Post 1.20 - Pollo Perfecto

One of the reasons I like to cook chicken or with chicken is that it often tastes great with very little effort. Sure, you can bread it, marinate it, poach it, cover it in barbecue sauce and grill it -- but a little salt and pepper and 40 minutes in the oven can taste amazing, too.

So I have two recipes for you today.

The first is one I prepared for my mother at her suggestion. She is diabetic, and this recipe is diabetic-friendly (i.e., low-carb, high protein), and so easy as to be ridiculous. The result is delicious.

The second is one I have made several times in bulk, as the individual portions freeze and sous-vide or microwave beautifully.

Both can be served with rice, vegetables, or both -- but you'll see when you try them. No heavy sauces here, but amazingly flavorful.

American Pie Chicken  (from the original recipe here)

Non-stick cooking spray
4 boneless skinless chicken breast cutlets (4oz. each)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup apple butter
1/4 cup shredded reduced-fat real cheddar cheese

Keep in mind the safe-handling guidelines with this recipe. You will not use an entire jar of apple butter, so separate out your 1/4 cup in a separate dish before you begin and put the rest in the fridge. Then your spoon can go back and forth between the dish of apple butter and the raw chicken. If you don't, you could contaminate your apple butter and you'll only ever be able to use it safely for this recipe.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 7" x 11" baking dish with the non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place chicken in baking dish; season chicken with salt and pepper then spread apple butter evenly over it.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until no pink remains in the chicken.
  4. Remove the baking dish from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle chicken evenly with cheese. Return chicken to oven and bake uncovered for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Spinach Chicken Parmesan (from the original recipe here -- I have modified it slightly)

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/2 diced red bell pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl combine cheese and seasoning. Roll chicken pieces in cheese mixture to coat lightly. Set remaining cheese mixture aside. Arrange coated chicken pieces in an 8×8×2 inch baking dish. I have found that it works best if you roll up the breast slightly when you place it in the dish, although leaving them flat is fine, too.
  3. In a small saucepan, saute green onion in butter/margarine until tender. Stir in flour, then add milk all at once. Simmer, stirring, until bubbly. Stir in drained spinach and diced red bell pepper and mix together. Spoon spinach mixture over chicken and sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Bake uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender and chicken juices run clear.
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