3 Super Easy Chicken Recipes

For the 4 years I lived at college I had a slice of cheese pizza, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a cookie brownie juuuuust about every night for dinner. (Thanks for that super expensive meal plan mom and dad, sorry I used it solely on carbs and cheese.)

I was not the girl pretending she wanted salad every night to avoid the freshman 15. I just danced off the freshman 15 with my roommates each night. We were a girly cliche. They made me wear pink. It was lovely.

ANYWAY. What I’m trying to say is that I really don’t require a lot of variety in my eating. Pizza and I are very happy together. Pasta is a great back up. I spent literally all of 2014 expanding my palate and learning what healthy eating is. Now, I buy organic when I can, I visit the farm in spring and summer months, I try not to put cheese and salt on everything. I actually eat vegetables. (I lost 14 pounds through just healthy eating and 30 minutes a day of exercising!!)

Learning how to eat healthy also requires learning how to cook new things, or learning how to cook the same thing in different ways. Therefore, I present to you, some really easy chicken recipes to help you shake things up a bit in the new year.

1. Hummus Crusted Chicken (by Gimme Some Oven).

hummus-crusted-chicken-4

(find the full recipe here)

I use vegetable hummus, and substitute the vegetable side the recipe recommends with couscous.  It’s very delicious and only takes 30 minutes to cook… which means I can prepare it, pop it in the oven, complete a T25 exercise routine, then eat it. Holler.

2. Moist & Tender Chicken Breasts (by The Kitchn)

Chicken-1

(find the full recipe here)

Chicken is often dry and sad. This chicken is moist and delicious. I didn’t have the right pan, but I used a skillet and a lid from another pan and stuffed some balled up paper towels in the spouts of my skillet. It worked perfect. Served with steamed white rice and green beans.

3. Rosemary Lemon Chicken (by No Recipe Required)

Rosemary Lemon Chicken Recipe

(full recipe here)

My friend Amy & I have been sending each other chicken recipes for a few weeks now- this one I haven’t tried yet but she says it’s delish and I trust her, so I’m going to make it this weekend and you should too. Amy says try it with 1/2 a lemon instead of a whole one (but I don’t know, Matt & I realllllly like lemon).

So there you go, for all of you with nice and healthy New Years Resolutions, here’s some new dishes to try with your old favorite go-to’s. :)

Easy, Creamy Tomato Soup

I posted this easy, creamy tomato soup recipe about 2 years ago and it has become an absolute staple at my house because it’s so easy and adaptable, so I thought I’d revisit it today with some more options of things to add in.

easy creamy tomato soup recipe

Food photographer I am not.

The bare bones of the recipe (for two people) is:

  •  1 can of diced or stewed tomatoes (sometimes I buy the Italian seasoned can, sometimes I grab the diced green chiles style)
  •  2 carrots diced (sometimes I just use a drained can of carrots for this one if I’m feeling lazy)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Seasonings to taste (basil, oregano, Adobo, salt, pepper, chili pepper… whatever)

Put all your ingredients together in the blender until mixed, then heat in the microwave and serve. SO EASY. SO QUICK. SO DELICIOUS.

I make this soup at least once a month, but it’s different every time. Here’s some other stuff I’ve thrown in:

  • Half an avocado (makes it super creamy!)
  • Shredded chicken
  • Diced potatoes (again, from the can if I’m feeling lazy)
  • Cheese! Mozzarella, parmesan, gruyere…
  • Minced garlic
  • Chives

This easy, creamy tomato soup is so perfect for a cold winter night. What else would you add in?

Another Delicious Applesauce Recipe

I was going to post not one but TWO small and easy DIY’s today today, they’re all set up in my house and have been done for a week…. but then I had so much fun with my family this weekend that daylight was gone by the time I was free to take pictures.

So instead you’re getting an applesauce recipe. Because there aren’t enough of them floating around this time of year. Ahem.

But wait! This one has a cute kid in it!

apple pic

First, you must take your 2 year old nephew (or, you know, your own kid) apple picking. Make sure he’s wearing his sunglasses and Spidey hoodie.

