Oh hai, sweet + spicy + cheesy chicken sticks – where have you been my whole life this entire pregnancy? Kinda pizza-like, but more appetizer-like, these cheesy chicken sticks are your college-late-night Pokey Stix cravings amped up to a more adult level.
We love this recipe because it’s super quick and easy (looking at you, 5-ingredient list), and it is also a great way to use the chicken breast meat from last week’s roast chicken. (Rotisserie chicken breast also works well here.)
The combo of the sweet barbeque sauce with the spicy wing sauce is perfect, so you don’t have to choose between the two flavors. We’ve had this multiple times lately, and it gets two thumbs up from everyone that’s had it. If you want more of a “pizza” experience, just make larger pieces, but we love having the smaller stick version.
Sweet + Spicy Cheesy Chicken Sticks
2.5-3 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast (homemade roast recipe here, or rotisserie is also great)
1 can refrigerated pizza dough (we use Pillsbury brand)
1/3 cup barbeque sauce (we use Sweet Baby Rays)
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce* (we use Franks)
1.5 cups shredded Colby-Jack cheese
2 green onions thinly sliced (optional – green parts only)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Roll the dough onto the sheet and bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
While the dough is baking, add the chicken, barbeque sauce and wing sauce to a skillet and heat through over medium heat.
Pull the dough out, and cover with the chicken and sauce mixture, getting as close to the edges as possible.
Top with the cheese then bake for an additional 6-10 minutes, or until the dough is done.
Top with onions (if using), and enjoy!
*Make sure to use actual wing sauce, as hot sauce would make for a much much spicier sauce.
Notes: Anna Ruth loves these sticks, but I leave out a small portion of chicken to combine with just barbeque sauce, so she doesn’t get the spicy.
Thighs and drumsticks and breasts, oh my! We’re getting into one of my ultimate weekend prep loves: roast chicken. A single chicken cooked on Sunday afternoon easily feeds my family for three dinners and generally 1-2 lunches for Andy…and all for around $7.
When it comes to whole chickens, where are you? Do you get excited like late-20s/early-30s me with the knowledge that one little bird goes so far with so little work? Or are you like early-20s me, and the thought of cooking a whole animal seems very overwhelming? The truth is, it’s only been in the last few years that I’ve embraced the whole chicken, and I’m so glad I did because the time and money money money it saves is right up my alley. Here’s how we generally break this down, so that we get three meals (there are dozens of other ways we use it, but here’s last week’s use):
Night one: eat the dark meat as is with sides of potatoes and kale
Night two: shred or chop one chicken breast for quesadillas (enough for a lunch ‘dilla, as well)
Night three: shred or chop the other chicken breast to put over salad
The chicken is good for several days, so we don’t eat it in three consecutive nights…meaning we don’t get tired of it.
Oh – and the flavor! I’m on paragraph three, and haven’t even discussed the best part. Roasting a whole chicken is hands down the way to get the juiciest chicken ever. Even the breast meat <– and that’s saying a lot. So many people are just ho hum about chicken, but it’s because they’ve only had ho hum chicken. Roasting it locks in the flavors, and is anything but boring.
The most versatile way for roast chicken that you’re using in other recipes is to simply stuff the cavity with celery. The chicken does not come out tasting like celery, but the celery provides plenty of moisture to keep it nice and juicy. The other way I do roast chicken is by stuffing it with lemon, garlic and rosemary. This preparation is better IMO if you’re eating it as chicken and not part of another dish. The flavors infuse so beautifully, and the pan juices can be used to make a delicious lemon sauce.
So, obv, the pictures in this post show how I roast chicken two ways, so the pan was pretty full. If I’m only roasting one chicken, I’ll generally throw in diced potatoes to cook with it, and have a nearly one-pan dinner situation. If you want to go that route, the chicken prep/cook time is no different, but you just arrange the diced potatoes around the bird and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I don’t usually roast two at a time, but am starting to do that more now that I’m stocking our freezer for once the new baby is here. Y’all. Roast chicken freezes beautifully and is just as juicy and delicious as fresh out of the oven. To freeze, I just roast the chicken and then carve it into the servings I would use throughout the week (leg/thigh combos and individual breasts). I put them into freezer bags and into the freezer once they’re totally cool. The key for using after frozen is to let them thaw in the fridge for 1-2 days before using them.
As far as roasting pans go, you don’t need an “official” one to do this because we don’t use the rack in this preparation. Just an oven-safe pan with high sides is fine (though if you use a cast iron dutch oven the cooking time may vary because the pan would cook from the sides as well). We got this one as a wedding gift from one of my favorite families on Andy’s side, and use it at least once a week for things other than just chicken. If you want one, I would definitely suggest it.
The recipe below is for ONE chicken, so make sure to double it if you want to roast two at once**. I’m giving the ingredients for the lemon/garlic/rosemary preparation because the amounts of those are more specific, but if you want to go the celery route, just replace those items with celery pieces (about 4 stalks should do the trick). Do you have other combos you use for your roast chicken? I’d love to hear them!
