When the sound of chicken and cheese quesadilla just doesn’t sound like too appetizing of a choice, live’n it up a little.
Tonight I felt like a little barbeque chicken and pineapple. Those two ingredients on their own taste good, but still lack a little more punch to the flavor. With some red onion and cilantro, you’re adding a touch of spice. Drizzle some additional BBQ sauce and low-fat yogurt ranch and now we’re talking!
Just make sure you take a picture of your food before you eat it. I gobbled this up so quick, that had I not, I would have had to wait another week or so to repeat the recipe and take photos for the recipe.
BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Open Faced Quesadilla
Add some flavor to those quesadillas with some barbeque rotisserie chicken, pineapple tidbits and more. You'll never want a cheese and chicken quesadilla again.
- 4 large burrito size flour tortillas
- 2½ cups rotisserie chicken, tossed in your favorite BBQ sauce
- ½ cup pineapple tidbits
- halve of a red onion, sliced thin
- handful of cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- BBQ sauce, for drizzling
- low-fat ranch yogurt, for drizzling
- Grease a large skillet with cooking spray over med-high heat.
- Add tortilla. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sharp cheddar cheese and ¼ cup of mozzarella cheese evenly on-top of tortilla. Follow by adding enough rotisserie chicken, pineapple. onion slices and cilantro to fairly cover entire tortilla. Cook until bottom of tortilla is a light golden brown, or crispy; about 5 minutes.
- Remove from skillet and drizzle BBQ sauce and low-fat ranch yogurt over-top. Repeat with each tortilla.
While we’re on this chicken and salad combo mix, I figured I may as well go ahead and add Chicken Caesar to the lineup. You can get as fancy as you want with salads, (or any meal for that matter) but you almost always go back to the basics when the plate is clean. See what I did there?
When we go out to eat, 8/10 times I order the Chicken Caesar Salad no matter where we are. There are some places that I have had the salad quite a few times and I already know how good it is. There are other places where I am just going to assume the salad will be good enough because it’s a safe choice on the menu. Can you really mess up a caesar salad? Absolutely. Serve it with anchovies for someone who is deathly afraid of the look of anchovies. Sure, a lot of the times the dressing is made with it. I don’t need the proof right in front of my face though.
I can totally avoid the anchovies at home because caesar dressing I’ve been using on my salads is actually really simple to make. It just consists of 6 ingredients: mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan cheese, worcestershire sauce and black pepper.
Nothing fishy going on here.
And remember, if you want to add a little extra to your salad; pasta is always a good choice. (Thanks for the introduction to it, Skinnymom) – Just be cautious with those croutons! While croutons in a salad are ohsodelicious, they’re also bread and you know what they say about bread: “All aboard the carb train.”
Chicken Caesar Salad
A simple recipe for chicken caesar salad with homemade caesar dressing.
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, divided
- 2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
- 1 tomato, deseeded and diced
- 20 fat-free caesar croutons
- 2 tablespoons reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon reduced-fat parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- Using a fork, remove pieces from rotisserie chicken, shredding and then placing in a large bowl. Add romaine lettuce, diced tomato. Toss well.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for dressing. Pour over salad evenly. Toss well.
- Add croutons (5 per plate) and sprinkle ½ tablespoon parmesan cheese on top.
I know a lot may not agree with me on this, but I think pizza gets boring if you don’t do a variety. We’ve done regular pizza dough, flatbreads, pita breads, whole wheat muffins, strombolis. stromboli. Something new was needed and quick. Otherwise it was going to be a week without pizza of any sort. That just doesn’t feel right.
Introducing Pizza Pinwheels! They’re cute, they’re small and you can eat them in many different ways other than with just strictly sauce and cheese. But for our first try, we’re going to do just that. Experience always works best in small steps, or in this case little ingredients.
If you have a small kid, or large grownup who just LOVES pepperoni pizza and wont eat anything but pepperoni pizza – tell them that unless you have mini-pepperonis on hand or they want to help cut large pepperonis into small squares; tonight they’re having just cheese.
Assembling them was just as I’ve assembled strombolis in the past, only instead of letting them cook through and then cut; I tightly rolled up the dough and stuck it in the fridge for a good 20 minutes. This allowed the dough to harden slightly making it a little easier to cut into small “pinwheel shapes,” or “cinnamon roll pizzas.” Just make sure that when you’re adding your sauce, you use a LIGHT amount. Thick sauce will literally seep through your dough and not only will it be a mess, but it’ll make cutting your pinwheels not so easy. Been there, done that.
So good for such an easy little recipe! I think that not only will I repeat this recipe only with more ingredients, but these would be a great after-school or summer day snack. No more frozen pizza rolls!
Need a different try as far as pizza goes? Try this Pizza Pinwheel recipe. They're easy to create, cook fast and are family friendly. Great for an afterschool snack or appetizer side-dish at a party.
- one 11-ounce tube of refrigerated Pillsbury french loaf
- pizza sauce
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly grease and set aside.
- Using a sheet of parchment paper, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of flour overtop. Spread refrigerated french loaf using hands and a roller until dough is flat and resembles a equal-sided rectangle.
- Using a spoon, spread pizza sauce lightly and evenly; leaving half an inch from the ends. Set remaining sauce aside.
- Add shredded cheese, spreading evenly throughout dough. Once finished, begin to tightly roll dough up, lengthwise. When finished, place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes to allow to harden. In the meantime, add remaining pizza sauce to a small saucepan and simmer.
- When dough seems slightly hardened, slice through. Add each to well-greased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 minutes. Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping.
Our family has this fantastic recipe for Cajun Pasta that my Aunt will cook for parties if we’re ever so lucky. I’ve tried my hand at it but always had trouble getting the alfredo sauce to be thick enough to my liking. So whenever I think of alfredo or see a recipe that calls for a similar sauce; I contemplate just buying a jar and then feel like a failure and give up on the dish before even trying to prepare it.
So when my husband recently brought home an already prepared Chicken Alfredo Bake from Sam’s Club that would have tasted great, had it not tasted super dry, it set off the spark, or craving if you may, for some GOOD alfredo. But before I gave the cajun pasta recipe another try, I wanted to start with something a little more simple; basic chicken alfredo.
I noticed the ingredients for this particular alfredo were simple and the steps seemed pretty easy. Often I see heavy whipping cream or cornstarch that is used for “thickening” a sauce. This called for neither. I was caught off guard a little by the fact that it asked for chicken broth but to my amazement; I saw the sauce almost instantly start to thicken once I added it to the saute pan. Normally the pan has to sit over heat for a bit before it actually starts to thicken, but not this recipe! It was quick, making this a great idea if you’re running short on time but craving something with protein and creamy pasta.
And if you’re REALLY short on time, you don’t even have to bake this dish. You can serve immediately after combining all ingredients. It tastes just as good either way.
Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
Never made homemade alfredo sauce before? You're in luck! This version is basically foolproof and tastes better than any store bought alfredo. Combined with penne pasta, rotisserie chicken and baked with mozzarella cheese; this dish is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
- 2 cups rotisserie, or shredded chicken
- 12-ounce penne pasta
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh coarse black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large saucepan, cook penne pasta according to package. When fully cooked through, drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile in a large deep saute pan, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Add minced garlic and allow to saute for 1 minute. Add flour, mixing well until browned. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, mixing well, followed by cup of milk. Whisk often, lowering temp to simmer and thicken. Once sauce appears thick, add penne pasta and rotisserie chicken to saute pan. Stir well, combining.
- Using a well-greased 9x13 baking dish, add alfredo pasta. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese overtop and bake for 20 minutes.
I like to test around with recipes and try new things pretty often so every once in awhile there’s a meal that doesn’t turn appeal to everyone. Fortunately, I can always count on a dish of Baked Stuffed Shells to turn out appetizing.
Baked Stuffed Jumbo Shells
- 12-ounces jumbo pasta shells
- 1lb ground turkey
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 30-ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 24-ounce jar marinara sauce of your choice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly cover the bottom of a large lasagna pan with ¼ cup of marinara sauce.
- Heat a large saucepan of water over med-high heat until boiling. Add pasta and cook according to directions. While draining in a strainer, run cool water overtop shells to cool. Set aside.
- In a large skillet, cook ground turkey until brown. Drain grease. Add remaining marinara sauce to skillet and reduce heat to simmer. Allow to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes with marinara sauce.
- In a medium size bowl combine ricotta cheese, 1 egg, ¼ cup mozzarella cheese and ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Whisk well. Using a small spoon, scoop cheese mix and fill shells. Add to lasagna pan.
- Gently pour meat sauce overtop shells evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup mozzarella cheese overtop. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for remaining 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
I may not be able to stand hot sauce on anything, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to shy away from anything slightly less spicy. By that I mean anything considered medium and below. Generally red enchilada sauce can be spicy, but I inhale it anyway and imagine that I may pay for it later. Why in the world would I ever turn down such a yummy meal?
