Crock Pot Chicken Parmesan

Who loves chicken parm?  ME!!  I DO!!  Ok, sorry to start off sounding so dorky, haha.  But I really, really do love chicken parm.  In any and all forms.  Even odd but delicious ones like these chicken parmesan meatballs and also the chicken parmesan meatball soup I made awhile back.  YUMMM.  It really is not that hard to make, but what is a way to make it even easier?  The crock pot!  Thanks to Stephanie O’Dea’s “chicken parmesan crock pot recipe” over at A Year of Slow Cooking, I was able to do just that!
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I must admit that it is not my absolute favourite version of chicken parm.  It is hard to do breaded chicken in the crockpot, obviously, and it worked a little, and was still tasty, but not quite that classic chicken parm feel that I just cannot get enough of.  It also tasted a bit on the salty side, and I’m not quite sure why, as I didn’t add any “different” or salty ingredients…
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I was a bit wary of putting cheese in the crockpot for 8 hours, because I’ve heard mixed opinions of it sometimes getting rubbery, or sometimes being fine.  As you can see in the pictures, I did put a little cheese on it in the crock pot, and then added more at the end.  Nice to come home to dinner *almost* ready! (just had to boil some pasta).
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Crockpot Chicken Parmesan

serves

Ingredients:
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
-1/2cu bread crumbs
-1/4cu shredded parmesan cheese
-1/2tsp Italian Seasoning (you can make your own mix using this recipe, or just be like me and use Herbes de Provence, haha)
-1/4tsp black pepper
-1/4tsp kosher salt (I omitted this, yet it was still pretty salty, as I mentioned above)
-1tbsp olive oil
-1 beaten egg
-sliced mozzarella cheese (I used shredded)
-1 (26-ounce bottle) favorite jarred marinara sauce (or homemade, if ya wanna get fancy)

Directions:
-Spread 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom and sides of your crockpot.
-In a separate bowl, whisk the egg with a fork, and in another separate bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the seasoning and parmesan cheese.
-Dip each chicken breast into the egg, then into the bread crumb mixture, coating both sides with crumbs, cheese and seasonings.
-Place the chicken breast pieces in the bottom of the crock, then layer the mozzarella on top.
-Cover the chicken with entire jar of marinara sauce
-Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4. If your chicken is still frozen, it will take longer (I cooked mine on low for about 8 hours)
-Serve with your favorite pasta.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

TGIF!!  Can I get an amen??  I feel like every post on a Friday has the same first two sentences.  I have a fun weekend planned, so I am particularly excited.  I am having a Girls Night with two of my closest friends tonight, visiting a bazaar tomorrow with my mom and mother-in-law, and either visiting with family or friends on Sunday.  Lots going on and lots to do!
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It also seems that every time I post a new sloppy joes recipe, I feel the need to reiterate that I NEVER HAD THEM as a kid.  I don’t know where, when, or why my love of them sparked, but it happened within the past couple of years and now I make them constantly (a different recipe each time, of course).  Today’s recipe is for turkey sloppy joes from Dixie Crystals.  Maybe I am just honing in on my kid-friendly dishes early on in life.  Like, pre-kid life. ;)
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In any case, none of my sloppy joe recipes have ever been duds, this one included!  This one includes carrots, also, therefore is a great way to sneak in vegetables (especially if you are making it for children).  The recipe also called for diced bell pepper, which I love, but my husband does not, so I decided not to sneak it in (and saved a couple of bucks too, since I didn’t buy a pepper). This dish is also great for one of those “quick weeknight suppers” – and it’s even quicker if you chop the vegetables ahead of time and refrigerate until it’s time to use!
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Turkey Sloppy Joes

serves 6-8

Ingredients:
-1cu ketchup
-8oz tomato sauce
-2tbsp worcestershire sauce
-1tbsp dijon mustard
-2tsp chili powder
-1tsp crushed red pepper flakes (if you can’t handle spice at all, even this teeny amount might make it too spicy)
-1tbsp brown sugar
-1tsp salt
-1tsp ground black pepper
-1tbsp olive oil
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-1 small orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
-1/2cu julienned carrots
-1lb lean ground turkey (usually turkey comes in 1.3lb packages, which I find actually works better)
-whole wheat buns

