Honey Mustard Chicken, Bacon + Avocado Salad

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I can’t believe I’ve reached the last few weeks of summer and posted only posted TWO recipes to this blog. Bad food blogger, bad!

Perhaps I should give myself a bit of lee-way; it’s been a busy and at times difficult summer. Between a stressful job, a house full of much-loved guests, and a spouse with multiple broken bones from a sports injury, there hasn’t been much time to sit down and breathe, let alone focus on blogging (or much of anything else). Only after quitting my job, bidding fond farewell to our wonderful guests, and putting my hubs on the road to recovery has life finally slowed down to an easier pace. Halle-freaking-lujah!

Of course, I’m one of those people that – despite wanting a break for months – has to fill their first waking moment of free time with activity. In this case, I was only 10 minutes into relaxing on the couch with some Investigation Discovery (it’saddictiveAF) before deciding to have a casual peek at my recipe collection. Casual peek quickly transformed into detailed research, which then morphed into a cooking and baking agenda for the next four months (and a shopping list as long as a novel). And so went my rest time; I was on my way to the market before the murder had even been solved. It was nice knowing you, R & R!

All credit for this beautiful salad recipe goes to Cafe Delites, one of my favorite blogs of all time. The garlicky honey mustard dressing is the BOMB.COM – I’m not a mustard fan by any means, yet I devoured this salad in under 5 minutes! It also makes an unbelievably delicious marinade for the chicken – my husband already requested that I make this again soon. It’s a definite keeper – enjoy!

 

HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN, BACON + AVOCADO SALAD

Yields: 4 servings

For the marinade/dressing:

  • ⅓ cup clear honey
  • 3 tbsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp smooth + mild Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely minced garlic
  • Salt, to season
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the salad:

  • ¼ cup diced bacon, trimmed of rind and fat
  • 4 cups Romaine lettuce leaves, washed
  • 1 cup sliced grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • ¼ cup corn kernels

 

  1. Whisk marinade / dressing ingredients (through salt) together to combine. Pour half into a shallow dish, submerge chicken and marinade for  1 1/2 to 2 hours. Refrigerate the reserved marinade to use as a dressing.
  2. Heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan (or grill pan or skillet) over medium high heat. Once very hot, add chicken and cook, undisturbed, for 3-5 minutes, or until nicely browned on one side. Turn chicken over, cover, and reduce heat to medium. Cook for approximately 5 more minutes (depending on thickness of chicken), or until chicken is cooked through. Remove to a cutting board and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.  (Grill in batches to prevent excess water being released. Dispose of used marinade.)
  3. Wipe pan over with paper towel; drizzle with another teaspoon of oil and fry the bacon until crispy.
  4. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with leaves, tomatoes, avocado slices, corn and chicken.
  5. Whisk 2 tablespoons of water into the remaining dressing and drizzle over the salad. Sprinkle the bacon over the top and season with salt and freshly cracked pepper, if desired.

Baked Ginger Honey Chicken Wings

Ginger Honey Chicken Wings2

Super Bowl weekend is finally upon us, which can only mean one thing – GAME DAY SNACKS!!! Oh, and football. And I guess some people really dig the commercials … and the half-time show … and the endless supply of cheap American beer. But seriously, it’s not about that. Any of that. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FOOD.

Well, it is in our house anyway. While my husband and I are pretty ambivalent about who wins and who loses, we’re definitely excited about stuffing ourselves silly from opening kick-off to final whistle with these yummy homemade chicken wings. Bathed in a palate-pleasing mixture of soy sauce, honey, ginger and (lots and lots of) garlic, these baked wings can be thrown together by even the most novice chef in less than 30 minutes – with no frying or messy clean-up!

Enjoy in moderation!

*** Looking for something a little spicier? Try my recipe for Spicy Honey Hot Wings! ***

 

BAKED GINGER HONEY CHICKEN WINGS

Yields | 6 to 8 servings

Inspiration | Simply Recipes

  • Canola or olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled + finely minced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 1/8 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
  • 3 lbs raw chicken wings (or drumettes)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal

 

  1. Preheat oven to 425° Fahrenheit (215° Celsius) with baking rack on the upper third of the oven. Line a roasting pan or thick baking sheet with foil. Rub some canola or olive oil over the foil to keep the wings from sticking.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic and Sriracha hot sauce. Add wings and toss to coat thoroughly. Arrange skin-side down on prepared roasting pan or baking sheet, taking care not to crowd the wings.
  3. Roast in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and – using tongs – flip wings over so they are skin-side up. Return to oven and bake for 10 additional minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Baked Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta

Baked Chicken Bacon Pumpkin Pasta

 

BREAKING NEWS Y’ALL: it’s pumpkin season!!

You didn’t know, right? Well, it IS kind of a secret. It’s not like you’ve been getting pummeled with all things pumpkin-flavored, pumpkin-scented, and pumpkin-hued since August, yea? Did anyone even bother to tell you it was FALL?!

Truth be told, I like pumpkin. In fact, I f___ing love pumpkin. I haven’t met a pumpkin recipe I don’t like, and eagerly await Fall each and every year so I can go cray on the pumpkin baking. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin doughnuts. Pumpkin custard. Pumpkin cookies. Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkined pumpkin, with pumpkin. I want it all.

