Browsing Tag


You Should Roast a Chicken

November 14, 2011

Quite often when Joey and I don’t feel like cooking (well, when I don’t feel like cooking), we pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store and I made a bunch of steamed and roasted veggies for me to eat and for him to pair with his chicken. As someone who knows how easy it is to roast a chicken, buying a rotisserie chicken always kills me inside because I know I could do it better.

Well this past weekend, I finally got my butt to the store and picked up ingredients for a roasted chicken meal. You know the crazy part? I picked up a whole organic roasted chicken, a pound of green beans, two large russet potatoes and an onion for just NINE dollars. Crazy, right? Anyone who says you can’t eat well on very little money, or who says that fast food is cheaper than real food, hasn’t spent much time at the grocery store or in the kitchen.

Food prices aside, this meal was incredibly easy to make and would be impressive enough to serve for company, or in our case, on a casual Friday night in. Sure, you need a bit of time, but 90% of the time is hands-off. We actually got a workout in while our chicken was roasting, that’s how easy it is.

One word to the wise: unless you feel like cleaning your chicken or making something with the giblets, I would recommend buying a chicken that says it is ‘without neck and giblets’ for the easiest (and much less gross) chicken roasting experience

Easy Roasted Chicken
*2 medium russet potatoes chopped into large bite-sized pieces
*1 tablespoon olive oil 
*1 medium-sized whole chicken without neck or giblets
*1/4 cup mayonnaise
*Salt and black pepper
*2 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 medium onion, sliced
*Additional salt and ground black pepper

*Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
*Place potatoes on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.
*Rinse chicken thoroughly making sure to clean the inside cavity. Dry with paper towels and discard paper towels. Place chicken atop some of the potatoes. Rub chicken with mayonnaise. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. Top chicken with the minced garlic.
*Place chicken in the oven and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, adding the onions halfway through cooking. Chicken’s juices should run clear when pierced with a fork, potatoes should be crispy brown and the skin of the chicken should be dark golden brown.

Happy Cooking!


Crunchy Pesto Chicken with Caramelized Onions

October 30, 2011

Last week I came home with a bunch of great ingredients after a photo shoot at work. Any time I come home with food from a shoot it’s inspiration for me to do a little cooking so food doesn’t go to waste. And since we almost always have meat at the shoot, I make sure to snag some to take home so I can make a special meal for Joe.

I didn’t really have a plan for the meal. Instead, I decided to just go with the flow and see what happened. Cooking without a plan or a deadline was so relaxing and so much fun, and I realized I don’t do it nearly as often as I should.

Joey was blown away with the results. He kept raving about how this was the best meal I’ve ever made, and that the recipe was worthy enough to be on a restaurant menu. It’s not as healthy as the recipes that I typically make, but for a fun, impressive dinner dish, this chicken totally comes through.

Crunchy Pesto Chicken with Caramelized Onions
*1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
*3 tablespoons unsalted butter
*1/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut in half widthwise (to make four thin chicken breasts)
*1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
*1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese with Italian herbs
*1/2 cup olive oil
*1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
*Additional olive oil for frying
*1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mozzarella-cheddar mix)

*In a large skillet over medium heat, melted the butter. Add in the onions, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until onions are caramelized and soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 13×9-inch baking pan or line with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*With a small food processor, blend together the basil, feta cheese and 1/2 cup olive oil and process until mixture is nearly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Place panko in a second shallow bowl.
*Dip chicken breasts in the basil mixture to coat both sides, followed by the panko.
*In a large nonstick stillet, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Place chicken breasts, two at a time, in the hot oil, cooking for 2 minutes per side. Chicken does not need to be cooked through. Transfer seared chicken breasts to the prepared baking pan. Top with some of the caramelized onions, followed by some of the shredded cheese.
*Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through and no pink remains.

Happy Cooking!

Homemade Chicken Nuggets and a Winner

October 3, 2011

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the coffee maker giveaway! Every time I do a giveaway on Espresso and Cream, I’m blown away by the large number of responses, and I was so entertained reading each of your responses about why you need coffee. Glad to know I’m among a group of passionate coffee drinkers. The winner of the giveaway is Em who said:

Please e-mail me ( with your address and I will get your coffee maker in the mail asap!

And in the kitchen today, I’ve got yet another chicken recipe for you! We cook a lot of chicken at our house since it’s one of Joey’s favorite types of meat and I actually don’t mind cooking it one bit. Although I’ve been a vegetarian for almost two years, I still enjoy preparing meat-based recipes. Having a hubby who loves to eat meat doesn’t hurt either.

Last week we had a bit of a kid-tastic meal when I prepared chicken nuggets for dinner. Of course, the idea of buying packaged chicken nuggets makes my skin crawl so I set out to make my own version with real, white meat chicken and easy-to-identify ingredients.

Since I wanted the chicken nuggets to be light and crunchy, I used Panko bread crumbs, which are a Japanese-style bread crumb that results in a much crunchier coating than traditional Italian-style bread crumbs. These turned out great and we so darn easy to make. Just a few minutes to dip and toss and less than 15 minutes in the oven leaves you with chicken nuggets you can feel good about feeding to your family.

Homemade Chicken Nuggets
*2 large chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
*2 cups Panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
*1/2 teaspoon paprika
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 cup Egg Beaters (liquid egg replacement)
*Ketchup (optional but highly recommended)

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
*In a shallow bowl or large plate, combine the Panko, paprika, salt and black pepper. In a second shallow bowl place the Egg Beaters (you could substitute 3 large eggs beaten together if desired).
*Add chicken pieces to the Egg Beaters in the bowl. Piece by piece, add the egg-coated chicken pieces to the Panko. Toss gently to coat. Transfer coated pieces to the parchment-lined baking sheet.
*Bake chicken nuggets for 10 to 12 minutes, until Panko is browned and chicken is cooked through (165°F internal temperature).
*Serve chicken nuggets with ketchup, if desired. Serves 2.

