Spaghetti Squash and Turkey Meat Balls in a Cassoulet Pan

My roommate and I are on the Whole 30 diet trying to better our eating habits and she came across a recipe for spaghetti squash and sausage balls. I went to the store and found the sausage balls in the recipe called for beef, which did not fit our requirements, so instead I went with ground turkey and I was pretty happy with the meat. The spaghetti squash on the other hand was not what I wanted. Recipe: Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 pound of ground Turkey
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, I used a 14 ounce can. (All the tomatoes sauces I found had extra sugar in there, so I went with organic diced tomatoes)
  • 1/2 jalapeño
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, whole.
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil.
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning (Oregano, Basil, Thyme)

Shopping was a little difficult for this dish, because I had to adhere to the new diet. The most difficult part was getting the right spaghetti squash, because the store had two versions. I went with the one closest to the one in the picture, and hoped for the best. After that, finding the right kind of tomatoes proved to be hard because most cans of tomato sauce had sugar. In stead I went with a can of diced tomatoes, which was a great replacement. Lastly, I was looking for hot pepper relish, but couldn’t find anything that worked. Instead I ended up cutting up half a jalapeño, which added a nice kick. Done with the shopping meant it was time to cook. The set up was easy, until the part of “putting both cut halves of the spaghetti squash in the crockpot.” Cutting the spaghetti squash in half proved hard, and emptying out the seeds took some effort. The real challenge came with trying to figure out how to fit the spaghetti squash into a more cylinder crockpot. The website had said the crockpot should be able to fit 6 quarts, which this one did, but was not a wide on the bottom of the pot. So I had to turn to plan B: Google how to cook a crockpot recipe in the oven. That’s when I found a website that told me how to convert any crockpot dish so it can be made in the oven. So I transferred my tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil, and jalapeño into the cassoulet pan. (I had to look that up since that a fancy name for a pot roast pan). After putting in the two spaghetti squash halves, I added the ground turkey balls into the sauce around the squash. Then I put the pan into the oven for an one hour and 15 minutes. The cassoulet pan ready to go into the oven. After the meal had completely cooked, I ended up letting the dish cool down for about 30 minutes/continue to cook. I think at this point I made my mistake. Instead of removing everything from the cassoulet pan within 15 minutes, I waited till the spaghetti squash had cooled down enough to handle. I think this lead to the reason why the spaghetti squash was not really spaghetti, but a cooked squash. Also, the spaghetti squash soaked up all of the left over liquid, adding to the mushiness. I have yet to master making spaghetti squash. I’ve decided it’s much harder than anyone described. Not an easy item to cook. The final product. Almost looks like spaghetti and meatballs. Review:  Not my favorite dish because the spaghetti squash did not come out well. Also the dish was pretty bland. In the end, we ate the meatballs, but not a lot of the spaghetti squash. I would not make this dish again. The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total cost: $15.00
  • Total time: 20 minutes prep, 1 hr and 45 minutes cooking. 2 hrs and 5 minutes total
  • Serving size: 6-8 people

Minty Fresh Fudge

So dessert should be everyone’s favorite dish, and if it’s not then, this dessert should be. I decided to mix it up a bit with my desserts and made Andes style fudge thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction. I owe a lot of the success of this dish to my friend, Sara, who helped me melt the chocolate and put the dish together (aka. showed me the ropes).

Recipe:

  • 2.5 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1.5 cups of white chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp of peppermint extract
  • 2 second poor of food coloring
  • 1 tsp shortening
  • Andes to decorate the top!

To be honest, this kind of cooking is not my forte so I really relied on my mentor in the kitchen with making desserts. My friend Sara is the one who introduced me to Sally’s Baking Addiction; my new favorite website to make desserts.

First came melting the bottom layer of chocolate by putting 1.5 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips in a saucepan on low with 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk. We stirred this mixture until there were no more chips apparent aka until the chocolate was smooth. Once silky, I poured the chocolate into an 8″ by 8″ pan so it would cover the bottom. Then we placed the pan in the fridge for 5 minutes while we melted the white chocolate in another saucepan.

