Recipe-Spicy Shredded Chicken Sweet Potato

Hey Cats!

It’s only Wednesday? This week has been dragging on it seems! I’m going home this weekend, so that could be why. But it has been/is going to be a fun week! Monday night my friends and I made s’mores on the grill at my apartment complex, which was definitely an adventure. Then tonight, I have my end of provisional year party with the Junior League, and it’s Kentucky Derby themed! Stay tuned for pictures of my outfit, because I’m so excited about it.

On to the main event. Sweet potatoes are my new favorite thing, and I’ve been experimenting with different ways to make them for dinner. I’d seen a few recipes on Pinterest that had shredded chicken inside a baked sweet potato, so I decided to make my own version! It’s so easy and requires very little cleanup, which is always a plus!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 sweet potato

-1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

-2 tablespoons sriracha

-1/4 cup lemon juice

-2 tablespoons honey

-cilantro

-salt and pepper

-goat cheese crumbles

Here’s what you do:

1.First, bake your sweet potato and cook your chicken. I baked mine at 400 for 45 minutes, and boiled my chicken breast for about 20 minutes.

2. Once the chicken is cool, shred it.

3. In a bowl, mix together the sriracha, lemon juice, and honey. Adjust amounts to taste!

4. Chop the cilantro finely and stir it into the sauce, along with a sprinkle of salt & pepper.

5. Toss the shredded chicken in the sauce. You can let it marinade for a while if you’d like!

6. Top your tuber with the spicy chicken and goat cheese crumbles.

7. Enjoy!

See, it’s so easy! And if you’d like, you can bake a few potatoes and make more chicken to have it again for lunch or a quick dinner later in the week. I love the spicy chicken with the creamy sweet potato and tangy goat cheese. YUM!

That’s all for meow!

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One & Done Dinner- Salmon, Sprouts, & Sweet Potato

Hey Cats!

I hope everyone is having a good week! I’ve got a few projects coming up at work, so it has been a busy week, and it’s only Wednesday! When life gets busy, it can be really easy to eat whatever’s fast and doesn’t require a sink full of dishes. So basically Chick-Fil-A, pasta, or anything else that’s probably fried and severely lacking in nutritional value. However, I’ve found that eating crap when you’re busy makes you feel even worse and slows you down when you don’t have time to be slowed down. Lately, I’ve been experimenting to come up with healthy dinners that are more exciting than my usual chicken-quinoa-roasted brussels sprouts combo, and require less clean up. I crafted this little trio last week and it’s already made a repeat appearance! Pecan-crusted salmon, a baked sweet potato, and roasted Brussels sprouts (lol if you thought I could stray from this) with goat cheese- sounds pretty involved, right? False. Let me show you how it’s done.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 small sweet potato

-1 portion of salmon (I either get the 4oz serving from the fish counter or get a large piece and cut it in 3rds and freeze the rest!)

-1 tablespoon of butter

-1 tablespoon chopped pecans

-1 tablespoon grated parmesan

-1 tsp dry ranch dressing mix

-1/2 cup brussels sprouts,  quartered

-olive oil

-honey

-goat cheese crumbles

-almond butter (optional but HIGHLY recommended. Highly)

Here’s what you do:

1.First, you’ll need to bake the sweet potato by itself for a bit. Wash your sweet potato and poke holes all over with a fork- just don’t stab yourself (I have done this. Raise your hand if you’re not surprised). Bake at 400 for 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of your tuber. You can just place it on the middle rack of your oven, no pan needed!

2. While your sweet potato is baking, do what you need to do. Live your life. Unload your dishwasher. Throw a load of laundry on. Do your workout for the day. Sit on the couch and watch trash tv. Neglect to write a blog post. It’s up to you. This is your time.

3. When your timer has about 15 minutes left, prepare the rest of your dinner for baking. Cover a baking sheet with foil whilst rejoicing that this is the only thing you will have to wash.

4. Prepare the salmon by following steps 1-4 of this recipe. Yes, I’ve made this before, but it was solo. This time it has friends. If you’re not feeling fancy, you can always simply season your salmon with salt, pepper, and dill!

