Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

For many years now (we won’t discuss how many, thank you very much), I have loved watching the Summer Games when they air every 4 years. When I was young, I would sit and watch the swimmers and the gymnasts with my mom, telling her that someday I totally WOULD be doing that. While it made for great family time with my mom (something I have continued with my kids), it didn’t quite turn out how I had hoped. When it came to being a gymnast, I was too tall by the time I was ten. There are no 5’8” gymnasts. As for swimming, I can honestly say that if they ever create a category called “Floating In The Pool While Dozing And Getting Sunburned”, I’m the gal who will win the gold. Until then, not so much.

The athletes at both the Summer and Winter Games amaze me. The total dedication to their sport, the passion to succeed. I can be that passionate over a pint of ice cream, but to work as hard as they do to be the best? Again; they amaze me and have my undying admiration, especially these tiny little girl gymnasts who are so strong, so creative and so wonderful at what they do. I could never be one of the judges. I’d want to give everyone gold, then feed them all cookies and milk and tuck them in for a good nights sleep.

The thing is, we all live our lives the best we can, and while this may not be as exciting as competing in the games in Rio this year, it can be so medal worthy regardless. Admittedly, some days, you’re lucky to get a bronze, but life is about so much more than the gold, don’t you agree? For me, it’s finding my favorite flavor of ice cream on sale, it’s getting to the satisfying ending of a book I’ve loved and knowing that everyone lived more or less happily ever after, it’s time spent with family, enjoying the Summer games together and listening to my youngest son tell me that someday he will be a gymnast (he is already too tall. I’ll let him figure it out for himself) or a swimmer (we just got him out of the safety vest. Let’s NOT scare the momma), it’s listening to the wind rustle through the trees as I lie in the pool dozing, it’s creating a recipe that I know my family loves. Those are MY moments of gold and I’m honored to have been able to share them with you. What are yours?

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing 5

Meijer asked me to create a recipe for their More Than A Medal campaign. I knew I wanted to create a recipe that I thought any athlete of the games in Rio or aspiring athlete would love and also could eat with no guilt. I have to admit, this salad fits both criteria. It’s completely delicious. The chicken is moist and tender with a crispy outside and a tiny bite from the pepper. Mix that with the juicy berries and peaches, the crunchy greens and the creamy lemon poppyseed dressing and you have a definite gold medal winner here. All with no guilt. This is a perfect Summer entree for two that is easily doubled or more to feed extra hungry mouths. I hope you all love it as much as we did!!

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing

  • Lemon poppyseed dressing-
  • 1 6 ounce container Chobani non fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup good quality honey
  • 2 tablespoons Minute Maid lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Chicken-
  • 1 large Meijer True Goodness Boneless, Skinless chicken breast (about 8 to 10 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt free onion/herb seasoning blend
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste (be careful with this if your lemon pepper is salted)
  • 1/2 to one full bag salad greens of choice
  • Fruit Mixture-
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 small ripe white peach, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  1.  Make your dressing- In a small bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Taste for seasoning. When ready, pour into a covered container (a mason jar works wonderfully) and store in the refrigerator for at least an hour to combine the flavors.
  2. About half an hour before you start the chicken, you need to get the berries ready. These couldn’t be easier. In a small bowl, combine the white balsamic vinegar and the sugar and honey and give it a quick whisk. Spoon the berries and peach chunks in with the vinegar mixture and toss gently to coat the fruit. Set it in the fridge until you make the salad, making sure to give it a good stir just before you add it to the salad.
  3. When ready to grill, preheat your grill to medium high if using an electric or propane grill. This can also be done easily inside using a grill pan. Pat the chicken breast dry. Coat with the vegetable oil on both sides. Sprinkle half the seasonings on one side of the breast and press it gently into the surface of the meat. Repeat on the other side.
  4. When the grill and the chicken are ready, place the chicken in the pan (or on the grill) and cook on one side until golden brown. Flip carefully to the other side using tongs and continue to cook, turning as needed, until the internal temp of the chicken breast is 165°f. Remove the chicken to a plate and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  5. While it rests, divide your salad greens between two plates. Slice your chicken breast on the bias and place half on each plate. Give your fruit a stir and divide it between the two plates. Whisk the lemon poppyseed dressing one last time and drizzle it over the greens, chicken and fruit. Serve.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Chicken Salad With Lemon Poppyseed Dressing 1

Disclosure- I was compensated by Meijer for this post. All contents within are original and developed by myself.

