Chicken Dinner Ideas, Three Ways!

Chicken Dinner Ideas, Three Ways!

Who says chicken has to be boring?

Chicken is a great go-to protein for home cooks, but the same ol’ routine can get a bit stale.

We’re all looking for new and easy recipes to add to our rotation, and I have not one but THREE for you to try!

Join me in the kitchen as I transform chicken into three fantastic recipes that you can easily recreate! 

Chicken Pepperoni

Chicken Francaise

Chicken Milanese

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Southern Supper Book Club: “Big Lies in a Small Town”

Southern Supper Book Club: “Big Lies in a Small Town”

It’s National Book Lover’s Day and my book club party planner is here! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Big Lies In A Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain and these recipes from my cookbooks.

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I must admit, I was captivated by this book from the first sentence. After all the main character’s first name is Morgan.

Her surname is Christopher (name of my middle son) and her boyfriend’s name is Trey (name of oldest son). There’s a Jon in there somewhere, I’m sure!

The extra pull is that the novel is set in my adopted state of North Carolina jumping back and forth from the early forties and to the present. But it is the writing that really captures the reader. You feel like the characters are your peers. You find yourself dancing in a time warp while you are cheering for the heroine(s).

This is my next pick for our Super Supper Book Club. Gather your readers, give them the title and dole out the recipes for what will be a roller coaster discussion and meal.

Morgan Christopher’s life has been derailed. Taking the fall for a crime she did not commit; she finds herself serving a three-year stint in the North Carolina Women’s Correctional Center. Her dream of a career in art is put on hold―until a mysterious visitor makes her an offer that will see her released immediately. Her assignment: restore an old post office mural in a sleepy southern town. Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts. What she finds under the layers of grime is a painting that tells the story of madness, violence, and a conspiracy of small town secrets.

I already cooked up some questions for your Super Supper Book Club gathering…

  • After a year, you get your hands on a cell phone for the first time. Who do you call? 
  • Was it brave or crazy for Jesse’s family to aid Anna?
  • Does Morgan ever come to accept that alcohol is a problem for her, or does she simply comply with her parole requirements?

My Southern inspiration for this Super Supper Book Club menu is Jesse’s family’s Sunday dinner. I take the liberty of substituting Anna’s least favorite vegetable (collard greens) with my delicious recipe for Swiss chard. I exchange corn on with cob for creamed corn. In place of stewed tomatoes liberated from the family’s root cellar, I substitute slow roasted cherry tomatoes.

The author didn’t mention a dessert, but I bet the farm, there was strawberry shortcake somewhere, sometime on Sundays. My swaps are allowed, because all these recipes are rooted in my love of the South. Lest there be controversary during the discussion, keep those paintbrushes close to allow everyone to express themselves.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Super Supper Book Club Menu: “Big Lies in a Small Town” by Diane Chamberlain

Fried Chicken Basket

Sunday Best Dishes, page 71

Creamy Smashed Parmesan Potatoes

Sunday Best Dishes, page 280

Braised Rainbow Chard

Canvas and Cuisine, page 124

Old-Fashioned Cream Corn

Fresh Traditions, page 208

Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Fresh Traditions, page 205

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@helloimnik?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Hello I'm Nik</a> on Unsplash

Southern-Style Strawberry Shortcake

Canvas and Cuisine, page 331

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Upsy Daisy! Another Perfect Dinner You Accidentally Made

Upsy Daisy! Another Perfect Dinner You Accidentally Made

Feel like you can’t get it right when you’re in the kitchen? I’m here to tell you that happy recipes happen when you approach fresh ingredients with curiosity. Embrace the imperfections in your meals and learn how to make each meal more magical!

Skip to Recipe

There’s a day to celebrate EVERYTHING. This one hit me in my kitchen! 

I think some of the intimidation surrounding cooking is the thought that:

“I’m not going to get it, right?” 
“It won’t turn out like the picture.”
“It won’t taste like it should.”

If you feel like this before you begin, how are you going to cook with confidence?

Let’s get rid of this stinkin’ thinkin’ and learn that no matter what you do, it will work out!


