Slow Cooker Dijon Chicken with Mushrooms

I’m back to my slow cooker this week, concocting another recipe following one of my favorite formulas:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts + 1 can of cream of mushroom soup + 1/4 cup of another wet ingredient + a few tablespoons of dry seasoning = YUM

This time I’ve adapted one of my favorite Weight Watchers’ recipes into one I can throw into my Crock Pot.  I love strong flavors, so Dijon mustard is a favorite of mine anyway–combine it with balsamic vinegar and some sliced mushroom and it’s a big hit at my house.

Dijon chicken 2Please note how carefully I stacked those mushrooms for your viewing pleasure.

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2-4 tbsp ground mustard

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

10-12 fresh mushrooms, washed (one small/normal sized foam container, white button or baby bella)

 

Instructions

1.  Throw everything except the mushrooms into your slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low for six hours, or on high for three hours.

Dijon chicken 1Well that just looks like a big mess, doesn’t it?  Please–just trust the process.

 

2.  Midway through the cooking cycle, use metal tongs to flip the chicken breasts over.  The chicken may be tender enough to begin shredding with the tongs, and you should–before you add the mushrooms.

Dijon chicken 3Hear me now and listen to me later: metal tipped tongs are far superior for shredding compared to their silicon counterparts.

3.  Slice up those mushrooms and add them to the chicken mixture.  (You can add them at the beginning of the cooking cycle, but sometimes all that heat cooks the ‘shrooms so thoroughly that their texture becomes an issue with picky eaters.  Add them in the beginning if you must, but I usually throw them in halfway through.  Or add them toward the end of the cooking cycle, but give them at least thirty minutes of slow-cooker heat in order to avoid serving up raw mushrooms with your delicious Dijon chicken.)  Now is also a great time to grind some black pepper in there, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Dijon chicken 4Why did the Fungi leave the party?  There wasn’t mushroom.
WOCKA WOCKA

My finished product was not very pretty, but a whole lot tastier than this photo makes it look.  I served it next to whole wheat penne topped with grated asiago and cracked black pepper.

Dijon chicken 5Dear Food Pyramid:  I swear that’s only a half-cup of pasta. The plate is smaller than it appears.

Footnotes (my specific advice to you is underlined below)

  1. In the end the mixture was too dry to serve over rice or to incorporate into pasta, which were my original intentions.  I could have made a sandwich with it if I’d had foccacia or other crusty type of roll.  Next time I’ll add 1/2 c of broth at the beginning of the cooking so that when I serve the mixture over rice, the juices find their way to the bottom of the bowl and flavor is all over the place.
  2. I should have thought to add whole cloves of garlic.  Dammit Jim, why didn’t I think of that?  They would have slow cooked into sweet dollops of savory goodness after six hours and added that element of delightfulness which only roasted garlic can add to my plate.  Garlic bread also would have been a good choice for a starch.
  3. Mustard is full of salt, so hold off on adding The Silent Killer during the prep and cooking and allow each person at the dinner table make that choice for his or herself.  We all consume too much sodium to begin with, so just take it easy.
  4. I realize I failed to use a green vegetable to really pull this meal together, but that felt really ambitious.  What vegetable side could complement such strong flavors as Dijon and balsamic vinegar?  Comment with your ideas
  5. My kiddo taste-tested two bites and didn’t care for it (made me wonder if I should have omitted the dry ground mustard?).  I was bummed, but whipped up a veggie burger for her while I daydreamed about all the leftovers I will enjoy tomorrow.

 

Dijon chicken 6No Celine was harmed in the assemblage of this blog post.

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy at byrdsforacure.org.

Goat Cheese & Dill Potato Salad

My salivary glands can’t even handle the title of this blog post.

Goat cheese?  I’d eat it everyday, given an unlimited supply of goats and people to milk them and turn that into cheese.  Wait a minute–I live in America!  I think I already have this!  Why don’t I eat goat cheese everyday, then?  I should.  Mmmm goat cheese.

And dill?  I only grow a ton of it in my garden and I’m always looking for ways to use it up.