 

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Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

I mentioned eons ago that I have a set of cookbooks called Time-Life Foods Of The World. They were published in the late ’60’s and early 70’s and are anything but just recipe books. They are more food culture of various parts of the world with recipes thrown in. These books are some of my most treasured possessions and I reread them whenever I am in the need of some reading comfort. I was reading, for the umpteenth time, the one in the series that talks about the region of the states where Creole and Cajun cooking are the norm. I swear, each time I read that one, I want to get in the car and make my way to New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, just to eat. 😛

Well, after I finished reading it, I couldn’t get out of my mind one of the dishes mentioned. The author called it Chicken Piquante. It was described as chicken in a spicy tomato based sauce that had plentiful amounts of onion, garlic, etc etc. It wouldn’t leave my head and all I could think of was that I wanted to make something like that.

So I did.

And man, was it a hit! This turned out so darn good! The chicken was tender and moist and the sauce, which I served over brown rice as well as the chicken itself, was spicy, filled with tender/crisp veggies and tomatoes, with a VERY slight sweetness to it. This is one dish that I know I’ll be making again, and again… and again. And other than the time taken chopping the vegetables, this is barely any work at all. Plus, you can use your own favorite chicken parts in this. I used breasts and thighs, but you use what your family enjoys

You know the drill! 🙂

Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

  • 4 to 5 lbs chicken parts (the equivalent of one normal sized chicken. I used a combo of thighs and bone in, skin on breasts)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (or some other neutral oil) plus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 2/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced (omit this if you want the dish less spicy)
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes (I used the kind with peppers and celery in it)
  • 2 15 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (yes; ketchup. It adds a richness and subtle sweetness)
  • 2 tablespoons Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (you may need more if your Cajun seasoning is salt free. I used McCormicks, which has salt in it)
  1. Pour the 2 tablespoons oil into a large pan (I used my 7 quart dutch oven just to leave room for splattering grease). Add in the chicken pieces, skin side down, doing it in two batches if they don’t fit comfortably in the pan. Cook the first side of the chicken for about five minutes. Don’t try to pull it up if it doesn’t come up easily. When meat has browned enough, it will flip without leaving half the skin in the pan. Flip each piece and let it cook for about another five minutes, then transfer the meat to a plate.
  2. Drain the grease in the pan and add in the 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup flour. Over medium heat, stirring frequently if not constantly, cook them together until the mixture is a medium brown color. You’re making a roux here and it will add a delicious flavor to the finished dish as well as help thicken the sauce up a bit.
  3. Once the roux is a medium brown, add in the various chopped veggies. Stir them around to coat and let them cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Snuggle the chicken pieces down into the vegetable mixture. It’s ok if they are kind of propped up on each other; they will still cook fine once covered in the sauce
  5. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and then pour it all over the chicken pieces. Stir a little to get the sauce down in there, then cover the pot. Let this cook, stirring occasionally just to make sure the chicken doesn’t stick, for about 45 minutes (this is going on thighs and large breasts. If using other parts of the chicken, watch your time accordingly), uncovering for the last 15 minutes or so to give the sauce a chance to cook down a bit. Taste your sauce once during cooking to see if you think it needs anything; more spiciness, more salt, a touch more sugar, etc
  6. Garnish with green onions and sliced jalapenos if desired and serve with rice or noodles to sop up the amazing sauce.

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Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

Spicy (Or Not) Cajun Chicken

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

I have a writing pad that I write recipe ideas in. It’s totally not pretty; just a typical notepad. Half the things in it are so scribbled that I’m the only one that can read them. My writing is atrocious at the best of times (leftie here!), but when I get an idea for something at 3am (yes, this is a curse of food blogging), it is even worse. When I finally try to create what my mind thought up in the throes of sleep, it gets crossed off of the list. The list, however, is NEVER going to get finished, because I keep adding to it. One of the things that was in there for ages was to try to recreate one of my favorite dishes, which is chicken cordon bleu, as a pasta dish. I love it the regular way, but it’s such a pain in the tush to make; pound the chicken down, roll it up with the ham and cheese, get it breaded, fry it, and then do the clean up. Ugh.

So, while I realize it’s not new; you can find 50,000 versions of this online, this is MY version of a chicken cordon bleu pasta. My family really enjoyed this one. It made a pretty full pan of pasta, but other than a little bit my husband took to lunch the next day, it ALL got eaten. Of course, I live with all males, two of whom are 19 and 21, but still…

This turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. Tender pasta filled with chunks of ham, slices of chicken (I cheated and use the packaged slices; SO much easier!), all in an ultra creamy Swiss and Gruyere cheese sauce with a little bit of peas mixed in for color and to convince myself that this is chock full of nutrition instead of fat and calories. 😀  So, so delicious!

