Dinner

Chicken Caesar Salad (Lightened-Up!)

If you’re like me, you loovvee a good Caesar salad.  Like a really good, restaurant-worthy one.  One that cannot be made with store bought, fake tasting nonsense.  If you’re also like me, you crave this salad more often than not, yet you know that hhmmm…they may be pretty darn fattening and you find yourself weighing the flavor over your waist.

Whelp, this easy (no raw egg even, especially if you’re ‘weird’ about that) version can be made for dinner in a quick 30 minutes!  You can get in your protein with the chicken and Greek yogurt based dressing without sacrificing ANY of the restaurant worthiness (<– not sure if that’s a word, but you get it.)!

*Feel free to sub the chicken for shrimp, or nothing at all!  By all means, use your backyard grill too!

The Starting Lineup

Chicken:

  • 1-1/2 lb(s) boneless, skinless thin-sliced chicken cutlets
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic power
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • hefty pinch of kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the “green can”, please!)
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Garnish (optional):

  • Garlic croutons
  • Avocado slices
  • Bacon, chopped
  • Cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded or shaved
  • Lemon Wedges

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the blackening seasoning for the chicken breasts.  On a lined sheet pan, swirl about two tablespoons of oil and place chicken, tossing to coat.  Heavily sprinkle on the blackening season, each side.

Place in the oven, turning once, for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through.  Allow to rest and thinly slice.  *By all means, if weather permits, grill outdoors for another great flavor!

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Make sure to taste to your preference (i.e. add more salt, always PLENTY of freshly cracked black pepper, thin with a bit more olive oil or lemon, etc..)

Prepare: In individual bowls, add in a cup of rinsed and patted dry romaine lettuce.  Top with the sliced, blackened chicken, more parmesan and croutons and avocado, bacon and/or lemon if desired.  Drizzle dressing overtop.  Enjoy!

Caeser

Everything (but the) Bagel Chicken

….with a Green Onion Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce…yes!  So, I purchased a gigantic bottle of Everything Bagel seasoning a couple of months ago and have used it liberally.  Yet, whenever I look at it, it seems like a never-ending-bowl-of-pasta!  I swear it’s a great purchase, since it’s pretty hard to run out of and goes a long way!

That being said, we’ve been limiting our fried foods to only when we eat out (which for me, is about never.  I rarely eat out and I rarely order anything fried when so…though it’s so, so tasty!).  So while keeping my family healthy(er), instead of battering and frying the chicken, why not use up that giant tumbler of yummy seasoning?!  It provides a great crunch, mine is gluten-free and if you’re doing the Keto diet, this should work well too!

No matter what, it’s quick, easy and certainly yummy!

*serves 4

The Starting Lineup

  •  4 chicken breasts
  •  2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup Everything Bagel seasoning

Cream Cheese Dipping Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Everything Bagel seasoning
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened (1/3rd Neufchatel is fine) 
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup green onions, sliced + more for garnish if desired

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the melted, unsalted butter, Everything Bagel seasoning, softened cream cheese and milk.  Fold in the sliced green onions and taste for salt and pepper.  Cover and set aside.

In a baking dish, sprayed with non-stick, place down the chicken breasts.  Brush one side of the chicken with half of the melted butter and then sprinkle with half of the Everything Bagel seasoning; should be pretty coated.  With kitchen tongs, turn the chicken breast over and repeat with the remaining butter and seasoning.

Place the coated chicken into the oven for 30-35 minutes, until cooked through.

Remove the cooked chicken and serve alongside the cream cheese dip, enjoy!

*I prefer to drizzle the cream cheese over top, sprinkle with extra green onions and serve alongside asparagus spears or an arugula salad.

EBChicken

 

Quick Chicken Lettuce Wraps

For my fellow friends who follow me, one knows I do not care for traditional breakfast foods (even though I make it for my family every single day), nor am I too found of Chinese food.  I’m sorry, truly sorry, but it’s just not so great to me.  I love Japanese, even Thai, but not Chinese.  However…..IF I am going to surprise my husband with one of his favorite cuisines, THIS is what I make!  This recipe is super easy and quick!!  After 20 minutes, you’ll have chicken lettuce wraps that will rival the ‘you-know-who-restaurant’, plus are a lot healthier!  I like to serve them with either egg rolls or pot stickers.. or both (and a to-go order of sushi for me ;)!

*The teriyaki, hoisin, soy sauce and cornstarch can easily be found in gluten-free, in case of dietary restrictions.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (can substitute tapioca starch or arrowroot for true gluten free)
  • 1-2 heads of butter lettuce, leaves washed and patted dry
  • 3 green onions, sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce, chili garlic sauce, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ground ginger and cornstarch.  Set aside, but give another whisk before ready to use.

In a skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the sesame oil.  Add in the mushrooms till softened, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil to the hot pan and add the ground chicken, cooking until done.  *I like to use my hand-held potato masher to really break up the ground chicken into crumbles.  To the cooked chicken, add in the minced garlic and the mushrooms back in, followed by the basil leaves.

Re-whisk and pour the sauce that you made earlier over the cooked chicken mixture and thoroughly combine, cooking about 1 more minute.  Spoon into the lettuce leaves and sprinkle on the sliced green onions.  Enjoy!

