• Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas

    You can make this salad with chicken or keep it vegetarian by adding chickpeas.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. orzo
    • Salt
    • 4 mini cucumbers, chopped
    • 2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced
    • 6 oz. feta
    • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped
    • 1/2 c. mint, chopped
    • Chopped cooked chicken or 1 can of chickpeas, drained
    • Mixed lettuce greens

    Dressing:

    • 2 lemons, zest and juice (about 1/3 c.)
    • 2/3 c. olive oil
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • Salt and Pepper, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Bring a pot of water to boil, add salt and orzo and cook until al dente. Once it’s done, rinse it with cool water and let it drain thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, prep all the salad ingredients.
    3. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar or small bowl, and whisk/shake until well combined.
    4. To the bowl with the orzo, add cucumbers through chicken/chickpeas.
    5. Toss the salad with the dressing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
    6. Serve salad over mixed lettuce greens.

    Lemon Orzo Salad with Chicken or Chickpeas:

  • Lemon Chicken Orzo

    This dish is the complete package of comfort food. The recipe below is doubled to be served as a main dish. If you want this as a side, halve the recipe below.

    Adapted from Salt & Lavender

    Ingredients:

    • 2 TBSP olive oil
    • 4 TBSP butter
    • 1 medium onion chopped
    • 6 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
    • 2 c. uncooked orzo pasta
    • 4 c. chicken broth
    • 4 TBSP lemon juice
    • 2 c. heavy whipping cream
    • 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded
    • 1 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 6-10 oz. fresh baby spinach
    • Salt & pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Add the oil, butter, and onion to a pot over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes.
    2. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and orzo. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often (this infuses the orzo with more flavor and toasts it a little).
    3. Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, and cream. Once it starts to bubble, continue cooking for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring fairly often. You will probably need to turn the heat down a bit (to medium or even medium-low). It should gently bubble vs. furiously boil, and you don’t want the liquid to reduce too much before the pasta has cooked.
    4. Stir in the chicken.
    5. Take the pot off the heat, stir in the parmesan and spinach, and cover the pot for 3-5 minutes or until it has thickened up to your liking. Season with salt & pepper as needed and serve immediately.

    Lemon Chicken Orzo:

  • Chicken Tikka Masala

    This Tikka recipe is the best homemade Tikka I have ever made.
    Recipe from Damn Delicious.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 1/2 TBSP Olive oil
    • 1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken, cut into 1-inch chunks
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
    • 3 TBSP tomato paste
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 TBSP freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
    • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
    • 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
    • 1 (15-oz.) can tomato sauce
    • 1 c. chicken stock or water
    • 1/2 c. heavy cream

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, to taste. Add chicken and onion to the skillet and cook until golden, about 4-5 minutes.
    2. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, ginger, garam masala, chili powder and turmeric until fragrant, about 1 minute.
    3. Stir in tomato sauce and chicken stock; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
    4. Stir in heavy cream until heated through, about 1 minute.
    5. Serve over rice.

    Chicken Tikka Masala:

  • Ramen Broccoli Salad

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    This salad is so good, and a great side for a hot day.  Both Ethan and Ellie were skeptical at first, but then they tried it.  Ethan had 3 servings, and Ellie had 2 servings.  That never happens!  We had it just a few days ago and it’s already been requested for this week’s menu.  Definitely a hit!

    This is a great dish for a potluck or picnic because there’s no mayo to worry about.

    Version 1 Ingredients (Omit Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. honey
    • 3 tsp. soy sauce
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Version 2 Ingredients (With Seasoning Pack):

    • 1 12 oz. package of broccoli slaw mix (in produce section with packaged sugar snap peas, etc.)
    • 1 package of chicken or Oriental flavor Ramen Noodles, broken into small pieces
    • Ramen seasoning package
    • 1/4 c. grape seed oil (can use vegetable or canola oil)
    • Splash of sesame oil
    • 1/4 c. seasoned rice wine vinegar
    • 1/4 c. white sugar
    • 1 green onion, sliced (green only)

    Directions:

    1. In a mixing bowl, mix together broccoli slaw and broken Ramen noodles.
    2. In a separate bowl, whisk together Ramen seasoning package, grape seed oil, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar.
    3. Toss dressing mixture with the broccoli slaw until well coated.
    4. Top with sliced green onion and serve chilled.

    Ramen Broccoli Salad:

    5star

  • Broccoli Salad

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    The kiddos and I really enjoyed this broccoli salad.  Steve not so much, but he doesn’t like these kinds of salads in general.  It’s kind of like cole slaw but with broccoli instead of cabbage.  The dressing and craisins bring a nice sweet contrast to the bacon and broccoli.  The flavors just work.  This is a great one for picnics and potlucks too.

    Ingredients:

    • 8 c. fresh raw broccoli florets
    • 1/2 c. red onion, finely diced
    • 1/2 c. cooked crumbled turkey bacon
    • 1 c. craisins

    Dressing:

    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 1 1/2 c. light mayonnaise
    • 2 TBSP white vinegar

    Directions:

    1. In a large bowl combine broccoli through craisins.
    2. In a small bowl mix sugar, mayo and vinegar until smooth.
    3. Add dressing to the bowl and toss to coat and chill.