You know the drill… 🙂

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

  • 10 ounces of your favorite pasta (I used fusilli just cause they are a fun shape), cooked and drained (reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water just in case you need to thin the sauce) and poured into a large bowl or pot
  • 16 ounces cooked, cubed ham
  • 12 ounces cooked, sliced chicken breast (I cheated and used the prepackaged slices in the lunch meat/deli area of the grocery store)
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed (leave them sit out for ten minutes… they’ll be thawed enough)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 3/4 cup milk (I used whole. I don’t suggest trying this with skim or 1%)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces Swiss cheese, shredded and combined with
  • 8 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded, and
  • 2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese (the REAL stuff, not the cheap canned type)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried dill weed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (taste the sauce before adding salt. Some Parmesan can be pretty salty and you may not need as much or even any at all)
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter an oven safe pan or medium sized dutch oven. In a medium heavy bottomed saucepot, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. Slowly whisk in the milk, whisking constantly to prevent lumps. When you have all the milk in, switch over to a spoon or rubber spatula and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, JUST until the mixture comes to a light boil.
  3. Slowly whisk about 1 cup of the milk mixture into the beaten eggs. You’re trying to temper the eggs (heat them up slowly) so that they don’t scramble when added back into the rest of the milk. Once the full cup of milk has been whisked into the eggs, slowly pour the eggs back into the milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for about a minute.
  4. Pull out 1/2 cup of the mixed cheeses and reserve to top the pasta with. Dump the rest of the combined cheese into the milk and stir constantly, until melted. Take the pot off of the heat and stir in the dill weed, Dijon mustard and black pepper. Taste for saltiness and then add the salt if needed.
  5. Dump the ham, chicken and peas over the reserved pasta and stir. Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta mixture and stir to combine. If the sauce seems too thick, use some of the reserved pasta water to thin it down.
  6. Spoon the pasta into the prepared pan or dutch oven and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top. Sprinkle with a little extra dill weed, if desired.
  7. Bake at 350 just until heated through and slightly bubbly around the edges, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

Cheesy Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta

 

 

 

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

We all have a mental bucket list. There are some who are organized enough to actually have one written down, but not I. I prefer to keep mine buried in my brain with the cobwebs, the monsters with four heads and 8 inch fangs who come out on nights that I’m stupid enough to stay up alone and watch horror movies, the bad memories of my brother pulling the heads off my barbie dolls, the good memory of the taste of my mothers chili and all the mental post it notes that eventually yellow and disintegrate, leaving me constantly feeling as if I forgot to do something.

Weird thing though? While my bucket list has the typical things on it; go sky diving, hike the Camino De Santiago with my husband in Spain, actually fully clean my house…. mine is made up of a butt ton of cooking goals- learn to make Kouign Amman, make my own wine, finally figure out how to cook so that we don’t eat leftovers of each meal for a week. I have about 900,000 recipes (you think I jest? You should see both my cookbook collection with tabbed pages as well as all my printed out recipes) that I want to try someday. I obviously need to live to be 310. And while making many of these recipes can’t really be called difficult goals, many are ones I’ve had for YEARS and just never gotten to. This recipe was one of those. It’s so simple, sounds like it might be too easy to be interesting in fact. But trust me. It you enjoy tangy, fruity main dishes, you’re going to love this one. It was originally in an old Southern Living cookbook and was just called cranberry chicken. I changed it up a fair amount (it had celery and I dislike celery, it used less cranberry sauce, less onion, it was oven cooked and I wanted stovetop so I could cook this any time of year and not heat the house, etc etc) and with the addition of the balsamic vinegar (God, I love balsamic! You?), it made it into practically an entirely new dish. This has become a family favorite and one of those rare dishes that you can see serving once a week without everyone getting sick of it.

I used bone in, skin on thighs in this, but you could sub in any part you prefer, but watch your cooking time. Breasts will cook quicker and you don’t want to dry them out. This is tender, tangy, sweet, juicy; just an all around winner. We serve this over brown rice. You could use noodles also, I’m sure, if that’s your preference, but serve it with something to use the sauce on!

You know the drill…. 🙂

Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken

  • 4 to 6 nice meaty chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • one medium onion, chopped (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (I have to recommend Ocean Spray here. Many of the off brands are far too sweet with fewer actual berries)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons molasses (optional, but it adds some depth to this)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (bottled is fine)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  1. Pour the oil in a large skillet. Salt and pepper the chicken, then add it to the pan and cook over medium high heat until it is nicely browned on one side. Flip and brown the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to drain and pour off all but about 2 tablespoons or so of the drippings.
  2. In that same skillet, cook the onion over medium heat until it is limp and just starting to brown. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (other than the chicken) until well combined. Add the chicken, making sure to nestle each piece in there and flipping it once to get sauce on both sides at the start.
  3. Cover your skillet and turn the heat to low. Let the chicken simmer, turning frequently, for about 45 minutes to an hour, until nice and tender. Serve this with ample sauce on the chicken and the side dish.
  4. While it cooks, make your rice or noodles or what have you.
  5. Enjoy! You’re going to love this!

