Hummus-Crusted Chicken Salad

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Because there’s a particularly indulgent treat coming later this week, I thot it would be a good idea to include something reasonably healthy. Plus, who doesn’t luhhh hummus (surely not thots) and look at that crust up top! Plus plus, this take on baked chicken couldn’t be easier.

Defrost your chicken completely to room temperature, and dry it as well as you can. I would also recommend cutting the breasts to be as flat as possible

Preheat the oven to 450.

On a greased baking sheet, lay the breast slices next to one another. Spoon hummus onto the chicken, completely covering it. I went with Sabra’s Roasted Garlic Hummus (SHOCKER: ALL THE GARLIC), but I think plain or red pepper or any flavor would be good here.

Bake 25-30min, until the chicken is cooked through. I checked the oven periodically to spoon hummus that had slid off the chicken back on, hence the recommendation you slice the chicken to be flat.

Sprinkle paprika on top, and add to your salad!

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The deterioration of tomato quality is pretty high on my list of reasons winter sucks. In protest of the winter-like “spring” we are currently experiencing, I decided to add cherry tomatoes to my salad.

The chicken stayed nice and moist through cooking, so that along with the juice from the tomatoes led me to go dressing-free. I would probably recommend a lemon vinaigrette if you are so inclined, to keep your flavors gellin’ if ya feel me.

All in all, this is an easy one-step addition to your usual baked chicken, and you probably already have the hummus in your fridge.  Why not spruce up your salad before the time comes for us thots to break out the tank tops and sundresses? Exactly.

ThotFULL.

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Thot & Bothered: Empanadas

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When I decided about a year ago to make more of an effort in the kitchen, empanadas was one of the first recipes I tried. This thot studied abroad in Buenos Aires sophomore year, and I sought to replicate the flavors of a city known for the tango, Evita (OG thot who married up and took over), and delicious cuisine (steak and coffee and wine specifically). There was an empanada place a few blocks from our hostel in Palermo Soho called CUMIN CUMIN and it was unreal. Empanada con queso, pollo, y cebolla, con cerveza por favor. But I digress.

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Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite food blogs, mostly for Deb’s lighthearted wit and candid descriptions of her efforts with the recipes. Plus the pictures are gorgeous, and she seems to be courageous enough to make anything. I used her recipe as a jumping off point, but per usual made some adjustments:

  • I love cooking/baking/all thot jazz but I can’t ever seem to get the simplest dough correct. It’s flour and water, but I can’t do it. So I use Goya’s empanada papers, and give them ample time to defrost to room temperature so that stuffing is easy!
  • If I had more time/patience/calories to spare, I would thotally cook with bone-in chicken. The flavor is better, but I can’t always convince myself it’s worth the extra effort and fat when ground chicken breast exists. I used 2lb.
  • Rather than waste food, I opted to cook an entire pound of chorizo. The extra meat led me to be able to make about 35 empanadas (three packs of Goya papers). I know this sounds like a lot, but they freeze well and go quickly when the fam puts away 3-4 per person per sitting. I also used kitchen shears to cut it into smaller pieces before cooking so that the filling will be easy to spoon into the papers. You could also use extra filling for salads, casseroles, etc.
  • I skipped the olives and raisins. Raisins are part of most traditional empanadas, but the typical thot palate is tryna eat some salty meaty empanadas. And I’m just not thot into you, olives.
  • The extra meat also caused me to add extra splashes of chicken broth and wine to keep the ratios on fleek.
  • I also made some of the empanadas with shredded cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes for a richer option, both of which I just eyeballed to taste.

{I can’t emphasize enough how important the egg wash step is. Sometimes I am a lazy thot and don’t want to waste an entire egg for brushing when you end up throwing half of it away, but it is so crucial to the flaky brown crust}

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These are super-customizable, depending on your mood. I’ve made them with frozen chopped spinach, mushrooms, beef, etc. Plus, you can enjoy them for pretty much any meal anytime. Throw a poached egg on one for breakfast, grab one for a quick snack on the go, and great with rice/salad/anything for lunch or dinner.

ThotFULL.

Thot Off the Press — Chicken Piccata

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I’ll be honest I couldn’t think of a decent way to incorporate THOT into Chicken Piccata…Chicken Picthotta? Eh.

Regardless, sometimes you’re tryna make a chicken breast a little less plain without adding a ton of unnecessary calories {this thot tryna look good in a bikini once the weather gets its act together}. Enter….chicken piccata.

I stayed pretty faithful to our girl Giada’s recipe, but some minor tweaks…

  • I cooked 3 pretty large chicken breasts for four people, since I was making salad and angel hair pasta on the side, so I added another splash of broth and lemon juice to keep the sauce-to-chicken ratio consistent.
  • We happened to have some nice lemon olive oil (who knows why) so I used that to brown the chicken and added a splash to the pasta when it was cooking.
  • I definitely didn’t keep adding tablespoons of butter while browning, even when I added a little more olive oil. I wanted to keep it light!
  • I used bottled lemon juice. Ain’t no thotty got time for fresh squeezed.
  • I garnished with thin slices of lemon bc Instagram. Duh.

All in all, I thot it turned out great! I was pleased how filling it was given how light the lemon flavor is. There was also enough for one more serving of chicken and pasta for lunch the next day.

