Hawaiian Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

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Wow, I can’t believe it’s already September! I feel like I’m travelling through this year in light-speed. Pretty soon it will be fall, and I can start using my favorite appliance: the oven!

As much as I love my oven, I’m not ready to give up on grilling season just yet. How else could I make amazing recipes like this Hawaiian Chicken with Grilled Pineapple? Feast your eyes . . .

Hawaiian Chicken with Grilled Pineapple

Infused with teriyaki and pineapple flavors, the chicken is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Grilling the pineapple caramelizes the natural sugars in the fruit which adds amazing flavor to this dish.

A thick teriyaki sauce works best in this recipe. I used a Kona Coast teriyaki sauce that was chock-full of sesame seeds (yum!).

3/4 cup teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 can sliced pineapple

Whisk together the teriyaki sauce, pineapple juice, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, and pepper.

Put the chicken in a large zip-top bag, or a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss to ensure that the chicken is thoroughly coated. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pour the marinade into a small saucepan.

Grill the chicken for 6-8 minutes per side. While the chicken is cooking, bring the marinade to a boil and cook for about 3-5 minutes over high heat, stirring occasionally. (Note: if you want the sauce to be thicker, continue cooking until the sauce is reduced to the desired consistency.)

When the chicken is almost done, add the sliced pineapple to the grill, and cook for about 1-2 minutes per side.

Serve the chicken and grilled pineapple with the sauce drizzled over the top, alongside rice and your favorite veggie. Enjoy!

Adapted from LWSL.

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Caprese Chicken

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I don’t know who originally invented the caprese salad, but I would just like to say “thank you”! I cannot get enough of the delicious combination of ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil leaves, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. It just might be best flavor combination ever invented . . . seriously.

Here’s what I’ll be eating this summer. A lot.

Caprese Chicken

So good, and so simple! Take a sautéed chicken breast and top it with delectable caprese salad with a balsamic reduction, and you have beautiful Caprese Chicken.

To make a good caprese salad, you must have the proper ingredients. This means fresh basil (not dried), fresh mozzarella (not that string cheese stuff), and the ripest tomatoes you can find. This is definitely a dish to make during the summer when tomatoes are at their peak. Quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar are important too. Reducing the balsamic vinegar concentrates the flavor and really makes this dish, so don’t skip that step.

The best way to keep fresh basil on hand is to buy a basil plant or two. I have a couple of basil plants by my kitchen window, so I can simply pluck off a few leaves whenever I need to (try adding basil leaves and a slice of lemon to your water).

Fresh basil

Unfortunately, California is going through a drought, so I decided not to plant any tomatoes this year (sniff), but I should be able to get some awesome tomatoes from the local farmers market.

This should feed about 2 people, but we had very large chicken breasts, so we were able to feed 2 adults and 2 kids with this recipe.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups ripe tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup fresh mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper, to taste

First, pound the chicken breasts with a meat mallet (or your weapon of choice) until uniformly thick. Season with salt and pepper, and then set aside.

Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to a high-simmer (or low boil) and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vinegar is reduced by half. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, heat 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When the olive oil is hot (you should start to see small ripples in the oil), add the chicken breasts and let cook, undisturbed, for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat, if needed. When properly browned, the chicken will release from the pan with little effort. Flip the chicken and cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until cooked through. (Note: adding a lid to the pan during the last few minutes of cooking will help the middle of the chicken get done faster.) Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let rest a few minutes before cutting.

To serve, cut the chicken into slices on the diagonal (or however you like) and carefully transfer the chicken to the dinner plates. Top with the tomatoes, and then tear the mozzarella into small pieces and place on top of the tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and the balsamic reduction, scatter a few basil leaves on top, and then add fresh ground pepper, if desired. Enjoy!

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Moroccan Chicken

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I really love chicken legs. Maybe because they come with their own handle, or maybe because they’re also called “drumsticks”, which reminds me of those yummy ice cream treats. . . but I digress.

This delectable chicken is coated with olive oil, lemon juice, and lots of fragrant spices, and is allowed to marinate for at least 24-48 hours. Be patient; the tender flavorful chicken will be worth the wait.

Moroccan Chicken

I broiled my chicken, but this would also be great on the grill. The cooking time should be about the same.

3 tablespoons olive oil
Juice from 2 large lemons
4 teaspoons sea salt
4 teaspoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 pounds (approx.) chicken legs

For the marinade, mix all of the ingredients, other than the chicken, together in a large zip top bag. Add the chicken to the bag, seal the bag, and then toss to coat the chicken. Place the bag in the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 24-48 hours, turning the bag every 12 hours.

When ready to cook the chicken, move an oven rack to the lowest position in the oven, and move another oven rack near the top of the oven, about 5 inches from the heating element. Preheat the broiler.

Line the bottom of a broiler pan with foil, and place the slotted broiler pan on top. Remove the chicken from the bag and place it on the broiler pan, skin-side down. Discard the marinade.

