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Cover: Charlie's Chicken

Recipes with chicken breasts

05Oct 12

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous

The flavours you get from cinnamon mixed with oranges and sultanas gives this chicken dish a fresh and mildly Moroccan twist. Cinnamon chicken over couscous is healthy and light, and you won’t need to add any butter or oil to the pan.

It’s a great meal for summer and autumn evenings. Enjoy it with a glass of southern Spanish white.  If you like cooking with couscous, take a peek at this lamb with couscous and apricot salad recipe.

Cinnamon Chicken over Couscous
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Cinnamon mixed with oranges and sultanas gives this chicken dish a fresh and mildly Moroccan twist.
Ingredients
  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 45g sultanas
  • 260g couscous
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 medium oranges. All of the juice and 2tbsp orange zest
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 125g green onion, cleaned and chopped
  • A large handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • 600ml hot vegetable stock
Instructions
  1. Put the dried couscous in a large pan and pour 400ml of boiling vegetable stock over it. Season with salt and pepper, mix in the sultanas, then cover the pan and leave to absorb the stock for around 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix the cinnamon powder with the flour in a shallow bowl; dust it over the chicken breasts and season. Place a large non-stick frying pan over the heat and dry fry the breasts on both sides until cooked throughout; around 5-10 minutes on each side depending on size. Check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked before removing to a plate and covering with foil.
  3. With the frying pan back on the heat, pour in the remaining stock. Squeeze in the juice of an orange (discarding the pips) and sprinkle in the orange zest. Bring the zesty stock up to the boil and turn down to a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes, reducing it by half, and intensifying the flavours.
  4. Peel and segment the other orange.
  5. Return the resting chicken to the stock. Add the orange pieces.
  6. Sprinkle the parsley into the couscous, stirring it in with a fork. Spoon the chicken in its sauce with the fruit over a nest of couscous.
  7. Sprinkle over with the green onions and serve.

 

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10Aug 12

Cheeky Chicken Strips for Kids

Cheeky Chicken Strips for Kids
My daughter loves these cheeky chicken strips for kids, which are basically strips of chicken breast cooked in a sweet barbecue sauce. There are some wonderful recipes for hot, sweet or spicy barbecue sauces out there for you to experiment with, but we use a basic recipe for this dish to suit the taste buds of our little one.

Our daughter likes to help to make the sauce, and we often find that when she takes part in cooking the meal, she enjoys eating it more – or will try something new or a little more adventurous than normal this way. We serve our cheeky chicken strips up with carrot sticks that can also be dipped in the sauce.

It’s a great meal for summer weekends that the whole family can enjoy. The sauce recipe below is also great on spare ribs or pork, as well as chicken. If you are actually hosting a barbecue, why not try these grilled veggie shish kebabs as an accompaniment?

Cheeky Chicken Strips for Kids
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Juicy strips of chicken breast cooked in a sweet barbecue sauce
Ingredients
  • 60ml tomato ketchup
  • 60ml water
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • A touch of chilli powder (optional)
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6-8 thin chicken breast fillets
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce, mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Cover and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. If the chicken fillets are thicker than about 1cm, place them into a plastic bag and pound them with a meat mallet to flatten them, before cutting them into 1.5 to 2 cm strips
  3. Place the chicken strips into a casserole dish and spoon over as much of the barbecue sauce as you want to use before baking in the oven at 180ºC for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked throughout.
  4. If you want the chicken strips to be a drier finger food, you can grill them for the last few minutes on each side; or even grill them from the start – just be sure that they are thoroughly cooked before serving them.

 

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27Jul 12

Chicken Caesar Salad

Chicken Caesar SaladI’ll confess that being a food lover and staying consistently slim have occasionally been a hard combination for me to successfully achieve. I’m always looking for ways to enjoy a rich and varied diet whilst trying to keep to, or get back to, my ideal weight. There have been some seasons where I’ve relied quite heavily on the delights of chicken caesar salad as a stock lunch because it’s lightish, healthyish and very, very tasty.

