Tag Archives: cheese

Healthy Living Kids & Family Recipes Uncategorized

Rustic Baked Chicken With Cheese and Bacon

www.mypicshares.com

I absolutely love the combination of chicken, melted cheese, and fried bacon. It is succulent and satisfying to the taste buds, and has such a diversity of flavors – the smoky taste of bacon and tanginess of cheese goes wonderfully well with a comfort food like baked chicken. And it’s something most everyone in your house is sure to like – even the pickiest of eaters. The smell alone of this food while cooking is incredibly irresistible.

I can’t stress enough the importance of quality ingredients. We used chicken thighs and legs – which are more economical than larger pieces such as the breast. Many people perceive the breast to be the healthiest piece of the bird since it’s “leaner and lower in fat”.  But breasts are actually the least nutrient-dense part of the chicken. Dark pieces do contain cholesterol, and they are also slightly higher in fat. But that’s actually a good thing. Did you know that since dark meat has more fat and cholesterol, that means it has more nutrients? And if poultry is from healthy birds who aren’t administered antibiotics and are on pasture, it is very healthy to eat. You can feel good about using dark pieces of chicken as they count for more nutrition AND they are cheaper.

So when you’re shopping for poultry, definitely go for the pasture-raised variety from local farms. Unlike feedlot chickens in confinement, these chickens eat a healthier diet, have access to sunshine and are able to forage and eat insects. This makes the quality of their meat higher – more conjugated linoleic acid (cancer preventions), Vitamin A , D, E, and K (fat-soluble vitamins), and Omega 3 fatty acids (lowers the risk of auto-immune problems, heart attack, cancer).

Cheese is such an artisanal food, it seems wrong to buy anything commercial. It’s difficult to find local, raw cheese where we live (Boise, ID). Occasionally I buy some of the few local cheesemaker’s products – but mostly they are pasteurized. For this recipe, I used some raw cheese which I try to keep on hand in my freezer from various merchants I know and trust such as U.S. Wellness Meats from Missouri or Trickling Springs Creamery, whose cheese I tried at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in King of Prussia, PA. I also used some Italian Asiago cheese from my health food store cheese counter.

Your bacon should also be from a pasture-raised source for the same reasons – more Vitamins A, D, E, and K, . Healthy saturated fats and proteins contain nutrients necessary for health!

And now for the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Pasture-raised chicken parts of your choice – we used thighs (4) and legs (5), bones in
  • Mushrooms – I used 4 large shitakes, sliced
  • Diced onions -I used 1/2 of a small onion
  • Minced garlic – 3-5 cloves, depending on how much you love garlic
  • Package of bacon from pasture-raised hogs, sliced in half and cooked (I fried it in a cast iron pan on the stove first)
  • Grated cheese of your choice – I used a mixture of raw cheddar and Asiago, about 1 cup (what can I say, I like cheese)
  • Butter or ghee – you can also add in some olive oil or use it place of the butter, however, butter or ghee imparts an incredible taste to the chicken
  • Sea salt – to taste
  • Pepper – to taste, I used about 1/4 tsp
  • Paprika – to taste, I used about 1/2 tsp

Equipment:

  • Large pan – I used stainless steel
  • 9×12 baking dish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large pan, fry bacon on the stove. Some people prefer the oven method. Leave the bacon just on the side of underdone since you will be putting it in the oven on the chicken when you are finished. Set aside on a plate.
  3. Drain most of the bacon grease from the pan where the bacon was cooked into a storage container (you know you want those bacon drippings for refried beans). Add onions and garlic to the pan on medium-low heat.
  4. While the onions and garlic are sauteeing, add mushrooms. At this point, you can add butter or ghee to your pan to help add more oil for the chicken to cook.
  5. Add chicken pieces, then add salt, pepper, and paprika and brown on both sides, but don’t cook all the way through.  Allow chicken to cook for about 7- 10 minutes on each side, covered on medium low heat. Depending on how big your pan is that you use to brown the chicken, you may have to brown one set of pieces and set them in your baking dish until the next set are browned.
  6. Place the partially cooked chicken in a baking dish, cover pieces with the mushrooms, onions, and garlic, and pour the remaining “sauce” from bacon drippings and butter or ghee and/or olive oil over it.
  7. Drape chicken with bacon pieces.
  8. Cover chicken and bacon with grated cheese. I covered the bacon as much as possible with cheese to make certain it didn’t  burn in the oven while the chicken finished cooking.
  9. Allow chicken to bake 45 minutes to an hour. Check periodically to make sure your chicken/bacon/cheese is not burning on top. If it does start to get too hot, cover with a piece of foil. Your cooking time will depend upon how long your chicken cooks on the stove and other factors like elevation.

