Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

I have a new obsession:  Shredded Chicken.

But first, my original inspiration for making dinner on this particular night was a recipe I have had my eyes on for like, a year.  What’s really weird is that the post on The Girl Who Ate Everything came out exactly 2 years ago today!  I was finally all ready to make her Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese when I spotted a big bag of potatoes.  I totally forgot I even had them.  Hm… what can I do with the potatoes?  I got it:  Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes.  YUP- that’s it!

The inspiration! From The Girl Who Ate Everything- one of my favorite blogs

So, for this recipe… you really only need to use one chicken breast for every two servings (potatoes) if you’re using the normal sized chicken breasts.  If you use the thin sliced cutlets, you probably want to use one chicken per potato.  Everything else has no measurements because you can really do whatever you want with it!

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

Baking Potato

Chicken Breast

Carrot

Celery

Cilantro & Green Onion

Hot Sauce- Frank’s… duh

Butter

Blue Cheese

Blue Cheese Dressing (I super-duper recommend THIS dressing… it’s NOT bad for you at all and it tastes amazing)

Directions:

1.  Wash the potatoes and pat them dry.  Cut a line down the middle (lengthwise) so the potatoes don’t burst.  Put them right in the oven that’s preheated to 400 degrees.  Don’t use any oil, salt, foil, etc.  Just stick them in there, cut-side-up and bake them for an hour.

2.  Meanwhile, cook the chicken breasts either by boiling them or sprinkle a touch of salt and pepper and heat them on a cooking spray coated grill pan.  Remove from heat and cool.

3.  Now, chop up some celery and carrots.  I used a handful of baby carrots and two celery stalks.  Put aside. 

4.  Take the chicken and shred them using two forks.  Put the shredded chicken in a medium-sized saucepan with a Tablespoon of butter and as much hot sauce as you’d like.  I probably started with 1/4 cup.  Let the butter melt and mix everything together.  Keep on warm/low heat.

5.  Remove potatoes from the oven.  You’ll know when they’re done when a fork can easily go in and be removed.  Squeeze each end of the potato to open up the cut you did earlier.  Stuff with a spoonful or two of the chicken, then put on some celery and carrots, and a teaspoon of Blue Cheese Crumbles.  Repeat.  Now garnish with some Cilantro and Green Onion, Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing.  

Shredded chicken soaking in the butter and hot sauce mixture

This is the Blue Cheese Dressing I was telling you about- I really like it, and they have a few other flavors too. It’s in the refrigerated salad/dressing section

Steamin’ hot!

I want another now! So yummy!

So, this ended up being a great idea, right?  OMG.  YUMMMM.  First of all, it tasted just as good as it looks in these pictures.  For real.  Also, I had so much chicken leftover, that I was able to use it in two other meals I made that week.  Shredding the chicken makes it look like there’s so much more… and I guess it makes it last longer too.  The sauce can also get all nice and soaked up in the chicken.  This one’s a winner, and I’ll DEF be making it again.

Now, if I can only get my act together to make that Buff Chick Macaroni and Cheese!

Chicken Parm & Oven Fries

One of Dave and my closest friends, Adam, is a VERY picky eater.  I didn’t realize how nervous I was to make him dinner until after I promised I would do so.  What if he doesn’t like what I make?  What if what I make is too complicated, or I use a spice he doesn’t like?  Ahh!  I figured it was best to start with something I KNEW was his favorite meal:  Chicken Parm.  I obviously had no idea what I was getting myself into here, on a Thursday night after work and pilates class.

Making Chicken Parm from scratch is very time consuming.  Of course you can take shortcuts, buying jarred sauce, or even pre-made chicken cutlets.  For the occasion of having Adam over, I was not taking any shortcuts!  Thank god my Mom came home just as I finished cutting up a few potatoes and a sweet potato to make Oven Fries as a side.  This is definitely not a meal I’d like to take on alone.

The fries are all cut and tossed in oil, salt, and pepper. That's it!

