Cooking help - please =)

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on Feb 5, 2011 7:21 AM

I tend to eat a lot of chicken ... and buying boxes and cans and stuff to spice it or saus it gets expensive.
I usually had chicken breast or bits boneless - not maridnaded.

So my questions to all of you are is :
What do you do with your chicken as for Marinade or Sause ?
That DONT come from a can or a jar ...

So wanna share your kitchen secrets ?
(I am useless on the kitchen - so please explain like I'm a 5 year old ...)

and if you dont want your secrets out on the forum for all to see - feel free to just message me =)

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Sheila H wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 8:38 AM

Inca - Some of my hints start with stuff from a can, but then turn it into something else. I am not sure if all of this is available to you so if something doesn't  sound familiar, please let me know.

I will cook the chicken breasts until just done, then I love to pour a jar or sala & black beans over them turn the heat down to low and let it all simmer together for a little. It gives it a little bit of a mexican flavor. You can shredd the chicken, add a can of drained whole kernel corn and some cooked spaghetti. This is Mexican Spaghetti and I adapted this from a recipe in Better Homes & Garden cookbook.

Alot of the seasoning marinades here in the States are just seasonings that you add oil and either vinegar or water to. For example, I have a vegetable seasoning mix that has Sea Salt, Onion, Brown Sugar, Garlic, Basil, Red Bell Pepper, Black Pepper, Rosemary, Turmeric, Parsley, Ginger all ground up together. I will mix a couple of tablespoons of that with about 1/4 cup oil ( olive oil, or canola oil ) and a couple of tablespoons of vinegar or water. If I don't have vinegar on hand, I will use the juice from my dill pickle jar. So stir together a few tablespoons of the seasonings, the oil and vinegar. Put the raw chicken in a ziplock bag & pour in the mixture. I will seal it and put it in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes. Then cook the chicken like normal.

You can do this with any spice combination that you have. Grill Seasoning is another that is great for any meat. If you don't have access to this types of premixed seasonings let me know. I would be happy to ship you some!

If I think of anything else, I will post it but those were my first thoughts when I read this.

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 12:15 PM

This is one of my all-time favorite chicken recipes! It's apple cranberry chicken in brandy. This is especially fun to make because you get to light the brandy on fire. LOL. It's not nearly as scary or difficult to make as you might think. I whip this up when friends come over for dinner because it IS so easy. It literally take 20 mintues to make.

4 - 5 oz. chicken breasts,
1 apple, sliced,
1/2 teaspoon chopped garlic,
1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots, (a little onion would be fine too.. I like shallot though)
2 oz. Calvados brandy, (any old brandy will do actually, the cheaper the better)
1/2 cup apple juice,
1/3 cup cooking cream (regular old whipping cream),
1 tablespoon butter,
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, (olive oil is just fine)
3 oz. dried cranberries, (Ocean Spray Craisin's work!)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat the oil in a non-stick pan (teflon or other) and saute the chicken breasts until they are half cooked. In another pan, a nice heavy skillet works best, heat the butter and saute the garlic and shallots for 4 minutes. Add the chicken breasts from the non-stick pan to the skillet with the sliced apple and cranberries, and keep sauteing for another 4-5 minutes.

Dump the whole sha-bang into a bowl of some kind

Now that you've poured the chicken and apples into a bowl, keep the skillet hot and pour in the brandy. The skillet should catch fire if you are cooking on gas, If cooking on an electric stove light the brandy on fire with a BBQ lighter, . Let the flames burn for a minute and then add the cream and apple juice. Continually stir the sauce until the desired consistency (a light glaze consistency is good) and season with the salt and pepper it to taste. You can adjust the flavor and thickness of the sauce by adding more cooking cream or liqueur if necessary (liquor thinner, cream heavier). Dump the sauce over the chicken, apples and cranberries.. .give it a little toss, and you're ready to eat! You won't have a ton of sauce, you'll have just enough to coat or "glaze" the chicken.

This recipe is SO good. I've even gotten distracted while making this and have forgotten to light the brandy on fire, that's ok, it doesn't really require it. But it's ... FUN. LOL. IT's actually a bit sweeter tasting if you do light it on fire.

