Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

I have a confession to make. I am missing some pictures. Several weeks ago, I made this amazing Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash from Gal on a Mission and I took pictures – my husband also remembers me taking pictures – but I cannot find them anywhere.

Normally, I would be hesitant to post about it, but this dish was just too tasty to pass up posting on! You can click over to Gal on a Mission’s blog in order to see pictures. She has some great ones! My husband and I really love buffalo chicken (buffalo sauce is one of the only spicy dishes he can really handle), and I have been turning him on to my love of spaghetti squash. I still can’t get over how much it DOESN’T taste like squash! Or at least like the mushiness that I attribute to squash.

Since the squash is traditionally a bit sweeter, it is nice to pair it with the zing that comes from the buffalo sauce. It was so yummy and creamy! There really isn’t much else to say about it. 😉 Except that I wish I could find where those pictures went…

Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash

serves 2 + leftovers

Ingredients:
-1 large spaghetti squash
-1 (8oz) package of cream cheese
-1/2cu Frank’s Hot Sauce
-1/2cu ranch dressing
-1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
-2cu shredded cheddar cheese

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
-Place small holes into the squash skin with a fork, so that it can breathe during the cooking time.
-Place the spaghetti squash into a large casserole dish and bake for about 45 minutes, then allow the spaghetti squash to cool for 5-10 minutes.
-While you are letting the spaghetti squash cool, prepare the buffalo chicken by putting the cream cheese and the hot sauce in a large saucepan, and let the cream cheese melt. Then add in the ranch dressing and shredded chicken.
-Cut the spaghetti squash length-wise in half and scoop out the insides. Place the buffalo chicken on top of the spaghetti squash and sprinkle with the cheddar cheese.
-Bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has completely melted.

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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.

pesto-quinoa

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.

Sloppy Joe Tacos

I have weird tastes. I am fully aware of this. So much so, that I had no shame while making (and devouring) these sloppy joe tacos by Gimme Some Oven.  I love sloppy joes and I love tacos and I love fusion! This happened because I was going through my Pinterest recipes one day, deciding what to make for dinner (I’ve been really bad at meal-planning ahead lately), and realized I had basically all of the ingredients at home already. I decided to forego the red bell pepper, because they were really expensive at the grocery store and my husband doesn’t like them anyway.
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This recipe is really good!!  You can basically make anything into a taco (or pizza, as I have done many times before, as well!) and the outcome is almost always fabulous. For my friends that don’t like sloppy joes (yes, I mean you, Alysha!), I highly recommend that you give it a shot and throw it into a taco! It has some normal fixings you’d find in tacos (ground beef, onion, etc.) plus the addition of the sauce that makes it a “sloppy joe” and topped with shredded cheese. Seriously – how does that sound bad? 😉 😉
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Sloppy Joe Tacos

serves about 6

Ingredients:
-1tbsp olive oil
-1lb lean ground beef
-1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced
-1 small red bell pepper, cored and diced
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-2cu tomato sauce
-2tbsp packed brown sugar
-1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
-1tsp chili powder
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
-hard crunchy taco shells
-optional toppings: shredded Mexican cheese, chopped fresh cilantro, sour cream, diced avocado, etc.

Directions:
-Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, breaking up the beef and stirring occasionally. Drain off as much excess fat as you can and discard it.
-Return the skillet to the heat, and add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic to it. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, or until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring occasionally.
-Meanwhile, While the veggies are cooking, whisk together in a bowl, the tomato sauce, brown sugar, worcestershire, and chili powder until combined. Once the veggies are done, add the tomato sauce mixture to the ground beef and stir until combined. Continue cooking until the mixture reaches a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes (you may need to cover the pan to avoid red sauce splattering the stove). Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
-Place the sloppy joe filling inside the taco shells and top with your desired accompaniments.

Chicken and Dumplings

A few days before Christmas Eve, I decided to make these chicken and dumplings by Eat at Home for dinner. My nieces were staying at my mom’s house, and they came over for a bit so that my mom could go grocery shopping. It turned out to be a huge blessing, as my 9 year old niece is the reason this dish even turned out semi-successful!
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First of all, I have never made dumplings before. But I saw the short and simple ingredient list and thought this would be a great home-cooked meal to throw together, with ingredients that most people already have on-hand. I cooked the chicken ahead of time, sprinkled with garlic salt (which was a really smart choice, since the rest of the dish would be somewhat bland without – though ours had a bit of salt, since I wasn’t using low-sodium broth). Oh, and the chicken got both of my nieces stamps of approval. 😉
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But…the dumplings. First of all, cutting butter into dry ingredients then mashing with a fork doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. Don’t even pretend it does. I tried SO MANY TIMES (including rolling out into dough, realizing there were just huge chunks of butter, then mashing more). In the end, there were still chunks of butter in the rolled out dough, but after the huge mess of all the flour, etc., I just didn’t care enough to fix it that time. Also, it was so sticky. Like, REALLY STICKY. No amount of flour in the world would fix that. But my sweet, little niece, she worked at it and worked at it and was able to spread out the dough and then we were able to cut it, though it started to get overly sticky again, and I had to heavily flour the knife.
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Also, my niece had a great time shredding the chicken and arranging it on the plate. I should hire her or something! She is quite the kitchen helper.

