Easy Chicken Fajitas – in one pan!

 

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What’s for dinner?  Ugh, that dreaded question.  Even this home cook wants to prepare an easy weeknight dinner that doesn’t keep me in the kitchen after I’m already exhausted from work, the gym, errands…..you know what I’m saying.  In this busy world of fitting way too much into a day we need an easy, one pan meal that cooks for a mere 25 minutes and comes out absolutely delish!!  And to make it even more fantastic, it’s Mexican!  So get out the sombreros and set Pandora to Mariachi music, you’ll have the time with this speedy dinner!  Ole!

Easy Chicken Fajitas - in one pan!
 
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These delicious and flavorful fajitas come together in a snap in just one pan!
Author:
Recipe type: main course, chicken
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1- 1½ pounds of chicken breasts - sliced into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper - sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper - sliced thin
  • 1 green bell pepper - sliced thin
  • 1 yellow onion - sliced thin
  • 1 cup salsa ( I used an all natural salsa verde)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • corn, wheat or flour tortillas for serving
  • chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)
  • sour cream (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In large bowl combine chicken, veggies, salsa, oil and spices.
  3. Toss so that all ingredients are covered with the spices.
  4. Spread chicken mixture evenly onto a sheet pan (cookie sheet) lined with foil.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are tender.
  6. Serve with tortillas and garnish with sour cream and cilantro if desired.

 

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Try serving them in whole wheat or corn (my favorite) tortillas.  I love them with my easy refried beans and/or Mexican rice for a complete meal.  Or for a fresh twist pair them with my guacamole salsa.

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Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

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I’ve always felt like I’m missing out the pulled pork sandwich.  I don’t eat pork as I just don’t like it.  Well, except of course for bacon which seriously should be a food group in itself.  I mean one of our local restaurants serves bacon ice cream!  I’ve known self-proclaimed vegans, ok only one, who still sneaks a slice of bacon once in awhile.  Yes, the guilty party knows just who I’m talking about….

So here’s my answer to the pulled pork sandwich.  This pulled chicken has a real depth of flavor.  It is in a word fantastic.  It is slow cooked in the crock pot for 7 hours so it is super moist and so very flavorful.  And you will absolutely love how your house smells while it’s cooking.

This one’s a blue ribbon winner, winner chicken dinner for sure.  (Or lunch, or snack).

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Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken
 
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This pulled chicken will make you forget about pulled pork! It is made in the slow cooker and is so moist with a great depth of flavor Try serving it on a pretzel roll with a nice cabbage slaw on top.
Author:
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Main Dish
Ingredients
  • 1 onion (sweet) – thinly sliced
  • 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cloves garlic – minced
  • 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or tomato puree, diced tomatoes do NOT work!)
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 3 Tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Add the chicken and onion to the slow cooker.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add the sauce and stir to cover all of the chicken and onion.
  4. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and gently pull it apart using 2 forks.
  6. Add the pulled chicken back into the crock pot, stirring it into the sauce.
  7. *(recipe adapted from Pure Wow)

My favorite way to serve this sandwich in on a warmed or toasted pretzel roll with a nice vinaigrette cabbage slaw on top.  I’m obsessed with the pretzel roll actually.  I have a friend who serves them warmed with various types of mustard for dipping….yep, I’d be so happy to call that dinner.

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Chicken Kofta Burgers

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Sometimes you create a dish that is just so good that it makes you smile when you think about it; and crave tasting it.  Enter this chicken kofta burger.  As you read through the ingredients list you will seriously think that these spices could not mix into something tasty.  I assure you, they do and everyone I make this dish for absolutely raves about it!

This was inspired by my favorite neighborhood Mediterranean restaurant.  I love it, it is by far my favorite place to eat.  But…you all know I love to re-create restaurant dishes in my own kitchen.  I enjoy their chicken kofta so much that it inspired me to make my own.  It took a few attempts but here is the finished product.  Please try this one, your taste buds will be thrilled!!

