Tag Archive for Chicken

Cast Iron Skillet

I got my first cast iron skillet for my birthday in April. I’ve always wanted one, but never got around to buying it for myself. It sat in my cupboard for months because I was actually afraid to use it. It seemed to be so “high maintenance” but my friend Kim assured me that I was more than capable to cook with it. I finally got up the courage to use it a few months ago and made tilapia, at Kim’s suggestion. Then it sat again for many weeks until I used it to make chicken and waffles for my son’s birthday.

Finally, a light bulb went off! I remember Kim telling me that she uses her pan anytime she wants to make a nice crisp coating on whatever she is making. Over the weekend, I used it to make hash browns and today I made parmesan sage pork chops. Those pork chops are always good, but the cast iron skillet made them AMAZING!

Cast Iron Skillet 

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, you really should get one. What it can do for your food is truly unbelievable. They are not that intimidating and they are easier to clean than I had thought. Put it on your Christmas list..you won’t regret it!

Chicken and Bacon Waffles

My son’s birthday was this past weekend. I always try to make birthdays special in my house and it starts with a fabulous breakfast! He asked for chicken and waffles. He had never had it before. Actually, no one in my family has ever had it. We have never even ordered it in a restaurant and I had no idea where he got the idea from. Anyway, I had pulled out a recipe for Chicken and Bacon Waffles out of the March 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine a while ago and decided to give it a try. It was a little more labor intensive than dishes that I would normally make, but you can never turn down a request from a birthday boy. My husband handled the bacon and chicken and I took care of the waffles. I typically don’t allow people to “help” in my kitchen, but in this case, it worked out very well….and we ended up having an amazing breakfast on Sunday! 

Chicken and Bacon Waffles

Level of Difficulty: Difficult
Time Required: 1 hour of active hands on time



16 slices bacon

4 c. all-purpose flour

2 T. baking powder

1 T. sugar

Kosher Salt

3 large eggs plus 1 egg white

3 c. buttermilk, plus more if needed

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Cooking Spray


3 c. peanut or vegetable oil, for frying

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 in. wide strips

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 T. all purpose flour

Maple syrup, for serving

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Waffle Iron

Wire Rack

Baking sheet

Cast Iron Skillet

Preparing Chicken and Bacon Waffles:

1. Make the waffle batter. Dice 10 bacon slices; cook in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until golden brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Add the remaining 6 bacon slices to skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, about 9 to 11 minutes. Remove to the paper towels; reserve the drippings in the skillet.

2. Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Whisk the whole eggs, buttermilk and melted butter in a separate bowl, then whisk into the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the diced, cooked bacon. Transfer 2 cups of batter into a separate large bowl for the chicken; reserve the remaining batter for the waffles.

3. Make the chicken. Preheat oven to 325 Degrees. Add the oil to the skillet with the reserved bacon drippings; heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350 Degrees. Add the paprika, thyme and cayenne pepper to the 2 cups of waffle batter; add up to 2 T. buttermilk if the batter is too thick. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then toss with the 2 T. flour. Add the chicken to the batter and set aside until ready to fry. 

4. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet. Working in batches, remove the chicken from the batter, letting the excess drip off, then fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side; transfer to the rack and season with salt. Transfer to the oven and bake until no longer pink inside, about 8 minutes. 

5. Meanwhile, cook the waffles. Spray a waffle iron with cooking spray and preheat. Whisk the egg white in a bowl until soft peaks form; fold into the reserved waffle batter. Ladle 1/2 to 1 cup batter into the waffle iron for each waffle and cook according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve with fried chicken, bacon slices and maple syrup. 

Important Tips:

This is one of those recipes that you REALLY need to read through before starting the cooking process. There are lots of steps and it’s easy to mix them up if you don’t take your time!

Got Leftovers?:

The chicken pieces were so big that there was no way anyone could eat more than two. I heated the leftovers up in the oven the next morning, wrapped them in foil, and gave them to kids in their lunches!

Grilled Main Courses

Grilled chicken

Grilled main courses used to be something that I had only on the weekends when my husband was home to cook them. I was tired of always cleaning the kitchen after using the stove or oven to prepare dinner so I decided to “man up” and learn how to grill. I will say that it was one of the best things that I ever did in my cooking adventures. Not only is there less mess in the kitchen (I think I’ve said that lots this week), but grilled meat is typically healthier since there is less oil or butter used! For those you who have never grilled…give it a try. Just once!! It could change the way you eat and cook forever!!!


Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs

Mustard Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken Wrapped in Bacon and Rosemary

Beer Can Chicken

Ranch Grilled Chicken

Grilled Chicken in Garlic and White Wine Sauce

Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce 


Pork Tenderloin

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Bone in BBQ Pork Chops


Pork Chops with Brown Sugar Glaze


Beef Tenderloin

Blackened Steak Salad

Flank Steak with Lime, Honey and Garlic

Gourmet Burger Bar

Tri Tip Steak

Filet Mignon Stuffed with Spinach and Manchego


Spicy Grilled Shrimp



Lamb Chops with Garlic and Rosemary

Turkey Breast with Garlic and Lemon








Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce

Who says a good meal has to be time consuming and require lots of ingredients? Certainly not me!!! I’ve always wondered what heating tzatziki sauce and pouring it over chicken would taste like, so that’s what I did for the main course of Greek Week. My husband absolutely loved this grilled chicken with tzatziki sauce, and so did I! (I bet this is another one that Melissa freaks out over…at least it’s not powdered hollandaise sauce)!

