Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Winner winner chicken dinner: Jalapeno Popper Chicken that will make your taste buds hit the jackpot with this crowd pleasing recipe! Bookmark this recipe because I guarantee your family will request this again and again. Jalapeno adds bright green color with heat that pops on the plate.

 Jalapenos

I use whipped cream cheese and sour cream combined for a light fluffy mixture. Regular cream cheese isn’t as easy to mix, but if you let it soften it can be used instead.

       Diced Red Onions        Chopped Bacon

This recipe is pretty easy to make, I buy the whole chicken breast, butterfly it, and pound it out myself in thin cutlets, BUT you can purchase it already filleted at the grocery store. Pounding the meat out can nearly double it in size and gives you a thin cutlet to wrap around the filling and create snug ends that cover the stuffing. This would even work if you sliced the breasts in half and placed the filling in between the halves without any pounding required (my shortcut for chicken cordon bleu).

                         chicken filtered        Pounded Chicken Cutlets

The stuffing is refreshing and colorful with LOTS of flavor so you don’t have to season the chicken. Consider the amount of sodium in the ingredients you are already adding to the dish so you don’t over salt! The bacon in the stuffing along with the onion, garlic, and jalapeno work to season the dish.

           Top with Popper Filling   Roll Up Chicken

We can all save a little time in our busy days so I opted to buy premade mashed potatoes to serve this with. I also think the Simply Potatoes pre-diced potatoes and onions could work well. I served the Jalapeno Popper Chicken and mashed potatoes with pan-cooked asparagus, but I think steamed broccoli with a squeeze of lemon or a chopped salad would be even better! Go forth and cook!

   Chicken Roll ups on Parchment Paper With Cheese and Panko FInished dinner

plated dinner

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Serves: 2 generous portions

2 chicken breasts, cut in half and pounded thin

1/3 cup whipped cream cheese

2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

½ cup part-skim shredded cheddar cheese or Mexican blend divided

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced

2 tablespoons finely diced red onion

3 slices low-sodium bacon cooked and roughly chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

Freshly grated black pepper

½ seasoned or plain Panko Bread Crumbs

First, place three strips of bacon in a hot pan to cook. You want to do this first so you can get it out of the way. The order in which you cook ingredients is crucial to making the process easier! While the bacon is cooking, slice the chicken in half and pound out the cutlets thinly and evenly between wax paper. Set aside.

In a bowl combine the whipped cream cheese, low-fat sour cream, cheese, jalapeno, onion, bacon, and garlic (optional). Add freshly grated black pepper to taste.

Lay each chicken cutlet flat and place the mixture horizontally in the middle, tightly roll the chicken up and try to tuck the edges as best as you can. Top with remaining ¼ cup of the cheese and panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. You might need to turn the boiler on for a few minutes to get the tops browned.

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Lemon + Herb Marinade

Perfect Chicken Thighs

Entertaining can be really stressful, especially if you’re a Virgo like me, so when in doubt I turn to oven roasted marinated chicken thighs for the perfect dinner on a hot Miami day. This recipe is for the garlic herb marinade with lots of lemon juice. Last Easter my mom gave me adorable planters painted grey with mint, cilantro, rosemary, parsley, basil, thyme, and lavender. I freaking love having a little garden outside on the balcony! My garden comes in handy in times like these…I was cooking for around 8 people, so I decided to make chicken thighs because they are cost effective, juicy and delicious, and look impressive when done right.

 Lemon Herb Garlic Marinade

As a general rule I never try to make anything on the stove top if I’m entertaining. It is a mistake for ANYONE to do, so you should probably avoid this too. It’s just messy, takes you away from your guests, and is 100% unnecessary. For the love of god, make the meal as much ahead of time as possible! You will be thanking wise self later. I made the marinade and let the chicken sit overnight before baking it to perfection. Yes, I know…you’re thinking grilling would be better- and it would be totally ideal…BUT standing over the hot grill in Miami? Trying to chat with family with kids running around while being distracted by flaming chicken? No thank you. Oven-roasted it is! I decided to serve this chicken with perfect couscous salad, pickled cucumbers and red onions, and the popular pull-apart garlic bread.

   Garlic     Lemons

   Ready to Blend     Marinated Chicken

This marinade is classic and wonderful. I guarantee you will use it time and time again. Practically this entire meal can be thoroughly prepped in advance to make your life easier. For dessert we had vanilla bean ice cream with slice strawberries tossed in sugar and lemon juice with chopped toasted almonds (we had extra leftover from the couscous salad).

Herb Garlic Marinade

 ¼ cup Parsley

8-10 sprigs Thyme

1-2 sprigs Rosemary (you can also use oregano, marjoram, or tarragon)

4 Garlic Cloves

1 cup olive oil

Juice of 2 Lemons

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ teaspoon Dried Basil (just cause I felt like adding some)

Remove the herbs from the stems by pulling down the stem downwards to pull off the leaves and leave the stick remaining. Roughly chop the garlic cloves. Add garlic, herbs of your choice, olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt and pepper. Pulse the mixture until blended for less than 1 minute in your Cuisinart Food Processor – I like it to be a little chunky.

