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-Style Turkey Meatballs

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Ok, it’s deep dark confession time.  Yes, I’m a healthy eater but I love boneless buffalo wings, they’re definitely my favorite bar food and something I reserve as a rare and very special treat to myself.  That being said, I have tried for quite awhile to come up with a healthy alternative to the boneless buffalo wing, one that is completely guilt-free.  Here’s the result….

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These meatballs are really delicious and definitely satisfy that craving for a buffalo wing.  The sauce can be hot or mild, your choice.  I will say though that I think a mild sauce allows for you to be able to actually taste the meatball itself and that’s important because this meatball is absolutely delicious.  It is a light, summer-friendly meatball and I highly recommend eating them on their own without the sauce as a variation to this dish.  You could also substitute beef for the turkey.

I typically serve these with my homemade blue cheese dressing as a dipping sauce.

Buffalo-Style Turkey Meatballs
 
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Author:
Recipe type: main course
Cuisine: Meat dish
Serves: 20 meatballs
Ingredients
  • For the meatballs:
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks - diced
  • ½ of an onion - diced (I used Vidalia onion)
  • 1 Tablespoon of fresh sage - chopped (5 large leaves) or 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 egg - lightly beaten (I used liquid egg white substitute)
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 pound ground turkey (or ground chicken or ground beef)
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular bread crumbs)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • For the sauce:
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup hot sauce ( use your desired heat level)
  • 1 cup Blue Cheese dressing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the celery and onion, sage and oregano and cook until tender, approximately 3-4 minutes. Let them cool.
  3. In a large bowl combine the turkey, celery and onion mixture, egg and mustard. Combine the ingredients with your hands until well combined.
  4. Add the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper and mix them into the meat mixture with your hands.
  5. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes until browned.
  7. For the sauce:
  8. In a small saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.
  9. Add the hot sauce and whisk to combine until smooth.
  10. Toss the sauce with the meatballs and serve warm.
  11. Serve with blue cheese dressing if desired.
  12. Note - the meatballs can e made up to 2 days ahead and gently reheated in a nonstick pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Then add the sauce before serving.

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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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Chopped Veggie Salad with a Thai Peanut Dressing

 

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This chopped vegetable salad is crunchy, colorful and really delicious.  There is just something about Asian inspired flavors that remind me of Spring and eating light.  This Thai Peanut Dressing is creamy and has a bit of a bite to it with the chili sauce.

I have made this salad many times and sometimes I really spend a lot of time chopping all the veggies to the same size matchsticks and other times I just chop it all up different sizes.  It’s all in the presentation I guess but either way it tastes the same…..Yummy!  I tend to serve this salad with fish, the flavors work perfectly.

This dressing is also great over rice noodles with some bean sprouts and chopped snap peas or as a sauce for pasta with shredded chicken and green onions.

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Chopped Veggie Salad with a Thai Peanut Dressing
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • Salad
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
  • 3 cups snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced or shredded
  • 1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ¼ red cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded
  • ½ English cucumber, cut into strips
  • ½ cup peanuts, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
  • Note: I served mine over a bed of chopped kale, stems removed (optional)
  • Dressing
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • ½ cup seasoned rice-wine vinegar
  • ⅓ cup all natural creamy peanut butter
Instructions
  1. Toss all the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. For the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients together until the dressing is smooth in texture.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss with tongs to coat.
  4. To serve, pile a helping of salad onto a plate over the kale (if using) and garnish generously with more cilantro and peanuts. The salad gets better as it sits and will keep for up to three days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Here’s my “Super Bowl” Southwestern Turkey and Bell Pepper Chili

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Well, it’s Super Bowl Sunday; a day that many people, myself included, think should be a national holiday.  Actually, I think the Monday after Super Bowl Sunday should be the holiday so that after all that partying and eating we don’t have to get up for work.  Come on, who’s with me?

Sadly, our worst blizzard of the winter decided to hit this morning cancelling Super Bowl parties all across the area.  Such a shame, especially when you’re the hostess and have already bought and probably started cooking all that great food.  Well, my plans certainly changed due to the weather so I decided to make a big pot of chili.  There’s no better comfort food for warming you up on a stuck-in-the-house blizzard day than chili.  So here’s my Super Bowl, a super bowl of turkey chili that is!

This one is kind of a no rules chili.  I know, I know, many of you will not think that this is an authentic chili.  Dad, I’m talking to you!  It is a bean-free turkey chili with a southwestern spice profile and I think it’s a healthy fresh take on traditional chili.  I would serve it with some chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese…..yum!

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Southwestern Turkey and Bell Pepper Chili
 
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This is a bean-free turkey chili with a southwestern spice profile and I think it's a healthy fresh take on traditional chili. I would serve it with some chopped cilantro, a squeeze of lime, a little sour cream and a sprinkle of cheese.....yum!
Author:
Recipe type: Chili
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 medium onion - diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper - diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper - diced
  • 1 red bell pepper - diced
  • ⅔ cup green chili peppers from a jar or 2 small cans of diced green chilis
  • 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 3 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can of whole kernel corn (no sugar, no preservatives) - or 1½ cups of thawed frozen corn
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • ¾ teaspoon chipotle chili powder - or 1-2 teaspoons of regular chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Brown the ground turkey and the onion in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the bell peppers, a generous pinch of Kosher salt and black pepper and all of the spices. Sautee until crisp tender, approximately 6-8 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic to the peppers and sautee for 1 minute.
  4. Add the pepper mixture to the turkey.
  5. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn and green chilis to the pot.
  6. Bring the chili up to a simmer over medium high heat.
  7. Turn down the heat to very low and cook for 1 hour to let the flavors blend and intensify, stirring frequently.
  8. Serve with lime wedges, fresh chopped cilantro, lowfat sour cream and shredded cheese.

 

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Spaghetti Squash Two Ways

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Spaghetti Squash, what’s not to love about it?  It’s wonderful as a main course for a satisfying dinner that will make you feel like a sinner but you’re really a saint.  I’ve shown it here two ways.  The squash in both dishes is prepared the same; by roasting it on a sheet pan.  One is served with a simple tomato sauce and the other with roasted Brussels sprouts and a drizzle of spicy harissa oil.

Once you know how to cook the spaghetti squash the possibilities are truly endless.  I like it with chick peas and roasted red peppers, mushroom gravy and served aglio olio style to name a few.  It’s a great vegetarian meal for a Meatless Monday Main course.  You could of course, add your favorite meatball or meat sauce or serve it along side a chicken breast or piece of baked fish.

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It’s a low calorie and satisfying meal.  What’s not to love?

Spaghetti Squash
 
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Author:
Recipe type: What's for dinner, main course, side dish
Cuisine: Vegetarian cuisine
Serves: 2-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash - cut in half lengthwise
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Drizzle the olive oil over the flesh sides of the spaghetti squash halves.
  3. Rub the olive oil over the squash so that it is all evenly coated.
  4. Sprinkle the squash with Kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Lie the squash halves, skin side up so the flesh is on the pan.
  6. Roast for approximately 40 minutes until tender, so a fork is able to completely pierce through the skin and flesh of the squash.
  7. Cool the squash enough so that you can handle it.
  8. Using a fork, shred the squash forming noodle-like strands.
  9. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy.

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Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi

 

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By this stage of the holiday season you’ve probably already indulged in a few too many cookies, bacon-wrapped appetizers and festive cocktails.  Tis the season for holiday parties and high calorie treats galore which of course, do nothing good for our waistlines.

Well no fear; here’s a light and healthy guilt-free meal that’s on the table in no time at all, giving you more time to do your last minute shopping, bake, write out the Christmas cards, wrap gifts…….

This one uses the Veggetti spiral cutter I wrote about in the prior post.  You can also use a mandolin to cut the zucchini noodles.  I just love this little gadget; it creates beautiful veggie spiraled noodles that are perfectly shaped every time and nearly calorie free in your favorite pasta dishes.

Enjoy this dish, it’s a real holiday gift to yourself.

Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi
 
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Author:
Recipe type: main course, what's for dinner?
Cuisine: Shrimp and Vegetable, Light and Healthy
Serves: 1 serving
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 1-2 cloves garlic - minced, approximately 1 generous Tablespoon
  • ¼ teaspoons crushed red pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken broth
  • zest of ½ of a lemon
  • juice of ½ of a lemon2 medium or 3 small zucchinis - cut into spiral noodles
  • chopped basil or parsley for garnish (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat a large skillet over medium low heat until the pan is hot.
  2. Add the olive oil and heat it through.
  3. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and sautee for 1 minute stirring constantly so the garlic does scorch.
  4. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper on both sides and add them to the skillet. Cook until pink on all sides, about 3 minutes total, turning over once.
  5. Remove the shrimp with tongs, leaving any liquid in the pan.
  6. Increase the heat to medium and loosen any brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
  7. Add the white wine (or broth), lemon zest and lemon juice. Cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the zucchini noodles to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Return the shrimp back to the pan and toss to combine them with the zucchini and sauce.
  10. Garnish with basil or parsley and serve immediately.

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Mexican Quinoa Casserole

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I’m going through one of those phases where I just don’t feel like cooking!  Yep, it happens to all of us once in awhile and now is my time.  It’s the holiday season and with that comes an elevated level of stress right?

So, ’tis the season for a super easy meal that’s delicious and on the table in a snap.  Don’t let the word casserole turn you off, this is a healthy one that’s packed with protein and whole grains….guilt free!  It’s so good for you that you won’t feel bad having a Christmas cookie for dessert!  The chicken can absolutely be omitted making it a vegetarian dish.

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The chicken I used here was, wait for it, canned chicken!  What, canned meat?  Let me tell you, it gets a bad wrap. It is all natural, preservative-free white meat chicken packed in water and it is your friend for a quick meal option.  I use it in casseroles, panini sandwiches, stirred into sauce over pasta and over greens for a nice entrée salad.

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This an extremely versatile dish, use what you have in your pantry.  Sub the enchilada sauce for salsa (I like the green salsa verde), green peas for the corn and white beans or chick peas for the black beans.  I’ve even omitted the beans all together and chopped up two black bean burgers instead.  Ground turkey is also a nice substitute for the canned chicken.  Make it your own.

Mexican Quinoa Casserole
 
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This guilt-free casserole is full of flavor and so healthy. Try omitting the chicken for a vegetarian main dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Casserole
Cuisine: Healthy Dinner
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 13 ounce can of canned chicken (all natural, white meat, packed in water)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ½ cup canned black beans rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup frozen corn (I use roasted frozen corn)
  • 1 10 ounce can of mild enchilada sauce (or 10 ounces of salsa)
  • 1 4.5 ounce can of diced green chilis (I used ½ cup of jarred chopped mild chili peppers)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro - chopped
  • ¾ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • ¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 2 Roma tomatoes - diced
  • low fat sour cream for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Cook the quinoa in 2 cups of water or broth according to package directions.
  4. Cook the frozen corn according to package directions.
  5. In a large bowl mix the quinoa, chicken, black beans, corn, enchilada sauce, green chilis, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste and the cilantro.
  6. Stir to combine all ingredients.
  7. Stir in ¾ cups of the cheese.
  8. Put the mixture into the baking dish.
  9. Top with the remaining ¼ cup of cheese.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is melted on the top.
  11. Serve immediately topped with the Roma tomatoes, a dollop of sour cream and a cilantro garnish.
  12. Store in the refrigerator for delicious leftovers for up to a week.

 

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