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 15 min. 


4 chicken breasts

1 c. tzatziki sauce

1 roma tomato

1/4 c. basil, chopped

Preparing Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce:

Preheat grill to medium high heat. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Put tzatziki sauce in a medium saucepan and heat on medium, stirring occasionally. Grill the chicken about 8-10 minutes, depending on thickness. Transfer cooked chicken to serving platter and pour heated tzatziki sauce on top. Sprinkle with basil and add tomatoes for color. That’s it!!

Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce

Important Tips:

The tomatoes aren’t a necessary part of the dish in regards to flavor, but it does make it look pretty! 

Now Denise, why would you think that I’d ‘freak out’ over this? Costco Tzatziki is just about perfection. I’m sure fresh, homemade from Ya-Ya’s prized recipe is better, but I don’t have a Ya-Ya so Costco will have to do. Cool idea to warm it up. Yummmmm ~Melissa

Menu for Special Dietary Needs : Interfaith Group of 66

Menu for special dietary needs

About a month ago, I was approached by the director of an interfaith group called World Pilgrims to see if McNack’s was interested in catering a dinner for their group. Although we don’t typically cater, the group was so interesting, we decided to make an exception. See, this organization brings together folks from many different religions so that they may work together to better understand each other’s religious views and go on joint pilgrimages together. The group consists of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and more.

With this combination of religions came a fairly long list of special dietary needs. Certainly no beef or pork. About a dozen in the group kept Kosher. A few vegans also. Oh, and one allergic to garlic!

Denise and I put our heads together and came up with this great meal. We served 66 delightfully appreciative pilgrims without dairy, beef, pork, fish (they had that at their last meeting), or garlic! And it still tasted good!! How about that?!

Menu for special dietary needs:

dietary restrictions Denise in the kitchen[/caption]

McNack’s Throwback Thursday

marinated bacon wrapped chicken thighs

We always see people with Throwback Thursday Facebook posts and we thought we might do one of those every now and again. So for this Throwback Thursday, we thought we’d share with you our #1 viewed recipe over the last 13+ months.

Any guesses?

Let me help you out. How about Denise’s Marinated Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs done two ways – a sweet version with pineapple and brown sugar and a spicy version with jalapeno and cream cheese. Both delicious.

Here is a link to the original post and to the video that shows you how to do it.

Happy Throwback Thursday and enjoy some bacon wrapped chicken tonight!!

Lightened-up chicken cutlet with a taste of summer

chicken tomatoes feta

I’ve made versions of this many times. I never really make it the same way twice because it usually depends on the season, what’s fresh and what I have on hand. Regardless, the general preparation is the same and it is a little bit of summer in your mouth even in the middle of winter!

When I made this the other night, I was out of eggs so I did not bread it like I normally would a chicken cutlet (flour, egg wash, bread crumbs). So, I was thinking through what I had on hand that would help the Panko adhere to the chicken. I scoured the pantry and fridge and then I saw it, that golden jar of deliciousness that would do just the trick…Dijon Mustard!!

Well, since I was already going a bit light, I opted to go really light by not sautéing the cutlet, instead, I opted to bake it. Here is a recipe for making this for your loved ones.
   chicken tomatoes feta

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 20 min

Ingredients for 4:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts prepared into a cutlet or 4 already prepared cutlets. You’ll want to pound them to even thickness and to help tenderize too.

2 cups of panko bread crumbs

4 T Dijon Mustard

salt and pepper

Fresh summer salad option 1 (pictured)

2 cups grape tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup fresh corn, grilled and removed from cob (I use leftovers!)

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

salt and pepper

Fresh summer salad option 2 (not that there are only 2 options!)

1 cup red grape tomatoes, diced

1 cup yellow/orange cherry tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup basil cut in a chiffonade

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

1 ripe avocado, diced

salt and pepper

juice of 1 lime


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make chicken cutlets as directed in the link above (including pounding them),  salt and pepper the breasts, coat with 1 T Dijon mustard, and then dredge in the Panko bread crumbs. Repeat for all cutlets and set on a baking sheet (cover baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup).

Dice the tomatoes and place in bowl. Add the basil and add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place chicken in oven on middle rack.

While it starts cooking, add the feta to the tomatoes but don’t stir. If doing option 1, add the rest of the summer salad ingredients but just stir once right before you add to the chicken. If doing option 2, dice the avocado and add to the bowl but again, don’t stir. Juice the lime over the avocado and add a bit more salt and pepper. You’ll stir it gently right before you top the chicken with it. Stir too much and you’ll mush up the avocado and feta

Cook the chicken for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness. When the cutlets are close to done, bump up the temperature to broil. Don’t walk too far away. You just want to get some ‘browness’ on the top of the chicken breasts. Just don’t overcook it!

Remove from oven and top generously with the summer salad. Serve with your favorite sides. In the picture it is served with steamed broccoli and scalloped potatoes. The other night, I served with brown rice and steamed broccoli to keep with the lightened theme. In fact, for the entire meal, there was not one ounce of fat added!! 

(of course, if you want the uber tasty version, skip the mustard, bread with flour, egg wash and Panko then sauté in olive oil instead of baking)

Important Tips:

Don’t over stir and don’t over cook!! It’s that simple.


Have fun with the summer salad!! Add what you like. I use grape tomatoes in the winter because they taste good all year round.

  • Archives

  • Subscribe to McNack's

    Like what you saw? Don't miss our next post!