Grilled Basil Spinach Pesto Burgers

I spent a sunny afternoon at Starbucks the other day.  If you can’t read on the beach, you might as well read on the Starbucks patio with an iced coffee and a brownie.

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Unfortunately, it’s hard to read when you’re trying to eavsdrop on the two couples sitting at the table behind you.

From what I gathered, one couple was visiting from Ottawa.  And they were talking about open bars and weddings, and hiking the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu, and I really wanted to join in on their conversation, and perhaps make some new friends.  But that would have been weird, right?  Is it socially acceptable to just join in on someone else’s conversation?  Probably not, eh?

But, like, what would they have done if I had turned around and said “Oh, hey, you hiked the Inca Trail?  Cool.  My boyfriend really wants to do that, but I have a lot of reservations about it.  Like what is the bathroom situation like?”

I didn’t say anything.  I just kept reading my book.  So I guess we’ll never know.

But maybe that’s how people make new friends when you’re an adult in the real world.  By butting in on strangers conversations.

Once they left I could focus on my book again.  Then I went home and made supper.  And what a supper it was!

I’ve already told you about the fabulous peach cobblers I made for dessert.  Now I’ll tell you about the main course.

I was in the mood for burgers, but I didn’t know what kind.  And then I saw this recipe from my old buddy Martha.  I’ve often grilled portobellos and topped those with pesto for a quick and easy supper.  But never had I thought to put the pesto IN the  burger.  Such a super fantastic idea!

I tweaked it a bit by adding some lemon juice to the pesto and using whole wheat ciabatta buns.  I considered swapping out the walnuts for pine nuts, but the grocery store was out, so walnuts it was.  Plus walnuts are cheaper anyway.

The pesto is totally adaptable.  Swap out the herbs, greens, or nuts for whatever you’re feeling.  I’m sure arugula instead of spinach would be fab!

I made a side of these zucchini fries from Weeklybite, which I’d pinned the recipe for ages ago and finally just got around to making.  They made a great side dish.  And they’re a vegetable.

I felt all fancy with my pesto burger and zucchini fries.  So much flavour from the pesto!  And the cheese is all melty and the tomatoes soft and juicy.  It’s such a shame I didn’t have a bottle of wine chilled to go with it.

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Grilled Basil Spinach Pesto Burgers

Slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 4

1 cup basil

1 cup spinach

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

1/4 cup walnuts

1 tbsp lemon juice

450g ground chicken

Pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

2 large tomatoes, sliced (4 slices per tomato)

Fresh mozzarella

4 whole wheat ciabatta buns

Preheat grill to medium heat.

In a food processor (or blender), process basil, spinach, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice until comes together as a nice pesto sauce.  I used my Vitamix and had to add a little extra lemon juice to get the pesto to come together.  This probably wouldn’t be an issue in a food processor.

In a bowl, combine 1 tbsp of the pesto, the chicken, and some pepper.  Use your hands to mix until combined.  Don’t over mix.  Bring mixture together into a big round disk.  Score with the side of your hand into 4 equal portions.  Form each quarter into a burger, making an indent so it’s thinner in the center.

Brush burgers with oil.  Place on grill.  Cover.  Cook for about 10 minutes.  Flip and continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so until burgers are cooked through completely.  We don’t want any raw chicken!  Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your burgers and your grill.

After flipping the burgers, drizzle the tomato slices with olive oil and place on grill.  Cook for about 2-4 minutes until slightly charred with grill marks, then flip and cook another 2-4 minutes.

When burgers are almost done, top each burger with a mozzarella slice to melt.  Place your buns on the grill (I use the top rack) for a minute or two to get a little colour.

To serve, spread some of the remaining pesto on both sides of bun, top with a burger and two tomato slices.  Yum!

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Look at that green pesto!

The Easiest-Best-Three-Ingredient-Chicken Recipe Ever (aka Salt and Pepper Chicken)

Holy moly, that’s a long title!

