Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Whenever I visit my daughter, we indulge in lunch at P.F. Chang's. While we have many favorites, their Chicken Lettuce Wraps are at the top of my list. Since there is no P.F. Chang's restaurant near my hometown and since I crave these things more than four times a year, it was crucial for me to find a copycat recipe so I can make these leaves of goodness at home. 

I tried a few recipes, but none truly mimicked the flavor. After much experimenting and tweaking, I think I finally found the secret to their addictive chicken lettuce wraps and I'm excited to share with you today!

These are super easy to make and are perfect for those nights when you don't want to spend much time in the kitchen. 

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Chicken Breasts, diced
1/2 medium Yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
1/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 Tablespoon Ginger, freshly grated
1 Tablespoon Smokey Chipotle Sauce or Sriracha
1 (8-oz) can Water Chestnuts, drained and diced
2 Green Onions, thinly sliced
Pink Himalayan Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 head Butter Lettuce, washed, dried and divided into leaves (this lettuce is very fragile, so use caution when separating leaves to prevent tearing)


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned; about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add onion and saute until translucent; about 4 minutes.
  3. Add garlic, hoisin sauce, fish sauce, ginger, and hot sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
  4. Add water chestnuts and green onion and stir to incorporate. Cook 2-3 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of mixture into center of one lettuce leaf. Fold bottom leaf up toward the center and pull sides together, similar to the shape of a taco.



Slow Roasted Garlic Chicken Recipe

The slow roasted garlic chicken is the star of our Sunday dinner. I stuff the cavity with any leftover vegetables in the crisper. Most common selections include: one whole onion, two carrots, two celery stalks, and one lemon. Cut the lemon in half and place one half inside the cavity; add remaining vegetables; than seal the cavity with the remaining lemon half.



1 whole Roasting Chicken (6 to 7 pounds)
1/2 stick unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2-inch thick triangles
6 cloves Garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning
1 teaspoon Olive Oil



1. Remove organs from cavity and dispose or use for gravy. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel.
2. Stuff cavity with vegetables, if desired.
3. Place chicken in slow cooker. Separate skin from meat in the breast area. Place 3 to 4 butter pads under the skin on each side of the breast.
Using a paring knife, make small slits at the leg joint. Place 2 to 3 pads of butter under skin.
4. Place 2 to 3 garlic cloves under skin in breast and leg areas.
5. Wash hands, than mix seasonings together.
6. Drizzle olive oil over entire bird and lightly rub oil to cover the surface.
7. Evenly distribute spices and lightly pat.
8. Cover and cook over high heat for 3 hours.
9. Baste with juices, cover and reduce heat to low for 3 to 4 hours.
10. Remove chicken from slow cooker and let rest on a cutting board for 10 minutes.
11. Remove vegetables from cavity and discard.
12. Gently pull chicken legs and wings from the body.
13. Slice breast meat crosswise into 1-inch slices.
14. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately.


Rustic Italian Chicken Sandwich

Here is a simple rustic Italian chicken sandwich recipe that's affordable and easy to prepare. I purchase a loaf of freshly baked bread from our local bakery, which yields 4 good-sized sandwiches. My favorite breads include poppyseed (as shown in the picture), sesame seed, and of course, Italian.

It's best to marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes to infuse the Italian dressing flavor. It's even better if you can marinate for a few hours. This Italian chicken sandwich is perfect for lunch or dinner and is always a favorite at family gatherings. 

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Servings: 4
Marinate time: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minute


1 loaf Italian bread, quartered
1-1/2 cups bottled Italian Dressing
4 (4-ounce) Chicken Breasts
1 medium Tomato, sliced
4 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Pour Italian dressing into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken breasts and gently massage dressing into each piece. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 2 hours. 

2. Slice bread loaf lengthwise, then cut into 4 sections. Wrap in foil and set aside.

3. Slice tomato and chop lettuce; set aside.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side, until no longer pink.

6. While the chicken is cooking, place bread in oven and heat for 7-8 minutes.

7. Assemble sandwiches and sprinkle each chicken breast with 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Pairs well with chips and a pickle spear!



Kung Pao Tofu Recipe

Kung pao chicken chinese food recipeKung Pao Tofu is an excellent Chinese food option for individuals who follow a Vegetarian diet. This recipe can be adapted using chicken for those who cannot stand the thought of tofu. However, before you turn up your nose, give this recipe a try. Tofu takes on the flavor of the ingredients it's cooked with. When properly cooked few people notice any difference in texture or flavor.

Use extra-firm tofu when preparing Kung Pao Tofu; otherwise the tofu will crumble when cooked. And, if you chicken out (no pun intended), instructions for preparing this popular Chinese dish with chicken are listed at the bottom of this recipe. Simply cook the chicken first, then follow the recipe below.