After the white chocolate became smooth, we added in the peppermint extract and the food coloring. The original recipe called for 2 drops of green extract, but we got a little bit excited and added more. In the end, our green turned out to be a bit more leprechaun green than minty green, but it still looked good!

Once the green layer was poured onto the bottom layer of chocolate and chilled, we added the last layer of chocolate. This layer we made by melting 1 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tsp of shortening in the microwave in 30 seconds increments. We poured this chocolate to top off the fudge and lastly, we put broken-up bits of Andes on top. Then we chilled the fudge for 3 hours in the fridge.

Review:

A fan favorite, and it was really easy to make. I was glad we had two people in the kitchen to help keep the melting moving and grooving. Also, I was glad to have a more experienced baker in the kitchen! I would for sure make this again, but with more peppermint extract to give it a bit more flavor and maybe dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $20.00
  • Total Time: 15 minutes prep with two hands, 3 hours chilling – 3.25 hrs
  • Serving Size: A party size – enough for all to have many squares!

Pesto Avocado Chicken Salad (Best Match with a Pita)

After taking a break from crockpotting due to season for work, I am back at it with this delicious twist on chicken salad. I was looking for a dish that everyone at girls night could eat, which means healthy, gluten-free option and filling after all of our long days and working out. This dish proved to be the solution I was looking for, while of course I made it my own.

Recipe:

Ingredient:

  • 1.5 lbs of skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 8 large dashes of garlic powder
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 large dash of pepper
  • 1 large dash of italian spices
  • 3 tbsp gluten-free chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 – 7 oz. container of basil pesto
  • 2 avocados peeled and chopped
  • Whole wheat Pitas (as much as you would like)
  • Butter Lettuce

This dish proved easy to throw together, but the biggest issue came from me not having my crockpot. I had lent my crockpot to friend and she had not returned it yet, so instead I had to use my roommates. Thank goodness we have two in the house!

First I put in the chicken thighs, after removing all of the fat,then chopped onions and red bell peppers, spices, and chicken broth. The original recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic minced, but again I misplaced my garlic at my new place from cooking the evening before. So I went with the next best thing I could find – garlic powder. The garlic powder replaced the salt and garlic, but not anything else in the spice section.

After seven hours on low, the chicken fell apart in between two forks. Then I removed the chicken, pieces of red bell pepper, and chopped onions from the crockpot using two forks into a bowl. I kept as much of the juice in the crockpot as possible to keep the consistency of the chicken salad more solid than not.

Next, I added mayo, pesto, and cut up avocados. After the chicken salad was all mixed together came the assembly. For those who can eat gluten, open the pita, put in the butter lettuce and some Havarti cheese (the original recipe called for 1 cup of cubed Havarti cheese, but I just forgot to cube it at all). For those who can’t eat gluten – just make it a lettuce wrap.

Review:

So GOOD! Everyone wanted multiple servings! In fact, many wanted the recipe right away! I will for sure make it again/eating all of the left overs possible. I am debating for next time I should add pine nuts to get it a bit more crunch.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $30.00
  • Total Time: 15 minutes prep, 7 hours cooking, 15 minutes post prep – 7.5 hrs
  • Serving Size: 6 – 8 people

Full Chicken Crockpot

My older sister is by far my biggest fan of this blog. She is constantly sending me recipes to try, and each one proves to be more delicious than the next one. This time, she presented me with a challenge of cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot based off of this recipe she found while scouring the internet. And this proved to be delicious and has lasted me the whole week.

Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 2 small onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 4 medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on spice preference
  • 4 pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry with giblets removed

This recipe seemed pretty straight forward, but some how I managed to really mangle parts of it. First of all, the recipe calls for the chicken to be rinsed, patted dry with the giblets removed. I have never removed giblets before. I have seen my mom do it, but to be honest, I had no idea that giblets came in chicken. I thought that giblets only came in turkey, so I didn’t do anything like removing the giblets. I just left the good stuff in when it came to cooking the chicken. I did rinse and pat it dry, but I am not sure how dry it really turned out to be considering that once the dish was done, there was a puddle of water around it making the dish more like a soup than chicken and vegetables.

