BBQ Chicken Street Tacos

Ok, so I have posted a previous recipe for the mighty street taco with instructions on how to pack it up for work and save yourself from the daily sandwich miasma. Now that you have mastered that, why not go fusion by making your tacos with shredded chicken smothered in sweet heat BBQ sauce? I’m pretty sure I just made your tummy rumble.

BBQ Chicken Street Tacos

BBQ Chicken Street Tacos

Ingredients

Prep

  • In a small sauce pan, mix the shredded chicken and BBQ sauce together until the chicken is fully coated.
  • Heat the mixture over a very low flame, stirring often.
  • In the meantime, heat up a non stick or cast iron skillet and add the olive oil.
  • Heat up the tortillas until they are warm, soft, and have just a hint of crisp to the surface.

If you are taking this to work for lunch, transfer your tortillas to a plastic bag and seal. Transfer the warmed mixture to tupperware and put the chopped onion in cilantro into a small separate container as well. Whether you warm the mixture up again or not is your choice. If you want to reheat your tortillas just toss the bag in the microwave and heat for about 10 – 30 seconds. Don’t over do it or they will be rubbery.

When you are ready to eat, just assemble the tacos by layering two tortillas, spooning about 2 tbsp of the mixture and sprinkle onion and cilantro down the center.

~Nom on with yo fussy, fusion tacos!

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Poached Chicken

Although I do love making me some crazy stuff, I also like to share the basic techniques that help us launch yummy dishes or just get something healthy and simple on the table so we can get back to that Queer Eye for the Straight Guy marathon on Bravo. Enter the poached chicken. It goes in any recipe you want cooked chicken for or you can steam some veggies, season with a little lemon, salt, and pepper and check ‘behaving yourself’ off your list. It’s a must have technique.

Poached Shredded Chicken

Poached Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 6-8 oz frozen chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2-8 cups water
  • 1 large chicken boullion cube
  • Aromatics such as fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, sage, or dill can be added if desired.

Note: Aromatics is your chance to fold in some complex and delicate flavor that can either enhance the meat if you are eating with sides or you can pair the aromatics with flavors and spices you’ll be using in the dish the chicken is intended for. 

Prep

  • In a medium-sized pot, place the chicken breast inside and begin adding water, 2 cups at a time until the breast is covered. Add the 1/2 cup of wine. Add in aromatics if using.
  • Turn on the flame to a medium high and cover with a well fitted lid.
  • Bring to a boil. Remove the lid and crumble the bouillon cube into the boiling water. Replace the lid and continue boiling for one minute.
  • Turn off the flame and leave the lid on. Allow the chicken to poach for 20 minutes.

Note: You can use pre-made chicken broth or homemade stock if you have those on hand. Just swap them for the water and bouillon. 

Poached Chicken

Remove from the water and place on a cutting board. To check for doneness, I like to pull off a few large chunks with a fork. It should come apart easily if its tender. If you see any pink parts, you can return them to the water and let sit with the lid on for a few more minutes.

You now have moist, flavorful poached chicken that can be a base for TONS of recipes or served with veggies and a starch for a weeknight meal. You never need to buy an over priced can of shredded chicken or pick up a rotisserie chicken again. It’s low fat and hands off so you can be making other parts of your dish or even be poaching chicken to take to work in the morning while you get ready. And as a bonus, the toddler loves it.

~Nom On

Chili-Cheese Dip

Generally speaking, I don’t have food addictions. I get on kicks where I will eat a lot of something for a few weeks and move on to my next fixation. Chili-cheese dip seems to be my one constant. I have been making it for so long I have it down to a fine science, and it. is. GOOD. So good I had a guest just take the whole pot off the stove at a party once and sit in a corner, hovering protectively while he shoveled chips heaped with it in his mouth. I think he was even making that weird, growling noise zombies do when they first get infected. Anyway, this dip will solve all your chili-cheese related cravings and situations. Just make sure you have Worcestershire sauce on hand to cure anyone that is starting to turn.

