Air Fried Chicken Thighs and Buttermilk Waffles with Hot Honey

Quarantine cooking at its finest. I went to multiple grocery stores and none of them had chicken with skin! I was nervous about how this would turn out since 1. crispy skin is delicious 2. I wasn’t sure the flour would stick well without skin and 3. I was worried the outer meat would become more dry than crispy. But, we must make do with what we have, and thankfully, we had chicken thighs which tend to be nice and juicy. And also, extra panko which adds some extra crunch.

Ingredients


An Ode to Air Fried Chicken

  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup panko
  • 1 egg
  • KFC spice mix!
  • Pam


An Ode to Buttermilk Waffles

  • 1 cup Aunt Jemima Complete Buttermilk Waffle Mix
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1.5 ounces of vegetable oil


An Ode to Colonel Sanders

  • 2/3 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon basil
  • 1/3 tablespoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mustard
  • 4 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3 tablespoons white pepper

An Ode to Hot Honey

  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1/2 cup of honey

Directions

  1. For the hot honey, heat the honey over medium heat.
  2. Place the thinly sliced jalapenos in a jar. When the honey is warm and liquid, pour over the jalapenos and let sit at room temperature until cool. Allow the mixture to steep overnight. For a more mild honey, remove the jalapenos. For a more intense hot honey, leave them.
  3. For the chicken, mix 2 Tbsp of the KFC secret spice mix with 1 cup of buttermilk.
  4. Coat the chicken thighs with the mixture and seal in a Tupperware in the fridge overnight.
  5. Stay up late watching Netflix and 2nd guessing your decision to use skinless chicken. Debate the merits of going to the store in the morning to look for skin-on chicken thighs on little sleep with people standing too close to you and ultimately not getting any chicken because the store is out of stock. Finally, convince yourself not to go. Not because of all the legitimate above mentioned reasons, but because then you won’t have time to brine the chicken, and brining is truly the most important part.
  6. Turn your air fryer (I have a Ninja Foodi) on to the Air crisp setting at 360F and set the time to 25 minutes to allow it to preheat.
  7. As the fryer preheats, mise en place! Set up 3 bowls. One with panko crumbs, one with the egg, beaten, and a third with the all-purpose flour mixed with 4 Tbsp of KFC spice mix.
  8. Once the air fryer is ready, a piece of chicken and let the marinade drip off. Then coat the chicken in the flour, next dip it in the egg wash, and finally the panko*. Lightly spray both sides with Pam.
  9. Place the chicken in your air fryer (in the crisper basket) and cook for 10 minutes. Do not let the chicken touch. I was able to do 2 thighs at a time. After 10 minutes, flip the chicken and cook another 5 minutes or until the internal temp of the chicken is 165F.**
  10. Heat the oven to 200F. Throw your chicken into the oven to stay warm as you prepare your waffles.
  11. For the waffles, pre-heat your waffle iron.
  12. In a bowl, combine the pancake mix, water, and vegetable oil and stir until the large lumps disappear. Let the batter rest 5 minutes. (Now you will be sure your waffle iron is hot n ready!)
  13. Make the waffles.
  14. To serve, grab your waffle and place some chicken on top, smother in hot honey and syrup. Throw some jalapenos on top as a warning that this is spicy and also so it’s Instagram pretty.

* I did run out of panko. I had some thighs and also nugget sized thigh bites, so I just didn’t coat those in panko. It’s quarantine time, we can do this.
** I like to live on the edge. As long as it’s 155-165, I’m good. I also place the chicken in the oven at 250F after it’s done to keep it warm until dinner.
*** Wow, it looks like the skinless chicken thighs really don’t cut the calories too much! This should probably serve 4. I had some leftovers, but TBH that was because I wanted to save room for cake later.

Macros!

Calories: 877
Carbs: 73
Fat: 37
Protein: 59
Serves 3***

Cozy Creamy Dreamy Chicken Tortellini Soup

I finally made a soup that I can call cozy! This soup is pretty thick, which I like. And the broth almost feels like a nice, rich sauce. It’s not the best for when you’re sitting at home sick, but throw it in a mason jar, take it to work, microwave, plate and you have a sophisticated, elevated lunch.

Ingredients

  • 5 links sweet, Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO200 grams (about 1/2 large) onion, diced
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbsp All-Purpose Seasoning*
  • 2 Tbsp All-Purpose flour
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp Neufchatel cheese
  • 200 grams (about 2.5 cups) of kale
  • 10 oz chicken tortellini**


Directions

  1. In your dutch oven***, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Once the oil is hot, slice open your sweet, sweet, Italian chicken sausage casing and put the goods in the pan. Crumble and cook.
  3. Add in the onion, garlic, and seasoning. Cook until the onion softens and begins to turn translucent.Stir in the flour until it’s lightly browned. Then add the tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Stir until the tomato sauce and broth have come together as one.
  4. Crank up the heat until the soup starts to boil. Add the kale, cover about 5 minutes until the kale starts to wilt and turn a vibrant shade of green.
  5. Break up your cream cheese and stir in until it has fully dissolved into the soup. Add pasta, cook for 5 minutes.

