Rosemary and Mustard Chicken Thighs


I am not a big fan of chicken or should I say I am not a big fan of chicken breast. I find chicken breast to be bland and uninspiring. Another reason I really don’t care for chicken is because it just doesn’t taste like it used to. Unfortunately, American agriculture has ruined chicken. But this is another discussion I really don’t want to get into now. All I will say in this limited space is chickens need to be free to run. A happy chicken is a tasty chicken.

This recipe utilizes boneless, skinless chicken thighs which on today’s chicken have much more flavor than the breast. It is also a simple recipe that comes together quickly. In just a little over an hour you can have a flavorful dinner on the table.

Here is what I did:

Rosemary and Mustard Chicken Thighs


1½ – 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (The happier the chicken the better.)
½ cup Dijon mustard (Do not use anything except Dijon, not even country style Dijon.)
¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup (No pancake syrup. 100% pure maple syrup only.)
2 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Leaves from one small sprig fresh rosemary for garnish


Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

In small bowl, whisk together Dijon mustard, maple syrup, champagne wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Place the chicken thighs in an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. They will overlap some. Then pour the mixture on top of the thighs. Move the chicken around in the sauce to make sure all the thighs get coated.

Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer thighs to serving platter making sure to keep as much of the mustard sauce as possible in the baking dish.

Immediately after removing chicken thighs, whisk in the 1 tbsp. of cornstarch into the liquid in the pan. You may need to add another teaspoon or so of cornstarch if the sauce is not thickening, though be patient. Stir in rosemary. Drizzle over chicken after sauce thickens.

Serve with rice or pan fried potatoes.


Chèvre, Garlic, and Chive Stuffed Bone-in Chicken Breast


Chèvre, Garlic, and Chive Stuffed Bone-in Chicken Breast plated with bacon weaved roasted Brussels sprouts and an almond rice pilaf.


Stuffed and seasoned breasts in a cast iron skillet ready to cook.


Admit it.  Most recipes for chicken breast are pretty bland and tend to be dried out. That’s because most recipes are for boneless and skinless chicken, the two things that give the chicken flavor and help the breast retain moisture.

This recipe has relatively few ingredients and comes together rather quickly. It could easily go from start to on the table in under an hour.

Although the directions in this recipe are for cooking in an oven, I have easily cooked this on a gas grill with great success too.

Chèvre, Garlic, and Chive Stuffed Bone-in Chicken Breast


4 ounces softened goat cheese
4 cloves garlic minced
Zest from one lemon
2 tablespoon chives minced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, about 1 ½ pounds
Olive oil
½ cup unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Mix the goat cheese with the lemon zest, garlic and chives until well blended. Set aside.

Loosen the skin on the chicken breasts by running your fingers underneath it but leaving it attached at the edges. Then, working from the narrow end of the chicken breast, cut a deep slit into the breast and as far into the breast as you can go. Carefully create a cavity inside the breast without cutting through the other end or making the entry point wider than 1 ½ inches.

Divide the goat cheese mixture into six equal parts. Stuff a portion of the goat cheese mixture into the slit in one of the chicken breast, pushing it as deep as possible into the slit. Use a toothpick or two to hold the slit closed if necessary. Stuff another portion of the goat cheese mixture under the skin of the chicken breast. Massage your fingers across the top of the skin to spread the cheese into an even layer and covering as much of the breast as possible. Repeat with the other chicken breasts.

Place breasts in a large cast iron skillet, drizzle and rub in a little olive oil, and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place breasts in preheated oven. Meanwhile, melt a half cup of unsalted butter in a sauce pan and heat until just beginning to brown. After the breasts have cooked for 15 to 20 minutes, baste them with the melted butter. Continue cooking for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin is brown and crisp and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the breast reads 165°F. Remove breasts from oven, baste one final time with butter in skillet. Tent with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Chicken Paillards with Asparagus and Lemon, Garlic, and Dill Sauce

I stopped at a farmer’s market for the first time today and picked up some fresh asparagus, one of my favorite spring treats. When I got home I made this quick, easy dish. The chicken has a very light breading and the garlic, lemon, and dill complement the asparagus very well. Here is what I did:


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 oz. (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chicken broth
6 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lemon, zested and squeezed to yield 1 tablespoon zest and 3 tablespoons juice
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbs. unsalted butter


Pound each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an even thickness; ¼ to ½ inch.

Combine the flour with approximately 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper.

Heat oil in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the paillards in the flour. Shake off excess flour and place in the skillet. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook two at a time if paillards are too large. Cook about four to six minutes total flipping once half way through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat for about a minute or until right before garlic begins to turn color. Add the chicken broth and lemon zest, scraping up any browned bits from the skillet. Next, add the asparagus and nestle the chicken on top of the asparagus. Add any accumulated juice from chicken. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to maintain a simmer and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the asparagus is tender, five to seven minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter or plates.

Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, dill, and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the asparagus mixture over the chicken and serve.

A Simple Roasted Chicken

This roasted chicken is insanely easy to make. The simple seasonings and cooking method result in a roasted chicken with a nice crispy skin and tender, moist meat.

It’s a delicious chicken recipe any home cook can master and enjoy!


One 3 to 4 pound whole chicken (The happier the better.)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ Cup unsalted butter
Several sprigs of thyme. Remove the leaves from a sprig or two of thyme and set aside.


Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Blot the chicken inside and out with paper towels.

Salt and pepper the cavity, then truss the bird. Trussing is a good technique to feel comfortable with. The wings and legs stay close to the body when you truss a bird. The ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a better presentation.

Now, season the outside of the bird with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Start by placing the chicken breast side down seasoning the back; flip and season the breast and legs.

Place the chicken in a cast iron skillet and place in the 450° oven. Leave it alone for at least 40 to 45 minutes. Then add the butter and thyme sprigs. Do not use the leaves yet. After another ten to 15 minutes, baste chicken with melted butter. Continue roasting until an instant read thermometer reads 165° inserted into the thickest part of the breast. Remove it from the oven, baste one more time, sprinkle with thyme leaves, tent with aluminum foil and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place on serving platter, remove the twine, and carve.

Chicken, Broccoli, Rice and Cheese Soup


I love a good challenge. There is a lunch spot called The Prairie Soup Company a co-worker and I frequent that makes some of the best soups and some really amazing sandwiches. The chicken salad is fantastic. It actually reminds me of my mom’s.

One of their specialty soups is a chicken, broccoli, rice, and cheese soup. It is my favorite soup, but the problem is they make it very infrequently and we never know when. That is why at some point every morning either my co-worker or I will call them and ask what the Chef’s Choice soup is.

My co-worker challenged me to duplicate the soup. I am on vacation this week so I have some extra time to try. I think I nailed it. I would love to be able to taste what I came up with and what they make side-by-side. This soup is every bit as good as theirs.
Here is what I did:


4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
1 (6 ounce) package quick cooking long grain and wild rice with seasoning packet (such as Uncle Ben’s)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup butter
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups broccoli flowerettes
8 oz sharp Cheddar finely shredded


Combine broth, water and chicken in a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Bring to boiling and then stir in rice. Do not add the seasoning packet at this time. Cover and remove from heat.

Combine salt, pepper, and flour in a small bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a medium sized sauce pan and stir in contents of seasoning packet. Heat until butter begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low and then stir in flour mixture creating a roux. Slowly whisk in cream until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook about 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce thickens.

Return chicken, rice, and broth to heat and stir in roux. Add broccoli. Heat to a simmer and then whisk in the shredded cheese. Cook over medium heat about ten to fifteen minutes until heated through.

Parmesan Encrusted Chicken

For the longest time I have been turned off by chicken for various reasons. First, although I may not have been, it seemed like I was eating it all the time. Secondly, I tend to find chicken very bland. Finally, I have a problem with today’s chicken. It is bred for white meat and because of this, is typically pumped full of hormones and who knows what else to develop the desired parts of the bird.

Recently, I have begun including more chicken in my diet again. It is a great source of protein and if you choose your source wisely, you can avoid the mass of hormones and other chemicals. Even so, I still find chicken to be somewhat bland. The plus side to that though is that it takes on other flavors very well.

Here is one of my favorite chicken recipes that is relatively quick to make and provides a great flavor.


4 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
Kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 8 ounces each)
¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
¾ cup panko bread crumbs
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 450° F.

Mix the mustard, thyme, ½ teaspoon salt and the cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the chicken breasts and turn to coat completely; set aside.

Pound chicken breast so the breast is a consistent thickness throughout but no less than a ½ thick.

In a medium shallow bowl, combine the Parmesan and panko. Dredge the chicken pieces in the panko mixture, Press the breasts into the mixture to coat evenly and give a very heavy coating.

Put the chicken on a rack set over a baking sheet, spray with a quick burst of cooking spray and put the sheet in the middle of the oven. Bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes.

A versatile, Italian food friendly chicken: Pollo con pesto


Here is a lightly breaded chicken breast that seems to go with most any type of Italian food. It tastes just as great with a marinara as it does with an Alfredo, or even a fresh pesto like I served it here.

Lightly Breaded, Italian Seasoned Chicken Breast


1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into ½” thick strips
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Italian blend seasoning
buttermilk or whole milk
oil for cooking


Place chicken strips in glass bowl and cover with just enough buttermilk or whole milk to completely submerge. Let stand for approximately one hour. Meanwhile, mix flour, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning in shallow bowl.

Pour cooking oil in large skillet to cover bottom with approximately ¼ inch of oil and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Dredge chicken breast in seasoned flour and fry for approximately four minutes and then turn and fry for three to four minutes on the other side. Set aside on paper towel lined plate.

Serve on top of your favorite pasta. Tonight I made fresh pesto. Here’s my pesto recipe.



4 cups basil leaves packed fairly tight
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup grated Parmesan
4 cloves garlic
Kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil (Start with ¼ cup)


First, toast your pine nuts by placing them in a skillet on the stove top and heating them on medium heat. Shake the pan often to prevent them from burning. It should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes to toast the pine nuts.

