Mozzarella Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast (with Panko Parmesan Crust)

I’m so glad it’s warm here…I have been waiting for this weather. For me, I’ll take 70/80° weather anytime, even if it involves rain! With summer time approaching finally in our neck of the woods or even changes of seasons … Continue reading

BBQ Chicken Salad

Salads are one of my favorites to eat. From green salads, to fruit salads, to pastas, so good. Everyone has some favorite recipe that is a salad…how couldn’t you??
Well, with this BBQ Chicken salad, I did something that I embarrassingly have to admit I’ve never done before. I’m embarrassed…you can laugh. I’ll tell you…I’ve never started a charcoal grill in my life. Until recently. Recently, as in until now for this recipe. (I have my amazing grill master husband to thank for being my teacher). How sad is that? So enough about that, you can think that’s unacceptable….
Anywho, I love salads that involve corn, cherry tomatoes, avocados. My poor family I hope won’t get sick of these ingredients. I hope their eyes don’t roll when they see that on the dinner table…(and if they do, too bad)!

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So if you’re in the mood for a yummy summer BBQ salad, this is where it’s at! This did have a yummy corn recipe for this salad that I didn’t get to make, but next time I will make a point to do so…one more thing, don’t save any leftover dressing…I forget how avocados look like something bad happened when left out too long.

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Ingredients

2 – 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
BBQ sauce (homemade or your favorite store-bought variety)
Canola or vegetable oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of lettuce (any variety will do), rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
Spicy Southwest Corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
For the Avocado Dressing
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 lime
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions

Preheat grill to medium. Lightly coat chicken breasts with a little drizzle of canola oil and season liberally with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill, with the lid closed, approximately 5-7 minutes, then flip and baste cooked side with bbq sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155°F (it will continue to cook while resting). Remove from grill, baste with a bit more bbq sauce, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Layer each bowl with lettuce, a hefty spoonful or two of Spicy Southwest Corn and black beans, anywhere between a half to a whole sliced chicken breast (we normally do half), a 1/2 of avocado diced, and a handful of halved tomatoes. Drizzle generously with the Avocado Dressing.

For the Avocado Dressing
In a food processor, purée the avocado, greek yogurt, juice from 1/2 of the lime, and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil and fully combine. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add the juice from the other 1/2 lime if needed.

Recipe from Shared Appetite

Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Happy Summer erebody! Hope you all have been able to enjoy and relax so far!

So, I couldn’t resist making this. It sounded delish. Clearly it was so good that I have to share it with you! The salad with the light creamy cilantro dressing was absolutely perfect for a hot summer day. This is for sure a must, plus it’s super easy to make! This was adapted from HealLoveBe…wanted to make sure you all check it out!

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Here is the recipe, enjoy!

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Southwestern Salad Ingredients:

Head of romaine lettuce, chopped
2 cups cooked black beans and/or pinto beans
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup corn
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, sliced
Fresh salsa

Cilantro Lime Dressing Ingredients:

1 cup loosely packed cilantro, stems removed and chopped
1/2 cup plain coconut yogurt ( I used plain Greek yogurt)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1-2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
Directions:

Place all salad ingredients in a large bowl. Puree all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour dressing on salad and serve!

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Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Has anyone else heard of this so called ‘Meatless Monday’ thing? I never did until today so I thought why not? Quite honestly, sometimes using meat can be quite a process and today I wasn’t feelin in the mood so I thought I’d start this. So for all my vegetarian friends, look for more posts! But no worries for my meat eaters, I will be doing that too. I’m no hater.

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Anywho, I saw this recipe and it is so easy and delicious and is a great spring/ summer meal I’m excited for it here because it’s definitely taking its merry time, but I guess you just have to make the best of it right? So here is the original post from a fun blog,Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes . Such a cute blog name- also because that is my kids favorite breakfast..Hope you all enjoy!!

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Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
Serves 4 – 1 pepper/2 halves per person

You will need:
1 cup water + 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed
4 medium green peppers, cut in half & seeded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup black olives sliced
1 corn on the cob, kernels removed (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 tsp cumin
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup prepared salsa
daiya optional but highly recommended
oregano for garnishing

Assembly:
Bring water to boil in a small sauce pan, add rinsed quinoa, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. turn off heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prep your green peppers, corn & tomatoes – place in a medium bowl.
slice olives and place in bowl with rest of veggies.

Arrange green pepper halves on a rimmed baking sheet, cute side up. add cooked quinoa to the veggie bowl along with prepared salsa, mix well. fill each pepper half with as much quinoa as you can.

Top with slices of daiya – bake in a 350* pre heated oven or toaster oven for 20-25 minutes.

Garnish with oregano.

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Creamy Caprese Pasta

Yum-o. Like this if you wish you had time to cook delicious meals.

