SHEET PAN CHICKEN MEDLEY

Sweet apricots, zesty marinated artichokes add tons of flavor to this marinated sheet pan chicken dinner.

SHEET PAN CHICKEN MEDLEY
2 1/2 pounds (4) skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into LARGE chunks
4 tablespoons Avocado oil, divided
ZEST and Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground Himalayan Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2-3 large carrots, diagonally sliced
2 LARGE red onions, cut into wedges
1 jar marinated artichoke hearts
1 -2 cups dried apricot halves
1 – 6 ounce can pineapple orange juice

  • In a large bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the avocado oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and garlic.
  • Generously season chicken pieces with FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper.
  • Toss chicken breasts in marinade and let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • In a separate bowl add apricot halves, juice and artichokes, tossing to mix.  Let stand at least 30 minutes or more to plump apricot pieces. I usually let it stand all day.

  • Heat oven to 400°.
  • Coat a sheet pan covered in foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine the basil, fennel, tomato paste and remaining avocado oil.
  • Season with FRESH ground Himalayan Sea Salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Pour half into a second bowl. Add the onion wedges, apricots and artichoke hearts, tossing to coat, set aside.
  • Add carrots to the marinade in the first bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Arrange carrots on the sheet pan.
  • Roast carrots for 15 minutes.
  • Add in chicken pieces in a single layer.
  • Top with the apricot mixture.
  • Roast 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through to 160°.

BALSAMIC MUSHROOM CHICKEN

I realized recently that I AM posting almost daily, but I’m kind of in a rut in as much as I’m just posting the recently successful recipes without much conversation to go with them. I promise to get better. 😀

Eating in general is still a HUGE issue for me (and ALWAYS will be for the rest of my life), BUT I LOVE to cook and my family still needs to eat, so why should they suffer my limitations?  I may only get a few bites of each meal, but I promise they do NOT go to waste.

Hubby swears he HATES cooked mushrooms (little does he actually realize how much I use them in recipes like Bolognese where they are cooked down into the sauce that he’s been eating for years!!!!!!!) so the VISIBLE mushrooms in any recipe end up on any plate, BUT his! 😀 LOL I even sometimes have to cook the mushrooms in a separate pan to keep him happy if he’s hanging around the kitchen while I’m cooking, which if I’m honest I prefer to be alone while cooking.  I seem to be more creative and get better inspiration during “alone” time. 😀

Because of my limitations in eating I rarely eat starches anymore, BUT this recipe is especially good with mashed potatoes to absorb all that glorious gravy!

BALSAMIC MUSHROOM CHICKEN
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup WONDRA flour
FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons avocado oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons QUALITY honey
1/4 cup STRONG balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken stock.
1 tablespoon FRESH chopped thyme

  • Generously season chicken breasts with FRESH ground Himalayan sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Dredge through the Wondra flour.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add chicken breasts and sear for 2 minutes.
  • Flip chicken.
  • Add onions and garlic to pan sauteing for a minute.
  • Add mushrooms, sauteing a couple minutes.
  • Add vinegar, broth, honey and thyme.
  • Cover and cook 5 minutes.
  • Turn chicken and cook a few minutes more until chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to platter and keep warm.
  • Cook 5 minutes more to reduce sauce.
  • Add butter.
  • Serve over chicken with mashed potatoes and/or your favorite veggies.

COFFEE POT ROAST ala SLOW COOKER

COFFEE POT ROAST ala SLOW COOKER – serves 4
2 pounds boneless chuck roast, quartered**
2 Medium onions, halved and wedged
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid amino acids
8-10 small gold potatoes, scrubbed and pricked with a fork
3 LARGE carrots, rustic large cuts

1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cold water

  • Place half the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  • Top with the garlic followed by half the beef. Repeat the layers.
  • Whisk together the coffee and liquid aminos.
  • Pour over beef.
  • Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, about 8 hours.
  • At 6 hours add the carrot pieces.

  • Whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to cooking juices, stirring to blend.
  • Cover and cook on HIGH (about 30 minutes) until gravy is thickened.

NOTES:
**The original recipe was for slow cooking, but I prefer the oven unless I’m going to be gone all day. If I use the oven I DO NOT quarter it. If using the oven adjust the roasting time to 2-3 hours of covered and undisturbed roasting with the potatoes and carrots.

The original recipe had you slicing the onions thin. BUT, if you halve it root to tip and then wedge it you not only get thin pieces, you also get MORE flavor when you cut the onion in this direction.

The original recipe did NOT call for browning the meat, but I find you get a juicier roast with more flavor if you do so when roasting in the oven.

FRENCH ONION SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS

FRENCH ONION SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS adapted from the Chunky Chef serves 4

1 Vidalia onions peeled, cut in half, and sliced into half-moon shaped slices
1 shallot cut in half, and sliced into half-moon shaped slices
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
1 1/4 cups beef stock
4 boneless pork chops about 1 – 1 ½ inches thick
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
2 ½ tablespoons WONDRA flour
4 slices provolone cheese
1 cup shredded Swiss or gruyere cheese
fresh thyme sprigs

  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Melt butter and avocado oil in a large cast iron or other oven safe skillet, over MED-HIGH heat.
  • Add sliced onions and shallots, saute’ 3-5 minutes, until soft.
  • Add garlic and saute’ another minute until fragrant.
  • Add 1/4 cup beef stock and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until onions are extremely tender and golden brown.
  • Whisk together the salt, pepper, dried thyme and garlic powder.
  • As onions are sautéing, season both sides of pork chops with seasoning mix.
  • Transfer onions to a plate, do not wipe out skillet.
  • Reduce heat to medium, add a drizzle of avocado oil to the skillet if needed, and cook pork chops, about 3-4 minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Transfer pork chops to plate.
  • Return cooked onions to pan and sprinkle with flour.
  • Stir to coat and cook about a minute.
  • Add remaining 1 cup beef stock and stir often until mixture comes to a boil.
  • Season with a pinch of salt and pepper.

Nestle pork chops back into the pan, spooning some of the beef stock over the tops of the chops.
  • Top with a slices of provolone cheese and a 1/4 cup mound of the shredded Gruyere on top each chop.
  • Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme to the skillet.
  • Place skillet in oven and bake 8-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and gooey.
  • Before serving, spoon some of the beef stock/onion mixture over the top of the cheese.
  • Garnish with some additional black pepper if desired.

 

ONION BRAISED BEEF BRISKET – cook ahead

I originally found this recipe through America’s Test Kitchen. Their changes to a typical recipe are awesome. I just made a few flavor profile changes for my family’s likes. Brisket is one of the most versatile cuts of beef. While every culture treats it a little differently they all agree that a brisket takes TIME! So many other recipes either turn out watery and tasteless, super sweet or dry and chewy. BUT, this recipe turns out PERFECT!

Keeping this brisket moist is essential to its flavor profile. Keeping it moist is best done by making it the day BEFORE you want to serve it. By not cutting the beef until it is chilled it holds together into slices better. This also helps on the clean up level if you’re making this for company. Removing the fat from the sauce is essential to a smooth rich sauce.

ONION BRAISED BEEF BRISKET
4-5 pound flat cut brisket
2 large Vidalia onions, halved and sliced 1/2 inch thick (thick slices hold up better)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1/8 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 tablespoons Wondra flour
1 cup chicken broth, yes I said chicken broth
1 cup cabernet sauvignon
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs FRESH thyme (I’ve used parsley in a pinch)
FRESH ground salt and pepper
Avocado oil

  • Bring brisket to room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 300°.
  • Lower oven rack to lower middle.
  • Line your baking dish, preferably cast iron) with two to three heavy duty sheets of foil in opposite directions and long enough to fold over to seal the brisket inside.
  • Pat brisket dry and place fat side up on cutting board.
  • Using a fork or needle meat tenderizer, poke holes in meat through the fat layer.
  • Generously season both sides of brisket with salt and pepper.

