Sugarlaws: Living Sweetly.

Entries Tagged as 'main dishes'

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

January 27th, 2014 · 6 Comments

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 3

Here’s the thing about our slow cooker:

We have owned it for YEARS.  I’m not sure if it was a present or just something I picked up one day, but we have a beautiful, fancy-schmancy one from All Clad, and we’ve had it for probably five years.

And up until a few months ago, do you know how many times I had used it?  Once.  (Conveniently documented on Sugarlaws, I used it to make beef chili back in 2009… during which I accidentally fed Chad a spoonful of straight cayenne pepper, oops!  He still brings it up.)

For a long time, I thought our slow cooker might go the way of the breadmaker — a bulky, essentially useless appliance that eventually we’ll either give away or toss when we run out of kitchen space.  But then a few months ago, I thought to myself: “Hey, these things are supposed to be really good for easy meals, and I’m about to have an infant on my hands in a few months, so anything that can make cooking dinner into a five-minute endeavor might be worth revisiting.”

And so I did.  This recipe is about the simplest, easiest thing ever — just a couple of ingredients, and you literally put them in a pot and check back in 5 hours. 

And when I did?  I went to lift a chicken breast out of the pot, and it literally fell apart on the fork.  Needless to say, a big grin spread across my face — this one was an instant success.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 2

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

INGREDIENTS

3 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves
8 ounces barbeque sauce (I used Bulls Eye Original, because Chad is extremely picky about these things)
1/3 cup Italian salad dressing
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Sandwich rolls, split

DIRECTIONS

Place chicken in a slow cooker.  Mix together the barbecue sauce, italian dressing, brown sugar, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken.  Cover, and cook 4 hours on your slow cooker’s “High” setting. 

When the chicken is cooked, use two forks to shred the breasts.  Spoon generously onto sandwich rolls (I also like to add a layer of extra bbq sauce to the rolls) and serve. 

Makes enough chicken for 6 sandwiches.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Sugarlaws 1

Tags: food · main dishes

recipe: artichoke and spinach quinoa

May 24th, 2013 · 3 Comments

Quinoa2(1)

A few weeks ago, Chad and I revamped our kitchen and eating habits — we’ve always eaten reasonably healthy, but we started to realize that we were consuming a LOT of junk food.  In New York, I’d usually stop by a grocery store once every few days, and there were always easy takeout options that we went to in a pinch.  In Houston, our routine is really different — we cook a lot more on a day-to-day basis, but since everything isn’t in walking distance of our house, we depend a lot on what we have on hand. 

Which… eventually became a lot of junk food.  We were caught in this cycle of me buying food, Chad not knowing what we had and grabbing less healthy options by default, and then I wouldn’t buy as many healthy options because we never ate them… big mess.  But a few weeks ago, we decided to make a major effort to be all-around healthier.

So I thought I’d share with you guys one of my new go-to recipes!  Quinoa is actually super easy to make — it only takes 15-20 minutes to cook and it’s a whole grain that’s packed with fiber.  Pair it with some easy staples like artichokes and fresh baby spinach, and you have a quick, simple dish that’s perfect for a healthy weeknight dinner!

And, yes, I still totally cheat — there’s still ice cream in our freezer and I’ll kick and scream before giving up flavor-blasted goldfish (love them!).  But overall, these are good, healthy steps in the right direction!

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Artichoke and Spinach Quinoa

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts
1 cup vegetable stock
2 cups uncooked quinoa
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Water

DIRECTIONS

Before cooking, rinse the quinoa thoroughly using a mesh strainer. 

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, but replace one cup of water with vegetable stock (so, if the package calls for 4 cups of water, use 1 cup of vegetable stock and 3 cups of water).  After the quinoa is cooked, stir in the artichokes, baby spinach, olive oil, garlic powder and lemon juice.  Leave the mixture on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 2-3 minutes or until heated through.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Quinoa4

Tags: food · main dishes · side dishes

recipe: perfect roast chicken

May 2nd, 2013 · 3 Comments

Chicken2

Once a year, everyone thinks about roasting a turkey — but what about the other 52 weeks? 

I love turkey, don’t get me wrong.  It’s delicious, it’s impressive, and it’s actually pretty darn healthy.  But you know how often you’re going to buy and roast an 18-pound turkey?  Once a year.  Exactly that much.

But the same techniques can be used on smaller birds, and they’re just as delicious!  (Ok, maybe not “just as” delicious, but also very delicious!) A perfect roast chicken only takes an hour and a half, and it’s SO much better than the boneless, skinless chicken breasts you buy at the store. 

My secret trick?  Start the chicken upside down!  That way, as you cook, all the delicious moist juices run over the breast and not just into the bottom of the pan.  An added bonus?  No basting!  Easy, simple and super delicious.

Chicken12

Perfect Roast Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

1 5-6 pound roasting chicken
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Wash the chicken and dry it with paper towels.  Rub olive oil under the skin gently with your hands, and then over the skin.  Season the entire chicken with garlic powder, sea salt and fresh ground pepper.  Place the chicken in a roasting pan upside down (breast side down) and cook for about 60 minutes.  After 60 minutes, flip the chicken over so that the breasts are facing up, and cook for an additional 30 minutes until the breast temperature is 180 degrees and the thigh is 190 degrees. 

Let the chicken rest for about 15 minutes before cutting into it.  Serve in large portions with a simple side salad or roasted vegetables. 

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Tags: food · main dishes