Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Beefy Cheesy Chicken w/ Bacon & Peppers

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Want something absolutely delicious and comforting but you won’t care after the first bite that it’s maybe not the healthiest choice?  Then read on!


 

I woke up the other morning with a massive headache.  My head was on my pillow in a strange position and I knew the moment I woke up that movement was going to be bad.  As soon as I straightened my neck out, the pain just whooshed from my neck into my head.  Unfortunately/fortunately, it was a headache that was just bad enough to make me an unhappy Sashi but not so bad that I couldn’t go to work.

I powered through it and got through my work day but having a headache with neck pain while dealing with the stress of learning a new job meant my head really wasn’t much better by the time I got home again.  Plus, the lunch I had brought to work that day wasn’t nearly enough so not only was I stressed with a headache but I was also famished.  So I wanted comforting, filling food and quickly!

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I had ground beef, chicken and a red pepper that needed to be used but didn’t really have a whole lot to go with any of it since grocery shopping wasn’t going to be happening until the next day.  It was also the day before pay-day so my wallet wouldn’t allow for the rare treat of eating out or ordering in.

Fortunately, we did have a few potatoes left as well as a few slices of bacon and some cheese… which I realized was pretty close to the ingredients for Chicken Alambre… which I thought might be kinda tasty with potatoes… which is what I ended up making… which was really GOOD.

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So the potatoes were quickly diced, oiled, seasoned and thrown into the oven.  The bacon was then cooked and set aside while the ground beef was cooked with the same seasonings I  used to make chorizo.  By the time the chicken and peppers were cooked, the potatoes were ready and dinner was ready to go.

Mr. O can attest that I made a lot of yummy sounds while eating this.  I still had a headache thanks to my stiff neck but it was better because the stress was pretty much gone by the end of dinner.  I would have preferred to eat this taco style on flour tortillas but the potatoes as the base were down right delicious.  It was a plateful of comfort and a great cure for a stress headache.*

Beefy Cheesy Chicken w/ Bacon & Peppers
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Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 6 slices of bacon, cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ancho chile pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp ground clove
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into ½" strips
  • 4 oz shredded Cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Once heated, cook the bacon, stirring often, until browned and crispy, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour the remaining grease from the pan.
  3. Return the pan to the stove and heat up again. Add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking up large clumps, until cooked about halfway through, 3-4 minutes. Add the spices, herbs and vinegars and stir to combine. Cook 2 minutes more.
  4. Add the chicken and red bell pepper to the ground beef. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the bacon back to the pan and add the cheddar. Stir until the cheese is melted and remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Serve on tortillas or over roasted potatoes.
Notes
Adapted from my Chicken Alambre

 

* Not real medical advice 😉

 

 

 

Chipotle BBQ Pizza with Bacon & Pineapple

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Crispy crust topped with spicy BBQ sauce, lots of ooey gooey cheese, sweet tart pineapple and salty bacon… better make 2 because everyone will want some of this!


 

Holy chipotle!  Can you believe I haven’t had a pizza recipe on the site since October??  That just doesn’t seem right.  Yeah, yeah, never mind the hiatus.  It’s still been too long since I posted a pizza.  After all, it’s one of my favorite food groups.

Oh, I’ve still been consuming pizzas in a variety of forms and flavors, just nothing really new so they haven’t been recipe worthy.  I’m about to change that dry spell with an amazing one, though.  Seriously.

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I had made the BBQ sauce previously with this in mind so the pizza itself came together pretty quickly.  The BBQ sauce recipe makes about 3 cups but I always find uses for BBQ sauce.  I’m a condiment addict, though, so I usually have a few sauces on hand anyway.

I prefer fresh pineapple for things like this but 1) I cheat and get the whole pineapple that’s already been peeled and cored which is the same price as the prickly whole ones at Kroger and 2) I think canned would work just as well if fresh pineapple ain’t your thang.  I just prefer the texture of the fresh in most cases.

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If you want to make this a tad heartier, you could also add some cooked chicken.  Since this recipe makes 2 pizzas, I actually added some leftover chicken to the other one and I enjoyed it just as much.

I also used a blend of cheeses for this pizza but feel free to just use mozzarella if you prefer.  I even think a touch a blue cheese would be delicious here.  I just didn’t have any on hand when I thought of it.

