Week 6: Chicken Parm and Honey-Baked Chicken 

So I kind of cheated this past week. I made two things I’ve made before, but in my defense, I hadn’t made them in a very long time.

Anyway, these are delicious. The Parm is probably not authentic, and since I’m from New Jersey I should care, I guess, but I’m too tired for that crap. Eat it. It’s good.

The honey-baked chicken is my mom’s recipe. When I was a kid, I had no idea it had curry in it. (Come on, Past Me, get it together.)

Chicken Parm

  • One recipe Crockpot Pasta Sauce, with or without leftover meatballs
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, butterflied or cut thinly
  • Breadcrumbs of choice (Progresso Italian worked well)
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Provolone, if you’re feeling zesty

Spoon a little sauce in a Pyrex baking pan. Dredge the chicken in breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and brown in olive oil in a big pan. Drain on paper towels and place in baking pan. 

Spoon more sauce over chicken, sprinkle with mozzarella, and top with slices of provolone. Cover with foil, taking care not to touch the cheese. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes, depending on how thick you cut the chicken. Remove foil and let cheese brown. Serve with pasta and more sauce. 

Honey-baked Chicken 

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 4T butter
  • 1/2C honey
  • 1/4C mustard (brown, spicy, yellow; pretty much whatever you have)
  • 1t curry powder
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Melt butter in a baking dish (I used a Pyrex pie pan). Stir in honey, mustard, and curry powder. It’ll be a really pretty color. Add chicken, coating each piece in sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve with brown rice. Lick your plate. 

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Breakfast Coconut Rice 

I finished a bowl of this not even five minutes ago and I needed to tell you about it. This is a super easy rice cooker breakfast (I know, that’s weird). Make it if you love coconut, rice pudding, or delicious things. 

It’s also vegan if you use a non-animal sweetener!

Breakfast Coconut Rice

Adapted from Coconut Lover’s Cookbook by Bruce Fife

  • One rice cooker cup of brown rice (it’s really around 3/4C)
  • Water up to the 2 line of your cooker
  • 1/2C shredded coconut 
  • 2T raisins 
  • 2T honey (or vegan sweetener)
  • 1/4t ground cardamom
  • 1t ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4t salt
  • 1T chia seeds
  • 1t vanilla extract 
  • 1T coconut oil
  • Coconut milk (I used canned full fat)
  • Slivered almonds 

Combine rice, water, coconut, raisins, honey, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, chia seeds, vanilla, and coconut oil in rice cooker. Set on cook. (I have an Aroma Simply Stainless.) When done, scoop some into a bowl and pour coconut milk over. Add almonds. This makes about two servings. 

You could also make this in a pot on the stove; just make the rice as usual, but with the raisins, etc. added in. I am awful at making stovetop rice so the rice cooker is my best friend. 

Week 5: Thai Chicken Curry & 3-Packet Pot Roast 

Both of these are from, you guessed it, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O’Dea. The Thai curry needed a lot more salt and spice than called for, so I changed that here. 

I’d make both of these again, particularly the pot roast. Holy crap, that was good. 

Thai Chicken Curry 

  • 1 (14oz.) can coconut milk
  • 3T soy sauce
  • 1T brown sugar 
  • 3T Thai green curry paste 
  • 1T fish sauce 
  • Grated ginger, to taste 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 green bell peppers, seeded and chopped 
  • 1/2 eggplant, chopped 
  • 10 mushrooms, chopped 
  • 1-2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine sauce ingredients (through garlic) in crockpot. Taste and add more curry paste if you think it needs it. Add chicken pieces, turning to coat. Add veggies on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, if you want. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Serve with lime wedges and cilantro on cooked rice. 

3-Packet Pot Roast 

Note: normally I wouldn’t even call this a recipe, but it was so good that I had to share. 

  • 1 (3-4lb.) chuck roast, trimmed
  • 1 packet salad dressing mix (I used Good Seasons Balsamic Vinaigrette mix)
  • 1 packet Italian salad dressing mix (again, Good Seasons to the rescue)
  • 1 packet McCormick Grill Mates Peppercorn & Garlic (note: I couldn’t find this for the life of me, so I used 2T of McCormick Grill Mates Roasted Garlic & Herb that comes in a little bottle)
  • 3C water

Place roast in crockpot. Combine seasonings and sprinkle on all sides of meat. Add 1C water. It won’t look like enough and you’ll think, “Well, shit, this isn’t right,” but stop that self-doubt and trust me. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. 

A half hour before you want to eat, add 2C warm water to the crock and raise temperature to high. The meat only needs 1C of water to cook, but you will die of sodium poisoning if you try to eat it like that. Adding two more cups of water makes a super tasty gravy that was perfectly salty. 

Serve over mashed potatoes. 