I’m working on a new book with just this idea in mind…

Create a dish that works for you with what you have on hand and the flavors you like. Then when you are comfortable with this, start experimenting with new flavors using your trusted basic recipe.

Let me give you an example…Let’s make mac and cheese from scratch. We start with the sauce.

Melt butter in a large pot or deep pan. Whisk in an equal amount of flour to form a paste (two tablespoons butter needs about two tablespoons flour).

Now we’re going to stir in a liquid. You can stir in milk, half and half, chicken stock, or a combination of lemon juice, white wine, and stock…any liquid you use will work. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it thickens into a sauce. 

Next, we add cheese. ANY cheese works. If you grate the cheese, it will melt quicker, but chunks of cheese are fine. You can add a combination of cheese and as much or as little as you want. Stir until the sauce is cheesy goodness.

Now you can flavor your sauce with any herbs or seasonings you like. Salt and pepper for sure, but try dried thyme or tarragon, onion and garlic powder, nutmeg, or chili powder. It’s yours to decide. Taste as you go and add a little at a time.

Finally, we boil the pasta, again any pasta you like. Once the pasta is done, drain it and add it to the sauce. You have mac and cheese ready to serve.

Or you can pour the sauced pasta into a dish and bake it for baked mac and cheese. You can top this casserole with more cheese or breadcrumbs or crumbled potato chips or anything you like.

 

Got it? There’s no right or wrong. There’s only you having FUN in the kitchen!

 

Let’s do the same thing with a chicken breast. Slice a boneless, skinless chicken breast in half horizontally. 

Then pound the chicken breast so that it is an even thickness. This will make sure it cooks evenly.

Season the breast with salt and pepper and anything else you like. At this point, you can grill it and slice it for sandwiches and salads.

Let’s coat the chicken with anything we like. Brush it with mustard and dredge in breadcrumbs. Brush with mayonnaise and crust in crumbled cracker crumbs. Dust in flour and season with oregano. Anything you want to do will work.

Melt olive oil and butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until golden on one side, turn, and cook on the other side.

This will only take you a couple of minutes depending on how hard you hammered your chicken! Now you have a seasoned chicken breast that you can use for everything.

But let’s make it better! In the same pan, make a pan sauce by adding more olive oil. Cook your favorite vegetables like onions, peppers, garlic, celery…anything.

Deglaze the pan with about a cup of wine or chicken stock. Now you can add in other flavors.

– For Chicken Piccata, add lemon juice and capers. 

– For puttanesca add olives and tomatoes.

– You can add sliced artichoke hearts, freshly sliced fennel, spinach leaves.

 

Anything THING will work.

It’s your sauce for your chicken breast. Add a bit of butter at the end of cooking for a buttery sauce, a bit of cream for a creamy sauce, a bit of tomato paste for a tomatoey sauce, mustard for a mustardy sauce.

Got it? Again, any THING will work!

Here’s a preview recipe from the new book. Use it as a guideline to create your own chicken dish and share it with me and everyone else!

Remember, an upsy daisey can turn into a creative opportunity!!! Especially in the kitchen.

Millionaire’s Chicken

Servings

4

Ready In:

30 minutes

Good For:

Dinner
Entertaining

Tried it? Tag it!

I would love to see what you did with this recipe.  Share your creation by tagging #inthekitchenwithjorj and with Scrumptious Possibilities With Jorj, my free private home cooking group.

Millionaire’s Chicken

Place the chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Use a meat mallet or rolling pin to pound the chicken to about ½-inch of thickness. Season both sides with some salt and pepper. Brush both sides with mustard. Dredge in breadcrumbs.

Place the chicken onto a platter, cover with plastic wrap, and place into the fridge. You can do this several hours in advance.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken breasts until golden on one side, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Carefully flip and cook on the other side until golden, another 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter, tent with aluminum foil.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion to the pan and cook until just soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the wine, removing all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When most of the wine has disappeared, pour in the chicken stock and cream. Stir in the mustard.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the sauce until it begins to thicken. Add the chicken back into the sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the sauce and garnish with a bit of caviar on the top. I recommend sustainable American-produced caviar from Marshallberg Farms.

 

Recipes You’ll Love On National Cheese Day

Recipes You’ll Love On National Cheese Day

When is National Cheese Day this year?

June 4th, 2022 is a day to celebrate in your kitchen with these easy, cheesy dishes!

What should I make for National Cheese Day?

I always find ways to let cheese creep into my recipes, slowly but surely.

Take a walk on the cheesy side with a few of my favorite dishes that answer the call of your Cheese Day cravings!

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Hearty, Cheesy Butternut Squash Soup

Soup happens! This easy, hearty soup is perfect for those impromptu dinners when you need something cozy and cheesy.

Happily, the base is easy to get started and the soup will accommodate your cheese on hand.

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Chicken Ravioli

Too much chicken? Leftovers for what feels this for days? Make these on a day when your chicken overrunneth.

You can store your extra ravioli in a single layer in a resealable plastic bag in the freezer, making this a recipe remix with a cheesy twist that is as efficient as it is delicious! 

Original Eggplant Parm

Eggplant Parm, The Old Fashioned Way

A cast-iron skillet. Thick slices of eggplant. A ladleful of marinara sauce and a double-topping of cheese. 

Take advantage of your favorite variety of eggplant using this simple frying technique to create a super Italian inspired dish and make eggplant parm magic tonight!

how to make easy grilled veggies for memorial day

Cheese and Crackers Chicken

Cheese and crackers are my go-to food when the tummy rumbles and that fasting headache emerges. Just a little bite of cheese takes the edge off. This works…for a while.

What happens next is that cheese begins to sneak its way into my dish. I love cheese on my scrambled eggs. Cheese in my salad. Cheese and crackers for my snack. Then inspiration hits.

So why not cheese and crackers in my chicken dinner? 

Want More Ideas?

Stop Food Waste With These Recipe Remixes

Stop Food Waste With These Recipe Remixes

Stop Food Waste Leftover Remix

Make Earth Day every day in your kitchen! Take the pledge to stop food waste with my best tips for reusing produce and remixing leftovers! #StopFoodWaste

Stop Food Waste Day was first introduced in 2017, and this years marks the fifth year of inspiring action around food waste reduction.

Who even knew this was a THING?  

 I discovered very early in the family kitchen that fruits and veggies lingering a little too long must be given a new lease on life! And that leftovers getting too comfortable on the fridge shelf demand an encore.

In honor of Stop Food Waste Day and the innovation and creativity in reducing one’s food waste impact, here’s Jorj’s list of what to do with leftovers.

I thank my grandma’s for the training on this one.

EGGS 

Don’t throw away left over scrambled eggs. Use them in tomorrows egg sandwich or burrito.

WAFFLES

Cut leftovers into chunks and toast them in the oven with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. Now you have waffle croutons for your ice cream dessert.

PANCAKES

Slather left over pancakes with cream cheese or peanut butter. Roll up and place into a baking dish. Douse with syrup and bake until warmed through. Pancake roll-ups for breakfast!

SALAD

Leftover salad with dressing is not as good as it is the first day, but it will work on sandwiches and subs. However, leftover everyTHING will make a great salad. Look in the back of your fridge’s veggie drawer and use those ingredients to doctor up your everyday garden salad. Carrots, fennel, radishes, cukes, peppers, cauliflower… these all work. Look into your jars too. Pickles, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives are perfect additions. Don’t forget the cheese. Salads are a perfect dish to avoid food waste!

CHEESE

I’ve written about cheese about a hundred times. But here are some highlight dishes that are perfect for your leftover cheese: grilled cheese, cheese spread, hot cheese dip, cheesy deviled eggs, cheese-filled omelets, veggies in melty cheese sauce.

NOODLES

Leftover pasta is my go-to thing for that morning-after breakfast. But left over noodles are great for reinvention. Leftover Alfredo pasta top pork cutlets and sauteed eggplant for an inspirational mid-week dish. Stuff some leftover mac ‘n cheese into your next roast beef panini sandwich. And don’t forget spaghetti pie, noodles in casseroles and pasta turned into frittatas.