But it’s true!  This is the easiest, but also the best, chicken recipe you’ll ever make.  And you only need three ingredients.

Although the title is long, it is accurate.

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But before we get to the chicken, let’s discuss Big Brother 15!

You know it’s officially summer once Big Brother starts.  And you know I think of the Big Brother cast as my BFFs since I hang out with them all summer long.  What a season it’s shaping up to be!

I don’t think there’s ever been such intense game play right off the bat like this.  Going after the strong players at first is practically unheard of!

And the hostility!  This is the meanest group of hot people I’ve ever seen.  For having good looks, some of these girls just don’t have beautiful insides to go along with them.  Just because you’re pretty does not give you permission to be nasty.

Other things I’ve found interesting about this season so far include:

1.  Aaryn and David were probably the shortest lived showmance ever.  It’s too bad he got voted out so early.  He was interesting to watch and got a lot of screen time.  But, lucky for him, I think he dodged a bullet by getting voted out and nipping that relationship in the bud.

2.  What is up with the relationship between Amanda and McRae??  Weirdest showmance ever!  But he’s grown on me.  He’s kinda sweet in that nerdy awkward kind of way.  And he told her she was his queen.  Isn’t that really all any woman wants in a relationship?  Good for the pizza delivery boy!

3.  What was up with GinaMarie’s meltdown over Nick being voted out?  You would have thought someone died.  She’d only known him a couple of weeks.  I don’t get it.  I can’t fully get on board with GinaMarie because she’s one of the mean girls.

4.  I’m not sure how I feel about the whole MVP thing.  My theory is that CBS changed it this week to have America vote for the third nominee instead of a MVP who could nominate a third houseguest because they were tired of America voting Elissa, Rachel’s sister, as MVP every week.

So there’s my Big Brother rant.

Now, back to chicken.  I wasn’t going to blog it because it’s so simple, but then I decided because it is so good, you need to know about it.

I first made this last summer after going on a major pinning binge and pinning like every Martha Stewart chicken recipe.  This one caught my eye because Michael is in love with Boston Pizza’s salt and pepper chicken wings, and I may steal one from his order every time he gets them so I can confirm that they are delicious.  If salt and pepper wings taste awesome, why wouldn’t salt and pepper chicken breast grilled on the BBQ?

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Salt and Pepper Grilled Chicken

slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Serves 2, easily multiplied

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 chicken breasts (I used boneless, skinless)

Combine salt and pepper in small bowl.  Rub all over chicken breasts.  Let sit room temperature for 30 minutes (this kinda skeeved me out because I don’t like to let meat sit out on the counter, so I let them sit at room temperature for a bit, and then I put in the fridge until I was ready to BBQ).  Preheat grill to medium heat.  Grill until cooked through (no longer pink, juices run clear, use a meat thermometer if you’re not sure) about 10-15 minutes per side depending on thickness of your chicken.

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I like to top the chicken with a fresh fruit salsa and serve with rice.  This time I used grilled pineapple salsa.

 

Margarita Chicken Burgers With Strawberry Mango Tequila Salsa

Nothing says summer like burgers.  I’ve decided I need more burgers in my life.

And I need more of these burgers in particular.

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I would have grilled them, but I ran out of propane a couple of weeks ago, and I’m lazy and haven’t gotten around to getting it refilled yet.  It also might have something to do with the fact that I’m scared that I will explode somehow during the process of exchanging the tank.

I mean, I live in an apartment building, and I don’t want to carry a heavy, full propane tank up a million flights of stairs.  And I don’t like the thoughts of being trapped in an elevator with a propane tank.

What is the proper way to transport a propane tank through an apartment building?

I know in a car you’re supposed to stand it up on the floor in the back seat and crack the window, but there’s no window in an elevator.

So when I eventually work up the courage to brave being exploded, I will get more propane, and then I will make more of these burgers because they are fantastic!

Tequila in the burger.  Tequila in the salsa.  Why not put some tequila in your drink too, and pair these with a big ol’ margarita.

Perfect for a summer barbecue.

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Margarita Chicken Burgers

Slightly adapated from Annie’s Eats

1 pkg ground chicken

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

3 tbsp of cilantro or so, finely chopped (I usually just eyeball it)

Zest of 1 lime

Juice of half a lime

1 shot of tequila

Dash of soy sauce

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Burger buns of your choosing, toasted (I used multigrain thin buns)

Cheese (I used shredded marble, but use what you like)

Strawberry Mango Tequila Salsa, recipe to follow

Preheat grill pan or grill to medium heat.

Put all but last three ingredients in a bowl, and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined, but try not to overmix.  I think I’ve read that that makes for tough burgers.

Sort of smooth out mixture into a big disk in the bowl, then score in score with an X to divide it into quarters.  This is a little tip from Rachael Ray to help you end up with evenly sized burgers.  Form each quarter into a patty, pressing down to make an indentation in the middle.  You want the middles thinner because it helps the burger cook evenly.  They plump as they cook.

Grill burgers using either a grill pan or on the grill until cooked through and no longer pink in the middles, and juices run clear.  We don’t want any raw chicken!  I probably ended up cooking mine close to 10 minutes per side.  This will vary depending on you stove/grill/thickness of burgers.

When burgers are almost done, top with cheese and allow to melt.  Remove from grill/grill pan and place on toasted bun.  Top with salsa and enjoy!

Strawberry Mango Tequila Salsa

Adapted from Mango Strawberry Salsamole

1 small red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

5 large strawberries, chopped

1 mango, peeled and chopped

4 green onions, sliced

1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped

1 tbsp tequila

Juice of a lime

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

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Pomegranate Chicken Thighs

So I said I wouldn’t get involved in watching The Bachelor this season.

I’ve got stuff to do.  I can’t be wasting two hours every week watching that trash.  But my DVR recorded it for me (how thoughtful) and then I started watching it while I was eating supper because there was nothing else on and then I remembered that Sean was the bachelor.

And ABC took advantage of my love for the familiar.  I remember Sean as being adorable from Emily’s season of The Bachelorette.  So now I feel like I need to watch the rest of this season.

Well played ABC.

And if the season premiere is anything like the rest of the season, it looks like there will be plenty of awkwardness, ridiculousness, and cattiness.

Who acts like this in real life?

A few words of advice for future Bachelor contestants, don’t get wasted at the first cocktail party.  Not only will you make a fool of yourself, but there are cameras… filming you.  Your behaviour will be broadcast on national TV.

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Anyway, you know what’s not ridiculous?  This pomegranate chicken.

This was my first time cooking with chicken thighs.  I’ve always been a boneless, skinless chicken breast kind of girl.  But you know what?  Thighs aren’t too bad.  They stay nice and moist, which can sometimes be tricky with chicken breasts.  And you can usually get a good buy on them.

It’s a recipe from a dietician, but don’t let that scare you.  You’d never know it.  It’s full of delicious goodness.

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Pomegranate Chicken Thighs

Recipe from Sobeys Dieticians, reprinted with permission from one of the dieticians, method adapted slightly.

1 tbsp canola oil

1/4 cup onion finely chopped (I used 1 small onion)

2 cloves garlic, grated on a fine mesh grater

1.3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 cup pomegranate juice

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup honey

Pomegrante arils for garnish

Preheat oven to 400º.  Heat oil in an oven safe frying pan on medium heat.  Add onion and cook until lightly browned.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Remove from frying pan and save for later.

Put the pan back on the heat and add the chicken thighs.  Brown on all sides of the chicken thighs.  To make sure that the chicken cooks through, I transferred the thighs to the oven to finish cooking through.  Depending on how long you brown them on the stove top, this may take 15-20 minutes.  Make sure your chicken is cooked completely.  You may want to use a meat thermometer to make sure, or you can cut into one to make sure it’s no longer pink inside.

While chicken is cooking, get the glaze/sauce going.  In a small pot, combine the pomegranate juice, balsamic vinegar, and honey.  Cook on medium-high heat until the sauce has reduced by half its volume, stirring often.