This was a recent experiment–a savory, delicious experiment which I must share.  And this was so timely of me, given that we have embarked upon BBQ-and-picnic weather and everyone can use a new dish to try or share with your friends and family–don’t be the lame-o who brings the same old, tired, uncreative mustard-based store-bought potato salad to your next potluck!

The dressing here is based on fat-free yogurt, olive oil and goat cheese–I understand that this may seem non-traditional to some of you, so hold your judgment and disdain until I can explain some things at the bottom under “Helpful Hints”.

 

Ingredients:

  • a half dozen or so red potatoes, washed and quartered
  • 1/2 cup of crumbled goat cheese (eyeball it–it doesn’t have to be exactly 1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup of plain, fat-free yogurt (eyeball it, this time with your other eyeball)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (I used a micro plane, seen in the above photo)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced and then halved (half moons)
  • fresh dill, chopped–about 1 cup, or the entire contents of the clamshell you buy in the produce department
  • 4-5 green onions, sliced

 

Steps:

  1. Cover the potatoes with water, using a large pot.  Add some salt.  Bring to a boil.
  2. While potatoes cook, whisk together your dressing ingredients: goat cheese, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, grated garlic, and salt & pepper to taste.
  3. Remove and drain the potatoes when fork-tender, about 15 minutes.
  4. Return potatoes to the hot pot, add the white wine vinegar.
  5. Add the sliced radishes and fresh dill to the warm potatoes.  Cover with the dressing and give it a mix until the spuds are evenly coated.
  6. Walk away, put on leather motorcycle jacket, light up an e-cig and reflect on how cool you are because nobody else at the neighbor’s BBQ will bring anything as delicious as what you just made.

 

Helpful hints:

  • You can serve this potato salad warm or cold.  I prefer warm, because I like to be accused of being difficult.
  • This dish is pretty vegetarian-friendly.  If wanted to “beef” it up a little, you could add bacon crumbles or diced ham cubes.
  • This recipe calls for plain, fat-free yogurt instead of mayo.  It’s not that I’m some kind of animal or un-American, but mayo really creeps me out (raw egg yolks, you guys!) and plus is responsible for literally millions of incidents of food poisoning (I literally just made up that number).  Don’t worry, though–as long as you use plain yogurt (i.e. not vanilla) the tangy-ness won’t bother you.  Also, feel free to use plain Greek yogurt if you like all that protein.  The texture won’t matter in the end, so as long as you buy plain yogurt you’ll be in good shape.
  • Regarding the crumbled goat cheese, all of us smarties with Costco memberships will be pleased–they sell logs of Kirkland brand goat cheese cheaper than anywhere else (around $6, in the cheeses aisle).
  • You could swap white wine for the white wine vinegar if you don’t usually keep that on hand–and you only need a splash, so get your wine glasses ready while you make this dish!
  • If you don’t own a micro plane, consider buying one ($10-15, scroll up and click the Amazon link to your right and add one to your cart).  I used it for grating garlic in this case, but it’s also good for grating fresh ginger or cinnamon sticks and for zesting.  It only comes out of the drawer once or twice a month, but it’s inexpensive and handy to have.

Any thoughts or more ideas on this recipe?  Leave them in the comments, please!

dill radishes

 

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy at byrdsforacure.org.

More Ninja Fun: Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce

I like to eat spicy things.  Almost nothing is too spicy for me.  When I go to Buffalo Wild Wings, I order the Mango Habanero wings.  When I go to the hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant, I shock the owners when I order my dish extra spicy (I must not look like an “extra spicy” kind of person).  When I make salsa at home, I use habaneros or ghost peppers.

It was obvious that when I saw the recipe for Homemade Chili Garlic Sauce in the Ninja Ultima Blender Inspiration Guide I had to try it.  The original recipe puts Serrano red chilis (stemmed, quartered), 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar all in the single serve tumbler with the bladed lid, docked to the Ninja Ultima Blender and on pulse until you’ve reached the desired consistency, then simmer on the stove for 6 minutes.

