Creamy Crockpot Chicken

I really don’t use my Crockpot often enough. Usually it sits in the bottom of my cabinet, lurking, until it’s time to make a pulled pork or something else that you must braise unto oblivion, then tear apart and slather with BBQ sauce.

The poor Crockpot is misunderstood. It just wants to be loved like the rest of our kitchen appliances. Sure, it has some quirks like the fact that it hates green vegetables and it’s impossible to make a pretty photo of a slow-cooker meal. But it has its merits too.

Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes with an Easy Rich Delicious Sauce

“Use me,” it begs. “You can leave me unattended while you go play at the park! I can have a hot meal ready at home for you, smelling up your apartment with my fabulousness, when you come home from work!” And you’re like, “yeah, but the only thing you seem to be any good for is cooking chili and some sort of weird version of beef stroganoff. Why else would my Crockpot recipe books have that many chili and stroganoff recipes in it?”

The slow-cooker has magic skill with chicken breasts, too. Most people think only thighs and legs will do well, but when timed right, your chicken breasts will be moist and fall-apart-tender delicious. You may actually need a spoon to get them out of the liner. The best part about this Creamy Crockpot Chicken recipe is how it whips together quickly. I can prep it the night before and set the liner in the fridge, ready to pop in the morning before I go off about my day. There’s always plenty of leftovers for days to come, and with the potatoes, onion and carrots cooking below the breasts, all I need to do to make it a complete meal is serve it with a side salad.

Slowcooker Creamy Chicken and Potatoes

Creamy Crockpot Chicken

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 can condensed low-fat cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup dry white or rose wine
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 tsp coarse salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups baby carrots (about 30)
2 LBs new potatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)

Place the potatoes, carrots, onions and mushrooms in the bottom of a 5QT slow cooker. Top with the chicken breasts.

Combine the seasonings, wine, soy sauce, sour cream and condensed soup until well-mixed. Spoon over the chicken and spread edge-to-edge in the slow cooker.

Cook on Low for 10-12 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

 Crockpot Creamy Chicken

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Easy Taco Salad Recipe

easy taco salad

Sometimes you feel like making a big involved meal and sometimes you just want a break. This Taco Salad recipe is a go-to around here for when I don’t want to sacrifice taste for convenience. For my final Life Made Delicious post, I thought it was worth reminding you that dinner doesn’t need to be complicated to be delicious. Old El Paso is the star of this show, so make sure you pick some up for the next night you feel like a fiesta without all the work that goes into it.

Easy Taco Salad Recipe

Old El Paso Smart Fiesta Taco Seasoning
Old El Paso Mexican Rice
1 head of romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
1 medium jalapeno
1 small onion
small can black beans
1 lb ground beef

Cook beef according to package directions on back of seasoning mix. Start rice, and while it’s cooking saute chopped onion and jalapeno until soft. Rinse beans. Just before rice is done add onions, jalapeno and beans and cook through until beans are warm. Layer chopped lettuce in bowl, add rice, then beef on top. Serve with grated cheese, sour cream, salsa, fresh cilantro and Holy Guacamole on top.

Special thanks to General Mills, Life Made Delcious and Mom Central for including me in this program for the last year. It’s been a great ride. If you’d like too see other amazing Life Made Delicious posts from the last year check out this fantastic Pinterest board with pins from some of Canada’s best bloggers. You’re guaranteed to find some recipe inspiration there for those nights when you have time to dwell in the kitchen and for the nights when you need something fast!

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Barbecued Ribs with Cherry Glaze

My mother makes a mean chicken and ribs feast, but I like to think I can hold my own with this recipe for Barbecued Ribs with Cherry Glaze. You have my full permission to lick your fingers after the sticky sweet and tangy sauce gets all over you. You have to get down with your caveman side when eating these and let the typical dinner time etiquette slide a little.

barbecued ribs with cherry glaze

The key to this recipe is in baking the ribs in the oven for two hours before you bring them to the grill. This step is CRUCIAL to ensuring you have fall off the bone ribs. I also highly recommend that you remove the membrane at the back of your ribs. Here’s a video that shows you how to do that and the narrator kind of cracks me up. Finally do your sauce and ribs the day before to relieve some stress the day of your barbecue.

