Popcorn Chicken Parmesan

It has been SO LONG since I posted an actual recipe on here! I have been so busy with work and life, as well as promoting my new side nail wrap business (shop online at Never The Same Jams!). I have been so obsessed with this nail business. It is certainly not bringing in enough money to quit my day job, but I love being a social worker, so it works out. It does provide some fun extra spending money – plus I get to have pretty nails all the time!

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A few weeks ago, I made this popcorn chicken parmesan recipe from Eat at Home Cooks. It was simple and yummy, and you can’t go wrong with that. The main thing I did differently was make my own popcorn chicken from cutting up chicken breasts, instead  of using bagged popcorn chicken. I also didn’t have any mozzarella left like I thought I did, so I used cheddar cheese instead. Additionally, I used leftover pizza sauce instead of traditional tomato sauce.

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Popcorn Chicken Parmesan

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1-2tbsp olive oil
-2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
-1/2cu shredded Parmesan cheese
-1/2 bag frozen popcorn chicken (or cut up your own chicken and dredge in some panko)
-14oz crushed tomatoes (instead of this and the following spices, I just used sauce)
-1/2tsp basil
-1/2tsp thyme
-1tsp oregano
-salt and pepper to taste
-pasta, cooked to package directions
-extra Parmesan to garnish

Directions:
-Cook garlic in oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the parmesan and stir to combine.
-Pour in frozen popcorn chicken. Toss to coat with garlic and cheese.
-Put the coated chicken on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes (longer if you’re cooking with raw chicken breasts).
-If you’re making your own sauce, pour the crushed tomatoes into the pot you cooked the garlic in, then add herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat.
-When the chicken is cooked, remove it from oven and add it to sauce, stirring to coat and serve over hot pasta.
-Top with extra Parmesan.

Salmon Burgers with Homemade Jojos

After our grilling plans fell through all week, my husband and I finally did tonight! This post basically mimics my last one, I just realized. We used the Costco salmon burgers again. They are just so delicious! I think they are going to be a household staple from now on.

We also paired them with asparagus, to use up what we had leftover from last week. I don’t know a lot about asparagus, but I’m really impressed and thankful they hadn’t gone bad yet!

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Instead of making regular fries, I cut the potatoes into wedges to make JoJo’s! I did my usual seasoning, with cooking spray and garlic powder. They actually cooked way better than my fries usually do. Funny story, my husband had never heard of JoJo’s, and we got into a joking argument. After a quick Google search, I learned that the term JoJo’s originated in Ohio, and the name is common in the Pacific Northwest, but not New York.

Happy grilling!

Salmon Burgers with Homemade Fries

Last night’s dinner was super simple – and delicious! Recently, I had picked up a package of these Alaskan Salmon Burgers from Costco – 12 patties for about $15 (that’s $1.25/patty). Now, anyone that knows me, knows that I neverrrr buy premade burgers of any kind – I like to stuff my burgers full of veggies, spices, cheese, etc. But I just couldn’t pass this up. And who doesn’t like easy weeknight meals? They cook from frozen, about 6 minutes per side on the grill.

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I found a lone potato in my cupboard and sliced it up for some fries. I keep my homemade fries pretty simple these days – a few spritzes of cooking spray and a dash of garlic salt. They take about 30+ minutes at 400 degrees.

Yummy!!

Orange Beef and Barley Pilaf (Weight Watchers)

I realize, once again, that it has been SOOOOO long since I have posted on this blog! This time, I have the busy-ness of life, as well as starting my own business to thank! I fell in love with Jamberry Nail Wraps so much that I decided to start selling them – check out my site for Never the Same Jams here. Nails and cooking – my two therapies. Bonus: I don’t have to worry about chipping polish when I’m peeling garlic or onions. ;)

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Several weeks ago (maybe months?) I made this delicious WW-inspired orange beef and barley pilaf from food.com! It was pretty simple and tasty. The pilaf, I must admit, was my favourite part. I don’t use barley very often (aka ever), but I had some left over from a beef and barley stew I made awhile back, and it is a nice change-up from rice, pasta, and quinoa.

I wish I could remember more about this dish, but I didn’t really change or edit much, though I might have added in more spices or sauces to amp up the flavour (I’ve found that some WW recipes unnecessarily skimp on flavour). Enjoy!

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Orange Beef and Barley Pilaf

serves 2-4

Ingredients:
For the beef
-3 scallions, sliced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1tbsp peeled fresh ginger, minced
-1tbps grated orange zest
-1lb boneless sirloin steak, trimmed and cut into matchstick-thin strips
-10oz fresh sugar snap or snow peas and baby carrots
-2tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
-2tbsp orange juice
-1tsp cornstarch
-1tbsp cold water
For the barley
-1cu broth
-2⁄3cu quick-cooking barley
-2cu sliced mushrooms
-1tbsp low sodium soy sauce

Directions:
For the beef
-Spray a large nonstick wok or skillet with nonstick spray and set over high heat. When a drop of water sizzles on it, add the scallions, garlic, ginger, and orange zest. Stir-fry until the scallions soften, about 1 minute.
-Add the beef and stir-fry until browned, about 3 minutes. Then add the sugar snap peas and baby carrots, and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and orange juice, then bring to a simmer and cook for about 20 seconds.
-Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add the cornstarch mixture to the wok and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, 30 seconds (at this point, I felt this was a little unnecessary, as it wasn’t overly thick to begin with, but use your best judgment).
For the barley
-Bring broth to a boil in a saucepan, then add quick-cooking barley. Simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes (my barley was not quick-cooking, so I had to adjust my cooking time).
-Spray a skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender (you can do this without mushrooms – I just used whole ones, for my husband, but I picked them off my dish). Add the barley and soy sauce. Then serve.

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

I recently made this spicy chipotle white bean dip from Damn Delicious for the NFC Championship game a few months back – when the Seattle Seahawks won!! Yeah!! Ok, that’s over now.

But I gotta admit: I omitted or substituted almost everything in this recipe, so it basically turned into a “Super Spicy Sriracha White Bean Dip” instead of the former. I omitted the 3 things that give the dish its name and spiciness (chili peppers in adobo sauce, cumin, and chili powder). However, I added in some red pepper flakes and lots of sriracha. So basically I made something entirely different. But whatever.

I’ll post the recipe as the original blogger created it – let me know if you make it and what you think of it!image

Spicy Chipotle White Bean Dip

serves a lot

Ingredients:
-1 (15oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
-1-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or more, to taste
-2 cloves garlic
-2tbsp lemon juice
-1tsp cumin
-1tsp chili powder
-1/4cu plus 2tbsp olive oil

Directions:
-In the bowl of a food processor, combine cannellini beans, chipotle peppers, garlic, lemon juice, cumin and chili powder.
-Add olive oil and process until blended.
-Serve with pita bread, tortilla chips, veggies, etc.

 

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I have been totally MIA lately, because I have been focusing on a new endeavor! I started my own business with Jamberry Nails! They are amazing vinyl nail wraps that are heat-activated and come in 300+ colours and styles. There are plain ones, wild ones, sparkly ones, striped ones, French manicured ones, and so forth. Feel free to click on the link above to browse online! My business name is also a play on my food blog – Never The Same Jams. The name is courtesy of my makeup guru friend Alysha.
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Speaking of food, I made this yummmmmmmy pesto chicken pizza from Six Sisters Stuff a few weeks ago, and I am excited to share it with you! It was so, so, so good! I used jarred pesto, which was actually a pesto made with quinoa from TJ’s. It was a great way to pump up normal pesto, and also made the pizza that much more filling.

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I actually omitted several ingredients from this pizza – like the mushrooms and tomatoes. I also put the bell pepper on my half of the pizza only (not that I ate half of it in one sitting – but I could have, it was so good!).
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I also didn’t make my own crust, and I used my go-to whole wheat dough from TJ’s also. Whenever I’m at TJ’s, I usually buy 2-3 extra bags of dough and freeze them, so that way they are ready to go whenever I want homemade pizza, since the nearest TJ’s is about 15-20 minutes out of the way to get to.
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Speaking of which, TJ’s is the *only* place I can find dough in the Seattle area! When I lived in upstate New York, pizza dough was super commonplace in every single grocery store, so it was quite a shock when I moved back here. Oh well, what can ya do…Washingtonians don’t like pizza the way New Yorkers (even from upstate) do!
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Pesto Chicken Pizza

serves about 4

Ingredients:
-1/2cu prepared pesto (I actually used a bit more, since the quinoa pesto was thicker and less liquidy)
-2cu shredded mozzarella cheese
-1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced (I cooked mine at 400F for about 30mins, then shredded it)
-1 small onion, thinly sliced
-1 green bell pepper, diced
-1/2cu sliced fresh mushrooms (I omitted)
-1 tomato, diced (I omitted)
-Pizza dough

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Roll out the dough and spread the pesto over the surface of the pizza. Sprinkle the cheese over the pesto and then add on all of the other toppings.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is done.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

I am prefacing this post to apologize for my sucky pictures. ;) I just couldn’t get a flattering one. If you want to see yummy looking pictures of this dish, then definitely click on the original blogger’s link!

Thai food is basically one of my favourite things in the entire world. I suppose I should really say that Phad Thai is one of my favourite things in the entire world. I love the other stuff too (showering rama, curry, anything smothered in peanut sauce, etc.), but Phad Thai is really where it’s at. That being said, I think I am testing out a new Thai restaurant on Sunday with a friend – can’t wait!

I had found a Thai chicken soup recipe awhile ago that I was excited to make, but also dreading, as it contained 50 bajillion ingredients, but when the time came that I planned to make it, apparently the site was marked as spam and disappeared. Such is life. In any case, I did find this close replica of Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup by Bev Cooks. This contains a lot (but not as many) ingredients, and can be done with the ease of a slow cooker. Win win!
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The downside of this recipe was that I was making it for my husband as well as a dear friend that adores Thai food like I do, but can’t have any corn products. I read the ingredient labels of everything super carefully and then dumped it all in the slow cooker. Right after doing so, I discovered that cornstarch was on the ingredient list for the chicken broth. After a minor freak out, I decided to still make the soup (obviously I wasn’t going to just dump a perfectly good meal), and then scrambled to make something else for dinner that evening.

The moral of the story is that my husband and I ended up with tons of leftovers of this yummy soup! I didn’t add in the rice noodles until the next day when we planned to actually eat it, because I didn’t want them to get soggy and gross. I also had about 3-4 days of leftovers for lunch. Speaking of rice noodles, mine NEVER, EVER turn out the way they do in Phad Thai dishes at restaurants, even though I follow the package instructions super closely. They don’t turn out badly (aka soggy and mushy), but they’re not as good as they are in restaurants. If anyone knows the secret of perfect rice noodles, pleaaaaaase let me know!

Some notes: I kept the red bell pepper chunks pretty large, so that my husband could pick them out. I also omitted the jalapenos, because my husband doesn’t like those either. The soup was so tasty and flavourful, and I think actually helped that we waited even longer than normal to eat it, to let the flavours come together more. Mine was much thinner and more brothy than the original blogger’s is (based on her pictures, it appears more creamy). I didn’t change any of the broth or coconut milk amounts, so I’m not sure what happened there. I also omitted the bean sprouts, but not on purpose. I went to two grocery stores that informed me that they do not sell bean sprouts (weird, I know), and so I bought canned bean sprouts. Well, I opened the can and then dumped them down the disposal because they looked and tasted nasty. They may have been fine, once added to the crockpot, but I didn’t want to risk turning the whole dish upside down because of it. Oh, and I added tons of sriracha to mine, of course. ;)image

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Noodle Soup

serves 4+

Ingredients:
-3 frozen or thawed chicken breast halves
-3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced
-2tbsp freshly minced ginger
-2 (13.5oz) cans coconut milk (I used one lite and one regular can)
-4cu chicken stock
-3tbsp soy sauce
-4oz thin rice noodles
-2 red bell peppers, diced (I only used one)
-2cu fresh beans sprouts (I omitted)
-2 jalapenos, finely sliced (I also omitted)
-2 limes
-cilantro for garnish
-coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
-In a slow cooker, add the coconut milk, broth, garlic, ginger, chicken, soy sauce, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook on high for 3 hours.
-Remove the chicken from the crockpot and shred it with two forks; return to pot.
Add the rice noodles, bell pepper and sprouts, and cook for 30 more minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve each bowl garnished with sliced jalapeno, a good handful of cilantro and lime juice.