Curry Chicken

Subtitled: the most life-changingly easy weeknight chicken of all time

For those not interested in the back-story (understandable), two jumps: Beginning of the actual recipe, and condensed, shorter recipe. But the back story is this, in a nutshell: I’m back. I have gone through a few life changes, including, but not limited to:

  • Getting married
  • Moving away from Chicago and to Charlotte, NC
  • Taking a honeymoon
  • LSF becoming TLH (Tax Lawyer Husband) and starting a new job
  • Travelling for work a ton
  • Getting pregnant
  • Losing the baby (one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, without a doubt, but the amazing support of all my friends and family has brought us through the other side)
  • Generally getting back in the swing of things and trying to be a semi-responsible, actual, factual adult.
  • Realizing that being a semi-responsible, actual, factual adult is kind of a bummer. So it goes.

But like I said, I’m back, baby! And I wanted to share one of the single easiest recipes I have come across in a long, long, LONG time. I have a pure distaste for recipes that say “easy weeknight meal!” and it takes an hour of your life and is super complicated. That is NOT what I call “easy” nor what I will ever qualify as “weeknight.” What I am sharing with you is an actually weeknight-qualifying, super easy chicken recipe that is just dang old tasty. I hope you like it!

This recipe actually comes from a (you don’t have to tell anyone!) pregnancy cookbook I picked up in the time when I was expecting. In my extreme cheapness I didn’t want to let a cookbook I payed for go to waste, and figured that food is food, I might as well try some recipes, right? It’s turned out to be an absolutely great cookbook – and my favorite part about this cookbook is that it tells you exactly how long all the recipes last in the fridge and the freezer. Brilliant!

As always, the cast of characters:

One pound of chicken (you will be cutting this into cubes, so I got tenders since they were the same price), 1 red bell pepper, 1 lime, curry powder, sweet onion, cilantro, sugar, canola oil, fish sauce (or soy sauce)…and…forgotten…green onions. But just pretend!

First, chop the red pepper into strips. I halved the stripes again.

Then, cut the sweet onion (please use sweet, not regular! It makes the recipe so much more special) into slices. Again, SO EASY.

Cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and then put them all into a bowl together.

Now, the extra few ingredients. Add to the chicken/peppers/onions:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder

Stir all these together and then wrap in cling wrap, and let it marinate 30 minutes, or overnight. Usually I’ve been just making this in the morning or the night before, but leaving it and just set is so easy!

After you’ve let this mixture marinate for 30 minutes, or a day, or whatever length of time you needed to let it sit, heat up the skillet. Or start the rice then heat up the skillet.

A note on how to make rice: STOP MAKING IT SO COMPLICATED! Sure, you can use a rice maker, but here is the secret to good rice on the stove: DO NOT STIR IT. So here’s what you do:

  • Decide how much rice you’re going to make. Now, double that amount, and put that doubled amount of water into a pot with a lid that tightly fits over it and does not have a hole in the lid. I cannot stress how important the whole “doesn’t have a hole in the lid” thing is. You are steaming the rice to perfect – letting the steam out will only result in heartbreak.
  • Add a tiiiiiny (technical term, so go with say a tablespoon) of extra water to the water
  • Measure out the rice into the same container. So say you boiled two cups of water? Get 1 cup ready.
  • Put the water on the stove on high and get it to boiling
  • Once boiling, put the rice into the water and give it an immediate stir
  • Immediately, while stirring, or just after, turn the heat down to low.
  • Cover with the lid I waxed poetic on just above
  • Walk away for 20 minutes. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT open that lid and stir the rice. I am serious. Do whatever it is you need to do to take away that temptation. I promise. Remember, steaming the rice. You wouldn’t open a rice cooker, right? Same thing.
  • After 20 minutes, open the lid, fluff the rice, and be amazed at your own rice-making abilities. Voila!

But back to the chicken. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat and heat the 1 tablespoon of oil you have left from the recipe ingredients. Then, put in half the chicken and half of 3 green onions that you chopped that I neglected to remember and cook until the chicken is cooked, aka, not pink, in the middle. It should take about 5-7 minutes.

Transfer this batch to a bowl, cover with tin foil, then repeat with the rest of the chicken and green onions mixture.

Then, pour it over your rice, serve with some chopped cilantro and some lime wedges…and we also had some Trader Joe’s naan (ALSO, life-changing, by the way) that we heated up…and it was…amazing.

Like I said – life-changingly easy.