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Try serving it with roasted sweet potatoes and my kale taboulli salad.

Chicken Kofta Burgers
 
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A delightful fresh dish with ground chicken, fresh herbs and array of spices. This one is a must try, your taste buds will love you!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Course, Chicken
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Serves: 6 burgers
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup fresh parsley - chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons fresh mint - chopped
  • ⅓ cup onion - diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl with your hands until well combined.
  2. Form the mixture into oval shaped patties.
  3. Cook on a stove-top grill pan over medium heat for 10 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  4. Or broil 5-6 inches from heat for 8-10 minutes, turning once.

 

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad

 

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Boneless Buffalo wings, one of the best bar snacks ever invented.  I loved them in my 20’s but sadly I no longer have the metabolism of a 20 year old and not to mention it’s bikini season.  So…. I get my buffalo chicken fix with this delicious and nutritious pasta salad.  There is all of that delicious buffalo chicken flavor but without the breading, the frying and the guilt.  And, wait for it…..there’s even fresh crumbled blue cheese!  Yep, I’ve covered all the bases with this one.  You could pack it for a poolside lunch where you can wear and rock your two-piece bathing suit.

I was able to find a bottle of all natural ranch dressing made with yogurt which was good for this recipe.  You can also use my homemade Buttermilk ranch dressing.

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Buffalo Chicken Pasta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: pasta salad, side dish, main dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat Rotini or Penne pasta
  • 2 cups of rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast - shredded
  • 3 stalks of celery - diced
  • 4 green onions (white and green parts) - diced
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 8-10 ounces of all natural bottled Ranch Dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons hot sauce (or more)
  • ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta to al dente, rinse and set aside to cool thoroughly.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing, blue cheese and buffalo sauce.
  3. Test the spiciness of the dressing and add more hot sauce to your liking.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the cooled pasta, chicken, celery, onion and carrot together.
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir with a spatula until evenly coated.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

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Grilled Pepper and Onion Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing

Taco.Salad1 Comfort food, as defined by urban dictionary, is a food that gives emotional comfort to the one eating it.  These tend to be favorite foods of childhood, or linked to a person, place or time with which the food has a positive association. I really can’t link taco salad to a specific person or place but it’s definitely one of my comfort foods.  I also love experimenting with my taco salads adding new and unique ingredients.  It’s not just meat, cheese, lettuce and chips these days. bellpeppers2 I feel this one is a true summer taco salad.  I browned some ground turkey, seasoning it with my homemade taco seasoning blend and grilled some bell peppers and Vidalia onion on the grill until they get tender with good grill marks.  The chipotle ranch dressing is, in a word, fabulous.  All the creaminess of ranch dressing with the addition of a smoky, mildly spicy flavor from the chipotle pepper. chipotle.ranch.dressing Experiment with your own ingredients as add-ons.  I like avocado, thin sliced radishes, cojita cheese and of course, a dollop of sour cream or crème fraiche.

Grilled Pepper and Onion Taco Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Course, What's for Dinner?
Cuisine: Mexican, Tex-Mex
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup canola mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt or a combination of the two)
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp of the adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • ½ cup cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk with a wire whisk until fully blended and creamy.

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Summer Tuscan Pesto Pasta

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I love summer!  I love sun, heat, being at the ballpark watching my favorite team, trips to friends cottages, longer days and just being outside.  I have a June birthday, born on the summer solstice in fact; maybe that has something to do with the fact that Summer and I get along so well!

Tonight’s dinner was fresh out of the garden and so delicious.  It came together in just a few minutes and just screamed summer with it’s bright colors and fresh flavors.  The recipe uses my Best Ever Basil Pesto recipe.  I sautéed some peppers and onions and served them over a whole grain thin spaghetti.  The sauce is the basil pesto with some grilled chicken breasts.   A delightful meal, like summer all wrapped up in a big pasta bowl.

