So, sometimes when I am making dinner I decide to just ”wing it” and hope that something delicious happens. And, sometimes I find delicious recipes that I just have to try! This dinner was a direct result of finding delicious recipes!
El Pollo Loco Chicken (Copycat)
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 jalapeno seeded and minced very finely
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 8 chicken thighs bone-in and skin on
- Mix up all the ingredients except for the chicken into a large bowl.
- Whisk well then reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade in a small Tupperware.
- Add the chicken to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Marinade overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
- In a cast-iron grill pan add the chicken skin side up.
- Cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Using potholders, add the pan to the stovetop on medium-high heat.
- Spray some foil with canola oil spray and put the sprayed side down over the top of the chicken.
- Press onto the meat with either a bacon press, a foil-wrapped brick or a second heavy pan (I used my normal cast iron skillet on top of the chicken.
- Spoon half the reserved marinade over the chicken while it cooks.
- Cook for another 3 minutes then remove the bacon press/brick, flip chicken (add some more marinade) and cook a final three minutes before serving.
Now, when I made this recipe I used boneless chicken breasts because I almost never have bone-in meats on hand. I’m not sure if that made a difference in how the recipe came out, but I can say that the El Pollo Loco (copycat) recipe listed above is very flavorful and my chicken tasted great!
Penne with Spinach, Parmesan and Seasoned Breadcrumbs
- 1 pound dry penne pasta
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves, cleaned and sliced very thin
- 1 package frozen spinach, defrosted and drained of excess water
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot of lightly salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
- In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over low heat and cook garlic until golden, about 2 minutes. Add spinach, and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes while stirring. Add red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add pasta to the pan, along with a few spoonfuls of pasta water, and drizzle with olive oil. Simmer over low to medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes while stirring. Finally, add breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese; toss all
This recipe was probably my favorite part of this dinner. Why? Because the recipe was easy, used basic ingredients found on hand, and it was really delicious! I should add that when I made this recipe I used frozen spinach which tasted great but, I would have preferred the freshness of fresh spinach. I also added a squirt or two of lemon juice, whole garlic cloves, and I also added 3 to 4 tablespoons of plant-based butter for extra flavor and it seemed as though the recipe could benefit from a little more depth of flavor.
While I may not take the time to make the El Pollo Loco (copycat) recipe on a regular basis, I did find the flavors were great! The Penne with spinach, parmesan, and seasoned bread crumbs was so easy and delicious that I may make it on a no-weekly basis with varying meat sidekicks!