Tarragon Chicken Salad

Tarragon Chicken Salad

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Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.

Here’s to having plenty of summer days that are too hot to want to cook.  Tarragon Chicken Salad is perfect for just such days.  No need to cook when tender chicken pairs up with mustard and creamy mayo for a wonderful salad that’s amazing on a crusty roll, croissant, lettuce wrap or cracker.

 

Cooked diced chicken rests on a wooden cutting board and is surrounded by dried tarragon and whole grain mustard in preparation for Tarragon Chicken Salad.

Start with cooked chicken, preferably leftovers or even a pre-cooked roaster chicken for convenience.  While I’m all for making as much homemade as possible, it’s hard to deny the lure of a plump, juicy roast chicken that’s ready when you need it.  Whatever chicken you use, chop it chunky and avoid over mixing it after adding the other ingredients. Overmixing tends to break down the fibres of the chicken a little too much for my liking, so be gentle.

Along with the crisp chopped celery, I also like to add a few of the celery leaves for a bit of freshness.  I have left out adding any onions to this chicken salad, however, thinly sliced scallions would be a nice additional touch if desired.

 

Ingredients for Tarragon Chicken Salad are measured into a glass bowl and ready to be stirred. A basket of buns sits in the background.

The tarragon is a wonderful flavour to go with chicken and mustard. You’ll find that the longer it sits in the salad the stronger the flavour will be.  It does take a little time for it to meld with everything.  By all means use fresh tarragon if you can, using about 3 times the amount of the dry, so in this case, I’d use a tablespoon of fresh.  The fresh won’t require the same amount of melding time, simply mix and enjoy!!

 

 

Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
Tarragon Chicken Salad
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
    Passive Time
    15 -120 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
    Passive Time
    15 -120 minutes
    Tarragon Chicken Salad is piled high and topped with lettuce on a golden bun. The bun sits on a stack of plates garnished with cucumber slices.
    Tarragon Chicken Salad
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
      Passive Time
      15 -120 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      2 1/3 cups 15-20 minutes
      Passive Time
      15 -120 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: cups
      Instructions
      1. Add all ingredients to a medium size bowl starting with 1/3 cup of mayonnaise. Stir gently until combined adjusting creaminess with additional mayonnaise and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
      2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to several hours to allow flavours to meld.
      Recipe Notes

      -The tarragon flavour will become more pronounced the longer the chicken salad sits.

      -A precooked roaster chicken that has been chilled works wonderfully.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Skillet Chicken and Orzo

      Skillet Chicken and Orzo

      Weeknight cooking can be hard!

      You forgot to take something out of the freezer, the fridge is empty, and you only have an hour to get something on the table. This is just a few of the hurtles busy families face daily in the quest to enjoy a family meal together. Skillet Chicken and Orzo is a great weeknight meal that’s easy to prepare, dirties only one pot and can be on the table in about an hour. It’s also super delicious with minimal effort.

      A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.

      Tips to easier weeknight meals

      1. Make a meal plan for the week which can be as simple as writing down what meals you intend to prepare. Have fun with it by including the family in your choices. Including others helps to identify preferences and dishes that everyone likes.

       2. Make only one trip to the grocery store by purchasing the ingredients needed for each meal in advance.

      3. Take items out of the freezer to have completely thawed and ready for use.

      4. Make simple dishes that can be on the table within an hour or so.

      5. Make dishes that other family members can help with such as washing and chopping vegetables.

      6. Make only one meal that everyone can/will eat. So if you have a dish that everyone loves except the “onion” hater, then make the dish without onions and therefore suitable for everyone.

      7. Don’t be afraid to settle for something as simple as eggs on toast for supper.  Eggs are very nutritious and quick to prepare. Make them a great meal by simply sauteeing up a few greens, sausage and/or vegetables.  Top with olives, cheese, breadcrumbs, or chives for a great weeknight meal.

      8. If you gotta give your 5-year-old a “grilled cheese night” in exchange for eating other meals later in the week, then everyone eats grilled cheese, making it about balance and compromise.  Besides, who doesn’t like grilled cheese!!

      9. Stick mostly to recipes/dishes you are comfortable and familiar with making during your busiest days.  No one wants to fumble around with a new recipe when time is tight.

      10. Make extra when you can and freeze for use later, either as a leftover lunch or a meal for someone who gets home late.

       

      Panfried chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet in preparation for Skillet Chicken and Orzo.
      Sauteed mushrooms in preparation for Skillet Chicken and Orzo in a cast iron skillet on a metal trivet.

