Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vinaigrette Coleslaw

Summertime = pool time, barbecues, bonfires, and mosquitoes.

For those barbecues, you'll be needing something delicious to serve up with your hamburgers and hotdogs. How about this delicious vinaigrette coleslaw? It works great if you are going to be outside for the day because there is no mayo to go rancid in the sun. I made it a long time ago for a pig roast in grad school and one of my friends raved that it was the best coleslaw he has ever had. He was eating it straight from the bowl. But that's his opinion, you make the decision yourself.

And don't forget your bug spray!

Vinaigrette Coleslaw (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
3 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 cups shredded cabbage
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Combine the vinegar, sugar, oil, celery seeds, mustard, salt, and pepper in a jar. Shake well to mix. Combine the cabbage, carrots and green onions in a large bowl. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss to coat. Cover and chill.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Peanut Butter Cookies

This one time...

no, not at band camp.

Although I have been to band camp. Technically marching band camp in the summers before high school. You gotta practice if your band is going to make a script Chemics at halftime. Knees up! Knees up!

Anyway, back to my story-- this one time, in middle school, my friend Erin and I decided to make peanut butter cookies. I can't really remember what recipe we were following or if we were just making it up as we went along, but regardless we didn't read how you are supposed to roll the cookies in sugar before you bake them. Instead we ended up with a sticky mess- like all over her parents' kitchen covering the cabinets and floor, all over our hands, and all over the cookie sheets. I'm not even sure if we had any edible cookies at the end of the debacle. I'm guessing we ate a lot of the dough along the way though.

Now anytime I make peanut butter cookies I always make sure to roll them in sugar. Well, at least most kinds of peanut butter cookies, maybe some don't need it. These do. Maybe it is the sugar coating that makes them addictive. Or maybe it is the peanut butter. Whatever it is, I'm sure you won't be able to just eat one. ;)

Peanut Butter Cookies (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
additional granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Using an electric mixture, beat the butter and peanut butter on high for 1 minute. Add the sugar, brown sugar, baking soda and baking powder and beat until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the in flour and continue to beat until completely mixed. Chill dough for about 10 minutes.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the additional granulated sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each by making a criss-cross mark with a fork.

Bake for 7-9 minutes until browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chicken Week- Day 5- More leftover chicken ideas!!!

Are you looking for additional leftover chicken recipes? Visit the Recipe Archive and scroll to the Chicken and Turkey section. Or click the label chicken under any of the recipes this week. To help guide you, I have made some suggestions below:

Chop it and toss it on top of a salad (caesargreekkale, taco) for a quick and easy refreshing summer meal.

Alternatively bake it into an enchilada (buffalo, traditional, or creamy avocado).

Chicken soups are always great for leftovers (chicken noodle soup or chicken and bean soup).

Do you need something quick and easy? Make yourself a quesadilla or mix it with some marinara sauce and serve over pasta.

Of course, pot pies are always a good choice.

As always, I'm a recipe collector and food blog reader so I've put together a little list of what I want to make with my next set of leftover chicken. Maybe you'll like them too?

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup by Iowa Girl Eats
Chicken Broccoli Casserole Cobbler by A Cozy Kitchen
Buffalo Chicken Pull-Apart Bread by BevCooks
Thai Chicken Pizza from Better Recipes
BBQ Chicken Calzones by How Sweet Eats
Pesto Chicken Salad by Pass the Sushi

Do you have any go-to recipes for leftover chicken? Leave me a comment below with suggestions or links to recipes. I'd be happy to test them out! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chicken Week- Day 4- Buffalo Chicken Salad

Let's be honest. Did you really think I could make it through a week of chicken without throwing in some buffalo sauce? Of course not! I know that I already posted the best chicken salad but this one is giving it a run for its money. Creamy buffalo and yogurt sauce with crunchy carrots and celery. Plus blue cheese.

Sign me up.

1 million times over.

Buffalo Chicken Salad
1 cup diced cooked chicken
1 celery stalk, diced
4 baby carrots, thinly sliced
1 green onion, diced
1/8 cup blue cheese crumbles
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2-2 tbsp buffalo sauce

In a bowl, toss together the chicken, celery, carrots, green onion, and blue cheese. Mix together the yogurt and buffalo sauce in another bowl, then pour over the chicken mixture and stir together.

Serve as a sandwich or wrap with lettuce and tomato. Or serve on crackers or pita chips. Or eat with a spoon. No judgement here.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chicken Week- Day 3- Barbecue Chicken Pizza

You know what's funny?

When you are driving home after a long day at work with the radio on and the windows rolled down. You pull up to a stoplight behind another car and the people in it are rocking out to the same song that is blaring on your radio. Like all out dancing in the car.

Now I don't judge. And especially not people who are having fun and enjoying life, but this sight just started me laughing-- down to the depths of my belly laughing. I giggled the rest of the way home. It was probably so humorous because I could imagine myself in that car with any of my good friends doing the exact same thing. I never realized how ridiculous yet care-free we looked to the world. Ahh... the memories.

This bbq chicken pizza is almost as care-free as dancing in the car to your favorite song. Well, it certainly it super easy.... especially when you have leftover chicken in the fridge. This last time I made pizza dough, I used a combination of bread flour with whole wheat and rye bread (2 cups, 1 cup, 1 cup). The nuttier flavor of the dough worked perfectly with the bbq chicken.

Barbecue Chicken Pizza
1/3 cup diced cooked chicken
2 tbsp barbecue sauce of choice
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper, plus more for serving
1 green onion, sliced, white and green parts separated
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/5 homemade pizza dough (or single serving storebought pizza dough)
shredded parmesan, for serving

Thaw frozen pizza dough in the fridge over the course of the day.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Place a baking stone or upside down baking sheet in the oven during the preheating process.

Remove the dough from the fridge and place the ball on a clean surface and cover with a damp cloth. Let sit for 10-30 minutes while the oven reaches temperature.

Mix together the diced chicken, barbecue sauce, 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper and white part of the green onion.

Stretch the dough into a flat shape. Remove the baking stone from the oven and place the dough on top of it. Quickly spread the barbecue mixture over most of the dough; top with the cheese.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is hot. Remove and top with green parts of onion, additional CRP and parmesan cheese. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving.

Serves 1.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chicken Week- Day 2- The Best Chicken Salad

I really meant to post everyday this week. That's part of the reason I decided to do another theme week. But yesterday afternoon I had to leave work because I was not feeling well. That meant I spent the remainder of the afternoon asleep on my couch before crashing for the night in my bed. That also meant that I didn't open up my computer to finish this post and tell you about "the best chicken salad". Sorry!

We've had the miracle whip vs mayonnaise discussion before. The last time I fell into the miracle whip category while I was enjoying my tuna salad. However, now we're talking chicken salad and I'm switching camps to mayonnaise. Like I always am with food, I appreciate it all. There is a time and a place for them all... aka the time and the place for Reeses pieces is whenever and where ever I can get my hands on them and the time and the place for Sprite Zero and saltines is when I'm sick and laying on my couch...

In order to make the best chicken salad, mayonnaise is essential. Plus you need a tart apple and some walnuts for texture. And dried cranberries to sweeten it. A little bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper and we are rocking. It is best served on a croissant but unfortunately I couldn't find any in my grocery store's baked good section so I went with a whole wheat ciabatta roll. The recipe below is for about 1 serving; you can definitely double it or quadruple it to make enough for the family. Because of the apple and my desire to not eat soggy walnuts, I suggest making it fresh on the day you are going to serve it. The leftovers are okay but definitely not the best anymore.

The Best Chicken Salad*
1/2 cup diced cooked chicken
1/3 granny smith apple, diced
2 tbsp craisins
1 tbsp diced green onion
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tbsp light mayo
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine the chicken, apple, craisins, green onion, and walnuts. Squeeze the lemon juice over the mayo and mix. Pour the dressing on to the chicken mixture and stir until coated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve on your bread of choice.

*In my opinion

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chicken Week- Day 1- Lemon Pepper Chicken in the Crockpot

Hello and welcome to my second theme week on the blog! We're talking chicken this week. First we're going to cook a whole chicken* and then make a lot of yummy things with the leftovers. How about it?

When you are in grad school, you learn a lot of things... You learn the subject you are studying (chemistry!). You learn that research is a roller coaster ride that can make or break your happiness on a daily basis. You learn how to deal with people, including bosses. You learn how to write papers and theses and scientific documents.

You also learn important things. Like never ever cook bone-in chicken for a significant other if you don't know they like it. My good friends and lab mate had this boyfriend that cooked her bone-in chicken for her birthday one year and it did not go over very well. You see, she just doesn't like eating chicken off of the bone. From then on, I'm also careful to make sure that I understand who I'm cooking for and what they like whenever I invite someone for dinner. I don't want anyone to leave my house grossed out by what I'm serving.

