Root Beer BBQ Chicken

As life gets busier, the crock pot becomes more and more essential to my well-being.  This one is quick, easy, and totally delicious.  It’s the combo of sweet and tangy that is the best about barbeque chicken and this recipe captures that balance perfectly.

Root Beer BBQ Chicken

(Inspiration courtesy of my friend Amber’s genius).

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken breasts
1 16-oz bottle of barbeque sauce
1 16-oz bottle of root beer (Coke or other dark sodas work really well here too – just nothing diet!)
1/2 cup brown sugar
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Preparation:

1.  Mix barbeque sauce, soda, and brown sugar together in a bowl.  Consistency should be like a watered down version of the BBQ sauce itself.
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2.  Insert chicken breasts into crock pot and pour mixture over.

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3.  Cook on low heat for 8 hours.

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4.  Serve up and enjoy!

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Results:

Yum!  Perfect balance of sweet and tangy without being overwhelming.   Try not to shred the chicken on this one, though it’s basically impossible because it basically just falls apart.

I almost always use frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot.  This one is no exception.  I find that they are less likely to burn/overcook than non-frozen.  Frozen also store longer and allow you to throw together this meal at any time.

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Breaded Tilapia with Honey Balsamic Glaze

I’m a big fish person.  I love serving fish as a main course.  It’s healthy, easy, and a white fish especially can go with anything.  I had a craving to do something new and different with a fish dish rather than just grilling.  Breaded filets are a great alternative and quick and easy to do.

Breaded Tilapia with Honey Balsamic Glaze

(Inspiration found here)

Ingredients:

3-4 frozen tilapia filets
1 cup breadcrumbs [In this case, I used gluten free bread crumbs]
olive oil

Drizzle:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

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Instructions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
2.  In the baking dish, add the breadcrumbs and lay each filet on top. sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the top and press down, do not shake off excess. Place each filet, carefully in the baking dish and drizzle with olive oil.

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3.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until fish is cooked throughout.

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4.  In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, honey,and balsamic vinegar until it is blended into a creamy sauce (no clumps).

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5.  Plate the tilapia and drizzle the sauce on top.  Enjoy!

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Results:

This turned out to be interesting but very delicious.  I think I may have overdone it on the breadcrumbs, but they gave a nice crunch to the dish.  I served it with a side of quinoa and some frozen peas.  We had leftover sauce so we put it over the quinoa to jazz that up a little bit as well.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Pecan Rice

Hi readers!
I decided to start this blog to broadcast my cooking attempts while also find a place to keep recipes that are a success.  I find that I thrive with a recipe.  I just haven’t mastered enough of the skills to throw things together on my own without a guide.  It helps me measure and keep in line and also allows me to pass the buck should something turn out wrong.

Fortunately, in this day and age of the internet, recipes are all over the place.  There are a bunch of listservs that will send them along daily, which allows me to pick and choose what looks good and easy.  Also, I like to borrow inspiration from fellow cooking bloggers – they seem to have it locked up in terms of good choices.  Also, from cookbooks and friends.  The best way to expand your knowledge is to ask.

So, with that in mind, I was seeking something autumn inspired.  It is chilly in DC after all and apple season is just wrapping up.  It seemed appropriate to honor this time of year with some cider inspired goodness.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter-Pecan Rice

(inspired by MyRecipes.Com)
Ingredients

1 cup long grain rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound chicken breast cutlets (I was cooking for two so I just used two boneless skinless chicken breasts)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup refrigerated apple cider
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Cider Glazed Chicken Prep

Preparation

1. Cook rice according to package directions in a small saucepan, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. While rice cooks, melt 1/2 tbsp butter in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
3.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
4.  Add chicken to skillet; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan.
5.  Add cider and mustard to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits; cook until reduced.
6.  Add chicken to pan, turning to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.
7. Melt remaining butter in saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for 2 minutes or until melted but not gone.
8.  Lower heat to medium; add pecans, and cook for 1 minute or until toasted, stirring frequently.
9.  Add rice and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt; toss well to coat.
10.  Serve rice with chicken. Sprinkle chicken with parsley.

Cider Glazed Chicken with Pecan Rice

Result:

Be sure to reduce the sauce as much as possible.  The original recipe says 2-3 minutes for the sauce but I found it took a lot longer.

I served this one up with a side of broccoli.  The taste was delicious and not too heavy on the cider or the mustard.  The rice turned out a little too sticky for my liking (without a rice cooker, this is a constant struggle) but the pecans fit nicely.