Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken

Adapted from: The Pioneer Woman First off, I texted this to Nate at work as a hint for dinner: photo I haven’t cooked anything to be remotely proud of in months…yea…months.  So to kick start my return, I had to make something spectacular and rib sticking.  My love for the Pioneer Woman continues because this recipe even impressed our lawn care guy.  When I opened the door to greet him, and the scent of whiskey wafted in his face…I instantly became his favorite customer!  Nate was also impressed, but schooled me on what I actually did.  I braised the meet.  Who knew braising was so easy?  Whenever I see that something is braised, it sounds kinda fancy and a lot of work.  Not the case!  And it turns out, I’ve been braising meet for years without even realizing it.  Maybe I should let Nate in the kitchen while I am cooking more often… Flavorful, tender, juicy, fall off the bone, yummy chicken and sauce.  Just serve over mashed potatoes and you’re set!  Really, you could serve this over mac n cheese and it would still taste good.  And this recipe makes a ton for leftovers, believe me, you’ll want them!

Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken
Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken over Mashed Potatoes
whiskey_barbecue_chicken_2  [yumprint-recipe id=’2′]   

Salsa Chicken Bowls

Never go to the grocery store without a list…especially after you have a baby.  I couldn’t remember the ingredients for a new recipe to save my life, and I just got lucky with what I had on hand with this one!  And I was still missing the cilantro.  But, it still tasted great, but the bowl would’ve tasted better with some cilantro and other fixin’s.  My inspiration for this one was the chicken rice bowls at Taco Bell.  I haven’t had one in years, but I thought I could recreate my own chicken rice bowl at home.

One app that we’ve found very helpful is called OurGroceries.  It was shared with me by my awesome sister-in-law.  There are plenty of “To Do” and grocery list apps out there, but this one is by far the most helpful.  You can link/share the list between as many people as you’d like.  So Nate can add items to the list and I can see the same list on my phone.  No matter who goes to the store that day, we both have THE LIST!  Easy peasy.

Spicy Chicken Bowls - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife


Ingredients
1 lb of chicken breast
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 jar of salsa
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups of rice
2-3 tablespoons Taco Seasoning (I concocted my own blend)
1 cup sour cream

Optional Ingredients
Cilantro
Green Onions
Shredded Cheese
Corn
Peppers
Lettuce

Directions
-Add raw chicken to crock pot and pour the soup and salsa over the top.  Sprinkle your taco seasoning over the sauce, and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours.

-Shred the chicken at the end and add the sour cream.  Stir to combine.

-Serve over rice and beans, and top with whatever fixin’s you like!

Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes

Adapted from: Saving Makes Cents

This is a recipe that has been floating around Pinterest and I’ve been meaning to try for almost a year.  I thought it looked too simple to be true, but it’s not…it is as simple as it sounds!  And my goodness, flavorful.  I added a few ingredients of my own to give it a little something special so feel free to play around with this dish!  What’s also great about this recipe is you can change up the veggies depending on what’s in season or whatever you have a taste for.  And don’t tell Nate, but I definitely tasted a whole spoonful of the sauce…three times.  I know…so bad.



Easy Meat, Veggies, and Potatoes - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife



Ingredients
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, raw
Green beans (any veggie like broccoli, asparagus, or brussel sprouts)
New, Red, or Baby Potatoes, cubed
1 packet of italian dressing mix
1 stick of butter, melted
salt
pepper

Add ons
capers
fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Directions
-Preheat over to 350 degrees F
-Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper
-Arrange the meat, potatoes, and vegetables in a 9×13 casserole dish
-Sprinkle the packet of italian dressing mix over the whole dish
-Spoon butter over the chicken, potatoes, and vegetables
-Add Ons – I added capers and lemon juice to the green beans, and sprinkled some brown sugar over the chicken.
-Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (recipe says to cover with foil, but I skipped that and the dish turned out fine!)

Make Now and Freeze For Later

Nesting hit me this weekend.  One day it was in the form of cleaning and the next it took the form of cooking.  Here are the recipes I used to make several casseroles and breakfasts to freeze for later.  And, I have to tell you, having food and meals already taken care of, takes such a huge weight off our shoulders!

First things first, I have one complaint for the grocery stores.  Can all the products and brands get together and decide on the same quantities to offer their products in?  I wanted to make 12 muffins.  Well, the muffins come in packs of 6, the sausage in packs of 8, the cheese in packs of 11 or 20, and the eggs in packs of 12.  So I ended up making 8 muffins with sausage, egg, and cheese and 2 muffins with just egg and cheese.  The same thing happens with hot dogs and hamburgers.  Grrr, anyways…

One extra step I took for all of this was buying disposable casserole and meat loaf pans.  This will allow for easy clean up when the time comes to actually eat these dishes which will be another huge time saver once the baby is here.  It also allows me to still have the use of my glass casserole dishes, in case I actually have time to do some cooking.

