Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

Another great transitional recipe for those weird days between winter and spring, this creamy risotto-style dish is loaded with vegetables. It’s still warm and comforting, but the overall light feeling of the dish gives a nod towards warmer days ahead. I absolutely love it and I hope you do too!

Ingredients needed to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

The ingredients are straightforward and veggie-heavy. A few notes on substitutions- I prefer using ground chicken in this recipe, but you could use turkey as well. If using frozen cauliflower rice, it may take longer to rid the pan of liquid before adding the goat cheese, as described below. I find fresh riced cauliflower in the refrigerated produce section in most grocery stores, and generally prefer it to frozen riced cauliflower! Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

For the meatballs:

  • Olive oil
  • Ground chicken
  • Fresh garlic
  • Roasted red peppers, jarred
  • Fresh or dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

For the risotto:

  • Grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Olive oil
  • Riced cauliflower
  • Shallot or yellow onion
  • Roasted red peppers, jarred
  • Tuscan kale
  • Chicken broth
  • Goat cheese
  • Whole milk or unsweetened dairy-free milk
  • Flour or tapioca starch, if gluten-free
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

This is a wonderful meal to make on a weeknight because it’s made using just one large skillet! I prefer using a deeper skillet to make sure there’s enough room in the pan for everything, but you could also use a large Dutch oven if you prefer. Here’s a complete list of equipment for your convenience:

  • Large, deep skillet (at least 12 inches) or large Dutch oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs
  • Stirring utensil, such as a wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • #40 (1 1/2 Tbsp) cookie scoop, optional

How to make Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Risotto with Chicken Meatballs

As always before beginning a recipe, make sure to read the entire recipe through. Part of stress-free cooking is taking time to do this simple step, as well as chopping and measuring everything that needs to be chopped and measured before you even turn on a burner. If you do those two tasks, I guarantee you’ll feel better tackling whatever recipe you land on, not just including ones I’ve written.

You’ll start by mixing the meatballs and forming them into balls. I like to use a cookie scoop to ensure all of my meatballs are the same size, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one. You can eyeball them, keeping in mind the recommended size for these meatballs is about 1 1/2 tablespoons per ball.

Once formed, cook the meatballs over medium heat. You’ll need to work in at least two, if not three, batches to ensure your meatballs get a nice browning and don’t just steam from a crowded pan. When a recipe says work in batches, it’s for a reason more than just slowing you down!

After all of the meatballs have cooked, set them aside. In the same skillet you cooked the meatballs, lower the heat slightly and add the butter and olive oil. Stir in the riced cauliflower and scrape up any meatball bits from the bottom of the pan, which are going to add a ton of flavor to this risotto!

After the cauliflower has cooked for 1-2 minutes, add the garlic, onion, roasted red peppers, and chicken broth, then cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the cauliflower has become tender.

At this point, you’ll remove the lid and check for liquid in the skillet. You can also add the kale at this point. We want to let as much of the liquid evaporate as possible before adding the cheese and milk, which is what gives this dish that “risotto” feeling. To do this, simply continue cooking the cauliflower, uncovered, over medium heat until the liquid has evaporated. Note: If using frozen riced cauliflower, there may be more liquid. Plan to increase the time needed to reduce the liquid.

Next, we’ll make a “slurry” of flour and milk. This is just a fancy way of saying we whisk flour into milk before adding to a hot pan. It helps the dish thicken and leaves us with a creamy “risotto” as the final product. If you’re dairy free, you can swap any unsweetened dairy milk you like. To make the dish gluten-free, as I often do, swap flour for tapioca starch or a gluten-free flour blend. Both options work! Once the slurry is made, add it to the cauliflower along with the goat cheese. Stir everything up until the goat cheese has melted and incorporated, and the whole dish is creamy.

Finally, you’ll stir in the lemon juice and crushed red pepper, then season again with salt and pepper to taste. Add the meatballs back into the skillet and serve hot!

Looking for other one-pan/one-pot recipes from The Ardent Cook?

Chicken and Dumplings

Wild Mushroom Farro with Parmesan and Microgreens

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Chicken with Nectarines and Crispy Prosciutto

Recipe Ingredients

For the meatballs 

2 tbsp olive oil

1lb ground chicken

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium roasted red pepper, finely diced, from a jar of roasted red bell peppers 

½ tsp dried oregano

A few shakes crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper

For the “risotto”

Two tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee

1 tbsp olive oil 

Two 12-14oz bags fresh or frozen riced cauliflower 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 medium shallot or small yellow onion, diced 

One 10-12oz jar roasted red peppers (minus the one used in the meatballs), drained and chopped

1 small bunch tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves very thinly sliced

½ cup chicken broth 

6oz goat cheese 

¾ cup whole milk or dairy free milk of choice

2 tsp flour, GF flour blend, or tapioca starch

Juice of ½ lemon

Pinch crushed red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients for the meatballs and mix well using your hands or a fork. Form into 1 1/2 tbsp-sized balls. Recipe makes about 15 meatballs, for reference.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook meatballs, flipping often to brown them on all sides, until cooked through, approximately 5-6 minutes. When all meatballs are cooked, set aside.
  3. Make the risotto. Lower the heat slightly and add the butter and olive oil. Add the riced cauliflower and scrape up any bits of meatballs from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper and let cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, onion, chopped roasted red peppers, and chicken broth. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.
  5. Remove the lid and check for liquid in the pan. Continue cooking, uncovered, over medium heat until all of the liquid from the cauliflower has evaporated.
  6. While the liquid evaporates, vigorously whisk the flour into the milk to form a slurry. Once all the liquid has evaporated, stir in the goat cheese and the milk slurry and continue stirring until thickened.
  7. Stir in the lemon juice and crushed red pepper flakes. Season once more with salt and pepper to taste, add the meatballs back into the skillet to warm, then enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumplings is a classic comfort food recipe. I grew up eating this on school nights, coming home from winter track practice to smells of chicken soup and biscuit batter. The base of this dish is a slightly thickened-up chicken soup…. not as thick as a chicken pot pie filling, but more stick-to-your-ribs than traditional soup. Then, free-form biscuits get dropped into the bubbling soup and steamed until you have a dozen pillowy dumpling floating and waiting to be devoured. It’s so good!