It makes a good staple during these times with plenty of crunchy romaine lettuce, which I sometimes mix with spinach leaves for extra iron. And when I need to, I just go easy on the dressing, or swap it for a lower calorie version, and choose a leaner bacon. You can also try this lamb’s lettuce salad with serrano ham and apricots for a light and healthy lunch.

Chicken Caesar salad was said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing – making the best of what was left in the cupboards. Something I love to do myself.

Chicken Caesar Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Said to have been invented in a moment of kitchen sparseness, on a very busy day in his restaurant when lack of supplies got Caesar Cardini’s creativity flowing...
Ingredients
  • 5 skinless chicken breasts
  • A couple of pinches of mixed dried Italian herbs
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
  • 195g streaky smokey bacon
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped in half
  • 3 slices of thick white or brown bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Romaine or Cos lettuce heads, washed and thickly chopped into ribbons
  • 2 large ripe avocado pears, stones and skin removed, and sliced
  • 8 tbsp ready to use Caesar salad dressing
  • A handful of fresh basil
  • A pinch of cumin seeds
  • Salt and pepper to season
Instructions
  1. Turn the grill on to high. Make a slash in the chicken breasts, season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the mixed herbs. Place under the preheated grill for around 15 minutes, or until cooked throughout. After 5 minutes of grilling, add the bacon slices, sprinkle over with the cumin seeds and cook until crispy.
  2. Slice the chicken diagonally across the width and chop up the bacon. Wrap them in foil and place to one side.
  3. Toast the bread under the grill; rub well with the garlic, adding a little minced garlic to the top if you like a bit of extra bite. Drizzle over the olive oil and either leave whole or chop or tear the bread into rough croutons.
  4. Divide the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, bacon and chicken across 4 shallow serving bowls and top with the croutons, some dressing and the fresh basil. Season again with salt and pepper if you wish.

 

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18Jul 12

Warm Coronation Chicken

Warm Coronation ChickenCoronation Chicken is normally eaten cold. However, it’s also delicious served warm with rice.  Here’s one that I often cook in the spring and the summer.  Sometimes I make extra quantity; eat some hot, then store some in the fridge for a picnic.

The invention of the dish is accredited to a florist called Constance Spry and a chef called Rosemary Hume, who prepared the combination of cold chicken and a creamy curry sauce for the Queen’s coronation in 1953.  There are many variations of the dish, including this warm coronation chicken.

You can also use leftover chicken from previous recipes such as this sweetheart chicken curry with fragrant rice to use as a coronation chicken alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 1 carrot, peeled into long, thin slices
  • 2 tsp tomato purée
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 2-3 tsp curry powder of your choice
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 295ml mayonnaise
  • 160ml natural yoghurt or crème fraîche
  • 3 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • Handful of flaked almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

Steps:

  1. In a large saucepan, add the whole chicken breasts, the onion, carrot and bay leaves.  Cover the ingredients with water and season well with salt and pepper.  Bring the water up to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer very gently for about 20 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove the pan from the heat and place the chicken breasts onto a plate to cool down.
  2. In a shallow-based frying pan, heat the oil and fry the shallots on a low to medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  3. Add the curry powder to the onions, some of the chicken stock that you have just made, including the carrots.  Then stir in the lemon juice and the tomato purée.  Cook at a simmer for around 10 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened.
  4. Slice the cooked chicken breasts into 1.5cm pieces.
  5. In a separate bowl, add the yoghurt or crème fraîche along with the mayonnaise, stirring them together before adding them to the frying pan.  Taste the sauce, and if necessary, add some extra seasoning.
  6. Place the chicken pieces into the frying pan and coat them all over with the sauce. Add the flaked almonds.  Turn off the heat and sprinkle all over with the fresh coriander.
  7. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Duration: preparation and cooking time less than an hour
Recipe for: 4 people

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12Jul 12

Chicken with Almond Sauce

Chicken in Almond SauceHaving lived part of my life in Spain, I am passionately influenced by the flavours of both the Mediterranean and the Continental aspects of Spanish cooking.

