Saturday Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

You guys. I NEED new content, stat. This is the last recipe/bunch of photos I’ve got stockpiled – I’m not 100% positive, but I don’t think there’s anything lurking on my SD cards. I’m hosting Friendsgiving this weekend so I’ll be able to wrangle a post or two out of that but I need to get cracking on some new material. Problem is, I’m at a loss of what to post. So if there’s anything you’d like to see/hear about feel free comment here or on my Facebook page!

Two weekends ago my bestie and I had a girls’ day that included brunch, apple picking at a local orchard, and then heading back home to have some dinner and watch college football.

The apple picking was a lot of fun, even if it was an unseasonably hot 82 degrees in October.

I wore my cute fall boots anyway, damn it. Those apples are amazing by the way. If you’re local I highly recommend trying Grim’s Orchard. They’ve got fun activities for little ones too. (Note: I said fun. I did not say cheap.)

Before we headed out for the day, however, I threw dinner together in the crockpot so it would be ready when we go back to the house. Sara and I are big taco fans, so the choice of what to make was a no-brainer. And these shredded chicken tacos are so easy to throw together that the most amount of work involved is cutting up and organizing all the toppings when you’re ready to serve.

Side note: I have the Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System, which allows me to sear/saute/bake/etc. so my instructions are specific to my that appliance. If you have a regular slow cooker, you can just throw everything in it, turn it on high, and let it go for 4-5 hours.

To prepare the chicken: Slice a medium onion, thinly. Pour 2 Tbs olive oil into the cooker on the saute setting (high heat), and add the onion. Stir and allow onions to sweat – they will soften and become slightly translucent. Add 2-3 chicken breasts directly to the surface of the cooker and sear for a minute. Season with salt, pepper, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili powder. Pour a small bottle of enchilada sauce and a jar of salsa over the chicken.

I also added a small sprinkle of brown sugar to cut the acidity of the salsa and enchilada sauce. Honey or agave syrup would work here as well. Cover, and change heat setting to slow cook over high heat. Go about your day for at least four hours. Brunch to your hearts’ content. Go apple picking and complain about the heat. Buy all the apple things, plus tasty kettle corn. Go shopping for some new Penn State (or the college of your choice) gear.

Then come home to a house that smells of taco amazingness, and shred that chicken to bits using a couple of forks.  Reduce heat to warm. Taste and adjust for seasoning.

For the pineapple salsa, peel and core a pineapple, and dice up about 1/2 of it. Finely dice 1/2 a small red onion, 1/2 a jalapeno pepper (more or less depending on your desired spice level), mince one clove of garlic, and a squeeze of lime juice. Stir together and set aside. (You can add some fresh cilantro to this, but I prefer to serve cilantro separately when I’m making tacos for more than just me — not everyone enjoys it)

Arrange all the rest of your toppings – I had the pineapple salsa, shredded cheese, hot sauce, chopped cilantro, pico de gallo, a little guacamole (leftover from the chips and guac we snacked on before dinner), sour cream, and some small lime quarters. Heat up your tortillas of choice (I’m a soft flour kinda girl myself), and serve.

Enjoy along with your adult beverage of choice and some college football.

And perhaps a cupcake. 🙂

 

Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 jar chunky salsa
  • 1 bottle enchilada sauce
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 TB brown sugar, honey, or agave syrup
  • tortillas and toppings of your choice

Turn the slow cooker on to high heat/saute. Cut the onion in half, peel, and slice thinly. Add the olive oil to the cooker and allow to become slightly softened and translucent. Add the chicken to the slow cooker and the seasonings. Sear the chicken for a couple minutes, add the salsa and enchilada sauce, switch heat setting to high/slow cook, and allow to cook for 4-5 hours.

Shred chicken with two forks and reduce setting to warm. Serve with preferred toppings. See pineapple salsa recipe below.

Pineapple Salsa 

  • 1/2 ripe pineapple
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno (more or less as desired)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • lime juice
  • salt

Peel and core pineapple. Chop into smaller diced pieces. Dice onion. De-seed and dice jalapeno(depending on desired heat level). Mince garlic. Toss all into a bowl with lime juice and a pinch of salt. Serve with tacos, chips, or anything else you like.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Loaded Buffalo Chicken Burgers

I’ve had this recipe sitting around for a while. And sitting and sitting and…well, you get the point. I figured now is as good of a time as any to share, especially since it’s peak grilling season.

I’m a big fan of buffalo chicken anything (well, almost anything. I mean, some people are out here making buffalo chicken hummus and stuff and I’m so not about that. Leave hummus alone, y’all. It’s wonderful the way it is.), and after a big crisp salad with buffalo chicken strips on top, I’d say this burger is my favorite form. Resting on a toasty onion roll, paired with a smoky/sweet bacon jam, all topped with a crunchy blue cheese “slaw”. This burger is enormous and will totally make your summer cookout.

First things first: Make THIS Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam (if you already have a favorite bacon jam recipe, make that – or – ::Ina Garten voice:: store bought is fine). I would recommend making the jam a day or two in advance, it takes some time (totally worth it).

Bonus: It makes a decent amount, so you can eat it on other things! Like toast. Crackers. And…um…spoons.

Next step: Prepare apple/celery slaw. Slice/dice apples and celery, toss in a bowl with chunky blue cheese dressing, a touch of white vinegar, salt and pepper, and set aside.

Snacking optional.

For the burgers, keep it simple. Mix ground chicken with salt, pepper, and 1/2 of an onion, grated. Shape into four patties, making sure to place a dent in the center of each to prevent the patties from puffing up while cooking. Grill over medium high heat for 6-7 minutes each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 17o.

While the burgers cook, toast your buns! If you want.

I found that toasting the rolls makes for a more sturdy surface to handle all that burger. Also while the burgers are grilling, cook butter and hot sauce over medium heat until butter is melted and the mixture is bubbling gently.

When the burgers are done cooking, immediately dunk them in the butter and hot sauce mixture, coating on both sides.

Enjoy your bath, lovely.

Time to assemble dat burger.

Spread the bacon jam on the bottom of the roll, top with the buffalo sauce-coated burger, then the apple/celery slaw. Add the top of the roll (obvs), and. Dig. In.

I think these would really go nicely with some baked sweet potato fries. But you do you, boo. Enjoy!

“Loaded” Buffalo Chicken Burgers with Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam and Apple/Celery Blue Cheese Slaw

  • 1 batch Maple Bourbon Bacon Jam, made ahead and refrigerated
  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1/2 medium onion, grated fine
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, julienne cut
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced on the bias
  • 1/2 cup chunky blue cheese salad dressing
  • 2 TB distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s)
  • 4 TB butter
  • salt and pepper
  • rolls of your choice (I used onion rolls)

Take bacon jam out of the fridge and set aside (You might want to just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to take the chill off and make the jam ‘spreadable’). Mix dressing and vinegar in a bowl, add sliced celery and apple and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Note: if you’re  a big blue cheese fan like me, feel free to add some extra crumbled cheese to the slaw if you have any on hand. I didn’t have any this day but it would have made the slaw that much yummier. Refrigerate slaw while finishing burgers.

Mix ground chicken, grated onion, salt and pepper. Form into four patties, pressing a dent in the center. Grill over medium high heat, 6-7 minutes per side.

While the burgers are cooking, toast rolls in the oven if desired. Add hot sauce and butter to a small pan and cook over medium heat until butter melts and the sauce bubbles gently.

When the burgers are cooked through, toss each in the sauce until covered.

Assemble burgers and serve.

 

 

Steakhouse Style Wedge Salad

This is another ridiculously easy recipe; I made it as a side to another dish I’ll be writing up soon-ish, and I figured what the heck, I’ll write this up too. Plus I want to keep the habit of posting regularly and it’s almost bed time and this was the best I could do short notice, so.

I love the flavors in a wedge salad. The “salad” part is just a big hunk of iceberg lettuce, but it’s the toppings you add that make it really special. I see it once in a while on a menu when I go out for dinner and I always consider ordering it, but then I think “Why would I pay twelve dollars for it here when I can make it at home for half that?”

So that’s what I did.

For this I had scallions, crispy onions, bacon, blue cheese dressing, and crumbled blue cheese. I made it easy on myself by buying the precooked bacon. Just one less step and ten minutes faster to salad perfection.

You can make it your own with chives, diced tomatoes, crispy prosciutto instead of bacon (ooh, yum), a different dressing…you get the idea.

Steakhouse Style Wedge Salad

Iceberg lettuce, quartered

3 slices of bacon, cooked and sliced thinly

3 scallions, thin sliced

2 TB blue cheese crumbles

2 TB blue cheese dressing

2 TB crispy salad onions

Top lettuce with bacon, scallions, dressing, cheese, and onions and serve. Goes well with a medium rare steak, but don’t let me tell you what to do.

See? Stupidly, ridiculously easy.

But hey, it counts as a blog post. BAM.

Easiest Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Ever.

This time of year is always sort of bittersweet for me. I lament the end of summer, but I welcome fall and the coming change of seasons. Shorts and tank tops get put away and sweaters, boots, and thick blankets come out of hiding. Pumpkin, apples, and maple flavors start making appearances in my kitchen, along with the more “comfort food” types of recipes, instead of the watermelon, garden fresh tomatoes, and grilled goodies that rule the roost during the summer.

I was at my parents’ house on Sunday to help Dad put the winter cover on the pool, and I stopped at one of the roadside farm stands on my way home for some mums to decorate my front step. While I was there inspiration (and my appetite) struck and I grabbed a few squash to whip up some soup that night.

I only started cooking and eating butternut squash in the past two years or so. I don’t know what took me so long, because it’s damn delicious. My “recipe”, if you can even call it that, is stupid easy. I came up with it on the fly and haven’t changed much about it since.

The hardest part is peeling, cleaning, and cutting the squash, so you can get the pre-cut squash at the grocery store to make it really easy on yourself. You can add in any other vegetables you like (just roast it along with the squash), or top it with toasted pumpkin seeds or whatever.

It’s warm, it’s comforting, it’s autumn in a bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

3 small to medium butternut squash, cored, peeled, diced medium (Approx. 6 cups diced)

1 large onion, diced

4-6 cups vegetable stock

1 pint cream

4 TB Olive Oil

2 tsp curry powder

11/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste

1 tsp cracked black pepper, plus more to taste

Preheat oven to 425. Toss the diced squash with 2 TB olive oil, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Roast for 20 minutes or until cooked through and slightly browned. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sautee until browned, 5-8 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and the curry powder, allowing the spice to toast in the oil for a few minutes. Add the roasted squash and vegetable stock and bring to a simmer for ten minutes. (FYI: This soup was pretty thick, I would maybe add another cup or two of stock to this amount of squash if you prefer it a little more thinned out.)

Remove pot from heat. Puree squash and stock in a blender in batches, or use an immersion blender directly in the pot. Stir in the cream, adjust for seasoning, and serve immediately with any garnish you prefer.

Or not.


And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go make all the pumpkin-based things.

Simple Supper: Linguine with Fresh Clams

Did you ever inexplicably get a craving for a dish that you never had in your entire life? And were kind of convinced you’d never like anyway so never bothered to try? That’s how this happened. I was sitting at work one Friday afternoon, wondering what to make for dinner, when suddenly the urge for linguine with fresh steamed clams came over me. Not canned white clam sauce, but fresh steamers, still in their shells, piled on top of a plate of buttery, lemony linguine, with just a hint of crisp pinot grigio in the sauce.

“Mmm,” Said my imagination.

“Growl,” Said my stomach.

So off I went to my local Wegman’s after work to gather my ingredients. Lo and behold when I got to the fish counter, I find that they don’t sell clams by the dozen, but only by bags of 50. Now, I can pack away some food, but FIFTY clams? Plus pasta? Not happening. I grumped away from the counter (yes, grumped. It’s a verb), picked up a baguette, a nice hunk of cheese, and a bag of grapes for dinner and vowed to make the dish of my daydreams another time.

A few weeks later on my day off, with visions of linguine still in my mind,  I headed to the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market in the hopes that my luck would be better with their fish mongers. And it was. I picked up a couple dozen middle neck steamers, and I got my produce for half the week while I was there, to boot.

I got the clams home and immediately put them in a bowl of water in the fridge with some oatmeal for a few hours. This helps the clams spit out any sand or grit that might be in their shells.

When it was time to make dinner, I put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. I grabbed my favorite braising pan, added a few inches of water, and brought that to a boil as well. I added the clams to the second pot and covered them.

Once the shells were all opened I removed the clams from the water and set them aside. I drained the water from the pot, dried it quickly, and returned the pot to the medium high stove top. I added butter and oil to the pan & let it melt & come to temp.

