All American Classic – Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad

This salad is such a good, All-American summer time classic. Yummy, basic, and so very easy. Plus it is sure to be a crowd pleaser for everyone  in your crew. It’s not like this is a ground breaking idea or real recipe, but I hope it can give you some inspiration for an easy, summer dinner leading into this holiday weekend! 

Chopped Grilled Chicken Salad

Chicken Breast with your favorite marinade, grilled. The longer it marinates the better it will be. Be sure your chicken is grilled low and slow (indirect heat is best), plus let it rest for 10 minutes once it comes off of the grill.

Cucumbers, chopped

Tomatoes, chopped

Grated sharp cheddar cheese

Pickled Red Onions – check out our recipe This is such an easy dish do this and they will keep all summer in your fridge! They really are great on everything.

“Homemade Ranch Dressing” – in quotes because I use the packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning but I combine 1/2 c. Fat Free Greek Yogurt, 1/2 c. Mayonnaise, 1 c. Milk and it seems to make the very best dressing! Tastes like such a splurge but is mostly healthy.

Chopped romaine and any other combination of greens that you have in your fridge. For this I used spinach and romaine and always add ANY fresh herbs into your greens and toss them together. Dill, parsley, basil, cilantro – it does not matter it will be delicious and add such an element of freshness to your salad.

Toss your greens lightly with ranch then assemble your salad. Add a touch of additional dressing to the grilled chicken, then top with freshly cracked black pepper and serve.

  

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Watermelon, Ginger & Lime – Two Ways – Agua Fresca & Popsicles! 

Yesterday I was determined to make homemade popsicles out of ingredients I already had at home. I searched online and was inspired by a recent article by Real Simple.

Part of me decided as much as I love Las Paletas this was so fun, so easy and fast to put together it may be a long while before I buy one again (just saying that out loud I’m sure I will be standing outside of Las Palates with an avocado paleta in the next two weeks). 

 

Watermelon, Ginger and Lime Popsicles

1/2 of a seedless watermelon

Juice and zest of 1-2 limes

1-2 inches of ginger grated

1 Tbs. sugar (taste your watermelon, if it tastes sweet then this is not necessary)

1/3 c. Water (just enough to get it moving in your blender)

Blend together.

Pour into popsicle molds

Pour remaining into a glass over ice with a squeeze of lime. Drink. (Booze optional)

Put in freezer, add Popsicle sticks after 1 hour(ish). Freeze for several more hours.

I am already daydreaming about other popsicle recipes! What are your favorites?

Enjoy!!

Tuesday’s Table – Creamy Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Tonight I cooked dinner to take to a friend tomorrow and brainstormed for a bit what I could make. It would need to be something that could be made ahead of time, would taste good and be a comforting meal for her family. Enchiladas are something my husband requests often, but I usually avoid the request and go with something slightly easier and better for us. Some nights you just need to splurge and when you can share the love then all the better. 

Creamy Verde Chicken Enchiladas

Cream Sauce:

3 Tbs Butter

3 Tbs Flour

1/4 c. Sour Cream

1 sm. White Onion, diced

1 pack Cream Cheese (can be part Greek yogurt or 1/3 less fat cream cheese)

Dash of Garlic Powder

Salt to taste

Sauté butter and onions until the onions are tender. Add flour and sauté for two minutes. Add milk, stir. Add all other ingredients until combined. 

Green Sauce:

1 Jar Tomatillo Salsa

1 small jar diced Green Chilis

Combine  

Filling:

3 Chicken Breasts – seasoned with salt, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, canola oil

Baked at 350 for 30 minutes, shred

Could also use rotisserie chicken

Small package of Mahatma Yellow Rice (1 cup dry rice), cooked according to directions.