Since I had so much chicken to marinade I divided the chicken legs and thighs between 2 gallon Ziploc bags and poured the marinade on top. (I always place the Ziploc with the marinating meat in a plastic bag before putting it in the refrigerator. Raw meats should be stored on a separate shelf and not right next to fresh fruits or veggies! The extra bag helps too.)

Garlic Pull Bread     Pickled Cucumber and Red Onion

Dinner for 8     Add Chopped Tomatoes

Marinade the chicken overnight or up to 2 hours in advance. The longer the better! Bake in the oven at 400F for 45 minutes. The roasted chicken will be beautifully browned and crispy on top with lovely crisped herbs and juices in the pan (which you can spoon on top of the chicken!). Guten Appetit!

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Lemon Oven Roasted Chicken

Dishes are the bane of my existence, so when I’m feeling extra lazy I turn to easy lemon oven roasted chicken for a delicious meal. I don’t have a dishwasher in my small apartment, so slapping some aluminum foil or wax paper on some baking sheets totally excites me as little clean-up is involved. I was craving some hearty soul-food, but I am not against taking a shortcut here and there (à la semi-homemade cooking). I decided to make lemon marinated oven-roasted chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and baked asparagus. The easiest shortcut to take was buying the premade ‘Simply Potatoes’ mashed sweet potatoes, but please, don’t judge me. I was tired after a long day and they were BOGO at Publix (the best grocery store in the entire universe!).

Marinated Chicken Breasts      Roasted Chicken Breasts

So here is what I did: I bought the chicken, lemons, asparagus, and easy sweet mashed potatoes on the way to my friend’s house for a drink. I got to her apartment and asked for a Ziploc and some olive oil. I tossed the chicken it into a Ziploc, added olive oil, the juice of one lemon, and salt and pepper (yeah I felt pretty seriously about getting my chicken marinating early- it was in her fridge for probably 2 hours before I took it out and went home to bake it!). Once I got home I set the oven to 400F, snipped some rosemary from my garden, chopped it and spread it evenly under the skin of the split chicken breasts with skin and bone.

 .                                                       Asparagus with Shaved Parmesean.

Keeping the skin on the chicken guarantees it isn’t going to dry out while baking in the oven long enough to cook the thick breast through. Always remember to put the herbs underneath the skin of the chicken, they are likely to burn and lose their bright taste when sprinkled on top. I baked the chicken breasts for 45 minutes. While they were baking I chopped the tough ends off of a bunch of asparagus (enough for 2) and put them on a baking sheet: drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and light freshly shaved parmesan. I took the mashed sweet potatoes out of their container and into a glass Pyrex with a gentle sprinkle of brown sugar and some chunks of salted butter. I put both the side dishes in the oven with about 20 minutes left in the chicken.

                                                        Simply Mashed Sweet Potatoes

I’m a sucker for sauces- so I finely minced two large cloves of garlic and lightly sautéed it in butter for 3-4 minutes, added some flour, salt and pepper, and made a quick roux. The roux should simmer for a minute to ‘brown’. I added some whole milk gently to the mixture to create the sauce, being careful as to not add too much milk maybe a ½- ¾ cup (?). Otherwise I’d have to work harder to incorporate it into the sauce. When the sauce was almost done I added a generous teaspoon of Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard for a spark of flavor and color.

Minced GarlicMelting Butter DreamsRudimentary Roux

The chicken was seriously perfect when it came out of the oven. The skin was crispy and speckled with rosemary and the sauce was richly divine. I might’ve preferred a simpler butter garlic sauce with parsley- I’ll save that for next time. Also the asparagus was too soft for my liking after 20 minutes, maybe 15 would have been better, or I’ll just serve a salad with arugula and shaved Parmesan next time.

For the Chicken: (this recipe is for 2, double/triple/quadruple/etc. if desired)

2 split chicken breasts bone-in

Juice of one lemon

¼ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

½ tablespoon finely chopped rosemary

For the Asparagus:

Bunch asparagus, rough ends chopped off

Drizzle with olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Freshly grated parmesan cheese

For the Simply Potatoes mashed sweet potatoes:

Put in oven-safe container

Sprinkle brown sugar

Add a bit of salted butter

                                                       Crispy Chicken Skin

Marinate the chicken for 30 minutes to 2 hours before putting in the oven. Turn oven to 400F. You could marinate overnight too for ultimate flavor integration- but 2 hours was just fine for me. Add the chopped rosemary under the skin before roasting. Put the chicken breasts in the oven. Roast for 45-50 minutes or until the juices run clear.

When there are 20 minutes left in the roasting time, put the asparagus and mashed sweet potatoes in the oven too. During this time I made a sauce to eat with the chicken but I guarantee it was really not necessary. The chicken was so fantastically crispy and juicy with hints of lemon and herb, so the sauce really wasn’t required– but good nonetheless. This recipe is simple, easy, and the extra bonus is that it requires the least amount of dishes possible.

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