 

  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Place brisket fat side up in skillet.
  • Weight down brisket with bacon press or cast iron skillet and sear until well browned, about 6 minutes.
  • Remove weight and turn brisket to sear fat side another 6 minutes or so until well browned.
  • Transfer meat to platter.
  • Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of fat.
  • Add onions, sugar and sea salt, cooking 10-12 minutes until onions are soft.
  • Add garlic, cooking another minute or so until fragrant.
  • Add tomato paste and cook until it darkens, about 2 minutes.
  • Add paprika and chipotle powder.
  • Add flour and stir until well combined.
  • Stir in wine, broth, bay leaves, thyme sprigs and simmer 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Be sure to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom.

  • Pour onion mixture into the prepared dish and nestle brisket fat side up into the onion mixture.
  • Fold foil over and seal.
  • Bake 3 1/2-4 hours until fork slip easily into the meat and fat is broken down.
  • Carefully open foil and let brisket cool 20 minutes.

  • Transfer brisket to large bowl or baking dish.
  • Use a fine colander to strain sauce over brisket.
  • Discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Place onion mixture in a small bowl.
  • Cover brisket and onions with Press and Seal.
  • Cut a couple small vents into plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the meat and onions separately at least 8 hours and up to 2 days. I do it overnight.

  • An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350°.
  • Transfer brisket to cutting board.
  • Skim fat from top of sauce and discard.
  • Pour sauce into a saucepan
  • Slowly reheat sauce, skimming as needed to get rid of excess fat until you have about 2 cups of sauce.
  • Stir in vinegar and reserved onions.
  • Season to taste.

 

  • Slice brisket against the grain and place in baking dish.
  • Pour sauce over brisket.
  • Cover dish with foil.
  • Bake until heated through. About 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.

 

CRISPY ONION CHICKEN with CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE

Fried onions are the star of the show here. These fried onions give you the crunch you expect of fried chicken whether it be grandma’s Sunday dinner or the good old colonel in a pinch on a week night, but leaving you with a healthy, juicy piece of chicken you can eat with a knife and fork. And then the creamy rich mushroom sauce round you right back towards grandma’s Sunday dinner with the comfort food feel of home.

CRISPY ONION CHICKEN with CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE – serves 2
6 oz. Cremini button mushrooms washed
1/2 pound green beans, washed, dried and trimmed
Crispy Fried Onions (I use French’s but you could make your own crispy shallots)
2-6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, flattened to less than 1/2 inch
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup light cream
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Fresh Ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Cover baking sheet in foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

 

  • Dice 2 of the larger mushrooms into 1/4 inch pieces.
  • Cut remaining mushrooms into 1/4 inch slices.
  • Chop crispy onions into small pieces.

 

  • Pat chicken breasts dry.
  • Generously season both sides with salt and pepper.

 

  • Coat chicken breasts in sour cream.
  • Place the chicken breasts on your baking tray.
  • Sprinkle the crispy onion pieces evenly over the sour cream on the top of the chicken breasts.
  • Gently press the onion pieces down into the sour cream.
  • Place baking tray in hot oven and roast chicken 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

 

 

  • In a medium skillet pan melt butter and avocado oil over medium high heat.
  • Add sliced mushrooms, stirring occasionally until browned and caramelized.
  • Add green beans, seasoning to taste and stirring 5-8 minutes until green beans are tender.
  • Remove vegetables to platter with a slotted spoon.
  • Add 1 tablespoon avocado oil and diced mushrooms, cooking until mushrooms are slightly brown (3-5 minutes).
  • Add cream and bring to a SLOW boil, stirring frequently and cook until thick enough to coat spoon.
  • Adjust seasoning.
  • Remove from heat and plate immediately.

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