Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Honey Sweet Pepper Chicken Breasts

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, marinated in lime juice and Italian seasoning, browned then brushed with honey and cooked with sweet bell peppers. Serve with pan juices over rice.

Honey Sweet Pepper Chicken Breasts

I guess you could say that this is a combination of several recipes. It started as one common and popular chicken recipe using Italian dressing as the flavor base that we've all made. Then my mind went to a dish we make down here using Italian dressing called Mardi Gras Chicken, thanks to the blend of green, red and yellow sweet bell peppers typically used. Then, that Cracker Barrel copycat "ungrilled, grilled chicken tenderloin" recipe using Italian dressing, lime and honey, a recipe that's been making the internet rounds for years, jumped in my head. This was the result of all that thinking. I just love the creative process of recipe development!

Thanks to Cajun seasoning used in the marinade, this has a nice kick to it, though I don't think overwhelming, however if you prefer things on the milder side, simply reduce the Cajun seasoning substantially, or omit it altogether and sub in herbs. Which reminds me... {Southern Style Hissy Fit Soapbox Moment coming}

We use Cajun and Creole seasoning down here in the Deep South, like the rest of the country uses seasoning salt, so, of course, that seasoning appears in my cookbook. By the way, the cookbook is selling like hot cakes - and, in fact, continually selling out ... oh my gosh, I just don't even know what to say about that, except thank y'all SO much!! Overall the reviews so far have been amazing, and frankly, have brought tears to my eyes. Thank you all for taking the time to comment either on QVC or Amazon about how much you love the cookbook. I'm thrilled that you are finding it to be an authentic representation of not only the Deep South Dish blog, but also of southern cooking. My heart is full.

But... there was one person who rated my cookbook two stars out of five... simply because I use Cajun seasoning.

One of the things that hampered me from publishing a cookbook was that I knew when that happened, I would have to put on a thick skin because there are going to be critics. There are always critics in life. The reason I even bring this up, is that while, with a few exceptions such as this recipe, and other dishes like sauce piquant and Crawfish Monica which intentionally are heavy in heat, I generally keep the Cajun and Creole seasoning fairly light, leaving the amount to your own individual taste.

While we commonly use them in the Deep South, those additional seasonings found in Cajun and Creole cooking - salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and sometimes garlic powder and other herbs - are never an absolute - some folks don't use it, some use a little, and some way more than I do. Anytime you see that as an ingredient in a recipe, you are always welcome to substitute and/or adjust to your own taste. The recipe will still be good when you adjust it to your own taste. {tucking away soapbox}.

Now. Let's get on with how to make my Honey Sweet Pepper Chicken! As always, scroll past the step by step photo tutorial for the complete recipe, including measurements, as well as a printable document.

We start with some EYE-talian dressing as the base, and you can use whatever kind you like, homemade or bottled. This just happened to be one I had left in the fridge and needed to use up.

Doesn't it crack you up that pretty much across the board, at least one family member says Italian that way here in the south? I've heard it pretty much all of my life, and frankly catch myself saying it that way sometimes!

For the record, all of us, even our elders who say it that way all the time, really do know how to say the word "Italian." It's just that somewhere, somehow, the southern drawl pronunciation EYE-talian got thrown in there and stuck. Hey, as much as folks around the country think they make fun of us down here in the southern states, we laugh at ourselves that much and more.

Whisk together the dressing, lime juice and Cajun seasoning in a large bowl. You'll see this time I went with Zatarain's Big and Zesty Creole seasoning instead of my usual Slap Ya Mama. Hey, I keep Zatarain's, Tony's, Slap Ya Mama on hand, and Beazell's too now, thanks to a reader, so I do change things up sometimes y'all! If you like to put red pepper flakes on your pizza, the
Zat's Big and Zesty is great for pizza. Since it's a bigger flake seasoning, I used about 3 tablespoons here.

I'm using boneless, skinless chicken breasts here, which y'all probably remember aren't my favorite kind of chicken, but they are on sale all the time, so of course I buy them just like everybody else! I find that using some kind of marinade as well as tenderizing them helps a lot. I like to use my blade tenderizer to do that and to also flatten the thicker ends of the breast.

Place chicken in bowl, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Remove chicken breasts from the bowl, without draining, and transfer to the skillet, browning chicken on both sides and cooking in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove chicken and brush both sides with the honey; set aside.

Add the onions and peppers to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes over medium.

Reduce heat to medium low, return the chicken to the skillet and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through and reaches 165 degrees in the thickest part of the breast, turning a few times. As always, when cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts, take care not to overcook it!

Uncover, turn to coat and transfer chicken to a serving platter. Serve over rice and pour the pan juices and peppers on top.

Unable to view the printable below on your device? Tap/click here.

©Deep South Dish
Posted by on May 6, 2015

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