Ingredients needed to make Chicken and Dumplings

This recipe requires the typical myriad of chicken soup ingredients; celery, carrots, onions, sage, thyme, etc. I love this dish because of the versatility. It’s great for a warming family dinner, to serve to guests (if we can ever have those again), or to prep for a few days of lunches. It also transitions seamlessly between all-purpose flour and a 1-1 gluten free flour blend, so there are no issues if you need to eliminate the gluten. You’ll see options to make this meal dairy-free as well in the recipe section. Here’s the full list:

  • Butter (or olive oil)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Garlic
  • All-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)
  • Chicken broth
  • Heavy cream (or full-fat unsweetened coconut milk)
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Frozen peas (optional)
  • Fresh parsley
  • Eggs
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Milk (or full-fat unsweetened coconut milk)

Tools used to make Chicken and Dumplings

I can’t say it enough- I love soups. They require so few tools to pull off and they’re really hard to mess up. LOVE them. Here are all the tools you’ll need to make these Chicken and Dumplings easily:

  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Large Dutch oven with lid (or a soup pot)
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • A wooden spoon
  • A ladle, for serving
  • #40 (~1.5 tbsp) cookie scoop (optional, but very useful)

How to make Chicken and Dumplings

As mentioned above, this recipe is very akin to a traditional chicken soup crossed with a chicken pot pie filling. The process starts the same as any other soup, by chopping your onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cooking them down in some butter. Once the veggies have started to take on a little color, you’ll sprinkle in some flour and fresh herbs to coat the veggies, then pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream. You’ll let the soup simmer over medium heat, stirring here and there, until it thickens up slightly.

While the soup thickens, you’ll prepare a basic biscuit batter of flour, an egg, butter, milk, and a few other ingredients. The batter will be a touch thicker than, say, a pancake batter, but you won’t believe how the dumplings cook up in the soup. It’s amazing!

Once the soup has thickened, add the shredded (and already cooked!) chicken and frozen peas, if using, to the pot. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly. Lower the heat so the soup is no longer boiling, then use a cookie scoop (or a small measuring cup) to drop roughly 2 tbsp worth of batter into the soup.. The batter will immediately come together to form floating dumplings once it hits the heat, then just keeping adding little scoops until all of the batter is used. Cover the pot completely and walk away for 15 minutes, then return to find the most amazing pot of chicken and dumplings! I love to serve this with fresh parsley over top and an extra crack of black pepper. That’s it!

Looking for other stick-to-your-ribs recipes?

Try these ideas from The Arden Cook!

Pork Chile Verde

Instant Pot French Onion Quinoa Beef Stew

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

For the Soup

2 tbsp salted butter (or ghee)

1 medium yellow onion, diced

3 medium carrots, finely chopped

5 stalks celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp all-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)

4 ½ cups chicken broth 

½ cup heavy cream (or full-fat coconut milk)

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 tsp dried)

2 cups cooked, shredded chicken

1 cup frozen peas (optional)

Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Dumplings

1 cup plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour (or 1-1 GF flour blend)

1 ½ tsp baking powder

Rounded ¼ tsp baking soda

½ cup milk (or full-fat coconut milk)

5 tbsp butter, melted (or ghee)

1 large egg 

¾ tsp salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Once melted, add onions, carrots, celery, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Sauté 4-5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more.
  2. Sprinkle in 2 Tbsp flour and the fresh herbs, then stir to coat the vegetables. Pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly to avoid flour clumping. Then, add the heavy cream. Simmer over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the soup has thickened slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, make the dumpling batter. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
  4. Once the soup has thickened, stir in the shredded chicken and frozen peas, if using. Lower the heat and ensure the soup is not bubbling, then use the cookie scoop or a small 1/4 cup measuring cup filled halfway to drop scoops of batter into the hot soup. The dumplings will immediately start to form and rise to the top. Repeat until all the batter has been scooped into the soup, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid and garnish the soup with fresh parsley and another crack of black pepper. Ladle into bowls, ensuring every bowl gets plenty of soup and at least 1-2 dumplings each, and serve hot. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa are your new favorite way to eat buffalo chicken. Perfect for a quick dinner, party appetizer, or game-day treat, these tacos are simple to pull together and crisp up in the oven in no time. Plus, the celery salsa is unexpected in the best way. Yes, you read that right, I said celery salsa. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either until I dreamed up this recipe and honestly, I was unsure of myself when I got in the kitchen to test it out. But trust me, you do NOT want to skip out on making this delicious condiment. Let’s get to making some tacos!

Ingredients needed to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

This recipe calls for cooked and shredded chicken, which is simple to do on the stove, in the Instant Pot, or pulled from a store-bought rotisserie chicken ahead of time. I love to make mine in the Instant Pot with a little splash of water and hot sauce then cooked on high pressure for 12 minutes. It shreds in seconds between two forks every time. Once you’ve got your cooked chicken, the recipe comes together in a snap. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Hot sauce
  • Butter
  • Coconut or brown sugar
  • Soft corn tortillas
  • Avocado oil
  • Grated/shredded cheddar cheese
  • Celery
  • Jalapeno
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Avocado
  • Salt

Tools used to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

When it comes to recipes, this one requires minimal tools to execute it. All you really need is a medium saucepan, two sheet trays, a knife, a cutting board, and a mixing bowl. That’s it!

How to make Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Celery Salsa

As mentioned above, you’ll need to cook and shred 1-1.5lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breast ahead of time. You could do this in the Instant Pot as described above, or simply grab yourself a rotisserie chicken from the store and shred it. Either way, once you have your shredded chicken, this recipe takes less than 30 minutes to pull together.

