Chicken Chimichanga

Chicken Chimichanga

Last week I used my big bottle of Lawry’s Carne Asada Seasoning to make a delicious chicken casserole that my family loved.  Well I need more than casseroles to use up all that chicken chimichangaseasoning I picked up at Costco so this week I’m sharing my Chicken Chimichanga.

 

Chimichangas are my all time favorite Mexican dishes.  I love the crunchy fried burrito filled with tasty meat then topped with cheese, salsa, and sour cream.  I mean seriously what’s not to love?  I usually make it with shredded beef, but I still had a big bag of chicken thighs so I figured why not make chicken chimichangas.  I’m so glad I did!  Everyone loved them, including my 4 year old grandson who’s always a very picky eater!

These chicken chimichangas were a delicious way to use up more of that bottle of Carne Asada Seasoning!

I serve this with refried beans and Mexican rice for a filling meal.  I try to make enough for leftovers because everyone loves them, but that’s not always easy.  They’re eaten up in one meal!  My son even comes over to take a bunch of chicken chimichangas home for his family’s dinner!

You can top or garnish it with anything you want like shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa, hot or mild.  We love the hot!

chicken chimichanga
Chicken Chimichanga
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chicken chimichanga
Chicken Chimichanga
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Mix seasoning, vinegar, garlic powder, and olive oil together and place in a ziplock bag.
  2. Add chicken thighs to marinade and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  3. Add about 2 tbs. oil into a frying pan and fry chicken until cooked or grill chicken until cooked.
  4. Shred cooked chicken.
  5. Divide shredded chicken into 10 equal parts, do the same with the cilantro
  6. Place 1 portion of chicken and cilantro into the middle of a tortilla, sprinkle with about a tbs of shredded cheese.
  7. Roll into a burrito.
  8. Heat 1 - 1 1/2" of oil in frying pan.
  9. Fry each burrito until all sides are golden brown.
  10. Drain on paper towels.
  11. Serve and garnish which your choice of toppings.
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Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole

Chicken casseroleI’m not even going to try to lie about how this  dish came to be!  I made this Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole because a while back during a Costco shopping trip I sample a dip that was made with Lawry’s Carne Asada Seasoning.  Of course I had to buy the large industrial sized bottle of this seasoning!  I seemed like a good idea at the time!

Then the bottle of seasoning sat in my kitchen cabinet along with a shelf full of other spices for months.  It seemed to taunt me every time I opened the cupboard to grab a bottle of spice.  It said “use me I dare you!”  So I just had to find a way, other than the dip, to use this tasty seasoning.  That’s how I came up with this Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole!  (Well having my fridge go on the blink with a big bag of Costco chicken thighs and shredded cheddar made me super creative!)

But seriously I whipped up a tray of this Chicken Casserole and my family absolutely loved it!  There was barely any left overs.  In fact they were practically fighting over the 2 left over pieces the next day!

chicken casseroleAnd best of all it’s super easy to make!  It literally is dumped into a baking dish and baked for about an hour and it’s done!  I served it with some Mexican rice, trust me it really was a big hit! They can’t wait til I make it again!  At this rate I’m going to have to go back to Costco for another bottle of that seasoning.

So here it is, my awesome Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole!


 

Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole
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Cheesy Mexican Chicken Casserole
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Place chicken thighs in a large shallow baking dish
  2. Sprinkle Carne Asada Seasoning over chicken and let sit covered with plastic wrap in refrigerator for about an hour
  3. Mix cream cheese, salsa, whipping cream, and sour cream together in a bowl and pour over chicken. Make sure you cover all the pieces.
  4. Spread shredded cheddar over all.
  5. Bake in 350 degree oven for about 1 hour or until chicken is fully cooked and cheese is completely melted.
  6. Serve hot.
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Asian Fried Chicken

Asian Fried Chicken

Asian fried chickenOne of my favorite chicken dishes at our local restaurants here in Hawaii is a dish called “Tasty Chicken”, “Garlic Chicken”, and “Korean Fried Chicken” depending on which restaurant you go to.  I like to call it Asian Fried Chicken!

What exactly is Asian Fried Chicken?  Well they’re crispy fried chicken nuggets that are marinated in a soy sauce based sauce.  It’s a little bit sweet, salty, and just a tiny bit spicy at the same time.  In short it’s delish!

asian friend chickenWe serve it with steamed white rice for a very satisfying meal.  I make enough for 12 people just so we can have left overs for lunch or dinner the next day.  Yes we love Asian Fried Chicken that much!

I must admit that making Asian Fried Chicken seems a bit tedious with all that dredging, frying, and tossing; but believe me it’s so worth the trouble!