Place all ingredients except olive oil in food processor. Pulse several times to begin blending ingredients. Then constantly blend ingredients while drizzling olive oil into food processor. Use only enough oil to turn ingredients into smooth, thick sauce. The pesto should be able to hold a slight form. Add the pesto to your favorite pasta and blend well and serve immediately.

Forget the Clown: Nutty Chicken Fingers

Here’s a great recipe for a crispy alternative to fast food chicken nuggets that kids will love. The best part is you can make these in less time than it takes to get in the car and drive across town to McDonald’s and you won’t need to worry about what your kids are eating.


1 cup finely chopped pecans
2/3 cup crushed corn flakes
2 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup buttermilk
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips


Preheat oven to 400° F and line 11×17 inch jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

Combine the pecans, corn flake crumbs, dried parsley, garlic powder, and salt in a shallow bowl. Place chicken in another shallow bowl and pour buttermilk over chicken. Then roll chicken pieces in pecan mixture while pressing down on chicken to help adhere the mixture to the chicken.

Place in a single layer on the aluminum foil lined baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until juices run clear.

It Doesn’t Have to be Red: Grilled Chicken with White BBQ Sauce

When one thinks of BBQ, one typically thinks of beef, pork, or chicken slow cooked and slathered in a tomato based red sauce. Now I love a good BBQ sauce; from the mild sweet to the mouth numbing fire bombs, but every once in a while I look for something different. That’s when I pull out my white BBQ sauce. Although this sauce works well on pork, I believe the tanginess of the vinegar and lemon simply complement the flavor of chicken. Here’s what I did today:


1 whole cut up chicken or your favorite pieces

1 T garlic powder
1 ½ t Smoked paprika
1 T Mexican chili powder
1 T Kosher salt


1 C mayonnaise
1 T ground black pepper
1 T Kosher salt
3 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 T distilled white vinegar
2 T white sugar
A few splashes Tabasco sauce


To make the sauce:
In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, pepper, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, sugar, and Tabasco sauce. Mix all together until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours to allow flavors to integrate. This sauce will keep for several days in the refrigerator so it is best to make this at least the night before.

To make the rub:

Simply add garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and salt in a sealed container and shake well to combine.

Rub seasoning mixture evenly over all chicken pieces. First grill chicken for a few minutes on both sides over direct heat to give chicken a little color. Continue cooking over indirect heat until chicken is cooked through. This will take approximately 45 minutes.

After chicken is finished grilling, pour sauce over chicken and serve.

Badonkadonk: Beer Butt Chicken

Beer Butt Chicken right off the grill.

Beer removed and ready to carve.

If you have never had a beer butt chicken you are certainly missing something. This is some of the most moist chicken you will ever eat. Because the beer that is inserted up the chicken’s butt adds moisture while the chicken cooks, it is nearly impossible to end up with a dry chicken. Another nice thing about this, is that seasoning is only limited by your imagination. You can season it with anything. Maybe you are wanting to go with a herbed Italian flavor, or maybe something more southern, or maybe you want to spice it up and go full out Cajun; the choice is yours.

Here’s what I did tonight:


1 whole chicken 4 – 5 lbs
1 12 ounce can of your favorite beer
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Teaspoon onion powder
2 Teaspoons garlic powder
2 Teaspoons dried basil
2 Teaspoons dried parsley flakes
1 Teaspoon Spanish paprika


Preheat grill to approximately 350° F. If using a charcoal grill, arrange coals for indirect grilling. On a gas grill, I suggest preheating the grill with all burners on high but then adjust according to your grill that will allow you to grill the chicken using indirect heat. If that is not possible, I would suggest turning the burners down to low directly under the chicken and the others low enough to keep the heat at a fairly consistent 350° F. Although it is not entirely necessary, one other piece of equipment to have is a special made rack that will hold the chicken upright without worry of it falling over. These racks can be found almost anywhere grilling supplies are sold. The one I have is a double rack that allows me to grill two beer butt chickens at once.

Blend all the seasoning together in a bowl and set aside. Thoroughly rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle seasoning all over the chicken and gently rub into the chicken. Gently lift the skin from the chicken breast and rub some additional seasoning directly on the flesh of the chicken under the skin. Open the beer and promptly drink approximately ¼ to ½ the beer. Using an old fashion style can opener, puncture a couple more openings in the top of the can. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken breast. Make sure that you do not insert the probe in too far and hit the rib cage. The thermometer will give you an incorrect reading.

Roast the chicken using indirect grilling until the chicken reaches approximately 165° to 170° F. A good rule of thumb is to allow approximately 20 minutes per one pound of chicken.

The trickiest part of cooking a beer butt chicken is removing the can. The can will be very hot and the beer inside will be equally hot. I suggest using a long carving fork to insert through the backbone of the chicken and lifting straight up. I also suggest wearing a rubber dishwashing glove on the other hand and using a thick potholder that you might not mind getting dirty and possibly ruined. Once the chicken is lifted up, use the other hand to firmly grasp the beer can and twist as you pull it out. Be careful not to squeeze the can too hard or you will possibly crush it and very hot beer will burn your hand. Once the can is removed you may carve the chicken and serve.