Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

There have been a LOT of pins for one pan or sheet pan dinners on Pinterest lately and I absolutely get why they’re so popular. Life is busy (just in case you didn’t get that memo). After a day of work, family, and other activities I don’t always get excited about fussing over supper, nor do I plan well enough for slow cooker meals. I know that I’m not alone on this. That’s why these meals are awesome. One pan + one cutting board + 1 knife = supper done with minimal fuss and even fewer dishes. I knew I wanted to try this pin for Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner by Chrissie of The Busy Baker as soon as I saw it.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

You might remember the Honey Balsamic Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner post that I did not too long ago; this is very similar but with a different flavor profile.

The Pintesting:

One of the things that I thought was interesting about this recipe was that the veggies included beets. I’ve recently been using beets in my juicing and I’ve had pickled beets so I was excited to try them in a new way.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Start by cutting your veggies and putting them on the sheet pan. Do you see that big one in the center with a bit of green? That’s one clove of elephant garlic. It was HUGE; almost the size of a potato! I threw him in just for fun.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Season the veggies, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss them.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Add chicken, season it, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and rub it in.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

Then put it in the oven to roast. In half an hour your house smells amazing and dinner is done!

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

The chicken was juicy and flavorful even when the leftovers were reheated for lunch. The combination of vegetables was delicious and so pretty. HH gave his 100% approval so this is definitely going to be put in the regular dinner rotation.

Pintesting Paprika Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.7 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy: This was an easy and delicious supper made on one sheet pan and it turned out exactly like the original post said it would. The smokey paprika gave warmth and lots of flavor without being too spicy and the roasted veggies were tender on the inside and just a bit crispy on the outside. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: There is a bit of prep work to getting all of the vegetables peeled and chopped, but that’s the hardest part. Due to the number of veggies that needed peeling prior to chopping (potatoes, carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes) I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: The prep work took about 10 minutes; twice as long as the 5 minutes that Chrissie had in her recipe. In all fairness, I could have chopped baby carrots and used the smaller potatoes and left the skins on to cut the time. The cook time was 30 minutes, so 35-40 minutes is not a long time to wait for supper. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Cost: Most of the ingredients are kitchen staples and all are easy to find at most grocers. The chicken thighs were the most expensive ingredients but at $4.85 for four that puts the total cost per serving at less than $5.00. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Practicality: These sheet pan recipes are so easy, quick, and delicious. And let me say again, 1 pan + one cutting board + 1 knife. Just three kitchen tools to wash! 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

There are some things that I’ve never or have almost never cooked; one of them is a roast. I know, it’s shocking! I’ve made soufflés, Beef Wellington, risottos, and many other dishes that are supposed to be complicated or “expert level” long before I made my first roast. Why? Because all my life my mother, the in-laws, or my HH have made it. Recently the grocery store had chuck roasts on sale, and I decided it was finally time to make my first roast. A search of my Pinterest pins for roasts brought up lots of recipes, but most of them were slow cooker recipes and I wanted a traditional oven-roasted version. Thankfully I had pinned this pin for Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon by Kristy of The Wicked Noodle. It was just what I was looking for; oven-roasted with carrots, potatoes, and a self-made gravy.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

The Pintesting:

I don’t know why, but I thought that roasts required magical ingredients to make them turn out delicious. I was so wrong. These basic ingredients are all that’s needed. The peas are my own addition, but I’ll get to that later.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

First season the roast with salt and pepper.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Next, heat the pan and oil to sear the roast on one side.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Then sear the other side.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Remove the roast and add onions.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Cook the onions until they are soft.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Next, add the balsamic vinegar and cook until it’s reduced and syrupy, then add the Dijon mustard.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Put the meat back in, add the broth and thyme, then roast in the oven.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

The meat should be tender and fall apart.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Add the potatoes and carrots and cook longer.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

When the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, you’re all done.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Plate your dinner and show off your masterpiece.