5. Next, prepare your sprouts. Here’s my process: chop off the hard stem on the bottom, hopefully taking the outer leaves with it. Peel off a few layers of leaves until it looks clean. (always wash them first, by the way) Chop the little sprout in half, then in quarters. If the quarters are still large, I’ll chop them again! Toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper- this can be done on the pan!

6. Then, assemble the pan. Place the salmon on one side, sprouts on the other, and the sweet potato in the middle. Fits perfectly!

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7. Increase the heat to 425, and bake everything for another 20 minutes, until the salmon is cooked thoroughly and the sprouts are crispy!

8. Next, dress it up! I drizzled honey and crumbled goat cheese on the brussels sprouts, thanks to Bites of Bri. Ugh, so good I nearly cried. Then, instead of cinnamon and sugar on my sweet potato, I put a dollop of almond butter on top after a recommendation from my coworker (thanks, Natalie!). Changed. My. Life. It’s so creamy and delicious. I was afraid it would be too sweet but it is excellent. You will die. And then come back to life to thank me profusely.

9. Enjoy your gourmet dinner and then enjoy only washing one pan!

Side note: when I told my mom about this, I kept going on about how “it only took one pan!”. Eventually she asked me, “Is that because you only have one pan?”. No, it’s because I’m lazy. But honestly, I’m not even surprised, because I also told her that day that I had made toast in my oven in a loaf pan. Because I’m resourceful. And I’m not married so people don’t think I need/want nice kitchen appliances such as a toaster. I digress.

Do you have any one-and-done dinners? Please share, I hate washing dishes!

That’s all for meow!
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Recipe-Pizza Spaghetti Squash Boats

Hey Cats!

We’ve talked about how eating healthy was a big part of my life when I was in college, but unfortunately, I have fallen off the wagon since graduation. For some reason it has been extra hard to cook every night, so when I find healthy recipes that I love, I hang on to them!

I have a love-hate relationship with spaghetti squash. It usually sounds like a good idea at the grocery store, but then once I get home I realize that it’s a lot of trouble, and until now, I didn’t have a super delicious way to prepare it. A few weeks ago I was pushing my cart through Trader Joe’s and saw a spaghetti squash. “I haven’t made one of those in YEARS”, I said to myself, and tossed it in my basket without another thought. Then I got home and it was staring at me, asking me, “now what? Please not just garlic powder and cheese”. So I had to get creative. I scrolled through Pinterest for some inspiration, and came up with this pizza-inspired twice-baked squash.

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Here’s what you will need:

-1 spaghetti squash

-1 cup marinara sauce

-1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

-1 tbsp olive oil

-salt, pepper, and garlic & onion powder to taste

Here’s what you do:

  1. First, prepare your spaghetti squash. There are a few ways to do this, but you’ll want to cut it in half lengthwise and cook it in the oven for optimum boat shape. Be careful while cutting it, it’s a dangerous task, especially if you only have steak knives. Anyways, bake at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until it is soft to the touch.
  2. Once the squash is cooked, scrape the “noodles” of one half into a mixing bowl. You can prepare both, but this recipe is for those of us cooking for one! I wrapped the other half in foil and stuck it in the fridge for another day, and just followed the same recipe!
  3. Mix the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder into the squash.
  4. Then, mix in 1/2 cup of the marinara sauce and 1/4 cup of the cheese.
  5. Next, spoon the squash mixture back into the shell.
  6. Top with the remaining sauce and cheese, and broil until the cheese is brown and bubbly!
  7. Enjoy your boat!

This is a yummy, healthy dinner that’s pretty filling and will make you feel great about yourself. Unless you go overboard on the cheese, which is understandable. Plus, if you’re cooking for only yourself, you have dinner for two nights! Spaghetti squash might just be my friend after all.

Recipe- Tangy Summer Salad with Salmon

Hey Cats!

Happy Wednesday! This week is both flying and crawling at the same time, if that’s possible. I’ve been trying to eat healthier lately, but it’s also SO HOT in Houston that just the thought of turning the stove on makes me sweat. I typically make a pizza or other fun dinner for myself on the weekend, but after laying out at the pool all day Saturday, I needed something light, but obviously still delicious and filling. So I decided to combine a citrus salmon recipe that I love with a homemade version of my favorite Salata salad. And it was so good I made it without the salmon for lunch until I ran out of kale.

