Tag Archives: strawberries

Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Quesadilla

I’m quite the advocate of a great balsamic reduction.  No, not the vinegar (though good where it is needed), but the rich, slightly sweet glaze.  Now, while I mainly consume it over pillow-like soft slices of mozzarella sprinkled with coarse salt, I felt I needed to broaden both the sauce’s and my horizon.  With that being said, I have concocted the easiest hand-held, Springtime delight!

Likely from my raising in Arizona, I am quite partial to the quesadilla, so I decided what better than to “stuff” a few of my favorite light and fresh ingredients into a tortilla and grill up!

Man oh man, when I tell ya that the popular Mexican favorite doesn’t have to contain south-of-the-border ingredients after all!  It was everything sweet, tangy, crunchy and fresh with the addition of fruit and herbs, vegetables, goat cheese and pecans…last but not least, the balsamic reduction to bring it all together!

*If you like it extra, ooey-gooey cheesy, please feel free to add mozzarella as well! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 6 flour tortillas (regular, spinach, low-carb, whole wheat, etc)
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 (8oz) bottle Balsamic Reduction (not to be confused with vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In a Ziploc bag, combine the extra virgin olive oil, a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of the balsamic reduction with the chicken.  Zip up, massage to coat and set aside for 20-30 minutes to marinate.

Grill the chicken, until cooked through and the juices run clear; thinly slice.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the butter.  On each tortilla, layer an even amount of the cooked chicken, strawberries, spinach leaves, pecans and goat cheese crumbles.  Fold in half and cook each side of the quesadilla until golden brown in color.

To serve:  Slice into wedges with a pizza cutter, sprinkle with a bit more fresh basil and drizzle the remaining balsamic reduction overtop, enjoy!

quesadillaStrawBasilChx

 

Strawberry Basil & Goat Cheese Chicken w/ Grilled Romaine Salad

I’m lightening it up and fancy’ing it up (I realize that’s not real a word..but it works!)!  No despite the glamorous sounding name to this recipe, it’s actually super easy and quick!  I honestly say that this can be made in well under 30 minutes.  

It has so much flavor, so much FRESH flavor to be exact.  You get in fruit, veggies and protein here and zero guilt or that yucky “I’m stuffed” feeling.  Which is why I pair mine with a crisp glass of vino..I mean c’mon!  I have to have a little naughtiness! 

*Balsamic Glaze:  it’s not to be confused with “balsamic vinegar”.  This is a thicker, syrup-like glaze with a slightly sweet finish.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 chicken cutlets
  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, quartered 
  • Salt & pepper 

We’ll start this light and tasty recipe by cleaning and quartering the strawberries and chopping up the garlic and basil..or be fancy and do a chiffonade 😉   Next combine the fresh basil to the strawberries and 1 tbsp each of extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic glaze, gently toss together.  Cover and set aside.

Next, heat up either your grill or a grill pan with a couple Tbsp’s of olive oil on your stovetop to medium-high heat.  Generously season the chicken cutlets with salt, pepper and the minced garlic and place on grill/pan.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes per side, till cooked through and beautiful golden brown grill marks appear.  Set aside. 

Now that the chicken is done, it’s time for our lettuce!  To each quartered piece of romaine, drizzle a bit of evoo, balsamic glaze and a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place ‘face-down’ onto the grill pan and let the grill make those fantastic char marks. 

To serve!!   On a large family style platter (or individual plates), lay down the grilled romaine and top with the chicken cutlets.  Spoon the strawberry-basil mixture all over top and sprinkle on the goat cheese crumbles!  I also like to add another drizzle of that sweet balsamic glaze over top and another pinch of kosher salt & pepper.  Enjoy!! 

Crispy Chicken Summer Salad

This is a summer staple in my home.  The salad part does it for me and the crispy, fried chicken gets my husband to eat it ;). Seriously though, the crunchy chicken gets me too…

I thought I’d just “make a salad” one hot day and then one thing led to another and I’m in the kitchen with my cast iron frying chicken and making candied pecans..so much for just an easy salad, right?  However, I am super glad that I did!  The flavors are just right, the textures are perfect together and since I got a pan out, I can consider this ‘cooking’ and write it up!  

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg chicken tenderloins (or breast cut into strips)
  • 1 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten w/ tbsp water
  • Romain, spinach, iceberg mix, chopped
  • 1/2 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Raspberry vinaigrette dressing 
  • Croutons (optional)
  • Blueberries (optional)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & Pepper  

I like to prep all my veggies/fruit first with this simple recipe.  So that once I am finished frying up the chicken, all you have to do is toss it in a bowl together.

So clean and chop your lettuces, hull and quarter your berries, and slice and dice your cucumbers and onion….Normally, I suggest buying premade candied pecans for ease, but I forgot.  Soooo, I made some real quick by toasting my chopped nuts in a bit of oil in a skillet with a good dash of sugar and cinnamon.  Tasted just fine.