      The key to Skillet Chicken and Orzo is to give the chicken and mushrooms a good sear. The mushrooms need a very hot pan and should not be overcrowded. Resist the urge to stir them and you will hear them “squeak”. That is a sign that they are becoming golden on the bottom and starting to release some of their liquid. The chicken also benefits from a good sear that helps to render the fat and crisp up the skin. Taking the time to brown both ingredients lends to a more flavourful dish that you’ll want to make again and again. Enjoy!

      A cast iron skillet with Skillet Chicken and Orzo ready to be served and garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook.

      Want more great weeknight options? Here are a few of my favourites.

      Tarragon Chicken Cutlets

      Red Curry Coconut Shrimp

      Mushroom and Arugula Quinoa Bowls

       

      A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.

      A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.
      Skillet Chicken and Orzo
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        3-4 people 50 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        25 minutes 2 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        3-4 people 50 minutes
        Cook Time Passive Time
        25 minutes 2 minutes
        A shallow serving dish with Skillet Chicken and Orzo garnished with fresh herbs by Compelled to Cook. A cast iron skillet with a serving spoon sits in the background.
        Skillet Chicken and Orzo
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          3-4 people 50 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          25 minutes 2 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          3-4 people 50 minutes
          Cook Time Passive Time
          25 minutes 2 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Preheat oven to 350℉
          2. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a cast iron or oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. When the oil is hot add chicken thighs and cook about 5-6 minutes per side until skin browned. Remove to a plate.
          3. Using the same skillet, heat the remaining oil until hot over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and allow to cook without stirring until bottoms are golden and moisture is starting to evaporate. Once they have browned give them a stir and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Add garlic and shallots and cook for 3-5 minutes until starting to soften, stirring occasionally.
          4. Add wine and allow to reduce for about 3 minutes. Stir in broth, orzo, cream cheese, herbs, salt and pepper. Once the cream cheese is fully incorporated add the chicken back to the pan with the skin side up. Push chicken down into pasta as far as they will go. Cover with a lid or tin foil and bake for 20-25 minutes.
          5. Remove from oven and turn oven to broil. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and broil for 1-2 minutes to melt the cheese. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 2 minutes prior to serving.
          Recipe Notes

          I personally like the garden vegetable cream cheese, however you may also like the garlic cream cheese.

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          Affiliate Disclosure

          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets

          Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets

           

          Why are chicken cutlets so good?

          Simply put, they are pounded thin.  This not only makes them tender but makes them cook quickly leaving them little chance of drying out. The trick is to pound them out as evenly as possible which results in even cooking.  Breading the cutlets isn’t always necessary but it does help to keep in all the moisture as does a good sear if opting not to bread them. Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets is a good example of both pounding thin and breading.

           

           

          I love versatile food!

          Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets are a great example of how one dish can become 3 different kinds of meals.  These crispy cutlets slathered with pesto are fantastic served with buttered noodles for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  They’re also great cut into wedges and served atop a crisp salad. I’m thinking my favourite though is nestling said cutlet between chewy bread and tomato slices for an upgraded sandwich that ‘s good for lunch or dinner.

           

          Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets are cut into strips in the foreground, while whole cutlets remain on a parchment lined tray in the background. A black kitchen towel, knife, fresh basil and pesto adorn the scene.
          Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            8 cutlets 35 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            8 cutlets 35 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets are cut into strips in the foreground, while whole cutlets remain on a parchment lined tray in the background. A black kitchen towel, knife, fresh basil and pesto adorn the scene.
            Breaded Pesto Chicken Cutlets
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              8 cutlets 35 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              8 cutlets 35 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: cutlets
              Instructions
              1. Using a blender or mini processor combine the first 7 ingredients and blend until combined but still has some texture. Set aside.
              2. Using three shallow bowls, combine flour and 1/2 tsp salt in one, breadcrumbs and 1/2 tsp salt in the second and the eggs whisked with the milk in the third.
              3. Pat chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Cut each breast in half horizontally and then cut each half into half vertically, giving you 4 pieces per breast.
              4. Place chicken pieces between 2 pieces of parchment. Pound to about a 1/4" thick (no thinner).
              5. Dredge chicken cutlets with flour, shaking off excess.
              6. Dunk floured cutlets into egg wash and then into bread crumbs, turning to coat evenly. Arrange prepared cutlets onto a clean plate or tray.
              7. Add enough oil to a large skillet to come up about an 1/8" of an inch. Heat over medium until hot. Add 4 cutlets and cook approximately 2 1/2 minutes per side depending on thickness. Remove to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining cutlets.
              8. Turn oven to broil, with rack 8-10" from heat.
              9. Arrange cutlets on a foil lined tray. Spread 1 tbsp of pesto onto each cutlet and sprinkle lightly with grated parmesan cheese. Broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
              Recipe Notes