Moving on, after preparing the chicken, I cut the vegetables and put them in the bottom of my crockpot. Now, my peeler is misplaced, so instead I peeled the carrots using a knife. That was not an easy task. Once all the vegetables were cut and put in the crockpot, what I failed to realize was that the chicken would not fit in my crockpot. But, that was the only crockpot I had, so I stuffed the chicken in there and honestly hoped for the best.

Before I could put the top on the chicken, I had to put melted butter on top and then the seasoning.

Since I really didn’t want to have to do more dishes than necessary, I decided to eyeball all of the seasoning and put in what I thought was the right amount. In the end, I don’t think that really mattered because the seasoning still tasted delicious.

(The chicken before putting the top on.)

The trickiest part was cooking the chicken considering the top would not close on the top of the crockpot. Instead, I had to wait for the vegetables to cook, so the lid could close properly. Also, because of this challenge, the spice stuck to the top of the lid of the crockpot, so some of the chicken’s spice was removed. To combat these slight issues, I decided the chicken would need to cook for longer. I put the crockpot on low for 3 hrs, and then high for 2 hrs. This worked and by the end of it the chicken was cooked. Only downside was that due to the water still in the chicken, the dish was much more of a stew than a chicken dish.

Review:

A little bit spicy but good once all of the liquid drained from the dish. I decided to remove the chicken from the dish and take all the meat off the bone. The chicken was well flavored, and tender. Unfortunately, not all of the chicken was cooked, so I did have to cook some on the stovetop. But I would make this dish again in a heartbeat, just using a bigger crockpot and actually pat dry the chicken.
The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $15.00 (I had a majority of the ingredients)
  • Total time: 20 minutes prep, 5 hours to cook. 5.2 hours total
  • Serving Size: 4 – 6 people

Cheesevat!

I decided that I needed a snack for girl’s night and wanted to make cheese dip. However, I was having trouble finding a dip that would fulfill the requirements of vegetarian and gluten free, so I had to revamp another version of cheese dip.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 (16-ounce) cans refried beans
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 cup salsa (this was eyeballed)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bottle of gluten free beer
  • 12 oz of blanco cheese Velveta
  • 24 oz of cheese Velveta

As I stated earlier, the challenge with this recipe was making sure that it was gluten free and vegetarian. So when I was at the store, I had to search the shelves for beans that are in fact vegetarian. Did any one know that most beans are cooked in bacon? I only found this out after searching through all the cans in the store to find the very selective/one version of vegetarian beans.

Then came the beer issue, I had to use gluten free beer. The major issue I have with gluten free beer is that most of it tastes horrible. In fact, I actually prefer not to drink gluten free beer because I don’t like the taste that much. Instead, I stick to ciders and wine. I ended up using a bottle of Omission – Lager, the only gluten free beer that I actually enjoy.

Cooking/making the cheese dip was pretty easy, expect for the fact that I ended up forgetting the salsa, and I had to run home for it (I was making the dip at work). First I put in the refried beans, green chilies, oregano, cumin, and garlic powder in the crockpot while it was on warm. Then after running home and grabbing the salsa (both mild and hot), I added the salsa (about 1/2 cup of mild and 1/2 cup of hot), bottle of beer, and cheese. The original recipe called for a Progresso Four Cheese Recipe Starter, but I could not find these at the store, so I went with the typical version of cheese dip: Velveta. Because the original recipe called for a Four Cheese mix, I decided to mix all of the types of Velveta cheese that were present at the store, cheese blanco and regular Velveta. Once that was all stirred, I set the crockpot on low for 2 hrs.

While the cheese dip was blending together, I was working so I could only stir the cheese dip every 45 minutes instead of every 20 minutes. Some of the cheese turned to be a little bit more burned, especially around the top/edges. Because the crockpot was on low, the amount of burnt cheese was quickly removed before serving.

Review:

Delicious! Personally, I am not a fan of Velveta, so this cheese dip is not my favorite, but was overall a crowd favorite. I would make this dip again, if I could add some chili to it. It was a little bit too bland for me.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $12.00
  • Total time: 10 minutes prep, 2 hrs cooking. 2.1 hours
  • Serving Size: 20 + people

Shredded Chicken for Twenty

As a coach,I find myself making enough food for a crowd at least once a season and my go-to dish are tacos. For a previous team, I made multiple types of meats, but for this team I made only chicken, and enough for 20 people to eat as a pre-game meal. This is the moment that I really do appreciate my crockpot, because I could prep the meal throughout the day and I had the meat cooking by 10 am.

I followed a recipe, but adapted it to fit my needs of cooking 10 lbs of chicken in three crockpots.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

(This is serving size for one crockpot – I made 3)

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 2/3 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

When cooking for a large group, one needs to have an idea about how much that group can eat. When cooking for a sports team, just assume they can eat. I ended up using this recipe for each one of the crockpots I made, and the proportions varied in each crockpot.

I decided to make it so each crockpot had its own level of spiciness, or so I thought. In the first crockpot, I followed the recipe to a tee. Mixing 2 tbsp chili powder, 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika as my major spices. In the second crockpot, the chili powder got away from me and I accidentally ended up putting in much closer to 3.5 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin and about 2 tsp of paprika. In the last crockpot, I put in 2.5 tbsp of chili powder, 2 tsp cumin and 1.5 tsp of paprika. Honestly, I don’t really think that there were any differences in the spices of each crockpot, but hey at least I tried. All of the other spice measurements stayed the same, as well as the onion (I used sweet onions, relatively small) and garlic.

Now when it came to cooking it all, I will be honest and admit that yet again I did not read the directions so instead of sautéing the onions and garlic before putting them in, I just threw everything in the crockpot and let it cook for 6 hrs on low and the chicken just fell apart with the help of a fork.

The original recipe called for putting the chicken in the crockpot with the tomato sauce, and then for the last hour adding in the spices, onions and garlic. I think my method of mixing it all together and letting it cook for 6 hrs made it more flavorful, but I can’t really compare the two considering I didn’t make the chicken the original way.

Review:

The team loved it and devoured the chicken. I even got some request to do some catering from the girls (all in good fun). I later made the left over chicken into a nice breakfast of scramble eggs, chicken, homemade guacamole on a tortilla. This chicken is bomb and will be lasting me through the week. SUCCESS!

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $45.00 – for 10 lbs of chicken
  • Total Time: 30 minutes to prep, 6 hrs of cooking – 6.5 hrs in total
  • Serving Size: 22 people with each having 2 tacos

White Bean and Kielbasa Stew

This is a late post, because I was out of town for a bit, and just realized I never posted this delicious option that rounds out the winter recipes. (I’m crossing my fingers that it is in fact springtime!) This stew was the winner of all of the stews I made this past winter, proving to be both filling and delicious.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound dried great northern beans
  • 14 ounces kielbasa, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 4 cups low-sodium and gluten free chicken broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1tsp. dried rosemary
  • 1 6 oz. container of Baby spinach

When I was looking to make this dish, I was lucky enough to have a great resource to answer all my ingredient questions. For example, I always thought that beans had to soak over night, but as I read the recipe before hand (yes this actually happened this time) it said that I did not need to soak the beans overnight. So I turned to my cooking guru for this recipe and asked why this could be. He explained that because I was cooking the stew for so long, the beans would soak then. I also asked my cooking guru about Kielbasa and what the heck that stuff was. He explained it as the long sausages in a certain section of the food market, so when I went to the store, I just went to the section he suggested and grabbed a turkey version. To be completely honest, I am not sure that it was the right kind of meat, but it sure did taste yummy.

When it came to cooking the recipe, all I did was mix everything together. I had no major mistakes at this point, because stews are easy to make and I read the instructions beforehand. After my gumbo situation, I learned that reading is good and I should do it more consistently in regards to cooking. The only ingredient I did not add at the beginning was the spinach, because the original recipe required that the spinach be added right before serving. So I put the spinach in about 10 minutes before serving.
Review:
Success! This is going to be my go to winter dish.Filling and delicious, this dish had more flavors than I thought it would have considering how few ingredients I used, but it was really good. The beans reminded me of BBQ beans, just soaking up the juices and absorbing the flavor of the meat. One of my friends ended up having about 6 servings of this dish because he enjoyed it so much.
The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $15.00
  • Total Time: 15 minutes prep time, 7 hours cooking –  7.25 hours
  • Serving Size: 12 – 14 small bowls, 6 – 7 large bowls
ounces
baby spinach (6 cups)

Seafood Gumbo (with Okra)

Last week, I was sick and having soup at least once a day, so I decided to make soup for the week. I had not had sea food in weeks, so this seafood gumbo seemed to be the answer to what I was craving. I am going to be honest – this recipe proved to be my first recipe with major hiccups in a while, so let’s see if it fulfilled my craving.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb of sliced bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup of celery stalk
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 green pepper chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp of dried thyme leaves
  • 1 lb large shrimp
  • 0.75 lb of Cod
  • 0.5 lb lobster imitation
  • 1 10 oz. frozen chopped okra

The recipe proved to be so difficult – especially because I decided that reading the directions was not a priority at 8 am in the morning on a Sunday. Man, this is exactly like the first time I attempted to crockpot.

Let’s start with the grocery shopping: who knows what okra is? Not me! So that proved to be an issue before even going to the store. The other issue was that I don’t like crab, and the original recipe called for crab, so at the suggestion of a friend I bought cod. While I was looking through the fish section, I saw imitation lobster and I have never had it before, so I thought why not throw that into the mix considering I don’t have enough cod to replace the whole pound of crab.

Now onto the cooking: The first ingredient I read was the 1/2 lb of bacon. I only eat turkey bacon, so I chopped up the bacon and put into the crockpot. I thought it was a little bit weird that the ingredients did not call for cooked bacon, but I was trying to not over think it. (I should have known that all I needed to do, was look down at instructions to find the answer to that question – yes I was suppose to pre-cook the bacon till it was crispy. But as my boss told me, the crockpot hit 165 degrees, so the bacon was cooked even though it was just not crispy. Don’t worry about it.)

Next, I put in the rest of the ingredients in. My confusion came when it said to slice the onion, chop the green pepper, and mince the garlic. I have written about the definition of mincing and how I have had trouble in the past in deciding what all of these terms mean. So this time I decided I was going to put my questions to rest and look up the definitions.

Sliced – “A flat, usually thin, piece of food cut from a larger piece. Also the process of cutting flat, thin pieces” (http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/glossary-of-cooking-terms/)

Chopped – “To cut foods with a knife, cleaver, or food processor into smaller pieces.” (http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/glossary-of-cooking-terms/)

Minced – “To chop food into very fine pieces, as with minced garlic.” (http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/glossary-of-cooking-terms/)

Now, knowing that, I was able to sliced my onion, chop my green pepper and mince my garlic successfully. Then came the spices. The only one of these that I got right was the amount of Worcestershire sauce – 2 tablespoons. Then my dyslexia really got the best of me, and every time I read teaspoon I somehow managed to fill up the tablespoon. So I added WAY more salt and thyme than the recipe wanted…my bad.

When it came to the cooking part, I apparently gave it way too much time in my head and put all of the ingredients in at once. The gumbo only needed 4 hrs to cook and then I was suppose to add the meats. Instead, I put everything in at once (again, this is because I decided that only the cool kids read the directions – so obviously that did not include me on a Sunday morning before work).

To compromise for the 4 hrs of cooking everything else and the 1 hr with meat, I decided to cook the whole thing for 5 hrs. However, I returned home to put the gumbo on warm after 5.5 hrs and then it went straight in the fridge (my day got away from me again – I am going to thank my boss for getting me super distracted).

Review:

My roommate had it first, and as she said, “It’s different. I’ve never had anything like it. It’s not bad, just different.” My opinion, a bit salty but good. Different than a jambalaya (that has sausage as well as the seafood). Next time, I would put less salt in and make the bacon crispy. This was a good attempt, but I don’t know if okra is really my jam so for that reason alone I don’t think I would make the dish again.