Broil the chicken on the bottom rack of the oven for about 12-16 minutes, or until the chicken begins to brown. Use tongs to turn the chicken skin-side up and continue broiling on the bottom rack for another 10-15 minutes, or until the meat registers 165 degrees. Move the chicken to the upper rack and broil until the chicken is well-browned, and the skin is crispy, about 1 minute.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Honey Mustard Chicken

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We eat a lot of chicken in our house; it’s good, it’s versatile, and the kids will usually eat it without much complaint. Plus certain cuts, like bone-in chicken thighs, can be pretty easy on the wallet. Now I’m usually a boneless-skinless-chicken-breast kind of gal, but these thighs coated in a honey-mustard herb sauce and breaded in crushed Stove Top stuffing (sounds good, right?) may turn me into a chicken thigh convert.

Honey Mustard Chicken

5 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
5-6 bone-in chicken thighs
6 tablespoons honey Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
6 ounce box chicken-flavored Stove Top stuffing, crushed into coarse crumbs

Place an oven rack at the lower part of your oven and preheat the broiler.

Combine the melted butter and olive oil together in a small bowl. Brush all sides of the chicken with the butter/olive oil and place skin side down in a 9×13 baking dish. Broil the chicken 8-10 minutes, then flip the chicken and cook the other side another 8-10 minutes (note: the chicken won’t be completely cooked at this point).

Take the baking dish out of the oven and remove the chicken to a plate. Carefully pour the pan drippings into a glass measuring cup or small bowl and set aside.

In a separate small bowl, combine the mustard, green onions, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper, a dash of salt, and 1 tablespoon of the pan drippings. Coat both sides of the chicken with the mustard mixture and then roll the chicken into the stuffing crumbs to coat.

Place the chicken back into the baking dish, skin side down, and then drizzle a bit of the pan drippings on top. Cook the chicken for another 8-10 minutes, then flip the chicken, drizzle the other side with some pan drippings, then cook another 10 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Enjoy!

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Chicken with Paprika Cream Sauce

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So, remember a couple of weeks ago when I said I was going to be posting some healthier recipes for us? Well, this is not one of them. It is absolutely delicious though, and worth every calorie. The chicken is tender and delicious, but the sauce makes this dish! It’s hard to go wrong with heavy cream.

Me + bowl of paprika cream sauce + stretch pants = happy girl

Chicken with Paprika Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup minced onions
1 tablespoons paprika
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with a bit of salt and pepper. Add two chicken breasts to the skillet, or as many as will fit without touching. Cook until the chicken is golden-brown on the bottom, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook the other side for another 3 minutes or so. Reduce the heat to medium, if needed, to prevent burning. Your chicken most likely won’t be cooked through at this point (if the chicken feels soft when you press on the top, then it’s still pink in the middle), so cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 3-5 more minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (it should feel firm and the juices should run clear). (Note: the lid creates steam inside the skillet which cooks the inside of the chicken much faster.)

Safety warning: Keep the lid level (don’t tilt it) when you take the lid off the skillet; otherwise the condensation on the lid will drip down into the hot oil in the skillet and cause the hot oil to splatter.

Remove the cooked chicken from the skillet, keep warm, and repeat the above process for the remaining chicken breasts. Once all of the chicken is cooked, remove it to a plate and keep warm.

Turn the heat down to low and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet. Add the onions, paprika, and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until the onions soften, being careful not to burn the paprika.

Add the chicken broth to the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Be sure to scrape up all of the yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Boil over high heat until the liquid has thickened and reduced by at least half. Add the heavy cream and boil until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and turn to coat. Serve the chicken over rice with a generous spoonful of sauce. Enjoy!

*adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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Skinny Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

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Happy Friday! I’ve been craving buffalo wings lately; maybe because the Super Bowl is fast approaching and I’m starting to think about all of the yummy things we can eat while watching the game. I like football, but it’s really all about the food and the funny commercials for me!

Although tasty, buffalo wings really aren’t that healthy. Anything that is fried and then dipped in a buttery sauce doesn’t exactly make the health food hall of fame. So, I decided to make a healthier recipe that not only tastes great, but is also uses every busy mom’s favorite appliance: the Crock-Pot (yay!). This recipe is so easy to make and results in super-tender chunks of chicken infused with spicy buffalo wing sauce flavor…mmm, good. You can use this chicken in a variety of ways: buffalo chicken wraps, buffalo chicken sandwich, on top of a salad, or any way your heart desires.

Skinny Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Add everything except the chicken to the Crock-Pot and stir to combine. Add the frozen chicken breasts and flip to coat in the sauce.

Cook on high for about 4 hours. Break up the chicken into chunks and then stir into the sauce and serve.

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White Chicken Enchiladas

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Happy New Year! I love how optimistic I feel at the beginning of the year. I’ve got some goals in mind and I’m ready to conquer my bright, shiny new list of “to dos” for the coming year. I’ve got a good feeling about 2014; I think it’s going to be a great year!