Next, get home and let the reality of how many apples you picked settle in. Separate 6 pounds of the zillion you have, peel then core them. I used 3 different types of apples (Cortland, Macintosh, and one other I don’t remember)

Chop them up into chunks, then add them to a pot with:

  • about 1 1/4 cup water (or apple juice if you’ve got it)
  • Cinnamon, clove, pumpkin spice (no measurements here, just enough to lightly coat)
  • A good squirt of lemon or lime juice (I used lime)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used regular old granulated, but brown sugar would probably be awesome)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Stir occasionally while they simmer for about 25 minutes.

If you have a mashed potato masher, go to town. Then, if you like it very smooth and chunk-free (like I do), run it through a food processor or blender.

easy applesauce recipe

 

You’ll notice this recipe doesn’t have a ton of measurements or requirements, and there’s lots of options. There really are a ton of ways to make it, and really the only essentials are apples, a liquid of some kind, and cinnamon. Everything else is just to taste!

So tell me… what you are doing with all your apples? I have about 10 pounds still left.

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (so easy you’ll gasp out loud)

I hesitated to write this post. These cookies are hands down the #1 request I get when I go somewhere… and I bake a lot. And I bake a lot from scratch. But I’ve got a secret…

These cookies are totally not from scratch. Don’t tell anyone, mmkay?

mint chocolate chip cookie easy recipe

Here’s the deal- buy a chocolate chip cookie bag mix (store brand, Betty Crocker, it doesn’t matter). Then doctor it up like so:

  • The bag mixes usually requires 1 egg– make that one egg a farm fresh egg. The yolk is SO much more yellow and the white is awesome and it fluffs up your cookies like you have no idea. Trust me.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of vanilla extract (homemade if you can- I’ve got a recipe for it here). If your bag mix happens to call for water, do half water and half vanilla instead.
  • Add a tablespoon of sugar, which will help balance the extra liquid you just added with the vanilla
  • To make the cookies mint chocolate chip, add some chocolate mint leaves. I grow it in my yard so I usually use 5-7 good size sprigs, rip off the leaves, grind them up in my food processor, and stir them right in.

 

mint chocolate chip cookies

 

 

And my last tip, but definitely the most important- preheat the oven to whatever the bag tells you (usually 350*), but when you put the cookies in lower the temperature by about 25* (usually to 325*) and bake for a few extra minutes. The decrease in temperature softens your cookies and makes them rise much better. This works AWESOME with cupcakes too.

BAM- you’ve got cookies that take less then 20 minutes from start to finish and everyone thinks you’re a master baker. You’re welcome. :)

easy chocolate chip cookie recipe

 

So tell me, what else do you hack to make amazing and easy? Pasta sauce (gravy, if you’re Italian like me) is another one I doctor up 100% of the time as well.

3 Easy Pasta Recipes

I’m all about pasta recipes. I could eat it literally every single night- and pretty much used to until I moved in with Matt and he made me eat other things. Here’s a few so easy anyone can make them!

easy pasta recipes 3 three easy

One quick go-to of mine is Breadcrumb Spaghetti, because I always have the ingredients on hand. You can see the full recipe here. I posted it 2 years ago and it’s still something I make regularly.

easy pasta recipe breadcrumb spaghetti

 

Last night at the allergist’s office the Pioneer Woman’s show was playing and the recipe was so delish I had to go home and try it myself… good thing they make you sit for 30  minutes so I had time to see the whole thing! Her recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Pasta is here.

My version of her recipe, recreated for 2 people:

  • While your pasta water is boiling, chop up 3 cloves garlic and put them in the blender with a medium jar of roasted red peppers
  • Put the blended mix in a lightly oiled skillet (I use extra virgin olive oil) and add in Adobo, basil, and parsley to taste. I used about 4 leaves of dried basil and 3 sprigs of parsley (which I had frozen from my garden last summer)
  • Add half cup chicken stock, half cup whole milk, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet
  • Bring it to a low boil while your pasta cooks, and once it is cooked and drained put it in the skillet with the sauce for a few minutes to stew/absorb
  • ENJOY! BECAUSE IT IS DELICIOUS! My sauce came out a little watery, so if you prefer a thicker sauce I recommend cutting the chicken stock in half.

