Category Archives: Chicken

Chicken Nuggets

Many of you might remember my article that I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the dangers of eating conventional chicken nuggets. I specifically broke down all of the ingredients in McDonald’s nuggets, but sadly they are not alone. The junk that I mentioned that was in them is not just in nuggets, but can be found in many pre-packaged food-like substances.

So in order to avoid all of the junk while still allowing my children to eat the foods that they like, I came up with a healthy version of chicken nuggets. And guess what? It’s easy too! Who knew? What I suggest doing is to make a large batch of this and freeze them so you can have a healthy meal on hand when you feel yourself giving into the drive-though temptation that we have all felt. Serve them with some raw carrots or celery sticks for some added crunch.

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 lbs. of pastured local chicken cut into bite-sized pieces (note- if you are using a bone-in chicken as I did, I suggest using the breast portion to save yourself the hassle of cutting the meat off of an un-cooked chicken on the bone)
  • 1 cup buttermilk or kefir
  • Enough flour to coat evenly (sprouted flour is always the preferred choice in this but use what you have on hand)
  • About 1 quart grass-fed beef tallow OR expeller pressed coconut oil or palm oil (expeller pressed coconut oil has no coconut flavor or taste but is still a healthy fat to consume-you must use expeller pressed as it has a higher smoke point than virgin)
  • A heavy bottomed stainless steel pan or deep fryer
  • About a tsp. each of the following seasonings (I didn’t measure so this is approximate)
  1. sea salt
  2. pepper
  3. dried mustard seed
  4. fenegreek
  5. adobo seasonings (the natural version)
  6. onion powder
  7. garlic powder
  8. paprika
  9. cayenne pepper (optional)

The How To:

First you want to slowly warm up the fat of your choice (I used tallow with great results) to prevent any smoking. While the fat is warming up, go ahead and add everything but the flour to the cut up chicken and allow it to sit for a few minutes. When you are ready to begin frying, (make sure the oil is gently bubbling) go ahead and cover the seasoned chicken that’s now covered in buttermilk or kefir in the flour. Once it’s covered completely, add it to the oil and begin frying the chicken in small batches. Make sure that you turn the chicken a couple of times to make sure it cooks evenly.  You want the chicken to look light brown all over-it will take about 5-7 mins. Use tongs to remove it from the hot oil and allow the fat to heat back up before starting another batch. Just keep going this way until you have fried all of your chicken! You now have super healthy chicken nuggets that you can serve right away or do like I did and serve about half and freeze the rest!

ENJOY!!! I really hope you like this recipe, I was so happy when my kids devoured them and asked for seconds. Oh and I also served it with a bit of raw honey to dip it in. Even I loved it!

This recipe is shared at The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop #48, day2day joys: Read the ingredients, and Real Food Wednesdays 5/18, and Simple Lives Thursday #44, and Fight Back Fridays 5/20, and Made it on Monday #10


Braised Chicken and Veggies Julia Child Style

This is a variation of Julia Child’s Poulet en Cocotte Bonne Femme. Or for those of you that don’t speak French it’s Casserole-roasted Chicken with Bacon, Onions and Potatoes.  I also added leaks, ginger, mushrooms and white wine.  I took a risk with the ginger. I wasn’t sure how it would go with with the bacon. But the way I did it the ginger flavor was just enough to add depth to the dish without overwhelming it. This was very good. In a very gourmet sort of way.  This will please a crowd for sure. My family full with 3 picky eaters tore it up.

You will need:

1 large roaster chicken cut up into pieces. Save the breast for another meal-preferably pastured (grass fed-really adds to the flavor and tenderness. Plus it’s WAY better for you)

1 leak

2 medium onions

1/2 pd or more of button mushrooms

3 medium red skinned potatoes

5 pieces bacon (nitrate free)

3-4 cloves garlic chopped finely

2ish tbls. butter or coconut oil

1/2 cup white wine (I used cooking wine but the real thing would be better)

2 tsp. ginger chopped finely

about 1 tbls. fresh thyme

3 tbls. fresh parsley-leaves only

Kosher salt -good amount maybe a tbl.

Fresh ground black pepper

2-3 small bay leaves

1/4 or less red wine vinegar

Cast iron braiser or dutch oven (I used a braiser) You could also use a casserole dish but you need a tight fitting lid to lock in the flavor and juices

Ok, this is a bit time consuming until you get it in the oven but it isn’t hard at all. The beauty about it is that you can cook it all in one dish.