Pintesting Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon

Now for the peas. This is one thing that my HH prefers to NOT be cooked with the roast. I’ve always liked them with the roasted veggies. Since one of the keys to a great marriage is knowing when and how to compromise, I cooked the peas separately and served them smothered in the gravy. We both agreed that this was a delicious recipe and as the resident roast maker, he declared my first roast a complete success. High praise, indeed.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.4 Pins

Pintesting Seal 4 Pins

Accuracy:  This recipe turned out exactly like Kristy’s pictures. The roast was very tender and juicy. The balsamic and dijon gave a nice twist to the traditional chuck roast. The potatoes and carrots were perfectly tender without being mushy. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty:  There are no difficult techniques to this dish. However, I am giving this 4 Pins because you transfer a hot dutch oven from the stovetop to the oven.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time:  Preparing the roast took very little time; about 15 minutes. Since this takes several hours to cook, however, I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Cost:  I happened to get my chuck roast on sale, but even so it was more than $16 just for the meat. The dish made 6 servings and the total cost was about $25 which is $4 per serving. That’s not bad for a full dinner. 4 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality: This is a great dinner and worth the time it takes to make. The next time I try this I’ll make it in the slow cooker since they cook themselves all day on low. The flavor and texture were perfect – just like Sunday Supper. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

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

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

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

If you’re a foodie or have watched TV in the last decade, then you’ve likely heard Gordon Ramsay yelling at the contestants on his reality show, Hell’s Kitchen.  After watching for many years and seasons, one thing that I learned is that you can’t be considered a serious cook unless you can make an excellent Risotto and Beef Wellington. Eating at 5-star restaurants is a bit out of my normal budget, so the opportunity to try Beef Wellington in a restaurant is rather slim. Fortunately, the ingredients aren’t overly expensive, nor are the techniques difficult. (Thank you, YouTube!) So in order to up my culinary game and finally try some fine dining, a few years ago I decided to conquer both of these dishes; risotto for my birthday and the wellington for Valentine’s Day. But that was the OLD Beef Wellington – the NEW dish is Salmon Wellington.

In an effort to eat healthier, we are trying to have fish and seafood a couple of times a week. Not only is it healthy, but also delicious with so many varieties from which to choose: grilled shrimp on a salad, oven roasted Italian herbed white fish, pan seared scallops, fried catfish, parmesan crusted tilapia with lemon and caper sauce (post to come), and now… *drumroll, please* …Salmon Wellington.

Yes, it deserves a drumroll.

This pin by BuzzFeed Tasty has been all over Pinterest and I’ve seen the video on Facebook and Twitter. With this much notoriety, and because it just looks delicious, and because we love salmon, and because I had almost all of the ingredients on hand, I had to try this. Plus doesn’t puff pastry make everyday food look elegant? Let’s begin the fancy food Pintesting!

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

The Pintesting:

The ingredients list was surprisingly small and simple compared to beef wellington. There is no Foie Gras or duxelles in this recipe.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Saute the aromatics and then wilt the spinach.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Add the breadcrumbs, seasonings, and cheeses.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Stir to mix well. Set the spinach mixture to the side.

NOTE: It’s a lot easier if you add the cream cheese first to let it get a bit melty before adding the rest. You can see that mine is a bit clumpy. This didn’t seem to affect the taste, but it will look a lot nicer.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

The recipe doesn’t specify whether to get the salmon with or without the skin. Mine had skin so I trimmed it since I don’t want to eat it hiding under puff pastry. I recommend asking your butcher/fishmonger for salmon without the skin if you want to avoid this step.

Season with salt and pepper, then lay the salmon in the center of the puff pastry.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Top the salmon with the spinach mixture. I went back and forth between spooning it on and shaping it on top with my hands. Once it’s all on, fold the puff pastry over in thirds to cover and seal everything.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Place the filled pastry onto a parchment lined baking sheet seam  side down, tucking in the seams, and then give it a good egg wash.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Use a sharp knife to make a crosshatch pattern on the top of the pastry, then give it a final egg wash.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Bake it in a preheated oven until your house smells incredible and you’re drooling.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

DON’T cut right into this immediately. You’ll want to give it at least 5 minutes to rest in order to keep the pastry from smooshing under the knife and the filling from oozing all over the cutting board or plate.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Slice it in half to make two impressive and generous servings. (See? No smooshing or oozing.)

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

Plate it. Serve it. Become a superhero – or a supper-hero. There is a serious amount of wow factor with this dish, so enjoy. You deserve it.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

“This is the best thing you’ve ever made!” said my HH as he quickly tucked in for the next bite. “I could eat this every day!”

Wow! I was expecting a positive response, but the best thing ever?! There you have it. Please excuse me. I’m going to go straighten my cape, gloat in my glory, and see if Gordon Ramsey wants to work in my kitchen.