So for everyone except Leigh, here's a delicious recipe for a whole chicken in the crockpot. It is simply seasoned with lemon and pepper. After cooking all day, it literally falls apart when you remove it from the crock. Cook it up, serve it with some roasted potatoes and a spinach salad. Then make sure to pick off the rest of the meat, we'll be using it later this week. Save the bones to make some chicken stock as well.

Lemon Pepper Chicken (adapted from The Little Kitchen)
4-5 lb whole chicken, gizzards removed
1 tsp white pepper
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 lemons-- 1 quartered, 1 zested and halfed
2 carrots
3 celery stalks
3 garlic cloves

Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Stuff the quartered lemon into the cavity of the chicken.

Mix together the white pepper, kosher salt, paprika, onion powder, freshly ground pepper and lemon zest. Rub into the skin of the chicken.

Place the carrots, celery and garlic in the bottom of your crockpot. Place the rubbed chicken on top of the vegetables. Squeeze the juice of the halved lemon over the chicken.

Cook on low for 8-12 hours.

Pull chicken out of crockpot carefully and remove meat from the bones. Make sure to save extra chicken meat for leftovers!

*If you feel even lazier than throwing this whole chicken into the crockpot for the day, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your local grocery store.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chipotle Hummus

I don't know what it is about warm weather, but it makes me want to make hummus. It makes me want to grill up some veggies, throw them on top of a thick slice of bread slathered with that homemade hummus, and jump in head first. Maybe it is the fact that the farmer's market is up and running and you can find lots of delicious and fresh veggies. Maybe it is because a hummus sandwich doesn't require turning on the stove. Maybe it is due to the fact that I've been working long and crazy hours and this comes together so fast.

Regardless of the reason, you should definitely dust off your food processor and make this chipotle hummus. The chipotle pepper gives it a nice smoky and spicy kick. If you aren't in too much of a rush, you should spend the time to peel the chickpeas. Like I mentioned in my last hummus post, this really does wonders for the creaminess.

Serve the hummus with tortilla chips, pita chips, or an assortment of raw vegetables. Or throw it on a pita or piece of bread, top it with some grilled peppers, onions, and mushrooms and enjoy the start of summertime.

Chipotle Hummus
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large garlic clove
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
2 tbsp tahini paste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/4-1/3 cup water

Optional, but recommended: Peel the garbanzo beans.

Combine the beans, garlic, pepper, tahini, lemon juice, oil and cumin in a food processor. Pulse until mixed well and chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the water until you reach your desired consistency.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Buffalo Quinoa Casserole

It is no secret that I love buffalo sauce. A buffalo sauce pool? Let me grab my swimsuit and floaties. A buffalo flavored cocktail? I'll have a double! A buffalo fountain at my wedding one day? Um.. hello?! Is that the best idea or what? There is just something about that orange sauce that makes my heart jump up and down.

You've probably noticed though that most buffalo recipes involve chicken. Although I have been known to thrown it on a burger or into an enchilada before. Regardless, I was starting to feel bad for all of those vegetarians out there... you are all missing out on this delicious buffalo sauce. Unless of course you're drinking it by the spoonful, then I'm just standing in awe of your greatness. Right now is the time for you to trade your spoon for a baking dish and fork and MAKE THIS QUINOA CASSEROLE. Oh my, so delicious I CANNOT stand it. Why oh why is this not on my dinner plans again for tonight? The cauliflower adds some body to the casserole and the quinoa all the goodie good nutrients. The buffalo sauce, yogurt and mix of blue and cheddar cheeses makes the flavor out of this world.

Now, don't ask me what to do if you are a vegan. I'm not sure yet. I'll get back to you.... but we'll get a little buffalo into your life sooner or later ;)

Buffalo Quinoa Casserole (adapted from Back to her Roots)
3/4 cup vegetable broth (homemade or low-sodium store-bought)
1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 tbsp buffalo sauce
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
2 tbsp diced onion
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1 cup roughly chopped cauliflower
1/8 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat an individual baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine the quinoa and broth in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, approximately 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the buffalo sauce, yogurt, onion, garlic salt, cauliflower, blue cheese, and 1/8 cup cheddar cheese in a medium bowl. After the quinoa finishes cooking, add it to the bowl and mix until combined. Spoon into baking dish and top with the remaining 1/8 cup cheddar cheese.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until cheese is browned and cauliflower is soft.

Serves 1.