The adaptations I made:

I couldn’t find red Serrano chilis anywhere here!  I used red Fresno peppers, which are larger but still pack a lot of heat (in the form of capsaicin, not a handgun).

I couldn’t find rice wine vinegar, so I checked the Internet and it seems as though rice vinegar may be used in place of rice wine vinegar.  I already had rice vinegar, so I just kept my fingers crossed that the Internet wasn’t lying to me and hoped for the best.

Lastly, I added a lot more garlic than the recipe suggested, and I used less brown sugar.  I wish I wouldn’t have skimped on this part, because I think the full amount of brown sugar would disguise the bit of bitter aftertaste.  So don’t try to save calories by skimping on the sugar.

Chili Sauce ingredients Chili Sauce blending Chili Sauce simmering

I plan to use this sauce when I make Thai chicken lettuce cups, or mix it with cream cheese for a chip dip or mix it with Ranch dressing to use when I want something to dip my pizza slice in.  The consistency and versatility reminds me a lot of sriracha sauce, which means you can use it on anything.  Sriracha is even in the yogurt shop near me, as a topping!  I like spicy, but even I’m not crazy enough to ruin frozen yogurt with sriracha.

So, enjoy!  If you have more recipes for something spicy, or something you use your Ninja blender for, post it in the comments below!

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I was compensated for this post but all views are my own, as usual.

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at byrdsforacure.org.

Ninja Curry!

I was asked to be part of a promotion for Ninja Kitchen. In return, I was sent a Ninja Ultima Blender.  Let me tell you about it:

I’ve been dying to try my new Ninja Ultima Blender since I found a recipe for Thai Chicken Coconut Curry in the recipe guide which came in the box. Actually, there are various recipes that intrigue me including White Cheddar Cauliflower Soup, Ground Chicken Lettuce Cups, Chili Garlic Sauce, and the Ginger Pear Wakeup breakfast juice. The versatility of the Ninja Ultima is convenient–as is its high capacity (72 ounces), its sturdiness, how simple the control panel is to use, and its ability to be thrown into the dishwasher.  It even comes with single-serve tumblers!  The tumblers have an adapted lid, so you toss your smoothie ingredients in to the 12 ounce tumbler instead of the big pitcher, screw on the special lid which has blades on the inside, turn it upside down, fit it onto the base and flip on the switch!  Super convenient and easy to clean!

Ninja Ultima Blender

 

 

 

So, I made the curry recipe found in the recipe guide yesterday and it was too good not to share.  If you already have your own curry recipe or taste preferences you can always alter and customize the recipe as you desire, but the original recipe that I’m posting here is pretty tasty.  Of course, I’ve never met a curry I didn’t like–if the word curry appears in the name, I’m eating it and asking for seconds.

Ingredients
3 cloves garlic
1 white onion, diced
3 cups light coconut milk
3 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons red curry paste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground turmeric

2 boneless chicken breasts, cut into bit sized pieces
4 cups cooked vermicelli noodles (or rice, if you prefer)
bean sprouts, lime wedges, and chopped cilantro leaves (for garnish)

IMG101

Instructions
1.  Add oil to a saucepan and saute garlic and onion until softened.
2.  Add coconut milk, broth, curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and turmeric.  Stir to combine, then allow mixture to cool.
3.  Transfer the cooled curry mixture to your Ninja Ultima Blender.  Or, transfer it while it’s still hot if you think you can do it without burning or splashing yourself (this is what I did and I came out of it okay, but it’s still safer to be patient and wait for it to cool).
4. Plug in, select Speed 1, and flip up the switch to START.  Slowly increase up to Speed 6 until smooth.  Flip switch up again to stop.
5.  Add oil to the saucepan and begin browning your cut up chicken.  Start your rice or noodles at this point.
6.  Remove pitcher from the base, flip up the spout cover, and pour curry mixture into the saucepan and over the chicken.  Simmer until your starch is ready.  Plate it up and garnish as desired.