              -You can use any pesto you'd like here, however, the one included with this recipe contains less oil than regular pesto.  I found regular pesto makes the cutlets too oily.  This slightly drier version gives the same great flavour but less oil and better results. If you'd like to use a classic pesto, here's the recipe Classic Pesto

              -These cutlets are also great on top of pasta drizzled with extra pesto or in a sandwich.

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              Affiliate Disclosure

              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw

              Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw

              I love, love, love crunchy food! For me, the crunchier and saltier the better.  I’m the gal who’ll choose a bag of Doritos over a piece of cake. This may be why I love these amazing Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw.  The traditional three stage breading using Panko or coarse homemade bread crumbs, makes the crispiest little chicken cutlets that are so perfect with creamy crunchy slaw.  And this slaw has a nice, but not too hot, nasal clearing heat from the wasabi.  It’s a fantastic combination.

              Yes, you heard me right, there’s wasabi in the slaw, and it’s my new favourite coleslaw.  Creamy, crisp and cool with just enough wasabi to create a warming bite and provide a definite sense that you’re not in coleslaw Kansas anymore.  It’s not “reach for water hot” by any means, but if serving this coleslaw on the side, I’d warn the kids and grandparents…just saying!  With its creamy and tangy dressing, the coleslaw is absolutely perfect with the crispy chicken cutlets.  I like to really pile it on for the ultimate little slider.  Don’t forget this amazing slaw is also great with pulled pork or as a side to BBQ’d meats. But don’t take my word for it, go on and give it a try.  You’ll love these wonderful, easy to put together Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw.  Enjoy!

              Recipe source for Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw:  Compelled To Cook

              Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                8 sliders 55-60 minutes
                Cook Time
                10-12 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                8 sliders 55-60 minutes
                Cook Time
                10-12 minutes
                Crispy Chicken Sliders with Wasabi Slaw
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8 sliders 55-60 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10-12 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8 sliders 55-60 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  10-12 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Wasabi Slaw
                  Chicken Cutlets
                  Servings: sliders
                  Instructions
                  Wasabi Slaw
                  1. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, wasabi, salt and pepper. Cover and keep chilled until ready to use.
                  2. When ready to assemble sliders, toss cabbage, green onion and grated carrot with dressing.
                  Chicken Cutlets
                  1. Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally and then cut each half into half again, getting 4 pieces (each being about 1.5 ounces) out of each breast. Place the chicken pieces between two pieces of parchment or wax paper and pound with a rolling pin or flat side of a mallet to 1/4" thick.
                  2. Using 3 shallow bowls, to the first, add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. To the second, add eggs and water and whisk to combine. To the third, add the bread crumbs.
                  3. Add several chicken pieces to the flour bowl and flip around to coat. Shake off excess and add pieces to egg bowl. Using a fork, flip to coat with egg and place in bread crumbs, turning each piece and patting gently to adhere crumbs. Place breaded portions onto a clean plate or wire rack and repeat breading procedure until all pieces are done.
                  4. Add enough canola oil to a large skillet to just start to cover the bottom. Heat over medium high until hot. Add breaded chicken to pan, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Cook for approximately 2 minutes per side until golden. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined tray to dab off any excess grease and then to a clean plate. Keep warm in a low 225℉ oven while remaining cutlets are fried. Wipe out pan with a paper towel to remove excess crumbs that may start to burn prior to frying more cutlets.
                  5. Slice slider buns in half and brush lightly with butter. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel and place slider buns buttered side down in pan and heat over medium until starting to brown and become warm. About 2 minutes.
                  6. To each slider bun, add a chicken cutlet and top with a generous amount of wasabi slaw. Secure each slider with a long toothpick if desired and serve immediately.

                  Catalina Wings

                  Catalina Wings

                  A long, long time ago I used to make wings similar to these piquant Catalina Wings.  I was in college and had a summer job cooking at a golf and country club.  The food was basic fair, nothing too over the top, catering to the golfing crowd, small banquets and business meetings. It was a fun job, good people to work with and a happy crowd, because they’re golfing of course.  It wasn’t unusual for the dining room to be filled with thirsty golfers looking for a mid afternoon snack and beverage.

