Friday, June 29, 2012

Recipe Swap: Pulled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

I'm on a roll, folks!  This week's recipe swap theme was Burgers/Sandwiches.  As usual, visit A Taste of Home Cooking for the full round-up!

I submitted Pork Sandwiches with Cilantro-Jalapeno Slaw and received these awesome Pulled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches from one of my favorite bloggers, Nicole at Prevention RD.  Seriously, if you haven't already checked out her site yet, you should.  It's one of my go-to blogs for when I want something a bit healthier and I LOVE that she calculates all the nutrition stats for you.  Oh, and I should also mention that Nicole deemed my (Sugary Sweet) Chili entry the champion of her 2nd Annual Chili Contest which I am completely honored by :).

As for this recipe, it totally met and exceeded my husband and my expectations.  At first I grumbled a bit at the fact that it used grilled chicken (I, like Nicole, assumed the pulled chicken would be a la crockpot like all other pulled meat recipes) and considered slow cooking it instead.  But don't do it.  The grilling adds a wonderful char-grilled smokey flavor that makes this sandwich unique and it's worth the extra effort.  It made a lot so we had the leftovers for lunch in wraps.  This would be a perfect addition to your 4th of July or other summer BBQ.  Classic enough for a traditional BBQ but different enough to surprise and delight.  Great stuff!

Heads up to my readers - by the end of next week, look for my first official product review and a sponsored BLOG GIVEAWAY!  If you're not already, follow me on Facebook or Twitter for an early hint of what it could be ;).

One Year Ago: Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes
Two Years Ago: Firecracker Shrimp (mmm...Sriracha!!)
Pulled Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches

  • 1/3 cup Heinz 57 sauce
  • 1 20-ounce can pineapple rings in natural juices
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey
  • Tabasco sauce, to taste (I used my favorite Asian condiment, Sriracha!)
  • 4 5-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 5 whole wheat buns or sandwich rolls
  1. Heat grill to medium heat. Place one ring of pineapple into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the Heinz 57, honey, and a couple of dashes of 
  2. hot sauce to the blender/food processor and combine. Remove 3 tablespoons of sauce to use for basting and reserve the rest for serving.
  3. Spray the pineapple rings with non-stick spray and place on the grill. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the sugars start to caramelize and nice grill marks have developed.
  4. Pound chicken breasts lightly to reach an even thickness. Brush the Hawaiian sauce on one side of the chicken breast. Place on the grill sauce side down and cook until internal temperature reaches 170F (about 6-8 minutes), flipping halfway through. Before flipping the chicken, baste with the remaining Hawaiian sauce.
  5. Remove chicken and pineapple rings from the grill when done. Let chicken stand for 5-10 minutes before shredding with two forks. Add the chicken to a bowl and toss with the remaining Hawaiian sauce. Divide the pineapple rings and Hawaiian chicken between the 5 buns/sandwich rolls and serve warm.
Source: Originally from Confections of a Foodie Bride as submitted by Prevention RD

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Summer Corn Fettuccine

Apparently this is one of those recipes that you either love or hate.  Chris found it to be very strange and I'll admit that at first, I wasn't really a fan either.  But, by the time I was reaching the end of my plate, I found myself yearning for more and wanting to lick the plate.

The contrast between the sweet corn and the salty bacon with accents of parmesan and fresh basil kind of blows your mind once you temper it into accept something other than the expected pasta sauces.  This must be why this particular recipe took the blogging world by storm and fueled a great debate.

Love it or not?  Leave your comments below!

One Year Ago: Herbed Potato Salad (Look ma!  No mayo so perfect for your 4th of July/Summer BBQ!)

Summer Corn Fettucine

  • 1 pound fettuccine
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped
  • 6 ears corn on the cob, shucked
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 12-oz mushrooms, sliced 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • A few dashes of hot sauce
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup sweet basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook for a few minutes until rendered and crisp. 
  3. Put a small bowl inverted into a large bowl, steady the corn cobs on the smaller bowl and cut the kernels off the ears. Add three-quarters of the scraped corn and any corn liquid to the pan with the bacon. Add the onions and mushrooms and liberally season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
  4. dd the remaining corn and half-and-half to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Pour the stock into the corn and vegetables and simmer over low heat for a minute to reduce. Stir in the thyme and corn-cream mixture and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring frequently, to thicken. Add the hot sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the pasta to the sauce just before serving and toss with Parmesan cheese. Top with basil and serve.
Source: Originally from Cassie Craves and Evil Chef Mom as seen on and adapted by A Taste of Home Cooking

Monday, June 25, 2012

Panera Mac and Cheese

I already have a favorite mac and cheese recipe.  But this one is right up there with it and if you're a fan of Panera, you'll probably love this version because it comes from their own website!