I added some diced shallot and garlic and sauteed for a few minutes. Once the shallots are translucent to slightly browned, add the red pepper flakes (if desired), then white wine and fresh lemon juice.

Shell half to 3/4ths of the clams and add them to the sauce. Drain the cooked pasta and toss with the sauce, adding the fresh lemon zest and parsley, and salt and pepper as needed. Finish with another tablespoon or two of butter. Toss the remaining clams (in shell) and serve.

I made a garnish of parsley, lemon zest, a little bread crumb, and extra virgin olive oil to go on top, but I’d probably skip it next time. It didn’t need it.

Linguine with Fresh Clams

1/2 lb linguine

2 dozen fresh clams in the shell

1 large shallot, minced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 TB fresh parsley, chopped fine

1/2 tsp red pepper flake (optional)

1/2 cup white wine (or chicken stock)

4 TB unsalted butter

4 TB olive oil

Cook pasta according to package directions. Steam clams in a small amount of water until just cooked, drain, and set aside. Melt 2 TB butter and 2TB olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee shallots and garlic until just browned. Add red chili flake if desired. Add lemon juice and white wine, stir to combine. Toss in pasta and parsley. Remove clams from shells (leave a few in for presentation) and add to pasta. Add remaining butter and olive oil, heat through and serve.

Chicken Pesto Panini and Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Mango: Let’s Picnic!

Every late spring/early summer, downtown Bethlehem holds a free outdoor concert series called Tunes At Twilight, and it’s one of my very favorite things to do in the Lehigh Valley. Great weather, great music, great company — all you need to do is bring a blanket, a beer or two, and let the good times roll.

Of course, I, being me, could never leave it at that. When I know I’ll be there with more than one friend I like to take a nice little picnic – even if it’s just bread and grapes and cheese – because, just like Monica on Friends, I am always the hostess. Tonight was no exception.

Can I get an amen?

Can I get an amen?

I don’t have actual recipes for these – I just sort of came up with them in my head and hoped for the best. And holy Hannah, did I get the best.

The sandwich was a grilled chicken panini. I grilled some chicken breasts last night, let them cool and sliced thinly. I had some Wegman’s store made pesto (found on the olive bar, seriously the best thing ever for a quick weeknight meal) and a jar of sun dried tomato spread. I spread the pesto on one half of a chiabatta baguette, and the sun dried tomato on the other half. Add the sliced chicken, a squeeze of balsamic glaze, thinly sliced smoked mozzarella, cook on the panini press until the bread toasts on the outside and the cheese gets ever so melty.

For the quinoa salad, I cooked the quinoa according to package directions and let cool.I added finely diced red onion, diced mango, canned black beans (drained and rinsed), the juice of two limes, finely chopped parsley, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

I wrapped the sandwiches in parchment paper and portioned the quinoa salad into individual little containers so we didn’t have to fuss with plates and such, just forks and napkins.

Oh, and chocolate chunk cookies.

RIP, cookies. RIP.

RIP, cookies. RIP.

It was a fun night, with great friends. And possibly the greatest sandwich I ever put in my face hole.

And hippies.

Watermelon Plank Salad

Summer is by far my favorite time of year. Hot weather, sunshine, grilling, lying poolside, garden fresh vegetables…what’s not to love? The only thing I don’t like about summer is when – at least some days – it’s just too damn hot to cook. That’s when I whip out recipes like this, this, this, and sometimes this (Oh, I cannot WAIT for good tomatoes to make that one), because they’re a quick and easy way to beat the heat without sweating over the stove.

And now I’m adding this to my pantheon of ‘Too Hot To Cook’ recipes. You can make as much of this as you want and eat that as your meal, or scale it down for more of a starter/side, like I did tonight. It might seem weird – watermelon? Cheese? Onion? TOGETHER?! I know, I was skeptical too, at first. Then I ate it, and my life was forever changed.
No need for step by step instructions, this is too simple to screw up.
Watermelon Plank Salad

1 large slice of watermelon, cut into 1 inch by 3 inch rectangles (about 4-6 pieces)
1/2 small red onion, sliced very thin
2 Tbs crumbled Feta cheese
1-2TBs balsamic glaze
Arrange watermelon on plate, top with onion, feta, and balsamic glaze. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
I for real made the ‘OMNOMNOMNOM’ noise the first time I ever ate this. You will, too.