Making Shredded Chicken the Easy Way

Keeping a supply of shredded chicken in your freezer is a great way to simplify your weeknight meals.  The recipes you can make with shredded chicken are endless.  I’ve always hated shredding chicken  until I recently learned a new way using my Kitchen Aid Mixer!

Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (about

2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper

3/4 cup water or low-sodium chicken broth

DIRECTIONS: In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the chicken top-side down in the hot skillet and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes until golden brown on top.

Flip the chicken, add the water or chicken broth, cover the skillet and let the chicken simmer gently over medium heat for 7-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (it will register 160 degrees on a thermometer). Don’t overcook or it might be dry.

While the chicken is simmering, add additional water 1/4 cup at a time if the liquid evaporates too quickly.

Remove the chicken from the skillet. Let it cool slightly before shredding. The cooked chicken will keep well-covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Now the magic!

Place your cooked chicken (make sure it is warm, cold chicken won’t shred well) in the bowl of your Mixer and using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed and gradually increase the speed until chicken is shredded.

Six-Week Bran Muffins

This recipe brought back a lot of memories when I came across it in my old recipe notebook.  I think this recipe is about 20 years old because I remember it being really popular among many of my friends when my kids were very young.  This recipe makes a huge batch of batter that you store in the fridge for up to six weeks.  When you are ready for a quick and easy breakfast, just make however many you want, serve with some fresh fruit and you are ready for the day.  These muffins are incredibly moist and flavorful and when you have a batch in the fridge, you always have something to serve surprise visitors.

1 12 oz box Raisin Bran cereal

2 tsp salt

3 cups sugar

5 cups flour

5 tsp baking soda

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

1 quart buttermilk

Instructions:

In a large bowl, mix the cereal, salt, flour, sugar and baking soda.  Add eggs, oil and buttermilk to mixture.  Mix well and put in a large covered container. You can store this mix in the fridge for up to six weeks.  When ready to bake, heat oven to 400 degrees and fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full; bake for 15-20 minutes.  They can also be baked ahead of time and frozen in zipper top bags.

Blackened Pork Chops

Here is a great week night recipe that you can use for Pork, Chicken, or Fish.

Ingredients

  • 4 -3/4 to 1” thick, boneless pork chops (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, add vegetable oil to a depth of 1/4 inch and place over medium heat while you prepare the chops.
  2. In a pie plate or shallow bowl, combine all seasonings.
  3. In a separate pie plate or shallow bowl, pour melted butter. Dredge each pork chops in butter on both sides, then press each side into seasoning mixture before placing in hot oil.
  4. Repeat with remaining chops. Cook in oil until each side is dark and crusty, about 3-4 minutes, then turn and repeat with opposite side and continue cooking until pork is no longer pink in the center, another 4-5minutes.
  5. Remove cooked pork chops and allow to drain on paper towel lined plate. Serve hot.

Crockpot Cube Steak and Gravy

This recipe turned out so ugly that I did not take a picture of it, but trust me when I say, it was soooo delicious.  I made this other night when Jessica and Ryan were down, and everyone declared it a winner!  Using cube steak is an extremely economical way to feed a family and the fact that you can cook it all day while gone to work makes it a winner in my book.  Nothing like coming home from a long day to smell dinner cooking the minute you walk in the door!

Cube steak   (I used a family size pack)

2 cans (10.75 ounce size) cream of mushroom soup

1 envelope onion soup mix

3/4  cup water

1 large onion, sliced

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a crock pot. Cook on low all day. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes or with your favorite side dishes.

Chicken Spaghetti with Rotel Tomatoes

I’ve posted a chicken spaghetti recipe before, but recently tried this one I found on Pinterest.  Everyone in the family really liked this one and I have to admit, it was a lot easier than my old recipe.  The Rotel gave it just the right amount of kick.

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8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 cups chopped, grilled chicken
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 10-ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
8 ounces sour cream
Sprinkling of Parmesan or Mexican-blend cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil pasta as package directs and drain. Mix all other ingredients (except cheese), add to cooked pasta and put in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with your choice of cheese and return to oven to melt.