Hope you enjoy it!


Quick and Easy Chicken Curry

From: Eating For Pregnancy

(I made 0 changes!)
Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1/2-inch slices on the diagonal
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, quartered and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium sweet onion (such as Vidalia), halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mild curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (split)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce or soy sauce
  • 3 scallions, trimmed and sliced into large pieces
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, or to taste
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste
  • Lime wedges for the table

Instructions

  1. Combine the chicken, red bell pepper, onion, curry powder, sugar, 2 tablespoons canola oil, and fish sauce in a bowl. Mix well until combined, then allow to marinate, covered and refrigerated, for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the chicken mixture and half of the scallions and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.
  3. Transfer the cooked chicken to a serving bowl and cover with foil to keep warm. Reheat the skillet, add the remaining chicken mixture and scallions, and repeat the procedure.
  4. Garnish with the cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

I served with rice (best way to make rice below, reviewed from the post).

How to make rice, condensed:

  1. Double the amount of rice and put that+1 tablespoon into pot with tight-fitting lid (no hole in the lid! – so if you are making 1 cup of rice, boil 2 cups+1 tablespoon of water)
  2. Bring water to boil
  3. Once water is boiling, put rice into boiling water, stir rice, and simultaneously turn heat down to low
  4. Let rice sit and DO NOT STIR for 20 minutes
  5. Open lid, fluff rice, and serve

Salmon Baked In Foil

Disclaimer: this post is in two parts. The first is a major update on my life. I understand if that’s boring to you. The second part is the actual recipe explanation. Because I care about you all, I am putting in the following jumps: The beginning of the recipe and the condensed recipe for those who don’t want read at all but want an awesome salmon recipe. Enjoy!

A lot can happen in the span of a few months. In my world, two big things happened.

First, I moved to Chicago. LSF decided to enhance his legal career and do an extra year of law school (JOYOUS!) to do a masters in taxation law. I am bored writing that sentence. However, Chicago has been the single greatest move I have ever made in my entire life. I love everything about this city: the people, the food, the shopping, the architecture, the neighborhoods, really, seriously, everything. And so far, no bad weather! A bonus! So I have been very busy exploring and taking in this marvelous place that is the 3rd largest metropolitan area in the country.

Second, and more sadly, I have been diagnosed with a multitude of adult onset allergies. You see, for a very long time I would go through stretches of being sick to my stomach after I ate. I thought I was getting food poisoning all the time. Lately, though, the stretches had been lasting longer and longer (weeks instead of days) and getting worse. I didn’t know what was going on and I couldn’t make them stop. Finally, I overcame my deathly fear of doctors. Though the doctor was convinced it wasn’t allergies, she sent me to get tested just to rule it out on the slightest of off chances it was, in fact allergies.

Boy was it ever.

The first go around I came back essentially allergic to everything. I was told to eliminate everything on the list as best I could, and then go back in a month or so to get re-tested when my body wasn’t being so reactionary. So I went for about a month asking every waiter the most annoying questions possible about every single food (since my allergy doctor in NC gave me some REALLY bad information about certain foods and what contained allergens and what didn’t), and then got re-tested.

The news wasn’t much better, but the number of foods had gone down a lot. The only problem was that now that my body wasn’t used to any of the foods I am allergic to, any time it’s exposed my reaction is even worse.

So now, here are the foods I am officially allergic to:

  • Peanuts (any exposure at all, even smell now, will start to close my throat. It’s scary. I have to carry an epi-pen with me at all times.)
  • Corn (yes, this includes high fructose corn syrup – little known fact: CORN IS IN EVERYTHING. This is the least fun allergy ever.)
  • Soy
  • Tree nuts

Admittedly, it’s a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. But there are some cool rules for corn and soy like if it’s not in the first three ingredients, it’s ok. So pizza is still ok, even though it’s dusted in corn meal. (PHEW!) However, a lot of my recipes are now completely out of the question, such as Peanut Sauce Noodles (those would LITERALLY kill me now, as it is basically only peanuts and soy noodles), Slow Cooker Chicken Chili (though this would only require a slight tweak), and some others.

So I’ve learned to cook again. And read labels. And re-think diets altogether. But the thing is, though, I feel better. And that’s worth any amount of hassle I’ve gone through. It’s a relief, and it’s what I had been waiting for. I just didn’t know it.

