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Archive for February 15th, 2011

Some days I love to cook, and happily spend an hour or so preparing dinner.  Today is not one of those days.  Since I often pick up a package of boneless, skinless, chicken breasts at Wal-Mart (always $1.78/lb.), I can typically throw together something with chicken fairly quickly – especially if I’ve taken the time to trim all the breasts and remove the tenders the first time the package is opened (kitchen scissors make short work of this task).  Last week, when I was in one of these moods (meaning “lazy”), I created a fabulous chicken dinner using some Stonehill Spinach and Artichoke Parmesan Dip from Costco.  It was so good, we had it four days in a row!  I made it on the stove with tenders, and also baked it in the oven using the breast portion.  The oven baked version was moist and juicy, but the stove top version was super fast.  Since both methods have their merits, I’m sharing the directions to both.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Chicken
Oven Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Drizzle chicken breasts with a little olive oil to keep it from drying out.  Sprinkle with salt (I used coarse salt, but regular salt would work).  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and spread generously with Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Bake, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through and top is bubbly.
Stove Method: Pour a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan and heat pan over medium heat.  Put chicken tenders (or breasts pounded flat) in pan and sprinkle with a little salt.  Cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned underneath.  Turn chicken over and cook for another 5 minutes.  Coat generously with Spinach and Artichoke Dip.  Reduce heat a little and cover.  Cook 5 minutes more or until chicken is done and topping is heated through.

Another great use for chicken tenders is in chicken pizzas.  This month, Kinnickinnick gluten free pizza crusts are on sale at Fred Meyer, so we’ll grab a few boxes since this crust is particularly good for chicken pizzas.  My son loves buffalo chicken pizza, so I like to make this when I have a few pieces of chicken to use up, but not enough for a meal.  In the summertime, I like to grill extra chicken breasts (with a little Lowry’s Seasoned Salt) to use in barbecue chicken pizzas.  We like Sweet Baby Rays Original sauce for barbecue pizzas, although Bulls-Eye barbecue sauce is also good and contains no high fructose corn syrup (both sauces are GF).

Barbecue Chicken Pizza:
Cut up some leftover grilled chicken into bite-size pieces.  Cover pizza crust with barbecue sauce and sprinkle with chicken (we put the cheese on top of the chicken, but you can certainly put the cheese down first if you prefer).  Sprinkle pizza blend cheese or a combination of mozzarella and cheddar on top.  We also like to add some bacon bits and chopped red onion, if we have it on hand.  Bake according to crust directions.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza:
In a small baking dish (I have one that’s a little smaller than a 7″x11″ baking dish), cut up chicken breasts or tenders into bite-size pieces.  Pour a generous amount of buffalo wing sauce over top (we’ve tried Frank’s and Texas Pete’s buffalo sauces, and they’re both good).  Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Cover pizza crust with your favorite Ranch dressing (we like Newman’s Own because it doesn’t have any naughty ingredients).   Separate cooked chicken pieces with a fork (they’ll stick together while baking, but are easy to separate).  Using a fork, lift a few pieces out at a time and place on crust, letting a little sauce run onto the crust.  Sprinkle with pizza cheese blend or some mozzarella and cheddar.  If desired, top with bacon bits and chopped green onion (you should desire this).

Of course, the ultimate lazy chicken recipe is to simply drizzle barbecue sauce over some chicken in a crock pot and cook on low for 5 hours.  I like to sprinkle the chicken with a little Lowry’s Seasoned Salt first.  It’s the easiest recipe I know since you can even start out with frozen chicken breasts.  In the summertime, I like to finish the cooked breasts on the grill for just a minute to give it a little grilled flavor.  You can also do this exact same recipe using boneless ribs or a combination of ribs and chicken (but “Lazy Ribs” didn’t sound like a good blog title).  This is a great recipe for a party since you can give guests a choice of chicken or ribs.   Round it out with a baked potato and salad, and this menu can be put together early in the day, leaving you time to clean or put your feet up and relax!  If you need a dessert (and what party doesn’t?), check out last week’s post on yummy gluten free desserts.

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