Chili Cheese Dog

Chili-Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Turkey Chili with Beans, your favorite brand.
  • 1 can Ro-Tel Chili Tomatoes – This is the point where you control the heat. There are mild, regular, and hot versions.
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheese – This is where you control the kick. Any cheese melts and you can make your dip smokey, creamy, mellow, or spicy. NO processed cheeses like velvetta and no skim-milk cheese. It has to be real cheese that you shred yourself. The better the quality, the better the dip.

Optional, cold add-ins

  • Chopped red or white onions
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onion
  • Sour Cream

Prep:

  • In a small sauce pan, heat the chili over a medium-low flame.
  • Drain out all the liquid from the canned tomatoes, then stir into the chili.
  • Once the chili mixture starts simmering, give it about a minute and keep stirring. Turn off the heat completely.
  • Fold in your freshly grated cheese and stir until the cheese is totally melted and blended into the chili.
  • Fold in your cold toppings last, if you are using any.
    • Note: If this mixture is intended to smother, a hot dog or fries for example, add you cold toppings AFTER you smother.

Wait, that’s it? 

Yep! The trick is less about the ingredients than the process. You see, melted cheese is completely easy to screw up. It doesn’t microwave and you can’t ever let it come into contact with direct heat. If you have tried to make cheese dips or melted cheese in the past and the end result was an oily, scorched mess, that’s why. Folding the cheese into your already hot chili that is beginning to cool achieves the perfection you’d otherwise need a double broiler for.

I have my dip, now what?

Well, it’s not rocket science, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you already have your cheese folded in so if you want to make chili dogs or hamburgers, DON’T add slices of cheese and then smoother. Secondly, as I mentioned before, save your cold toppings for last. Even if you want to serve this as a batch of smothered nachos, sprinkle your onions and sliced green onion around after you smother the tortilla chips. Only fold in the cold toppings if you intend to serve as a dip or just eat straight as a chili.

I don’t like canned chili. Can I use my own?

Yeah, absolutely. But, don’t use a low-sodium, low-fat recipe. There is a time to cut calories and sodium, and chili-cheese day ain’t it. Simply put, the FAT and SALT are what make this dish addictive. If you don’t make your chili with enough of these things, the cheese is going to bland it out like there is no tomorrow and the chili-tomato mixture won’t save you. If you have a really solid chili and have crowd-tested it and been given the thumbs up, by all means, use it! But please add more salt than you would normally so it stands up to that full cup of cheese and extra chili and tomatoes.

Where’s the love for us vegetarians??

I do love you guys! I have a great chili for you right here! Fold in some cheese and ditch the pasta in this recipe if you are looking for a great veggie chili-cheese dip. If you are vegan, just skip the cheese. Enjoy!

So, now you have no reason to stop at a fast food joint the next time you need to get your chili-cheese fix.

~Nom on

Western Bacon Turkey Cheeseburger

Oh, Carl’s Jr., you cruel eatery. Your food is so disgusting, but man do I love me a western bacon cheeseburger. What to do? Well, make it myself! Duh! I played around with the approach a little and found, as is frequently the case, the trick to really yummy comfort food, is it’s all about ingredients. So, here is the junk food-loving, spousal unit approved, do it yourself version of this addictive burger.

Western Turkey Bacon Burgers

Western Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Jennie O (or other brand) pre-prepped Turkey Burger Patties (there are options that are pre-seasoned. It’s your choice.)
  • 1 package Orowheat Onion Hamburger Buns (If you have another brand you like, cool. I have just found these to be moist, fluffy, and flavorful.)
  • 1/2 package of the best, thick cut bacon you can afford (*Don’t be cheap alert)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thickly
  • Large pieces of iceberg lettuce
  • Slices of cheddar cheese (regular or skim)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced thickly
  • Salt, to taste
  • Bbq Sauce – Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit if you are a spicy-heat fanatic, otherwise just go with your favorite.
  • Mini Dill Pickles, to serve on the side

Prep:

  • Fry your bacon in a cast iron skillet and drain on paper towels to absorb the grease.
  • Grill your turkey burger patties to about 160 degrees. DO NOT press the meat as it cooks, you lose all the juice. Just leave it alone. You can rock an indoor electric grill or an outdoor grill. Whichever you prefer.
  • Top with cheese as the meat rests, NOT while it’s cooking. The cheese scorches if you top while cooking.
  • Toast your onion buns lightly, face down, either on the grill or in a toaster oven.

