By Ann Cipperly
As I was looking through recipes this week, I kept coming back to chicken recipes since most people always seem to be looking for new ways to prepare this main dish staple. Chicken is versatile and can be cooked a variety of ways, as well as used in casseroles, salads and many other dishes.
When I was growing up, my mother’s exceptional fried chicken was always the centerpiece of Sunday dinner. The aroma of the sizzling chicken filled the house and drifted through the screen door to the big porch where my favorite spot was an old wooden swing. We kids would slam the screen door dozens of times asking when it was going to be ready.
I am still trying to cook fried chicken like my mom. When I have more time this summer, I am going to get her big cast iron skillet out and try again. I can make some fancy chicken dishes, but for some reason I can’t get her fried chicken exactly right. Of course, I realize that no matter how good the chicken is, no one will ever cook as good as my mom.
While fried chicken was a standby for my mother, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are a staple in my kitchen as they can be prepared in many ways and cooked quickly. They are also low in fat.
One of my quick dishes for chicken breasts is Chicken Marsala. I also make this dish with boneless, skinless chicken thighs that Don prefers. The dish is versatile as it can be prepared with the chicken floured or not. The amount of Marsala and broth can be varied, mushrooms are optional, and I use whatever cheese I have on hand for a topping.
Marsala, sherry and port are available at local grocery stores. While the alcohol will burn off, you can always make it with cooking sherry if you prefer, or just deglaze the pan with chicken broth.
Years ago, before Chef David Bancroft opened his own restaurants, he shared a recipe for Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Fresh Tomato Chutney. While the recipe looks long, I found it went together quicker than I thought. If you don’t want to roll the chicken breasts out, simply place stuffing in the center of breasts and fold to secure.
You can get small pots of fresh basil at the grocery store. I think you can use dried basil in the stuffing if you don’t have fresh. Add a little at a time to get the taste that suits you.
The recipe can be prepared a day ahead. If you have had your vaccine and are planning to have guests over soon, this would be a good recipe to serve. I would serve it with fresh asparagus and a green salad. As the weather gets warmer, you can plan a dinner outdoors to feel safer.
Kay Harris’ Marinated Baked Chicken Breasts would also be good for guests or Sunday dinner. The chicken is marinated overnight, and then rolled in cracker crumbs and baked. It goes together quickly, and the marinade makes a tender, flavorful chicken dish.
Sara Mason’s recipe for Kleeman’s Chicken on Cornbread sounds like good comfort food. To save time, you could use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store instead of cooking the chicken breasts.
If you are having ladies for lunch, Ann Bennett’s Chicken Pecan Quiche would be a good choice. She said this quiche was served with fresh fruit, mixed green salad and mini lemon poppy seed muffins for ladies’ luncheons in Kingsport, Tennessee, where she once lived. That sounds like a delectable luncheon.
For something different to serve during the week, try the Creole Chicken Cakes with Remoulade Sauce. Chicken breasts, whole cooked chicken, or a rotisserie chicken can be used. The sauce can be prepared the day before, and the chicken patties can be assembled the night before. They will be ready to sauté the next day after work.
If chicken is your family’s favorite entree, include a couple of the following recipes in your menus this week. Hopefully, as more people have vaccines and Covid numbers go down, we can offer hospitality soon. Dining outdoors on a beautiful spring day can be wonderful.
Ann Cipperly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goat Cheese and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Fresh Tomato Chutney
8 – 5 oz. trimmed, flattened chicken breasts
Chicken Spice mix:
¾ Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. dried oregano
11 oz. Belle Chevre goat cheese (or another brand)
4 crumbled Sister Schubert dinner rolls
½ to 1 cup chopped fresh basil to taste
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground allspice, optional
1 tsp. kosher salt
To flatten chicken, lay one chicken breast onto a piece of cellophane. Lay another piece of cellophane over the top. Using mallet, pound each breast consistently until it reaches ½ inch in thickness. Repeat with each portion. Set aside for stuffing.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add goat cheese, breadcrumbs, fresh basil, olive oil, allspice and salt in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, crumble mixture together until olive oil is evenly mixed through stuffing. Separate stuffing into eight portions.
Lay out one chicken breast long ways from left to right on prep surface. Starting from top, begin spreading one portion of stuffing one inch away from top edge. Evenly distribute stuffing and press gently to tamp it down. Starting from the bottom, begin rolling the breast towards the top. Using butchers’ twine, tie three segments around the breast to secure it, making eight “roulades.” Repeat with each portion. (Instead of making rolls, can place stuffing in center of breasts and fold to secure.)
Place each portion onto greased baking sheet. Sprinkle the spice rub evenly onto each roulade. Bake in oven for 16 to 18 minutes or until center temperature reaches 165 degrees.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before removing twine. Slice roulades into desired thickness and serve with chutney.
Heirloom Tomato Chutney
3 cups diced heirloom tomatoes (3 medium size)
1 seeded small red bell pepper, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. kosher salt
Heat oil to medium heat in small saucepan. Add bell pepper and garlic and sauté gently for 20 seconds. Add tomatoes, vinegar and sugar; simmer for 5 minutes. Add water and salt and simmer 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature before serving.
Marinated Baked Chicken Breasts
2 cups sour cream
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. celery salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 boneless chicken breast halves, skinless
1 3/4 cups dry breadcrumbs
1/3 cup butter
1 sleeve soda crackers, crushed
1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed
To marinate: In a large nonporous glass dish or bowl, combine sour cream, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic; mix well.
Add chicken breasts and coat well with sour cream marinade. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate to marinate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish or bowl. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Dredge chicken in crumb mix to coat well and place in a lightly greased 9 x 13 inch baking dish. In a small saucepan or skillet, melt butter and spoon evenly over chicken.