Tip: To measure out pasta amounts I put our serving sized (uncooked) on our plates, taking into account pasta swells when cooked, and then just dump that into the pot. :)

 

We also recently tested out Chickpea Lemon Pasta after I saw it on Living Well on the Cheap and it was also really light and easy. The original recipe is here

 

Here’s my version:

  • Salt your water and bring it to a boil. Separately, melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add about half a cup of breadcrumbs to brown, once browned put in your (large) serving pot.
  • Now that the skillet is empty, add in a little extra virgin olive oil and 2-3 chopped cloves of garlic. Let cook for about 2 minutes then add in a can of chickpeas (do not drain). Bring this to a low boil while adding in lemon, salt, and pepper to taste. I used about 2 tablespoons of lemon and thought that was a bit much.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to your large serving pot. Add your chickpea sauce and stir, then add Parmesan or mozzarella to taste.

 

What do you do to spruce up your pasta?

Pinterest Food Challenge: Slow Cooker Chicken

You guys, I totally hopped on the slow cooker train recently- and I am so mad I was so afraid of it for so long.

Sidenote: I freaking love to cook and bake. But I have really weird fears surrounding it. Like when I moved into my very first apartment I didn’t eat chicken for a year because I was afraid I’d under cook it and accidentally kill myself. And now how I’ve owner a slow cooker for 2 years and just used it for the first time this month.

EXCEPTION TO THIS…. always use your slow cooker to keep rolls warm when you’re hosting dinner. It’s freaking brilliant.

 

ANYWAYS. CHICKEN. I MADE SOME.

pinterest recipe, recipe, cook, bake, food

I haven’t posted for the Pinterest Food Challenge in an exceptionally long time, so here’s 2 solid and easy slow cooker recipes for you.

 

1. Ranch Chicken:

  • Put 1 can cream of chicken soup and  1 packet of Ranch powder in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Add 1-2 lbs. chicken breast and stir that up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

Really… just dump a few things in the slow cooker and have yourself a par-tay because it is literally that easy.

 

2. Tex Mex Chicken (adapted from this recipe at Close To Home):

  • Put 1 cup salsa, 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese, 1 small can of corn, 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper, 1 jalepeno pepper, and 1-2 pounds chicken in your slow cooker and stir it up a bit. Let it slow cook for 5-6 hours.

 

My slow cooker looks to be from the 60s or 70s, I inherited it from my aunt. And the “low” setting doesn’t seem to work so I cook everything on high. For both those recipes I filled up the pot around 11am and served dinner at 5:30 and the chicken was safely not pink, and so so melt in your mouth delicious. Did you know chicken could melt in your mouth? Because it sort of almost totally can.

 

Enjoy!

And please, share more slow cooker recipes in the comments because I would love some.

 

Pinterest Food Challenge: Watermelon Cake

I bet ya’all thought I forget abou the Pinterest Food Challenge, but I can assure you I did not. Lately I’ve just been sticking with some of my favorite recipes, like pink lemonade cupcakes and sugar doodle cookies.

For the fourth of July, though, I tried out something new and DELICIOUS: Watermelon Cake from Bird on a Cake

pinterest-food-challenge

 

Once a month, cook or bake something you’ve pinned- put those pins to use people!

Overall, I found this recipe super simple to follow and I only altered two things: no chocolate chips in the cake and a whole lot more watermelon puree in the frosting. Check on the original recipe here, and this is how I did it:

Cake

  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 (3 oz.) box of watermelon Jell-O powder (set aside 2 teaspoons for frosting)
  • 1/2 cup watermelon puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 12-15 drops red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350* and line 2 round cake pans with wax paper (I traced the pan on the paper then cut it out), then spray the sides of your pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs then combine cake mix, Jell-O, water and oil then mix on medium speed. Next, add watermelon puree and beat until blended. Add red food coloring a little at a time, until you reach the shade you want. Pour into pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Once the cake has cooled, cut the edges off- they’ll be a little stiff and browned and your cake will taste better without them. I actually recommend you do this every time you bake a layer cake.

Frosting

  • 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons watermelon puree
  • 2 teaspoons watermelon Jell-O powder
  • red and green food coloring

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but sugar and food coloring. Beat until well blended then add the sugar one cup at a time while beating on medium. Separate 1/3 of the frosting to color green, then color the remainder red.

20130704_103601

To make the banner I just used 2 skewers, colored paper, ribbon, and a star shaped hole punch. Tie the yarn to either end of the skewer, fold your colored paper in half and cut out triangles then glue them hanging over the yarn, punch out your stars and glue them on too- it took about 5 minutes!

 

It was DELICIOUS, I’m so glad I found the recipe and it really was simple and sans weird ingredients I’ve never heard of.

What have you been baking this summer??