Fruity Avocado & Chicken Couscous Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette


Hello all–  How is your summer rolling along??  We’re trying to keep cool and our ice cream consumption is definitely on the rise!  And if we can manage dinner without turning on the oven, all the better.

So here’s a cool, fresh, filling salad that’s just right for a hot summer evening. Add something cold to drink and a bit of crusty bread.  Perfect. I think you’d like it.

FRUITY AVOCADO & CHICKEN COUSCOUS SALAD WITH HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE

Salad:
1 cup couscous
14 oz. can chicken broth
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 avocado, peeled & cut to chunks
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/3 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. seedy mustard
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring the chicken broth to a boil on the stovetop.  Pour in the cup of couscous. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Scoop the couscous into an ample bowl and let it cool to room temperature.  Drop all the salad ingredients into the bowl and stir them up.

To make the dressing, put all the dressing ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until the ingredients are thoroughly blended.  Mix it into the salad and refrigerate it until you are ready to eat.  Enjoy!

 

Easy Chicken Parmesan


Hello– This was dinner tonight and I’m definitely adding this recipe to my chicken dinner rotation.  So quick & easy and it turned out tender and so savory good. To keep it light, we just added a big bright salad and some chunks of sturdy bread.  Super summer supper.

EASY CHICKEN PARMESAN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, broken to bits
1/2  cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: fresh basil or marjoram*

Slice the chicken breast horizontally to form two flatter chicken filets.

Take 3 flat bowls.  In the first put the flour.  I the second put the egg, well beaten.  And in the third the bread crumbs and parmesan, mixed together.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Then dredge the chicken filets first in the flour, next in the egg and lastly in the crumb-parmesan mixture.  Lay the chicken in the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and cooked through.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet or baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with with the mozzarella and set under the hot broiler for just a minute or two until the cheese is well melted.

Take if from the oven and top with a mixture of the tomato sauce and dried basil.  Garnish with fresh basil or marjoram and serve it up hot.

*I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in the side yard.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken with Roast Zucchini


Hello all–  This supper is brought to you by Mr. Wicks.  He’s our next door neighbor with the virtual “farm” in his small back yard. It’s mid June and his tomato plants are 6 feet tall!   And we are the lucky recipients of his bounty.  This week it’s zucchini!  (thank you Mr.s Wicks!)

Add some super savory chicken– parmesan AND garlic– so much flavor!  Add some small ravioli and a bright salad, it makes a fine summer supper.

ROAST ZUCCHINI
3 medium zucchini, chopped to bite sized bits
4 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Toss the chopped zucchini, oil, garlic, salt and dried basil into a mixing bowl and stir it up until the zucchini is thoroughly coated.  Spread the zucchini on a baking sheet that has been lined with foil.

Cook it up at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s tender and just slightly browned around the edges.

While that’s cooking, make the chicken…

GARLIC PARMESAN CHICKEN
4 tab. butter
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup parmesan
2 cloves garlic minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. dried basil

Filet the chicken breasts, cutting them horizontally to make 4 thinner flat pieces of chicken.  In a shallow bowl mix together the parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and basil.

Melt 3 tab. of butter in a large nonstick skillet (do not let it brown).  Then coat the chicken filets with the parmesan mixture and then lay it into the hot skillet.

Cook the chicken about 3 minutes on each side until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Add the 4th tablespoon of butter when you turn the chicken over.   Platter it up with the zucchini and serve it while it’s hot.  Enjoy!

Ginger Plum Chicken

Hi everyone– saw these plums at the market and couldn’t resist digging into summer fruit!  The best part of this dish is the sauce!!  We ate it with brown rice that soaked up the puddles of sauce for a delicious side dish.  Add a bright salad and a chunk of bread.  Delish!

GINGER PLUM CHICKEN
2 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
1 tab. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tab. brown sugar
1/4 cup plum jam
1 tsp. brown mustard
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp. corn starch
2 plums, seeded and sliced to wedges

Slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 4 chicken filets.  Heat the oil in a large skillet.  Cook the chicken on medium high for 3 to 4 minutes on each side until it is cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

While that’s cooking, combine the soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, jam, mustard, garlic, broth and cornstarch in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake the container until all the ingredients are well blended and then pour it al into the hot skillet.

