• Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli

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    This dish is a one skillet dish…yes even the pasta!  It is extremely flavorful, and we loved the bold lemony garlicky sauce.  Everyone had seconds, even Ellie, who doesn’t eat much pasta.  It’s so good, that it tasted restaurant quality…yes, it’s that good!

    Ethan proclaimed: “This is a keeper”.  There you have it.

    We will most definitely be having this dish again and again.

    Since we love garlic, lemon, and Italian seasoning, I added way more than the original recipe.  If you’re not into those bold flavors as much, reduce those amounts to your liking.

    Recipe adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts, cubed
    • Salt and pepper
    • 1 TBSP oil
    • 2 heaping TBSP of minced garlic (I use pre-minced garlic in a jar
    • 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
    • 2 1/2 c. water
    • 2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • Zest of three lemons
    • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 lemons, use the same ones you just zested)
    • 12 ounces penne pasta (I use Barilla or Ronzoni Smart Taste)
    • 2-3 c. chopped fresh broccoli florets
    • 3/4 c. milk
    • 1 heaping TBSP cornstarch
    • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

    Directions:

    1. Season chicken well with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until the oil is hot and rippling. Add the chicken and saute, stirring frequently, until the chicken is browned and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate, keeping as much oil/liquid in the skillet as possible.
    2. Keep the skillet on medium heat and add another teaspoon of oil if needed (I usually don’t but you’ll want to keep an especially close eye on the garlic). Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and stir constantly for about 30 seconds. Add the water, broth, lemon juice and pasta. Stir to combine.
    3. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally just to keep the pasta from sticking, for 10-12 minutes until the pasta is tender – it will cook for a few more minutes in the next step. (Depending on the type of pasta you use, your cooking time may differ, so keep an eye on the pasta so you don’t overcook it).  There will be a bit of liquid left in the skillet; that’s ok.
    4. Add the broccoli and lemon zest. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes until the broccoli is bright green and tender. While the broccoli is cooking, whisk together the milk and cornstarch.
    5. Uncover the skillet and stir in the milk mixture along with the Parmesan cheese and reserved chicken. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 1-2 minutes.
    6. Season with additional salt and pepper (this is really important – don’t skip this step!) and serve.

    Lemon Chicken Pasta with Broccoli:
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  • Chicken Carnitas Tacos

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    My new favorite chicken tacos!!!!!!!!! These tacos have a slight kick, so if you don’t like spice reduce the chili powder.

    I prefer to cook boneless chicken in a crockpot on HIGH for 2 hours, but you can always lengthen the cooking time and cook on low (the usual cooking time conversion is when you cook on low you double the high cooking time, so in this case it would be low for 4 hours).  The original recipe call for cooking on low for 6-8 hours.

    Recipe adapted from Closet Cooking.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 lbs. chicken breasts
    • 3/4 c. orange juice (~2 oranges)
    • 1/4 c. lime juice (~2 limes)
    • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, torn
    • Toppings: Salsa, tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, etc.
    • Limes, cut into wedges

    Directions:

    1. Place the chicken in the crockpot.
    2. In a bowl mix the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper together and then pour over chicken.
    3. Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or until tender.
    4. Remove chicken from crockpot and shred. Reserve the juices.
    5. Spread the chicken out in a single layer on a baking sheet and add 1/4 c. of juices and broil until it starts getting crispy, about 5 minutes. Mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices, mix everything up and broil for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and mix in another 1/4 c. of the juices.
    6. Assemble the tacos on the tortillas with the chicken carnitas along with the  cilantro salsa and whatever toppings you like and serve with the lime wedges.

    Chicken Carnitas Tacos:

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  • Fried Rice

    This fried rice is so good.  The original recipe is from Life as  a Lofthouse.  I added pineapple, because well, we love pineapple.

    Ingredients:

    •  3 TBSP sesame oil or olive oil
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 2 tsp. minced garlic
    • 6 oz. pineapple chunks
    • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
    • 3 c. cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
    • 1/4 c. + 2TBSP soy sauce

    Directions:

    1. On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Then add the pineapple, and stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled. Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.
    2. Serves 6

    Fried Rice:

     

     

  • Chicken and Biscuits Casserole

    This hearty and healthy dinner was enjoyed by everyone, and it’s easy to make which is always a plus.

