Tag Archives: chicken

Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

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As Hemingway put it, we are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Mastering just one small element in the kitchen is no more than a wave on a boundless ocean. There’s always more to learn.

You’re probably wondering if all I do now is bake cake. Based on my last several posts, it would seem the obvious conclusion.

However, lately, as is usually the case, I’ve been cooking and experimenting with new recipes and ingredients more than ever, driven to broaden my horizons. In the past few weeks, I’ve started to work on the dinner roll/biscuit genre…with less than spectacular results…but a ton of determination. It’s truly an art to achieve a flaky, light, buttery biscuit…but get there I will.

I’ve also tried making corn tortillas with Masa Harina, a Mexican corn flour which I found in our local grocery store while cruising through the baking aisle, but I used too little water and don’t own a tortilla press, so I used a Ziploc and a rolling pin, which resulted in an odd shaped, crumbly…albeit quite tasty…mess.

There have also been a good share of successes, including doughnuts so soft and flavorful that they melt in your mouth…recipe forthcoming. My first cheesecake that I made at Easter that did not crack. A lovely espresso Kahlua fudge torte for a coworker. A double layer milk chocolate cake for my dad’s 80th birthday. ….yes…this is returning to cake again…

And finally, there is this sticky chicken recipe.

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I came up with this as a meatier play on slow cooked chicken wings…the kind so sticky, flavorful, fall-off-the-bone delicious, that you have to throw down your fork, roll up your sleeves, and dig in with your hands, mind focused on the task, and a ton of napkins.

Which is exactly what we did.

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I paired the drumsticks with a batch of spaetzle, the perfect accompaniment to balance out the sticky, sweet, spicy chicken. If you’ve never made spaetzle, give my recipe a try. It’s easy to make, and you don’t need a spaetzle maker…a simple colander will suffice. It’s even quite impressive, given the fact that it’s nothing more than flour, eggs, and milk combined to make tiny pillows of miniature dumplings bathed in a touch of melted butter and a shake of sea salt.

Slow Cooked Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

3 1/2 lb chicken drumsticks, skin removed
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 medium lemon
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ginger
2 Tbsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce

Place drumsticks in slow cooker.

Zest and juice the lemon. Add lemon zest and juice to a small saucepan. Press garlic cloves into pan using a garlic press. Then, add all remaining ingredients to the pan. Cook over medium heat until boiling, then simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and pour over chicken. Cover slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours. (If you are rushed for time, you can simply combine the sauce ingredients and add immediately to the slow cooker without boiling first.)

After 4 hours, remove chicken from the slow cooker with a tongs. Pour juices from crockpot into a saucepan. Place chicken back in slow cooker and set to low.

Bring juices in saucepan to a rapid boil and continue boiling, whisking frequently, until sauce reduces by half. If necessary, combine 1 oz cornstarch with 1 oz cold water and whisk into sauce. Once thickened, pour over chicken, cover slow cooker, and cook for another 15-30 minutes or until ready to serve.

Coming Soon: More recipes…many of which may still have something to do with cake. Sorry. I’m slightly obsessed.

Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets & Onion Rings

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Here’s the conundrum: Is deep fried, “real” food any better for you than baked, processed food? Or does the deep frying negate the benefits of the real ingredients?

Hmmm…well, clearly, baked real food would be better than either option; but sometimes you’ve just got to go with what feels right and throw caution to the wind…

In our house, we use our deep fryer about once every month or two. When we do, it’s always for a special meal…typically fresh walleye in the summer months or pheasant nuggets in the fall. Recently, on a warm October afternoon, while our boys played their version of one-on-one flag football in the backyard, Matt and I relaxed on the deck, popped open a few cold Spotted Cows, and fried up some “real” chicken nuggets and onion rings. Continue reading

Slow Cooked Whole Chicken and Blueberry Buckle

In early August, we spent a weekend at the family cabin to celebrate Grandma’s 65th birthday.

As chief chef, a title I’ve happily bestowed upon myself, I was in charge of the birthday meal and thought it would be nice to roast a chicken for the Saturday night birthday feast. The only problem was that summer Saturdays at the lake are primarily spent boating, tubing, canoeing, and 4-wheeling…activities away from the cabin that make supervising a roasting chicken a bit of a challenge.

Fortunately, I’ve had this recipe bookmarked on my recipes to try list for awhile, and this was the perfect occasion to do so: Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

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For the chicken, I used a 4 lb all natural bird from Trader Joe’s. I switched up the spices to what we had on hand but otherwise followed the recipe as written, and it worked perfectly. While we were enjoying our day on the lake, the chicken was slow-cooking away, and when I transferred it to a serving plate, it did indeed fall right off the bone. We served it with a batch of garlic mashed baby reds and gravy made with the slow cooker juices. Delish!