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $30.00
  • Total time: 30 minutes of prep, 5.5 hrs of cook time – 6 hrs total
  • Serving Size: 12 – 15 bowls with rice

BBQ Pulled Chicken

After 3 weeks of straight pork, I decided that it was time for some chicken. That’s when I found “The Best Crockpot BBQ Chicken,” and really wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, the day got away from me and I kept the chicken in there a little bit too long. Regardless, the meal still tasted delicious when I paired the chicken with coleslaw and potatoes (baked and broiled with some seasoning).

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 cup  BBQ sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts

This recipe was very straightforward. The hardest part: finding everything to be gluten free. Grocery shopping took the longest time, because not all BBQ sauce and Italian dressings are gluten free. I probably spent about 20 minutes looking at the labels just trying to make sure that what I did end up buying was 2 things: 1) gluten free and 2) not extremely expensive. Now, while I was grocery shopping, I remembered that I had some chicken breasts at home so I didn’t buy any – mistake!

The recipe called for 2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, and apparently in my freezer were only 1.29 lbs of chicken. I think this made the chicken to sauce ratio a bit off, but in the end I don’t think that it was a big issue, because I left the chicken and the sauce in the crockpot for close to 6 hrs instead of the 4 hrs that the recipe originally stated.

Review:

The chicken was a bit dry, and the sauce was a bit burnt from being in the crockpot for way too long. The group consensus was that it was good, but for sure over cooked. Next time, I will cook it for less time and find a gluten free bun to make it with. The coleslaw was a nice pairing, but needed more flavor so instead of mayo, I recommend putting in ranch or celery seed. Also, next time I would cook the potatoes on the skillet, instead of in the oven.

Citrus Taco Chicken

After last week’s successful shredded pork tacos, I decided I wanted to do tacos again this week for lunch. Instead of going with a traditional chicken taco mix though, I found this recipe which gives a different take on the traditional chicken mix by having some oranges and lime juice.

Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 oranges – squeezed so it’s just the juice
  • 2 limes – squeezed so it’s just the juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Overall, this was a very smooth recipe that I literally threw together and let cook. After prepping the chicken (removing any and all excess fat), I put it in the crockpot. Then I squeezed two oranges worth of juice into the crockpot. Now squeezing fruit is much more of an activity than I thought. Honestly, it took me a couple of minutes per each half of orange just to make sure I got all of the juice out of it without using a machine. The limes, now that’s a different story.

Did you know that limes can dry out? I don’t know if scientifically it can, but one of my limes would not squeeze out juice. I had to squeeze out each individual part of the lime. This took forever, and not a lot of juice came out of the lime. In fact, maybe a teaspoon worth of juice from each half.  I literally felt like I was trying to squeeze out a baseball or something. Nothing was working. So I think that this recipe could have had more of a citrus/lime flavor, if I didn’t have one dried out lime (I only had two limes and I didn’t want to go back to the store for another one, so I just made it work).

The rest of the recipe went down without any issues. Minced garlic, (not chopped because I didn’t read the recipe right), chili powder, cumin, oregano (leafy oregano because I don’t know what the difference is between oregano and leafy oregano), salt and pepper. I put the crockpot on low for 6 hrs, but after 5 hrs the house smelled too good to not check on the recipe and the chicken was ready.

For the last step, I separated the chicken and put it on a baking sheet. Then I poured 1/4 cup of juice onto the chicken and put it in the oven under the broil for 5 minutes. Then I flipped the chicken, poured 1/4 more cup of juice over the chicken and put it back under the broiler for 5 minutes. Then I put the chicken in a container with 1/4 more of a cup of juice. The product – a nice and juicy chicken option for tacos.

Review:

A good chicken mix with tacos. The hint of citrus is really nice, and pairs well with some orange bell peppers, red onions, avocado, cheese and cilantro. I enjoyed it! I will be making this again for chicken taco mix because it did not require a pre-made taco mix, making it cleaner and more natural (because one can control how much salt goes into the mix).

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Total Cost: $23.00
  • Total Time: 15 minutes to prep, 5 hrs to cook, 15 minutes to crisp – 5.5 hrs.
  • Serving Size: 12 – 16 tacos (at 2 tacos per a person) so 6 – 8 tacos.

IMG_0025
The final Product, crispy chicken tacos.