Oddly enough, I've never had the mac and cheese at Panera but I do love everything else there.  When I think of Panera, I'm reminded of my cousin Jen who lives in Arizona where the chain does not exist.  So, anytime she visits somewhere that has one, it's usually at the top of her list to visit.

This mac and cheese was served at my Father's Day lunch this year to accompany AB's Who Loves Ya Baby Back Ribs.  It was picked especially for my father-in-law and he approved.  Eating firsts, seconds, and THIRDS.  It was very saucy and creamy, just the way I like my mac to be.  The only reason I still think the other mac edges this one out is because I think that one is a bit more creamy and uses a sharper cheese, which I prefer.

One Year Ago: Summer Strawberry Salad with Poppy Seed Vinaigrette (Another Panera inspired recipe!)
Two Years Ago: Firecracker Shrimp
Three Years Ago: Pasta Salad

Panera Mac and Cheese

  • 1 lb. pasta shapes, such as shells
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups milk or half-and-half
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1½-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • ¼ tsp. hot sauce
  • 4 oz. white American cheese, finely chopped (available at the deli counter of most grocery stores)
  • 8 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente.  Drain well.  Return to the pot off the heat.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Stir in the flour and cook until light golden brown, whisking constantly, about 1½-2  minutes.  Slowly whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.  Stir in the salt, mustard, and hot sauce.  Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until it bubbles and thickens, about 6-8 minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat.  Stir in the cheese a handful at a time, mixing until fully melted before adding more.  Once all the cheese has been added and the sauce is smooth, pour the sauce over the pasta in the stockpot.  Mix well until the pasta is fully coated in the sauce.  Serve immediately.
Source: As adapted by and seen on Annie's Eats from Panera Bread

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps

Yum yum and another YUM!  Every once in awhile you make a recipe that is so ridiculously good that you feel like you need to drop everything and share it with the world.  This was one of those recipes for me.

I'm sure everyone's familiar with the Asian Lettuce Wraps that are available at places such as P. F. Chang's and I even shared a similar version of that on my blog here.  But this.  This was even more flavorful, even more amazing.  

The cool, crisp lettuce leaves contrast nicely with the slightly spicy chorizo and smoky roasted corn and sweet potatoes.  The color is also quite vivid and gorgeous.  Now, in my case, my husband accidentally picked up Oriental sweet potatoes which I guess are white unlike normal orange sweet potatoes so ours wasn't quite as colorful.  Still delicious and the leftovers became filling for regular flatbread wraps for lunches the rest of the week.  Personally, I preferred the dish without the sauce but it adds another layer of cool creaminess to the meal.  I kind of forgot about the feta, too.  The tang of that would have been a nice addition if you have it but I don't think we missed much by not having it.

One Year Ago: Singapore Mei Fun
Two Years Ago: Orange Berry Muffins

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps

Chorizo and Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps


For the Chorizo Sweet Potato Filling
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 3 Tablespoons canola, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of sugar
  • kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped white onion
  • 10-12 ounces chorizo, casings removed (soy or pork both work!)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
For the Cilantro Cream
  • 1 cup  Greek yogurt 
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 T chopped fresh cilantro
  • pinch of salt
To Assemble
  • 1 head of leaf lettuce (green, red, butter, or Bibb), leaves separated, washed, and dried
  • 1 cup crumbled feta
  • Additional lime wedges, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place sweet potato cubes and corn on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 T of the oil and sprinkle with cumin, cayenne, sugar, and a good pinch of salt. Use your hands to toss the vegetables and coat them well with the oil and spices.  Spread them into a single layer and roast for 15-20 minutes, stirring a couple of times during roasting, until the potatoes are tender browned in spots.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add the chorizo, breaking up the clumps with the woolens spoon.   Stir and cook until the chorizo is browned and cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Add the sweet potato mixture to the skillet, then stir in the lime juice and cilantro.  Taste and season with additional salt if necessary.
  3. As the chorizo mixture is cooking, combine the sour cream, lime juice, and chopped cilantro in a small bowl. Stir to combine, adding a pinch of salt to taste.
  4. Assemble the wraps by putting a couple spoonfuls of filling into the middle of a lettuce leaf. Drizzle with the cilantro cream sauce and sprinkle with feta.  Serve with extra lime wedges.
Source: As adapted by and seen on Pink Parsley from Perry's Plate

Monday, June 18, 2012

SRC: Brat Burgers with Drunken Onions

It's time for another Secret Recipe Club (SRC) reveal!  I can't tell you how excited I am to be a part of this club.  It has provided wonderful exposure to some new blogs for me to follow and, I'm sure I've gained a few readers myself (Hello out there!  Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think!).  Reveal day is especially delightful because you never know what someone will have chosen to make!  I love secrets :).

This month I received Debra's blog at Eliot's Eats.  I was impressed by the wide variety of recipes that I found on her blog and love how many of them were family and/or original recipes.  That's refreshing because honestly I feel like sometimes the food blog world is a bit incestuous with popular recipes making their rounds on the blogs that I follow.

I chose this particular recipe because it was one of her originals and the Summer grilling season is in full force.  Plus, I absolutely love the flavor of brats and drunken anything.  Oddly enough I don't really drink alcohol but add it to foods and I'm all about it!  This recipe did not disappoint.  It was wonderfully flavored and not unlike something you'd get at a fancy pants burger joint.  Something as simple as toasting the buns makes homemade burgers a little more special.  Since this recipe makes a lot, I'm also excited to have 4 more burgers in the freezer for when I need a quick meal in the future.

As usual a special thank you to April of the blog Angel's Homestead, our new SRC ring leader and Angela of the blog Big Bear's Wife, our Group C Hostess!

One Year Ago: Banana Sour Cream Pancakes
Three Years Ago: Chicken Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

Brat Burgers with Drunken Onions

Brat Burgers with Drunken Onions

  • 5 T. olive oil, divided
  • 2 large red onion, cut in half and sliced thin (I used 1 red and 1 sweet yellow)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bottle Dunkel (Munich style) beer, or other dark German beer
  • 1 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 t. Tabasco sauce
  • 1 t. celery seed
  • 1 t. mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 t. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 t. grey sea salt
  • 1 lb. fresh Bratwurst
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 Kaiser rolls, split
  • 1/4 c. whole grain mustard
  1. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a medium sauce pan. Cook onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add beer, vinegar, Tobasco, celery seed, mustard seed, pepper, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the brat burgers.  Take brats out of casings and mix with ground beef, bell pepper, and 1 Tablespoon of “Dunkelized” onion sauce. Form into six patties and season with salt and pepper.  (Hint: Use your fingers to make a dent in the center of the pattie to keep it flat after cooking!)
  3. With preheated grill set at 350 degrees, place patties on grill and grill for about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Brush rolls with remaining olive oil and toast them the last minute of grilling burgers.
  5. To assemble, place about 2 teaspoons of mustard on bottom-half of Kaiser roll. Add burger and top with cooked onions. Top with top-half of roll. Serve.
Source: Eliot's Eats

Friday, June 15, 2012

Recipe Swap: Oven Baked Sriracha Chicken

I'm back at the biweekly recipe swap thing!  I couldn't be happier to re-join for the very popular Blogger's Choice theme.  I was excited to receive the blog So Tasty, So Yummy for this swap.  A lot of the recipes she blogs are things that usually end up on my Google Reader, anyway so this was a win.

I chose this particular recipe because it includes some of my favorite condiments - Hoisin sauce (the equivalent of barbecue sauce in the Asian world and famously used to accompany Peking Duck) and Sriracha (the ever popular Thai hot sauce with a rooster on the bottle).  If you don't have these sauces, don't fret.  They're easily found in the Asian section of your grocery store since they're staples of every good Asian kitchen :).

Overall I was pleased with the flavor that this gave to the chicken and the nice carmelized look that the skin had coming out of the oven.  But, even after I chose to add an overnight marination step, I desired a more intense flavor to the meat itself.  Don't get grossed out but I actually sucked on the chicken skin to savor the flavors more deeply lol.  In the future, I would probably just do boneless, skinless chicken breast (or better yet, kebabs on the grill!) to better suit my husband's and my tastes.  Maybe even serve some extra sauce on the side for dipping.  Yum!

Checkout the roundup at A Taste of Home Cooking to see what everyone else cooked up this week!

Oven Baked Sriracha Chicken

Oven Baked Sriracha Chicken

  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced greens and minced whites
  • ¼ cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced 
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce 
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the minced whites of the green onions, Hoisin sauce, ginger, garlic, lime juice, oils, and the Sriracha. Toss each thigh in the sauce, coating thoroughly.  If desired, marinate in the mixture overnight.  Before baking, spoon the remaining sauce underneath the chicken skin.
  3. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, turning halfway through baking. Serve topped with green onions and sesame seeds.
Source: Slightly modified from So Tasty, So Yummy