Onto the meat-of-the-matter, or in this case would it be poultry-of-the-matter??  Anyway, have three dishes ready and 2 plates (1 plate for the precooked/coated chicken and the other for the finished chicken).

In your first dish, add a cup of flour and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  In your second dish, beat your one egg with a tbsp of cold water till frothy.  In your third dish, add a cup of Panko breadcrumbs and also sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Going in order, dredge your chicken lightly in the flour, then the egg and finally the Panko.  Set coated chicken onto a plate.

  
In a large pan (preferably cast-iron) heat enough oil to come up 1/4 of the side to med/med-high heat.  Add in your tenders a couple at a time.  Do not overcrowd.  Depending on thickness, cook each side of tender for 2-3 minutes or until they’re a nice golden, crunchy brown!  Set cooked chicken aside on a paper towel lined plate.

 

Assembly time!  In a bowl, layer your lettuce along with the strawberries, cucumbers and onion.  Slice your chicken and place on top.  Sprinkle with Bleu cheese crumbles and the pecans and a bit of the raspberry vinaigrette.  I like a few crunchy croutons as well myself.  Enjoy this sweet, tangy, crunchy and refreshing salad…it’s delightful! 

 

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake

This very well may be THE cake of all cakes.  Ridiculous in taste and beyond gorgeous.  Seriously, you’re hand scraping a vanilla bean.  That should say it all…  

The Starting Lineup
CAKE

  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 9 egg whites, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped out
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

STRAWBERRIES

  • 2 pints of strawberries, hulled & quartered
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

CLASSIC CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

REAL WHIPPED CREAM

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar Vanilla Bean Cake ingredients ^

With this recipe we’re going to start with some of your filling first.  With your strawberries, rinse, hull and roughly quarter them.  Place the cut strawberries into a large bowl. 

Top the fruit with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.  Mix well, cover with Saran Wrap and let macerate for at least 20 minutes.  *Macerate: soften food by soaking in liquid.  If making your cake the same day, as opposed to the night before, place these in the fridge until ready to assemble.

 Now let’s begin your frosting.   I’m a busy wife, mom and food blogger, so for time purposes I am attaching my link to my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Classic Cream Cheese Frosting | Railroad Wife  Check it out 😉 Ok I’m not really that busy, I just like ‘links’..
Onto the delicious cake…Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prep 3 cake pans with either butter & flour or non-stick spray.  I HIGHLY recommend using a cut piece of parchment paper (also coated in spray, flour, etc) in each pan.  This method NEVER fails in achieving your cake coming out perfectly and not sticking.  The next time I make a cake, I promise you that I will take a picture of this step.  Shame on me :/

In your stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar for 5 minutes on med-high.  It should be nice and fluffy. 

    

Next add in all of those egg whites.  This keeps the cake that light colored hue, yolks will turn its shade.  Turn your stand mixer down till medium while your egg whites are gradually mixed in the butter/sugar mix.

Next, grab two (extra, separate) bowls.  In bowl #1, sift together your flour, salt and baking powder. 

 In bowl #2, mix together the buttermilk and the pure vanilla extract with the scraped out contents of your vanilla bean. (This smells so darn fabulous!  I was rubbing my scented hands on my wrists and neck like perfume.  I’m weird). 

 Can you see those beautiful flecks of REAL vanilla in the buttermilk?? Ahhhh..

Ok, now alternating the two bowls, pour them into your butter, sugar & egg white mix slowly.  Mix till just incorporated.  Don’t over mix please.  Bad things happen to those who do.

Divide the batter evenly between all three pans.  Slightly shake the filled pans to even out the batter. 

Bake these cakes at 350 degrees till a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Let cakes cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.  Invert the cakes onto the wire rack to finish cooling. *please cool completely before applying the frosting and fruit!  These cakes can even be made the night before, wrapped well and frosted the next day.

After the cakes are absolutely, positively cooled, prepare your real deal whipped cream!

In your stand mixer add in your 2 cups of heavy cream along with the 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  With the beater attachment, beat on high until light, fluffy and sweet! 

    
Final-freakin-lutely!!  It’s cake assembly time, the last step before the cake devouring time.  My personal favorite step.
Now, this cake makes three tiers, HOWEVER, I only use two and my boys and I munch on the third one ourselves.  “Quality time”, I call it.

On a pretty platter, place one cake layer down.  Coat the cake with a nice thick layer of your cream cheese frosting.  If it hangs over the edge, all the better!  Next, spoon copious amounts of your whipped cream over the frosting.  Finally, add a hefty helping of your (drained) macerated strawberries.

You’re then going to softly place your second tier of cake onto that.  Repeat the same process. (I actually prefer to apply my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting to the second tier BEFORE placing it on top and adding the cream & strawberries).  Any extra strawberries ‘stuff’ into the sides of cake and on top.

You’re now done and ready to take in the praises!  Please enjoy!  You can always jog it off tomorrow 😉 

  

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