    Broccoli Salad:
    4star

  • Ginger Scallion Noodles

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    This side dish is so simple yet so good.  We seem to always have a batch in the fridge, whether for a dinner side or just to snack on.  Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
    • garlic, minced
    • 3 inch piece of ginger, minced
    • 1/3 c. grape seed oil
    • 6 TBSP vinegar (we use 3 TBSP seasoned rice vinegar and 3 TBSP ancho vinegar from a local specialty shop)
    • 2 tsp. soy sauce
    • 2 6 oz. packages of Wel-Pac Chinese Chow Mein Stir-Fry Noodles (or any egg noodle or any noodle you like)

    Directions:

    1. Combine green onions through soy sauce in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, boil a pot of water, add salt and then add noodles and cook according to directions.
    3. Drain and rinse noodles with cold water and then add to mixing bowl.  Toss to combine.  Serve chilled.

    Ginger Scallion Noodles:

    5star

     

  • Jerk Chicken Sliders

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    Oh man are these sliders delicious!!!!  Everyone devoured them, and asked for more!  I love finding new recipes that everyone enjoys.  Yay!!

    We’ve made these with the pineapple mango salsa (recipe below), with the pineapple salsa (recipe below minus the mango), and with just the mango salsa (recipe below minus the pineapple).  Use what you have on hand or what you like best.  It’s all good!

    Recipe adapted from Chef in Training.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 dinner rolls (I used the King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and you can use the leftover rolls for the Cinnamon Pull-Apart Rolls!)

    Jamaican Jerk Sauce

    • ½ bunch green onions, chopped
    • ½ c. peanut oil
    • ½ c. vinegar
    • 3 TBSP ground allspice
    • 5 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 1/4 c. dark brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP soy sauce
    • 2 TBSP Ketchup
    • 1 TBSP ground cinnamon

    Pineapple Salsa

    • ¼ pineapple, peel and diced
    • ¾ mango, diced
    • ½ red onion, finely diced
    • Fresh cilantro, chopped
    • juice from 1 lime
    • salt to taste

    Directions:

    1. Mix the Jamaican Jerk Sauce ingredients until smooth.  Place the sauce in a large Ziploc bag and then add the chicken.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
    2. Prepare the Pineapple Salsa.
    3. Grill the chicken; then cut each breast in half (or smaller, if necessary).
    4. Slice each roll in half, place chicken on roll then top with Pineapple Salsa.

    Jerk Chicken Sliders:
    5star

  • Caprese Chicken Pasta (Caprese Pasta Salad)

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    If you like caprese salad, you’ll love this carprese chicken pasta.  Everyone loved this dish!

    I promise there is chicken in there.  It’s just under all those delicious tomatoes, basil, and cheese.

    ***Note: I’ve also made this dish without the chicken and instead of melting the cheese I just cut the cheese up or use the mozzarella pearls and serve this caprese pasta salad cold. It’s beyond delicious and great for potlucks and picnics.  So flavorful.  

    Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 lb. pasta
    • zest of 2 lemons
    • juice of 2 lemons
    • butter
    • 4 skinless chicken breasts
    • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 TBSP olive oil, divided
    • 5 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 10 large basil leaves, finely chopped (the more the better)
    • 8 oz. fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
    • balsamic vinegar, to taste

    Directions:

    1. Cook pasta according to directions.
    2. Salt and pepper both sides of the chicken breasts and set aside.
    3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 TBSP olive oil. Add chicken, cover pan, and cook for about 10 minutes. Flip chicken breasts and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked thoroughly (or has reached an internal temp of 165°F).
    4. While chicken is cooking, in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm remaining 1 TBSP olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes and continue sautéing until tomatoes skin starts to soften/wrinkle, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Set aside.
    5. Once chicken has reached desired doneness, top the tops of each chicken breast with 2 slices of mozzarella. Pour tomato mixture on top. Cover pan with lid once more and let the mozzarella melt, about 1-2 minutes.
    6. When pasta is done, transfer to large serving bowl, and add zest, lemon juice and butter, and mix to combine.
    7. Lastly, drizzle chicken and/or pasta with a splash of balsamic vinegar and serve chicken immediately over pasta.

    Caprese Chicken Pasta:
    5star

  • Quick Chicken Cacciatore

    I really love chicken cacciatore, but it takes too long to make.  I found a recipe that reminded me of chicken cacciatore, and it took a fraction of the time to cook.  Everyone devoured their dinners.  Win, win!

    Note: the original recipe (and as pictured) called for celery, but I’ll omit the celery next time.  Add mushrooms if you’d like.

    Adapted from “Chicken Creole” from The Southern Lady Cooks.

    Ingredients:

    • Olive oil
    • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1 green pepper, chopped
    • 2 zucchini, chopped
    • 6-8 mushroom, sliced (if desired)
    • 1 (14.5 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 c. chicken broth
    • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
    • 1/4 tsp. pepper
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
    • 2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
    • Serve over egg noodles

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil and saute chicken pieces until no longer pink.  Remove and keep warm.
    2. In the same skillet, saute the onion, green pepper, and zucchini in the remaining oil until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, broth, tomato paste and seasonings.
    3. Bring to a boil, reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Return chicken to the pan; heat through.
    4. Serve over hot egg noodles.

    Quick Chicken Cacciatore:

  • TT’s Salsa

    We had some friends over the other night for taco/nacho bar, and TT (9 yo) wanted to make a salsa, so he researched online and printed out a recipe.  We adapted the recipe to what we had on hand, and it was so good, and we’ll definitely make this one again. This recipe makes a lot of salsa, so you might want to halve the recipe.

    Recipe adapted from Food Network.

    Ingredients:

    • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of fire roasted tomatoes
    • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans of Mexican stewed tomatoes
    • 1/2 c. cilantro
    • 1/2 onion
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1 jalapeno, seeds and membranes removed
    • 1/4 tsp. cumin
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp. sugar
    • 1 lime, juiced

    Directions:

    1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are combined and the salsa is at a consistency you like.
    2. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
    3. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.

    TT’s Salsa: