Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with a side of Broccoli

Last week I took the kids to the grocery store and I asked them what they wanted to eat for dinner.  They said that they wanted chicken and bacon and rice.  I told them that they had to pick a vegetable and so they chose broccoli.  When I’m cooking with the kids I like to try and have them help as much as they can.  If one is off washing dishes while the other is helping me season the dish then that works too!

For this recipe there really isn’t much to it.  It’s a very simple recipe.  You know me by now…  Bacon is my favorite flavoring!  😛

 

BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN THIGHS and BROCCOLI

Ingredients:

1 head of broccoli (chopped into pieces)

1 package of uncured bacon

1 pound of chicken thighs

3-4 tablespoons of Coconut oil or butter

Seasoning (salt, pepper, parsley, etc.  Whatever you like!)

Directions:

1.  Grab your pans and preheat them on the stove at medium high heat.

2.  In one pan, put the butter or oil and let it melt.

3.  Toss in the broccoli and cook til it is at the tenderness that you like.  I would say about 7-10 minutes.  (I like to season my broccoli after it’s been cooked that way I can give it a taste and if it needs more seasoning I add more.  I usually just salt and pepper it.  Sometimes for a kick I’ll add chili or cayenne powder, and sometimes even red pepper flakes.)

4.  While your broccoli is cooking, season the thighs and then wrap in bacon.  Try and make sure you have the ends of the bacon meet on the same side.

5.  Place your meat seam side down onto the pan and cook on all sides until the bacon has browned and crispied up.  This will be about 15-20 minutes of cook time.

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6.  When all is said and done, plate up your food all fancy and take pictures!  I mean…  serve and enjoy!

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Super Easy Chicken Stock

Do you know how easy it is to make chicken stock?  Any stock really.  All you need are bones and your aromatics.  As you can tell from the title, it’s a chicken stock recipe and believe me when I tell you that it is VERY easy.  You can even make this in your crock pot if you wanted to.  All you are going to need is leftover bones and skin from chicken.  Did you have a roasted chicken for dinner or lunch?  You can use those!  If you didn’t then a trip to your local butcher will work just as well.  They usually have leftover chicken parts that they have for sale or you could maybe get for free.  Usually the backs of chicken or even if they went so far as to de-boning a chicken.  Ask!  You can use chicken stock in a number of recipes.  Instead of boiling your noodles, rice or potatoes in water, why not try boiling it in stock?  It’ll add so much more flavor to your dish.

So here’s what you’re going to need for this recipe…

CHICKEN STOCK

Ingredients:

Leftover chicken bones and skin

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Celery

Onion

Carrot

Garlic

Herbs (Parsley, Rosemary, etc.  Whichever you have on hand.  Preferably fresh, but dry will work just as well.)

Salt and Pepper

 

Directions:

1.  Put chicken bones and skin into a large pot and cover it with water.  Add your aromatics and seasoning to the pot and turn stove to high.  Bring water to boil and as soon as it does, turn the heat down to a simmer.

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2. Place lid on pot and let it do it’s thing for 4 to 6 hours.

3.  Every so often you can skim the foam that appears on the surface of the liquid.

4.  After the 4-6 hours, take out the bones and strain the stock.  You can use cheesecloth or a paper towel lined sieve.  Discard the solids.  OR…  if you want to keep the solids, then at least take out the bones and using an immersion blender/blender you can blend the veggies into the stock.

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5.  All done!!  Store in your fridge for future use.  Please note that storage in the fridge is good for a week.  If you freeze the stock it is good for a month.  ENJOY!

 

Oh and to cook it in your crock pot/slow cooker all you have to do is throw everything in and set your temperature to Low (8-10 hours) or High (4-6 hours).  Then do #3-5.  🙂

 

Chicken Strips a la Loveys

I think it’s important to have your kids help out in the kitchen when you’re cooking a meal.  In the past, I would have my kids sit in front of the TV, play a video game, or play with their toys while I slaved away in the kitchen.  As long as they were out of my hair I can quickly cook their meal and we can get about our day.  More often than not, I would have  a kid come back to me asking a question, or there would be crying because someone isn’t playing fair, or it was just too darn quiet and if you have small kids that’s a good indication that they’re up to no good.  I would have to leave the kitchen to investigate, which could lead to burning of food.

So I’ve thought about the meal prep that I do and realized that there are a few things that the kids could do to help.  Need an onion?  Send a minion to get it and if they have no idea what an eggplant is, well hey now it’s a learning experience isn’t it.  Show them what it is, how to cook it, what the nutritional value is.  Need 3 eggs?  Send a minion to count it out.  Why not do math?  “I need 5 eggs minus 2!  Bring me back the answer!!”  If it’s something that needs to be mixed, like cake batter for example, have the kids do it.  Family fun for all!  Yeah it’ll take a bit longer to cook the meal, but at least the kids are learning, they’re helping, and it teaches them how to cook.  I don’t know how many people I’ve come across in my life that have no idea how to cook.  A man that knows how to cook, like PaleoJoe, is an amazing man indeed.

