Maple Syrup Pulled Chicken

Maple Syrup Pulled Chicken

I have always associated maple syrup with fall and winter, probably because of all the maple leaves falling down in my yard. But it may be because my uncle has sent us a breakfast package every Christmas with pure vermont maple syrup. Each Christmas morning, my dad makes waffles, pancakes or french toast using ingredients from the breakfast package. This maple syrup was the secret ingredient to making this pulled chicken so delicious.

Maple Syrup Pulled Chicken

I have been experimenting with the crock pot the last few weeks to no real great success. Most of the time the meat was too moist, with what seemed like  little to no texture. After looking back at the recipes, I figured out I had been using too much beer, various sodas, and various sauces in proportion to meat. I changed this with this recipe by not adding any liquid besides the maple syrup and a tiny bit of vegetable oil.  The texture and taste was excellent this time around.

Maple Syrup Pulled Chicken

Ingredients

4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or tenderloins

1.5 cups maple syrup

3 tbsp vegetable oil

4 tbsp Sweet Mesquite Seasoning 

Maple Syrup Pulled Chicken

Instructions

This is about as basic as it gets. Pour maple syrup and vegetable oil on the bottom of the crock pot. Put the chicken in and season the top of it. Cook on high heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours and every 45 minutes mix the chicken around so the syrup evenly coats all the chicken.  Shred chicken with a fork. Serve and enjoy.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I clearly love Pesto, this is my third post involving the delicious sauce out of 13. I’ll try and post some more variety in the coming posts since it is the spice of life. Anyways, my family has always had Bisquick mix on hand ever since I can remember and it can make cooking so much more convenient in a pinch. It worked great for the crust, since I didn’t have any yeast to make a good crust from scratch. One of the best things about pizza is how easy they are to make and how customizable they are, oh and they taste amazing. This pizza only took about 20 minutes to make and cook. It looks like there are a lot of ingredients but that’s because I like to season the crust which is completely optional.

Bisquick Pizza Crust

Ingredients
  • 3 cups Original Bisquick Mix
  • 2/3 cup of very hot water
  • 1 lb Chicken
  • 1 cup  shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Pesto Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/3 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

Bisquick Pizza crust with Pesto

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450 F. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces and sprinkle poultry seasoning over them until they are well coated. Fry them on medium heat for 5-6 minutes. While the oven is preheating and the chicken is cooking get your crust ready.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Place bisquick, hot water, garlic powder, pepper, oregano, basil, marjoram and rosemary into a bowl and stir about 20 times. Knead dough with your hands until the dough becomes a ball. Place dough on a clean countertop and roll into a circle or square. Fold the edges in 1/2 inch to 1 inch depending on how much crust you like. Spray a pizza pan or stone with cooking spray so that the dough doesn’t stick. Move the dough to the pan and evenly spread the pesto sauce around the dough. Do the same with the cheese. Once the chicken is done cooking place them on top and pop the pizza in the oven for 7-10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove, cut, serve and enjoy.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Beats

Matt Fax’s year-end mix is awesome and it took me on a ride of some of my favorite songs from 2013! Enjoy the 60 songs he crammed into 1 hour.

Naan with Chicken and Hummus

Naan with Chicken and Hummus

Naan with Chicken and Hummus

The other day I bought some Naan, because I thought it would pair great with other Middle Eastern ingredients for a quick snack or meal. I kept the Middle Eastern theme going by incorporating spices such as cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and hummus.  This recipe is super easy and takes only 20 minutes. The first batch had an earthy/spicy taste to them and the second, kept those flavors with a hint of sweetness, by sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top of the hummus.

Seasoning

Ingredients
  • Naan flatbread
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Shredded cheese
  • Baby spinach
  • Hummus (I like plain, but roasted red pepper work great.)

Naan with Hummus and Spinach

Instructions

First, preheat the oven to 400 F, or pan fry them which takes a little less time. Line a cookie sheet with aluminium foil. Put the paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and pepper into a bowl and mix together. Place each tenderloin in the mixture and coat both sides, place on the cookie sheet. Repeat until all the chicken is seasoned. Put the chicken in the oven for 13-15 minutes or pan fry them on medium, 5 minutes each side. With about 2 minutes left for the chicken to cook. Put naan in the toaster on medium. When the naan pops out, immediately spread with hummus. Now if you would like a sweeter dish you can sprinkle a mixture of 50/50 cinnamon sugar on top of the hummus. If you don’t have an actual container of this use 1/4 tsp of sugar and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. Place a few baby spinach leaves on top of the hummus and stack a cooked chicken tenderloin on top of the spinach. Sprinkle cheese on top of the chicken and place back in the oven for 1-2 minutes or until cheese starts to melt. Serve and enjoy.

