bak in the crock

simple. fast. easy.

Are you like me and completely unprepared for Christmas next week? No? Well good for you! But if you are running around in a frenzy, this super easy recipe is for you. Make a batch of this slow cooker honey mustard chicken and have protein on hand for easy meals: eat it with veggies on the side, in a sandwich or on top of a salad. It’s super versitile and can be made with pantry staples. That’s my kind of cooking these days!

crockpot honey mustard chicken

honey mustard chicken [slow-cooker] 
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from 3 Boys Unprocessed
serves: 4

4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours. Shred the chicken to serve.

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brunch worthy

eggnog french toast on

Remember that eggnog I made last week? The creamy, spiced, delicious eggnog?The eggnog that makes the perfect cold weather nightcap with a little whiskey?

This eggnog right here. It’s ok, I’ll wait while you go check it out.

sunfower bread

I had to use some real self-restraint to save some eggnog for the weekend just to make french toast. It wasn’t easy but it was worth it. It’s the perfect flavor add-in to a classic, easy breakfast. I also chose a small loaf of sunflower seed studded bread that I knew would keep its crust’s crunch despite being dipped in egg. This could be the perfect holiday morning breakfast for you and your family!

eggnog french toast
makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

1 small loaf artisan bread (or 6-8 slices sandwich bread)
1/2 cup eggnog
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon butter

If using a small loaf of bread, cut it into 1-inch slices. In a small bowl combine the eggnog, eggs, and salt, whisking them together with a fork. Heat a skillet over low heat and add the butter to the pan, coating the pan as it melts. Dip the bread into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides. Use the side of the bowl to gently scrape off any excess. Add the bread to the pan and cook for 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with a pat of butter and warm maple syrup.

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cuz we need a little Christmas

traditional eggnog on

It seems a little difficult to get into the holiday spirit this year, so I’m trying a little forced merriment in hopes that it helps. What better way to start than a homemade batch of eggnog?

homemade vanilla

I’ve only ever tried store bought eggnog, but making your own just seems so elegant, as if it should be served from a punch bowl with those little crystal cups that hang off the side. Do people even still own those? Homemade eggnog, like much else, proves to be much better than most store bought. The spices really stand out and balance the cream while the rum gives it a nice kick.

whipped yolks

This eggnog is faster to make than a batch of holiday cookies and something people aren’t necessarily expecting. I mean, who brings homemade eggnog to a party? Almost no one- so why not bring some a spread a little holiday cheer? And let’s face it- everyone loves the person who brings the booze.

traditional eggnog

makes 4 servings

printer-friendly version

6 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
generous pinch of ground clove
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 cup rum (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale. Meanwhile, combine the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove in a small saucepan and bring to a boil by slowly increasing the head, making sure not to scald the milk by turning the heat up too high too quickly. Once it reaches a boil, remove from the heat. Add the milk mixture to the stand mixture by 1/3 cup at a time to temper the eggs so that they don’t cook. When all the milk has been added, mix until well combined. Pour back into the saucepan and heat over medium-low for about 5 minutes, stirring often until it’s thickened. Do not overheat or it will curdle. Add the heavy cream, nutmeg, salt, and rum if you’re using it. Place the eggnog in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight to cool. Serve chilled, garnished with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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taste of the holidays

couscous with roasted veggies and cranberries

Are you like me and in disbelief that it is already December?! And we’re a week in for goodness sake! Well, I’m not quite over fall and Thanksgiving and all that jazz, and this recipe brings me right back to all of a week ago.


With butternut squash, brussels sprouts and cranberries, this side dish has some of my favorite Turkey Day ingredients all rolled into one dish. I like the Israeli couscous since it’s a bit more toothsome, but you could use any pasta or even a grain like barley or wheatberries. It’s a great dish fitting for both holidays past and holidays future.


couscous with roasted veggies and cranberries
printer-friendly recipe
serves: 4

Olive oil
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
1/2 red onion, large diced
Salt & pepper
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Israeli (pearl) couscous
1 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large sheet pan, drizzle on some olive oil and add the sprouts, squash and onion and toss to thoroughly coat. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper to taste and roast the veggies for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through. Meanwhile, melt the butter to a medium pot over medium high heat. Add the couscous and toast in the butter for about 5-10 minutes. While the couscous is toasting, heat the broth in a microwave for 3 minutes. Add the hot broth to the toasted couscous and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cover until the couscous absorbs all of the liquid, about 10 minutes. Once the couscous is done, toss in the roasted veggies and cranberries and stir everything to combine. Taste for salt and pepper and season accordingly.

