Shake & Bake

I love me some Shake N Bake chicken.  Super easy and super tasty.  When I would make it for my old roommate L, she would always tease me “It’s Shake N Bake, and I helped” as we were cooking.

Unfortunately it is also filled with ‘partially hydrogenated’ this and lots of things ending in ‘trin’ and ‘nate’.  I figured it couldn’t be too hard to make myself.

I found this recipe on, my mixture has been modified.

shakenbake 1

Homemade Shake & Bake Mix

4 c panko bread crumbs
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 tsp to 1/2 tlbsp salt – depending how salty you may like it
1 tblsp paprika
1 tblsp ground celery seed
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp dried oregano

In a large resealable bag, combine all ingredients, mixing well.

2 cups of the mixture will generously coat 4 boneless skinless chicken breast.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes, or until breast is firm and juices are clear.

shakenbake 2

cartoon-strawberry-9This mix is so good!  I burned my mouth scrapping up the little bits of crispy goodness right out of the pan.

On Friday, I’ll share with you what I used this chicken for.


Latin Baked Chicken

Have I mentioned we’re on a heavy rotation of chicken?  I’m hoping as long as I dress it up in different ways, husband won’t mind too much.  And I’m realizing I need to branch out a bit, maybe even try my hand at a few fish recipes.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, June 2010.

Substitution made, noted below.

latin baked chicken 1

Latin Baked Chicken

1/4 c lime juice
3 tblsp soy sauce
2 tblsp honey
2 tblsp minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
8 – 4oz each bone in chicken thighs, skinned – I used 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast

Combine lime juice, soy sauce, honey and chipotle in a large bowl.  Add chicken and toss well to coat.  Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature.

latin baked chicken 2

Arrange the chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray, reserving marinade.  Bake at 400 degress for 15 minutes.  Place reserved marinade in a blender, and process until smooth.  Place purred marinade in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes.

latin baked chicken 3

Brush chicken with half of cooked sauce; return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes; repeat with remaining marinade and bake another 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 165.

latin baked chicken 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This is the best kind of chicken recipe.  Minimal ingredients, one bowl and one pan, and very tasty.  If you’re using chicken breasts like I did, you will need to adjust your cooking time.  In my oven, this took 20, maybe 22 minutes.

Creamy Almond Coated Chicken

We’ve been living on a diet heavy with chicken lately since husband’s doctor has asked him to cut out red meat.  It’s challenging me to find new recipes and get a little creative.

This recipe is from Step-by-Step Italian, Mexican & Chinese Recipes.

No substitutions were made.

almond chicken 1

Creamy Almond Coated Chicken

1/2 c blanched almonds
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (approx 6 oz each)
2 to 3 tblsp vegetable oil
1 tblsp butter
1/4 c finely chopped onion
1 fresh Anaheim or poblano chili – roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined and finely chopped
1 sm tomato – seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c chicken broth
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c heavy cream

Process almonds, about 1/4c at a time, with a spice grinder to create a fine powder  Place ground almonds on a shallow plate.

Coat chicken with almonds; reserve remaining almonds. – My chicken was a little too wet, so the almonds didn’t stick well.  live and learn.

almond chicken 2

Heat 1 tblsp of oil and butter in a deep, large skillet over medium heat until foam subsides.  Place breasts in a single layer in the skillet without crowding.  Cook 6 minutes or until chicken is light brown, turning once.  Reduce heat if almonds get too dark.  Remove chicken to plate.  Repeat with any remaining chicken, adding oil if needed.

Add 1 tblsp of oil and onion to skillet.  Cook and stir over medium heat 3 minutes or until onion is softened.  Add chili, tomato and garlic.  Cook and stir 1 minute.  Add broth, salt and reserved almonds.  Bring to a boil over high heat.

almond chicken 3

Return chicken to skillet.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes until chicken is tender and juices run clear.  Remove chicken to serving plate; cover and keep warm.

Add cream to broth mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until sauce is slightly thickened.  Pour over chicken when serving.

almond chicken 4

cartoon-strawberry-9This chicken was good, but I would want to tweak it a little next time.  I expected the roasted chili to add more heat, so I’m wondering if some cumin or chili powder in the sauce would give it the kick I’m looking for.  But the sauce, Oh My, the sauce.  All I wanted to do was add some cheese and make a queso out of it.