So my recipes will be different now, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be delicious (in my own humble, obviously). And my first corn-soy-peanut-tree nut-free recipe is a gem I’ve had for a long time: salmon baked in foil. This is subtitled: salmon that will make you look and feel like a genius. Because it will. It’s so simple and so easy you will be astounded it tastes the way it does. I originally got this recipe from Giada and LSF requests it all. the. time. So make it for a loved one, or yourself! It’s totally scalable, which is another reason I love it.

First, the cast of characters:

Salmon Ingredients

5-ounce salmon fillets (the recipe calls for 4, but there are only two of us, so I only bought 2. I’m also slightly a hippie and so I got the “real” wild salmon, not farmed.), 1 lemon, 2 shallots, dried oregano, dried thyme, 1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Seriously, SO EASY. Oh and (not pictured) olive oil. Will I ever take a picture of ingredients without forgetting something? Not likely.

Preheat your oven to 400°.

First, get big pieces of tin foil and plop the salmon on it. Drizzle a little olive oil, salt, and pepper onto the fillet. It should look like this.

DSC_0030

Then twist two sides up so you kind of make a little “boat” for the salmon to be in.

DSC_0031

Keep the other two sides open; you’re basically making a bowl for the salmon to bake in and hold the next mixture in.

Next, chop up the shallots…

DSC_0035

A note on shallots: I consider them to be the Tom Hanks of ingredients. They’re not for every dish, and there’s no guarantee that it’ll be the greatest dish ever made, but darnit all, your dish is almost guaranteed to be fantastic. Just like Tom Hanks and his movies.

I like Tom Hanks. A lot.

…moving on. Drain your tomatoes and then add them to the shallots. Then add the juice of half of your lemon, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, about a tablespoon of olive oil, and some salt and pepper. It’ll look something like this.

DSC_0038

Add this mixture to the salmon fillets in their little foil boats. Because I didn’t have 4 salmon fillets, I didn’t add in all the mixture, but you could. There is more than enough if you have 4, or if you only have 2, you get a little more tomato mix. Don’t worry, be happy!

DSC_0049

See what I mean about the boats? This is why.

If you haven’t already, put these little foil boats on a baking sheet and then (this is important, now) seal them up. They’ll end up looking like this.

DSC_0054

I probably used too much foil, but life goes on.

Put these suckers in your 400° oven for about 25 minutes.

I served mine with some potatoes I had roasted for about an hour or so and some steamed green beans. I put the foil pouches right on the plate. Channeling Chandler Bing here: could this BE any easier or more delicous?

DSC_0055

90s references for the win.

Anyhow, there’s the recipe all ready for you to go. I hope you enjoy it!

From Giada and the Food Network: Salmon Baked in Foil

Ingredients
4 (5 ounces each) salmon fillets
2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tomatoes, chopped, or 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, drained
2 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 25 minutes. Using a large metal spatula, transfer the foil packets to plates and serve.

SERVES 4

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Oh yes, these exist.

They could potentially change the way you look at enchiladas forever.

Let’s say it out loud together, because honestly…I didn’t ever, in my wildest dreams, think these could exist.

Buffalo. Chicken. Enchiladas.

I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back and the credit entirely goes to The Novice Chef. I modified it just a little bit. If you would like to skip the steps and go straight to the recipe, here you go! But for the rest of us, let’s get going!

The cast of characters: 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, a can of enchilada sauce, mozzarella cheese, green onions, buffalo wing sauce, and tortillas. Easy, man! Easy!

At some point, when appropriate, preheat your oven to 350°.

First, I “poached” (not boiled, apparently) 3 chicken breasts so that I could shred them.

Cover the breasts in water.

Then put in some seasonings. I put in about a tablespoon or so of oregano, parsley, a little salt, and pepper. And then I added a bay leaf. I set it on the burner and let it get to boiling.

After it got to boiling for just a second, I turned down the heat to low, partially covered it, and then let it set on low for 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes was up, I turned off the heat entirely and let it set for another 15 minutes or so in the water. And voila! Cooked, healthy chicken you can do yourself! So shred those puppies up!


Please excuse my chipping manicure…much obliged!

Now that you’ve shredded all the chicken up, get a bowl and pour the can of enchilada sauce in. I used a 10-ounce can despite the recipe calling for 14 ounces, but I also added more wing sauce to compensate. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The enchilada sauce!

And now about a half cup of wing sauce. If you don’t like things spicy, use more enchilada sauce and less wing sauce. But, as you might be aware by now, LSF and I like spicy food, so a half cup it is!

