Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Intant Pot - Chicken for Tacos

Will the wonders of the Instant Pot never cease? So here's a scenario: You've been busy all day, and suddenly it's 5 o'clock! Did you plan something for dinner? Well of course you didn't, it's been a crazy day! Is there going to be other humans depending on you to whip something up regardless?  Why yes, yes there is.  Enter the Instant Pot. It will take FROZEN Costco chicken breasts and turn them into a meal in 15+minutes. That's right, you heard me.  Once again defying the laws of cooking physics, the Instant Pot will save the day.

The Instant pot: Cooking frozen chicken and saving one dinner at a time.

This is what you will need:

4-5 frozen Costco chicken breasts
1 cup of your favorite salsa
1 cup of water
1/2 cup taco seasoning (also from Costco)
Salt and pepper to taste.

It's super easy. Plunk down the frozen breasts into the bottom of the pot.

The "clang" the frozen chicken hits the pot is somewhat unsettling, but oh the payoff in a few short minutes!

Dump over the salsa, water, taco seasoning, and salt and pepper.

Chicken Taco meat, it's almost too easy

Seal the lid and plug in the machine. Hit the "Poultry" setting which will give you a default time of 15 min on high pressure.  Let the pot do it's thang.

While the chicken is coming up to temperature, you can run around and chop some lettuce (for taco salads), grab some sides like chips, shredded cheese, olives, chips, and salsa, or taco shells for the kids.

After the 15 minute timer goes off, let it sit for about 5 more minutes (wait time optional, if you're in a rush) then release the steam valve and pop that baby open as soon as you are ready.

What you will see when you open the pot.  The little globs of fat is what I remove before shredding
Take the chicken out of the pot and shred on a plate with two forks or a knife and a fork, depending on how you like your chicken chunks. I make sure at this time to also remove any fat or veins, or anything unappetizing so it's just chicken.  I also take a peek a the liquid back in the pot and skim off any unmentionables.  

Shredded chicken from frozen - We're living in the future people

Place the shredded chicken back in the sauce and stir. See if it needs anymore seasoning and then you are good to go!  

Mmm good for tacos, taco salads, burritos, nachos....

I use a slotted spoon to scoop the meat out of the liquid and serve.

You can also drain off most of the liquid while you are shredding if you want less moisture

After that, just scoop some into a taco shell, plop on some shredded lettuce for a taco salad, and stack your favorite toppings on top.

An easy meal and a tasty one too.
My kids used to only eat ground beef tacos, now we've expanded their horizons.

It's great the next day with left overs too, or bring some to work for lunch with a "taco salad kit" and make your co-workers jealous. My hubby loves doing that.

He'll send me pics profusely thanking me for "Taco Salad 2.0"
My daughter made chicken and cheese nachos for lunch the next day on her own, so that worked out well.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Chicken and cheese nachos by my 14- year-old
This quick journey from completely unplanned, sad, and frozen, to fast, tasty, and fabulous makes the whole family happy! While at the same time making YOU feel like a hero because you literally pulled this dinner out of thin air (making you seem far more reliable than you actually are and pretty much all around awesome). Thanks Instant Pot!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Turkey Bread Rolls

Last year we were in charge of bringing rolls to Thanksgiving. After a bit of searching, we came across these cute little turkey rolls that the girls wanted to make. Feast your eyes (pun intended) on: TURKEY BREAD ROLLS

Turkey bread rolls are beautiful... fun to make... AND delicious!

Are these adorable or what?  The best part is the the kids can help make them!

The nice thing about these rolls, is that you can make them from frozen pre-made bread dough, which is great if you are busy with other Thanksgiving day prep. We bought the 5 pack of Rhodes frozen bread loaves and used them to make our turkeys.

One thawed Rhodes bread dough loaf.
The original recipe from the Rhodes kids baking blog (not there now) wanted you to defrost the dough over night in the fridge in a greased covered container or some sprayed wax paper and then roll them out into a circle...

then cut the circle into 6 wedges.  

However, I found it very difficult to get the dough to WANT to be rolled from an oblong shape into a round shape.

New solution!  It's easier AND it makes more sense:
Roll the dough out, elongating out the original "loaf" shape.

Expanding the already there "loaf" shape was much easier!  And makes more turkey rolls per loaf.

Now take your pizza cutter and cut zig-zag triangles until you have 9 wedges.  Each dough loaf will make 9 turkeys!

One loaf = 9 turkey rolls.  Those odd shapes at the end you can form into a wedge shape later, because it's dough.

Once you have your wedges, take some kitchen scissors and snip some 1 inch cuts in the wide end of the triangle to make the tail feathers.

Snip one inch down and about one inch wide strips.  Four cuts makes 5 "feathers".

Next, in a greased muffin tin, place the triangle wedge down in the center of the muffin creator.  The "tail feathers", or the wide part of the triangle you snipped cuts into should go up the side of the muffin tin and a little over the side.  The "beak" or pointy end of the dough should go up the other side of the muffin cup and poke out of the top.

You kind of cram the dough down to the bottom of the muffin tin, then spread out the feathers and turkey head

Since these overflow out of the cup, we ended up placing them in every other cup, so they'd have a chance to rise and bake. 

I love my larger 24 muffin cup pan, it's great for a million birthday cupcakes, or these!
 Place covered in a warm place and let them rise for an hour.

Shhh - rising bread taking place

Once they are a little puffier, it's time to bake. Place in an oven at 350ยบ for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. 

Cute lil' turkey rolls
FYI - Since the original link isn't there (I called Rhodes today to let them know, so maybe they will re post it) but check them at 20 min see if they need more time.

Close up from our first batch
Brush with a bit of butter while they are still warm.

You've heard of ducks in a row... these are turkeys in a row
They turned out really cute and the girls had a blast making them!

Oh this is funny. The first loaf we did, where there was only six wedges from a circle, the turkeys were HUGE and blew up like fat little monsters. Ha.

These turkeys are here to PUMP... YOU UP!
(We put those guys at the very bottom of the bowl and left the prettiest ones on top).

Such a great little baking project.  You can make these ahead of time and heat them up on the big day wrapped in some foil while the other sides are heating up and the turkey is resting. 

The kids will love to contribute to the holiday festivities. Not only do they get to help with the food prep BUT also impress their cousins on their baking prowess.

A big bowl O' turkey rolls for you and yours.
Let me know if you make this with your kids, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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