Tag Archives: 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

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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

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

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

 

French Onion Meatballs (slow cooker)

Meatballs!  You can never go wrong serving meatballs.  Whether it’s for an appetizer, a hot sandwich, atop a pizza, with lingonberry jam (I can go on and on), it is rarely served with creamy, dreamy, buttery mashed potatoes…and why not??

Given we are still in the middle of winter (those poor people in the 2019 polar vortex right now, I shouldn’t be complaining), I am craving a warm bowl of anything!  When you combine these ingredients together, along with the work of your slow cooker, you end up with tender meatballs and a rich, onion and mushroom gravy that pairs perfectly with mashed potatoes.  I always like to add that extra touch of the melty Swiss cheese for a more authentic French Onion flare, but feel free to omit if desired.  Just don’t tell me or I’ll deem you crazy. 😉

 

*If you’d like, and have the time, sauté the onions on low with a couple of tablespoons of butter and a pinch of salt until caramelized.  Add these to the slow cooker, along with the other ingredients, in the beginning versus rawEither way, it’s delicious! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 ( 30oz) bag homestyle meatballs, frozen
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced thick
  • 12 oz container fresh mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 cans low-sodium cream of mushroom soup, plus 1-1/2 can milk
  • 1 packet dried onion soup mix, low-sodium if possible
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper 
  • 1 package sliced swiss cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped

Spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray.  Layer in half of the onions and mushrooms, followed by the frozen meatballs and then the remaining onions and mushrooms.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream of mushroom soup, dried onion soup mix, milk and pepper.  Pour overtop the meatballs.  Set to low for 6 hours, stirring once or twice.

30 minutes prior to eating, layer the swiss cheese overtop.  Recover and allow to melt.

Serve in a bowl with buttery mashed potatoes or wide egg noodles and a sprinkle of parsley, enjoy!

frenchonionmeatballs

Shrimp Scampi Fettuccine

This will appear as an impressive main dish to your guests, but it’s really a quick and easy 20-minute meal that works great for weeknights!  Simple ingredients, simple to prepare, but feels so indulgent!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb fettuccine noodles (can also use gluten free or even “zoodles”)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (i.e. pinot grigio) or chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake (plus more for serving)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon (to taste) freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (plus extra wedges for serving)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Prepare noodles as directed, opting for more al dente texture.  Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add in the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Pour in the wine (or broth), red pepper flake, salt and pepper.  Allow to reduce by half (2-3 minutes).

Add in the shrimp and sauté until they turn a bright pink (3-4 minutes depending on size).  Stir in the lemon juice and parmesan and then add in the cooked noodles and chopped parsley; toss to coat.

Serve with a simple side salad or classic Caesar and warm crusty bread, enjoy!

shrimpscampifettuccine

Southwest Flank Steak Chili & Grits

My days growing up in hot & spicy Arizona has met our southern grit life here in the south with this one!  All of the flavors of a traditional chili soaked up into yummy, bacon and cheese loaded grits.  The juxtaposition of textures and flavors is on point with this recipe!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1-3/4 lbs flank steak
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 14oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
  • 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 4oz can green chilis, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 4 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1 cup American-cheddar blend cheese, shredded (pepper jack or cheddar works too)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen fire-roasted corn
  • Kosher salt & pepper
  • Prepared grits (I loaded ours up with green onion, bacon crumbles and cheese)

 

To your slow cooker, whisk together the chicken broth, 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, the tomatoes, pinto beans, green chiles and jalapeno.  Roughly tear 2 of the corn tortillas up and add to the liquid mixture.

Butterfly the flank steak horizontally, without cutting all the way through (opening like a book).  Lightly pound the steak until about 1/4 inch thick.  Season with salt, pepper, 1 Tablespoon of the chili powder and 1 teaspoon of the cumin.  Press the cheese over the steak in an even layer, followed by the cilantro and arrange the last 2 of the corn tortillas over top, overlapping if needed.  Starting with the long side, roll up into log-form/pinwheel and tie with kitchen twine; tuck ends in and tie lengthwise as well.  Transfer your steak pinwheel to the slow cooker and spoon some sauce over top.  Cover and set to low for 7 hours.  *Add corn in 30 minutes prior to eating.

Remove the steak and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Slice into pretty pinwheel medallions and serve over loaded, bacon’y, cheesy grits with a ladle of the slow cooker juices and vegetables over top!

*If the flank steak cooks a bit longer and shred’s apart, that is just as yummy too!!

ChileGrits

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