Chill Out With These Enchiladas

I never get tired of Mexican food. There are so many unique dishes with different flavor profiles making the options endless. If you told me that I could make an awesome Mexican dinner in less than 30 minutes, I would say ‘sign me up.’ Cooking Light told me that with their Chicken Verde Enchiladas, which are made in under 30 minutes, and I did not hesitate one second to rip out the recipe out and buy the ingredients.
 
ImageFor this dish you’ll need:
  • 3/4 cup pre-chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro stems
  • 2 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeño pepper
  • 5 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup chopped tomato
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 ripe peeled avocado, coarsely mashed
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, shaved
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves

First, place oven rack in lower third of oven, and preheat broiler to high. Then, combine first 8 ingredients in a medium saucepan, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes. Stir in chicken; cook 1 minute or until heated. Remove from heat. Stir in tomato, sour cream, and avocado. Next, stack the tortillas and wrap in damp paper towels. Microwave at HIGH for 45 seconds. Spoon 1 cup chicken mixture into an 11 x 7-inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Spoon 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up. Arrange tortillas, seam sides down, in baking dish. Top with cheese. Broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts.  For the finishing touch, sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

I could not even let these cool down before digging in. I was hooked. I loved the fresh avocado within the enchiladas–it brought down the spice of the jalapeno and gave the dish a cooling element. The crispy broiled cheese added a gooey as well as a crunch component. Hands down, I would make this recipe again–I’m so excited that I have leftovers for the week. Test it out–I’d love to hear your thoughts/feedback. But until next time, keep eating!

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Simple Summer Chicken

I’m excited to share I found another summer dish I can’t get enough of: Greek-Style Chicken Breasts from Cooking Light’s May issue. It brings together all of the wonderful Mediterranean flavors while being light and refreshing, perfect as the weather gets warmer.
 
ImageFor this dish you’ll need:
  • 4 (6oz.) skinless, boneless, chicken breast halves
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 3/4 c. vertically sliced onion
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 oz. chopped and pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 medium tomato, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and add to the pan, cooking for 6 minutes on each side. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil and swirl to coat. Then add onion and garlic, saute for 4 minutes, then add the olives and tomato. Cook everything for 3 minutes or until the tomato begins to break down. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley oregano and lemon juice. Lastly, top the chicken with the tomato mixture and sprinkle with feta.

Cooking Light serves this dish with herbed gold potatoes but I also found this dish pairs exceptionally well with pasta or quinoa. Adding a grain definitely rounds out the dish–I highly recommend it! The only thing that could make this dish better would be to have a deck or patio I could eat it outside on 🙂 Test this chicken out–it’s quick and absolutely delicious–you won’t be disappointed (I’m ashamed to admit I ate almost the entire pot, it’s THAT good). But until next time, keep eating!

A Salad That Packs A Punch

Have you ever had a dish you just can’t get enough of? This Southwestern Steak Salad just about does it for me–bet you didn’t think I was going to salad did you?. I absolutely love steak and unfortunately I don’t eat it as much as I would like (but then again I guess that’s a good thing). What I love about this salad is that the spiciness of the chipotle chiles in adobe pairs so well the steak.

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Southwestern Steak SaladFor this dish you’ll need:

For this salad you’ll need:

  • 1 pound skirt steak
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce (torn)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • tomatoes (grape or fresh Jersey tomatoes work here)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, minced
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 tsp. honey
  • 1/4 c. olive oil

First, cook the steak however you prefer–I cooked mine on the grill but pan-frying it works just as well. In a large bowl, toss together lettuce, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine chile, lime juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and any juices from the steak (this sounds a little gross but TRUST me this takes the flavor to a whole other level). Finally, pour the dressing over the salad, add steak, and toss once more.

Now I wasn’t kidding when I said this was easy. Easy and utterly delicious. I just bought the ingredients to make this salad this week, and I can’t wait. This salad is certainly enough for dinner and I suggest adding a grilled piece of bread to soak up the amazing dressing. Let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

‘Just Beet It’ Rice Bowl

If you’re looking for a awesome healthy dinner, I must say Cooking Light‘s Brown Rice bowl (paired with five different toppings of your choice) is perfect.
 
ImageFor tonight I choose the ‘Just Beet It’ topping. Simply start with 3/4 c. brown rice (you can use quick precooked rice or make a pot of it, it just depends on how much time you have). Then you’ll need:
  • 2/3 c. thinly sliced and halved roasted beets
  • 2 tsp. walnut oil
  • 1 tbsp. dry-roasted, salted pistachios
  • 1/2 baby arugula
  • 1 tbsp. thinly sliced shallot
  • 2 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese

Once the rice is done, combine the flavors and there you have it. An insanely quick, healthy, and delicious meal.

If beets aren’t your thing, opt for the ‘Steak and Greens’ or the ‘Balsamic Cranberry Pork.’ You can even make up your own rice bowl and add the toppings of your choice. I’d love to hear other creative topping ideas! But until next time, keep eating!

 

Mac Attack!

My friend and I recently tried Spitzer’s on Rivington Street. And let me tell you, I’m glad we did. It’s this cozy restaurant and bar that has this amazing truffle mac n’ cheese. Yep take a second to soak that in. Truffle mac–need I say more?
ImageWe decided to split the truffle mac n’ cheese and their homemade spinach and artichoke dip that came with warm, fresh pita bread. Good choice made.
When the food came out we dug right into it. The truffle mac had a baked breadcrumb crust atop of it which was the perfect amount of crisp to the rich and gooey mac n’ cheese. We both couldn’t put our forks down. Same goes for the spinach artichoke dip–we had to order additional pita bread to finish it. Utterly delicious.
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I highly recommend Spitzer’s for both their drinks and food (or even just for their truffle mac). But until next time, keep eating!

Holy Guacamole! Dynamite Mexican Food at Carlitos

I took a trip to Santa Barbara to visit my sister and had an absolutely amazing time. We did everything from walking to wining and dining–and boy did we eat. I must say I haven’t had better Mexican food anywhere else. Everything was so fresh and delicious. One of my favorite places was Carlitos, this adorable, authentic Mexican restaurant in the heart of Santa Barbara. 
 
By dinner time we were both starving–having walked around all day we certainly worked up an appetite–and were so excited when they brought us fresh homemade tortilla chips and salsa. Wow is all I have to say. We gorged ourselves on chips and couldn’t wait for our next course to come.
 
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Up next was their shrimp empanadas. My family and I have this rule that when we go out to eat we order something we wouldn’t make ourselves. And my sister and I carried on that tradition. These empanadas were packed with shrimp, asadero cheese, papaya salsa, and a chipotle cream. And not to mention, they were the perfect amount of crispy. I was in a food heaven.
 
If that course didn’t win my heart, my main entree did: their sizzling fajitas platter. The biggest platter you’ve ever seen. I can usually finish my plate but this particular time I have to admit I didn’t even make it through half. I got the chicken and steak combo which came with homemade corn tortillas, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, rice, and black beans. A feast some would say. The chicken ans steak were cooked perfectly and combined with fresh guacamole, sour cream, and salsa, all rolled together in a tortilla was dynamite.
 
If I ever visit Santa Barbara again (which I definitely plan on doing), I will be back to Carlitos, and ready to try another fabulous meal. But until next time, keep eating!

Sesame-Carrot Salad

Found: the perfect side for any stir fry. Sesame-carrot salad from Cooking Light. 
 
ImageI must say I do cook my fair share of stir frys–it’s great excuse to use up every vegetable you have laying around (within reason of course). The other night, as I was cooking vegetables for my stir fry, I realized I wanted something more. Something new and different that I haven’t made before, while at the same time complimenting my all-time favorite stir fry accessory: Trader Joe’s Soyaki sauce. It’s just a little bit of heaven in a bottle.
 
And this sesame-carrot salad was it. Combine 3 c. matchstick-cut carrots, 1 1/2 tbsp. toasted sesame seeds, 1 1/2 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. dark sesame oil, 1 tsp. lower-sodium soy sauce’ and 1 tsp. ground pepper. Simply throw all these ingredients in a bowl and toss well to coat. Easy as pie and it provides a nice crunch alongside the stir fry. 
 
If you love a good stir fry as much as I do, try this out! But until next time, keep eating! 

Don’t Be Shellfish, There is Enough For Everyone!

You can never go wrong with a classic shrimp scampi. And after a long work week, I wanted nothing more than a fast, quick and delicious meal. I DO try to cook as many meals as I can, but after work, I rush home to put on my sweatpants and order Seamless (delivery is the best thing ever invented).

This night I refused to do that. On the menu, Shrimp and Broccoli Scampi from Cooking Light.
ImageFor this recipe you’ll need:
  • 8 oz. uncooked thin spaghetti
  • 12 oz. broccoli
  • cooking spray
  • 1 lb. cooked shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 10 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 c. unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese
What you’ll need to do: Cook the pasta according to package and add the broccoli for the last 2 minutes. Drain. Then, heat a large skillet over high heat. Coat the pan with cooking spray, add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from pan. Next, heat the pan over medium-low heat, add butter and oil. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. add stock, bring to a boil, and make sure to scrape the pan to loosen the browned bits. Combine 1 tbsp. water and cornstarch in a small bowl. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the stock and cook for about a minute. Then, stir in shrimp, pasta mixture, parsley, rind, juice, and salt. cook for a minute and stir to cook. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve.

There you have it. An incredibly delicious meal for less than 20 minutes. Does it get much better than that? The best thing about this recipe is that it makes a ton, so you’ll have leftovers to take for lunch! If that’s not an incentive than I don’t know what is. Test this recipe out and let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!

My Newfound Love: The Crock Pot

I have a newfound love: my crock pot. It literally is one of the best inventions made (kudos to whoever you are). I love the way it makes your entire apartment smell like a little bit of heaven. 

I do have to admit I’ve only made a few dishes in it so far but this is one that keeps me coming back: Slow-Cooker Spicy Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches (the name says it all).
 
The way the chicken cooks down and absorbs the incredible sauce of hot sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, and molasses, it literally melts right off the bone. Divine.
 
ImageFor this recipe you’ll need:
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  •  1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. hot sauce (Frank’s)
  • 3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp. unsulfured molasses
  • 8 hamburger buns

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add chicken and season  with salt and pepper. Cook stirring once, until meat is golden brown (about 5 min.). Once done, transfer to the crock pot with a slotted spoon. Next, to the same skillet, add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and cook over medium for about 6 min. Add 1/4 c. water and cook, scraping up browned bits, for about 5 min. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the crock pot. Then add the tomatoes, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and molasses and stir to combine and cover all the chicken. Cover and cook on high for about 4 hours. Shred, season with salt and pepper, and serve with hamburger buns.

If you have a crock pot, bust it out and try this recipe! You can prep it before work, turn it on, and when you come home have an amazing meal waiting for you–the smell of this dish alone will be enough. The best part is too is that it makes enough for extra meals during the week (which is a total bonus considering a get lazy some nights and refuse to cook.) Test it out, you won’t regret it. But until next time, keep eating!

This Chick Loves Her Chickpeas

It’s no secret, I adore chickpeas. And naturally when I came across this recipe, I had to make it. Chickpea Curry from Cooking Light.

ImageFor the curry you’ll need:

  • 1 (3.5 oz.) bag boil-in-bag basmati or brown rice (or you could swap for Naan bread like I did)
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15 oz.) can unsalted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) package fresh baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro

If you’re opting for rice, cook the rice according to the package. Meanwhile, heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add oil. Then add the onion and saute until tender (about 5 min.). Next stir in the garam marsala and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Then add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and spinach and cook until the spinach wilts. Once the spinach is wilted, remove from heat and stir in yogurt and salt. Serve over rice (or with Naan bread) and sprinkle with cilantro. There you have it, a super easy great meal.

The combination of the spices, the creaminess of the yogurt, the acidity of the tomato sauce are what make this dish so divine.
 
I served this dish alongside homemade lamb curry and Naan bread. You need something starchy like bread or rice to soak up the sauce (trust me you’ll want every last drop) and the lamb curry was a delicious hit of protein–you’ll just want to pick something that compliments all the flavors in the chickpea curry. Let me know what you think! But until next time, keep eating!