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I found a jar of cherry peppers at Trader Joes.  They’re a sweet and hot pepper and they have a great complex flavor.  They’re more flavorful than hot, adding a warmth to the dish.  I also used a jar of roasted red and yellow peppers.  The peppers from our garden are sweet italan peppers.  Any bell pepper, banana pepper or poblano pepper would work.  The more the color the better!  Just pick what looks good at the market keeping in mind if they’re hot or sweet varieties.

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Summer Tuscan Pesto Pasta
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Main Course
Cuisine: Pasta
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ¾ of a 12 oz box of whole wheat thin spaghetti
  • 3 Italian sweet peppers (or any other sweet peppers) - chopped
  • ½ of a red onion - chopped
  • 1 12 oz jar of roasted red and yellow peppers - chopped
  • 6 cherry peppers - chopped
  • ½ cup kalamata olives - course chopped
  • ⅔ cup basil pesto (go to link above for my recipe)
  • grilled chicken breast tenders if desired
  • 1 cup of reserved pasta cooking water
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil to the boiling water before dropping the pasta.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water
  3. Drain and rinse the pasta
  4. While the pasta is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  5. Add 1 Tablespoon olive oil to the skillet.
  6. Add the Italian sweet peppers and the red onion to the skillet and sautee until crisp tender, approximately 5 minutes.
  7. Add the roasted red and yellow peppers and the cherry peppers to the skillet and heat until warmed through, approximately 2 minutes.
  8. Add the pasta to the pan and gently stir to mix the peppers through
  9. Add the basil pesto and add a little (a couple of Tablespoons) of the reserved pasta liquid in order to thin the pesto a bit, allowing it to evenly coat the pasta.
  10. *Note - you will NOT use all the reserved pasta water.
  11. Plate the dish and sprinkle it with the chopped kalamata olives and basil leaves to garnish.
  12. Serve with the grilled chicken breast tenders, if desired.

 

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Sundried Tomato and Mustard Chicken Breasts

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This was another pulled-from-the-pantry dinner.  Honestly, I would have never thought of putting these 3 ingredients together but it worked and had a lot of flavor, good flavor I might add.

Sundried Tomato and Mustard Chicken Breasts
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts - any fat trimmed off
  • ¼ cup deli style mustard - you can use any mustard you like.  I prefer the grainy flavorful deli style
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 tablespoons capers - drained
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spray the bottom of a glass baking dish with non stick cooking spray or drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of the pan.
  3. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and season with Koser salt and black pepper.
  4. Spread the mustard evenly on top of the chicken breasts.
  5. Place the sun dried tomatoes on top of the chicken breasts.
  6. Sprinkle the capers over the chicken.
  7. Cover the pan with foil and cook for 30-40 minutes depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breasts.  Cook to an internal temperature of 180 degrees.

Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs

IMG_6568Ahhh, grilling season is here, or about to be here.  I’ve been thinking lately about the unofficial start to seasons based on the events we celebrate.  For example, the unofficial start to Spring is for me, opening day for my baseball Team, GO TIGERS!!!  The unofficial start to grilling season and I think Summer would be Memorial Day weekend.  The unofficial start to Fall seems to be the week kids go back to school.  The unofficial start to Winter and for that matter the Holiday Season is the day after Thanksgiving.  It’s funny that the actual calendar start to the seasons takes a backseat to our unofficial starts.

At any rate, after this heinous winter I’m thrilled that next weekend marks the unofficial start to grilling season and Summer, woo hoo!  I love kabobs for a weeknight dinner, to serve at a back yard party or for a casual dinner party.  You can be creative mixing meats, veggies and fruits and everything goes on a skewer for finger-food dining.

I really like to marinate the meat I put on the skewers.  This tequila lime marinade is one of my favorites.  It works great for chicken and shrimp.  I like a combination of green pepper, red or yellow pepper, zucchini, red onion, cherry tomatoes and pineapple on my kebobs as they all cook up nicely and for the same amount of time it takes to cook the meat.

Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs with Marinade
Cuisine: On the Grill
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 green pepper cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 red pepper cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow squash cut into 1 inch thick rounds
  • 1 red onion cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup white tequilla
  • 3 limes - juiced
  • 1 orange - juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - minced
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Instructions
  1. Add all the marinade ingredients to a resealable plastic bag. Flip and squeeze the bag around to mix the ingredients. Add the chicken to the bag and refrigerate for 4-6 hours.
  2. If using wood skewers, soak the skewers in water for 20 minutes prior to grilling to prevent them from burning on the grill.
  3. Take the chicken out of the bag and shake off the excess marinade.
  4. Assemble the skewers alternating a cube of chicken with a piece of vegetable.
  5. Preheat the grill to 350-400 degrees F.
  6. Place the skewers on the grill and close the lid. Grill for approximately 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through with no pink inside. Turn the skewers occasionally for even cooking and grill marks.

 

Asian inspired chicken with a colorful sauteed slaw and noodles in a peanut butter soy sauce

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Spring appears to have FINALLY come to our neck of the woods.  In the spirit of spring and warmer temperatures, I wanted a sunny, colorful dish to match this lovely season.  The inspiration for the flavors in this dish came from a recipe I came across for a peanut butter sauce by Claire Robinson on the Food Network.  I’ve used it here served as a sauce for whole wheat noodles.  This sauce reminds me of a Thai or Asian dish so I decided on a sesame ginger marinade for the chicken breasts with a colorful and healthy veggie slaw to garnish it.  The result was a very nice dinner with different and unexpected flavors.  My dinner guest was very impressed with me for, as she put it, “thinking outside the box and being really creative.”

That’s what it’s all about; the way to a person’s heart is ………. you know the rest!

Asian inspired chicken with a colorful sauteed slaw and noodles in a peanut butter soy sauce
 
Author:
Recipe type: What's for dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • For the sesame ginger marinade/dressing:
  • ⅓ cup rice vinegar (unseasoned)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • ⅓ cup peanut oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated on the microplane
  • 1-1/2 inch round piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated on the microplane
  • For the veggie slaw:
  • 1½ Tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - seeded, ribs removed, diced
  • 1 small orange bell pepper
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • *** I like the bags of Super Sweet mini bell peppers found in the supermarkets. They come in a bag with yellow, orange and red peppers. If they are really small then use 2 of each color pepper for this recipe.
  • ¾ cup shredded carrot
  • For the noodles with peanut butter sauce:
  • 10 ounces of whole wheat noodles (the large ones that look like wide egg noodles). The package was 12 ounces, I cooked the whole bag and used all but about 2 cups of the cooked noodles so that I had enough sauce to really coat all the noodles.
  • ½ cup natural crunchy style peanut butter
  • ½ cup seasoned rice vinegar (found at any supermarket, the seasoning provides really nice flavor)
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp hot sauce of your choice (this is optional, I used Tabasco)
  • sliced scallions - green portion (garnish)
  • chopped peanuts (garnish)
Instructions
  1. Method:
  2. Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl with a wire whisk or shake in a Mason Jar until well combined. Marinate the chicken breasts in the sesame ginger dressing in a sealed plastic storage bag for at least 30 minutes prior to cooking. I reserve some of the dressing to use as a sauce over the chicken once its cooked. Cook the chicken breasts in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the breasts. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees minimum. You could absolutely use an all natural bottled Asian sesame dressing instead of making your own.
  3. While the chicken is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp olive or canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the ginger, jalapeno, carrot, bell pepper and a pinch of salt and black pepper to the skillet. Sautee until crisp-tender, approximately 8 minutes.
  4. Add the peanut butter, seasoned rice vinegar, soy sauce and hot sauce to a medium bowl. Cook the noodles according to package directions and drain. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth and well mixed. Pour the sauce over the noodles immediately after the noodles are cooked and gently stir to combine with tongs. Top the noodles with the sliced scallions and some chopped peanuts to garnish.
  5. Plate the chicken pouring the remainder of the sesame ginger dressing on top as a sauce. Top the chicken with the sautéed slaw. Serve with the noodles on the side.

Mexican Turkey Cutlets with Sauteed Peppers and Roasted Corn Farro

IMG_0425Well, I’m basking in the knowledge that at least for one night, someone in the world thinks I’m a creative food genius.  I have a friend that’s been home recovering from surgery.  Last night I took him this meal and he loved it!

This was a throw together dinner made from pantry and refrigerator items that needed to be used up.  I bought some turkey cutlets and ground turkey this week as it was on sale at the supermarket.  And, I don’t need to tell you how much I love turkey!  The turkey cutlets are boneless and can be cooked similar to pork chops or chicken breasts.  I’m always worried that they’ll come out dry so I like to marinate them or come up with a healthy sauce to cook them in.  As I was standing in front of the refrigerator looking at the ridiculous amount of condiments in the door I pulled out a jar of all natural salsa verde and this dish was born.

Ingredients for the Mexican Turkey Cutlets:

3 large turkey cutlets – 1 package

1/3 of a jar of salsa verde – mine was a medium spice level

juice of 1/2 of a lime

3/4 – 1 Tablespoon Cumin

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)

1 1/2 cups of shredded Three cheese or Mexican blend cheese

Directions for the Mexican Turkey Cutlets:

Lightly spray the bottom of a covered casserole dish with cooking spray or drizzle with a little olive oil.  Place the turkey cutlets into the pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes to taste.

Put the salsa verde into a bowl and stir in the cumin.

Cover the turkey cutlets with the salsa verde mixture.

Bake in a 400 degree oven, covered, for 25 minutes.

Uncover the turkey cutlets and cover with the shredded cheese.  Bake uncovered for another 3-5 minutes until melted.

Serve the turkey cutlet over the roasted corn faro (recipe below) and surround with the sautéed peppers, mushrooms and onions.

Ingredients:

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Ingredients for the Roasted Corn Farro:

1 cup Farro – rinsed thoroughly in a fine mesh colandar

3 1/2 cups of water

1 Tablespoon al purpose vegetable seasoning

small dash of olive oil

1/2 of a 16 ounce bag of frozen roasted corn – I like the roasted corn if you can find it (Trader Joe’s) as it has a nice smoky flavor and the kernels are blackened adding nice color to the dish.

Directions for the Roasted Corn Farro:

Place the rinsed Farro and the water in a 2 quart saucepan.  Stir in the dash of olive oil and the vegetable seasoning.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Turn the heat down and simmer at a low boil for 15-20 minutes until desired tenderness.

Meanwhile, prepare the frozen corn according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Drain the farro completely.

Combine the roasted corn and farro, stir lightly until combined.

Ingredients for the Sautéed Vegetables:

1 yellow pepper

3 small green peppers

1/2 of a large onion

2 cups of button mushrooms

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions for the sautéed vegetables:

Cut the pepper and onion into large bite size pieces (see picture above).

Remove the mushroom stems and slice.  I do use the stems also.  I gently pull out the stem and cut off the tough end of it.

Drizzle the bottom of a nonstick skillet with olive oil (2 turns around the pan).  Heat oil over medium heat.

Add the peppers and onion and sautee for approximately 6 minutes until the peppers are browned and still have a bite to them.

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Add the mushrooms and sautee 2-3 minutes more until softened.  I do not like my sateed veggies too soft and or mushy.  If you like them softer then by all means sautee them to your desired level of tenderness.

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Plate the chicken breast over the farro, topped with the peppers and mushrooms.

Muy bueno!

 

 

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