Family Pizza Night

Making homemade pizza as a family is a great way to enjoy a Friday evening at home and encourage healthy eating.  We love to make this homemade crust and then let each person add their own toppings.  We use lots of fresh vegis including spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and jalapenos.  Don’t let the homemade crust intimidate you.  It’s really very easy!

Ingredients

1 cup warm water

1 tablespoon white sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Directions

1.  Stir water, sugar and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and the salt. Stir in the flour until well blended. Let dough rest for 10 minutes.

2. Pat dough into pan or on to a pizza stone using fingers dipped in olive oil. If desired sprinkle basil, thyme or other seasonings on crust. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake for 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven.

Easy Chicken Salad

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2 1/2 cups Chicken Breast (finely chopped and chilled)

1 cup Mayo

1 cup celery, chopped

1 cup sliced grapes

2 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced

1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts (I just swish them around in some butter in a hot skillet for a minute or so)

1/4 cup sugar (optional)

1 tsp salt

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

Mix all ingredients together and chill.  Great on lettuce, crackers, or as a sandwich

Chocolate Mint Truffles

This is a super duper easy no bake cookie that tastes delicious.  You can make these out of Girl Scout Thin Mints or use Keebler’s Grasshopper cookies.  Either way, they are a croud pleaser.  With only three ingredients, these would make a perfect recipe for you to prepare with your kids!

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Chocolate Mint Truffles

Yield: 12 truffles

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients

10 oz box of Keebler Grasshopper Cookies

4 oz (1/2 block) cream cheese, softened

almond bark (white)

green food coloring

Directions:

1.  Crush the cookies very finely in a food processor or in a sealed bag. When cookies resemble small crumbs, place in a large mixing bowl.

2.  Mix the softened cream cheese into the cookies with a spoon or you can use a hand mixer.

3.  Roll into 1” balls.  Place on a wax paper or nonstick mat lined baking sheet.

4.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

5.  Melt  almond bark and add green food coloring

6.  Dip truffles completely in bark.  I used two forks to kinda roll them around in the bark and then let the excess drip off.

7.  Place back on lined baking sheet and let set.

8.  If  you want to decorate, you can melt some chocolate and spoon over the top

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  May be frozen as well.  Take out and thaw in the fridge a few hours before you want to serve them.

One Pan Meal

This recipe has been spreading across Pinterest like wildfire and my curiosity was killing me.  Could it really be as easy and delicious as everyone was saying?  Well, like most Pinterest recipes, I was a little disappointed in the results and I should have known better than to cook chicken breast for one hour in an oven, but I wanted to prepare the recipe as written the first time.  The green beans and potatoes were delicious, but the chicken was so tough and tasteless, we could barely eat it!

I’ve made a few adjustments to the recipe and I think you will enjoy it when prepared my way!

1-1.5 lbs chicken breasts (I used tenders because it is all I had)

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and snapped

8 small new potatoes, quartered

1 pkg Italian Dressing Mix

1 stick of butter, melted (do NOT use margarine!)

1.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken breasts

2.  Arrange chicken, potatoes, and green beans in a 9 x 13 pan

3.  Sprinkle with entire package of Italian Dressing Mix

4.  Pour melted butter over entire dish

5.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.  I would check it at 30 minutes.  If vegis are not tender, give it a little more time.

 

 

 

Honey Glazed Chicken Thighs

This is an economical dish that is easy to prepare.  When I first read the ingredients for this recipe, I thought these were going to be very spicy.  I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a very mild taste and should be palatable to even picky eaters!

Ingredients:

1 pkg Chicken Thighs, excess fat and skin trimmed off

kosher salt

pepper

Spice Mix:

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp chili powder

2 tsp garlic powder

Honey Glaze

1/2 cup honey

1 Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

Directions:

1.  Preheat broiler to high

2.  Trim off any excess fat or skin from the thighs and season with salt and pepper

3.  Mix spice mix together and set aside

4.  Mix glaze ingredients together and set aside

5.   Lay the chicken on a cookie sheet

6.  Rub the spice mix into both sides of the chicken

7.  Cook 10 minutes one one side, flip and cook another 10 minutes

8.  Take the chicken out and cover well with the glaze mixture.

9.  Broil for another 5 minutes or so until the honey starts to thicken up and glaze.  It may smoke a little but this is normal.