*Serve alongside extra sriracha, soy sauce or make a double batch of the sauce you made in the beginning to dip or drizzle over.

QuickChickenLettuceWraps

Red, White & Bleu Potato Salad

America the Beautiful.  Those three words are the absolute truth!  I am a proud American who absolutely loves the 4th of July.  Even as a young child, I’m not sure what it was exactly that this holiday brought me so much joy, but its always been my favorite.  No pretty, wrapped presents are involved, no Santa, no costumes and candy from door-to-door, just family, fireworks and delish food!

Now, I have quite a few potato salad recipes, but as a lover of meat n’ potatoes, I love to pair them with the unique flavor of blue cheese!  I know, I know, it’s not for everyone.  However, if you love this cheese as much as myself, than rest assured, you’ll love this alongside your steak hot off the grill!  If blue cheese isn’t your think, feel free to switch it out for chunks of cheddar for an equally great salad!

 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 lbs potatoes (I prefer red or baby purple potato medley for the appropriate 4th of July colors)
  • 1 package bacon, cooked & crumbled (reserve the grease)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup green onion, sliced
  • 2-3oz bleu cheese crumbles, to taste
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Cut each rinsed potato into rough 1″ chunks and add to a large stockpot of salted water, bring to a boil until they are fork tender.  Meanwhile, crisp up the bacon, then transfer to a paper towel lined plate while reserving the bacon grease.

Drain the boiled potatoes and add to a large bowl.  While still hot, pour over the reserved bacon grease along with the cooked, crumbled bacon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the bleu cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and the red and green onions.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over the potatoes and toss to coat.  Top with any extra bacon and green onions.  Enjoy!!

 

RedWhiteandBleuPotatoSalad

Peach, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

As they say, simple is best!  Especially when it comes to summer suppers.  We often enjoy this with fresh peaches from our yard and if in the mood, we’ll even prepare this on the grill!  This sweet and savory pizza is perfect as an appetizer or paired with a side salad for a light dinner.  I kept this meal as light as can be with only four toppings, but feel free to add on what you wish.  Perhaps mozzarella, thinly sliced onion or red pepper flakes or pepperoncini’s for a kick!  Just remember…simplicity is key with this dish!

The Starting Lineup

Refrigerated pizza crust (i.e. Pillsbury’s BEST Classic Crust)
• 2 TBSP olive oil
• 1 -2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
• 4oz goat cheese
• 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
• Balsamic Glaze (*NOT to be confused for balsamic vinegar)

 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Unroll your dough, place on a baking sheet or pizza stone and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the par-cooked dough and add on the peach slices and crumble the goat cheese overtop, place back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.  Remove and immediately sprinkle on the fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

*Bake dough according to your recipe or store-bought package directions. Remove halfway through, add toppings and finish baking. Dusting cornmeal under the dough before baking yields a great crunch!

PeachBasilGoatCheesePizza2

Chicken Salad Carrot Crescents

“Hippity, hoppity Easter’s on its waayyyy….”

I can never enter the Spring season without singing that song verse on more than one occasion.  So, now that we’re even closer to this years Easter holiday, it’s in my crawl as much as one of my favorite festive recipes!  These buttery crescents are shaped onto cone molds and when a tinted egg wash is applied and baked, resemble not only perfect vessels to stuff, but cutesy lil’ carrots!

Depending on our Easter plans for each year, I’ll either serve these at lunch, for an appetizer or bring to a potluck to rave oohs and aahhs.  Plus, they taste great!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 (8oz) cans crescent roll dough
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tsp water (can add food coloring if desired)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh parsley or dill, garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cooked chicken, grapes, celery, onions, pecans, mayonnaise, celery salt and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Unroll the crescent dough and pinch seams together.  Using a pizza cutter, cut lengthwise into 6-8 equal strips.  Brush each with egg wash and roll each strip out to about 16″, like a thick spaghetti noodle.  Repeat.

Using either a cream horn mold or foil shaped into a cone, wrap one strip of dough around the mold.  Apply more egg wash.  Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 7-8 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then carefully remove mold.

Fill each “carrot” with chicken salad (or salad of choice) and top with a parsley or dill sprig, enjoy!

ChickenSaladCrescents

 

Springtime Tortellini Pesto Soup

When it comes to Spring, many ingredients come to mind, but one of my main go-to’s has to be asparagus!  I also let go of my rich, creamy soups for a light, broth version.  I know I’m about to make this soup whenever I can get my hands on that crisp, stalky green vegetable.  I also know I can prepare it on a busy weeknight, as it takes a mere 30-40 minutes to make.  Plus, since it fills a large pot, the leftovers can be had the following day for lunch or dinner!  Pair with a side salad and warm rolls and you have the perfect Spring time supper!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (64oz) chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, plus more for garnish
  • 2 (15oz) cans great white northern beans, rinsed
  • 16 oz frozen tortellini
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • Precooked chicken sausage, sliced (i.e. HEB Naturals Apple Gouda)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, garnish
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes (*add garlic towards the end of the 5 minutes, careful not to burn).

To the onion and garlic, add in the broth and whisk in the pesto.  Add in the tortellini and white beans and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Lastly, add in the asparagus, spinach leaves and sliced sausage and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with more pesto and parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

SpringtimeTortelliniPestoSoup

 

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