Stir it up for a couple minutes until the sauce thickens. Then add in the cooked chicken and the plums.
Lower the heat to a low simmer and let it all cook for about 3 or4 minutes to warm the chicken and set the sauce.  .

Serve it all up on a pretty platter, topped with all the sauce and a sprig of something green.

Broccoli, Chicken & Bacon Pasta


Hi friends–  We sat down to a luscious dinner at Paul and Sue’s house last week– and this pasta was on the table–  So back home, I had some Cappellacci pasta  that I’d picked up at Homegoods (Don’t you love that place??) and a huge Costco bag of pine nuts (thanks to my mom), and  I thought I’d try to recreate Sue’s wonderful meal.

It’s rich and savory and filling– the best sort of comfort food.  Add a bright salad and a chunk of sturdy bread.  Perfect.

BROCCOLI, CHICKEN & BACON PASTA
1 pound of your favorite pasta*
6 slices bacon, chopped to bits
1  1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, cut to bits
1/2 cup red onion, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 small heads of broccoli, cut to bite size bits
1/2 cup parmesan
1/2 cup pine nuts

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

Cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet until it just crispy and a lightly browned.  Remove it from the skillet, but leave the bacon droppings.

Cook the pieces of chicken in the same skillet, about 4 to 5 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through.  Remove it from the skillet.

Then drop in the chopped red onion and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until it’s tender and add in the garlic and cook a minute more.

While all that is happening, put the broccoli bites until a bowl of salted water and microwave it for about 4 minutes, until it’s done but still a little crunchy.  Drain off the water.

Now is the fun part.  Into the skillet with the onion & garlic, add the drained pasta, broccoli, chicken and bacon.  Then sprinkle on the parmesan and pine nuts and stir it all together over low heat to warm it through.  (If it seems a bit dry to you add a drizzle of olive oil as you stir it up).  Delicious!!

*I used Cappellacci, thin round discs that look a little like sunflowers, but any pasta will do.

 

Moroccan Spiced Chicken with Couscous


Hello everyone– This recipe started with a cookbook from the library shelves and a big bundle of cilantro.  I picked up Half Baked Harvest from the new book shelves at the library.  It’s beautiful.  I started to bookmark things I’d like to make and it’s pretty much every recipe!

And then my dear buddy Janet showed up at my door with a huge bouquet of cilantro from her garden and this recipe from the book came to mind.

It’s spicy and so flavorful.  Easy–since Larry is the one who cooks it on the grill!  And the couscous is moist and crunchy and a little sweet from the apricots.  I think you’d really like it…

MOROCCAN SPICED CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS

Chicken:
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. powdered ginger
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. smoked paprika
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 tab. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Couscous:
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup couscous
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped to bits
1/2 cup whole almonds, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Garnish:
cilantro sprigs
lemon slices

In a zip loc bag, combine the garlic, ginger, 2 tab. chopped cilantro, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and juice.  Squish the bag until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Cut the chicken to skewer size pieces and add to the bag.  Zip it and squish the bag until the chicken is all coated.  Let the chicken marinate in the spices at least an hour up to 10 hours.

Thread the chicken onto 2 or 3 skewers.

Just before you grill the chicken, make the couscous.  Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a sauce pan.  Remove from the heat and add the couscous.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff the couscous with a fork and stir in the oil, apricots, almonds and 1/4 cup cilantro.  Cover to keep warm while you grill the chicken.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until the outside is charred and the chicken is cooked through.

On a pretty platter spread the couscous and top with the chicken skewers.  Garnish with cilantro pirgs and lemon slices.

Sesame Chicken & Broccoli

Hello there– We’ve been traveling the last couple weeks–eating like we were on a vacation from reasonable food– such as mid morning coffee and pastry breaks every day!!  And tracking down fun places to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner!!