Bake for 60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and fork-tender with juices running clear.
Kleeman’s Chicken on Cornbread with Creamy Sauce
From an old restaurant in Nashville
8 chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 stalks celery, tops and all
4 sprigs parsley
Grated ginger, optional
1 large carrot
Cook the chicken breasts in water to cover. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until just done. Use the strained broth for making the sauce.
6 Tbsp. onion, minced
1 cup butter
8 Tbsp. flour
3 pints (6 cups) chicken broth
1/2 cup cream or milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown minced onion in melted butter until golden. Add flour. Add chicken broth, cream or milk, salt, and pepper. Cook until desired thickness.
Slice chicken; place on cornbread and pour sauce over top. Serve extra sauce on the side. Serves 10 to 12.
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. salt
Combine ingredients, mixing well. Pour into greased baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Chicken Breasts or Thighs with Marsala Sauce
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
Salt and pepper
½ cup flour, optional
2 Tbsp. melted butter or canola oil
1 lb. sliced mushrooms, sliced, optional
1/3 cup dry Marsala wine or sherry or chicken broth
½ cup chicken stock
Grated Swiss, mozzarella or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Salt and pepper chicken; dredge in flour and lightly brown in butter or oil. Remove to ovenproof dish. Sauté mushrooms in same skillet, adding more butter if necessary; sprinkle over chicken.
In skillet add wine and let simmer; add chicken broth; bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes. Pour over chicken and mushrooms.
Sprinkle cheese of choice over chicken. Bake for about 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Serves six.
Hidden Valley Ranch Chicken
Lura said this is a favorite everyone in the family enjoys, including the grandchildren.
4 small chicken breasts
½ cup ranch dressing
2 Tbsp. flour
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Rinse and pat dry chicken.
Combine ranch dressing and flour. Dip chicken in mixture until well coated. Place in greased baking dish and cover with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.
Lemon Garlic Roast Chicken Legs
For the chicken:
10-12 chicken legs
1 onion, sliced
For the marinade:
8 cloves garlic, minced
Zest from 2 lemons
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 Tbsp. melted butter
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
2 ½ tsp. kosher salt (use 2 tsp. for regular table salt)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. fresh thyme
¼ – ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Whisk marinade until combined. Pierce chicken legs with a fork and add to marinade. Turn to coat well and let it sit in the marinade for an hour. (I’ve prepared this in the morning and refrigerated it in the marinade.)
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken in a large baking dish (I marinate chicken in the baking dish.) in a single layer. Evenly distribute the marinade over chicken. Arrange lemon slices and onion slices around and in between the chicken pieces.
Bake uncovered for about an hour, basting with juices after 30 minutes. Serve chicken with the juices.
Chicken Pecan Quiche
A slice of this quiche would be served with fresh fruit, mixed greens salad with poppy seed dressing and mini lemon poppy seed muffins for ladies’ luncheons in Kingsport, Tennessee, where I previously lived.
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
Stir into that mixture:
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
3 drops hot sauce, such as Texas Pete
Pour into 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust.
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle pecans evenly over top of quiche.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees about 30 minutes; cover and bake until set to prevent top from over browning, usually 50 to 55 minutes.
Another method of preparing the quiche is to place a piecrust into a baking dish, and press chopped pecans onto the crust. Then add the filling. It is also good, but it is not as pretty served as a wedge slice topped with pecans.
Creole Chicken Cakes with Remoulade Sauce
2 Tbsp. butter or oil
½ medium-size red bell pepper, diced, optional
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup soft breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Creole mustard
2 tsp. Creole seasoning, optional
Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add bell pepper, green onions, and garlic; sauté 3 to 4 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Combine bell pepper mixture, chicken, and next five ingredients. Shape mixture into patties.
Sauté patties in hot oil over medium heat 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with Rémoulade Sauce. Makes four to six servings.
1 cup mayonnaise
3 green onions, sliced
2 Tbsp. Creole mustard or grainy Dijon mustard
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, optional
Combine ingredients until well blended.
Chicken in Lemon Parmesan Sauce
6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. butter or oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Marsala or cooking sherry or chicken broth
2 Tbsp. grated lemon rind
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Sauté chicken breasts in butter or oil until light brown; salt and pepper. Place chicken in a baking dish. Add sherry, lemon juice, and rind to butter in skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring a few minutes. Slowly blend in heavy cream, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cover chicken. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over chicken. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done. Serves six.
Rolled Chicken Breasts with Pecan Topping
2 tsp. oil
1 cup sliced mushrooms
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté mushrooms in oil. In a bowl, combine cream cheese, thyme, garlic salt, oregano and mushrooms.
Pound chicken breasts until flat. Spread cream cheese mixture over chicken breasts; roll up. Place seam side down in baking dish.
Combine remaining ingredients; spread over chicken. Bake 30 minutes or until done.
Chicken with Broccoli, Asparagus, Artichoke or Shrimp
This is an updated version of an old favorite Chicken Divan recipe from years ago.
1 cooked chicken (can be rotisserie chicken), cut into bite size pieces
2 pkg. cooked broccoli, artichoke hearts, asparagus or 1/2 to 1 lb. cooked shrimp
2 cans cream of chicken soup (can use reduced fat)
1 cup mayonnaise (can use reduced fat)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. curry powder
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup soft breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. melted butter
Place broccoli or other choice around edges of a 13 x 9 x 2 inch casserole dish; place chicken in the center.
Combine soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice and curry powder; spread over chicken and partially cover broccoli. Sprinkle cheese over top. Combine breadcrumbs and butter; sprinkle over cheese. Sprinkle paprika over top.
Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Serves six. Can be prepared ahead.