Chicken

Chicken Fajita Salad

Chicken Fajita Salad

I’m about tired of tasteless lettuce from the market.  I can’t wait for the lettuce seeds in my garden bowl to grow and I will have some fresh greens.  In the meantime, I still needed to come up with something for dinner.

Since Mexican food is always at the top of my list – not the diet’s list – I first chopped a big bowl of lettuce and then put half of it in a zip lock bag for later. (That was entirely too much of a good thing.)  The battle was what to fix with it.  So I came up with a Chicken Fajita salad.  What I did was bury the lettuce with strips of fajita flavored chicken breast, red and yellow peppers and onion.  Then I threw in some sliced baby bellas and drizzled it all with a low fat Ranch dressing.  Not bad for a 20 minute dinner.  Dinner done!

Chicken Fajita Salad

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

I get inspiration to make something when I hear and think about it all day.  A friend at work made Chicken Piccata for her son’s birthday.  That sounded so good to me.  I just had to have something with that acidic taste.  I didn’t have any lemons.  So I looked around the pantry and spied the Balsamic vinegar.  Why not?

Now I’m back on my “life style eating” plan (not a diet) so you can’t see the 4 ounces of chicken breast under the vegetables.  It’s there.  I should have used Canola oil rather than olive oil and no butter.  The chicken had no fat on it, so a little flavor was necessary.

I get carried away during the holidays and eat things that aren’t good for me.  Winter is not necessarily a good time to restart, but I have to do it sometime.  I have gradually given up Taco Cabana’s chicken flautas.  I just can’t go cold turkey!  Now it’s time to get serious and focused.  I think I have all the issues I need to worry about out of the way (I hope). I can concentrate on not eating everything I take a picture of for you to try.

Resolution/Solution:  Eat more salads, vegetables and chicken.  Try fish once in a while.

Balsamic Glazed Chicken

Guest Post: Buffalo Chicken Dip

Our dear friend and Girl Scout Leader wanted to share this dip for the Super Bowl party with everyone.  She has a great and interesting blog Pearls on a Pig. Recently, she made Girl Scout cookie costumes to help her troop with cookie sales.  Check it out!  She just hasn’t had time to post this there.  You know, she is busy being a mother, worker, Girl Scout leader and volunteer.  She is a great baker and cook and this is one of her great recipes that I have personally taste tested.  So, here it is.  Enjoy!

Summer Squash Soup

I had the best garden this last summer.  Now I am enjoying my harvest.  That’s what this time of year is about, right?  Enjoying the fruits of my labor so I can get excited to do it again.  I put yellow and zucchini squash in the freezer for just such a day.  This was warm and comforting for my laryngitis although it did not restore my voice.  Some day we may talk about how hyper I get when I can’t talk.  Let’s just say it is not high on my list of things I wish for!

Serve with corn muffins or a flour tortilla or a fresh baked hot roll.  I made these yeast rolls from a recipe at The Southern Lady Cooks.

It is time for New Friend Friday and do I have a treat for you this week.  If you haven’t met Marci or heard about her lovely home, come on over and sit with us a spell.

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Ginger Soy Chicken Noodle Soup

A Guest Post by Big Sister

Great minds think alike!  As the Tumbleweed Contessa was defending against the cold weather with her pressure cooker Chicken Soup I was whipping up a chicken soup from a friend.  I gladly moved back to Texas a few years ago because I could not stand cold and cloudy any longer.  This week we are having an unusual stretch of that weather which is so reminiscent of those days before I moved.  I was frumping around my house with all my layers on and staring hopefully at the window when this recipe dinged in my mailbox.  It really did turn my frown upside down.  I still need to see the sun mind you, but this helped.

Michelle B. gave me this recipe.  It is absolutely divine and OH SO EASY.  The soup makes enough for 8-10 people but we ate almost all of it between two of us.  This is going into my list of regulars for sure.  Don’t skip the greens in this one.  They count as vegetables and add great flavor.

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Cold Weather Chicken Soup

I think I am in love with my new T-fal pressure cooker.  Whatever I can think up, I can make when I get home from work and have for dinner.  I don’t always know what I may want for dinner when I leave in the morning.  Sometimes I go home at lunch (I work about 15 minutes from my office) and put something in the crock pot.  Now I can do it when I get home in the pressure cooker.  That way I have time to read some blogs and answer email while dinner is cooking.  I’m all about multi-tasking.  When the weather said 80% chance of snow for tomorrow, I knew I needed soup for lunch the next day. And guess what?  It snowed!   This is just outside my office.  I know it’s not much snow to some of you, but to West Texans this is just right!

What I like is the “long-cooking” flavor that develops as it is cooking.  Soups are the only thing I have made so far.  Next I am going to try a pot roast.  I really like pot roast, though none of my family cares for it.  My Momma made the best pot roast with potatoes and carrots and gravy.  Then she added a butterscotch and chocolate cream pie to that. I would love to have some of her pie.  I don’t do pies, and I don’t need them.  I can taste this meal still.

This soup is magic!  Day-long simmered flavor in 30 minutes.

Take a minute to stop by and meet my new “ramblin” friend Diana at New Friend Friday.  She is a creative lady with great ideas who has been a really good blog learning resource for me.

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Hank’s Barbecued Chicken and My Pumpkin Streusel Cake

The last weekend of summer is what Labor Day means to me.   I hope the weather man knows that and begins to forecast cooler weather.   I skipped watering the flowers for a couple of days and they were drooping and looking frail from the heat and lack of water.

I did think about a grilled meal for this long weekend and what would go with it.  Green chile cheese grits, bar-b-que chicken and a decadent cake for dessert.  So, I made the whole thing.  Not good for the diet, but boy did it taste good!   The Hatch green chiles were a great addition to the cheese grits.  For the chicken, no low fat boneless skinless stuff.  Legs and thighs with the skin on were on my menu.  My son said he hadn’t had that much good food to eat in a long time.  “Music to a mother’s ears!”  Of course, the second helping of everything put him out for a nap.

I topped it off with a Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Cake.  I’m taking that to a pot luck dinner, but I needed a taste tester.  He volunteered.  He said it was great, if all the sugar didn’t put him in a coma.  I doubt it will do that.  It was a huge cake slice though.

This does not mean I’m not cooking again anytime soon, but nothing so rich and decadent as all those in the same meal.  It was fun.  Yes, I thinking cooking is fun and very relaxing.   Then I had to take pictures and write about it to share with you, my friend.  Wish you were here in my kitchen to join me.

Hank usually order cheese grits or scalloped potatoes, salad and broccoli with the chicken.  He cooked outside while I cooked inside and I cleaned up.  He had menus that went together.  I miss those menus, but not the cleaning up. I am celebrating his menu this weekend and adding a Pumpkin Streusel Spice Cake to top it all off.

Green Chile Cheese Grits

  • 1 cup grits (quick cooking, not instant)
  • 4 cups salted water (bring to a boil)
  • 1 stick Parkay margarine
  • 3 cups grated cheese, Cheddar is my favorite
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (or more)
  • 4-5 Hatch green chiles , roasted, peeled, seeded and diced

Cook the grits according to package directions.  (I don’t like the instant grits, but quick grits is all I can find any more.)

When the grits are done, add the eggs and beat in quickly.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to melt the margarine and cheese.

Pour into a well-buttered casserole dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350°.  The edges should begin to brown and crisp.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes to set before serving.

 

Bar-B-Que Chicken

  • 1 large chicken or 6 large chicken parts  (We like legs and thighs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • water
  • Hank’s bar-b-que sauce or your choice of bottled sauce (see below)

Put the chicken in a large bowl and add enough water to cover.  Add 1 cup vinegar and salt and pepper.  Let marinade in the refrigerator at least an hour or 4 is better.  Drain well and pat dry.    Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place 2 pieces of chicken in a foil square and I sometimes double wrap them if using skin-on chicken.   Wrap tightly to allow to steam.  I use a gas grill,  but coals work too.  Turn over 2  times (every 15 minutes).  Then remove the chicken from the foil and allow to brown on the grill and baste with the bar-b-que sauce.

Hank’s bar-b-que sauce was unique.  It involved a basic bottled Cattleman’s Bar-B-Que sauce, a couple of tablespoons of butter, lemon pepper dry marinade, catsup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper and finally 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  What a concoction!  I seldom do all that.  Any bottled sauce works for me in a pinch. 

Pumpkin Streusel Cake

 Cake

 

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 

Streusel

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup chopped pecans

 

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a Bundt or tube pan well.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy on medium.  Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix well.  Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spices.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just to combine.  Stir with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are well combined.

Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl.  Put about 2/3 of the batter in the Bundt pan and add ½ of the streusel mix evenly over the batter.  Drop in the remaining batter and spread over the streusel.  Add the remaining streusel on the cake top.

Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on a baking rack.  Invert on a plate.  Using another plate turn the cake streusel side up for a pretty presentation.

Drizzle with a maple glaze(below)

Maple Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring

Milk to thin to the consistency needed to drizzle on the cake.

Have a slice and enjoy!

 

I think I will take this to my favorite parties this week.  Mrs. Happy HomemakerKing’s Court,
  Jam Hands Or so she says  Recipe Box

 

Soup, Salad and Laundry?

This week we are hopping with Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays (a gluten free gal!), HomesteadSimple and Haute Mom.  I am also getting ready to take this to Strut Your Stuff Saturday with the Six Sisters.  I just love them and their stuff.  You should check them out.  Such a sweet story and a fun blog with lots of great ideas.

I got a call from my son, Andy on Saturday morning.  We had planned to get together over the weekend, but I didn’t know when he might decide to come over.  His call was to ask if he could come for lunch.  Oh, and by the way, could he bring his laundry?  While I am doing his laundry he tells me he needs to go to the outlet mall to get some new jeans.  So off he goes to the mall.  He comes back with new jeans and three new shirts.  He asks me for washing details for his new clothes.  I don’t know why he asks me about those details.  I’m glad he is trying to take care of his new shirts though.

I was glad I had the chicken and fixings for a light salad, and I had the soup made up.  So lunch was a cinch to put together.  He’s been watching his weight so a full cooked meal was not necessary.  Thank goodness, because I was in the middle of mixing up some oatmeal cookies because it was a nice cool morning.  I like to bake cookies on those rare cool summer days like my momma used to do. I got them baked about 4:00PM and it had warmed up some by then.

I have enough soup and salad left over for another meal or two for me.  It should serve 4 easily.  This chicken salad would be great served on some hoagie rolls with sliced tomatoes and leaf lettuce too.   It was soup and salad for us.  It was nice.

Spicy Chicken Salad

  • ¾ * of a rotisserie chicken, diced, bones and skin removed
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced
  • ½ medium cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced
  • 3-4 tablespoons Heinz Hot Relish
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup mayonnaise, low-fat (if you like your salad a little more moist add more mayo)
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • baby spinach

*I reserved ½ the breast for another meal.  You can use an entire chicken.  Combine the chicken, cucumber, celery, onion, relish, pecans, and mayonnaise.  Adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.  Mix lightly to combine.

Store in an air tight container to chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.  Serve on a bed of spinach or your favorite salad greens along with a cup of the Summer Squash Soup served hot or cold.

I served Breton Multigrain crackers with the soup and salad to make it a full, cool and easy lunch.

Since I have an abundance of squash from my garden, (I guess you have figured that out by now.) I am in search of any way to use it.  This idea came from a cream soup recipe, which I adapted and made into a clear squash soup.  It is tasty and served warm is a nice addition to a salad.  I’m not to keen on cold soups, but this one might be ok.  I’m going to give it a try.  I think I have finally found a spot to grow German thyme in my garden.  Lots of things are getting that added lemony taste this summer.

Summer Squash Soup with Thyme

  • 3 tablespoons butter or Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, white and green parts, chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped (about 1 tablespoon)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds mixed summer squash (green or yellow zucchini, crookneck,      pattypan), chopped into medium pieces
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, low fat or full fat

Heat butter or oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add leek and garlic and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leek and garlic begin to sweat but do not brown, about 5 minutes.

Add summer squash and season to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash begins to sweat. (Do not brown.) This should take about 7-10 minutes. Add enough water so the squash is almost, but not fully, covered, about 3 cups. Cover saucepan partially and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until squash is just tender, about 12 to 15 minutes.

Use a hand blender to blend soup until smooth or blend soup in a blender in two batches. Blend until totally smooth (again, working in batches if using standard blender), about 1 minute. (Strain soup through fine mesh strainer if desired.)  I didn’t do this.  I like a little crunch to my soup.

Let the soup cool at room temperature for one hour, stirring occasionally. Transfer to refrigerator and let cool, stirring occasionally, until well chilled, about 45 minutes.

Check soup and adjust for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper.  At this point it can be served with a drop of Greek yogurt or thyme to taste.

Makes 2 quarts, serving 4 to 6.

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

I’m rather patriotic.  I tear up at the Star Spangled Banner unless some twit is singing it on tv at a football game or NASCAR.  A certain amount of dignity is required, I think.  I love 4th of July parades, fireworks displays and bands.  The Boston Pops can keep me in tears. My high school band was a very special group of students.  We all felt pride when it came to the National Anthem and our school song.  I’m going to get to be a part of that in September at a high school reunion at homecoming.  (Hanky alert!)

I had to come up with a food for the 4th and chicken is my “go to” food.  Plus it is white.  Blue potatoes.  I never thought I would cook blue potatoes, but what better opportunity to use some of those little things.  Paula and I agree – potatoes are one of our favorite foods.  These little tiny things can’t have too many carbs in them.  Red is for tomatoes and red onions.  This is a simple recipe.

Red, White and Blue Chicken Skewers

  • 1 package of chicken tenderloins cut in half or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in strips lengthwise
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 8ths
  • 8 small blue potatoes, left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low-fat salad dressing or your favorite marinade

I pre-cooked the potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes on a glass plate. Spread  the chicken with low-fat Italian salad dressing.  You could certainly make your own dressing.  Then I used metal skewers or you can pre-soak some wooden skewers for the kabobs.

To assemble the kabobs:

  1. Onion
  2. Chicken
  3. Tomato
  4. Chicken
  5. Potato
  6. Chicken
  7. Tomato
  8. Chicken
  9. Potato

This should make 4-5 kabobs depending on the length of your skewer.  Mine were about 10” and it made 4 very full kabobs.

After assembling salt and pepper and add an additional herb.  I chose a garlic/herb seasoning with no sodium.

I put these on a hot grill and cooked for about 7 minutes on one side and about 6 minutes on the other.  Only turning once so the tomatoes don’t fall apart.  Use tongs and turn them by using a piece of the chicken to hold on to as you turn.

Additional salad dressing can be added to one side before you turn and on the other side after turning.   Remove to a platter and allow to rest while you assemble your salad.

Cool and Savory Chicken Salad

Cool and Creamy Chicken Salad

I’ve been growing herbs forever.  Do I use them like I should?  No.  But a new resolution has been made to snip them and add them to salads, soups and vegetables this summer.  I’m into growing the plants to see how lush and full they get.  But you know what I’ve found?  If I snip them they actually get fuller!  Not only that, but they are much less expensive from my pots than that plastic package at the store!  Shock!  I have a new Bay Laurel bush that has put on a couple of new leaves already.  Wouldn’t that be fun to have my own fresh bay leaves for chicken soup?  I’d love it.  Stay tuned.

I roasted some chicken for soup and decided I needed a salad too.  I wanted to keep it simple.  Not too many ingredients.  (I’ve been under the weather and I think my system said fresh greens were needed.)  I have this lettuce and spinach growing in the garden.  I don’t know why I was hesitating to pick it and use it.  It was remarkably fresh and crisp.  I picked basil, mint, chives, leaf lettuce and spinach and chilled it all in the frig after a rinse.  Made the frig smell great.  Basil and mint – love it.

Chicken Salad

  • 1 small chicken breast (skinless)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • mayonnaise
  • 1 stalk celery
  • ½ cup green grapes (halved)
  • 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 3 cups fresh greens (your choice)  I used spinach and lettuce
  • 1 diced tomato or halved cherry tomatoes

Prepare the chicken by drying it well and coating it with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast the chicken on a baking sheet for 30 minutes at 400°.  When cooled dice into small pieces.  Add the chives, celery and grapes to the chicken and toss with the mayonnaise and a squeeze of fresh lemon.  Set in the refrigerator to chill until time to serve.  I added a bit of salt and pepper to this.

Prepare a bed of greens.  I used leaf lettuce, spinach, fresh basil and mint.  Place the chicken in the center and surround with tomato pieces.  I could have even served some grapes on the side.  I served some crispy pretzel crackers with mine.  I just like a little salty crisp with a salad.

It was cool, fresh and tasty for a Saturday night supper.