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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 5-8 minutes


2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 teaspoons Honey
1 teaspoon Arrowroot or Cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh Ginger, minced
2 teaspoons dried Red Pepper flakes
1 green Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 red Bell Pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small yellow Onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 pound Extra Firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 cup dry roasted Peanuts
4 cups cooked Rice (white, brown, Jasmine)


1) In a small bowl, mix together Balsamic vinegar, Tamari (or soy sauce), honey and sesame oil. Set aside.
2) Mix arrowroot (or cornstarch) with small amount of water until smooth. Add to sauce mixture and stir ingredients until well blended. Set aside.
3) Heat a large, heavy pan or Wok over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
4) Remove pan from heat and carefully add olive oil. Return to burner and heat oil for about 30 seconds or until it reaches the smoking point.
5) Add garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Cook for about 10 seconds and stir frequently.
6) Add green and red peppers and onions. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring frequently until crisp-tender.
7) Add tofu and gently stir to incorporate with vegetables. Cook for 2 minutes.
8) Add sauce and gently stir to incorporate ingredients. Continue stirring and cook until sauce boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.
9) Add peanuts; stir to mix.
10) Remove from heat and serve over rice.


1) Replace tofu with 8-ounces of skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes.
2) In medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil.
3) Add chicken, stirring constantly to avoid sticking.
4) Reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken turns white and cooked through; about 2 minutes.
5) Drain chicken in colander set over a bowl. Set aside.
6) Reserve 1/4 cup of this cooking liquid and add to the vinegar, soy sauce, honey mixture.
7) Follow directions in the recipe above and replace the tofu with chicken when called for.

KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Chicken

KC-Masterpiece-BBQ-Chicken2 I recently received a bottle of KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Sauce through the FoodBuzz Tastemaker program with KC Masterpiece. I've been a fan of KC Masterpiece for as long as I've been cooking and was eager to try their new sauce.

The KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Sauce is thin-bodied with slightly tangy notes of cider vinegar and a bit of heat from red and black pepper.

I wanted to create a sweet and tangy flavor, so I whipped up a wet rub consisting of dark brown sugar, fresh garlic, onion powder, Beau Monde seasoning, and a splash of BBQ sauce, then brushed the chicken in BBQ sauce during the final minutes of grilling.

The brown sugar rub can be tricky to cook with as it creates a caramel-coating that is sticky and can burn easily on the grill. For this reason, I cooked the chicken on low heat to minimize the black crunch. The end result was a sweet and tangy chicken with just a hint of spicy notes at the back of the throat.

I served the KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Chicken with sides of baked beans, baked garlic cheddar mashed muffins, and yeast dinner rolls. I used a whole cut-up chicken and turned the leftovers into a BBQ chicken salad.

My husband and I absolutely loved the new KC Masterpiece sauce. It's thinner than most of the bottled sauces I've used in the past, which I really liked because it didn't overpower the flavor of the meal. I can't wait to try it on pulled pork, ribs, and my slow-roasted beef brisket.


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Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


1 whole Chicken, cut-up
1/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 large cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning
2 teaspoons dry Chicken Rub
1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Sauce


1. Preheat gas grill to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Rinse whole chicken with cool water and pat dry. Cut into pieces.
3. In small bowl, combine dark brown sugar, garlic, onion powder, Beau Monde seasoning, dry chicken rub, and 2 teaspoons KC Masterpiece Southern Style BBQ Sauce.
4. Gently massage rub onto chicken pieces.

KC-Masterpiece-Chicken Rub
5. Place on grill and cook for 25 minutes, turning chicken pieces half-way through cooking.
6. Brush chicken pieces with remaining 1/2-cup of BBQ Sauce during final 5 minutes of cooking.
7. Remove from grill and serve immediately.


Baked Chicken with Turkish Figs and Walnuts

The following baked chicken with Turkish figs and walnuts recipe was inspired by a dish served at one of my favorite local restaurants, Flip Flops Grill and Chill. The executive chef is Danny Veltri, winner of the popular show, Hell's Kitchen and they serve some amazing food there!

The first time I tried Flip Flops baked chicken with figs entrée I knew I had to try to recreate it. The flavor is so rich and robust and the fig seeds add an additional flavor profile that pulls everything together. Even my husband, who isn't a fan of figs, enjoyed this recipe and encouraged me to add it to our list of favorite recipes.

I served the baked chicken with Turkish figs with a side of homemade chicken risotto and fresh steamed green beans. If you've never made risotto, check out my article, How to Prepare Homemade Risotto published at Associated Content.


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Serves: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Beau Monde Seasoning
1 teaspoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup dried Turkish figs, chopped
2 Tablespoons light Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon Wine
1/4 cup Walnuts, chopped
Zest of 1 Lemon, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry. Place in large resealable plastic bag.
3. Add garlic, Beau Monde seasoning, ginger, salt, red wine vinegar, olive oil and figs. Gently massage to incorporate ingredients into chicken. If desired, allow to marinate 20 to 30 minutes in refrigerator.
4. Place chicken breasts and marinade in glass baking dish.
5. Sprinkle with brown sugar and pour Cabernet Sauvignon between each breast.

6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
7. Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes, or until juices run clear.
8. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
9. Transfer to serving plate and top with chopped walnuts and lemon zest.


Brie Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Chicken in Phyllo

This recipe for brie cheese and bacon stuffed chicken in phyllo came to me after making my Greek Feast for Two Dinner Menu. I had plenty of leftover phyllo dough and wanted to try something besides dessert recipes.

The process for making brie cheese and bacon stuffed chicken in phyllo is relatively simple, but does require extra organization. The chicken breasts need to be flattened out for ease of rolling them up. I place the chicken breasts in a resealable bag and flatten with a rolling pin. Take the phyllo dough out of the refrigerator as you begin to prepare the chicken. Cook the bacon ahead of time so it is cool enough to break into small pieces. 

Brie Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Chicken in Phyllo

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Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes


2 (6-oz) boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
2 slices Bacon, cooked extra crispy, chopped
2 ounces Brie Cheese
8 Phyllo Pastry sheets, thawed
3 Tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted


1. Cook bacon slices in medium skillet over medium-high heat. If desired, cut bacon into small chunks prior to cooking. Turn bacon slices or stir bacon bits until extra crispy. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain excess grease.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Place chicken breasts, one at a time, in quart-size resealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin or heavy glass bottle, gently pound and roll chicken breasts to 1/2-inch thickness.

4. Cut brie cheese into 2-inch slices. Place 1-ounce of cheese approximately 2-inches from the narrow end of the breast. Top with crumbled bacon.

5. Fold chicken over cheese and bacon and roll twice; making certain ends are closed. Secure with toothpicks. Set aside.

6. Use 4 sheets of phyllo dough per chicken breast. Melt butter in microwave. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each phyllo sheet with butter. Place buttered sheets on top of one another.

7. Place chicken breast in center of phyllo dough. Carefully remove toothpicks. Wrap sides of phyllo, than wrap ends; making a package.

8. Transfer chicken breasts to oven-safe glass baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until phyllo dough is medium-golden brown.

9. Let sit for 5 minutes. Slice chicken breasts open. Transfer to serving dish and enjoy!


Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salad recipes. It's super easy to throw together and low in calories. You can have it for lunch or dinner and can serve the chicken hot or cold. Whenever I bake chicken breasts for dinner, I like to bake a few extra so I can add them to salads. Preparing the chicken ahead of time greatly reduces the prep time!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 head Romaine lettuce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place chicken in glass baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Cut off bottom, trim leaves, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Place lettuce in medium bowl and add pineapple and mango chunks. Toss well.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken breast and place on salad.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad dressing, if desired

This recipe and many more are available in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet". This spiral-bound cookbook provides more than 100 healthy, yet delicious recipes and can be purchased for just $18.74 at Lulu.com.

Confetti Chicken Salad Recipe

This delightful chicken salad recipe uses millet; a gluten-free grain packed with protein. It's best to marinate the chicken for at least two to three hours before serving. Add the millet and avocados when serving so they don't get watered-down and soggy. 

Confetti chicken salad is great for brown bag lunches, summer celebrations, picnics and cook-outs. Since it contains no mayonnaise, it makes for perfect pitch-in food!


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Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes
Chill for 2 to 3 hours before serving.


1/4 cup Lime juice, fresh
3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
2 cups Chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 cup Celery, diced
2 tablespoons Parsley, fresh, chopped
3 cups Millet, cooked
2 Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into chunks


1. Blend lime juice, oil, garlic and salt in large bowl.
2. Add chicken, celery and parsley and stir well to incorporate ingredients.
3. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours.
4. Add millet and avocado chunks; toss lightly, and serve.

You might also like Napa Valley Chicken Salad made with Poppyseed Dressing!

The Diva Diet The Diva Diet, by Kathy Browning

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Quick and Easy Homemade Chicken and Dumplings Recipe

One of our family favorite meals is homemade chicken and dumplings. Unfortunately, making chicken and dumplings from scratch can be a time-consuming process; making it a difficult dish to serve during the work week. I recently discovered a few tricks which reduce the cooking time by half without compromising the flavor.

Last week I made the following quick and easy homemade chicken and dumplings using my new Emeril Lagasse cookware. I love cooking even more now that I have a high-quality set of pots and pans! It's hard to believe what a difference there is. Everything cooks faster and clean up is a breeze!

Before sharing the homemade chicken and dumplings recipe, I'd also like to share a money-saving tip. When my husband and I became empty nesters, I began making my chicken and dumplings using chicken breasts. However, I was robbing us of the flavor infused from the bones and skin of the bird. This time, I purchased a whole cut-up chicken because it was on sale, but I received three extra bonuses.

First, I didn't have to cut-up the chicken. Second, I was able to use both dark and white meat and obtain the flavor from the bones. Third, there was enough leftover chicken that we were able to enjoy two meals! Using one breast, one leg, one thigh, one wing and the chicken back, I was able to achieve the robust flavor I desired.

Additionally, I normally cook the chicken first to create the chicken broth for the dumplings. After the chicken is cooked, I remove it from the broth and allow it to cool while the dumplings are cooking. I was running short on time and decided to cook the dumplings in salted water, while the chicken cooked in boxed chicken broth.

This technique cut the cooking time in half. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Using this method allows everyone to enjoy a good old fashioned bowl of homemade chicken and dumplings throughout the busy work week. I hope you enjoy the recipe!


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Serves 4
Prep Time: 15minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes


1 whole cut-up chicken divided into 1 breast, 1 leg, 1 thigh, 1 wing and chicken back. Freeze remaining parts for another meal.
1 32-ounce box Chicken Broth
½ white or yellow Onion, diced
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Celery stalks, diced
1 Carrot, diced or shredded
1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
¼ package Mary B's Dumplings Open Kettle


1. Wash and pat dry chicken parts.

2. Add chicken broth to a large stockpot and warm over medium-high heat.

3. Add chicken pieces, onion, garlic, celery and carrots to broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 25 minutes.


