chicken milanese with green apple salad.

A chicken cutlet is a chicken cutlet, but the real standout here is the salad on top. Arugula is one of those “eh” greens in our house, but turns out by adding some apple, and some parmesan, it makes a great topper and a delicious, quick weeknight supper! (Cheese makes salad better? Breaking news.)

chicken milanese with green apple salad.

Chicken Milanese with Green Apple Salad.
via Just a Taste

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts (buy cutlets to make it even faster)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
Olive oil

for the salad:
1 tbsp minced shallots
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups arugula (this would work just as well with baby spinach, or even baby lettuces)
1 large Granny Smith apple, chopped
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Start with your chicken. If you’re not using pre-made cutlets, place chicken breast on a cutting board and a piece of wax paper on top. Pound with a mallet until it’s as thin as you can get it (I never can get it as thin as recipes request, let’s be honest).

Next, get three shallow dishes. Place flour in one, eggs in the next, panko in the third. Lightly beat the eggs. Season chicken salt and pepper, then coat each with flour, then egg, then press the panko into cutlets.

In a large skillet over medium-low heat, heat enough olive oil to thoroughly coat the bottom of the pan. Add cutlets to skillet (oil should sizzle), and cook 2-3 minutes. Turn, and continue cooking until cutlets are golden brown and cooked through. Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Serve with salad topping.

To make the salad:
Add shallots, dijon, lemon juice, honey and olive oil to a mason jar, and shake vigorously to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, add arugula, parmesan and apple slices. Toss with dressing.

Did y’all think we forgot about you?
jcristg

pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.

I’m kind of particular about chicken. If you know me, you’d probably say I was pretty particular about a lot of specific things, but chicken is a biggie. I don’t like chicken on the bone, or with skin. I don’t like dark meat. I don’t like fried chicken… wait, I’m Southern through and through, and I don’t like fried chicken? Nope. I can almost pinpoint this dislike to having fried chicken at tailgates, and using paper napkins, and having little pieces of paper stick to my hands. I think it has ruined me for life. (I’m pretty sure my disdain for boned chicken involves the kid that sat across from me at the lunch table in the third grade and ATE chicken leg bones. I’ll never get over it.)

As such, I have never fried chicken. I’m actually not much of a fryer in general, but I’ve gone out on a limb a time or two. My mom never fried much growing up, and it was just not ever something I had a taste for. My husband, on the other hand, grew up with fried everything – he’s a Pee Dee boy, after all. Fry it or barbeque it, and that’s about all you need in life. Needless to say, when he came home from work late one  Friday night recently and I was about to start frying some chicken, he about died. It may have been the greatest day of his life, and it was indeed one of my culinary crowning achievements. I was so proud of this dish, and I talked about it for weeks afterwards.

Make it. It’s not an every week sort of dish but it’s well worth the effort.

pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.

pecan chicken with bourbon maple cream sauce.
via Spicy Southern Kitchen.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup buttermilk
Vegetable oil
¾ cup pecan halves, chopped finely
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Bourbon Maple Cream Sauce
3 bacon slices, chopped
¼ cup chopped shallots
2½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ cup whole grain Creole mustard
¼ cup bourbon
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1½ cups heavy cream

Pecan Chicken.

Combine chicken and buttermilk in a large zip-top bag and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours, or overnight.

Pour 1 inch of Vegetable oil in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan. Heat oil to 350 degrees.

Combine flour, pecans and 2 teaspoons of salt in a shallow pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk and dredge chicken in pecan-flour mixture, turning to coat both sides well.

Fry in oil 10-12 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Place on wire rack to drain off oil. Keep warm.

Bourbon Maple Cream Sauce.

Cook bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crispy. Remove to paper towel-lined plate to cool.

Add shallots to bacon drippings and sauté over medium heat for 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring continuously for 2 minutes. Whisk in maple syrup, mustards, boubon salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
Gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently for 5 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. If too thick, thin with a little milk.

To serve, top chicken with gravy and sprinkle with bacon crumbles.

And now I want to make this again,
jcristg

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

In the last year or so, I have become moderately obsessed with Thai food. The tiny little Thai restaurant near our house sees my face a lot… and if I go too long without some pad Thai or curry, I start to panic a little. Despite my love for the cuisine, Thai food is complicated, and involves a lot of ingredients that are not terribly common or easy to find, so I’ve not really had the urge to try my hand at making anything (especially when, for $8 and a 1.5 mile roundtrip drive, I can have a nice, steaming order of massaman curry on the table in less than 15 minutes). I’m sure this salad is FAR from authentic, but it incorporates a lot of the tastes and textures that I love in Thai food – crunchy cabbage, salty peanuts, sour lime juice – and is nearly as satisfying as the real deal!

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing
serves 2 generously

one head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
one large heart of romaine, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, cut into matchsticks
half a red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped
8oz boneless, skinless chicken breast
kosher salt
garlic powder
one batch of Peanut Lime Dressing

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

for the dressing:
1 T fresh lime juice (about half a lime)
1 T mirin (you can use sugar instead, if necessary)
1 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
large pinch of red pepper flakes
2 cloves of garlic, grated
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 T honey (optional)
up to 2 T water

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

1.) Let’s start with the chicken. Season the chicken well with kosher salt and garlic powder, add a few teaspoons of oil to a skillet, and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside to cool.

2.) While the chicken cooks, chop and prep all your vegetables. I like to shred my cabbage and romaine into roughly 1/2″ wide pieces.

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

3.) For the dressing, whisk together all ingredients except the honey and water. It will take a minute for everything to fully incorporate, but just keep whisking and it’ll eventually smooth out into a nice, creamy dressing. Once you have everything well-combined, whisk is as much water as you need to get a nice, drizzle-able consistency (I used about 2 tablespoons). Taste test your dressing; I found mine to be a LITTLE too sour/acidic, so I added a tablespoon of honey. If you’re happy with it the way it is, carry on!

4.) Once your dressing is made and your vegetables are prepped, shred your chicken (or cut it into bite-size pieces).

5.) Toss the cabbage, romaine, carrots, and bell peppers together. Pile this mixture on to each plate, and then top with shredded chicken, chopped peanuts, and cilantro. Drizzle the dressing over the top, and serve.

Thai Chicken Salad with Peanut Lime Dressing

I don’t think I’ve ever attacked a salad with such intensity in my life! The flavor and texture combinations in this salad are fantastic – and the light, crunchy vegetables keep it from feeling too heavy. It would be absolutely perfect on a hot summer evening (not that it will ever be HOT in Michigan again… I’ve given up hope), or for a summer barbecue. I can’t wait to make it again!

I won’t tell anyone if you accidentally eat a spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar,
Tina

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Sometimes, you just need to fry something. And in the case of this particular week? That something was chicken. Not your traditional bone-in, skin-on chicken – but a well-breaded chicken cutlet, just the right size to plop into the middle of a honey-ed, hot-sauced-ed, delightfully buttery biscuit. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing was a little involved for a Tuesday night… but despite having a lot of steps and about a million dirtied bowls and utensils, making these fried chicken biscuits doesn’t take ALL that long – and regardless, they’re totally worth it!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce
makes 8 sandwiches

For the chicken:
8 chicken cutlets*
2 c buttermilk, divided
1 T hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s Red Hot)
1.5 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
0.75 tsp cayenne pepper, divided
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
vegetable or peanut oil, for frying

For the biscuits:
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
0.25 tsp baking soda
0.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
12 T cold butter, cut into cubes
1 cup cold, well-shaken buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten well

For the sandwiches:
butter
hot sauce
honey

*you want the chicken to be about 2 pounds total. I like to buy the “thin sliced” chicken breast at Trader Joe’s, but you can also take regular chicken breasts and butterfly them (some of those things are monsters, and you’d be able to get 3 thin pieces out of each breast). I have another dish planned for later in the week that requires chopped up chicken breast, so I also trimmed a couple inches off the end of each piece of chicken, so they’d be ever so slightly more biscuit-sized, rather than having 4″ of chicken hanging off the side. Proceed as you see fit.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

1.) In a large ziploc bag, combine one cup of buttermilk, one tablespoon of hot sauce, half a teaspoon each of kosher salt and pepper, one quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and the crushed garlic. Add the chicken, squeeze the excess air from the bag, seal it, and move everything around until the chicken is coated well. At this point, you can let the chicken marinate in the fridge for a couple hours (up to 8); or, if you’re short on time, just leave the chicken in the marinade while you prep and bake the biscuits.