10.  Take chicken out of the oven and let rest a few minutes

Brisket Tacos

Making brisket tacos is an excellent way to use up your leftover brisket.  We will usually make a brisket and serve it with all the brisket trimmings such as coleslaw and baked beans on the weekend.  Then, during the week, I will take the brisket and shred it to serve as the foundation for the tacos.  Just whip up some fresh pico de gallo, slice some avocados, and you’ve got yourself a great weeknight meal in less than 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

Leftover Brisket (shredded)

Pico De Gallo (recipe follows)

1 Avacodo, sliced

8 corn tortillas (or flour)

Directions:

1.  Shred Brisket, set aside

2.  Prepare Pico

3.  Slice Avacado

4.  Assemble taco by laying out corn tortilla and topping it with brisket, then pico and then avacado

5.  Fold, eat, and enjoy!

Pico de Gallo

6 Campari or Roma Tomatoes, chopped

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped seeds and all

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of 1/2 lime

1/2-1tsp Kosher Salt

Mix all pico ingredients together and serve immediately or allow to chill for 30 minutes for best results.

Bruschetta

My cousin, who married into a large Italian family, taught me how to make this recipe.  I have been growing my own basil every summer just so we can feast on this wonderful snack frequently.  They key to this recipe is using fresh ingredients.  Using high quality fresh tomatoes, and freshly picked Basil will provide you with a taste of Summer Heaven!

Ingredients:

1 pkg Campari Tomatoes, chopped (you can also use one large can of Hunts Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained)

2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6-8 fresh basil leaves, chopped very finely

2 Tbs Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp of Kosher Salt

 

My Favorite Salmon

Here is another three ingredient recipe.  Well really, it is so simple, I’m not sure  you can call it a recipe.  I cannot describe how delicious Salmon tastes when cooked like this.  Everyone who I have served this too, says it is the best Salmon they have ever eaten!

Ingredients

Olive Oil

Tony Chachere Creole Seasoning

1.5 lbs of Salmon (will feed four so buy more or less depending on your needs)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Brush fish with olive oil

Sprinkle on Creole Seasoning to taste (not too much or it will be too salty)

Place in hot oven and cook for 15-20 minutes depending on how thick your cut of fish is.  Do not overcook or it will be tough.

Geoff’s Brisket

In honor of the Fourth of July, I thought I would share a recipe that the Hugheys have been making  for many years.  We serve this brisket whenever we have a large crowd to feed or just want to experience the wonderful leftovers!  This is about the easiest recipe you will ever make.  All you need is 2 ingredients and a large  pan.  Cook this all day in the oven and your house will smell amazing when you walk in from work!

Ingredients

1 large lightly trimmed brisket (about 10-12 lbs)

1 bottle of Claude’s Brisket Sauce (Found in BBQ sauce aisle)

Directions:

Marinate Brisket overnight according to the directions found on the bottle.  Place brisket fat side up in a large pan and pour sauce over the brisket.  Cover with lid or tightly with foil.  Cook for 1 hour at 350 and then lower the temperature to 250 and cook for another 8-10 hours.

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

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This recipe comes straight off Pinterest.  It has several things going for it.  It is unbelievable easy, it is quick to put together, and best of all it is delicious!

Ingredients

2 lbs stew meat

1 onion, diced

2 cans Golden Mushroom Soup

1/2 cup water

2 Tbs Worsteshire sauce

1 8 oz package of cream cheese.

Directions:

1.  Place stew meat into crockpot

2.  Throw in the onions on top

3.  Mix together the soup, water and worstechire sauce and pour over the meat and onions

4.  Bake on low all day or on high for about 4 hours

5.  During the last 30 minutes add the creams cheese until it is melted and creamy

6.  Serve over noodles, rice, or mashed potatoes

Refried Beans

I’ve been trying to make refried beans that taste just like my favorite Tex-Mex restaurants for years.  I’ve searched the internet  for a recipe that gives me the flavor I am looking for, but I’ve had no success.  This weekend, Jessica’s boyfriend, Michael made these beans to go with our breakfast enchiladas that we were having for Jessica’s birthday brunch and he graciously taught me the secret to delicious, authentic, homemade refried beans.

