Cheesy Chicken Bacon Cabbage Casserole: it’s a mouthful and some

CheeseChickenCasserole

This dish is an easy and hearty dinner creation. The cabbage is buttery and understated while the bacon and jalapeño punch up the flavour in an awesome way. I love the combo of cheesiness with bite and this dish is packed with both. Feel free to lessen the spice, half a pepper will do the job, but it is pretty glorious. Also feel free to punch of any of the flavours with a few more slices of bacon or a second pepper! This dish is flexible and a two-pot creation worthy of a weeknight dinner schedule. This easily serves 4 people with a side salad.

Cheesy Chicken Bacon Cabbage Casserole with ranch dressing

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs chicken, cubed (three large breasts)
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 jalapeño, minced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup cheddar (or mozzarella, or both), shredded
  • 3 tbsp creme fraiche (or sour cream)
  • 1 tbsp ranch dressing

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a large pot (dutch ovens are great), cook the bacon. I cook my bacon with a little bit of water to keep it from getting too crispy while I am preparing everything else. 
  2. Once the bacon is slightly crisped and cooked through, 5-8 minutes, chop up.
  3. Add the cubed chicken to the pot with the bacon and sauté over medium-high heat for 8 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  4. In another pan, melt the butter and sauté the cabbage over medium-high heat for 10 minutes until it starts to become translucent.
  5. Back in the large pot, add the jalapeño and sautéed cabbage, stir well.
  6. Stir in the salt and pepper, onion powder, and cream cheese, letting the cream cheese melt into the mixture.
  7. Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the pot and sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.
  8. While the chicken mixture is cooking, stir together your creme fraiche and ranch dressing. Set aside.
  9. Serve up on a plate and drizzle with the ranch dressing.
These are the GIANT chicken breasts I picked up at the market. They were bone-in, but still remarkably huge.

These are the GIANT chicken breasts I picked up at the market. They were bone-in, but still remarkably huge. P.S. My hands are not tiny.

Sautéed cabbage added to the pot (jalapeño below).

Sautéed cabbage added to the pot (jalapeño below).

Topped with cheese and ready for it's 15 minutes.

Topped with cheese and ready for it’s 15 minutes.

Cheese and Walnut Stuffed Chicken

Oh sweet goodness, this is amazing. The stuffing adds texture and flavour that can’t be beat. I served the stuffed chicken breasts with some roasted broccoli that is similarly out of this world. I am going to throw some words out there to describe this dish: succulent, tender, scrumptious, flarghingyum. That’s right, I lost my ability to articulate at the end. The chicken breasts I had were really large, so you can easily stuff three or four regular-sized breasts and have a little less in each. OR double the stuffing and don’t fool around.

Cheese & Walnut Stuffed Chicken

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of dry curd cottage cheese (or use regular cottage cheese and omit the crème fraîche)
  • 1 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut halves, crumbled (heat oven to 350°F, lay walnuts on a baking sheet and bake until toasted and fragrant, 5-10 minutes, stirring every few minutes)
  • 1/4 cup of yellow onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes (optional, we like spice)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp butter

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl cream together the crème fraîche and cream cheese.
  2. Mix in the dry curds, walnuts, onion, and spices.
  3. Slice the chicken breasts length-wise through the centre, from the side. You are looking to create a pouch of sorts that is the length of the breast.
  4. Stuff the breasts with as much stuffing as you can manage. Sprinkle both sides of the breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Mine stayed together without assistance, but feel free to secure with a toothpick.
  5. Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Place the breasts in the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes per side until browned and cooked through.
  6. Serve with roasted broccoli.

Chicken breasts are stuffed and ready for the pan.

Nestled in, browning nicely.

Easy Curry Chicken Thighs

Here’s the background to the creation of this dish. I asked my wonderful husband to take out two chicken breasts in the morning because I had forgotten to when I went to work. He smartly took out three because they looked small and they were defrosted by the time I got home. Awesome. The only problem was that they were bone-in skin-on chicken thighs and they were really small. So I took out three more, defrosted them quickly and got to pan searing them before baking in a delicious curry and coconut milk bath. They turned out most excellently and would be great served over steamed veggies and rice. This recipe takes just 15 minutes to whip up and spends about 40 minutes in the oven, so you have lots of time to do other things, like enjoy a glass of wine.

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Curry Chicken Salad– tart, creamy,crunchy, delicious

I need to apologize for my disappearance lately. I’d love to blame it on the romanticism of married life, but truly, I have been insanely busy, commuting out to New Westminister for audiobook recording, researching for my thesis, and trying to keep up with the ridiculous number of professional commitments I’ve signed up for. It’s all very exciting but it is also exhausting and terribly it is Not Crocker that has suffered… oh and my husband, because I’ve barely cooked. But! BUT! Today I made chicken salad. As a meal. AS A MEAL. And it was glorious and easy. I’ve always thought of chicken salad as something you make with left over chicken, but cooking chicken fresh, for the purpose of chicken salad is AWESOME. Recommend, 10/10, will cook again. I got the recipe base from one of my favourite blogs, Budget Bytes, and I adjusted it just for my own tastes and personal preferences! I am going to try this recipe with a marinade on my chicken one day and report back!

Curry Chicken Salad

Lightly adjusted from here.

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breast halves
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 yellow or red pepper (green is cool too but then you have a really green dish)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 tart green apple (I used Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (make your own!)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 tsp lime juice (or lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Season both sides of the chicken breasts with a light sprinkle of salt, pepper, and ground ginger. Cook the chicken breast on a grill, I used our counter-top one, or in a skillet until cooked through. Refrigerate the cooked chicken breast while you prepare the rest of the salad.
  2. Slice the green onions, and chop the apple, pepper, and celery into small pieces. For the apple, I quartered it, cut the quarters into thirds and sliced those thirds into small chunks. Put the green onion, celery, apple, sliced almonds, and dried cranberries in a large bowl, sprinkle with a little lime juice to prevent the apples from browning.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lime juice, curry powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Taste the mixture to see if you prefer more curry powder.
  4. Take the cooled chicken out. Cut the chicken into small cubes and place it in the large bowl with the rest of the chopped ingredients. Stir to combine. Pour the dressing over top and stir to coat.
  5. Eat. I am definitely making a sandwich with this sometime. Soooo tasty. Oh yes, and it may or may not be accompanied by a fruity beer.

Fresh mayo in the tall cup, veggies and spices, ready to go!

Okay, okay, so the recipe says to pour the dressing onto the veggies, but I just chopped and plopped the veggies onto my dressing. Works either way!

Scrumptious

 

Tequila Lime Chicken (or shrimp) with Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad

This is a recipe I came up with a couple years ago when I wanted to do something awesome with shrimp. I also wanted to try fennel because it scares me. Well this is a fresh recipe that is easy to jazz up with your favourite raw salad veggies. It was great with shrimp two years ago and was pretty great with chicken as well. Tequila is the great flavour booster, without overwhelming the freshness.

Tequila Lime Marinaded Chicken or Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp gold tequila
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts (or try it with 1 pound large peeled shrimp)

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a large ziplock.
  2. Score the chicken breasts and drop into the marinade, smoosh around to properly coat. Place the ziplock in a bowl. Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours before grilling and try to re-smoosh halfway through the marinating time.
  3. Heat grill (I used my George Foreman). Drain and discard marinade from the chicken.
  4. Cook, over medium-high heat until done. Depending on your grill, it will take from 8-15 minutes. Cook until the juices run clear, or until the meat is white throughout, turning once. For shrimp, turn once and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until pink.
  5. Serve over Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad with a squeeze of lime.

Marinade prep

Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lime
  • a large bunch of cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa with water according to directions on package. Let it cool after fluffing.
  2. Chop onion and place in a bowl with some ice water and lime to mellow the bite.
  3. Slice fennel, chop tomatoes, rinse black beans, and chop cilantro. Combine all the ingredients for the salad and taste, adjust spices as needed.
  4. Serve as side or as an awesome combo for the main.

So fresh and tasty. I definitely forgot to add the black beans to the salad, but we added them after the picture. Definitely use them, so good!

Black Bean and Salsa Chicken on rice

This is another recipe from my mom. It’s easy and tasty and can be spiced up or down, which is great for the wary. Top it with some plain yogurt and you are good to go.

 

Black Bean and Salsa Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • olive oil
  • 1 large jar of salsa, your choice of spice level
  • 1 large can of black beans (or cook up a cup of dried beans)
  • 2-3 jalapeños
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream for topping

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high, cook up the chicken with a drizzle of olive oil. When the chicken is browned and cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Back in the pan mix up the salsa, drained black beans, and the diced jalapeños. Stir in the chicken and let it all cook down for 15 minutes over medium heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice, top with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of yogurt.

Ukrainian Chicken Paprikash

Being one quarter Ukrainian, every once in awhile I get the urge to “get back to my roots” and cook up some delicious Ukrainian fare. As a non-mommy, it was a lot easier to commit the time needed to create the mouth-watering perogies and cabbage rolls commonly associated with Ukrainian cooking, so I had to search out a few new, fast, and easy recipes to satisfy my cravings. This Chicken Paprikash has nearly no prep, so it was the perfect dinner in a flash. Use the sour cream as suggested for a creamier flavor or leave it out altogether if you prefer to experience the full paprika spice experience.

Ukrainian Chicken Paprikash

Ingredients

  • 3 large onions sliced into half circles
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or more if you like!)
  • 3 chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 tbsp Paprika
  • 1/2 cup rose wine
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper as you choose

Directions

So easy!

  1. Melt the butter, add the onions and sauté until the onion are tender and transparent.
  2. Sprinkle in the delicious paprika, yummy garlic, stir to coat and sauté one minute more.
  3. Toss in some salt and pepper and your wine. Stir and move the onion mixture to one side of the pan.
  4. Grab those chickens and give them a few rounds with the meat mallet and toss them into the empty side of the pan. Cover the chicken with your colourful onion mixture and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and repeat.
  5. When the chicken has cooked for about twenty minutes, remove the onions, add the sour cream and serve with pasta, rice or for a delicious texture twist, try it a top a hot mound of gnocchi. Delish!

Serve with beets for an especially authentic Ukrainian feast.

Gorgeous onions.

Full of colour!