Tuesday, August 30, 2016

One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice



Yum



I'm also on the lookout for good weeknight meals, but I haven't really jumped on the "One Pot" bandwagon yet.  Have you? I've made a couple such as my Chicken and Asparagus dish, and One Pot Pasta.  

I've pinned a lot of them though. So today I thought I'd use up some chicken from the frig and make one of these recipes I've pinned so many moons ago!  #PinterestIsAddicting



The One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice recipe comes from Tiffany over at Crème de la Crumb.  She's a wiz in the kitchen and has so many great recipes on her site, so make sure to check it out.  I basically followed her recipe with a little addition of some extra spice on the chicken itself. 

One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice to the rescue!

Where have these quick 30 minutes meals, made in one pot, been all my life?  One pot?  Yes please.  Easy on the clean up and it takes just a tiny bit of prep and you have a tasty dinner on the table in 30 minutes.


Do you love lemon?  Love chicken and rice?  Need a quick weeknight meal?  Then One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice is the dish for you.  The flavors are bright with lemon and spiced with pepper.  The Italian seasoning lends that fresh herbaceous pop we love, and the rice is just comfort city.  This might be you new comfort food dish for the upcoming fall season.

Enjoy!



One Pot Lemon Herb Chicken and Rice

serves 4
time:  30 minutes


4 thin sliced, chicken breasts, boneless skinless
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tsp salt
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
2 teaspoons lemon pepper
1 cup uncooked basmati rice
2¼ cups chicken broth, low sodium
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon


Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.  Season chicken with salt, Italian seasoning. and lemon pepper on both sides.  Place chicken in the skillet and cook 2 minutes, until just browned, on each side.  Remove to a plate.

Add the rice to the skillet and toast for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the chicken broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning.  Bring rice to a boil.  Return the chicken to the skillet, placing it on top of the rice.  Add any juices that have accumulated from the chicken as well.  Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.  

Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon slices.  Serve.

slightly adapted from Crème de la Crumb






Saturday, August 27, 2016

Workout Night Dinners: Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad


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Weeknight dinners are a popular subject.  You come home late, your tired, and you still have to cook?  You want dinners that are on the table fast, everyone likes, and will satisfy your hunger. 

MGG and I have found a sub-set of that "weeknight dinner"  that we call WORKOUT NIGHTS. We have a workout regimen 2-3 nights a week in which we rush home from work and get ready for a vigorous aerobic workout.  Then comes dinner...

I'll tell you, after a workout I'm not all that hungry for at least an hour, plus I'm tired as a dog chasing butterflies all afternoon!  So dinner on those days?  Well lets just say they need to be really light, but recharge us and our sore muscles.  SALAD TO THE RESCUE.   Add a little protein to the mix and we are refueled in a healthy way.  Ready to pass out to face another day! 

In comes my "to make" list of goodies from Pinterest.  I found that Karina from Café Delites really knows how to do protein and salads.  This week I decided to make my version of her Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad (barely tweaking it)  HOLY COW!  I think that this marinade/dressing has to be the best one EVER.  I love it so much that I'm making this my go to marinade for everything grilled, baked, or pan fried.  It's that good.



To make this salad work for us on Workout Nights, I did some of the prep work while I was waiting for MGG to get home.  I made the marinade and prepped the veggies with the exception of the avocado.  As the chicken is grilled I used the grill pre-heating time to marinate the chicken for 15 minutes while it came to room temperature.  This worked out perfect and was so flavorful that it really didn't need much more time. 

About an hour after our workout MGG lit the grill outside and I threw the chicken in the marinade.  15 minutes later he threw the chicken on the barbie and I decorated the salad platter and sliced the avocado.  Chicken done, rested, and sliced and dinner was served!

The best part of all that?  The flavors of this salad were outstanding.  Seriously outstanding.  You need to make this now.  It is a great 30 minute meal, the perfect salad, and weeknights never tasted so good!




WORKOUT NIGHT DINNER ACCOMPLISHED!