Once chicken is cooked and sauce is thickened, remove the chicken from the oven and put it back on the burner.  Add the onion mixture back to the pan with the sauce and cook until the chicken is well coated in the sauce (maybe another 5 minutes or so).

To serve, place the chicken on a plate with some sauce drizzled over top.  Garnish with pomegranate arils.

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Easy Oven-Roasted Herbes de Provence Chicken

Did you all have a fabulous weekend doing lots of Christmasy things?

After getting stuck in an unexpected traffic jam Friday night which more than doubled the length of my commute into the city and nearly caused a panic attack when I had to get off the highway at an unfamiliar exit (but at least I wasn’t the guy in the accident who needed to be air lifted to the hospital), I had a great weekend complete with a Festive Special from Swiss Chalet and a double date that included dinner at Il Mercato and going to the theatre to see Elf – The Musical, based on one of my all time favorite Christmas movies.  Plus I got to wear my new sparkly holiday dress.

I’ve decided I need to find more reasons to get dressed up.  It’s something that’s lacking in my life, and it’s so much fun to put on a dress and make-up and put some effort into doing your hair.

Oh, and I went to see The Hobbit.  Michael was super excited about that.  Me, not so much.  I guess it was good… although I kept waiting for Orlando Bloom to show up in elf form and it never happened.  Apparently he’s going to be in the second Hobbit movie I guess.

Anyway, I digress.

It’s that time of year when we all need a few quick and simple recipes to get us through the mad rush before the holidays.


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I don’t know about you, but I feel like my to-do list is a mile long, and that can be very overwhelming.

My plan of attack this week is to get my wrapping done, and do some baking.  I didn’t have much luck last week in the fudge and truffle department.

So whether you’re ready for Christmas, or not like me, this makes a delicious supper.  And it couldn’t be easier.  Basically, you throw all the ingredients in the pan, and that’s pretty much it.

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I brought my herbes de provence back from France, but you can find some at the grocery store.  It’s a mix of various herbs commonly used in Southern French cooking.

I rounded out my meal with some oven roasted sweet potatoes that I gave a little head start in the microwave, and some brussel sprouts.

Nothing tastes better on a cold winter’s evening than something that’s been roasted in the oven.

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Herbes de Provence Chicken

Adapted from allrecipes.com

4 chicken breasts (I used the skinny boneless, skinless ones)

1 tbsp Herbes de Provence

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup chicken stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400º.  Line pan with tinfoil.  To save dishes, combine the herbs, oil, and stock in the pan, and give a stir to mix.  Add the chicken to the pan, and toss to coat.  Make sure each side and each piece of chicken gets exposed to the herb mix.

Place in oven and bake about 30 minutes until cooked through.  I used the really skinny breast fillets.  If you’re using a thicker or bone in pieces, this will probably take longer.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Remember that salsa I told you about on Monday?  Did you make it yet?  It’s good isn’t it?

But you know what tastes even better?

That salsa on top of this chicken!

Have you ever been to Jamaica and had real jerk chicken?

I have and it was delicious!

Jerk chicken has a reputation for being spicy.  But don’t fear, my heat sensitive readers!  I didn’t find this chicken incredibly spicy.  All the spice lives in the ribs and seeds of the jalapeno, and I left those out.  Next time I make it, I’m going to try leaving the jalapeno seeds in, or using a hotter pepper.  Give that a try if you want to up the heat factor.

This chicken has some great flavor!  Maybe not the exact same as the chicken I had in Jamaica, but delicious none the less.  Top it with the salsa, and it’s like a flavor explosion in your mouth!  And it all looks so pretty too!

Serve on top of a bed of regular or coconut jasmine or basmati rice and you’ve got yourself an awesome Caribbean inspired supper.  Ya mon!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

(ever so slightly adapted from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski)

serves 4

3-4 green onions, chopped

Juice of 2 limes

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tbsp grated ginger

1 clove garlic, finely grated

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped

2 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp pepper

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Put all ingredients except chicken in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  Put the marinade in a large ziplock bag, add chicken, seal, make sure chicken is coated, and refrigerate overnight.