A quick note about Salad Fixins: These are a thotty gal’s dream. It’s a dry mix (that I usually get at Giant) of dried cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, and salted sesame sticks. It basically turns any greens into a yummy (or at least tolerable) salad, and I can convince myself to eat a salad more often because of it. Win.

ThotFULL.

The Slow-Cooker Chronicles/Toki — Thot’s so Ramen

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I know the title’s a stretch with 2 mediocre puns, AND it’s a combo recipe/restaurant review post, but bear with me. The restaurant portion needs no help, but like the title, I plan to rework and improve my cooking for next time. I wanted to document what I did as a jumping off point, and explain why I even went through all this trouble.

I happily jumped on the ramen bandwagon (thots love bandwagons) after a friend raved about his experiences at Toki Underground, a seriously tiny ramen restaurant in Southeast DC. Here’s me showing them some love on Yelp.

This was one of the top five meals I have ever had, hitting the mark on every type of flavor/texture I had ever imagined: sweet, spicy, crunchy, smooth, runny, salty, ALL OF IT. Do yourself a favor and call ahead on a weeknight (or weekend if you’re especially patient) and enjoy. I got the Red Miso ramen (spicy!) with a side of fried chicken (my friend knows what’s up). We had dumplings to start, and they were great, too. I mean seriously look at the top of the page.

There is no cute way to eat this, but when it tastes this good you aren’t thinking about looking cute. They even box up the broth and food separately so that your leftovers don’t get soggy. Two happy customers:

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Given how great Toki’s ramen was, and how freakin’ cold this winter was, I knew I had to give it the old post-grad try and make some soothing ramen at home. Plus I just love soup from the slow-cooker.

I did somewhat of a hybrid between these two recipes. Basically, I put 2lb of regular pork (may try shoulder next time) in the slow-cooker with

  • 32oz of low-sodium chicken broth
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4c brown sugar
  • a container of sliced mushrooms
  • dash of soy sauce
  • about a cup of frozen diced onion
  • chopped scallions (however much was in the rubber-band pack)

I cooked it on low for about 6hrs since our slow-cooker tends to get (t)hotter than most, then shredded the pork and added 2 packs of plain ramen noodles (none of the seasoning) for a few minutes until they were cooked.

Topped with a poached egg and some Sriracha chili sauce:

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I’m looking forward to experimenting with some other flavors, maybe getting more adventurous with the broth and toppings. This was really yummy and could accommodate just about anything you have in your pantry, just not mind-blowing like Toki (not like I expected it to be). ThotFULL.

Lettuce Collect Our Thots

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In an effort to add a little green to this thot’s diet (emphasis on little) and recreate some PF Chang’s yummyness without actually having to go to PF Chang’s, I give you……lettuce wraps.

The Instagram potential was too good for a thot like me not to try and make, but let me tell ya the family is still RAVING about this dinner an hour after we finished eating.

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My father said he thinks this is the best thing I’ve ever made. So that’s fun.

I used this recipe, (Damn Delicious) but made some cuts/swaps/additions:

  • Rather than buy a whole bottle of rice wine vinegar for 1tbsp, I just skipped it.
  • Ginger doesn’t do it for me, so I also skipped the ginger.
  • I swapped peanuts for water chestnuts, also due to taste preferences.
  • We happened to have garlic hoisin sauce (and you can never have too much garlic ever ever ever) so that’s what I used.
  • When all was said and done I probably ended up doubling the Sriracha (the heat balanced the sweetness of the peanuts well) and added another healthy splash of the hoisin sauce after measuring.

I can already tell we’ll be making this again and again for when the craving for Asian-y flavors hit. The chicken mixture turned out so well I’m planning to use the leftovers (aka maybe 1/2 cup full) atop my salad for lunch tomorrow. This ThotFULL.

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The Slow-Cooker Chronicles – Chili

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If I had to pick a kitchen tool that best represents “FoodForThot” it would be the slow cooker.

What could possibly be more basic (thotty yet brilliant) about pawning all the credit for hours of slooooow deliberate work off of an appliance? “Slow and steady” wins the race, but it also creates some of the most rich and complex flavors in cooking. “WhyNot” live your life while your slow cooker puts in the grind? I’m probably preaching to the choir so let’s get to the good stuff.

Chili has become my go-to comfort food for cold weather potlucks and tailgates, but it is just as easy and customizable for a cozy weeknight dinner (with leftovers — WIN).

Here’s the basic recipe (Gimme Some Oven) I’ve been using as the touchstone for my variations.

And here are some adjustments I have made:

  • I usually forget to buy/add cumin and instead just go heavy-handed on the chili powder.
  • My family loves black beans so I usually add a can. Between 4 cans of beans, 2lb of meat, and a healthy dose of tomato, my crock pot is usually pretty full. If you want to add other foods (corn, sneak some kale, etc), it’s probably worth sacrificing some beans.
  • We like our chili to make our eyes water, and in an effort to not waste food I usually chop the whole can of chilis in adobo sauce. It is H-O-T, but not so much that you can’t taste anything. More of a smoky heat, but keep cheese and sour cream on standby.

Here’s how we enjoyed it on Superbowl Sunday!