First thing you want to do is set the rack down to the middle of your oven and pre-heat to 325. Also put your braiser on top of the stove and heat to medium. Now cook the bacon to an almost burnt crisp. You want to render the grease for the dish.

While the bacon is cooking you want to cut up the chicken, saving the breast for another dish. Pat dry the chicken completely and salt generously on both sides with kosher salt. You do this to achieve a better browning effect.  Once the bacon is done cooking remove it from the pan and place the chicken inside and begin to brown it.

Doesn’t look so hot yet, I know but your not done! So while the chicken is busy doing it’s thing on this side go ahead and start chopping up the onions. Cut them length wise, cut off the ends, peel and dice into smallish pieces julienne style.

Check to see if the chicken has browned sufficiently. You may need to move it around a but to make sure each part gets a chance to touch the bottom. You can go ahead and flip it over once one side is browned. Grind some pepper over it.

Now chop up the leaks, mushrooms, garlic and ginger.

Once the chicken is browned as evenly as possible go ahead and remove it and place it on a clean plate. Now add the onions and saute for just a few minutes before adding leaks, garlic and ginger.  As you continue to saute add the red wine vinegar plus some more kosher salt and fresh black pepper. Your pan should smoke up a bit when you add the liquid, that’s what you want. It will cause the liquid to reduce so it isn’t soggy but still imparts the flavor. Once the items are just tender remove from the heat.

Now add the mushroom and cook the same way. You can add a bit of butter if the pan is to dry. You cook the mushroom separately because they need ample room to cook properly.

Remove the mushroom and melt about a tablespoon of butter and the white wine into the braiser and let it melt. Once combined arrange the chicken back into the the braiser. Top chicken with some more salt and pepper and top with about 2 tsp. of fresh thyme.

Cut the potatoes into small pieces-sliced length wise not into cubes.  Chop up the fresh parsley and toss it with the potatoes, salting them as you go. Keep separate from the other veggies.

Now chop up the bacon and add it to the sauteed veggies. Toss it all together and add about 2 more tsp. of fresh thyme and some more salt and pepper.

Now top the chicken with the veggies and place the potatoes around the side of the dish filling in any gaps along the edge.  Top with a few more springs of thyme and parsley, the bay leaves and a dash more of kosher salt and pepper.

Put the lid on the braiser or whatever your using and bake for 45 mins. Check the meat and if it’s not done then you have two choices at this point depending on how much time you have. You can do what I did and up the temp. to 400 and cook for 15 more mins. until done or just put it back in and cook until done. Mine came out perfectly tender and you can do this if you are using a braiser or dutch oven. If not then I would just keep the temp. low and continue to cook until it’s done. You will know the chicken is cooked when the juices run clear. The meat will be really easy to pull off the bone at this point as well.

Cool. Now your done! Not so bad huh?

I served mine with buttered rosemary rolls. It would also go really well with rice or buttered egg noodles which is traditional.

ENJOY! Serves about 6

This recipe is posted over at Good Cheap Eats! Also found on Jasmine above Rubies and Penny Wise Thursdays at Nourishing Gourmet as well as Monday Mania #40 at The Healthy Home Economist

Super fast Gingered Chicken and Rice

This was really good! I had decided to make chicken and rice at the last-minute because I remembered that I had some left over chicken from making broth the other day that I needed to use up. I always use the breast and the dark meat separate and I had dark meat left over. I really prefer having the dark part of the chicken for things like chicken and rice because I think it has more flavor.

So this was super simple, fast and good! Great combination right! Great for a I have no time but must make dinner weekday meal. The only thing that you might not have on hand in the ginger. But you must have it for gingered chicken and rice. Other wise it would just be plain old chicken and rice. Which is good, don’t get me wrong. But this was special because of the ginger.

Ok, here goes. You will need:

1-2 cups cooked shredded chicken (dark part is best)

1ish tbls fresh ginger, peeled chopped and separated

1 yellow onion sliced thin and separated

3 cloves garlic minced and separated

Juice from 1/4 of a lemon or about 2 tbls.