Can I tell you something?? With this recipe, you can! I love easy, scrumptious, mouth-watering recipes. I can’t stand when I find a fantastic picture of something and I get excited and then as I start reading I see then big bold letters that say PREPARE A DAY AHEAD. Noooooo! But hey, I can always count on other recipes- hence is one. That I’ll be posting. Kudos to How Sweet It Is..again. Don’t hate me…

So, here it is. My hubby loved it, I loved it AND most importantly, my 16 month old kept nom noming it. Literally, when he eats, he makes those noises. It makes me chuckle.

Enjoy!

Creamy Caprese Pasta

1 pound whole wheat pasta (noodles such as penne work best)

1 cup of your favorite pasta/tomato sauce

1/3 cup heavy cream or half and half

1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more for garnish

4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into cubes

1 pint of grape tomatoes (I cut some in half and left some whole)

1 bunch of fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Boil water and cook pasta according to directions.

While pasta is cooking, heat tomato sauce over low heat in a large saucepan. Once warm, stir in heavy cream and grated parmesan. Once pasta is done cooking, drain and dump into the sauce, mixing to coat and turning off heat. Fold in mozzarella cubes and tomatoes, then chop 3-4 fresh basil leaves and add them in too. Once combined, spray a baking dish with non-stick spray and pour the entire pasta mixture into the dish. Top with fresh mozzarella rounds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cheese is golden and bubbly.

Top with additional fresh basil and grated cheese. Serve with garlic bread. You can also add in chicken, steak or seafood for some protein.

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Chicken Parmesan

I am always in the look out for good recipes- and yet again, one of my favorite blogs (Annie Eats) had this delicious recipe that I just had to make….Chicken Parmesan. Want to know what I loved about this recipe?? It was not soaked up in oil/grease! So easy and delicious.

Chicken Parmesan
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp. water
vegetable cooking spray
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into halves (4 pieces total)
2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
about 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tbsp. minced fresh basil

Directions:
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. Combine the breadcrumbs and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow dish and allow to cool slightly; when cool, stir in the Parmesan.

In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, 1 tablespoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper together. In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites and water.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray the foil with vegetable oil spray. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess. Then dip into the egg whites and finally coat with the breadcrumb mixture. Press on the breadcrumbs to make sure they adhere. Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and feels firm when pressed with a finger, about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven. Spoon 2 tablespoons of marinara sauce over the top of each piece of chicken and top with 2 tablespoons of the shredded mozzarella. Return the chicken to the oven and continue to bake until the cheese is melted, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the fresh basil and serve as desired, with extra Parmesan and marinara sauce.

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Gourmet Club Pork Tenderloin & Pear Spinach Salad

Oh my goodness. This was such a delicious meal. Honestly. It melted in my mouth and it was sooo easy. That’s what I love. I found this from a fabulous food blog Picky Palate ( which has so many more scrumptious meals. Highly recommend her).
I tweaked a few things but I’ll obviously have her recipe down. It’s fantastic.

Pear Spinach Salad
1 pear cut into match sized pieces ( recipe asked for apple).
One small bag of spinach salad ( recipe asked for Arugula)

For the vinaigrette:
2 T white wine vinegar
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T apple juice
3/4 t. minced shallot or onion
1/2 c. olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

– Using an immersion blender, blend the ingredients for the vinaigrette until smooth. Toss with salad and pear pieces. Serve immediately.

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Pork Tenderloin
Pork-
2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. chili powder
1 t. cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins ( 2 1/4- 2 1/2 pound total)
2 T. olive oil

For glaze:
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 T. finely chopped garlic
1 T. Tabasco

Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Then coat pork with spice rub. Heat oil in a 12″ iron skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then sear pork on all sides, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.

Make glaze and roast pork:
Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of each tenderloin. Roast in middle of oven until the thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140° ( it took me about 20 minutes). Let pork stand in skillet at room temperature for 10 minutes. Temperature will rise about 10 more degrees while standing.

Sauce
To make sauce, after the tenderloins have rested for ten minutes in the skillet, remove them to a warmed dish. To pan drippings, stir in 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, heat in medium-high, stirring constantly until bubbly. Mix 1 tablespoon flour ( others use cornstarch) with 2 tablespoons of water or cold chicken broth. While stirring the sauce, slowly add the cornstarch mixture. Heat until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Slice pork and place on bed of rice ( I used Jasmine and it tasted delicious). Top with sauce and serve. Serves 6-8.

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Crockpot French Onion Soup

I don’t know about your neck of the woods but ours, our weather has been quite different than the norm for winter. Real mild, somewhat cool but almost fall like. Kinda crazy…Anywho, I have been craving french onion soup with this kind of weather and what better than one of my favorite food blogs to have this delicious recipe. On top of that, an easy one!