So it’s nice to get back to our own kitchen and have an “every day eating at home” kind of meal.  And this is a good one– ready in about 30 minutes, a little sweet, a little spicy.  So good to be at our own little table!

SESAME CHICKEN & BROCCOLI

1 cup white or brown rice
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut in small cube
2 tab. sesame oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 small heads broccoli, cut to bitesize pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup water
t tab. soy sauce
3 tab. brown sugar
1  1/2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tab. Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Cook the rice according to the directions on the package.

Cut the chicken in bite size pieces.  Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the chicken 4 or 5 minutes until it’s browned and cooked through, salt & pepper it liberally while it cooks.

While that’s cooking, cut up the broccoli and steam it in lightly salted water,  3 minutes in the microwave, until its tender but still crisp.

In  container with a tight fitting lid combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic and chili sauce.  Shake the container until it is all blended and add it to the chicken on high heat, stirring until the sauce thickens, 2 or 3 minutes.

Drain the water from the broccoli and add it into the chicken in the pan.

On a platter, layer the rice and then the chicken and broccoli, scraping all that good sauce out of the pan over the chicken.  Sprinkle on the sesame seeds– ready to eat!

Chicken Parmesan & Butternut Squash Bowl


Hi friends– With all the cakes and cookies we bake around here, I’m trying to stick to healthy-ish meals at dinner time.  This was a favorite.  Our student “room mate” Kendall even asked it this was hard to make.  I think he’s yet to develop kitchen skills (but he’s awesome philosophy student!).  I think you’d like this quick week night dinner as much as we did…

CHICKEN PARMESAN & BUTTERNUT SQUASH BOWL
1 large chicken boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 small butternut squash, peeled & cut to small chunks
2 cups farro
14 oz. can chicken broth
1  3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 tsp. dried basil
1/3 cup cream (or whole milk)
1/2 cup parmesan
garnish:  green onion sliced

Cut the chicken breast into small bits.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and then drop in the chicken.  Salt and pepper it liberally and cook 5 or 6 minutes until the chicken is browned and cooked through.  Remove the chicken from the skillet.

In the same skillet, drop the butternut squash into the chicken drippings and cook 2 or 3 minutes.  Then add in the farro, chicken broth, water, salt, pepper and basil.  Bring it to a low simmer and cook uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes, until the squash is tender (but not mushy!) and the farro is cooked through.

Then stir in the chicken, parmesan and cream. And simmer a minute or two more to heat it all up.  Spoon it all up onto dinner plates and garnish with green onion.  Hot and hearty!

Citrus Honey Chicken

Hey friends– It’s a little crazy here– working ahead on a stack of blog posts to send off to you before we leave on a 2 week trip tomorrow!  So I’m typing away, doing last minute laundry and stacking piles of things to drop into the suitcase.  So fun!

And for your busy days, here’s an easy dinner, done in about 30 minutes.  It’s full of citrusy flavor with just hint of sweetness.  A little mixed rice, a bright salad and it’s dinner!

CITRUS HONEY CHICKEN
4 chicken thighs
2 tab. olive oil
salt
freshly ground pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 lemon, juiced
2 tab. honey
1 tab. soy sauce
garnish: more lime & lemon slices, green onion

Salt and pepper the chicken on both sides (I like to take the skin off, but skin on is fine too).  Heat the olive oil in a skillet that has a lid.  Cook the chicken meatier side down for 5 minutes in the hot oil until they are golden brown.

While they are cooking stir together the lemon juice, lime juice, honey and soy sauce.

When he chicken is browned turn it browned side up in the skillet and pour over the lemon/lime mixture.  Cover the chicken and let it simmer on low for 15 to 18 minutes until the chicken is cooked through (about 180 degrees with a meat thermometer).  It’s good to spoon the juice over the chicken a couple times while it’s cooking!

When the chicken is ready, put the pieces on a pretty platter and drizzle the pan juices over the top.  Garnish with lime and lemon slices and green onion.  So inviting!

