Forgotten Chicken

Adapted from: Darling Doodles 

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Thank you Pinterest! Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that take the amount of time the oven needs to preheat to be thrown together.  Quick, easy, and yummy dishes are a must for any busy family.  And the added plus of only have 2 dishes to wash, only makes this recipe even better for during the week.  Any recipe with a cream of soup always tastes rich and comforting to me.  You could easily add veggies and change up the seasoning to make this your very own.

Also, I’ve been on the look out for simple meals to throw together in preparation for the baby coming.  I’m thinking we will need some quick meals we can just whip together with no fuss or mess.  This one definitely made the cut!

2-3 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups minute rice
1 package onion soup mix
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of chicken stock (or water)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix together the minute rice, cream of chicken & celery soup, and chicken stock in a medium size bowl

Add mixture to a buttered (or nonstick sprayed) 9 x 13 baking dish.

Lay raw chicken breasts on top of rice mixture and sprinkle the onion soup mix over the top.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Served ours with a side salad and potato rolls!

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole

Back when I shared this post, I froze the leftover spaghetti sauce.  That’s all gravy, but how many of you freeze food with every intention on eating it in the future and then don’t?  We are guilty of this.  So I was determined to do something with this leftover sauce besides chuck it in the trash in a few months.  

The beauty of cooking with leftovers is, all I need from the grocery store was cheese.  Everything else was already at home in a cabinet or freezer so my grocery bill was awesome.  While at the store I came across something new I’d never seen before, Philadelphia Cooking Creme.  You can find it directly beside the cream cheeses.  So I decided to just give the Italian cheese and herb flavor a whirl. There are so many interesting flavors to try out, I can’t wait to try more!  So if any of you have cooked with this stuff and have any yummy recipes to pass along, please email them to me.

Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
Creamy Baked Ziti Casserole
1 lb dried ziti
1 10 oz tub Philadelphia Cooking Creme – Italian Cheese and Herb
1-2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees 

-Cook ziti according to directions on box
-In a large pot, heat spaghetti sauce until heated through.
-Add 3/4 the tub of Philly Cooking Creme and 1/2 a cup of mozzarella to the spaghetti sauce. Stir until cheese is melted.
-Stir the ziti into the pot with the cheesy spaghetti sauce.
-Add the mixture to a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Add the rest of the Philly Cooking Creme to the top of the baked ziti, just dab it on with a spoon.  Sprinkle shredded mozzarella and parmesan over the top, then the breadcrumbs. 

-Cover with foil, and baked in the oven for 25 minutes.

-Uncover the dish and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

Yum Yum Sauce

Okay, this recipe is a little more advanced than the ones I’ve already shared.  Once you learn how to do it though, it is actually a very easy dish to prepare.  And man oh man is this sauce delicious!  It is my absolute favorite sauce to eat with my fish.  When Nate first made this sauce when we were dating years and years ago, we named it “Yum Yum Sauce”.  Anytime I wanted this dish, I’d just ask him to make Yum Yum Sauce and he’d know exactly what I was talking about (And he refers to it as Yum Yum Sauce!).
My mother and granny don’t particularly like seafood.  But when Nate made this dish for them, they cleaned their plates!  They always say that this is the only sauce that can convince them to eat fish.
Remember in my previous post I was talking about my bucket list?  One of the items was that I wanted to catch a fish and eat it too.  So this is the final piece before I could check this off the list!  Because I was cooking this dish myself for the first time, Nate was allowed to be in the kitchen with me and instruct me on what to do.  And since my hands were full, guess who got to play photographer?  ROLE REVERSAL! 