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So, what else did I do with the sauce?  Well, it was my birthday yesterday, so we had a couple friends over on Saturday to just hang out.  I used some of the sauce to make chicken wings.  Hmm… that’s another post I should do some soon.  🙂

 

Chipotle BBQ Pizza with Bacon & Pineapple
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Cook time: 
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Makes: 2 pizzas
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or ¼ oz packet)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 c warm water (hot water directly from tap)
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 2½ c bread flour or all-purpose flour OR 1½ c bread flour (or AP flour) + 1 c white-wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 Tbsp cornmeal
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 4 oz Monterrey Jack cheese
  • 2½" slices of pineapple
  • 1 c sweet & spicy chipotle BBQ sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the hot water, gently stirring to break up any clumps. Let stand until creamy and almost doubled, about 10 minutes.
  3. While the yeast bubbles, cook the bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, flipping occasionally, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Stir flour, salt and oil in with the yeast mixture. Use hands to mix well. Let rest uncovered for about 5 minutes.
  5. Lightly grease 2 round pizza pans with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal.
  6. Press dough to shape on the baking sheet, making it as even as possible. Alternatively, you could also roll it on a floured surface to your desired size and transfer it to the baking sheet.
  7. Bake 5-7 min or until just starting to brown slightly.
  8. While the crusts are baking, shred the cheeses and toss together. Set aside.
  9. Cut each pineapple slice into quarters then each quarter into 3 pieces. Set aside.
  10. Cut the bacon into ½" pieces. Set aside.
  11. Remove the crusts from the oven.
  12. Spread ½ cup of the sauce over the top of each crust.
  13. Sprinkle half of the cheese evenly over each pizza.
  14. Sprinkle the top of each pizza evenly with half of the bacon and pineapple.
  15. Finish baking for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.

 

Honey-Garlic Pasta

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Need a simple side dish?  Just toss pasta with butter, honey, garlic and herbs and you’ll get a pasta dish that is unbelievably delicious!


 

Yeah, a whole stick of butter makes this not exactly healthy but there are certainly worse things you could put in your body.  Plus, when served with chicken and vegetables, it pretty  much balances out.  I think that is key with most things, not just food.  You need to find a good balance.

With work and life issues right now, I definitely feel a bit out of balance.  It’s getting better, especially since I am now finishing up my 3rd week in the new position at work.  Before I was offered the position, my life seemed to consist of working and looking for work.

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I would work my 8 hour shift, doing double the work because we were short a person and that position wasn’t going to be filled since it was going away anyway.  Then I would come home and spend my evening going through all the job sites and submitting my resume to anything I was even remotely qualified for.  On the weekends, I was doing the same thing.

Finally, one evening, Mr. O said he missed me.  He pointed out what I was doing to myself and he was worried.  He was right.  I was so worried and panicked about the job thing, mainly because I was also 100% responsible for myself for pretty much the first time in my life and my income source was going away.

But the more I concentrated on my  job search, the more withdrawn I was becoming and the more depressed I was getting.  I had no balance in my life and I needed to get some back.

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So I started to limit how much time I would spend in the evenings and forced myself to do things I enjoyed, like actually watch a movie instead of having it on in the background.  I also started working on the blog again which was something I really needed to do, anyway, since my 2 week break had extended into several.

Once I did that, I did feel better.  Not great but definitely better.  Being offered the new position at work was certainly a godsend, too.  The night I got the offer was the first night in literally months that I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night.

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So when it comes to rich dishes like this butter laden pasta with all the garlic and honey, I just make sure I balance it with healthier choices.  Granted, for this particular meal, I went with the rosemary orange roasted chicken legs that I posted on Monday but you can always discard the skin like Mr. O does.  We eat a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breasts during the week, though, so it balances out.

Honey-Garlic Pasta
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Cook time: 
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Makes: 6 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz pkg whole wheat thin spaghetti (or other thin pasta like angel hair)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter (4 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • ¼ c honey
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ c freshly grated Parmesan
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain.
  2. As soon as you put the pasta in water, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the honey, thyme, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
  5. Stir in the Parmesan until smooth. Set aside.
  6. Toss the drained pasta and butter mixture together. Serve immediately.
Notes
Adapted slightly from Taste of Home

 

Rosemary Orange Roasted Chicken

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Orange zest, rosemary, and garlic under the skin of roasted chicken legs… yes, please!


