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.
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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.

Roasted Garlic Chicken Bacon and Gouda Pizza

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

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.
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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!
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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

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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.
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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.