AND.... if you don't really like apples or cranberries, this can be made with any fruit really. I've done mango  or pear or papaya with raisins or currants, I've omitted the raisin's and currants or cranberries and used raspberries... really, the fruit doesn't matter, but I think apples (or firm pears) and cranberries are the best.

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 12:32 PM

Another thing I make with chicken bits and pieces are fajitas.

Large flour tortillas
Chicken
Fajita sauce from a packet (Lawry's is good, and cost effective, can be found for under $1 on sale)

Really, all you do is sautee the chicken, dump in the fajita sauce and then throw the chicken in a warmed tortilla and add whatever you'd like. I do tend to fry up onions in butter first, and set them aside, and then add them to the chicken and fajita sauce... it adds bulk and flavor. You can add sour cream, guacamole, black beans, rice, whatever suits your fancy. The leftover chicken tends to keep well for leftovers. I do this with all kinds of meats, (shrimp is REALLY good)... just simple, easy and yummy. :)

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on Feb 5, 2011 12:59 PM

Thanks Nicole
that sounds interesting ... I never cooked anyting with alcohol in ... tho "the cheaper the better" means there has to be some bottle i can afford (next next pay check or 3) ... 

Not sure i can get cranberries here - but at least i know they sell raisins ...
as for the brand name on the fajita mix - i doubt they do that in Norway - but i do like taco food so that is an option =)

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 2:04 PM

The truth with tortilla foods is that you don't even really need the fajita mix specifically... you could use a little packet of taco seasoning, or no seasoning at all and just use a little salt and pepper. That's the lovely part of tortilla recipes... you don't need anything specifically except stuff you like; rice, beans, cheese, whatever, and just toss them all into the tortilla, roll it up and eat it. LOL. The perfect homemade fast food. :D

As far as the alcohol goes... you could even get those little bottles of airplane sized alcohol if you don't want to buy an entire bottle.

I do tend to keep hard alcohol on hand in the house... whiskey, vodka and brandy... I don't drink them as beverages, but I use them to cook with all the time. I think of them like another staple ingredient like butter or salt and pepper. I think the chicken recipe would be good with wine rather than brandy too... you wouldn't light it on fire, but it would likely make a good sauce as well. No reason it wouldn't.

I have favorite standing recipe for vodka pasta I make probably twice a month or more (it's really good as leftovers) I've never tried it with chicken specifically, although I have used chicken sausage in it. It's just a can of crushed tomatoes, some meat (generally sausage athough, now that I think about it, ground chicken would be good!), whip cream, and vodka (garlic, onions and red pepper flake too) heat, and dump over pasta. Its got a lovely festive kick and because you add cream to it, the sauce is a pretty pink color. 

There's really not much to it; just saute the garlic, pepper, onion and set that aside. Then brown the meat up and then dump in the can of crushed tomato on top of the meat and add the onion mix back in too. Heat to a boil then reduce to low and  dump in vodka and cream to taste and color. Serve. It's really good. LOL.  It's another 20 minute dinner. I like fast and easy while tasting like it spent hours slaving away. LOL. The vodka gives it a unique flavor that you don't expect, but is tasty!

I also make a black pepper vodka and mango chutney for salmon, but that one is quite a bit more involved with some weird ingredients that aren't always easy to find or substitute.

I"m no cook... trust me. I'm 44 years old and never cooked a full meal in my life until I was 37 years old. My ex husband was a trained chef at one time... my role was to make coffee and do dishes. BUT I have found I picked up a lot more from him than I ever realized. I've actually come to like the challenge of cooking. :) It's sorta like the challenge of beading! :)

 

 

 

 

 

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JSmaz wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 3:54 PM

I like to add chicken & green chilies (if you can find them-usually diced in a can) to plain old macaroni & cheese.  I usually add some extra spices like pepper, garlic, cumin or chili seasoning to it as well (paprika would work too).

If you can get frozen veggie mixes like carrots, broccoli & cauliflower that works instead of the green chilies too.