Then take another bowl, and put in the shredded chicken, and half of the green onions you sliced up.

And about 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Mix that up a bit, and then pour in HALF of the enchilada/wing sauce you made earlier and mix that all up. This is going to be the filling for the enchiladas.


Ohmygoodnessgracious.

Next, spray an 8×8 baking dish with a little bit of spray and then pour in about a half cup of the enchilada sauce in and spread it around the sides. Remember, you should still have some left over after this, so just make it so you can spread it around.

Next, the actual making of the enchiladas! Pretty simple, really. Just take a tortilla, and fill it with a quarter of the chicken filling…

Roll it up, and then place it seam-side down in the baking pan….

Repeat with the rest, and then pour the rest of the enchilada sauce on top of the four enchiladas…

And then cover this all with, what else? Cheese!

Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes – or until the cheese is melted and you can no longer take waiting.

I personally serve mine with blue cheese and the rest of the green onions on top. It’s AMAZING. All caps.

Enjoy!

Here’s the recipe. My edits are in italics. And bravo to The Novice Chef for a stupendous recipe!

P.S. If you like all things Buffalo Chicken, I’ve also made Buffalo Chicken Dip and Buffalo Chicken Chowder that might interest you as well. I may have an addiction. I’m getting help.

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Yield: 4 large enchiladas

Recipe Note: This recipe is easily doubled, or tripled, for a big party. But as it is…it’s perfect for two hungry people!

ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
14 ounce can red enchilada sauce I used a 10-ounce can
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce (I use Frank’s) I used 1/2 cup
5 chopped green onions, divided
1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
4 large whole wheat tortillas
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese I used blue cheese
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 glass dish with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl, mix together enchilada sauce and slowly mix in buffalo wing sauce…stopping to taste and adjust as you go. I used a little over 1/3rd a cup wing sauce, but we like it spicy! You as little, or as much as you like. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together shredded chicken, half of the green onions, and 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce mixture and stir until combined.

Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the prepared glass baking dish and spread mixture to the edges. Working with one tortilla at at time, fill with 1/4 of the chicken mixture. Roll the tortilla and place it seam-side down in the dish. Once all tortillas are filled, pour the remaining enchilada/buffalo sauce on top of tortillas and add the remaining mozzarella cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the sauce its bubbling. Immediately after taking enchiladas out of the oven, top with gorgonzola cheese, cilantro, and the remaining onions. Serve immediately!

Store any remaining sauce in the fridge for 1-2 weeks, and use if reheating leftover enchiladas.

Black Bean Burgers

Hippie Food.

That’s what LSF tends to call things like “black bean burgers” and tofu and anything labeled “vegan”. So I called these “black bean cakes” so as not to offend the burger gods, and you know what? He liked them.

No, not liked, loved.

I don’t know where I got this recipe and it’s been changed so much over time that I feel like in some way it’s mine. I feel like you’ll like it too. Here’s the quick link to the recipe if you so desire.

The ingredients are pretty simple. Two cans of black beans, one green bell pepper, one onion, 3-4 cloves of garlic, Sriracha, 2 eggs, oregano, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper.


I swear, it’ll all come together. It will!

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Then, pour the two cans of black beans into a strainer and then rinse them. Easy!

After the beans have strained, put them into a bowl and mash these puppies up! I tend to mash them pretty finely, but there seems to be a big debate on this. Really? I’m not an active contender either way. It’s a stress relief, so if they are super mashed, I’ve had a lot of aggression to get out that day.

Now, one of my favorite things about this recipe is the lack of chopping I have to do. Chop up the green pepper (or half of it, whatever you want)…

Cut the onions into wedges…

And just peel the garlic…

So maybe I used around….4-5 cloves instead of 3-4. I’m not sure I care. I love garlic. And it turned out so yummy! Taste!

I then put all of these veggies into a food processor and pulsed it until it was all combined. But then I tried to take pictures and left the food processor on until it was liquid. That’s not supposed to happen. But I sighed and went on with life.

And then I added this green goop into the beans.

Oops. I would say it mattered, but I don’t think it did. Oh well!

Now, the final-ish steps. Put the eggs in a bowl and add a tablespoon each of: chili powder, garlic powder, and oregano. And then also a heaping teaspoon of cayenne.

I’ll skip all the spice pictures, but you get the idea.

Then, because LSF and I adore all things spicy, I added about 2 teaspoons of Sriracha.

