Honey Balsamic Chicken

It’s the new year and I have resolved to eat healthy – again – for about the 100th year in a row. Anyone else with me on this? Granted, I don’t eat terribly but I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be. But some meals make eating a healthy diet much easier. For example, I saw a video for Honey Balsamic Chicken on Facebook and a couple of days later this pin for the recipe by TipHero (inspired by Chungah of Damn Delicious) popped up on my Pinterest feed, too. They do seem to copy her recipes quite a bit, so if you’re not following Damn Delicious yet you just might want to.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

I really like the idea of a whole meal made on one sheet pan in the oven. (Hooray for fewer dishes!) I also like that the recipes used a variety of vegetables.

It’s worth noting that there were a few slight differences in the two recipes.

  1. The TipHero recipe uses green beans while the Damn Delicious recipe uses asparagus. We love asparagus in our home, so that’s what we went with.
  2. The honey balsamic marinade recipes had a few differences. TipHero’s used thyme, rosemary, and chili flakes while the Damn Delicious recipe used Dijon mustard, oregano, and basil.
  3. Chungah’s recipe also took less time to make – a big plus in my book.
  4. The TipHero recipe pours the marinade over the chicken and veggies prior to roasting; Damn Delicious didn’t. I went with TipHero on this step. More flavor is more better. (I beg forgiveness from the grammar police for that.)

The Pintesting:

I didn’t get a photo of all of the ingredients this time. What can I say? I was hungry. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of ingredients.

The first thing that I did was to make the marinade. I used a short-cut here and just dumped all of the marinade ingredients into the bag that the chicken came in and squished it until it was mixed, tossing the chicken in the marinade at the same time. Since my chicken breasts were still somewhat frozen I thought I’d let it defrost and soak up the flavor all at once. Also, since it’s just my HH and me I only used one whole chicken breast (two halves). This worked for us since the chicken breasts are very large and we like lots of veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

While the chicken defrosted, I lined the pan with parchment and prepped the vegetables.

Quarter the potatoes then add the tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and season with salt and pepper.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Put the chicken on the pan and drizzle the remaining marinade on the veggies.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Roast for about 20 minutes then add the asparagus (I drizzled the asparagus with a little more extra virgin olive oil), then roast it for another 10 minutes. This was my timing compromise between the two recipes.

You don’t want to eat undercooked chicken! When in doubt check the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. For chicken, this should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

Done! Your dinner is done and the only dirty dishes are one pan, one cutting board, and one knife. Join me in the happy dance?

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

The chicken was juicy and flavorful. The tangy-sweet acidity of the tomatoes, starchy creaminess of the potatoes, and the bright crispy asparagus complimented each other, and the marinade brought it all home. YUM!

Pintesting Honey Balsamic Chicken

And now I have to say this. WINNER! WINNER! CHICKEN DINNER!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe was as simple as the TipHero video showed it to be even though I followed Chungah’s recipe. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  This recipe was very simple – perfect for novice cooks. The prep work was minimal and the marinade made everything taste wonderful. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time:  The active time to prep and cook the recipe was 40 minutes. The chicken requires time to marinade (30 minutes to overnight). I did this ahead of time and let it marinade all afternoon. While it isn’t active cooking time, it’s still necessary to make the recipe turn out so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  The cute little potatoes and grape tomatoes were both buy-one-get-one-free at the store when I got them. (I love shopping sales!) The total cost of all the main ingredients (not deducting for the sales) was $12.00. Even though we used only 2 chicken breast halves, we had 4 meals making this $3.00/serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  This is the kind of home cooking I could eat every week. It was simple, delicious, and planning ahead with the marinade made quick work of the cooking. Perfect for busy weeknights! You could experiment with using different kinds of vegetables such as green beans, carrots, Brussels sprouts, or whatever your family likes. You can also switch up the marinades – try the TipHero version for a more traditional herbed chicken flavor. This will be a regular in our menu rotation. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving is over, the dishes are done, and even the leftovers are gone. This year I did something a little adventurous (or maybe crazy or even brave) and, with the exception of the turkey and my mother-in-law’s dressing, I made our entire Thanksgiving meal from Pinterest recipes. This is the first of the Thanksgiving Pintesting recipe reviews – the Sweet Potato Casserole.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