Naan with Chicken and Hummus

Beats

This Gabriel and Dresden mix is from a live show in Seattle about a month ago. The mashups are nasty!!!

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Ever since I backpacked throughout southeast Asia I have loved pineapple. I remember laying on a beach in Koh Tao, a southern island in Thailand, and a local offered us fresh pineapple. He proceeded to spiral cut a whole pineapple and in less than 5 minutes my friend and I had mouth watering pineapple skewers. Spiral Pineapple Skewers

Pineapple dishes now catch my eye whenever I eat out, especially when incorporated into burgers, pizzas, stir-frys, and drinks (Caribou Lou I see you). So I wanted to try my own take on a teriyaki chicken burger. What could go wrong? I only like lettuce or avocados on my burgers and none on teriyaki burgers so add your veggies as you please to the ingredients.

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Ingredients

Source : Adapted from Top Secret Recipes

  • 2 Pineapple Slices
  • 1 small chicken breast or 2 tenderloins
  • Cheese slices (I only had a cheddar mix but I wish I had swiss)
  • Buns

Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 9/10s cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon ginger powder

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Instructions

Bring all of the teriyaki sauce to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat to medium low or a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until sauce thickens. Pour into a serving cup, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Optional:

You can create a circular chicken patty by covering the chicken breast with plastic wrap and pounding it out until it is about 1/2 inch thick and slightly wider than the bun. That was too much work and I was working with small chicken tenderloins so that was unnecessary. You can marinade the chicken with the teriyaki sauce for about 4-8 hours by placing the chicken in a bag and pouring enough sauce to slightly cover it, same for the pineapple. I was hungry and I didn’t want to wait so I skipped these steps. Lets get to the cooking!

If it is still warm enough where you live, grill the chicken patty or tenderloins on a medium flame, otherwise you can fry them on medium heat for 4-5 minutes per side. Pour some teriyaki sauce on the chicken. When the chicken has about 2 minutes left to cook put your fancied cheese on top. At the same time you add the cheese add the pineapple slices to the grill or pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, and then place them on top of the chicken. Put your stacked chicken, pineapple and cheese burger on a bun, add a desired amount of teriyaki sauce on top of the pineapple, serve and enjoy.

P.S. That is the cooked pineapple on top of the teriyaki chicken burger.

Teriyaki Chicken Burger

Beats

In honor of Throwback Thursday here is J Lo – Waiting for Tonight. I’ll never forget those green lasers!

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream and Chives

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream and Chives

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream

Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? I grew up as a meat and potatoes guy, so when I was asked to make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving how could I say no. I was given this Williams & Sonoma recipe which only called for russet potatoes but I adapted it by splitting it with half yams (sweet potatoes work great to). In the last two years I have been slowly convincing my family to make the switch from russet to sweet potatoes and yams for their superior health benefits. Sweet potatoes and yams are high in fiber, Vitamin A, potassium and other antioxidants while tasting better (IMO). My family really liked this recipe with the addition of the yams giving it a slightly sweeter taste.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream

Ingredients

Source: adapted from Williams & Sonoma

  • 1 lb yams or sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb russet potatoes 
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp Chives chopped
  • Pepper to taste

Cream ingredients

  • 3/4 cup Cream
  • 1 Shallot thinly sliced
  • 1 small Thyme sprig
  • 1 small Rosemary sprig
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
  • 4 tbsp Butter diced

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream

Instructions

Skin each of the potatoes, then cut them into 2 inch pieces and place them into a pot. Fill the pot with water until 2-3 inches of water are covering the potatoes and add a liberal amount of salt. Bring the water to a boil, reduce to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes or until tender. Put the potatoes in a colander to drain water and then return them to the pot. Mash the potatoes.

While the potatoes are cooking add the cream, butter, rosemary, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns and shallot to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium high, once the cream starts to simmer reduce to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.