 

Yay!  It’s that time of the month again!  I’m talking about Secret Recipe Club reveal time, of course.  🙂  This time, I was assigned Teaspoon of Spice, a blog by “two dietitians who love food as much as you do.”  I love how upbeat and positive they are and that put a lot of emphasis on flavor.  I had a lot of fun perusing their recipes but ultimately ended up choosing the Ugly Rosemary Orange Roasted Chicken.  The picture really was of a homely hen on a platter which made me giggle.  Proof that food doesn’t have to be pretty to be pleasing to the palate.

I didn’t pick up a small bird for this but instead used a couple large chicken legs that I already had in the freezer.  They didn’t turn out any prettier. 🙂

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Oh, my gawd, they were tasty, though!  Mixing the herbs, orange zest, and garlic with oil then stuffing it under the skin before roasting it made more than just the skin taste good.  Even the meat had a faint but wonderful flavor which is certainly a plus.

Unfortunately for my pictures, I also made a whole wheat pasta dish (to be posted on Thursday) and cauliflower so the plate looks sooooo boring!  This would have been one of the first times I would have sprinkled on chopped parsley just for add a little color.

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I guess that all just falls under “ugly but delicious” category, though, because nothing on that plate was bland.  Definitely let the dried herbs sit in the oil while the oven preheats, though, to help soften them.

When you go check out Teaspoon of Spice, though, make sure you also check out their Healthy Kitchen Hacks.  They’ve got some good ideas there on top of all the yummy recipes!

Rosemary Orange Roasted Chicken
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Makes: 2-4 servings (depending on appetite)
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Grated orange peel from 1 medium orange
  • 1 Tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chicken leg quarters (drumstick and thigh attached)
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the oil, rosemary and oregano. Let it set while preheating the oven to 375°. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. Once the oven is preheated, add into the oil the zest, garlic, salt and pepper.
  3. Use your fingers to gently loosen the skin from the meat but don't remove it! It will be easy to loosen from the thigh but use your fingers to work it loose around the drumstick.
  4. Spread half of the orange-herb mixture under the skin of each chicken quarter, working it down to the drumstick.
  5. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-40 meats or until the juices run clear and skin is golden brown.
  6. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.
Notes
Adapted from Teaspoon of Spice

 
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Bacon Ranch Chicken

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Sometimes the tastiest meals aren’t the prettiest.  Chicken slow cooked in a bacon ranch sauce then shredded makes a delicious topping for potatoes, rice, noodles or even as a sandwich filling!


I’m not usually a fan of boneless, skinless chicken breast cooked in the slow cooker.  I can’t explain why exactly, just that the texture seems a bit… off.  If it’s going to be shredded, then it’s not an issue.  So when I originally saw this recipe/post over on Zestuous, I realized I’m not the only one!  The sauce for this chicken that she made sounded sinfully delicious!

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I made this on Saturday because it does take a little prep work to make the sauce but I could see making it the night before and starting the slow cooker before leaving for work.  I love not having to cook when I get home from work!

Christie served it over toast but I chose to bake potatoes instead.  Rice or pasta would be great choices, too.  She also suggested using this as a cold filling for sandwiches or wraps which is an idea I could easily get behind considering I already like cold leftovers.  This is definitely a versatile entrée!

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Hmm… I wonder if this would freeze well.  I’d be nice to stock my freezer up for easily reheated meals for those nights that I really don’t feel like cooking.  I’ll be getting a small bonus the end of March (hopefully) and that’s what I intend to use it for.

What are some of your favorite make ahead freezer meals?  I could definitely use some suggestions!