*Use your favorite. I used sazon, but a garlic and herb seasoning or original Mrs Dash would work too. Basically whatever you have on hand will work.
** I used fresh pasta. If you use frozen and the instructions on your tortellini say it needs to cook for closer to 10 minutes instead of 5, add them before you add the kale, cook for 5 min, and then drop in the kale.
*** See! I told you it was cozy. We are using brightly painted, enameled dutch ovens to cook this shit.

Macros!
Calories: 420
Carbs: 38
Fat: 17
Protein: 27
Fiber: 3
Serves 5

Kung Wow (That’s a lot of Celery) Chicken

*Or how I learned to stop worrying about eating raw celery sticks with hummus and love chopping copious amounts of celery.


This recipe was inspired by a trip to Costco. I hadn’t been in years, but when my friend offered to take me to pick up a ham for Christmas, I was in there like swimwear. To be polite, I kept my browsing to what I felt was a minimum. This was my first trip to Costco where I didn’t browse every aisle. Or fill up the cart. What I did grab were pre-cut celery sticks! I love to eat them with hummus, but they rarely go on sale and I don’t like to cut my own sticks. (Shoutout to my misen knife making chopping celery a breeze!) And I got about half a million pounds and between all the Christmas celebrations, ate about four celery sticks with hummus. So I found myself with tons of celery threatening to die in my fridge, no hummus and no desire to eat celery soup. (Google, wtf?) Thankfully, I recalled that Kung Pao chicken has celery and well, here we are.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into chunks
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 400g celery, sliced
  • 3/4 cup brown rice*
  • 1 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2/3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce**
  • 1 tsp sesame oil***
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp sake
  • 1 Tbsp ACV
  • 3 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (I used Wegman’s Tom Tom sauce)

Directions

  1. Prepare brown rice according to the package.
  2. Toss the chicken chunks with cornstarch, salt, pepper, sesame oil, soy sauce, and sake. Make sure all the chicken is coated. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. Over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Once it’s hot and shimmering, add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the celery and bell peppers. Cook until bell pepper has softened. The celery will soften, but not as much.****
  4. Push the celery and peppers to the side. Lower heat to medium and add the chicken along with any remaining marinade. Cook until chicken has been cooked all the way through.
  5. Stir in the chili garlic sauce.
  6. Serve over rice!

* Or white rice. The macros for white and brown rice are about the same.
** The crazy salty one
*** The dark, toasted one
**** Of course, I didn’t chop everything before this step, so I definitely finished all this by the time the chicken was done. Had you done all the chopping ahead of time, you will want to wait until there are about 5 – 10 minutes left of marinating time before starting all this. The upside was, it was perfect timing to finish all the food at the same time as the rice!

Macros!

Calories: 425
Carbs: 38
Fat: 17
Protein:
27
Fiber: 4


Serves 4

Ground Turkey Quesadillas with Chipotle Ranch Dip

Super quick and easy! I was surprised when I looked at the clock and realized I was done in about 20 minutes! You’ll wind up with a bunch of leftover seasoned ground turkey. It was either that or have half a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes open and what would you do with them besides adding them to ground turkey? I guess you could make some killer queso dip, but you’d probably think the dip was a great way to use up the ground turkey too. I wound using mine for pizza and it was awesome. Do the same!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 93/7 ground turkey
  • 1 can Ro-Tel fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2.5 servings of shredded Mexican cheese
  • 4 flat-out wraps*
  • 4 Tbsp Greek yogurt ranch dressing
  • 2 Tbsp chipotle hot sauce

Directions

  1. Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and add ground turkey. Cook over medium heat, breaking up the meat into crumbles. Once the turkey is about 75% done, drain the can of Ro-Tel and add to ground turkey. Continue to cook until meat is cooked through.
  2. Transfer the turkey mixture from the skillet to a bowl.
  3. Prepare tortillas!
  4. Divide half of the turkey amongst the four wraps. Keep the meat on the bottom half, top with cheese, then fold the tortilla. One at a time**, place the tortillas on the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat until cheese melts and tortilla crisps, about 2-3 minutes each side.
  5. While the tortillas crisps, prep the dipping sauce. Mix the ranch and chipotle. Taste and adjust as needed.
  6. Once the quesadillas are done, slice and drizzle with half the dip. Use the rest for dunking!

