Maple Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

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**Sorry for the lack of posting – things are much different in our house. My kids and I just finished our third week of homeschooling, so I have had to put the blog on the back burner :) I will post when I can! Thanks for stopping by :)**

Quick Post: One of my favorite combinations is chicken and sweet potato – I practically live off of this pairing! This is one of the most simple and cheap dinners I have tried since I changed my eating habits, and it’s just so good. I love how crispy the skin becomes and I eat it unashamedly! ;) Before I put the skillet in the oven, I browned up the skin in the pan on my stove – that’s optional, but I recommend it! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Maple Roasted Chicken and Sweet Potatoes – adapted from Honey, Ghee and Me

  • 2-4 chicken pieces (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (the real stuff- makes a huge difference)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions -

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Begin by peeling sweet potatoes and chop them into one inch chunks. Chop the onions into a similar size and arrange the vegetables in the bottom of a baking dish. Pour in olive oil and maple syrup and season the chicken with salt and pepper. Toss to coat in the oil and maple syrup, and leave all the chicken and vegetables in one even layer. Top with thyme sprigs and bake for 1 hour uncovered, turning the chicken half way through cooking time.

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Buffalo Chicken Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

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In an effort to make something new using yesterday’s leftovers, I made this. I had just enough chicken from this pizza to make this boring salad a meal. I also whipped up a simple buttermilk blue cheese dressing to go with it. And because wasting a perfectly good dressing would be just plain dumb; I made a batch of delicious hot wings to go with it! I haven’t made these in years, but they’re worth the extra time required. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Buffalo Chicken Salad – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • Leftover marinated and grilled chicken from this, chopped
  • 2-3 TBSP Franks Red Hot
  • 2 TSBP butter
  • Romaine lettuce
  • avocado
  • cucumber
  • cherry tomatoes
  • Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Extra Blue Cheese Crumbles

Directions-

Place a skillet over medium heat; add the butter and Frank’s Red Hot. Heat just until butter has melted, then add chicken and coat with buffalo sauce. Turn off heat and set aside.
Heap tossed salad into individual bowls. Sprinkle blue cheese crumbles, cucumber, sliced avocado, chicken and cherry tomatoes and top with blue cheese dressing.

Homemade Blue Cheese Dressing – adapted from My Baking Addiction

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2- 4  tablespoons buttermilk (more to thin out)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled blue cheese

Directions- 

Combine mayonnaise, sour cream and milk in small bowl; mix until smooth. Stir in vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended. Fold in cheese. Transfer to container with tight-fitting lid. Chill until serving time. Stir well before serving.

Tequila Lime Chicken

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Sorry for the radio silence! We recently came back home from our two-week long trip to California. I am really glad to be home again and I’m sure my kitchen missed me as much as I missed it. My husband sustained himself on one meal a day (not home cooked), and these goodies that I made for him before I left! What would he do without me? ;) Since I’ve been back home, I have tried several new and successful recipes which I will share with you in the next few weeks.

Anyway, on to the recipe! This marinade gives the chicken amazing flavor and it’s a new family favorite. I used chicken thighs and served these tacos with pico de gallo, my fave Mexican rice and refried (in bacon grease!) pinto beans with lots of Monterey Jack cheese. I will make this again and again! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

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Tequila Lime Chicken – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 2 limes
  • 1/2 cup tequila
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (*I used grapeseed*)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (*If you have a few more pieces, this makes plenty of marinade*)
  • Corn tortillas
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • pico de gallo

Directions -

Slice open the limes and squeeze the juice into a food processor or blender. Add the tequila, olive oil, salt, garlic, jalapenos and cilantro. Blend the mixture until totally combined. Add the chicken to a large plastic bag and pour in the lime-tequila mixture. Seal the bag and marinate in the fridge for several hours or overnight.

Remove the chicken from the bag and grill it over medium-high heat. Rotate the chicken 45-degrees on both sides to create nice grill marks, and continue grilling until the chicken is cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Serve with corn tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, beans and rice.

Pork Carnitas

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Quick Post: My son loves taco night, and these definitely hit the spot.  I made the meat on a Friday and didn’t end up using it until a Monday. The advantage to letting it sit, is that the fat will rise to the top so you can remove it. The meat also tasted even better, and I was able to pull off even more fat off of the pieces of meat. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pork Carnitas – adapted from My Kitchen Escapades

  • 4 pound boneless pork butt, fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 Tb fresh lime juice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 medium orange, juiced and keep the spent halves

Directions -

1.  Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat to 300 degrees.  Combine all the ingredients in a large Dutch oven, including the spent orange halves and juice.  Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, uncovered.  Once it simmers, cover pot and transfer it to the oven.  Cook until the meat falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.
2.  Remove the pot from the oven and turn on the broiler.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the pan and place it on a large foil-lined jelly roll pan.  Remove and discard everything from the pot except for the cooking liquid.  Place pot over high heat on the stove and boil until thick and syrupy, about 20 minutes.  You should have about 1 C of liquid remaining when it is finished.
3.  While the liquid is reducing, use two forks to pull each cube of pork into three equal sized pieces.  Once the liquid has become a syrup, gently fold in the pieces of pork into the pot.  Try not to break up the pork any further.  Taste and add additional salt and pepper.
4.  Spread the pork back onto the foil lined pan and evenly spread the meat around so there is a single layer of meat.  Place the jelly roll pan on the lower middle rack of the oven and broil until the top of the meat is well browned and edges are slightly crisp, about 5 to 8 minutes.  Using a wide metal spatula, flip the pieces of meat and broil the other side until well browned and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve immediately in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings.

Pan Seared Mahi with Lemon Butter Sauce

This was really good and the lemon butter sauce was an amazing addition to this simple but elegant meal. I will use this sauce recipe again and again because it would compliment vegetables, fish and chicken wonderfully! My husband gave this an “8”, which I agreed with –  but the best compliment was from my picky six-year-old daughter…she ate it all without complaining! ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pan Seared Mahi-Mahi -

  • 1 pound Mahi Mahi or other firm, white fish
  • flour to coat
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBSP oil

Directions -

Dry the fish fillets well. Dust with flour on one side. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush the floured side of the fish. Season with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Place the fish on the skillet floured-side down and cook for 5 minutes per side, or until it is just cooked through. Remove the fish to a serving plate.

Lemon Butter Sauce – adapted from Food Network 

*This is half the original recipe, and we had more than enough for a pound of fish*

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1.5 lemons, peeled and segmented
  • 1 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 turns freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (*I used half and half*)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut up, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Heat a large nonreactive skillet over high heat. When the skillet is hot, add the wine, lemons, garlic, and shallots. Cook for 3 minutes, breaking up and mashing the lemons with a wire whisk. Stir in the salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and hot sauce and cook until the mixture is somewhat syrupy, for about 3 minutes. Stir in the cream and cook for 1 minute. Over low heat, whisk in the butter a few pats at a time. When all of the butter has been added, remove from the heat, but continue whisking until all of the butter is incorporated into the sauce. Strain the sauce, pressing all of the liquid into a bowl. Stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, or keep warm for a few minutes until ready to use.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I have been slackin’! I made this over a month ago and I am just getting around to sharing it with you. Even though it’s been awhile, I do remember that everyone enjoyed this. My husband was pleasantly surprised at how good it was :) I used Applegate Farms ham for this instead of the prosciutto, and baby Swiss instead of Gruyere – other than that, I followed the recipe exactly. I recommend these roasted green beans and this creamy garlic pasta to serve along side this dish. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Cordon Bleu – adapted from Food Network

  • 4 chicken skinless and boneless
  • 4 thin slices prosciutto di Parma
  • 1/2 pound Gruyere, grated
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions -

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the chicken breast between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet of plastic and lay 2 slices of prosciutto neatly over the top to cover the breast and sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the prosciutto. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll inside the. Squeeze the log gently to seal and twist both ends tight to form a nice log. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Season the flour with salt and pepper. Mix the bread crumbs with thyme, garlic and kosher salt, pepper, and melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs and season so the flour, the eggs and the crumbs are all seasoned.

Remove the plastic wrap. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the roulades onto it. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until browned and cooked through.

Chili Con Carne

Quick Post: Yes, I made chili, and yes – the weather isn’t right for it, but I was convinced that didn’t matter! It’s thick, rich, spicy, and perfect with this cornbread. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chili Con Carne – adapted from Simply Recipes

  • 2 Tbsp red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 3-4 Tbsp water
  • One – 2 pound chuck roast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapeño chili peppers, stems removed, seeded, ribs removed, minced
  • 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes
  • 2 cups water
  • juice of 1/2 of a lime
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (more if needed)
  • 1 14-oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • Salt to taste
  • Grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion for garnish

Directions -

1.  In a small bowl mix the chili powder, chipotle chili powder, ground cumin, oregano, and ground coriander. Mix in water so that chili forms a light paste. Set aside.

