WannaBe Chef

Recipes and randomness from Amanda's kitchen.

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken January 3, 2012

Filed under: Chicken,Crockpot — WannaBe Chef @ 4:12 pm

Happy 2012!  I hope everyone had a great holiday; we did!  Macy did great on the plane, and we had a nice visit with family and friends.  Anyway, this is going to be a quick post since Macy is waking up.  I made this easy chicken recipe a few nights ago.  I found it on Pinterest, of course!

Hawaiian BBQ Chicken


4-6 boneless chicken breasts (still frozen, I used 4 large breasts)
1 bottle BBQ sauce – I used Sweet Baby Ray’s
1 20 oz. can Pineapple Chunks, drained


Spray the inside of your crock pot with cooking spray for an easy cleanup!  Place frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot and cover with sauce.  Empty can of drained pineapple chunks on top.  Cook on High for 2-3 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken with two forks while still in the crock pot so the chicken will be well coated with sauce.  Serve over rice.


Behind May 11, 2011

Filed under: Beef,Crockpot,Mexican-inspired,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 1:33 pm

Yeah, so I haven’t blogged in a minute or so.  I do have a few meals saved up on the camera, so I will share 😉

Another Mexican-Inspired Soup
Very loosely based on THIS RECIPE from Picky Palate

In a soup pot, saute:

  • 1 large chicken breast, diced small
  • about 6 slices lean turkey bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • spoonful of fresh minced garlic

Stir in: 

  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 15 oz. can plain diced tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can Tex-Mex Fire-Roasted tomatoes (or something similar)
  • 1 15 oz. can Mexi-corn
  • about 1/2 cup water or enough to make it more “soupy”

Let simmer for a little bit, covered.  Top with cheese, sour cream, cilantro, crushed tortilla chips or other desired toppings.

Now we move onto boring old spaghetti.  However, I decided to jazz it up with some cheese-stuffed meatballs.  Basically, I took 1 pound lean ground beef, seasoned it up with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and some bread crumbs.  Then I took 2 string cheese sticks and cut them each into 8 pieces, so I had a total of 16 cheese “nuggets.”  Then I made 16 meatballs and wrapped the meat around the cheese nuggets.  I baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes, and voila!  Cheese-stuffed meatballs. 

Crockpot Chicken with Black Beans in Cream Cheese Sauce
Recipe HERE, from CopyKat Recipes

I followed the recipe exactly.  It really does not look pretty at all once you add the cream cheese, but I promise it tastes great.  We had ours over brown rice, but I also discovered that if you shred the chicken, it makes a really good dip for tortilla chips!


Brrr, it’s chili! October 27, 2010

Filed under: Beef,Crockpot,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 10:04 am

Hi kids!  So it’s the end of October, and it’s starting to get cold outside.  I’m not ready for this!!  We’ve heard that winter in MN is really scaaary!!  Waaa!!  About all I can do is make a nice, hot meal, and everyone likes chili, right?  And everyone has their own way to make it.  I’ve always made it the way my mom makes it, and there’s not really a recipe.  Like meatloaf, I usually just dump some stuff in until it looks right.  Well, here’s my attempt at trying to remember what was in our chili!  Please excuse the dark picture – this was a reheated bowl that Wayne had, and he did not have the patience for my photoshoot. 

My mom’s “recipe” – sort of – combined with Wayne’s additions


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped (this is Wayne’s addition)
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 can hot chili beans
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 packet chili seasoning mix
  • 1 small can mushrooms (another one of Wayne’s additions, much to my dismay)
  • seasonings to doctor it up a little – worchestershire, garlic powder, chili powder, salt and pepper
  • you might need to add a little water if the chili is too thick


  1. Saute the meat, onions and peppers in a skillet until meat is cooked and veggies are softened.  Season as desired.
  2. Dump the rest of the ingredients into a crockpot, then add the meat/veggie mixture.
  3. Stir to combine and season as desired.  Let it cook on high for a few hours, then reduce to low.  The longer it cooks, the better is tastes!
  4. Top individual servings with shredded cheddar, crushed crackers, sour cream, hot sauce or other desired toppings.

Mulligatawny September 9, 2010

Filed under: Bread/Muffins,Crockpot,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 11:17 am

Good morning/afternoon!  Just wanted to share my dinner from last night.  It’s something I’ve never made OR eaten (ate?) before.  I first heard of it from my lovely, former coworker Claire!  (Shout out to Claire – Hey giiiirl!)  I found this slowcooker version and decided to try it.

Slowcooker Mulligatawny Soup
Recipe HERE

Changes I made: 

  • I used 1 large chicken breast instead of the thighs
  • I used a Fuji apple, slightly less raisins, and slightly less nutmeg
  • I added hot sauce (are you surprised?)
  • I used instant brown rice

The verdict:  Hmm.  Very interesting combination of flavors.  It’s funny because the apples look like potatoes, and the raisins plump up and look like black beans.  I think Wayne was quite surprised when he took the first bite.  I will say… he wasn’t a fan.  He said it was too sweet, which I knew he would say.  I felt pretty indifferent about it.  I’m learning that I don’t really prefer cinnamon/nutmeg flavors in savory dishes, as much as I try to!  I’d still recommend giving this soup a try if you like sweet/tangy/savory combinations and somewhat of an Indian-food flavor. 

I also threw these garlic toast thingys together. 