 

Here’s my recipe for Asian Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes

Sauce/Marinade

1 Cup Soy Sauce

1 Cup Water

2 Cups Sugar

1/2 Cup minced garlic

1/2 Cup Green onions chopped

2 Tbs. Sesame Oil

1 Tbs. Crushed Red Pepper

Coating

2 Cups flour

3/4 Cup Corn Starch

1 Tbs. Garlic Powder

1 Tsp each salt & pepper

Oil for frying

Proceedure

Sauce/Marinade:

Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium size sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until all the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens a bit.

Set aside to cool.

Cut chicken into cubes and place in a large bowl or ziplock bag.

Pour 1/2 of the cooled sauce/marinade over chicken.  Cover bowl or seal bag.

Marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour but no more than 3 hours.

Combine dry coating ingredients in a large pan.

Heat about 1 – 1 1/2″ of oil in a large frying pan.

Dredge each piece of marinated chicken in flour mixture and fry until golden brown. Discard any left over marinade – do not use as sauce for cooked chicken!

Drain on paper towels until all the chicken nuggets are cooked

Toss cooked chicken nuggets in remaining sauce.

Serve with rice for a delicious meal!

Love this recipe?  Try my Salt & Pepper Shrimp recipe it’s wonderful!

 

 

asian fried chicken
Asian Fried Chicken
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asian fried chicken
Asian Fried Chicken
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Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Roasting the Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

This time of year I get hungry for a juicy turkey dinner!  It’s no wonder, Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  It’s about the only time of year that I roast a whole turkey.

I still remember my first time roasting a turkey, I had no idea what to do.  Over the years I’ve perfected it, and my family expects a Thanksgiving feast every year.

In recent years deep frying turkeys have been real popular.  I’ve heard deep fried turkeys are delicious, but in our family you don’t experiment on a Thanksgiving turkey.  So I’ve always roasted my turkey in the oven using the brown bag method.  I’ve been roasting my turkeys this way for over 30 years.

It’s easy, no basting involved. You just place the turkey, roasting pan, and rack, in to a brown paper bag, slide it in to the oven and roast for the required time. You tear off the bag about 30 minutes before it’s done to get the nice golden brown color.  When the timer rings take the turkey out of the oven and let rest for 15 – 30 minutes before carving.

Trust me you’ll end up with a delicious juicy turkey everytime.  You’re family will love it!

Here are instructions for Savvy Nana’s Brown Bag Roasted Turkey!  Psst!  There’s a roasting chart on that post too!  Believe me it will come in handy!

My 24 pound bird last year.  Perfect!

Last year’s Thanksgiving feast at my house.

Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house in Colorado.  Smaller bird cooked the same way, perfect every time!

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving foodMany years ago as a newlywed I was faced with making my very first Thanksgiving meal for myself and my new husband.  This of course entailed roasting a turkey.  I was clueless!

Seriously, in my single life Thanksgiving meals were prepared by mom, grandmas, and aunties; I think they took turns hosting the family for Thanksgiving each year.  Whatever the case may be I just popped in to where ever it was served and stuffed myself with all the yummy stuff they made.

Alas that year it was not to be.  Mom had moved back to New York where all the relatives were and I was alone in Hawaii, yup, just me and new hubby left to fend for ourselves on Thanksgiving. These days it probably wouldn’t have been a problem, one can just order a Thanksgiving meal for the entire family from one of the local restaurants or supermarket.  But back then this wasn’t an option.  So if I wanted a Thanksgiving meal I would have to figure out how to make it myself, starting with the turkey. (Yes that meant I had to stick my hand into the bird’s cavities and pull out its innards, seriously gross!)

Luckily I had a neighbor who showed me how to roast a turkey using a brown paper bag.  I was hesitant at first thinking the bag would catch fire, burn the house down, and we would be homeless on Thanksgiving day.  After all it was me roasting this bad bird and I could barely make toast unsupervised at that time!

Well my kitchen disaster never happened and I’ve been using this method to roast turkey ever since.  The only issues I’ve run into in recent years is finding large brown bags!

Years ago groceries were packed in large brown bags, perfect size for this roasting method.  The emergence of plastic grocery bags made it nearly impossible to find the paper ones.  Never one to give up I used brown craft paper when I can not locate large brown paper bags. Recently our state outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags and most supermarkets have started selling us large paper bags when we don’t bring our own grocery bags.  Umm that would be me, I always forget to bring the bags I have in my trunk into the stores so I end up purchasing even more bags.