I wish there were words to describe my love for Sriracha. There aren’t enough.

Beat all of this together and add it to the bean/veggie mixture.

Now here’s the tricky part where you’re going to have to use your zen cooking senses. Every time I’ve made this recipe, the amount of breadcrumbs needed has varied.

Start with half a cup.

Now, this batch of burgers ended up very soupy. Probably due to me over-processing the veggies, so I needed probably another quarter cup or so. It happens.

Here’s the consistency I go for when all is said and done. You need it able to stick together and hold up in the oven.

Now line some baking sheets with tin foil, grease it with some olive oil spray (my choice), and make these puppies into burgers, or “cakes”, as LSF would rather have me say.


I tried. And tried. And tried. And in no way could I make these not look like cow patties. I swear, guys, they’re awesome. Just stay with me. 

I baked these for about 10 minutes, then flipped them over….and then baked again for another 10 minutes.

Flip!

When they were done, I put them on some sandwich flats (I just discovered these recently and I am not exaggerating when I say I think they changed my life) and LSF and I devoured. He put some leftover guac we had in the fridge on his…

And I put some hummus on mine (again, what’s with the hippie food, amIright?)…

And all was right with the world.

I hope y’all enjoy! Here’s the full recipe!


Black Bean Burgers
As made by…well, me!

Ingredients

  • 2 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2-1 green bell pepper, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled (depending on how much garlic you like)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2-3/4 cup bread crumbs
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Drain and rinse the 2 cans of black beans.
  3. Put the black beans into a bowl and mash to desired consistency.
  4. Put the bell pepper, garlic and onion into a food processor (or blender) and mix until chopped.
  5. Pour the veggie mixture into the black bean mixture and mix.
  6. In a separate small bowl, mix the eggs, cayenne, garlic powder, oregano, and Sriracha and pour that beaten mixture in the black bean/veggie mixture.
  7. Starting with 1/2 cup of bread crumbs, add that to the black bean mixture, and, as needed, add more bread crumbs until mixture can stick together on its own and can be formed into patties.
  8. Form the mixture into patties and put on greased baking sheet (I put foil down first because I like things easy)
  9. Bake for 10 minutes on each side (flip in between).
  10. Serve with sandwich flats and put any toppings you want on it!

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Y’all, it’s winter. And winter, in my opinion, kind of sucks. In North Carolina the weather can change from being 20 degrees one day to a high of 65 the next and then go right back to being 20. It’s actually infuriating. Also, it makes me have a cold. Gross.

But you know what isn’t gross? This dish. It’s a slow cooker dish that is so simple and yet so delicious it’ll knock your socks right off. Which is a shame, because it’s cold out and you need to keep your feet warm! So get an extra pair of socks for when your first pair are knocked off and get ready.

First things first: the slow cooker. I’ve heard a lot of misconceptions thrown around about this little kitchen appliance. I think slow cookers are god’s gift to busy people who want a warm meal after a long day. So, I am here to dispel some of those rumors I have heard. Here we go.

This is my slow cooker. We haven’t been together all that long, but he’s phenomenal. LSF even loves him as much as I do. Well, almost.

Rumor 1: “Slow cookers are expensive, aren’t they?”
Me: No, they’re not. You can get crazy ones from Williams-Sonoma that cost $80 that will promise to do everything for you, but really? They’re not worth it. All you need is something that will keep heat at a constant low temperature for an extended period of time.

Rumor 2: “All you can make are soups.”
Me: Erroneous! You can make vast ranges of things in slow cookers! I’ve made cookies, pulled pork, stews, chilis, yes, soups, stuffed peppers, spaghetti, baked beans, pork loins, and really, anything under the sun. Your slow cooker is awesome. Use it.

And that’s all the rumors I have the energy to dispel. Seriously, people. Get a slow cooker. It’ll make you happy when you walk home after a day of work or being out so happy to know you don’t have to do ANYTHING. Bliss.

Now, for this dish. I got it from AllRecipes forever ago and have held onto it tightly. It makes a ton, but leftovers are phenomenal. First, your tool of necessity: your can opener!

And then also, the ingredients.

1 chopped onion (which was forgotten and missed this time around, but such is life), 1 can of chili beans, 1 can of black beans, 1 can of whole kernel corn, 1 8-oz can of tomato sauce, 1 can or bottle of beer, 2 cans of Rotel (your choice of hotness), 1 package of taco seasoning, 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Now, I’ve talked before about “plop” recipes a la Buffalo Chicken Dip, and this is another plopper (must find new word, ASAP). “Plop” recipes are recipes in which the majority of work is done “plopping” in ingredients and then being amazed at how easy something that delicious was to make.

The most difficult part of this recipe is opening up cans.

Before anything else, we’re going to pretend that I hadn’t run out of onions accidentally and that I put a chopped onion in the slow cooker first. Are we pretending? Ok, good. So….

First, the chili beans.

Then, the black beans (drain these if you want…going back I think I would have. I always forget if I do or not. Either way, you’re fine).

Then the corn (do drain this one for sure)…

Tomato sauce…

Two cans of Rotel…

Oh my lord, it’s ALIIIIIIVE!

The can or bottle of beer (funny how this isn’t an ingredient we had to buy especially for this dish…hm….)

And (almost) finally, the taco seasoning.

Mix all of this stuff together to form a big gloppy pile of delicious…

And then, when mixed, place (don’t plop or else you will end up with said gloppy pile of delicious all over you) the chicken breasts in the slow cooker until they are submerged.

I swear I tried to make this look somewhat appetizing and it was impossible. Just trust me on this one, ok?

Now, put the lid on the slow cooker, plug the slow cooker in if you’re at all like me and kept wondering why the light wasn’t turning on only to realized you forgot this step, and set it to low. And then step away for 8 hours.

(Psst, the recipe says to cook it on low for 5, then shred the chicken, and then leave it on for another 2 or so but that’s malarkey. Yeah, I said it: malarkey. You can totally leave it all day while you’re at work and it’s 100% delicious. But if you’re all into following directions and stuff, I say go for this method some time and let me know how it goes.)

Then, it’s 8 hours later, the sky is dark because it turns dark at approximately 3PM these days, and you come back to shred all that gloriously slow-cooked chicken.

Many thanks to LSF for being willing to document two-handed endeavors. He may have just been hungry, but sometimes he’s gotta click for his supper.

How do you shred chicken, you ask? Good question! You take two forks, and then pull the chicken with them in opposite directions. And that’s it!

Once all the chicken is shredded your chili will look something like this.

I serve it with scoopy tortilla chips. And maybe sometimes a cerveza too. (Hey, it’s a I’ve-had-a-long-day dish, right?)

Is it just me, or do those little scoops look scared and backed against the wall? Don’t worry, little tortilla chips, you’re going to be safe and sound in my belly in about .2 seconds. Yummo.

And that’s it! Enjoy, everyone!

Here’s the original recipe from AllRecipes. Do you have any favorite slow-cooker standbyes? Let me know in the comments!

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
  • 1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
  • 3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
  • crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
    Just leave it in there for 8 hours, and then shred the chicken when you come home. It’ll still be awesome.
  2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Lemon Roasted Chicken

Admission number 1: the real name of this recipe is actually “Engagement Chicken.”

Admission number 2: I totally made said Engagement Chicken before LSF and I got engaged, hoping that we would get engaged.

Admission number 3: admissions numbers 1 and 2 just don’t matter: this recipe is gosh darned delicious, no matter your current marital status.

The story behind Engagment Chicken comes from Glamour, where apparently an editor gave the recipe to an assistant as a fail-proof recipe. Soon after, the assistant got engaged. And then it kept happening to anyone who made it. However, it’s just a fail-proof, easy-as-it gets recipe that LSF still requests to this day because it’s good.

I’ve made a Glamour recipe on here before in the form of Spicy Peanut Noodles. Like the peanut noodles, this recipe is also from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know. This cookbook, without a doubt, is one of the single greatest knock-your-socks-off-with-every-recipe cookbooks I’ve ever bought. It’s worth an investment. So without further ado, let’s get on with Lemon Roasted Chicken, aka, Engagement Chicken.

First, the ingredients. Are you ready? There’s a ton of them. One whole 3-4 lb. chicken* (I got a fryer, not a roaster, since fryers are smaller and the right size typically), 4 lemons, salt and pepper. And that’s it.

*If you go to Fresh Market you can actually buy the chicken de-stuff-ified, aka, no taking out giblets and other “parts” that might come packaged inside. It makes me happy.

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Then, rinse the chicken off.

Plop it down into a strainer, cavity down, for about 2 minutes.

