Monday, February 27, 2012

Homage to Alice Springs Chicken


I know MANY people who regularly order the Alice Springs Chicken at Outback Steakhouse.  I'm one of those repeat offenders! - but oh my goodness, to load up a carload of kids, wait for a table, wait to order, wait for the food, wait wait wait, just about kills my urge entirely.  This is a really easy dish to do at home, and can be made ahead of time up to the point of popping it into the oven, and you probably have all the ingredients on hand already! Oh... and the other perks?  For one, I can betcha it's a lot less expensive! Secondly, at home I don't have to work so hard at resisting the "other" stuff - like the free bread, etc.

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • McCormick Season All, seasoning salt
  • 6 -7 slices maple flavored bacon, crisped up with the bacon fat reserved
  • ¼ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
  • 3 large fresh mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 2 - 3 cups shredded Colby/Jack cheese
Step-by-Step: 
Trim the chicken of all extra fat.  Pat them dry. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with seasoning salt.  Allow the seasoning to "marinate" on the chicken in a cool spot for 30 - 50 minutes.
Tip: To get a good sear on your meat, it needs to be dry!
Cook the maple bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon, but SAVE the grease.   
Yes of course you can use regular flavored bacon.  I just feel that the maple flavored bacon brings one more element of complexity to the taste of the dish... and my kids love it!
At this point, maybe you could hide the bacon.  I STARTED with these seven pieces, but once that maple flavored bacon smell started permeating the house, there were kids coming out of the walls grabbing pieces out of my drying plate.

Saute chicken in the bacon grease until browned on each side.  They will NOT be cooked through yet. Move chicken to a 9×13 pan.


In a small bowl, mix the honey, mustard, mayo and dried onion flakes.  Yes, this sounds like an odd combination.  It works, though.  Trust me.
Mom tip: One of my kids has suffered with really bad seasonal allergies all his life. If this is relevant in your house, try to buy "local" honey.  The bees will have made the honey from the pollen in YOUR area, giving you somewhat of an immune boosting perk to the local honey. See Food Nerd Notes below recipe.


One of our afternoon "nap time" promises is that of 'You can help me cook dinner when you wake up.' Hey - whatever works to keep things on schedule and keep the peace at your house is fair game! And believe me, this one does NOT forget that when she wakes up.  Always the willing kitchen helper.
Apply the honey mustard to each breast.
Remember - there is always some elements of cooking that your kids can help with.  They learn very quickly.. gain valuable techniques, a love of cooking, and you can't put a price on the quality time.

Layer with mushrooms, bacon, and shredded cheese.

Notice I have my instant read, digital thermometer sticking in one of the breasts.

 
Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

I'm not a big fan of guessing, so I actually prefer to use an instant read, digital thermometer.  Cook until the thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of a chicken breasts.  This ensures that you will have a cooked, but juicy chicken breast.  No cutting into a raw chicken.  No overdone, leathery, dry chicken for your family.

If you'd like, serve with honey mustard sauce.


Let's see which "easy cooking at home" points we have covered....  
  • FABulous, delicious meal
  • Total control of ingredients and quality of ingredients
  • Way less expensive (like 6 of these meals for probably less than the price of 2 restaurant meals)
  • The comforts of home... everyone else can go about their business (work, baseball practice, visiting with friends, riding bikes, playing cars on the floor...) while you cook... rather than sitting at the table trying to entertain them in the restaurant
  •  Priceless teaching moments and quality time with the ones that want to help out...
Now enjoy! :-)

I hope you enjoyed this recipe!   Visit my Recipe Index to see what else I've been cooking up for ya!

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Here are some bonus recipes for you.
Tomato Basil Chicken

Cajun Crawfish Bread

Beefy Crunch Wrap Supremes

Rosemary No-Knead Black Pepper Artison Bread

Home Made Corn Dogs 
Strawberry Vanilla Bean Pancake Sauce

Written Method:
Trim the chicken of all extra fat.  Pat them dry. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with seasoning salt.  Allow the seasoning to "marinate" on the chicken in a cool spot for 30 - 50 minutes.  Cook the maple bacon in a large skillet until crisp.  Remove bacon, but SAVE the grease.  Saute chicken in the bacon grease until browned on each side.  They will NOT be cooked through yet. Move chicken to a 9×13 pan.

In a small bowl, mix the honey, mustard, mayo and dried onion flakes.  Apply the honey mustard to each breast.  Layer with mushrooms, bacon, and shredded cheese.  Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.  Cook until the thermometer reads 160 degrees in the thickest part of a chicken breasts.  This ensures that you will have a cooked, but juicy chicken breast. The chicken temp should continue to rise to 165 while the chicken 'rests.'

Food Nerd Notes:
Health benefits of local honey. The medicinal benefits of honey and pollen and beeswax have been recognized since the time of the Greeks. It has anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. For this reason it has been applied topically to treat burns since the beginning of history.

Local honey can provide relief from seasonable allergies. Consider the logic: the bees are collecting nectar from the very plants that are making you sneeze and sniffle, and so with honey you can ingest minute amounts of the very allergen that is troubling you. Honey has also been found to be especially useful in treating upper respiratory infections. A study at Penn State College of Medicine in 2007 found that a small dose of buckwheat honey was more effective than an over-the-counter cough treatment for children.

It’s a natural, temporary energy booster. According to the National Honey Board, it “contains small amounts of a wide array of vitamins and minerals, including niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.”

Honey is also rich in powerful antioxidants and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, which can be found in the propolis, or "honey glue" that the bees use to sterilize the beehive. Raw honey contains some of these compounds while pasteurized honey does not.
 
In its natural, raw state, honey contains many enzymes that can help some people digest food more easily so it may also help treat ulcers and diarrhea.

2 comments:

  1. This looks delicious! I can't wait to try it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sarah. It's super easy... and I have a very picky crowd over here!

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