Daring Cooks July challenge : Nut Butters!

Chicken with pecan cream sauce!

The July 2010 Daring Cooks’ Challenge was hosted by Margie of More Please and Natashya of Living in the Kitchen with Puppies. They chose to challenge Daring Cooks to make their own nut butter from scratch, and use the nut butter in a recipe. Their sources include Better with Nut Butter by Cooking Light Magazine, Asian Noodles by Nina Simonds, and Food Network online.

I joined the Daring Cooks a few months ago but I’ve yet to actually recreate any recipe on site. I got the idea from a friend who started it, I thought it would be fun. It would give me kind of a personal challenge every month for my cooking so that I don’t settle in to a culinary rut. I was putting around their message boards today having seen their tag on random cooking blogs I Google and thought now is as good a time as any to get going! So my first challenge? Nut butters! I chose the pecan, because it is a soft nut and I do not have a food processor. Maybe if I’m good, Santa will bring me one this year. A soft nut, like pecans, have a chance in a regular kitchen blender. Something like an almond is too hard for a regular kitchen blender unless you have something heavy duty.

Nut butters are really easy to make it turns out.  Stick your nuts in a blender or food processor and just run it until you have the butter.  (atleast 1 1/2 to 2 cups of nuts people!)

my pecan nut butter

chicken with Pecan Cream & Mushrooms

Pecan Cream:

  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp Pecan butter
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 3/4 teaspoon (3 ml) salt, more as needed
  • 1 tbsp deglaze (water, white wine, whatever. optional)
  • 1/2  pound (225 g) egg noodles or pasta
  • 4  boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil, more as needed
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil, more as needed
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 pound (225 g) mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) fresh thyme leaves
  • Chopped pecans, (optional garnish)

Make the pecan cream, mix the nut butter with the salt and water  until smooth, set aside.

Cook noodles according to package instructions in salted water. Drain, rinse, and keep warm.

Sprinkle chicken with a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Heat 1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken; sauté 3 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, adding more oil if needed for second batch. Set aside cooked chicken on a clean plate, cover to keep warm.

Add deglazing liquid to pan if using and stir up any browned bits. If needed, add another teaspoon (5 ml) of oil (or more) to pan for sautéing the shallots and mushrooms. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and starting to brown. Add fresh thyme to the pan. Stir in pecan cream; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 1/2 minutes till reduced slightly.

Slice chicken into thin strips. Divide the noodles among serving plates. Add a scoop of the mushroom pecan sauce on top of noodles. Lay sliced chicken on top. Garnish with fres

h thyme and/or a pinch of chopped pecans if you want to go all the way.

Now to make this quicker for me I bought the already pre-sliced raw chicken breast.  It also happened we are officially out of chicken and my husband won’t be home until I am finished cooking this so I had to run out with both children.  It is not fun walking through a grocery store with two kids, no car, and no cart! So the raw strips works out for now.


Chicken Quesidillas


  • 3 – 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 large green pepper diced
  • 1 large  red pepper diced
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Spicy Fajita Seasoning
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • Tortillas
  • 1 tbsp veggie oil
Pre-cook your chicken breast and let it cool down so you can chop it up.  Preheat the oven to 350, and while its doing that put everything else in a pan (minus cheese and tortilla) with veggie oil and cook it for 10 minutes, mixing very often to spread around the seasoning and soften the veggies a bit.  When thats done, spoon mix on half of the tortilla, top with the grated cheese, fold over the other half of the tortilla and bake them for 10 minutes at 350 to melt the cheese.
One thing that I’m not sure people realize with my recipes is that I have a family of 4, and only 3 eat people food right now so I modify my recipes to suit us with as minimal leftovers are possible.  This made us approximately four large quesidallas,  but if you need more just double up the recipe.

finished product

Pulled Chicken Sammies

Get out the slow cooker!

I decided to go lazy tonight with something that was absolutely delicious, and absolutely easy for dinner.  My 3 year old is gobbling it up while watching Coraline, and my husband… Well he’s not home yet so he hasn’t gotten to try it.   We love pulled pork in this house; we rarely ever make it but we love it!   We had seasoned pork chops for dinner last night though and I really don’t want to eat a pig two days in a row so I decided to try a homemade sauce and chicken in the slow cooker to make a variation of the pork.

Pulled chicken Sammies

pulled chicken sammies

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp worchestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • cayenne and hot chilli powder to preference
  • couple splashes hot sauce

throw it all in the slow cooker and cook for 6 hrs on low.  I put them on 4 hrs on high, but that was because after preparing everything I forgot to turn the darn thing on.

After the cooking time is done they easily pull apart with forks.  At this point if you want them really saucy you can make another batch of the sauce, put it with the recently pulled chicken and cook another 30 minutes, if you prefer it less saucy, you’re done.

Buffalo Chicken Fingers!

I saw this recipe and it looked fast and intriguing. I love spicy.  I say that boldly, because I honestly mean that I like SPICY, not HOT.  Hot is tasteless and burning.  I like my heat in my food to be pure flavourful spices.  Tonights dinner is based on that recipe! With adjustments and changes to fit my taste.

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into finger-sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon medium chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • splash of Jan’s Spicy Sauce (substitute for your favorite sauce)

Seperate whites and yolks, we'll only be needing whites in this place!

mix the flour and 1/2 the rest of the spices in a baggie, and mix the rest of the spices/breadcrumbs on a plate

splash the hot sauce in the egg whites and whisk away with water slightly so it doesn't glob

flour in baggie, egg, bread, pan. Preheat to 400, 8 mins each side

eat eat eat!! Crunchy, yummy, spicy, delicious.