Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Sometimes you just want something yummy and easy…but not too easy.  This barbecue chicken sandwiches in the slow cooker recipe by Eat at Home is just that!  It requires just a touch of prep time the morning of (or night before), but then you walk into your home after a hard day at work and dinner is ready (minus a few minutes for bun-toasting).  If you really are looking for something yummy and super easy, then you can just as easily throw chicken with just some barbecue sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s, anyone?) in the slow cooker.  But this recipe does add a little something extra, with the extra spices, onion, etc….just a little more “oomph” as they say.

Also – it is a great way to use up some of the liquid smoke I bought awhile back for other recipes, that I’ve hardly touched since!  Also, if you are worried, liquid smoke is only $2 a bottle, depending on where you go.  I’ve still only used it a few times and I’m honestly not sure what it adds, but it must add something!

Side note: the original recipe calls for 3lbs of chicken (which serves 10-12 people). I only used two chicken breasts, which serves 2-4, depending on appetites, and I adjusted the other ingredients accordingly. Feel free to click between my blog and the original blog, to get the ingredients right for the amount you have!
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Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

serves 2-4 

Ingredients:
-2 chicken breasts
-1/2 onion, diced
-1cu of any combo of ketchup or any kind of barbecue sauce
-4oz taco sauce (original blogger notes: not salsa!)
-1tbsp brown sugar
-1/2tbsp dry mustard
-1tbsp vinegar (I think I used red wine vinegar – but you can use whatever you have)
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-3/4tsp oregano
-3/4tsp garlic powder
-1tsp liquid smoke

Directions:
-Toss all the ingredients into the slow cooker. Stirring is not necessary, but I did.
-Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 7-8.
-Shred the meat and stir it until well-combined. Serve on buns – or even in pitas, tortillas, or if you’re light on carbs, over a salad!

Cedar-Plank Salmon with Citrus Glaze & Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

It’s two-fer Tuesday!!  I seem to have a knack for just sitting on recipes for sooooo long.  I should definitely apologize, especially because this cedar-plank salmon with citrus glaze by Feeling Foodish is pretty much AMAZING.  The rosemary roasted new red potatoes by In Sock Monkey Slippers were tasty too!  This recipe dates back to the summer, when I got a huge amount of salmon from Costco for a great deal, along with a pack of cedar planks.  I have officially used all of the salmon – but still have several planks left!  I was told that they are great to use with chicken too, so I may try that!
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Because I made this so long ago (grumble grumble), I don’t remember exactly how long I marinaded the fish, but I feel like it was much longer than one hour.  It may have been overnight.  As you’re probably already well-aware, if you’ve been reading this blog for even a day, I am a huge advocate for marinading AS LONG AS POSSIBLE.  Though I must admit, I had never marinaded fish before.  But seriously – amazing.  This, in fact, may be my favourite salmon recipe thus far.
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My mom came over for dinner with my husband and I on the night that I made this.  Everyone at the table was a happy camper!  Pairing the citrusy goodness with the bite of salmon was such a great idea.  And again, the marinade!  So good.  I can hardly describe it.
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For the potatoes, the rosemary came from a few sprigs I clipped from my mom’s garden – I seriously loooove the idea of going out into the garden to clip ingredients for dinner!  I have been doing that a lot lately with green onion, since we have a TON growing on our back porch.  I’m not a total homesteader like some of my friends, or my brother and his wife, but I’m slowly getting into it a little.
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Cedar-Plank Salmon with Citrus Glaze

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
For the marinade
-1 orange
-1 lemon
-1 lime
-1tbsp honey
-2tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1tbsp soy sauce
-1tsp ground coriander
-1/4cu butter
-3 cloves garlic, smashed
For the fish
-1/3cu fresh cilantro
-2tsp ground cumin
-2tsp paprika
-3/4tsp fresh ground black pepper
-2tsp salt
1 salmon filet, 2 pounds (I think I only used one pound or less)
untreated cedar plank, enough to accommodate the fish

Directions:
For the glaze
-Zest the orange, lemon, and lime.
-Squeeze juices from the orange, lemon, and lime using a juicer if possible (I don’t have one).
-Combine the juice (about 1 cup in all), zest, and remaining glaze ingredients (honey, vinegar, soy sauce, coriander, butter and garlic) in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat until it is slightly reduced, about 10 to 15 minutes
-Allow the glaze to cool and then marinate the fish for 1 hour or more.
-In the meantime, soak cedar planks according to package instructions (usually recommended for 1-2hrs).
For the fish
-Preheat grill to medium temperature (about 350 to 450 degrees).
-Remove the fish from the marinade and sprinkle with cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, and cilantro
-Place cedar planks on top of direct heat and heat until they smoke (about 5 to 10 minutes)
-Flip the plank over, place it over indirect heat, and place the fish on top of cedar plank.
-Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness (you can use Google to determine how long exactly to cook it, according to the specific thickness and amount of fish you have)
-Turn off heat and let the fish rest on the covered grill for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
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Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
-4-5 red potatoes (or use new potatoes, as the original recipe specifies)
-1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
-1tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
-1/4tsp salt
-1/4tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 425°F.
-Dice the potatoes into desired size and let sit in water until ready to use.
-Combine potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread out evenly on a baking sheet.
-Place in oven and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once halfway through roasting, until the potatoes are fork tender and golden.
-Sprinkle with a pinch or two of flaked sea salt, if desired, and serve.

Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

Two posts in a row of buffalo chicken recipes!  Anything buffalo chicken-esque is pretty amazing in my book (check out my buffalo chicken soup from the other day, along with my buffalo chicken pizza, my other buffalo chicken pizza, and my buffalo chicken enchiladas).  But, in true Whitney-form, I rarely make the actual, traditional dish (aka buffalo chicken wings)…instead I make fusion dishes.  However, if anyone does have a tasty buffalo wing recipe, let me know, cuz I’m willing to give it a whirl!
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In any case, this was a pretty simple dish.  It has minimal ingredients and minimal directions.  It is even quicker if you already have cooked chicken on hand (you can use my friend Alysha‘s crockpot chicken method, or bake at 375ish for 30ish minutes…or you could chop it up ahead of time and pan-fry it pretty quickly).  This is truly a “dinner on the table in a few minutes” recipe.

I omitted the tomatoes (because I don’t like them) and green pepper (because my husband doesn’t like them), but you can keep them in, or add other buffalo chicken-type things.  Adding carrot or celery might be an interesting touch! ;)
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Also, this post features my super cute new table decor and plates - thanks to Ikea!  I love them, and I feel like it all helps brighten up my kitchen.  You can also see my PartyLite bowl and candle – the perfect addition!  Check out my good friend Brandy’s PartyLite biz page to shop (I love giving plugs to my friends, in case I haven’t made that known over time). =)
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Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas

serves 4

Ingredients:
-tortillas of your choice
-1cu cooked and shredded chicken
-1/4cu hot sauce
-3tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing
-1/4cu green pepper, chopped
-1/4cu tomatoes, chopped
-1cu shredded cheese (I used a Mexican blend)
-sour cream and salsa, for garnish

Directions:
-Mix together chicken, hot sauce, and dressing until well combined.
-Spray skillet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray and place a tortilla shell in the skillet. Spread cheese, chicken, veggie mix, and top with another tortilla.
-Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until tortilla turns light golden brown and cheese is melted.
-Repeat with remaining tortillas and filling.
(If you have a quesadilla maker, like me, just spread some oil over each side of the maker, and follow the same layering instructions, then close the lid, usually the makers will tell you when it’s done, or you can periodically check).
-Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream and salsa.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

So I know many people have been all about Instagram for quite some time (months? years? I have no idea how long it’s been around…) but I just jumped on the bandwagon a few weeks ago because, well, I wanted to look at nail pictures.  My amazing friend Kim is a consultant for Jamberry Nails (click on her name to go to the link!), which is a company that sells nail wraps/decals.  They are AMAZING!  Therefore, my latest obsession has been staying up late, searching for pictures on Instagram of the wraps on people’s nails.  Yes, this is my life.  In any case, last night, not only did I make a delicious dinner, but I also did my first full “Jamicure”!  I find myself staring constantly at my nails (which reminds me of when I first got engaged, and my eyes were glued to my left hand).  Don’t judge me. ;)
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Like I just mentioned above, I also made an amazing and yummy and incredible and delicious and slightly spicy dinner.  This Buffalo Chicken Soup recipe was posted Running to the Kitchen’s blog by the girl that runs Bake Your Day.  I want to make sure both bloggers get props, because it was soooooo delicious.

I made a few slight changes, but not much.  First, I omitted the cilantro.  Don’t get me wrong – I *love* cilantro.  But it didn’t seem worth it to buy it, just to use a few tablespoons, and I don’t have anything else on the meal plan involving it.  I used to grow it, but it’s gone now.  Sigh.  Second, I used about one cup of wing sauce instead of 2/3 cup, because that’s how much was left in my bottle, and I didn’t want to just leave a few drops in the bottom.
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The soup was actually pretty thin, which was surprising.  I mean, it does call for quite a bit of chicken broth (I use the buillion cubes that I get for SUPER CHEAP from Costco), but for some reason I thought the wing sauce and simmering would let it thicken up a bit.  It didn’t.  Even today, the next day, it is still very thin.  My husband was a bit surprised at dinnertime, because he thought it would have been a thicker soup.  I’m sure it’d be ok to add milk or cream, but some adjusting would need to take place to make sure it still has the same feel.

I could have eaten (slurped?) the whole pot.  No joke.
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Buffalo Chicken Soup

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-1/2cu uncooked orzo pasta
-2tsp olive oil
-1/4cu yellow onion, chopped (I used 1/2cu)
-1 large clove garlic, minced
-2 medium carrots, peeled, and cut into half moons
-2 teaspoons ranch dressing seasoning mix (on the original blog, there was supposed to be a link to a recipe, but there wasn’t, so I just “winged” it, and used garlic powder, onion powder, and some chives, which was a loose adaptation of Gimme Some Oven’s ranch seasoning mix)
-3tbsp cilantro, divided
-32oz chicken broth
-2/3 or 1cu Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce (mine was store brand, haha, it’s cheaper!)
-4oz cheddar cheese, grated
-4oz parmesan cheese, grated
-2cu cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (I just baked 2 chicken breasts at 375 for 30ish minutes, until cooked through – any method works, though)
-1/4cu green onions, chopped and divided
-1/4cu blue cheese crumbles

Directions:
-Cook orzo according to package directions until about half way done. Drain and set aside.
-Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot. Sauté yellow onion, garlic and half of the green onions in the olive oil for 2-3 minutes until the onions are opaque and fragrant.
-Add carrots, ranch mix and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Stir to combine and sauté until the carrots begin to soften (side note, I added my carrots after this, because I like them more on the “crisp-tender” side).
-Add chicken broth, buffalo sauce, cheddar, parmesan and shredded chicken. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or longer.
-Bring the soup to a boil, add the underdone orzo and stir frequently until orzo is done.
-Serve with sliced green onions, additional cilantro and blue cheese crumbles.

Asian Inspired Steak

I have been sitting on this recipe for WAY TOO LONG.  Like two months.  Well…less than that.  But still a really freaking long time and I am just going to bang out this post right now to get it over with.  Deal?  Good. 
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This Asian inspired steak recipe comes from Savory Sweet Life and was really good!  As usual, I definitely recommend marinading it longer than just a few hours – overnight is always best!  The longer you marinade, the longer the flavours get to be mixed into the meat.  We also grilled this, because it was still summer aka “grilling season” – but if you’re like us, feel free to grill this steak year-round, or I am sure you can broil it, too.
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We paired it with green beans, but feel free to pair with another vegetable, stir fry, or rice!
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Asian Inspired Steak

serves

Ingredients:
-1/2cu soy sauce
-1/2cu cooking sherry
-1/4cu honey
-2tbsp sesame oil
-2tbsp minced ginger
-2tbsp (about 3-5 cloves) minced garlic
-2tsp crushed red pepper flakes
-2 flat iron steaks (or a similar steak of your choice)
-Garnish: 2tbsp roasted sesame seeds and 2 sliced green onions

Directions:
-Whisk all of the ingredients in a bowl, minus the steak and garnish. Then place the steaks and marinade in a ziplock bag and chill for at least 3-6 hours, or overnight (or in a bowl with a lid).
-Grill steaks on high heat for 4 minutes on each side for medium rare steaks (adjust cooking time based on your grill and preferred done-ness).
-Allow steaks to rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Sprinkle roasted sesame seeds and green onion slivers on top to garnish.

