35-for-35 Recipes: Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup

I have a chicken tortilla soup recipe that I’m totally in love with, so I was excited to try another similar soup. However, this one just fell flat. The beans are a nice addition, but there just isn’t enough taste to make it worthwhile. I’ve spiced up the tortilla soup by using taco seasoning instead of the multitude of spices listed, so that might be an option for this one. Also adding some Papalote salsa to my bowl made it more palatable. I’m not a spicy food lover, but it need a little SOMETHING to make it more than just beans and chicken in broth.

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35-for-35 Recipes: Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken

The results of this recipe are not attractive. The recipe calls for the chicken to be shredded, which takes a long time. I also missed that this should be served over pasta, so it looks even worse, just sitting on the plate. I think it could totally work without shredding the chicken, which would make it visually more appealing. The flavors are on point, however, and I will definitely be adding this to my rotation.

Cream Cheese Chicken

35-for-35 Recipes: Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

While my parents were visiting last month, my mom had the idea that we could make a few recipes over the weekend. That way, if they didn’t turn out, I had more people to eat it and wouldn’t have to suffer through a week of not great dinners.

The first one I tried was this crock pot chicken teriyaki. I love teriyaki ANYTHING and the photo looked delicious. My mom took the task of cubing the chicken, which is probably the most pain in the ass part of a lot of these recipes.

It smelled great when we served it, but it was WAY runnier than the photo on Pinterest. The taste of teriyaki wasn’t quite as strong as I would have liked, but the “optional” ingredients definitely weren’t necessary, so it was nice to have a simple ingredient list. I’m not a rice person, so I served it over mashed potatoes, which worked well to soak up the sauce.

It was a nice dinner, but I’ll keep looking for a teriyaki recipe that I enjoy more.

Teriyaki Chicken

35-for-35: Copycat Chik-Fil-A Nuggets

I had very high hopes for this recipe, since I can no longer eat at Chik-Fil-A (for moral reasons), but miss their nuggets VERY much. I was intrigued by the recipe‘s call for pickle juice in the marinade and my mom was game enough to buy a jar of dill pickles just for the juice.

The recipe recommends marinating the chicken in the mixture for 2 – 4 hours, but trying to complete two recipes in one evening, we didn’t have time to leave it for 4 hours. Coating the chicken with the breading mixture was my favorite part because it’s just fun to shake stuff in a ziploc bag!

I’ve never fried anything before (have I mentioned that I’m generally afraid of my kitchen?), so I was a bit apprehensive about throwing these bites on my mom’s skillet and letting them sizzle in oil. It was also RIDICULOUS trying to flip each little chicken over to fry on the other side. But I managed to accomplish this without burning myself or the chicken, so I’m counting it as a win.

The final result was tastier than the pretzel chicken bites, but I didn’t really think they tasted like Chik-Fil-A. Perhaps marinating it longer would help and we used vegetable oil instead of peanut oil, which may also have contributed to the difference in taste. I’d definitely eat this recipe again, but only if someone else wants to do the frying!

Copy Cat Chik-Fil-A

35-for-35: Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites

Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites ready for the ovenLast month, I realized I probably should have made this challenge to try 35 new restaurants, given my fear of my own kitchen appliances and my basic lack of patience and counter space. But when I realized I was going to be at my parents’ house for two weeks over Christmas, I figured I’d spend some time cooking to catch up on the first month of this part of the challenge. Well, God laughs when you make plans, so it wasn’t until the last night of my break that I finally made it into the kitchen.

Though I have a very diverse and delicious-looking Pinterest board, I asked my mom to help me narrow down what would actually be possible for me to complete without burning the house down. I settled on Pretzel Crusted Chicken Bites to start. Mom helped me cut up the chicken pieces, while I got all the bowls of ingredients ready for dipping. This was WAY messier than the blog post makes it out to be, and I could only dip about three pieces before I needed to rinse the flour/egg/pretzel gunk off my fingers. It was also WAY harder to crush the pretzels than I expected.

The dish turned out fine, but it wasn’t anything spectacular. It tasted best with barbecue sauce, though ranch dressing was also good. Using regular pretzels instead of the pretzel thins the recipes recommends probably contributed to the difficulty I had with getting the pretzels to actually stick to the chicken (my mom reports that by the second day, all the pretzels fell off). Additionally, plain chicken breast and plain pretzels are pretty bland, so using a flavored pretzel would probably kick this up a notch.

Final product - Preztel Crusted Chicken Bites

All in all, it wasn’t a disaster, but it wasn’t a revelation either. Thanks to my parents for being my guinea pigs as I started this adventure!