Roast Chicken – Two Ways
4-5 lb whole chicken
4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter – melted
Salt and pepper
1 lemon* – cut in half
1 head of garlic* – cut in half
8-10 sprigs of rosemary*
Remove chicken from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Dry the chicken with paper towels, and remove the giblets and neck.
Season the inside of the cavity with plenty of salt and pepper (about ¼-1/2 tsp, but you really can’t use too much here).
Stuff the cavity with the lemon, garlic and rosemary* – gently squeeze juice from one half of the lemon just a little bit.
Place the chicken breast side up and season with more salt and pepper – just eyeball it, but I’d say about ¼ tsp.
Brush the chicken with half of the melted butter, and tie the two legs together.
Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then brush on the other half of the butter.
Continue roasting until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees – about 45 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes before carving.
*Replace these ingredients with celery stalks if you want to use the chicken for other preparations that don’t necessarily work well with this flavor combo (think tex-mex).
**If you roast two chickens at a time, you may need to up the cook time by about 10-20 minutes. Just start checking the internal temp after it’s been cooking for a total of an hour and 15 minutes.
The lack of pictures in this post should be the best indicator of life lately: busy. Too busy, in fact, to remember to pause to take a picture documenting some of the fun things we’ve been up to.
As of today, I’m 30 weeks with baby Pea #2. This pregnancy is so different from my last because we’re hardly doing anything to prepare, and that feels weird to me. We basically have everything we need and I’m leaving the nursery as is, so there’s really not much else to do. I guess the only thing we’re doing differently this time is that we’re going in with an actual birth/after birth plan. Yes, we took the class last time, but really we had no idea what we were walking into. There are a lot of things that will be out of our control (which – if you’ve read this blog at all – you know makes my type-A self very uncomfortable), so I’m focusing on the things we can control: care for Anna Ruth and Bailey, pain management after birth, breastfeeding/pumping/supplementing/combo after birth. To put it lightly, we had a rough two days in the hospital last time, and we’re going to be prepared for a much better experience this time.
Duck Donuts in Greensboro(!!)
As you could probably tell from last week’s post, we are savory breakfast people. We might make waffles for a weekend breakfast once every six months, but we just don’t generally do sweets. Well the new Duck Donuts recently opened in Greensboro, and we had a gift card from one of Andy’s students, so we decided to give it a try. You guys. If you’ve never been to a Duck Donuts, now is your time. The experience is unlike any other we’ve had. You go in, select the toppings you want on however many donuts you want, and they create them right in front of you. No “hot now” sign needed for this because they are always served nice and toasty warm. We had three main “stars” of our show: maple glaze/bacon crumbles, peanut butter glaze/oreos/fudge drizzle and just plain cinnamon sugar. The first two were good but just a little too indulgent and over the top for me. Anna Ruth’s and my favorite was the cinnamon sugar. I could easily see myself slipping over to the sweets for breakfast side of the aisle if these were part of the deal. AR and I shared a cinnamon sugar, and we took the leftovers home for our Super Bowl party. It’s sad that I can’t say for sure that AR has had a donut before now – I mean, she’s almost three, she HAS to have had one, right? I just honestly can’t think of a time when she has, but home girl loved it.
We had another first this past weekend. We traded babysitting nights with some of our good friends. Rosie has made several appearances on the blog already, so you’ll recognize her sweet face. The “babysit swap” is exactly what it sounds like: the Logans babysat AR on Friday, and we babysat Rosie on Saturday. It was a win-win. We each got to go on a date, and the girls got to have two play dates in the same weekend (and no $$$ for a babysitter). Also, forgive the messy den. #reallife
Y’all. This was big for us. We’ve had plenty of “dates” over the last three years, but none that didn’t involve grandparents babysitting. I was nervous that AR would be a terror, but she actually did really well. For our date, Andy and I went to a newish restaurant called Don Ishiyaki & Ramen. We both got the ishiyaki bowls, which are basically rice dishes served in hot stone bowls. The stone kind of crisps up the rice, and it is so so good. I got the teriyaki chicken don, which was good, but the teriyaki was a bit sweeter than I prefer. Andy, however, got the bibimbap, which I will definitely get the next time.
After dinner we did something totally new to us. We went to the Cline Observatory on GTCC’s campus, and got a turn on the giant telescope. Apparently this is something they do most weekends. They open up the observatory to the public, fix the telescopes on different planets or constellations and let you have a look. We were only there for about 20 minutes, but it was a really neat (and free!) thing to do. I tried to take a selfie of us with the big ‘scope, but was very quickly told to put my phone away – oops! I would definitely recommend this as an activity for your kids for a special night surprise. I think they have a Facebook page that details what they’ll be looking at each weekend, so you can always check it out to see if they’re focusing on something you’d like to see.
Before getting AR, we finished the evening with a little dessert at Maxie B’s. The night was so simple, yet just what we needed. We will definitely be swapping babysitting services again!