I just realized something I neglected to think of for the perfect finishing touch to this meal that would be divinely delicious – a mild mustard/homemade mayo sauce. I’ll be making that next time!

Enjoy your chicken served with a salad topped with olive oil and vinegar or cooked vegetables with plenty of pastured butter.  My family loved this meal – and we had leftovers!  :)

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday Blog hop (hosted this week by GNOWFGLINS).

Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Recipes

Shepherd’s Pie For Dinner

www.mypicshares.com

The one-pot meal is something I love preparing because I think somehow it makes me feel as though I’m doing less work. My affinity for these kinds of meals has caused me to get more and more creative about dinnertime solutions for our family.

Unfortunately, I am known for waiting until the last minute to start dinner, but it’s in these crunch times that I seem to come up with some of the more delicious things we’ve eaten over the last few years.

This shepherd’s pie recipe is actually a great meal to make that will stretch out over more than one meal. Total cost for preparation of this meal was about $11.00 and it made three meals for us, which is three people – me, my husband, and my son. That works out to $3.66 per meal per person. Not bad! For a breakdown of more frugal meals, read this post about nourishing meals for less.

I love shepherd’s pie and I’ve been making it for years. But somehow the version I made this last week was especially comforting, full of flavor, and special. I changed things up a bit from how I normally make them. I almost always add a bit of cheese on top to bake over the last 20 minutes of cooking, but this time I added two kinds of cheese and spread it very thick over the top of the potatoes. And I also added in some other seasonings I haven’t used in the past.

Here’s the preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

You will need the following kitchen equipment:

  • 9 x 12 baking dish
  • frying pan – we use stainless steel or cast iron
  • small or medium-sized pot for potatoes
  • wooden spoon or spatula

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds ground beef (you can also mix in this some ground lamb or ground pork, which I’ve heard is really delicious)
  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, or potato of your choice (use more if you want your potatoes thicker on top)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium-sized carrots
  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup frozen or fresh peas
  • Diced onions (I used about 1/2 of a large onion, use to your preference)
  • cheese of your choice – I used raw Monterey Jack and Asiago, about 1 1/2 cups, more if desired
  • a splash of milk or buttermilk – I used raw buttermilk
  • butter – used liberally, I used about 5 tablespoons
  • rosemary – dried and chopped or minced, 1/2 tsp.
  • sage – 1 tsp.
  • marjoram 1 tsp.
  • parsley 1 tsp.
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Shred the cheese and put in a small bowl, and dice up the vegetables – carrots, celery, and onions, and set aside.
  2. Brown ground beef and/or other meats in a pan with onions, celery, and carrots. You don’t have to cook the meat completely because it will be baked in the oven later. While browning, add rosemary, parsley, marjoram, sage, salt and pepper.
  3. While your meat is browning, wash and dice up the potatoes. Place them into a pot to boil and then simmer until soft – about 20 minutes. When soft, drain water out of pan and return pot to stove or counter to mix in milk or buttermilk, butter, salt and pepper. If desired, you can add some extra shredded or diced cheese to the potatoes. I always add cheese to mine because it is so delicious.
  4. Mix and mash all ingredients well with a potato masher. If the meat is not yet cooked, leave potatoes covered on stove on low heat until done.
  5. When meat is finished, start layering by spooning meat/onions/carrots/celery mixture into a baking dish.
  6. Add green beans and peas on top of meat mixture.
  7. With spatula or wooden spoon, smooth on top of meat/vegetables a third layer of the mashed potatoes.
  8. Place your dish inside the oven and put on the timer for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Add shredded cheese to the oven dish for the last 15 – 20 minutes or so of baking. Check the dish after about 20 minutes to see how things are going, and then add the cheese.
  10. After you take the dish out of the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving

We ate our shepherd’s pie with a green salad and homemade dressing. Enjoy!

Want more ideas on saving money?
Food budgets – using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating.

Meat is an important part of a healthy diet. It provides us with saturated fat, which is important for many aspects of health. Read about real meat here.

This recipe is part of GNOWFLGINS Tuesday Twister Carnival. Visit Wardeh’s site and see the other great recipes linked there.

More ground beef recipes?
Healthy chili cheese fries
The best meatballs ever!
Grass-fed beef tacos
Savory beef, potatoes, and bacon skillet