Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake

Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

So, I may have had a teeny tiny obnoxious break down last week where I decided everything was stupid, and I didn’t want to do anything ever again. Then I got some bad news that tried to disguise itself as good news, so now I’m pretending like everything is fine and acting like a grown up and getting on with life. Sort of.

A little denial goes a long way sometimes, and often the only way to get through a spell of depression is to just keep doing what you would normally do until you start to feel like a human again. It’s much better than calling in sick to work and crying in your closet. 

Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

One of the normal things I do is make dinner, and this time I slapped a bunch of delicious ingredients onto a backing sheet, put it all in the oven, and served it with a smile. Chicken, chorizo sausage, potatoes, red onions, some seasoning and the surprising brightness of orange zest make this dinner as tasty as it is simple to make.

Quick tip, cut your potatoes into small pieces to make sure everything cooks in the same amount of time.

Spanish Chicken & Chorizo Bake | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Life is hard. Dinner is easy. Just keep swimming.

Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake
Serves 2
Spanish Chicken and Chorizo Bake is as simple as it is delicious.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into three chunks each
  2. 6 small chorizo sausages, halved
  3. 8 ounces baby potatoes, chopped small
  4. 1/2 red onion, sliced
  5. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  6. 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. Salt and pepper
  10. Zest of half an orange
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F (220 C) and line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Spread all of your chopped chicken, chorizo, potatoes, and onion evenly onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over everything and sprinkle on your seasonings. Give it all a quick toss with your hands to make sure everything is well coated. Zest your orange over the top of the tray.
  3. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken juices run clear. Serve hot.
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets

Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

You know I’m very pro-lazy. Sometimes the thing you want to be doing is hanging out in your kitchen with fresh ingredients spending your day making everything taste perfect. Sometimes the thing you want to be doing is ingesting the necessary calories and nutrients so you can get on with the rest of your life. Whether that’s getting out and exploring the universe or sitting in front of your TV watching Doctor Who because you just can’t move anymore, every once in a while, the kitchen is not the place you want to be.

I get it. I really do. I don’t have any problem at all with using store bought ingredients. I do it all the time. Jarred pasta sauces, refrigerated pie dough, cake mix. I’m fine with all of it. But there’s one store-bought item I will never eat, and that’s frozen chicken nuggets. Never mind the fact that they’re mostly scraped up chicken bits squished together, they just taste gross. The texture is all wrong. Chicken should not squish.

Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

There’s good news. It’s so easy to make your own chicken nuggets from scratch. You just need a sharp knife, some buttermilk, a bowl of flavorful crunchy stuff, and a good pair of tongs. Oh, and some boneless skinless chicken breasts.

These Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets are crunchy and full of flavor all on their own. And they’re not terrible for you, so that’s pretty awesome. They’re also great with all the dipping sauces you’ve been hoarding in your fridge. Trust me, the little bit of extra effort is worth every moment.

Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Seriously guys, stay away from the freezer section and make your own nuggets. You’re gonna love it.

Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets
Serves 2
Crunchy and flavorful, Baked Chicken Parm Nuggets are a million times better than frozen.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 to 2 cups buttermilk
  3. 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  4. 1/2 cup regular seasoned bread crumbs
  5. 1/6 cup flour
  6. 1/4 grated parmesan cheese
  7. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  9. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  10. 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut your chicken into large chunks. Big enough for about two bites per nugget. Place your chicken pieces in a bowl, season it with salt and pepper and give it a toss. Cover the chicken with buttermilk, cover your bowl, and store it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. When you're ready to make your chicken nuggets, preheat your oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with foil then pop a rack on top of that. Spray the rack with oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all your remaining ingredients. Use tongs to pull out some chicken pieces from the buttermilk. I do about five pieces at a time. Toss the chicken in your bread crumb mixture. Make sure each piece is well coated. Transfer the coated chicken to your oiled rack.
  4. Spray the chicken with your oil spray and bake for seven minutes. Pull the tray out of the oven and use your (clean) tongs to flip each piece over. Spray again with oil and bake for another seven minutes or until your chicken is cooked through.
  5. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving with your favorite dipping sauce.
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Mexican Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Mexican Mac & Cheese

Mexican Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

It’s truly and properly Autumn. Leaves are falling, and it’s bloody cold. I’m desperately wishing I owned a hat, and more scarves, and boots, oh, and long sleeved shirts. I knew this was going to happen, but after four years in Hawaii, I was ill-equipped. Who wants to go shopping?

