Sometimes all you need for a great main dish is a killer signature spice rub! This smoky and sweet chipotle concoction is my absolute favorite.
After mixing the spice blend, all you have to do is rub it on chicken legs and thighs. I prefer these attached dark meat pieces because they stay nice and moist and offer beautiful presentation. Not to mention, they are budget-friendly!
Keep reading for the recipe…
Tomorrow is National Noodle Day! In honor of this “food holiday” I received this special delivery yesterday…
Believe it or not, that is a unique piece of wall art featuring the Better Recipes logo made entirely out of noodles! How cool is that?!
It was sent over as an official invitation for the Better Recipes readers to join P.F. Chang’s celebrate National Noodle Day with a Twitter party. Tonight from 8-10 EST you can join @PFChangs and follow the hash tag #noodlenight for a chance to win prizes and get the Noodle Day celebration started right. They are launching a new line of noodle entrees to the P.F. Chang’s Home Menu including: Garlic Chicken with Dan Dan Noodles, Pepper Steak with Chow Fun Noodles, Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Lo Mein Noodles, Firecracker Shrimp with Yakisoba Noodles. You can even enter to win one of their VIP noodle tasting kits, chef-quality skillets to prepare your meal, and a grand prize trip for two to spice up your weekend in Las Vegas! Check out their facebook page for more info.
I decided to kick off National Noodle Day with this fast and flavorful recipe for “Five-Spice Chicken with Shiitake Mushrooms and Lo Mein Noodles.” Chinese 5-Spice powder is an aromatic blend of ground cinnamon, cloves, Szechuan pepper, star anise and fennel. If you are looking for a flavor punch without using a lot of ingredients, definitely keep a jar of 5-spice on hand. It pairs perfectly with chicken as well as the earthy flavors of mushrooms. Serve over lo mein noodles and garnish with sesame seeds!
By the way, don’t forget to enter the blog giveaway this week for a chance to win the amazing Wok Set and accessories! Simply follow this link and leave a comment to win!
1 box Chinese Lo Mein noodles
1 pound thinly sliced chicken cutlets
2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
3/4 pound shiitake mushrooms
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Prepare Lo Mein noodles according to package directions. While the noodles are cooking, prepare the chicken.
Sprinkle both sides of the chicken cutlets with the five-spice powder, rubbing it in well. Trim and slice the mushrooms.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat until browned and cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate, leaving the drippings in the pan.
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan. Add the mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until lightly browned and quite tender, about 3 minutes.
Add 2/3 cup water and the soy sauce to the pan. Boil, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly reduced, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and heat through.
Toss noodles with sesame oil. Serve chicken over noodles and garnish with sesame seeds. Serves 4.
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Congratulations to the winner from our “chicken” week, Lisa Keys! She is driven by a passion for food and family. In fact, Lisa told me she even has a bumper sticker which says, “Love People Cook Them Tasty Food.” So fun! Let’s take a look at the winning dish and learn more about the creative cook behind the recipe.
1 pound boneless skinless chicken cutlets
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup low salt chicken broth
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons small capers, drained
2 tablespoons minced Italian flat leaf parsley
Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and garlic powder, shaking off excess and set aside. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Cook chicken for 2-4 minutes per side, or until golden brown and just cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm. Pour the chicken broth into the pan, raise the heat to high, then with a wooden spoon, scrape up any browned bits in the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring. Add lemon juice, honey, capers and remaining butter. Return chicken, and any accumulated juice, to the pan. Cook, turning chicken in sauce, for 1 minute or until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley.
Number of Servings: 4
Notes: You can substitute 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves for the cutlets, but pound them to an even thickness for even cooking.
Welcome to the winner’s circle Lisa! What made you decide to enter the Better Recipes chicken contest?
“I entered the Better Recipes contest because I feel the folks who work for this organization are the ultimate taste testers. It’s a great reward to win the $250.00, but more so to win the respect of the professional judges. Being chosen by Better Recipes is a validation that I cook tasty food for the people I love and that means so much to me.”
