Chicken Tikka Masala

Seth and I are en route to Greenville right now.

I’ve got a list of about a dozen or so places I want to take him in the next week. Food, drink, more food.

Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

He knows I’m a planner. Knows I like to have game plans and goals – tangible things that we can accomplish on our days away. There’s breakfast at Tandem, coffee at The Village Grind, dinner from Bacon Brothers. And, of course, many a meal eaten at GB&D.

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Balsamic Honey Chicken with Roasted Fall Veggies

We need a quick dinner tonight.

Balsamic Honey Chicken

One that’s easy and filling and warm and comforting.

Balsamic Honey Chicken

Also, one that’s full of veggies. Because I haven’t been drinking my green drink as much lately now that it’s cold. Which is weird considering I have had it nearly every day for the last two years. But now? I don’t want it.

Balsamic Honey Chicken

But I do want this meal! I’ve actually made it four times in the last two weeks. It’s that good. I like it that much. And it reheats so wonderfully that I can make it at the beginning of the workweek and take leftovers all week to make my coworkers jealous.

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Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos with Pico de Gallo & Guacamole

If it isn’t obvious enough from the lack of baked goods being posted, it just hasn’t been my week in the kitchen. My mojo is no mo’. At least for the moment. I accepted it after the fifth batch of failed cupcakes.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos | via Midwest Nice Blog

This has happened before. And will likely happen again. Ebbs and flows. I will have days, weeks, at a time where things just don’t turn out in the kitchen. My touch and talent seemingly gone. While it’s very uncomfortable for me, and a serious blow to my confidence, it won’t last forever. But just in case, I did a sage smudge and deep cleaned my house for good measure.

I’ve learned that the most important thing to do when a funk like this happen is to not force it. Which, admittedly, I had been doing earlier this week; wanting so badly to bake the ideas from my imagination into a reality. It was a lot harder not to force it when I was baking professionally. It was my job to bake. I couldn’t just not. I had to force it. And the results were always less-than-ideal. Dry cupcakes, over-risen bread, croissant dough riddled with holes.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos | via Midwest Nice Blog

Eventually, things settle down. Things get back to normal. My cupcakes will turn out, my cookies will not crumble.

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos | via Midwest Nice Blog

Until then, there’s tacos. With pico. And guac. They’re so delicious and so simple – made in the slow cooker so that even my struggling-self could knock them out of the park.

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Pesto Roasted Chicken Legs

We got snow this weekend! Inches of it. The good kind too – big, fat flakes that crunch beneath booted feet. The perfect kind of snow to make snowmen and snowballs. The kind that cloaks the ground in a thick and fluffy blanket and settles a hush around everything, even a bustling downtown.

Pesto Roasted Chicken Legs | via Midwest Nice Blog

It came from the kind of storm they predicted all week. The kind that makes the sky an icy, steely gray and leaves a smell lingering in the air. The smell of snow. Do you know the smell I’m talking about? I hope you do.

That smell transports me back home. I get a whiff of snow on the air and whoosh I’m back in Wisconsin, with a cold nose and gloved fingers. There are a handful of smells that do that to me. That take me back to a different time or a different place.

Pesto Roasted Chicken Legs | via Midwest Nice Blog

Pesto is one of those smells. The strong scent of basil tinged with garlic and Parmesan. It reminds me of the restaurant I worked at all through high school and college. In the mornings, they’d prep big batches of it, the food processor whirring and smell the fresh, sweet herb all around. In the evenings, I’d pilfer small containers of it from the walk-in. Stealing it away to put it on anything and everything – pasta, toast, scrambled eggs.

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