*If I can cook this, then so can you!*

2 fish fillets
corn starch, enough to coat the fish
olive oil
½ a Lemon
1-2 cups tomatoes, diced
basil, chiffonade
1-2 Garlic cloves, minced
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup white wine
5-8 tablespoons butter
1. Place fish in a shallow dish, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add some corn starch over the top.  Rub the corn starch onto the fillets until they are covered…this is called dredging.  Dredging is a method used to provide a barrier to what you are cooking from sticking directly to the pan, add a golden color, prevent what you are cooking from becoming tough on the inside, and depending what you dredge with, it will thicken your sauce.
2. In a pan or skillet large enough to accommodate your fish fillets, heat olive oil (add enough to make an even layer on the bottom of the pan) medium to medium high heat.  Add each fillet to the pan and let cook on each side.  How to know when to flip?  The fillets will seem to have stuck to the bottom of the pan, but when each side is done, the fish will easily lift from the pan.  Also, if you give the pan a gentle shake, the fillet should move freely instead of being stuck.  Then give the underside a sneak peak to see if the color is golden.
3. Once the fish have finished cooking, remove to a plate and set aside.  Using the same pan and leaving the juices in there, add the garlic.  Let garlic sauté until its aromatic and starting to become a golden color (not burnt!).  Then add your tomatoes and add juice from half a lemon.  Let than simmer for a few minutes, then add your wine.  Stir together and simmer again for a couple minutes. 
4. Add the cream and stir to combine.  Reduce the sauce by half…WAIT what does that mean anyway?  When it comes to THIS sauce, here is what you are looking for: you should be able to draw a line down the middle with your spoon, and the line will stay there and not fill in with sauce.
5. Gradually add the butter 1 TABLESPOON AT A TIME.  You want to stir in each tablespoon of butter until the sauce becomes thick, shiny, and velvety looking.  The trick here is to keep the sauce heated and hot, but do NOT let it boil.  Boiling the sauce will break your sauce and that’s just embarrassing.
Guess what?  Hate to burst your bubble, but you just made a fancy-schmancy beurre blanc!
6. Give the sauce a little taste, add another tablespoon of butter if needed and adjust the salt and pepper (The sauce should taste rich and buttery, but the butter shouldn’t over power the rest of the ingredients).  Stir in the basil.  Pour the yum yum sauce over the fish.  Wah la! You’re done. 
Step 1

Step 1
Step 1

Step 2

Step 2
Step 3
Step 3

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Step 4
Step 4

Step 4

Step 5

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6
Step 6
Step 6 (if you thought you couldn’t drown a fish, you were wrong.  Cause I just did!)

Cheddar Cheddar Chicken Dinner

Source: Jamie Cooks It Up!

What a busy weekend!  Do you ever have those weekends that you are so busy and have ton of fun, but Sunday night you realize, you got absolutely no rest?  I guess, that is why I feel like a zombie this morning.  But the fun that was had, was well worth it.  

For starters, I went to see the Hunger Games Friday night with some girl friends.  Did any of you go to see the movie?  What did you think?  Before the movie we went to a pizza place and enjoyed some dollar beer specials.  One of the girls said something that I thought was a marvelous idea.  Instead of making New Years Resolutions, only to fail at them every year, she makes a “New Years Theme.”  So at the beginning of every year, she decides on a theme for that year, for example her theme is “projects.”  She has made a list of different projects she would like to accomplish each month and has found the theme works out way better than a resolution.  Not sure what I would like my theme to be for this year, but will definitely give this a try!  What would your New Years Theme be?

This recipe is actually healthier than it looks.  Aren’t those the best?  By using as many fat-free or low fat ingredients as I could or ones with whole grains, I give all of you permission to pig out on this one!  Any dish that has crackers, cheddar cheese, and cream of chicken soup you know is going to be comfort food…simple…and tasty…and don’t forget, simple! 

Oh, and did I mention, I had 2, yes 2, chefs eating at my house when I made this?  Both got happy plate awards x2! haha

Cheddar Chicken Dinner
Cheddar Chicken Dinner
Cheddar Chicken Dinner
Cheddar Chicken Dinner

4 chicken breasts
1 sleeve Ritz crackers (used whole grain and made this recipe with 2 sleeves but ended up with WAY to many cracker crumbs left over, and felt like a HUGE waste!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup milk (used reduced fat)
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated (used reduced fat and also started with 3 cups but had too much left over to justify using 3 cups!)
1 teaspoon dried parsley or Italian seasoning
1 10 ounce can cream of chicken soup (98% fat-free)
3 tablespoons sour cream (used fat-free)
2 tablespoons butter (you need some fat)
1 bunch of brussel sprouts, quartered
2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9 x 13 casserole dish with non-stick spray.  Cover a baking sheet pan with foil and also spray with non-stick spray.
Add brussel sprouts to the baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss them around to evenly coat, then spread out to an even layer.  Set aside.
Cut each chicken breast into thirds
Depending on what stresses you need to release that day you can either:
a. Add all of the Ritz crackers to a large zip lock bag, and beat the crap out of it with a rolling pin.
b. Use a food processor to grind all the crackers
Add the milk, cheese, and crackers to 3 separate dishes.  Add salt and pepper to the cracker crumbs, shake the dish to combine.
Dip each piece of chicken, starting with the milk, next the cheese, and then the crackers.  (You’ll want to press the cheese on to each side of the chicken, and press the chicken down into the crackers.)  Then put each piece of chicken into the casserole dish.
Once you’ve finished dipping, pressing, and adding each piece of chicken to the casserole dish, sprinkle dried parsley or Italian seasoning over the top.  Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes, remove the foil, bake for another 10-15 minutes / until the chicken is golden brown.
During the first round of baking the chicken, I add the Brussels sprouts.  They need to roast for 25-30 minutes.  Stirring every 10 minutes or so.
While the chicken is cooking for the last 15 minutes, add the cream of chicken soup, sour cream, and butter to a small pot over medium to medium high heat.  Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is heated through. 
Serve the chicken with the sauce drizzled on top and the asparagus on the side.  Depending on how much you love balsamic vinegar, you can add balsamic glaze to the top of the sprouts (store-bought or homemade).

Mustard Chicken with Grapes

Millions of people love and watch Rachel Ray, and buy her line of kitchen gear.  And I’m sure those people are thinking “Who doesn’t like Rachel Ray?!” The answer is…chefs.  Being around Nate and his friends in culinary school, I’ve heard all the jokes and opinions about her.  But, being the smart cookie that she is, she came out with a set of orange pots and pans.  So guess what lives directly on top of our stainless, All-Clad, chef-approved pots and pans?  The most beautiful, in your face, non-stick, orange, Rachel Ray pans.  

My friends and family will tell you, I love to play pranks on people.  For Christmas when I was 6 I asked for a prank set which had a stick of gum that snapped your fingers when you took a slice (hurt like hell!) and fake barf.  The relief and satisfaction I get from playing a funny prank is indescribable.  This is the same feeling I get when I make a recipe of Rachel Ray’s and place the dish in front of Nate to try.  At first I do not tell him where the recipe came from.  But after he raves and raves and raves about how delicious the food is, I drop the bomb.  The look of disbelief on his face is priceless, every time!

Usually, after trying a recipe for the first time, I’ll make many changes to it.  Whether it be for my personal taste or something wrong with the original recipe, it’s almost inevitable. This recipe is one of the few that I’ve NEVER modified!  It is just perfect and yummy as is.

Mustard Chicken with Grapes

  • 2 bunches of asparagus
  • Olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, removed from stem
  • Salt and peppet
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 pounds chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup white wine + 1 glass for you
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grainy, stone-ground mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups or 1/2 pound seedless red grapes, halved
  • 2 cups couscous
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Hold one piece of asparagus with each end in one hand and bend the spear until it snaps.  Then take that piece of asparagus, line it up next to the rest of the bunch, and slice the ends off the remaining asparagus.  This removes the woody part of the asparagus.

Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the asparagus out in an even layer.  Drizzle olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and squeeze juice of one lemon over the top.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes, the ends get nice an crispy.  Remove from the oven and drizzle more juice from the second lemon.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet over medium to medium-hight heat.
Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper then dredge the tenders in flour and add it to the pan.  Cook the chicken until it’s golden brown on each side

Add wine and scrape up browned bits on the bottom of the pan and simmer for about 30 seconds.  Stir in1/2 cup chicken stock. Combine cream and mustard and add to the pan, stir to combine. Dump (sorry, first word that came to mind, but not appetizing!) Add the grapes to the pan and turn chicken and grapes to coat and mix with the sauceSimmer 5 minutes over low heat so the sauce thickens.
Bring remaining 2 1/2 cups chicken stock and fresh thyme to a boil in a small pot. Add couscous. Put a tight fitting lid on pot and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.  (You can follow the directions on the box of cous cous)
Serve as pictured.