It might therefore come as a bit of a surprise that – before this week – I had only once tried my hand at a savory pumpkin dish. Why waste perfectly good pureed pumpkin on something that isn’t, well, filled with equal parts sugary deliciousness and creamy yummosity? Because, my friends, sometimes perfectly good pureed pumpkin can be mixed with chicken, bacon, sage and garlic, and make the dreamiest baked pasta EVER.

I had my doubts about this recipe. I don’t care for onions, and wasn’t convinced I would like the combination of chicken, bacon, and pumpkin. Silly me – this was SO tasty. My husband – who also doubted he’d like this – was instantly hooked as soon as he took a cheesy, velvety, pumpkiny bite. It is the perfect Sunday dinner; while a little extra cooking time is needed, you’ll have delicious leftovers for days!

It’s good to see you, pumpkin season. Stick around for a while, won’t you?

 

BAKED CHICKEN BACON PUMPKIN PASTA

Yields | 8-10 servings

Inspiration | Pinch of Yum

 

For the pumpkin sauce:

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 yellow onion
  • Splash of white wine (optional)
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 18 ounces pureed pumpkin (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh sage
  • Pinch of freshly grated (or just ground) nutmeg
  • Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

For the pasta:

  • 1 lb uncooked pasta
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Crumbled, cooked bacon (as little or as much as you want)

 

To make the sauce:

  1. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cut the onion into thin slices and add to the melted butter. Keeping the heat on medium-low, cook the onions until they are caramelized and deep golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. For a little extra sweetness, add a splash of white wine as they’re cooking.
  2. While the onions are caramelizing, puree the garlic, pumpkin, chicken broth, milk, olive oil, salt, sage, nutmeg, and pepper in a blender until smooth. Add to the caramelized onions in the pan and cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the chicken, cooking for 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center. Remove from the water; when cool enough to handle, shred the chicken into the pumpkin sauce. Add the crumbled bacon, if desired.

To make the pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, stopping a little early so they are still firm enough to hold their shape in the oven. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). Toss the cooked pasta, chicken, bacon and pumpkin sauce with 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Transfer to a greased baking dish, top with remaining cheese and cover with greased foil to prevent sticking. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbling. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

ONE YEAR AGO: Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes with Freshly Whipped Cream

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Spicy Honey Hot Wings

Spicy Honey Hot Wings

Happy Saturday, baking gods and goddesses!

It’s a big party weekend for lots of Americans, including many friends and family excited to see our home team – the Seattle Seahawks – in Super Bowl XLIX. Truth be told, I can’t summon any excitement for professional American football or the Seahawks, and will be avoiding TVs and social media like the plague. What I DO love, however, is awesome game day snacks, and these hot wings are the undisputed champion!

This recipe comes courtesy of Emeril Lagasse’s Food Network show Emeril Live. I’ve made them twice now, and will never order restaurant wings (or grab a bag from the freezer section – *shudder*) ever again. They’re a really lovely balance of sweet and spicy, and are – despite the somewhat lengthy list of ingredients – really easy to make. Enjoy, and be safe out and about tomorrow!

SPICY HONEY HOT WINGS

Makes: 24 wings or drumettes

  • 24 chicken wings or drumettes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Essence Creole Seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 cup hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing, to serve (optional)

Essence Creole Seasoning (also known as Bayou Blast)

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

To make Essence Creole Seasoning:

  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Set aside.

To make hot wings:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To prepare chicken wings, cut off wing tips at the joint and discard the tips or reserve for another use. In a large bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, Essence, salt, and white pepper. Dredge the wings in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In a large, deep-sided pot, heat several inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees F. When the oil is heated, dredge the wings a second time, again shaking off the excess.
  4. Deep-fry the wings until crispy and golden brown, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. (I typically have to do this step in 2 to 4 batches)
  5. While wings are frying, mix the hot sauce, honey, and brown sugar in a large bowl until mixture is smooth. Remove the wings from the oil, pat dry and then dip in the hot sauce mixture to coat. Lay the wings on the baking sheet. Bake coated wings until the sauce is dry, approximately 12 minutes. Serve hot with blue cheese or ranch dressing, if desired.

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

It’s cold and flu season in many parts of the country (including here, despite being 90 flipping degrees outside – in NOVEMBER), so I thought I’d share one of my favorite recipes (a Tyler Florence classic!) for Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. Preparing a pot of this soup is a great lazy weekend activity that – depending on the amount of time and energy you’d like to commit – can be made considerably easier with the substitution of store-bought chicken stock. I love the ability to control the level of sodium in the stock – not to mention the incredible flavor of the homemade version – so go for it if you can!

HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Yields: 2 quarts

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts chicken stock (recipe follows)
  • 8 ounces uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Chicken stock:

  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 3 to 3/12 pounds), giblets discarded
  • 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
  • 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 1/4 bunch fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

To make soup:

  1. Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes, or until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.
To make chicken stock:
  1. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.
  2. Add the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water, if necessary, to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
  3. Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
  4. Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.