Enchilada Soup

 

Hello there– We had a unexpected drop in from our oldest, Micah, last weekend.  Loved the chance to catch up with that guy.  And since is was rainy and cold (hooray for rain in SoCal!), we lunched with a big pot of this soup and a slab of hot cornbread.

It’s rich and just spicy enough, chock full of chicken, beans and corn.  Topped with a few goodies, delicious!

ENCHILADA SOUP
2 tab. olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. chicken broth (2 cans)
14 oz. can enchilada sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
14 oz. can corn, liquid drained
14 oz. can black beans, rinsed
14 oz. can chili beans, sauce & all!
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 rotisserie chicken, boned and cut to bits.
garnish:  tortilla strips, avocado, grated cheddar, sour cream, green onion…

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a soup pot.  Then add in the chopped onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring now and then.  Then add in the garlic for a minute more.

Pour in the chicken broth, enchilada sauce, fire roasted tomatoes, corn, black beans, chili beans, cumin and salt.  Stir it all together and bring to a strong simmer and then add in the chicken.

Simmer for 5 minutes more and serve it up hot with whatever garnishes you like.

Smoky Honey Orange Chicken


Hi everyone–  It’s pretty true that you can’t have too many everyday chicken recipes up your sleeve.  So here’s a flavorful plateful with the brightness of orange and the spiciness of smoked paprika.  And it’s on the table in about 20 minutes– add some steamed asparagus, a wild rice mix.  Dinner!

P.S While I’m typing this up for you, I’m sitting in a cool Wisconsin coffee shop with Laurel while she’s doing a little work (and drinking coffee) on her way to her office.  Apricot tea, French ukulele music and Laurel!!  Perfect!

SMOKY HONEY ORANGE CHICKEN
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tab. olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 large orange
1 tab. honey
2 cloves garlic minced*
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika**
1/2 tsp. cornstarch

Filet the chicken breasts, to make 4 to 6 thinner cutlets.  Heat the oil in a large skillet and then set the chicken into the skillet. Liberally salt and pepper both sides as they cook about 3 minutes on each side.

While they are cooking, grate the zest off of the orange and then juice it.  Put the grated peel along with the juice in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Add in the honey, garlic, cumin, smoked paprika and corn starch.  Put on the lid and shake well until the contents are blended (no cornstarch lumps!).

After the chicken has browned on both sides, pour in the orange mixture and cook for 3 or 4 minutes more on a low simmer until the sauce is thickened.  Set the chicken on a pretty plate and spoon the sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

*This is the perfect time to used pre-minced garlic.  My favorite are the little frozen garlic cubes from Trader Joe’s.
**Up the smoked paprika if you want more spice and more smoke.

Here’s Laurel “on the job.”

 

Balsamic Apricot Rosemary Chicken

 

Hi everyone– Here’s a recipe that’s so quick and delicious I’m happy to pass it on to you.  You can get it into the oven in about 5 minutes!  I put on some brown & wild rice mix to simmer after the chicken was in and then sat and read a book!  Best way to fix dinner.

BALSAMIC APRICOT ROSEMARY CHICKEN
4 bone in chicken thighs
1/2 cup apricot jam
1 tab. balsamic vinegar
1 tab. rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and place them bone side down in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  (If you like the skin, leave it on!)  In a small bowl stir together the apricot jam, vinegar, minced rosemary and salt.  Spoon it over the chicken thighs and pop it into a 400 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Spoon the extra juices over the chicken as you set it on the serving plate.  (If you use a meat thermometer, internal temperature of 165 degrees)

Ready and delicious!

Lemon Piccata Chicken & Pasta

Hello all–  New version of an old favorite here.  Had it with our new “housemate,” Kendall, a seminary student from Australia who’s staying with us for his last semester.  Larry enjoys talking theology with him and I just like having such a great guy around the house.

This chicken is salty from the parmesan, tart from the bit of lemon and garlic savory.  And the sauce melds just right with a big plate of pasta.  Real comfort food.

