Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Creative Sweet, Salty & Spicy Pizzas (QFM)

One of my favorite Quick Fix Meals is making pizza.  I buy dough from the store and meals come together in less than a half hour.  Another favorite thing: using non-traditional pizza sauces.  These two pizzas are definitely different.  The first uses BBQ sauce instead of pizza sauce and the second uses Pesto!  

I made these two creative pizzas using the Shredded BBQ Chicken and the Sweet and Spicy Cherry Peach Salsa.

The first was a play off of the Cherry Peach Salsa BBQ Chicken Tacos.  Basically all those ingredients on a pizza!

BBQ Chicken Cherry Peach Pizza 
Store Bought Pizza Dough
1/8 Cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce or enough to spread all over your pizza dough
Shredded BBQ Chicken
1/4 Cup of the Cherry Peach Salsa
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Sprinkling more of the Cherry Peach Salsa to put on top
Roll out your pizza dough on a cookie sheet or pizza pan.  Spread BBQ Sauce.  Add Shredded Chicken, Peach Salsa and Cheese.  Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Top with remaining Cherry Peach Salsa.

The second was inspired by a pizza I saw on The Sweets Life for Nectarine and Prosciutto Pizza.  Only instead of using Prosciutto, I used up the rest of our shredded chicken. This recipe combined Basil Pesto (that I made a few days ahead in the food processor), Peaches/Nectarines, Shredded Chicken, Red Onion and Monterey Jack Cheese. So it had that whole spicy, sweet, fresh combo going on.  Sounds completely random, but I think this was a winning pizza and one I will make again.

Pesto, Chicken and Nectarine Pizza
Inspired by The Sweets Life
Store Bought Pizza Dough or make your own
1/4 cup of Basil Pesto (Make your own!  I use a big handful of basil, pine nuts, handful of parm, salt, pepper and 1/4 cup of good quality Olive Oil)
Shredded Chicken
Half a Red Onion, Sliced in Half Moons
1 Nectarine and/or Peach, cut in circles or slices
1/2 Cup of Monterey Jack Cheese
Roll out your dough on a cookie sheet.  Spread the Basil Pesto as the base.  Top with Chicken, Onions and Nectarine/Peaches.  Add Shredded Cheese on top.  Bake at 425 for 10-20 minutes.  Serve with delicious Kale Chips!

Love my pizzas! Can't wait to make both of these again!
What's your favorite non-traditional sauce?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pulled BBQ Chicken Tacos with Cherry Peach Salsa

Long title right?  I left you hanging with my BBQ Pulled Chicken there... time for me to post some more recipes!
After the meat is already cooked, the rest of this recipe is really easy.  This is a great weeknight meal- takes minutes to put together.  Especially if you pre-make the salsa like I did!

The salsa is a mixture of cherries, peaches, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 of a minced jalapeño, the juice of 1 lime and sprinkling of salt.
Be careful with the jalapeño and cilantro... it can overpower the whole thing.  I ended up adding more and more peaches and cherries to counterbalance that. So taste as you go....

All you have to do is grab some flour tortillas, scoop some chicken and add the salsa on top.  
Boom. Done.  

Pulled BBQ Chicken Tacos with Cherry Peach Salsa

Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats via Pioneer Woman
1 cup of Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken (or however much you'd like!)
For the Cherry-Peach Salsa
1 cup of pitted cherries (I just chopped around the the pit)
2 large peaches, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 jalapeño
juice of 1 lime
For the Cherry-Peach Salsa- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.  You can make it up to two days in advance. Microwave tortillas for 30 seconds... then fill with (STRAINED) chicken and salsa.  Add as much or as little that you like.

It was awesome!  If you're worried about the chicken being too sweet... don't worry.  The chipotle peppers and the jalapeño add a nice bit of heat!  Sweet and spicy- my fav!
I'll post the other recipes in the next day or two... I won't leave you hanging!

