Monday, August 17, 2015

More Spur of the Moment Fun With Chicken

Last night I was having a long phone conversation with an old friend.  I feel perfectly comfortable calling her an old friend since she is a couple of years older than me.  (You are only old if you are older than me.) One minute we were laughing and gabbing and the next thing I knew TheHub came in asking what we were doing for dinner. It was almost 8 and not only had I not started dinner, I had not even given it a thought. (Although during the phone conversation I had started cooking a batch of ketchup in the crock pot and made 2 recipes of spaghetti sauce for the freezer.)

I have been making a concerted effort to take 3 items out of the freezer every 3 days, so I will always have something thawed in the fridge meat drawer. When I use the last item I grab 3 more to thaw. Usually it is a random grab, just the first three things that come out of the freezer, but there is some organization to the randomness of it all.

I keep 7 colored bins on the freezer shelves at all times: 2 red, 2 white, 2 yellow and 1 blue. The reds have frozen "red" meat (beef or lamb) in them. The whites house "the other white meat, pork" sausages, brats and bacon. The yellows have all the chicken products (think sunny side up eggs for the yellow color) and the blue is seafood since it swims in blue waters. (Don't judge! I have to have some convoluted system that works for me)

I really know at least what sort of protein I will come up with on my grab, just not exactly  what the type might be.  I had grabbed a piece of a sirloin tip roast, 4 cooked chicken breasts and 4 more bone in uncooked breasts  on my last thaw session.  Since I had used the others, only the bone in breasts remained.  The only decision next was what to do with them that could be done quickly.

My first plan was to bone them quickly (reserve those bones to make bone broth for later) and sear them in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. I had a couple of cups of cooked cauliflower florets, a half a box of orecchiette pasta, garlic and about a cup of leftover chicken broth to start with.  While I was grabbing the garlic to mince, I knocked over a bottle of rose' wine I had used for cooking a few days earlier (wine cake anyone?) so I added that to my list of possibilities.  Now the only thing left to do was to put something together quickly.

Because I only had a relatively small amount of tiny pasta, I could use a smaller pot, so the water boiled a little quicker and the pasta was cooking by the time I finished browning the breasts. (I love my flash cooking burner!) There was nothing left to do but warm the cauliflower and figure out exactly what was going to happen with the chicken.

                                                          Rose' Chicken on the Fly

4 small boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small cloves garlic
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced (I used 1/2 cup dehydrated mushrooms)
2 cups Rose' wine (Use the cheap stuff)
1/2 cup chicken stock (1 cup if you have it)
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon soy sauce (coconut aminos to keep it paleo)
1 tablespoon arrowroot (use cornstarch if paleo is not an issue)
3 tablespoons water

Lightly brown the breasts in olive oil then sprinkle the minced garlic on top of it.  Stirring, let it slightly wilt before adding the fresh mushrooms. (If using dehydrated mushrooms skip to the next
step and add them with 1/2 cup water to the at the same time as you add the wine.) Pour the wine and the chicken stock in the pan, turn the heat down to a mid low, add the thyme and Italian seasonings, cover and let it braise for about 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. (If your chicken breasts are large you will need more cooking time and liquid.  Add water as needed to keep about a cup and a half of liquid in the pan)  Stir in the soy sauce (or coconut aminos) and add a little salt and pepper. (If you use soy sauce and salted broth this can become over salted quickly.  It is better to use less and adjust it at the table than to use too much in the beginning.

Blend the arrowroot/cornstarch with the water in a small dish until it is smooth.  Add it by teaspoons to the liquid, stirring well.  Cook it for a couple of more minutes and if the sauce thickens and becomes glossy you are through, if not add a bit more thickener and cook it a little more.  It generally takes me about half of what I have prepared, but I had rather have too much than to be right at the end of the cooking time and have to make more.

Serve this piping hot over any pasta (but the smaller stuff works better and holds the sauce better than larger pastas).  If you want to keep it paleo serve it over crumbled cooked cauliflower.

We had this with just a very simple side green salad and it was a great tasting later night meal. It was not heavy, but was very filling.  Everyone loved it and wanted more, but I told a half truth and said if they wanted to check the pan for anymore they were welcomed to it.  I had secretly put on breast in the fridge for my lunch later in the week

If you are in a panic about what to cook for dinner and have an opened bottle of wine on the counter (This would work with any wine actually) give it a try.  You might find it is something simple and delicious.


  1. What is a flash cooking burner? Also, I like your idea of old. You're only old if you're older than I am. Gonna have to start using that.

  2. I have a burner that heats much hotter, though I forget the BTU's. It cooks very fast so that I can have boiling water in a smallish pot in about 3 minutes.

    My new mantra is I am young, only people older than me are old and even that is subjective.

  3. Your bins in the freezer really do it for me. I love organization on that level!!!!

    1. The kitchen and food storage is my only concession to organization. Every other aspect of my life is totally on the fly.