* Or whatever low calorie, high fiber wrap you have ** Two at a time if your skillet is big enough and your quesadilla flipping skills are on point. I attempted that at first, but each flip, I lost some filling and was spending lots of time restuffing my quesadilla.

Macros!
Calories: 467
Carbs: 33
Fat: 23
Protein: 42
Fiber: 13

Serves 2

Greek Yogurt Jiffy Corn Muffins with Strawberry Compote

Greek yogurt in everything! I’m not sure Greek yogurt really changes the taste too much in these muffins, and it’s not packing any protein punches in this recipe, but it’s a nice swap for people like me who rarely have milk in the fridge. Pro-tip for the compote, have someone else make it while you sit on the couch yelling instructions a la Vincenzo on The Golden Girls.



Ingredients
For the corn muffins
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
For the strawberry compote
  • 1 lb strawberries
  • 2 oz orange juice*
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with 9 silicone muffin liners.
  2. In a bowl, mix the box of Jiffy mix, egg, and Greek yogurt until combined.
  3. The batter will thick and slightly lumpy.
  4. Fill muffin liners approximately 1/2 – 3/4 full.
  5. Bake 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.
While the muffins cook, prepare the compote.
  1. Remove stems and quarter strawberries.
  2. Place the quartered strawberries, orange juice, and sugar in a pot over medium heat.
  3. Stir occasionally until strawberries begin to break down and the mixture thickens.
  4. Once the compote has thickened, turn off the heat and stir in the chia seeds.
  5. Allow to cool and serve once the chia seeds plump up!

*I used low sugar orange juice. Well, at that point, it’s probably called “orange drink”, but the label assured me it was at least 40% orange juice.


Macros!
Calories: 163
Carbs: 26
Fat: 5
Protein: 4
Fiber: 2

Serves 9

Blueberry Grilled Cheese

Another grilled cheese! I made this for National Grilled Cheese day. It worked out really well because now ripe blueberries are starting to appear in stores and they are on sale. All the flavors work well together. Even the American cheese. As a matter of fact, the super meltiness of the American cheese keeps the blueberries from falling out of the sandwich when you flip it. And the honey, aside from tasting awesome, also helps the blueberries stick to the bread before the cheese melts. This makes a great dessert or breakfast grilled cheese.

GC1

Ingredients

  • 2 slices white bread
  • clover honey
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 1 slice cheddar cheese
  • handful of blueberries
  • butter

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400F*
  2. Butter one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Drizzle about a teaspoon of honey on one slice of bread (non-buttered side) and apply blueberries. The honey will help them to stick. Layer a slice of American cheese on the blueberries, followed by the cheddar cheese and the other slice of bread.
  4. Place the sandwich, buttered side down, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook 1-3 minutes until cheese starts to melt and bread toasts, then flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Transfer the sandwich into the oven, (or place on your now hot cyookie sheet!)
  6. Bake about 5 minutes. The blueberries will start to roast.
  7. Slice, admire the purplish roasted blueberry juice and cheese pull, then devour.

*If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, or don’t want to use one, place a baking/cookie sheet in the oven at this point. Let it get hot!

Serves 1

Buffalo Chicken Pasta

This dish came about after reading a review of the Philadelphia Cream Cheese Dip tubs on one of my favorite junk food review websites. (Now you see how I spend my time.) So once again that special combo of impulse buy + sale was achieved and I found myself with tubs of the Buffalo Style and the Southwest dips. (Oh hai Ragin’ Cajun Creamy Chicken N Shrimp Pasta!) Now after I put them in the fridge, I immediately forgot about them as I wasn’t sure what would be my vessel of choice for dip. And because my friend Sumit makes an AMAZING buffalo chicken dip, I certainly can’t just eat this tub dip when I’m used to hot chicken filled crock pot dip. And the Philadelphia website barely acknowledges that their dip line exists, so that source provided no guidance. Thankfully, I also had some buffalo chicken sausage in the freezer, I love pasta, and the other pasta worked out so well, and here we are! And right in time for the end of March Madness! I’m very shocked by how well this came out, and I’m wondering if cream cheese should just be the base of all non-Italian pasta sauces.

pasta2

Ingredients

  • 4oz rigatoni*
  • 10oz can of fire roasted dice tomatoes and green chiles
  • 10oz tub Philadelphia Buffalo Style with Celery Cream Cheese Dip
  • 10oz Thin n Trim Buffalo chicken sauage links, sliced
  • 6oz fresh baby spinach
  • 2oz reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles
  • hot sauce for drizzling

Directions

  1. Prepare pasta according to directions on box. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, add the Philadelphia Buffalo Style with Celery Cream Cheese Dip and fired roasted tomatoes. Stir until combined and smooth.**
  3. Add sausage links and mix until heated.
  4. Lower heat and add the baby spinach. Continue to cook and stir occasionally until the baby spinach has wilted.
  5. Turn off the heat and toss in the pasta.
  6. Add reserved pasta water until the desired sauce consistency is reached.***
  7. When ready to serve, top with crumbled blue cheese, drizzle with hot sauce and enjoy!