 

Bacon Ranch Chicken
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Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 6 - 8 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 12 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried dill
  • ½ tsp dried chives
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 c low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped into ½" pieces
  • 2 - 2½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ c sour cream
Instructions
  1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until golden and crispy, about 7-10 minutes and stirring often. Do not drain off the grease.
  2. While the bacon is cooking, in a small bowl, mix together the flour, parsley, garlic powder, dill, chives, salt, and optional red pepper flakes. Set aside until the bacon is done cooking.
  3. Once the bacon is golden and crispy, stir the flour-herb mixture into the bacon and bacon grease. Keep stirring until smooth and golden, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the broth until smooth and starting to thicken, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Stir in the mayonnaise and tomatoes then pour the sauce into a 5 qt slow cooker.
  6. Arrange the chicken on top of the sauce, flipping it a few times to coat it with the sauce.
  7. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low for 6-10 hours.
  8. Use a large spoon or tongs to break up the cooked chicken into small pieces. Stir in the sour cream and serve over potatoes, rice, pasta, toast, etc.
Notes
Adapted from Zestuous

 

 

Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Boats

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It’s like eating a burger and fries in one bite!  Just top them with your favorite burger toppings, like ketchup, mustard and pickles.


 

Now that the stress of the job situation is finally gone, I find myself obsessing over food again, not just eating it but thinking about it, reading about it, cooking it, all the fun stuff.  Of course eating it is a huge part of the fun but I love being involved again with the other aspects.

When I was menu planning last week, I had burgers listed as quick and easy meal but couldn’t decide between oven fries or the more decadent tater skins.  Then I got to thinking about my bacon cheeseburger pizza which I haven’t made in a long time.  But I REALLY wanted potatoes of some kind.

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Then it hit me: I could combine them!  Taters stuffed with ground beef, bacon and cheese and topped with burger toppings… yes, please!

Like a lot of kids (and some adults), I have… on occasion… put my fries on my burger.  This is especially good when the fries are really crispy and salty and when the burger is dripping with toppings.  Eating these potato boats reminded me a lot of that and ended up being a wonderfully comforting meal.

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I am now one week in with my new position at work.  It’s pretty much what I was expecting it to be but my new coworkers are a lot nicer than I was expecting so that certainly helps!  I’ve also figured out a hole in my budgeting so money should hopefully be a little less tight moving forward as well.

I finally feel secure enough to start completely unpacking the apartment as well.  With the job situation, I was scared that I’d have to move right away so the 2nd bedroom is still home to lots of boxes.  I’m really looking forward to having an art area again!  I’m also going to set up a staging area for taking food pics.  Right now, I am using a TV tray in the middle of my kitchen with my light mod clipped to an open cabinet door.

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That set up works okay but it’s certainly not ideal as you can tell from my more recent pics.  It also doesn’t help that I have to set up and tear down each and every time since my kitchen is really small.  But it works well enough for now, I think.

As long as I can still cook, though, it works.  I just have to get more creative with my prep set up and if I am anything, I am a creative problem solver which is proven, I think, by this meal. 🙂

Bacon Cheeseburger Potato Boats
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Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 12 halves
 
Ingredients
  • 6 medium russet potatoes
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp kosher salt + more to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 oz can diced tomato, drained
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 8 oz cheddar, shredded
Instructions
  1. Bake the potatoes at 400° for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until done. Let cool 20-30 minutes or until cool enough to handle.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon in a large flat skillet until golden brown. Set aside on paper towels to dry. Drain off the grease and set the skillet aside.
  3. While the potatoes are cooling, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat in the reserved skillet, stirring often to break up any large pieces. After about 5-7 minutes, when there is still some pink left, stir in the Worcestershire, cayenne, salt, pepper, and tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, until the beef is cooked through and any residual liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes more. Set aside.
  4. Preheat broiler on high. Cover a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  5. Cut each potato in half. With a spoon, scoop some of the potato out of each half, leaving about ¼" of potato on the skin. Save or discard the scooped bits.
  6. Place each potato skin on the baking sheet skin side up. Brush the skins with about half of the butter. Sprinkle each with a small bit of salt. Turn the potatoes so they are skin side down and brush with the remaining butter. Broil 6-8 minutes about 5-6" from the heat until the potatoes are crispy with browned edges. Remove from the oven.
  7. Break or cut the bacon into small pieces and stir into the beef mixture. Fill the potato halves with the beef-bacon mixture.
  8. Sprinkle each evenly with cheese. Broil 1-2 minutes more or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
  9. Serve hot with choice of burger toppings, such as ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc.

 

 

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