Day 26: Salsa Verde Crockpot Chicken

You know how I like my crockpot: especially when it means I don’t have to defrost my chicken before-hand. It’s the lazy cooks best friend. 

Here’s another crockpot recipe, with its only fault being that salsa verde can be hard to come by in Canada! We have this small Mexican market in town that we found it in, but we couldn’t get it in either Walmart or Save-On Foods. What a hassle. Still, I do love supporting local businesses, so if you are able to hunt down some salsa verde (Mexican tomatillo sauce), definitely try this recipe. Or,better yet, hunt down the ingredients to make it yourself! 

Our salsa verde is from a local company, and it was great.   
    

Added cracked black pepper and roasted garlic tomatoes instead of plain tomatoes. (Found it in Walmart). 
Made some wild rice for our burritos! I’ll add some refried beans, too.  

I cooked my chicken over night, for about 10 hours, so the chicken pulled apart very easily when it was done. It was perfect for our healthy, pulled chicken burritos. 

Definitely the best Mexican meal if you only want 20 minutes of preparation! 
Link: http://diethood.com/easy-crock-pot-salsa-verde-chicken/

Day 25: Pesto Ranch Slow Cooker Chicken

Well looky-looky. What do we have here?

A tasty chicken recipe…

‘Bout time.

  

I’m pretty excited for this recipe. It’s easy to prep, especially if you’re not making your own pesto, and made my whole apartment smell great. I did elect to use my own pesto, so thankfully my sous-chef made it for me. He added a lot salt and pepper, which really seemed to be the trick in making the homemade pesto taste like store quality. Don’t judge us, some things are better made by big companies (there’s gotta be a reason they’re still around). If you’re making your own and only have a blender, add the olive oil before you start blending. It really won’t do much without some liquid in there. Also, a splash of lemon juice is always nice!

  
I didn’t have any ranch powder mix, so I added a 1/4 cup of ranch dressing instead. I slathered the chicken breasts with the ranch, then added the 2 cups of chicken stock, threw some butter in, and finally covered the chicken in the homemade pesto before setting it to cook in my crock pot. I did cook my chicken for a bit longer, as they were frozen to begin with.

  

Honestly, I am so happy with this recipe and I would venture to say it’s my favourite chicken recipe. Give it a go! 

Zelda and Link:

Day 24: Easter Dinner

Ok, so I’ve been getting behind. Just a quick heads-up, days 19-21 were recipes from a magazine, so I have to write down the entire recipe here for you. That will come in a week or two, purely because I’m feeling lazy.

For Easter Dinner, which also coincided with my grandmother’s birthday, we made a loaded potato casserole, a slow cooker maple brown sugar ham, brown sugar and bacon green beans, and chocolate cake. (We also made a few things from a package, like gravy and yorkies, so we’ll pretend those never happened!)

   
 Firstly, the potato casserole wasn’t that fantastic. I should mention that I overfilled the dish, so it leaked all over the oven floor…and somehow leaked onto the kitchen floor, too. For that recipe, I would have to recommend adding waaaay more cheese than they recommend, as well as making sure you don’t fill your potatoes up to the brim.

   
 For the maple brown sugar ham, which we found at our local meat store, we actually had to chop the top off the ham. It was far too big to fit, but it was amazing. Definitely a recipe I’ll repeat over the years. Just a note, don’t cook it over the time recommended, because you can actually dry out the ham a bit (news to me!). The glaze is phenomenal and you’ll have meat left-overs for days.

As for the bacon and brown sugar green beans, I believe in you. Don’t use the recipe, just go with your judgement and add as much bacon and brown sugar as you see fit. There’s no wrong amount, unless your beans taste too healthy…then you’ve gone wrong and not even I can help you come back from that mess.

  
THE CAKE. Oh my gosh. I would like to mention using parchment paper tracings to line the cake pans is brilliant. If you’re just tuning into the baking and cooking world like I am, it’s tricks like this that really save the day. The cake isn’t too rich at all, which I usually fear with chocolate cake; however, the icing is very rich, so don’t apply it too liberally. You probably need 1/2-3/4 of the icing to actually ice the cake. I was feeling lazy and decided to make my icing in my mixer, but this made my icing way too smooth. It slid right off the cake. On another note, if you like super smooth-looking cakes, this is a great way to ice a cake if you are willing to transfer it to a clean cake stand.

 

 

 

Here’s links to all the recipes, I’d recommend all but the potatoes (I’ll try it again some other time):

Slow Cooker Ham with Maple Brown Sugar Glaze

Brown Sugar and Bacon Green Beans

http://thefoodcharlatan.com/2015/10/06/the-best-chocolate-cake-maglebys-copycat-recipe/

Loaded Potato Casserole

Day 23: Wild Rice and Chicken Casserole 

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Cadillac of casseroles. Comprised of just a few, easy-to-prepare ingredients, this one will leave you smiling. If you’re having a bad day, this is a really good comfort food and it’s very filling.

   
 A helpful hint when preparing this one is to add double the cheese, of course, but also to use a glass baking dish to cook your chicken so that you can re-use it to bake the casserole. I’m 99% sure that my family motto would be “less dishes is always best.”The other 1% of me believes it may be,”if it can get spilled, it will.” 

  

  
 Adding the dry white wine is definately a good call, and you can get a bottle for $9-10 CAD and use it in the French onion soup, too. 