Week 4: Coq au Vin & Bean and Sausage Stew

It was a week of cooking success! Both of these recipes were total winners that get better the next day as leftovers. 

Coq au Vin

Adapted from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow, by Stephanie O’Dea

  • 6 slices cooked and crumbled bacon
  • 6-8 chicken thighs (I used boneless and skinless and put them in frozen)
  • 8oz. sliced mushrooms 
  • 3 carrots, chopped 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 1 parsnip, chopped 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1t salt 
  • 1/2t black pepper 
  • 1/2C chicken broth 
  • 1.5C red wine (I used Cabernet and my husband drank the rest. Choose wine you want to drink.)
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs

Put bacon in crockpot. Place chicken and veggies on top. Add rest of ingredients. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice, pasta, or mashed potatoes. 

Bean and Sausage Stew

Adapted from mycupisfull.com

Note: I chopped the vegetables and sausage the night before and stowed it in the fridge. This cut down on day-of prep time considerably. 

  • 15oz. kidney beans, drained
  • 15oz. black beans, drained
  • 29oz. petite diced tomatoes
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 russet potato, diced 
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 parsnip, diced
  • 4 sausages, sliced (I used chorizo)
  • 1C water
  • 1t Worcestershire sauce

Put all this in the crockpot. 

  • 1T black pepper
  • 2t salt
  • 2t chili powder
  • 1t garlic powder
  • ½t cayenne 

Mix all this together and sprinkle into crockpot. Mix. Cook on low 8-10 hours. This is awesome with cheese on top. 

Week 3: Chicken Burrito Bowls and Laziness

I cooked on Tuesday last week and it lasted us… well, I’m having it for lunch tomorrow. Some recipes are like that. This is one of them. It’s a recipe I posted last summer, but I tweaked it a little and now it’s even better.  

Chicken Burrito Bowls

Adapted from myself

For chicken filling

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I put mine in the crockpot frozen)
  • 1 15oz. can black beans
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1T olive oil 
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced 
  • 2 Anaheim chiles, seeded and diced (wear gloves!)
  • 1T taco seasoning (I use this recipe)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1C frozen corn

For burrito bowl

  • Hot cooked rice
  • Shredded Mexican cheese 
  • Chopped avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

Place the chicken breast in the crockpot. Dump in the black beans (with liquid) and tomatoes. Heat olive oil in a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté red pepper until slightly soft and add to crockpot. Add Anaheim chiles to pan and cook until they have a bit of color. Add to crockpot. 

Sprinkle taco seasoning, salt, and pepper over everything in crockpot and kind of poke it with a spoon so it gets mixed into the peppers, tomatoes, and beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Thirty minutes before serving, add frozen corn and cover again. 

Shred chicken with two forks and serve over rice with burrito fixings. 

Week 2: Chicken Lazone, U.S. Senate Bean Soup 

Comfort food, ahoy! This week was all about feeling comfy and cozy. I’m almost in my third trimester and I need all the comfy I can get. 

On a side note, today Mr. Something and I have been married for two years! I’m not cooking tonight; the modern second anniversary gift is china, so we’re getting Chinese food. 

Chicken Lazone 

Adapted from Plain Chicken

  • 1/2t salt
  • 1 1/2t chili powder
  • 1 1/2t onion powder
  • 2t garlic powder
  • 1/4t cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb chicken tenders
  • 1/4C butter, divided
  • 2C heavy cream

Combine salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper. Combine with chicken in a bowl and mix. 

In a large pan, melt 2T butter over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken tenders until done, about 8 minutes. 

Pour the cream and remaining butter into the skillet. Lower heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 5-7 minutes. Serve chicken and sauce over angel hair pasta. 

Verdict: HOLY CRAP. Eat this. Add mushrooms. 

U.S. Senate Bean Soup

Adapted from senate.gov

  • 1lb dried navy beans
  • four quarts cold water
  • 1 smoked ham hock
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1T butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Sort through beans. Place in pot, add 2 quarts water and soak overnight. Drain and rinse. Put beans, ham hock, and 2 quarts water into medium pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover, reduce to medium low, and simmer until bean skins are tender, about 1 hour. 

Meanwhile, melt butter and sauté onion, 3-5 minutes. 

Reduce bean heat to low and add onions. Cook 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Retrieve ham hock, let cool, and chop up meat. Discard bone and fat. Return meat to pot. Use an immersion blender (or a potato masher) to squish up some of the beans. Add salt and pepper. 

Verdict: This was honestly 10,000 times better the next day. Next time I think I’ll make it in advance. 

Week 1: Mediterranean Chicken & Sloppy Joes

2016 is off to a delicious start. I’ve made some tasty things and have many more meals already planned. I have six cookbooks out of the library right now. I have a problem. 

