Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chicken about cooking - mostly because I was threatened...

It's been a long time since I've cooked something new and felt like experimenting on my family.
Recently I've had neck surgery so for quite a long time I wasn't "allowed" to cook. Guess how old that got? Actually, my mom friends from my mom's group kept us alive with meals and we ate those and reheated them for weeks. Hindsight? Saved us! At first, Andy didn’t seem overly thrilled with people bringing meals, after all, he knows how to cook, dang it! Yes, but cook for the four of us, while taking care of me, two little kids, and everything else that a household entails? BIG difference.
Anyway… on Thanksgiving 2 1/2 weeks after my surgery I was sneaky… ok, not so sneaky… I made the stuffing and realized I COULD do things! Since then I've been doing more cooking and feeling WAY more like myself.
Anyway, I have spent far too much time on social media lately and saw this recipe for chicken with a mushroom sauce. My kids are "eh" on mushrooms. We did not make them eat them - but I thought the recipe as a whole was awesome. So good! I used milk not cream because - really? I’m not buying cream if I only need a little.
Barb - you can totally do this one! Just do almond milk instead of milk. :) I've got your back!

One Skillet Chicken with Garlicky Mushroom Cream Sauce
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
salt and pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, sliced
⅓ cup finely diced shallots (or red onions)
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped parsley (or basil)

Using a mallet, pound down the chicken breasts/thighs into ½ inch thickness. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken.
In a 2 cup measuring cup or a small bowl, combine the chicken broth, onions/shallots, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried thyme.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and allow to brown for 3-4 minutes stirring as required to brown both sides. Remove the mushrooms to a plate (use one large enough to remove chicken as well).
Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil on medium high heat. Add the chicken and allow to brown on both sides for 2-3 minutes per side. Don’t worry if the chicken isn’t cooked completely, we’ll finish it in the oven. Remove the chicken to plate.
Reduce the flame to medium, add the shallots to the skillet along with the chicken broth mixture. Using a whisk, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the brown bits are loosened. LET SAUCE SIMMER AND REDUCE FOR ABOUT 8-10 MINUTES OR UNTIL ABOUT ⅓ CUP OF THE SAUCE REMAINS. <– if you do not do this step, your sauce will NOT thicken.
When the sauce has thickened, remove from the flame, add the butter and whisk until it melts completely. With the skillet off the flame add the heavy cream and mushrooms, and whisk to combine. Place the skillet back over the flame for just 30 seconds, do not allow the sauce to boil. Remove from heat, add the chicken back into the pan and drizzle the sauce over the chicken. Place the skillet in the oven for 5-8 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked through. Top with chopped parsley or basil and serve warm.

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