Tag Archives: Chicken

Spicy Pecan Chicken Strips

Spicy Pecan Chicken Strips
I won’t go into detail on this, but have you ever researched what’s inside a chicken nugget? I’ll give you this: it’s not cute. It’s barely even chicken.

But who doesn’t love a nice dunkable, battered chicken strip? It’s American comfort food at its best and it is beyond easy to make. So skip the McDonald’s and try them at home. This particular recipe is SPICY so you can easily cut down on the cayenne to make it family friendly if you like.

On the menu:
Spicy Pecan Chicken Strips
Makes 2 – 3 servings

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup pecan halves or pieces
1/4 cup bread crumbs*
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a food processor, blend pecans, bread crumbs, and spices until you have a coarse mixture.

Cut chicken into strips, approximately 1 1/2 inches wide by 1 inch tall (they don’t have to be perfect but uniform size means uniform cooking). Dredge each piece of chicken in egg mixture and then in pecan spice mixture. Shake off excess and place on baking sheet.

Bake chicken strips for 30 minutes. Flip the pieces and bake for another 5 – 7 minutes or until each piece is cooked through and the breading is crispy. Serve with honey mustard dipping sauce.

*Note: I never, ever have breadcrumbs on hand. There’s something about buying a tub of crumbs of bread that just seems wrong to me. What I did in this instance is toast up a piece of white bread until it was very crispy, tear it up with my hands, and then toss the pieces into the food processor with the pecans and spices. Voila. Bread crumbs.

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Parmesan Chicken Cutlets and Warm Mustard Potato Salad

Parmesan chicken and mustard potato salad

This meal is not groundbreaking, it’s not difficult, and it’s not really anything new. But it feels complete, it took all of 10 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook, and it was delicious. Just add greenery. The asparagus we ate alongside this took forever to cook so we ate it as a kind of dessert. Oh, who am I kidding, we ate cookies for dessert and I put the asparagus in the fridge.

My reason for posting this recipe is the potato salad. Back when I was unemployed I was doing some recipe testing for a meal delivery website and more often than not, the recipes were mediocre and tasted like they were missing something. One in particular was a mustard potato salad that was SO bland and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I found a recipe in Real Simple magazine for a mustard potato salad that had a splash of red wine vinegar… and there was the missing ingredient. I once read on a blog, “if your dish is missing something, it’s probably an acid.” And in this case, it was true. You learn something everyday, kids.

On the menu:
Parmesan chicken cutlets and warm mustard potato salad
Serves 2

Chicken:
1 lb. of thinly sliced chicken cutlets
1 egg, scrambled
3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs (or my favorite kinda-bread-crumbs, crushed Ritz crackers)
Salt and pepper
Nonstick cooking spray

Potato salad:
2 cups small new potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put egg in shallow dish and scramble well. In another shallow dish, combine parmesan, bread crumbs, rosemary, salt and pepper. Dredge cutlets in egg and then bread crumb mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and breading is browned.

Meanwhile, boil water in a large pot. Add potatoes and cook for approximately 16 – 18 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add mustard, red wine vinegar, oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Serve warm alongside chicken and a green vegetable.

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Spinach, Tomato and Chicken Pasta Bake

Spinach, tomato and chicken bake
Is there a better combination than basil, tomato, and mozzarella? There’s something so soothing about the familiar flavor combination and truth be told, I’ll look for any excuse I can to use it. A few weeks back I marinated cherry tomatoes in espresso balsamic vinegar and skewered them with squares of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, and called it an appetizer. Or I called it dinner. Whatever.

This chicken pasta bake is easy as pie and is a great way to use up leftover shredded chicken if you have some in the fridge. And who doesn’t ALWAYS have leftover shredded chicken in the fridge? This is also a brilliant way to get spinach-haters to eat the good greens. The BF barely noticed it underneath all that cheese. #Win

On the menu:
Spinach, tomato and chicken pasta bake
Serves 3

1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 medium sized tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to instructions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until spinach is cooked down. Add chicken and basil and stir until combined.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken mixture, ricotta cheese, and 1/2 the mozzarella. Stir mixture until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a large baking dish (I used a 9 inch round tart dish) and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

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Enchiladas Ay Carumbaaaaa!

LaurenFoodE enchilada
I know you guys have been staring at that One Mug Brownie picture for a long time now, and you’re like, “Gaaaaahd Lauren, switch it up already.” Your wish is my command.

This dish is so delicious, that after whatever monstrosity I made the next night was consumed, The BF rummaged through the fridge and asked, “Are there any of those enchiladas left?”

Note: do NOT buy enchilada sauce. You will die when you see how easy it is to make. And it tastes just like the real deal enchilada sauce you buy from the grocery store, only it’s fresh and you made it without all the preservatives and other nasties you find in store bought sauces.

On the menu:
Chicken and black bean enchiladas
Serves 3

For the sauce:
3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder

For the enchilada filling:
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tsp cumin
3 cups shredded cheddar or blended Mexican cheese, divided
6 medium-sized flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9″ x 13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add tomato paste, flour, and spices and stir until blended, 1 minute. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook around 8 minutes, or until thickened.

In a large bowl, combine shredded chicken, black beans, corn, green onions, cilantro, cumin, and 2 cups of the shredded cheese. Spread a thin layer of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the 9″ x 13″ pan. Fill each tortilla with an ample amount of filling, tuck in the ends, and nestle seam-down in the sprayed pan. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas, careful to cover them as best you can. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.

Bake for for about 20 minutes. Garnish with extra cilantro.

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Chicken Marsala

Chicken marsala from LaurenFoodE
I’ve been told my strength is sauces. My Caesar salad dressing is divine, my vodka sauce could make grown men cry, and last night I perfected another: marsala. There is something so rich and deep about this sauce, it tastes like you cooked for hours to achieve it. Truth: it takes 45 minutes tops.

Note: this is a recipe that looks kind of involved, but it’s really not. Just read the whole thing before you start so you know which step comes when, and so your whole meal finishes at the same time.

On the menu:
Chicken marsala
Serves 2 – 3 (truth be told, this was too much for just 2 of us but if you’re serving 2 big eaters, then this might be perfect for 2)

2 large chicken breasts, cut in half length wise and pounded to 1/2 inch thick
1/4 cup flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp butter
1 large shallot, finely minced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
10 oz. white mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 pound angel hair pasta

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Get a large pot of salted water boiling (for pasta).

In a small saucepan, boil chicken stock uncovered until reduced to 1/2 cup. Once cooked down, turn off heat and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add mushrooms, sage, salt and pepper and cook for around 6 – 8 minutes or until mushrooms have cooked down. Remove from heat and reserve.

In a shallow dish, spread out the flour. Liberally salt and pepper each piece of chicken and dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook each piece of chicken for 1 – 2 minutes, just until browned on each side. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and finish the breasts off in the oven, baking for 7 – 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the same large skillet the mushrooms cooked in, add marsala wine and bring to a simmer, scraping off all the little brown bits from the shallots and garlic. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes or until the liquid reduces by half. [Now is a good time to start cooking your angel hair pasta!] Add reduced broth, cream, and mushrooms and stir. Let liquid simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in lemon juice.

Plate pasta, then chicken, then top off with sauce. Serve hot.

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Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew


One of the (many) pitfalls of being unemployed is that now the weather is cold and gloomy and I have even less motivation to leave the apartment than I did before (which is truly frightening). One of the fantastic things about being unemployed is the colossal amount of time I have on my hands to dream up and cook delicious things. I’m like Jerry Seinfeld. It all evens out.

I’ve been dying to make soup lately and this was easy and used up lots of things I already had in my house. You could use this recipe if you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, or bookmark it for Christmas leftovers.

On the menu:
Bacon, Spinach and Chicken Stew
Serves 4
Adapted from this recipe from The Kitchn

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
4 strips of bacon, diced into thin slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 oz. baby spinach
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 – 5 cups chicken stock
Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat and add bacon. Cook until most of the fat is rendered and the bacon is almost crisp. Add garlic and stir, cooking for 1 minute. Add baby spinach and stir until completely coated in bacon fat. Sprinkle spinach with salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cook for 5 – 7 minutes or until spinach is wilted down. Add cooked chicken and stir to coat in fat. Cook for 5 minutes until mixture is completely heated through. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes at a simmer.

Serve in big soup bowl and sprinkle grated cheese over the top.

Note: The sandwich in that picture is a delectable prosciutto with melted mozzarella and balsamic marinated cherry tomatoes on challah rolls. And yes… it was as good as it looks.

Last Note (promise): I don’t know why this is a stew and not a soup, but to me it’s a stew because there’s more stuff than broth. You feel me? Ok good.

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Balsamic Chicken Sandwich with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomatoes

In an effort to keep my spending low, pending my upcoming lack of paychecks and whatnot, I took a quick survey of my cupboard and tried to plan the week’s meals while also using up odds and ends that I already have in the house. This meal is the result of that, and if I do say so myself, it turned out quite nicely. Added bonus: I kept half my sandwich for today’s lunch. #TwoBirdsOneStone

On the menu:
Balsamic chicken sandwich with goat cheese and sundried tomatoes
Serves 2

1 large chicken breast, cut in half length wise, cut in half width wise
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

2 Portuguese rolls
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
2 Tbsp goat cheese
1 cup spring mixed greens

In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary. Rub chicken breasts with garlic cloves and then add chicken and garlic to the olive oil/vinegar mixture. Toss chicken to coat. Let sit at least one hour or overnight.

Cook chicken any way you like: if you have a grill, these are perfect grilled. If you’re a city dweller and are grill-less, you can cook these in a frying pan over medium heat with a little olive oil until the outside is barely crispy (the balsamic will glaze the chicken and keep it super moist).

Halve the rolls and toast them. Spread one half with goat cheese and the other half with sundried tomatoes. Layer greens and then chicken. Serve hot.

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A Taste of Jamaica

Unless you live under a rock you’ve probably been watching the Olympics, or have at least heard about them on the news. There are only a handful of events I can sit through and enjoy (equestrian? yawwwwwwn) but I get seriously rowdy during track and field. How thrilling is it to watch the fastest men alive tear across a track and then not even breathe hard afterward? It inspires me to get my butt up off the couch…. and over to the kitchen for another slice of cake.

Guys, I’m not really an athlete, ok?

In watching Usain Bolt dominate every other competitor in the arena, I had a craving for Jamaican food. And only in New York can you think to yourself suddenly, “Man, I’d like some Jamaican food” and then walk 15 minutes to get some.

Well… you can probably do that in Jamaica, too. But… you get my drift.

Brown Stew Chicken with beans and rice and coleslaw

Jerk Pan 48th St. and Park Avenue, New York, NY. Jerk Pan is a food truck located in midtown Manhattan, just outside the JP Morgan-Chase building. It’s kind of amazing to see a run down old truck with five Jamaican men inside, slinging hot street food while 20 corporate yuppies stand in a line waiting for lunch to be served. But isn’t that New York? I think it is.

On the menu:
Brown Stew Chicken with rice and beans and coleslaw

Verdict: Hellooooo lunchtime! Did it take me 20 minutes in 90 degree heat to walk here? Yes. Was it entirely worth it? Yes. I only ate 1/4 of the food on a bench near where the truck is parked because it was pretty messy and I only had one measly napkin. But when I got back to my office? I really wanted to have it again for lunch the next day so I restrained myself as best I could but wow, wow, wow this was delicious. The coleslaw (which is basically just cabbage with corn, green beans, and carrots mixed in) is served hot. Have you ever had hot coleslaw? Well, try it. It is absolutely perfect. Tangy and crunchy, and not too shabby paired with the fall-off-the-bone chicken (covered in sweet and tangy brown sauce) and the chewy and mild rice and beans. The best part? The whole thing only cost me $8. That’s the price of a sad salad from Cosi for all you mathematicians out there. I also sampled the jerk chicken (I was afraid to order it myself in case it was super spicy) which was also tender and flavorful with a kick of spice and worth getting the next time. What I REALLY wanted to order was the jerk goat but the friend I lunched with quickly replied, “Goat… from a truck… in New York?” Good point.

This is my favorite clip of Usain Bolt and it has nothing to do with running:

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Mediterranean Chicken Salad

I love to cook (…duh) but sometimes weeknight meals feel like a chore to come up with. The BF and I do our weekly grocery shopping on Sundays and sometimes I just can’t think past Sunday night as far as meals go. “Are you sick of penne vodka?” I always ask, staring down at the shopping list with the same twenty items as last week and the week before.

If you’re like me, and you often run out of ideas, there’s a savior: Epicurious Weekday Meal Planner. It’s literally a meal for every night of the week. Not just an entree, not just a soup or a sandwich, a whole meal: salad, entree, and even a dessert suggestion. Epicurious even offers up suggestions on what to do with leftovers (for example, 2 cups of rice made on Monday could serve as the base for Tuesday’s soup). And the best part? Most meals are working-girl/guy friendly. You won’t find any four-hour-long roasting menus or Thanksgiving-sized turkey dinners. If you’re ever stuck for a meal idea, you gotta check it out.

The below meal comes straight from Epicurious’ Weekday Meal Planner and it exceeded my expectations. And I love that it makes enough leftovers for my lunch tomorrow and The BF’s dinner on Thursday.

On the menu:
Mediterranean chicken salad
Serves 5
Adapted from Epicurious.com 

4 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
3 cups cooked, diced chicken

1 cup orzo
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 6-oz. jar of artichoke hearts, drained
2 Tbsp capers, drained
3 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup cucumbers, diced

In a small bowl combined oil, vinegar, tarragon, lemon juice, and mustard, and whisk together until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the chicken with 1/4 cup dressing until coated.

Cook orzo as directed and once drained, toss cooked orzo with the remainder of the dressing. Add chicken to the orzo, then add the cranberries, artichoke hearts, and capers.* Plate mixed greens and then chicken salad on top of the greens. Add tomatoes and cucumbers on the side (or on top if the mood strikes you).

*This salad is “supposed” to be served cold (I don’t really do a lot of things I’m supposed to when it comes to cooking) but I looooved the flavor of the balsamic vinegar when the chicken and orzo warmed it up, so feel free to serve it warm or at room temperature.

Note: I warmed up some naan and served it alongside the salad. It was the cherry on the sundae… and yes. Afterward I ate a sundae.

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Chicken Ragu with Tortellini


This is probably not news to anyone who knows me or reads this blog on the reg, but I love comfort food. I’m sure comfort food is different for everyone, but for me it’s cake, scrambled eggs, tomato sauce and pasta, macaroni and cheese… you get the idea. If it adds to your cholesterol, it makes me feel good.

In that same vein, ragu is probably one of my favorite pasta sauces. Ragu is defined as a vegetable-based sauce with meat in it, but in my mind I define a ragu as a tomato based sauce with shredded meat in it. Okay, so maybe culinary experts might disagree. Look at me give a care.

On the menu:
Chicken ragu with tortellini
Serves 4

1 28-0z. can crushed tomatoes
2 chicken breasts
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 black pepper
1 lb. pasta (I used tortellini but you can use any pasta you like)
1 honking loaf of garlic bread (optional… but really… is it?)

Pour tomatoes, basil, onion, garlic, salt, and pepper into a slow cooker and mix well until combined. Nestle chicken into the tomato sauce and turn on slow cooker to 275 degrees or low heat. Cook for 6 – 8 hours.

Cook pasta according to directions.

Remove chicken and place on cutting board, and then use 2 forks to pull apart chicken. Return chicken to slow cooker, add pasta, and toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with garlic bread. Impress your friends. Be full and happy.

Chicken ragu in the slow cooker

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