Heat grill to medium-high heat.  Grill chicken until cooked through, flipping once, about 10-15 minutes per side.

Serve chicken on a bed of rice with grilled pineapple salsa.

Grilled Chicken Caprese

I was a little slow firing up my grill this season for a couple of reasons.

1.  I ran out of propane last fall and didn’t refill my tank until, oh the middle of June because I have issues with getting stuff done.

2.  My BBQ had blown over last winter (probably due to lack of a full propane tank to weigh it down) and I was afraid something might have happened to the propane connection and that I was going to blow up when I lit it.

3.  My deck has been taken over by wild squirrels (well possibly just one or maybe two different squirrels).

In the past four years that I’ve lived here, before this year I had seen a squirrel on my deck maybe twice.  Now he shows up almost daily.

He shouldn’t even be on my deck because a) I live in an apartment on the second floor and b) there are no acorns out there.

Michael says he’s building a nest in my BBQ, which he very well may want to.  Add that as #4 on my list of why I was hesitant to grill this year.

You may say, “Well Karen, he’s just so darn cute.”

To which I would reply, you’re crazy!  Look at those beady little eyes and those claw like fingers.  I agree with Carrie Bradshaw, who wisely said, “A squirrel is just rat with a cuter outfit.”

You’re darn right it is.

I am terrified the squirrel is going to somehow find its way into my apartment and then we will have a whole new situation to deal with.  I also don’t want to share my deck with him when I’m out there, because if it touches me, I’ll lose it.

I was out there reading yesterday morning when it tried to make its way over from the neighbor’s.

I may have yelped, jumped up, and ran inside to the safety of my apartment.

He’s a belligerent little fellow.

One of them will just stand there on my railing and look at me through the screen door as I holler at it to “GO AWAY!” and clap my hands to make noise, unphased.

Did you know there is an eHow on how to get rid of squirrels from your deck?  I don’t think it was drafted for apartment dwellers, but I’m going to give some of their tips a try anyway.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a dog or a cat to put out there, and I don’t have a lawn to pile acorns on as a diversion either.  I am going to try the chilli powder and soap though.  I just need to get some non-fruity smelling, stinky soap that he really won’t like.

Anyway, so as you can see, it was difficult for me to work up the courage to fire up the grill.

When I did, that pepper salad and this chicken were the spoils of my labour.

And who do you supposed showed up after I finished BBQ-ing?  Mr Belligerent Squirrel was out there sniffing around the deck by the BBQ.

Anyway, if you have any suggestions for getting rid of squirrels, I would greatly appreciate them!

Grilled Chicken Caprese

(slightly adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine)

4 chicken breasts

4 slices of fresh mozzarella

2 plum tomatoes, sliced (you need 8 slices)

8 basil leaves

4 slices of prosciutto*

3 tbsp olive oil

2 lemons, cut in half

1/4 cup pesto

Cut a deep pocket into each chicken breast.  Place a cheese slice, two tomato slices, and two basil leaves in each pocket.  Wrap one piece of prosciutto around each chicken breast, trying to enclose the filling.

Preheat grill to medium.  Brush the chicken with olive oil.  Cook until cooked through, ideally turning only once.  This is where I had some issues.  It was windy and some of my burners kept going out.  I ended up turning mine a few times, because I wanted to make sure they weren’t burning.  I probably ended up cooking mine for a total of about 30 minutes.  The original recipe said to grill 10 minutes, turning once and then move to a cooler part of the grill for five minutes until no longer pink.  Mine definitely needed more time than that.  Once cooked, transfer to a plate.

Grill the lemons for the last five minutes or so, until they get some color.

Combine the oil and pesto and drizzle over the plated chicken.  Serve with the grilled lemon halves (they get nice and juicy).