Unfortunately, I’ve acquired a bit of extra “padding” from the holidays, so I’ll be working on some healthier recipes for you (and me!). To start us off, how about some delectable white chicken enchiladas, lightened up with fat-free Greek yogurt? These dreamy enchiladas have all of the creamy taste and texture of sour cream (or heavy cream), but without any of the added fat!

White Chicken Enchiladas

2 cups cooked, diced chicken
Cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, to taste
2 cups shredded Jack cheese, divided
10 soft-taco sized white corn tortillas
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (I like Fage)
1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.

Add the cooked chicken to a medium bowl and season with cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, to taste. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese and stir to combine.

Add a spoonful or two of the chicken mixture to the center of a tortilla, then roll up the tortilla and place in the prepared baking dish. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add the broth and whisk until smooth. Heat over medium heat until thick and bubbly, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the yogurt and green chilies, but do not let the mixture come to a boil.

Pour the mixture over the enchiladas and top with the remaining cheese.

Bake 20-25 minutes and then turn on the broiler for about 3 min, or until the cheese is browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve and enjoy!

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Dad’s Easy Mediterranean Chicken

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My dad recently sent me this chicken recipe, which he says received rave-reviews from his dinner guests. Of course I had to try it, and I have to agree – this is one tasty dish! It is full of flavor . . . actually, I’ll let my dad describe it to you . . .

“This recipe offers an exotic blend of flavors, orchestrated by the turmeric, that will appeal to adults, but probably not children. It assumes a Dutch oven but will work just as well in a crock pot or other lidded vessel. In that case, do the initial sauteing in a frying pan and transfer to the final cook pot.”

I altered his recipe slightly to work with the ingredients on hand, but the essential ingredients and flavors are the same.

3/4 cup chopped onion
8 oz package mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic minced
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2/3 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes (or whole cherry tomatoes)
1 14oz can diced tomatoes, with juice
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1/2 cup artichoke hearts, cut into bite-size pieces (canned or marinated)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
Olive oil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven, sauté the onions and mushrooms in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, until the onions begin to soften. Add the garlic and sauté for about 1-2 minutes. Remove the contents from the pan and set aside. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the chicken thighs for about 2-3 minutes per side. Add salt and pepper as desired. Remove browned thighs from the pan if you need more room for the un-browned ones, and add more oil as needed.

Once all the thighs are brown, add them back to the pan along with onion and mushroom mixture and all other ingredients. Lightly stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, and then reduce heat to simmer (uncovered).

My dad likes to simmer the mixture for 2-3 hours until the mixture has a meat sauce consistency with all the ingredients well ‘blended’. He also suggested serving it after 40-60 minutes of simmering, at which point the thighs will still be intact (which is what I did). Serve over rice.

Thanks for the recipe Dad!

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Burrito Bowl

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Happy Friday everyone! On Fridays I get a bit lazy and slack off on my domestic duties a bit. After a busy week, the last thing I feel like doing is preparing a big dinner. I usually have some extra homemade meals in the freezer, but I also like “re-purposing” leftovers into a delicious new meal like this one.

The beauty of a burrito bowl is that you don’t even need a recipe. My basic burrito bowls consists of leftover carnitas meat (if you haven’t tried my carnitas recipe, you are missing out!), rice, and beans. Then you can toss in whatever else sounds good. Chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, avocado, shredded lettuce, fire roasted chiles, sauteed onions – the possibilities are endless.

Leftover carnitas (or any leftover taco meat)
Leftover brown rice
1 can black beans, rinsed
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Sour cream
Green onions, chopped

Heat the carnitas and the rice in the microwave until warm. (Tip: add about a teaspoon of water to the rice and cover, before reheating. This will prevent the rice from being too dry.)

To serve, place a generous scoop of carnitas, rice, and black beans into each serving bowl. Sprinkle with a bit of cilantro, and then add a spoonful of sour cream and salsa. Top it off with a few green onions. Mix it all together and enjoy your delicious no-cook dinner!

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Chile-Lime Chicken

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This Chile-Lime Chicken is a wonderful way to kick-up your usual chicken dinner. The chicken is coated in several tasty spices, sautéed, and then finished with lime juice and a bit of butter (because butter makes everything better!). This recipe is quick and easy, so it’s great for a busy weeknight meal. 

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 limes, juiced

Combine all of the spices together in a small bowl and set aside.

Pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet until flat and evenly thick (use a large zip-top bag to contain the mess). Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with the spice mixture and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter and all of the olive oil to a large skillet, and heat over medium-high heat. When the butter foams, add 2 of the chicken breasts to the skillet (or as many can fit without touching) and sauté for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until cooked through (the cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken). Remove the cooked chicken to a plate and cook the remaining chicken.

Once all of the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken from the skillet, and add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the lime juice to the skillet. Use a spatula to scrape up the cooked bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat in the sauce.

Serve hot with rice and your favorite veggie. Enjoy!

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