In the end, it was more like chicken’n’dumpling-mush. That sounds gross, but it wasn’t. It actually did end up being pretty tasty, but it was not quite the way it should have been. Have any of you made dumplings before? I am quite intrigued now!
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Homemade Chicken and Dumplings

serves

Ingredients:
-2cu cooked chicken (I baked with garlic salt)
-4-6cu chicken broth
-2cu flour
-2tbsp butter
-1/2tsp baking powder
-about a cup of milk

Directions:
-In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a fork or pastry blender. Stir in the milk, mixing with a fork until the dough forms a ball (better idea – use a hand beater or electric one).
-Heavily flour a work surface, then roll the dough out thin with a heavily floured rolling pin. Dip your cutter in flour and cut the dumplings in squares about 2″x2″.
-Use a floured spatula to put them on a heavily floured plate. Just keep flouring between the layers of dumplings.
-Bring the broth to a boil and drop the dumplings in one at a time, stirring while you add them. The extra flour on them will help thicken the broth. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes or until they not doughy tasting (mine took 25 or so minutes). Add the cooked chicken to the pot and heat through, then serve.

-Tip: You can also freeze the uncooked dumplings for later!

Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

I had a fun and food-filled weekend (more on that in coming posts!)…and also discovered the British comedy Coupling (which is a far raunchier version of Friends, if you will). My husband, our good friend, and I watched the first two episodes on Saturday night, and I think we are hooked! Well, our friend was already hooked, but now my husband and I are, too.
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It has also been raining a lot here (welcome to the Pacific Northwest, amirite?). Dreary weather really does call for delicious comfort food, and who doesn’t love homemade mac’n’cheese? Seriously, if you don’t, then we can’t be friends. ;);)

I made this skillet creamy macaroni and cheese by Life as a Lofthouse last month and it DID turn out so creamy and yummy! Mac’n’cheese can be difficult sometimes, but this actually worked pretty well. I decided I didn’t want to overload too much on carbs (please ingore the hotdog bun…at least it’s whole wheat!), so I turned this into a side dish and made our favourite Aidell’s chicken sausages as the main dish. I also got to use the pretty bowls my mom got me! Win-win.
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Skillet Macaroni and Cheese

serves about 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish

Ingredients:
-3.5cu water
-1 (12oz) can evaporated milk
-12oz elbow macaroni
-1/2tsp salt
-1tsp cornstarch
-1/2tsp dry mustard
-3cu shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-2tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
-ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
-Bring 3.5 cups of water, 1 cup of the evaporated milk, the macaroni, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt to a simmer in a large skillet over high heat. Continue to cook at a vigorous simmer, stirring often, until the macaroni is tender and the liquid has thickened, about 12 minutes.
-In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining evaporated milk, cornstarch and dry mustard. Stir that mixture into the skillet, then continue to simmer for another minute or so, until it begins to thicken.
-Remove the skillet from the heat and gradually stir in the 3 cups of cheddar cheese, just a handful at a time. Stir well until the cheese is melted, then stir in the pieces of butter and season with black pepper. Serve immediately.

Baked Potato Soup

It is definitely that wintery, blustery season of hot cocoa, fuzzy socks or slippers, steaming mugs of soup, and…well, I could just go on and on! It is also the season of decorated trees! As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband and I got our tree over the weekend and it’s mostly all decorated (“mostly” because my husband hasn’t added his tinsel yet, though he insisted we have it). I love coming home to the smell of a fresh (albeit dead) tree in my living room. I love it even more when I come home after my husband, cuz then the lights are already on. =)

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But let’s go back to the topic of steaming mugs of soup. I love soup. Soup is amazing. I found this loaded baked potato soup from How Sweet It Is, and it is AMAZING. I used to make a lot of recipes from this blogger, however her recipes (especially the more recent ones), can be pretty complex, with tons of ingredients, and, well, I just don’t have time for that. But this…was heavenly. Seriously. I can’t remember what kind of potatoes I used – I think it was my reds that I had to get used up, and what better way to do that, than with potato soup?