Awww….that is so sweet of you to say, Lisa! Tell us more about how you came up with your winning recipe.
“Speaking of the people I love-we are a huge Italian family whose gatherings center around food. I love to take our family favorite dishes like a chicken picatta or veal scallopine and twist it up a bit. It may sound strange, but I love the honey & lemon combination and often prescribe it to my patients (I am a physician’s assistant) as a sore throat/cold remedy. We’ve had a terribly long winter in Connecticut and I thought why not use that same combo in my favorite easy chicken dish. There is a balance of flavor with the saltiness of the capers and the sweet tang of the honey and lemon in combination with the savory of the chicken.”
Well, you certainly can taste the love in this dish! Do you have any other cooking tips you would like to share with our readers?
“Cook what is in season and buy local whenever possible. When an ingredient is fresh and local there is very little one needs to do to it to make it taste good. In fact, I use local honey in my recipe. My friend’s dad has bee hives!”
Fantastic! You can’t get much more local than that!
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Here we are, in the final stretch before Christmas! Have you done your shopping? Wrapped gifts? Decided on dinner? Well, I can help you with one out of three!
If you are looking for delicious options for Christmas dinner, Better Recipes has the answers. We have everything from duck to lamb, beef to lobster, and even decadent vegetarian options! You simply have to check out our Top 10 Recipes for Christmas Dinner.
One of my personal favorites is this recipe for Cornish hens. There is just something fun about preparing, serving and enjoying these adorable little chickens! They are tender, juicy and very festive for the holidays. Just wait until you try this mouth-watering recipe! It is easy to prepare, yet very impressive to serve to guests. Enjoy alongside some red potatoes and green beans and you have a Christmas feast!
HERB-ROASTED CORNISH HENS
2 Cornish game hens, about 1-1/2 pounds each
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 Tablespoon grated orange zest (or lemon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using kitchen shears, cut along each side of the backbone of hens; discard backbones. Turn hens, breast side up and open flat. Using the palm of your hand, flatten breasts slightly so the halves lay flat. With your fingers, carefully loosen the skin under the breasts, legs, and thighs.
2. In a small bowl, stir together all remaining ingredients. Rub the herb mixture on meat under loosened skin; press skin back in place. Tuck the wings under hens.
3. Spray a large ovenproof skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add hens, breast side down and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, without turning. Place a piece of foil on top of hens, then place a cast-iron skillet on top of foil, pressing down on chicken.
4. Place pan in oven and roast hens for 25 minutes. Remove cast iron skillet and foil from pan. Carefully turn hens over and roast, uncovered, an additional 10 minutes. Let hens rest for 10 minutes before serving. Cut each hen in half to serve four.
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It’s official – we have a Better Recipes rock star in our midst! You might remember Lisa Speer as the winner of week 3 in our “Easy Weeknight Meals” contest. This talented cook has done it again, and her Maple-Glazed Chicken with Holiday Chutney has won her another place in the winner’s circle!
I can certainly see why this recipe caught the judges eyes. It is festive, colorful and absolutely delicious! This dish is easy to prepare but is something that will impress your holiday guests. Check it out!
“I wanted to create a fruit chutney that I could serve warm with chicken or pork during the holiday season. Keeping in mind ingredients that would look and taste festive I came up with this one – a warm chutney made with apples, cranberries and raisins, spiced with fresh ginger. Since I use the maple-glaze on poultry in the winter months to make it extra special, it seemed like the perfect combination!”
2 cups peeled, cored and chopped baking apples
1-1/3 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Combine chutney ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Season chicken moderately on both sides with salt and pepper. Combine oil and butter in large nonstick skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook about 4 minutes on each side, or until golden and almost cooked through. Transfer chicken to a plate. Add vinegar and syrup to skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; stirring constantly. Continue to stir 1 minute. Return chicken to skillet, cook 1 minute on each side, or until cooked through. Serve chicken topped with warm chutney. Serves 4.