Mandy's Marvelous Meals

Recipes, tips, tricks, and my journey into cooking fabulous food!

Creamy Chicken Piccata


So like many bloggers…and many many women out there…I am obsessed with Pinterest. I have found such great ideas, recipes, clothes, tips, etc. Today’s post is for one of the very first recipes I found on Pinterest and tried out. Like any recipe it required some adjusting to get it just right, but last night when I made it Hubby & I both agreed that I had hit the mark! The original recipe, “Creamy Grilled Chicken Piccata”, calls for you to grill the chicken but since I didn’t plan ahead to make this I didn’t have a chance to marinade the chicken and thus I just decided to go ahead and make it in a pan. I used all fresh ingredients (no dried herbs, please!!!!) so if you do substitute dried you can just add the dry herbs (ex. basil, garlic powder) directly to the flour, rather than blending them like the directions below. I’ve also made a “slimmed down” version of this which tasted great, as well.  Hubby didn’t even know it was “healthified”, which is my test for how good my “slimmed down sensations” really are (trust me, he usually can tell right away when I make it low-fat). Too make it healthier use whole wheat pasta, fat free half & half, light butter, and only 1/2 cup of cheese and you can use a non-stick pan to eliminate the need for olive oil, or you can grill your chicken like the original recipe calls for.

Make this for a quick and easy weeknight meal or for date night in with your Honey! You won’t be disappointed!!

Creamy Chicken Piccata

(Modified from Plain Chicken)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (approx. 8 oz. each)

1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, packed

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 lemons

2 cups fresh pasta, such as penne or gemelli (if you don’t want to make your own it is available in the dairy or deli refrigerated section of the grocery store)

2 tbsp. butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tbsp. capers, rinsed & drained

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup asiago cheese (or other cheese of your choice)

  1. Prepare the chicken by pounding to about 1/4″ thick. In a shallow dish or plate combine the flour, salt & pepper. Combine the juice of 1 lemon, the egg substitute, 1/4 cup basil, and 1 clove of garlic in a blender. Blend on high for a few seconds to combine all ingredients, making sure the garlic is finely chopped. Pour this into another shallow dish or plate.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.
  4. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture, making sure to coat well and shaking off any excess. Next, dredge the chicken through the egg mixture, shaking off any excess.
  5. Place the chicken in the heated oil and cook for about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. (If chicken gets done before sauce cover with foil and place in an oven on the “warm” setting (around 170 degrees F).
  6. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat (I used the same pan that I used to cook the pasta). Add 1 clove of minced garlic and cook just until fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute). Add the juice of 1 lemon. Next add the heavy cream by whisking in and continuing to whisk until heated through. Whisk in the cheese, stirring until cheese has melted. Once sauce has thickened (should just coat the back of a spoon) add the capers and basil and stir until just combined. If sauce is too thick add some of the reserved pasta water a little bit at a time until you reach desired consistency. Last, add the pasta and stir to coat well.
  7. Serve about 1 cup of pasta in a bowl and place one chicken breast over the top. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
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Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker


Wow, I can’t believe how much I’ve slacked off on my blogging! First I hadn’t been feeling well…even having to call out sick from work, which I haven’t done in over 2 years!! Then life just got busy with a party for Hubby’s Motor Cycle Club & a girl’s getaway to Atlantic City…the Blog had to take a back seat! Anyway, despite my illness, fatigue and busy schedule, I still managed to cook a few good meals and even snap a picture here and there.

So what’s the best kind of meal to make when you don’t feel like cooking?? A Crockpot /slow cooker meal, of course!  My inspiration for this recipe is from the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummand. The original recipe, Penne with Chicken Thighs, call for the thighs to be cooked in the oven for 1 ½ hours, so I figured why not just throw it in the Crockpot. Be careful with how long you cook this in the slow cooker, though. Even with the low heat of a slow cooker chicken can and will get dried out if left in too long. So, I wouldn’t recommend this as one of those that you start in the morning so it’s done when you return home. It will only take about 2 hours on high (or low if your crockpot runs a little hot…which mine does.) After 2-3 hours use a meat thermometer to make sure the chicken has been cooked through. Remember cooking times are approximate and you can never be sure if meat is cooked thoroughly without taking the temperature. Serve the chicken thighs with any pasta that you like or have on hand. I recommend using my Marina Sauce, but you can use jar spaghetti/marinara if you want to.

Crockpot Chicken Thighs

4 bone-in chicken thighs

1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Marinara Sauce

¼ cup parmesan cheese

  1. Season the chicken thighs with the salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet and brown the chicken thighs on both sides (about 3-5 minutes per side).
  3. Transfer to the slow cooker and add the marinara sauce. Cook the chicken thighs in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 3-4 hours on low (this depends solely on your slow cooker).
  4. When chicken is cooked through serve over cooked pasta of your choice and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.

 

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Garlic Naan Bread


At one of our recent trips to Whole Foods, I picked up a pack of Naan to serve as a side for our dinner. I was surprised how good it was…better than some restaurants I’ve even been to. Maybe it was because it was flavored with garlic & herbs. I’m not sure, but I fell in love. When I ran out and I didn’t want to go to the store to get more I hit the internet to see if Naan is hard to make. Of course, since I don’t have a traditional Indian Tandoori oven I knew it wouldn’t be exactly the same, but thought it was worth a shot. I found this recipe on the Budget Bytes Blog and thought it looked pretty simple, plus it called for all ingredients I had on hand. I modified it by adding some garlic & cheese so it would be like the kind I purchased at Whole Foods. I cooked it up on the grill and it tasted almost as good as if it had been made in the traditional way. I froze what we didn’t use and when I want to use it I just take out a piece or two at a time. It freezes really well so you can definitely make a big batch if you’re feeling ambitious. You can use it as a side to kabobs and rice or an accompaniment to any meal. You can also be creative and use it for sandwiches and pizza. For plain Naan, just omit the garlic and parmesan cheese.

 

Garlic Naan

Source: www.budgetbytes.blogspot.com

(Makes 16 servings; 1 Naan = 2 servings)

2 tsp. active dry yeast

1 tsp. sugar

½ cup water

3 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt (you can use either non-fat or low-fat)

1 egg

½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

3 cloves garlic, mashed

Olive oil, for brushing (optional)

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water. Stir until the yeast and sugar dissolve and allow to sit for about 5 minutes or until it looks “frothy”.
  2. Add the oil, yogurt and egg and mix on very low speed (using the paddle attachment) until just combined.
  3. Switch the paddle attachment to the dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer on low speed and add the salt, garlic, cheese and 1 cup of floor. Continue to mix on low, adding ½ cup of flour at a time until a smooth ball is formed.
  4. Knead the ball of dough in the mixer for about 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and very soft, but not sticky.
  5. Cover the dough loosely and allow to rise until double in size.
  6. After the dough rises, flatten the dough and cut into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a small ball.
  7. Roll out the balls of dough to about 1/4 “ thick.
  8. Preaheat the grill to medium.  Brush the dough with olive oil, if desired, and place over indirect heat. Allow the dough to cook until brown and bubbles form. Flip the dough over and allow the other side to brown and bubble. Serve hot.
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