main dish

Bready or Not: Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

Posted by on Jul 2, 2014 in Blog, Bready or Not, chicken, crock pot, main dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

I present to you one of my very favorite chicken crock pot recipes, one I previously shared at Novelocity.

Seriously, I’ve been making this about once a month for a few months now. My husband even requests it. This is impressive since he 1) does not like ranch dressing 2) does not eat pesto.

There’s something about the combination in this recipe, though, that is just plain savory and delicious.

This is my go-to meal when I’m on a writing deadline. It mixes up in five minutes and cooks itself over the afternoon, and produces chicken to feed us–quite happily–for days.

Modified from Picky Palate.

Bready or Not: Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken Thighs

This chicken slow cooker recipe is different than most but super easy and delicious.
Course: Main Course
Keyword: chicken, slow cooker
Author: Beth Cato


  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs 2-3 pounds, thawed or mostly thawed
  • 6-8 ounce pesto jar
  • 1 packet ranch dressing dry seasoning mix or 3 Tb ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth


  • Place chicken thighs, pesto, ranch dressing (dry from the packet) and broth into crock pot. Stir gently to coat chicken and combine everything.
  • Place lid on top. Cooking tip: It tends to cook in half the time you set on the crock pot, i.e., a 6-hour high setting means the chicken should be done in about 3 hours, depending on how many thighs are in there and how thawed they were to start. Leave thighs whole or chopped. (If you chop, add them into the pot again on warm for 15 minutes so they can soak up more flavor! It's also a great way to make sure they are cooked through--just chop the meat and cook on high a while more.)

These thighs are great with veggies, or in a salad, or cold out of the fridge. They also freeze wonderfully.


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      Bready or Not: Pretzel Sandwich Buns

      Posted by on May 28, 2014 in Blog, Bready or Not, main dish, yeast bread | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Pretzel Sandwich Buns

      It seems a lot of standard buns are just… there. A thing to hold meat. They aren’t memorable or flavorful.

      You want something better than a mere meat sling? MAKE THIS.

      These buns are soft and chewy, tender yet strong. They can cradle juicy meat without instantly becoming a soggy mess, but they won’t break your teeth, either. That little bit of salt on the top complements just about everything. Want to use these for hamburger buns? Make big rounds. Or shape them into hot dog buns. Or as rolls that you can use for sliders, or simply slice open to add butter.

      They keep great in a sealed container for a few days, and also freeze and thaw in a fabulous way.

      Trust me, once you make these buns, you’ll never settle for the grocery store stuff again.

      Bready or Not: Pretzel Sandwich Buns

      Sturdy buns that can hold up to juicy meat and various sauces!
      Course: Bread, Main Course
      Cuisine: American
      Keyword: yeast bread
      Author: Beth Cato


      Dough Ingredients

      • 1 3/4 cups warm water
      • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
      • 3/4 teaspoon salt
      • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour or bread flour bread flour is best
      • 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk
      • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

      Topping Ingredients

      • coarse sea salt like pretzel salt or kosher salt

      Water Bath

      • 2 quarts water
      • 1 Tablespoon salt
      • 1/4 cup baking soda


      • Mix and knead the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a smooth, slightly sticky dough. If you're making by hand, allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased bowl, covered, for about 1 hour, until doubled. In bread machine, let the full dough cycle run through.
      • Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly greased work surface.
      • Divide the dough into as many buns as you want. About 8 to 10 will work for sandwich size, while about 12 can be done at about slider size. Shape each piece into a smooth ball.
      • Place the balls on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
      • While that's happening, preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare the water bath for the stovetop. Bring the water, salt, and baking soda to a boil in a large pot.
      • Gently lower several dough balls at a time into the water bath. Cook for 30 seconds, flip over, and cook for 30 seconds longer. Using a slotted spoon, return the buns to the baking sheet.
      • Using scissors or a sharp knife, cut half-inch deep crosses into the center of each bun. Sprinkle with coarse salt.
      • Bake the buns for 20 to 24 minutes (lower time for smaller rolls/buns), or until they're brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

      OM NOM NOM

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        Bready or Not: Korean-Style Ground Beef

        Posted by on May 21, 2014 in beef, Blog, Bready or Not, main dish | Comments Off on Bready or Not: Korean-Style Ground Beef

        Holy cow. You’d think all cows are holy with how beef costs have gone up, and it’s supposed to get worse through the summer.

        That’s one reason why I like this dish. It uses lean ground beef (which has still gone up 50% in price the past few years…) but enables me to do something different than the standard taco filling. It’s also cheaper than the flank steak you typically see used for home versions of Korean or Mongolian-style dishes.

        This doesn’t taste like teriyaki, but has a sweet, savory flavor that goes fabulously with the meat.

        So if ground beef goes on sale, don’t go for the tortillas. Pick up some extra rice and make this instead!

        Recipe modified from Elizabeth Bryant.

        Bready or Not: Korean-Style Ground Beef

        Delicious, easy prep for ground beef!
        Course: Main Course
        Cuisine: Korean
        Keyword: beef
        Author: Beth Cato


        • 1 pound lean ground beef
        • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
        • 1/4 cup soy sauce
        • 1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil
        • 3 cloves garlic minced
        • 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder or 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
        • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
        • salt and pepper
        • diced green onions


        • Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add in sesame oil and garlic, stir, then add in the hamburger and brown it. Drain most of the fat.
        • Add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper, and red pepper. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors.
        • Serve over rice or noodles, and top with green onions.

        OM NOM NOM!

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