Ingredients:

2 can of black beans (or pinto) drained with liquid reserved

2 Tbs bacon grease (or olive oil)

2-4 oz of queso fresco cheese (crumbled)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1.  Heat grease in a medium sized skillet till it is very hot (if you drop a bean into the pan, it should sizzle)

2.  Add beans to skillet and fry (about 5 – 10 minutes).  Stir frequently

3.  Mash beans while adding reserved liquid

4.  Add cheese to taste and stir while it melts

5.  Add salt and pepper to taste

Corona Blush Party Punch

I found this recipe on pinterest, and I have to admit that I was a little sceptical when I read the ingredient list.  In the end my curiosity got the better of me and I had to try this punch for Jessica’s 25th birthday party.  I had to make a few adjustments to the original recipe, but when I did, the result was a big hit!  If you have a summer function that you need a refreshing punch for, this one might fit the bill.

1 Bag of Ice

12 Corona Lights

4 Cans of Frozen Pink Lemonade Concentrate (allow to melt)

Vodka

Directions:

1.  Fill a large punch bowl with ice (about 1/2 to 3/4 from top)

2.  Pour in beer

3.  Pour in the melted frozen lemonade concentrate

4.  Using your lemonade can to measure, pour in about 2-3 cans of vodka

5.  Stir well

 

Panko Crusted Pork Medallions

Wow, this recipe is going into my bi-weekly rotation.  So easy to make and it came out perfect.  This recipe can be made with any kind of pork, but I used the pork tenderloin like it called for.  It really doesn’t get any better than this for weeknight cooking, easy, quick, healthy, and economical. 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1  (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 8 medallions (about 3/4″ thick)

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

salt

black pepper

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Salt and pepper the pork and then rub mustard evenly over pork medallions. Combine panko, thyme and parsley  in a large bowl. Dredge pork in panko mixture. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pork; sauté 2 minutes or until golden brown. Turn pork. Place skillet in oven; bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until pork reaches 145°. Let stand 3 minutes.

Serving Size:  2 medallions

Calories for:  210

Fat:  9.4 grams

Carbs:  5.1

 

Pasta E Fagioli Soup (Copy Cat of Olive Garden’s popular soup)

This soup is honestly one of the best soups I have ever made.  It is so easy to throw together and the flavors are so fresh.  If you dice your vegis while your meat is browning, you should be able to get this soup into the crockpot in less than fifteen minutes. 

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), drained and rinsed
1 (26 oz.) container beef stock (or 3 cups)
1 jar (24 oz.) of Barilla Marinara Sauce
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 cup uncooked ditalini pasta (or your favorite pasta shape)
Salt, to taste (about ½ tbsp. kosher salt)
1.  Brown hamburger
2.  While hamburger cooks, dice the onion, celery, and carrots
3.  Place all ingredients except pasta into a crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours
4.  Add pasta for last 30 minutes

Basil Shrimp with Feta and Orzo

This meal is easy enough for a weeknight but delicious enough for company.  The key to this recipe is use the best ingredients possible.  Fresh basil and high quality tomatoes (such as Campari or Champagne) are key here.  If you don’t have a foil oven bag, make your own!

1  regular-size foil oven bag

Cooking spray

1 cup uncooked orzo (rice-shaped pasta)

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 cup diced tomato

3/4 cup sliced green onions

1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 450°.

Coat inside of oven bag with cooking spray. Place the bag on a large shallow baking pan.

Cook the pasta in boiling water 5 minutes, omitting salt and fat; drain. Place the pasta in a large bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon oil and next 7 ingredients (1 teaspoon oil through pepper). Place the orzo mixture in prepared oven bag. Combine shrimp and basil. Arrange shrimp mixture on orzo mixture. Fold edge of bag over to seal. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until the shrimp are done. Cut open bag with a sharp knife, and peel back the foil. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil.