Balsamic Chicken Caprese Style

Sigh… Pinterest and it’s endless scroll… it wastes so much of my time! I meal plan on pinterest. I also do some searches on foodnetwork.com etc… but mainly on pinterest. It sends me to GREAT blogs and websites, etc for amazing and creative recipes. I then, revamp the recipe and make it my own. The problem is, there are sometimes random cool things as “ads” mixed in with the recipes. I then like them because they are tailored to my liking. 1 hour later, I’m supposed to have my planning and shopping lists done and I’m over in humor laughing at memes with Ryan Gosling in them! Now, I know what you are thinking… “why wouldn’t you be?!”. Right? But… I do have to get things done… ūüôā

So… I made this recipe the other night and the chicken turned out PERFECTLY! I used red peppers instead of tomatoes… so it’s caprese STYLE… but you can definitely use tomatoes if you aren’t weird like me…

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4-5 servings
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 lbs chicken tenderloins
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium-chicken organic FF broth
  • 2-3 TB¬†balsamic vinegar
  • 5¬†Tbsp. Dark Brown Sugar
  • sliced sweet red mini pepper
  • sliced fresh mozzarella
  • fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil pesto

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INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Salt and pepper both sides of all of your chicken tenderloins and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in saucepan on medium-high. Brown chicken on both sides. Reduce heat to medium-low and add your minced garlic.
  3. Cook until garlic is tender, being careful not to burn it. Add your low sodium chicken broth, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. Turn heat up to medium-high and simmer for 10-12 minutes, spooning the broth mixture over the chicken every once in a while to make sure the chicken stays moist and soaks in the mixture.
  4. Preheat broiler. Make sure your skillet is OVEN SAFE! Take your slices of mozzarella and cover each slice of chicken with a slice of mozzarella.
  5. Broil until cheese is slightly melted. Place a sprig of fresh basil on top of the mozzarella and then add a red pepper slice (or tomato) on top. Drizzle with any remaining sauce and about a TB of pesto! YUM!!!!!!

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This is sweet with a bit of tang and a WHOLE LOTTA freshness from that basil pesto. You’ll enjoy every bite!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Sundried Tomato Avocado Chicken Sanwiches with Pesto and Mozarella!

I was seriously craving twice baked potatoes. SOOO bad! Alas, my potatoes were VERY sad looking and VERY small. It’s all I had left. I have had a lot of sauteed and roasted veggies for lunches these last couple of weeks and therefore have none for twice baked potatoes. Boo!

Instead, I made a DELICIOUS sandwich on GREAT HARVEST Sourdough. This is significant. It is not significant because I am affiliate of Great Harvest, it’s significant because it’s just simply the best.¬†https://www.greatharvest.com/¬†I worked at a Great Harvest Bread bakery when I was 15 years old, and I have never tasted bread as wonderful as they make. They have locations all over… so if you’re near one… STOP AND GET BREAD!! ūüôā

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Ingredients

This was for 2 servings

  • 6 chicken tenderloins (or more, depending on how many servings you need)
  • olive oil
  • 2 TB butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Mrs. Dash¬†OR 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2-3 mozzarella string cheese sticks (OR fresh mozzarella if you have it!)
  • 4 slices of SOURDOUGH bread!!
  • 2-3 TB fresh homemade basil pesto
  • 2 TB diced Sun-Dried Tomatoes
  • Arugula or any type of lettuce for sandwich
  • 1/2 avocado sliced for in sandwich

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INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Lightly drizzle the chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and the Mrs. Dash or 21 Seasoning Salute.
  2. Sautee in skillet with 1 TB of butter. Cook until white all the way thru and then set aside and let rest.
  3. Place 1 TB of butter into the warmed skillet and let melt on med to low. Butter one side of each of the slices of bread (just like with grilled cheese) and put pesto on the opposite side (from the butter) of 2 slices of bread. This is so that each sandwich will have 1 slice of bread with pesto on 1 side of the sandwich. Place the chicken, sundried tomatoes, and cheese onto the bread and place the other piece of bread on top. “Grill” like grilled cheese until the cheese is melted. (I cut the string cheese in half lengthwise, and then width wise.) Flip over to brown the other side of the sandwich.
  4. Remove from skillet and place onto plate. Remove the side w/out the cheese and place the avocado pieces and the arugula (or lettuce) and put back together. Cut and ENJOY!

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This sandwich was FULL of flavor. The sourdough definitely was crunchy and the perfect flavor and texture for this sandwich. NO WORDS! Ok… yes, you really have to try Great Harvest! ūüôā The chicken was moist and tender… everything balanced quite well! This is a quick and easy dinner!

I served this with 2 mini sweet potatoes. Aldi has a bag of steamable sweet potatoes that you just pop into the microwave for 8 minutes! I just had the sandwich and sweet potatoes and was quite satisfied! Give this one a try!

And now, for the quote of the day:

"BATTLES ARE FOUGHT IN OUR MINDS EVERY DAY... RESIST negative thoughts... be determined to rise above our problems," Joyce Meyer. "Fear not, for I am with you... I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand," Isaiah 41:10.

Oh, and if you need help waking up in the morning, did you know you can order coffee or k-cups on Amazon and have them delivered for free? You can even sign up for a subscription where it delivers on a schedule. You can even get k-cups for as little as $0.36/k-cup! WHAT?! Seriously!!

Check out this link: 15% off San Francisco Coffee K-cups

Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Do you want something creamy, and yet with a kick of heat at the same time? Something cheesy that still makes you sweat?! Who doesn’t!???? Right?
This dish is IT! And, it’s filling and yummy. Like, real yummy. (You’d never know I was an English major in college would you? I’m not going to discuss how long it’s been.)

This dish takes 20 to 25 minutes to complete, and only 1 pot dirtied! So, if you get home late, pop it in the pan with almost all of the ingredients, simmer… finish and serve! Love these types of dinners!

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Creamy-Cheesy-Spicy Hearty One Pot Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Turkey Kielbasa cut up
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (10 oz)¬†can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1/2 cup¬†half&half
  • 8 oz dry pasta (I used whole grain spaghetti, you can use whatever)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, each
  • 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach chopped
  • garnish with parmesan cheese and a bit more spinach (chopped)

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Instructions

  1. Add Olive Oil to a 4-5 quart saute pan over medium high heat. Add sausage and cook until lightly browned. Add garlic powder and onion powder and cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, pasta, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is tender.
  3. Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of cheese, and half&half. Sprinkle spinach in and let wilt.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese, and a bit of extra spinach.
  5. Makes about 4 servings. YUM!

And, my favorite things to cook and stir with, that also makes sure that I don’t scratch my awesome pans are:

* Ioven 8.5 inch Silicone Spatula Set of 4

* Totally Bamboo 5-Piece Utensil Set

wpid-1427934476316.jpgAnd now, for the quote of the day:

68862c0186259549b50f179b218fbf9e

Polenta Pizza

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Ok, this recipe is GOOD… the taste is just… sooo good! There’s just some kinks I still have to work out.

I have learned this by making it 2X already, and not quite getting it right, but it tastes good enough that I seriously wouldn’t mind making it 1x per month just to work it out!

The issue is the polenta. The first time I tried to make it, I used corn FLOUR… oops! This time, I used Pre-cooked polenta. I learned, as I was putting away the leftovers, that if I had let the pizza set for a bit and cool down, the “crust” would have set and it wouldn’t have been a pile of Italian mush…. tasty mush though! Ha!

So, I’ll post any changes, but if you make this… LET IT COOL to help set the crust.

Ingredients

1 TB olive oil, plus a bit more for the pan
1 roll of pre-cooked polenta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce)
 kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 ounces part skim, low moisture FRESH mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 leaves of basil sliced into thin pieces
1/2 cup black olives sliced
cherry tomatoes cut into half
1/2 to 3/4 cup of marinara sauce
2 strips of cooked bacon, and crumbled into small pieces
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Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425¬į F. Oil a 9-inch cake pan; set aside.
  2. Crumble the polenta into the bottom of the cake pan and mix with the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the polenta over the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes, and remove.
  4. Add sauce into the crust.
  5. Place the toppings onto the pizza, ending with the sliced mozzarella and basil.
  6. Bake until the polenta is crisp around the edges, 25 to 35 minutes.
  7. Let sit and cool for 15-20 minutes until crust sets.

Seriously… this is a good one!

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

God-Doesnt-Want-Something-From-Us

Italian Orecchiette Pasta Bowl with Homemade Meatballs and tomato sauce

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So after John’s recent cravings (not unusual) for spicy and Mexican food… I’ve been craving pasta!!!! And lots of it! I have had low to no carb recipes here lately too, so had to get my craving satisfied for some Italian food! So, I went to Giada on FoodNetwork.com. Where else would you go for a good Italian meal?! I mean, seriously!! Here is her original recipe that I changed up a bit:¬†http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/orecchiette-with-mini-chicken-meatballs-recipe.html

So, I liked her recipe, but I am not a ground chicken or turkey kind of person. I just cannot do it. So, I made my own usual meatballs that I usually make for Levi. They are dairy and egg free, and one of his absolute FAVORITE meals!! Then, I slightly adapted the rest of her recipe to make it my own, and it was absolutely delicious! This one will go in my book as a “We will make this again!”. I just have to figure out how to boil orecchiette pasta better, because if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) it all sticks together! UGH! I’ve gotta figure out a trick for it! If anyone has suggestions, please let me know!