                  Like many places of the time, we offered hot wings, but not everyone liked there wings “hot”. So to please the masses we mixed the hot sauce with Catalina Dressing to lighten some of the heat.  The ratio of dressing to hot sauce was adapted to make the wings mild, medium or hot.  We didn’t have a formula, it was always eye balled, so I doubt anyone ever got the same plate of wings twice.  It’s the memory of this job and the tossing of bowl after bowl of chicken wings that Catalina Wings are derived.  Not new in concept but these Catalina Wings are made with fresh Catalina dressing, making them zesty and sticky.  You’ll love them! 

                  Recipe source for Catalina Wings:  Compelled To Cook

                  Catalina Wings
                  Print Recipe
                    Servings Prep Time
                    30 wings 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    16-18 minutes
                    Servings Prep Time
                    30 wings 20 minutes
                    Cook Time
                    16-18 minutes
                    Catalina Wings
                    Print Recipe
                      Servings Prep Time
                      30 wings 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      16-18 minutes
                      Servings Prep Time
                      30 wings 20 minutes
                      Cook Time
                      16-18 minutes
                      Ingredients
                      Dressing
                      Wings
                      Servings: wings
                      Instructions
                      Dressing
                      1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Makes about 1 cup of dressing. Refrigerate extra dressing for up to 1 week.
                      Wings
                      1. In a large heavy duty pot fitted with a clip on thermometer, heat a minimum of 3" of canola oil to 350℉ 375℉. (oil will cool when wings are added)
                      2. Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Add half the wings to the hot oil, dropping them in one by one. Cook for 5-6 minutes, depending on size, until no longer pink. Remove with a slotted scoop to a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining wings.
                      3. Preheat broiler and line a large baking tray with foil. In a large bowl stir together Catalina Dressing and Franks Red Hot sauce. Add wings and toss to evenly coat.
                      4. Arrange wings in a single layer on baking tray and broil 8" from broiler for about 2 minutes per side. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
                      Recipe Notes

                      Wings can be made hotter if desired by decreasing the amount of dressing and increasing hot sauce to your preference.

                      Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles

                      Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles

                      Did you ever eat celery with peanut butter as a kid? Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles combines this great flavour combination with a touch of spice, tender chicken, and saucy noodles. It’s a quick and delicious weeknight meal that the whole family will enjoy!

                      You’ll love how the peanut butter virtually creates a creamy sauce on its own as it warms and coats the noodles and everything else that’s all tangled up in them. Along with the peanuts, the celery brings its inherent crunch to the dish, enhancing its texture and flavour. Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles is a fantastic combination of flavours and textures but you don’t have to stop there. Celery is also great stir fried with beef, so next time you grab the wok be sure to reach for that crisp bundle of fresh celery to add to your veggie mix.

                      Recipe source for Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles:  Compelled To Cook

                      Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles
                      Print Recipe
                        Servings Prep Time
                        4 people 20 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        15 minutes
                        Servings Prep Time
                        4 people 20 minutes
                        Cook Time
                        15 minutes
                        Chicken and Celery Peanut Noodles
                        Print Recipe
                          Servings Prep Time
                          4 people 20 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          15 minutes
                          Servings Prep Time
                          4 people 20 minutes
                          Cook Time
                          15 minutes
                          Ingredients
                          Servings: people
                          Instructions
                          1. Cutting against the grain, slice chicken breast into thin strips. Set aside.
                          2. In a small bowl whisk together peanut butter, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine vinegar and chill paste.
                          3. Cook noodles as per package directions and allow to drain in colander while proceeding.
                          4. Heat approximately 1 tbsp of oil over high heat in a wok or large skillet with sides. Once hot add half the chicken and cook, stirring once or twice for 3-5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink and starts to brown. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining chicken.
                          5. Add a little more oil to the pan and sauté garlic for 1 minute, stirring often. Add chicken broth and celery. Allow to cook for 2-3 minutes until most of the broth has evaporated, stirring occasionally. Stir in red peppers and sauté for 1 minute. Reduce heat and stir in peanut sauce, chicken, noodles, half of the peanuts and half of the green onion. Toss to combine, adding a little more chicken broth if needed. Divide among serving dishes and top with peanuts and green onion. Serve immediately.
                          Recipe Notes

                          I used thick noodles for this recipe, but feel free to use your favourite size.  Fresh Chinese noodles can be found in the produce section of most supermarkets.