CHICKEN

Besides chicken salad there’s chicken quesadilla, chicken soups, chicken casserole, chicken burritos, chicken hash, chicken pot pie…… this one’s easy.

FISH

Salmon and tuna turn into salmon and tuna salad with just a couple of additions. Other left over fish can be turned into croquettes, chowders and spring rolls.

BEEF

Leftovers work perfectly in fajitas, cheese-steak subs, stuffed peppers, open face steak sandwiches on Texas toast, quick beef stew and beef and potato hash.

PORK

Shred leftover pork and douse in barbecue sauce for a pulled pork sandwich. 

VEGGIES

I challenge you to give me ANY veggie and I will give you three ways to repurpose the leftovers. These will all revolve around soups, stews, quesadillas, cheese spreads, hot cheese dips, salads, croquettes, veggie bread puddings, veggie filled omelets, casseroles, veggies with pasta, veggie enchiladas, stuffed peppers, hash, veggie pies…. Get the idea?

DESSERTS

Whether you have leftover cake, pie or cookies you can use these to create a crispy topping for ice cream, a base for bread pudding, a fruit crumble and a layer or two for your favorite parfait.

I think you have the picture. (I also think I watch too much CHOPPED!) 

Now, let’s hear what THING you can create with your everyday leftovers.

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Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

Southern Super Supper Book Club Menu

It’s “Read An eBook Week” and my recipes and read are available for immediate download! Host a Southern-style book club supper with “Almost Sisters” by Joshilyn Jackson and my “Sunday Best Dishes” menu.

This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something we may earn a commission. 

Last year I discovered author Joshilyn Jackson and devoured every book she’s written in record time.

For me, her characters, strong Southern women, strike a chord with so many attributes I aspire to. Her heroines face challenges that we can identify with, although hopefully in not such a dramatic manner!

For this book club, I’ve chosen the book “The Almost Sisters”.

This is not her most recent book, but I find it to be very current given our present political climate. And although this book is in no way political, it does deal with issues in the headlines.

Here is a summary from Amazon:

“With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality—the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

 

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs’ weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

 

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She’s having a baby boy—an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight-year-old’s life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel’s marriage implodes.

 

Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she’s been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

 

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother’s affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she’s pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she’s got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie’s been hiding.

 

Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family’s freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.”

There’s a pivotal scene in the book that serves as the catalyst for bringing Leia home to Alabama and her grandmother. Birchie and her caretaker, Wattie attend a potluck supper after Sunday church. It’s Birchie’s out-of-character outburst in front of the parishioners that sends a distress call to Leia.

Sunday after church potluck suppers are a tradition in the South. I must have been on the same wavelength with Ms. Jackson when I wrote an entire chapter of the potluck recipes in my book, “Sunday Best Dishes.”

This book is the perfect one for recipes for your book club menus. Buy one and share it with all of your book club members!

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Here’s a menu that will work perfectly for your book discussion of “The Almost Sisters”:

Pretty Potluck Beans

Sunday Best Dishes, page 73

Southern-Style Chicken Pot with Okra and Collards

Sunday Best Dishes, page 79

Scalloped Potatoes with Ham and Green Onions

Sunday Best Dishes, page 83

Trio of Picnic Salads

Sunday Best Dishes, page 123

#RecipesAndReads

 

Here are a couple of book club discussion questions to get you started:

  • There are multiple relationships in the novel that fit the title The Almost Sisters description. How did the title take on new meaning to you as the story developed?
  • Despite her worsening dementia, Birchie is still a strong character throughout the book. How would you describe her lifelong friendship with Wattie? Did your impressions change throughout the novel? Why do you think Birchie chose to keep their true relationship a secret even as times changed?
  • Leia makes the decision to hide her pregnancy early on and keeps her secret throughout much of the story. Do you think Leia made the right decision? Were you surprised by the characters’ reactions when her pregnancy was revealed?

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