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Grilled Buffalo Chicken + My 500th Post

19 Aug

Grilled Buffalo Chicken 4
500 posts? Say what? It’s hard to believe that I have been around for that long. To all my followers new and old, thank you! I love this little space of mine and truly hope that you all do too. I’ve learned so much, gained confidence and tried so many new techniques that I never would have without this blog. I love love love hearing from you, so keep the comments coming. What recipes have you tried? Which ones are your favorites?
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 1
I thought I would celebrate by sharing one of my new favorite (and healthy) meals. You all know that I love grilling so I like to extend the season as long as possible. Seeing that it’s projected to be in the 90’s and low 100’s around here this week, I’m pretty sure grilling will be the only thing going on.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 2
Well, chicken wings are pretty much one of my favorite foods (as evidenced here, here and here) but they definitely aren’t the healthiest or cleanest food to eat so I don’t indulge in them often. But now I can and not have any guilt about it. I would normally use boneless, skinless breasts but this time I chose thighs to lend some extra flavor. Since we are cutting out so much fat by grilling the chicken, I figured it was ok to bring a little with the thighs. But, either would be great so choose what you prefer or have on hand. While the chicken is grilled, it is basted with a homemade buffalo sauce to enhance the traditional wing flavor.
Grilled Buffalo Chicken 3
I served this alongside a delish dill cucumber slaw that was cool and creamy, balancing out the hot, spiciness of the chicken. It was pretty much perfection in every bite. I must put it on the menu again. Maybe for tomorrow.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup hot pepper sauce, divided
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Place chicken thighs in a zip top bag and pour in 1/4 cup hot pepper sauce. Seal and marinate in refrigerator for 2 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Meanwhile, combine butter, remaining 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce and garlic powder in a sauce pan over medium-low heat. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Pour half into a small bowl and keep remaining sauce in pan over low heat.

3. Place chicken on grill and baste with bowl of sauce each time you flip. Grill until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve grilled chicken with reserved sauce for dipping.

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up and Clean}

7 Aug

Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 5
Noah is starting preschool in less than a week. Seriously people, how did this happen? It seems like just yesterday he was my sweet little baby and now he’s four and uses words like ridiculous and spectacular. I’ve been looking forward to this all summer but now that it’s upon us I’m kind of freaking out. It will be nice to have some time to devote purely to Hannah and to just have one crazy child to handle but I’m going to miss his hilarious antics. Like the fact that he now says por favor and gracias instead of please and thank you. Or his one man band routine (he was playing four instruments at once, that’s talent). Or the fact that as I type this he should be napping but instead he’s singing “Timber” at the top of his lungs. It’s hard to be mad at the kid. But seriously, go to sleep kid or you will be a pill later….
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 4
So with the school year upon us, I’ve been on the hunt for healthy and easy meals to throw together on busy nights. I received a ton of new cookbooks and magazines for my birthday so I went right to them to solve my problem. This recipe originally called for ricotta and roasted red peppers as the filling but I decided to alter it a bit to make a chicken cordon bleu-esque dinner that was still clean and healthy.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 3
This chicken dish looks fancy and complex but really is simple and quick to get on the table. And as you all know Joel hasn’t exactly been thrilled with my recent clean eating adventures but he really loved this meal. I made it last week and he has already mentioned a few times that he would love to have it on the menu again soon.

To keep it light but filling, I served this alongside some roasted cauliflower and grilled zucchini.
Chicken Roll-Ups {Lightened Up} 1
Chicken Roll-Ups
recipe adapted from Clean Eating Magazine

4 4-ounce chicken breasts,each cut crosswise into 2 thin pieces
1/2 cup ricotta
1 tsp. dried basil
8 thinly sliced low sodium and nitrate free ham
Salt and pepper
2 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line up chicken on a cutting board and lay a slice of ham on each. Combine the ricotta and basil then spread evenly over the ham. Roll up and secure each piece with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish and dredge chicken through it, shaking off excess.

2.Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add olive oil. Add chicken and cook for about 3 minutes per side (until browned). Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Carefully remove toothpicks and slice into rounds.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

10 Jun

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 5
Have you had enough of all my talk about roasted garlic yet? If you have, so sorry but here’s one last recipe for awhile. I told you I was going to share this with you last week but life happened and this didn’t.

This pizza has some of my very favorite things in life, chicken, bacon, cheese and of course the garlic. Seriously, how could it not be good?
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 3
The pizza feels lighter than most since there’s not really a sauce but I’m sure it’s not (calorie wise) due to all the deliciousness. Joel missed not having sauce so he drizzled it with ranch for a spin on a chicken bacon ranch pizza.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 1
Another thing I love is black pepper and I just happened to find a black peppercorn smoked gouda that was an amazing addition to this creation.
Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza 4

Most of the prep for this pizza can be done ahead of time (think pizza dough in the freezer, cook bacon and chicken the night before, shred cheese) so you can just throw it together when you are ready to eat. I love that with a little planning and prep work we can have fresh, homemade pizza on a busy weeknight. And fancy pizza at that. Especially seeing that my boys are “fantastic lovers of pizza.” Yep, the 3 year old came up with that. How could you not serve pizza?