2 -3 tbls butter

1 cup of rice ( I used white)

2 cups chicken broth preferably homemade

Kosher salt and pepper to taste

1 can or equal amount of frozen corn (optional but I didn’t feel like making a veggie side so this worked out) You could also use green beans I’m sure. Might actually be a tad healthier.

Ok, so like I said this was easy and it was done in less than 30 mins. so long as you already have cooked chicken. If you don’t, then that’s fine too just start to cook the chicken at about the same time you do the rice. You don’t really have to change anything else and it should still be ready at about the same time.

First, heat up the pot your going to cook the rice in and put a touch of butter in there to melt. While it is melting cut up the onion and the garlic. I have found the quickest way to cut an onion is to cut it length wise then chop off the ends and peel it. It’s faster anyhow. So once it’s all cut up add 1/2 of the onion and let it sauté a bit. Now cut the peel off and dice the ginger. Get your lemon juice and chicken broth ready.

Now add both the ginger and the garlic to the onions and let it cook no more than about 3 mins. You don’t want burn the garlic. Do this all at about medium high heat. On the lower end of it. Next add the chicken broth and watch it do that awesome thing were you add liquid to a really hot pot. It’s cool.

Go ahead and add the lemon juice and some salt and pepper. Once you add that you can now add the rice and cook it how you do white rice. ( note, if you’re using brown rice it will be better but you will need more liquid and more time) You cook the rice by letting it all come to a boil, letting it boil uncovered for a min. and then lowered the heat to a simmer and covering it for about 20 mins or until the liquid has absorbed.

Meanwhile, while the rice is cooking go ahead and heat up another skillet. Make it a deep one. Melt a tbls. or so of butter and add the rest of the onion. Let it cook a bit. Until it’s translucent but not brown. It will continue to cook but you want it to do so with the chicken to get more onion flavor into the chicken itself. Now add the ginger, garlic and corn and continue to cook on low/medium until the rice is done. Don’t over cook the rice or it will be mushy.

Now you just put it all together in the large deep skillet. But add the rest of the butter first cause butter is good. So yea, fluff the rice with a fork and add it gently to the chicken mixture and stir to combine. Now serve it to your family and eat it.

Serves about 6

How to Cook a whole Chicken in the oven

Ok, apparently a lot of people are afraid of cooking a whole chicken. I say it’s time to put on your big girl (or boy!) apron and conquer that fear.  Because there’s nothing to be afraid of! I think that the first time I attempted to cook a whole chicken was shortly into my marriage when we had NO money and needed to stretch the buck.  I was 20. So if I can do it at 20 then you can do it now!

Really though, you can get a lot out of one chicken. This is especially useful if you are wanting to switch to organic pastured meat but are turned away by the price. From one large chicken a family of 5 (that’s us) can get 2 FULL meals PLUS 3-4 quarts of chicken broth. You can DO IT! You just have to take that bird, look it square in the eye and say-“I will conquer you bird!” Ok, maybe just think it in your head but have some confidence. The only hard part is making sure you don’t under cook it. Even if you over cook it you can always turn it into something else later. You just don’t want to eat raw chicken no matter how clean it is, cause that might make you sick.  And then you wouldn’t like that chicken too much.

Ok, enough pep talk, let’s get started. First things first I pops freaks all the honey’s…just kidding. I just always think of that when I say first things first. Ok, bad joke. Really though, start off with a well, a whole chicken. I recommend finding a local chicken farmer and picking out one of your very own pastured chickens. It’s kind of slippery slope from here because you won’t go back once you’ve tasted your first one. They’re that good. They’re cleaner (can’t really explain it beyond the smell and touch), you’ll know what I mean when you get your hands on one), they’re juicier and there’s hardly any fat! Because they’re pastured, and not jammed into a small dark confined area where they are fed a bunch of stuff that you really don’t want in your body, they burn off some of that fat. And no it doesn’t make it less juicy. Chicken fed on grass is much much better for you and exponentially better TO you. Cause that’s what this blog is really about. But if you don’t have a pastured chicken you can still make a pretty mean one anyhow.

I am going to start you off with a really easy recipe. There are so many ways to make chicken it’s not even funny. This post is focusing more on the technique because that’s what everyone seems to be afraid of. As long as you use seasonings you like and do it the right way, it’s gonna be good. Trust me.