Happy Cooking!


Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesean

September 29, 2011

Typically, I don’t set out with the intention of creating gluten-free recipes since I don’t follow a gluten-free diet and neither do any of my family members. But as a food editor, I’ve seen a growing desire from our readers for more gluten-free recipes. Since I’m by no means an expert on the subject of gluten-free eating, it’s a bit intimidating to attempt creating recipes that meet the parameters of avoiding all gluten.

In the future, I hope to be able to serve up more gluten-free recipes, since I know a number of Espresso and Cream readers are looking for more recipes of the sort. So when my cousin sent me a few bags of quinoa flour, which is gluten-free, I decided to get to work on playing around with recipes that could be easily adapted from their gluten-packed counterparts.

Chicken Parmesan to the rescue! Although you won’t find me eating any chicken these days, Joey absolutely loved this dish. I served it with some veggies and pasta and it was a total hit: easy to prepare for me and super tasty and filling for him. That’s a win-win in my book.

Also, if anyone has any good gluten-free text resources (ie: books, informative cookbooks, etc.) about gluten-free recipes and what ingredients contain gluten, please throw them my way. I’m looking for some good resources to add to my collection!

Gluten-Free Chicken Parmesan
*1 tablespoon canola oil 
*1 chicken breast, halved lengthwise into two thinner pieces
*2 heaping tablespoons quinoa flour (you may use all-purpose if you want but it won’t be gluten-free)
*1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*Salt and black pepper
*1/3 cup liquid egg replacement such as Egg Beaters
*2/3 cup pasta sauce (for a list of pasta sauces and other products that are gluten-free and commercially available, I found this site helpful.)
*Additional Parmesan cheese
*1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking pan (I used an 9-inch round cake pan) with aluminum foil. Set aside.
*Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a nonstick skillet.
*Meanwhile in a shallow dish combine the quinoa flour, Parmesan cheese, and a dash of salt and black pepper. Pour the liquid egg replacement in a second shallow bowl. Dip the chicken breast halves into the egg mixture to coat on both sides. Transfer to the flour/Parmesan mixture and cover on both sides.
*Add chicken pieces to the skillet. Cook for 2 minutes per side. Just enough to brown the chicken but not cook it completely through.
*Transfer chicken to the foil-lined baking pan. Top with the pasta sauce, spreading the sauce evenly atop the chicken. Cook for another 15 to 20 minutes, until pasta sauce is bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Remove from oven and top with additional Parmesan cheese and the dried Italian seasoning.

Happy Cooking!


Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken

August 25, 2011

Note: If you haven’t gotten around to bidding on the amazing gift basket we are auctioning off, you can do so HERE. The proceeds go toward a great cause and the basket is amazing!

No, your eyes aren’t fooling you. This is a picture, and a recipe for, chicken. But before you jump to conclusions, I should tell you that this chicken wasn’t for me, but for my husband. You see, Joey has no intention of going vegetarian, so we’ve fallen into a pretty nice routine when it comes to our ‘flexitrian’ lifestyle. I plan meals that are either vegetarian by nature or could easily be vegetarian, then think about how I will add in the meat-based protein for Joey.

This week, our meals are planned out something like this:
Monday: Ate at Texas Road House since we were in Des Moines for an appointment. They have great steamed veggies (ask for them without the butter) and baked potatoes (ask for it with the butter and sour cream on the side)
Tuesday: Dinner-sized salads with crumbled feta cheese, chopped almonds, steamed broccoli and tossed with a mix of balsamic and poppy seed dressing. Topped with beer-poached salmon.
Wednesday: Fajita night! Whole wheat tortillas, sauteed onions, peppers and mushrooms. Baked, sliced chicken breast simmered in taco seasoning. Chopped lettuce and tomatoes. Salsa.
Thursday: Burgers! Veggie burger for her and beef burger for him. Whole wheat buns and cheddar cheese. Steamed broccoli. Sun Chips for him.
Friday: Grub Plate: which will most likely consist of throwing together all the items we have in our fridge that didn’t get eaten during the week: a bit of sliced cheese, some crackers, sliced veggies and small salads with the last of our lettuce

This recipe for Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken, courtesy of Jenna over at Eat Live Run, was a big hit last week and sure to be a staple when I’m preparing chicken in the future. Joey’s a huge fan of Chinese food, particularly orange chicken, and said this tastes remarkably similar. The major differences between this and purchased orange chicken being that it’s much healthier and a whole lot cheaper to make. It’s a win-win, if you ask me!

Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken
Recipe from Eat Live Run 

*1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
*Juice of one large lemon
*1 tablespoon lemon zest
*1 cup flour
*2 teaspoons paprika
*1 teaspoon sea salt
*1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
*2 tablespoons brown sugar

*Preheat oven to 350°F.
*Using a meat mallet (or ice cream scoop), pound the chicken breasts thin. Set aside.
*Combine the flour, paprika and salt in a large shallow bowl and stir to combine. Dip the chicken breasts into the flour mixture to evenly coat.
*Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken breasts, cooking two minutes per side. You are just browning the outsides, not cooking completely through. Remove from pan and set aside.
*Pour the lemon juice into the pan and stir to de-glaze the pan. Put chicken breast in a casserole dish and pour lemon juice mixture on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest. Bake for 30 minutes or until temperature reaches 165°F.

Happy Cooking!