Monday, February 16, 2015

Slow Cooker Shredded Honey Soy Chicken

I have seen some people say that during the Winter months, their crock pot is their best friend.

Screw that noise.
My crock pot is my BFF every single day of the year.

I could say that I love it because in the Summer, it keeps the temperature of the kitchen down because I don't have to cook with the oven. I could say in the Fall and Winter, it's perfect for chili and soup which seems to be everyone's (including mine) quintessential go-to meals for cold weather.

The fact is, I love my crock pot because I love to be a lazy cook when I can.

So if I get something that I can just toss in there and leave it for hours? Deal me in. Extra bonus: the hubby comes home to a house that smells amazing, and he can't wait to dig in equals wifey brownie points. I'll never turn those down.  Plus? I recently found a really cool mine in Minecraft that I want to go play in.

(Disclaimer:  this is not my recipe. I have no idea where it came from, I just found it written in my recipe book. If it is yours, please shoot me a message so I can give you the amazing credit that you so richly deserve for this recipe, because it's delicious.)

Another reason I want to put this recipe on here is because it really IS something that FFTSD likes -   EASY! You literally mix up the sauce, pour it over the chicken, turn on the crock pot and leave it until it's done. You can't ask for anything easier than that.

Unless you order takeout.
Because that's totally easier than this.
Not cheaper, however, and that's another thing we here at FFTSD can get behind: saving money! Like for this recipe? I revisited the inexpensive route for the soy sauce. Also? I find that when I open a can of tomato paste, I am not likely to use all of it. So I portion it out in tablespoons, wrap them individually in plastic wrap, throw those in a ziploc and freeze them. When it comes time to use it, I just grab some out of the freezer.

Slow Cooker Shredded Honey Soy Chicken

1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. onion powder
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)

Mix all ingredients except chicken and stir until well combined.  Place chicken in crock pot, and cover with sauce. Cook on low until done, about 4-5 hours. Remove chicken from pot and make a slurry from 1 Tbsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. water. Add to sauce and cook just until thickened. Shred chicken and return to crock pot, coating it evenly with sauce. Serve over rice or noodles, and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over top if desired.

Look at that. It looks good, but smells even better. See that arm in the background? That's a man who wants me to stop taking pictures of his dinner and let him eat it.

P.S.  Yes, mom. There were vegetables served as well.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


What?! An entry two days in a row?  I know.  Try not to get too excited.
Last night we had chilicos (pronouced chill-E-cohs) for dinner. Think tacos and a chili hybrid. Think delicious.  And yes, I am decorated for Valentine's Day, even though that bottom heart placemat is slightly askew and driving my mild case of OCD bananas. Also? Please don't judge my fine china. Washing dishes has been low on my list of things to do since getting the shingles.

So, I'm not sure where this idea actually sprouted from originally (because getting older sucks). My father recently had surgery and I went home to help my mother take care of him for a while. While I was there, I made an enchilada casserole from leftover salsa chicken that she'd made earlier in the week.  It was awesome! We were sitting around, bouncing recipe ideas off one another, and I don't know if this idea was born there or not.

What I am really thinking happened is that this idea came up from talking to some friends on PS4 while playing Destiny. Someone - it may have even been me - was making chili for dinner. Or talking about making chili for dinner. Or the subject of chili came up. Then the subject of tacos came up, and the idea of putting chili in taco shells.

"What do we call them? Chili-cos? Chil-acos?"
"I call them get in mah belly!"

The medications for shingles have actually robbed me of a bit of my short term memory.  I can't recall some details of conversations, and I am having trouble remembering the names of simple things from time to time. I blame the pain meds.


I actually started feeling well enough to cook a couple of meals and go out to the grocery store. So when I ran across taco shells that were nacho flavored? I immediately looked at my husband and told him that chilicos were happening, and soon!

Start with a great chili recipe. If you don't have one, I will include mine at the end. It looks basic, but what makes it a great recipe is that I make my own chili mix which is sooo much better than a packaged mix. If you use a package, no big deal. I am sure it will still be awesome. Trust me, toast those shells for a few minutes. Untoasted, and they really just aren't that good. Now fill them with chili and top just like you would your regular bowl.

I'm a chili purist at heart. I usually eat it as is, but I will admit the addition of fresh chopped onions were a welcome change.

My husband, however, does
things a little differently. See that blob at the bottom of the taco shell? That's peanut butter. I have found out many people eat peanut butter in tacos, but for the life of me, I just can't imagine it...and then to top it with cheddar cheese and onions? No thanks. It gives me flashbacks to being a kid and spending the night with someone whose mother made peanut butter pizza for dinner. Seriously, it was a pizza in every other sense of the word except that the sauce was replaced with peanut butter. Yuck.

Now don't get me wrong. Doritos Los Tacos these shells were not. That said, they were still great. I'd definitely keep this one in my meal rotation.

Now for that recipe:

Chili, from Food For the Single Dude


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup medium onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup minced green pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • chili mix (I make my own, but a package is fine)
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water


Brown ground beef with onions and peppers in large skillet. Drain and return to pan. Add chili mix, tomato sauce and water. Add more chili powder as needed for taste.
Cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes, then add kidney beans and simmer 15 more minutes to let flavors develop.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Wakin' the Cajun

Remember me?  Yeah, it's been a while.
First it was, "I'll do it after vacation."  Then it turned into, "just let me get through the barrage of birthdays in September. And October. Oh, and November."  Of course, then it's December, and we all know how crazy busy that gets.

Annnnnd then I got shingles.
Being sick is horrible. Having shingles just plain out sucks.
Yet here I am, on my second week of fun! If you have ever had it, you know exactly what I mean by the use of the word fun.

Now in the same vein: having friends is great. Having a friend who cooks for you and your husband when you're down with shingles is nothing short of awesome.

My amazing friend Kate has been taking such good care of us since I got diagnosed! She brings over all of these yummy dishes, complete with recipes! The best part is that she makes things that I may not necessarily make myself, so we get to try new things. She does and sees life so much differently than I do, which I think is why she intrigues me so much; I learn a lot from her! She is simply lovely, and I adore her.

So when she brought over some dishes the other day, I was immediately excited. The best thing is that she brought over the ingredients to make red beans and rice for me while we had girl time! I think that was my favorite part of the whole day.  :-)

I have always wanted to make this, but I have a very carnivorous husband. Also, truth be known, so am I for the most part. I was raised where dinners were a main meat, a starch and a vegetable. Which is kind of funny now, because my mother could have every meal without a meat and I honestly don't think it would affect her much. (except for that lack of protein, are you paying attention, mommy?) So the thought of a meal made meat...wasn't something that I really gave a second thought to.

I have seen the error of my ways.  I have seen the light. Reality came and gave me a big whack on the head. With a spoon.

This is SO good, you guys. It's also super easy to make, which is why Kate thought that this would be a great recipe to spotlight on FFTSD. I couldn't agree more. So, enjoy! I know we did!

Thank you, Kate! For everything!

Julie's Red Beans & Rice

1 medium green pepper, chopped
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. oil
1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
3 cans red beans, drained
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning (plus more for taste)
salt, to taste

Place oil, green pepper, onion and garlic in nonstick pot and saute over medium heat until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Place one can of bean in a bowl and mash with potato masher or fork. Add that to pot along with the remaining cans of beans and the chicken broth. Add Cajun seasoning and salt. Cook over medium low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve over bed of rice.