Greek Chicken Kabob with Avocado Tzatziki Dip

GreekChickenKabobDip

I needed something light and carb free tonight. My recipes lately have been a little “heavy” on the calorie side. I have been walking a 70+lb dog at least 2x per day which has helped with the waist line… BUT, I do need to make sure that not ALL of my meals have carbs and butter! 🙂

So, Here is my “Lighter” dinner…

Ingredients:

Chicken:

10-12 chicken tenderloins
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. 21 Seasoning Salute (or Mrs. Dash)
Fresh Rosemary chopped fine

Stir all non-chicken ingredients in a large glass bowl. Take the tenderloins and  toss in the marinade and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the fridge. Then, cut in half length-wise and place onto skewers. Grill for approximately 3-4 min per side. (on a HOT grill)

GreekChickenAvocadoTzatziki

Avocado Tzatziki Dipping Sauce!

3/4 cup low fat greek yogurt
juice of 1/2 of a lemon
zest of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
1/2 of ripe avocado
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
1/4 tsp. 21 Seasoning Salute (Trader Joes) it’s like Mrs. Dash
1/2 tsp. Texas Pete Pepper Sauce (or tabasco or similar)
grated cucumber (about 2 TB worth) and finely chopped cucumber… about 2 TB worth
2 TB finely diced sweet onion

Stir together and refrigerate until ready to eat.

I served this with a simple spinach salad with homemade vinaigrette. It was light and filling!! My favorite part had to be that dipping sauce though!! DELISH! Very summery and savory.

Enjoy!

 

And, for the quote of the day:

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Chicken Picatta

chickenpicatta

 

I got this recipe from here: Chicken Picatta

Ingredients

3 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half and slightly tenderized
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup All-purpose white-wheat flour, for dredging
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
â…“ cup fresh lemon juice plus the zest of 1 lemon
½ cup low sodium chicken broth
ÂĽ cup brined capers, rinsed
â…“ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

 

Directions

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour into a bowl, and add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and shake off excess. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 1 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate. Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

I served this with a garden salad and homemade dressing to keep the calories lower instead of pairing it with a pasta. It was DELICIOUS!!!!

Enjoy!

 

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Long Day… no cooking, just tips!!

So, today was quite a long day, and cooking was just not going to happen. So, leftovers it was! So, instead of a recipe tonight, I will give cast iron grill pan tips instead, especially as requested by my friend Katie! 🙂

I really liked the advice given here: http://www.thekitchn.com/good-question-how-do-i-clean-m-57802

What it basically says is, unless it’s quite dirty, it’s best not to use soap to clean cast iron, because it can strip the seasoning. So, the best way to clean it is to fill it with water after it’s been cooled down, and boil. That should remove all that’s been left on the pan. Once you’ve scraped it off, you can add more water, and boil to sterilize.

IF it’s quite dirty, and just not cooking well, you can use some light soap to get everything out, especially with a well seasoned pan, it should be ok. If it strips the seasoning, just go through another seasoning “cycle”. http://www.thekitchn.com/technique-seasoning-a-brand-new-cast-iron-skillet-6719

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You can also CLEAN your cast iron grill pan with some coarse sea salt and a coarse sponge.

Here are a few other tips: http://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Grill-Pan

http://www.thecitycook.com/cooking/advice/general/000011

GRILLmid

The thing that I really love about cooking with a grill pan is that you don’t put oil on it to cook on it.

Here’s how I usually cook with it.

Step 1:  Season with coarse sea salt (just a little sprinkle)

Step 2: Pre-heat the pan- usually med. high to high. Until if you drop a bit of water, it sizzles.

Step 3: Place frozen or thawed meat (veggies, shrimp, fruit, lamb, pork, etc) directly onto pan! (I also have a press that I place on top of thicker cuts of meat)

Step 4: Certain meats, after seared, can then be placed into the oven, while still on the grill pan, to finish cooking.

 

After cooking, you then clean! That’s it!!! Not too hard huh???

 

Last link: http://www.lodgemfg.com/useandcare/seasoned-cast-iron

 

Have fun cooking!

Away on “Vacation”!!!

I was away at my sister’s visiting, and taking some pictures for her blog : frugalfitmomma.com and decided… I’m not cooking while I’m here! So… we made wine popsicles instead! Check out her blog for the recipe! http://frugalfitmomma.com/2014/06/21/wine-popsicles/
Aaannnddd… if you are looking for a good website for deals and coupons, check out the rest of her blog!!

Asparagus Pesto Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato

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I was CRAVING this today!!!! And, it totally lived up to the hype!

 

So easy, only took me 20 minutes start to finish!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of asparagus
1 TB of pesto (I used my homemade pesto recipe listed below)
1/2 small ball of FRESH mozzarella
3 TB sun-dried tomatoes (I used them from a bag of them from Trader Joes)
1 TB of grated parmesan
No-egg noodles – 2 cups dry

OPTIONAL: pine nuts, crumbled bacon

Start the pasta, cook as directed on packaging until al dente. Then, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wash the asparagus, and remove the hard ends. What I do is bend it until it breaks. One hand on each end of the asparagus, and just bend gently like you’re going to bend it in half, and the hardest portion will break off. Take the top halves, and arrange in a single layer on a tin-foil lined tray. Sprinkle with 1-2 TB of olive oil and then season with sea salt and pepper as desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Don’t cook it too long, or it will get stringy.

