I enjoy cooking from scratch and have a habit of combining left over ingredients from previous recipes; to a recipe I am making. Cooking this way can result in interesting flavors creating " the recipe with the secret ingredient". This recipe was inspired by the recent contest.
I wanted to create 3 easy main course recipes for two, on a budget, from a whole chicken. This recipe topped all three that I made. In fact it topped all of my chicken recipes to date. I posted the baked nugget recipe separately. The third is a simple soup broth which I won't post here on instructables because there are many good recipes here already. I mentioned this to show you how of pre-planning a few meals can save you time and money. Basically one chicken will make three entrees for two people and you can make 3 very different meals.
After some thought, I decided to make chicken nuggets, feta roasted chicken and some chicken stock for soup. I had left over milk and egg from the chicken nuggets but had no idea what I was going to use it for; until I began making the brine ( same day). Water and salt are usually mixed with feta cheese to make a brine but I decided to use the left over egg mixture instead of water and add a pinch of the seasonings. I have not made a feta brine before so I can't really say how much difference the egg and milk mixture played in making this chicken taste so wonderful. It was a good way to use up the milk and egg. The chicken was juicy and flavorful. Even the pan drippings were delicious. I took the plunge. My taste buds are still whining for more.
Follow through and I will show you how to impress any foodie or (loved one) with this amazing chicken dinner!
Let's get started!
Step 1: Ingredients and Cooking Utensils
I suggest using a whole chicken and make 3 separate meals from the pieces, or this recipe used 2 thighs and drumsticks, plus 2 wings. Double the recipe if you wish to make this recipe using the whole chicken for more people.
1 Whole Chicken or read note above
1 Meyer's lemon ( juice) with zest I used frozen Meyer's lemon juice and zest
1 Cooked beet or you could use canned
2 Very large carrots
1-2 Packages crumbled Feta cheese ( divide it in half and use in marinade and on the top of the roasted chicken.)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon Sea salt
2 or more teaspoons of black pepper depending on preference
Minced Basil if desired ( I included this because I used my left over milk and egg mixture from chicken nuggets which had minced basil.)
1-2 Tablespoon of butter and 1-2 Tablespoon of Olive oil (adding butter to olive oil will help prevent the butter from browning ) After making the recipe I wanted more of the pan drippings for the plating because this tasted soooo good over the chicken and arugula. My recipe used 1 T of both butter and olive oil. Next time I am doubling the amounts.
Several butter pads for the heart shapes,
Oven proof skillet or you may use any skillet and transfer the chicken into an oven safe baking dish
A glass covered dish or plastic zip lock bag for marinating, knife, fork, spoon, sauce pans, heart shaped cookie cutters ( I used 2 sizes), cutting board, serving dish or large plate optional, and serving dishes. Heart stickers or printed hearts for the carrots, beets, and butter.
Step 2: Cut Up the Chicken
I cut up all the pieces and used the thighs, legs and wings for this recipe, the breast for chicken nuggets, and the back and small pieces for homemade stock which I cooked the same day as I cut up the chicken.
Step 3: Marinate Overnight
Place the chicken into a zip lock bag.
I added 1/2 of the feta cheese reserving the remaining for the top of the roasted chicken and arugula.
I added a pinch of seasonings and lemon zest to the marinade.
Marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Step 4: Prep Work Before Cooking
Line a plate with a paper towel or brown bag.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place the pieces on the plate for 1 hour. Throw away brine.
Wash, peel, and cut the carrots so they will fit into a sauce pan.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F
Place the carrots in a sauce pan with water and just before the chicken goes into the oven; cook the carrots until slightly tender. We like ours on the firmer side.
Wash and poke holes in the potatoes. I make a slice through each potato with a knife so the potato is easy to open to add butter.
Place the potatoes in the oven before you begin roasting the chicken allowing for cooking time so they are fully cooked about the same time as the chicken.
Step 5: Season and Pan Sear the Chicken
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, Oregano, fresh Basil, and a pinch of lemon zest. Rub into the chicken pieces.
Pan sear the chicken in butter and oil until brown. Adding oil will help keep the butter from browning.
Step 6: Roast the Chicken in the Oven
Roast the chicken:
Spoon a little lemon juice over the chicken reserving some to spoon over the arugula and roasted chicken.
Oven roast the chicken in an iron skillet or oven proof skillet, or roasting pan uncovered for about 25-30 minutes or longer depending on the size of pieces and how well done you prefer the chicken.
Remove the chicken from the oven.
Step 7: Heart Shapes
Using the heart shaped cookie cutters; "cut the beets, carrots and the butter as shown".
You could lay a heart sticker or printed heart design over the top of the heart for kicks.
I sliced the butter into thick slices before using the cookie cutters.
I used the left over pieces of beets and carrots for a different meal, or add it to the arugula.
You might need to re-heat the carrots and beets if you want them very hot before serving.
Step 8: Arrange on Plate or Platter
Arrange the Arugula on a platter or plate.
Spoon the lemon juice and the pan drippings over the arugula.
Add feta cheese and lemon zest over the arugula.
Layer the chicken on top of the arugula.
I added more lemon juice/zest on the top of the chicken with some pan drippings.
Garnish with carrots and beets.
Serve the chicken with the bake potato and heart shaped butter, carrots and beet hearts.
Step 9: Sunshiine's Final Thoughts
My daughter in law and I usually cook 3 meals from the same type of meat using recipes that overlap ingredients to feed two people. I have little waste and save time by cooking this way. My husband is not a cheese fan and his reaction to this recipe surprised me. I think he wants me to make it a lot more often. I liked the idea of saving time in the kitchen by making 1 whole chicken.
I made Feta roasted chicken, spiced chicken nuggets, and chicken broth for soup. The heart shapes were a delightful addition to set the tone for our Valentine's Day dinner. If you are on a budget and are craving gourmet, this recipe is the way to go , not to forget to mention it was almost effortless for a date night meal! I felt guilty for eating the very last piece!
Homemade Baked chicken nuggets with special dipping sauce.
I would like to thank instructables and contributors for making this a delightful place to share ideas and creations. This instructable has been entered into a couple of contest and if you think it is worthy of your vote; please click the orange vote button at the top right corner when it is available. I am grateful for your vote. I hope this recipe tops your date night recipes!