4. In a large sauce pan, add 8 cups water and Adobo seasoning. Bring to a boil.

5. Cut Mary B's dumplings into six slices per strip.

6. Add dumplings, one at a time, to boiling water. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Stir frequently and cook for 30-35 minutes, or until tender.


7. Remove chicken pieces from chicken broth and transfer to a cutting board. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.

8. Once chicken is cool to touch, remove skin and pull chicken meat from the bones. Shred or chop into bite size pieces. Do not use the meat from the chicken back. This piece is used for flavoring purposes only.

9. Place chicken meat in the broth.

10. Drain water from dumplings using a colander.

11. Add dumplings to chicken broth and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

12. Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately. 



Copyright © The Cheap Gourmet and Kathy Browning. All rights reserved. This article is protected by copyright and intellectual property rights. Reproducing or electronically submitting this article without written permission from the author is prohibited by law. Govern yourself accordingly. Violators will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and many of us are in need of outstanding recipes that will impress our guests and provide a moist, tender turkey. Today, I'd like to share my favorite Thanksgiving turkey recipe resources and hope they help you find the perfect recipe for your holiday feast.


Top Five Thanksgiving Turkey Recipe Resources:

Food Network – The Food Network provides dozens of turkey recipes, along with appetizers, side dishes, stuffing and dressing, side dishes, salads and desserts. Thanksgiving turkey recipes include: Roasted Turkey with Citrus Rosemary Salt; Oven Roasted Turkey Breast with Leeks; Paula Deen's Turkey with Maple Cranberry Glaze; Bobby Flay's Apple-Sage Glazed Grilled Whole Turkey; and Alton Brown's Turkey with Stuffing.

AllRecipes.com– Here you will discover how to make the infamous deep-fried turkey, along with recipes for BBQ turkey, smoked turkey, classic stuffed turkey, the best "Ugly Turkey", easy herb turkey and the "World's Best" turkey!

Butterball provides the Turkey Talk Line each weekday between the hours of 8am to 8pm. The Butterball website provides tips and how-to ideas for roasting, broasting, grilling and baking whole turkeys, turkey legs, wings and breasts. Butterball is currently offering a $2.00 discount coupon for any fresh or frozen whole Butterball turkey. Offer expires 12/31/09.

EatTurkey.com offers a wealth of turkey recipes and resources to create a successful holiday meal. Here you'll find prep tips and cooking times, holiday menu planners, roasting procedures, how to choose the proper roasting pan, how to carve a turkey, and storage and preparation safety guides.

Real Simple is one of my favorite resources for obtaining all types of recipes. In the spirit of the holidays, Real Simple offers a vast array of turkey recipes including tips for how to host a Thanksgiving Potluck dinner.

Real Simple offers more than 50 Thanksgiving recipes including: Basic Roast Turkey, Maple Glazed Turkey, Roast Turkey with Sage Stuffing and Gravy, and Turkey with Molasses Butter. You'll also have access to recipes for homemade gravies, stuffing, dressings, breads and biscuits, cranberries, beans, spinach and greens, salads, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetables and desserts.

Take a moment to subscribe to The Cheap Gourmet mailing list to receive more holiday tips and recipes, along with future giveaways. We have lined up some amazing sponsors who will be offering exclusive giveaways to The Cheap Gourmet readers.

Simply enter your email address in the subscription box on the right sidebar. We never sell, rent, trade or giveaway your contact information and only contact you when new articles and announcements are published.

Thank you for being part of The Cheap Gourmet family. We wish you a happy holiday season and a wonderful Thanksgiving!

P.S. Don't forget to download your complimentary "Healthy Holiday Thanksgiving Menu Planner" below:

Balsamic Glazed Chicken over a Bed of Long Grain and Wild Rice

The following Balsamic Glazed Chicken over a Bed of Long Grain and Wild Rice is a quick and easy recipe that bursts with flavor and leaves you feeling full and satisfied. It is light enough for a summer dinner, yet hardy enough for a cold winter night.

The balsamic glazed chicken over a bed of long grain and wild rice recipe was developed during our "clean out the pantry" week. I really enjoy engaging in clean out the pantry week because it forces me to be creative and helps reduce our food inventory.

I'm dangerous when it comes to grocery shopping. I'm worse than a shopaholic at the mall. I take advantage of buy one get one free specials and proudly present my fistful of coupons. But, I have a tendency to go overboard in my attempt to save a buck. My spending sprees eventually end up in excessive inventory that gets shoved to the back of the pantry.

Chicken is perhaps one of the easiest meats to cook with because it is so versatile. Did you ever watch, Forrest Gump? If so, you will remember the long list of shrimp ideas that Bubba rattled off. I'm the Bubba of chicken. I can come up with a thousand ways to prepare it.

I hope you enjoy the following recipe and encourage you to take part in your own clean out the pantry week. You might be surprised by the wonderful concoctions you can come up with! If nothing else, you can save yourself some big bucks by not grocery shopping for a week. And, if your meal sucks, you can afford to go out to dinner ;-)

Balsamic Chicken on a Bed of Long Grain Rice


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Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes


1 box Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/4 Vidalia Onion, chopped
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original Seasoning Blend
1/2 teaspoon Goya Adobo seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Prepare Uncle Ben's rice as per package directions.
  2. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Cut into 1-inch cubes.
  3. Rinse and dry vegetables. Using a clean cutting board and knife, chop vegetables into bite-size pieces.
  4. Mix Mrs. Dash, Adobo, and black pepper and sprinkle over chicken.
  5. Add olive oil to a 12-inch skillet. Heat oil over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Carefully add chicken to skillet; making sure pieces do not overlap. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and turn.
  7. Add chopped vegetables to chicken.
  8. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until chicken is done and vegetables are crisp-tender.
  9. Reduce heat to low. Pour in balsamic vinegar and gently mix until chicken and veggies are coated.
  10. Simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.
  11. Place rice on plates and top with chicken and vegetable mixture. Serve immediately.

