Lemon Pepper Chicken

I came in to work today trumpeting “TGI…T!”  One of my coworkers responded with “So Happy It’s Thursday!” which made me laugh.  The reason for our good spirits is that our office is closed tomorrow, giving us a 3-day weekend.  Yay!

Anyhoo, on to today’s recipe, which can be described in two words:  easy and delicious.

I don’t know if there’s a “classic” recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken because I didn’t bother to try and find one.  Faced with some chicken parts, a couple of lemons on my counter, the pepper mill and not a CLUE as to what else I could do with it, I just started winging it.

And pretty much hit a home run – the chicken was juicy and flavorful and lemony and peppery.  Pretty much everything you’d want from lemon pepper chicken.

This was great served with roasted Japanese sweet potatoes and Swiss chard sauteed in ghee with garlic, and the entire dinner is Whole30 compliant.

Lemon Pepper Chicken.  Baked chicken takes on a fresh and lively flavor when paired with zesty lemon and black pepper.

Lemon Pepper Chicken
Serves: 6
  • 1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into pieces
  • 2 medium lemons, juiced and zested (rinds reserved)
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Lay out the chicken pieces in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish and pour the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle liberally with salt, then the lemon zest, and finally the pepper, coating the pieces well. Tuck the reserved lemon rinds under and around the chicken pieces.
  3. Baked, uncovered, for 30 to 45 minutes, basting once or twice with the accumulated liquid, or until the chicken is golden brown and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  4. Discard the lemon rinds before serving.
  5. Nutrition (per serving): 336 calories, 24.1g total fat, 110.4mg cholesterol, 104.1mg sodium, 360.2mg potassium, 4.4g carbohydrates, 1.9g fiber, <1g sugar, 26.4g protein

Pineapple Chicken

It’s a bummer that I can’t get Chinese take-out any more, especially since I love it so.  Even if I’m willing to consume a big, fat dose of industrial seed oils and white rice, I simply cannot tolerate the gluten in the soy sauce, to say nothing of the MSG that’s probably lurking in there.  (I know a lot of them say they don’t use monosodium glutamate, but it’s been my experience that THEY LIE.)

As a result, I’ve gotten quite good at making the kinds of dishes you get at your typical Chinese take-out place (see here, here, here, and here), and this recipe is a very good one.  The males in my household don’t share my love of cheap, Americanized Chinese, but they both inhaled this, with Beloved going back for seconds and telling me how tasty it was (he was also a bit bummed when I grabbed what was left for my lunch today).

I was a little worried the dish was going to be too sweet, but it really wasn’t; the acidity of the pineapple and the savory chicken – which was just delicious on its own, so juicy and tender – really toned down the sweetness of the sauce and created what was really a lovely, harmonious dish.

The list of ingredients is long, but many of them are for the marinade and sauce, and this really comes together quickly when you begin cooking it.  From the moment I began frying the chicken to the time I plated this for the photo, the time was probably 20 minutes all told, if not less.

This isn’t Whole30 by any stretch of the imagination – I did serve it over white rice, since I was in the mood, but grated cauliflower “rice” would work just as well if you are so inclined, and there’s coconut sugar and gluten-free tamari in it as well.  However, as cheap, Americanized Chinese goes, this is pretty darn clean.

And pretty darn tasty.

Note:  You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand – bell peppers might make it more authentic (well, as authentic as cheap Americanized Chinese can be) – I just happened to have zucchini and onion in the fridge.

Pineapple Chicken

Pineapple Chicken
Serves: 6
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 4 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 1 cup lard or palm oil shortening
  • 2 cups zucchini, unpeeled, thickly sliced and cut into half-moons
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 can (14 oz) pineapple chunks, liquid reserved
  • water
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  1. Whisk the 2 tablespoons tamari, sesame oil, egg, pepper, ginger and 4 tablespoons tapioca flour in a large mixing bowl. Add the cubed chicken and toss to coat the meat. Cover and refrigerate for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Heat the lard or palm oil shortening in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Drain the marinade from the chicken and discard. Fry the chicken, in batches if necessary, until browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside and keep warm.
  3. Combine the reserved pineapple juice with enough water to make 1 cup. Whisk in the coconut sugar, remaining tapioca flour and tamari until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Heat the ghee in a wide, shallow sauté pan over medium high heat and stir-fry the onion and zucchini until tender crisp. Add the pineapple and juice mixture to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 2 or 3 minutes.
  5. Add the fried chicken to the sauce in the sauté pan and toss to coat. Serve over steamed jasmine rice or steamed, grated cauliflower.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 459 calories, 22.4g total fat, 149.7mg cholesterol, 367.3mg sodium, 515.9mg potassium, 25.1g carbohydrates, 1.4g fiber, 15.7g sugar, 37.6g protein

World’s Moistest Chicken

Yes, I know, but I couldn’t think of anything else to call it.

Which is not to say it isn’t true.  I used to be a boneless, skinless breast devotee when it came to chicken, probably because that’s all my mother ever fed us when we were growing up.  In recent years, though, I’ve come to love dark chicken meat – preferably with the bone still in it and the skin still on it.  And because dark chicken meat is also the favorite of the male members of my household, we seem to have eaten all of the thighs and legs stashed away in our freezer.  The only dark meat is a bag of wings, which I’m saving, so we are reduced to chicken breasts until our next batch of chickens arrives tonight.

I wasn’t much in the mood to cook last night, so I treated the idea to bone and skin the breasts and stuff them with something as the moment of temporary insanity that it was and decided to just roast them.  Ah, but that would be boring, and roasted chicken breasts can turn into tough, dry chicken breasts pretty easily, even when you leave the skin and bones intact.

I’d roasted an entire chicken with mayonnaise in the past, with excellent results, and decided that would work for the 3 split breasts I’d pulled out of the freezer (“split breasts” is the common term for the two halves of the breast of a chicken with the bones and skin).  The only thing I could think of that might make it better – and still keep the dish simple – was the addition of Sriracha, that red hot sauce that comes in a bottle with a rooster on it; I’ve become quite fond of mayo mixed with Sriracha of late.

If that makes me weird, then I’m happy to be weird.

At any rate, the chicken came out fantabulously – moist, tender and flavorful, with just the right kick of heat from the hot sauce.  As Guy Fieri would say, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner.”

Note:  The stated serving size for this is nine, and they will be on the smallish side.  It will serve six quite generously, but that will increase the calories to over 600 per serving.  Just so you know.

World's Moistest Chicken
World’s Moistest Chicken
World’s Moistest Chicken

Serves: 9
  • 3 large split chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, stir together the mayonnaise and Sriracha.
  2. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over each breast. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the chicken is golden and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork.
  3. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes; cut each breast into thirds and serve.
  4. Nutrition (per serving): 447 calories, 31.6g total fat, 135.9mg cholesterol, 323.2mg sodium, 322.6mg potassium, 1.2g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 1.1g sugar, 38g protein


Buffalo Chicken Frittata

Remember my need for some leftover chicken?  Yes, this would be the brunch dish I wanted it for.

Don’t ask me where the idea for this came from, because I couldn’t tell you.  I was just thinking about what to make for our Sunday brunch, when the thought of it just popped into my head.  I certainly wasn’t going to deny it – I love buffalo-style chicken anything.

Was it good?  Well, I went back for seconds, and I rarely do that.  Beloved went back for thirds.  (The Young One had a ham and cheese omelet. *sigh*)  Really, it was delicious, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it came out.  I used a Japanese sweet potato, but a regular orange sweet would be fine; it gave the frittata itself a lovely texture and slightly sweet flavor that contrasted really well with the spicy buffalo chicken.  The ranch dressing added a tart cooling element to the whole dish, which was very filling and satisfying.

It’s also pretty darn simple, especially if you’ve made the dairy-free ranch in advance – you can, of course, use a bottled ranch dressing (all that soybean oil! Blech!), or a home-prepared dressing using traditional ingredients.  If you have a serious milk allergy and cannot tolerate even the ghee, I’d sub the high-quality (read: no soybean oil) margarine of your choice.

If you don’t have a problem with dairy, Beloved says some bleu cheese would just take the whole thing over the top.  And if you leave out the honey in the ranch dressing, it is Whole30 compliant.

Buffalo Chicken Frittata
Buffalo Chicken Frittata
Buffalo Chicken Frittata

Serves: 8
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and shredded
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs, well beaten
  • 1/2 cup ghee or clarified butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
  • 1/3 cup [url href=”http://www.janssushibar.com/dairy-free-ranch-dressing/” target=”_blank”]Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing[/url]
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the 2 tablespoons of ghee over medium heat in a large, oven-proof skillet and cook the onion until it begins to soften, 2 or 3 minutes. Add the shredded sweet potato to the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the sweet potato begins to soften and lightly brown, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the beaten eggs evenly over the sweet potato/onion mixture. Place in the oven and bake 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the frittata comes out clean.
  4. While the frittata is cooking, whisk together the melted ghee, hot sauce, vinegar, garlic and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and add the cooked chicken; stir, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the frittata comes out of the oven.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken from the hot sauce and spread evenly over the surface of the frittata. Drizzle with extra buffalo sauce, if desired, and the dairy-free ranch dressing; serve.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 343 calories, 28.4g total fat, 256.7mg cholesterol, 621.8mg sodium, 277.9mg potassium, 6.4g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 2.2g sugar, 16g protein



Apple Roasted Chicken

Happy Monday, everyone.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend and came back to work well rested and ready to face the day!

Yeah…me neither. 😛  Ah, well – there’s always next weekend to try to actually rest for a day.  Oh, stop laughing; you never know, it might happen.

Anyhoo, I had a great idea for a brunch dish that required leftover chicken (yes, the recipe is coming).  In order to have leftover chicken, I needed to actually cook some chicken, so I took a package of thighs and a package of legs out of the freezer and stared at them for a few minutes, wondering what the dickens I was going to do with it all.

Then the answer came – which, coincidentally, at least partly answered the question of what I am going to do with all that apple butter I canned, when we don’t eat bread.  Before I knew it, I was whipping this up, using some fresh herbs from the garden, some of the apple butter and a bit of that marvelous apple cider we’ve been getting from a local apple orchard.

I can not even begin to tell you how good this was – it was just delicious.  I had to go hide two of the thighs, or I wouldn’t have had any for my brunch dish; I thought The Young One was going to inhale each and every piece.  It’s absurdly easy, too.

Note:  If you don’t have any coconut sugar, you can use evaporated cane juice or honey, but the calorie and carbohydrate count will increase slightly.  If you leave it out all together, and make sure your apple butter has no added sugar, the dish will be Whole30 compliant.

Apple Roasted Chicken
Apple Roasted Chicken
Apple Roasted Chicken

Serves: 6
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 cup apple butter, no sugar added
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine the cider, apple butter, vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and arrange on a foil-lined, shallow, rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the salt, pepper, rosemary and sage. Place in the oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  4. Baste the chicken with half the cider mixture. Return to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes. Baste the chicken with the remaining cider mixture, return to the oven and roast for a final 15 minutes.
  5. Baste the chicken a final time with the accumulated pan juices, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Nutrition (per serving): 368 calories, 20.3g total fat, 114.9mg cholesterol, 581.8mg sodium, 368.4mg potassium, 7.3g carbohydrates, <1g fiber, 4.3g sugar, 36.3g protein