Kitchen Note:  Lemon juice (acid) will cook your protein as it sits in the marinade.  For chicken it should not be left on more than a couple of hours or it will break down the protein too much and affect the texture of the chicken.  Beef and pork can be left in the marinade up to about 4 hours as they take longer to break down.






Grilled Lemon Herb Mediterranean Chicken Salad

adapted slightly from Café Delites

serves 4

Marinade:
2 tablespoons olive oil
juice of 1 lemon (1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
cracked pepper, to taste

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, slice in half to make thin cutlets
4 cups lettuce leaves, washed and dried ( I used Lafayette mix)
1 large English cucumber, diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, sliced
1 avocado, sliced


Whisk together all of the marinade/dressing ingredients in a large jug. Pour out half of the marinade into a re-sealable storage bag.  Refrigerate the remaining marinade to use as the dressing later.

Preheat an outdoor grill to medium-high heat (or you can use and indoor grill pan).  Add the chicken to the marinade in the bag and allow to sit while coming to room temperature on the counter 15 minutes (or up to two hours in the refrigerator).

Prepare all of the salad ingredients and add to a large bowl or serving platter.  

Grill chicken on both sides until browned and completely cooked through. thin sliced chicken about 4-5 minutes on the first side and about 3-4 on the other side or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees. 

Allow chicken to rest for 5 minutes; slice and arrange in the salad. Drizzle the entire salad with the remaining dressing. Serve with lemon wedges if you like.













Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos



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Tacos, Tacos, Tacos!

It doesn't have to be "Tuesday" to eat tacos.  In fact it can be any old day of the week and I'll eat a tacos without hesitation.  But, when summer comes I gravitate outside and grill my tacos.  Yum!  Although these Slow Cooker Beef Tacos may be an exception.


EASY GRILLED CHILI LIME FISH OR CHICKEN TACOS ARE ON THE MENU
Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos are versatile and simple, plus they satisfy that Mexican food graving we all get from time to time.  Why two types of protein?  Well, since MGG loves fish and me, no so much, I bought a beautiful piece of Tilapia for him, and a got a nice chicken breast for me.  Who says you can't make different types of tacos in one sitting?  Not I.  This way we use all the same spices and ingredients and just adjust the protein to our liking.  Bingo, we're both winners with this dish!

Fish Tacos

The fish comes out flaky and tender with the perfect amount of spice.  The chicken turns out moist and flavorful as well, with hints of chili powder and citrusy lime bursting in your mouth on the first bite.  Top your tacos with a little crunch from the cabbage, and some buttery soft avocado and you'll be having a party before you know it. (above MGG added diced tomatoes and a radish to his for extra flavor)  They taste that good!  Oh, and don't forget to squeeze some lime on there for good measure.  It really takes your dish over the top.


Chicken Taco


What's better than fresh, healthy clean food to eat that's simple to prepare.  Remember, tacos are great for a any weeknight, weekend, or party.  There the perfect finger food that everyone enjoys!






Grilled Chili Lime Fish or Chicken Tacos

1 Tilapia filet
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 2 thin cutlets
2 Tbls Fiesta Lime salt free seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash)
6 corn tortillas
1 large hass avocado, sliced
1/4 c Monterey jack or queso fresco cheese
2-3 Tbls cilantro, chopped
1/4 small red cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
Lime wedges for serving

Sprinkle both chicken and fish with the seasoning blend on both sides.  Pressing down to adhere.

Preheat a grill to medium-high heat.  Brush grill grates liberally with oil.  If you are using both chicken and fish start grilling the chicken first.  Grill about 4-5 minutes on the first side.  Flip over and cook about 3-4.  Once you flip the chicken ad the fish to the grill and cook about 3 minutes per side or until opaque and flaky.   (Grilling time may need to be adjusted based upon the grill temperature or the thickness of your meat.) 

Remove fish and chicken and place on a platter, covered with foil to keep warm.  Add the corn tortillas to the grill and cook about 30-60 seconds per side until they have a slight char on them.  Remove to the platter. 

Cut chicken and fish into small strips or bite sized pieces.  Serve in the warm tortillas and top with red cabbage, avocado, cilantro, and cheese.  Other toppings such as tomatoes or radishes work well with this dish.   










Sunday, August 21, 2016

Jicama Radish Slaw


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I keep hearing that summer is over.

I'm not sure where this person lives...certainly not Southern California because it's still 100 degrees here everyday.  In my book that is summer still going strong!
I wonder why people want to rush into the next season?  All the stores have fall clothes and Halloween items already and I'm still in my bathing suit.  Even people pinning to Pinterest have joined the fall band wagon.  All the pins are of PUMPKIN already and it's not even Labor Day!



Well I'm going to slow things down a bit and bring you a summer dish that would be perfect to serve at your upcoming Labor Day bash.  Jicama Radish Slaw is a wonderful side dish that it easy to take along to a party, or quick enough to throw together for a backyard cookout.

The prep is easy, and will serve a medium crowd of about 8, but you can double this recipe if you plan on having a lot of people to feed.  Oh, and the flavors...a little pop of Asian flair will hit you when you take that first bite into a slaw that's crunchy from the jicama and carrots, and brings a little heat and earthiness from the radishes.  This light and fresh side dish will be the perfect compliment to hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches, or even kabobs.  It really goes well with anything.



Summer is still calling, so enjoy this salad and savor the last days.



You may also like:
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad







Jicama Radish Slaw

serves 8

1/4 cup snipped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 of a medium jicama, peeled and cut into thin matchstick size pieces (about 3 cups)
3/4 cup radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup julienne or packaged coarsely shredded fresh carrots

2 green onions, thinly sliced
Lime wedges (optional)

In a large bowl whisk together cilantro, vinegar, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper. Add jicama, radishes, carrots, and green onions. Toss to coat. Serve immediately or cover and chill for up to 2 hours. If desired, garnish with lime wedges.    




source:  Diabetic Living Guilt Free Potluck Favorites, slightly adapted








    

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Berry Berry Muffins


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It's time for another muffin recipe!

Oh how I love muffins.   Mom was a frequent baker.  Always making, pies, cakes, biscuits, and muffins.  I grew up making muffins with her so much so that I had the basic recipe memorized by age 16. They are easy to put together and the result are so gratifying. To be honest, I believe that mom started my fascination with muffins.

Earlier this year we had the pleasure of traveling to Sedona, AZ.  What a wonderful vacation!  The scenery was beyond belief.  There were tons of outdoor activities such as hiking, 4-wheeling, mountain biking, and golfing to name a few.  All these activities can work up a good appetite too.  One thing I loved about the hotel we stayed in was the coffee, juice, fruit and muffins that were delivered to us daily.  Oh the muffins!  (Did I mention I love a good muffin?)


4-Wheeling in the Sedona trails


Hiking at Bell Rock


A popular place to watch the Sedona sunset.  The rocks turn all shades of red.

They included a choice of muffins, but I noticed that ever day there was a different berry muffin in the mix.  There is nothing better than to bite into a hot tender muffin and have a juicy berry burst in to your mouth.  Today's Berry Berry Muffins were inspired by those wonderful tasty, life saving morning muffins we had in Sedona. 



I choose to make them with two of my favorite berries, blueberries and strawberries.  Picking them up at my local farmer's market gives me local produce that is ripe and the very best.  The blueberries were plump and promised to be juicy and bursting with flavor.  The strawberries, also local, were a bright, deep red, and so sweet.  Both flavors go great together and give your muffins just a touch of tart and sweet.  Delicious!





Hot fresh muffins bursting with not one, but two berries should be on your weekend breakfast menu.  A perfect ode to a wonderful vacation for us.  A perfect breakfast treat for you!

Enjoy!




Berry Berry Muffins

makes 12

1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, cored and chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup flour over blueberries and strawberries, and toss to coat.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.


In a large bowl, cream butter, and gradually mix in sugar. Beat eggs, and beat into creamed mixture along with vanilla. Add milk and combine to blend. Add flour mixture stirring just to combine. Fold in berries. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

Bake for 20 - 22 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. 











Saturday, August 13, 2016

Cole's Blocks Co.





I recently came across a gold mine of a company!

I was surfing Instagram and saw a post by another blogger that had a customized cutting board with the name of her blog on it.  I immediately thought, "OMG! I LOVE THIS!  I want one NOW! Where do I get one?"

After a little researching on her blog I found a wonderful company that produces fantastic cutting boards, and does customized boards to boot!  Jackpot!  



Cole's Blocks Co. is family run company with 40 years and three generations invested in the wood industry and are located in Southern Michigan.   They use a high temperature roasting process to enhance the curly maple used in each of their cutting boards, cutting blocks, and serving boards. Their boards and serving platters are more durable, lighter-weight, and less likely to warp due to a higher resistance to moisture.

Naturally Stain and Chemical Free
Roasting darkens the wood naturally to an honey or espresso finish without the use of any harsh stains or chemicals.
The Advantage of Roasted Maple Cutting Boards over Plastic Ones
    Maple cutting boards won't scar as easily as plastic since maple is a hardwood.
      You won't have to replace your wooden cutting board regularly if cared for properly
        Your knives will last longer because hardwood boards won't dull your blades as quickly as plastic will. 
          Your won't want to hide your cutting boards because wooden boards, even well used ones, add warmth and beauty to your kitchen.
            So I ordered my personalized cutting board.  Isn't it a beauty?  I just love, love, love this board.  Along with it I got an array of other wood items as well such as initialed coasters, and several serving platters.  I love the one in the shape of my home state "California". 




            I've used several of my boards and one of the serving platter boards already (below is an example). They are beyond my expectations.  The boards keep well, they are easy to cut on, and clean up is a breeze.  The serving platters are beautiful, functional, and decorative at the same time.  I can't wait to throw a huge wine and cheese tasting party using my boards, just to show them off!  Wine anyone?




            I also have to brag about their customer service.  I dealt with Betsy from the beginning and I have to say that she is exceptional.  From the start she took my order and worked with me by making fantastic suggestions until I had the board of my dreams!  This is how you want your service to be everywhere and Betsy and her family are top notch proprietors.


            You can't go wrong with one (or several) of Cole's Block's Co boards.  I'm already thinking ahead to Christmas gifts.  They would also be a wonderful wedding present.  You can purchase your own here, which I highly recommend that you do.  You're gonna love them!











            Monday, August 8, 2016

            Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad


            Yum



            -This simple salad uses the freshest ingredients for a flavor mix that will pop in your mouth!-

            I do love a fancy salad, but a lot of the time I prefer simpler recipes that aren’t a lot of trouble.  A honeycrisp apple and romaine salad is awesome, but I’m happiest when you give me a simply fresh salad that I can throw together easily and still get oohs and aahs out of MGG and my friends.  (This Caribbean Chicken Salad may be an exception though...!)

            Plus, if you have to travel with this salad it's guaranteed to arrive beautifully, and not look like it fell in the floorboard of the back seat of your car!  This simple and fresh salad looks beautiful no matter how it lands!

            EASY CUCUMBER, TOMATO, AND AVOCADO SALAD TO THE RESCUE
            If you need a versatile, yet simple salad recipe, that goes well with everything from steak to hot dogs then this Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad is the one for you.  It's a completely fresh and juicy salad with accents of rich buttery avocado for good measure.  It's satisfying and healthy, offering a multitude of vitamins, anti-inflammatory properties, and healthy fats.



            This is a great fresh salad that will keep well in the refrigerator for several days.  This delightful salad easily pairs with burgers, chicken, fish, or steak.  It's versatility makes it the perfect go to salad of the summer.  Not to mention that people will just flip over this salad and quickly ask you for the recipe!

            Did I mention that it's easy to put together?  Well it is.  A large serving bowl is all that's needed, so you save on dishes.  The vegetables are chopped in larger chunks making the prep work go fast.  Adding some salt & pepper and a drizzle of really good olive oil tops this easy-peasy salad off.    You can't mess up and you can't go wrong with this salad.



            Enjoy!



            Cucumber, Tomato, and Avocado Salad

            1 English cucumber
            3 Roma tomatoes
            3 avocados
            1/4 red onion,
            1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
            1 lemon
            salt and pepper
            Olive oil

            Slice the cucumber into half lengthwise, then cut each half into medium to large slices.  Place in to a large bowl.  Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and then cut each half lengthwise again and cut into chunks.  Add to the bowl.   

            Cut open avocados and remove the pits.  Peel skin off and cut lengthwise and then into chunks.   Add to the bowl.   Peel and slice the red onion into thin strips.  Add to the bowl.  Add the chopped cilantro to the bowl. 

            Slice the lemon in half and drizzle the juice over the salad in the bowl.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.   Drizzle with olive oil until moist (about 1/4 cup) and stir to combine.  Serve.

            Any leftover may be placed in an air-tight container and refrigerated for several days.















            Friday, August 5, 2016

            Sheet Pan Meal: Simple Citrus Herb Chicken and Tomatoes ( and a Product Review )


            Yum



            Sometimes you just have to give in to it.

            Give in to the pressure.  You know the one, using the oven in summer?  Yea, that pressure.  The other night I came home late from work and I was dog tired.  I did not want to stand over the stove or the grill cooking anything.  Nope not today.  So I gave in and cranked up the air conditioner and turned on the oven.  Sometimes you need a break like that and it's okay.  Truly, to save me some work in cooking dinner that night I would stand any extra heat the oven caused.

            So with chicken breasts in the refrigerator I decided to make a sheet pan meal.  Love them!  You just throw everything on a large baking sheet pan and cook it all together.  This meal was particularly easy with just chicken and tomatoes.  Yum, golden chicken flavored with citrus and blistered cherry tomatoes bursting with flavor!  You could easily substitute chicken thighs, or pork or fish with this dish as well as changing up the vegetables.  It's all good and easy to put together.



            For the chicken I used some help from my favorite store, Williams-Sonoma, by using the Williams-Sonoma Citrus Herb Rub.

            It is a dry rub that you sprinkle over your protein and can also be used on vegetables, or mixed in with a salad dressing...yum!  Here is their promo for the rub:


            The sweet-tart flavors of orange, lemon and lime mingle with jalapeño peppers for a Latin-inspired rub that brings gentle heat and mouthwatering flavor to everything from beef and pork to poultry and vegetables. The rub is blended with California garlic and Mexican oregano, and finished with pure citrus oils for an aromatic finish.

            Ingredients:
            California garlic, kosher salt, jalapeno pepper, cane sugar, crystallized orange (evaporated cane juice, citric acid, orange juice, orange oil, ascorbic acid [vitamin C]), lemon peel, cilantro, crystallized lemon (citric acid, evaporated cane juice, lemon oil, lemon juice, ascorbic acid [vitamin C]), crystallized lime (citric acid, evaporated cane juice, lime oil, ascorbic acid [vitamin C]), orange peel, citric acid, Mexican oregano, orange oil.



            I always feel confident using Williams-Sonoma's products because of the ingredients.  You can read them...understand them, and they don't use all the chemical fillers/preservatives you find in most commercially produced spice blends.  You can purchase this rub at your local Williams-Sonoma store or online here.



            So dinner was a success.  I mean look at this gorgeous meal.  I really must say this was the perfect seasoning for our chicken dinner.  It was light and citrusy and perfect for a light summer dish.  Oh, and the heat from the oven was totally worth it!

            Enjoy!





            Simple Citrus Herb Chicken and Tomatoes (a Sheet Pan Meal)

            serves 4


            4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
            citrus herb rub (Williams-Sonoma Brand)
            olive oil
            salt and pepper to season
            2 pints of multi colored cherry tomatoes
            cooked rice (optional)

            Preheat the oven to 350°F Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

            Drizzle olive oil on both sides of the chicken.  Sprinkle both sides liberally with rub.  Arrange the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the sheet pan and add the tomatoes around chicken.  Place back in the oven and cook another 15 minutes.  Turn on the broiler and broil meat and tomatoes to obtain a little char on it, about 4 minutes.

            Serve each chicken breast with the tomatoes over cooked rice if desired.















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