Pintesting Salmon Wellington

The Pintesting Results:

OVERALL RATING:  4.7 Pins

Pintesting - 5 Pins Overall Rating

Accuracy:  The end result was precisely what the recipe, pictures, and video promised. The puff pastry crust was light and flakey. The salmon was cooked to perfection; juicy but done. The spinach mixture gave a nice brightness to balance the whole dish. I also want to point out that 2 servings are extremely generous – neither of us could finish our portion, which just meant that we got to enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. 5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Difficulty: The recipe was easy to follow, and the video made it even easier. Although not mentioned, you would definitely want to remove the skin from the salmon. And while none of the steps are difficult, it does take a few steps to put this together. Due to these factors, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Time: Although there are a few steps to this recipe, it took 40 minutes from start to finish. This included the 20 minutes of baking time and all of my picture taking. Since 30 minutes is considered a standard for a quick meal and this was only 10 minutes longer for such elegance, I’m giving this 5 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

Cost: I was surprised at how low-cost this dish is! The salmon is the most expensive component, but it’s usually on sale at one of our local grocers. My fillet was too large for the puff pastry, so I had to cut it in half which made it an even better deal. The puff pastry can be found in the freezer section of most grocery stores, and you get 2 sheets for less than $4. The rest of the ingredients are common to most kitchens and I had them all on hand. The final cost per serving comes to $2.50 if you make 4 servings (like we did) or $5.00 if you make 2 servings. Either way, that’s a fantastic price for a high-end restaurant quality dish. But since the salmon and puff pastry aren’t common to most kitchens, I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Pintesting Rating - 4 Pins

Practicality:  The best thing about this dish (aside from the great flavor, the loving accolades, and the surprising ease of preparation) is that it works just as well for a quick weeknight supper as it does for an impressive special meal. After all, who doesn’t want to be a supper-hero?  5 Pins

Pintesting Rating - 5 Pins

 

 

 

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

I love our neighborhood Chinese take out place for a quick dinner that doesn’t make me feel completely guilty for not cooking. One of our family favorites is Beef and Broccoli. It’s got broccoli, therefore it must be healthy.

Sure, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

When I saw this pin by Damn Delicious for Beef and Broccoli in the slow cooker my first reaction was skeptical at best. Beef and Broccoli is a stir fry… but then I read Chung-Ah’s post and recipe in detail and it sounded extremely plausible. Why not? Definitely worth giving a test. To the wok crock pot!

Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli - Original Pin

The Pintesting:

The ingredients were easy to find at my local grocer. (There’s also brown sugar that didn’t make it into the picture, but did make it into the dish.)

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Trim and thinly slice the meat, and put in the crock pot.

NOTE: The recipe called for 2 lbs of chuck roast. By the time I trimmed it to my liking, I had 1 1/2 pounds left. There was still a LOT of meat.

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Make the sauce together.

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Toss the meat with sauce and cook for 90 minutes. Crock pot cooking usually takes a minimum of 4-6 hours and up to 10-12 hours, depending on the recipe. I was a little concerned that this wouldn’t be long enough, but…

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

This is what the meat looked like after cooking for 90 minutes. Oh, and I forgot to mention how amazing the sauce smelled.

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Add the broccoli and cornstarch slurry (to thicken the sauce).

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Cook for another 30 minutes.

Pintesting Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli

Serve w/ rice – OMG!!!

My handsome husband said that this was better than the take-out place, and that’s saying a lot. The meat was unbelievably tender and flavorful and the sauce was perfect. The broccoli was fully cooked but not mushy. We both also like that we knew exactly what is in our food – no mystery ingredients.

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Rating: 4.55 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy: This recipe really captures the flavor of take-out Beef and Broccoli made at home. Using the slow cooker was a brilliant idea on Chung-Ah’s part. The beef was very tender, but not to the point of shredding, the sauce was fantastic, and the broccoli was completely done without being mush. (I don’t like mushy veggies.) 5 PinsRated 5 Pins

Difficulty: The hardest part of this recipe was trimming the roast. I have a tendency to go a bit overboard with that, and since the cooking time (2 hours total) isn’t the normal 6-8 hours in a slow cooker, I didn’t want to have hunks of fat or stringy meat. You don’t have to go to the same lengths of trimming – Chung-Ah didn’t mention it in her recipe. The rest was super simple; whisk together the sauce, toss in the broccoli and cornstarch slurry. Easy Peasy. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Time: Because this is a slow cooker recipe, I look at it with a bit of a curve. The prep time was roughly 10-15 minutes – mostly because of my obsessive trimming of the roast. Still, not bad. Since the crock pot did the rest without my assistance (just the add-ins after 90 minutes), this gets 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Cost: The Roast was the most expensive part of the meal, but I was fortunate to get it on sale for about $7. The broccoli was also on sale. I did have to purchase a lot of the sauce ingredients for the 1st time, but even so this will make a LOT of Beef and Broccoli before you run out. The total cost was less than two orders of take-out, it makes 4 servings, and you’ll be able to re-use lots of the ingredients. But because most kitchens might not have the sauce ingredients as a staple, I’m giving this 3 Pins.

Rated 3 Pins

Practicality: If you need a quick fix for Beef and Broccoli take-out, hit up your local restaurant. If you want amazing flavor and are willing to wait 2 hours with minimal work, then this is a great way to go. I like that I know what’s in it, how it makes the house smell amazing, and the “yum” noises of approval. It’s a great recipe to throw into the crock pot before soccer or piano or shopping. I also like that my kitchen isn’t covered in splattered grease from stir frying. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Does anyone else have a busy life? Dumbest. Question. Ever. Trying to balance all of life’s aspects requires about 32 hours a day, but we only get 24. That’s why I LOVE crock pot cooking. It’s a HUGE time saver! Simply dump (or carefully layer) the ingredients into the magical appliance, turn it on, and walk away. Hours later I come home to a house that smells amazing and dinner (or supper, depending on where you are in the world) is DONE! I have some family favorite recipes but am always on the lookout for something new. I found such a recipe while perusing through Pinterest and spotted this pin for Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken from Tammilee’s Tips. Three ingredients that look like a cross between BBQ Chicken in texture and Buffalo Chicken in taste.

THREE INGREDIENTS – I’m in! Let’s try this.

The Pintesting:

http://www.tammileetips.com/2013/01/crock-pot-spicy-buffalo-ranch-chicken/

So here are the ingredients; chicken, buffalo sauce, and ranch mix.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Dump everything into the crock pot.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Turn it on low, then walk away. For those who have an aversion to leaving a kitchen appliance on all day – especially if you’re not home to watch it (yes, I know you’re out there and it’s okay), just put the crock pot on your stove top. I have a friend who just couldn’t leave a crock pot on her counter to cook while she was gone to work. When I suggested this, it made everything okay and she started making crock pot meals 3-4 times a week. Don’t ask or question, just do it.

After you get home (6-8 hours later), it will look like this.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Shred the chicken. I used the two carving forks that came with my knife set because of their long handles which allowed me to shred it in the crock pot without getting my hands too close to the food or the hot sides.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

There, the chicken is DONE! Since this is buffalo chicken, I wanted a side that would balance the spiciness. What could be better than the traditional carrots and celery with ranch? How about a coleslaw salad with lots of carrots and celery and a ranch-slaw dressing? YES! So here’s my non-recipe recipe.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

One bag of coleslaw, about half of a bag of shredded carrots, and 3-4 stalks of celery chopped small.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

For the dressing, I used equal parts of coleslaw dressing and ranch dressing.

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

Toss it all together and serve. That’s 5 minutes for a super yummy salad!

Pintesting Crock Pot Spicy Buffalo Ranch Chicken

We’re trying to lose some weight in my family, so when I asked if the chicken should be served with or without the buns, the unanimous response was without. Here’s our supper, and I have to say it was amazing! Tons of flavor with a nice balance between the coolness of the slaw and the heat from the chicken. It makes a lot, so it’s perfect for sharing. The next time I make this, I will try making buffalo tacos with the combo. Now, for the Pintesting results.

 

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Results: 4.85 Pins

Pintesting Seal 5 Pins

Accuracy:  This captured the fun of Buffalo Wings, but in a form that’s easy to cook and serve without the messy fingers and moist towelettes. My husband and I don’t like lots of heat, so we used the regular buffalo sauce rather than the extra hot. I’d try mild if I could find it. If it’s still too much for your heat index, then try substituting a little barbecue sauce or add a bit of brown sugar. Even though it was spicier than just about anything we usually cook, we couldn’t stop eating – it was that good. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Difficulty:  Three ingredients, dump, walk away, shred, eat, good. Folks, it doesn’t get much easier than that. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

Time:  I struggled with this because on the one hand, the prep was almost nonexistent. I literally dumped the bag of frozen chicken breasts into the crock pot, poured the bottle of buffalo sauce on top, then sprinkled the ranch mix. Two minutes tops. Once I got home, it took about 3 minutes to open the lid and shred the chicken. That’s 5 minutes, which would normally get 5 Pins. On the other hand, I feel like I have to account for the 8 hours of cook time while I was at work, which would normally get about 2-3 Pins if you were actively cooking for that length of time. I decided to go between the two, and look at it similarly to required chilling time. It’s necessary, but you’re not doing anything so I’m giving this 4 Pins.

Rated 4 Pins

Cost:  The chicken breasts were about $6.50 for the bag and by far the most expensive ingredient. Total cost was about $10.00. But since this makes a lot of food, and will serve a family of 4 with plenty of leftovers, I’m giving it 5 Pins.

Rated 5 Pins

Practicality:  Any crock pot meal is very practical for busy weekdays. The lack of chopping or other prep work makes this recipe even easier to throw together. It would also be PERFECT for a Super Bowl party. This would be great for any kind of party! 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins

PF Chang’s Mongolian Beef Copy Cat Recipe

I love Chinese food! From the time I was a very little girl, my parents would make my brother and me use chopsticks to eat at the Chinese restaurants. They said the food didn’t taste as good if you used a fork. To this day, I believe it. When I saw this pin from Six Sister’s Stuff, I knew I had to add it to the Pin Test list.

Six Sister’s Stuff is a great blog. Just read their “about us” page and you can feel their family love. Now, my mother was one of 5 sisters and they had some fantastic stories to tell. I used to love listening to them. They loved to joke and laugh. I can only imagine what that would be like since I only have the one brother. Don’t get me wrong – I love my brother… well, like a brother. (Oh, so cliché) He likes Chinese food, too. Actually, he likes any kind of food but let’s not go there. Which brings us back to the Pin Testing.

http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2012/03/pf-changs-mongolian-beef-copycat-recipe.html

The Pintesting:

After reviewing the recipe a few times, I started the rice before starting anything else. It looked like it wouldn’t take very long, as most Chinese food cooks quickly. It was a wise decision. Then I got the rest of the ingredients together.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Heat the oil in a medium pan and saute the garlic and ginger for a minute or so.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Add the soy sauce, water, and brown sugar.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Whisk it together and bring it to a boil for a couple of minutes to thicken.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

While that’s starting to boil, thinly slice the flank steak on an angle, as the instructions say.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Then dip the steak slices in cornstarch. That’s a new one for me. I’ve always dredged in flour. I love learning something new!

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

By now the sauce will have boiled for a bit, so remove it from the heat.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Once all the meat is dusted with cornstarch, let it set for about 10 minutes while the oil in the Wok gets hot.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Cook the meat in batches since it will not all fit into the wok at once.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

Cook it just until it browned, then remove it with a slotted spoon and drain it on paper towels. Once it’s all done, add the meat into the saucepan with the green onions and heat through.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

I served it over the hot rice and with stir fried veggies.

's Mongolian Beef Copycat Recipe

The Pintesting Results:

Overall Rating: 4.15 Pins

Pintesting Seal 4 Pins

 

Accuracy: The recipe execution was as the directions instructed, but most of the Mongolian Beef I’ve had at PF Chang’s and other Chinese restaurants had substantially more onions, both green and/or yellow. It tasted good, but it needed more onions to balance the sweetness of the sauce. 4 Pins

Rated 4 Pins - SMALL

Difficulty: This recipe requires some knife skills in order to thinly slice the flank steak. Also, flash frying the meat in oil raises the level of danger to novice cooks. 3 Pins

Rated 3 Pins - SMALL

Time: It took a little longer than I expected to get all of the steak slices dusted with the cornstarch, but start to finish it took about the same or less time than to send someone out to get Chinese take out – roughly 40 minutes. 5 Pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL

Cost: The flank steak is about $10-$15 unless you can find it on sale. I debated including the cost of a wok since it’s not common to most kitchens (I have 2, but I don’t have a common kitchen). Since the recipe said you can use a skillet, I let that go. 4 Pins

Rated 4 Pins - SMALL

Practicality: This is a good homemade alternative to Chinese take-out, and you don’t have to leave a tip. Although, the next time I make this, I’ll add the extra onions. 5 pins

Rated 5 Pins - SMALL