Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fiesta Pollo Salad with Baja Ranch Dressing

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Shredded cheese (I used Mexican blend)
  • Chopped red peppers
  • Chopped green peppers
  • Chopped red onion
  • Corn (either canned or cooked and cut off the cob)
  • Black beans, drained
  • Boneless chicken breasts (I used one small/medium size one per salad)
  • Fajita seasoning packet (1 packet for every 2 chicken breasts)
  • Tortilla chips (my favorite are the Hot Blues in the organic section)
  • Ranch dressing (I used the refrigerated Gregg's ranch from Costco)
  • Salsa (I used Costco's salsa not from refrigerated section)
  1. Preheat grill to medium low.  Spray with Pam Grill spray or wipe with oil.
  2. Use fajita seasoning as a rub for the chicken and grill for about 8-10 minutes each side depending on size of chicken breasts. 
  3. When cooked, let set 5 minutes and then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Fill bottom of plate with lettuce and top with cheese, peppers, corn, beans, and chicken.
  5. Top with (or place on the side) with tortilla chips and baja ranch dressing.
  6. To make dressing, use 2 parts ranch to 1 part salsa.  Mix well.
I was inspired by the Fajita Pollo salad at Red Robin in making this salad.  The chicken rub and dressing were a total shot in the dark, but they turned out really well.  I was very excited and surprised at how well the fajita seasoning turned out as a rub for the grilled chicken.  Delicious!!!  This was easy and delicious - 100% sure it will go into the regular dinner rotation.  Very happy with it!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

BBQ Jerk Chicken


1 Tbsp. ground allspice
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 ½ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
¾ tsp. ground nutmeg
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
¾ cup white vinegar
½ cup orange juice
juice of 1 lime
2 habanero peppers, finely chopped (You can use one jalapeno so it wouldn't be too spicy for the kids)
1 cup chopped white onion
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 whole chicken, cut up into serving pieces (I used chicken breasts)

In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, add the olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, and lime juice. Add the habanero peppers, onion, green onions and mix well. Add the chicken, cover and marinate overnight. Remove the chicken from the marinade and grill until fully cooked. While grilling, baste with the marinade.
Note of caution:  Habanero peppers need to be seeded, stemmed, and cut with gloves. Also, you can soak cutting boards and knives in bleach to be sure all the juice is gone. Here's a quick vid about cutting peppers if you've never done that before. http://youtu.be/mN5Ae54XNQI

I found this recipe on a recipe blog called, Bites, as it was rated one of her 5 star recipes.  I only made a few slight modifications. Very flavorful and delicious!  We will make it again!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled Pineapple Chicken and Cilantro Lime Rice

A big thank you to Phaedra Cote who was kind enough to let me share this recipe of hers on our blog!

Pineapple & Cilantro Chicken
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 5 limes, juiced (approx 3/4 cup)
  • 1 bunch cilantro-finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup warmed honey
  • 1 Corona Beer
  • 1 16 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 avocados
  • fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a 13x9 baking dish, add chicken and marinate
for 3-4 hours or more. Grill until done (approx 15 minutes). When
serving, slice avocados and lay on top of chicken.

Cilantro-lime Rice
  • 2 cups white rice (shorter grain white rice makes the best sticky rice and works better for leftovers as it does not dry out)
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp Tabasco brand green pepper sauce
  • fresh ground salt and pepper to taste

Grilled Pineapple
Cut off top and bottom of pineapple and then cut skin off of outside.
Lay pineapple down and cut into 2 inch slices. Grill 5 minutes per side.
This needs no marinade. It's delicious.

This is one of my all time favorite recipes! I often serve it when we're hosting a dinner, since it is bursting with flavor. Guests are always very impressed with the meal, and I love it because it's so easy to prepare!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken

 Original recipe from epicurious.com
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Aleppo pepper* OR 2 teaspoons dried crushed Cayenne pepper plus 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk Greek-style yogurt** (8 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 unpeeled lemon; thinly sliced into rounds, 
  • 1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts
Place Cayenne pepper and sweet paprika in a large bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons warm water and let stand until paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add yogurt, olive oil, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper to spice mixture in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir in garlic and lemon slices, then chicken. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. NOTE:  I marinated the chicken for 24 hours, in a gallon-sized Ziploc freezer baggie in the refrigerator.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Discard marinade in bowl.  Brush grill rack with oil or use a non-stick cooking spray. Grill chicken until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 10 to 12 minutes on each side. I served the chicken with cilantro/lime Jasmine rice and cucumber/tomato Greek salad.

Balsamic-Glazed Smoky Chicken Caprese Sandwiches

 Original recipe from Rachaelray.com

  • 8 slices ripe tomato
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (1/3 palmful)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 ounces each), cut filet style
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning, such as Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 8 1/4-inch-thick slices smoked mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula or spinach (what I used)
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn or shredded
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, split
  • *homemade lemon-garlic aioli
  • **store-bought thick cut potato chips, sea salt or olive oil flavored
Pre-heat the oven to 425˚F.  Pre-heat your grill to medium-high.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, EVOO, garlic, rosemary, oregano and red pepper flakes in large plastic food storage bag or shallow dish. Set the chicken into the marinade and let stand for 20 minutes, or several hours.  Please note: I also marinated the sliced tomatoes in the same marinade recipe, but in a bowl.  Both the chicken and tomatoes were marinated overnight before I cooked them.
Arrange the tomatoes on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
Heat your grill to medium-high. Shake off the excess marinade from the chicken and place the chicken on the grill. Season with the Montreal steak seasoning blend. Grill the chicken cutlets for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Spread the bottom half of the ciabatta roll with the aioli.  Combine the spinach or arugula and basil and pile onto the roll bottoms. Top the greens with a piece of chicken, two pieces of cheese and a couple of oven-roasted tomatoes.  Serve with gourmet potato chips of your choice.

Additionally: The aioli recipe is one that I made up and is on another recipe page.

Basic Garlic-lemon Aioli

4 garlic cloves, peeled, and chopped fine
2 egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon fresh basil
Whip the egg yolks and garlic together until well blended, and then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Voila! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Creamy Grilled Potato Salad

  • 8 medium red potatoes, cut into 1-in. slices
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 dill pickle spear, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. dill pickle juice
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon or spicy brown mustard
1. Place first five ingredients in a large bowl, toss to coat. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long handled tongs, lightly coat the grill rack. Grill potatoes, covered, over medium heat for 25-30 minutes or until tender, turning once. Cool. Cut into quarters and place in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over potatoes; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

This is the best potato salad I've ever had! It literally tastes like french fries in tartar sauce! Delicious!

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Blue Cheese Stuffed Burger with Red Onion and Spinach

  • 1 lb. ground beef or turkey
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 4 hamburger buns
1. In a bowl, combine beef, Worcestershire sauce, and black pepper. On waxed paper, shape into eight thin patties. Place 1 tablespon of the blue cheese in the center of four of the patties. Top with the remaining four patties; pinch edges to seal.
2. Brush onion slices with olive oil.
3. Place burgers and onions directly over medium-high heat. Grill 5 minutes per side or until no pink remains in burger. Brush cut sides of buns with olive oil. Grill, cut side down, the last minute of grilling.
4. Serve burgers on buns with grilled onions, spinach, and top with blue cheese if desired.

If you are not a blue cheese lover like me, you can substitute with feta, which also makes a delicious burger!

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chicken Fruit Packets

*4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
* 2 firm pears, cored and sliced (If you have an apple slicer, use it to cut the pears, too!)
* 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced
* 1/2 cup honey mustard salad dressing
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
* 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Cut chicken into 1" pieces (I just did full breasts). Heat coals on grill or prepare gas grill. Divide chicken, pears and apple among four 18x12 inch sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with garlic and thyme. Fold foil over chicken and fruit. Fold edges over 1/2" and repeat. (If you are preparing this in the morning, brush the pears and apple with a little lemon juice so they don't turn brown). Make sure you allow space on sides of the packet for circulation and expansion during cooking. Place packets on grill and cover.

Grill 4-5 inches from medium heat 10-15 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink when cut in center. Place packets on plates, cut large X across top, and fold back foil to serve. Serves 4.

This meal is delicious and so easy! The fruit and dressing in the packet make the chicken super moist. I served it with grilled baby red potatoes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Revel Bars


3 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 1/4 c whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, beat together 1 cup butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and 1 teaspoon salt; stir into butter mixture. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Pat 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the top, and dot with remaining oat mixture.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in preheated oven. Let cool on a wire rack, then cut into bars.

I ended up making these to share at a get together we went to and didn't want to post the recipe until I had the reviews of the folks who tried it.  I was a little nervous bringing something I've never made before, but it had great reviews (5 stars!).  I think Carla put it best... something like this dessert is "God's gift to mankind"...lol! So yes, they were a hit!  And as promised, the recipe is now posted for sharing.  Definitely thought serving still slightly warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream was pretty heavenly and will be a repeater for sure!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Creamy Pesto Salmon

  • Salmon fillet
  • 1/2 c pesto
  • 3/4 c alfredo sauce
  • 1/2  small sweet onion, sliced 1/4" thick

1. Lay out two sheets of overlapping foil and place salmon meat side up.
2. Mix together pesto and alfredo sauce and spread over salmon.
3. Separate rings of sweet onion slices and place on top of sauce.

4. Pull together sides of foil to make "tent" for the salmon/sauce/onions.
5. Place tent on the grill for about 13-15 minutes. Check for salmon to be flaky.

By the way, this final picture is not the real thing.  We completely devoured ours before I remembered to take a pic, but you get the idea. :-) Also, in case you were wondering, I use the pesto and alfredo sauce from Costco - conveniently sitting next to each other in the refrigerated section! I wish I could give proper credit to the person who shared this recipe with me (Kim?) but you will absolutely love how easy and "gourmet" this recipe is with a 3 minute prep time!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tuscan Pasta Salad


16 oz. tri-flavored 7 cheese tortelloni
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
non-fat cooking spray
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup asparagus, chopped & steamed
1/3 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1/3 cup white onion, diced small
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Balsamic dressing
1 cup heart of romaine lettuce, chopped


Boil pasta according to package instructions.  When finished, rinse with cold water and chill.  Prepare chicken for grilling by: coat chicken with non-fat cooking spray, sprinkle on garlic, basil, rosemary, salt & pepper.  Grill chicken tenders on medium-high for 5 minutes on each side, remove from grill and chill.  Rinse and halve tomatoes and place in a large serving bowl.  Chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces, put in a microwavable bowl, place cling wrap on the top and microwave on high for 2 minutes.  Stir asparagus in bowl, re-cover and microwave for 1 minute longer.  Add steamed asparagus with tomatoes.  Dice both the red pepper and white onion and add both to veggies in serving bowl.  Stir in pasta and chicken with the veggies, then add the olive oil and Balsamic dressing and mix together thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.  Toss in the romaine lettuce just before eating, so it will not become wilted.

Peachy Keen Chicken


1 pound of fresh or canned peaches (peeled if fresh, or in light syrup if canned)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon honey
1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders
salt and pepper to season


Place the peaches in a food processor and process to a smooth puree. Add the oil and honey and process briefly to blend; transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. Add the chicken pieces and close, squeezing out the air. Chill for at least 15 minutes (or you can do it the night before).
Prepare the grill (gas grill at medium), heat a grill pan over medium heat, or preheat the broiler. Remove the chicken pieces from the bag and place on a plate. Season lightly with salt and pepper and transfer to the grill. Cover and cook until charred underneath, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook until charred and firm when poked with a finger, 4 to 5 minutes more. 

Note:  I serve this chicken with steamed brown rice, mango salsa, and Summer Asparagus Salad (also a SDC recipe :).
Chicken recipe from Epicurious.com

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Taco Salad

This dinner hardly needs a recipe, but I'll add it as more of a reminder of what you can pull together quickly to make a dish your whole family will love.  I'll also throw in a few ideas to make it even healthier.

Usually I start with chips or crisped up tortillas (if you crisp your own tortillas, it will be even healthier!).  Then you can add a whole variety of toppings.  Some of these are pretty standard and some might peak your interest:
  • lettuce, spinach, or cabbage
  • grated cheddar or pepperjack cheese
  • ground beef, ground turkey, pulled pork, or cubed/pulled chicken, fish for the meat
  • chopped: tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers, 
  • sliced: olives, green onions, jalapenos
  • beans: my favorite are black also pinto (drained and washed)
  • corn: my favorite is cut off the cob after being cooked/grilled
  • dressing: fresh salsa, pico de gallo, sour cream, plain non-fat yogurt, cilantro (or try mixing salsa with sour cream/yogurt together)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Red Lentil Salad

1 lb. dried red lentils (I found these in the bulk section)
1 c. currants
1/3 c. capers
1 1/2 c. finely chopped red onion

Vinaigrette ingredients:
3/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. white wine vinegar
2 T sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 t cayenne pepper
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t ground cumin
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t turmeric
1/2 t coriander

  1. Wash lentils.  Cook in boiling water 5-6 minutes or until just tender.  Rinse and drain well.
  2. Combine with dressing and let sit overnight.
  3. At least 2 hours before serving, add currants, capers, and onions to lentils. Allow to marinate for several hours more.
  4. Place in bowl or on platter and garnish as you please.

I first had this salad with a fabulous salmon dinner made by my step-mom, Kris.  Instantly fell in lurve with this salad.  GREAT flavor and obviously pretty darn healthy for you.  This recipe is very easy to make although with the marinating time, you obviously have to plan ahead.  Fabulous dish to take to or serve at a BBQ or picnic this summer.  This recipe is only slightly modified from one found on Cooks.com

Curried Chicken with Pears


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 2 fresh pears, unpeeled, cored, cut into eights
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup


  1. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken. Cook 5 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  2. Add the pears and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet.
  3. Add the onion and remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet and cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the curry powder and flour. Add the broth and ketchup and bring to a boil.
  5. Return the chicken and pears to the pan and coat with the sauce.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Divide among plates.