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Easy Cranberry Balsamic Chicken 2

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu



One of the things I loved when I lived in Germany many moons ago was the food. Lots of pastries and beer everywhere; what’s not to love, right? But they had excellent “real” food also. There was one restaurant my ex husband and I used to go to that served an amazing cordon bleu. This sucker was so thin and tender and filled up the entire plate with cheesy, hammy goodness. But know what? I’m rarely that ambitious 😛 I’ve made the real thing before as well as it’s cousin, Chicken Kiev and maybe at some point I will actually post those delicious recipes.

But the other night, I was tired and just wanted something a bit quicker, but still tasty. So I took the boneless skinless chicken thighs I had, schmeared them (gosh, I love the word schmeared. It’s so fun to say! Lol) with horseradish mustard (use your favorite flavor of mustard), shoved ham and cheese inside, folded them in half, then wrapped them in bacon. Then I sprinkled them with some Parmesan and baked them up. There you go. You don’t even need a recipe. 😛 I pretty much just gave it to you. Yes, it’s that easy.

But, since I love you all (not you…go away), I will make it an official recipe. Then, I feel all professional and all that rot and you all have something to print out besides my rambling. Cool with you? Alrighty then. Lets get to it.

When I made this, I used a full 9 chicken thighs because I live with pigs… I mean males. But I’ll cut this down to six for the recipe. Thing is, this is so easy, it’s simple to make it with however many you have on hand. Just increase or decrease the amounts of cheese, bacon and ham to go with the thighs.

You know the drill… get to cooking! Well, go…shoo!

And yes, I know the last thing I did was bacon wrapped, but c’mon…bacon!

Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed off
  • 1/4 cup horseradish mustard
  • 6 slices good quality deli ham (please don’t use cheap crap.I’ll cry.)
  • 6 slices Swiss, Provolone or Mozzarella Cheese (just use your favorite. I thought about using Muenster which is a favorite, but mine had molded *sobs)
  • 12 ounces good quality bacon
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or at least decent store grated)
  • Toothpicks to hold meat closed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking dish with non stick foil.
  2. Take a chicken thigh and lay it open and flat. Drizzle the desired amount of mustard on top of the thigh. Take a slice of deli ham and lay a slice of cheese on it, then fold it in half.
  3. Lay the ham and cheese on top of the chicken thigh. Fold the chicken thigh in half and wrap it in bacon so the open side of the meat is sealed off with bacon. Secure with toothpicks if needed.  Set in the prepared pan.
  4. Repeat with each chicken thigh.
  5. Bake at 375 until the bacon is browned and the chicken thigh is fully cooked, about 35 to 40 minutes. You can run the dish under the broiler for a minute if the bacon doesn’t get crispy enough. Thighs are a bit more forgiving than breasts when it comes to overcooking.
  6. Let sit in the pan for about five minutes so they aren’t so oozy that you have no cheese left inside the chicken when you cut it. Serve.
  7. These are also really good later, when cold, sliced thin and arranged on an onion bun with some mayo!

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Bacon Wrapped Faux Chicken Cordon Bleu

 

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

 

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas



Do you have those things that your family wishes you’d make more often, but for whatever reason, you just don’t make more than once in a blue moon? Yeah. Me, too. My family loves enchiladas, but for some odd reason, when I’m not actually in the process of making them, my mind tells me they are a chore to make. Mind you, they aren’t a quick 30 minute meal; not if you’re doing them correctly, but neither are they as tedious as my lazy, I’d much prefer to sit in my recliner, read and eat Cheetos mind tells me they are.

That said, don’t expect to start these at 4pm and expect to have dinner on the table by 6. Don’t ask me how I know this, please. Thank you. Seriously though, when I make enchiladas, I do two things- I make a large batch like this is and I make them over two days. Why? Because I’m lazy and this way we can eat delicious enchiladas for two days straight or I can freeze half of them. Easiest way to do this? Get your meats and veggies cooked the first day, then just cool, mix with the cheese and shove it into a bowl and chill it till the next day. Then the next day, all you have to do is make the sauce, then put all the separate components together and THEN you can have a quickly put together dinner. My lazy womans version of OAMD 😛

These are probably the best enchiladas I’ve ever made. The filling is mildly spicy, but not so much that wimps, I mean, the spice averse, in your life can’t handle them. They have a nice amount of cheese in the filling, but I was a good girl and didn’t do my usual overkill with the cheese, which is a bad habit I admit to having. Then on top, it’s smothered in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Say “yum” with me, class. And yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but nothing earth shattering or hard to work with.