For my first week of new recipes, I decided to make two crockpot creations, both from Stephanie O’Dea’s book, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

Mediterranean Chicken

Adapted from Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

  • 4 frozen chicken breasts
  • 16oz. frozen artichoke hearts (that was a bag and a third for me)
  • 1C green olives, sliced in half
  • 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes 
  • Crumbled feta

Place chicken breasts in crockpot. Plop artichoke hearts, olives, and tomatoes over them. Cook on low for 8 hours. Serve with rice and sprinkle with feta. 

Verdict: I added the feta when we had leftovers and it was perfect. This is delicious. 

Sloppy Joes

From Make It Fast, Cook It Slow

  • 1lb. lean ground beef 
  • 1 recipe Sloppy Joe Mix
  • 1 (6oz.) can tomato paste 
  • 1C warm water

Sloppy Joe Mix

  • 1T dried onion flakes
  • 1T paprika
  • 2T brown sugar 
  • 1t cumin
  • 1t salt
  • 1t cornstarch
  • 1/2t garlic powder
  • 1/4t dry mustard
  • 1/4t celery seed 
  • 1/4t black pepper 

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and stir well. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. Serve on buns. 

Verdict: I cooked this a little too long (closer to 7.5 hours) but it was still great. Next time I plan to double the recipe. 

New Project, Old Project

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2016 treats us well and that we treat each other well. 

Let’s quickly review 2015, because it’s the thing to do:

In January of last year, I taught myself how to use my sewing machine. It was frustrating and tear-inducing and it sucked. I did it. 

A lot of my sewing project sucked. I spent a lot of time ripping stitches, swearing so loudly that I woke the dog. I completely ruined at least three things to the point where I never want to see that fabric again. I made myself bleed a bunch. I have scars from my iron. 

But I’m stupidly happy with how both my project and my year turned out. Little Something arrives in April, my cats have never been snugglier, our dog is an adorable idiot, and Mr. Something got a promotion. 

So. 2016. 

In 2016 I’ll continue to sew something new every month. I’ll also make two new (to me) recipes a week, with at least one being a crockpot recipe. At the end of the year, I’ll compile our favorites into The Something Family Cookbook.  

Sound good? I can think of infinite ways this could go sideways. It’s going to be great. 

2015’s Project: Learn. 

Twenty Crafteen is almost over, friends. This year I made (deep breath): coasters, tote bags, crayon rolls, aprons, circle skirts (I miss wearing you so very much), a misshapen dress, baskets, zippered pouches, wine totes, pajama pants, pajama shorts, a nightgown, and baby blankets. 

I didn’t make everything I wanted to make. I was so hoping to make a dress that a) fit and b) I liked, but that didn’t quite happen. But. BUT. 

I started 2015 by texting my amazing friend a picture of my machine’s deconstructed bobbin case with the caption: “what is this and what did I do.” I cried over that stupid bobbin case. 

I started 2015 not knowing how to sew a straight line. 

I started 2015 with no handmade clothes in my closet. 

I started 2015 a less patient person. 

To really stick with a new skill, you have to be patient with yourself and forgiving of yourself, things I’m not sure I have ever done. Past Me had visions of the Wondrous Creations that would fly from my machine with no effort at all. I got frustrated when I realized that this would not be the case. I thought I was failing because I was inherently bad at sewing. 

I changed my expectations, but I still pushed myself to try more challenging projects. And now, at the tail end of the year, I have skills I didn’t have before. I’m proud as hell. And maybe a bit more forgiving of myself?

At the very least, my bobbin case doesn’t make me cry anymore. 

Sleep, You Elusive Jerk (and Overnight Oats)

Oh, sleep. I miss you. You haven’t been easy to come by for two years or so, and now you’re even more difficult to find. My nose is constantly clogged, a delightful symptom of pregnancy, and I have never peed more in my life. 
(I know you have good intentions, friends and readers, but please spare your “Just you wait!” and “You think you’re tired now!” comments. Guys, I know. But you can’t store sleep away in a jar for later, so I’d really like to get it while the getting is good. And being pregnant is really tiring because there is a person living inside me stealing all of my nutrients and fluids.)

So. In addition to being super tired, I am super hungry. All. The. Damn. Time. (Nutrient stealer.) I’ve tried many things to stave off hunger and keep me filled up, but I think I just found my favorite thing. I even bought some cute pint Ball jars expressly for this recipe. I make my own fun. 

Overnight Oats for One

  • 3/4C old-fashioned oats (not quick oats!)
  • 1/2C coconut milk (the kind in a carton; or any kind of milk)
  • 1/4C plain yogurt
  • a glug of real maple syrup 
  • a teeny splash of almond or vanilla extract 
  • a pinch of salt
  • a small handful of dried cranberries
  • pinches of cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, cloves, nutmeg

Mix all ingredients in a pint jar. Leave in fridge overnight. In the morning, add fresh berries, sliced banana, diced apple, etc.