The List
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins
Turkey Meatloaf
Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf  
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Chicken Manicotti 
Chicken Baked Spaghetti – didn’t have time to get to this one.  Will post if I get to it! 

  
Turkey Sausage, Egg, and Cheese English Muffins 

Ingredients
12 english muffins (I bought the whole grain for an extra hearty muffin)
12 turkey sausage patties
12 eggs
12 slices of cheddar cheese
pepper

Directions 
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray
-Crack 1 egg into each muffin hole
-Use a fork or whisk to pop the yolk and sprinkle a bit of pepper onto each egg
-Bake in the oven for 25-30  minutes until the egg is cooked through. (The eggs will be well done.  I know we all prefer our eggs cooked differently, but because these are going to be frozen, it’s better just to bake them completely)
-Remove eggs from oven, run a knife around each edge, and the eggs will pop out easily.
Open and layout all 12 english muffins
-Add 1 turkey sausage patty to each english muffin
-Add 1 slice of cheese to each english muffin
-Add 1 egg to each english muffin
-Add the top of the english muffin to finish
-Wrap each in foil and label for later

-Optional- add the reheating directions and date to a large freezer ziplock and add all of the muffins wrapped in foil to that freezer bag.  This helps me keep the freezer organized.

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
If muffins are thawed, bake in the foil for 15-20 minutes
If muffins are frozen, bake in the foil for 30-40 minutes 
*You could also microwave these, but you must remove the foil first.  Also, the upside to baking in the oven, the muffins will toast up!

Turkey Meatloaf
Ingredients
1 egg
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 pound lean, 99% fat-free ground turkey

Sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Directions
-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, whisk the egg and milk together.  Then add the cheese, oats, breadcrumbs, onion, and seasoned salt…stir to combine.  Add the ground meat and mix with your hands.  (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-In a small bowl, stir the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard together.  Spoon over each of the loaves.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions




Ready to Eat Directions

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear

*You could easily make this into 1 whole meat loaf.  But I decided it would be better to split these into 2 different meal portions.
*I‘ve made these into mini-meatloaves also, check out that recipe here. 

Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf   
Source: What’s Cookin, Chicago?
 
Ingredients
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 egg
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 small onion, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend

Directions
-Spray 2 mini meatloaf pans with non-stick spray

-In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese. (Don’t over mix, or the meatloaf will be tough)

-Split the meat mixture into 2 portions and set in the greased baking pans.

-Top the meatloaf with pasta sauce.

-Cover with foil and label with date and reheating directions

Ready to Eat Directions
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-Bake uncovered…
-If defrosted, bake for 40-45 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-If frozen, bake for 55-60 minutes, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear
-Top with shredded mozzarella and place back in the oven for 10 minutes, until cheese is melted.
-Allow meatloaf to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving

Chicken Manicotti
With this one, I already had extra filling from the last time I made this in the freezer.  So I thawed it out, cooked some manicotti noodles, stuffed them, placed in a casserole dish, covered with sauce, sprinkled some cheese, covered with foil (labelled with date), and place it in the freezer.

Here is the entire recipe again, but the original post can be found here.  

Ingredients

1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti

4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese

1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano


Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.


In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.


Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 


Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated.

**FYI** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!  
 
Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti
Source: The Pioneer Woman

When I first read over this recipe, it sounded like it would take forever and a lot of work to make my own sauce.  But, I was pleasantly surprised.  The sauce was simple to throw together and let simmer for 30 minutes.  And of course I had the added plus of my house smelling like spaghetti.  You could easily brown meat and add your favorite jarred marinara sauce to cut down on time.
 

Ingredients
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 whole Large Onion, Diced
1 pound Italian Sausage (I forgot this!)
1 pound Ground Beef
1 can (28 Ounce Can) Whole Tomatoes, With Juice
1 jar (28 or 32 Ounce) Marinara Sauce
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
Salt And Pepper, to taste
16 ounces Ziti Cooked Until Not Quite Al Dente
1 tub (15 Ounce) Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
1 1/2 pound Mozzarella Cheese, Grated
1/2 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 whole Egg

DirectionsFor the sauce:
-Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.
-Add onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
-Add Italian sausage and ground beef and cook until browned.
-Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
-Add tomatoes, tomato juice, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes.
-Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
-Cut off the heat and let the sauce cool down, but remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.