You know the drill…

Remember, this will make two pans… I usually make one 13×9 and one 8 inch square pan with it, so feel free to halve it if it’s too much.

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

  • Filling-
  • 2 cans good quality chicken broth ( do NOT discard after cooking chicken)
  • 1 medium onion, cut in half
  • 1 heaping tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jalapeno (leave the seeds if you want it spicier)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound chorizo, casing removed if in links, then crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 4 ounce can chopped mild green chilies
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Spice Hunters Mexican Seasoning (you can get this straight from their site or you could sub the more readily available McCormick Southwestern Seasoning)
  • 8 ounces Queso Quesadilla cheese, shredded (a mild white melting Mexican cheese. You should be able to find it at any good grocery store)
  • Sauce-
  • 2 cups of the reserved cooking broth, strained
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup half and half (you can use a less rich milk… but I’ll cry. Plus, the results may be watery)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Spice Hunter Mexican Seasoning (or the aforementioned McCormicks Southwestern seasoning)
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • salt to taste
  • 12 6 inch (or 8 inch) corn tortillas
  • 12 8 inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese for the top of the pans. (I used Colby-Jack)
  • Green onions, salsa and a squeeze of lime for garnish
  1. Make your chicken first- combine the broth, onion halves, garlic and jalapeno in a medium pot with the chicken thighs. The broth should just about cover them if you push them down a little. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Try not to let it boil, cause that toughens meat.  let cook for about an hour, until nice and tender, but not falling apart.
  2. Let the meat cool in the broth until cool enough to handle, then take it out and cut into bite sized chunks. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids. I then put the broth into a couple of jars and just put it up until the next day when I finish, but if you’re doing it all in one day, just pour 2 cups of broth into a measuring cup and set aside for now.
  3. While the chicken cools, cook your veggies and chorizo. In a large pan, cook the crumbled chorizo until it is browned. Scoop the meat out and put it into a large bowl, leaving the drippings behind.
  4. Add the chopped onion, chopped green pepper, garlic and jalapeno to the chorizo drippings. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are soft and lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Dump into the bowl with the chorizo. Add in the cubed chicken. let cool for about 20 minutes, then add in the green chilies and the Queso Quesadilla cheese. Stir well; add in the Mexican seasoning. Stir to combine and give it a taste to see if you think it needs more Mexican seasoning or a touch of salt. Now, you can either cover this and continue the next day or get the sauce made. If making now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  5. For the sauce, put the 5 tablespoons flour into a medium pot. Slowly add in the half and half, stirring the whole time to prevent lumps. After all the half and half is incorporated, pour in the strained broth and stir well. Over medium heat, stirring constantly, heat the mixture until it thickens up, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove form the heat, then stir in the  Monterey jack cheese and the 1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning, stirring until the cheese is melted. taste for seasoning, adjust if needed (more Mexican seasoning, more salt) then put a lid on the pot (the condensation from the inner lid helps stop a skin from forming on a sauce) and set aside.
  6. Grease a 13×9 inch baking pan (I prefer glass) and an 8 inch square pan (not necessary if making a half batch). Wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and then warm them for 2 minutes in the microwave to make them more pliable.
  7. Take one corn tortilla and layer it on top of one flour tortilla. Scoop up (I just use my clean hands) a small handful of the meat/veggie mix and spread it down the middle of the layered tortillas. Roll the tortillas tightly and lay them, seam side down, in the prepared pan. Repeat until both pans are filled.
  8.  Pour the sauce over the enchiladas (you’ll obviously use more on the bigger pan, so don’t try to divide evenly) and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven until bubbly and lightly browned on top, about 25 minutes. Serve hot with green onions and salsa for garnish and a squeeze of lime juice over the tops.

Copyright Notice: From Cupcakes To Caviar images and original content are copyright protected. Please do not publish these materials anywhere without prior permission.

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken And Chorizo Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Yum

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Yesterday was….interesting. Russ and I had to go get some grocery shopping done so we decided to brave the snow and hope for the best. Mannnn, were we naive! First off, my car (his is totally snowed in and not going anywhere) was parked 1/2 mile away at a little general store that let him park it there. Why was it there, you ask? Because, the other day when he tried to get up our 1/4 mile driveway, he got stuck. Some kind strangers pulled my car back out to the road and he drove to the store and asked to keep the car there. Thank God for small town hospitality. Anywhere else would have had it towed, but they let him leave it there.