Enjoy : )

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken

I've been breaking out the slowcooker quite a bit lately.  It's been making meals come together really quickly.  Last week I made BBQ Pulled Chicken.  The plan was to make Pulled Pork but when I couldn't find a Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder at the grocery store that I was happy with, I decided to make Pulled Chicken instead using a combination of chicken breasts and chicken thighs.*

*Heads up: Notice how Chicken Thighs on the bone with skin are always super cheap? I bought them and trimmed off all the fat then threw the thighs on the bone in the slow cooker.  Once it was ready to shred, the meat just fell right off the bone.

This is a simple recipe that I know I will use over and over again.  And this meat made enough meat for 4 different recipes plus tons of leftovers!

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats via Pioneer Woman
4 large skinless chicken breasts
4 bone-in skin removed chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 large sweet onion
4 chipotle peppers in adobo + 2 tablespoons of sauce
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
20 ounces of Cherry Dr. Pepper
Cut onion in quarters and place in crockpot.  Add chicken pieces to the bottom of the dish.  Season with lots of salt and pepper.  Add chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, BBQ sauce, brown sugar and Dr. Pepper.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.  Remove chicken pieces from crock pot and shred then place back in slow cooker until ready to serve.

In the upcoming days I'll post the recipes of what I did with all this chicken:

Pulled BBQ Chicken Tacos with Cherry Peach Salsa
Pulled Chicken and Cherry Peach Quesadillas
Pulled BBQ Chicken Pizza with Cherry Peach Salsa
Pesto, Nectarine and BBQ Pulled Chicken Pizza with Monterey Jack Cheese

I love making a protein like this that I can use in several meals throughout the week!  All the recipes I made resemble each other but we never felt like we were eating the same thing each night.  And dinner came together quickly because the main part was already done!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Cakes (& Mushroom Cakes too...)

So I cooked last week.  A lot. I felt like the old me... spending lots of time in the kitchen while little Dylan looked on. One of the best recipes I made was Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Cakes.  They were fun, different and an interesting use of Quinoa that I haven't seen before.

 So they key to making this a Quick Fix Meal is to prep ahead.  The night before I made the Quinoa and Sautéed 2 small chicken thighs. The next day the meal came together wicked fast. (Yes, I wrote wicked - it's part of my vocabulary!)

I loved the subtle spice of the buffalo sauce mixed with the tasty pops of quinoa.  I served this with a salad with feta and sautéed mushrooms but it would be great with celery and carrot sticks on the side.  And blue cheese or Ranch dressing if you're into that sort of thing.  Me, though, I'm scared of white creamy dressings so I stay away.  And there was enough flavor in these cakes that you didn't need extra dressing. Trust me!  My husband though, is a dipper so he served these up with Ranch dressing.

  • Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Cakes
  • Adapted from Closet Cooking
  • Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chicken, cooked and shredded (I used 2 small chicken thighs)
  • 1/4 cup hot sauce or to taste
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • oil for frying
  • Instructions
  • (Prep ahead method- cook quinoa the night before- add 1/2 cup of quinoa to 1 cup of broth and let simmer until cooked about 15 minutes.  Also cook and shred/chop the chicken thighs)
  • Mix the cooked quinoa with the chicken, hot sauce, onion, cheddar cheese, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, adding more panko and another egg if needed. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Form patties and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 4-6 minutes per side, and set aside on paper towels to drain.

So... I actually cooked up about a cup of quinoa so I had extra to spare.  And because I had a ginormous container of portobello mushrooms, I cooked those up to add to my side salad.  But then I thought... what if I update my favorite Mushroom Cakes?   I first made these in January of 2010 and loved them.  So to the food processor I added sautéed mushrooms, garlic, dried basil and mozzarella cheese.  Then I mixed that with an egg or two, panko and the rest of the quinoa.  Seasoned that up with salt and pepper and browned them up in a hot skillet like the buffalo cakes.  I added a guacamole on top. Not the best picture but these cakes were super delicious- and fast!
So two quick, delicious, very different kinds of quinoa cakes.  A fun, creative twist on fritters!