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For dessert, I made blueberry buckle using this recipe I found online: Allrecipes Blueberry Buckle

The boys definitely preferred this version to the Gerber Blueberry Buckle they used to eat when they were babies.

The Oldest: Circa 2005

The Oldest: Circa 2005

After our feast, we lounged in the gazebo, and while we watched the sun set over the lake, we were greeted by this little visitor. His name is Fred.

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Two new recipes that got thumbs up by the fam to file away for the future, and we had plenty of chicken left over for chicken quesadillas the next day. Success!

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Smokin’ Hot Buffalo Chicken Calzones

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If you like Frank’s buffalo chicken dip, then you’re going to love this recipe. It’s basically Frank’s buffalo chicken a la calzone…or as I call it: smokin’ hot buffalo chicken calzones.

The soft, pillowy dough works wonders to tame the spicy, cheesy chicken mixture. We use our versatile pizza dough recipe for calzones. One batch of dough is enough for two calzones.

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For the boys: pepperoni pizza calzones. For the adults: buffalo chicken calzones. Both varieties were a hit.

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Smokin’ Hot Buffalo Chicken Calzones
¼ cup Frank’s hot sauce
1/8 cup ranch dressing
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cups cooked, chopped boneless chicken
4 oz. cubed cream cheese
½ recipe of pizza dough

Pizza Dough
3 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 Tbsp olive oil

Prepare pizza dough a few hours in advance to allow it to rise. Use half for this recipe and save the other half for another calzone or pizza crust.

To prepare dough, stir yeast into the warm water. Add flour and salt to a food processor with a dough blade in place. Turn on the dough setting on the food processor and stream the yeast water into through the feeder tube into the food processor. Then, stream in the olive oil. Turn off as soon as the dough ball forms. Remove, dough ball and place in a large bowl coated in olive oil, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for at least a few hours.

To prepare calzone, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the chicken, cheeses, hot sauce, and ranch. Divide the pizza dough in half, and set the other half aside for another use. Toss a spoonful of cornmeal or flour on a sheet of parchment paper, and then use a rolling pin with a bit of olive oil on it to roll out the dough into a rectangular shape. Top the dough with the mix to form a line of mix down the middle. Cut slits in the dough on either side of the mix, and criss-cross the dough slices over the mix. If you’re really feeling crazy, slather a bit of melted butter over the top of the dough. Oh yes we did!

Bake for 30 minutes or until dough is browned and cheese begins to ooze out of the slits. Leftovers reheat great for lunch the next day…that is if there’s anything left over. Not in our house.

Mozzarella Smothered Chicken with Mushroom Gravy


SO…I’m thinking I should have named this blog “How I Bribe My Kids To Get Them To Eat Well”…catchy, isn’t it? Before I get to the recipe, let me just start by saying we were mighty impressed by the deal that was brokered between the Youngest and the Oldest tonight at dinner, with the end result of dessert earned by all.

But, let me back up. You see, today was a busy day. It started with BACON. Yes, crispy bacon frying up in the pan. This morning. I know what you’re thinking: wait…it’s not even the weekend? Who has time to make bacon on a WEDNESDAY… on a workday??? Well, that, my friends, would be this crazy food blogger…yours truly…who got up an extra 15 minutes early to make some bacon for the Oldest as a special treat. Bacon is by far the Oldest’s favorite breakfast food. Not that he’d only eat it at breakfast. He would eat it noon or night, in the dark and in the light, with a fox, in a box…you get the point. And, it’s the only meat he will happily eat.

On the other hand, the Youngest hates bacon. Knowing this, I made something else that…I assumed…both would happily devour. Parfaits. Yogurt, Cheerios, and sliced berries. The Oldest chowed down his breakfast in less than 60 seconds. No lie. The Youngest gave me a look of disgust, announced that he no longer liked parfaits, gave his parfait to his brother (which the Oldest happily gobbled down, too) and proceeded to grab a cereal bar from the cupboard. Well, one out of two isn’t bad, right? Oh yeah, and the Youngest was also upset because bacon usually means pancakes (well, sure, on the weekend it does) and pancakes are the Youngest’s favorite breakfast food. This is when I threw up my hands and admitted defeat…at least for the morning.

Which brings me back to dinner. Fast forward through a hectic work day, topped off by an even more hectic rush to make it to swimming lessons, followed by a mad dash to get something on the table thereafter.

So, I made this:

Mozzarella Smothered Chicken with Mushroom Gravy

4 thick boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package mushrooms, sliced
8 thin slices mozzarella cheese
2 Tbsp butter
½ cup milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper, to taste

Slice chicken breasts in half width-wise to make 8 thin breasts. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Brown over medium-high heat. Once breasts are cooked through and browned, transfer to baking dish. Top breasts with sliced mozzarella. Turn on oven to broil setting. Then, prepare gravy by melting butter over medium heat in same pan that chicken was cooked in. Use a fork to scrape the brown bits from the pan to incorporate with the butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. Mix the milk with the cornstarch and add to pan. Mix and cook for another few minutes until sauce thickens and bubbles. Pour sauce over the top of the mozzarella covered chicken and broil for just a few minutes until cheese and sauce begin to bubble. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes.

Ok, so now that you’ve got the recipe, back to the deal that was brokered over dinner. The boys plates consisted of a few bites of chicken, a mashed potato volcano, a handful of sugar snap peas, and a mountain of sliced strawberries. The strawberries were the first victims to leave the scene. Next went the potatoes. Then, the two voracious eaters just stopped and stared. The Oldest loves veggies but DETESTS chicken. The Youngest likes chicken but is not a huge fan of peas. Before either of us parents knew it, the Youngest…bless his clever little heart…had negotiated a peas for chicken swap. In a blur of motion, food was shared, and two plates were empty. Amen.

I guess I should mention that the chicken was delicious. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare it, smoothered in the creamy moz and gravy mix. Comfort food to the max. We paired it with a delicious 2002 Beaujolais. Just another ordinary day in our extraordinary life.

Chicken Chili…in a flash!

SpinTheMeal is now on Facebook! Be sure to “like” SpinTheMeal to stay up to date with what’s cooking in the SpinTheMeal kitchen.

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Today, I’m reinventing one of my favorite recipes by adding a faster spin to this creation. Crunched for time on a busy day? Here’s a speedier version of my Slow Cooked White Chicken Chili.

Toss everything together in a large saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, until bubbly. Then, reduce heat to low and simmer for another 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Tastes just as good as the slow-cooked recipe in a fraction of the time. Particularly when you’ve just finished shoveling snow (we had 5 inches here today…our first snow day with schools closed in about a decade) and want something warm and satisfying without a long wait. For the ingredients, use the list in the link above and feel free to substitute…I used black beans and added a can of diced tomatoes and substituted taco cheese this time. Crescent rolls made the perfect, speedy complement to the chili, and the crescent roll baking time matched up hand in hand with the chili simmering time. Add in a batch of freshed baked sugar cookies (how could we resist baking cookies on a snow day?), and you’re all set.  There’s nothing like tasty comfort food!
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Your Turn: Have you tried this chili recipe yet? What did you think of it? Leave a comment on this post or show off your chef skills by posting a picture of your creation on my new Facebook page.

Slow Cooked White Chicken Chili

Leftover chicken doesn’t last long in our house. There’s just so many ways to incorporate cooked chicken into dishes. This week, I picked up a $5 rotisserie chicken from Costco for a quick weeknight dinner while Hubs was traveling on business. The kids always need a little encouragement to eat real chicken…i.e. the kind that doesn’t come in “nugget” form…but ketchup saved the day. After our meal, I removed the remaining chicken from the bone and packaged it for later. In subsequent nights, I added it to a speedy pasta dish that served as another dinner and bonus leftover lunch for work. In the end, I still had a few cups of chicken to use up…roughly half the bird. What to make? Well, with Hubs heading home to chilly Minnesota after a week on the road, a steaming bowl of slow cooked chicken chili was the perfect choice.

I’ve made this recipe for years, and it’s so unbelievably simple to throw together. It’s one of those “a little of this and a little of that” recipes in that I always have enough things on hand to make some version of the base recipe.

No white beans on hand? Throw in black or kidney beans. No Monterrey Jack cheese? Try medium cheddar. Out of salsa? A can of seasoned diced tomatoes makes the perfect substitute.

Slow Cooked White Chicken Chili

3 – 4 cooked chicken breasts
1 large jar of salsa (24 oz)
8 oz package of Monterrey Jack cheese
1 or 2 cans white beans (do not drain)
1 teaspoon chili powder

Prep:

Shred cheese. Dice chicken. Toss all ingredients into slow cooker. Stir. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Serve with extra shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.