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Okay first we need to address this MASSIVE salmon plank. I asked for 4oz, and the little fishmonger just haphazardly whacked off a chunk, weighed it to get the price, and wrapped it up without noticing that it was 6oz. I’m fine with more fish, but I also had to pay more for it, which I wasn’t too pleased about. Also, it was so large that it just fell apart when I tried to plate it, so that’s why it looks kind of sad. But hey, I did the best I could and it’s delicious so that’s all that matters, right?

Here’s what you’ll need:

-1 serving of Honey Garlic Lemon Salmon– this recipe from The Whisking Kitchen is SO good!

-1 cup kale, rinsed and chopped

-1/4 cup fresh spinach, chopped

-3-4 large brussels sprouts, grated or finely chopped

-1 small granny smith apple, thinly sliced or diced

-1/4 cup cooked quinoa

-2 tbsp pine nuts

-2-3 tbsp goat cheese (feel free to go crazy here, I sure did)

-lemon vinaigrette dressing- I used Marzetti’s Simply Dressed Lemon, in the refrigerated section.

Here’s what you do:

1. First, prepare the salmon. It has to marinate for at least 30 minutes, so plan for that. ALSO cook it on a foil-lined pan, because I cannot tell you how long it took me to scrub the burnt honey off my pan.

2. Finely chop the kale and spinach and add to a very large mixing bowl.

3. Add the brussels sprouts, apple, and quinoa and toss.

4. Next, add the pine nuts, cheese, and dressing. Toss until everything is fully coated with dressing. I usually just pour my dressing over the top, but tossing your salad ensures every bite is tasty!

5. Serve your salad with your salmon on top, and enjoy!

What’s your favorite light summer meal? Let me know!

 

That’s all for meow!

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Recipe- Two-Layer Lasagna

Hey Cats!

Lasagna is one of my favorite foods. Every time my mom tells me she’ll make “anything I want” for dinner when I come home, I always request lasagna. I’ve always wanted to make it for myself, but I’ve never had a large enough crowd to justify making an entire pan until a few weeks ago. My Bible study friends and I rotate who makes lunch after church, and I’d been planning to make lasagna for weeks. I got my mom’s recipe, and everyone loved it- including me! It’s a little different, because it uses sour cream and cottage cheese instead of ricotta, but that’s part of the reason I love it so much! I called it “Two-Layer” Lasagna because my mom told me to make just two layers- one layer of meat and one of cheese, so that really simplifies things. Hopefully if you try it you’ll love it as much as I do!

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Here’s what you need:

– One 8-oz package of lasagna noodles (I use the no-boil kind- so easy)

-2 lbs lean ground beef

-1/2 large onion, chopped

-Garlic and onion powder

-One 16-oz can of spaghetti sauce (I used Hunt’s Traditional)

-1 cup sour cream

-2 cups cottage cheese

-About 1 cup shredded parmesan  cheese

-About 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

-Dried basil and oregano

Here’s what you do:

1. First, brown the ground beef with the onions in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion powder to taste.

2. Once the meat is cooked thoroughly, drain the grease, then pour in the tomato sauce and mix well. Let this come to a simmer while you continue.

3. Next, mix together the sour cream and cottage cheese.

4. Add to the cheese mixture about 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and basil and oregano to your taste.

5. In an ungreased 9×13 baking dish, spread a very thin layer of the meat sauce on the very bottom- this prevents the noodles from sticking!

6. Place a layer of noodles on top of the sauce. I broke a few to make them fit!

7. Spread all of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles. It helps to use a rubber spatula to make sure it spreads evenly!

8. Add another layer of noodles.

9. Spread all of the meat sauce on top of the noodles, again making sure it is evenly distributed.

10. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

11. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, and bake until the cheese melts, about 5-10 minutes.

If you want to make this the night before (like I did), follow all the directions except for #11, and refrigerate until you’re ready to eat! I heated the lasagna at 375 for about 20 minutes, and then added the cheese.

Enjoy!

That’s all for meow!

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Recipe- Easy Cheez-It Chicken

Hey Cats!

I’ve been getting creative with my dinner this week in an attempt to use up all of my food before I go home for a few days. It’s a challenge, but it’s led to some delicious creations that I’ll definitely be making again! The other day I was staring into the pantry and a box of Cheez-It’s caught my eye. Who knows how long they’d been there, but it gave me an excellent dinner idea- breaded chicken using crushed-up Cheez-It’s instead of bread crumbs. It’s crunchy, cheesy, and incredibly easy- everything I ever want out of dinner.

Also, these are measurements for 1 chicken breast, so if you’re wanting to make a larger batch, adjust accordingly!

Here’s what you need:

-1 chicken breast, thawed

-2 tablespoons flour

-salt and pepper to taste

-1 egg

-A few dashes of hot sauce (I use Tabasco)

-!/2 cup Cheez-Its, crushed

Here’s what you do:

1. First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Next, mix together your flour, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

3. Then, whisk together the egg with a few dashes of hot sauce- just for a little kick!

4. Crush your Cheez-It’s and add them to a separate small bowl. You can do this with a rolling pin, or you can release all your end of the semester frustrations and pound them with your fists, like I did. It’s your personal preference.

5. Set the three bowls in an assembly line, like I did with my cute little ombre bowls.

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6. Then, take your chicken breast and dip it first in the flour, making sure it’s coated, then the egg, then the cracker crumbs. Make sure when you dip it in the cracker crumbs, it’s coated well- you may have to get a little messy!

7. Bake in a greased baking pan for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

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I had mine with rice and my latest favorite veggie, roasted brussels sprouts. A delicious, easy meal for the middle of the week!

That’s all for meow!

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Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Salmon

Hey Cats!

I know I usually do “Wednesday Pins-Day” on Wednesday, but I haven’t been too active on Pinterest lately, so I’ve decided to skip a week! But hopefully once you try this recipe, you’ll forgive me! When I was in middle school, my family would frequent Rockfish, a seafood restaurant, and I would order pecan-crusted trout, which was a bold choice for an 11-year-old, but I was obsessed with it.

These days, salmon is a staple in my diet, and I’m constantly looking for new recipes. I remembered how much I loved the trout, and decided to see if I could make it myself. The first try, I made it with bread crumbs instead of butter, and it was good, but I told my sister about it, and she said she wanted to try the recipe once I posted it. She has celiac, so I had to find a way to make it gluten free, which was great because I actually like this way better!  Also, this recipe, like most of mine, are just for one serving. However, for two or three servings, just double or triple the recipe!

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-One serving of salmon (mine was about 4 oz)

-One tablespoon of butter

-One tablespoon of chopped pecans (I used pre-packaged cookie bits)

-One tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

-1 tsp dry ranch dressing mix

-Salt & Pepper

Here’s what you do:

1. First, soften the butter, but don’t melt it. You can do this by microwaving it in 15-second intervals.

2. Next, add in the pecans, parmesan cheese, and ranch. Smoosh with a fork until thoroughly combined.

3. Place the salmon in a baking dish, prepared with cooking spray. Season it lightly with salt and pepper.

4. Then, spread the butter mixture evenly over the top of the salmon, making sure it’s not too thick.

5. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes. I know that sounds like a long time, but I recently had an unfortunate encounter with some undercooked salmon, so I didn’t want to risk it again!

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I made rice and a salad to go with this, but I made minute rice in the microwave and cooked it until it was a solid rice cake, so it wasn’t fit for photography…oops!(Slash it’s kind of hilarious that I can cook everything EXCEPT rice). If you’re looking for a new, healthy dinner idea, you should definitely try this out! Let me know how you like it!

That’s all for meow!

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Recipe- Beef Stew for a Few

Hey Cats!

It has been SO LONG since I’ve had time to blog! I am so happy it’s Thanksgiving break- it’s definitely needed! I drove home yesterday after two tests back-to-back and on about 3.5 hours of sleep…probably not the smartest choice I’ve ever made, but I was just so ready to be home! I’m looking forward for a few days of rest with my family before heading back to Aggieland for finals…mehh.

A while back (almost a month ago, actually- if that tells you anything about how busy I’ve been) I made  beef stew for my roommates. We had just got a Crock Pot, and I was wanting to try it out, and the temperature had just dropped for the first time (meaning we could wear leggings instead of Norts. Can we go back to 50 degrees?). My friends loved it and it’s hilariously simple, so I decided to share it with you- now that it’s really chilly it will be a perfect dinner to warm the souls of your friends & families!