Ok, so you have your chicken. Now get:

A full bulb of garlic plus 3 more cloves for the outside

2 lemons

About 1 tbsp. sea salt and pepper (each)

Dried rosemary and thyme

About 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Any other seasoning that tickle your fancy if you want, if not then this is fine.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Take your chicken, clean it off and empty out any of the inside liver and/or gizzards but save it to make stock later. First, sprinkle your chicken with salt and pepper. Then take the 3 cloves and crush them though the garlic press and spread it all over the outside of the chicken. Next top with the dried herbs and any other seasoning your in the mood for. What’s really yummy is to also get all the seasonings under the skin too but if this is just too much for you then go ahead and save it for next time.  Now top with about half of one of the lemons juice and the olive oil. Your gonna need your hands for that so make sure their clean. Rub it all around the chicken.

Now sprinkle the inside of the chicken with more salt, pepper and herbs. Next take the full clove of garlic, cut the top off of it and cut the other lemon in half. Shove the garlic and the lemon inside the chicken. That’s it. Well you do need to cook it but that’s it as far as seasoning it goes. Now let’s make sure we don’t get salmonella and cook that bird up!

Wash your hands cause well I’m sure you know why cause your Momma already told you. Now take a large roasting pan and either line it with foil or apply cooking spray for easy clean up. Place the chicken on top of the rack top with foil and put that sucker in the oven already. Now let it cook. A pretty long time. Depending on the size of your chicken it can take anywhere from 1 1/2 to 3 hours. Go do something else. Like make some sides like cheesy herbed baked mashed potatoes or something green. Or both. Both would be your best bet.

At about half the way through the cooking, take it out and turn it around for more even cooking. When there’s about 20 mins left your gonna want to take off the foil to that the skin can get nice and crispy. mmmm. And make sure you eat it cause it’s good for you! Promise.

Now, how to tell when it’s done. The juices will run clear and it won’t be red. The part closest to the bone will be but that’ ok. Now let it sit for about 10 mins. to lock in all the juices and cut it up! When your cutting it if it looks a little on the pink side don’t panic, just pop it back in there and cook a little longer. If you start to get impatient you can always turn up the temperature but I forewarn you that it dry it out more.

Now your  done! You can degrease the pan by adding water to it and scraping it around and pour those juices on your cut chicken if you want. Now go my child, and enjoy the fruit of your labor. And give yourself a pat on the back.

(p.s. save your bones with the insides from before to make broth later)

Knock your socks off White Chicken Chili

Ok. This is the first time I have ever made white chicken chili. Not really sure why because it’s super easy and so good you want to do a little dance. I’m not joking. My friend gave me the recipe that she got from somewhere and I did my own thing and the result was off the hook. For real.

Most of it anyhow

3/4 lb of Great Northern Beans cooked or 2 cans

3 cups cooked chopped chicken breast

1 large can (about 30 oz) hominy

1 can green chilies (about 4 oz)

1 packet of taco seasoning plus more for some added zip

1 med. yellow onion

2 tbls. butter

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1-2 tbls cumin

salt and black pepper and chili powder to taste ( I used about 1 tbls. chili powder)

16 oz chicken broth

Sour Cream and chopped green pepper to garnish if desired

First off you want to soak some Great Northern Beans and cook up a chicken to get the breast (and while your at it, make some stock), or if you must just some cooked chicken breast and two cans of the beans (but it’s much better if you just soak the darn things). I used a whole large one from a pastured chicken so about 3ish cups cooked and chopped up.

This is really easy. Once you have the beans and the chicken you pretty much just throw it all in there and simmer for a while. But here’s how I did it:

Melt butter in a large pot and add onions first letting them cook a bit. Then add the garlic, salt pepper and cumin to taste and let that cook until the onions are translucent but not browned. You do this because you want a solid onion flavor in it. Then add chicken and saute for about 3 mins. while you open up the cans of hominy and green chili’s.

Next add the drained hominy and packet of taco seasoning and stir to combine. Then add beans and the green chilies and the chicken broth. Stir it well and let it simmer gently till your ready to eat it or about 30 mins. You don’t need to add anything to thicken it up because as it simmers the starch from the hominy which is really just corn will do it for you. It will be very thick once it’s all done.

Top with sour cream and chopped green onions if desired. Oh and don’t forget the corn bread!

And that’s how it’s done.

Serves 6

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