Sooo… we traipsed through the foot high snow, me in just a long sleeved shirt and a sweater, because I don’t own a coat and I don’t have gloves because the boys played with them and lost them. Did I forget to mention that it was 6 degrees with a wind chill of -2 out when we did this? You may now groan and feel pity for me. I’ll take the sentiment gladly. 😛 So, we got to the car, got to the main road, which was clear and made it into town, about 20 minutes away. Did our shopping and headed home. It was dark by this time. Now, the stupid part was our hope that we would be able to get the car up the driveway. Why did we think this when not a darn thing had changed since last time? I have absolutely no idea. Call it hunger induced idiocy… cabin fever induced idiocy. Whatever.

Well, we made it home. I had Russ let me off at the edge of the driveway so that I wouldn’t make him nervous gripping the dashboard and whimpering as he tried to get up the driveway. Then I slogged through to the house, and since I heard NO car following me, I grabbed a flashlight and went straight back out. By now the temp was about -1 with a wind chill of “Oh, crap, I can’t feel my face.” I made it back down to the car, which was stuck (gee, imagine that) about 30 feet in. We tried to get it out; no luck. So Russ went over to our neighbors house (the driveway belongs to both of us, with their house being up front near the road and ours way back). he has a truck, so we begged for him to chain us up and pull us home. He agreed. BUT… of course there is a but here…. he managed to get us about 35 yards or so from the house and that was it. He was afraid of getting stuck himself if he went farther in. So there we were; a trunk and back seat full of groceries at a distance that, at that moment, seemed like far enough to qualify as being in another state, with about 352,000 bags of groceries to get in. Uphill. Both ways. Did I remember to mention that it was about -400 with a wind chill 0f -2000? It seriously is uphill getting to the house though; thus one reason the neighbor was afraid of getting stuck. So we managed, after about 4 trips each, crawling on our hands and knees, as polar bears snapped at our heels to get the food and the blizzard raged around us (Yes, yes I AM planning on writing a nice fantasy story. Why do you ask?), to get the groceries back to the house.

I have never been…so cold…in my life. Sweater, hat, no gloves, sneakers that held out not one bit of snow or cold. My poor feet and hands threatened to divorce me and find another body to live on if I ever did that again. I didn’t blame them.

And…. we have another storm on the way that will bring either significant amounts of snow or significant amounts of ice. Woo….hoo…

These quesadillas were nice and warm however. Both heat wise and spicy wise. Right now, I so love the words warm and heat. If I had a raw habanaro in front of me, I’d eat it just to embrace the inner heat. These are crispy crunchy on the outside, cheesy and chickeny (think I’ve used enough c words now?) inside with wonderfully browned onions and peppers. Plus, there is a touch of heat from the jalapeno. Nothing major though. These are also extremely easy.  I have it set for three servings but this is simple to change amounts on.

You know the drill….

Love…. Mrs. Cupcake… who will never be warm again.

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small green pepper
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced chicken breast (I made it easier and used the store bought chicken for tacos and the like, found in the lunch meat section. Feel free to use what makes you happy.)
  • 6 8 inch flour tortillas
  • vegetable oil
  • 3/4 to 1 cup shredded Colby jack cheese.
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Slice your onion in half, then cut it into thin half moon slices. Do the same with the green pepper.
  2. Pour the 2 tablespoons oil into a medium non stick pan. Add in the onions, green peppers, jalapenos and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the onions and peppers have gotten soft and browned, about 5 minutes. Put in a bowl, cover and set aside.
  3. Heat the sliced chicken in the same pan and heat just until warm. Set in the bowl with the veggies. Leave the pan over the heat while you prepare the tortillas.
  4. Brush one tortilla lightly with oil. You don’t want it dripping but you want enough on there to help crisp the tortilla. Lay it in the hot pan and immediately top it with a third of the veggies and meat and the desired amount of cheese. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top with another tortilla and carefully brush that one with oil. Carefully slide a spatula under the bottom and lift to see if it is as browned as you want it to be. If so, carefully flip it over (hold the top one lightly with your hand as you flip) to brown the other side.
  5. Cook to desired doneness, remove to plate and cut into 4 wedges.
  6. Repeat with the other tortillas; serve with sour cream, salsa or picante sauce and some green onions.

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Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Cheesy Chicken Fajita Quesadilla

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

Cheaters Easy, Creamy Chicken & Dumplings



I was never a fan of chicken and dumplings growing up. It was a very heavy dish the way my mom made it. As southerners would say, “Bless her heart… she was a lovely woman, but she might could do something other than cook”.