On Wednesday, I’ll be posting about the rice pictured here, Arroz Rojos.

Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups

Who doesn’t love a dinner of fun Chinese food?  It’s even better when you make it yourself and know the ingredients being used.

This recipe is from Real Simple, May 2008.

Substitutions made, noted below.

lettuce cups 1

Chicken and Cashews in Lettuce Cups

3 tblsp low-sodium soy sauce
3 tblsp honey
2 tblsp canola oil
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 3/4 inch pcs – I used turkey breast
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tblsp grated ginger – I used 1/4 tsp dried
1 bunch scallions, trimmed and sliced – I used green onions
1 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained – skipped this
1/4 c roasted unsalted cashews
1 small head Boston or Bibb lettuce, leaves separated – I used Romaine

lettuce cups 2

Combine the soy sauce and honey in a small bowl; set aside.  I used a small whisk to mix these properly.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-high heat.  2 tblsp of oil is A LOT, I would cut this in half.

Season the chicken with 1/2 tsp pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

Lower heat to med and stir in the garlic and ginger.  Add the scallions and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the water chestnuts and half the soy sauce mixture and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with the cashews.

Divide the lettuce leaves among individual plates and spoon the chicken over the top.  Serve with the remaining soy sauce mixture for drizzling.

lettuce cups 3

cartoon-strawberry-9I served these with chicken pot stickers and steamed pork buns from Trader Joes.  The chicken/cashew mixture was pretty good, not quite level with PF Changs, but pretty close.  In the future, I would use ground chicken or turkey, use a bit more dried ginger and add a little spice, white pepper?  Red Pepper flakes?  It needed a little bit of heat.

Chicken with Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce

How’d you meet your best friend?  Middle School?  High School?  Church?  A job?  My sweet bestie walked into my life at a time when I really needed a friend and hasn’t walked away since.  I’m so thankful to have her in my life.  It’s just really hard now that we live 2000+ miles away from each other.

But then she will come to visit me, or I’ll head home to California, and all is right with the world again.

And sometimes during these visits, we get to cook together.

This recipe is from Cooking Light, Jan/Feb 2012.

Substitution made, noted below.

chicken pepperoni 1

Chicken with Pepperoni-Marinara Sauce

Cooking Spray
1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
16 slices pepperoni, coarsly chopped
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 c low-sodium marinara sauce
2 tblsp chopped fresh basil
2 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 lbs chicken cutlets
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 c shredded park-skim mozzarella cheese – We used my favorite parm-reggiano blend from Trader Joes

Preheat broiler to high.

Heat a saucepan over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add garlic and pepperoni; cook 2 minutes or until garlic begins to brown, stirring frequently.  Add oregano; cook 30 seconds.  Add marinara sauce; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove from heat; stir in basil.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet over med-high heat.  Add oil; swirl to coat.  Sprinkle chicken with pepper.  Add chicken to skillet; brown on both sides, approximately 5 minutes total.  Spoon sauce over chicken; sprinkle evenly with cheese.  Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

chicken pepperoni 2

Grilled Zucchini

The zucchini was an easy addition to this dinner. Sliced 2 zucchini into 1/2 inch rounds, sprinkled with salt and Tuscan Sunset seasoning and cooked on a grill pan set to med-high heat.

cartoon-strawberry-9Easy, filling, GOOD dinner to share with friends.  And is there really anything better than sharing your kitchen with your best friend?  Come back to Tennessee soon.

bff 4 life

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

Sorry y’all for the unintentional break.  Life gets crazy sometimes.

This recipe is from Real Simple Magazine, May 2007.

A few slight substitutions were made, noted below.

smoky chicken corn cakes 2

Smoky Chicken Corn Cakes

Chicken Mixture
1 3.5 to 4 lb rotisserie chicken
1 tblsp choppend canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
3 tlbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp kosher salt
1 small red onion, thinly sliced – I used a white sweet onion
4 Roma (plum) tomaotes, diced – I used grape tomoatoes, halved
1/3 c fresh cilantro leaves – I skipped this

Using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken meat, discarding the skin and bones.  In a medium bowl, combine the meat, chipotle, line juice, 1/4 tsp of salt, onion, tomatoes and cilantro; set aside.