I encourage you to click on the hyperlinks in the ingredients list. Each website offers a wealth of cooking tips and yummy recipes. Vidalia Onion is currently hosting "Sweet Times" cooking contest. Grand prize is $1,000 cash!

If you like receiving free stuff, click on the Freefly's banner below. I subscribed less than two weeks ago and have already received a 20-pack of Nicorette gum, a Greenies chew bone for my dog, samples of Bragg's live food products, and samples of Bodycology products through Walmart. I actually enjoy going to the mailbox now :-) Check 'em out. You'll love it!

Super Simple Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken and Bread with Melted Brie Cheese

Today, I'd like to share a super simple summer salad with grilled chicken and a side of bread with melted brie cheese. This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and is packed with protein, calcium, fiber and flavor!

You can make this super simple summer salad using a prepackaged salad mix. However, I prefer to use fresh ingredients. It is actually cheaper to buy the vegetables and chop them your self. The salad will be much fresher and crisp and tends to last longer than the bagged salad mixes.

Perdue Chicken offers prepackaged chicken breasts, which are perfect for adding to salads. They are the perfect portion size and come in a variety of flavors. The Italian marinated chicken works great with this particular recipe. You can also use packaged chicken strips or plain chicken breasts. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!

Super Simple Summer Salad with Grilled Chicken and Bread with Melted Brie Cheese

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Serves: Two
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes

Salad Ingredients:

2 6-ounce skinless, boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 bunch Romaine lettuce, stems removed and chopped
1/4 head Iceberg lettuce, chopped
1 Carrot, diced
1 stalk Celery, diced
2 Green Onions, chopped
1 medium Tomato, chopped
Salad Dressing
Salt and Pepper, if desired

Bread Ingredients:
1/4 loaf Artisan Bread (found in the bakery of most supermarkets)
1/4 round Alouette Baby Brie, thinly sliced


  1. If using regular chicken breasts, add salt and pepper or other seasonings of choice. I like Mrs. Dash because it adds a nice flavor. You could also use McCormick's Roasted Garlic seasoning or marinate the chicken in 1/4 cup of Dale's Seasoning for 10 minutes.
  2. Cook chicken in the broiler or on a gas or charcoal grill. Cook for 6-7 minutes per side or until center is no longer pink.
  3. While chicken is cooking, prepare salad mix.
  4. Wash and dry vegetables. If using packaged salad mix, empty bag into colander and rinse with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels.
  5. Loosely chop romaine and head lettuce. Cut spine out of romaine leaves.
  6. Dice celery and carrots.
  7. Remove the root from green onions and slice thin rounds.
  8. Quarter tomato, remove seeds (if desired) and cut into chunks.
  9. Toss ingredients together and place in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  10. Slice four 1/2-inch thick bread slices from Artisan Bread.
  11. Cut four 1/4-inch slices of Baby Brie and place on top of bread.
  12. Remove chicken from broiler or grill and place on plate. Allow to set for 5 minutes.
  13. Place bread on baking sheet and place in 350-degree oven. Heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven.
  14. Slice chicken into strips or cut into 1/2-inch chunks.
  15. Transfer salad to serving plates.
  16. Top with grilled chicken and add salad dressing, if desired.
  17. Serve with two slices of baked bread with melted brie cheese.

Super Simple Summer Salad

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Brie Cheese & Wrapped in Bacon

Last night, I whipped up an amazing chicken breast stuffed with brie cheese and wrapped in bacon. Unfortunately, my digital camera broke and I was unable to photograph my creation. However, it was so amazing I HAD to share the recipe with you. Once I purchase a new camera, I'll make the recipe again and add some photos to this post. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this delicious entree as much as we did!

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Brie Cheese and Wrapped in Bacon

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2 6-ounce Chicken Breasts
3 strips Bacon
4 slices Brie Cheese


  • Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel.

  • Place chicken inside a quart-size plastic bag.

  • Using a hammer, gently pound chicken until it's about 1/2-inch thick. Or, use a meat mallet.

  • Place two 1/4-inch slices of Brie cheese in the center of the breast.

  • Fold chicken breast twice, making sure cheese stays tucked inside.

  • Wrap each breast with 1-1/2 slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.

  • Place on broiler pan, then place in broiler.

  • Broil for 7 minutes, then turn chicken breast and broil for another 7 minutes.

  • Remove from broiler and let sit for 3-4 minutes.

  • Remove toothpicks.

  • Transfer to serving plate and enjoy!

Super Simple "Leftover" Chicken Pasta Recipe

The following Super Simple Chicken Pasta Recipe was created using leftover chicken and a variety of pastas. Do you ever have boxes with just a little bit of pasta left in them? If so, this recipe is the perfect solution!


