Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos – From Episode 1

Chicken tacos are one of the “reinvention” recipes I briefly demo at the end of Episode 1. If you were come to dinner at my house on an average Saturday night, chances are we’re serving tacos!

This is a great meal for using up all the leftover chicken from, say a rotisserie or roasted chicken, when it’s a few days old and needs a little extra love. The Jamaican Jerk marinated chicken works well because it’s a similarly-spiced base, but we often just use up whatever cooked chicken is left in the fridge. Once you add the taco spices, it all blends together anyway. Generally speaking, we like our tacos spicy. As in, the regular conversation when we’re cooking tacos (Kev usually takes the lead on the meat) goes like this:

Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos

Deb: “Babe, please don’t make it so spicy this time.”

Kev: “I won’t.”

Deb (tasting meat 20 min later): “Babe. Why did you make it so spicy?”

Kev: It’s not that spicy.

Deb (mouth on fire): “But it is! You promised! Were you watching the game while you cooked?!”

Kev: “Eh. It’s not spicy. Just put some sour cream on it.”

But in the end, I always enjoy the final product! And not to worry: we nailed down a not too too spicy version to share here.

Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos

4 cups shredded or pulled chicken

1 medium jalepeno seeded and chopped

1 ½ teaspoons Chili powder (or 1 tablespoon for more spicy!)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 ½ teaspoons cumin

Dash of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and next four ingredients (jalepeno through paprika) and cook chicken & spices together, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.

Add 4 cups water, or enough to completely cover the chicken by ¼ inch.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat a bit and cook over medium high heat until the water is almost boiled off, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Garnish with all your favorite taco veggies and condiments, such as chopped lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, diced onion, avocado and tomato, salsa and sour cream (which really helps cool off the meat!)

Extra tip: If you’re using hard taco shells, be sure to heat them up in the oven! It takes just a few minutes (3-5 min, depending on the brand; we’re partial to Bearitos) and I swear it makes such a huge difference in the flavor and taco night enjoyment.

Photo by Lauren Hunter

Shredded Rosemary Chicken Salad with Easy Balsamic Vinaigrette – From Episode 1

Easiest way to reinvent the roasted chicken we made in Episode 1? Throw it on a salad. A quick note about salads: I tend to like mine with fewer ingredients. I generally think less is more– in food and in life– and I find salads with too many flavor profiles to be less enjoyable. Second, it’s laziness! You know I do my best to eat a salad-type-thing each day, but it takes a long time to chop up those vegetables! I’m much more likely to make it happen if I’ve only got 3-4 to cut up, instead of say, 7-8.

Shredded Rosemary Chicken SaladShredded Rosemary Chicken Salad

(Serves 2-4)

1 ½ cups (eyeball it) Cooked and shredded Lemon Rosemary Chicken

1 box prewashed Spring Mix

1 large carrot, chopped

Red or Vidalia onion, sliced

Red pepper, julienned

Grape tomatoes, quartered

Crumbled Feta cheese

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with dressing and serve.

If you want to be a bit jazzier in terms of presentation, you can arrange the toppings in groups of like items on the bed of lettuce, like the “pie chart” style shown here.

Simplest Balsamic Vinaigrette Ever

3 Tablespoons Light Olive Oil

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste (optional)

Combine ingredients in a mini Tupperware-type container that has a lid. Shake vigorously to mix. Toss with salad. That’s it!

A couple notes: I actually prefer light oil to extra virgin for dressings because it’s a milder flavor and less heavy on the veggies. Also, this dressing is all about the balsamic. I’ve tried a zillion kinds and my favorite is the Barrel Aged kind by Wine Country Kitchens. I don’t love vinegary flavor, but this one is sweet and thick and has just the right amount of tang. It basically makes the dressing—and is well worth the $10 per bottle. If you don’t have that one available, look for one that has a rich, dark, caramel color and almost viscous-looking consistency (not too thin) at the grocery store.

Photo by Lauren Hunter

Easy Biryani with Green Beans and Hard Boiled Egg – From Episode 1

At the end of Episode 1, one of the roasted chicken “reinvention” recipes I mention is Biryani, but you know I don’t make this from scratch! I start with a frozen bag of Biryani, and add all kinds of fresh, colorful goodness. 

Easy Biryani with Green Beans and Hard Boiled EggsEasy Biryani with Green Beans and Hard Boiled Egg

(Serves 2-4)

 1 cup (eyeball it) Cooked and shredded chicken

1 bag frozen Trader Joe’s brand Biryani

1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 ½  tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 hard boiled eggs

Indian spice blend, such as Masala Biryani (available in specialty food stores)

Hot chili sauce, such as Sriracha sauce

The Jamaican Jerk chicken leftovers work great for this dish because they have similar spicy curry flavors—but you can use any flavor of chicken (or beef or lamb, for that matter). We’re using green beans because we had some leftover, but you can use any veggies you have—bonus if it has a nice, bold color that complements the biryani.

Place a tablespoon of Indian spice blend in a small bowl. Peel hard boiled eggs and roll them in the spice to coat, just like you would an Easter Egg. Cut eggs into quarters; sprinkle a bit more spice blend on top. Set aside.

Heat 1 ½ teaspoons oil in a skillet or wok over medium high heat. Add chicken and green beans, sauté about two minutes (green beans will still be very crisp). Move green beans and chicken to one side of pan. Add remaining oil to the other side of the pan, then the bag of frozen Biryani. Cook biryani by itself for 30 seconds to thaw then mix together with green beans and chicken and continue cooking until almost heated through, stirring occasionally. Stir in eggs, and 1 tablespoon water. Cover and reduce heat a bit. Simmer until eggs are heated, about 3 minutes. Serve with Sriracha sauce. Delish!

Photo by Lauren Hunter

Lemon Rosemary and Jamaican Jerk Roasted Chicken – Episode 1

On many Sunday nights at our house, we like to prepare roasted chicken because it’s tasty and comforting—and also provides great leftovers for countless meals during the week.

But we don’t do a whole chicken for a few reasons—one, we’re more of a breast-meat family and too much of the bird would go to waste and two, doing individual split bone-in breasts gives you more variety in terms of flavor options. When you’re roasting, they can all go into the oven (or on the grill) at the same time, so it’s pretty efficient to cook multiple flavors at once. Portion wise, we’ll each eat about half our breast at dinner and save the rest for leftovers. For a family of four, you’ll probably want to make 6-8 individual, large breasts (about 4-5 pounds).

Here are the recipes for the two different varieties you see in Episode 1, Lemon Rosemary and Jamaican Jerk.

Lemon Rosemary and Jamaican Jerk Roasted ChickenLemon Rosemary Chicken

For each, individual split bone-in breast you will need:

3 ¼-inch wide strips of lemon peel

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 sprigs fresh Rosemary

Kosher Salt & Pepper

1 ½ teaspoons Olive Oil (eyeball it)

The key to getting the juicy, flavorful meat is putting all the yummy seasonings underneath the skin. So, first things first, gently loosen the skin from the breast by inserting your fingers and gently pushing between the skin and meat. (As you see in the show, yeah, dealing with the raw chicken is not my favorite activity, and I usually let my husband Kevin take the lead on this duty!)

Next, arrange the garlic, lemon peel and rosemary on the meat, underneath the skin. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and rub in 1 teaspoon of the olive oil – again, all of this happens underneath the skin. Rub remaining olive oil on top of skin. Place breasts in a Ziploc bag to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

To roast:  Usually we like to roast the chicken on the grill, using a convection or “indirect” method. But, you can also roast them in the regular oven, of course!

Preheat to 450 degrees. Arrange chicken breasts in a roasting pan. Roast for 20 minutes, until the skin is sizzling golden brown, then reduce temp to 400 and roast until the meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Note: if your kitchen gets too smoky, lower your temperature a bit, and lengthen cook time accordingly.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

1 bone-in split chicken breast

¼ cup store-bought Jamaican Jerk marinade

For each, individual bone-in breast, you’ll need about ¼ cup of a store-bought jerk marinade. We like The Shizzle Sauce, Voodoo Hot variety (it’s super spicy!).

Place the chicken breast in a Ziploc or plastic bag. Add marinade and squish it all around, making sure to rub the marinade underneath the loosened skin, onto the meat directly. Place meat in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes. Quick tip: if you have the time, let the marinated meat stand at room temperature before roasting for 15-20 min; ice-cold chicken doesn’t brown quite as nicely.

Roast chicken at 450 degrees for 20 minutes, then reduce temperature to 400 and bake until the meat is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Add a little extra jerk sauce on top before serving. Delish! Note: You can also do this same method with all kinds of store-bought marinades. We often roast a third flavor of Teriyaki Chicken. Our favorite marinades are by Soy Vay or Trader Joe’s Trader Ming’s Soyaki. These can both be a bit sweet so I’ll add a splash of plain soy sauce to the mix to make it more savory.

I like to serve the chicken with rice and roasted or steamed vegetables on the first day. Then, as you see in the show, we reinvent shredded or sliced chicken for a number of other recipes including:

  1. Shredded Rosemary Chicken Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
  2. Easy Biryani with Green Beans and Hard Boiled Eggs
  3. Shigley Spicy Chicken Tacos


Photo by Lauren Hunter