-In a separate large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and salt and pepper. Stir together just a couple of times (do not mix completely).
-Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking and cool it down.
-Pour the pasta into the bowl with the cheese mixture and toss to slightly combine (there should still be large lumps.)
-Add the cooled meat sauce from the pot and toss to combine.

Assembly:
-Add half the coated pasta to a large casserole dish or lasagna dish.
-Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the top, then top with half the remaining mozzarella cheese.
-Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, the sauce, and the mozzarella.
-Cover with foil, label with date and reheat directions

Reardy to Eat Directions
-Thaw out the casserole
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
-Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
-Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
      

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken

Source:  Paula Deen

What a simple main dish filled with lots of flavor!  For those of you that are as obsessed with goat cheese as we are, this is for you.  No only is this chicken stuffed with goat cheese, but the cracker topping adds a sweet and spicy finish that is to die for!  Of course if you don’t like spicy, just omit the red pepper flakes.  This chicken is easy enough to throw together for a week night meal and fancy enough to make for a stay-at-home date night.  Something about stuffed chicken makes people feel extra special.  When I made it last night for Nate, I forgot to tell him it was stuffed…so when he cut into it, the cheese surprised him and he was very jolly when he said “Oh! It’s stuffed!!”  The original recipe calls for 6 oz of goat cheese, but our store sells it by 4 oz or 11 oz.  1 oz per chicken breast was perfect for us!  Thank you Paula for this awesome recipe!

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Honey and Goat Cheese Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients
4 chicken breasts, boneless
1 sleeve butter crackers, crushed (used Ritz)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese, cut into 4 equal portions
3 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoon butter, melted
Non-stick cooking spray


Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
 
In a medium bowl, add crushed crackers, red pepper, salt and pepper. 

Spray the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

Make a slit in the side of each chicken breast, being very careful not to go through the other side. (Use a sharp knife)


Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of goat cheese and place in baking dish. 

Press cracker mixture on top of each breast, coating evenly. 

Spray the top of each breast with non-stick cooking spray. 

Bake chicken breast for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together butter and honey.  

Spoon honey butter over chicken and return to oven for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Chicken Manicotti

Adapted from: Southern Living
Need a yummy recipe to make ahead of time and freeze for later?  Or a delicious dinner to bring to a friends house that just had a baby?  This meal is perfect and won’t disappoint.  My chef AND family friends who just had a baby approved this one!

The filling is what makes this dish, and honestly, you could use the filling for just about any pasta dish.  Like stuffed shells or lasagna.  The filling would make a great alternative for people who don’t prefer ricotta.  When I first read this recipe, it sounded labor-intensive.  But once I assembled 1 manicotti, I was able to crank them all out in less than 5 minutes…and I made a double batch!  There is even enough filling to make a third…lucky us 🙂

An added plus…people will think you slaved all day in the kitchen, stuffing the manicotti yourself. The slicing open and rolling it back up trick is an awesome time-saver.

Chicken Manicotti - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Not as photogenic as I’d hoped! 🙂

Chicken Manicotti - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife
Ingredients
1 8 oz package cannelloni or manicotti
4 cups finely chopped cooked chicken (32 oz / 2 lbs of raw chicken)
1 8 oz containers chive-and-onion cream cheese
1 8 oz containers regular cream cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 cup / 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
1-2 24 oz jars of favorite marinara sauce
Top with Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried oregano

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

In a large bowl, add chicken, cream cheeses, spinach, mozzarella cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic salt, and pepper. The original recipe says to stir…I say, get your clean hands dirty and mix it yourself.  Like you would a meatloaf.

Slice the pasta lengthwise on one side, through the other side (you should be able to lay the noodle flat) Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture into each shell, gently roll up the manicotti / pressing cut sides together. Place, cut sides down, in 2 lightly greased 9 x 13  baking dish. 
Pour marinara sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle with dried oregano and parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until heated. 

**FYI-UPDATE** So I bought a different brand of manicotti for the 3rd batch and the cooking directions said to boil for 9 minutes (the other brand said 7).  And after 9 minutes, those things were falling apart!!!  I still assembled the dish, but it was not as pretty as the other 2.  Sometimes you can’t trust the box directions!

Chicken Cacciatore

Adapted from:  Skinny Taste
 
Chicken Cacciatore, such a classic and comforting meal.  Which got me wondering, what exactly is cacciatore?  It turns out, “cacciatore” means “hunter” in Italian.  And preparing a dish “hunter-style” includes tomatoes, herbs, peppers, and wine (optional of course!).  If you are from north Italy you’d use white wine and if you are from south Italy you’d use red wine.  But this is America, so I’m going to use whatever is in the fridge.  And considering my dude loves to hunt and fish, this could be the perfect meal to convince him the crock pot is magnifical!


And it was.  He didn’t say it, but silently going back for seconds…almost as large as the first portion is all the validity I need!  And another chef pal was over at the house, tried a spoonful of this goodness and said it was pretty tasty.  I know I’ll be making this on many cold nights this winter!

Chicken Cacciatore - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients

4 large chicken breasts (I also added a pack of chicken legs just because)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes 

1 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 onion, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp turmeric
Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)
salt and pepper

Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Directions
Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to slow cooker.

Add the tomatoes, onions, peppers, oregano, basil, bay leaf, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to the crock pot and give it a little stir.

Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Remove the lid, give it another little stir, and cook for an additional hour on high to thicken the sauce.

Enjoy over pasta, rice, or with a side of bread.

Top with Parmesan cheese, parsley, basil, etc.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Source:  All My Great Ideas Are Really From Pinterest

Nate accuses me of being a sauce hoarder.  I love sauce, so sue me!  He also pointed out that we had 2 half bottles of Franks Hot Wing Sauce in the fridge, and asked me to explain.  I told him I was already a step ahead of him and had a recipe I was making THAT night to use them both up.  See what I did there? Girls ARE smarter than boys.

So I went to Pinterest and found a quick recipe for buffalo chicken something, and came across this gem.  There is really nothing too it.  And you could do it with any favorite sauce, for all you other sauce hoarders.  You could make a large batch of the chicken to use for wraps, buffalo enchiladas, buffalo mac n cheese, etc.

Buffalo Chicken Wrap - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Buffalo Chicken Wrap - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Ingredients
3 lbs chicken breasts
1 12 oz bottle of wing sauce
1 packet of Ranch Dip Seasoning
tortillas (used whole grain tortillas for health factor)

Optional Ingredients:
shredded cheese
leafy greens
sour cream
tomatoes
salsa
jalapenos
cilantro
ranch or blue cheese

Directions
Put the chicken in the crock pot and pour wing sauce over the top.  Sprinkle the ranch dip mix over the top.

Cook on high for 4 hours.  Open the crock pot and shred chicken with a fork.  Stir the shredded chicken around in the sauce and cook on low for at least another hour.

Then assemble your wraps how you please!

Forgotten Chicken

Adapted from: Darling Doodles 

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Forgotten Chicken - The Not So Desperate Chef Wife

Thank you Pinterest! Some of my favorite recipes are the ones that take the amount of time the oven needs to preheat to be thrown together.  Quick, easy, and yummy dishes are a must for any busy family.  And the added plus of only have 2 dishes to wash, only makes this recipe even better for during the week.  Any recipe with a cream of soup always tastes rich and comforting to me.  You could easily add veggies and change up the seasoning to make this your very own.

Also, I’ve been on the look out for simple meals to throw together in preparation for the baby coming.  I’m thinking we will need some quick meals we can just whip together with no fuss or mess.  This one definitely made the cut!

Ingredients
2-3 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups minute rice
1 package onion soup mix
1 can of cream of chicken soup
1 can of cream of celery soup
1 can of chicken stock (or water)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Mix together the minute rice, cream of chicken & celery soup, and chicken stock in a medium size bowl

Add mixture to a buttered (or nonstick sprayed) 9 x 13 baking dish.

Lay raw chicken breasts on top of rice mixture and sprinkle the onion soup mix over the top.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Served ours with a side salad and potato rolls!

Crock Pot Honey Chicken

Source: MMM…Cafe

Here is a quick one for you.  I was able to run home for lunch, throw this into the crock pot, and come home later to a delicious dinner for 2.  There were actually leftovers for another night, but someone left the tupperwares out on the counter all night…not me, just saying.  What was extra great about this recipe is, if you good at guessimating proportions, you don’t need a measuring cup or spoon.  I just eyeballed all of the ingredients and the sauce turned out great!  Sweet and savory.  Next time, I may give pork a try.  Thank you Pinterest!

crock pot honey chicken

Ingredients
1.5 lb pound chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup chopped onion (or 1/16 cup onion flakes)
1/8 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon. vegetable oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Directions
In the crock pot, stir all the ingredients minus the chicken.
Add the chicken to the sauce, and spoon the sauce over the top to coat the meat.
Cook on low for 4 hours.
Remove chicken breasts, cut into cubes or shred.  Add the chicken back to the crock pot and stir with the sauce.
Serve over rice, noodles, or even couscous!