Directions:
-In a small bowl, whisk together ketchup, tomato sauce, sugar, worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper; then set aside.
-Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium/med-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Then add onion, bell pepper and carrots and cook, stirring as needed, for about 5 minutes.
-Add turkey and cook until browned through, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Then add the ketchup mixture, stirring to evenly coat turkey and vegetables.
-Let everything simmer for 10 minutes more, or until thickened. Divide turkey mixture evenly among buns and serve immediately.

Crispy Baked Chicken

This has been such a busy week for me!  I feel like the spring flew by, summer flew by, fall flew by, and now the fall/winter is flying by as well. =/  It is great to have so many plans and fun things to do (and the more mundane things, like taking my dog to the vet, which I’ll be doing after work today), but sometimes it’s also nice to just sit back and relax at home!  I got some new Scentsy products recently, and I have really enjoyed turning them on in the evenings and enjoying the lovely smells (and images).  I will post pictures soon of my new (and old!) products.
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In addition to that, it is nice to stay at home and enjoy delightful dishes, like this crispy baked chicken by A Spicy Perspective.  This is seriously a wonderful recipe.  I don’t really know what else to say.  It’s crispy, it’s creamy, it’s cheesy, it’s…well…amazing.  How many positive adjectives can I use in one paragraph? ;)  It also includes minimal ingredients, many of which you already have at home (or are super cheap and quick to grab at the grocery store, if you don’t).

I paired this with leftover pretzel rolls from a party at my mom’s house.  Kind of a weird side dish, but, well, I forgot about sides until it was almost ready, and I wanted to use up some of the rolls, so it worked.  Haha.  But it would pair well with a vegetable, salad, potatoes, rice, or whatever you want!

FYI – the original recipe serves 8 people.  I altered mine to serve 2-4 instead.  Feel free to make it as-is, if you have a large family (or want a lot of leftovers), or adjust accordingly for less servings.
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Crispy Baked Chicken

serves 8

Ingredients:
-2lb chicken cutlets (about 8)
-1.5cu panko bread crumbs
-3/4cu shredded parmesan cheese
-1tbsp fresh thyme leaves (or 1tsp dried thyme)
-1/3cu light mayonnaise
-1tbsp dijon mustard
-salt and pepper

Directions:
-Move an oven rack to a lower position, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray liberally with cooking spray, and set aside.
-In one medium-size bowl, mix the mayo, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a second medium-size bowl, mix the panko, parmesan cheese and thyme.
-Dredge each cutlet in the mayo mixture and toss to coat, then press each cutlet into the panko mixture, and coat both sides. Then lay each one on the baking sheet.
-Bake for 15mins in the lower part of the oven. If the tops ohave not browned, then move the baking sheet to a higher rack and turn on the broiler for 1 minute (watch closely to make sure they don’t burn).
-Serve warm! (FYI – I don’t think I changed the oven racks, and it still worked fine – but it’d be interesting to see how it works using that method!)

Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

Hot food season is definitely upon us!  Here in the Pacific Northwest it has dipped down into the 20s in the early morning and late evening, and I know that many parts of the country are getting their first snowfalls!  I have really enjoyed seeing the pictures circulating on Facebook from my friends in Albany, NY (where I used to live), as they got their first snowfall of the season a few days ago. 
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Soups and stews are GREAT, but in case you’re tired of “the usual,” then this slow cooker barbecue beef sandwich recipe is perfect!  The recipe comes from Eat 2 Gather’s website, however is a guest post by Just For Clicks, which appears to now be defunct (it looks like the recipe came from Southern Living Slow Cooker Cookbook originally).  This is an “easy-peasy” recipe (ugh, that saying really annoys me, but I know it’s really popular right now), that you can throw together in the morning and then have a delicious smelling and tasting dinner in the evening!