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peanut butter chicken time

chicken satay

*Sung to the tune of Peanut Butter Jelly Time* But not really; the peanut butter is in the dipping sauce, not the chicken. This chicken satay has more than enough flavor from the lime juice, lemongrass and fish sauce, though. Enough to make you sing and dance!

marinade ingredientssliced lemongrass

Marinate this chicken for 2-4 hours for maximum flavor and turn boring weekday chicken into a Southeast Asian treat. I made my go-to peanut sauce from my spring roll recipe but added some extra heat with 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes to dip the chicken. It would also be awesome alongside my Spicy Thai Noodle recipe. Nom nom!

meat on a stick

chicken satay
printer-friendly recipe
adapted from Food Network
serves: 4-6

2 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, thinly sliced cross-wise
Peanut sauce, for serving

Whisk together the fish sauce, lime juice, lemongrass, brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, chili flakes and garlic to make a marinade. Marinate the chicken for 2-4 hours in a baking dish or zip-top bag in the refrigerator. Thread the marinated chicken onto skewers and cook on a medium-high grill pan or over an outdoor grill. Serve with peanut sauce for dipping.

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just keep stirring

mushroom risotto on

I’ve rarely made risotto because it seems so time consuming. What a mistake! Risotto doesn’t take nearly as long as I see to think it does and the payoff is totally worth it. In just a little over 30 minutes you’ll have a big bowl of piping hot Italian comfort food.

all set up


There’s always the discussion of the stirring- do you HAVE to stir constantly? Some say no, some says it makes for a creamier risotto if you stir. I stir most of the time but I’m not afraid to walk away from it for a minute here and there. You don’t have to be vigorous about your stirring, just make sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan and that there’s movement in the pan.

sauteed mixed mushrooms

This particular risotto is made with a mix of mushrooms for added interest and flavor. To can use whatever you’d like or just one type. I used crimini and oyster mushrooms. For my broth I use a mix of vegetable broth and porcini broth (Knorr makes a bouillon that I couldn’t resist buying when I found it) to mix it up and to add depth of flavor. No mater what you use, you’ll be happy you made it. And the stirring isn’t that bad. Trust.

mushroom risotto on

mushroom risotto
makes 6 servings

printer-friendly version

6 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons butter
1 pound mixed mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Heat the broth over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer, turn heat down to keep broth warm. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until they’ve softened and released some of their liquid. Set the mushrooms aside and add the olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Cook until the shallots have softened, making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the rice to the pan and saute for a minute until it’s coated in the oil. Add the white wine and continue stirring until it’s been absorbed by the rice. Add 1 cup of the broth and continue stirring until it’s been absorbed. Continue adding broth by 1/2 cup at a time after it’s absorbed into the rice. Stir continuously, making sure that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pan. When the rice is tender and the broth has all been used, stir in the mushrooms, parmesan, parsley, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

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appetizer or dessert?

apple crisp baked brie

Are you ready for Turkey Day? I hope so! While it’s a given to have the bird and all the fixings ready to go as well as pies planned for dessert, do you also put out a little something to snack on before dinner?

apple crisp topping

I think the perfect appetizer bite is sweet and savory. These bacon wrapped dates do the trick. And Jessica’s stuffed mushrooms have the savory part down! This recipe for apple crisp baked brie definitely fits the sweet and savory bill. Part gooey melty cheese and part holiday favorite apple crisp, the combination is great on crackers or sliced baguette.

there is brie under there

apple crisp baked brie
printer-friendly recipe
recipe adapted from Betty Crocker
serves: 6

1- 16 ounce round Brie cheese
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 small to medium apples, diced

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10- to 12-inch round pie plate or baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place round of Brie in middle of pie plate. In a medium bowl, mix oats, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and pecans. Add butter, and use your hands to incorporate the softened butter into the dry mixture. (You just want everything to be moist.) Mix in the apples. Spread apple mixture over top of Brie and around sides. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the crisp topping is browned. Serve hot with crackers or toasted bread.

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