Barbecued Ribs with Cherry Glaze

4 cans of Dr. Pepper
2 cups of cherry jam (2 – 250 ml jars)
2/3 cup of dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra hot horseradish
3 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps malt vinegar
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce (or more to taste)

7 to 8 pounds of pork back or side ribs.

barbecue ribs with cherry glaze

Pour cans of Dr. Pepper in a large saucepan and let it go flat. You can do this the night before or at least 4 hours ahead of time. Once cola is flat bring to a boil over medium high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups. This should take about 45 minutes. Add the next six ingredients and stir well to combine. Over medium heat, simmer until sauce is reduced to roughly 2 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally. Transfer glaze to a large bowl and let cool. To make your life easier, try and make this the day before your barbecue. It can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to week if in a tightly sealed container.

Preheat oven to 325F. Remove membrane from ribs and generously season with salt and pepper. Wrap each rib rack tightly in tin foil, completely enclosing. Place on two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for two hours, switching baking sheet positions half way through. If you use convection then don’t worry about this step. Remove from oven and let cool slightly in foil. If making ahead, open one end of foil pack and drain grease out before rewrapping and placing in the refrigerator. Let ribs come back to room temp before placing on barbecue (about one hour).

Gently heat glaze. Cut rib racks into sections. Set aside one cup of glaze for the table. Place ribs on grill and baste with sauce, turning to prevent sauce from burning. Continue to cook until ribs are browned and glazed. About 10 minutes. Serves 6.

barbecued ribs with cherry glaze

barbecued ribs with cherry glaze

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Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts With Goat Cheese

Year after year I come back to this recipe in the spring and summer. While the title makes it sounds time consuming, these Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts with Goat cheese are beyond easy to make and I love that I can prep them hours ahead of dinner.

almond crusted chicken breasts with goat cheese

Almond Crusted Chicken Breasts With Goat Cheese

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 small package plain goat cheese (4.5 oz)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices white bread
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 egg

Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium-high heat, shaking pan constantly to avoid scorching. Once almonds are browned, set aside. In a small bowl, mix together goat cheese, chives, parsley and 2 tablespoons of the almonds with a fork until well blended. If your chicken breasts are not already split, cut each breast in half, but not all the way through. Dividing cheese mixture into four parts, spoon into pocket of each chicken breast.

In a food processor, pulse bread until fine crumbs form. Pour into a pie plate, add remaining almonds and drizzle with melted butter, tossing with a fork as you go. In a another pie plate, beat egg with a dash of salt and pepper. Dip each chicken breast into egg and then into crumb mixture, pressing crumbs onto chicken breast. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 375F until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165F.

almond crusted chicken breasts with goat cheese

This chicken is perfect with nothing more than a side salad or fresh grilled vegetables. It’s also impressive company fare. If you’re having a crowd, this recipe easily doubles. Prepare chicken to just before placing in the oven. Once chicken is on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to four hours. This means that your chicken simply needs to be popped in the oven when your guests arrive and you can raise a glass with them, instead of toiling in the kitchen.

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Mushroom & Potato Curry

Houston, we have a problem. Or maybe that should be Delhi, we have a problem. Either way I have a serious addiction now to Indian Food, courtesy of Patak’s bringing me on as an ambassador. On a recent trip to Florida we searched high and low for Indian and had an amazing meal from The Clay Oven in Kissimmee and even found some new dishes to try when we got home. Remember that restaurant I raved about? Coconut Lagoon in Ottawa. Well the owner is planning a culinary tour in India and I’m seriously counting my pennies to go. As a Patak’s Mom I’ve become a full-on Indian Food convert and we’re mixing in a little India all over the place in this house. I’m pretty sure this was all part of Patak’s master plan.

This Mushroom & Potato Curry that we made last night was a raging success and I’m not even going to lie to you. While my husband is out, I’m eating all the leftovers before he gets home. All is fair in love and leftovers, right?

mushroom curry

Mushroom & Potato Curry

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 large potatoes, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
500 grams button mushrooms
4 tbsp Patak’s Tikka Curry Paste
150 ml chicken stock (or vegetable)
1 400ml can light coconut milk
Cilantro for garnish

mushroom & Potato curry

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the onion and potato. Stir well, then turn heat to low and cover for 5 minutes until potatoes start to soften. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more. Stir in the curry paste, pour over the stock and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then simmer until sauce begins to thicken and potatoes are cooked through. Serve with naan bread.

Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Curry in a Hurry Pizza

Have I mentioned I’m loving this gig as a Patak’s Mom? Because I gotta tell you mixing in a little India is probably the most fun I’m having in the kitchen this year. So far, I am loving everything we try but most of all I’m really digging the convenience. Like this Curry in a Hurry Pizza I made tonight. I bought store bought sesame flat bread, cooked up some chicken with some mild curry paste, added a few veggies on top and voila…Curry in a Hurry Pizza.

curry in a hurry pizza

There is no doubt that 9 out of 10 times I prefer to make my meals from scratch but December is extra nutty and I just don’t have the time. Nor do you I suspect. It’s December people….it’s Crazyville. But I hate, loathe actually, spending money to eat out. Holy cow, this month is expensive enough! On the other hand, I don’t want to eat food that’s terrible either. You see where I’m going with this right? Exactly. Patak’s. I gotta tell you that so far I’m very impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the price of the pastes and sauces. This pizza was also a huge hit with my family today.

Curry in a Hurry Pizza

1 premade pizza shell OR two Naan from your favourite Indian place OR flatbread
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp Patak’s Mild Curry Paste
14 oz can chopped tomatoes
3-4 cocktail tomatoes, cut into slices
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 425F. Cut chicken into 1/2 inch cubes. Heat olive oil in non-stick skillet over medium high heat and toss in chicken. Cook until chicken is cooked. Add 4 tbsp Patak’s Mild Curry Paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook until heated through. Spread chicken mixture over dough, place sliced onions and tomatoes on top and cook in oven for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro, cut into pieces and serve. Serve Patak’s Sweet Mango Chutney on the side as a dip.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

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The Only Turkey Recipe You’ll Ever Need

I have one word for you. Pancetta. Pancetta is what makes this the best turkey recipe ever. It’s the magic ingredient that will make your Christmas turkey a culinary masterpiece and well, frankly probably have everyone eating Christmas dinner at your house from now on. On second thought, maybe you don’t want that. I’ll leave it up to you.

best turkey recipe

Pancetta-Sage Butter

4 garlic cloves, peeled
4 ounces thinly sliced Pancetta
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps minced shallot
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
2 tsps black pepper

Turn on food processor and drop garlic in to chop. Add pancetta. Pulse to chop finely. Add all remaining ingredients. Pulse blending to coarse paste. Transfer to small bowl. (You can make this up to 2 days ahead)

Turkey

1 14 to 16 pound Butterball turkey (thawed completely) Removed neck, heart and gizzard
8 fresh sage sprigs
4 fresh rosemary sprigs
2 tbsps olive oil
2 cups chicken broth

Set rack on lowest position in oven and preheat to 325F. Sprinkle inside of turkey with salt and pepper. Spread with 2 tablespoons of the Pancetta-Sage butter. Starting at the neck end, slide hand between skin and meat of breast, thighs and upper drumsticks to loosen skin. Spread remaining butter under skin over thighs, drumsticks and breasts. Fill inside of turkey with herb sprigs. Tie legs to hold shape and tuck wings underneath.

Place turkey on rack in large roasting pan. Rub turkey all over with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour 2 cups of chicken broth into pan. Roast turkey until internal temperature reaches 180F in deepest part of thigh. For all your questions on safe-handling of a turkey see this great resource from Butterball Canada.

Gravy

1/2 cup diced thinly sliced pancetta
1/4 cup shallots
1/4 cup all purpose flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp chopped fresh sage

Scrape juices and browned bits from roasting pan into large glass measuring cup. Spoon off fat. Reserve 2 tablespoons. Heat reserved fat in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add pancetta, saute until beginning to crisp, about 5 minutes. Add shallots, saute 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour; whisk until golden, about 4 minutes. Whisk in chicken broth, wine and degreased pan juices. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Cook to desired consistency. Whisk in fresh herbs and salt and pepper to taste.

Serve to your adoring family.

“This post is sponsored by Butterball Canada. In exchange this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and monetary compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.”

This recipe has been adapted slightly from a recipe I pulled from the November 2007 issue of Bon Appetit.

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Mix in a Little India: Two Masala Recipes

A couple of years ago, I wouldn’t even have tried Indian food. Sad, right? My husband, however has loved it forever and I slowly opened my mind and tried some Indian food at a local restaurant he adores. Eventually, I even started cooking it at home with recipes like this Butter Chicken and my current favourite, Pub Style Chicken Curry. So when Patak’s Canada put out a call for ambassadors I jumped all over it. First, I was eager to mix in a little India to our everyday cooking and second, as I told Patak’s in my application, I was pretty sure I was going to get lucky a whole lot more cooking Indian for my husband. I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure that got me the gig. Right, Pataks?