Combine rice and shredded chicken.   
Directions:

Layer cream sauce on bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Pour salsa in a separate shallow dish, dip corn tortillas in salsa (this is done to add moisture and flavor to tortillas). Fill corn tortillas with chicken and rice mixture, roll up and place seam side down, close together in baking pan. Top enchiladas with the leftover verde sauce, cream sauce and finish with shredded  cheese.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.      

Enjoy!

Pro Tips for the Perfect BLT

Once summer hits, the only thing I ever want to eat is a BLT.  Honestly I probably eat three a week from May to August and never regret it.  Because of my years of experience, I’ve developed a few pro tips for this seemingly simple sandwich that will truly elevate it to a whole new level!

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-Cook your bacon on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes depending on if your a crispy or a chewy bacon fan.  You can flip it once if you really want to.  I first learned this method while working as a line cook and have never looked back.  There are so many reasons to do it this way, but here are just a few:  more even cooking, no splatters to clean up, zero time spent babysitting.

-Continuing that line of thought, invest in decent bacon.  You don’t have to go all out here, but a thicker cut of bacon will really make all the difference to your BLT.

-Buy an heirloom tomato.  During the summer time, these are readily available at any and all farmers markets, but you can also pick them up (at a much higher cost) at most grocery stores.

-And sandwich that tomato between the lettuce and the bacon to avoid soggy bread. Don’t let soggy bread happen to you.

-Make mayonnaise from scratch.  Really.  You can do this, I promise!  And once you add lemon zest and garlic and basil, you can call it aioli, and all of your friends will be totally impressed by your culinary skills.  Also, you’ll want to eat it on everything, because it’s incredible.

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Basil Aioli

-1 egg yolk

-juice and zest of 1 lemon

-1/4 tsp dried mustard (1/2 tsp regular yellow mustard can be substituted)

-1 tsp white vinegar

-1 pinch salt

-1 pinch white sugar

-1 cup canola oil

-1 garlic clove, minced

-1/2 cup basil, minced

-salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together the egg yolk, juice of HALF of the lemon, white vinegar, mustard, salt, and sugar until well combined.  Next you’re going to start adding the canola oil, drop by drop while continuously whisking.  The easiest way to do this is to have the canola oil in something with a spout, like a measuring cup.  You should see an emulsion forming, as the mixture should be turning thicker and lightening in color.  Once you are down to half a cup of oil, stop and add the juice of the other half of lemon.  Whisk to combine and keep adding your oil.  You can go a little faster this time, pouring it in a thin stream, still whisking away.  Once all of your oil is added, it’s time to add your lemon zest, minced garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.  Taste, taste, taste. *Using these same steps this can be made in a Vitamix or Ninja as well.

One thing I always find interesting, is that often the flavors don’t pop right away.  It’s important to remember to add a bit more salt or lemon to pull your seasoning out of the aioli and really brighten it up–you’ll know when you have it just right, and trust me, you’ll love it!

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Chicken Wings – Just in time for Father’s Day and No Fryer Required

Julia and I love chicken wings. While we always have we know they are “man food” so we decided leading up to Father’s Day was the perfect time for us to share Julia’s husband’s recipe. When my husband first heard of these baked wings he was the ultimate skeptic. Fried, smoked, grilled – yes, but baked? He was convinced they would be slimey which is the ultimate sin of wings, but we proved him wrong, and he is now a baked wing believer.


Less-Guilt, Crispy, Perfect Chicken Wings

Toss wings in 2-3 Tbs. of Canola Oil

Add salt and pepper

Put on wire rack or broiling pan (anything they can drip from)

Bake at 400 for about 45 mins turing twice (this is the key, high heat for a long time

Coat with any sauce of your liking… Our buffalo go-to is the embarrassing but delicious combination of Frank’s Hot Sauce and butter, hence the “less guilt” title instead of guiltless.

Serve with your favorite slaw or keep it simple with ranch, blue cheese and celery.

Another idea would be to do an Asian styled sauce with Asian slaw – will be trying this next.

      

Enjoy and Happy Father’s Day Weekend to you and yours!