IMG104 IMG105 IMG108

There are a few keys to this recipe:
1)  Don’t omit, or even skimp on, the lime juice!  It adds such fresh flavor and brightens the dish.
2)  Don’t worry about chopping/dicing too finely.  The onion needs to be in small pieces so that they cook through, but in the end it’s all going into the blender for pureeing
3)  Do use your Ninja Ultima Blender to puree the curry soup mixture.  Skipping this step will result in a lazy looking, chunky soup and curry should be smooth.  This step only takes about 20 seconds, and then you can toss the blender parts into the dishwasher and enjoy.
4) You could easily leave out the chicken for a #meatlessmonday dish, or add tofu.  Or substitute shrimp or scallops for the chicken and that’d be delicious, too.

There you have it:  easy and delicious!  What recipes do you use your Ninja Ultima Blender for?

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I was compensated for this post but all views are my own, as usual.

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Cassandra can be found on Twitter @aclevergirl.  Learn more about her family’s unique challenges and why they have hope for a cure for muscular dystrophy at byrdsforacure.org.

A Week of Breakfast Recipes With Protein!

I hope you’ve enjoyed following along with my journey as I’ve met with my Registered Dietician, Michelle Dudash, and learned about the value of Milk as an added source of protein. Michelle was paired up with me for this amazing sponsored campaign. I can’t believe this is post 3 in our 4 part series!

Last week, I shared with you my exercise routine. I’ve lost 20 pounds in 10 weeks by changing my diet and regularly exercising. My results may not be typical. But I’m proud! You can do it too! I’d love to hear about your progress!

This week, I’m sharing with you a week’s worth of protein packed breakfast recipes to get you and your family up and running or the day! Enjoy!

Would you share one of your favorite breakfast recipes with me in comments below? I’m always looking for something good!

milk recipes

Friday: Smoothie of choice – Check out all the delicious recipes on Michelle’s blog!

For additional Milk resources… follow #GotMilkGotProtein all major social media channels.

Disclaimer: I am a paid spokesperson on behalf of milk. As always… I would never share anything with you that I wasn’t behind 100%. Not for all the money in the world! xo

Protein Fight Club! Choose Your Battles!

Milk Protein Fight Club

I’ve been on a health journey with the help of my R.D. partner, Michelle Dudash. We are part of a sponsored campaign with Milk. One of the main focuses in my last meeting with Michelle was on protein. I exercise regularly and I know that protein is essential to muscle repair and recovery. Protein also keeps me fuller longer and gives me the energy I need to start my day. At the end of this post… I give you a sample workout that I follow 3 times a week. The result has been a 20 pound weight loss in about 10 weeks. You can do it too!

What are some ways I can get protein out side of meat products?

This was my main question to my R.D. partner. Michelle was so helpful! She gave me a list of foods that I can use as go-to snacks for protein other than meats. You can find this list in my last post by clicking here. The most surprising item to me on this list was Milk. You might think that I’m a little slow… but I was of the Milk has Calcium generation. I don’t ever remember learning that Milk had protein. It turns out that 8 ounces of Milk has 8 grams of protein. That’s more than an egg!

I wanted to share with you my very favorite of the new Protein Fight Club commercials produced by Milk. This one hits home for me because it’s Milk versus breakfast sausage. A meat like this greasy, fatty, breakfast sausage, is not the the way I want to be taking in my protein in the morning. Make the most of your power hours 6am-8am!

Protein Fight Club- Milk vs. Breakfast Sausage

I hope that you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. Today… I’ve decided to share with you one of my morning workout routines. I do this 3 times a week and I follow it up with a glass of milk to help with my muscle recovery. Join the Fight Club with me!

Sample Workout:

I start with a 1 mile all out run or a 3 mile walk/hike followed by these exercises that are easy to do at home.

3 Rounds

1 min of scissor or swimmer kicks

25 crunches

1 min of bicycle kicks

10 push ups (regular or modified)

25 squats

10 burpees

1 minute plank hold

You can do it! What’s your favorite exercise?

xo

Kelly

 

Disclaimer: I am a paid spokesperson on behalf of milk. As always… I would never share anything with you that I wasn’t behind 100%. Not for all the money in the world! xo