Since they’ve been helping me cook their food I’ve also noticed that they eat more of it.  Before, they would question the food and sometimes even refuse to eat it.  Then sometimes they would be surprised that it tastes good.  My response is, “Of course it’s good!  Why would I feed you things that are bad?”  Now that I’ve broken down the cooking process and they’ve seen me cook it they are more than willing to give everything a try.

Last Thursday, after I had picked the kids up from the babysitter’s we stopped at the grocery store to pick up dinner.  I asked them, “What do you want to eat?” and of course they respond with “Chicken Nuggets from McDonald’s!!” I am pretty sure that their Dad takes them there and I know that other family members have done that too, but this Mama says NO!  I got into a discussion with them and broke down as simply as I could so that they would understand that fast food chicken nuggets are unhealthy and not REAL chicken.  I had asked them, “Do you want to eventually get sick from eating the processed foods to the point where you can’t go outside and play, or do you want the REAL chicken that will keep you healthy so you can go outside and play?”  Being kids they picked the healthy choice so they can go play.

We are now at the store and I picked out some chicken breast, broccoli, and grapes for our meal.  When we got home I set my boy to cleaning the grapes:

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My girl helped me with the chicken strips and here is the recipe:

 

CHICKEN STRIPS A LA LOVEYS

Ingredients:

1 lb. of chicken breast (cut into strips)

1 egg (beaten)

1/2 cup of almond flour

4 tablespoons of coconut oil

Seasoning (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder or fresh minced garlic, etc.  Up to you what you would like to season your chicken with.)

Directions:

1.  Preheat your frying pan with with coconut oil over medium high heat.

2.  Season your chicken strips.  Dip in egg yolk.  Toss in almond flour and tap excess flour off.

3.  Place chicken in pan and let cook for 3-5 minutes on each side.

 

 

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4.  Chicken should be a nice golden brown when done cooking.  Turn off stove and transfer chicken strips to a plate.

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I know… it may be a little dangerous for a 4-year old girl to do, but I used long tongs and I watched her the entire time.

5.  Chicken strips COMPLETE!!  You can serve it as an entree with a side of your choice of veggies, or you can serve them up as appetizers.

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I served them to the kids with a side of grilled onions, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli and garlic.

 

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TIME TO EAT!!

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I know that the rice isn’t very paleo friendly, but they had requested it, and I made sure that they ate all of their chicken and most of their veggies before digging in to the rice.  For dessert they had a couple of grapes, and then we spent the rest of the night cuddling and watching Disney.

So if you have the time, have the kids help out in the kitchen.  It is better for everyone in the long run.  They learn about food and how to cook, and you get to spend time with your kids.  Young kids WANT to spend time with their parents.  They don’t have friends calling/texting, they don’t have facebook to check every five minutes, and unless they follow the late night tv dramas/comedies/etc then they have the time to spend it with you.  These young ones grow up so fast.  Don’t regret not taking the time to spend it with them.  Cat’s in the cradle…Harry Chapin.  Nuff said.

Spinach and Three Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Have I mentioned that I am particularly fond of chicken?  There’s so much you can do with it, and it is very good at absorbing flavor.  I would have to say that I favor the dark meat more than I do the white only because it has more fat.  And fat is tasty!  For this particular recipe I used the white meat/breast.

PaleoJoe and I like to prepare our meals ahead of time.  I am kind of a control freak and can get in the zone when I’m cooking.  I would prefer that no one get in my way, but since we’re a team and PaleoJoe knows how to work with me in the kitchen, cooking with him is enjoyable.  So a big thank you to my love for being awesome!  😛

Okay, back to the recipe.  Please note that I don’t measure when I’m cooking.  The measurements below are guesstimates.  I recommend that you season your food with just a little bit of seasoning and then after it’s all cooked then you can taste it and add more to your liking.

 

SPINACH AND THREE CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST

Ingredients:

2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast (Get your aggression out and smash that meat flat!  Makes it easier to roll when it’s all the same thickness.)

1 egg

3-4 tablespoons of shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup of ricotta cheese

1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

3 clovees of garlic (minced or sliced.  up to you how thick you want your garlic)

3 handfuls of baby spinach

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Salt and pepper (and any other seasoning you would like)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F

2.  Heat skillet with coconut oil on medium to medium high heat.  Add baby spinach and cook til wilted.

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3.  Put spinach to side to cool off.

4.  In a bowl, add the three cheeses, 1 egg, and garlic.  Mix.

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5.  By now, your spinach has cooled down a bit.  Add spinach to bowl and mix.

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6.  Season your chicken if you haven’t already.  In the center of each chicken breast you want to plop down your cheese mixture.

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7.  Time to roll!

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8.  On a baking sheet, drizzle olive oil or coconut oil (whichever you prefer) and then place your chicken seam side down.

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9.  Pop it in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes on each side.  Make sure you flip!

10.  When all is said and done, take out chicken, serve and ENJOY!

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I think the next time I make this I’ll have the chicken sitting in a pesto marinade.  That’ll give it tons more flavor!  If you’re not Paleo or Gluten Free, then I would suggest serving this over some pasta noodles and pesto/tomato/or cream sauce.  Mmm…  tasty…  The stuffed chicken breast was a meal all it’s own so I didn’t need to eat it with a side.  Anyhoo…  enjoy!

Cashew Chicken

Who came up with the idea to mix cashews and chicken?  Did that person just happen to have cashews lying about because he or she was snacking earlier and thought, “You know…  I bet this would go great with my chicken stir-fry!”  Well, whoever that person was they’re amazing because cashew chicken is delicious!

Whenever I’m at home, in the office, or any other out and about place, I’m more often than not thinking about food.  What should I make for dinner?  Do I have that ingredient at home?  Can I make this dish without having to make an extra stop on the way home?  I think it’s fun!  I am waiting for the day when I’m at a friend’s house and they say, “I’m hungry.” and with their permission I can pop into their kitchen and whip something up.  I like to have a wide variety of recipes in my brain.

Anyhoo…  cashew chicken.  You see this in Chinese themed restaurants all the time.  I say “Chinese themed” because really…  Pu Pu Platter?  Fortune Cookies?  They don’t really have those there do they?  I think it’s just to please us Americans and look fancy.  The recipe below is for my Paleo Party People.  If you don’t have some of the ingredients, then you can substitute with something similar.  Honey > Sugar, Tamari > Soy Sauce, etc.  I don’t measure when I cook so everything below is guesstimates.  Please add a little of the seasoning at a time and after you’ve tasted the dish you can add more to your heart’s content.

CASHEW CHICKEN

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breast or even a mixture of both!  Cut into 1 – 2 inch cubes.
1/4 cup almond flour
Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Red and 1 Green Bell Pepper (Seeded and chopped)

1 Onion (Cut in 1/8’s)

2-3 Tbsp EVOO or Coconut oil (Coconut oil was used in the pics below)
1/4 cup Tamari
2 Tbsp White vinegar
1 Tbsp raw honey
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (PaleoJoe and I love garlic, so you can use 1-2 cloves if you like)
1/2 to 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (You can also use powdered ginger if you do not have fresh)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

Directions:

1.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add bell peppers and onions and cook for 5-7 minutes.

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2.  Season your chicken with salt and pepper.  Toss chicken pieces in the almond flour.

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3.  Push the veggies to the side and add chicken to skillet.

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4.  Let cook for 5 minutes or so.  You can prep the sauce while the chicken is cooking.

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5.  In a bowl add the remaining ingredients, except the cashews, and mix.  Add to skillet.

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6.  Mix chicken and veggies together so that all are coated with the sauce.

7.  Turn heat down to medium and let cook for another 5-10 minutes.  You can add the cashews at this point, or if you want them to be crunchy then wait til the chicken is done cooking.

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8.  Dish complete!!  You can serve it as, or if you haven’t quite jumped on the Paleo Party Bus then serve over rice.

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If you want to have more sauce then I would double the ingredients for the sauce.

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I like to horde my cashews and eat them last.  🙂  If you’re meal prepping this, then you should know that the cashews get soft, but it is still very tasty.  The dish has been marinating in its own sauce overnight so it will be more flavorful.  ENJOY!

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast

 

 

I think chicken is amazing.  I also think bacon is amazing, and when the two combine it’s like heaven in my mouth.  I came up with this recipe a couple months ago and its inspiration was through PaleoJoe’s Mother.  She was making dinner for the family and I was helping her a bit with it.  When I was thinking about what to eat at home I remembered the dish that she had made and thought…  “Hmmm…  I can do that.”  I didn’t have the same ingredients in my fridge so I had to alter it a bit.  Then I saw the bacon and thought, “GENIUS!!”  So here’s the recipe…

Please note that I didn’t measure when I was cooking so all measurements are guesstimates.  Please use your best judgment.