Here’s the link: http://www.bhg.com/recipe/chicken/chicken-and-wild-rice-casserole/

Day 22: French Onion Soup

There are a couple of ways to cook French onion soup, including in a crock pot, but I chose to go with the classic route. I had to change up the method a little because I don’t have a Dutch oven, so I ended up using a large stock pot. The only disadvantage of this is that it was it’s hard to caramalize that many onions in a stockpot: your biceps would be burning from churning what feels like 10 lbs of onions all at once (plus,  there’s no guarantee you won’t burn or under cook the onions that way). I started out trying that method, only to learn those things, and finally decided to use a frying pan to cook the onions, a few handfuls at a time. As I caramalized each bunch of onions, I tossed them into the stockpot with the lid on in order to keep them warm. It took around 30 minutes to cook all the onions, which is less time than the recipe said it would take in the Dutch oven, but I did have my pan on very high heat and had to continuously stir my onions. Good news is,  it’s a hell of a workout. 

   
 
My coworker, who kindly informed me that I don’t reek of onions (although, it’s all I smell now), also told me that she removes all coats lying around the kitchen before she cooks with onions. She’s a smart lady. I still swear I smell onions everywhere, and I may never eat another onion again. 

   
   
Instead of baguettes for the soup topping, I used Texas toast croutons and herb and garlic mozzarella. It was awesome and so much less messy than cutting up bread.

This soup is definately amazing and I would recommend it. However, use only 4 or 5 onions and put 2 extra cups of beef broth in. Otherwise, it’s just too much onion to broth. 

Good luck!

Here’s the recipe: http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/classic-french-onion-soup/

Oh, and just in case you were wondering the importance of bay leaves, here’s a link to a very informative website: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/03/ask-the-food-lab-whats-the-point-of-bay-leaves.html

Day 18: 40 clove chicken

Holy cow, I am such a fan of this recipe. It is very labour intensive to peel 40 cloves of garlic, so please remember to microwave about 5 cloves at a time for 10 seconds before attempting to peel them. The skin should pretty much glide right off when you pinch them, and if it doesn’t then it’s still much easier to peel than normal. 

I wouldn’t recommend putting your chicken on a baking tray, as mine became warped after an hour in the oven at 425 degrees. The chicken turns out very moist and garlicky! 

   
    
   

I can’t find the recipe I used, but this one will do! 

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/nigella-lawson/chicken-with-40-cloves-of-garlic-recipe.html

Day 17: Baked Chicken with Brussels and radishes

   

 I’m experimenting with chicken and how I should be cooking it. I decided to start with baking in the oven, just with some olive oil and Montreal steak spice. The recipe I pulled directions from recommended to loosely cover the cooked chicken for 10 minutes with aluminum foil. Guess it helps the moisture and flavour lock in. 

I cut the radishes and Brussels sprouts in half and placed them on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. They turned out amazing with just some olive oil, salt and pepper. 

As far as the mash potatoes go, I peeled them and let them steam until I could easily cut them by sticking them with a knife. I then added enough butter and salt to last a lifetime! 

Day 16: Chicken Rice Stew

 
Ok, so I essentially was just using up the food in my fridge with this one: 

1. Add however much uncooked chicken, potatoes, uncooked rice, potatoes, and celery that you feel is morally right. 

2. Add less rice than you originally thought to add. That stuff will expand and eat up all your broth. 

3. Add about a box of chicken broth, and whatever herbs you own. I used thyme and sage, I believe. 

4. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

It’s not half bad for something designed purely to clean out my fridge. 

Day 15: Salt and Pepper Beef Stew

I did something crazy and added more salt and pepper to the beef than called for. I poured an insane amount of salt and pepper into one bowl and some all-purpose flour into another. I then dumped the stewing beef into the salt and pepper bowl, mixed it all around until the beef was covered in salt and peppery goodness. Then I dumped it into the flour bowl and ensured there was optimal flour coverage. 

It’s important to note that during this time, you should NOT leave your frying pan on high heat with olive oil in it. That’s a critical step. You will set off the smoke alarm. Not that I’d know from first-hand experience or anything. 

If you follow all those steps, you can then proceed to brown the meat before tossing it into the crockpot. My recommendation is to add the meat and beef broth to the crockpot first (as well as the chicken broth or wine). This will allow you to adequately gauge exactly how much veggies you can add. The recipe is a lot better with more veggies than prescribed. I used exactly what they called for and I felt it was lacking. Still good, but lacking. 

After 9.5 hours on the low setting of my crockpot, the meat just fell apart in the stew. It was beautiful. 

 
Recipe:  http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-thick-chunky-beef-stew-recipe/

Day 14: Slow Cooker Broccoli Beef

If you haven’t already, you should definitely make the plunge and buy a darn slow cooker. They are pretty high on my list now, around the level of chocolate and the sound of waves crashing on the beach. 

Now, the nice thing about this recipe is that you can’t mess it up. It’s got all the key ingredients to brilliance, and they are as follows: 

1. Beef 

2. Slow cooking for hours to lock in that flavour 

3. Even if you mess up and put the broccoli in from the very start, it will still taste amazing. However, your broccoli will be a bit soggy! 

I added more beef stock, convinced that the recipe needed more liquid. If I had realized the broccoli needed to be added later on, I wouldn’t have done so. Still, it turned out just fine! In fact, it came out tasting like beef stew a bit, which I find unbelievably soothing. 

P.S. Don’t use broccoli florets just because they’re the only thing you can find at Costco; make the trip to the grocery store for some real broccoli. (It still tastes good but you need more of the leafy part than you get with florets). 

P.P.S. If anyone can tell me what the leafy part of broccoli is, I’d appreciate it!

  

Link: http://lecremedelacrumb.com/2015/02/slow-cooker-broccoli-beef.html