Husband is not a fan of tomatoes, and I’m not a fan of raw onions.  So – I combined everything but the onion, tomatoes and cilantro.  I then spread the chicken mixture on a large baking sheet and put in a 200 degree oven, just to warm it up.  The onions I sliced and put in a small saute pan on low and left them to caramelize.

smoky chicken corn cakes 1

Corn Cakes
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 large eggs
1 c part-skim ricotta
10 oz frozen corn, thawed
2 tsp canola oil

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and remaining salt.  Stir in the eggs and ricotta until no lumps remain.  Fold in the corn.  Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  For each corn cake, spoon about 1/4 c of the batter onto the skillet and cook until golden brown and set on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the cake and cook 1 minute more.

smoky chicken corn cakes 3

Divide the cakes among individual plates and top with the chicken mixture.  Serve with sour cream if desired.

cartoon-strawberry-9We made these for dinner one night when some friends were visiting, and were enjoyed by all.  And although we had a wonderful dinner, I felt like something was missing.    Whip up a creamy chipotle sauce to go over the top?  Add some cheese and put under the broiler for a minute?  For me, it was a little dry and needed something to push it from good to amazing.

Julie & Julia

Julie.n.JuliaOne of the girls I’ve been mentoring over the last couple of years asked if we could do a Julie & Julia night.  She wanted to learn how to cook something and then watch the movie, what better night could there be?

Our menu for the evening was:

Butternut Squash Risotto – recipe from Cooking Light, October 2011

Baked BBQ Chicken

Steamed Broccoli Rabe

Lemon Cake Pie (This one will get its own post…)

So it was up to me and these three girls to get a yummy dinner on the table.

JnJ night 1

Butternut Squash Risotto

3 c cubed peeled butternut squash, divided
3 1/2 c fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
2 c uncooked Arborio rice
2 tblsp chopped flat-leaf parsely (I skipped this)
5 oz applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine 2 cups squash and 2 1/2 cups water in a saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.  Remove pan from heat; let stand for 5 minutes.  Place mixture in a food processor.  Process until smooth.  We used my immersion blender.

Return mixture to pan.  Stir in broth; bring to a simmer.  Remove and set aside 1/4 cup squash mixture.  Keep pan warm over low heat.

Heat a large Dutch oven over med-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add rice; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Stir in remaining 1 cup squash, 2 1/2 cup squash mixture and 1/8 tsp salt.  Cook 2 minutes or until liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly.

Add remaining squash mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each cup is absorbed before adding the next cup (about 20 minutes).  Removed from heat, stir in reserved 1/4 c squash mixture.  Top with parsley and bacon when serving.

cartoon-strawberry-9This risotto was GOOD.  We didn’t coat the pan enough at the beginning and a little of the rice stuck to the bottom, but not much.  This was a great side dish for chicken, and would be just as good for beef or pork.

For the chicken, we lightly salted both sides with some seasoned salt, covered with BBQ sauce and baked in a 400 degree oven for about a half an hour.

We steamed the broccoli in a steamer for 15 minutes.

JnJ night 2

JnJ night 3

We cooked and laughed and ate.  A good time was had by all.  And then there was the Lemon Cake Pie…

P.S. – This is what happened when I wanted to get a shot of the girls cooking…

JnJ night 4

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

I have intended to make this recipe about two dozen times, and something always seemed to deter me.  The biggest thing was not having a broiler pan, so I finally broke down and bought one (20% Bed Bath & Beyond coupon!).

This recipe is from Cooking Light, September 2010.

I did not alter the recipe in any way.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking Spray
6 tblsp honey
2 tsp cider vinegar

Preheat Broiler

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat.  Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray.  Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.

Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well.  Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken.  Broil 1 minute.  Remove chicken from oven and turn over.  Brush chicken with remaining honey mixture.  Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

 Husband isn’t normally a fan of chicken thighs, but he really liked this dish.  I loved the speed in which this can be prepared (everything was ready in approx half and hour), and I loved the spicy sweetness of the chicken.