Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Goat Cheese Orzo



This tangy orzo is super creamy, thanks to the Greek yogurt and goat cheese. When paired with flavorful grilled chicken and fresh herbs, it's perfect for a healthy spring dinner!

If you love goat cheese, you will love this dish! Goat cheese is creamy, tangy, relatively low calorie and perfect paired with orzo pasta. A little goes a long way; those 2 ounces provide a ton of flavor!

We loved this dinner, especially since it was easy and weeknight friendly. However, if you aren't a fan of tangy food (or goat cheese) you may not love it. For the rest of us, it's the perfect weeknight dinner!


Grilled Chicken with Creamy Lemon Goat Cheese Orzo
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, room temp
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice + zest of 1 lemon
1 cup orzo
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 ounces finely crumbled goat cheese, room temp
4 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, such as basil and thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and preheat a grill to medium heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 2 teaspoons oil, garlic, lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Set aside.

Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water. 

Rub the chicken with 1 teaspoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until well marked and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes a side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.

Meanwhile, stir the drained orzo into the reserved yogurt mixture along with the goat cheese, 3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, and at least 3/4 cup pasta water until well combined. Add more pasta water if needed to achieve preferred creaminess. Transfer the orzo to a serving platter.

Thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the orzo. Sprinkle with lemon zest and remaining 1 tablespoons herbs. 

Source: adapted from Food Network

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Eleven 30-Minute-or-Less Boneless Chicken Breast Recipes




Always on the hunt for a fresh way to (quickly) cook boneless/skinless chicken breasts? Me too! I collected 11 of our FAVORITE recipes that call for them, and they are all done in 30 minutes or less! There are no boring chicken recipes here :)

Happy cooking!



Blackened Chicken and Cilantro-Lime Quinoa

Monday, May 18, 2015

Creamy Skillet Corn



This corn is the best of both worlds! Creamy, yet the corn still retains it's crisp texture. This buttery side may be your new family favorite!

I get so excited when spring produce starts showing up in the grocery store. Butternut squash and pumpkins are nice and all but I am all about the fruits and vegetables that spring and summer bring. While I love throwing them on the grill this time of year, there is nothing like serving up fresh veggies straight from the cast iron skillet.

This corn isn't done quickly but it's almost completely hands off cooking. Get it started then work on your main course; it'll happily simmer on your stove while you work on other things.

This is perfect with burgers, ribs, or grilled chicken - or you can double up the amount and serve it at your next picnic!


Creamy Skillet Corn
6 ears corn
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2-1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1.5 cups water
3 tablespoons butter

Shuck the corn, pull off the silks, and rinse under running water. Use a sharp knife and cut the corn from the cob, collecting it in a large bowl. Scrape the cob with a spoon to collect the milk.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, pepper, and water. Set aside.

Melt the butter over medium-low heat in a large cast iron skillet. Once melted, add the corn and flour mixture; stir well. Continue to cook over medium-low for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Before serving, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed (we like lots of pepper!).

Source: adapted from Kevin & Amanda

Monday, May 11, 2015

Crispy Oven Fried Fish



Crispy fish without the mess and calories of frying!

Just a few weeks ago, we visited London and Dublin for the first time. Both cities were not lacking in fish 'n chips! We ate it several times while on the trip, remembering just how delicious good fried fish can be.

Back at home, I'm not keen on trying to recreate our fried fish adventures because of the sheer mess involved. But I do love crispy fish! This recipe promises super crispy fish, but made in the oven! A simple breading of panko and herbs is well coated then placed on a rack. The rack is key in making sure you get a super crispy breading.

You can either use panko or make your own breadcrumbs. Store bought breadcrumbs are not quite coarse enough to get the best texture.


Crispy Oven Fried Fish
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (see note above)
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 (6-ounce) firm white fish fillets (like cod or haddock) 1-1 1/2 inches thick
lemon wedges, for serving

Preheat oven to 425 and generously coat a wire rack with cooking spray. Place the rack over a baking sheet.

Combine the panko, parsley, and shallot in a shallow bowl. Place 3 tablespoons of flour into another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together. To the egg dish, whisk in the remaining flour until a smooth, thick batter is formed.

Pat each piece of fish completely dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper. Working with one piece of fish at a time, dredge into the flour, then dip it into egg batter, and finally coat it with the bread crumbs, pressing to adhere. Lay the breaded fish on the prepared wire rack. Repeat until all pieces are coated.

Bake the fish until the coating is golden and it flakes easily when gently poked with a fork, about 18-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it if it's thinner.

Gently transfer the fish to individuals plates and serve with lemon wedges.

Source: adapted from Gourmet: Day to Day

Saturday, May 9, 2015

PF Chang Copycat Mongolian Beef



This salty/sweet beef dish is a favorite at PF Changs - and many other Chinese-American restaurants - and this one-pan copycat recipe is spot on! Save yourself the time (and big bucks) and make it at home instead!

I adore Chinese-American cuisine, and PF Changs is one of those restaurants that serves up consistently good versions of all my favorites. Right on the top of the list is Mongolian beef. It's sweet and savory, and the tender beef can be eaten like candy! Since PF Changs always has a long wait for a table, I love being able to whip up my favorite at home instead. Not having to change out of my yoga pants is a bonus!

This version takes around 30 minutes to whip up and uses pantry items that you likely already have on hand. Steam a pot of rice and you have a take-out quality meal on the table in no time.


Mongolian Beef
For the beef:
2 lb flank steak, thinly sliced against the grain
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup vegetable oil
For the sauce:
3 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup brown sugar
Green onions, thinly sliced

In a large ziplock bag, combine the sliced beef and cornstarch. Seal and shake to coat the pieces. 

Heat 3 teaspoons oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic then immediately add the water, soy sauce, and brown sugar; stir well. Cook about 2 minutes then transfer to a bowl.

Increase the heat and add 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Once hot, add the beef pieces and cook until browned, working in batches if needed. Pour the reserved sauce in the pan alongside the beef. Shake the remaining cornstarch from the ziplock bag into the pan. Let cook until thickened to your liking.

Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

Source: adapted from Pink Bites

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Chiles Rellenos Casserole



Traditional roasted chile flavor, hearty filling, and crisp fried shell flavor without all the work! This Tex-Mex casserole is perfect for Cinco de Mayo!

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Are you celebrating today with Mexican food? We eat Mexican food (read: Tex Mex) a lot at our house so any excuse to enjoy it is good with us!

Chile rellenos is a popular Mexican dish. Traditionally, a poblano pepper is roasted, stuffed, dipped in an egg based batter, and fried. It's cheesy, creamy, and has a delicious crispy "shell" around it. Stuffing and frying individual peppers at home can be a drag so this recipe feeds your craving without all the work!

Browned lean beef is mixed with poblano peppers, tomatoes, and spices before being layered in a casserole dish with heaps of cheese. You whip up a simple egg batter to layer on top then bake!


Chiles Rellenos Casserole
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 pounds 90% lean ground beef
4 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained (such as Rotel brand)
2.5 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
2 large egg whites
salt and pepper

Adjust an oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until cooked through and no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer beef mixture to a paper towel lined plate. 

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons fat left in skillet, add poblanos, and cook over medium-high heat until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in beef mixture, garlic, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in drained tomatoes and cook until the beef mixture is dry, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups cheese. Transfer mixture to a 9x13 baking dish and press into an even layer.

Combine flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in milk until smooth; set aside. In a second bowl, add the egg whites. Using a mixer fitted with a whisk, whip egg whites on medium-low until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Whisk 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the flour mixture, then gently fold in remaining egg whites until combined.

Pour batter over beef mixture. Bake until topping is light golden and puffed, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and continue to bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: America's Test Kitchen

Sunday, May 3, 2015

(Lightened Up) Cheesecake Factory Louisiana Chicken Pasta



Even better than the original! This creamy chicken pasta is bursting with Cajun flavor that can easily be adjusted to suit your taste. It'll quickly become a new family favorite!

Cheesecake Factory and their novel sized menu is not known for being healthy. Instead, they are known for huge portions, delicious food, and cheesecake! While lots of their dishes are popular, the Louisiana Chicken Pasta is one of the most popular - and for good reason! It's creamy, a tad spicy, and downright sinful.

The original calls for deep frying the chicken. Delicious? Yes! But messy for a home cook to make and loaded with calories. This version is (very) lightened up compared to the original but please don't think that means this version is health food - it's not - but it's definitely splurge worthy!

Dare I say it's better than the original version?

I hesitated from making this recipe years ago due to my fear of spice. I scaled back the cayenne a tad but really found it to be perfect. Feel free to adjust to your taste!



Louisiana Chicken Pasta
For the chicken:
2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper
Cajun seasoning

For the pasta:
8 oz. bowtie pasta
Kosher salt 

For the sauce:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped yellow onion
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1.5 cups half-and-half
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. water 
3 scallions, chopped 

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.

Heat a small amount of butter or olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken pieces with salt, pepper, and a generous sprinkle of Cajun seasoning. Add to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat and heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil until the butter has melted. Add the bell pepper, onion, salt, pepper, Cajun seasoning, and cayenne pepper to the pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Add the half-and-half and bring to a simmer. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water and add to the skillet once the cream mixture has started to bubble. Allow to cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.

When the sauce has thickened, add the cooked pasta and chicken pieces to the pan. Stir well to combine and cook at medium-low heat just until the chicken is warmed through. 

Adjust the amount of Cajun seasoning if necessary to suit your tastes. Stir in the scallions. Serve immediately and top with additional Cajun seasoning, if desired.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Thursday, April 30, 2015

One Pan Teriyaki Meatloaf and Green Beans



A teriyaki twist on classic meatloaf and green beans! The two bake together on one sheet pan resulting in serious flavor and less mess!

I LOVE a meatloaf - we both do, really! Growing up on mom's meatloaf only introduced me to the classic, All American version. Over the years, I've tried several different kinds and they have all been fantastic. If you love teriyaki sauce, you'll love this version!

This recipe is so simple it's ridiculous, really. Just a few pantry staples formed together into a loaf and baked. But don't miss the green beans, because they are really the star! As the meatloaf bakes, the juices flavor the green beans into a truly addictive side dish. We couldn't get enough of them!

One pan means less dishes to clean before bed; make life even easier on yourself and try these crockpot mashed potatoes to go alongside the meatloaf and green beans. Meatloaf + mashed potatoes are the perfect pair!


Teriyaki Meatloaf & Green Beans
1 pound ground beef
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup teriyaki sauce
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a mixing bowl, combine the beef, egg, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and 1/2 tsp. sesame oil. On a foil-lined baking sheet, shape into loaf. Drizzle with half of the teriyaki sauce and bake for 20 minutes. 

In a bowl, toss the green beans with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil and season with salt and pepper. Pull the baking sheet from the oven and pour the remaining teriyaki sauce over top. Add the beans to the baking sheet, surrounding the meatloaf in a single layer, and place it back in the oven. Bake until the meatloaf edges are browned and the beans are tender, around 20 minutes.

Source: Everyday with Rachael Ray Magazine

Monday, April 27, 2015

Herb Roasted Fish



A deliciously easy way to enjoy fish! Light, healthy, and finished in minutes. Simple enough for a weeknight but delicious enough for guests.

I was introduced to foil packs by my husband when we first started dating. We went camping with friends a few times and it was always on the menu. And while foil packs are perfect for camping, they are also perfect for weeknight meals! No fuss, very few dishes are used, and it cooks food perfectly - especially fish.

This dish really lets the herbs permeate the fish resulting in a delicious and healthy meal. Be sure you use fresh thyme, fresh lemon juice, and a good quality olive oil - it makes a big difference in a dish with so few ingredients.


Herb Roasted Fish
4 6-8 ounce fish fillets, such as cod, tilapia, or snapper
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
8 sprigs fresh thyme
8 large green olives with pits

Preheat oven to 400. 

Lay each fillet in the center of it's own piece of foil that extends a couple of inches beyond the fillet. Sprinkle each fillet with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Place 2 olives alongside the fish.

Carefully seal all edges of the foil to form enclosed packets. 

Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully open before serving.

Source: adapted from Make it Ahead by Ina Garten

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Cold Brew Iced Coffee + DIY Coffee Station



How to set up an easy coffee station at home, plus an easy recipe for cold brew iced coffee! Cold brew coffee is smooth, flavorful, and inexpensive to make. Perfect for warm spring days!

I'm quite addicted to iced coffee, and though I'll be the first to admit Starbucks is not the best coffee on the market, they are the only ones I've found to make my iced coffee "right". So between that, and their gold star rewards, I find myself there multiple times a week.

Since there is no Starbucks close to my house, I often make up a batch of cold brew coffee to keep on hand for those occasions when leaving the house seems like way too much work. It's super easy, stores well, and I can make it "right" myself - and save money in the process!

Cold brew coffee is better than simply refrigerating brewed coffee until chilled. It's much stronger, to to handle the ice melting, and smoother in taste. 

While I typically drink hot coffee black, I love adding flavored creamers and syrups to the iced version. Try this homemade maple vanilla coffee creamer or homemade rosemary simple syrup for a delicious twist! 

Scroll down below recipe to see details on the DIY coffee station!


Cold Brew Iced Coffee
1/2 lb bag coffee beans, coarsely ground
6 cups water

Place the coffee in a gallon sized container/pitcher. Slowly pour the water over top and gently stir with a wooden spoon. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 12 hours (or up to 24 hours).

Line a mesh strainer with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel and place over a medium bowl. Slowly pour the coffee over the strainer until most of the liquid is gone from the pitcher. If using paper towels, you'll need to change out the towel frequently.

Store coverd in the fridge for about a week.

-------

While iced coffee is typically my first choice, I'm an equal opportunity coffee fan. Having all the "makings" for a hot beverage in one spot makes getting my hands on a cup of coffee early in the morning that much easier, and it comes in handy when we have house guests! This easy coffee station has become the perfect addition to our kitchen.


In the galvanized tray, you'll find:
  • cinnamon sticks
  • sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • tea bags
  • hot chocolate mix
  • stir sticks
  • mugs
  • selection of K-Cups
I hit up the Dollar Tree and bought small glass dessert shot glasses that were perfect for storing cinnamon sticks and stir sticks {I put the 3rd in the guest bath and stocked it with q-tips!}. I also picked up a pack of salt and pepper shakers, which were perfect for sugar and cinnamon. The white metal pail that the tea bags are in is from Target dollar spot. They seem to have a steady stream of great containers there. 

Of course, I just point house guests to the iced coffee and coffee creamers/milk in the fridge before heading to bed so they can help themselves. We put the coffee station right next to the fridge so it's all easy to access. 

Now who's ready for a big cup of coffee?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti



The deliciousness of traditional chicken enchiladas without the multi-step cooking method! This pasta is easy, quick, and tasty - dinner is just 20 minutes!

A lot of good Mexican food isn't made quickly; tamales, enchiladas, carnitas - they all take time. Good things come to those who wait! But sometimes, I've had a long day and just need something delicious and quick that'll satisfy my enchilada craving. This recipe is perfect!

It's absolutely one of our favorite weeknight meals and we're usually trying to beat the other to the leftovers. I've shared it before but it needed another look :)

You're just 20 minutes from a big bowl of cheesy pasta!


Chicken Enchilada Spaghetti
8 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
2 cups shredded cooked rotisserie chicken
1 (10 oz) can of red enchilada sauce
3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
fresh cilantro, for garnish

Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, add the oil to a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions have softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and cayenne, and cook for only a minute or so, stirring constantly. Add the chicken and enchilada sauce and stir to incorporate. 

Reduce the heat to low and add the pasta to the skillet. Use tongs to toss until the pasta is coated with the sauce. 

Remove the pan from the heat and add the cheese, continuing to toss until melted and combined. 

Garnish with cilantro before serving. 

Source: adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes



No need to babysit a boiling pot of water - just use your crockpot the next time mashed potatoes are on the menu! Especially perfect for holiday gatherings when you need all the stove space you can get.

I adore mashed potatoes but find that I can never make a company size amount in any of the pots I own. That, combined with the inevitable water boil-over, makes mashed potatoes a pain in the rear. But tossing them in the (huge and completely dishwasher safe) crockpot? Genius.

Now when mashed potatoes are on the menu, I just toss them in the crockpot before work and at least one part of dinner is practically done by the time I get home. And I don't have to babysit a pot of water!



Crockpot Mashed Potatoes
5 pounds potatoes, washed and quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 (or more) cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup sour cream
1/3-1/2 cup cream, half and half, or milk

Place the potatoes, broth, butter, salt, and pepper in the crockpot. Put the garlic on top of the potatoes. Cover with the lid and cook on low for 7-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. 