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I’ve made potato soup before (or at least soup including potatoes), but I think this was the first time I baked the potatoes first. So yummy! Also, I severely increased the amount of liquid ingredients – as the original blogger stated that it served 6, but according to her amounts, it would barely serve 3 or 4! I basically doubled most of the liquid ingredients and it was MUCH better (we like leftovers in this house!).

The only thing I was worried about was flavour! The original ingredients don’t include much in the way of flavouring. However, I baked the potatoes with a dash of garlic salt, which I think helped A LOT. Also, I have been using the chicken bouillon cubes (instead of traditional broth) lately, which I think packs more flavour than the regular broth. Because of those additions/changes, it was so good!! One more thing is that I did not use smoked cheddar. I didn’t want to trouble myself with that, so I just got regular sharp cheddar. Yum.image

Baked Potato Soup

serves 5-6

Ingredients:
-6-8 yukon gold potatoes, baked with skin on and chopped (you can use any kind of potato – and I recommend using a dash of garlic salt or another spice while baking)
-2tbsp butter
-2tbsp flour
-1-2cu heavy cream
-2cu (or more) skim milk
-1/2-1cu chicken broth
-1cu grated smoked cheddar cheese
-2+ green onions, chopped
-4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled

Directions:
-Heat a large pot on medium heat.
-Once hot, add butter and flour, and whisk into a roux. Then add heavy cream, potatoes and skim milk, continuously stirring until thickened.
-Stir in cheese, making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
-Simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
-Depending on desired consistency, add chicken stock, then stir in 2 slices of crumbled bacon and green onions. Season with salt and pepper if needed.
-Serve and garnish with remaining bacon

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Beef Stew

Happy December 1st!  It has been so cold all weekend and today is no different – a whopping 25 degrees outside!  I know some of you on the east coast or in the midwest may be laughing at me right now…I remember living in and travelling through the “Tri-Ota” region (MN, ND, and SD), this would be a heat wave.  In any case, cold is cold, amiright?
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Because of this, it is the PERFECT time to make beef stew!  What is better than coming home to a delicious-smelling house and then pouring a bowl of delicious-tasting stew?  This slow cooker apple cider beef stew recipe from Baked By Rachel packs quite a punch.  I actually made it a little while ago, on Halloween, for dinner for my husband, my mom, and my in-laws.  Everyone loved it, it served the 5 of us, plus about 2 containers of leftovers!
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Now, this recipe definitely has a “holiday twist” to it, and it’s not the apple cider.  In fact, I couldn’t even taste the apple cider, to be honest.  But the cinnamon was verrrrry prevalent, which was fine for all of us, except my mother (who tends to make “comments” on most dishes I make, haha).  My mother taste-tested the stew before we ate, and she informed me that she does not like cinnamon, unless it’s on things like oatmeal, but should not be in a stew.  Thanks mom. 😉  Because of that, I upped some of the other ingredients and added a bit more salt and pepper, and then let the flavour blend in the crock for another 20 or so minutes.  By the time we sat down to eat, the cinnamon flavour died down quite a bit.

If you’re among picky eaters, this may not be the recipe for you (or just use less cinnamon), but if you love traditional favourites, food adventures, and cinnamon, then I highly recommend you make this dish ASAP!  Especially while the weather is chilly!
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Slow Cooker Apple Cider Beef Stew

serves 6-8

Ingredients:
-2lbs beef stew meat, cut into small pieces
-1cu yellow onion, chopped
-1cu carrots, chopped
-3/4cu celery, chopped
-3cu russet potatoes (I used red potatoes), cubed
-1tsp ground black pepper
-1/2tsp dried thyme
-1/2tsp cinnamon
-1/2tsp cumin
-3cu beef broth
-3/4cu apple cider
-1/4cu flour

Directions:
-Add vegetables and then the meat to the slow cooker.
-Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, cinnamon, and cumin.
-Add the beef broth and apple cider and gently stir, making sure that all of the potatoes are covered by liquid (I think I had to add a bit more liquid at this point)
-Cover and cook on low for 8-9 hours.
-In the last few minutes, remove 1cu of liquid, whisk flour (a spoonful at a time up to 1/4cu), then return it to the crock and stir to combine (this will help to thicken the stew). –Let it continue to cook for a few more minutes before serving.

If you enjoy more traditional beef stews, then you should definitely check out these recipes!:

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Slow Cooker Beef Barley Stew

Bistro Beef Stew (best stew ever)