I’ll be honest; I didn’t see this initially on Pinterest. First I saw this TipHero video through my Facebook feed. I really like that TipHero gives credit to the original sources for their videos – just like they did for my Pineapple Upside Down Bundt Cake when they made it into a video. If you scroll down to the end of the recipe you’ll see the credit. When I went to their site for the recipe, I noticed that it gave credit for the recipe to Nikki’s blog Chef In Training so I went straight there and pinned her Sweet Potato Casserole recipe.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Don’t hate, but I find the mini marshmallows on so many sweet potato casserole recipes just too cloyingly sweet. If that’s your thing, then by all means, keep making your sweet potato casserole the way you prefer. But I should warn you – this recipe is now my go-to recipe. More on that later – for now here’s the Pintesting.

 The Pintesting:

The ingredients are pretty simple. Nikki used boiled sweet potatoes while TipHero used baked. I had a LOT of recipes to make so I went with baked since the oven was already on for the turkey.

Note: Multitasking is wise when you are making all of Thanksgiving dinner.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Mix until blended and smooth. I like that the baked sweet potatoes were cooked soft enough that I didn’t even have to get the mixer out.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

Put into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and top with the streusel topping and bake it in a 350-degree oven.

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

This is how it looked when it came out of the oven. It smelled incredible!

Pintesting Sweet Potato Casserole

My HH proclaimed that this sweet potato casserole was better than pumpkin pie. He said it one of the best desserts that I’ve made. I let him know that it is a casserole and not a dessert. He disagrees and calls it dessert. We do agree that it’s delicious both warm and cold. It’s like a crustless sweet potato streusel pie. So if you can’t be bothered with making a pie crust or if you’re on a “diet” and can’t have dessert or if you just want an easy side dish with a lot of wow factor, this is the casserole for you!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.55 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This recipe performed exactly as Nikki (and TipHero) said it would.  5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: The directions from both the Chef In Training and TipHero recipes were quite simple and straight forward. I really liked that I didn’t have to get the mixer out for this – one less complication when juggling 4 recipes at once. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Time: Since I baked the sweet potatoes while working on other recipes I had a tough time judging this. On one hand, it took about an hour to bake them which is a lot of time to add to a recipe. If I had boiled them it would probably have only added about 10-15 minutes. On the other hand, just the post baking time would shorten the prep time to only 5 and 25 minutes of baking time. Averaging out the 1 1/2 hours and 45 minutes that’s still over an hour so I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples. The pecans and sweet potatoes were all that I had to buy for this recipe and I only needed 2. The recipe makes a 9×13 inch casserole dish which is a LOT of casserole/dessert but due to the pecans and sweet potatoes, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  This has been a pleasantly surprising Pintesting. I was expecting a good sweet potato casserole. I wasn’t prepared for one that was not only easy but also delicious enough to be one of the high points of our Thanksgiving meal. I was planning on making a pumpkin flan for a dessert, but HH said to not bother and went for another serving of this sweet potato casserole. Bonus points for making my life easier. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

The simple recipe of True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy is pretty standard fare in Ireland and the U.K; it’s classic comfort food. My local Fresh Market had a variety of sausages on sale recently; including Irish Bangers. My HH had never heard of them and asked what they were like, so we picked up a couple and decided to try the famous dish.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

After searching several recipes on Pinterest and pinning a few, I saw this pin that claimed to be the True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy recipe which was submitted by wsf” on All Recipes. Since I’ve never tried Bangers & Mash before, I wanted to try the “True” real deal recipe. Bia Maith is Irish for Good Food; let’s get on with the Pintesting.