At this point, the chicken has been pounded, dredged, breaded, and is now browning in the pan with canola oil.

The chicken is in a baking dish topped with tomato sauce, and three cheeses!

The finished product: Sweet and Regular Potato Oven Fries! They were well done on the outside and soft on the inside.

The finished product: Fresh Home-made Chicken Parm

The meal was not only a huge success with the normal It’s Good To Be The Cook Family, but Adam loved it too!  We even got to relax and eat in our newly renovated dining room for the first time in almost a year.  The Chicken Parm was served with my Oven Fries, Broccoli, and a FRESH baguette with olive oil to dip.  Everything was a huge success and worth all of our hard work in the kitchen!

Chicken Parmesan (inspired by Neely’s Cheesy Chicken Parmesan)

Ingredients (chicken):

6 boneless Chicken Breasts

1 ¾ cups Flour

¾ cup Seasoned Breadcrumbs

¾ cup Cornflake Breadcrumbs

Egg Beaters (you can use 3 eggs worth… or real eggs!)

Salt & Pepper

Vegetable Oil

Shredded Romano Cheese

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Grated Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients (tomato sauce):

1 Onion, chopped

1 teaspoon Minced Garlic

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

2 cans Crushed Tomatoes

Seasonings:  Red Pepper Flakes, Italian Seasoning Blend, Black Pepper, Basil

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Trim the chicken of any fat.  Slice the chicken to make it thinner and smaller cutlets.  Pound the chicken to make it thin and uniform thickness.  This will help it cook faster and evenly.  Season the chicken with a little bit of salt & pepper.

2.  This is a good opportunity to start the tomato sauce, if you are making your own.  Cut the onion and throw it in a small saucepan with garlic and some olive oil over medium-high heat.  You can let this cook for a little while you complete the other steps for the chicken.  Then, add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cover, cooking over medium heat until you’re ready to use it.

3.  Set the flour, egg beaters, and mixed breadcrumbs on separate paper plates.  Dredge the chicken first in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs, making sure to coat completely.

4.  Heat just enough canola or vegetable oil to coat a frying pan (plus a tiny bit more).  Place (I fit four at a time) the chicken in the frying pan and heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Do not overcrowd the pan.

5.  Prepare a baking dish, coat with cooking spray.  Place the cooked chicken (it’s okay if it’s not fully cooked, it will finish in the oven) on the baking dish.  Coat the chicken with tomato sauce.  Then, top with slices of fresh mozzarella, a sprinkle of shredded Romano, and a shake or two of grated Parmesan cheese.

6.  Stick in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or longer, depending on thickness of chicken and amount of cheese used.  Once it looks like it’s almost done, turn the oven on broil, leave the door a crack open and monitor.  Once the cheese starts to brown, remove and serve.

Sweet & Regular Potato Oven Fries

Ingredients:

2IdahoBaking Potatoes

1 Sweet Potato

1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Do NOT wash the potatoes.  The more they come in contact with water, the less the oil will stick and make it crispy.  Slice the potato into1 inchthick slices or desired thickness.

3.  Place cut potatoes in a large bowl.  Toss with olive oil (start with 1 Tablespoon, add more if necessary), salt, and pepper.

4.  Place in a baking dish prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes – an hour or until they are browning and very soft when stabbed with a fork.

Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup

The winter has held off in Philly so far this year, and it’s been unusually warm and sunny so far in November and December.  My mind couldn’t be happier but my belly must be pretty confused because I am already craving soup!  You will soon learn two things about me after reading this blog… 1. I love soup.  2.  Almost everything I eat is SPICY!!!  Since I’ve been interested in cooking, I’ve always wanted to try to make Tortilla Soup.  It’s one of my favorite soups to order out but I knew it was complicated and have avoided trying it out on my own.  I figured starting my blog was a great time to give it a go! 

 

The recipe I made was a Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I had some frozen chicken breasts which I took out and defrosted when I got home from work.  I like to buy chicken when it’s on sale at the market, slice them in half (they are SO thick now! Blech) and freeze them to use later on. 