While I’m converting myself into an Indian food lover though, I’ve decided I’m taking others along for the ride on this one year journey to mix in a little India.

mix in a little india

First up, my daughter’s best friend. Reputed to refuse her mother’s offers of Indian Food, among other things, I decided that we would have her over for our first Patak’s meal. This kid, whom I’ve known since nursery school, never says no to what I put in front of her. I decided to keep the heat to a minimum and served Classic Chicken Tikka Masala and Chickpea Masala. Did we have a winner? You be the judge?

mix in a little india

Classic Chicken Tikka Masala

1 jar Patak’s Tikka Masala Cooking Sauce
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb boneless chicken, skinned and cut into 1 inch cubes
14 oz can diced or chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp cream (optional)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Sauté the onions until translucent. Stir in the chicken and cook until the meat is sealed. Shake the jar of Patak’s Tikka Masala Cooking Sauce and stir into the meat with the diced tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Stir in the cream just before serving. Serve with rice and naan bread.

I also served a Chickpea Masala (aka Chana Masala) on the side. The recipe can be found here on Patak’s Canada site. I am so in love with this recipe that I can’t stop making it. Really.

Both these recipes were a hit in our house and I’m proud to say I’m expanding our Indian food repertoire a little bit more all the time. Since the celebration of Diwali was this month as well, we lit some candles and brought a new festivity into our house. It was a little Diwali, a little Thanksgiving around here. Fun. Can’t wait to share what’s in store next month as we continue to mix in a little India!

Disclosure: I am part of the Patak’s Canada Ambassador program with Mom Central Canada and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Turkey Nachos – Leftover Heaven

Oooof, anyone else still in a turkey coma from Thanksgiving? Such a big meal and the last thing anyone wants to do the week after Thanksgiving is cook, right? We want easy. Yesterday I looked in the fridge and decided that instead of the usual Leftover Turkey Sandwich it was time for a fiesta. That’s right. Turkey Nachos baby! Arriba, arriba.

This Turkey Nachos recipe found on the Butterball.ca site, took care of the last of my leftovers, allowed me to whip dinner together in under 15 minutes and put huge smiles on my family’s faces. It’s not every week that Wednesday turns into a fiesta, after all.

turkey nachos

Turkey Nachos

3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups coarsely chopped cooked Butterball® Turkey
1 package (10 ounces) tortilla chips
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups prepared salsa, divided
sour cream, if desired
chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Heat oven to 425°F. Whisk together lime juice, olive oil, cumin and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Add turkey and toss to coat. Make a layer of tortilla chips to cover the bottom of a large 12 to 14-inch round or oval baking dish. Evenly spoon refried beans over chips. Top with turkey and sprinkle with 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Make another layer of tortilla chips. Spoon 1 cup of the salsa evenly over chips. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Bake nachos 15-20 minutes or until heated through and cheese melts and begins to bubble. Serve hot with remaining 1 cup salsa. Add sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Pleasantville Note: I substituted black beans for refried beans when making these. Also, next year I’m buying a bigger Butterball Turkey for Thanksgiving because this Pumpkin Black Bean Turkey Chili sounds delicious!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Butterball Canada. In exchange this review, I have received special perks in the form of products and monetary compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

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White Bean Sausage Stew

This White Bean Sausage Stew has quickly become one of my favourite slow cooker meals. First, it requires very little prep time and second it delivers with a rich, hearty meal. For a recipe with so few ingredients this is definitely a plus. I can’t remember how many times I‘ve said this in this space BUT please try and use San Marzano tomatoes. It really does make all the difference.

white bean sausage stew

White Bean Sausage Stew

1 1/2 lb Mild Italian Sausage Links
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 28 oz can white navy beans for 1 1/2 cans of the 19 oz size
1 28 oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Poke holes in sausage and place in a nonstick skillet. Add 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook until lightly browned and water has evaporated. Set sausages aside. Heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often until onions are translucent. Do not brown. Add beans, tomatoes and thyme. Break up tomatoes with back of wooden spoon.

Spoon half of mixture in slow cooker. Layer with sausages and then another layer of bean mixture. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours. Check mid-way through and if it looks dry add a little water or tomato juice.

Remove sausages and slice crosswise into 1 inch pieces. Return to stew and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Pleasantville Note: This is one of those fun American/Canadian things. IF you’re in the States then 2 15 oz cans of navy beans works perfectly. If you’re in Canada, try to find a 28 oz size of beans OR you’ll have to use 1 1/2 cans of the 19oz size. Otherwise it’s just a wee too much beans. See, sizing fun?

white bean sausage stew

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