March sees much of the countryside come alive with the delicate pink blossom of the almond tree.  Because almonds are so abundant there, they are used in many sweet and savoury recipes.  Chicken with almond sauce is simply delicious. And for dessert, you can follow the almond theme with this flaked almond chocolate cake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 20g wholemeal bread (1/2 to 3/4 of a slice)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 mug of chicken stock

Steps:

  1. In a heavy-based frying pan, fry the garlic cloves whole with the bread for a few minutes, in 2 tbsp of olive oil – until both are golden brown.
  2. Remove them to a mortar and create a pulp with a pestle.  If you don’t have these, put the ingredients in a plastic bowl and gently squash them with the end of a rolling pin, mixing them in well afterwards with a fork – it works just fine.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a clean frying pan and cook the chicken breasts, first sealing in the juices for a few minutes on high both sides, before turning the heat down to medium and frying on until cooked throughout.  If the breasts are very thick, I slice them in half horizontally about 2/3 of the way through cooking so that they are ready within about 10 minutes.
  4. Whilst the chicken is cooking, mix a splash of stock into the bread and garlic pulp. Stir well.
  5. Sprinkle the ground almonds into the same pan in which you fried the bread and garlic, and dry-fry it for a few minutes on a medium heat until golden in colour all over.
  6. Then add the bread, garlic and stock mixture to the almonds, stirring it all in well and keeping it on the heat.  Gradually add the rest of the stock and simmer gently for 5-10 minutes.
  7. The chicken and almond sauces should come together at about the same time.
  8. Place the chicken onto warm plates, spoon over the sauce and garnish with fresh parsley.

This dish is also very tasty served with finely sliced, steamed, then sautéed cabbage, with fried garlic, drizzled all over with olive oil and lemon juice.

Duration: Ready in less than half an hour

Recipe for: 2 people

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01Jun 12

Lemon and Sesame Chicken Breasts

Lemon and Sesame Chicken BreastsLemon and sesame chicken breasts – a lovely recipe for the height of spring; with plenty of refreshing lemon juice in the sauce.

Lemons are very rich in vitamin C, but did you know that they also contain potassium, iron and vitamin B6, amongst other nutrients? Lemons store for longer in the fridge, but if you take them out and allow them to come up to room temperature before extracting the juice, they are much easier to squeeze, and so the juice comes out more easily.

Lemon has antibacterial properties because of its high acid content. The origin of this wonderful fruit is not entirely certain, but its cultivation can be traced far back to Burma, China and India; spreading from there around the warmer climes of the world. Christopher Columbus brought lemon seeds to Hispaniola during his voyages in the mid 15th century. Did you know that lemon trees produce fruit all year round? And I’ve heard it said that the fashionable ladies of the European Renaissance used to put lemon juice on their lips to redden them! The humble lemon as a beauty accessory – who would have thought it?

Serve lemon and sesame chicken breasts with these minty jersey royals and a glass of home-made lemonade for an all-round lemony meal. I also like to serve it alongside a fresh spinach and tomato salad, drizzled with just a bit of oil and vinegar.

Lemon and Sesame Chicken Breasts
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Lemon and sesame chicken breasts - a lovely recipe for the height of spring; with plenty of refreshing lemon juice in the sauce.
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, chopped into thin pieces
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A glass of white wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 4 pinches of flour
  • Salt flakes and fresh ground black pepper to season
  • A few pinches of sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. Put the chicken breasts into a clean food bag or between a couple of sheets of clingfilm; then lay them onto a wooden board and pound them with a meat mallet (or rolling pin) to flatten them.
  2. Fry the breasts in a heavy-based saucepan in the olive oil, on a medium/high heat for a few minutes each side; sealing in the juices, and browning them all over.
  3. Season generously with salt and pepper, and then pour in the white wine and lemon juice, reducing it in the pan for a minute or two.
  4. Scatter over with the sesame seeds and fry on until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  5. Roll the butter in the flour, and add it in to the pan, thickening the sauce.
  6. Serve warm.

