Saturday, March 29, 2008

Food on Sticks!

I love grilling out! It is by far my favorite way to cook. As soon as the snow has melted off and it is officially springtime, I fire up the grill. Tonight we had grilled chicken and veggie kabobs over cilantro lime rice with tortilla chips and mango salsa. I love using a lot of fresh flavors to cook, and it makes it seem like we are that much closer to summer!

Mango Salsa

1 mango - peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

In a medium bowl, mix mango, red bell pepper, green onion, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, and lemon juice. Cover, and allow to sit at least 30 minutes before serving. (Note- if mango isn't very ripe, add 1 Tbs of sugar to the salsa)


Grilled Chicken & Veggie Kabobs

1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons prepared coarse-ground mustard
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 lime, juiced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 red onion, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into square pieces
1 green bell pepper, cut into square pieces

In a large glass bowl, mix the cider vinegar, mustard, garlic, lime juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Place chicken in the mixture. Cover, and marinate 4 hours or longer.

Before assembling the kabobs, sauté the peppers and onions in a skillet over high heat with oil until they are still crisp, but tender. Salt & Pepper to taste. You can skip this step, but I don’t like to over cook the chicken and want to make sure the veggies are thoroughly cooked.

Assemble the kabobs, and cook over high heat on the grill until the chicken is cooked through.

Source: Adapted from

Cilantro Lime Rice

1 cup cooked white rice
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 tsp salt

Cook rice as directed, I used a boil-in-bag rice packet. Mix in salt, lime juice, vegetable oil, and cilantro.

Source: Qdoba

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easiest Indian Food You'll Ever Make

Since Mondays are usually my busiest and most exhausting day at work, I love little help in the kitchen. Today, my cooking parter was Joe. Trader Joe that is. If you don't have a Trader Joe's Grocery Store near you, then my only suggestion for you would be moving near one. I love shopping there, and especially love the great sauces and frozen items they carry to make dinner a breeze!

Chicken Tikka Masala

8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into 1 in. pieces
1 jar of Trader Joe's Masala Simmer Sauce
Basmati rice (prepared as directed on package)

Simmer uncooked chicken in sauce over medium heat for 15-20 min. (as directed on sauce jar)

Serve over cooked Basmati rice.

I recommend serving with Tandori Naan (like a flat bread) found in the Trader Joe's frozen foods section.

Sauteed Spinach

1 6 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove minced garlic
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste

Sauté the minced garlic in oil over medium heat for 2 min. in a saucepan or skillet. Add spinach and allow to wilt. Sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste.

Scott's Pics

Since neither of our NCAA March Madness pics are doing well, I decided to let Scott announce his pics for dinner. He said he wanted any combination of broccoli, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, and mushrooms. So for dinner I decided to make him a Caprese salad and Chicken Divan.

Crista's Caprese Salad

2 vine ripe tomatoes
1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese
fresh basil leaves
good extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Slice the tomatoes and mozzarella, and alternate on a plate along with the basil leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Voila!

Chicken Divan
1 (10-ounce) package frozen broccoli, chopped
3 cups shredded chicken, cooked (I used rotisserie)
1 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used light)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a casserole dish. Add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper, to taste, and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.
Place the mixture into an 8x8 casserole dish. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula. Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Serve over rice if desired.
Source: Paula Deen

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

This was seriously the best chicken I've ever made. It was so good, you must try it immediatly!!! I served it with green beans and delicious mashed potatoes. The beauty of these potatoes is that you can make them a day ahead, if you are short on time or prepping for a dinner party.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices ham
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup dry white wine
3/4 teaspoon chicken bouillon
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Pound chicken breasts if they are too thick. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks. Mix the flour and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

Mashed Potatoes with Sour Cream & Cream Cheese

2-1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (3 ounce) package cream
cheese, softened
1 tablespoon and 1-1/2 teaspoons butter or margarine, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place potatoes in a Dutch oven; cover with water. Cover and bring to a boil. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until very tender; drain well.

In a large mixing bowl, mash potatoes. Add sour cream, cream cheese, 1 tablespoons butter, salt, onion salt and pepper; beat until fluffy. Transfer to a greased 2-qt. baking dish. Dot with the remaining butter. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.


Quick and easy Chili & Corn Bread

White and Black Bean Ranchero Chicken Chili with Cilantro Crema

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ medium white onion, finely chopped
4oz can diced green chilies
5 cloves fresh garlic, minced
3 14oz cans chicken broth
2 15oz cans great northern white beans, drained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained
2 heaping Cups shredded cooked chicken breast
2 heaping Tablespoons ground cumin
2 Teaspoons dried Ranch Dressing Seasoning Mix (Hidden Valley)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ Cup sour cream
¼ Cup packed fresh cilantro leaves

Place olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onions and chilies until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in minced garlic for 1 minute. Stir in broth, beans, chicken, cumin, salt and pepper. Simmer on med-low for 20 minutes.

Place sour cream and cilantro leaves into a food processor or blender. Process until well combined. Serve chili with a dollop of Cilantro Crema on top.

To make the corn bread pictured, just ad 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers to a box of jiffy corn bread mix. Yum!