I’ve said before, my mom made good lasagna considering she was a depression era southern woman. She also made excellent lemon meringue pie. And her fried chicken is something I still haven’t been able to match. But she had her flops too. Say “Garbage Soup” in my or my brothers presence and we’re likely to recoil away and gag. As for her chicken and dumplings, looking back, I can see why it turned out greasy and heavy. Mom just boiled up that chicken until it was tender and then made her Bisquick dumplings right on top, without getting rid of the grease.

While I’d give my right arm to eat her cooking again, I do make most things differently than she did. I used to make chicken and dumplings for the family her way and I could never eat it. So I started cheating. I had some leftover chicken and just started tossing things in a pot with it, then topped it with, yep, Bisquick dumplings. I love those far more than I do the rolled out ones. Over the years, it’s morphed into this dish and I finally can eat chicken and dumplings again. Plus… it’s so darn quick because you use either leftover chicken or a store bought rotisserie one!

You know the drill…

Cheaters Easy & Creamy Chicken & Dumplings

  • 1 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones removed, chopped into bite sized pieces (or about 4 cups of leftover chicken, chopped up)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 14 ounce cans chicken broth
  • 2 10.75 ounce cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3 cups biscuit mix (Bisquick)
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. In a large pot, saute the chopped onion and celery in the 3 tablespoons butter until they are soft and limp, about 7 minutes. Pour the chicken broth and soup in with the veggies. Whisk to combine.
  2. Add in the chicken and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil, then simmer over medium heat for ten minutes or so; long enough to heat everything up nicely. Stir in the cream and turn the heat up enough to bring the soup to a boil.
  3. Combine the biscuit mix and milk in a medium bowl. You’ll have a thick pasty sort of mixture. Use a large spoon to drop large balls of dumpling dough onto the hot soup. You should get about 8 to 10 dumplings. Snuggle them all in there right next to each other.
  4. Cover the pot and cook until the dumplings are tender and fluffy and cooked throughout, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Serve with plenty of black pepper and there may be some out there who want to add some salt. I personally find it salty enough without adding extra.

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Lemon Chicken Thighs (Blogger C.L.U.E.)

Lemon Chicken Thighs

Lemon Chicken Thighs



This is my second month as a member of “Blogger C.L.U.E.”. I mentioned last month that it’s a fun group that some of my fellow bloggers and myself are doing through Facebook where each month, we recreate a recipe from the blog of one of the other members. Man, that was one heck of a run on sentence! As I was saying, we recreate a recipe from a fellow group member. It’s all done in secret. We get assignments and until the reveal day, we don’t who had our blog nor does the person we got assigned know we have them.
This month I got Lea Ann from the blog Cooking On The Ranch . Her blog was new to me and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve found. She has a good variety of recipes, from ethnic recipes to recipes that scream American to others that she terms as “no recipe required”, but that are so simple that she pretty much just lays out what you need to do with a certain set of ingredients.

The theme for this month was “foods your grandmother would have cooked”. Well, I unfortunately didn’t know either of my grandmothers enough to say what they would have cooked, so I twisted the theme a little. I’M a grandma so I did it more as what might be the type of foods my own grandkids could conceivably end up with memories of ME cooking. After looking through her whole blog a couple of times, I found myself continually coming back to one titled Lemon Chicken Thighs which came under the “No Recipe Required” category. Was it simple? Extremely so. Did that mean it was boring? On the contrary… this was delicious.

Generally, we are supposed to keep the recipes as close to the original as possible and for the most part, I did that. The recipe called just for salt and pepper as well as the lemon slices put underneath the chicken thighs as they roasted. The only thing I did differently was to shove some sliced onion in the pan and add some Tuscan Seasoning to the chicken because the flavors in it (oregano, basil, thyme, etc) go so well with lemony dishes. The onions were just because they smell fabulous when roasting and while they don’t add flavor to the chicken, they add it to the drippings and I love to use those on rice or potatoes 🙂 I also squeezed some lemon juice on top of the chicken to make sure both sides had that lemony flavor.

You all know the drill! Get to cooking! This is a wonderful and very easy weeknight “I need to get dinner made quickly” sort of meat. Add some sides and there you go. I’m going to do this the same way Lea Ann did and not post it as an actual recipe, but more just as a process. I know that’s not how I typically do things, but this is so darn easy, it works great that way!