 

 

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24May 12

Chicken Risotto with Green Peas

Chicken Risotto with Green PeasRisottos are a filling and healthy food to prepare on a budget.  Chicken risotto with green peas is a refreshing blend of spring vegetables, chicken and lemon. (I also recommend this mushroom risotto.)

Ingredients:

  • 600g risotto rice
  • 2 large onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • A generous splash or two of Martini, or white wine
  • 6 chicken breasts sliced into diagonal strips about 1.5cm wide, skin removed
  • 1.5L prepared, hot chicken stock
  • 300g peas
  • 300g courgettes, halved then sliced into long, thin strands – or however you prefer them
  • 2-3 tbsp crème fraiche or double cream
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • A generous twist or two of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan.  Sauté the onions and courgettes until soft.  Add the minced garlic and the chicken pieces; fry until the chicken is well-browned on all sides and about 2/3 cooked throughout.
  2. Add the rice to the pan, coat it all over with the oil and juices and fry for a couple of minutes.  Splash in the Martini, turn the pan down to a simmer and reduce away all of the Martini.
  3. Spoon in a ladle or two of the hot chicken stock.  Stir it in and with the pan uncovered, simmer the rice until the stock is absorbed.  Continue to add ladlefuls of stock in this way until the rice is fully cooked.  Stir the contents of the pan regularly.  Some of the chicken will fall apart in the cooking process, but this is normal and just contributes to the texture of the dish.
  4. Use your judgement to gauge when the rice is around 10 minutes from being cooked, adding in the peas at this point, and stirring everything together.
  5. Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the heat, season the pan well with salt and pepper, spoon in and combine the crème fraiche, twist over the lemon, and sprinkle over with half of the coriander and all of the parsley.
  6. Serve into pretty bowls and garnish with the remaining coriander.

Duration: 30 minutes to prepare, 40-60 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 6 servings

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11May 12

Chicken and Avocado Baguette with Pesto Mayonnaise

Chicken and Avocado BaguetteHere’s a delicious sandwich to enjoy at home or out on a picnicChicken and avocado baguette with pesto mayonnaise makes for a simple lunch bursting with flavour.  Chicken is full of protein and is relatively low in fat.  If you are looking for an overall low-fat option, substitute your mayonnaise for a low-calorie version and either leave out the olive oil altogether, or use very little.

Avocado is said to be one of the human super foods.  It contains many different types of nutrients, including potassium, fibre, folic acid, B-vitamins and vitamins E, C and K, amongst other things.  There are more than 80 varieties of avocado, and it is also known as the alligator pear because of the texture of the variety called Haas, which can be used to make baked avocados.  Some avocados have a really smooth skin though, like the Florida variety.

It has been scientifically proven that the antioxidants beta-carotene and lycopene are more effectively absorbed with the help of the monounsaturated fat that is abundant in the avocado.

Ingredients:

  • White baguette
  • 2 chicken breasts (from a previously roasted chicken), sliced through the middle lengthwise
  • 1 avocado, skin and stone removed, and cut into 1 cm slices
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • A few fresh basil leaves

Steps:

  1. Cut the baguette into quarters and slit open with a sharp knife.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise with the pesto in a bowl.
  3. Open up the baguette pieces and drizzle a little olive oil over both inner sides.
  4. Spread the pesto mayonnaise generously onto both inner sides of the baguette.
  5. Fill with the sliced chicken breasts and top with the avocado, finishing off with a twist of black pepper and a few basil leaves.
  6. Enjoy your baguettes straight away or wrap them in tin foil and take them with you on a picnic.  Don’t forget to keep them in a cool bag whilst you’re travelling or walking before you sit down to eat them.

Duration: 10 minutes to prepare. No cooking time.

Recipe for: 4

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03May 12

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic and Tomato Bread

Warm Chicken Salad with Garlic & Tomato BreadThis recipe assumes that you have already roasted your chicken (try this spiced roast chicken recipe) and are ready to make up the salad, and the garlic & tomato bread. Sometimes, if I’m pushed for time, I cook the tomato and garlic mixture in the microwave for a few minutes – this is one of the very few times you’ll ever hear a microwave go ping in my house, in fact!