For my first qualifying Meatless Monday post (!) – I decided to make Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas. My husband is out of town for a few days so this is the perfect dish to make and have as leftovers so I’m not consecutively cooking for one (and one child who is not as fearless when it comes to food) – luckily it tastes just as good, if not better the next day!
Enchiladas are usually made of just a few ingredients. Your meal-prep time isn’t going to be ridiculous, so you can make this when you’re in a pinch, ahead of time or just because you’re craving an easy Mexican meal. This particular recipe calls for black bean and corn salsa, so your preparation time is cut down dramatically just because of that. Even with it being meatless, the salsa packs in such a flavor combined with the weight/size of diced sweet potato pieces that the enchilada still tastes and appears fair in size.
Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
A delicious Vegetarian version of Enchiladas featuring diced sweet potatoes and a rich and flavorful black bean and corn salsa. Enjoyable as either a main course or potluck dish.
- 1 extra-large sweet potato, cooked, skin peeled and diced into cubes
- ½ cup black bean and corn salsa
- 2½ cups shredded mexican blend cheese, divided
- 2 cups mild red enchilada sauce, divided
- 6-8 white corn tortillas
- 1 medium tomato, diced for garnishing
- cilantro, for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rectangular baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Cook, or bake sweet potato. If you're in a pinch for time, place sweet potato in a microwave and cook on high for 8-10 minutes. It can also be baked in an oven at 400 degrees for 50-55 minutes. When sweet potato is cooked through, use a fork to slide skin off. Dice into ½ inch cubes.
- Using a large bowl, add sweet potato cubes, black bean and corn salsa and 1½ cups of shredded cheese. Carefully mix all ingredients together.
- Pour about 1 cup of red enchilada sauce into prepared baking dish. Make sure sauce is even and has covered entire bottom of pan. Set aside.
- Add ¼ cup of sweet potato salsa mix into middle of tortilla. Roll both sides up, placing your seam side downward. Repeat with each tortilla.
- Pour the remaining 1 cup of red enchilada sauce overtop of tortillas, covering them entirely. Lightly sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese onto each, following with diced tomatoes and cilantro for garnish.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for up to 4-5 days.
- I love to make this at the beginning of the week and reheat leftovers for either lunch or dinner the following day. It tastes just as good!
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Adapted from Averie Cooks
I love recipes that call for rotisserie chicken. Not because it makes cooking slightly easier, you can always cook your own rotisserie chicken instead of buying one from your local grocery store. But because of the taste of a rotisserie chicken.
We don’t necessarily have a good local take-out, or I haven’t found one yet. So as someone who personally loves fried rice, I’m always excited when preparing this one. I’ve been meal-prepping meals for fitness programs that I have been doing and Chicken Fried Rice is an awesome, low-calorie lunch. You’re getting your protein, vegetables and a healthy grain all in one dish.
Chicken Fried Rice
Tastes better than take-out!
- Rotisserie chicken, divided into shredded pieces
- 2 cups brown rice
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- Cook brown rice according to package. While doing so, divide a rotisserie chicken into shredded pieces and set aside.
- Heat sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cloves, cook 3 minutes. Add frozen peas and carrots, cook 3-5 minutes. Push vegetables to the side of skillet. Crack eggs and scramble.
- Add skillet mixture and chicken to rice. Pour soy sauce gently overtop and mix well.
- Use whatever remaining leftover rotisserie chicken you have for another dish.
If you ask me, pork chops are tricky. They’re light in color so you don’t particularly know if the inside is truly cooked unless you use a knife to check. My trick is to always buy the pack of meat with more than you really need. That way you can use one of the less-appealing looking pieces (and there ALWAYS is one!) to cut and dice up to make sure that everything is cooked thoroughly. It’s also a good excuse for taste testing.
I also prefer to bake meat versus frying or grilling. I know that when I place something in the oven, not only will it cook, but the juices are also most likely reserved. When you cook over the stovetop, there’s a good chance you’ll overturn the meat and it won’t taste as juicy. You can always find a medium though; begin your meat over the stovetop briefly to lightly brown and then transfer to your oven to finish cooking. This recipe is like that giving you the best of both cooking methods!
Baked Honey Garlic Pork Chops
A delicious recipe for center-loined pork chops that have a sweet honey taste with just the right amount of garlic.
- 4 center-loined pork chops, trimmed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Well grease a large cooking pan. Set aside.
- In a medium size bowl, combine olive oil, honey, lemon juice, garlic and soy sauce. Whisk well. Set aside.