* Note:  I think most of the cheese ended up melting into the BBQ.  I’m not sure if this is because I didn’t do a good enough job of wrapping the chicken with the prosciutto to seal it in or not.  Next time I might try two pieces of prosciutto to see if that helps.  I’m also thinking this might be good done in the oven in the winter.

 

 P.S.  A Freckle In Time is now on Facebook!  See the link to the right to “like” it!  I wish I could make a “dislike” button for squirrels.

Coconut Lime Chicken Tacos With Mango Strawberry Salsamole

Along with coconut, pina coladas, avocados, the beach, and sunsets, tacos are something that I think I need more of in my life.

And that is why I am sharing this recipe with you folks today.

It combines many of my favorite summery flavours: coconut, lime, strawberry, and mango.  Oh and avocados!

I used to be strongly opposed to the whole fruit as part of my entrée.  That was until I had Jessica’s tacos with strawberry avocado salsa (which you simply must try!).  Then I realized it was a good idea and ate those tacos two nights in a row and put strawberries in my salad for the rest of the week.

I know it’s getting a bit hot for the oven.  My apartment building has the worst air circulation ever!  It was 28 degrees in here yesterday and I thought I was going to burst into flames.  Thankfully, today is much cooler and I’m actually getting a breeze in my window.  I made these a couple of weeks ago before the heat wave struck.  But you could totally marinate the chicken breast whole instead of in strips, and grill it on the BBQ and then slice to be used in tacos.

Make these.  You’ll be glad you did.

Coconut Lime Chicken Tacos with Mango Strawberry Salsamole 
(inspiration from How Sweet It Is)
 
4 chicken breasts, cut into strips lengthwise
8 whole wheat/multigrain tortillas
Monterary jack cheese, shredded
Cilantro
 
Marinade:
(adapted from Coconut Lime Chicken)
 
2 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 cup green onion, chopped (I used a spring onion I got at the market)
1/2 cup cilantro
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp honey
1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice and zest of one lime
 
Mango Strawberry Salsamole:
(adapted from Mango Salsa from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications Ultimate Mexican 2011 ed.)
 
1 small red pepper, chopped
1 mango, chopped
1 spring onion or 3-4 green onions, chopped
1 jalepeno, chopped finely
4 large strawberries, chopped
1 avocado, diced
Juice of one lime
 
Put all marinade ingredients in bowl of food processor or blender.  Process until smooth.  Pour into a Ziploc bag and add chicken strips.  Give it a massage to coat all chicken pieces.  Refrigerate for 2 hours or so.
 
Preheat oven to 450º.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place wire cooling rack on top.  Put the chicken strips on the rack and bake for 20 minutes.  Flip strips.  Bake another 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
 
While chicken is baking, make the salsamole by combining salsamole ingredients in a bowl and stirring.
 
Heat a frying pan or grill pan over medium heat.  Warm tortillas by placing in the hot pan for about 30 seconds per side or until it starts to brown.
 
Build tacos by placing 2-3 chicken strips on tortilla.  Top with cheese, salsamole, and cilantro.  Fold in half and enjoy!
 

 I could go for one of these right now.

 

The Payzant Special

Once upon a time, I was a University student who had three roommates (Amanda, Becka, and Beth) and we all lived in a dirty house on a street named Payzant.

Despite the fact that the house was a disaster (the paint was literally coming off the walls in the bathroom) and we endured a mice infestation, we lived in that house for four years.  Those four years were the best years of my life, and I don’t think I will ever have friendships as great as those relationships.

It was during this time that I started cooking and baking.  I’d bake my mom’s chocolate cookies for my roomies (they’d help stir and eat the batter), squares for “baking issues” (a pharmacy students favorite assignment, I just wish I knew then what I know now – my baking issues would have been a lot more creative!), and cinnamon buns for bake sales.  I got the Kraft “What’s Cooking” magazine in the mail and I loved looking through it to find recipes.

That’s where I found this little gem.