I apologize for the weird, glossy/shiny looking pictures.  I don’t know how that happened.  But this is really good. 
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Slow Cooker Barbecue Beef Sandwiches

serves about 8+

Ingredients:
-1 (3.5 pound) eye of round roast (or any kind of beef roast, really)
-2tsp salt, divided
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-1 (10.5oz) can beef broth
-1cu ketchup
-1/2cu firmly packed brown sugar
-1/2cu fresh lemon juice
-3tbsp steak sauce
-1tsp coarse ground pepper
-1tsp worcestershire sauce
-whole wheat buns

Directions:
-Sprinkle roast with 1 teaspoon salt.
-Stir together remaining salt and all of the other ingredients (except buns, obviously).
-Add beef to slow cooker and then pour sauce over beef.
-Cover and cook on low for 8+ hours (ok, the original recipe said to cook on high for 7 hours, but I have NEVER seen that before…I cooked mine, already mostly defrosted, on low for 8-9 hours, and it was perfect).
-Shred beef and serve on buns.

 

Sesame Chicken

This past weekend I got the pleasure of co-hosting my best friend’s baby shower – and it was a hit!!  Her mother-in-law made all of the food and it was so amazing!  Ham and cheese croissants, southwestern chicken wraps, turkey and cranberry bites, frozen fruit salad, and so much more.  Yummm.  Also, her mother made an amazing punch – it was completely gone by the time the last person left!  So much good food and fun celebration – and the mama-to-be really cleaned up with gifts!  That baby has so much stuff. =P
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I have been so busy with helping plan, shopping, wrapping prize-gifts for the games (and just regular “life” stuff on top of that), that I have once again gotten behind in blogging, but I am sure my readers are not surprised by that.  I do have a great and simple Monday recipe for ya (sesame chicken from Damn Delicious) – as long as you marinade it ahead of time, you will be good to go!  The recipe instructions may look super long and complicated, but I promise you, it’s not!

We had a friend with food allergies over for dinner the night of making this dish, so I had to alter it greatly – and moreso in the final stages, as I had known one of the allergies was corn-related, but it didn’t dawn on me that CORNSTARCH is made of CORN (yes, I have a Master’s degree…), and I don’t have any gluten-free flour (because I had been thinking I could just use cornstarch), so it ended up not breaded.  In any case, it still turned out delicious, no one had an allergic reaction, and we all had full bellies!  I am going to post the recipe as-is, though, and you can obviously adjust it for what you need, as well.
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Sesame Chicken

serves 4

Ingredients:
For the chicken
-1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
-1cu cornstarch
-1/2cu all-purpose flour
-1/2tsp baking soda
-2 large egg whites, beaten
-Oil, for frying
-Sesame seeds, for garnish
-Sliced green onions, for garnish
For the marinade
-1cu chicken stock
-1/2cu soy sauce
-1/4cu honey
-1/4cu rice wine vinegar
-3tbsp brown sugar, packed
-2tbsp cornstarch
-2tbsp sesame oil, divided
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-1tbsp grated fresh ginger
-1tsp chili paste

Directions:
-To make the marinade, whisk together chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, cornstarch, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1/2 cup water in a large bowl.
-In a large bowl or ziploc bag, combine chicken and 6 tablespoons of the marinade; marinate overnight, turning the bag occasionally. Drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
-Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and chili paste and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in 2 cups marinade until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes; keep warm.
-Separately, in a large bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, baking soda and remaining marinade until it resembles coarse meal.
-Dredge each piece of chicken in the egg whites, then coat with the marinade corn meal mixture.
-Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven (I used my wok!). Add chicken and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.
-Serve chicken immediately, tossed or drizzled with the marinade, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion.

