Alternative to beef’s bull market

By Bill Colvard - bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com
One-Pan Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli is a tasty meal that only requires one piece of cookware to prepare. - Submitted photo

The bull market on beef shows no signs of ending its long-running stampede, pardon the puns and mixed metaphors.

Prices climbed astronomically between 2013 and 2016, according to financial market charts, and ever since then, the prices have been bouncing around near the top of the range.

The Retail Beef Price Composite (which is apparently a thing and is known as the RBPC) was up two cents in August from the month prior, according to website beef2live.com, which is a bit cagey about where the information comes from but appears to be a marketing tool for the beef industry.

But as one stands in front of the meat case in his or her favorite supermarket, it can sometimes seem as if two cents is a bit on the low side as far as price increases in the last month go. It can seem like a whole lot more.

Steaks are about as accessible to the average person as new Gucci raincoats for the whole family, and even chuck roast which used to be cheapish isn’t anymore. Hamburger, formerly the working family’s friend, has now managed to become both as overpriced as it is uninspiring.

Convincing your family that you were all going to become flexitarians may have seemed like an ideal solution.

Flexitarians are folks who eat a primarily plant-based died but are flexible enough to indulge in meat when demanded by a social situation or if a sense of deprivation kicks in. It’s a philosophy usually embraced due to social consciousness or health concerns, but a pot roast that costs as much as a bicycle is also a pretty good motivator.

But perhaps your kids really aren’t buying into the whole flexitarian thing, and the price of beef has gone up yet again, in which case, it’s hard not to notice that in the next case over, boneless, skinless chicken breasts are still $1.99 a pound. It’s hard to remember a time when they weren’t $1.99 a pound, except maybe back when they were $4.99 a pound and $1.99 was the rare sale price. And chicken thighs cost even less.

Guess what, family? It’s chicken tonight. If you’re on a budget and have a hankering for animal flesh, chicken is definitely the way to go. Recipes follow for ways to utilize that chicken which will banish from your mind forever the reputation of boneless chicken breasts as dry and flavorless and/or show you a few ways to make use of those flavorful thighs which cost even less.

And as an added extra attraction, each recipe only uses one pan. So you get a meal that’s flavorful, more or less healthful and reasonably inexpensive and with minimal cleanup. It should keep your family from starving while you figure out a way to convince them that flexitarianism is more fun than it sounds.

One Pan Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli

2 tbsp. olive oil

6 (7-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

12 ounces fresh or frozen broccoli florets

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Arrange the chicken breasts in the center of the prepared baking sheet. Arrange the broccoli around the chicken. Drizzle the broccoli with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle everything with salt and garlic powder. Bake until the chicken breasts are cooked through and a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 160°F, 25 to 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, Parmesan, and parsley. Top each chicken breast with some of the mixture. Broil until the cheese is melted and the broccoli is deeply browned, 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

One Pan Garlic Ranch Chicken and Veggies

This recipe provides a great opportunity to check your fridge for any veggies nearing the end of their lifespan. If you see any, toss them in.

8 tsp. brown sugar, divided

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved

16 ounces baby peeled carrots

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 (1-ounce) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix

3 cloves garlic, minced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. Using your fingers, work the brown sugar, about 1 teaspoon per thigh, onto both sides of the chicken. Place chicken, potatoes and carrots in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F, about 25-30 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

French Onion Chicken

Fans of French onion soup will love this. It tastes just like the soup.

3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 large onion, sliced into half moons

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 chicken breasts, cut into 1” pieces

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

2 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 -1/2 cups low sodium beef broth

1 cup shredded Gruyère

Chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onions and season with salt, pepper, and thyme. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are caramelized and jammy, about 25 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn off heat and remove onion mixture. Wipe skillet clean.

In a large bowl, season chicken with salt, pepper and oregano, then toss with flour. Heat remaining oil in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden on all sides and mostly cooked through, about 8 minutes.

Add beef broth and return cooked onions to skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, then then educe heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and beef broth reduces slightly, about 10 more minutes.

Add Gruyère and cover skillet with a lid. Cook until cheese is melty, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with parsley. Serve warm.

One-Pan Cuban Chicken with Rice and Beans

1/4 pound thick-cut bacon (about 3 slices), cut into 1/4-inch pieces

6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 -1/2 cups long-grain white rice

1 tsp. dried oregano

2 -1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 -3/4 cups cooked black beans

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large straight-sided ovenproof skillet, brown bacon over medium-high, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper. Brown in skillet, turning once, about 10 minutes; transfer to plate. Remove fat from skillet. Add oil, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring, until translucent, 3 minutes. Add rice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and oregano. Cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add broth, beans, and bacon; season with salt and pepper. Nestle in chicken, skin-side up. Bring to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven. Roast until liquid is absorbed and chicken is cooked through, about 25 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; serve.

Creamy Tuscan Chicken

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

3 tbsp. unsalted butter

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 -1/2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cups heavy cream

1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan

Lemon wedges, for serving

In a skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add chicken and season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook until golden and no longer pink, 8 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and set aside. In the same skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tomatoes are beginning to burst then add spinach and cook until spinach is beginning to wilt. Stir in heavy cream and parmesan and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to skillet and cook until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, squeeze with lemon and serve.

Honey Balsamic Chicken Breasts and Veggies

This recipe is another good way to use up vegetables before they become questionable.

16 ounces baby red potatoes, quartered

2 cups cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 pound asparagus, trimmed

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves

For the chicken:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. dried basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a medium bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon, garlic, oregano and basil; season with salt and pepper, to taste. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine balsamic vinegar mixture and chicken; marinate for at least 30 minutes to overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray. Place potatoes and tomatoes in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place chicken around potatoes and tomatoes in a single layer.

Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.* Stir in asparagus during the last 10 minutes of cooking time. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

One-Pan Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli is a tasty meal that only requires one piece of cookware to prepare.
https://www.mtairynews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/web1_chicken-broccoli-edit.jpgOne-Pan Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Broccoli is a tasty meal that only requires one piece of cookware to prepare. Submitted photo

By Bill Colvard

bcolvard@MtAiryNews.com

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.