Southwestern Chopped Salad with Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing

Southwestern Chopped Salad 1
I have another Mexican inspired recipe to share today in preparation for Cinco de Mayo tomorrow just in case you didn’t find something in yesterday’s taco post. We decided on these Loaded Carne Asada Tacos for our little celebration but if you want to make smarter decisions and keep it light, this Southwestern Chopped Salad is the way to go.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 2
Ever since receiving Seriously Delish for Christmas I have been dying to make the Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing. I’ve had it rolling around in my head for awhile and thought the cool, creamy avocado would pair really well with some smoky, spicy chipotle chicken.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 2
Toss is some romaine, roasted corn, black beans, cilantro and even more avocado for a perfectly dreamy salad.
Southwestern Chopped Salad 3
I topped ours with crispy tortilla strips for some added texture. This salad was enjoyed by my entire family which is a huge feat. I couldn’t shovel it in Hannah’s mouth fast enough.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 1
Southwestern Chopped Salad
serves 2

1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
2 chipotle chicken breasts, cooked and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 avocado, diced
2 Tbsp. cilantro, finely minced
tortilla strips, for garnish
Blue Cheese Dressing, recipe follows

1. Preheat broiler. Place frozen corn on rimmed baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place under broiler and cook until some brown spots appear, stirring frequently. This should only take a couple minutes so keep a close eye on it. Remove from oven and scrape into a small bowl.

2. In a large bowl, combine romaine, chicken, corn, black beans, avocado and cilantro. Toss then add desired amount of blue cheese avocado dressing, tossing again. Serve with tortilla strips on top.

Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing
recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

1 ripe avocado, pitted and diced
1 garlic clove, roughly minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
6 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk
1 Tbsp. mayo
1 Tbsp. sour cream
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4-6 ounces bleu cheese crumbles (depending on taste)

Place avocado, garlic, lemon juice, buttermilk, mayo, sour cream, salt and pepper in food processor and blend until smooth. Gently stir in bleu cheese crumbles. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate.

*Disclaimer: the link above is an affiliate link which means if you click on the link and purchase, I get a small percentage from the sale.
Blue Cheese Avocado Dressing 3

Cinco de Mayo Taco Tuesday Party

Whole Wheat Tortillas 3
Cinco de Mayo falls on Tuesday this year…coincidence? I think not. It would be a travesty not to participate in Taco Tuesday this week. So to help you out, I searched around the internets for some of the most delicious looking tacos that will totally do the holiday justice. I hope one of these inspires you for an all-out taco par-tay!

Carnitas = Best.Tacos.Ever.

Sweet Potato Tacos are skinny but still delicious and could do double duty on Meatless Monday.

The Quesarito isn’t quite a taco but I had to share this one with you. A cheese quesadilla is filled with toppings and rolled up burrito style. Dying.

Korean Tacos for a little Mexican Asian fusion.

Grilled Taco Lime Chicken is great for busy weeknight meals and one I have made over and over. Soo easy and delicious.

Loaded Carne Asada Tacos. Carne Asada + Fries + Guacamole + Cheese. Need I say more?

Smoky Shrimp Tacos with Chorizo Beans and Mango Salsa – smoky and sweet is always a winning combination.

Huevo Rancheros Tacos for something on the lighter side and another meatless option.

You all know I don’t really like fish but these Blackened Fish Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Sauce look incredible.

Chicken Fried Steak Tacos. Ummm, whaaaaat? Mexican and Southern, the fusion of my dreams.

Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Slaw and Avocado Cream are all about the texture. Oh, and they are vegan too.

Apple Pie Tacos, because what’s a Taco Tuesday Cinco de Mayo party without a dessert taco? I mean, at this point, do the calories really matter?

And wash ’em all down with Lime Sorbet Margaritas.

 

 

 

 

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
In the dead of winter it is so easy to reach for those rich, hearty, unhealthy comfort foods but now that Spring has arrived, I’m trying to make some healthy swaps for those calorie-laden dishes but still feel full and satisfied. Because, you know, bathing suit season is quickly approaching.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 5
Enter the coconut macadamia nut chicken tender. I have said before that if I could choose my last meal, it would be fried chicken. Well, I would eat it everyday if I could get away with it. But that’s just not realistic so I decided to swap out the all-purpose flour for coconut flour along with some sweet, nutritious additions to create a tropical twist on my favorite food. Coconut flour is high in fiber and protein which makes it incredibly filling. Plus, it’s low in carbohydrates and gluten-free so you can pretty much satisfy any lifestyle with it. I love the slight sweetness it adds to any recipe without any sugar.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 4
The shredded, toasted coconut and macadamia nuts add a nice texture to the chicken tenders and boost the health benefits. I also love the tropical, summery flavors to help pull us out of this cold, dreary spring.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 3
These chicken fingers are browned in a little olive oil to brown and crisp the coating then transferred to the oven to cook through. This saves a lot of fat and calories over the traditional fried version.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 2
If you are looking for a sweet coconut flour recipe, make sure to check out these bad boys, also known as our new favorite breakfast.
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders 1
Coconut Macadamia Nut Chicken Tenders