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

1/2 whole wheat crust recipe (2 disks)
2 heads of roasted garlic, mashed very well
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large chicken breast, grilled and cut into small bite size pieces
6 strips of bacon, crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded smoked gouda

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Roll out pizza crust to desired thickness and place on a pizza stone.

2. Mix together roasted garlic and olive oil then spread evenly over the crust. Top crust with chicken, bacon and cheeses.

3. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbly.

Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps

22 May

Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps 2
I love a good lettuce wrap. They are light and healthy yet still filling. Joel on the other hand, does not share my sentiments. He put on his super sad face when he found out what we were having for dinner. And instead of being a sweet, caring wife I kind of laughed at said sad face. He’ll survive.
Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps 5
The combination of the cool, crisp cucumber slaw and the hot, orange sesame chicken is out of this world good. I’m pretty sure I dreamed about them that night. Then I wanted to make them for dinner the next night….I didn’t but that would have been funny!
Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps 3
These are perfect for summer. Serve alongside some grilled zucchini for the ultimate light, healthy and delicious meal.

Orange Chicken Lettuce Wraps
recipe adapted from Alexandra Cooks

1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. dried chili flakes
1 green onion, green and white parts, sliced
8 to 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into small cubes or strips

For the cucumber slaw:
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. dark sesame oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1 thick carrot (about 4 ounces), cut into 1/8-inch strips
1 cucumber, cut into 1/8-inch strips
2 to 3 green onions, white and green parts, sliced on the diagonal
16 lettuce leaves (romaine, Boston, Bibb, or green or red leaf)

1. First make the marinade. Whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice, oils, ginger, garlic, chili flakes and green onions. Pour into a zip top bag and add chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (I marinated for 3 hours).

2. Meanwhile, make the cucumber slaw. In a medium bowl, whisk vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, salt and ginger. Stir in the carrot, cucumber and green onions. Let sit in the refrigerator until ready to use.

3. To cook the chicken, heat a skillet over medium high heat; add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Cook chicken in one layer at a time until browned and cooked through.

4. To assemble, lay a lettuce leaf on a plate then top with cucumber slaw and chicken.

Sticky Asian Wings

9 May

Sticky Asian Wings 3
I love wings. They are probably one of my favorite foods but I’m kind of a snob about them. Wings should be spicy and slathered in buffalo sauce, none of those foofy flavors like parmesan garlic or honey barbeque (sorry if any of you are fans of those – my husband loves them and I make fun of him on a regular basis). I just like a classic spicy buffalo wing with the occasional exception of Asian wings.
Sticky Asian Wings 1
I’ve already shared one recipe that I love but the it’s loaded with sugar and corn syrup which I’m trying to avoid. So, when I saw these on The Chew a few months ago I immediately pinned the recipe to try. I also love the addition of lime juice to this recipe….although they are hard to find these days. My grocery store was selling a 4-pack for $5 and I just kept biting the bullet and buying them since I have so many recipes that I love that include lime juice. But now, they don’t have any. Imagine my horror #firstworldproblems.

These wings are worth the search for limes. They are slightly sweet and seriously zippy and lick your fingers sticky. And the sesame oil just puts them over the edge. I love me some sesame oil.
Sticky Asian Wings 2
So, if you can find limes and don’t mind paying over $1 for one, please try these wings. You won’t regret it!

Sticky Asian Wings
recipe from The Chew

2 tsp. cornstarch
Coconut oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
3 green onions, sliced – whites & greens separated
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup honey
2 limes, juiced
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. chili flakes
2 lbs. chicken wings, separated with tips removed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine a tablespoon of water with the cornstarch and set aside.

2. In a saucepan, melt a tablespoon or two of coconut oil. Add the garlic, ginger and whites of the green onion to the pan and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the soy sauce, honey, lime juice, sesame oil and chili flakes. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the soy sauce mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes, until thickened. Allow to cool to room temperature (this can be done ahead of time and refrigerated until needed).

