combine the chicken mixture with the gravy and test it for salt.
Follow the directions on the pie crusts you have purchased. Prior to pouring in the filling, I brush the bottom and sides of the crust with some whisked egg white. It helps to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy. Then I pop it into a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and pour in the filling. Again, because I never measure, you may have a little too much filling. Keep it because you can use it to supplement the amount of pie filling on the plates or you can freeze it for your next pot pie or pot of chicken soup. Put the top crust on the pie and seal the edges. Make sure that you put 3 or 4 slits on the top of the pie and put the pie on a cookie sheet, so that if it overflows, your oven will stay clean. Bake the pie for about 40 minutes. Halfway through, take a look and if the sides of the crust are browning too quickly, cover them up with a little bit of tin foil.
This is so good on a cold, rainy night!
7) WILTED CHICKEN AND SPINACH SALAD (sounds boring, but it isn't!):
This is a lighter dinner, but serve it with some soup and crusty bread and it should be filling enough for even the hungriest of eaters! It is perfect for leftover chicken! Just a cup or two of chopped up, leftover chicken is enough for this salad.
Pre-packaged spinach is much easier to use, but more expensive; in some grocery stores it can be as much as $2.00 more per pound. Do not be intimidated by spinach bought by the bunch. Fresh spinach is easy to clean. I put my largest pasta pot into the sink and fill it with cold water. I unwrap the spinach and drop it in. I swish it around by hand for about 30 seconds and then let it sit for a few minutes. I remove the spinach to the colander and dump the pasta pot. You will notice that the sand and grit has settled at the bottom. I rinse the pasta pot and repeat the process one more time and then spin the clean spinach in my salad spinner to dry it. If you don't have a salad spinner, use paper towels. If the stems are tough, cut them off. If you were lucky, you got baby spinach and the stems will be thin and sweet. Put the clean spinach into a medium salad bowl and keep it in the fridge untill right before dinner.
- 1 to 2 cups of leftover chicken, cut into small pieces
- 1 pound of bacon, cooked in a large pan, then drained on paper towels and chopped up into bite-sized pieces
- 1 pound of spinach, washed and dried
- salt, red pepper flakes
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
For a wilted spinach salad, keep about 4 to 5 Tablespoons of the bacon grease in the pan that you cooked the bacon in.. Add the chopped garlic, red pepper flakes and the chopped green onions. Sautee them in the bacon grease and then add the chicken. Make sure the chicken is coated with the bacon grease. Add the spinach. With tongs, turn the spinach quickly for about 2 or 3 minutes. As soon as it is coated, remove it to the salad bowl. Do not overcook it. You want it just slightly wilted. Set this aside and right before dinner is to be served, add the chopped bacon, one third of a cup of olive oil and about one half of a cup of vinegar. Toss the salad and serve.
For a cold, crisp spinach salad, put the spinach into a large salad bowl. Add the bacon and chicken pieces to the bowl. Whisk together one third of a cup of olive oil and one half of a cup of vinegar. Add a little bit (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) of garlic salt, red pepper flakes and salt and whisk. Pour that over the spinach and toss to coat all of the ingredients. Served cold, you can also add tomatoes, cucumbers and some kidney beans.
8) CHICKEN PIZZA WITH A CRAZY LITTLE MIDDLE EASTERN TWIST:
How many people cannot count to seven? Last time I looked, there were only 7 days in a week, but for some reason, when I turned 50, I forgot how to count. But since I previewed all 8 recipes in the first part of this series, I will provide the recipe for that uncommon 8 day week. I love pizza! Who doesn't? But that thick crust, overloaded with tons of mozzarella cheese (just the way I like it), can be just a little bit calorie-laden. This is a substitue for my favorite pizza and actually tastes wonderful! Don't believe me? Try it! I have pretty good taste buds. I know what tastes good and this does!
Lavash is something I discovered in my produce store. I believe it originated in Turkey, but I am not sure. I had never tried it and really had no idea how to use it, but decided that I could probably make a pizza with it. The lavash that I purchased came in a plastic package and was soft. There were two very large, very thin pieces, so you will need two cookie sheets. Spray both cookie sheets and open the lavash. I opened the pieces and quickly discovered that once exposed to the air, the lavash became hard, so I brushed both pieces on either side with some olive oil. Then I folded each one in half, so I would have a little bit thicker base crust to work with. The following items are what I used to make these two thin pizzas, with a crisp cracker-like crust:
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of chopped, leftover chicken
- 4 seeded, diced roma tomatoes
- 2 cups of diced up raw broccoli, most of the stems removed
- 4 or 5 large button mushrooms, diced
- 2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese
- salt, red pepper flakes and garlic powder, to taste
- oregano, enough to sprinkle across each pizza
Mix all of the ingredients together, except for the oregano. Pour equal amounts over each piece of lavash and spread it around to evenly coat the pizza. Sprinkle dried oregano over each pizza and place them into a 350 degree oven. It should take about 10 minutes for the cheese to melt. Remove it from the oven and cut it with either a knife or pizza cutter. These 2 pizzas will serve no more than 5 people. Sounds like alot, but they really are not. They are very light.
Preview Of Part Three! What Is On The Menu Next?
The third part in this series will include the following recipes:
- linguine with chicken
- Mock Thankgiving with a stuffed chicken
- sweet and sour chicken over rice
- onion soup chicken with rice and gravy
- chicken salad stuffed in a tomato or for sandwiches
- chicken soup
- buffalo drumsticks, with ranch dressing
Again, Part 3 will be published by the time you have finished trying the above recipes. I hope that you will pick a few of these and add them to your menu rotations. If you love them or hate them, let me know! Below is a link to Part 1!
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