1 lb. chicken tenderloins
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Nonstick coconut oil spray
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup yellow mustard

1. In a ziplock bag, marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for 4 hours, or up to overnight.

2. Place macadamia nuts in a blender or food processor and pulse until they resemble wet sand. Combine the ground nuts, coconut, coconut flour, salt, pepper and parika in a shallow pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk and allow excess buttermilk to drip off. Coat chicken in the coconut mixture then place on a plate. Continue until all the chicken has been coated.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Place chicken in a single layer in the skillet and brown, 2 minute per side. You are not cooking the chicken through at this point, just getting some nice color on it. Generously spray a baking rack with coconut oil spray and place on a baking sheet. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the prepared baking rack. Bake chicken for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through. Whisk together the honey and mustard and serve on the side for dipping.

 

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

Creamy Cilantro Chicken 5
Remember how I told you last week about the gorgeous weather we were having? Well, we got pummeled with snow this past weekend and ended up having a snow day Monday. And we have another storm heading our way any minute now. Wahhhh. Can’t it be Spring yet? I really shouldn’t complain because we’ve had a gorgeous winter so far but it’s just such a pain carting the kids around in the snow. I predict I will not be going anywhere unless absolutely necessary.
Creamy Cilantro Chicken 4
While the weather was nice, we had this delicious creamy cilantro chicken straight from the grill. I always love Italian dressing as a marinade so when I saw this recipe I knew it was something we had to try. Italian dressing is mixed with lime juice and cilantro for a zesty chicken marinade. Some of it is reserved to mix with the sour cream for a delicious sauce to drizzle over the finished dish. It so tasty and a very easy weeknight dinner alongside some cilantro lime rice and black beans. And don’t worry if you’re having frigid weather like us, this would be equally delicious on a countertop grill or sautéed on the stovetop.
Creamy Cilantro Chicken 2
Creamy Cilantro Chicken
recipe adapted from Mom’s Test Kitchen

1 1/4 pounds chicken tenderloins
1 cup Italian dressing
1 small lime, juiced
1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sour cream
Cilantro Lime Rice
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed

1. Combine Italian dressing, lime juice and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Reserve 1/4 cup for use later. Place chicken in a ziplock bag and pour remaining marinade over the chicken. Seal and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to overnight.

2. Combine the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup marinade and remaining cilantro together and refrigerate until ready for use.

3. Preheat grill to medium-high heat and cook chicken until cooked through and juices run clear. Serve chicken over cilantro lime rice and black beans, drizzled with the zesty sour cream sauce.
Creamy Cilantro Chicken 1

Chicken Stock

It is so easy (and cheap) to make your own chicken stock at home. I don’t know why it took me so long to finally do it myself and share with you all.
Homemade Chicken Stock
This recipe is incredibly flexible and you can throw in whatever produce/herbs you have in your crispier. After Thanksgiving I used the leftover turkey carcass to make a big ‘ole batch of turkey stock. The general rule is to make sure your chicken bones and veggies are completely covered with water when you start. The amount yielded is approximate as you may add more or less water and depending on how long you cook it but I generally get about 6 cups. The longer you simmer, the more concentrated your stock will be. If you roast a chicken but won’t have time in the next day or so to make homemade stock, throw the bones in a freezer safe bag and freeze until you have a few hours to make stock.

I love to make big batches to freeze for future use. Once cooled, I portion it out in these freezer safe containers then label them with some washi tape. I include the date made and amount so I can thaw just what I need for a recipe. Try this and you will never again buy this pantry staple again.

Chicken Stock

1 chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken)
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, peeled
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. peppercorns
Fresh herbs
16 cups water (or more to cover chicken)

Put all ingredients into a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Lower to a heavy simmer and cook for about 2 hours. Strain all the veggies and herbs out of the stock then cool and store in refrigerator for use in recipes or freeze for future use. Yields 6 cups.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken + My 500th Post

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}

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.