3. Season chicken wings with salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes in a greased baking dish. Pour sauce over the wings, stir to coat and bake another 20 minutes until cooked through and sticky. Remove from the oven and garnish with the greens of the green onion.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce

2 Apr

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce 1
I love cookbooks. Seriously. LOVE. I have a ton and am running out of room to store them in my kitchen. I’m starting to consider a bookshelf or wire baskets hung on the wall so that I can continue my obsession collection. Wouldn’t three of those baskets hung vertically on the wall be really cute! I think I’m going to do it in my dining room since I don’t have any real wall space in my kitchen.
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce 2
But in the meantime I should probably stop purchasing them. The addiction still calls my name so when I take Noah to the library every couple weeks, I always hit the cookbook section and borrow a few. When I recently spotted Michael Symon’s 5 in 5, I snatched it up since I’m a big fan of The Chew and his 5 in 5 segments.
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce 3
Let me start off by saying this recipe is delicious but it definitely took me more than 5 minutes to make. Maybe it was because I move too slow or perhaps because my sous chef is 3 years old rather than a culinary trained celebrity chef. Either way, it was still a quick weeknight meal that was packed with bright flavors.
Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce 4
Citrus, jalapeno, peanuts and cilantro all combine to create a zippy Thai flavor profile. And have I told you that I love chicken thighs. I’ve always been a white meat kind of girl (and still would usually choose it) but it’s a nice change every once and awhile. So much more flavor and juiciness. To make it a bit healthier, you could switch to boneless, skinless breasts but I think the extra fat is totally worth it here.

Chicken Satay with Spicy Peanut Sauce
recipe from Michael Symon’s 5 in 5

2 Tbsp. peanut butter
Grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
1 jalapeno, minced
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
8 (4 oz.) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange zest, orange juice, jalapeno, soy sauce and olive oil. Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with half the peanut sauce.

3. Thread 2 pieces of chicken onto skewers (I skipped the skewers but it would make it easier). Grill for 3 minutes, flip and cook another 2 minutes.

4. Remove chicken from grill and drizzle with some reserved peanut sauce and top with cilantro.

Copycat Chipotle Chicken

24 Mar

Chipotle Chicken

We very rarely eat fast food around our house but when we do we always go for subs or Chipotle. My meal of choice at Chipotle is always the chicken burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans and hot salsa. A few months ago, my mom made a cilantro lime rice and black beans that was very similar to Chipotle and ever since, we have all been obsessed. Like eat it every two weeks or so obsessed. Now, if you know me, that’s saying a lot since I rarely make the same thing without a few months in between. I enjoy variety and trying new recipes, but I always seem to crave that meal.
Chipotle Chicken
I’ve always just made a simple Mexican rub that is really yummy but I was craving the real deal Chipotle copycat so I went on the hunt for something more similar to the restaurant, with chipotles in it of course, and this recipe I found on epicurious is so perfect. I changed it up a bit by removing the oil to make it healthier and adding lime juice because it just makes things like this better. I also upped the amount of cilantro because I’m kind of addicted right now. I know cilantro is usually a love or hate herb for most people and I used to fall into the latter category but I kept trying it in things and I totally love it now. If you are a hater, you could leave it out with delicious results still.
Chipotle Chicken
Mmm, now I really wish we had a can of chipotles in adobo. Pretty sure they will become a staple pantry ingredient from now on.

Copycat Chipotle Chicken
recipe adapted from Epicurious

1/4 cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 lime, juiced
3-4 boneless chicken breasts or thighs, pounded to 1/4-inch thickness

1. Combine all ingredients, except chicken, in a blender or food processor. Blend until completely combined. Place chicken and marinade in a large ziplock bag and squish around, ensuring all the chicken is covered. Place in refrigerator and marinade for 3 hours or up to overnight.

2. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill chicken 3-4 minutes per side, or until cooked through and juices run clear. Dice and serve over cilantro rice and black beans.

Buttermilk Almond Chicken Fingers

7 Mar

Buttermilk Almond and Panko Encrusted Chicken Fingers
Man do I love me some fried chicken. Like, it would be my last meal kind of love. But I can probably count on one hand the amount of times I eat it in a year. Especially now that we are eating clean for Lent. Why is it that you crave something so much when you just can’t have it? Walking past the kettle chips at the grocery store yesterday just about killed me. KILLED ME. They are another one of my weaknesses.
Buttermilk Almond and Panko Encrusted Chicken Fingers
Since real deal fried chicken is absolutely out of the question right now, I figured I should find a substitute to curb the craving. Do these taste just like fried chicken? Um, no. But they are a delicious, healthy version that totally hit the spot. The buttermilk soak creates a moist chicken tender while the almond meal and whole wheat panko lend a nutty flavor. They don’t get super crispy but baking them on a rack help bring some texture reminiscent of the fried stuff.
Buttermilk Almond and Panko Encrusted Chicken Fingers
Buttermilk Almond Chicken Fingers
recipe from How Sweet Eats

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken tenders
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup almond meal
3/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Place chicken tenders and buttermilk in a zip top bag and place in refrigerator to marinate for 4 hours, or overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray a wire rack with nonstick spray. Place rack on top of baking sheet.

