Little Lemon Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce

Lemon Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce

These chicken fingers are for sure not your average chicken fingers.  They are a more grown up version, but at the same time, compensated with the sweet sauce that goes with it.  It’s a pleasing twist on the classic.  I decided to cut the chicken into smaller pieces than regular chicken fingers to make it easier to pick up and handle.  I found this recipe in Food Networks Kitchen Favorite Recipes, but made my own adjustments to it.  For starters, the recipe calls for the chicken to be fried and I opted to bake it instead to be healthier.

Little Lemon Chicken Fingers with Apricot Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup panko crumbs
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 2/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp ketchup
  • dash of ground ginger
  • freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon (about 2 tbsp)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Cut the chicken into long even pieces, then cut diagonally.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a shallow bowl or pie plate, toss the panko, lemon zest, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Beat the eggs in another bowl.
  • Dip the chicken in the eggs, and then press into the panko mixture to coat evenly, shaking off any excess.
  • Add all of the chicken to a clear pan or a baking sheet and cook for 35 minutes, uncovered.
  • In a small microwaveable bowl, add the apricot preserves, soy sauce, ketchup, and ground ginger; cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the preserves melt, about 30 seconds.
  • Stir in lemon juice and cool before serving.

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

Summer Vegetabls with Sausage and Potatoes

Summer is here and I think it’s time for a refreshingly light meal.  I found this delicious recipe over at skinnytaste.com and am so glad I did.

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

  • 1 lb baby red potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tsp EVOO
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • 14 oz Italian chicken sausage, sliced 1-inch thick
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of the knife
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced 1-inch squares
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary (or other fresh herb such as thyme)
  • 2 cups zucchini, 1/2 inch thick and quartered

Directions

  • Heat a large, deep non-stick skillet on high and add EVOO.  Add potatoes and season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.  Once the potatoes start to sizzle, reduce heat to low; place lid on pan and continue cooking for 20-25 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent potatoes from burning.  Remove from heat; let sit 5 minutes with lid still on.  Set potatoes aside on a dish.
  • Heat the same skillet on medium-heat and add the sausage to it.  Saute the sausage and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes or until browned.  Season the chopped vegetables with salt and pepper.  Add onions, peppers, garlic and rosemary to the skillet and stir until vegetables are slightly browned.  Add zucchini until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Return potatoes back to skillet and mix everything up well.  Add salt and pepper as needed.  Cover and cook 5 minutes.

 

Cajun Chicken Pasta

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I love cajun chicken pasta…wherever I go.  Whether it’s Cheesecake Factory, Chili’s, or TGI Friday’s.  I love it.  Spices are amazing to me.  So I thought rather than always being tempted to get the cajun chicken pasta at other restaurants that I would start making it myself and try different things more often!  This is so good, every time.  It’s just not something I could get tired of ❤

Cajun Chicken Pasta

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 small colored sweet bell peppers, sliced into strips (I used yellow, orange, and red)
  • 3 tbsp cajun seasoning (2 for chicken, 1 for sauce later)
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder (2 for chicken, 1 for sauce later)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 8 oz. penne pasta
  • 2 green onions, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Heat a deep skillet on medium-high heat and add EVOO to it.  Once heated, place chicken, sweet bell peppers, 2 tbsp cajun seasoning, and 2 tbsp garlic powder to it and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown.
  • Add chicken broth, half and half, the rest of the cajun seasoning, the rest of the garlic powder, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper.  Give it a stir and bring to boil.  Once it’s boiling, simmer it and place a lid on top and cook for about 10-12 minutes.  Add the sliced green onions at the very end and serve.

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Chicken Marsala

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This fabulous recipe comes from the none other Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I’m just nuts over this sauce!

Chicken Marsala

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry Marsala
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced fresh button or cremini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
  • Hot cooked pasta (optional)
  • Snipped fresh Italian parsley

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a shallow dish, stir together flour, thyme, salt, and pepper; set aside.  Place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken lightly to about 1/4 inch thick.  Discard plastic wrap.  Coat chicken pieces with flour mixture; shake off excess.
  • In a small bowl whisk together any remaining flour mixture, the broth, and Marsala; set aside.
  • In a large skillet, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon of the butter and the olive oil over medium-high heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once.  Transfer chicken to a platter; cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Add mushrooms and shallot to skillet; cook for 6 to 8 minutes until tender.  Remove skillet from heat.  Carefully add Marsala mixture to skillet.  Return to heat.  Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly.  Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter until incorporated.  If desired, serve over pasta.  Spoon mushroom sauce over chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley.

Chicken with Lemon and Thyme Pan Sauce

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Here’s another recipe I found in the Better Homes and Garden cookbook.  I made a few tweaks to it to make it more custom to my taste.  And oooooh my goodness, this was SO good!

I opted for about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice versus the 2 teaspoons and am so glad I did because it adds just a little bit more of that lemon flavor.  I also cooked my chicken differently because I’m not a fan of just pan frying chicken.  I enjoy throwing it in the oven for a few minutes after the pan fry.