We eat warm chicken salad with garlic & tomato bread at home straight after roasting the chicken: removing the breasts and the wings to use, then storing the legs in the fridge to eat the next day, and the carcass to make a stock.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, roasted, skin removed and sliced into thick diagonal strips
  • 2 chicken wings, roasted with skin left on
  • ½ an iceberg lettuce, washed and cut into large or fine shreds
  • 1 avocado pear
  • 1 wild cucumber or ½ standard cucumber, peeled and sliced
  • Olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar to dress
  • 1 tbsp green pesto
  • 2-3 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 wholemeal baguette
  • 3 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • Pinch of cumin powder
  • A very generous slug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Steps:

  1. Towards the end of your chicken roasting and resting time, make the garlic and tomato bread.  Cut the tomatoes into small cubes and soften them on a medium heat in a saucepan, along with a little oil, the garlic, the fresh and ground cumin and some salt and pepper to season.  (If I do this stage in the microwave, I don’t add any of the olive oil until the very end when the mixture is soft and cooked.  The benefits of adding the oil at the end are significant; you don’t degrade the oil so it remains vibrantly full of nutrients.)  Softening the tomatoes on the hob will take between 5-10 minutes.  Once soft, mash them with a fork, slug and stir in a good amount of olive oil and leave in the pan to rest.
  2. Cut the baguette in half lengthwise and grill it or pop it in the toaster until crisp.
  3. Stir the pesto and mayonnaise together in a bowl.
  4. When ready to serve, arrange the chicken, the lettuce and cucumber on plates.  Add the dry, toasted baguette to the plate and spoon over with the tomato and oil mixture, being very generous with how much you add.  Add a dollop of your pesto mayonnaise to the side of the plate, and drizzle the entire dish with a dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Duration: 20 minutes to prepare (with ready-cooked chicken)

Recipe for: 2 people

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30Apr 12

Chicken Kievs

Chicken Kiev

A favourite for the whole family, Chicken Kievs made at home taste great!

Ingredients:

For the Herb butter

  • 75g butter, softened
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • Large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • A couple of twists of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to season

To make the Kievs

  • 6 chicken breasts, skin removed
  • 150g plain flour
  • 300g breadcrumbs, fine and dry
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Fresh lemon, cut into wedges to serve

Steps:

  1. Make the sauce.  Mix the butter, garlic, lemon, parsley and tarragon in a bowl.   Season well with salt and pepper.  Lay a length of clingfilm on a clean work surface and spread the softened butter mixture thickly over it in a fat log shape.  Roll the film up to create a more defined log shape and cool in the fridge until the butter hardens.
  2. Next prepare the chicken.  Lay the breasts smooth-side down and cut off the mini fillet.  Create a pocket for the sauce:  Slit into the middle of each fillet with a sharp knife.  Take the incision to half-way deep into the breast and to within 4 cm of each side – go carefully here.  On a board, lay a small piece of clingfilm over each breast, and flatten them out a little by batting with a rolling pin.  Do the same with the mini fillets.  Put in the fridge until ready to use.
  3. Remove the hardened butter from the fridge, and cut it into 6 round discs.  Place a disc inside each chicken pocket.  Seal the pocket by tucking the mini fillet just inside the slit and pulling the tops of the fillet just over it.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  5. Lay 3 shallow bowls out on your work surface.  Put the flour in one, the eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in the third. Roll and coat each breast in the contents of each bowl, in this order: flour, egg, breadcrumbs, egg again, breadcrumbs again.
  6. Heat a good amount of oil on high in a large frying pan.  Once hot, reduce the heat to medium, cooking the kievs for a few minutes until golden on both sides.  Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper before placing in a roasting tray and cooking in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until the chicken is firm to the touch at its widest part.  When cooked throughout, serve the kievs hot with mashed potatoes or these Minty Jersey Royals with Chives and Lemon Butter.

Duration: 25 minutes to prepare, 25 minutes to cook

Recipe for: 8 servings

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