Add the cream and chopped chives to the mashed potatoes in small doses and stir continuously until there is no more cream and the potatoes are smooth and creamy. Transfer the potatoes to a serving bowl and enjoy.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Herb Cream

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Orange Balsamic Chicken

I have never been the biggest fan of deep fried orange chicken. Something about it to me feels too processed and fake. I like my chicken juicy and savory, where it doesn’t make me feel terrible after I’ve eaten it. Maybe this all comes from having food poisoning each of the three times I’ve had Panda Express. Ever since, I have mostly stayed away from American Chinese fast food restaurants and I have been looking to make more authentic Asian dishes. I don’t have much experience cooking these kind of meals and I thought this would be a good place to start. What I really liked about this version of orange chicken which I adapted (out of necessity) from Rachel Ray, was that the cinnamon, orange and balsamic really blended well and neither overpowered the other.

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breasts (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  •  1 tsp Cinnamon (ginger substitute)
  • 1 tbsp White wine (sake substitute)
  • 1 tbsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Orange Balsamic Sauce

  • 1/3 cup Orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup Orange juice

Cooking/other

  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 2 small sweet chili peppers diced
  • 1 medium saucepan
  • 2 Pots (for mixing)

Orange Balsamic Chicken

Instructions

First, cut the chicken into small 2 inch pieces and place them in a bowl. Then add all of the Marinade ingredients to the bowl, mix them up and set aside for 15-30 minutes. Dice the sweet chili peppers into small pieces. I was cooking at my girlfriend’s house and her household did not have sake or ginger, (they clearly don’t love sake-bombs) so I improvised with some white wine and cinnamon.

In a small bowl mix all of the orange balsamic sauce ingredients and set aside. The color of this sauce will be more brown than orange and that is due to the balsamic vinegar.

Set a medium frying fan to medium high and cook the chicken for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Add the sweet chili peppers to the pan and cook for 5 minutes with the chicken. Remove them from the pan once done. Pour the orange balsamic sauce over the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Add the diced peppers to the chicken, serve with rice and enjoy.

Orange Balsamic Chicken

I saw the legendary BT last night and he did not disappoint. From the classic ‘Calling your name’ to ‘Surrounded’ it was quite the set the brought back some memories.

The 2013 remix with Emma Hewitt & Tritonal.

Sautéed Kielbasa with Tomato Pesto Penne

Sautéed Kielbasa with Tomato Pesto Penne

Sautéed Kielbasa Tomato Pesto Penne

PASTA! It is probably one of the easiest, most diverse, and best tasting meals that can be made. It took me awhile to realize this as I grew up eating plain pasta, aka no sauce, just butter and lots of parmesan cheese. Since then I’ve expanded my horizons significantly. There is a restaurant near my house that makes a killer italian sausage pasta dish, and ever since I had it I’ve been wanting to diversify the meats that I use in pasta dishes. I saw this recipe for a grilled kielbasa pesto penne dish and since I’ve never had kielbasa I instantly wanted to make it. The problem was I only had about 2 tablespoons of pesto… So I decided to add some tomato paste and see how it would turn out. WOW, this was so easy and sooo good. The kielbasa and red pepper flakes added a slight hint of spiciness and the pesto and tomato sauce worked perfectly with the pasta and kielbasa.

Sautéed Kielbasa Tomato Pesto Penne

I adapted this recipe from HowTo: Simplify by using less pesto, adding tomato paste and red pepper flakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Penne Pasta
  • 1 lb. Kielbasa
  • 2 tbsp. Pesto
  • 4 oz. Tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. dried Basil
  • 1/4 tsp. dried Oregano
  • Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Shredded Parmesan

Tomato Pesto Sauce

Instructions

Bring a pot of water to boil. Combine pesto and tomato paste in a small bowl and blend together. Add the dry ingredients to the sauce and mix until everything is blended evenly. Cut the kielbasa into 1/2 inch or 1 inch slices and sauté it until it browns and starts to have grill marks. Cook pasta according to instructions.  Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the tomato pesto sauce, kielbasa and parmesan. Toss it all together and serve.

Sautéed Kielbasa

Beats

Ilan Bluestone is tearing it up lately, from Under My Skin to Fade Into You and his remix of Fire Fire Fire below is another fantastic addition to his growing work.