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Here's what you need to make this tasty dish. Feel free to add or delete spices and veggies to create your own unique pasta dish.

8 ounces Dried Pasta - I used penne, shells and bowtie pasta

1 or 2 Chicken breasts, diced (You could use dark or white meat or a combination)

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 White or Yellow onion, chopped

1 Green Bell Pepper, chopped

1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeds removed and minced

1 Tomato, seeded and chopped

1 ounce freshly grated Parmesan Cheese (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Using a 6-quart pot, fill about 2/3rd's of the way with water to boil the pasta.

Place the pot on a stove burner and turn on High. Add about 1 teaspoon of salt, if desired and a teaspoon of olive oil (helps to keep the pasta from sticking).

Add pasta to boiling water and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Add 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil to 12-inch skillet. Place on stovetop burner and turn heat to Medium.

Add garlic and onion. Saute until onion becomes translucent; about 4 minutes.

Add green bell and jalapeno peppers and cook for 3 minutes.

Add diced chicken.

When pasta is thoroughly cooked, drain water and add to veggie mixture in the skillet.

Reduce heat to Low.

Add tomatoes and gently toss. Cook all ingredients for 4-5 minutes.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Feel free to add in additional spices such as Mrs. Dash, basil, oregano or parsley.

Transfer to serving bowl and enjoy!

Add a yummy salad and freshly baked bread (Pillsbury has a fabulous French bread loaf!) for a satisfying meal.

Writing Awards and New Recipes

As you may already know, I am a Content Producer for Yahoo Contributor Network. My current portfolio contains over 300 articles on a wide variety of topics, but until recently I had never posted any recipes. Last week I received an email from another AC writer, congratulating me on my reward. Funny thing is, I didn't know I had won an award.

I logged in to my account and lo and behold, what do I see but a shiny star with "Top 1000" printed on it. Rumor has it that YCN has around 100,000 content producers. If this is fact, that places me in the top one percent. Not bad for a girl who barely graduated from high school, eh?

YCN recently brought back one of my favorite features, known as Call for Content (C4). The staff requests articles on specific topics, which makes it much easier to know what type of material they want. This past week they had several requests for various types of recipes. You can bet I was all over that!

I submitted three of my favorite recipes:

Napa Valley Chicken Salad ~ A tender chicken salad perfect for people who don't like mayonnaise. Moistened with a poppyseed dressing, this chicken salad includes sweet red grapes and crunchy pecans for a sweet and savory flavor combination. It's excellent wrapped in lettuce leaves, stuffed inside a tomato or as a topper for crackers or gourmet breads. Once you try this recipe, you'll never want regular chicken salad again!

Vegetarian Boca Burger Salisbury Steak ~ This tastes so much like "real" meat that even the meat lovers in your family will have a hard time telling the difference. Boca Burgers are a soy based product and have the texture of hamburger. The flavors of the gravy, onions and pepper infuse into the Boca Burger, giving them an authentic salisbury steak flavor. This dish screams for mashed potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Patties ~ My grandmother made these no-bake cookies for me when I was a young girl. She never baked and rarely cooked, so this was a big treat for me. I recently updated the recipe by using dark chocolate instead of unsweetened cocoa. You can whip up a batch of these cookies in less than 15 minutes. They are super rich and will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth.

Yahoo Contributor Network provides you with the option to email these recipes to yourself or a friend. You can also print them directly from the screen.  If you'd like to be notified when I post new articles, click on the Subscribe button under my photo.

Bon Appetit!

Check out my published content!

Sweet and Sassy Crockpot Chicken Recipe

The following Sweet and Sassy Crockpot Chicken recipe is the most amazing dish I have ever tasted. The flavors are a cross between Bourbon Chicken and Sweet and Sour Chicken. This recipe is super easy to adapt. While it calls for a whole cut-up chicken, you can also use either bone-in or boneless chicken breasts, but will need to adjust the cooking time.

Before you start cooking Sweet and Sassy Crockpot Chicken, allow me to share a few tips with you.

  • If you use chicken breasts, reduce the amount of brown sugar to between 1/2 and 3/4 cup.
  • Reduce the cooking time by 75 percent by using breast meat cut into chunks. This method only requires a 2 hour cooking time over low heat.
  • Last, but not least, you can also cook this recipe on the stovetop by using boneless chicken breasts cut into strips or chunks.


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Serves 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours crockpot; 45 minutes stovetop


1 whole Chicken, cut-up
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2/3 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Lemon-Lime soda
4 Garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground
2-3 Green Onions, sliced, optional


  1. Wash and pat dry chicken. Place in Crockpot.
  2. In small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.
  3. Turn heat to low and cook chicken for 6 to 8 hours.
  4. Carefully remove from Crockpot using large tongs.
  5. Transfer pieces to serving bowl. Top with fresh green onions if desired and serve immediately.

This chicken tastes heavenly when served over rice or noodles. Add a fresh salad and hot dinner rolls for a satisfying meal on a cold winter night.

Turkey with Rice Soup Recipe

If you're like most Americans, you've got a boatload of leftover turkey in your fridge. The good news is turkey is perhaps one of the most versatile foods. You can make just about anything out of turkey -- turkey soup, turkey sandwiches, turkey with rice casserole, turkey gumbo and just plain ole' reheated turkey.

Personally, I'm a big fan of turkey soup. Although I live in Florida now, I'm originally from the Midwest and during the winter months I always indulged in a variety of soups. With the warmer weather down here, I haven't eaten as much soup as I need so when I saw the mound of leftover turkey from our Christmas dinner, my first thought was "Yeah! I can make a big batch of turkey and rice soup!"

Below is one of my favorite Turkey with Rice Soup recipes. Unfortunately, I was out of carrots so the photo below is what I ended up with. I highly recommend adding carrots to this recipe. Not only does it add a hint of color to an otherwise drab looking soup, it also adds a rich flavor. Serve with a grilled cheese sandwich for a filling and tasty lunch or dinner meal.



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Yields: 6 servings (large bowls)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Turkey_with_rice_soup INGREDIENTS:

2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Onion, chopped
4 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
1 teaspoon Thyme
2-3 medium Carrots, diced
2 cups Turkey, chopped
2  (15-ounce) cans Vegetable Broth
4 cups Water
1-1/2 cups Rice, uncooked (I prefer Jasmine for it's nutty flavor)
Salt and pepper to taste


  • Add olive oil to large stockpot and set burner to medium-low heat.
  • Add onion, garlic, bay leaves and thyme. Saute until onions are translucent.
  • Add carrots, turkey, vegetable broth and water. Bring to a boil.
  • Add rice and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Reduce heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for one hour.
  • Remove bay leaves and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer to serving bowls and serve immediately.

Crock-Pot.com (Jarden Consumer Solutions)

Thanksgiving Tips

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. Currently, we have about 48 hours left until Thanksgiving Feast Day arrives! I've been scouring the 'net to find quick, easy Thanksgiving tips that will help you prepare the perfect turkey, bake the best pies, serve delectable desserts and locate a cornucopia of Thanksgiving recipes.

The first Thanksgiving Tip is provided by Whole Foods Market. They offer a Holiday Meal Planning Guide which will help you organize your guest list, prepare a menu and shopping list and develop a cooking plan. Organization is the key to presenting an elaborate Thanksgiving feast. Whole Foods Holiday Meal Planning Guide will help you get everything under control in no time!

If you're planning on serving turkey for your Thanksgiving meal, Whole Foods Market presents the Guide to a Perfect Turkey. Discover how to choose the perfect turkey, learn how to safely handle the turkey (you don't want your guests getting sick!), stuffing techniques, general turkey cooking tips and a turkey roasting guide. The Guide to a Perfect Turkey provides everything you need to prepare the perfect bird!

Not sure how to carve a turkey? Whole Foods provides a step-by-step How to Carve a Turkey guide complete with photos.

Need help with baking? This Holiday Baking Guide will help you every step of the way. Learn how to choose the right type of flour, understand the difference between chocolate, discover healthy substitutions, pick up a list of pantry basics and grab some delicious recipes.

If you find yourself struggling as you prepare your Thanksgiving meal, Real Simple magazine offers How to Fix 10 Common Thanksgiving Problems and a Thanksgiving Cheat Sheet.

Need Thanksgiving Recipes? You can find 925 Thanksgiving recipes at the Food Network or download The Cheap Gourmet's recipe collections including Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection or the Pumpkin Patch Recipe Collection.

Announcing: The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

It's official. The holidays are rapidly approaching and it's time to start thinking about what we'll be serving for holiday meals, social gatherings and office parties. Since many of us are attempting to eat healthier foods, I wanted to share my collection of healthy holiday recipes. Best of all, it's free! ;-)

The Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a 25-page report that includes a Holiday Menu Planner that is super easy to use. Simply select one recipe from each category, along with two side dishes and you'll be well on your way to creating a delectable, tasty holiday meal everyone will be talking about!

Categories include:

  • Appetizers
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Entrees
  • Side Dishes
  • Beverages
  • Desserts

Recipes Include:

  • Artichoke and White Bean Dip
  • Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  • The Great Pumpkin Soup
  • Quinoa Soup with Greens and Potatoes
  • Quinoa Apple Salad
  • Persimmon Mesculin Salad
  • Roasted Turkey
  • Baked Honey Ham
  • Mashed Sweet Potatoes
  • Quinoa Stuffing
  • Asparagus with Lemon Butter
  • Pumpkin Dumplings
  • Pumpkin Pie Smoothie with Homemade Whipped Cream
  • Orange Coconut Frost
  • Creamy Pumpkin Pudding
  • Rice Pudding with Cranberries

Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection is a PDF file and requires Adobe Reader to view. If you do not have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, you can download it for free at www.Adobe.com.

Click the underlined link below to download your free copy of
Download Healthy Holiday Recipe Collection

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad is one of my all-time favorite summer salad recipes. It's super easy to throw together and low in calories. You can have it for lunch or dinner and can serve the chicken hot or cold. Whenever I bake chicken breasts for dinner, I like to bake a few extra so I can add them to salads. Preparing the chicken ahead of time greatly reduces the prep time!

