Friday Recipe Exchange: Chicken Piccata

Chicken Piccata W4DS

I think because winter moved back into the neighborhood (seriously, Tuesday’s forecast was for honest to goodness ‘ice pellets’, can ‘raining frogs’ be far behind?) I am finding myself in a berry and citrus mood. I bought 3 lbs of strawberries over the weekend and they are gone. I stocked up on oranges yesterday and I’ll have to do it again by the weekend.

I was going to do a sirloin roast tonight. I had made a really nice one last week, but didn’t get around to photographing it, so I was going repeat it yesterday. But when it came down to it, I just didn’t feel like roast. Instead I grabbed a bunch of lemons and some chicken breasts and decided on Chicken Piccata, tonight’s featured recipe. I like the tangy sauce with the crispy, moist chicken and the herb noodles are a nice side to accompany it.

If spring ever arrives, what do you look forward to most in the produce aisle? Do you crave certain foods by season?   Hit the comments and complain about the weather and share your favorite spring foods.

Of course, once I found my recipe, I went hunting to see what JeffreyW might have in the way of lemons and chicken and found a Chicken with Lemon Curd, that sounded yummy. You can see it here, along with a nice slideshow of the prep and final dish.

Now, tonight’s recipe:

Chicken Piccata with Herb Noodles:

Chicken Piccata

  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp basil, crushed
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded flat
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced into very thin slices*
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh snipped parsley
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

bowl, skillet

Combine breadcrumbs, basil, zest, and pepper in bowl. Mix ½ tbsp oil and garlic together. Coat both sides of chicken with oil/garlic and dredge in breadcrumbs. Over medium-high heat 1 tbsp ea. of butter and oil in skillet, add chicken and cook 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken – keep warm – add lemon slices to pan, sauté 30 seconds, add water, parsley and juice, boil for 1 minute, spoon over chicken.

*Scrub well before slicing.

Herb Noodles

  • 12 oz egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp basil, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano, crushed
  • ½ tsp rosemary, finely crushed
  • ¼ tsp crushed garlic
  • Sesame seeds, opt

saucepan, serving dish

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain well. Melt butter in saucepan, add spices, mixing well. Toss with noodles. For an extra touch you can add 1 tbsp of sesame seeds.


Friday Recipe Exchange: Oven Baked Chicken

Chicken à la noir.

Chicken à la noir.

I thought we’d covered oven baked chicken before, but it turns out we have not. Since this is one of my favorite ways to make chicken, I was surprised. So that’s tonight’s theme. There are many different ways to go about making crispy baked chicken, I like Italian bread crumbs and panko for mine. Sometimes I soak the chicken in buttermilk for an hour and use that instead of egg to get the breadcrumbs to adhere. But if I’m in a hurry, it’s just the traditional recipe that I’ve posted below. And by traditional, I mean the one I grew up with, although my mom used rice crispies and cut up chicken pieces.

To change things up, you can add ingredients, like parmesan cheese, sesame seeds (there’s a recipe for that below), corn flakes or rice crispies. I saw a very interesting recipe recently that used toasted pecans, breadcrumbs and panko as the coating. I’m going to recipe test that one when I have a chance.

If you want something a little different, one of my favorites is Crispy Potato Chicken (recipe here).

Craving a Crispy and Spicy Chicken Sandwich?  Here’s a recipe that comes close to a famous fast food joint.

And for something completely different, how about Baked Chicken with Peaches? (recipe here)

If you’re looking to barbecue chicken that’s not all scorched on the outside and raw inside, either on the grill or in the oven, I have some simple tips here.

Grilled, baked, fried or barbecued, what’s your favorite style of chicken? Do you have one of those favorite childhood foods you just have to make once a week or so? Share some recipes in the comments.

On to tonight’s two featured recipes:

Oven Fried Chicken

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 bonelss chicken thighs
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ cup water**
  • salt & pepper to taste (at least 1/8 tsp each)

large mouth bowl, large plate and baking sheet lined with foil or parchment

Wash and pat chicken dry. In a large bowl, add water, eggs, oil, salt and pepper and beat well. Mix together and spread Italian breadcrumbs and panko evenly on large plate. Take chicken pieces one at a time and dip in egg wash, coating completely, dredge  in bread crumbs until lightly coated on all sides. Place on baking sheet. Bake  at 375 degrees for 30 minutes with foil covering the chicken, uncover and cook additional 15 minutes.

If you want to punch up the coating, you can add additional dry herbs to the breadcrumb mixture, I usually add some extra garlic and onion powder, a touch of cayenne, a bit of dried basil and rosemary.