*Feel free to serve over rice, noodles, orzo, whatever!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

When I think of casseroles the word “classy” does not come to mind.  They are quick, simple, and easy to clean up…perfect for a week night dinner.  I came across this recipe and thought it looked classy enough to make for a dinner party.  So I tested it out and not only does it look much better than your normal casserole, it tastes darn good!  I guess you could call this a “classerole”…don’t all laugh at once 🙂

And before you say this is not a festive dish for valentine’s day…it sure is!  ARTICHOKE HEARTS, the best kind of hearts there are!  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! Hope your day is full of hugs, kisses, chocolate, and yummy food!

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

Chicken Florentine Artichoke Bake

8 ounces dried bow tie pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (8 oz.)
1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 10 ounce frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1/2 cup oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. 

In medium skillet cook onion in 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat about 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

In bowl whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper, and crushed red pepper. 

Stir in chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the Parmesan, cooked pasta, and onion. Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish or 3-quart rectangular casserole.

Bake, covered, 20 minutes. 

In small bowl combine remaining Parmesan, bread crumbs, paprika, and melted butter. Sprinkle mixture over pasta. 

Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more or until golden. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup

Being the awful wife that I am, I passed my god awful sickness on to my husband this past week.  I knew he would eventually catch it, but I was hoping he would make it through the weekend before it hit…the weekends are the busiest nights at the restaurant, and to make matters worse, it was Raleigh’s Restaurant Week.
Whenever you are sick, do you crave certain foods?  I always crave grilled cheese, instant grits, and root beer. Nate wanted chicken noodle soup, a hot dog, and cole slaw.  What do you crave when you are under the weather?

So, Nate sounded pitiful and all he wanted was chicken noodle soup. Wifey to the rescue!  One word can describe this soup, delicious.  Whether your taste buds are shot to hell because of a cold or if you are the lucky caretaker with a fully functioning palate, this soup is awesome.  The creaminess helps you feel more full, unlike the usual watery chicken noodle soup.  This is day 3 of leftovers from this soup, and I have gladly brought it to work for lunch…again!

As a side note, this recipe makes a whole pot of soup.  We had 2 heaping bowls, 3 Tupperwares, and more in the freezer.  Even though this recipe is already halved, you may choose to cut it in half again! 

Servings: 8
Weight Watcher Points Per Serving: 8

3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
6 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
1 cup diced chicken
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 of a 16 oz jar of cheez whiz (or 1/2 of a 8 oz)
1 cup egg noodles, cooked

Bring water and bouillon to a boil.

Add all the vegetables, cook them for about 4 minutes.

In separate pan on medium heat, melt butter and flour.  When smooth, stir into the pot of vegetables.

Turn the heat to medium-low.

Add chicken and cheez whiz.

Simmer 30 min or until vegetables (potatoes) are cooked. *I cooked the noodles at the same time…multi-tasking!

Add egg noodles.

Taste and adjust seasonings and serve.

Vegetable Tortellini Alfredo

Sometimes you get in the mood to just dump a bunch of ingredients into a casserole dish and hope for the best.  That was me last night.  Being in the middle of fighting off a cold, and not cooking dinner for 4 nights strait, I needed to make something…but didn’t want to put in much effort.  

This casserole is cheesy, meaty, and creamy.  Alfredo and tortellini are not the healthiest ingredients in the world, but all the veggies you add to the bowl make up for it.  All the different colors of the ingredients remind me of confetti.  If you can boil pasta and cook chicken, you can make this casserole.  And who doesn’t love a recipe that the final result looks like something you slaved over to make…but totally didn’t?  Feel free to add any other vegetables you may have on hand or if you’d like a vegetarian version…forget the chicken!

Last night when we both sat down to try it, the chef said, “This. Is. Good.”  

