Chicken… again?!?

Last week, I found a large package of chicken breasts on sale for under $10. There’s two meals down. Then, I found a couple whole young chickens for $3.50 each. How could I pass up these great deals?

As a result, we are eating quite a bit of chicken this week. I’m trying to mix it up as best as I can. Monday, we had chicken pot pie. It was satisfying and delicious and completely gone by Wednesday.

On Wednesday, we had chicken again. I roasted the birds, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, green beans, and potato rolls. It was a feast. We had a friend over that night.

Tonight, the chicken has rolled around again. This time, I’m using my slow cooker. I’m trying out a few tips to reduce the amount of retained liquid. Here’s what I did:

I sprayed the slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. I sliced a couple small onions and dredged the slices in flour. I placed them as the base for my dish. Then, I took my breasts and halved them. I dredged those in flour and placed them on top of the onions. I sprinkled those with a half cup of Parmesan/Romano/Asiago grated cheese. Then, I poured an entire bottle of Olive Garden Italian Dressing on that. I lay a towel across the top of my slow cooker and then placed the lid. I set it to low. I will remove the towel and lid about an hour before serving to encourage more reduction in the liquid.

Fingers crossed that it works. I dread watered down slow cooker sauces.

#chickenagain

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Recipe: Best Shredded Pork (Slow Cooker)

The other night, I made the best shredded pork I’ve ever made. It was delicious. I thought I’d share the secret with you. 

First, I rubbed both tenderloins with some Texas dry rub. You can find some great recipes online or use your favorite rub. 

I melted a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a skillet and browned the tenderloins on all sides. 

In the slow cooker, I covered the bottoms with onion slices. I had a vidalia onion the size of a newborn’s head. I cut it in half and then sliced it like I would rings.  I placed the tenderloins ontop of the bed of onions, put the lid on, and set it to cook on low. 

I cooked it on low for 5 hours. I removed the tenderloin to a large bowl and shredded it. I used tongs to fish out the onions and put them in the bowl with the shredded pork. 

I used a ladle to scoop out as much liquid as I could. I probably left about 2 tablespoons in the bottom of the slow cooker. 

I dumped the shredded pork and onions back into the slow cooker and used the tongs to toss them with a bottle of BBQ sauce (I had Sweet Baby Ray’s hickory brown sugar). I then turned my slow cooker to the warm function and put the lid back on. I let it warm together for about 15-20 minutes. I used the tongs to stir again before serving. 

We put our shredded pork on delicious onion rolls and served them with a side of bacon ranch pasta salad. I also cooked up some fried apples seasoned with sugar and cinnamon. It was a filling and delicious dinner. 

Recipe: Cheesy Potatoes

I am feeling a bit better about things today. I thought I’d stop by and share the recipe for the cheesy potatoes I made for Easter this year.

Normally, I spend weeks planning my holiday menu and grocery shopping list. This year, aside from purchasing a ham, I did not make any such menu plans.

To be honest, I just used the glaze packet that was included with our spiral sliced ham. The rest of the menu was built from things I had on hand. I ended up serving the ham, these cheesy potatoes, dinner rolls, and pineapple tidbits. I made from scratch brownies for dessert.

Funny story about the dinner rolls. I thought I had a canister of flour behind the current canister, which only had about a cup and a half of flour in it. When I pulled out the canister, it contained a half a bag of powdered sugar. My yeast was already proofing in the bowl, and my husband had to make an emergency run to the grocery store. The yeast proofed in warm water/milk and a little bit of sugar for almost an hour. They were large, but kind of dense. I’m not sure if it was the recipe (a new recipe I nabbed off Facebook) or if it was the yeast over-proofing.

So, needless to say, these from scratch cheesy potatoes were the shining star of Easter dinner this year. The recipe was so very easy to pull together and it was made entirely from ingredients I almost always have on hand.

Cheesy Potatoes

3 lbs potatoes, cubed (I used a blend of red and yellow potatoes)

4 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced (I used a large yellow onion)
1 tsp garlic, minced (I like to keep a jar of minced garlic in olive oil on hand)

3 tbsp Wondra (you can substitute all-purpose flour)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp paprika

2 cups milk
3 cups shredded cheese, divided (I had colby jack and sharp cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350* and grease a 9×13 baking dish. (I like to use coconut oil)

Place potatoes in a pot and cover them with water. Toss in some kosher salt if desired. Bring to a boil and boil uncovered for about 8-10 minutes. Potatoes will still be firm. Drain and set aside in a large bowl.

In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent. Add in garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Whisk in Wondra and seasonings. Cook, whisking constantly, until golden in color. Whisk in milk. Bring to a simmer, whisking often to prevent sticking. Simmer until thickened. Whisk in 2 cups of cheese. Continue whisking and simmering until cheese is full melted and incorporated.

Pour cheese sauce over potatoes and stir gently to coat. Pour cheesy potatoes into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly, potatoes are cooked through, and the top is starting to golden.

Cook’s Note:  You can make these cheesy potatoes ahead. Follow recipe all the way until you cover them with foil. Place covered potatoes in refrigerator until ready to make. For best results, leave refrigerated potatoes on the counter for about 30 minutes before placing them in the preheated oven.

I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of these delicious potatoes. As you know, I’m terrible about remembering to take pictures, especially before I dig into my plate. My family said that these were the best cheesy potatoes I have ever made. Some of the best recipes are inspired by what the cook had on hand at the moment.

Enjoy!

I found my new favorite snack

I grew up turning plain bread into awesome after school snacks. You may have seen posts saying I served poor man’s garlic bread with dinner. This was originally an after school snack I could make myself.

Poor Man’s Garlic Bread

Butter a couple of slices of bread (per person) and place them on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle them with garlic powder and dried parsley. For an extra special treat, sprinkle them with Parmesan. Bake them at 350* for 5-10 minutes, until lightly golden.

And, of course, we’ve all had cinnamon sugar toast. For that, you just toast your bread, butter it, and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar.

But, my sweet tooth has been craving chocolate lately. What can I say? I’m a chocoholic through and through. The only chocolate I have in the house is some chocolate chips already marked for other recipes and cocoa powder. The problem is that I’m almost out of flour, so I can’t bake any of the treats I have planned.

What does a chocoholic do when there is no chocolate in the house but cocoa powder and she’s out of flour? She thinks outside the box. This is where my new favorite snack came in. I was considering making cinnamon toast. It’s not chocolate, but it’s something sweet. Then I said to myself, “what about cocoa sugar toast?”, and I made some.

Cocoa Sugar Toast

3-4 tbsp sugar (to desired sweetness)
1 tbsp cocoa

Prepare your toast just like for cinnamon sugar toast. Sprinkle with cocoa sugar and enjoy.

I’m not sure if anyone has ever done this before. It seems like it should be a thing. Either way, it was delicious. I’m thinking about making some French toast sometime soon and sprinkling it with my cocoa sugar. Yum.

To be honest, I wish I’d discovered this delicious treat before I’d decided on ground beef for dinner tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can make French toast and serve it with some pan fried ham left over from the other night’s dinner.

Tonight, I’m planning on stuffing a meatloaf full of mashed potatoes and gravy. I’ve never actually stuffed a meatloaf before, but it sounds really delicious. I think I’ll serve it with roasted green beans.

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