 

BACON WRAPPED STUFFED CHICKEN BREAST

Ingredients:

2 chicken breasts (Cut in 1/2, so now you have  pieces)

1 package of uncured bacon

1 small package of white mushrooms (sliced, and please note that you may not use all of the mushrooms so cut up maybe 10 of them.)

10 cloves of garlic (sliced)

Dubliner Cheese (See picture HERE, and I am pretty sure it was this size package.  I sliced it as thin as I could and I am pretty sure I used about 1/2 of this.)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Smash your chicken breast as flat as you can.

2.  Season your chicken with the salt and pepper.

3.  Place Garlic, cheese and mushrooms on your chicken breast.  You don’t want too much because you want to be able to roll your chicken up.

4.  Before you handle the chicken, get a frying pan and preheat it.  Medium to medium high heat.

5.  Roll the chicken as tight as possible.  Place chicken seam side down and any stuffing pieces that fell out, shove em back in.

6.  Wrap chicken with bacon.  Try to have the end pieces of the bacon match up with the seam of the chicken.

Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast

7.  By now, your pan should be hot.  Place chicken seam side down.   Cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side.  Watch your food!!  If the bacon starts burning, take chicken off pan and turn down the heat.  replace after a couple of minutes.  Resume cooking.

8.  DONE!!  Take chicken out and serve with a side of choice.  For this one, I roasted yams.

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ENJOY!!

Faux Fried Chicken (Baked Parmesan Crusted Chicken)

I really wish I had taken more pictures when I had made this dish.  Ah well…

I LOVE chicken!  I especially love my fried chicken and would have no problem eating at KFC, Popeye’s or Jollibee.  But then I started eating healthier and then I turned to the Paleo lifestyle and now no longer eat food that has been cooked in the non-Paleo friendly oils.  What’s a girl to do?  Bake it!  The end result is a moist chicken that is crunchy like it was fried, tasty, and hey look at that… healthier!  Don’t worry my fellow Paleo people, I used coconut flour instead of all-purpose/wheat.  We’re keepin’ it Paleo!!

So on this dinner night, PaleoJoe and I had defrosted a whole chicken.  I took a knife to it and butchered that thing like I knew what I was doing.  I don’t want to toot my own horn or anything, but I think I did a FABULOUS job.  😛    In the fridge there was a large container of shredded parmesan and I figured that there wasn’t any way in heck that all of this was going to be used before the expiration date.  Hence… the parmesan crust.  There was also an expiring cauliflower which we cooked up and “mashed”.  The Colonel had it right…  “Fried” chicken and “mashed” potatoes compliment each other VERY well.  A similar recipe for “Mashed Cauliflower” can be found HERE.  In that one we added broccoli.  Same thing, different color.  😛

The recipe below is easy and I don’t measure much when I’m cooking so all measurements below are guesstimates.  Please use your best judgment when you’re seasoning your food.

 (Faux Fried Chicken) BAKED PARMESAN CRUSTED CHICKEN

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken (Or if you don’t want to cut it up yourself then go ahead and buy just the meat that you want.)

Coconut Flour

Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Fresh Italian Parsley (chopped)

4-6 eggs (scrambled)

Any seasoning you want!!  This is what I used: Salt, Pepper, Onion and Garlic Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Cumin

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2.  Grab three big bowls or something that is big enough to fit a piece of chicken so that you can roll it around in whatever is in the bowl without making too much of a mess.

3.  In the first bowl you’re going to put about a 1/2 cup of coconut flour.  (You may need to add more later so leave the measuring cup out).

4.  In the second bowl you’re going to scramble 2 eggs.

5.  In the third bowl you’re going to throw in the rest of the ingredients.

6.  Your bowls are now lined up.  You’ve got your raw chicken at the front next to the coconut flour, and a baking dish of some sort at the end.

7.  Take a piece of chicken and cover it with flour.  Tap lightly to release excess flour.

8.  Roll chicken in egg.  Let drip for a bit to take off excess egg.

9.  Roll chicken in seasoning bowl and…  you guessed it!!  Tap off excess seasoning.

10.  Place chicken on bakeware and repeat with the rest of chicken until you’re done.  As you’re going through the process you might have to add more to each bowl so please be sure to WASH YOUR HANDS before you do this.

11.  Pop the chicken into the oven and cook for 30 minutes on each side.

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12.  Chicken will be nice and toasted and crispy and yummy and…

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Well you get my drift.  If you don’t want cheese then omit the cheese and replace it with whatever you want.  Want more garlic?  Add it.  Want more herbs like Lemon Thyme?  How about adding lemon juice to the eggs and it’ll be a lemon pepper chicken.  Ooohhh….  the possibilities are ENDLESS!!  Make it how you like it and you can’t go wrong.  ENJOY!!