Caribbean Caesar Chicken Salad
Serves 2
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

1 head Romaine lettuce
2 cups fresh Pineapple, cut into chunks
1 cup Mango, peeled and cut into chunks
2 4-ounce boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons Salad Dressing (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Rinse chicken in cool water and pat dry. Place chicken in glass baking dish and bake in oven for 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the center.
  3. Wash and dry romaine lettuce. Cut off bottom, trim leaves, and cut into bite-size pieces.
  4. Place lettuce in medium bowl and add pineapple and mango chunks. Toss well.
  5. Remove chicken from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Slice chicken breast and place on salad.
  7. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of salad dressing, if desired

This recipe and many more are available in my cookbook, "The Diva Diet". This spiral-bound cookbook provides more than 100 healthy, yet delicious recipes and can be purchased for just $23.49 at Lulu.com.

All-Purpose Meat Marinade Recipe

Here's a recipe for an easy-to-prepare all-purpose meat marinade. You can use this marinade for white fish, chicken, turkey, red meat (it's awesome for London Broil), ribs, hamburgers, meatloaf and more. If you try it, stop back and let me know how you used it and how you like it!

All-purpose-meat-marinade-the-cheap-gourmetALL-PURPOSE MEAT MARINADE
Makes 1 cup


1/3-cup Soy Sauce (reduced sodium is a healthier choice)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Adobo Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, freshly ground


  1. Using a small wire whisk, combine all ingredients together.
  2. Place your choice of meat in a glass baking dish and pour marinade over meat. Flip meat and coat the other side.
  3. Place meat in refrigerator for 30 minutes and no longer than 2 hours.
  4. Transfer meat to oven or grill and cook until done.

Note: If using the marinade to season hamburgers or meatloaf, use just enough to moisten the meat. Otherwise, you'll end up with a liquidy mess that won't be pretty or edible.

Tip: You can double or triple the recipe and store in a shaker bottle. Store in the refrigerator and use to season rice, vegetables, potatoes, or whatever strikes your fancy.


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Sesame Ginger Turkey Salad Recipe

This Sesame Ginger Turkey Salad is so filling it can be served as an entree. You can easily take this to work and have a healthy lunch that costs less than $5.00 to prepare. Simply prepare the turkey the night before and store in the refrigerator. Reheat the turkey in a microwave and add to the salad mix.



Serves 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes


8 ounces Turkey Breast, sliced into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup Lawry's Sesame Ginger marinade
1 bag Salad Mix
2 medium Carrots, sliced, diced, or Julliene
2 medium stalks Celery, sliced or diced
3-4 Green Onions, whites only, sliced
1/2 medium Cucumber, sliced or diced
1 medium Tomato, chopped, seeds removed
1/3 cup Marzetti's Honey Balsamic Dressing
1/2 cup Sargento's 6 Cheese Italian Blend, optional


  1. Add turkey slices to small skillet. Add Sesame Ginger marinade and mix well.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes; stirring occasionally.
  3. Rinse and dry salad mix and vegetables.
  4. Prepare vegetables; then place salad mix and vegetables in a large plastic bag.
  5. Seal bag and shake well to incorporate ingredients.
  6. Arrange salad mix onto plates.
  7. Top each salad with 4 ounces of turkey slices.
  8. Add two tablespoons of salad dressing to each salad.
  9. Top with cheese if desired.
  10. Serve immediately

Discover unique Mustards, Oils, Spreads & Condiments at Mouth.com.

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Spicy Garlic Grilled Chicken Wings Recipe

What you are about to read is my highly regarded, and up until this moment, highly secret spicy garlic grilled chicken wings recipe. I have decided to share it with you today because that's what good cooks do ;-). 

Spicy-garlic-grilled-chicken-wings-the-cheap-gourmetSPICY GARLIC GRILLED CHICKEN WINGS RECIPE
Serves 2-4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes




12 Chicken Wings, tips removed and divided into sections
1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/2 stick Butter, unsalted
1/3 cup Frank's Hot Sauce
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo seasoning


  1. Preheat gas grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wash chicken wings and pat dry with paper towel. Remove tips and cut wings into sections.
  3. Lightly sprinkle cayenne pepper over wings.
  4. Place wings on hot grill. Turn after wings have cooked for about 7 minutes.
  5. Place butter, hot sauce, garlic and Adobo seasoning into a 1-quart pan.
  6. Heat over medium-low heat. When butter begins to melt; whisk lightly to incorporate all ingredients.
  7. When wings are finished, remove from heat and place in a container with a lid.
  8. Pour melted sauce over wings and shake well to evenly distribute.
  9. Transfer to serving platter and serve immediately.
  10. Serve with chunky bleu cheese dressing and celery sticks if desired


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Herb Crusted Chicken Breast

The following recipe is taken from my cookbook, "The Diva Diet," available at Lulu.com.

Herb-crusted-chicken-breast-the-cheap-gourmetHerb Crusted Chicken Breast
Servings: 4 Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes


4 Chicken breasts, boneless & skinless (4 ounces each)
2 cloves Garlic, mashed
1 tablespoon Lemon juice, fresh
2 teaspoon Sage, fresh, chopped
2 teaspoons Thyme, fresh, chopped
1 teaspoon Rosemary, fresh, chopped
1/4 cup Vegetable broth (home-made or canned)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place chicken in glass baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake chicken for 20-25 minutes, or until it is no longer pink. While chicken is cooking chop herbs.
  4. In a separate small skillet add chopped herbs, lemon juice, broth, pressed garlic, salt and pepper. Heat on medium heat for just 30 seconds.
  5. When chicken is done, slice and place on platter.
  6. Drizzle herb sauce over chicken ans serve immediately.



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