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.

Advertisements

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!

IMG_20150319_192527_064 IMG_20150319_192533_186

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.

IMG_20150319_191750_824

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.

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.
image

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!).
image

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.
image

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!
image

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!
image

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.

Greek-Style Chicken Pocket Sandwiches

I made this recipe soooooooo long ago it’s not even funny. I haven’t had a chance to post it, since it involves actually sitting down with the cookbook (and who has time for that?). Ha. In any case, the original recipe is for “Greek-Style Pork Pocket Sandwiches” from In The Kitchen The Costco Way, which I picked up at a garage sale last summer. It is a pretty great little book. It contains easy and simple recipes that are great to throw together for weeknight meals (or anytime meals, for that matter).

20141013_181738

I substituted chicken, as I didn’t have any pork on-hand, and it worked really well. For a recipe like this, you could really go either way! I also used my new favourite black bean and wheat blend tortillas, instead of pita pockets, as that is also what I had on-hand. I have no complaints with this recipe. Again, it was simple and tasty. Who can argue with that??

20141013_181735

In case you are wondering, I have no recollection for the potatoes I paired with it. I kind of just do my own thing with potatoes now and don’t really follow a recipe.

20141013_181728

Greek-Style Pork Chicken Pocket Sandwiches

serves 2

Ingredients:
-1 large chicken breast (or 2 small ones), cut into small pieces
-1/2cu Caesar dressing
-2 or more pita loaves or tortillas
-1/4cu cucumber dressing
-1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 400.
-Combine chicken pieces with Caesar dressing. Spread out in a baking dish and roast for about 10-15 minutes, or until cooked through.
-Fill each pocket or tortilla with the chicken, then top with cucumber dressing and red onion.
-Done!!

Baked Sesame Chicken

It has been such a busy and eventful week, and I must admit that I am super excited for this weekend as well – but mostly because I get to finally meet my best friend’s baby! I am so excited to meet the sweet little bundle of joy. I have been basically chomping at the bit for the past two weeks to do so. 😉

In less exciting and non related news, my husband and I had our good friend over for dinner a few weeks ago and made this baked sesame chicken by Oh Sweet Basil.
image

Originally I was going to make Thai Chicken Soup (which I still need to post on the blog), but after I dumped everything into the slow cooker, I realized that the chicken broth contained an ingredient that our friend can’t eat. So, after a momentary freak out, I whipped up the dish by Oh Sweet Basil, and my husband and I enjoyed the soup on a different night. I must admit, this whole “be flexible” thing is kinda hard, but I’m doing what I can.

I did have a few issues with this recipe. I had to substitute flour instead of cornstarch, due to my friend’s food restrictions, and it just was a big clump. When I mixed it into the saucepan, it just stayed clumpy, no matter how hard I whisked it, so I ended up just spooning out the flour clumps. I’m sure it would be better with cornstarch.

Also – please only use low sodium soy sauce! The original blogger specifies to not use regular soy sauce. I only have regular soy sauce (thanks to buying in bulk at Costco), so I combined 3 parts soy sauce and 1 part water (my mom has always sworn that low-sodium soy sauce is just watered down), and that worked out really well. Even so, it was almost to the border of “too salty.” I know I’m infamous for being a salt-hater, but even my salt-loving husband said that any more salt would have been unpleasant. I guess the blogger really knew what she was talking about!
image

Baked Sesame Chicken

serves 4-6

Ingredients:
For the chicken:
-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
11.5cu panko breadcrumbs
-canola oil for drizzling
-Salt and pepper, to taste
For the sesame sauce:
-1tbsp sesame oil, divided
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-2tsp ground ginger
-1tsp chili paste, or 1tsp sweet chili sauce
-1 pinch red pepper flakes
-1/2cu chicken stock
-3/4cu low sodium soy sauce
-1/3cu honey
-1/4cu rice wine vinegar
-1/3cu brown sugar, packed
-2tbsp cornstarch
-2tbsp water
-sesame seeds, toasted for garnish

Directions:
-Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.
-Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Season the chicken with a little salt and pepper and then dredge in the panko bread crumbs until they are evenly coated. Place on the baking sheet, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until cooked through.
-Meanwhile, in a sauce pan over medium heat, add the sesame oil, ginger, chili paste, and pepper flakes and stir for a few seconds then quickly add the stock, soy sauce, honey, vinegar and brown sugar. Let it come to a boil while stirring frequently. In a small dish, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Once the saucepan mixture is boiling, slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until thickened. Once thick, pour over chicken and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

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!
image

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. 😉
image

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.
image

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!
image

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!