3. Combine almond meal, panko, flour, salt, pepper and paprika in a bowl. Dredge each chicken finger in the mixture, pressing to adhere, then place on the rack. Spray the chicken tenders with nonstick spray. Bake for 12 minutes then gently flip them over, spray with nonstick spray and bake another 12 minutes.
Buttermilk Almond and Panko Encrusted Chicken Fingers

Skinny Sweet and Sour Chicken

4 Feb

Low Cal Sweet and Sour Chicken
Sooo, today we have a preschool tour set up for Noah. Did you hear me? A PRESCHOOL tour. Can you tell that I’m kind of freaking out? First of all, nobody told me that enrollment for preschool in the fall started in freaking January/February. So you better believe that when I found out, I promptly freaked out and immediately went on the hunt.

Once the panic wore off, a bit of sadness set in. I can’t believe my baby is going to be in preschool. And although I’m not ready, I know he totally is. He’s smart, charming and a little social butterfly so I know that it will be a great thing for him. When the day finally arrives, I’m going to need a big slice of cake or a cookie the size of my head.

But let’s not think about those things right now. We should stay positive and healthy and not get all teary eyed, ok? Let’s talk about chicken instead.
Low Cal Sweet and Sour Chicken
I have been craving Chinese food in the worst way. Ya know, the deep fried, drenched in sauce kind of Chinese food. But I’m trying to keep on track so I whipped up this skinny version of sweet and sour chicken instead.

This dish definitely leans more towards the sour than sweet but it has just enough sugar to tone it down. The tender chicken combined with the crisp veggies produce a satisfying mix of textures that almost makes you forget it isn’t deep fried. And there’s no guilt.
Low Cal Sweet and Sour Chicken
From start to finish, you can whip this up in less than 30 minutes so I’ll be keeping this one in my back pocket, especially once Noah starts preschool and our days get busier. For those of you that have been through it, any hints, tips or pointers when looking for a preschool? Tell me all you know!

Skinny Sweet and Sour Chicken
recipe from Diet Recipes

2 large boneless chicken breasts, cut in cubes
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (6 ounce) can pineapple juice
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 medium green pepper, cut into strips (left these out)
1/2 medium sweet red pepper, cut into strips (left these out)
1 (8 ounce) can unsweetened pineapple tidbits, drained
cooked brown rice

1. In a bowl, combine the pineapple juice, sugar, pepper and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in the soy sauce, lemon juice and ketchup then set aside.

2. In a wok or nonstick skillet (or use vegetable spray) until the chicken is browned.

3. Add the red and green peppers and zucchini. Stir until the vegetables are tender-crisp.

4. Pour the sauce that was set aside over the chicken and vegetable mixture. Stir in the pineapple pieces. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Serve over cooked brown rice.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce

10 Jan

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
Pretzels are one of Noah and my favorite snacks so there is always a big ‘ole jar of them sitting on the counter. When I saw this recipe, I knew it had to be in my life. Pronto.

Chicken? Pretzels? Cheese? This is totally up my alley. I made this a few week ago and it was glorious. The crunchy pretzels coating juicy chicken was good enough but then top it with a cheesy mustard sauce? Delish.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
I am totally drooling because since making this I have embarked on a pretty strict diet to lose this baby weight. Womp womp. It actually hasn’t been too bad. I’m using the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my calories (1410/day) and exercise. I am a major visual person and love lists so it really helps me to see it all written down. And knowing that something is going to be tracked and calories calculated makes me think twice about what I eat. I just started on Sunday but I haven’t gone over my caloric count yet but it’s been hard. I’m hoping this diet will result in a lifestyle change with mostly clean eating around here.

I’ve been trying out a lot of new smoothie recipes so I will be sharing those with you all soon.
Pretzel Crusted Chicken with Mustard Cheddar Sauce
But back to this chicken….you have to make it. A piece of it would be worth having to eat spinach the rest of the day.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken with a Mustard-Cheddar  Sauce
recipe from Taste and Tell
serves 4

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
about 6 ounces of salted pretzels
salt and pepper
2 eggs
vegetable oil

Mustard Cheddar Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

1. Slice each chicken breast in half (horizontally to make them thin), making a total of 4 thin chicken breasts.  Place each chicken breast in between plastic wrap and whack with a mallet to flatten slightly.

2. Place pretzels in a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.  Put the crumbs in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  In another shallow dish, beat the eggs.

3. In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat up the oil, about 1/8″ deep.

4. Dip each chicken piece into the pretzels, then eggs, then back into the pretzels. Carefully place chicken into the hot oil and cook until browned and the chicken is cooked through (about 3-4 minutes per side).

5. Meanwhile, make the sauce.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk and the mustard, and cook until slightly thickened.  Stir in the cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

6. Serve the chicken with the Mustard-Cheddar Sauce.

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