*Penne or medium shells would also work great here.
**This might happen instantly. My dip had previously been frozen and cream cheese is not as pretty once it defrosts.
***I only wound up using about a tablespoon, but to each his own.

Macros!
Calories: 375
Carbs: 29
Fat: 16
Protein: 26
Fiber: 3

Serves 4

Prosciutto, Provolone and Fig Grilled Cheese

Prosciutto, provolone, and pilsners! All the Ps. The sandwich brought to you by the leftover prosciutto in my fridge.


Ingredients

  • 2 slices Fiber One multigrain bread
  • 4 slices (54g) prosciutto
  • 2 slices reduced-fat provolone
  • 1/2 cup (14g) arugula
  • 1 Tbsp fig jam

Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium heat, add prosciutto. Cook until warm and fat starts to render.
  2. Once the fat has rendered, remove prosciutto from the skillet. Dip one side of each slice of the bread into the skillet to soak up some fat.
  3. Add the arugula to the skillet. Cook until it starts to wilt and turns bright green. Remove arugula from the skillet and place on top of a slice of bread.
  4. Continue assembling the sandwich (making sure the sides of the bread with prosciutto fat are on the outside) layering the arugula with cheese, prosciutto and fig jam. Return the sandwich to the skillet and cook until toasted. About 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Enjoy with a refreshing beer!

Macros!
Calories: 383
Carbs: 38
Fat: 16
Protein: 28
Fiber: 7

Serves 1

Blueberry Bran Muffins

There’s nothing I love more than a good sale and the promise of being health AF. Which is how I wound up with a bag full of beautifully packaged Bob’s wheat bran and no plan on how to use it. I was happy to let it sit in the cabinet, but then one day, I found myself looking for oatmeal (probably to make cookies) and discovered A. I had no oatmeal, B. I owned oat bran and, C. My kitchen cabinet clean-out wasn’t as successful as I thought. (It turns out I do have oatmeal, it was just hidden somewhere else. Thankfully it was discovered before buying more.) Anyways, the pressure was on to find a way to use this oat bran. And ironically, despite wanting oatmeal, I did just make it like oatmeal. Instead, I decided on muffins because now I can have muffins that are undeniably not cake like. Most of the recipes I found online only called for about 1/4 a cup of bran. But that’s not gonna help me power through the bag and it’s also barely a bran muffin at that point. The barefoot contessa of all people gave me the base for my recipe.

I did these because of the texture. They are chewy and remind me of a warm cereal (duh) especially when warmed.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup of light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2.5 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 1.5 cups of blueberries
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Whisk the eggs, applesauce, yogurt, sugar and vanilla extract until blended.
  3. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, wheat bran and flour.
  4. Stir until combined.
  5. Gently fold in blueberries.
  6. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 25-30 minutes. The muffins will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean

Macros!
Calories: 142
Carbs: 26
Fat: 3
Protein: 6
Fiber: 3

Makes 18 muffins

*Inspired by https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/blueberry-bran-muffins

Sparkling Winter Salad with Turkey

Sparkling Winter Salad with Turkey

Sparkling Pomegranate Winter Salad with Turkey

A bit of a ridiculous name I know, BUT I am really impressed by pretty this salad looks. Especially considering it uses deli meat! I mean, deli meat is not pretty, but this salad is pretty. Or maybe just sprinkling pom arils on anything gives it a little sparkle.

Ingredients

  • 5 oz (198g) arugula
  • 1 oz (28g) fat-free feta
  • 1 medium pear, sliced
  • 7-8 oz deli sliced oven roasted turkey*
  • 85g pomegranate seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Fat-Free Apple Cider Vinaigrette**

Directions

  1. Divide arugula amongst three plates/bowls/etc***
  2. Beautifully arrange pears and turkey
  3. Sprinkle on the feta
  4. Drizzle apple cider vinaigrette
  5. Toss pom arils and enjoy all the verbs in the English language
  6. Serve!

Macros!

Calories: 254
Carbs: 39
Fat: 2
Protein: 21
Fiber: 8

Serves 3

* To make the turkey look nice a fork friendly, layer and fold 3-4 slices of turkey 2-3 times (if you got pre-package deli meat and it came layered and folded, just take that). Slice horizontally into 3rds.
** Another awesome Aldi find! Stock up on this stuff.
*** I’m just assuming everyone is meal prepping because I am. Feel free to just toss everything in a bowl.

Inspired by https://cookieandkate.com/2018/pomegranate-pear-green-salad-with-ginger-dressing/#tasty-recipes-31957