This next recipe is great when the kids want chicken fingers, or it can be used with breasts and thighs as well, but you’ll need to increase the portions of breadcrumbs and sesame seeds to equal 3 cups.

Sesame Chicken Fingers

  • 1/2 cup stone-ground mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tbsp limejuice
  • salt & pepper
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil or olive oil
  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs chicken tenders

baking sheet, greased or lined with parchment or foil

2 bowls and 1 plate

Mix mustard, honey & limejuice in bowl, set aside. On plate mix salt, pepper, breadcrumbs & sesame seeds. In second bowl, add egg, water & oil. Dip chicken in egg wash then dredge in breadcrumbs. Line on baking sheet, bake at 425° for 10 minutes, turn, and bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes, should be crispy on all sides. Serve with mustard dipping sauce, waffle fries and a fresh vegetable tray for a quick and easy dinner.

Sesame Brittle

I made a quick batch of sesame brittle today.  I love this stuff and it’s so easy to make.  Of course it would have been quicker if I’d remembered to oil the wax paper.  It comes off unoiled, but it’s a slow process.

Originally from March of 2010:

Sesame Brittle

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
  • salt

saucepan, wax paper and baking sheet

In saucepan over high heat, melt butter and sugar and stir to combine. Without stirring, cook until mixture becomes a light to medium caramel color, about 3-5 minutes, then add sesame seeds and stir in. Pour mixture onto a well oiled wax paper or well oiled parchment paper covered baking sheet and spread into an even, thin layer, about 1/8 to 1 /4-inch thick, with wooden spoon. Shape will be irregular, but don’t worry, you are just going to break it into pieces after it cools anyway. Immediately shake a bit of salt over top of mixture and lightly press into caramel using spoon. I used less than a 1/4 tsp for the entire mixture and that was plenty, though your mileage may vary. Allow to set-up for about 10-15 minutes. When brittle has hardened and cooled, break into pieces and enjoy. Store in an air-tight container.

Mmm…fried dumplings

And stir fried green beans with a side of fried rice.  Lazy again, the dumplings were from frozen, bought in a bag at the Asian food store the other day.  I’ve had these steamed, but I think deep frying them is the way to go.  The dipping sauce was quick but good:  regular soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, a spoonful of chili paste, two crushed garlic cloves, a splash of rice vinegar and a little Splenda for sweetener, topped with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

The green beams were fresh, stir fried in hot chili oil then finished with a sauce made from soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and peanut butter.  Yep-peanut butter, a teaspoon or so.  Also has some black sesame seeds, I should have used the regular instead.  Mrs J reminds me that I should have used regular oil instead as well, there was a bit of a bite from the hot chili oil.

The fried rice?  Just the usual, has some ham, a few peas and shredded carrot, a beaten egg stirred in, a tablespoon of oyster sauce for a bit of flavor.  It was good.


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What the Hell is Hummus?

I know I’ve asked that question a few times.  Nothing answers the question better than making a batch to see and taste.  Here’s my first go at it.

First thing was to make some tahini.  It’s nothing more than a butter made from toasted sesame seeds and olive oil.  I made a small batch before I started on the hummus, just wanted to make sure this important ingredient was going to be good enough to take the experiment farther.  It worked well enough that I was happy to continue.  I’m told that tahini can be bought ready made but I’ve never seen any around here.  The Asian grocer in the next town east may have it but I’ve never looked for it.  They did have the toasted sesame seeds I used today but I was thinking of another use for those.

I didn’t have any canned garbanzo beans like all the recipes called for, but I did have a bag of dried garbanzos so I fast soaked those and then simmered them for an hour or so.  That seemed to be plenty.  I made more beans than I really needed so I took 2 cups of them for the recipe and froze the remainder for later.

OK, here we go:  Dump 2 cups of garbanzo beans in a food processor, add up to a half cup of tahini, add the zest of a lemon, then its juice.  Toss in some crushed cloves of garlic.  Most recipes I looked at said one or two, I used six or seven.  Add some sea salt, a half teaspoon or so.  Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  Pulse the mixture to get it all chopped, then process on low for a few minutes until it comes together as a smooth paste.  Add some water sparingly if it seems dry, or add more lemon juice.  (The recipes I looked at all mentioned reserving some of the brine from the canned beans for adding-but some commenters said don’t add the brine.)  Taste and adjust as needed.  Maybe more lemon juice, more salt, or more of the tahini.

The classic use for hummus seems to be as a dip for toasted triangles of pita bread.  I can attest that it works very well for that!