LEMON PICCATA CHICKEN & PASTA
8 to 10 oz. pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced horizontally to filet
2 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. garlic salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tab. olive oil
2 tab. butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
14 oz. can chicken broth
1/2  cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan
2 tab. capers (drained)
3 tab. lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
1 tab. cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. rosemary, minced and sliced lemon for garnish

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.

In a shallow bowl mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan cheese, garlic salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken filets in the flour mixture and set aside.

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet.  Cook the coated chicken 3 to 4 minutes on each side over medium-high heat, until they are nicely browned and cooked through.  Remove from the pan and cover to keep warm.

Drop the garlic into the same skillet and cook for a minute.  Then add in the chicken broth and milk and bring to a strong simmer.  Add in the parmesan and capers and simmer for 3 minutes or so to thicken.  Stir in the lemon juice.

If you want the sauce to be thicker, shake the cornstarch and water together in a container with a right fitting lid until it’s thoroughly blended and stir it into the simmering sauce for 3 or 4 minutes more until it thickens.

Return the chicken to the sauce in the skillet and simmer a couple minutes to warm the chicken.  Then spread the pasta on a platter, top with the chicken and sauce.  Garnish with the minced rosemary and lemon slices.  Serve it up hot!

Indian Spiced Chicken Curry

Hey there– How was your weekend?? I spend most the hours quilting away on a new baby quilt– so relaxing after a couple really busy weeks.

And we had this curry for dinner.  Served it with the frozen garlic naan* from Trader Joe’s for a cozy warming supper at home.  I think you might like it too…

INDIAN SPICED CHICKEN CURRY
1 cup white (or brown) rice
2 pounds boneless chicken breast
2 tab. olive oil
14 oz. can petit cut tomatoes
14 oz. can chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. garam masala
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
2 carrots peeled and cut into thin disks
1/2 cup red lentils
garnish:  yogurt, cilantro

Put the rice on to cook according to the directions on the package.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot that has a lid.  Cut the chicken breasts into smallish bite size pieces and then cook the 5 or 6 minutes in the hot oil until they are browned and cooked though.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

In the same skillet, pour in the tomatoes, chicken broth, garlic, garam masala and curry powder.  Bring it to a simmer and add in the carrots and lentils.  Simmer for 15 minutes until the lentils and carrots are tender.

Add the chicken back into the skillet with the carrots & lentils.  simmer 2 minutes more to heat the chicken through.  Spoon the chicken over rice and serve it up hot!

* The frozen naan at Trader Joe’s is pretty good (not as good as sitting in an Indian restaurant, but better than the packaged naan in the bread aisle.

Chicken & Sweet Potato with Peanut Sauce

Hey all– Do you have evenings when you’ve been over-indulging all week and just want something healthy and fast that you can just throw on to a plate??  This is really more like a salad where you just pile things up– not really much cooking. .  It was hearty and satisfying — and I’ll pretty much eat anything if you drizzle some peanut sauce on top!

CHICKEN & SWEET POTATO WITH PEANUT SAUCE
1 cup brown rice
1/3 tsp. salt
1 sweet potato, peeled, cut into bits
4 tab. olive oil –divided
Salt & freshly ground pepper
1 boneless chicken breast
2 cups spinach, chopped
1 avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tab. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Peanut sauce:
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tab. soy sauce
2 tab. peanut butter
2 tab. olive oil

Cook the brown rice with 2 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Peel and cut the sweet potato.  Mix it with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Spread the sweet potato bits on a baking sheet and bake it all at 425 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the sweet potato is tender.

While that’s baking.  Heat 2 tab. of the olive oil in a skillet. Filet the chicken breast, slicing horizontally to make two flat pieces.  Cook them 3 or 4 minutes on each side until the chicken is browned and cooked through.  Remove from the heat and cut in slices.

To make the sauce, whisk together the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, peanut butter and olive oil until it’s creamy and smooth.

When the rice is done and the sweet potato is cooked, pile half the rice on each of two plates.  Top with the slices of chicken, a pile of sweet potato and a bed of spinach.  Garnish with the avocado and cilantro.  Drizzle on a little sauce and sprinkle the top with sesame seeds.  (makes enough for two platefuls).