I’d forgotten how excellent this season really is. It’s my favorite time of year. Autumn is such a wonderful relief after the heat of summer. Nature puts on the most spectacular magic show. Of course, the best part is finally getting to eat cozy food again. Turning on the oven without utter dread. Eating something gooey and hot. It all makes me so happy.

Mexican Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

This Mexican Mac & Cheese is pretty rad. It definitely ticks all the boxes for awesome Fall food. It’s hot, gooey, and a little bit spicy. There are several elements to make, but none of them are complicated. Just get someone else to do the dishes. They’ll owe you after you’ve fed them this delicious dish.

Mexican Mac & Cheese | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Are you loving autumn? Have you been apple picking and pumpkin patching and corn mazing? Keep warm and eat Mexican Mac & Cheese. This autumn is going to be awesome!

Mexican Mac & Cheese
Serves 4
Warm, gooey, and a little bit spicy, Mexican Mac & Cheese is loaded with chicken, veggies, and lots of cheese.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 cup macaroni
  4. 1/4 cup chopped red onioin
  5. 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  6. 1/4 frozen corn kernels
  7. 1 large clove garlic, minced
  8. 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  10. Dash of cayenne
  11. 1 tablespoon butter
  12. 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  13. 1 cup milk
  14. 3/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  15. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  16. 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 (175C) and spray a 9x9 or other small baking dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
  2. You can use pre-cooked chicken if you have some on-hand or prefer to pick up a rotisserie chicken at the store. If you're starting from scratch with the chicken, you can cook it any way you like and then shred it. I find the easiest way to get to cooked chicken is to cut your chicken breast in into 1 inch chunks and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and brown the chicken on all sides until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan to cool slightly. Once it's cool enough to handle, just pull the small pieces apart with your fingers. I did this while the onions and peppers were cooking.
  3. Cook your pasta in well salted boiling water for about one minute less than the package instructs. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the pasta is cooking, you can get on with your veggies. Add your onion and pepper to the pan recently vacated by the chicken. Cook for about five minutes over medium heat or until the veggies start to soften.
  5. Add the garlic and corn to the pan and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  6. Add the now shredded chicken back to the skillet and turn the heat down to low. Add the cumin, chili powder, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, you can turn the heat off under your skillet and stir in the macaroni to this mixture as well.
  7. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, melt your better. Stir in flour and let it cook for 1 minute or until it starts to smell nutty. Using a whisk, add the milk a bit at a time, whisking to keep things smooth. You may need to turn up the heat. You want to keep it gently bubbling if you can. Allow this mixture to cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to thicken. This could take five minutes.
  8. Add in pepper jack and cheddar, stirring until smooth. Add the cheese sauce to everything else in the skillet and stir to combine.
  9. Transfer your mac and cheese to the baking dish. Sprinkle the parmesan over the top and bake for about 20 minutes until everythings hot and happy and lightly browned around the edges. Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
Notes
  1. You can skip the chicken in the recipe to make it vegetarian friendly. It will still be super awesome.
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
Adapted from How Sweet It Is
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Normally I don’t mind living in a 600 square foot duplex. It’s plenty of room for us, with the exception of the shower, and we’ve learned to adapt to the limited space. When it’s just two or three of us living here, everything’s grand. The only thing I really miss is being able to entertain.

I love getting my friends gathered around a table and feeding them. It’s definitely in the top five of my favorite past times. I have a dream of one day moving into a house or apartment that can fit a dining room table. I would have people over to eat all the dang time. Whether it be for an actual meal or a spread of apps and zerts (thank Tom Haverford), I could easily feed whoever walked through my door, and they would be happy. 

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

One of the things I’d put on that table are these Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels. They’re perfect for parties because you can eat them with one hand in a couple of bites. You never have to set down your drink. There’s spicy shredded chicken, jalapenos, and gooey cheese wrapped in buttery, flaky pastry. I fail to see anything less than awesome about this situation.

I used crescent roll dough for mine because it’s cheaper, and my store was out of puff pastry. Use whatever is easiest for you. I also made a spiced up version of my transformer chicken for this recipe. Cook the chicken ahead of time, shred it in your stand mixer if you have one, and make this recipe come together in a flash. I also highly recommend stashing your rolled up chicken/dough situation in the fridge for about 10 minutes before slicing. It will make your life so much easier.

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels | How to be Awesome on $20 a Day

Here’s to day dreams filled with cute aprons, tables sagging under the weight of too much delicious food, and friends who laugh out loud. 

Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
Yields 15
Spicy chicken, jalapeno, and plenty of cheese get wrapped in a buttery pastry to make Buffalo Chicken Pinwheels
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cooked chicken breast, shredded
  2. 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
  3. 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  4. 1 green onion, chopped
  5. 4 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  8. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  9. 1 tube crescent roll dough
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and cover a baking sheet in parchment paper.
  2. Mix together chicken, sauce, veggies, cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl. If you've shredded your chicken in your mixer, just use that to combine everything.
  3. Gently roll out your crescent roll dough, pressing the seams together. I do this right on the parchment-covered baking sheet. Spread the chicken mixture evenly across the dough. Gently roll this up from the long side. Put the roll in the fridge for ten minutes.
  4. Remove the roll from the fridge and use a sharp knife to slice it into one inch pieces. Spread your pinwheels out on the parchment and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffy.
  5. I served mine with a small dish of bleu cheese dressing drizzled with some extra buffalo sauce.
Adapted from Add a Pinch
Adapted from Add a Pinch
How to be Awesome on $20 a day http://awesomeon20.com/
10 Awesomely Meaty Recipes

10 Awesomely Meaty Recipes

10 Awesomely Meaty Recipes

Moving around a lot means having to say goodbye all too frequently. I’m a bit of an adventurer, and I like to surround myself with people who are also adventurers, people who find the concept of putting down roots to be a bit off-putting. So between our frequent relocations and our friends setting off on new adventures, it seems my like we are saying farewell. The horrible part is that I’m terrible at goodbyes. I can never seem to express in words how much a person has mattered to me and the horrible empty space that will be left behind by the absence of their physical presence. Instead, I just say, “See ya ’round, kid,” and spend the next week in a horrible depression.

Today’s round up is a tribute to another friend who is departing on a new adventure on a far away part of the planet. Sorry, vegetarian friends. This one’s all about meat.

1. I happen to know that my meat loving friend has made and loved this Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatloaf. It’s insanely awesome. Eat it always.

2. Chicken Parmesan is not only ridiculously awesome, but surprisingly easy to make at home. So much goodness.

3. Sweet and sour Cranberry Soy Sauce Sausages are perfect for a fancy party or for hiding in your closet and stuffing your face.

4. You can’t live in Hawaii without learning to love Loco Moco. Rice, hamburger, gravy, over easy egg, it’s a Hawaiian classic.

5. Spicy Chicken Chili is everyone’s favorite. Make it. You’ll see.

6. Packed with spicy sausage, Sky High Breakfast Pizza is a meat lover’s breakfast dream.

7. Sloppy Joe Casserole is easy enough to make in your sleep and ridiculous enough to crave every week.

8. Eat a little, eat a lot, Cheesy Meatball Sliders are awesome either way. 

9. Cuban Burgers smash a couple of meats together with a spicy spread. Put it in your face.

10. I’d proudly serve any meat lover this Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf. It’s totally amazeballs.

No matter where my friends are on the planet, I hope they all have the most amazing adventures complete with totally awesome food. 

 

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