Chicken with Lemon and Thyme Pan Sauce

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Dash of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallot or onion
  • 2 tbsp whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut up
  • Juice from half of fresh lemon (2 tbsp)
  • 2 tsp snipped fresh thyme

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pre-heat the oven to 430 degrees.
  • For the chicken, clean it by running it under water for a little bit, and bringing it to your chicken only cutting board, and cut away any fat pieces.  Pat it dry and sprinkle both sides of chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper
  • In a large skillet, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat.  Add chicken to skillet and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.  Place chicken in a glass pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
  • In the same skillet the chicken was cooked in, add the vegetable broth and onion; scrape up any chicken bits from the bottom of the skillet into the sauce.  Bring to boil.  Boil gently, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup.  Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Stir in whipping cream.  Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring until butter melts after each addition.  Sauce should be slightly thickened.  Season to taste with additional salt and pepper.  Serve sauce over chicken.DSC01092

Chicken Parmigiana

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I found this classic recipe for chicken parmigiana in the Better Homes and Garden cookbook that I love so much!  Sometimes you just want to go back to the classics, ya know?

Chicken Parmigiana

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • Dash of black better
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 1/2 cup seasoned fine dry bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (1 ounce)

INSTRUCTIONS

  • For sauce, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.  Stir in the tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat.  Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or to desired consistency, stirring occasionally.  Stir in basil at the last minute.  Set aside and keep warm.
  • For the chicken, place each chicken breast half between two pieces of plastic wrap.  Using the flat side of a meat mallet, pound chicken lightly to about 1/4 inch thick.  Discard plastic wrap.
  • In a shallow bowl, stir together bread crumbs, 3 tbsp of the Parmesan cheese, and the oregano.  In a second bowl, stir together the egg and milk.  Di[p chicken into egg mixture and into crumb mixture to coat.
  • In a very large skillet cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until golden.  Transfer chicken to platter.
  • Spoon sauce over chicken.  Top with mozzarella cheese and the remaining 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese.  Let stand about 2 minutes or until cheese melts.

Sloppy Joseph

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All right, you guys.  Who’s ready for a grown up sloppy joe?  It’s grown up because we A) made it ourselves, and B) it’s got vegetables in it.  Oh, look at us adulting!  It tastes really good and I don’t know about you, but my guilt is gone when I’m having one of these, especially because I have some pretty tasty sides to go with it, like my baked potato bites and a side of salad.

Sloppy Joseph

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • fancy buns of your choosing
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place a large skillet on the stove on medium high heat and add EVOO
  • Add the ground turkey, 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion, and 1/2 cup green bell pepper to the skillet.  Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes using a wooden spoon; drain off fat.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons water, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Bring to boiling; now reduce heat
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.  During this time, toast those buns and serve once the 5 minutes are up

Chicken Taquitos

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Are y’all ready for the best chicken taquitos you’ve ever had?  No exaggeration there – you won’t find better!  Bear with me with my picture taking “skills,” please.  I’m embarrassingly bad, but I promise the food tastes a heck of a lot better than my abilities to show it!  Yikes :/  Also, my last post was 8 months ago.  I don’t want to focus on the bad, but I’m sorry that I’ve neglected you!  I have come to share some amazing recipes with you again and hope you’ll enjoy them!

So I found this amazing recipe over at seededatthetable.com, which they’ve actually adapted from ourbestbites.com.  I’VE adapted it to my own tastes and let me tell you, not a SINGLE person will turn these bad boys down!  Even the kids love it.  Yes, you heard me, KIDS LOVE THESE TAQUITOS!

Ok, as you can tell, I am very excited about these guys.  They’re just so good!

Chicken Taquitos

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large skinless, de-boned chicken breast
  • ¼ cup red salsa (I like Tostito’s medium chunky salsa)
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onions
  • 1 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • small corn tortillas
  • kosher salt
  • cooking spray
  • toothpicks

INSTRUCTIONS FOR CHICKEN

  • Clean your chicken by running it under water for a little bit, bring it to your chicken only cutting board, and cut away any fat pieces
  • Place the chicken in a pot and add cold water to the pot until it’s about halfway full
  • Add ½ tsp salt to water, then cook for 15 minutes
  • Take chicken out with tongs and place on a clean surface and shred it with one hand holding the chicken down with your tongs and a fork in the other hand actually doing the shredding

Now it’s time to get started on the rest of the meal!

INSTRUCTIONS FOR TAQUITO FILLING

  • In a large bowl, add 3 ounces of softened cream cheese, ¼ cup red salsa, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, ½ tsp each of: ground cumin, chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder and stir until it’s combined well
  • Stir in the green onions
  • Stir in the chicken and 1 cup of cheese

INSTRUCTIONS FOR ASSEMBLING TAQUITOS

Now it’s the easy part: putting it all together!