You’ll make a simple wing sauce by combining hot sauce, butter, and either coconut or brown sugar and simmering it for a few minutes on the stove until the sugar has dissolved. Add the shredded chicken and stir to thoroughly combine.

Next, you’ll microwave some corn tortillas for about 30 seconds until they’re very pliable. Lay them flat on a sheet tray and brush each side with avocado oil, then layer on some shredded cheddar on the top half of each tortilla. Add buffalo chicken on top followed by a bit more cheese, then fold the tortillas over to create a taco. It’s helpful to flip each taco over (onto the side that you first put the cheese on) to help them stay closed, and you can also place another sheet tray on top to help them stay closed for the first few minutes of cooking. Let them bake for 10-12 minutes total, removing the top sheet tray after 3 minutes or so, then flipping over halfway through to allow the other side to crisp.

While the tacos bake, make the celery salsa. Combine the celery, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and a pinch of salt and mix. Set aside.

Finally, you’ll top the tacos with the celery salsa and some fresh avocado and enjoy!

Looking for more easy dishes like these tacos?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Creamy Sausage and Kale Rigatoni

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Broccoli Salad with Quick Homemade Ranch

Recipe Ingredients

1- 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cooked and shredded

⅓- ½ cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s, divided

2 tbsp butter

1 ½ tbsp coconut or brown sugar

12-15 soft corn tortillas

2 tbsp avocado oil

1 cup grated cheddar cheese

5 stalks celery, finely diced 

1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely diced

½ red onion, finely diced

¼ cup cilantro, chopped 

Juice of ½ lime

Salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium saucepan, combine hot sauce, butter, and coconut sugar and simmer for 3-4 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Stir in the shredded chicken and fully coat in the buffalo sauce.
  2. Microwave the corn tortillas for 20-30 seconds until very pliable. Place them on one of the sheet trays and brush both sides with avocado oil. Working only in the top semicircle of each tortilla, layer some shredded cheese, buffalo chicken, then more shredded cheese. Fold the tortilla over to form a taco, and repeat until all tacos are filled and folded.
  3. If the tacos aren’t staying closed, place the second sheet tray on top of the tortillas to help them stay shut. Bake for 2 minutes, then remove the sheet tray and continue baking for an additional 8-10 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the tacos are crispy and the cheese is melted.
  4. While the tacos bake, make the celery salsa. Combine the celery, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and salt to taste. Mix well and set aside.
  5. Let the tacos cool slightly, then serve topped with the celery salsa and fresh avocado. These tacos also taste wonderful with a side of ranch or bleu cheese dressing and extra hot sauce. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad is a healthy main-course salad that still feels hearty and keeps you full. Loaded with crisp veggies, salty feta, and slightly spicy harissa chicken thighs, this salad is perfect for a weeknight or busy weekend meal. To save even more time, you can buy pre-marinated harissa chicken thighs from everyone’s favorite grocer, Trader Joe’s, or try my delicious copycat recipe, available here. I love topping this salad with a quick homemade lemony herb dressing (details included in recipe), but if you aren’t in the mood to make your own, I would highly recommend a store-bought ranch.

Ingredients needed to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

My recipe for Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad includes some of my favorite veggies to add to a salad, but don’t let me stop you there. In my experience, the more a salad has in it, the better it gets. This would also be delicious with some halved cherry tomatoes, a different kind of cheese, fresh corn, roasted broccoli, etc. The options for customization are endless! Here’s the full list of ingredients for the salad:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Harissa chicken thighs (recipe here)
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Radishes (I love watermelon radishes in this salad)
  • Avocado
  • Feta cheese
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Crispy chickpeas
  • Cilantro

If you also want to make my favorite easy dressing that compliments this salad perfectly, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tahini
  • Dijon mustard
  • Lemon juice
  • Cilantro
  • Salt and pepper

Tools used to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

This salad comes together using the most minimal of kitchen tools. All you need is a few kitchen staples and you’re ready to eat! I used the following tools to make this salad happen:

  • Large cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Large mixing bowl or serving plate
  • Small mixing bowl, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Measuring cups and spoons, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Whisk, optional if making homemade dressing
  • Air fryer, optional if making homemade crispy chickpeas

How to make Harissa Chicken Chopped Salad

This dish is as simple as chopping and plating. If you plan to make your own harissa chicken thighs using my recipe, you’ll want to do that as the first step. The chicken thighs don’t take very long as they’re absolutely worth the effort, trust me!

You’ll begin by chopping everything you need for the salad, including the lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, avocado, and cilantro. Add it all to a large mixing bowl or serving plate, crumble the feta and sprinkle the pomegranate arils on top, then add the crispy chickpeas. You can make these using a simple recipe for Air Fryer crispy chickpeas, available here, or just grab a bag of them already made from the store.

To make the lemony herb dressing, combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Alternatively, you could add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender for an even smoother consistency, but I personally enjoy the texture of the chopped herbs in this dressing. Both methods are excellent and the flavor remains the same!

Slice the chicken and add it to the salad, then drizzle all over with the lemony herb dressing (or dressing of your choice)! It’s so good and the perfect hearty salad for any day of the week.

Looking for other simple, healthy recipes?

