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 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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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
A lot of households, including my own, participate weekly in “Taco Tuesday” or “Taco Thursday” if you’re running behind on schedule and refuse to miss out. I don’t want to say that eating tacos grows old, because quite frankly I don’t see any truth in that. It is nice however to mix it up a little here and there. You can still use your taco shells and taco seasoning. Just think of it as “dressing your taco up differently.” Change is OK. It’s not permanent unless you like it.
Beef Tostadas are basically just an open taco.
Quick Beef Tostadas
An open-faced taco on baked tortilla.
- 1lb ground turkey
- one taco seasoning packet
- 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- shredded colby jack cheese
- romaine lettuce, shredded.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Heat a well greased large skillet over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook until brown. Drain excess grease in a strainer. Return ground turkey to skillet and add taco seasoning with 1/3 cup of warm water. Mix well.
- When meat and taco seasoning have been well combined, add black beans. Reduce heat to simmer.
- Using a cup, trace the cup's edges on top of a tortilla, carefully cutting around with a knife. Add each tortilla cut-out to a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove tortillas, add ground turkey mix to each. Top with a fair sprinkle of colby jack cheddar cheese and return to oven to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or when cheese appears melted.
- Top each tortilla with diced tomatoes, romaine lettuce. Add salsa or sour cream as well if desired.
You’ve heard of a burrito bowl, chicken bowl, bowl of spaghetti. But who gets credit for thinking up a fantastic idea like a “teriyaki meatball bowl?” Maybe it’s more common than I think but this was my first time cooking one for dinner and boy, am I happy that I did. I love homemade meatballs! I’ve made them so many times that I could do it blindfolded. OK that’s a slight exaggeration, just know I know my way around the basic meatball mixture.
Teriyaki meatballs are mildly different from the meatballs you may make for your spaghetti dinner though. I found that the soy sauce added to the meatball mixture helped to create a more juicy flavor as opposed to an italian meatball. I imagine these meatballs would taste just as good over a plate of linguini noodles but we’re going to use whole grain rice to create a more “light” meal.
Teriyaki Meatball Bowl
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup planko breadcrumbs
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
- ½ teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- black pepper
- 2 packages of white, or whole grain rice
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup warm water
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly greasing with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Combine ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, green onions and black pepper into a large mixing bowl, using clean hands to fold and mix over until well combined.
- Roll meatball mixture into small balls, placing each on foil-covered cookie sheet. When you've finished rolling all meatballs, bake them for 35 minutes or until light golden brown.
- Boil and cook rice according to package directions over medium-high heat. When finished, drain water and fluff rice with a fork. Set aside.
- While meatballs and rice are cooking, combine all teriyaki glaze ingredients (EXCEPT for cornstarch) together in a small-medium size bowl. Whisk together well. Transfer to a medium size pot over med-high heat for a few minutes. Add cornstarch, mixing well constantly to help thicken glaze. Once it appears thickened, add sesame seeds.
- If/When meatballs are done, add to teriyaki glaze. Stir so that each meatball is well covered with glaze.
- In individual bowls, divide rice. Add 5 meatballs and drizzle extra teriyaki glaze overtop.
Day 1 of my clean-eating week began yesterday (Monday) and ended with this delicious crockpot meal. Because I started preparing the meal mid-afternoon, dinner wasn’t ready until 7:30pm-ish and by then the sunlight had come and gone. I don’t care much for photographing using artificial lights, I’m a natural light kind of gal; so I wasn’t able to assemble the chili for it’s closeup until today. It is, however, my dinner for the next two nights so I guess it counts just as well!
All chili is good in my book. However, my first initial thought was, “sweet potatoes, I’m not sure how that goes with chili but OK.” I’ve experimented with recipes where the potato has over-cooked in the crockpot and tasted like mush. And I’ve experimented with recipes where the potato has under-cooked and tasted like a bland hard piece of potato. So when the 8 hours were up, I was thrilled (it’s the small things) when I went for that first piece of sweet potato and it tasted great!
Sweet Potato Chili with Black Beans
A clean-eating, crockpot favorite.
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 14.5-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes, with juice
- 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1lb lean ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 1. Cook ground turkey over medium-high, drain. Set aside.
- 2. Assemble onion, garlic, tomatoes, black beans and potatoes at the bottom of a crockpot.
- 3. Add ground turkey, seasonings and water in that particular order.
- 4. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
Growing up, I remember having sloppy joes all the time. I think it was half because they were so good and half because they were so easy to make since they came prepackaged; all you had to do was heat ’em up and slop it on a bun.
This is a more chicken-esque take on the sloppy joe. You may have to do a little more work with preparing the sauce and patiently waiting for it to cook in the crock-pot for a few hours. It’s worth it. And honestly, I think this version is a lot better than the store-bought sloppy joes.
BBQ Chicken Hawaiian Sliders
A different take on sloppy joes using a crockpot and chicken.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup zesty italian dressing
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- hawaiian bread sliders
- 1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together barbecue sauce, italian dressing, worcestershire sauce and brown sugar. Set aside.
- 2. Trim chicken breasts of any fat. Place on the bottom of a slow-cooker.
- 3. Add barbecue mixture into slow-cooker, making sure to cover each chicken breasts top and bottom. Cook on low for 4 ½ hours.
- 4. Remove chicken breasts and shred using two forks into small pieces. Return to slow-cooker, making sure to mix it well with the barbecue sauce. Cook for an additional 45 minutes.
- 5. Fill each hawaiian slider generously with barbecue chicken and enjoy.