Next, put the chicken over a racked roasting pan and squeeze the juice of 2 lemons all over both sides and the inside too. I chose to use a lemon juicer for this. It’s so handy. Now here’s the thing about lemons: LSF hates them. However, this does NOT make the chicken taste like lemons. It just seals in a juiciness that is almost unparalleled.

Then, generously salt and pepper both sides and the inside of the chicken. After, it should look something like this.

Now comes the fun part: the stuffing of the lemons.

Pierce the remaining 2 lemons with a fork 3-5 times in different places on the lemon. (If the lemons are stiff, roll them around on the countertop. It helps. I promise.)

Behold! Lemon!

Once the lemons are all pierced and you’re done holding them up on your fork a la Lion King Circle of Life, stuff one waaay into the chicken. Seriously, as far as it’ll go.

Then the other. The other one will probably be sticking out a little bit, but that’s ok. Your chicken should be breast-side down, and so the entire thing will look like this.

So now you’re ready to cook! And this is the only “tricky” part of the entire recipe, I think. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350° and put the chicken in for 15 minutes.

Then, after 15 minutes are up, take the chicken out. It’ll look like this.

Then, flip the bird over. If you can Tell me how to do this without that sticky-outy lemon coming out and having to re-insert it, let me know. I have yet to be successful in this endeavor.

Then put the entire thing back in the oven for about an hour 15 minutes-ish. The official directions are this: 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes. So if you round up…a 3-pound bird takes 60 minutes (20 minutes per pound) + 15 minutes.

When it’s done, it will be glorious. Let the bird stand about 10 minutes or so, which is a perfect time to plop in a baking sheet of asparagus you had drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper (and perhaps some parmesan cheese too).

I served it with some roasted potatoes I had chopped up, drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper and put in 45 minutes before the chicken was done.

And here’s the entire plate! So easy. So delicious. Enjoy!

Here’s the full recipe from 100 Recipes Every Woman Should Know and/or Glamour Magazine: I didn’t change a thing

Engagement Chicken

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 whole lemons—including 1 sliced for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Fresh herbs for garnish (4 rosemary sprigs, 4 sage sprigs, 8 thyme sprigs, and 1 bunch fl at-leaf parsley)

1. Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the giblets from the chicken, wash the chicken inside and out with cold water, then let the chicken drain, cavity down, in a colander for 2 minutes.

2. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Place the chicken breast-side down in a medium roasting pan fitted with a rack and pour the lemon juice all over the chicken, both inside and out. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper inside and out.

3. Prick 2 whole lemons three times each in three different places with a fork and place them deep inside the cavity. Chicken cavity size may vary, so if one lemon is partly sticking out, that’s fine. (Tip: If the lemons are stiff, roll them on the countertop with your palm before pricking to get the juices flowing.)

4. Put the chicken in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and roast, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Using tongs or two wooden spoons, turn the chicken breast- side up. Insert a meat thermometer in the thigh, and return the chicken to the oven and roast for about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the meat thermometer reads 180°F and the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a fork. Continue roasting if necessary. Keep in mind that cooking times in different ovens vary; roasting a chicken at 350°F takes approximately 18-20 minutes per pound, plus an additional 15 minutes.

6. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. And here’s the secret: Pour the juices from the roasting pan on top of the sliced chicken— this is the “marry me juice.” Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon slices.

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

It’s no secret that I adore anything and everything “buffalo chicken.” I’ve already made a fantastical buffalo chicken dip that is so easy and so delicious it’ll knock those thick winter socks you have on right now straight off. However, I decided recently that I needed a main dish that incorporated my love of buffalo chicken that didn’t include the word “wrap” or “sandwich” and also didn’t have the word “breaded” in it. Turns out I’ve found a keeper.

It’s called Buffalo Chicken Chowder. It’s from Closet Cooking and I absolutely love it.

Now here’s a secret about me: I’m terrified of making soups. Or was, until recently. For some reason, soups intimidate me. There’s something about the stock and the flavors and the whole…process…that make me fear the tastes will never come out right. However, this recipe alleviated all fears I ever had and now all I want to make are soups. Make it in these cold winter days we’re having and feel happy completely. You’ll thank me later.

First, here’s the gang: chicken, hot sauce (Texas Pete is my choice when Cholula won’t quite fit the bill, such as buffalo recipes), chicken stock (32 oz.), half and half (recipe calls for cream, but I think half and half* is just fine), 1 potato, celery, carrots, garlic, and missing from the picture is 2 tablespoons of flour and blue cheese (which I thought I had in my fridge and didn’t…life went one).