I tried this recipe out and it was a hit with me and the roomies.  I think we ended up making this every week.

Cooking back then was fun because it was a team effort.  Someone would cook the chicken, someone else would chop the veggies, someone else would grate the cheese.  And you also had someone to help you with dishes.

We also lived for cheese!

Beth once said that she went into a panic when she was running low on cheese.

This is just one cheesy skillet full of deliciousness!  Plus some broccoli, so you’re getting your green veggies. Delicious and nutritious.

The Payzant Special
(adapted from Kraft)
 
1/4 cup Calorie Wise Zesty Italian dressing
1-2 chicken breasts (depending on how large they are, and how chicken-y you want it to be)
1 1/4 cup chicken stock (I use the no-salt added kind)
1 1/2 cups brown minute rice (you know, the kind that says it’s done in 10 minutes)
1 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
2 stalks broccoli, florets chopped
1/2 8 oz container of mushrooms, sliced 
About a cup or so of old cheddar cheese, grated
Pepper
 
Cut chicken into bite size chunks.  Add salad dressing to large frying pan that’s been preheated on medium heat.  Add chicken chunks.  Stir to coat.  Cook until cooked through and just starting to brown.
 
Add stock, onions, and rice.  Bring to boil.  Turn down heat to low, cover pan, and simmer for five minutes. 
 
Add the rest of the veggies.  Stir.  Cover.  Cook for five minutes.
 
Turn off heat.  Stir in half of cheese to the rice mixture, then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.  Cover and let sit five minutes.
 

Tastes best while watching Friends or Sex and the City reruns… and then you should take an after supper nap.

Coconut Lime Chicken

Ever since the snow melted and the sun came out and it’s been actually warm, I’ve had a MAJOR case of SPRING FEVER.

I feel so antsy!  I don’t want to work.  I don’t want to clean my apartment (although I would love if someone would do it for me).  All I want to do is sit on my deck and drink margaritas.

Oh, and it’s making the last week before my vacation unbearable!  I just want to go now!!

I’m a little concerned that the spring weather won’t stay.  Last year I remember coming back from Mexico about the middle of April, and I’m pretty sure it was cloudy and cold for like two months straight after that.  I don’t think there really was much of a spring at all.  And no sun = me in a funk.  So here’s hoping Mother Nature cooperates this year.

For now, I’ll enjoy the sun while it’s here and I will open my windows to let the fresh air in!

And why not have some Coconut Lime Chicken.  Tastes like summer!

I’ve already told you about how much I love the smell of coconut lime in candle or soap form.  Now I can tell you that it TASTES delicious in chicken form.

This is one of the best chicken recipes  I have ever made and I will definitely be making it again.  It would probably be great on the BBQ too.

Coconut Lime Chicken Breasts
(slightly adapted from Rachael Ray)
 
3 cloves garlic, grated
A piece of fresh ginger about the size of your finger, peeled and grated
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
4-6 chicken breasts
 
Make marinade:  Combine all ingredients except chicken in food processor and puree.  By already having the ginger and garlic grated, you avoid getting big chunks and helps it combine easier.
 
Cut two slits in each chicken breast so that the marinade can really get in there.  I used 4 chicken breasts, but there was lots of marinade, so I’m sure you could do 6 if you wanted to.  Put the chicken and the marinade in a large Ziploc bag and give it a massage.  Marinate at least 1 hour in the fridge.
 
Preheat oven to 450º.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil and setting a wire rack on top.  Place chicken on the rack and bake until done, flipping chicken breasts halfway through.  I cooked mine for about 40 minutes total.
 
Tip:  If you have extra coconut milk left over, freeze it in a baggie or plastic storage container.  Make sure you label it so you remember what it is.
 

I LOVE this chicken!  It’s so moist and flavorful.  I served it with Pico de gallo rice pilaf.  Kind of a mash up and Thai and Mexican.  Somehow I didn’t notice the ginger in the recipe when I was menu planning for the week.  But it worked.  This would also be good served with basmati or jasmine rice.