Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Maple Chicken and Waffles

Recently I was looking all around my office for a cookbook I wanted to use for meal planning. I couldn't find it anywhere. Then I realized I don't actually own it, I've just always borrowed it from the library and kept it a long time when I've borrowed it. I promptly ordered it right then and there. And since I needed a little more to qualify for free shipping, I figured I'd get Pioneer Woman's new cookbook while I was at it. Let me tell you the bliss of getting two brand new cookbooks in the same package. Heaven!!!

It's a little random how I came to find out about this cookbook. I have an online friend named Kristy. We met on Facebook, which I'll admit is kind of weird for two grown women. I've known her husband since elementary school, and she was also FB friends with someone I grew up going to Sunday school with and a friend from college. Small world, huh? So we became Facebook friends. She has lost over 100 pounds and is completely dedicated to exercise and a healthy lifestyle. She mentioned this cookbook awhile back, so I checked it out. And I loved it! So, thank you, Kristy, for the great recommendation!

My birthday was last month, and one of my gifts was a waffle maker. It's pretty awesome. I'd been dying for an occasion to make waffles and bust out my new toy, but making breakfast like that on a school morning stresses me out, and our Saturdays have been crazy recently with the husband and I both training for a triathlon next month, and Sunday mornings are a bit chaotic, too, because of church. So I was super excited to see this recipe for chicken and waffles and get to use my new toy at dinner time.

Maple Chicken and Waffles
Source: Pretty Delicious by Candice Kumai, Copyright 2011

1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup maple syrup, plus more for serving
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp sea salt

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs

To make the chicken: Whisk the buttermilk and 1/4 cup of the maple syrup together in a medium bowl. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray.

Stir together the panko, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip back into the bowl. Place the chicken breasts in the bread crumbs and turn to coat so each side is evenly covered with seasoned panko. Set the chicken on the baking sheet and bake until the coating is golden and crispy and the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. Leave the oven on, but reduce the temperature to 250. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, slice crosswise into thin strips.

To make the waffles: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in a medium bowl. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir together until just combined.

Heat a waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions. Coat the iron with cooking spray and then add enough batter to fill tghe holes without overflowing once the iron is closed. Cook until gorgeous and browned. As the waffles are made, place them on a baking sheet and place in thed 250 oven to stay warm while you cook the rest.

To serve, stack 1 or 2 waffles on a plate. Criss-cross the chicken strips over the waffles, drizzle with a little of the maple syrup and serve extra on the side.


I had never made chicken and waffles before, and this was pretty easy. I had to rearrange my meal plan because the night I originally planned on making it, I didn't have enough time to thaw the chicken, let it marinate in the buttermilk, and get it cooked. Boy #1 was really disappointed because he was so excited to have this. I'll admit I was disappointed too. When we finally had it, it received rave reviews from my whole family. I'll definitely make this again, and this may end up being my go-to waffle recipe. The only thing I'd change would be to spray the chicken with some nonstick spray before putting it in the oven so it would end up a little browned, but that's purely cosmetic.

Mmmm...waffley goodness!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Honey Sesame Chicken

Lately my afternoons have been starting out with me camped out on the floor outside Boy #2's room waiting for him to fall asleep for his nap. Otherwise he constantly gets out of bed and I'm constantly coming upstairs to put him back in bed. I think he's heading towards dropping his nap, but so far he still takes one most days, thankfully. Some days I sit here for a very long time. Other days he falls asleep pretty quickly. Normally I have my phone with me and do something like catch up on Scrabble or Words With Friends or Draw Something, but today I brought my laptop up and decided to do a blog post. I just uploaded our Easter pictures and that included some dinner pics from recently. It was a tough choice which one to do because we've had some tasty things, but I figured I'd start with this one. I tend to be somewhat against cooking chicken in the crockpot because it ALWAYS seems to turn out dry. Dry chicken is not delicious, and personally I like to eat delicious food. This one sounded tasty and since there was a sauce with it, I thought that maybe it would be okay...because sometimes dry chicken can at least be masked with enough sauce.

Honey Sesame Chicken
Source: Adapted from Table For Two blog via Pinterest

1 to 1.5 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3/4 cup of honey
1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Sesame seeds

Place the chicken breasts in the crockpot insert and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
In a medium sized bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic powder, onion powder, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine well. Pour over the chicken in the crockpot.

Cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours.

When done, remove chicken and cut into chunks. Prior to putting the chicken back in the stockpot, combine some cornstarch in water and whisk it into the crockpot to thicken up the sauce a bit. Throw the chicken back in and stir around to recoat the chicken in the sauce.
Serve hot over a bed of white rice or quinoa (optional) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.


The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but I only had chicken breasts. And the original recipe had more honey and less ketchup and real garlic and real onion, but I didn't have enough honey, I accidentally used too much ketchup, and I was too lazy to chop up garlic and onion. Hey, at least I'm honest. Also, since I'm being honest, I forgot to get this started when I had planned, so I had to throw my chicken into the crockpot frozen and say a prayer and cross my fingers it was done in time for dinner. Thankfully it was. And you know what? It wasn't dried out!!! Perhaps using frozen chicken and checking the chicken when you think it might not be cooked yet are the keys? Maybe I've just been leaving it in the crockpot for too long all these years. I don't know. But, I do know that this was DELICIOUS and my whole family really liked it. I opted to serve it with quinoa instead of rice because I only had brown rice and not enough time for it to cook, plus I love the nutritional content of quinoa over rice.

This is definitely something we'll have again, especially since most of the ingredients are things I always have on hand.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Twice-Baked Cauliflower

We're going to my mom's house for Easter dinner this year. Well, we generally always go to her house for dinner. I asked what I could bring, and she said we're having ham and turkey, so I said I could either make funeral potatoes or this twice baked cauliflower dish I made when we were doing low carb awhile back. She said either would be fine, so I decided I'd go with the cauliflower because it's healthier and something different. Then I realized I had never posted it on my blog! So, if you're looking for a side dish for Easter dinner, consider this! It's super tasty. We originally had it with Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts and the flavors complimented each other really well! And they shared a lot of the same ingredient which made preparing them at the same time a total breeze.

Twice Baked Cauliflower
Source: Kalyn's Kitchen blog
Serves 6-8

1 large head cauliflower
4 oz. low fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (do not use fat free)
1/4 cup minced green onions
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (If you only have finely grated Parmesan, use a bit less)
6 slices bacon, cooked until very crisp, fat blotted with paper towel and then crumbled
1 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Cut out stem and core from cauliflower, and cut into small pieces. Cook in large pot of boiling salted water until cauliflower is tender, but not overly soft. Drain well and mash with potato masher, leaving some chunks. Mix in light cream cheese, light sour cream, green onion, Parmesan, and 3/4 of the crumbled bacon.

Spread evenly in a medium-sized glass casserole dish. Sprinkle with low-fat cheddar cheese and reserved bacon. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.


I mostly followed the recipe except I steamed the cauliflower instead of boiling it because I've always read that it's a better way to cook vegetables (so they keep more of their nutrients)--especially with cauliflower. I think we'll have 11 people at Easter dinner, so I think I'm going to double this. Plus it's so tasty I really don't mind having leftovers. My mom loves cauliflower, so I hope she likes this.

This is a great substitute for potatoes if you're doing no or low carb. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes, but the bite of the cauliflower really adds a lot to this, and cauliflower is lower in calories (significantly!) and carbs (even more significantly!) than potatoes Plus Boy #1 doesn't like potatoes (I know, it's weird!), and he loved this.

Mashed cauliflower!

Please excuse the half eaten chicken breast, I forgot to take a picture before we started eating!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pizza Rolls

Slowly but surely (okay, more slowly than surely) I'm getting caught up on my blog posts. I have a note in Outlook that I update with the posts I'm going to do, and I'm hoping soon it starts getting shorter instead of longer. I feel like my time management skills have really been lacking lately. It's not just my blog, it's with everything!

This goes all the way back to the Super Bowl. I'm at least getting it in just under two months, so it could be worse I guess. My BFF Jen and her husband had a Super Bowl party for all of our friends. It was super fun but a little nuts with 16 kids running around and 12 adults hanging out watching the game. The food we had was amazing. AMAZING. Everyone brought a ton of stuff, and I gorged the whole time. I had a food baby for days afterwards. But it was worth it. On the Evite she had sent it seemed like most people were bringing some kind of dip or spread, so I wanted to do something different. I had seen these on Pinterest and thought they looked good and would be kid friendly.

Pizza Rolls
Source: Adapted from TidyMom.net via Pinterest

2 cans crescent rolls
garlic salt
Italian Seasoning
1 cup sliced pepperoni
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 425

Dust a large cutting board or piece of wax paper with flour and roll out each pizza crust. Season each crust with garlic salt and Italian seasoning. Top with cheese and meat.

Starting with the long side, roll crust into a tight log. Slice into 1" sections.

Place on lightly greased pan and bake for 10-12 mins.


The original recipe called for using the tubes of pizza crust dough, but I opted for crescent rolls. I don't remember why now, but it probably involved cost and coupons. It also said to roll it starting with the short side, but I rolled the long side so I'd get more out of it instead of thicker ones, if that makes sense. The crescent roll dough was a little thin once it was rolled out some, but I made it work. My five year old (well, now he's six but he was five at the time) loved helping me make these.

These were fantastic and were gobbled up at the party. There were a few left, so I left some with Jen for her son to take in his lunch and I brought the rest home and did the same for Boy #1. These are actually a great lunchbox item, too! I'll definitely be making them again, either for another party or event or to have on hand to send in lunches.