I love when I see the word crockpot in a recipe, because I know it will cook for hours…and I won’t have to do a whole ton! Hope you all enjoy.

makes a giant pot, about 8-10 servings

4 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

8 ounces of ginger ale…recipe asks for beer

64 ounces of low-sodium beef stock

2 tablespoons fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

french bread

gruyere cheese, sliced

Set your crock pot on high, then add onions, garlic, brown sugar, butter, salt and balsamic and mix until combined. Cover and let cook for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are a bit caramely and brown on the edges. Add in flour, then stir thoroughly and let sit for 5 minutes. Add in beer, beef stock, thyme, and pepper, then turn heat down to low, cover and cook for 6-8 hours.

Before serving, cut french bread or baguette into slices. Fill soup bowls to the top, then cover with slice of bread and a slice of cheese. Set under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Be careful when serving as bowls will be hot!

Spinach Lasagna Roll.Ups

My recipe portion has been lacking. Aw.full.ly. I want to do more but let’s be real- having a younger child doesn’t make cooking any easier at times. I try though and enjoy when I can!

I have to share this recipe I found. I wish I could give props to whoever did this but it is so easy and delicious. What’s best about this meal to me is that I love spinach and I love cheese. What better dinner to have than this. You will be excited once you bit into this delciousness after you cook it. I promise. Add a fresh salad with this and wah-lah! One fantastic meal. If you’re vegetarian- of course you will love this! All you gluten free peoples- you can tweak it with different noodles.

Hope you enjoy & Buon Appetito!

Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

 1 lb. lasagna noodles

15 oz. ricotta cheese

 1 c. shredded mozzarella

1/4 c. grate parmesen

1 lg. egg

10 oz. frozen spinach

2.5 c. marinara sauce

salt & pepper to taste

non-stick cooking spray (as needed)

Directions:

1. Get a large pot of water boiling with a dash of salt. When it comes to a full boil, add lasagna noodles and cook until al dente (soft but not soggy- about 12-15 minutes). When they are finished cooking, drain in a colander.

2. While the noodles are boiling, prepare the filing. Thaw the package of frozen spinach in the microwave and then squeeze out as much access liquid as possible. Combine the spinach in a bowl with the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, egg and freshly grated pepper and about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix until well combined.

3. When the noodles and filling are ready to go, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a glass casserole dish by spraying with non-stick spray.

4. On a clean surface, lay out a few noodles at a time. Place a few tablespoons of filling on each noodle and spread to cover from edge to edge. The filling does not need to be thick because once the noodle is rolled up, it will be compounded. Make sure to spread it all the way to the edges of the noodles.

5. Roll the noodles up and place in the prepared casserole dish. Repeat until all of your filling is gone (there may be some noodles left over, these are “back-ups” in case any of the others rip during assembly). Pour the marinara sauce over the rolled noodles making sure to cover all surfaces. The sauce will keep the noodles hydrated and soft while baking. (I put the casserole dish on top of a baking dish just in case things boiled over, I wouldn’t have a mess in my oven).

6. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Serve hot or divide into individual portions and refrigerate.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Alright. I don’t have time to really take fancy shmancy pictures all the time, so I depend on my Iphone. Sorry about the “quality” because personally I only cook recipes that have pictures. So I am apologizing in advance.

As for this recipe, it was delicious! I love following food blogs. It makes life so easy to search for recipes. I really don’t use recipe books as much. There are a few…like my kitchen bible, family recipes, etc. But new ones, my lovely blogs I follow. I found this recipe and I absolutely LOVED it. It is decicious! Hope you enjoy and once again, forgive my picture.

*Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:
Topping:
4 slices white sandwich bread, torn into quarters (I used a long forgotten bread bowl tucked in the back of the freezer – thawed it in the microwave before using)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
3 pounds russet potatoes (about 4-5 medium), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 medium garlic cloves, finely minced
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup heavy cream or milk
6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded, about 2 cups
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat and sliced thinly
9 ounces deli ham, chopped
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS:
For the topping, process the bread and butter in a food processor until coarsely ground. Set aside.

For the filling, preheat the oven to 400 degrees, making sure the oven rack is in the middle. Place the potatoes, 6 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt in a large pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the potatoes are partially cooked, about 2 minutes (don’t overcook because they will continue to cook in the oven!). Carefully drain potatoes, or remove them with a slotted spoon, and transfer them to a bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute (this helps cook out the flour taste in the roux). Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the cream or milk. Bring the mixture to a simmer, whisking often, until slightly thickened (if using milk instead of cream, you may have to cook longer for it to thicken up a bit). Off the heat, whisk in the Swiss cheese, Dijon, and cayenne pepper until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set aside until ready to use.

Toss the potatoes with half of the sauce and spread into the bottom of a lightly greased 9X13-inch baking pan. Layer alternating pieces of the chicken and ham over the potatoes, overlapping as needed. This is not a scientific procedure, just make sure that the chicken is in a single layer (not on top of each other) so that it cooks thoroughly. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the chicken and sprinkle with the bread crumb topping. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the casserole is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes (add about 5-7 additional minutes onto the baking time if baking it after it has chilled in the refrigerator for more than a couple of hours). Cool for 10 minutes before serving.