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!!!

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.

Chicken Pesto Pizza Rolls

Chicken Pesto Pizza Rolls

I was trying to figure out what to make for my first post and I thought that it should be dedicated to pizza in some way since it’s my favorite go to food. I was browsing pizza recipes and found this recipe for homemade pizza rolls from Carpe Season, which I adapted into chicken pesto pizza rolls.

I grew up on pizza and I remember coming home from school and looking for anything from Hot Pockets and Bagel Bites, to leftovers and frozen pizza. If it resembled pizza in any way I would probably eat it, well as long as there were no veggies involved. Chicken and pesto are one of my favorite combinations so I thought why not make it into a pizza roll. Convenience is usually associated with pizza rolls, pop them in the microwave and boom, 2 minutes later you have a snack. While the homemade version is not as convenient, it more than makes up for it with its taste and texture.

Wrapping and filling

This recipe only made 12 larger rolls and that’s because I used about 2 tablespoons to fill each roll.

I adapted this recipe by using pesto instead of tomato sauce and using chicken as my “pizza topping”. I didn’t have any thyme on hand so I substituted it for parsley.

  • 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 mini sweet chili peppers (minced)
  • 3 tbsp. of pesto
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 tsp. of salt
  • 1 tsp. of pepper
  • 1 tsp. of oregano
  • 1 tsp. of basil
  • 2 tsp. of red pepper flakes
  • 2 dozen egg roll or wonton wrappers
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (minced)
  • 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used colby-jack because that’s what I had on hand)
  • Vegetable or olive oil for frying
  • Total prep and cook time 45 – 60 minutes

Finished chicken pesto pizza rolls

Directions

Prep/cooking

Start by mincing the garlic cloves and sweet chili peppers as small as possible and put them in a small bowl to be added to the chicken later. Next, cut the chicken into pieces as small as possible and begin to fry them on medium heat. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, oregano, basil and red pepper flakes. I like a hint of spiciness in almost everything and that’s the reason for the pepper flakes. While the chicken is cooking, continue to chop or break apart the chicken into smaller pieces. When the chicken is nearly done, add the minced garlic and chili peppers and cook for about two more minutes. Turn off the burner, add the pesto and cheese and mix with the chicken and peppers, the pan will still be hot enough to melt the cheese and warm the pesto.

 Assembly

Have a cutting board or plate ready to roll and place finished rolls on. Put a damp towel over the finished rolls and one over the egg roll wrappers to keep them from drying out. Fill a small cup or bowl of water, this will be used to seal the edges of the rolls. Start by placing a tablespoon of the filling (1 for smaller & 2 for larger rolls) in the center of the wrapper. Put your fingers in the water and moisten the edges of the roll. Fold the wrapper over the filling and tuck under the filling as far as possible, then continue to roll the wrapper until you can’t roll any more. Push any air out by gently pressing on the top of the roll and working towards either side of the roll and then seal the roll by pressing firmly on each side of the roll. Next, cut off extra wrapping and lightly moisten the edges again to ensure a secure seal. Continue to assemble pizza rolls until there is no more filling.

Final Cooking

Fill a pot with vegetable oil about 1.5 inches deep and heat to 375 F.  Place a few pizza rolls in the pot, (keep the temperature between 350 F and 375 F, this will depend on how many rolls you place in and how big your pot is of course. Flip the rolls until both sides brown evenly which takes about 30 seconds to 1 minutes. Make sure to use a spoon or utensil that has holes in it so that the hot oil drains before placing  the rolls on a plate with a dry paper towel. Repeat until all the rolls are fried.

Let the rolls cool a few minutes before serving and garnish your homemade chicken pesto pizza rolls with fresh parsley.

Music

Mat Zo released his album Damage Control last week and WOW, I was blown away. The album ranges from soothing trance to upbeat house, some trap and everything in between. EDM has been highly criticised with producers using cookie cutters to create songs that are hard to tell one from another, that is certainly not the case with Damage Control. The diversity is what makes this album so special. It’s easy to tell that Mat Zo truly understands and loves making music.