I should mention however that I’ve only ever cooked using electric ovens, I’m told you can still use this method in a gas oven, just be sure to keep paper away from the flame.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try this so I would advise caution if you are going to try it in a gas oven.

Here’s how I do this using 2 large brown paper grocery bags or a very large shopping bag:

1.  Clean and wash turkey.  Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the cavity.  Refrigerate giblets if you will be using them in your gravy.

2.  Salt the turkey cavity with about 2 tbls of salt

3.  Place a whole peeled onion in the back of the cavity.

4. Rub butter on top of the thighs, wing tips, and the breast; anywhere the turkey may come in contact with the paper bag.

5. If you will not be stuffing your turkey then place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

If you will be stuffing your turkey then loosely place stuffing in both cavities.  Do not pack in stuffing.  Stuffing expands during cooking and you will have a big mess in the over and no stuffing.
Truss turkey using lacers and twine.  Place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

6.  Insert one end of the roasting pan into the first brown bag.*

7.  Work the second brown bag onto the roasting pan.  Make sure the bag overlaps with the first bag.*

Brown bag
8.  Place the whole package in the oven using the chart below from allrecipes.com.

Bag in oven

9.  30 minutes before the turkey is done carefully tear off bags and remove.  Don’t jiggle the pan too much, you don’t want the drippings to spill, you will need the drippings for gravy.  Leave turkey uncovered to brown.

10.  When turkey is done remove from the oven and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes.  Do not transfer turkey on to serving tray immediately after cooking, it will fall apart.  Using turkey lifters makes transferring the turkey easier.

11.  If your stuffing is in the bird scoop it out onto a serving bowl before carving the turkey, it’s just neater than having everyone spoon stuffing directly out of the bird.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C ) oven.

 

 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time 
  (Stuffed)
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours   3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours   4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours   5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

* If you can not get large brown bags you can use brown craft paper.  You can buy a roll at Walmart or any discount store.  Wrap the paper around the whole roasting pan.  Staple shut on both ends and on the top.

My Turkey

This is my turkey cooked using the brown bag method. This bird weighed 24 pounds.

Jaime's Turkey

My daughter in Colorado uses my method to make her Thanksgiving turkey. This is a small turkey weighing about 15 pounds.

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

tuscan chickenWe’ve recently started eating healthier again, that’s after a summer of long vacations that at times made healthy eating difficult.  It’s so easy to slip back into bad eating habits like fast food burgers and fries, easy to grab bags of chips, and other junk food.

But at our age and with our recent test results and recently diagnosed conditions we really must stop eating like teenagers!  I mean I love my burgers and fries, pizza, sodas, candies, and other sweets, but they don’t seem to love me as much as they used to.  I had always bragged that I could eat everything I loved without gaining an ounce of weight.  This may have been true 10 or more years ago, but not any more.  Besides now I have to deal with Eczema and other issues, my “normal” diet was just not going to cut it.  My husband is in the same boat.  So we’re each trying different changes to deal with our specific issues.

Right now my husband has been following a Keto Diet.  For him it’s really not too much of a hardship.  He’s pretty disciplined and usually does low carb diets when he needs to drop a few pounds.  So I’ve been modifying some old favorites to be keto friendly.  Remember Keto diets are low carb, medium protein, and high fat.  (I don’t follow this diet as I’m dealing with other issues and too much fat is not something I can tolerate.)

Anyway one of the challenges when someone in the family is on some sort of a special diet is to make meals that everyone can eat.  In short I am not a short order cook who will make a different meal for each family member.  This has actually proven to be somewhat simple, specially when I’m modifying family favorites.  One of my biggest successes is this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole.

My Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole is very Keto Friendly, low in carb (1 gram per 1/2 cup serving), good protein, and high in fat.  Not to mention it is divine!  Everyone loves it!  The kids and anyone not on a keto diet eats it with pasta, my husband has it with a small salad.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

2 Pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed

1/4 Cup Butter

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1 Cup Heavy Cream or Half & Half

1 Cup Cream Cheese, room temp

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 Cups Fresh Spinach leaves

1 Cup Sun Dried Tomato Strips in Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Procedure:

Melt Butter in an oven safe frying pan – cast iron pans work great

Sauté garlic

Add chicken cubes & Italian Seasoning and cook until done, stir constantly

Add milk and cream cheese, stir until all the cream cheese has melted and the sauce looks creamy – stir constantly to avoid burning the sauce

Add spinach and cook until leaves have wilted, stir constantly

Add sun dried tomato strips and the oil it’s soaked in, stir to combine well

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream

Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Bake in 350° oven for 15 minutes or until cheese melts

Serve hot with salad or over pasta

 

 

 

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole
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Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole
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