The Pintesting:

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

The ingredients list wasn’t too long and most of it was already in my kitchen.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

This all started because I saw the bangers sausage on sale at The Fresh Market. If you’re lucky enough to find Irish bangers then use them. If you can’t, you can substitute any milder pork sausage.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

Cook the bangers, turning them until they’re browned on all sides.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

Boil potatoes for the mash.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

Make the mash (mashed potatoes). A unique ingredient was dry mustard for the mashed potatoes. I’ve never used it that way before, but the mash was delicious.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

The recipe called for two large onions. I don’t know about you, but that’s a LOT of onions in my book. They filled up the whole skillet pan. The next time I make this I’ll use one large or two medium onions.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

Once the onions are sweated and just browned add the beef broth…

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

…and the wine. Let it reduce for a while.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

According to the recipe submitter, wsf, “Please note that this is a very thin gravy, as is traditional. It will still be very liquidy.” He was right.

Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

After simmering for 12 minutes the gravy smelled great but was much thinner than my usual gravy. Pintesting True Bangers and Mash with Onion Gravy

If “wsf” wouldn’t have mentioned how thin the gravy was, I’d have thought that I’d done something wrong. The flavor was wonderful, though. I thought the banger sausages were mild but flavorful and were complimented by the flavors of the onions, beef broth, and wine. The mashed potatoes were fluffy, creamy, and just what I needed to soak up the gravy.

Pintesting Variation #2:

My HH and I decided to get our Irish on before the sale was over and made a second variation just to test a different gravy. I searched several other recipes and found  “Onion Gravy for British Bangers and Mash,” also from All Recipes (Lupin Pooter).  This recipe called for chicken broth rather than beef broth, dijon mustard instead of dry mustard, added Worcestershire sauce, and used a roux as a thickener. Not wanting to risk another thin gravy, I skipped the wine and added 3 cubes of beef bouillon to the chicken broth to add richness instead. THIS is the gravy we were looking for. When we make this again, and we absolutely will, we’ll use the “True Bangers and Mash” recipe with the “Onion Gravy for British Bangers and Mash” (plus the beef bullion) for the gravy.

Sláinte!

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.3 Pins

4 Pins Overall

Accuracy:  The recipe gave the warning that the gravy would be thin (aka runny), but the gravy in the photo looked a bit thicker than mine turned out. I checked with some Irish friends who’ve had real and proper Irish Bangers. They said that the gravy should be thicker rather than thinner. “It should flow like lava as you pour it over the food.”  I omitted the red wine to make the recipe thicker but, I was told, it’s traditional to the gravy. The next time I try this I’ll add the red wine and use a cornstarch slurry to thicken up the gravy. Due to the questionable thinness of the gravy, this gets 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Difficulty:  There’s a reason Bangers and Mash is common fare in the U.K. Brown the sausage, make the gravy, and serve with mashed potatoes. It reminds me of  Salisbury Steak, but with Irish sausage – simpler since you don’t have to make the patties. There is a bit of chopping with the potatoes and onions, and the boiling, browning, and reducing takes a wee bit of cooking. Therefore this gets 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  Dinner took roughly an hour from start to finish with either recipe. The second gravy took a little less time because of the roux. An hour for dinner isn’t bad, but I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost:  The Irish banger sausages were the most expensive part of the meal(s), and you can see that 2 sausages were $2.81. The wine was the second most costly ingredient, but you don’t have to use an expensive wine. This transforms simple ingredients into a hearty and tasty meal with leftovers at a cost of ~$3.00 per serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  This was a simple yet flavorful meal that would go well with peas or other veggies. If you have kids you can either omit the wine from the sauce or let it simmer long enough to cook the alcohol off. It’s the kind of hearty home-style cooking that makes me think of pubs, pints, fireplaces, and family. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

7-Layer Greek Dip

Going to the movies is fun, but there are some downsides to seeing a film at the theater. I don’t like the overpriced snacks. I like real butter on my popcorn rather than that bright yellow butter-flavored oil. No wine. The theater folks frown upon patrons coming in their pajamas and slippers. Oh, and they won’t pause the movie to let you use the restroom after you’ve had a 44-oz large soft drink. This is why we prefer to watch most movies at home. One video that recently came out was My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. Since we’re not limited to popcorn and soda at home, my HH and I decided that we needed Greek movie snacks. So when I saw this pin by Delish for their 7-Layer Greek Dip, I knew this was going to be our movie date night dish.

Here’s the video that was floating around Pinterest. How appropriate that this, too, is a movie?

The Pintesting:

The ingredients are traditionally Greek. Please note that there is a little dish of red onions off to the side. It’s not one of the listed ingredients, so watch for this special guest ingredient later. Let’s go through the layers.

Pintesting 7-layer Greek Dip

1: Hummus

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

2: Cucumbers

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

3: OlivesPintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

4: Artichokes

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

Make the sauce by combining the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, and dill. Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

5: Yogurt Sauce

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

6: Tomatoes

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

7: Feta & Parsley

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

8:  but this is a 7-Layer Greek Dip? I added minced red onions since they’re in so many Greek dishes. Red onions are often found in Greek food and I thought it would add a nice flavor. This is totally optional.

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

Opa! You can let it chill in the fridge or just grab some pita chips and dig in, which is what we did.

Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip

Since it’s movie night, here’s my video of how to make the 7-Layer Greek Dip.

This is loaded with so many good ingredients that I had no trouble substituting it for a light supper, and my HH agreed. It felt like we ate a LOT but most, at least two-thirds, of the bowl was leftover, so the next day we scooped it over a mixture of romaine lettuce and spinach to make a Greek-style salad. I topped it with leftover salmon and crumbled the remaining pita chips as croutons – delish!

Pintesting Results:

Overall Results:  4.85 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  My glass dish didn’t spin like the one in the Delish video did and I added the 8th layer of red onions, but I have to say that this was as delicious as the original video suggested. The Greek flavors would be what you would expect in the Mediterranean. I would risk sneaking this into the theater. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  Once all of the prep work is done, this is easy to layer up. Do pay attention if you’re slicing the olives yourself. Even if the jar says that they’re pitted, you might come across some that still have the pits so use caution. Pintesting 7-Layer Greek Dip Due to the amount of chopping involved, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  There is a bit of prep work in chopping the cucumbers, artichokes, tomatoes, and olives (if you don’t get them sliced) and making the yogurt sauce. However, start to finish this came together in 15 minutes. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost:  We eat a lot of Mediterranean-inspired food, so most of these ingredients are on hand in our home. If you had to buy everything it would run you about $10, but you’d have a lot of leftover ingredients to use in other dishes. The recipe had leftovers that perfectly repurposed into a lunch salad. We ended up with two large servings of dip and four lunch salads from this recipe, so that’s $1.67/serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality:  I loved how this could be used as a great dip and also made an easy Gree-style salad. The wholesome ingredients make this a healthier snack or appetizer and are a great way to sneak in more veggies. Adding red onions as the 8th layer was my customization, but you can change it up however you like. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

I’m a Daddy’s Girl. Always have been, always will be. Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom very dearly, and as I get older, I see the best parts of her in me. I know I’m blessed beyond words to have the parents that I do. But daddy was the first man in my life, and he set a very high bar as a standard for what to look for in a man. Even though it’s been more than 10 years since he’s walked this earth, I still get excited on his birthday. The quirky little memorable things are what I love to celebrate. He loved God, his family, Tab (does anyone remember that diet cola before there was Diet Coke or Pepsi?), butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, mom’s chili when it was so spicy that the steam would peel paint, and he always seemed happy.

His favorite canned soup was Bean & Bacon. I’m pretty sure that Campbell’s has changed the recipe over the years, because it just doesn’t taste the same, nor does it have the same texture. Our family has been avoiding canned soups since they’re usually high in sodium and other “stuff” that we don’t want as a part of our diet. So when I saw this pin for Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup by Deborah of Taste and Tell, I looked up and smiled into the heavens and told dad that I was going to make this for him.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You know how they say that girls usually marry a man like their dad? Yes! My HH is like my dad in so many ways – including a love of butter pecan ice cream, Fritos & bean dip, HE makes the chili, and he used to drink Tab. And guess what his favorite canned soup is. Go on – guess… Yup! So with my HH cheering me on, and daddy watching from above, let’s get on with this Pin Test!

There aren’t a lot of ingredients, which means that the flavors come from simple ingredients and should shine through (I hope).

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

 

Start with the bacon, cooking it until it’s rendered a good amount of fat and is nice and crispy.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Remove the bacon and most of the drippings, leaving a couple of tablespoons of the rendered fat to give flavor and to cook the mirepoix. (That’s equal parts of onions, carrots, and celery.) I seasoned with salt and pepper at this stage rather than waiting until the end. Once the aromatics are softened, add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the beans and broth and let it cook for an hour. The recipe says to remove half of the soup and blend in a blender or food processor, but that makes a lot of extra dishes and (in my world) potentially puts me in harms way. Instead, I used my immersion blender to pulse it enough times that it looks like it was about half blended and half whole beans and veggies.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Add the tomato sauce and 3/4 of the bacon, and let it heat through for another 5 minutes or so.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

Serve and garnish with the reserved bacon.

Pintesting Homemade Bean and Bacon Soup

You can’t really see the beans in the bowl because they sink to the bottom and are covered by the broth, but they’re there. (Did you catch that beautifully correct grammar?) I have to say that daddy would have loved this soup – probably a lot more than the canned variety. I know the HH and I did. It was hearty, flavorful, and filling without being heavy. I liked that I could control the sodium levels (and add more bacon garnish, if I want to). So now for the Pintesting results.

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  This soup brought back the memory of how the canned name-sake in my past used to taste. It was like a time machine in a bowl. The flavors were spot on, and the texture was creamy and rich. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  The steps weren’t hard, but it’s not something for kids in the kitchen. Cooking bacon can cause grease burns from the popping and splattering if you have the heat too high. Also, the extra step of blending half of the soup, while necessary, comes with it’s risks. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: The prep work only took about 20 minutes, but then add an hour of simmering time after that, plus one more time of heating it through and you’re looking at 1 1/2 hours to make from start to finish. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost: This is a great soup if you’re on a budget The most expensive ingredient was the bacon, which I got on sale for less than $5, and I had leftover bacon for BLTs. The cans of beans were about $1 each, and I had the rest of the ingredients on hand. We can estimate them at $5 for everything. The recipe says 4 servings, but the HH and I got 6 good-sized servings out of the pot of soup. That’s less than $2 per serving. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

 

Practicality: If you like bacon, or have fond memories of bean and bacon soup, or if you like soup, this is a must-try recipe. My HH and I love this recipe, now one of our favorites, and I’ve made it twice now. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Sunday Reflections – April 7, 2013

Happy Weekend! I thought it would be nice to do another “Sunday Reflections” post. Here are some of the funny, thought provoking, and inspiring posts I’ve seen that I thought were worth sharing. I hope your weekend had moments of laughter, quiet, joy, peace, awe, love and blessings. Enjoy and have a great week!

Hello my name is Anne... Yes, it's so true!

Hello my name is Anne…
Yes, it’s so true!

 

Be so happy that it makes people wonder what you've been up to.

Be so happy that it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.

 

Einstein - Genius

Einstein – Genius

 

The most beautiful things in life are felt by the heart

 

Real Love Fairy Tale

Real Love Fairy Tale

 

The Rules to Always Being a Lady

The Rules to Always Being a Lady

 

Mandrakes found by Muggles!

Mandrakes found by Muggles!

 

Password - PROTECTED

Password – PROTECTED

 

A party without cake is just a meeting ~JC

A party without cake is just a meeting ~JC

Happy Sunday! Anne