Try these ideas from The Ardent Cook

Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Warm Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Recipe Ingredients

2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped

Harissa Chicken Thighs, cooked and chopped (store-bought available at Trader Joe’s, or homemade)

1 large cucumber, seeded and chopped

2 medium carrots, thinly sliced or shredded

Handful of assorted radishes, thinly sliced 

1 avocado, quartered 

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled 

1/4 cup pomegranate arils

1/2 cup crispy chickpeas (store-bought, or homemade)

1/8 cup cilantro, chopped, for serving

For the Lemony Herb Dressing

⅛ cup tahini

Juice and zest of 1 whole lemon

1 TBSP dijon mustard

⅛ cup finely chopped cilantro

3 TBSP water, or more if thinner consistency is desired

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Combine the chopped lettuce, cucumber, carrots, radishes, avocado, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl or arrange on a serving plate. Crumble the feta and scatter the pomegranate arils and crispy chickpeas on top.
  2. Make the dressing, if using. Add the tahini, lemon juice and zest, dijon mustard, cilantro, water, salt, and pepper to a small mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  3. Slice the chicken and arrange it on top of the salad. Drizzle with the dressing and serve immediately. To store in the fridge, do not dress the salad. Leftovers keep very well undressed in an airtight container, with the dressing added once you are ready to eat. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

I absolutely love all things Chinese food, but when we transitioned to a gluten-free way of eating it ruled out a lot of take-out options. Unfortunately, soy sauce and other soy products contain wheat, and they’re hidden in a lot of dishes. I’ve learned a lot about how to balance the intricate flavors of what we consider “Chinese” cooking (and I’ve still got A LOT to learn about the legit, authentic, traditional recipes), and and I’m pretty proud of how this dish turned out. The combination of the punchy garlic and ginger paired with the sweet honey and earthy toasted sesame oil is mind blowing, plus the dish is pretty healthy! Let’s make it!

Ingredients needed to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

All the ingredients used in this dish are ones I pull out constantly when I’m making anything Asian-inspired. If you love Asian flavors and cook them at home frequently, I would highly recommend stocking up on some of these ingredients to ensure your meals are tasting as true-to-flavor and balanced as possible! Here’s everything you’ll need:

Tools used to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This take-out-inspired dish is wonderful because it requires very basic kitchen equipment. You’ll need the following items: a cutting board, a sharp chef’s knife, a medium pot with lid, a medium-large skillet, a pair of tongs, and a jar with lid OR a medium mixing bowl with a whisk. There are also a few optional kitchen tools that helped make this meal happen quickly, which are a microplane and a force juicer, although the dish can still be successfully made without those items.

How to make Honey Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

This dish happens rather quickly, so I find it’s helpful to have most of your ingredients measured out ahead of time. You’ll begin by cutting your chicken breast into thin 1/4-1/2 inch strips and coating them in a mixture of tapioca starch (this helps our chicken get a nice crispy sear), ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder. Once your skillet is heated, sear the chicken on both sides. You may need to work in batches to do this in order to avoid crowding the pan. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli and make the sauce.

I love to make this sauce in a mason jar with a lid so I can just dump everything and shake to mix. However, if you don’t have a mason jar, it works perfectly well to mix everything in a bowl with a whisk. Either option is perfect!

Once all the chicken has been seared, return it all to the skillet and pour in the sauce. The honey will help create a delicious, thick sauce that coats all of the pieces of chicken. You’ll let the sauce simmer with the chicken for a few minutes, toss in the steamed broccoli, and garnish with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and more sesame seeds! Serve it over rice, rice noodles, or eat it as-is. It’s so delicious!

Looking for other Asian-inspired dishes?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Aromatic Chicken Meatball Curry

Recipe Ingredients

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 ½ tbsp tapioca starch

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp garlic powder

2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into florets

3 tbsp avocado oil, divided (1 for searing chicken, 2 for sauce)

2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

¼ cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

3 tbsp rice vinegar

¼ cup honey

1 tbsp sriracha, more or less to taste

1 tbsp raw sesame seeds

1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated or finely minced

2 cloves fresh garlic, grated or finely minced

Juice of 1 lime

Cilantro, for serving

Sesame seeds, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken into thin strips, each about 1/4-1/2 inch thick. Combine the tapioca, ground ginger, ground turmeric, and garlic powder and coat the chicken in the mixture.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp of the avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat and sear the chicken, working in batches if necessary. While the chicken sears, steam the broccoli until fork-tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the chicken and broccoli are cooking, make the sauce. In a mason-jar with a tight fitting lid OR a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 2 tbsp avocado oil, sesame oil, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, sriracha, sesame seeds, fresh ginger, and fresh garlic. Shake or whisk to thoroughly combine.
  4. When the chicken is seared, return all of it to the skillet and pour in the sauce. Lower the heat and simmer the sauce with the chicken until the chicken is cooked-through and the sauce has thickened slightly, another 5 minutes. Stir in the lime juice.
  5. Add the steamed broccoli, then stir once more to coat everything in the sauce. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and more sesame seeds. Serve hot over rice or rice noodles! Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Harissa Chicken Thighs (Trader Joe’s Copycat)

One of the best things to come out of 2020 was my discovery of Trader Joe’s Harissa Chicken Thighs. Now, hear me out. I have never been a proponent of pre-marinated meats in the grocery store. Typically, they’re loaded with extra fillers, sodium, sugar, etc. which is part of the reason they taste so good. However, Trader Joe’s seemingly does it right. There are a few strange ingredients in the marinade, but overall it’s pretty clean and the taste is absolutely ridiculously good.

You may be wondering, “Why change a good thing?” I’ll tell you why. I don’t live particularly close to Trader Joe’s. In fact, every trip is at least 30 minutes one-way, plus waiting in line for pandemic reasons (since all of their stores are the size of matchboxes), plus checking out, driving home, and unloading. It’s a TRIP.

You can probably see why I endeavored to create my own version of these delicious spicy morsels of chicken and let me tell you… I’m so glad I did.

Ingredients needed to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

If you’ve never heard of harissa, you’re not alone. Loads of people I talk to are either unsure of what it is or afraid of its spice level. Traditionally used in North African and Middle Eastern cooking, harissa is a widely used paste of roasted hot and sweet peppers, garlic, warm spices, salt, and a few other ingredients. It’s incredibly flavorful and, while it carries some heat, is not overpowering in this recipe.

Obviously, you’ll need to get your hands on a jar to make these chicken thighs. I would not recommend substituting anything else for the harissa in this dish. Trader Joe’s sells a delicious harissa, but it can also be found in most mainstream grocery stores in the specialty or international foods aisles. I’ve also linked one here which is available on Amazon.