We got together with some friends for a little Valentine’s party over the weekend. You remember these kiddos from the beach, Christmas in July and our birthday party for Jesus. Simon was there, but already asleep, so he missed the picture. Calvin – the oldest boy – met the girls at the door with flowers, and could not have been cuter. The kids played outside and exchanged Valentines, and it was just easy fun.
Birthday Party at Tumblebees
I normally wouldn’t include this because we go to too many birthday parties to feature them all on the blog. However, this was for one of AR’s favorite school friends, but also a big step for her. If you’re not familiar with Tumblebees, it’s a gymnastics center that has classes but also does birthday parties. Typically, she has always been very timid – and even a little scared – around this type of equipment/trampolines/etc. She has no problem with the observer role, and would hang out on the balance beam (low to the ground, of course) in these types of situations. Not this time! She did the foam pit and bounce house! For some parents this probably doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was so proud of her. The first time we did something like this, she was not having it, and I decided I wouldn’t push her. When it comes to these types of activities if she doesn’t like something, or something scares her then I won’t force it. The fact that I have no pictures to share from this party should show how much fun she had because I couldn’t get her still.
Can we all just say a collective “thank you, Lord, for Pinterest”?? I am definitely not the mom that will make my kid’s lunches to look like animals (but just know that any of you moms that do that I just think you’re super-moms), but I will come out strong for holidays and events. While I love the thought of doing cute Valentines, I am just not crafty or creative enough to come up with the ideas on my own. So for the last two years I have relied on Pinterest to help me find the perfect thing. Last year, I made cute play doh Valentines for AR’s friends, and this year I went with the cuties theme. These things look like so much more work went into them than actually went into them. Trust me. If you have time to buy and fill in Valentines, then you have time to download/print Valentines. You can find so many free printables through Pinterest, and you pretty much just have to make sure you remember what you’ve done in the past so you don’t repeat. You can find the printables for this year’s Valentines here.
I didn’t intend for this post to be so long, and I’m sure I’m missing things, but thank you for reading and sticking it out with me! One of my favorite things about having a blog is that I can document anything I want and will have it to look back on in the future. Thank you for stopping by!
Tater tots + turkey chili + eggs + cheese = Turkey Chili Southern Scramble. You’re welcome.
This one goes out to all of my savory breakfast lovers. I don’t have much time because I’m writing this on Super Bowl Sunday and we have ten adults and seven kiddos coming to our house in just a few hours. Since our team didn’t make it all the way this year, the food is the real event of our party. I’m serving up last week’s turkey chili over cheese grits, and everyone else is bringing other appetizers. It’s going to be so amazing.
In order to save myself some time, I made the turkey chili yesterday and will just reheat it while I make the grits. However, since it was already there, we decided to try something relatively new to us for breakfast: a turkey chili southern scramble.
If you live in Greensboro, you’ve probably heard of a newish restaurant called Scrambled. I think Andy and I may have been the last ones to try it, but we finally got the chance to do so a few days before Christmas. You guyzzzzzzzzzz. We both went with one of the “scrambles” and found a new love for breakfast. <– And we already held a deep deep appreciation for the best meal of the day, sooo if that tells you anything. Generally when we go out to eat, we’re all about the experience, and Scrambled brought it. The scrambles at Scrambled all come in (uuuge) individual cast iron skillets and are out of this world delicious. The skillet presentation was so fun, and it meant the base of hash browns was crispy on the bottom and melt-in-your-mouth yummy on the top.
Well, after making the turkey chili and eating it over cheese grits (an option for your scramble at Scrambled), I thought “why not make that at home?” So off we went. Instead of hash browns, which I’m sure would work perfectly, we went with a fun base of tater tots (mainly because that’s what we had in our freezer). You just cook the hash browns in the skillet, then load them with cheese and turkey chili, and then crack several eggs over the entire situation. Since I love a good food evolution photo sequence, here’s how the assembly goes – in 3…2……..
1 tbsp canola or corn oil
Frozen tater tots (enough to have an even layer in your skillet)
2 cups turkey chili (heated but not too hot) recipe here
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
4-6 eggs (as many as you want)
Heat your oven to 450 degrees.
While your oven heats, wipe your cast iron skillet with the oil and arrange the tater tots in a single layer.
Cook the tater tots in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Sprinkle half of the cheese over the tater tots, and spread the turkey chili over the cheese.
Using the back of a spoon, make 4-6 wells in the turkey chili (depending on the number of eggs using).
Gently crack one egg into each well.
Return the skillet to the oven and cook for 13-16 minutes or until the whites are set and the yolk is to your desired doneness*.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining half cup of cheese. Enjoy!
*We’re currently out of pasteurized eggs, so we let ours go for the full 16 minutes so the yolks weren’t runny. Generally we would lean closer to the 13 minute mark. When you cut into the runny yolk and it seeps down into the dish it continues cooking a little (so good!).
Whether you care who wins or loses this weekend, the Super Bowl calls for yummy snacks. We’re having friends over for the game, and I plan on making my turkey chili over cheese grits, but any of these would make a great addition to your party!