2.) While the chicken marinates, let’s make some biscuits. Preheat your oven to 400°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Use a pastry blender (or two knives) to cut the cold butter into the flour mixture, until the mixture looks like coarse meal, with some pea-sized bits of butter. Pour the buttermilk over the flour and butter mixture, and use a fork to gently mix everything together until everything is just moistened. (If you require more detailed instructions on making biscuits, see this post.)

3.) Lightly flour your countertop, and pile the dough together. Use your hands to VERY briefly knead the biscuit dough until it forms a somewhat cohesive lump, then pat it out into a circle about 3/4″ tall. (Keep in mind: with biscuits you want to handle the dough as LITTLE as possible, so it stays cold, and gluten doesn’t have a chance to form – so, work quickly, and with light hands!)

Buttermilk Biscuits

4.) Use a 2.5″ biscuit cutter to cut rounds from the dough. Re-roll scraps once, and cut more biscuits. Place the biscuits on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg, and bake for about 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown.

5.) While the biscuits bake, you can work on your chicken! Place a large skillet (preferably cast-iron, 10-12″) over heat set at slightly above medium. Fill the skillet with oil to about 1/2″ depth; it will take about 10-15 minutes to come up to temp for frying.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

6.) Set up your breading station for the chicken. Set out two shallow bowls; in one, pour one cup of buttermilk, and in the other, whisk together a cup and a half of flour, one teaspoon each of kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder, and half a teaspoon each of black pepper and cayenne pepper.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

7.) Remove the chicken from the marinade, and let any excess buttermilk drip off. Immediately dredge each piece in the seasoned flour, being sure to coat them well. Then, dip each piece back into the buttermilk, and then back into the flour, for a second coating. This double coating of buttermilk and seasoned flour is what helps give the chicken a nice, crispy coating, without any skin!

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

8.) When all your chicken is breaded and ready to fry, your oil should be ready. You can use a candy thermometer to check the temperature – it should be about 360°. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, throw some panko bread crumbs or a small piece of bread into the oil – it should bubble pretty vigorously around the bread, and take a minute or so to turn golden brown.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

9.) Add the chicken, a couple pieces at a time, to the pan (being sure to lay them into the oil so that the last end to go in faces away from you, in case of splattering). Be sure not to overcrowd the pan; I like to fry 2-3 pieces at a time. Fry for 3-4 minutes per side, until they’re golden brown. Once they’re done cooking, remove them to a baking sheet lined with foil, paper-towel, and a baking rack; this will allow them to drain any excess oil (and can be thrown into a 200° oven to keep warm while you finish frying, if needed).

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

10.) When your biscuits are baked and your chicken is fried, it’s time for sandwich assembly. Split each biscuit in half, and spread both sides with butter and hot sauce (as much or as little as you like). Add a piece of chicken to each biscuit, drizzle it with honey, then add the top of the biscuit. Serve immediately.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

I mean… what really needs to be said here? Do I really need to convince you that a buttery, flaky biscuit topped with hot, crispy chicken, and dripping with honey and hot sauce, will be amazingly delicious? If you need convincing, then I am not sure we should be friends, quite frankly.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Biscuits with Honey and Hot Sauce

Yeah, these sandwiches are awesome. Really, really awesome. The buttermilk marinade keeps the chicken super moist, and the double-dip in very well seasoned flour gives the coating a great amount of flavor and spice. Add in the acidic edge of hot sauce, the subtle sweetness of the honey, the buttery richness of the biscuit… what I’m saying is, it’s a damn good thing I hate to fry stuff, or I’d be making these daily, and then I’d need much, much larger pants. It would probably be worth it.

When I find a foolproof method to remove the fried smell from your house, I’ll let you know,
Tina