Tag Archives: bbq

BBQ Chicken Breast; Without the BBQ


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A delicious and satisfying lunch!

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

 

I love BBQ chicken.  Sadly, we don’t have a BBQ so I have to make do with our oven and stovetop.

This particular way of preparing the chicken breasts leaves them moist and delicious!  You don’t get the grill smoke, but the smoked paprika helps with that and the coating keeps in all the flavour and juices.  So good!

The first thing I should mention is that this chicken needs to marinade for at least an hour so this isn’t a spur of the moment recipe.  You have to preplan a bit.  I left my chicken to marinade in the fridge overnight and it was spectacular so if you can wait for longer than an hour, I would encourage it.

Also, go with bone-in chicken breasts.  The bone adds to the flavour, not to mention they’re cheaper! 🙂

These are my chicken breasts after marinading for about 16 hours, laid out on a cookie sheet and sprinkled with a good amount of pepper and sea salt.

Before

Before

And here they are afterwards.  I baked them at 350F for about 20 minutes, brushed on BBQ sauce, baked for another 10 minutes, did the BBQ sauce brushing yet again and then allowed for another 10-15 minutes.

 

After

After

 

They were moist and delicious!  All that was missing from this BBQ chicken was the grill lines!

BBQ Chicken Breasts: Moist and Delicious!

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  • chicken breasts, bone in
  • smoked paprika
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • garlic, minced
  • cajun spice (or other mixed spice that you like)
  • BBQ sauce, your preference
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Mix the paprika, lemon juice, garlic, oil and spice mix.  Place chicken breasts in a freezer bag (or something else as sturdy), cover in marinade and place in fridge for anywhere from 1 to 12+ hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F.
  3. Place chicken breasts in a casserole dish uncovered, or a cookie sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 20-25 mins.
  5. After the initial bake, remove from oven and brush on the BBQ sauce.  Return to oven for 5-10 mins.  Do this 2 or 3 times depending on the size of the chicken breasts and how long they need to reach an internal temperature of 165F.
  6. Serve!
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Potato and Turkey “Lasagna”


I found this recipe in a local newspaper and decided to give it a try.  It referred to the dish as a Lasagna, but aside from the layering, it isn’t remotely a lasagna…more of a wannabe.  I had to alter the recipe a little bit due to available ingredients and preferences.  Some of the errors I made resulted in an *extremely* late dinner…but the food was yummy!  And that’s all that matters! 😉

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

This dish involved a lot of chopping, dicing and slicing.  Good for my knife skills, not so good when two hungry people are waiting on dinner!  There was a lot of preparation involved, and not much in terms of cooking.  Next time I attempt this meal, I would give myself some extra time and probably ask for a bit of help.

All good dishes begin with garlic!

Four cloves of garlic, chopped

After which I continued to chop up as much as I could to start off.  (Admittedly, I was avoiding peeling the potatoes!)

Chopped Onion

Chopped Herbs: Thyme, Oregano, Parsley

After my chopping extravaganza, I grudgingly moved on to the potatoes.  I have to say, if I were a potato peeler, I would be fired and unemployed.  I really, really dislike peeling potatoes!  Perhaps this explains why my kitchen is populated by boxes of instant potatoes!

But it had to be done so I peeled, sliced and seasoned those enemy spuds which took upwards of an hour and included some swearing. 😉

The enemy has been identified!

An hour later, peeled potatoes! Grrrrr

The enemy has been eliminated! Well...okay, sliced, seasoned and buttered...but still.

Potatoes done, swearing over, I realized my chopping wasn’t over.  Three little zucchinis mocked me from the countertop.  I have no Zucchini Mocking pictures…it was just too upsetting! But I recovered my dignity by attacking them with a blade!!  Very cathartic!  That’ll teach you, you arrogant zucchinis!

My triumph over the ever-arrogant zucchinis!

Chopping done, I turned my attention to the meat portion of this meal.  The original recipe called for lean ground chicken but I could only find turkey at the grocery store, which worked just as well.  It required a light sauteing with garlic and onions.

Sauteing the turkey, onions, garlic w/salt and pepper"

And then?  Onto the layering!  I assume the layering is why this dish was compared to lasagna, but it really isn’t anything like a lasagna…not only due to the lack of pasta, but also because it requires only one cheese.  Not as rich as lasagna and not as expensive to make!

First set of layers

It said to layer them in this order: potatoes, zucchini, turkey et al, herbed with pinches of oregano, parsley and thyme….repeat!  I managed to repeat this twice, then I topped it all with a third layer of potatoes.

Layered dish, ready to cook!

I covered it with aluminum foil and baked it at 350 for 40 minutes.

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Random Notes

At this point, I want to point out a few things…plus I need to admit to an error I made.  It is due to this oversight that I had to cook this meal for close to double the amount of time.

ERROR
The original recipe called for tomatoes as an additional layer.  I deleted this ingredient as I simply don’t like tomatoes and figured I could make this without them.  What I didn’t consider at the time was the water content in the tomatoes.  Without them, there was little moisture in the dish to boil and aid in cooking the potatoes. After 40 minutes, the potatoes on top were still very uncooked.  I mentioned this to B and he suggested adding water, repeating the point made above about the tomatoes.

Water added, I reset the oven and cooked it for an additional 20-30 minutes and all was good.  If you add water (or tomatoes) from the very beginning, I’m betting the original cooking time would be enough.

FRESH HERBS
This was my first time working with fresh herbs, so I had no idea how potent they would be!  I didn’t overdo it per say, but I came awfully close.  So if you, like me, don’t have much experience with fresh herbs…respect them and use them somewhat sparingly. 😉

BIGGER DISH, LESS VEG, MORE MEAT
I used a small round baking dish but in hind sight, I would suggest a longer rectangular dish instead. 
If you go with a smaller dish, reduce your zucchini and potato amounts.  I had quite a lot of both leftover that I ended up storing for a future meal.
Even with my small dish, I found I had barely enough meat to make two good-sized layers.  For reference, I bought a 450 g  package of turkey, so if you are going to try this, I suggest buying a little more than that.

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Onto the final, and the best, step!  Adding the cheese!  I crumbled goat cheese all over the top and returned the dish to the oven for another 10 minutes.  For the last couple of minutes, B turned on the broiler which allowed the cheese to brown slightly.

Goat Cheese Topping

Okay, so at the end of the day, it isn’t exactly pretty:

…but was it ever good!

I don’t mind goat cheese, but it depends what I’m eating along with it that decides whether I really enjoy it or not.  In this instance, the goat cheese complemented everything perfectly!  I would definitely make this dish again and am considering what other ingredients I would add to mix it up a little.

READER QUERY: Thoughts?  What other veg or tuber would you add as a layer?

Lastly, I have to say that reheated the next day….even better!!! 🙂

Yummy reheated goodness!

Potato & Turkey NOT-Lasagna


INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb extra lean ground turkey (or lean ground chicken)
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 large peeled potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 zucchinis, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp each of chopped thyme, oregano, parsley
  • 1 1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • little bit of water
  1. Preheat oven 350 F.
  2. Heat pan on high with a little bit of oil.  Saute onions along with ground turkey and half the chopped garlic cloves. Season with salt and pepper.  Once meat is cooked through, remove pan from stove and set aside.
  3. Melt butter with remaining garlic and pour over sliced potatoes.  Add salt and pepper.
  4. In a baking dish, start to build layers.  Potatoes, zucchini, turkey, 3 chopped herbs, in that order over again until dish is full.  Add a bit of water and cover.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until all layers are soft and easily pierced.
  6. Once soft, uncover and top with goat cheese.  Bake another 10 minutes (broil for a few minutes to brown the cheese).

Additional Notes:

  • The original recipe called for extra lean ground chicken.  Turkey worked quite well; that’s all I could find at the grocery store.
  • It also called for 4 large tomatoes, thinly sliced and used as another layer.  I deleted this as I don’t like tomatoes.  If you decide to add them, don’t add the water.

Pulling the Pork*! (or “Altering a Recipe” by a Panicked Capricorn *wink*)


* NOTE: It was pointed out to me after I published this post that technically I made Pulled Beef or Pulled Meat…no pork involved at all!  Somehow, that fact eluded me during the whole process of cooking this dish and writing about it…and so, where you see mentioned “Pork” let’s just say “Meat” and be done with it.  I be pulling my meat instead of pulling my pork!  (Yes…let the jokes begin! *grin*)

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

I got it in my head one day, after seeing a recipe in the local newspaper, that I wanted to make pulled pork*.  And so, during a recent and wonderful Snow Day in which I didn’t have to go to work, I cooked instead!  (Wonderful Snowday= a few snowflakes in the air + media hype)

I had no idea that Pulled Pork* was going to challenge the very foundation of my inner cook!

I had to alter the recipe quite a bit as I was missing certain ingredients and there was no way I was going to go out in the wee blizzard to hit the grocery store-…………..

Yup, you read that right!  I am as shocked as you are! I had to ALTER a recipe!  Not only didn’t I have all the ingredients I needed, but I only had two-thirds of the meat called for in the recipe!!!

My inner Capricorn…that Capricorn cook who requires measurements and specific instructions…reacted as would any irrational, anal retentive cook would…she panicked…..

and then…she contacted friends for moral support!

I chatted with one of my friends online about the ingredients I had and what I could substitute. (Still looking for that cooking confidence!  Anyone have any extra? *grin*)

So, we texted back and forth and the conversation looked something like this…notice the actual meaning behind the words in brackets *wink*

Me: So for the first time ever, I have no apples : S (“OMIGOD I HAVE NO APPLES!!!!”)
Steph: Applesauce? (“Chill…here’s an option. Applesauce.”)
Me: Yup, unsweetened (“Um….but applesauce ISN”T apples.  The recipe calls for APPLES!!!  Noooooo!”)
Steph: You could use some of that instead (“It’ll work.  No worries.”)
Me: Ok, I was going to ask that 🙂 .Had to buy two little eye of round roasts, they didn’t have anything else…and bbq sauce instead of chili sauce…Oh, aaaand I have no tomato paste!…Have 3 kinds of bbq sauce though. (“Really?  You sure?  But the recipe calls for all these things I don’t have!!! Maybe I should just make Kraft Dinner. *sigh*”)
Steph: Should be ok, just not as thick.  It will be really saucy, so you’ll have to remove the pork after its done cooking, and then serve the sauce separately(“It’ll work, Dude.  It’ll work.”)
Me: Hmmm…it doesn’t look that bad out…maybe I should brave the corner store  (“CAN’T DO IT! Must.Go.To.Store.  Must.Follow.Recipe.”)
Steph: I think it would still be ok with what you’ve got (“Screw the recipe!-….Are you hyperventilating?  Breathe.  Good.  Now repeat after me, I DO NOT need to follow the recipe exactly.”)
Me: Ok, thanks! (*shudder*”I-…. do not need to follow the recipe.”)
Steph: You won’t need to add all the sugar because the bbq sauce is already sweet.  I would omit the honey and half the sugar.  (“Awesome!  Again!”)
Me: Okay, plus I need to reduce the recipe by 1/3 because my meat is less (“I DON’T NEED TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE SO EXACTLY! WOOT!  You’re right!  I can just divide it into two-thirds!!!   I’ll use 1.3 cups of applesauce…Oh! And 2/9 cup of mustard!  It’ll work!  It’ll really work!”)
Steph: That’s fine, you’ll reduce the cooking time too to about 4 hours (*sigh*)
Me: Ok, thanks! (“WHEEEE!  And 1.3 cups of onions and 0.6745 cloves of garlic and-…..”)
Steph: Good luck! (“I’m going now…..  Away….. Far away.”)

NOTE: Thanks Steph for all your help!!

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So…I had to alter the recipe.  Yeah, I’m pretty hung up on details and having recipes BUT  I’m also learning that sometimes, the best recipes are the ones that you find yourself having to alter.  You add one item that isn’t called for…you mix up two ingredients and add more of one than the other….Suddenly, there you are with your first homemade recipe with its very own top-secret ingredient!!

That didn’t necessarily happen in this case…that I know of…and either way, I’m sharing it with you here so it won’t be a secret for long!

QUICK NOTE ABOUT THE RECIPE: The above online bracketed conversation was written in jest of course…BUT you WILL find my recipe divided into two-thirds.  That part wasn’t made up.  *grin*  For those of you who wish to try out the recipe and not deal with the weirdness of my fractions…you will find the “original” recipe HERE or HERE

ON TO THE ACTUAL CREATION!

Eventually, once the panic had subsided….I began.  First step?  Slice up my onion and layer it in the bottom of the slow cooker.

I received a lot of advice regarding what type of roast I should purchase for the best pulled pork*. Some people suggested a shoulder, others said a rump roast would be best.  I worried that I wouldn’t be able to decide when I got to the grocery store but as it was…the little independent store near my home only had eye of round roasts so I purchased two small ones.  Together, they weighed just over a kilogram.


Placed them in the slow cooker on top of the onions.

This is where some of the recipe alteration began.  So many people told me that apples are definitely needed and add a nice sweetness to the dish.  Somehow, I overlooked buying apples…which was odd since I *always* have apples on hand…and had to problem solve.  Luckily I had just enough unsweetened applesauce in the fridge so I poured that over the roasts.

Next was creating the sauce.  Again, this was something I had to somewhat make up as I went along depending on what was in my fridge.  Once the hyperventilating passed *wink* I chose ingredients and mixed up the sauce.

The original recipe called for:

  • pork (replaced with eye of round beef)
  • sweet chili sauce (replaced with bbq sauce)
  • honey (deleted due to the sweetness of the bbq sauce)
  • brown sugar (halved the original 1tbsp)
  • grainy mustard (used regular mustard)
  • tomato paste (deleted…didn’t have any)

So in addition to the above bbq sauce, mustard and brown sugar, I added chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, paprika, and garlic.  It smelled SO good!  Dumped it all over the two roasts and set the slow cooker.

The original recipe called for 1.5kg of meat and 6-7 hours of cooking time on LOW in the slow cooker.  Since my meat was 2/3 of that and as it was cut in two small roasts, I figured I wouldn’t need so much time.

I cooked them for just over 4 hours and then attempted to “pull” one with two forks.

After 4hrs on LOW

No way was it ready to be “pulled”.  Of course, I did what any cook would do and called a couple of friends to get their advice.  Both told me to let it cook longer and that once it was truly ready, it would fall apart almost on its own.

They were right.  Almost 3 hours later I tried again and I ended up with…..

Ta Da!!!

 

It really did fall apart!  I’m still glad I checked it at 4 hours.  At least that way I was able to ensure that it wasn’t drying out, burning….etc.  So, it pretty much pulled itself apart….and then I added the sauce from the slow cooker.

 

Even after all the changes to the recipe and the interruption in the cooking process…it turned out SO well!  It was so yummy and tender!  Definitely something I would make again that, in hindsight, was quite an easy and straightforward meal to make.  I really have to start using my slow cooker more often!

And the happiest part to this whole thing: I SURVIVED THE PANIC!

Lesson Learned: “I DON’T HAVE TO FOLLOW A RECIPE EXACTLY!!!”



RECIPE – Divided into 2/3 of the original *wink*

 

Again, to avoid my crazy measurements….the original recipe can be found HERE or HERE.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 small eye of round roasts (Mine equalled just over 1 kg)
  • 1.3 cups thinly sliced onions
  • 1.3 cups applesauce
  • 2/3 bottle bbq sauce
  • 2/9 cup of mustard
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  1. Place sliced onions on the bottom of  the slow cooker.
  2. Place pork on top.
  3. Pour applesauce overtop and down sides completely covering the roasts.
  4. Sauce: In a bowl, mix together bbq sauce, mustard, chilli powder, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, paprika, garlic.  Pour over meat and applesauce.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  6. Remove meat from slow cooker and shred with two forks pulling in opposite directions.  Meat should fall apart easily.  (In my case, I had to let my roasts cook a little longer before they would shred easily.)
  7. Add the remaining sauce in the slow cooker to the meat and serve on a bun!

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