When the potatoes are tender, mash them in the crockpot using a potato masher or electric mixer. Add the sour cream, blend, and then add the cream, half and half, or milk as needed until it reaches your preferred consistency.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce



A creamy tomato based pasta dish, dotted with tuna and cheese. This Italian classic is weeknight friendly AND budget friendly, thanks to the use of canned tuna.

Long time no see! I just returned from a lovely holiday (they rub off on you!) in London and Dublin and neglected to get posts scheduled before I left. We had a great time, and now that I'm back I'm anxious to share the loads of recipes I have on hand!

This pasta dish was enjoyed for the first time a few years ago and it was so delicious, I just had to share it again. It's easy, quick, and SO tasty. Now, you must like tuna to make it. Though the can is small, the tuna flavor does come out (not strong, but present). You can easily whip this up on a weeknight, especially when half the time is completely hand's off while the sauce and pasta cooks.

Don't pick up tuna packed in water by accident!


Pasta with Tuna and Tomato Sauce
4 tablespoons butter
1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 pound pasta shells
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 5-7 ounce can tuna, packed in olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
salt

Melt the butter in a medium pot over medium heat and add the can of tomatoes, including the juice. Simmer gently, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Once the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of water to boil in an oven-safe pot and cook the pasta al dente, according to package directions. Drain and return to the pot.

Preheat the broiler to high.

Pour off the excess oil from the can of tuna and stir the tuna into the tomato sauce. Stir in the ricotta cheese and add salt to taste.  

Add the tomato sauce and basil to the drained pasta; stirring well. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over top and broil until melted and browned, about 5 minutes. 

Serve hot. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip



Everyone's favorite party dip! Creamy, cheesy, and a tad spicy - perfect for game day, New Year's Eve, or birthday parties.

A few years ago I discovered the beauty that is a small crockpot. While I love my large crockpot (and use it much more often), the small one is perfect for dips, appetizers, and even hot chocolate. I added it to my Christmas list and ended up with two! They are so small and handy that I kept them both - which is great for parties!

While I probably could devour a large crockpot worth of this dip, most crowds only call for a smaller amount which is why this recipe works perfect. If you are anticipating a hungry crowd, just double it and pull out your larger crockpot.

This dip isn't new by any means - many of us know it as crack dip (and for good reason!). I originally shared it years ago and thought it needed an update + better photo. And a reminder that if you haven't made it lately, you should.


Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip
1 (10 ounce) can chicken, drained
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Frank's Red Hot)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

In a 1.5 quart crockpot, combine all ingredients. Cover with the lid and heat to high. Stir every 20 minutes or until the cream cheese is fully melted and the dip is well combined. Reduce heat to low or warm for serving. Serve with chips, baguette slices, or celery.

Source: adapted from Food.com

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice



A delicious one-skillet meal with chicken, rice, green olives, tomatoes, and chipotle chiles!

Chicken and rice has always been a favorite meal of mine. Unfortunately, anytime you're working with rice, the dish can often take loads of time and/or several pots - both of which are a no-go for me on weeknights! The good people at America's Test Kitchen have done it again; they figured out a way to put a flavorful chicken and rice meal on the table after a long day of work.

Thanks to your microwave, your rice can begin to cook while you start the chicken. The rice ends up joining your chicken in the skillet to finish cooking so the entire pan is brimming with flavor and easy to serve.

Canned chipotle in adobo packs a punch so be careful when dishing it out. A teaspoon goes a long way! If you're extra sensitive to spice, you may want to start with 1 teaspoon and add more before serving if desired. It adds a delicious smokiness that I think is worth including - even in a small amount.


Skillet Mexican Chicken and Rice
2 & 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup long grain white rice
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (see note above)
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/3 cup green olives, coarsely chopped
salt and pepper

Combine 1 & 3/4 cup broth and rice in a bowl. Cover and microwave until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Fluff rice with fork.

Meanwhile, pound thick ends of chicken if needed. Pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chicken lightly on both sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and add the shallots, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and chipotle chiles and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in remaining 1 cup broth and microwaved rice, scraping up browned bits. Nestle the browned chicken and their juices in the rice. Cover and simmer gently until the rice is tender and the chicken registers to 160 degrees, about 10-15 minutes.

Gently fold in the green olives, season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.



See Aimee Cook

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