Watermelon-Mint Salsa

I vaguely recall promising to post this watermelon salsa recipe several weeks ago…you know…when it was still summer.  And here in the Pacific Northwest, it is going back to our drizzling dreariness (kinda love it, not gonna lie!).  Therefore, the intrigue of summer food has kind of faded away for many of us.
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BUT, since when do I subscribe to social norms?  I have been known to grill outside in rain and windstorms and go out for tacos (mmm I miss Moe’s!) in hurricanes…so why not post a summer salsa recipe in the fall? ;)

In any case, I don’t have a link for this recipe, as it came from a coupon book I got from Fred Meyer.  I made it on a day that we were having company over, I needed to make a yummy appetizer, and we had 1/2 a watermelon gifted to us from my mother that I wanted to use up.  I was a bit worried that our guests wouldn’t like it (not everyone is food-venturous), but 4 of us adults just gobbled it all right up! (though I don’t think the 3 kids in tow tried it).  It was a wonderful blend of spicy/zesty, with a faint hint of sweet, and great to pair with chips (or top grilled seafood or a pork chop with, or whatever you want!).
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Watermelon-Mint Salsa

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
-2cu seedless watermelon, diced (I’m not sure how much I used, I don’t think I actually measured)
-1cu cucumber, diced and seeded (I just used an entire cucumber)
-2tbsp red onion, finely minced
-1tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
-1tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
-1/4tsp hot sauce (I think I added a few extra shakes)
-salt, to taste

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients, mixing gently to make sure they are well incorporated.
-Cover and let chill for one hour in the fridge.
-Leftovers can be refrigerated for several days.

Spaghetti Squash with Spaghetti Sauce

I have been meaning to try out spaghetti squash for over a year now.  My friend Alysha and I were discussing it recently and it turned out she had been intending to try it also.  We decided to get together last weekend to join efforts…this was actually a HUGE deal for her, as she is one of the pickiest eaters ever (by her own admission!)…and honestly, I have never been a huge fan of other squash.
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We were both a little nervous.  We also had no idea what we were doing.  I googled a lot of recipes and ways to prepare it and it seemed that roasting it was the most popular and reportedly tastiest method.  We merged this Dashing Dish microwaved spaghetti squash recipe with this Martha Stewart roasted spaghetti squash recipe, and adapted our own version from there.
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IT WAS SO GOOD!  I think we were both a little surprised at how much we enjoyed the final product.  It was a bit on the crunchy side, which I actually really liked.  Alysha observed that the slight sweetness from the squash made the sauce a bit sweeter, also.  Also: one squash will yield a TON of “spaghetti.”  We each ate large portions that night, and it created about 4-6 leftover servings.
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It was also really fascinating how it really does look like spaghetti!  I realize it’s called “spaghetti squash” for a reason, but was still neat to see how it literally came out in spaghetti-like strands when we scraped each half with a fork.  I have been told if you want to do a quicker version, you can simply nuke it for 6-10 minutes and it will be ready.
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The spaghetti sauce is a recipe that Alysha got from her mother-in-law and is now her and her husband’s go-to sauce – and it’s really obvious as to why.  It was delicious!!

Bottom line: if you are wary of trying out spaghetti squash – don’t be!  If a squash-disliker and a picky eater ended up loving it, then it must be a keeper! ;)
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Spaghetti Sauce

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1lb ground beef
-1/2 an onion, diced
-2tbsp minced garlic
-salt and pepper, to taste
-a couple shakes of basil
-a couple shakes of oregano
-one shake of rosemary
-one shake of thyme
(note: there are no specifications for precise amounts – do it to your taste and what seems right for you)
-one small can of tomato paste
-one medium can of tomato sauce
-one large can of diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings (blend it ahead of time if you don’t like chunky tomatoes, like the two of us!)

Directions:
-In a frying pan, brown the meat with the onion, garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper.
-Once browned, drain the grease and add to the crock pot, along with the spices, tomato paste, one can of water (in the paste can), sauce, and diced tomatoes with the juice. Mix together.
-Cover and cook on low for as long as you like (about 8 hours at the most).
-This can be done on the stove top, as well.
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 Spaghetti Squash

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-one spaghetti squash (mine was about 4lbs)
-olive oil
-dash of garlic powder or salt

Directions:
-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
-Puncture the squash a few times with a fork or knife.
-Microwave the squash for about 5-6 minutes, then cut it in half (it will be nearly impossible to cut if you don’t microwave it first). Scoop out the seeds and any gunk that you can see.
-Line a baking dish with parchment paper or foil (or just put it directly on, if you prefer) and set the squash in, face up. Using a basting brush, spread some olive oil on each side, and sprinkle some garlic over it.
-Roast it in the oven for about 30 minutes. It should be easily punctured with a fork.
-Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash to create spaghetti-like strands. You can keep scraping until you get down to the skin!