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Pesto: I buy 1 pkg of basil from TJ (it’s about 4 large branches worth of basil, so with leaves removed, it’s about 1 1/2 cups of basil). 
Juice of 1 lemon, plus the zest
1 tsp of minced garlic
1 TB grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
OPTIONAL: pine nuts or walnuts

I blend mine up into my nutri-bullet until smooth. Add more oil as needed. I put my left over pesto in a cleaned and re-used jam jar (mason jar) and store it in the refrigerator. 

In the mean time, cut the ball of mozzarella in half, put 1/2 back in the refrigerator, and cut the other half into small cubes. 

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Now, strain pasta, and remove the asparagus from the oven, and put all ingredients in a bowl and toss and season to taste. I also sprinkled a bit of parmesan over the top. ENJOY!!!

 

Planning, working, trying to keep up!

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Last month I started a new “venture”. Selling Rodan and Fields! Now, I am truly excited about this!!! I have spoken with different people who sell all different products in so many network marketing companies, and I only want to get involved in something that I use regularly, and truly believe in. TRULY. And, Rodan and Fields hit home! I never thought I’d get involved in a network marketing company either.
Back in November my aunt started telling me about Rodan and Fields. I remember reading about the company, and remembering when I had used ProActiv when I was in high school, and then again when I was first married. I saw that they had developed regimens for people other than teenagers who had acne, or “trouble” skin! I visited my aunt in MN and got to try a mini-facial… and LOVED it! I went home thinking about the products, and skin care, and just not ready to make up my mind yet. I had a part time job, 2 kids, a crazy house-hold and a drawer full of products to try and take care of my skin issues that I had. I had enlarged pores that I couldn’t keep clean, and therefore kept getting black heads! My kitchen, when I’m cooking, gets incredibly hot, therefore, I sweat, and I wipe my hands across my face… (bad habit) and would get pimples on my chin, jaw and forehead. ESPECIALLY during my period! I literally tried EVERYTHING. From all natural products, to boutique department store products, to products from big box stores. With coupons, without coupons, generic, name brand, pore strips… NOTHING worked! Seriously. I was going to resort to MORE makeup, and more covering up products… slathering it on to hopefully cover up my blotchy pink spots on either side of my nose, my dry patchy flaky skin on my cheeks, my massive pores on my forehead and cheeks, pimples on my chin and jawline.. fine lines starting to form on my forehead and around my eyes. I SOUND like a mess huh?! Some of it may have been my perception… BUT I am 31 and starting to realize that I am getting older, and I don’t have DEEP wrinkles yet, but wanted to start taking care of my skin NOW. I am half Swedish, and realized LONG ago that the sun is not my friend. I am a sunscreen fiend, but still have freckles, but do my best to minimize sun damage. So, I finally said, Rodan+Fields seems to answer all of these issues. By the time I came to this answer, I had quit my job, started picking cooking and photography back up as hobbies, and wanted a way to support those hobbies, save for a Disney trip, and help out with an income in the house WITHOUT having to leave my kiddos with someone. I called my aunt, and not only started USING Rodan+Fields, I became a consultant. Within the first week I realized why this company has exploded! I realize why, when it started in retail at Nordstroms, that Estee Lauder bought them out! I realize why the Doctors then bought the company back from Estee Lauder (And why Estee Lauder still wanted 5% ownership of the company), to give all of those people who LOVED the products and were spreading the word, a chance to get commission AND a discount, when they told their friends how much they loved Rodan+Fields when people noticed their beautiful skin! 
My pores are quickly getting smaller, my skin is smoother and brighter. I went to CHURCH yesterday, all dressed up, and just a little bit of blush on! I was GOING to wear mascara also…but forgot. And you know what? I wasn’t embarrassed! I LOVE my skin! I haven’t felt that way since I was probably … 14?! I no longer feel the need to cover up my skin. I am healing and taking care of my skin, and making it more beautiful every day.  I personally use the REDEFINE regimen, and that helps with my pores. When I get that random pimple when my pores are trying to clear out, I use the Dual Creme product from the UNBLEMISH line, and it’s about gone by the next day. When it’s hot outside, or when I’m cooking, and my face is a bit oily, I use the oil control lotion from the UNBLEMISH line, and my skin looks like I put translucent powder on… and it’s just my skin! 

I could go on and on, but I won’t. Call me, message me, or if you live near me, stop by! I’ll talk to you more about this amazing company, and their products from the still in practice dermatologists who just want to help people have beautiful skin, and to feel good about themselves.

http://www.rcain.myrandf.com

Copy-Cat Chipotle Burrito Bowls! (With quick chips)

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These were AMAZING!!! I will most likely be repeating this recipe in my kitchen again!! Oh man, they were GOOD!

Ingredients: 

1 large chicken breast, “butterflied” (cut in half, and layed out flat)
2 TB of adobo sauce from a can of Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 TB olive oil

this is for 1 chicken breast, if you cook more, to make food for more than 3-4 people, double or triple the recipe. My recipe fed 4 people.

Combine the seasonings and sauce together with a spoon, and spread over both sides of the chicken breast. Put into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 1 hour “marinating”. You can marinate it for as little as 15 minutes, or overnight if you wish. After 

While the chicken is marinating, get the rice going.

After the chicken is done marinating, place on grill, or like me… use your trusty cast iron grill pan! Grill for 7-8 minutes per side, and cut a slice in the thickest part to make sure it’s cooked through and not translucent. Then, cut into 2 inch chunks for on the burrito bowl. ENJOY!

Build a Bowl ingredients: 

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Cilantro Lime Copy-cat rice: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy-Chipotle-Cilantro-Lime-Rice-Copycat/step2/Chop-squeeze-mix-and-enjoy/

This recipe for rice that I found on this blog… PERFECT!!

1 cup rice
juice from 1/2 lime plus zest
1/2 TB olive oil (just a drizzle)
salt and pepper seasoning to taste
1/4 cup chopped FRESH cilantro

I cook my rice in a rice cooker. Take the 1 cup of Jasmine Rice, and place into a mesh colander. Wash the rice until it runs clean. Then, put into the rice cooker, and cover with water, just over the top, until if you put your finger to rest on top of the rice, the water will come just to the first “knuckle” on your pointer finger. Then, press cook and forget it! After the rice is done, you take out, fluff, and add the cilantro, lime juice and zest, add a bit of oil and salt and pepper. AMAZING!

Guacamole recipe is listed here: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/06/02/sunday-lunch/

Peppers & Onions: I just sliced up 1/4 of a yellow onion, and half of a red bell pepper, and sauteed in a tiny bit of olive oil until soft.

Scallion: I just sliced up 1 green onion.

Corn: The corn is just a bag of steamed frozen corn. You could also slice leftover grilled corn off of the cob… I imagine that would be AWESOME!

Lettuce: The lettuce is just romaine lettuce cut up.

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CHIPS:

I just took 4 flour tortillas, cut into 6 pieces each, sprayed the cookie sheet w/coconut oil cooking spray, and then the other side of the tortilla w/the cooking spray. Then, I sprinkled fine sea salt onto the one side of the chip. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Voila!

 

 

Crispy Coconut Encrusted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

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Above is the end product! YUM huh?!

adapted from this recipe: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=2746155

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Ingredients:

3/4 Cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup plain panko bread crumbs
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
6 small chicken tenderloins
4 tbsp. coconut oil
3/4 cup coconut milk

Soak the chicken tenderloins in the coconut milk (either in a baggie or like I did, in a pie pan) for 45 minutes to an hour. While it’s soaking, mix the flour with 1/2 tsp salt and pepper and mix. Heat the oil in the skillet on medium-high. Then, take the panko bread crumbs, scallions and coconut and mix in a second bowl. Take the chicken, dip in flour, dip back into the milk and then coat with the coconut and panko bread crumbs. Make sure well coated. Cook in the skillet on med. high for 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through and firm.

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Mashed Potatoes:

(this is for 3-4 small servings)

6 Potatoes
1/4 cup (if not less… maybe 1/8 cup) half&half (or if you prefer, fat free chicken broth)
3 TB butter
1 TB Fat Free PLAIN greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

Peel most of the potatoes, and leave just a little bit of the peel. Then cut into 2 inch pieces. Place into pot and cover (just over the top) of the potatoes. Boil for 15 min on medium high. Lower the temp. if it boils over. I place the lid on the pan, but not sealed… it’s slightly “propped”. This helps to keep it from boiling over. Then, when cooked through, a fork should easily go through the pieces of potato, if not immediately cause it to break apart. Drain water, and place back on warm (and turned off) burner. Add the half&half (or chicken broth), butter, and yogurt. Mash with potato masher, or similar. Then, when well mixed, if you want creamy potatoes, take a hand mixer and blend. Then season to taste. 

Veggies in pic: I just took 3/4 cup of frozen veggies, and added to the skillet w/the leftover coconut in the pan after the chicken was removed and sauteed until heated up, but the veggies are still crunchy and cooked through. Thought it might be fun to try! Not bad! 🙂

Mini Pepper “Nachos”

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These mini-pepper nachos are probably now one of my favorite either “snacks” or light and easy dinners. I followed the recipe exactly, so I cannot claim it as my own… and the picture was taken on my husbands cell phone late at night with bad lighting… 🙂

BUT… this is one I HIGHLY recommend. The only difference is that we use PLAIN Organic Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream.

http://www.closetcooking.com/2013/10/mini-pepper-nachos-with-corn-black.html