So, homemade meatballs first:

Ingredients:

1 lb. 85/15 grass fed organic ground beef (my preference)
3/4 cup plain panko bread crumbs
3/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 TB rice milk (or similar… this is just what I use)
1 TB worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Mix all together in a large mixing bowl until well integrated. In the mean time heat 1 TB olive oil (or use cooking spray to coat the pan) in a large skillet. Once all of the meatball ingredients are well mixed and there are no dry breadcrumbs hanging out in the bottom of the bowl, you will start to shape the meatballs. Take a melon baller, or a chefmate cookie scoop and scoop out the meat mixture. Then, roll into 1-2″ balls. Then, place into skillet and start to cook. All of mine fit in to the skillet at once. I cook the top, then the bottom, for about 2-3 min each, and then sear all of the sides to “seal” in the juice. Once this is done to all of the meatballs, you will be adding the chicken broth and the can of diced tomatoes listed below:

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Orecchiette Pasta Bowl

Ingredients:

1 lb. orecchiette pasta
1 1/2 cup low sodium organic chicken broth
1 can (14.5 oz.) fire roasted diced organic tomatoes (no salt added)
1 clove garlic minced (I put it into the garlic press)
1/2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
6-8 basil leaves chopped
1 zucchini sliced and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 small ball of fresh mozzarella
2 TB shaved parmesan cheese

Directions:

Now, add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the skillet with the meatballs from above. Bring to a boil. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft and meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. During this time add the minced garlic, basil, rosemary, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water. Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan. Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the zucchini to the meatball mixture in the skillet and toss until slightly softened and coated with the tomato sauce. Add the meatball mixture, mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the basil into the bowl of the pasta. Gently toss to combine. Garnish with the chopped basil and a drizzle of pesto.

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This one was GOOD!! Craving Italian food and don’t want to spend the $$ to go out?? Make this one! I have a feeling this one will be crave-able!

Enjoy!

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches

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These Chicken Parmesan Sandwiches just hit the spot! They were delicious!! My husband… he told me he’d order these at a restaurant and go back again specifically for these!! Now, I think he’s a bit biased… but they were good!!

Ingredients: for 2 sandwiches… for more, multiply accordingly

4 chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup coconut milk (or any other milk… even buttermilk)
3 TB parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 TB water
2 thick slices of fresh mozzarella
10 small leaves of fresh basil
1/2 cup jarred spaghetti sauce or marinara
1/2 tsp salt & pepper
2 Ciabatta Rolls
1 TB pesto (I keep a jar in my fridge at all times… pre-made… we go thru a lot!)

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Directions:

Slice the 2 rolls in half and lightly butter and sprinkle with garlic powder. Put in oven @ 350 for 5 min just to toast. Take out, and put pesto lightly on 1 side.

Thaw chicken if it isn’t already, and soak in the milk. While soaking, put 3 TB olive oil into a skillet and heat on med to med low heat until just rippling. Then put the flour in 1 bowl, with the salt and pepper. Put the 1 egg in another bowl w/the water and wisk. Add the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese in a 3rd bowl and mix together. In a “assembly line” style, take the chicken, dip in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the panko bread crumb mixture and directly into the skillet. Pan fry on either side for 3-4 min per side. Then, place onto the bottom half of the roll, and top with 1 TB of the marinara, then the slices of mozzarella, and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 min until the cheese is well melted. Take out, top with sauce and basil, and the other side of the roll. ENJOY!!!!!

 

The croissant was a store bought roll that I topped with honey butter at my husband’s request. We also had chips and guacamole with our sandwich. A bit of a hodge-podge dinner, but satisfied cravings!!!!

 

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!!!

 

Tex-Mex Calzones

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Ok… not the best picture… but seriously… these are AMAZING! I had to get this off of my phone. Better pictures in the future. PROMISE!

Original recipe credit: http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detail.asp?recipe=653363

All things that I added or changed will be marked by parenthesis or an asterisk.

1 pound ground turkey, extra lean  (I used 85/15 Ground beef)
1/2 c onion, chopped fine (I never use as much onion, probably 1/4 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced ( used 1 tsp pre-minced garlic)
3/4 t ground cumin
1 1/2 t dark chili powder
1/2 c red bell pepper, chopped fine
3/4 c salsa verde, fire roasted ( I used regular salsa)
1 (11 oz) can pizza dough, refrigerated, thin crust (I used Publix pre-made bagged dough. They have whole wheat if you prefer. In the bakery section of most grocery stores, or refrigerated sections.)
1 c Mexican blend cheese, shredded
1 egg white, beaten (I used olive oil)Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Adjust oven rack to upper third of the oven.
Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground turkey (or ground beef) and cook 5 minutes, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic; continue to cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add spices and cook for 1 minute to bring out the flavors in the spices. Add chopped pepper; continue to cook 1 minute.
Remove mixture from heat and stir in salsa.
Unroll dough and divide into 4 equal portions. Working with one rectangle at a time place, 1/2 cup of turkey mixture on half of the dough then top with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
Using a pastry brush or fingers, brush the egg mixture (or olive oil) on the border of the dough. Fold dough over turkey mixture and press with a fork to seal. If you prefer a crisp crust, brush some additional egg wash (or olive oil w/some sea salt and oregano) over the top of the calzone.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
*** I then had about a TB of sour cream (or you can use PLAIN greek yogurt) and dipped these into it.

HEAVENLY!!!

ENJOY!