Here’s everything you’ll need:

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Orange juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Water
  • Harissa
  • Avocado oil
  • Honey
  • Cilantro

Tools used to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

I love cooking chicken because of how easy it is (and so few dishes!). This recipe comes together using only a few kitchen tools, which I’m certain you already have in your kitchen. You’ll need the following: a large storage container with lid (or gallon-sized plastic bag), a small saucepan, measuring cups and spoons, one mixing bowl, a pair of tongs, a baking sheet, and an instant-read meat thermometer. That’s it!

How to make Harissa Chicken Thighs

There is a little fuss when it comes to this recipe, but most of the cook time is actually spent hands-off as passive time. We’ll start by making a quick citrus brine for our thighs, which is exactly what Trader Joe’s processing plant does to make their harissa chicken thighs. To do this, simply combine water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan and heat it until both are dissolved. Add some citrus juice (in this case orange and lime), cover the chicken, and let it sit for 30-40 minutes. When I make these chicken thighs, I typically use that brining time to make the rest of the components of whatever meal I’m making.

Chicken thighs resting in the quick citrus brine

Next, you’ll transfer the chicken thighs to a mixing bowl with the harissa, avocado oil, and honey, stirring to coat them all evenly. We add a decent amount of oil here to ensure that our thighs achieve some level of browning in the oven. The small amount of honey helps with that too.

Chicken thighs covered in harissa, avocado oil, and honey

Before preheating the oven, you’ll want to place a clean sheet tray inside of the oven. As the oven preheats, the sheet tray will heat up with it. When we add our chicken thighs to the hot sheet pan, this will start the process of browning the bottoms immediately. It’s a great trick I use anytime I want caramelization (tip: I love using this method for oven-baked fries).

The chicken will cook for anywhere from 13 to 20 minutes. Cook time depends a lot on how large your chicken thighs are. This recipe calls for 1.5 pounds of chicken thighs. If the pack comes with only 2-3 larger thighs that make up those 1.5 pounds, then your cook time will likely be closer to the 20 minute mark. 4-5 thighs per pack, and you’re going to want to air on the side of 13 minutes to avoid over-cooking. Rely on your meat thermometer and you’ll achieve perfectly cooked chicken every time!

Once the chicken is cooked through, transfer it to a serving plate and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro. I love serving this chicken over rice with lots of vegetables, or on a chopped salad with other Middle Eastern flavors. Enjoy!

Looking for other delicious chicken recipes?

Give these dishes a try from The Ardent Cook archives!

Favorite Roast Chicken

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Red Curry Pulled Chicken with Turmeric-Lime Rice

Harissa Chicken Thighs are a unique addition to any meal

Recipe Ingredients

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

½ cup water

1 tbsp salt

1 tbsp coconut sugar 

½ cup orange juice, unsweetened

Juice of 1 lime

⅓ cup harissa paste

¼ cup avocado oil

1 tbsp honey

Cilantro, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt, and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar and salt are just dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the orange juice and lime juice. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. In a large storage container with a lid (or gallon-sized plastic bag), add the chicken and brine. Let sit at room temperature for 30-40 minutes. 
  3. After the time has passed, combine the harissa, avocado oil, and honey in a large mixing bowl. Remove the chicken from the brine and transfer to the mixing bowl to coat in the harissa mixture. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 and place a baking sheet in the oven while it preheats. Once the oven has reached temperature, remove the baking sheet and place the chicken directly onto the hot sheet. Return to the oven and bake for 13-20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  5. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Green Curry Chicken Tacos

Curry of any kind is one of my favorite foods and I truly think I could eat a variety of curry every night for dinner. In an effort to change it up from the usual protein, vegetables, curry sauce, and rice, I thought I’d give a curried taco recipe a go and BOY am I glad I did. This easy green curry chicken comes together in under 15 minutes in the Instant Pot, then gets stuffed into a delicious soft tortilla and topped with a few effortless garnishes. So easy and SO flavorful- let’s make ’em!

Ingredients needed to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

Here’s everything you’ll need to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos:

Tools used to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

These chicken tacos come together fastest and easiest when you use a pressure cooker, such as the Instant Pot. If you don’t have one, you can also cook the chicken in the oven using a covered Dutch oven, but be prepared that this method takes significantly longer. In addition to the Instant Pot, you’ll need the following tools:

How to make Green Curry Chicken Tacos

The entire process takes about 30 minutes start-to-finish when you factor in the time it takes the Instant Pot to pressurize and depressurize. You’ll start by mincing or grating your garlic and ginger and cutting each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place the chicken, garlic, ginger, curry paste, and coconut milk in the instant pot and stir until roughly combined. Set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure and set the timer to 11 minutes. Let the Instant Pot do its magic while you prepare the toppings.

Finely chop the cilantro and set aside. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cashews over medium-low heat until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop them.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, allow the Instant Pot 5-7 minutes of natural release, then carefully open the valve to quickly release the rest of the pressure. Using tongs, place the chicken onto the cutting board (you could also do this in a large mixing bowl) and shred using two forks. Turn the Instant Pot to sauté and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes to reduce and thicken. Return the chicken to the pot to soak in the curry sauce.

Warm your tortillas over the flame of your gas stove, or in the same dry skillet that you toasted the cashews in. Place the chicken into each tortilla, then top with the cilantro, cashews, and a little sriracha if desired. Enjoy!

Looking for other quick and easy recipes?

Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Recipe Ingredients

2-3lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (3 medium breasts)

1-inch knob ginger, minced or grated

3 cloves garlic, minced or grated

3oz green curry paste, such as Mike’s Organic Curry Love

1 13.5oz can full-fat coconut milk, unsweetened

Small (taco-sized) tortillas, any variety, or jicama wraps

1/2 cup raw cashews

Sriracha, for serving

Cilantro, roughly chopped, for serving

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Cut each chicken breast in half crosswise. Place chicken, ginger, garlic, curry paste, and coconut milk into the bowl of the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot to Manual, then High Pressure, and set the timer for 11 minutes. Let the Instant Pot do its work, then allow for 5-7 minutes of natural pressure release before carefully opening the valve to quick-release the remaining steam. **If using oven method, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and add above ingredients to a large Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, then bake for 1-1.5 hours until the chicken easily shreds with a fork.**
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the toppings for the tacos. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cashews over medium-low heat until golden in color and fragrant. Transfer to a cutting board and roughly chop, then set aside. Roughly chop the cilantro, then warm the tortillas in the same skillet that you toasted the cashews in. Alternatively, you may char the tortillas over the open flame if you have a gas stove.
  3. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and shred using two forks. Turn the pot to the sauté feature and let the curry sauce simmer for 10 minutes or so, until reduced and slightly thicker. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Return the chicken to the sauce.
  4. Assemble the tacos. Place a serving of chicken into each tortilla, then top with the cilantro, cashews, and sriracha, if desired. Serve immediately!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Favorite Roast Chicken

There are few things that make me more nostalgic than the smell of a chicken roasting on a Sunday afternoon. It was such a staple meal for my family growing up and it’s way easier to make than most people think.

This is my absolute favorite way to roast a chicken, hence why I named it Favorite Roast Chicken. It’s also what I’ll be making for my family on Thanksgiving, because I firmly believe that turkey is overrated. If you need to feed a crowd, simply opt for roasting two or three smaller chickens, which reduces your risk of the bird drying out.

Here are a few of the reasons I love this Favorite Roast Chicken:

  1. You get way more bang for your buck when it comes to the price of meat per pound, especially when compared to buying boneless, skinless, (flavorless) chicken breast.
  2. You can save the bones to make delicious, easy bone broth. It’s great for your gut, filled with protein, and keeps in the freezer for use in everything from homemade soups to Thanksgiving gravy. I love to keep it on hand for pesky winter colds, too.
  3. The flavor can’t be beat. Just trust me on this one.

Ingredients needed to make Favorite Roast Chicken

It goes without saying that you need a whole chicken to make this recipe. The time and temperature for my recipe is specific to a 5-5.5 pound bird. If you happen to find a larger one, you can aim to add an extra 10-15 minutes per 1/2 pound, but check it frequently to ensure you don’t overcook it. I would not recommend a chicken larger than 7-7.5lbs, as I’ve had issues with the breast drying out before the dark meat parts of the bird have finished cooking. In addition to the chicken, you’ll need the following:

  • Butter
  • Fresh winter herbs, such as thyme, sage, or rosemary
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Shallots or yellow onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Tools used to make Favorite Roast Chicken

The tools needed to perfect the roast chicken are so minimal! The most important item is an oven-safe roasting pan or skillet. If I’m just doing one chicken, I’ll opt for my favorite Le Creuset cast iron skillet. If I’m doing two, or a large bird, I’ll use this larger pan by All Clad. You can also use a traditional square or rectangular roasting pan. Whatever you’ve got that fits the chicken and can go in the oven is perfect!

You also need a small microwave-safe bowl to melt the butter, paper towels to pat the chicken dry, a chef’s knife to minced the herbs and carve the chicken once it’s cooked, kitchen twine to truss the legs, a large cutting board, and a meat thermometer. That’s it!

How to make Favorite Roast Chicken

Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to actually make a roast chicken. It sounds intimidating, but trust me, it’s not that bad.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll start by melting the butter, giving your herbs a good chop, and roughly chopping the celery, carrot, and shallot. I like to do this before I even touch the chicken, so I limit the amount of times I have to wash my hands. Mix the herbs with the melted butter, and set everything aside right next to your work station.

Remove the chicken from it’s plastic packaging and discard the giblets from the center of the chicken. There may be juices stuck in the cavity that you can go ahead and dump down the drain or into your trash can. Do not rinse the chicken! This causes a mess in your sink and it’s also not necessary.

Bring your chicken over to your work station and pat it dry with paper towels. I like to set up my largest cutting board and make that the raw chicken zone instead of using the countertop, but you should do what works best for you and your own kitchen set up. Tip: line your work station with a layer of paper towel before putting the chicken down, as this helps dry the bottom while you pat the other parts dry.

Make sure the chicken is dry all over, then coat the chicken in the melted butter. You want to get it completely covered, as well as spread some butter underneath the skin of the breast. The skin will easily separate from the breast meat when you run your finger underneath and pull upwards gently, at which point you can spoon a little melted butter inside and spread it around with your fingers.

Next, you’ll “truss” the chicken legs. Trussing is when you tie the legs up against the breast, which helps prevent air from circulating around the breast during the cooking process (which makes for a dry breast) and ensures an even cooking time for all parts of the chicken. It sounds fancy, but it’s super easy to do with a piece of kitchen twine.

Once the chicken is covered in the butter and herb mixture and trussed, wash your hands with soap and dry them well. Using one hand to hold the chicken (your “dirty” hand) and one hand to touch the salt and pepper, season the chicken liberally all over, as well as in the cavity. Use both hands to transfer the chicken to the roasting pan, then stuff the cavity with the celery, carrot, shallot, and whole herb sprigs. Wash your hands, the cutting board, the knife, and anything else that touched raw chicken.

Roast the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees at the deepest part of the breast, and 180 in the thighs. Remove from the oven and tent loosely with aluminum foil, then allow it to rest for 15 minutes or so.

To carve the chicken, you’ll want to transfer it to a large cutting board. You’ll begin by removing the wings, which should easily pop off without much pressure being applied. Next, to remove the leg and thigh, cut between the breast and the leg, turning the knife inward and downward to remove them in one piece. To remove the breast, start at the center of the bird and cut down along the breast bone, turning the knife outward as you cut downward. Then, slice the breast against the grain. Plate all the pieces on a serving platter, and surround the chicken with the pieces of vegetable that were in the cavity. You may also garnish with fresh herbs, if desired.

