Slow Roasted Chicken Tacos with Gorgonzola Slaw

Seriously Delish, page 183

Jessica usually doesn’t disappoint with tacos, but I wasn’t in love with this one. I think the problem here was me, and not the recipe. I just don’t love gorgonzola. It’s a key flavor here, and I just couldn’t get behind it. This is the inherent problem with cooking through the entire book. There are just some things I’m not going to like.

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What I did like was the spice rub on the chicken, a blend of chili powder, cumin, onion powder, and smoked paprika, that is similar to a spice blend that Jessica uses on her blog frequently.

And bone in dark meat was a nice change of pace from boneless skinless lifeless breast meat.

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I also enjoyed the concept of a slaw on tacos, the crunch from the cabbage is way better than shredded lettuce, but next time, I’ll ditch the blue cheese.

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Don’t get me wrong. I still ate them, and the leftovers. I just didn’t love it.

Make Ahead Freezer Meatballs

Seriously Delish, page 199

How sad is it that this is actually the first time I’ve made meatballs? My grandmother makes the best meatballs known to man (with my husband’s grandmother a close second. he’ll disagree, but it’s my blog!)  I need that recipe.

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These meatballs were fairly easy to throw together, and reminded me of most freezer meatballs I’ve had.  I think it was the seasoning blend.  They are heavily seasoned with oregano, basil, onion powder and smoked paprika mixed with a 50/50 mix of beef and turkey, so ever so slightly healthier than an all beef meatball.  They were tender (ish), but not like the family meatballs we’ve had for years, not that I expected them to be.

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For me, the goal was to have something homemade in the freezer, that we could easily turn into a quick dinner.  After freezing these on a cookie sheet, I popped them into a Foodsaver bag, and vacuum packed them.  We ate them a few weeks later in meatball subs, with some homemade tomato sauce I also had lurking in the freezer.  The key for making bready saucey sandwiches?   Wrapping them super tight in foil and heating them in the oven, like described here.  It really does make a difference in the bread.  Do it.

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I think I jipped myself on the sauce on this one.

Chicken Fingers

How Sweet Eats style chicken fingers have been a go to recipe since they appeared on her blog.  They’re obvious a staple in their home based on the number of variations of them she’s posted.

I still can’t seem to get them quite right.  Don’t get me wrong, they taste great. But the breading is never spot on. It’s either not crispy, or it slides right off the chicken.  I have issues.  I’ll keep making them because we love them, and eventually I’ll figure it out.

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It was a given that this recipe would be in the cookbook.  I followed the instructions exactly. (I also made my own panko, which is something I’ve been doing since Jessica taught me how.  So much cheaper!)  And this is what I got.  They were just eh, like they usually are.  What am I doing wrong??  Don’t get me wrong.  We ate them. Like instantly. We were starving.  But I think I need to up my chicken finger game.

Creamy Spinach & Spiced Chickpea-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Seriously Delish, page 215

Up until a few years ago, I wasn’t big on sweet potatoes. I think because the only time I every tried them they were covered in marshmallow and overly brown sugared. Not that there is anything wrong with that…for dessert. I’m just not huge on the whole super sweet mixed in with my Thanksgiving thing.  That’s why I’m not into cranberry sauce either.

My first savory stuffed sweet potato was actually from the girls at Simple Green Smoothies.  I’ve made that recipe at least 4 or 5 times, which, if you know me, is a big deal.  I don’t usually do many repeats.

So, this sweet potato.  It starts with some sauteed spinach with garlic.  Add some coconut milk and chickpeas, and then spice it up with nutmeg, cardamom, and cayenne pepper.

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Then, obviously, toss the whole mess on a sweet potato.

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Jessica’s recipe called for baking the potato, but I microwaved mine, because I’m lazy.  Also, I’m not sure if you can tell, but that sweet potato above is quite possibly the largest sweet potato I’ve ever seen.  I ate half for dinner, and half for lunch the next day.

My initial reaction was I felt like the recipe lacked an acidic component.  I tried dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, but neither felt right.  As I was packing up the leftovers, I tried lemon juice, and that seemed to work.  A little bit goes a long way, but it just gave it that extra bit of brightness I thought was missing.  Overall, I liked it, even without the lemon, and I would definitely make it again.  It was the perfect way to use up some borderline spinach and the rest of the week’s chickpeas hanging out in my fridge.  Also, I had never used cardamom before, and new flavors make me happy.  I’m looking forward to new recipes to use it in.

 

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Mango Pico de Gallo

Seriously Delish, page 180

Oh my goodness guys. Can we talk about tacos for a second?  We eat more tacos in our house than I care to admit.  For awhile there, we were doing Taco Tuesday on the regular.  So. Many. Tacos.

What do you want for dinner? Tacos. Non taco leftovers? Put it in a taco. Taco salads, taco pizzas, tacos, tacos, tacos.  It happens far too often.  Sometimes we change it up and have quesadillas.  I know.  We’re so creative.

So, needless to say, this recipe was on my radar very early on.

Crispy Black Bean Tacos

These tacos are so easy. They consists of things I keep stock in my fridge/pantry, except for the queso fresco.  I make a batch of fresh black beans weekly (pressure cook them, they take like 4 minutes!), and usually have cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and some sort of spicy pepper around (we’re partial to poblanos, since I can’t tolerate much more heat than that, and they’re delicious).  The salsa has mango, which, not going to lie, I used some frozen mango that I keep on hand for smoothies that I zapped in the microwave for a bit.

Using corn tortillas, and getting them crispy in a frying pan was the key here.  I probably could have let them go for a bit longer to get some more crunch on there, but it was late, and we were hungry.  We literally ate these as they came out of the frying pan leaning over the stove.  As with anything fried, a little bit of salt right as they finish goes a long way too.

Chapter Total Recipes Total Made Percent Complete
Breakfast (… for Dinner?) 20 1 5.00%
Snack Time 17 0 0.00%
Sandwiches & Stuff on Toast 13 0 0.00%
Salad, Soups, and Vegetable-like Things 25 0 0.00%
Tex-mex, Burgers, Pizza, & Everything Else 28 3 10.71%
Stuff to Sip On 13 0 0.00%
Lighten Up 16 0 0.00%
Celebrations 20 0 0.00%
Total 152 4 2.63%

Homemade Chicken Pitas with Jalapeno Whipped Feta & Quick Tzatziki

Seriously Delish, page 208

The title of this one is a mouthful.  One delicious mouthful.

Prep is the name of the game here.  If you want to serve this dish in one day, you are going to need at least two hours.  I tried to plan ahead, and after dinner one night I put together the tzatziki, the whipped feta, and marinated the chicken.

The tzatziki is a winner. Quick, simple, great flavor.  Greek husband approved.

The whipped feta is a play on two recipes that I’ve seen on How Sweet Eats before, but haven’t made.  People rave about them.  We tried a new brand of feta, and we weren’t crazy about it. I don’t remember the name, but we were pretty disappointed.  Overall, the whipped feta wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t amazing either.  Roasted garlic cures all, right?

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Cooking the chicken and putting the pitas together the next day was pretty simple.  It would be great meal for a crowd since everyone can make a pita to their liking.

Greek Pitas

The leftovers from this were awesome.  The pita pictured above was actually from a few days later.  I tossed everything on a salad twice for lunches at work.  Yum.

The only things I’d change are:

  1. The brand of feta cheese I used
  2. The recipe calls for hummus as a topping when serving, but I found that with the whipped feta and the tzatziki, hummus was really overkill.
Chapter Total Recipes Total Made Percent Complete
Breakfast (… for Dinner?) 20 1 5.00%
Snack Time 17 0 0.00%
Sandwiches & Stuff on Toast 13 0 0.00%
Salad, Soups, and Vegetable-like Things 25 0 0.00%
Tex-mex, Burgers, Pizza, & Everything Else 28 2 7.14%
Stuff to Sip On 13 0 0.00%
Lighten Up 16 0 0.00%
Celebrations 20 0 0.00%
Total 152 3 1.97%

Garlic Butter Roasted Chicken

Seriously Delish, page 198

Looking through Seriously Delish, I knew instantly where I was going to start.  I had everything on hand already and it was Sunday.  What better meal for Sunday dinner is there than a roast chicken?

This recipe was easy to make, as long as you don’t mind getting friendly with your bird, and it is absolutely killer.  Super simple too. Just get some garlicy buttery goodness up in there under the skin, and roast the sucker.  Jessica has some pretty simple guidelines on her blog if roasting a chicken scares you. (And, to be honest, it scared me for awhile, so no shame in that, in my opinion)

We demolished this chicken.  It was only a week ago, and I can’t even remember what I served with it.  We tore into it so fast, I even forgot to take a glamour shot.  Whoops.

Garlic Butter Roast Chicken

In pure engineer style, I have a spreadsheet to track my progress.  I’ll paste the summary table at the end of each post so you can play along.

Chapter Total Recipes Total Made Percent Complete
Breakfast (… for Dinner?) 20 0 0.00%
Snack Time 17 0 0.00%
Sandwiches & Stuff on Toast 13 0 0.00%
Salad, Soups, and Vegetable-like Things 25 0 0.00%
Tex-mex, Burgers, Pizza, & Everything Else 28 1 3.57%
Stuff to Sip On 13 0 0.00%
Lighten Up 16 0 0.00%
Celebrations 20 0 0.00%
Total 152 1 0.66%

 

I apologize in advance for the cell phone photos in these first few posts.  I took them before all this was fully conceptualized. I promise they won’t continue.