Lemon Chicken Thighs

Heat your oven to 425 degrees. Thinly slice two lemons (I used three so that I had some lemon to squeeze on top). Overlap them in a baking pan, two or three at a time, then lay a chicken thigh on top of each grouping. Obviously if you are using a lot of chicken, increase the lemon to suffice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper . (I also used some McCormick Tuscan Seasoning on top of my chicken and squeezed some lemon juice on top) Roast at 425 for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear and the skin is all nice and crispy. Aim for an internal temp of about 170 for dark meat.

That’s it. Could it be any easier!? I promise, it couldn’t be any tastier!

Here are the other bloggers participating in Blogger C.L.U.E. this month. Go check them out and see what deliciousness they all created! Somewhere in there is something from right here on my blog!

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken (Or Turkey) Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy, Cheesy White Chicken Enchiladas




I know, I know. Right now, all blogs, including mine, are supposed to be all about turkey, apples, pumpkin, cranberries and other holiday foods. Well, I WAS going to do a variation on pumpkin pie that I found online, but as I mentioned on my facebook page, it sucked. I mean, this was horrid. We ended up throwing out half of it and this is a household that can never get enough pumpkin pie, so that alone tells you something. So, for the last few days, I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out what to post. The problem being that my brain is on hiatus due to a cold. Last I heard from it was a postcard saying it was in the Cayman Islands, sitting on a beach, soaking up the sun while drinking a Mai Tai. Damn brain…always leaves when the going gets tough.
I was just about to post something really fun, like liver and onions with a side of brains and eggs *gags just a wee bit* when it occurred to me that the impromptu dinner I was making was a perfect blog post. Quit glaring at me… I am well aware that one can find approximately 452,968 recipes for white chicken enchiladas online, but this is MY recipe and you all love me best. Right? Right? *hears crickets chirping and moves on*
Did I mention that this recipe uses cooked chicken, a la store bought rotisserie or leftover home cooked and that you could very easily swap out cooked leftover turkey in here? So see, I HAVE done something that is perfect for Thanksgiving. Well, the day after anyway. Serve some pumpkin pie for dessert and it’s like Thanksgiving all over again.

This was my way to use up leftover roast chicken we had. I had made two chickens because well…males. But then my 17 year old stayed at a friends house and we ended up with a ton of it leftover. I looked at a few recipes for chicken enchiladas but none of them appealed. I’m not a fan of cumin or coriander used plain (though I like them in blends) so I just threw this together my way. This isn’t difficult at all. Just saute your onions and garlic, add some ingredients to it, mix with the chicken, roll in tortillas, cover in sauce and bake.  I originally started this with corn tortillas but they were so darn small that I went to taco sized flour ones. But for a twist, I took a corn tortilla and layered it inside of each flour one to give the best of both worlds. It added another layer of flavor that we liked well enough that I think I’ll do it like this from now on.

These are creamy and cheesy and meaty with a mild bite but nothing too intense. With already cooked chicken, you can have dinner on the table in an hour. These are also large enchiladas so even though this makes just six, each enchilada could possibly serve two, depending on whom you’re feeding.

Well, you know the drill…. 🙂

Creamy White Chicken Enchiladas

  • 5 to 6 cups chopped or shredded cooked chicken (or turkey) (one whole chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos (I used the jarred kind…less work)
  • 2 4 ounce cans chopped or diced green chiles, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick White Chicken Chili Seasoning
  • 1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, mixed with-
  • 1/2 pound colby or sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6 taco size (the big tortillas) flour tortillas (I used Trader Joes Chili and Onion flavored ones)
  • 6 small corn tortillas
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13×9 inch pan (I prefer glass for these) Pour the vegetable oil in a large pan. Add the onions, garlic and jalapenos and saute over medium heat until the onions are soft and limp. Add in one can of the chopped green chiles. Add in the chicken, Mrs, Dash seasoning and white chicken chili seasoning. Stir well to thoroughly mix.
  2. Heat the tortillas for 45 seconds on high in the microwave. They should be hot and pliable. If not, put them back for up to 30 more seconds.
  3. Lay one corn tortilla on top of a flour tortilla. Top with one sixth of the chicken mixture, then top with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cheese. Fold over as tightly as you can (it will be full, so don’t pull too tight or you’ll bust it) to wrap and lay, seam side down in the prepared time. Repeat this five more times to get 6 enchiladas. Set aside.
  4. In a medium pan, melt the butter. Sprinkle the flour over it and mix well. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth, slowly being the operative word or you’ll end up with lumps. When you have all the broth stirred in, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens. Add in the remaining cheese and second can of chopped green chiles. Stir in the heavy cream and sour cream and whisk to combine.
  5. Pour the sauce carefully over the enchiladas. Bake at 350 until hot, lightly browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with cilantro, salsa or picante sauce and more sour cream if desired.

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