- Heat a large well-greased skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops and allow to cook 5-7 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. When done, using a pair of tongs dip each pork chop individual into honey mixture, coating each side. Add pork chops to cooking pan and brush remaining sauce ontop. Sprinkle brown sugar over each.
- Cook for 1 hour and serve immediately.
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So I meal-plan our weeks worth of food on Saturday so that I am able to make a grocery store run on the same day and meal-prep for a good part of Sunday. That being said, I intentionally scheduled to make these ham and swiss cheese strombolis so that I (or anyone else who would like to as well) could enjoy one or two while watching the NBA Playoffs.
This is my first time making a stromboli. I rarely work with dough because I base most of my pizzas on flatbreads or pita bread. I was surprised at how easy it really was and how well it turned out. If making dough intimidates you too, you can use the Pillsbury refrigerated dough. Next time, I’ll be more brave and make my OWN pizza dough!
After you’ve flattened and stretched your dough well, lay your ham and cheese. I used sliced swiss cheese but you can use shredded cheese if you have it on-hand. We do ham and swiss cheese sandwiches here and there so I already had the swiss cheese slices.
If you’re serving these as a appetizer, they go great with a dipping sauce. Both honey mustard or a pizza sauce would give it an even more additional taste. But if not, they taste great just as is! That’s how I just enjoyed mine. Can’t wait to bake these, and more similar kinds as well again soon.
Ham and Swiss Cheese Stromboli
Warm delicious homemade stromboli stuffed with deli ham and swiss cheese. Great to serve during game day, or for an easy-to-make appetizer.
- homemade pizza dough, or one 11-ounce tube of refrigerated Pillsbury french loaf
- 8-ounces deli ham, thin sliced
- 6 slices of swiss cheese, cut into halves
- green onions, sliced and diced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cooking pan.
- Prepare your homemade dough, or using a sheet of wax paper with flour sprinkled overtop; flatten the french loaf dough using your hands and a roller.
- When dough is completely flat, add your slices of ham first. You want to leave about a little over ½ inch between the end of the dough and your ham. This allows you to pinch the corners up after you roll up dough. Next add cheese slices and then sprinkle green onions throughout.
- Roll doll up tightly. When done, make sure to pinch so that dough seals. Place side with end of dough seam down on cooking pan. Using a knife, add slits at top.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on when stromboli appears golden. Allow to cool momentarily before dividing to serve.
- Tastes great with a side of pizza sauce or honey mustard.
I enjoy fried chicken just as much as the next person. Problem is, I’ve always had a problem with not burning the chicken when attempting to fry using my stovetop and a skillet pan. For some time, I used the avoidance route and would “fry” my chicken tenders in the oven by slicing them thin and preparing them with bread crumbs, butter and egg. It worked just fine, but I knew at some point I would have to correctly teach myself how to fry something without taking the easy way out and counting on the oven to help me get it done. Besides, I’d appreciate a good piece of breaded chicken more knowing I hadn’t cheated to get it that way.
So when you hear the phrase “practice makes perfect,” know that it also applies to cooking. And so after a few different tries and figuring out what amount of oil works best, I figured out how to not burn fried chicken. And let me tell you, it tastes so much better than oven-fried and I’m no longer hesitating to try out new recipes that require frying chicken; such as this fantastic Lemon Romano Chicken recipe I found via Cooking Classy. No one should miss out on cooking something so delicious!
Lemon Romano Chicken
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
- 2½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup Romano cheese
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon fresh coarse black pepper
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare chicken breasts by cutting each into two horizontal halves. Set aside on a plate.
- In a medium size shallow dish, combine all-purpose flour and 1 egg. Whisk well so that the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside.
- In a second medium size shallow dish, combine Romano cheese, panko breadcrumbs, oregano, garlic powder, black pepper, lemon zest. Whisk well so that all ingredients are combined. Set aside.
- Place each chicken breast, individually, in egg-flour mixture; turning onto each side so that it is well coated. Next, place chicken breast in romano cheese mixture; again turning onto each side so that it is well coated and fully breaded. Repeat with each chicken breast. Return chicken breasts to plate.
- Add vegetable oil and olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow oil to heat, using a pair of tongs to place each chicken breast in skillet. Cook 2-5 minutes, checking to make sure it's browned before turning to cook other side. Return each chicken breast to plate when fully cooked through.
- Line a cookie-sheet with foil, lightly coating with cooking spray. Add each chicken breast, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place in oven for 14 minutes or until cheese appears well melted.
- Squeeze a lemon wedge onto each chicken breast and serve with lemon slices.
Adapted from Cooking Classy
Adapted from Cooking Classy