Barbecued Chicken Tenders

In less than twenty four hours, I have walked into TWO spider webs.  And I may have screamed both times.  The first time I was with my mom, and she got worried (obviously when your daughter screams out in fear you pay attention), then I showed her what happened and she laughed at me.  Thanks, mom.  The second time was this morning, walking to my car, a spider had built a nice little HUGE web between my driver’s side door and another person’s passenger side door.  Thankfully, I managed not to spill my coffee all over my clothes in my freak-out.
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I don’t know why I decided to tell that story, but it’s recent and on my mind, so there ya go.  However, I do have good news – like this barbecued chicken tenders recipe from my favourite lady, Martha Stewart!  The thing is – it is really, really a stretch to refer to this as a “recipe.”  It’s basically: buy chicken and barbecue sauce, baste chicken with sauce, and grill.  No fancy marinade, no super secret weapon homemade BBQ sauce…just simple and to the point!
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That being said, sometimes you need something just that quick and yet tasty for a weeknight meal.  Bonus: it’s an excuse to use my favourite Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce!  Normally I just buy the plain SBR’s, but recently I had bought a special honey chipotle flavour and it is sooooo good!  It is not too sweet (for my liking) and not too spicy (for my husband’s liking).  Perfection. =)

Side note: they only look burnt, but really they weren’t! I just took a pic of the only parts that were charred-looking. Go me.

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Barbecued Chicken Tenders

serves 2-3

Ingredients:
-Vegetable oil, for the grates
-chicken tenders (I just cut 2 chicken breasts into tender-size, which created some leftovers, too!)
-Coarse salt and ground pepper
-1/4-1/2cu store-bought barbecue sauce

Directions:
-Heat grill to medium-high; lightly oil grates.
-Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour some of the barbecue sauce over the chicken and toss to coat it well.
-Grill chicken, turning and basting occasionally with reserved basting sauce, about 8 to 10 minutes total. Remove chicken from grill and serve with any remaining barbecue sauce.

Balsamic Glazed Salmon

I’m from the Pacific Northwest, so I have to represent seafood on this blog every now and then!  A few months ago, my husband and I bought some amazing looking salmon and a pack of cedar planks from Costco.  I was able to divvy up the salmon into several meals, which was a nice treat! ;)  This balsamic glazed salmon comes from Cooking Classy’s blog – and this is definitely a classy meal!  This particular recipe did not involve one of the planks (but check out this Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon dish previously seen on this blog).
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I just looooove balsamic vinegar, yet I so rarely use it.  I have labeled it as one of those “special” ingredients and therefore seem to save it for more “special” dishes.  It can be very potent, but brings such a lovely taste and smell to any dish, that I just cannot resist it.
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This was a pretty simple recipe – the recipe calls for pan-frying it, but you could grill it too!  Also, I apologize that I posted several pictures of basically the same thing.  Lately I have not been taking many pictures of the actual cooking/prepping process, as opposed to the final product.  I promise that I will get more into that!

A few side notes: the original recipe calls for 4 salmon fillets, but I was only using 2, so I reduced the recipe a bit (my Ingredients list is cut in half from the original recipe’s ingredient list).  Despite this, I had a TON of glaze, as you can see from the pictures, so I probably didn’t reduce the ingredients enough.  The second side note is that I forgot to run to my mom’s beforehand and snip some fresh rosemary from her garden, so I used dried.  But it was still tasty!
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Balsamic Glazed Salmon

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1/4cu balsamic vinegar
-/8cu white wine (I used white cooking wine)
-1tbsp honey
-1/2tbsp dijon mustard
-1/2tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, divided
-1 clove garlic, finely minced
-2 (4-6oz) salmon fillets
-salt and freshly ground black pepper
-2tsp canola oil, divided

Directions:
-Allow salmon to rest 10 minutes at room temperature.
-Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine balsamic vinegar, white wine, honey, dijon mustard, half of the chopped rosemary and the garlic. Heat mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat until sauce has thickened and reduced about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and pour into a heat proof dish (using a rubber spatula to get it all out) and allow to cool.
-Season both sides of salmon with salt and pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tsp of canola oil. Once pan and oil are hot, add 2 salmon fillets and cook, without moving, until salmon has nicely browned on bottom, about 3 – 5 minutes. Carefully flip salmon to opposite side and continue to cook 3 – 5 minutes longer until bottom is browned and salmon has cooked through.
-Serve warm drizzling each fillet with balsamic rosemary glaze and sprinkling tops with remaining rosemary.

Tropical Orange Appetizers

Aaaaaaand today you get a made up appetizer with a made up name that consists of ONE ingredient!  My mom and niece got the idea for this adorable snack from a teriyaki restaurant they recently went to.  It was perfect to include at my mama’s Garden Party a few weeks ago, that she hosted for friends and gardening clients (she is a professional licensed horticulturist, as well as landscaper and gardener!).
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These are super easy to make (though a bit time-consuming, I must admit), but are very cheap – only about $5 for a bag of oranges!  I suppose you could say it involves 2 things, if you include the toothpicks (which are NOT edible, therefore can’t be called an ingredient, hehe).
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I know that summer is almost over, but this is a great addition for any summer party – Labour Day Weekend, anyone?  Everyone ooh’ed and aah’ed over them, while gobbling them up, of course. =P

The instructions may seem kind of complicated, so definitely use one or two oranges as a test-orange, and refer to the pictures! Feel free to comment or email with questions.
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Tropical Orange Appetizers

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-bag of oranges
-box of toothpicks

Directions:
-Cut each orange in half.
-Take one half, and cut off the end, very thinly.
-Cut another thin slice
-Using a knife, carefully cut out the inside of the orange.
-Cut the orange insides into 6 pieces.
-Place the thin slice you previously cut inside the carved out orange and push down to sort of seal it. Then place the 6 pices back inside the carved out orange.
-Take a toothpick and stick it into the carved out peel, and attach the peel to the top.

Chicken and Potato Chowder

A few weeks ago, we had some rainy and dreary weather.  Thick soups and stews are PERFECT for those kinds of days…at least, in my opinion. 

Thankfully, one of those dreary days, I had an abundance of potatoes in the cupboard and chicken in the freezer, which was perfect for this Chicken and Potato Chowder by Damn Delicious.
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Let’s just say…it was delicious.  Seriously.  I added some extra spices, but I don’t remember exactly what, so I’ll just post the recipe as-is from the original blogger.  But it was a great flavour combo and so cheesy, too!  The chicken broth added a ton of flavour (broth really does make my job easy, hehe).  I loved the cheese addition.  But I love cheese, so that’s not really a surprise.  I used a mix of nonfat milk and half’n’half, because we didn’t have enough milk.  But it was a great mix, because it added some extra creaminess without being incredibly fattening (then again, let’s be honest – when you go to hearty soups and stews, you’re usually looking for comfort!).  Also, the original recipe calls for russet potatoes, but I used reds – I’m pretty sure you can just use whatever you have on hand.  I also didn’t add my carrots until toward the end – I like them to be crisp tender, not super mushy.  Finally, I used dried parsley, because I didn’t have any fresh.  Oh well.
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Bookmark this for the next dreary or chilly day – you won’t regret it!
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Chicken and Potato Chowder

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-1/4cu unsalted butter
-1 onion, diced
-3 carrots, peeled and diced
-2 stalks celery, diced
-1tsp dried thyme (or more!)
-1/4cu all-purpose flour
-3cu chicken broth
-2 cups milk, or more, as needed
-2 potatoes, cubed
-2cu diced cooked chicken breast
-1.5cu shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-2tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves (or 1tbsp, dried)

Directions:
-Melt butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
-Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in chicken broth and milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Then stir in potatoes.
-Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Stir in chicken and cheese, a handful at a time, until smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
-If the chowder is too thick, add more milk as needed until desired consistency is reached (mine wasn’t too thick, but everyone does things a bit differently).
Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers

My husband and I had a busy and fun weekend!  I was excited to try out several new recipes this weekend, and I love enjoying company and cooking for others, as well.  On Saturday, I made Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers from I Don’t Go To The Gym’s Blog.  We had a couple over from our old church, and their 3 kids (only the adults ate the burgers – the kids had hot dogs).  It was the husband’s first time EVER eating a turkey burger.  I am just flabergasted when I hear things like that, because it is so normal to me!  But then I remember, I didn’t eat turkey burgers as a kid or while growing up – probably once I really started cooking is when I started eating turkey burgers.  My husband also didn’t eat them before I came into his life! ;)

Our friends’ kids also don’t spend a lot of time around pets, and it was just adorable to see them so enamored with the cat and lizard, and even afraid of our sweet little dog!  It was cute to see them warm up to him, petting him, then proudly telling their parents that they were able to.  At first I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough to keep the kids busy, but with having 6 pets and a little play area outside, it turned out to be great for the 2, 4, and 6 year olds!
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Going back to these Mexican turkey burgers…I have had this recipe saved for about a year now, just kind of waiting to make it.  It involves SO MUCH STUFF.  Nothing really expensive or out of the ordinary, but it’s definitely a trashed up or fancied up burger.  I even had to text my friend ahead of time to make sure she was ok with it, or if they prefer “normal” burgers.  As many people know, I RARELY make a normal burger. ;)

There are some changes I would recommend from the original recipe – the original recipe says to use one pound of ground turkey to make 6 patties…um…how is that even possible?  Sometimes it can be difficult enough to make 4 patties out of one pound of meat!  I ended up using 1.25lbs (it was on sale for cheaper than the 1lb package!) and made 5 burgers.  Also, there is SO MUCH additional stuff in these burgers, that I actually had to cut it down a bit, because there would be literally almost no burger and all filling (which I suppose may have been their point, but it’s kind of hard to grill filling with minimal burger).  As it was, we had to grill these on foil (make sure to spray your foil!), so that they wouldn’t fall apart between the grates.  Also, I omitted the jalapeno (but kept the bell pepper – and my husband didn’t mind! Score!).  I also only used half a red onion, to save for a yummy watermelon salsa I also made (check the blog soon for that recipe), and only used half of the red bell pepper because, again, there was just so much filling.

Despite all the filling and despite all the changes – these were YUMMY burgers.  I mean it.  So filling, so flavourful, dripping with flavours.  My friend (the wife) said that she loved the “pockets” of cheese in the burger, and the husband said that he really liked it too!  Sure, he might have just said that to be polite, but he ate the whole thing, which I think says something. ;)

For the recipe below, I am going to post using my alterations, from what I can remember, but if you’d like to compare and contrast, definitely check out the original recipe – feel free to make it your own!

Bonus: we used fresh cilantro from our garden! Yay!
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Mexican Spiced Turkey Burgers

serves 4

Ingredients
-1lb lean ground turkey
-1/2 or 1 chopped red bell pepper
-1/2 or 1 chopped small red onion
-1/2 cup frozen corn
-1tbsp olive oil
-1-2tbsp cumin
-1-2tbsp chili powder
-4 garlic cloves, minced
-1 handful cilantro, chopped
-1 lime
-1 egg white
-1/4cu panko (I used a little more)
-4tbsp Mexican cheese blend
-buns

Directions
-Add one tbsp olive oil to saute pan over medium heat, then add red pepper, onion, garlic, frozen corn, 1 tbsp cumin, and 1 tbsp chili powder to saute pan. Saute until golden brown. Add juice from one lime and mix to combine flavors.
-In a mixing bowl combine lean ground turkey with the veggie mixture. Add remaining cumin and chili powder (if you want to – 1tbsp of each was actually pretty decent). Mix in chopped cilantro, panko, and egg white.
-Form patties, stuffing some cheese into the center, and then fold the meat around.
-Either grill or use saute pan with non-stick olive oil spray. Cook on medium high heat for 5-7 minutes each side
-Top with condiments of your choice, on the buns, and serve.

Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

Side dish time!  This is a simple four-ingredient roasted potato dish from Laa Loosh that was a great accompaniment to our Aidell’s chicken sausages (LOVE THOSE, in case I haven’t mentioned it before…haha).
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The ranch packet was a bit more expensive than I thought it’d be…I thought packets like that were about 50 cents, however it was about $1.50 (I bought the generic brand from Fred Meyer).  It was not quite as Ranch-y as I would like.  At first, I only sprinkled about half of the packet on the potatoes, since it seemed like so much, and then I added a bit more, and halfway through cooking, I added the rest of the packet. 
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Because of this, I was expecting a Ranch Explosion (great visual, right?), but I did not get that.  Sure, it was seasoned and fairly tasty, but far from the flavour explosion I was expecting.  We still ate them all, though!  Now if only I could finish up the 5lb bag of red potatoes…

Good news: This is actually a WW-ish recipe, and 1/2 cup of potatoes is 2 WW points.  Score!
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Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-2-4 red potatoes (depends on size)
-1 packet Ranch Dressing Dry Mix
-Non fat, olive oil cooking spray
-1tsp salt (I just used a quick grind, cuz the dressing mix is pretty salty)

Directions:
-Cut potatoes and let sit in water for at least 10 minutes, then drain.
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
-In a large bowl add potatoes and spray lightly with the cooking spray. Then add the Ranch mix and toss well to fully coat each potato.
-Spray a baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and spread out potatoes evenly on sheet.
-Bake for about 20-25 minutes, tossing about halfway through, until slightly crisped and fully cooked.

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon & Crispy Herb Roasted Potatoes

Costco is our new BFF.  We got a sweet deal on good salmon (which I portioned into 4 meals for 2 people each), cedar planks, and red potatoes (the potatoes part is super old news, if you’ve been reading this blog this summer!).  This was the first time I used the Costco salmon (I *love* buying in bulk, but I also *love* hoarding/savouring things). 
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In addition, this is about our 10th time using the potatoes since we bought the 5 pound bag – and there is STILL a lot more!  Thankfully, when stored properly, potatoes last for a long time, so we can use them all!
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This salmon from Simple Bites was so simple and yet so delicious.  On one side, we could taste the dry rub ingredients (including a subtle sweetness from the brown sugar) and on the other side, we could taste the smokey, cedary flavour.  It was great!  Also: my husband used to dislike salmon (hence why I think this is only the second salmon recipe featured on Never the Same Dish – the first salmon recipe were these delightful grilled barbecue salmon burgers).  But he gobbled up this piece of salmon, and would have eaten extra, if there was any!
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The crispy herb roasted potatoes from Barbara Cooks were a nice accompaniment and there is nothing particular to note about them.  Just trying to slowly but surely plow through my potato recipes…

Side note: Despite following our plank-preparation instructions to a T, it still charred (and even…um…caught on fire a teeny bit…), but it did not at all ruin the salmon itself!  It was my first time cooking with a plank, and the planks we have work great, but are disposable, so I have no idea if that is normal, or totally strange.  Any thoughts?
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Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

serves 2

Ingredients:
-Two 4-6oz salmon fillets
-1 cedar plank, prepared (please follow the directions for your specific plank!)
-1/4cu brown sugar
-1tbsp olive oil
-1/2tbsp dried Italian seasoning
-3/4tsp smoked paprika
-sprinkle of kosher salt

Directions:
-Prepare plank according to plank package instructions
-Preheat a gas grill to medium
-Combine brown sugar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, smoked paprika and Kosher salt in a small bowl, then rub the mixture on the salmon (opposite skin-side)
-Place the prepared salmon onto the cedar plank, skin-side down
-Grill for about 10 minutes, or until salmon is cooked and flaky (you can Google cooking time instructions for various sizes of salmon – the amount and thick-ness I used called for about 10 minutes).
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Crispy Herb Roasted Potatoes

serves 2

Ingredients:
-4-5 red potatoes (depends on size, of course)
-1/4tsp dill
-1/4tsp garlic powder
-pinch of paprika
-1-2 grinds of seal salt and pepper
-1tsp olive oil

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees
-Cut each potato into wedges and let sit in a bowl of water (this can be done as early as overnight, or as late as 5-10 minutes before)
-Combine the dill, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil and then the seasoning mix
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, lightly spray with cooking spray, and spread the potatoes in one layer on top.
-Bake 30 minutes or until edges are a golden brown, tossing a few times during cooking.