Bacon and Barbecue Chicken Pizza

We are quickly heading into the season of chilly weather, overcast nights, rainy days…oh wait…the last part is probably more specific to my area, the Pacific Northwest!  So. much. rain.  But it’s what keeps everything so green and beautiful, which makes it hard to complain!
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I have discovered that it is almost impossible to find pizza dough around here.  Trader Joe’s seems to be the only store around here that carries it – whereas when I lived in upstate New York, it was a staple at even the trashiest of grocery stores!  Silly west coasters…(yes I know, I am a West Coast girl myself).  In any case, thankfully TJ’s *does* carry it, because it would have been devastating if I had been unable to make this bacon and barbecue chicken pizza by Baked by Rachel.  Seriously, friends – so good! 
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It also doubles as the perfect cold night comfort food, Italian/American fusion style.  I don’t even know what that means, but hopefully it made sense!  Regardless: please make this pizza.  If you feel turned off by the possible calorie content, schedule a run afterward.  Do what ya gotta do, but DO make this pizza! =)
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Bacon and Barbecue Chicken Pizza

serves 3-4

Ingredients:
-1 ball of pizza dough (I used whole wheat – you can also look at the original blog’s homemade dough recipe)
-1/2cu bacon
-1 chicken breast
-2/3cu barbecue sauce, divided
-4oz mozzarrella cheese

Directions:
-Cook bacon on medium heat until desired crispness (or follow package instructions), then set aside on a cutting board.
-Reduce heat to med-low and cook chicken until cooked through and no longer pink (I found that it helped to cut the chicken breast into chunks, to cook a bit faster – or you can use another chicken-cooking method, if you desire)
-Shred chicken and toss with 1/3cu barbecue sauce. Also chop the bacon at this time.
-Preheat oven to 425 F.
-Lightly grease a sheet pan or prepare a pizza stone and shape the dough to fit (my dough always comes out being oddly-shaped, no matter how well I try to roll it – oh well!). Spread remaining barbecue sauce as your base sauce, scatter the chicken evenly, and then top with mozzarrella and crumbled bacon.
-Bake for about 10-15mins, or until desired done-ness, slice, and serve immediately!

Chinese Orange Chicken

Thank goodness it is almost the weekend!!  Can I get an “amen” on that??  Seriously. ;)

For your Friday afternoon viewing pleasure, I have a super simple orange chicken recipe by Damn Delicious.  I have been cooking a TON of stuff from that blog lately – it is so fresh, simple, minimal, and easy!  Oh, and not to mention…delicious.

This chicken does require some marinade time…I marinated it overnight, but the minimum marinade time is at least 30 minutes. 
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Chinese Orange Chicken

serves 4

Ingredients:
For the chicken
-1lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
-1cu and 2tbsp cornstarch, divided
-2 large eggs, beaten
-1cu vegetable oil
-1/2tsp sesame seeds
-1 green onion, thinly sliced
For the marinade
-1cu chicken broth
-1/2cu freshly squeezed orange juice
-1/2cu sugar
-1/3cu distilled white vinegar
-1/4cu soy sauce
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1tbsp orange zest
-1tsp Sriracha sauce, or more, to taste
-1/4tsp ground ginger
-1/4tsp white pepper

Directions:
-To make the marinade, whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, Sriracha, ginger and white pepper in a large bowl.
-In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken and 2/3 cup of the marinade; marinate for at least 30 minutes (overnight, if you can!), turning the bag occasionally. Cover and refrigerate the rest of the marinade.
-Once you’re ready to cook, drain the chicken from the marinade, discarding the marinade.
-Heat remaining marinade in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened about 1-2 minutes, then keep warm.
-Dip the chicken into the eggs, then dredge in remaining 1 cup cornstarch, pressing to coat.
-Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan or wok. Add chicken and fry until golden brown and cooked through, about 1-2 minutes. If you’re working in batches, transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate, to soak up the excess oil.
-Serve chicken immediately, tossed or drizzled with the marinade, garnished with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired.