Tag Archives: chicken

Pepper Jelly–It’s Not Just For Crackers

1 Apr

Down in these parts, pepper jelly is synonymous with crackers and cream cheese. Sounds strange to a Northerner, but once you’ve tried these little morsels of spice and cool bland, you’re hooked. There’s a formula for assembling such treats. Cream cheese first, topped off with a sheer spread, or large dollop–if you’re really adventurous–of the pepper jelly.

Pepper jelly comes in so many varieties, ranging from a large color palatte of reds, greens, and yellows, to equally-varying spice levels. It’s a staple in most Southern cupboards, including mine. Even Kaukab’s had managed to employ a jar–gifted her by some American-born neighbor, no doubt.

Last week, while driving home from Columbus, I stopped at a country store in a small town that I used to visit on occasion when employed nearby. It was there that I found my pepper jelly. And, rather than use it in its official capacity, I decided to melt it and use it as a glaze to finish off my pan-seared chicken breasts.

This was a really quick and easy dish to prepare–the way I like it on a week night.

Just get yourself some chicken breasts–I used eight, fairly thick ones. Make sure to pat dry breasts (watch it!) before salting (both sides) with garlic salt. Then heat a large skillet (I like to use a well-seasoned iron pan) on high, and pour in a light coating of oil (I use canola) when pan is on its way to getting hot. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, dump in about 3 large tablespoons (the kind you eat from–not the measuring kind) of the pepper jelly and heat on the lowest setting you’ve got. Squirt in a little lime for added brightness–a small wedge, at most, or use lime zest.  Stir often, until thinned. Turn off heat and cover.

Now then, place three or four chicken breasts into heated pan and cover. Allow 3 or 4 minutes for a nice brown crust and then turn over and re-cover, until also nicely browned. Remove from pan and place on a plate, covering with foil, while you finish the remaining breasts. Turn on broiler at this point. Place all browned chicken breasts on baking tray (unless your plate is oven proof) and glaze with melted pepper sauce. Reserve the chicken juices to pour atop the finished chicken once finished broiling. Pop under the broiler (placing in center of oven, so won’t dry out) for a couple of minutes. Watch carefully. You want the glaze to get a slight browned crust.

Time to put away them crackers.


No More Chicken!!!

24 Jan

Yesterday, Hubby had offered to go get us some groceries. While ticking off a litany of foodstuffs, drummer boy emphatically remarked, “Whaaat!? No, no more chicken!” All I had done was to request a couple of those tasty (and convenient) roast chickens; which, by the way, hubby enjoys and said as much. When I explained, emphatically, that the chicken was necessary in that it provided me with innumeral ways of preparing meals for the coming week and that one of those meals might (if he was good) involve a taco-inspired rendition, he retreated, but not without a last disapproving headshake. Oh, if only Kaukab were here! 

Regardless, I have my chickens and they will afford me meals for the week, which will include: chicken tacos, chicken soup, with cannelini beans, spinach, and possibly a few chopped tomatoes in a chicken stock–still trying to figure out how and what to assemble. But, the one I know everyone will look forward to, including the chicken-repulsed one is this:

My Quick-Version Turkey Tettrazini (but, with chicken)


I had made this twice before–in the same week.  That’s how much they liked it. In fact, drummer boy had spent the night away from home (we knew where he was) the first time I had made it. I had saved him a bit, so when he had returned home and had tried it, he emphatically (not really) judged it as acceptable.

This pleased me, particularly because it was an easy win. By combining all the ingredients into the same casserole dish to be baked, it saved me time and effort.

Here’s what I did:

1/2 lb. dried thin spaghetti (could use penne or some other favorite of yours) broken into thirds–roughly (you may need a bit more, depending on the size of your baking dish–I used a med. round dish with about 2″ to 2 1/2″ depth, if that helps you any).

whole milk or half/half, or combination of, enough to cover the ingredients (I prefer whole milk, but I won’t mind if you use less than whole. It’s not like I’m going to tell Kaukab.)

1 small broccoli bunch–heads only, chopped into small pieces

breast meat, or any other part, of 1 roasting chicken, chopped into small pieces

8oz. cheddar or your favorite cheese, shredded

panko breadcrumbs, or any other you like

1/4 of stick unsalted butter

garlic salt–pinch


cayenne pepper-pinch

1/4C parmesean (to mix with breadcrumbs)

2 T. parsley, finely chopped (to mix with breadcrumbs), optional

1 T. flour

1/4 of small onion, finely chopped (I didn’t use, because I didn’t think of it, and the boys may have been displeased)

4 oz. mushrooms, thinly sliced (I didn’t use–see above)

Now, the east part. Set oven to 375 degrees.

While preheating:

Get your baking dish. Lightly rub the bottom and sides with some of the butter. Reserve for topping the casserole before putting in oven. Into the dish, dump your pasta, broccoli, chicken, onion and mushrooms (if you want to use). Pour the milk, or half/half, or combination of over this, until it more than covers, leaving about an inch from the top. With a whisk or fork, stir in flour (adding slightly more if it looks like you need), and sprinkle in pepper, cayenne pepper, and garlic salt, and stir once more. 

Place in middle of oven, uncovered. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.  Check with spoon how much liquid remains, stirring to mix more. You should have slight amount of liquid. If still too liquid-y, bake for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle top with breadcrumb mixture and dot with remaining butter, making sure to place enough butter dots about the surface area. Put on upper shelf and broil until forms a nice golden crust. Watch carefully.

Remove from oven. Let stand 5 or 10 minutes.

Serve to picky eaters, everywhere.

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