 

Jeni

Oklahoma City

ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 

 

 

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 4:19 PM

I got all inspired after thinking about this today. LOL. (not too mention I'm starving to death right now LOL)

So I went ot the store to get some apple and olive oil to make the chicken and brandy dish above. Then I started wandering through our exceptional little grocery here and noticed that chicken was outrageously expensive and that I'd be better off doing something with pork tenderloin which was a few bucks cheaper. I got inspired... I"m going to stuff the tenderloin (this would totally work with chicken breast too!) with a pesto sauce out of a packet ... on sale for $1.20, and I was able to buy 6 slices of smoked provolone and six slices of panchetta ham for $4.50 (ok, kind of expensive--but you could use bacon and any kind of cheese you'd like) I'm going to stuff the tenderloin with the cheese and pesto, and wrap the whole thing with the panchetta and tie it up with string. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes! I'll let ya know how it went! I'm sure others have done this receipe, but I sorta think I made it up as I wandering through the store. LOL. Basically, this cost me $15 to buy... I'll get at MINIMUM four meals out of it... which isnt too shabby at $3.75 a meal. Cheaper than McDonalds and TONS healthier.

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on Feb 5, 2011 4:25 PM

Nicole .... before you say things are expensive ... try a shopping trip to Norway ....

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JSmaz wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 4:25 PM

Good call Nicole.  DH does a similar version of that-he cuts a chicken breast nearly in half (butterflied basically), then puts cheese and some type of bacon/pancetta inside, folds the breast back together and uses a toothpick to hold it together. He seasons the outside with salt & pepper, then he pan fries the chicken in a bit of butter & olive oil and puts it over plain spaghetti that's been tossed with oil, salt, pepper and a bit of parmesan cheese.  Good stuff and really easy to do.

Jeni

Oklahoma City

ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 

 

 

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NicoleT24 wrote
on Feb 5, 2011 7:50 PM

Zerenity by Inca:

Nicole .... before you say things are expensive ... try a shopping trip to Norway ....

Oh holy COW! I just looked up the average cost of groceries in Norway (more specifically Oslo) .... 180.00 NOK for two boneless chicken breasts halves? Really? Is that correct? that's like $30 USD! DANG! I guess until now I didn't realize just HOW expensive it was to live there. Wow, you do need some tips on reducing food costs I'd guess. Anyone would!  (two boneless chicken breast halves in my city are about $9.00--54.00 NOK, which is astronomical compared to most other places in the USA)

What kinds of low-ish cost ingredients are your staples? Do you grow some of your own herbs and vegetables? Do you work out what you can afford per serving of the meals you cook? I do tend to do that. If I can make it for less than what I can get at a crummy fast food restaurant, it means I've met my budget. I also only cook for one (or two), so I have to make sure the leftovers can and will be eaten, or I've ruined my budget.

But for more ideas, here's a little recipe for lime cillantro chicken:

  • 1/4  cup  lime juice
  • 1/2  cup  chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6  cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1  tablespoon  honey
  • 1  tablespoon  olive oil
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  pepper
  • (if you can't find cillantro, you might try parsley, although the flavor isn't nearly as shocking. Cillantro tends to be pretty pungent and spicy. It's also a very easy herb to grow in a kitchen window!)

    Combine all the ingredients above into a bowl. That's easy! :)

    Pound the chicken out flat, then place it in a shallow dish. Pour the sauce over the chicken and chill it for an hour or so (you can even chill it overnight). Then simply grill it, or bake it... it's pretty fab! And, you can make this sauce to put on veggies, or my personal favorite, shrimp or salmon(something we get in Seattle for cheap, because it's a local food source)... it can go on pretty much anything. It's even great if you leave out the garlic --or leave it in according to your taste-- and use this sauce on plain cooked chicken, then wrap it in a tortilla. Very authentic mexican :) Lime cillantro sauce is a staple at my house because it's pretty inexpensive and easy to make... I've even poured it on salad or dipped bread in it haha.

     

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    on Feb 5, 2011 8:23 PM

    NicoleT24:

    Oh holy COW! I just looked up the average cost of groceries in Norway (more specifically Oslo) .... 180.00 NOK for two boneless chicken breasts halves? Really? Is that correct? that's like $30 USD! DANG! I guess until now I didn't realize just HOW expensive it was to live there. Wow, you do need some tips on reducing food costs I'd guess. Anyone would!  (two boneless chicken breast halves in my city are about $9.00--54.00 NOK, which is astronomical compared to most other places in the USA)

    That is in Oslo ... and yeah the "good stuff" you pay that much for ...
    here i can get about 8 halfs for that price ... its not the "best" stuff but its decent ...
    and ofc it helps if my mom buy some in Sweden when she is there (they are cheaper on food) but ofc then they are frozen ... which gets me to why i have 4 KILO of  chicken in my freezer ... (now you see why i want new ways too make it ...)