Servings: 8
WW Points Per Serving: 9
20 oz package of mixed cheese tortellini
1 lb of chicken breast, cooked & chopped into bite-size pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 15 oz jar alfredo sauce
1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
1 pint cherry tomatoes, dice into quarters
1 bell pepper, sliced and cut into thirds
8 oz of baby bello mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch of fresh spinach, cut off the stems
3 tablespoons italian bread crumbs
handful of shredded cheese of choice
salt, pepper, and season salt 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cook pasta according to package directions

Cook chicken in a pot with olive oil, remove, then add the sliced mushrooms into the same pot to cook and soak up the flavor from the chicken.  Once chicken has cooled, cut into bite-size pieces

In a large bowl add the alfredo sauce, zest & juice of 1 lemon, and white wine…stir to combine. Add the tomatoes, pepper, and spinach to the bowl.

Drain the tortellini and add to the vegetable bowl (this will help wilt the spinach leaves a bit). Add the chicken and mushrooms, and stir to combine all the ingredients together.

Pour mixture into a 9×13 baking dish.  Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake for 40 minutes.  When you have 15 minutes left, remove the casserole dish from the oven and sprinkle the shredded cheese over top and return the dish to the oven for the rest of the time.

Then remove the dish and let it set for 5 minutes.  SO GOOD!!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

After our families Christmas lunch my sister-in-law invited my husband and I to stick around and pig out…as if we hadn’t already!  She made this buffalo chicken dip that wasn’t the prettiest dip in the world, but hot dang was it addicting.  There is something to be said about a dip that you can’t stop eating even after a huge Christmas feast.  Her dog was standing underneath me, hoping I would accidentally drop a chip for her to scarf down. I dropped some dip alright…on her head!  Poor dog.

So it has been 2 days since I tried this dip for the first time and I already made it for myself because I could NOT stop thinking about it.  It did not take me long to track down this recipe…you can find many versions of it on All Recipes and on one of my favorite blogs The Girl Who Ate Everything.  I used a hotter wing sauce though because the more spicy the better. Also lightened the recipe up a bit to help all the piggies out there be able to eat as much as this dip as possible in one sitting!
I try to take my own images, but in this dip’s case it is not photogenic and…I had already eaten my portion and had to hurry to stash it away before I devoured the whole thing.  So the picture did not get snapped!  Found this picture at All Recipes. 

Original Recipe 

Servings: 5 
WW Points Per Serving: 13 

This Recipe 

Servings: 5 
WW Points Per Serving: 8 


1 12.5 oz can chunk chicken breast in water 
1 8 oz package light cream cheese 
1/2 cup fat-free ranch dressing 
1/2 cup hot wing sauce (choose which ever heat you prefer, I like it HOT!) 
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 

Serve with:

rice crackers 
tortilla chips 

Additional Toppings:

blue cheese crumbles
green onion

In a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add the wing sauce. 

Drain and rinse the chunk chicken. Shred the chicken into smaller pieces as you place it into the same sauce pot.   
Stir in the fat-free ranch dressing and add the cream cheese.  Stir the dip often as the cream cheese is melting and once it is combined, add the cheddar cheese.  Stir until the cheese is melted in and combined.   
Pour into a serving bowl or if you are like me, just eat it out of the sauce pot (I know, classy)!

Caramelized Onion Penne

Okay, now that I have a handle on this whole Weight Watcher thing…
I’ve learned that just changing a few ingredients to a healthier option can have a huge impact on your fat and calorie intake.  I’m sure some of you are thinking “well duhh!” but I’ve never taken the time to realize this and put it to the test, until now.  I’ve changed the pasta, cream, and amount of cheese called for in the original recipe and was able to trim down those WW points!
If you hate onions, then don’t read any further into this recipe.  But if you love onions, you are in for a treat!  What onion-lover could pass up a pasta recipe whose main ingredient is caramelized onions?  The anchovies and bay leaf add a tier of flavor that should not be missed, so grab your kitchen cojones and don’t forget the anchovy paste!    

Servings: 3
WW Point Value: 8 per serving
1/2 pound whole-grain penne
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 anchovies or 1 tsp anchovy paste
2 cups slice onions
1 bay leaf
pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 cup fat free half and half
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup parsley

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water and add the pasta. Cook to al dente and drain.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in the anchovy paste and let it melt into the oil. 
Add the onions and bay leaf and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the onions until very soft and light caramel in color, about 20 minutes. 
Stir in the cream, and cook until heated through. Remove the bay leaf, then add the pasta and cheese and toss to coat. 

Transfer to a serving bowl, sprinkle with parsley and serve.