Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

Welcome back, crock pot!  I love, love, love the crock pot, I just don’t use it enough.  So easy and I love the way the house starts smelling good halfway through the day!

I love Chinese food, but it’s typically not very good for you, so when I found this recipe on Pinterest, I adapted a bit to make it a little healthier and it was so good.  Another kid and family-friendly dinner.  It was also super-cheap; I had everything but the chicken already in the pantry.  Let me know what you think!

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • little less than 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp diced onion
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch dissolved in 4 tbsp water
  • sesame seeds

Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and then place in the bottom of a crock pot.  In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, onion, vegetable oil, garlic and pepper flakes.  Pour over chicken and cook on low 3-4 hours or on high 1.5 – 2.5 hours.

When chicken is cooked, remove and chop into bite size pieces.  In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch with water and then stir into sauce still in crock pot.  Replace lid and cook on high for 10 minutes or so, until the sauce thickens a bit.  Once thickened, toss the chicken pieces with the sauce in the pot.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve over brown rice and roasted broccoli.

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Pork Tenderloin with Pan Sauce

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and all of the comments of people raving made me want to try it.  I was especially interested that many moms posted that their kids LOVED this recipe and sure enough, it was so tender, even my 17-month old ate it!  My husband has already asked me to make this again this week, so I would call it a winner.

I adapted the recipe a bit for our taste, which is what I am listing below.  I will also paste the link to the original recipe.  The secret is to really let it marinate — great to prepare before work and then just cook when you’re ready.  I served it with baked apples and corn.

  • 1 – 2 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat

Marinade:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • juice of a lemon or 1 tbsp bottled lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • several good cranks of black pepper (maybe 10)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

Pan Sauce

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2-3 tbsp reserved marinade
  • small pat of butter

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well.  Trim the pork tender of as much fat and silver skin as you can.  Place pork in a large Ziplock baggie and pour marinade over it, reserving about 2-3 tbsp for later.  Put in fridge and let marinate for up to 8 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and sear the pork tender for 2 minutes on each side.  Make sure the skillet is good and hot before adding the meat.  No need to add oil to the skillet, the marinade has plenty.  Using tongs, move the tenderloin to an oven-safe dish and bake for about 40 minutes.

While the pork bakes, place the skillet back over medium heat, add 1/2 cup chicken broth and scrape the browned pieces off the bottom of the pan.  Add the reserved marinade (thoroughly mixed) and let boil down for about 3 minutes.  Add a small pat of butter, remove from heat and stir until butter has melted.

Slice the pork and serve with the pan sauce.

Original Source:

http://chefmommy-brandao.blogspot.ca/2012/03/pork-tenderloin-with-pan-sauce.html

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Open-faced blackened catfish sandwiches

I sm so excited that summer is here — one of my favorite seasons to be in the kitchen and enjoying the amazing produce available.  Frank and I love seafood of all kinds, especially fish.  I’m always on the lookout for new ways to prepare it since it’s such a quick, easy thing to fix on weeknights.  I found this recipe in June’s Cooking Light issue (one of my favorite sources for fresh and healthy recipes).

The fish was simple and delicious; we followed the recipe for the slaw, but would probably go back and use my own recipe for slaw when we make these again.  Overall, very good and very quick for a weeknight summertime meal.  Ididn’t get my own photo, but below is the one from the mag.  Doesn’t it look good?

(image from cookinglight.com)

  • catfish fillets
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • olive oil
  • bag of carrot and cabbage slaw
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro (from my herb garden!)
  • slices of sourdough bread, toasted

Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl.  Sprinkle over fish, coating well on both sides.  Heat cast iron skillet over high heat. Add oil to pan and swirl to coat.  Add fish and cook 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Combine yogurt, juice and honey in a large bowl; toss together with slaw and cilantro.

Top bread slices with slaw, fish and remaining slaw.

Smoked Paprika Pork Tenderloin with Succotash

Only two weeks to go in this long pregnancy journey.  One of the side effects I didn’t see coming was not really being into food very much…at least not new, interesting, untested food!  Most of what poor Frank has been eating over the last nine months have been the same comfort foods over and over again…hence, not much new blog material.

However, in celebration of reaching 37 weeks, I branched out last night and tried a new recipe that sounded good (for once) that I found in March’s Clean Eating magazine.  If you haven’t heard of this magazine, check it out.  A lot of the recipes are vegetarian, which doesn’t fly for Frank, but every now and then I find something we both really like.  This recipe was definitely one of them and when the veggies are fresh this summer, I bet it’s even better.  Definitely a do-over and super-easy.  Was ready in under 30 minutes (the magazine claims it only take 15 minutes, but I had to chop everything first).

 Paprika Pork Tenderloin with Succotash (adapted from Clean Eating, March 2011)

  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sliced into about 12 medallions
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed and drained
  • 1 cup of white corn niblets
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

In a mixing bowl, use a whisk to blend together the rub for the pork tender (olive oil, paprika, cumin, S&P) and then toss the meat with the rub, coating well.  Seat bowl aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil to medium heat.  Saute the red pepper and onion for 3 minutes or until onion is translucent.  Add corn and lima beans, sauteing another 3 minutes or until heated through.  Pour mixture into another mixing bowl, toss with healthy dash of S&P to taste and cilantro (optional) and set aside, keeping warm.

Wipe out pan and heat last tsp of olive oil to medium heat.  Add pork medallions and cook about 3 minutes on both sides or until done.

To serve, spoon succotash onto plate and then place 2-3 pork medallions on top.  Can also spoon a little of the pan juices over the pork if desired.  Serve with a side salad and crunchy roll. 

Will be PERFECT for summer!

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

I adapted this recipe from my friend Jen’s great cooking blog, bakinandeggs.com, who I believe also adapted it from a recipe she found elsewhere.  Needless to say, it’s really good and simple.  The marinade includes a little honey and the natural sugars found in honey really make the chicken brown nicely.  Plus, you know I can’t pass up an opportunity to showcase my herbs from my beloved herb garden.

Make this part of your summer grilling repertoire.  I think I threw in some grilled okra (tossed with olive oil, Cavendars Greek Seasoning and pepper — thanks, Amanda!) and a fresh fruit salad to round out this summer meal.

Prepare the marinade before work and when you get home, it will be perfect and ready for the grill.  Remember to  remove the chicken and let it sit out at room temp for about 10-15 minutes before grilling.  This helps the meat cook more evenly.  If it’s too cold, the inside won’t always get cooked through before the outside is charred.

Grilled Rosemary Chicken

 

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • little salt
  • as much fresh rosemary, finely chopped, as you want
  • 2-4 chicken breasts

In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade.  Place the chicken breasts in a ziplock baggie and pour the marinade over it, turning several times to coat well.  Chill for about 8 hours.

Heat grill to medium heat, about 350-375.  Grill chicken until desired doneness, about 10 minutes on either side, depending on how thick the chicken is.

Grilled Zucchini Spears with Fresh Mint

It’s been a slow few weeks for the blog.  We’ve been on vacation and in all honesty, making a lot of the same dinners that are already on here.  Life has been hectic, to say the least, but that is no excuse to not cook, especially this time of year.  I love this time of year, with the all the beautiful Alabama produce.  We’ve been enjoying fresh corn, okra and tomatoes and here, zucchini.

These are super-simple and make a great, healthy, cheap and fast side-dish.  Can’t beat that!

  • Several zucchini, washed with both ends trimmed
  • tablespoon olive oil
  • S&P
  • fresh mint leaves, torn

Preheat grill to 350.  Wash zucchini and trim both ends off.  Slice zucchini lengthwise into spears.  Place on cookie sheet and drizzle olive oil over the veggies, coating well.  Shake a healthy amount of salt and pepper onto the veggies and grill for 10 minutes or so, until tender.

Garnish with fresh mint leaves.  Serve with pan-fried chicken (find that recipe here) and a fresh salad or slaw.

Spicy Shrimp with Linguine

I have no idea how in the world this recipe found its way into Cooking Light, but it did, I swear.  I’m not going to lie, I consider this is a little on the indulgent side, especially for a Monday, but it was calling my name.  I had every intention of making this super-healthy shrimp dish from my friend Jen’s fantastic blog, using herbs from my garden, but when I got home tonight, I changed my mind and decided on something spicy and carby. 

I had found this recipe in June’s Cooking Light and had a xerox of it in my office (long story) and had everything at home to make it, including the shrimp.  We only had to substitute whole wheat penne for linguinne, but no love lost.  Carbs are carbs in this house.  We really enjoyed this dish and you can make it healthier by using olive oil instead of butter and probably (not totally sure about this) skim milk with a teapsoon of flour for thickening instead of cream.  But try this once the right way.  Then figure out how to cut it back.  🙂

Another bonus:  it was on the table in 20 minutes flat.  Serve with a green salad and maybe French bread to soak up the extra sauce?

Spicy Shrimp with Linguine (or whatever)

  • 8 ounces of uncooked linguine
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb peeled and deveined medium shrimp
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (with like Tony’s)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley

Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm.  In the bag that the shrimp came in, add the Cajun seasoning, red pepper and salt; shake well to coat the shrimp.

  Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute about 3 minutes, until tender.  Add tomatoes and garlic, saute another 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic (might have to adjust the heat). 

Add shrimp to pan; saute for 5 minutes or until almost done.  You don’t want them opaque yet, but just about there.  Remove from heat and stir in cream.  Let sit for a minute or two, until the shrimp are done. Pour shrimp mixture over pasta, mix well.  Top with chopped parsley.