    I would love it if someone out there had a way to use it with either Balsamic Vinegear or Kecap Manis ... cause I love those tastes and i know my ex used to make all kinda things with that ...

    but asking him for help is like hitting the head against the wall cause he just throw things together and can never make the same thing twice ...

    NicoleT24:
    (if you can't find cillantro, you might try parsley,
    I have no clue what Cilantro(?) is ... but i guess i can find out (when its not 4am) and if not i do like parcley - and i know i can get those little "flower pots" with that in the store ... (just need some money coming in first ...)
    the that recipe with honey in sounded fun ...

    i like honey marinaded stuff - but they only sell that marinade in the summer time ...

    NicoleT24:
    What kinds of low-ish cost ingredients are your staples? Do you grow some of your own herbs and vegetables? Do you work out what you can afford per serving of the meals you cook?
    Staples ? you mean whats usually hibernating in my kitchen ... about noting ...
    I wouldnt grown anythign even if i had a garden ... I can look at flowers and make them die it seem ...
    My "budget" i try doing $10-15 a day as a max ... tho i hate cooking so i like those things you make a ton and that survive re-heating in a microwave ... 

    (feel free to mail me if you want more indept info)

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    JSmaz wrote
    on Feb 6, 2011 7:37 AM

    Cilantro in Europe is generally called Coriander if that helps Inca. 

    I'm a huge fan of dishes that I can make a ton of and will last a while.  What about adding chicken to some potato & leek soup?  That's a super easy recipe and I make it all the time.  Boil about 6 medium to large potatoes (cut in chunks, peeled or not) and 1/2 a leek cut in half and then sliced in just enough water to cover, with some chicken bouillon, pepper, garlic & whatever other spices you like.  I usually add a can of diced green chilies but its not necessary.  When the potatoes are tender remove from heat but don't drain them.  Mush them up with a potato masher or an immersion blender if you have one.  Add cream and/or milk until you have desired consistency, then add cubes of cheese or shredded cheese (about a 10 oz block/243 grams).

    While potatoes are cooking, cut chicken and remaining leeks into bite size pieces and brown in a skillet, spiced however you like.  I also like to do this with sausage like andouille or polska kielbasa-whatever you can get your hands on.  When cooked, set aside.  When soup is done, add meat/leeks to soup and warm back up until heated through and enjoy.  This will keep several days in the fridge and you can freeze it also.

    If you like balsamic vinegar, try marinading your chicken in and oil/vinegar mix with whatever spices you like.  Put it in a zip top bag or plastic container with lid so you can lay the chicken flat and shake it up from time to time, and keep it in the fridge while marinading.  You can use some of the marinade to cook the chicken in and use the leftover cooked liquid (if any) to put over rice and veg or couscous. NEVER use uncooked liquid you've been marinading chicken in for anything else, but you probably know that.

    Jeni

    Oklahoma City

    ArtFire Studio & blog  |  Gallery 

     

     

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    cbreul wrote
    on Feb 7, 2011 10:11 AM

    You all are making me hungary. I had to print out the chain so I have ideas for the next few weeks. :)  thank you all.

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    CryssT wrote
    on Feb 7, 2011 3:56 PM

    a variation of my Mom's great Port Chops and Rice:

    Chicken Breasts - one per person

    Can of Mushroom soup and can of French Onion soup and 1 cup of water

    Mushrooms and Fried Bacon or Fried Onions optional (how ever much you like)

    1 cup of Rice (i prefer brown or wild)

    ***

    brown the breasts

    mix all the other ingredients

    place a layer of rice mixture in a covered baking dish

    add the breasts and cover with rest of rice mixture

    cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit  (please convert to Celsius)

    for 45 minutes to 1 hour (check at 40 minutes of cooking time to see how it's doing)

    if more than 4 servings you can add 1 more cup of rice & 1/2-1 cup of water and up to 4 more breast.

    give or take - that's it, rice should be moist but not soggy.  remove lid last 10 mintues if drier rice is needed

    hope it helps

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