Summer Pasta Salad

 

Hello all– This weekend we’re happily stacking all the things we need to pack up for early Monday morning, when we fly off for our Laurel & John’s wedding in the woods of Wisconsin!  Party dress,  check. Sunblock, check. Grandma Lo’s wedding cake bride and groom, check.  Surprises for grand-girl Jobay, turning 6 on the wedding date, checkity check.

And meanwhile, around here, we’re cleaning out things lingering in the kitchen before we go.  Had a 1/3 bag of egg noodles, a ready to eat avocado, MORE of Larry’s sweet tomatoes…  Throw them in with some corn, a couple slices of bacon and a little chicken.  Summer Pasta Salad  –just right on a hot summer evening!

SUMMER PASTA SALAD
4 oz. pasta (I used egg noodles)
1 boneless chicken breast
1 tab. olive oil
5 slices bacon
2 ears of corn, cut from the cob
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 avocados, cut to nice chunks

Dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tab. tarragon vinegar*
1 tsp. seedy mustard
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.  Drain and let it cool.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Cut the chicken breast into 3 flat filets and saute in a skillet until it’s nicely browned and cooked through (3 or4 minutes on each side). Remove to cutting board and cut into nice polite size pieces.

Wipe out the skillet and cook up the bacon.  Crumble it to small bits.

Cook the corn cobs in the microwave 6 or 7 minutes.  Cut the corn from the cobs with a large knife.

To make the dressing put the oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt & pepper into a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until it’s completely blended.

When the chicken and pasta have cooled, put them in a large mixing bowl and mix in the bacon, corn, tomatoes, green onion and dressing.  Then gently fold in the avocado.  Put to chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes or more before serving. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

 

Chicken & Summer Veggie Tostadas

Hello all– If you go into our back yard and peek through the fence, you can see our neighbor, Mr. Wicks’ garden!  Really more of a mini-farm.  Fruit trees and all kinds of squash,  green beans and loaded tomato bushes eight feet tall!  And he’s generous.  Giving out fruit and his famous roses to neighbors who pass by.  And we are the often happy beneficiaries of his bounty– this week zucchini and yellow squash!

And of course, the best way to use any lovely food is to roll it into a taco, in this case a tostada.  Thanks Mr. Wicks.  They were delicious!

 

CHICKEN & SUMMER VEGGIE TOSTADAS
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 pound boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 medium zucchini, chopped to small bits
1 cup fresh (or frozen, defrosted) corn kernels
1/2 cup sales verde
3 tab. chopped cilantro
6 standard corn tortillas
1 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup colby jack, grated
garnish: cilantro, avocado slices

 

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet.  Mix the cumin, salt & pepper in a bowl.  Cut the chicken into flat filets and dredge it in the cumin mixture.  Set it in the hot pan and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side.  Take the chicken out of the pan to a cutting board and cut it into small bite size pieces.

In the same skillet, add the chopped red onion, zucchini and corn.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the salsa verde and cilantro.  Mix. Take it off the heat.

Set the tortillas onto a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Brush the tablespoon of olive oil onto the tortillas.  Set them under the broiler on a medium heat setting for 1 or 2 minutes until they are crispy and lightly browned.

Then stir the chicken into the zucchini mixture and heap it onto the tortillas.  Sprinkle the cheese over the tops and set them back under the broiler for just a minute until the cheese melts.  Garnish with cilantro & avocado.  Add a crispy salad and dinner is ready!!

Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos

Hi there friends– Truth be told, we eat Mexican-ish food 2 or 3 times a week around here.  I’ve never met a food I didn’t like folded into a tortilla.  How about you?? I have a feeling we’re not the only ones.

So when I found this super easy way to come up with a potful of spicy chicken (thank you Pinterest)– that could top a tortilla any number of ways, I couldn’t wait to try it.  And it was delish!

LIME CILANTRO CHICKEN TACOS

Chicken:
2 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 small yellow onion, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 cup chicken broth
to finish it off: 2 limes, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Taco ingredients:
street size corn tortillas (or whatever is your favorite!)
chopped lettuce
chopped cilantro
grated cheddar jack
avocado

Drop everything into a pot and bring to lowest simmer on your stove top. Cook for an hour (maybe a little more depending on how big you cut up the chicken chunks).

With a slotted spoon remove the chicken to a plate and shred it with 2 forks.  Scrape it all back into the sauce in the bottom on the pot and let the chicken soak up all the juicy sauce.

Serve with warm tortillas, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, avocado…  The list is pretty endless– just pick the taco ingredients you have on hand!

P.S –The recipe I worked from said to dump it all in crock pot and let it cook– 3 to 4 hours on high– or 6 to 7 hours on low.  Alas, I don’t own a crock pot, so you get my stove top version–or you can crock pot it yourself!

Stacked Green Chili Enchiladas

Hola!  Here’s dinner with a crowd of friends who came in last week.  Happily, it was pretty easy to make two big pan-fulls–using pre-roasted chicken from the market.  Instead of rolling all those enchiladas, you just stack the ingredients in a baking dish and pop it into the oven.

And I think they all loved it because there was only 1 serving leftover to take a picture to show you!

STACKED GREEN CHILI ENCHILADAS
1 grocery store roast chicken,
deboned & cut to bits
1/4 cup butter
2 tab. olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup flour
14 oz. can chicken broth
1 cup milk
4 oz. can diced green chilis
1/2 cup salsa verde
1 cup sour cream
2 cups grated cheddar jack cheese
12 to 14 corn tortillas
garnish: avocado and a little more sour cream

Remove the skin, debone and cut the chicken to small chunks.  Cut the tortillas into 6 triangles each.

Melt the butter in a large skillet of pot.  Add the olive oil and garlic.  Bring it to a simmer and stir in the flour until it’s a thick paste.  Keep simmering and stir in the chicken broth a bit at a time.  Then add the milk the same way.  Continue to stir until it thickens.

Mix in the green chilis and salsa verde. Turn off the heat and stir in the sour cream.

In a 9″x13″ baking dish, pour 1/4 cup of the sauce to coat the bottom of the dish.  Layer 1/3 of the tortilla triangles to cover the bottom the baking dish.  Sprinkle 1/3 of the chopped chicken over the tortillas.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of cheese on top.  Then drizzle 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese.

Repeat the same layer process two more times, topping with a full cup of cheese.

Tent foil over the baking dish, so that it doesn’t touch the cheese on top.  Bake it all up at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  Take off the foil and cook 10 minutes more to melt the cheese completely.

Cut into squares and serve with a dollop of sour cream and a little avocado.

Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce

Hello hello–  All I can say is—-the Sauce!!  I poured the extra over my tortellini and sopped up every last drop.  This dish is easy enough for everyday, beautiful enough to share with a table full of friends.

CHICKEN WITH SUN DRIED TOMATO SAUCE|
4 to 6 chicken thighs
2 tab. olive oil
sale & freshly ground pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme*
1 tsp. dried basil*
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped to bits
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup cream or half & half
1/2 cup grated parmesan romano
garnish: thyme sprigs, a sprinkling of parmesan

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and then drop in the chicken thighs.  Salt and pepper them liberally while they cook 5 to 7 minutes on each side (until they are cooked through).  Remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm

In the same skillet add the garlic, thyme, basil and dried tomatoes.  Stir for a minute to blend the flavors.  Then mix in the broth and cream. Let the sauce simmer on low for 3 to 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Stir in the parmesan romano.  Return the chicken to the pan with the sauce and simmer on low for 10 minutes.

Remove he chicken from the pan and thicken the sauce with 2 tab. cornstarch whisked together with 1/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer until thick, just a couple minutes.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with a bit of parmesan and sprigs of thyme.

We ate this luscious chicken with tortellini and a hearty salad.  Perfect.

*I just used thyme because it is growing in the side yard, basil, marjoram, mined rosemary, any fresh Italian-ish herb would be fine.
**Of if you have Italian seasoning, oregano…