  • On two pieces of paper towels, add 2 small corn tortillas in the center
  • Wrap them up nice and tight
  • Place in microwave for 30 seconds. BE CAREFUL, IT’S HOT!
  • Carefully take out from microwave and place on clean surface
  • Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture onto the lower third of a tortilla
  • Roll the tortilla tightly and stick two toothpicks on either side of the tortilla
  • Place on a large cooking tray that is covered in tin foil
  • Once you’ve rolled all of your tortillas up, spray them all with cooking spray and sprinkle kosher salt on each. Don’t get too crazy with the salt!
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown

Here is a picture of them in all of their glory.  It’s actually how I typically eat them because they’re so good on their own, but I thought I would spice them up today with the guac and sour cream.  Oh, and the cheese!  Let’s not forget about the yummy cheese!DSC01037

And if that’s not spicy enough, you could add some refried beans and chips with your taquitos.  I mean, if you REALLY want to indulge.

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Individual Chicken Pot Pies (Healthy)

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Hey Guys!  I know, I know, I’m just the worst.  My last post was in January and it’s already the end of the year now, trying to pick up where I left off.  Who does that?  Me!

I do apologize.  School has been insane.  I’m about finished with this semester – I’ve only got 1 1/2 months left, and then I take a two month vacation, and then it’s my LAST semester!  Woo hoo!!  I’m so excited!  What am I going to do with all of that free time?!

Since it’s been so difficult for me to add cooking to my list of responsible adult things to do while in school (and working full time…gotta get as much sympathy as I can here), I haven’t been eating well.  In fact, oh my gosh, I’ve been eating so poorly lately.  I’ve gained quite a bit of weight, my skin hasn’t been doing so hot, I don’t feel great, and my credit card is HURTING from how much fast food I’ve put on it!  I’m so embarrassed.  BUT I am getting back into the swing of things now.  Scott and I just moved to an awesome apartment in an awesome part of town, which has an awesome gym!  I attempted that and since I’m so out of shape right now, I couldn’t hang.  I want to start cleaning up my diet first at least, taking baby steps, and then I’ll be able to respect myself a little more and get to the physical work!

So here we are, let’s start off with a DELICIOUS healthy chicken pot pie!  Yes, healthy and delicious can co-exist.  I kid you not, you guys, this is both tasty and good for you.  I don’t get how, but it just works.  So many recipes out there call for cream of chicken and I’m like WHAT?  But you don’t even need it.  All you need to do is to thicken up the sauce with some flour and oh my gosh, voila!  It gives it that consistency you’re looking for.  Wow…knowing that you can eat this dish and not feel guilty afterwards is huge for me.  Let’s go!

Individual Chicken Pot Pies (Healthy)

INGREDIENTS

  • One large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped medium yellow onion
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Frozen pie crust

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake chicken 30 minutes or until thermometer says it’s reached 160 degrees.  Cool and chop into little pieces.
  • Heat oil in a deep skillet on medium heat, adding garlic and onion, cooking for 2-3 minutes or until tender.
  • Stir in frozen mixed vegetables and cook for 3 minutes or until hot.
  • In a bowl, whisk together broth, milk, flour, salt and pepper and add to vegetable mixture.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, and simmer for 3 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  • Stir in chicken and mix it all up.
  • Spoon mixture into greased individual baking dishes.
  • Place pie crust on top of each baking dish, tearing off pieces to fit, crimping edges to seal.  Cut a few slits in crusts to vent.
  • Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until browned.

Walnut Crusted Chicken

Walnut Crusted Chicken

Today’s the first day the girls and I are starting our challenge.  No one is thrilled about it, but we all know it’s what’s best for us.  I did well until after dinner.  I can’t help myself, I love dessert.  I had ice cream.  It makes me so happy!!  And…I didn’t work out today.  I’m in a LOT of pain, okay?!  My tailbone hurts and my calves hurt from walking on the stairs yesterday and my little chicken wing hurts.  I’m a mess today!  So I’m taking today off, but don’t let me get away with it tomorrow!  Well, I need to tell the girls this so they can whip me back into shape!

So today we have another deliciously healthy meal.  Nom, nom!!  And I absolutely love these “true baby carrots” (that’s what they’re actually called…how cute!).  I’ve only ever seen them served at fancy restaurants, so when I saw them at the grocery store this weekend, I quickly threw them in my cart.  Just like a hot potato.  Nobody is allowed to take my carrots away!

WALNUT CRUSTED CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • egg
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • thinly sliced chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

INGREDIENTS FOR TRUE BABY CARROTS

  • 6 or so true baby carrots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp honey

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Pulse walnuts, Panko breadcrumbs and cayenne pepper together.
  • In a shallow dish, add an egg and a pinch of salt and pepper; whisk together.
  • In a separate shallow dish, add the walnut mixture to it.
  • Dip chicken in egg, then dredge in the walnut mixture.
  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet; cook chicken 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
  • Heat oven to 400 F.  In a baking dish, combine carrots, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and toss with honey.