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In a pinch to make a quick dinner? Serve an easy arugula salad over chicken cutlets. You can make the cutlets or buy them in the store. Top with baby arugula mixed with chopped fresh mozzarella, sliced roasted red peppers, cubed tomato, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Super simple. Super delicious.
With flu season looming….here is my easy and healthy chicken soup packed with vitamins to get you back on your feet quick. And the best part is, it’s ready in no time at all.
Saute chopped onions, carrots, celery, parsnips and zucchini (or any veggies you have on hand or like) in a large pot with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until they are slightly browned. In the mean time, shred up left over chicken or a store bought rotisseriee chicken (remove the skin). Add boxed chicken stock, herbs de provence and chopped parsley to the pot. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Serve over cooked egg noodles or left over pasta. Enjoy!
Tonight’s dinner had two inspirations….the smell of fall in the air and a need to begin cleaning out the fridge / freezer / pantry. This meal is an easy way to use left over veggies and chicken.
Here is how to make the version I had tonight, but switch it up with whatever you have on hand.
1 large red potato
2 handfuls of frozen peas
1 cup skim milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 cooked chicken breasts shredded
1 sheet puff pastry (defrosted)
salt, pepper, olive oil, herbs de provence, parmesan cheese and parsley
For the sauce: Melt the butter in a small sauce pot on medium heat. Mix in the flour. Let bubble and cook for 3-4 minutes, mixing constantly. (This is called a roux, for this recipe it should be a golden color.) Once it has reached that color, whisk in the chicken stock and milk. This mixture will need to come to a rolling boil, whisk frequently. Let cook for about 15 minutes. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, mix in the dijon mustard, and salt / pepper to taste.
For the filling: If your veggies and chicken are already cooked all you need to do is cut them into bite size pieces. Mine were not cooked, so I sauteed the shallots, carrots and potatoes in a little bit of olive oil with salt and pepper and herbs de provence. Do not cook them all the way, only cook them about half way (it will cook the rest of the way in the oven)
Mix all of your components for the filling (shredded chicken, shallots, carrots, potatoes, peas, chopped parsley) with the thickened sauce. Poor mixture into a lightly greased casserole dish. Top with puff pastry. Make sure the edges are sealed to the dish. Brush the top with olive oil and top with shredded parmesan cheese. Cut four slits in the top for the heat to escape. Cook at 375 for about 15 minutes or until the top has puffed and is golden brown. (Tip: To eliminate having to clean the oven…put the casserole dish on top of a cookie sheet to catch any overflow)
Scoop and serve in bowls.
Note: You can use a rotisserie chicken from the store or left overs. Other veggie options could include asparagus, green beans, corn, pearl onions – really anything you have on hand will work.
Thanks everyone for voting! The winner by a landslide is Chicken Enchiladas. This is my adaptation of a Rachael Ray 30 Minute Meal. And I LOVE these! Now you will too!
For the filling:
1 box of chicken stock (the boxed stocks are definitely better quality, plus they have a screw on top so if you don’t use the whole carton you can keep it in the fridge for the week)
4 chicken breasts (boneless / skinless)
2 dried bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 of a white onion (peeled)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon chili powder
5 dashes of chipolte flavored hot sauce (or you can use 1 chipolte in adobo from the can)
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt to taste
For the sauce:
2 cans of tomato sauce (not the Ragu kind, I use Delmonte)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 dash of nutmeg
a drizzle of honey
a few red pepper flakes
Additional: Corn or flour tortillas, Shredded cheddar / jack cheese and Cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring chicken stock to a boil in a pot with the onion, bay and oregano. Once boiling add the chicken. Let the chicken cook for about 10-15 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and put in a bowl. Add a few ladles full of the broth, tomato paste and remaining ingredients. Mix until combined.
Combine all sauce ingredients and heat through, keeping warm until needed.
Place chicken mixture into tortillas and roll. Place the rolls (seam side down) in a casserole or baking dish. Put a little bit of sauce in first to prevent the enchiladas from sticking. Pour hot tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with cheese. Place in oven and cook until the cheese is melted. Remove from oven and top with fresh chopped cilantro.
Serve with brown rice and black beans – ENJOY!
On a super hot day, the last thing I want to do is have the oven on and multiple burners going. Ick! Here are some simple sandwich combos I love for dinner. And if none of my ideas sound delicious to you…visit Grey Dog Cafe’s website. They are located in NYC and have sandwiches to die for! I love it there…I actually went there yesterday! If you happen to be in the area stop in for a beer, sandwich and an oatmeal raisin cookie! Yumm!
If you have a panini press like this one from Cuisinart it’s a great tool to create a great pressed sandwich. If not, you can always have a cold sandwich or warm it in a pan or toaster oven. Oh and don’t forget, great bread can turn an average sandwich into a DELICIOUS sandwich!
- Turkey, brie, sliced pear and honey mustard on multigrain bread
- Grilled chicken on Ciabatta with melted mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt / pepper
- Black Forest ham, melted Gruyere, sliced apple, spicy mustard on Pumpernickel
- Turkey, sliced avocado, sliced tomato and chipolte mayo (blend chipolte in adobo with some mayo – spicy and yummy) in a wrap or on a crusty roll
- Cheddar, swiss, watercress, applewood smoked bacon and sliced tomato on hearty wheat bread – Best grilled cheese!
I was in the mood for some good bread for dinner. I decided to make a salad with a twist. I stopped by Balthazar Bakery and picked up a baguette – cheap and delicious!
Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 until golden brown.
Cube up 2 baby eggplants toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Bake at 425 until tender.
In the meantime, cube 2 vine ripe tomatoes and put in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in olive oil as you whisk until a nice dressing is formed.
Toss the tomatoes, eggplant and bread with the dressing. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Before you serve toss with chopped basil and small cubes of fontina cheese. Eat alone as a great vegetarian dinner, or serve with lemon and mustard baked chicken (that’s what I did). Make a simple marinade of lemon juice, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Bake off the chicken until it’s cooked through. Just delicious!
Here’s a great tip for saving some money when cooking at home…buy what’s in season! This is a simple way to guarantee the freshness of your ingredients and keep a few extra dollars in your pocket.
Peaches this week at Fairway (my favorite market) are 99 cents / pound! Not only do they make a delicious snack, but you can do so many things with them. Eat them up before they are no longer in season. Here are a few suggestions:
- Slice in half, brush with olive oil and cook on grill pan (cut side down until tender). Serve them sliced on top of a salad – Check out last night’s recipe, and substitute these for the apples. Or you can drizzle with honey and top with greek yogurt for a tasty and healthy dessert.
- Cube and mix with orange juice, olive oil, jalapeno and cilantro. Use as a topping for simply grilled fish or chicken.
- Make a Peach BBQ sauce to brush over chicken. Saute 1 chopped peach and 1/4 white onion diced in 2 tbsp of melted butter. Once tender add 1 cup of water, 2 tbsp cider vinegar, dash of salt and pepper, 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce, 2 tbsp orange juice, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp dijon mustard. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Want something light to eat during those hot summer days? How about a delicious Summer Salad. The beauty of this recipe, like many of mine, is that it’s just a concept – you can mix it up with whatever ingredients you like. Substitute goat cheese for feta cheese, or pears for apples. You could easily add grilled chicken or shrimp to this salad…or even the left-overs from yesterday’s recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken!
Here’s a tip…make your own dressing! I never keep bottled dressing in the fridge. Homemade dressing is not only easy, but much healthier then the bottled kind. I’d rather save my calories for a snack!
1 diced Fuji apple
1 handful of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of walnuts (toast lightly in a dry pan to bring out the flavor)
1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese
Mix together above ingredients and drizzle dressing over the top. Toss and serve immediately.
For the dressing: Whisk together 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add in, while whisking, about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Yummy!
Sunday is usually a day when you can take a little more time to prepare dinner. Why not spend a little more time today, and use the leftovers later on in the week for a quick easy dinner?
Herb Roasted Chicken
Preheat the oven to 425.
Clean the inside of a 5 – 6 pound chicken and pat dry. Place chicken in a roasting pan and season liberally (inside and out) with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Inside the chicken you can put any kind of aromatics you like. My favorite is lemon, onion and thyme. I cut the lemon and onion into quarters and place them inside the cavity of the chicken along with fresh thyme sprigs. Drizzle the outside of the chicken with a olive oil and sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves on the outside as well.
Cook the chicken for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the juice runs clear.
Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest (put on a plate and cover with foil) while you make the pan sauce.
Use a paper towel to soak up the extra fat in the pan. Place the pan on the stove top on medium heat. Add 1 TBSP of flour, chicken stock and orange juice. Once the pan sauce has come to a boil and thickened, season with salt, pepper and extra thyme, if you desire.
Carve up the chicken and serve with the pan sauce on top…it’s just delicious!
Stay tuned for later in the week when I give you some tips on how to turn the leftovers into another meal.
Looking for a low budget way to have a great time on a Friday night? Not in the mood to go out to the bar? Just want to hang out and watch the Yankees game…that’s what I’ll be doing tonight! Why not kick up the heat with a Mexican Fiesta night? Invite some friends over and cook up these few simple and delicious dishes!
Here’s a tip…and probably my favorite…Make things from scratch! By doing this you save calories and aren’t eating any yucky preservatives. Plus, believe it or not, it’s actually fun!
Another thing about me, I don’t like to measure. Here’s another tip…taste your food! Use a recipe as a base, but adjust the ingredients to suit your own taste.
Mash up avocados and mix with chopped tomato, onion, cilantro and jalapeno. Mix in salt and lime juice. Enjoy with chips!
Throw seeded tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a mini Cuisinart chopper. Pulse until you reach your desired consistency. Enjoy this with chips too!
Chicken or Beef Fajitas
Marinate chicken or beef for about 15 minutes in beer (like Corona), olive oil, cumin, chile powder, salt, cilantro and my favorite ingredient these days, Cholula hot sauce in Chipolte Flavor.
Grill up the chicken and slice it into strips.
In a separate pan saute sliced peppers and onions in olive oil until tender but still crisp. While they are cooking add in cumin, chile powder, salt and Cholula.
Mix the chicken in with the peppers and onions. Serve with warmed tortillas, sour cream and your homemade guacamole and salsa!