Sexy Cast Iron Skillet Chicken

A good friend of mine gifted me a cast iron skillet for Christmas and I was skeptical on using it, because I have never really delved into that area of expertise. Well, last night I was feeling adventurous, and I had been wanting to roast this whole chicken I had in the fridge. I’ve been reading up on a lot of posts lately with chef connoisseurs alike saying cast iron is the only way.

So there I was, in my kitchen, cracking open the package on this new and intimidating piece of hardware. I followed direction to preheat the skillet in the oven at 450F. Meanwhile, generously rubbing this 5 pounder with olive oil, and all of my favorite herbs/spices. It was still raw and it looked divine! I knew this experiment would be good, but I was also prepared for disaster. Upon much research, I was informed this was not only the tastiest way to roast a chicken and get the crispiest skin, but the fastest as well! I am an advocate for that! Mine took an hour, including resting time, and I can proudly say this was the best chicken I have ever had. It was everything you want in a roasted chicken- extra crispy skin, packed with flavor, and juicy all the way through. And the pan drippings?! Oh.. they were on a whole different level of scrumptious. We may or may not have dipped our pieces of chicken in it …

Just see for yourself:

Your mouth is watering now isn’t it? I served this with a simple salad, and it was the perfect meal. Lately my salads have been consisting of mixed greens, chic peas, bean sprouts and shaved red onion. I am in love with these flavor combinations and textures, but any salad will do. It is really the refreshing aspect of a salad alongside chicken like this that really compliments, but doesn’t overpower the amounts of flavor the chicken provides.

Do yourself a favor, and instead of going out this weekend for dinner, pick up a whole chicken (something small, 3-5 lbs), and make this recipe. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, make sure it’s on your wishlist because this cooking style is GOLD.

Ingredients:
1 – 5 lb whole chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 lemon, halved
1 T dried minced garlic (fresh could work too)
3 T smoked paprika
2 t kosher salt
2 T cajun seasoning (I used Tony’s)
1 1/2 T garlic powder

Directions:
1. Preheat your oven to 450F, and let your cast iron skillet get hot in the oven.
2. Remove the insides of the chicken, rise, and pat dry.
3. Stuff your chicken with 1 half of the lemon, 2 sprigs of rosemary, and 2 sprigs of thyme.
4. If desired, tie the legs of the chicken together with butcher’s twine.
5. Tuck the wings of the chicken under the bird, so they do not burn.
6. Massage the bird well with the olive oil, including under the skin, use more if needed.
7. Generously sprinkle the paprika, cajun seasoning, salt, garlic powder, and minced garlic all over the bird’s skin. Squeeze the other half of the lemon on the top of the bird. Finish with the remaining rosemary and thyme, minced.
8. Once the bird is seasoned, place it breast side up in your cast iron skillet.
9. Bake at 450F for 1 hour, or until the thermometer reaches 160F in the thickest part of the bird (normally the thigh). Once the chicken is resting it will continue to cook to the perfect temperature.
10. Halfway through cooking time, baste your bird with the pan drippings.
11. Once the chicken is done cooking, remove from the oven and let rest for 15 mins before serving. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!! The rest time will ensure your chicken is nice and juicy)

*Note: depending on the size of your chicken, cooking time may vary.

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Baked Honey Mustard Chicken

This recipe comes from Good Life Eats and it is so flavorful and simple.

This is one of those recipes you can make ahead, cover and refrigerate, and cook when you’re ready.

Don’t be scared by the thought of eating whole grain mustard. The honey really cuts the flavor, and it’s perfect with an arugula salad.

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Pita Pizza

If you haven’t already figured it out, I like quick recipes. But quick, doesn’t have to mean it lacks flavor.

I got this idea from the FitGirlsGuide 28 Day Jump-start.

This program has taught me I can still eat all my favorite foods, and be healthy.

PIZZA.

In particular, buffalo chicken pizza *swoon*

IMG_20150519_212021Ingredients:
1 whole grain pita
Franks Red Hot Sauce
Shredded Chicken
Part-skim Mozzarella cheese
Green onions
Broccoli

Bake in a hot oven, directly on the rack, at 400F for 10 minutes. I like to eat this along with a side of fruit, usually strawberries.

Dreamy Polenta

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One of my go-to meals on weekdays because its so easy and versatile.

Recipe:
Serves 2 people

1/2 cup dry polenta
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. In a microwave safe bowl, add polenta and water. Microwave on high 7 minutes.
2. If the polenta still has visible water on top, give it another minute or so in the microwave.
3. Immediately stir in the ricotta.
4. Add seasoning.

The reason i love this so much is because it pairs well with so many things.

Tonight I marinated some chicken beasts in chipotle, and baked them for 20 minutes. I also sauteed spinach with olive oil and garlic.

A few other ideas:
(A protein of choice + a vegetable)
– Veggie burger + roasted cherry tomatoes
– Salmon + balsamic brussel sprouts
– Poached egg + spinach or kale (or both!)

Tip- you can also replace the ricotta with another cheese. (Goat, cheddar, etc.)

Skinny Chicken Tortilla Soup

11225462_10152764421910759_7133780060749822839_nIn honor of Cinco de Mayo yesterday, I made this soup packed with flavor. I recently purchased a crock pot, and love the convenience of not worrying about making dinner when I get home from work. This recipe comes from Skinny Mom.

You’ll soon see a pattern that I obviously love Spanish cuisine. Not only is my boyfriend from Guatemala and he is making requests .. I want to put anything and everything in a tortilla! Or add chilies, jalapenos, queso fresco to everything non-traditional.

My obsession constantly growing, I needed to watch the calories and sodium that came along with it.

Although this recipe already had low calories, the sodium was way too high so I made some changes and it came out just as wonderful!

Tip-  When shopping for “low-sodium” be sure to read the nutrition label. Some products will vary, and you really want to look for the product that contains the lowest sodium (per serving!). During my shopping trip, I found a low-sodium broth that was 800 mg per serving! Very misleading. I finally found an organic brand that had close to low 100’s mg per serving. #mindfulshopping

Warning! – This makes a very large batch. I used a 4 qt slow cooker and it was filled to the brim. If you are cooking for a small family, I would suggest cutting the recipe in half. We had a TON of leftovers (just the 2 of us!), and I ended up freezing more than half of the batch.

The recipe:

16 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup onion, chopped
16 oz can reduced-sodium black beans, drained + rinsed
16 oz can kidney beans, drained + rinsed
8 oz can tomato paste
10 oz package of yellow corn, frozen
2 — 10 oz cans Ro*Tel® diced tomatoes with chilies (I used low sodium)
1 packet reduced-sodium taco seasoning (I used Mrs. Dash – salt free)
1 Tbsp chili powder
32 oz reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used low-sodium organic)

Directions:

  1. Place chicken on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  3. Remove chicken breasts and shred with a fork, return to slow cooker and mix well. Spoon soup into bowls and top with crumbled tortilla chips. Add optional toppings, if desired.
  4. Add desired toppings. (We added tortilla strips, avocado, mozzarella cheese and cilantro.)

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup

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Acquired this recipe from Damn Delicious. My new favorite blog!

This beats your old chicken noodle soup recipe. Perfect for cold, snowed in weather or when you’re feeling sick. This dish tastes so fresh with all the herbs and has a nice zing from the lemon.

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Directions:

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the stockpot. Add garlic, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaves and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Stir in orzo, rosemary and chicken; reduce heat and simmer until orzo is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and parsley; season with salt and pepper, to taste.