You will need:

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-1 pound of stew meat (lean)

-Garlic powder

-Onion powder

-Black pepper

-1 can cream of mushroom soup

-1 packet brown gravy mix

-2 potatoes

-1 cup baby carrots

-1 cup frozen green peas

Here’s what you do:

1. First, season the stew meat to your tastes with the garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper on both sides.

2. Next, brown the meat in a skillet until cooked thoroughly.

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3. Then, mix together in your Crock Pot the cream of mushroom soup, packet of gravy mix, and one soup can of water. WARNING: This will look super unappetizing and probably really lumpy. Don’t worry, this is normal. A whisk helps, and it will also just go away once it’s incorporated.

4. Add in the meat, and cook on low for 4-6 hours, stirring occasionally.

5. Next, peel and chop the potatoes. Learn from my mistakes and make sure you cut them into small bits, or you will be waiting FOREVER for them to cook. (Also, I’ve decided that I need to invest in a vegetable peeler- they look like I peeled them with a pocket knife.)

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6. Wash the carrots and add them to the pot, along with the potatoes.

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7. Increase the heat to “High” and cook for another 1-2 hours, or until potatoes and carrots are tender.

8. Thirty minutes prior to serving, stir in the frozen peas and let simmer until dinnertime.

9. Share and enjoy your time as Roommate of The Week.

This is a good option for a hearty meal during a busy week- just let it do its thing while you go do yours! It also makes plenty, so you can either feed a crowd or have plenty of leftovers for the week.

That’s all for meow!

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Kristen Learns to Cook- Part 1

Hey Cats!

Since you last heard from me, I have moved into a new house, gone back home once, witnessed the Aggies lose their first SEC game (can’t even talk about it), and attended 3 &1/2 weeks of school. During this time, I have been perfecting my cooking & other domestic skills like cleaning and entertaining. But mostly cooking. That was one reason I was so excited to move out of the dorm and into anywhere with a kitchen. I absolutely love being able to make whatever I want for dinner, and not being forced to eat either a Lean Cuisine or junk food from the places on campus. Throughout the past month, I’ve also discovered that I love to cook dinner. It’s fun to come up with new ideas & try out new things. So, I have decided to blog about my adventures as I learn to become a gourmet chef. Although I started this process a few weeks ago, I still have a long way to go (I burn something at least once a week) and I’d love to share my kitchen endeavors with you! I typically cook small portions, usually just myself, and I use what I have in my pantry (which isn’t a lot), unless I’m dying for something different. So, without further ado, here’s what I’m having for dinner tonight!

Salsa Chicken
I half made this recipe up and half got it off the internet. It’s been about a week and a half since I’ve been to the grocery store, so I have very little to work with. I also bought a jar of salsa for the 1/4 bag of tortilla chips I had left over, and the chips are gone but the salsa is still here. I also didn’t have taco seasoning, so I had to get creative. I’m eating it as I type this, so I know it’s delicious!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken tenders, thawed. (I bought a huge bag of individually frozen tenders. They’re smaller than chicken breasts, and they will last you literally forever. This is a staple in my fridge.)
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Chili Powder
At least 1/2 jar of salsa (I used Joe T’s because that’s my fave.)
Shredded cheese

Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat your oven to 350
2. Lay the chicken in a small baking dish, and sprinkle seasonings on both sides.
3. Spoon salsa (however much you want) on top of the chicken.
4. Bake for 25 minutes. Be sure to cut into it & make sure it’s cooked, I’ve heard food-borne illnesses are quite unpleasant.
5. Sprinkle a little cheese on top & pop it back into the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.
6. DINNER.

I paired mine with a little rice & corn for a balanced meal. I keep bags of frozen vegetables like corn & green peas on hand & throw a little into a bowl with a splash of water into the microwave for about 3-5 minutes. That’s probably not the best way, but it’s better than not eating vegetables, and I don’t have to clean an extra pot.

So there it is! It was super delicious if I do say so myself. Hopefully I’ll go to the grocery store soon & come up with some new ideas! Until next time!