2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat, add back in 1 tablespoon of canola oil. Working in batches so that you don’t crowd the beef (crowding will steam cook the meat instead of browning it), brown the beef cubes on all sides, lightly salting as you cook the beef. Remove beef from pan, set aside.

3.  Add another Tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan. Add the chopped onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and jalapeño, cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add the chili paste and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

4. Put onion chili mixture, beef, tomatoes, water, lime juice and sugar. Heat the chili on medium high heat until it comes to a simmer. Then reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Then uncover and cook for another half hour, keeping the temperature at a place where you can maintain a simmer.

5. Gently mix in the kidney beans. Add salt to taste. Adjust seasonings. Depending on the acidity of the tomatoes and lime juice you may need a little more sugar to bring the stew to balance. Sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and chopped red onion. Serve with cornbread, tortilla chips, and or rice.

Grandmother’s Buttermilk Cornbread – adapted from Allrecipes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Butter a 8×8 baking dish or a 9 inch cake pan.

2. Melt butter in large skillet (I put it in the microwave for about 45 seconds). Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Fold in the cheese and pour into your prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.(*mine took 30 minutes with convection)

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce

 

 

I’m usually leery about crock pot recipes and I rarely search for new ones. Most recipes I have seen (or most that are popular on Pinterest), are full of canned this and packaged that…I have seriously considered creating a new pin board entitled: “Recipes that Scare Me”!  There is nothing questionable in this recipe and it is so good! The aroma greeted me as I walked through the door after picking up my SIL from the air port. This was the perfect meal to come home to and I will make this again. It’s rich, hearty and goes perfectly any thick, tube pasta. I served this with a quick garlic bread, but if I had more time – I would have made this one (always a favorite!) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Crock Pot Spaghetti Sauce – adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

  • 1 lb ground beef (I used 90/10 ground sirloin)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf (or 2 small)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter

Directions:

Season ground beef with salt & pepper then brown with minced onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain then add to a large crock pot. Add all the ingredients except for the butter, stir to combine, then cook on low for 5-6 hours. Remove bay leaves, stir in butter, then serve over cooked pasta.

Shrimp Pasta with Oven Dried Tomatoes

Quick Post: This pasta was amazing! I have tried and posted several shrimp pastas here, and this one is sure to be a repeat offender in this house. This was my first time using mascarpone cheese – it’s like butta! It created a smooth and creamy sauce that perfectly complimented the rest of the flavors in this dish. I really like the oven dried tomatoes, because all that richness would be overpowering if not for the presence of the slightly acidic, sweetness of them. They’re worth making, especially if you want to avoid preservatives of most store-bought sun dried tomatoes. The kids were leery of them, but I explained that they’re like tomato-raisins ;) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Shrimp Pasta with Oven Dried Tomatoes – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • Olive oil
  • Small pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1 lb. bowtie pasta
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¾ cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
  • 6 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (*I forgot to buy this*)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan, plus more for serving

Directions:
To make the oven dried tomatoes, preheat the oven to 225˚ F. Place the tomatoes in a small baking dish in a single layer, cut side facing up. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and season with a pinch of sugar, salt and pepper. Bake for about 3 hours, or until the tomatoes are mostly shriveled up. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.

While the pasta is cooking, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook in a single layer, flipping once during cooking, just until opaque, about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a plate, tent loosely with foil and set aside. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Sauté the onion until slightly softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and sauté just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the wine or broth and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Return the shrimp to the pan and add in the drained pasta along with the oven-dried tomatoes. Add the mascarpone to the pan and stir until completely melted. Stir in the basil and Parmesan, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with additional Parmesan as desired.

Chicken Gyros

Well, I know my husband liked it because he ate three! Needless to say, there are no leftovers…boo! But I’m glad he liked them :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken Gyros – adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Tzatziki sauce:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 regular cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and zest
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the chicken:

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts

To assemble:

  • Pita bread (I made these again)
  • Fresh tomatoes, seeded and diced

Directions -

Shred the cucumber or chop in food processor. Wrap in a towel a squeeze to remove as much water as possible. Mix together the yogurt, shredded cucumber, garlic, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, and lemon juice. Drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

To prepare the chicken, combine the garlic, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil, yogurt, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste in a medium bowl. Whisk together until mixed well. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix well to coat. Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Cook the chicken as desired, either in the skillet or with the broiler. Once the chicken is completely cooked through, transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Cut into strips. Heat pitas. Top with chicken, tzatziki sauce, diced tomatoes and sliced onions. Serve immediately.