 Ingredients:

2 Chicken Breasts

1 Tablespoon Olive oil

2 teaspoons Cumin

1 ½ teaspoons Chili Powder

½ teaspoon Garlic Powder

½ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

½ teaspoon Salt

½ teaspoon Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 Onion, diced

1 Green Bell Pepper, diced

1 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1 Jalapeño, seeded & diced

1 teaspoon Garlic, minced

1 can Rotel Tomatoes & Chilies

32 oz Chicken Stock (low sodium)

1 can Tomato Paste (3 Tablespoons)

4 cups Hot Water

1 can Black Beans (drained)

3 Tablespoons Cornmeal

Optional Garnish: Tortilla Chips, Avocado, Onion, Salsa, Shredded Cheese, Sour Cream, Cilantro, etc.

 

Whew!  This was a big grocery list but I actually had mostly everything already at home.  Anything else that I had to buy was pretty inexpensive, so I liked this recipe! 

 

Directions:

First, preheat the oven to 375.  You first want to mix your spices together in a small bowl.  Spray a pyrex baking dish and place the thawed chicken breasts in there.  I use a oil-sprayer (that’s what I call it at least!) so if you have that, it’s your best bet but if you don’t you can just drizzle the chicken with a little bit of Olive Oil.  Sprinkle about a tablespoon of your spice mix onto the chicken and put in the oven to bake for about 20-25 minutes. 

 

Mixing up my spices

While your chicken is cooking, cut all of your peppers and start to sauté them in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, and the onion over medium high heat.  About ten minutes into sautéing the veggies, dump the rest of the spice mix in.

Adding some colorful Peppers into the soup

 

Take the chicken out of the oven and place on a cutting board.  Shred the chicken with two forks and dump it into the sauté.  Pour in all of the cans (Rotel, chicken stock, tomato paste, beans) and the 4 cups of water.  Stir, then bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered.

 

Shredded Chicken

Mix the cornmeal with a few tablespoons of water, until it becomes moist and you can stir it.  Pour this into the soup and stir.  Simmer for another 20 minutes or so.  This is a good time to taste the soup to see if you need to add any other seasonings.

 

I put all of the garnish aside so we could top our own soups!

Ladle the soup into bowls and you can either top the soups off with the garnish, or you can do what I did and place them out for each person to top themselves!  I used avocado, fat free sour cream, reduced fat Mexican cheese, some fresh cilantro, and a few crunched up blue tortilla chips. 

 

Finished product! (forgot the chips at first!) Was too excited to take a bite 🙂

The soup turned out fantastic.  My favorite part about it was the avocado pieces that I mixed in, they were a cool break from the spicy soup.   It was a little thicker than I was expecting but it was so flavorful and fresh.  If you don’t like spicy, you can still try this soup, just omit the cayenne and jalapeño. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

As if this wasn’t enough… I also prepared a baked potato for Dave and myself to go along with the soup. 

 

I baked the potato in the oven along with the chicken on a piece of aluminum foil, poked with some fork holes, sprayed with my handy “oil-sprayer”, and topped off with a sprinkle of sea salt.  I left the potatoes in the oven until my soup was cooking for the last 10 minutes.  I think it had been in there for an hour, maybe a little longer. 

 

Once I took the potatoes out, I opened them up like Alton Brown taught me.  First, you poke fork holes in the middle going long-ways down the potato.  Then you squeeze both ends of the potato together.  Just like that and it’ll pop open without breaking in half! 

 

MMM!!! Delish!

These big babies were garnished with the sour cream, some fresh chopped chives, and a little taste of my Dad’s special bacon leftover from his dinner.  I’ll teach you how to make that some other time… it’s to die for and totally worth the calories. 

 

Chicken Tortilla Soup and my fancy Baked Potatoes made for a great dinner, but I do recommend making this on a weekend- I was in the kitchen for a little too long on a work night.  This recipe is definitely going down in the cookbook!  I