Once your ingredients are all prepped, just start assembly:

  • Spread a little Bbq sauce on the bottom and top buns. You can add a little mayo to the bottom bun if you like.
  • Layer the lettuce, then patties, then bacon, onion, and tomato, and top with bun.

Serve with a side of dill pickles. You can add chips, potato salad, any picnic-type side really. No drive through necessary; you will be chowing down in 20 minutes!

~Nom on

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

I’m a huge fan of fried chicken, but less excited about what the saturated grease does to my stomach. Enter this easy recipe that gives you utterly yummy, juicy chicken legs with 1/3 of the fat and none of the nasty. It does take about a day of advanced planning, but in general, it’s a very easy dish.

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

Buttermilk Baked Chicken

Ingredients

  • 9 or 10 chicken drumsticks
    Budget Note: If you buy a big batch of drumsticks on sale and freeze them, you can defrost half the batch at the same time you marinate them.
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Pepper hot sauce – Tabasco, Franks, or Louisiana hot sauce all work
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup plain or Italian breadcrumbs

Prep

  • In a small bowl, combine the buttermilk, a few dashes of hot sauce, and the salt and pepper together and stir.
  • Pour the mixture into a large freezer-sized ziplock bag. Add the chicken drumsticks, frozen or fresh, into the bag with the mixture. Move the chicken and mxture around to make sure its all coated and place in the fridge to marinate. If the chicken is fresh, marinate for about 3 hours. If it’s frozen, marinate for 24 hours.
  • Once your chicken is done marinating, pour the bread crumbs into a bowl or onto a plate. Roll each drumstick around to fully coat and place on a baking sheet coated in olive oil.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.

Now you got yo’self a plate of chicken. Serve with whatever you normally like – baked beans, corn on the cob, potato salad, or mashed taters and gravy. No KFC shiz-nits for you!

~Nom On

Baked BBQ chicken drumsticks: Chicken-lickin’ good

I thought for my first post I would share a great recipe for baked ‘BBQ’ chicken. I personally don’t like grilling; it’s too much like baby sitting and I already have a toddler to baby sit every day. I need my cooking to happen without my undivided attention. I found this simple approach to getting the sticky, gooey mess I love about BBQ food without the fuss. I hope you enjoy it!

Baked BBQ Chicken

Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • Chicken Legs or thighs (the bone-in, dark meat is jucier than boneless chicken breast.)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sweet Heat BBQ sauce 

Prep

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
  • Brush meat with olive oil all over. (If you don’t like skin or are trying to cut calories and fat, take the skin off first.)
  • Lay out ckicken on a rimmed baking sheet
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper all over
  • Set timer and bake for 20 minutes
  • Brush chicken all over with BBQ sauce and bake for 7 minutes.
  • Repeat this cycle 2 more times

Chef’s Note: For the last round of baking, check the temp to make sure the chicken hasn’t already passed 160 degrees. If you have a tendency to end up with dry or chewy chicken, you are over cooking it. Meat continues cooking after it is removed from the oven, thus when a recipe calls to let the meat ‘rest’ that means let the meat finish cooking from it’s internal heat. In this world of paranoia over bacteria and food poisoning, it’s easy to cook the crap out of our food. I have lived through some gnarly boughts of food poisoning and people have lost their children to it, so I do not mean to imply it’s not a legit concern. I also aknowledge that our food system is completely toxic, but the truth is, meat tastes like shit when it’s over cooked and 165 degrees will do ya. Respect the internal temp, let the meat rest. 

Serve with fresh baguette or sour potato salad or whatever sounds rad and don’t forget to make loud, slurpy noises as you lick the sticky sauce off your fingers. This is an ancient Chinese secret for improving the flavor.

~Nom on