    Adapted from Taste of Home Casseroles, 2011.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 tsp. oil
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1/4 c. flour
    • 1 tsp. dried basil
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 2 1/2 c. skim milk
    • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 16oz. package frozen mixed vegetables
    • 2 c. cooked chicken, cubed (can use rotisserie chicken)
    • 2 TBSP Parmesan cheese

    Biscuit Ingredients:

    • 1 c. all purpose flour
    • 1 TBSP sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/3 c. skim milk
    • 3 TBSP oil
    • 1 TBSP fresh parsley, minced

    Directions:

    1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; then add the onion and cook until tender.  Stir in the flour, basil, thyme, salt and pepper until blended.  Gradually stir in milk and Worcestershire sauce until smooth.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened; then add the vegetables, chicken, and cheese and reduce to low.
    2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine four through salt. In a small bowl combine milk, oil and parsley; then stir into dry ingredients until just combined.
    3. Transfer hot chicken mixture to a greased 2 1/2 quart baking dish.  Drop biscuit batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto chicken mixture.
    4. Bake uncovered at 375* for 30-40 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned.

    Chicken and Biscuits Casserole:

     

  • Thai Chicken Salad

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    This salad is really tasty and so easy to make, especially if you use a rotisserie chicken.  It’s a perfect summer dish.  The original recipe called for warm dressing, but since I’m not a fan of wilted lettuce, I let the dressing cool after cooking before adding it to the salad.

    The dressing would also be really good over rice noodles too.
    Recipe adapted from the April 2011 issue of Cooking Light.

    Ingredients:

    • 6 c. mixed lettuce
    • 2 c. shredded boneless rotisserie chicken breast
    • 2. c. fresh bean sprouts
    • 1 c. shredded carrots
    • 2/3 c. light coconut milk
    • 1 TBSP brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP creamy peanut butter
    • 1 TBSP fresh lime juice
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 1/8 tsp. (or to taste) ground red pepper
    • 2 TBSP peanuts, coarsely chopped
    • Lime wedges

    Directions:

    1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a bowl.
    2. Combine coconut milk and next 5 ingredients (through red pepper) in a small saucepan; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, and let cool.
    3. Pour cooled coconut milk mixture over lettuce mixture.  Sprinkle with peanuts; serve with lime wedges.

    Thai Chicken Salad:

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  • Fried Rice

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    Here’s a great recipe for leftover chicken or turkey or use a rotisserie chicken. The leftovers are great too!

    The recipe is adapted from the November 2009 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP vegetable oil, divided
    • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 c. diced onion
    • 1/2 c. diced red bell pepper
    • 1 c. cooked chicken, cut up
    • 1 1/2 c. frozen mixed vegetables, partially cooked
    • 3 c. cooked rice
    • 1/4 c. soy sauce
    • 1 tsp. Asian chili-garlic sauce

    Directions:

    1. Heat 1 TBSP oil in large skillet over medium high heat; add eggs, and gently stir 1 minute or until softly scrambled.  Remove eggs from skillet and chop.
    2. Heat remaining 2 TBSP oil in skillet; add onion and bell pepper, and stir-fry 3 minutes.  Add cooked chicken and mixed vegetables; stir fry 2 minutes.  Add rice, soy sauce, and chili-garlic sauce; stir fry 5 minutes or until throughly heated.  Stir in eggs.

    Fried Rice:

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  • Tamales

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    We love tamales, and this recipe is by far my most favorite.  I love them more than any tamales I’ve had at any restaurant (except for maybe Berry Hill Bar and Grill).

    This recipe is adapted from the Helena Tamales recipe in the April 2005 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package of dried corn husks
    • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
    • jar of your favorite salsa
    • 2/3  c.  vegetable shortening
    • 1 1/2  c.  yellow cornmeal
    • 1  c.  warm chicken broth
    • 2  tsp.  salt
    • 1  tsp.  paprika

    Directions:

    1. Soak corn husks in hot water to cover 1 hour or until softened. Drain husks, and pat dry.
    2. Chicken Filling: Heat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add shredded chicken and enough of your favorite salsa to coat the chicken.  Mixture should not be too wet.
    3. Cornmeal Dough: Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.  Stir together cornmeal and warm chicken broth in a medium bowl until well blended. Gradually add cornmeal mixture to shortening, beating at medium speed just until blended after each addition. Add salt and paprika, beating just until blended. Cover dough with plastic wrap, and set aside until ready to use.
    4. Assembling Tamales: Spread 2 TBSP Cornmeal Dough into a 3- x 5-inch rectangle on one side of 1 husk, leaving a 2-inch border at bottom narrow edge and a 1/2-inch border at one long side.  Spoon 2 heaping TBSP Chicken Filling down center of cornmeal dough rectangle, creating a 1-inch-wide strip. Roll husk up, starting at the long side with 1/2-inch border, enclosing meat filling with the first turn. Fold bottom end with 2-inch border over. Repeat procedure using remaining Cornmeal Dough and Chicken Filling.
    5. Line the bottom of your steamer with corn husks.  Add tamales to steamer.  We stack the tamales up to 4 high.  Steam over high heat for 1 hours.
    6. Top with your favorite salsa or with Chili Gravy or Tomatillo-Serrano Salsa.

    Tamales:
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  • Easy Chicken and Dumplings

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    This is a tasty, hearty, and super easy version of the slow cooked classic: chicken and dumplings.  Be sure to use low sodium broth, and if you don’t I would suggest using half broth half water, otherwise it will be too salty (trust me–there is plenty of salt in the rotisserie chicken, cream of chicken soup, and dumplings).

    This dish makes for a great weeknight meal, as it only took about 30 minutes to prepare, and that’s from start to finish!

    Recipe is adapted from the January 2010 issue of Southern Living.

    Ingredients:

    • 4 c. LOW SODIUM chicken broth
    • 3 c. shredded chicken (rotisserie chicken)
    • 1 10.75 oz. can reduced fat cream of chicken soup
    • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
    • 1 10.2 oz. can refrigerated jumbo buttermilk biscuits
    • 1 c. carrots, diced
    • 1 c. celery, diced
    • pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring first 4 ingredients to a boil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Cover and reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high and return to a low boil.
    2. Place biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Roll or pat each biscuit to 1/8 inch thickness; cut into 1/2 inch wide strips.
    3. Drop strips, 1 at a time, into boiling broth mixture.  Add carrots and celery. Cover and reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent dumplings from sticking.
    4. Season with pepper.

    Easy Chicken and Dumplings:

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  • Spicy Chicken Tacos

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    I so love salsa fresca, and I thought it would taste really good with some chicken tacos.  And not just as a condiment, but as part of the flavor of the chicken.

    I was right.  It was delicious!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 TBSP olive oil
    • 3 1/2 c. cooked shredded chicken
    • 3/4 c. salsa fresca
    • Tortillas and guacamole

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add chicken and salsa and simmer until chicken is nicely coated and heated through.
    2. Serve with desired taco condiments.

    Spicy Chicken Tacos:

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  • Curry Rice Salad

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    This is a go to dish (albeit I haven’t made in a long time).  This recipe comes from my grandma Clark.  She makes it for brunches, baby showers, wedding showers, and all sorts of events.  This salad is a great way to use up leftover chicken or Turkey from Thanksgiving.  It’s also a great crowd dish because you can easily make a whole lot.

    It’s simple but tastes oh so yummy!

    Here’s my version of the Clark classic…enjoy!

    Ingredients:

    • 1 c. rice
    • 2 c. water
    • 1 TBSP curry powder (more or less to taste)
    • 1/2 tsp. salt (more or less to taste)
    • 1/4 c. onion, minced
    • 1 TBSP vinegar
    • 2 TBSP canola oil
    • 1 c. celery, chopped
    • 2 c. peas
    • 2 c. cooked chicken
    • 3/4 c. mayo
    • Lettuce or mixed greens
    • Other additions: sliced grapes, sliced water chestnuts, slivered almonds, or marinated artichoke hearts

    Directions:

    1. In a saucepan combine the uncooked rice, water, curry powder, and salt; cover and cook rice.  Once the rice is cooked add the vinegar and canola oil and stir.  Let the rice cool and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours (I usually do this step the night before).
    2. Now add the rice to a bigger bowl and add the celery, peas, chicken, and other other addins–my favorite is grapes.  Mix together and then add the mayo.  Taste and add salt, if necessary.
    3. Serve over lettuce or mixed greens.

    Curry Rice Salad:

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