If preparing or carving the chicken sounds scary to you, you can always feel free to leave a comment or DM me on Instagram and I’d be happy to help you. I’m also planning to host a Zoom class all about roasting a chicken that will take you through the process step-by-step in a small group setting. More information on this class is available on my Instagram, @theardentcook.

Recipe Ingredients

One 5-5½ pound whole chicken

3 tbsp salted butter, melted

1 bunch whole fresh herbs, such as sage, rosemary, or thyme

1 large carrot, roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

1 medium shallot, halved

Salt and pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Finely chop roughly 2 tbsp of the herbs and add to the melted butter. Leave the rest of the herbs whole.
  3. Remove the giblets and pat the chicken dry. Rub all over with the melted butter and herb mixture, getting some butter underneath the skin of the breasts as well. Season the chicken and the cavity liberally with salt and pepper, then truss the legs using kitchen twine.
  4. Transfer to the roasting pan and stuff the cavity with the carrot, celery, shallot, and the remaining bunch of herbs. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit and the thigh reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Remove the chicken from the oven and tent lightly with aluminum foil. Allow the chicken to rest for 15 minutes before carving. To reheat, place skin-on chicken in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. For breast, reheat in a shallow pan with 1/2 inch of chicken stock or gravy to retain moisture. Enjoy!
  6. BONUS: For a quick chicken gravy, pour off all but 5 tbsp of pain drippings from the same pan you roasted the chicken in. Heat drippings on the stove over medium heat, then whisk in 4 tbsp of all-purpose flour to create a roux. Let the roux bubble for 1-2 minutes, until the raw flour taste is cooked out and the roux has browned nicely. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in 1/2 cup dry white wine, making sure to scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, then return to the heat. Add 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme to the pan. Once the wine has cooked off, about 3-4 minutes, slowly whisk in 2-3 cups chicken stock, 1/2 cup at a time. Once the gravy has thickened, add in the next 1/2 cup, and so on, until all of the stock is incorporated and gravy has thickened to your liking. Season with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash is a relatively low-effort meal that feels luxurious. If you’ve never cooked bone-in chicken breasts before, this is the perfect recipe to ease you in. Bone-in chicken breasts offer so much more flavor than their boneless, skinless counterparts, and I love saving the bones for making bone broth afterwards. Delicata squash, one of my favorite fall ingredients, pairs excellently with the salty gorgonzola and flavorful chicken. Everything is topped off with a quick mustard fig pan sauce that comes together in minutes and makes the whole dish.

Ingredients needed to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

The ingredient list for this dish looks intimidating, but trust me when I say the entire meal comes together more quickly than you’d expect. This recipe calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts. You’ll want to look for a cut labeled “split breasts” at the grocery store. These are simply chicken breasts with the skin on and breast-bone still intact. It looks much more frightening than it is, and I promise the breast can be removed from the bone with one knife cut. I’ll give more specific directions on how to do that below! Here’s the full list of what you’ll need:

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
  • Delicata squash
  • Gorgonzola cheese
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh garlic
  • Shallots
  • White wine 
  • Chicken broth
  • Dijon mustard
  • Black pepper

Tools used to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

This dish is primarily cooked in the oven, so you’ll need an oven-safe skillet (I used my Le Creuset cast-iron skillet) and a baking sheet to cook the chicken and squash. You also need a good, sharp chef’s knife, cutting board, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a wire whisk. However, if you’re using a nonstick pan, I’d recommend using a silicon-coated whisk such as this one.

Other than that, you’ll need a working oven and stove!

How to make Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Delicata Squash

I know this recipe sounds like a lot of technical work. It really isn’t. You’ll start by prepping the delicata squash, which is fairly simple since you don’t need to peel delicata! You can eat its skin, which is one of the best parts about it. Halve them lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and cut into ‘c’ shapes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and pop them in the oven while you work on the chicken.

The chicken is the more technical aspect of this recipe, but I promise you can do it. You’ll want to start by familiarizing yourself with the chicken. If you’ve never seen a split breast before, it’s essentially a boneless-skinless chicken breast that you’re used to seeing just with the breast bone and skin still attached. You’ll see that the breast bone is connected at the bottom and side of the breast, so you will ultimately roast the chicken with the bone facing down and the meaty part facing up.

To separate the skin from the chicken breast, you’ll run your fingers underneath the skin and gently pull it away from the meat, creating a pocket that you can then stuff the gorgonzola-herb mixture inside of. Once the breasts are stuffed with the cheese and herbs, you’ll drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, arrange the shallots around them, and roast them in the cast-iron for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the breast.

When the chicken is finished roasting, transfer it to a cutting board to rest, and return the skillet to the stove over medium heat. Remember that the pan was just in the oven, so you’ll need to use an oven mitt to move the pan around (I’ve burnt myself one too many times by ignoring this tip). You’ll deglaze the pan with the white wine, using a whisk to scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom, then stir in the chicken broth, dijon, and fig jam. This sauce is a wonderful balance of flavors from the savory chicken drippings, tangy mustard, and slightly sweet fig jam. It’s drinkable.

When it’s time to eat, I like to slice the chicken off of the bone before serving. Simply take your knife and run it along the side of the breast bone, working your way underneath the chicken. It should separate pretty easily. Then, I slice the chicken into pieces crosswise and place them back into the skillet with the mustard fig sauce. I then arrange the delicata squash around the sliced chicken, making sure it gets nestled in the sauce too.

This dish is so comforting and delicious, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Looking for other delicious chicken dishes?

Try these recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Roasted Apricot Chicken

Red Curry Pulled Chicken with Turmeric-Lime Rice

Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings

Quick(er) Chicken Shawarma with White Sauce

Recipe Ingredients

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

3 large delicata squash

2 tbsp olive oil, plus more 

½ cup gorgonzola cheese, room temperature

2 tsp fresh sage, minced

2 tsp fresh thyme, stems removed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 medium shallots, halved, skins removed

½ cup white wine 

¼ cup chicken broth

2 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp fig jam

Salt, to taste

Black pepper, to taste

Recipe Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the delicata in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into half moons about ¼-½ inch thick. 
  2. Arrange delicata on a sheet tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25-30 minutes, tossing half-way through. 
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine room temperature gorgonzola, sage, thyme, and garlic. Use a fork to mix the herbs thoroughly into the cheese. 
  4. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel, then pull the skin up to separate it from the chicken. Be careful not to tear it completely off, you just want a pocket between the skin and chicken. Stuff the cheese mixture underneath the skin on each breast, using your finger to spread it out into an even layer under the skin. 
  5. Place chicken in a large oven-safe skillet or baking dish, then arrange the shallots around the chicken. Drizzle chicken breasts with a little oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. The chicken is finished when the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  6. Remove the chicken and allow it to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes. Return the pan to the stove over medium heat, and add the wine. Use a whisk to scrape up the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, then whisk in the chicken broth, mustard, and fig jam. Allow the sauce to reduce for 5-7 minutes.
  7. Remove the chicken from the bone. Using a chef’s knife, run your knife along the side of the breast where it meets the bone and cut, curving around the bottom of the breast until the meat separates. Slice into pieces crosswise, then place chicken back in the skillet with the mustard fig sauce.
  8. Arrange the delicata around the sliced chicken in the skillet, and serve it family-style. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup is a bowl of comfort, perfect for a chilly Tuesday evening such as this one (if you live in the northeast). While many traditional tortellini soups incorporate a basic cheese tortellini, I’ve chosen to use a variety filled with a mixture of chicken, herbs, and a little ricotta for a dose of protein and extra flavor. If you’d like to keep this soup vegetarian, simply swap the chicken-filled tortellini for a cheese variety and use vegetable or mushroom stock instead of chicken broth. Make this soup dairy free by choosing a vegan tortellini (with a non-dairy filling) and incorporating canned coconut milk instead of the heavy cream. There are loads of ways to make this soup fit into your diet preference, just as long as you enjoy it with a hunk of crusty bread, wrapped in a cozy blanket. I know you’re going to love it!

Ingredients needed to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

This soup calls upon a lot of long-lasting vegetables and canned goods, making it the perfect meal for weeks when it’s already Tuesday and you haven’t made it to the grocery store for the week yet. I’m having one of those weeks. The worst. Here’s the list of everything you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Fresh thyme
  • Garlic
  • Chicken stock
  • Canned crushed tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Heavy cream
  • Chicken and herb filled tortellini
  • Tuscan kale
  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Crushed red chili flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Tools used to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love a good soup because of the minimal clean up. You pretty much always need a good sharp knife and large cutting board to make my recipes, but other than that, you’ll just want to get out your favorite large soup pot and a ladle for serving. Optional, but not necessary, is a citrus juicer for squeezing the lemons. This one is a force juicer and it makes my life in the kitchen so much easier!

How to make Herbed Chicken Tortellini Soup

As with most soups, the base is comprised of a mirepoix. Mirepoix is a term referring to a blend of diced celery, carrots, and onions. It’s the start of many popular dishes in classical French cooking, and it’s what we use to create ample flavor for this soup.

You’ll begin by sautéing the mirepoix with some fresh thyme in olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, you’ll add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth, along with a few seasonings. This liquid gets simmered for 10-15 minutes or so, until the carrots have softened, as they take a bit longer to cook than the celery and onion.

The wonderful thing about this recipe is that it only takes about 25 minutes from start to finish, including prep time for chopping. Towards the end of the cooking, you’ll lower the heat and stir in your heavy cream, kale, and tortellini.

I recommend using fresh tortellini in this recipe, which is typically found in the refrigerated section by the deli or cheese area. Shelf-stable tortellini takes much longer to cook, and you run the risk of overcooking the vegetables in your base if you choose this variety. If you can’t find the fresh tortellini, simply add the dried tortellini (while the soup is still simmering) a bit earlier, before adding the heavy cream and kale.

At the very end, you’ll stir in the fresh lemon juice (it tends to get bitter if cooked for too long), ladle the soup into bowls, and garnish with parmesan cheese. It’s a complete meal packed with vegetables, starch, and protein, and the slightly creamy broth is so soothing.

I like to enjoy this soup with a hunk of crusty bread for dipping, or a batch of homemade garlic knots (if you’ve got the time). I don’t have my own recipe for garlic knots, unfortunately, but there are loads on the internet that don’t require too much time or effort. It’s a great Sunday project if you happen to make this soup over a weekend!

Looking for other cozy soup options from The Ardent Cook?

Chipotle Peanut Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Pepitas

Mom’s Checkerboard Chicken Chili

Potato, Leek, and Corn Chowder

Recipe Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced small

1 medium carrot, diced small

2 stalks celery, diced small

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups chicken stock

1 (14oz) can crushed tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk if dairy free)

1 (10oz) package fresh tortellini, filled with chicken and herbs if available

1 bunch tuscan kale, ribbed and sliced into ribbons

1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (about ¼ lemon)

1 tsp salt

¾ tsp crushed red chili flake

Black pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, for serving

Recipe Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and thyme and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken stock. Stir until the tomato paste is fully incorporated. Season with the salt, crushed chili flakes, and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots have softened. 
  3. Lower the heat and stir in the heavy cream, stirring constantly while pouring. Add the tortellini and kale, then let cook for the time specified on the package of tortellini (no more than 3-5 minutes for fresh tortellini). Stir in the lemon juice at the very end, then season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with parmesan cheese, if using. Serve with crusty bread and a big salad, family style. Enjoy!

There may be affiliate links in this post! By purchasing a product I recommend, I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love and use myself. Thank you for your continued support of The Ardent Cook, it does not go unnoticed.