Garlic Buns

  • 3 whole-wheat hamburger buns, halved
  • Butter
  • Garlic salt
  • Dried parsley
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Mix together butter, garlic salt, parsley and spread over bun halves
  2. Top with cheese
  3. Bake at 375 for 5-10 minutes until cheese is melted and buns are somewhat crunchy

Crockpot love/hate September 6, 2010

Filed under: Chicken,Crockpot — WannaBe Chef @ 6:23 pm

Happy Labor Day, everyone!  I didn’t do much to celebrate besides dust off my crockpot.  I believe I’ve talked about this before, but I have a love/hate relationship with the thing.  The main reason is that it gets waaaay too hot and cooks waaaay too fast.  If I were to put something in there for 8-10 hours like most recipes call for, it would be dust.  Well, the lovely fall-like weather combined with my discovery of THIS BLOG made me forget my crockpot issues… temporarily.  I spent an obscene amount of time browsing Stephanie’s blog and decided the first thing I wanted to make was the Crockpot Apricot Chicken.  

I used chicken breasts instead of thighs, and I also used sugar-free apricot preserves.  I started the crockpot at 12:30PM, thinking I’d be fine if I halved the cooking time AND cooked it on low.  Well, true to form, my stupid crockpot had the chicken cooked in about 3 hours… on LOW.  Aarrrgghhhhh!  I definitely need a new crockpot.  Anyway, I was expecting the chicken to be bone dry once dinner time actually came around, but it was surprisingly tender.  The flavor was good, and it had a nice sweetness.  I really enjoyed the sauce over my brown rice, too.  However, I think I would increase the amount of the other ingredients to give it more zing… more mustard, more heat, more soy sauce… and maybe even throw in a little worchestershire sauce.  Overall, very tasty though!  Stay tuned for another crockpot recipe this week!  (Don’t worry, it’s soup, and even my crockpot can’t overcook soup!)


Mmm, cozy. January 3, 2010

Filed under: Crockpot,Soup — WannaBe Chef @ 8:54 pm

No chatting, just cutting right to tonight’s dinner…

Chicken Barley Stew
Recipe clipped from magazine, possibly Cooking Light? 
makes 8 1-cup servings

32 oz. low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp. thyme
1/2 Tbsp. basil
1/2 Tbsp. cilantro (I omitted… didn’t have any)
1/4 Tbsp. dill
2 bay leaves
1/2 Tbsp. black pepper
12 oz. boneless/skinless chicken breast, uncooked, cubed (about 3 breasts)
1/2 cup black-eyed peas
1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
20 oz. potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 3 medium potatoes)
10 oz. carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices (about 3 large carrots)
low-fat sour cream, optional for garnish

-Fill crock-pot with broth, 1 cup of water, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. 
-Add chicken, then layer the potatoes, onion and carrots on top.  Liquid should just cover everything.  Do not stir. 
-Cook on high for an hour, then add the black-eyed peas and barley. 
-Cook another 3 hours or so (maybe 4 hours depending on your crockpot).  Stir about halfway through.
-If your stew isn’t thickening as much as you’d like, stir in a little cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + cold water). 
-Top individual serving with sour cream and serve a whole grain baguette on the side, if desired. 

eeek, sorry for the dark picture...

 The verdict:  <— haven’t done one of these in awhile.  This stew was pretty good.  It was quite peppery, but I think I may have put in 1 tsp of pepper, thinking it was equivalent to 1/2 Tbsp., oops.  I also would have preferred a few more carrots.  All in all, this was a very good and comforting dinner on a cold a$$ January night! 


Blog stalking October 12, 2009

Filed under: Beef,Crockpot — WannaBe Chef @ 7:01 pm

I still have a somewhat miserable cold that continues to linger.  My sense of taste is definitely dulled, and my appetite isn’t the greatest either (which is extremely uncommon for me).  I worked all weekend, so when I got home last night, I was having a real hard time coming up with meals for the week.  I almost just gave up, nothing even sounded good.  So in a last ditch effort, I went blog hunting and found this new blog… Loki’s Kitchen.  It’s awesome because we have the same taste in blog layouts, both live in MI, both recently married, and both have a wild and crazy cat.  Apparently we have the same taste in food, too, because I found myself saving quite a few recipes from this blog.  Aaaand I plan on making like 3 of them this week.  Gotta love one-stop shopping for dinner ideas!!  Thanks to Loki!

Crockpot Steak Fajitas
From Loki’s Kitchen

1 lb flank steak, cut crosswise then into strips (***see my note at the end of the post!)
1 medium onion
1/2 cup salsa, medium, plus additional for garnish
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro (I used more cuz I looove cilantro)
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 small green bell pepper, cut into strips (I omitted and used all red peppers)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
Flour tortillas, warmed
*I also added a package of sliced, fresh mushrooms

Put the meat into the crock pot. Add the onions and the salsa, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt into the crock pot. Mix up. Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours (My crockpot, of course, cooks in about half the time… ugh!).

1 hour prior to eating, add the peppers (and mushrooms, if using) and cook for 1 more hour.

Serve on warm flour tortillas (I topped with cheese, tomatoes, and sour cream).


The verdict:  These were really tasty!  The flank steak gets really tender, and I love all the flavors of the lime and spices together.  Good stuff!

***Ok, so I totally had to google “How to cut flank steak” because I’ve never used it before.  I was pretty sure I knew how, but i didn’t want to risk messing it up because it wasn’t cheap, and I didn’t want to be chewing on tough meat after all that.  I found this video to be helpful.  I didn’t freeze the meat first, and it still worked just fine.