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Sesame Crackers

Mrs J made some more doggie biscuits today.  They looked and smelled great.  I was a bit jealous of the dogs.  That set me to searching about for a cracker recipe.  I’ve been wanting to make some crackers for a good while and the luck of the dogs having such a good dog momma rubbed off on me today.  Mrs J agreed to make the sesame crackers that I downloaded a recipe for.

As  with most new things the first batch was a learning experience.  They were just a bit too thick to crisp up nicely, or we didn’t give them long enough in the oven, or both. I gave them 20 minutes at 350+ degrees.  They came out more cookie than cracker.  A good flavor, though maybe a bit bland, I was sure we were on the right track.  The second batch were pretty much the same thickness so I was determined to give them all the time they needed.  In the end they were in there for a tad over thirty minutes.  We also upped our game on the ingredients–we ground some sea salt over them, and Mrs J found some Mrs Dash herb seasoning that we sprinkled over them, too.

I did some additional recipe searching while the second batch was in the oven, and found a recipe that was nearly the same except they used some sesame oil in the dough instead of butter, and a bit less water.  A comment on that post mentioned using a pasta machine to get the dough thinner and more uniform.  We might try that next time.  I have ordered some new cookie cutters, the plastic cap Mrs J used to cut the crackers out was not the best.  A pretty good size, though.


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Thursday Night Menu: First Day of Fall Edition

Happy first day of autumn. According to my sources summer officially ended yesterday at 10:55 pm MDT. Sigh. I’ve pulled out the sweaters, but have not put away the shorts. JeffW updated us on Homer yesterday. His cast has been removed. No word yet on his permanent placement.  But more cute pix.

On to dinner. This is not a very fall oriented menu, I’ll get to those in later weeks.  This menu is a quick and flavorful stir-fry of no particular origin. If you can’t find the broad rice noodles, whatever you like will do just fine. I like the broad ones because they hold the sauce and lots of sesame seeds. I keep sesame seeds around like salt and pepper, so I add that at the table and it’s a nice touch to both the carrots and beef dish.  The yogurt and pineapple provide a cool finish.

On the board tonight:

  1. Spicy Beef & Broccoli
  2. Rice Noodles (broad style)
  3. Sweet & Sour Carrots
  4. Crushed pineapple and vanilla yogurt

Spicy Beef & Broccoli

  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil, sliced very thin (easiest to do if slightly frozen)
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup or more of chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 cups broccoli crowns
  • ½ cup Spanish peanuts

large skillet or wok

Heat 1 tbsp of oil and sauté onions, peppers,  fresh ginger and garlic quickly. Add more oil as needed, add beef and stir quickly until beef is cooked through. Combine red pepper flakes, cornstarch, soy sauce, broth, honey, and mix well. Add to meat, bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer 5 minutes. Add broccoli crowns, cover and steam for 2 to 3 more minutes (you want broccoli bright green, but still slightly crisp). Toss with peanuts. Serve over rice noodles.

Sweet & Sour Carrots

  • 16 oz pkg. sliced frozen carrots
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 green onions, sliced

small skillet or wok and small bowl

Mix ½ cup broth with cornstarch, vinegar, sugar and set aside.

Heat remaining broth, add carrots and onions, cook until carrots are tender, yet crisp. Add cornstarch mix, heat to quick boil, stirring constantly until sauce thickens and then remove from heat.

Shopping list:

  • 1 lb sirloin or London broil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger or 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 16 oz broccoli crowns
  • 4 oz Spanish peanuts
  • 16 oz pkg. sliced frozen carrots
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 16 oz vanilla yogurt
  • Fresh crushed pineapple
  • Rice noodles

Also: red wine vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, olive oil, soy sauce, crushed garlic, honey, red pepper flakes, sesame seeds (opt)

Sesame Beef

I had another bunch of asparagus that I was wanting to stir fry today so I Googled asparagus recipes.  There were plenty, and I was drawn to a few beef and asparagus recipes.  I noticed a link to a sesame beef recipe, and following it, came upon a really yummy looking photo of the dish.  Made up my mind to try it, thankful that I had bought a fair amount of sesame seeds just a few days ago.  My local grocer had red bell peppers on sale last week, and we had ten of those frozen in a big plastic freezer bag.  Seems I had everything I needed.  Still left me needing a recipe for the asparagus.  LOL  That is what I started out looking for.  No problem finding a recipe.

I was able to deep fry the beef pieces to set aside but the final dinner prep required two pans going at once.  Pretty busy at the stove those last few minutes before plating.  Served the beef and asparagus with jasmine rice.  Mrs J declared the dinner “yummy”-high praise indeed.  I beamed.

Here we go:

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