*I don’t want to get preachy, so please ignore this if you want, but I will say one thing about half and half: DO NOT BUY THE NONFAT STUFF. It’s not real. Do you want to know what it is? It’s junk. It’s pure chemicals. It’s skim milk and then a bunch of thickening agents (read: unpronouncable chemicals) that your body has no idea how to process. The idea of half and half is that it is half cream (read: fatty, yes) and half milk. You cannot make cream nonfat. It is literally against the definition of the stuff. Any “benefit” you would get out of it being nonfat are negated by the fact that you’re inputting the food equivalent of dish soap. I won’t sit here and claim that I eat only organic, whole foods…but some things just simply go too far. Nonfat half and half is one of those things. Do your wellbeing a favor and buy the real stuff. If your half and half has more ingredients than 2 (cream and milk), put it back. End rant.

Deep breaths. Let’s get on with it. Sorry.

First, chop up the onions (it says, 1 cup, which I interpret as 1 onion)…

1 cup of carrots, which for me was about 3 carrots, peeled…

And celery…which was about 2 stalks.

I put all of those into a bowl together and put them aside.

Then I cut up the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put a little salt and pepper on said pieces.

So then in my cooking extravaganza, tragedy stuck. You see, I have this animosity toward nonstick cookware. I hate it. Here’s why. When you cook with regular cookware, flavor sticks to the bottom of the pan, which you can then deglaze and return to the food. Also, the food actually browns and sears. With nonstick cookware, neither of these things happen. So I dutifully pulled out my large pot with which I cook soups/chilis/what have you, started to melt the 2 tablespoons of butter….and then learned that somehow, some way, my precious pot had cracked. Melted butter was all over the bottom of the burner…my heart was broken. And, worse, I realized that the only other pots I have of that size are nonstick. Sigh.

After I sighed a little more and melted about a tablespoon-ish of butter on medium heat and cooked my chicken. It should be cooked in about 8-10 minutes.

See how the chicken doesn’t have any brown on it? Sigh.

But, as we know, life always goes on. So put in the carrots, celery and onion you chopped up earlier! It’s about to get tasty up here in this nonstick pot!

Stir this around and cook it about 10-15 minutes. The larger you cut your veggies, the longer it’ll cook. You want them tender at the end.

Now that the veggies are all tender, you’re going to put in two cloves of chopped garlic…

And 2 tablespoons of flour (I used whole wheat).

The whole mixture should get pretty gooey. I may say gooey, but I really mean “this is where all the taste comes from.” Here’s what I mean.

Yum. So once you start smelling this after around a minute, pour in the chicken stock. I just poured in the entire 32-ounce box of stock.

Here is where you would “deglaze the pot,” which really means that you take your mixing spoon and scrape off all the flavor on the bottom. So pretend that I’m not using a nonstick pot and that I got to do that. Because then, my most most most favorite part of this recipe arrives. The hot sauce. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup, which is a good place to start.

But since I’m all rebellious and all, I put in more. And then some more after that. Really, just make it to your taste.

Stir it all around, turn the heat up to high, and make this entire mixture boil.

Oh my gosh. Seriously. Wow. It’s going to be so good.

After it’s boiled, turn the heat down to low, cover it, and wait about 30 minutes…or more. You know, however long you really want.

When it’s done, pour in the cup of half and half, the 1/4 cup of blue cheese, let the cheese melt, and then immediately take the pot off the stove.

Pour it into bowls, sprinkle with lots and lots of pepper, and enjoy!

This recipe makes plenty of leftovers and is delicious the next day too! Enjoy it in these cold winter days ahead. Seriously…you’ll thank me.

Here’s the original recipe from Closet Cooking (my changes in italics).

Buffalo Chicken Chowder

A hearty and creamy chowder with all of the flavors of buffalo wings!

Servings: makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Printable Recipe

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons butter (About 1 tablespoon-ish)
  • 1 pound chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup carrot, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • * hot sauce to taste (I used 1/4 cup Franks Red Hot sauce)
  • 1 large yukon gold or other boiling potato, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup heavy cream (half and half)
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
Directions
  1. Melt the butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken and saute until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add the onion, celery and carrots and cook until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and flour and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Add the chicken broth and deglaze the pan.
  6. Add the hot sauce and potatoes, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, mix in the cream and blue cheese and remove from heat when the cheese has melted.