Fruity chicken salad

 

The Yankee recently made a discovery, and I’m in love.

With tea.

I used to buy gallons of fruit tea from a BBQ joint called JJ’s in Spring Hill, TN. It was amazing, and usually came in a washed out gallon-size pickle or mayonnaise container. Fine by me, as long as it ended up in my kitchen.

We moved away from Spring Hill about nine years ago, though, and I have been fruit-tea-less and bereft.

UNTIL NOW.

The Yankee found Alley Cat Tea at our local Publix and bought some for me to try. It is the real deal, folks. So much so that they don’t even know I’m writing this review/recipe — they didn’t give me any free or pay me, I just think it’s so great that y’all should know about it. To be fair, they DID offer to give me some tea, but our schedules do not mesh well. 🙂

Anyway!

My favorite is to just drink it straight, but a little Jack Daniel’s in it doesn’t hurt either. 😉 I wanted to find a way to cook with it, too, so I made this fruity/fruit-tea (see what I did there) chicken salad and it’s SO GOOD. It has sweetness from the tea, pineapple, and craisins; it has a tiny bit of sour from the lemon juice, and the chicken holds it all together. It does not have celery, because I don’t like eating dental floss.

To make your own:

  • 2 chicken breasts, marinated (see below)
  • 1 cup fruit tea, divided
  • 2 ounces mayonnaise
  • 1/2 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1/4 cup craisins
  • 1 small can crushed pineapple, drained
  • juice of one lemon
  • Salt, pepper
  1. Cut the chicken breasts into large chunks, and marinate in 3/4 cup fruit tea — at least a couple hours, preferably overnight
  2. Cook the chicken in the tea; I did mine in a slow cooker for about 2 hours, then shred the chicken
  3. Mix cooled, shredded chicken with mayo, apple, raisins, pineapple, lemon juice, plus remaining 1/4 cup fruit tea, then add salt and pepper to taste

 

This is amazing served as a sandwich on Hawaiian rolls, and also great with crackers for little appetizers. Enjoy!

Pizza chicken pasta

I found this recipe in Great Food Fast, my favorite pressure cooker book, but it’s easily adaptable for baking in the oven too. It’s warm and comfort-food-ish without being heavy, and is very kid-friendly as well! I mean, it’s practically PIZZA. This is great served with some garlic bread or, I don’t know, some vegetables? I seem to have skipped that part. Ahem. Anyway! Try this:

Pizza chicken pasta

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. water
  • 24 slices pepperoni
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Corkscrew pasta

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the salt, pepper and flour, then toss the chicken breasts in the flour mix
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet or in a pressure cooker set to brown, then lightly brown chicken on each side
  3. Put chicken in pressure cooker dish or casserole dish and cover with spaghetti sauce, water, and pepperoni
  4. Cook in a pressure cooker on high pressure for 8 minutes, or bake at 350F in a casserole dish for 40-50 minutes depending on thickness of chicken breasts
  5. While chicken is cooking, cook pasta in well-salted water
  6. Serve chicken and sauce over pasta, sprinkling mozzarella over all of it

Notes

You can also transfer the chicken to a sheet pan, then top with mozzarella and cook under the broiler till melted and bubbling. This would be easy to do in a slow cooker as well! Just allow 4-6 hours for the chicken to cook

Help me out! What’s your go-to side dish for spaghetti sauce based recipes?

Slow cooker pot roast

I love the comfort foods of fall! By August, when it’s easily 102F in Nashville, I’m ready for cooler weather, football, and fall foods; this is definitely one of my favorites.

I put out the call on Twitter for pot roast preparations about a year ago and got some fabulous ideas which I’ve cobbled together here. The flour thickens the juice and really brings everything together; it’s fantastic. I make it in my combo cooker (affiliate link), but you can also brown in a skillet then move to a slow cooker. Either way, you’ll love it.

Slow cooker pot roast

Ingredients

  • Chuck roast
  • 2 tbsp. oil (vegetable or olive)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 packet zesty Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1 packet ranch dressing seasoning
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • Carrots
  • Red potatoes

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, salt, dressings, and soup mix. Sprinkle over the roast on all sides, pressing the mixture onto the meat
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet or in your combo cooker if you have one, then brown roast on all sides
  3. When well browned, add in wine and vegetables and cook all day — I let mine go 8-9 hours

Your turn! How do YOU do pot roast?

Coca-cola pot roast

I’m freezing. Are y’all freezing? It’s prime comfort food time for me, and this delivers.  A librarian printed this recipe out for me once and I promptly lost the paper; I make it from memory now, and I’m not sure of the original source. Regardless of its origins, it’s hot and tasty and definitely fall-off-the-bone tender.

Coca-cola pot roast

Ingredients

  • Chuck roast, about 4 pounds
  • 2 Tbsp. oil
  • 1 Tbsp. salt (coarse/kosher salt, ideally)
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 packet French onion soup mix
  • 1 can Coca-cola
  • Baby carrots or chopped carrots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat on the stovetop
  2. Season the roast with salt and pepper, then sear the roast on all sides in the Dutch oven till it’s nice and brown
  3. Sprinkle over the garlic powder and onion soup mix, pour in the Coke and add in the carrots around the roast; put a lid on it and stick the whole thing in the oven
  4. Cook till the internal temp of the roast is 165F; this will take about three hours or so depending on your oven and the size of the roast. Let it rest for about ten minutes before serving

… and may I suggest serving with mashed potatoes? Trust me.

Bonus: you can also make this in the slow cooker so it’s ready when you get home at night. Please to enjoy.

Crockpot Italian Chicken

I have been wracking my brain (and my computer) trying to figure out the source for this recipe! I saw this Pin on Pinterest and thought it sounded great… but when I clicked through it went to a white cheddar chicken pasta recipe. While that also sounds fabulous, it’s not what I was looking for this time. I finally found the recipe, though, on The Girl Who Ate Everything. Yay!

I scaled down the recipe a bit because I had only two chicken breasts plus a couple tenderloins (what came in our CSA box), and tweaked the timing so the cream cheese wouldn’t cook to long and curdle. So I pulled together this:

Crockpot Italian Chicken

Ingredients

  • Two chicken breasts + 2 tenderloins
  • 1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 8-ounce block of cream cheese
  • Cooked pasta or rice

Instructions

  1. Put soup, chicken, and Italian seasoning in slow cooker and turn on low — you’ll want 4-6 hours of cooking time at least, but more is fine; I’ve never had anything overcook in the slow cooker
  2. About an hour before you’re ready to eat, take the chicken out and cut it into chunks, then return it to the slow cooker; add in the cream cheese and cook everything together for another hour, then stir so it’s all incorporated into thick sauce
  3. Serve over cooked pasta or rice

This was so, so good, and is definitely going in our supper rotation!

Do y’all have any suggestions for more slow cooker meals for fall?

Slow cooker pulled pork BBQ

Y’all will not believe how easy this was! The fact that it cooks in the slow cooker is such a bonus, too, because what’s better than coming home to supper already done?

Slow cooker pulled pork BBQ

Ingredients

  • A pork roast
  • Water
  • Salt, plus onion powder, rib rub, or whatever spices sound good
  • BBQ sauce
  • Buns

Instructions

  1. Put pork roast in a slow cooker and sprinkle on salt and whatever spices your little heart desires; I did onion powder and a rib rub Yankee had in the cabinet. Add enough hot water to fully cover the roast and turn the slow cooker on low; ignore it for the next 8-12 hours or so, depending on size
  2. After it’s cooked through remove meat to a cutting board and chop it up, discarding fat and any bone; pour the water out of the slow cooker (pork broth! Feel free to freeze it for later use)
  3. Serve! Either on a plate or on a bun, topped with your favorite BBQ sauce

Notes

Some folks return the chopped meat to the slow cooker and add in BBQ sauce so they can cook together for a bit; I don’t because I find that cooking the BBQ sauce down makes it too sugary

How easy was that? This is great with green beans!

Chili

This, like a lot of my recipes, is cobbled together from so many different recipes and word of mouth that I’m not even sure where it started. It involves my Mama’s concoction of spices, though, so it’s awesome. And spicy. Feel free to tone down the spices and add more later if it looks like too much!

  • 1 lb. breakfast sausage
  • 1 lb. ground chuck
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 1 can dark kidney beans
  • 1 can light kidney beans
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 small can green chiles
  • 1/3 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Water or beer

To assemble:

  1. Brown the meats and onion together till the meat is cooked through
  2. Add all the cans and all the spices and stir well
  3. Adjust consistency as you like it — add a little beer or water till it looks just right
  4. Simmer at will. I love this cooked all day in the slow cooker, or on the stove top in a heavy pan (such as a cast iron dutch oven)
  5. Serve with cheese, Fritos, and cornbread!