Marinated Chicken Pita Sandwiches

What a great sandwich recipe! It was easy to make ahead of time, the ingredients are inexpensive and you probably already have most, if not all in, your pantry already. The tangy yogurt sauce goes so nicely with the crunchy veggies and the warm grilled chicken.  I put the chicken for these in to marinade a day ahead so remember that there is marinating time involved.  The instructions below are to prepare everything (while marinating the chicken) a day ahead.  These are a snap to put together if everything is precut when you’re ready to assemble the sandwiches.  You could also add cheese, olives or a bit of olive oil if you’d like.

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Marinated Chicken Pita Sandwich

Ingredients:

For chicken:

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 1 6oz container plain greek yogurt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped small
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning (or a mix of basil, oregano etc…)

For yogurt sauce:

  • 1 6oz container plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 clove garlic, smashed to a paste
  • 1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped very small
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

For sandwich assembly:

  • 4 pita breads (I used low-carb)
  • romaine lettuce, washed, dried, trimmed and leaves cut in half short ways
  • 1 large cucumber, cut into short strips
  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes, cut into slices

Instructions:

  1. Put all chicken marinade ingredients into a large zip-lock bag, smush around to coat, and refrigerate for 24 hours.
  2. Add all ingredients for the yogurt sauce into a small container with a lid and mix well. refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Cut up all veggies and refrigerate until ready to use.

When you’re ready to make the sandwiches:

  1. Preheat grill, grill pan or panini press (what I used). Cook in batches until cooked thoroughly.
  2. Cut pita in half, split and spread a layer of the yogurt sauce. Fill the inside with lettuce, cucumber, tomato slices, marinated chicken and a bit more sauce if you’d like.  Serve.

Buffalo Chicken-slow cooker

This past Saturday was a very windy chilly day. It was sunny but you could tell that it’s still winter for the most part and hasn’t started the turn to spring. Much to my dismay.

I love buffalo chicken. I found a recipe for it and threw the ingredients in to my slow cooker at noon and was eating a delicious buffalo chicken wrap by 7:30. There is almost no prep-unless you consider twisting the cap off of the buffalo sauce bottle. You can do a lot with the finished product too. I made wraps but you could also wrap it in lettuce to eat or eat it with tortilla chips for a snack, put it on a salad—the list goes on and on.

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Buffalo Chicken-slow cooker

  Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (not frozen. I used 3-1 lb breast pieces)
  • 12oz bottle of Buffalo Hot Sauce (I used Tobasco brand)
  • 1oz packet of  Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix (the dry stuff)
  • 2 tbsp light butter

Instructions:

 

  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over it and then sprinkle the dry Ranch Mix over that.
  2. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  3. Remove meat and shred with 2 forks. 
  4. Add the butter to the sauce in the cooker and stir to combine.
  5. Return chicken to the cooker, stir to coat chicken in sauce, and cook for another 30 minutes.

To make the wrap in the photo above I smeared some Ranch dressing on the wrap then piled on some chicken and then some celery.  Then just wrap it up and eat.

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Very slightly adapted from emilybites.com

Spicy Honey Chicken (over quinoa) in the Slow Cooker

I really do like spicy and sweet foods-especially when I can let them cook all day and then put them over something delicious when I’m ready to eat with a minimum of effort. Yes-lazy days at their best. That day for me was Sunday this past weekend.  I wanted to catch up on some shows that evening and have a yummy and really easy dinner too so I made this delicious chicken and put it over quinoa which, I’m so happy to say, is easier than rice to cook. I always seem to burn or undercook rice. Anyway this chicken turned out so delicious-moist, flavorful, pretty darn waist-line friendly and enough for left overs the next day or 2. I served it over quinoa for no other reason than I’m bored of (fill in the blank) over rice. And it was yummy!!

Chicken

Spicy Honey Chicken (over quinoa) in the slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast (2 breasts)
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp dried onion
  • 1 tsp sriracha (or more to taste)
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped for garnish
  • quinoa, prepared as per package instructions

Instructions:

  • Combine ingredients from soy sauce through (and including) sriracha in a small bowl and whisk to combine well. Set aside.
  • Place chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker, season with pepper and then pour the soy sauce mixture over the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3.5 hours.
  • After 3.5 hours remove the chicken and set it aside on a plate. Remove any bits of fat from the sauce in the cooker.
  • Mix the cornstarch and water well and then add to the sauce in the slow cooker and and then cook on high for 20 minutes to thicken. While the sauce is thickening shred the chicken with 2 forks.
  • After the 20 minutes add the chicken back into the cooker, stir to combine.
  • Serve over quinoa and garnish with the scallions.

Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Santa Fe Chicken in the Slow Cooker

It’s official. I love my slow cooker. I was looking around online for a new recipe and came across a chicken recipe for the slow cooker. I adapted it a bit and the recipe below was born.  Really easy and super tasty.  The chicken in this recipe was really nice and moist, easy to shred and the veggies, herbs and spices are just right for a great balance of taste. 

I like that this can be made in either 6 hours or 10 hours (great for weeknights after work). I would assume it freezes well but we didn’t have enough left to try.

I made a burrito/taco bar including sliced avocado, sliced tomato, lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa and large tortillas.  Husband at his like tacos and I made burritos out of mine and put them on the panini press to heat and make the tortilla crunchy.  YUM! I had 2. I was a pig. But  they’re GOOD!  And since it’s pretty low cal and low fat and since I used fat free sour cream and low fat cheddar cheese I didn’t feel so bad.

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Santa Fe Chicken for the Slow Cooker

Chicken Ingredients
  • 1&1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Toppings:

  • Fat free Sour Cream
  • Low Fat Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
  • Ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Avocado, sliced thin
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Place everything except the chicken listed in the ‘chicken ingredients’ in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken on top of the combined ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.  30 minutes before serving shred the chicken with 2 forks (you don’t need to remove the chicken from the cooker-just stick your forks in and shred). Stir it all back together and let it all come together for the remaining 30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is finishing cooking prepare the taco/burrito bar and lay out toppings.
  5. Serve on tortillas with toppings.

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Adapted from skinnytaste.com.

Couscous, Kalamata Olive, Tomato and Feta Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I have 4 huge 3 ring binders at home that are filled with recipies that I’ve pulled out of magazines, off of the web, out of cookbooks etc.. for years. This recipe came from the Jan/Feb 2011 Cooking Light Magazine. It was really easy to make, is pretty darn healthy at only 270-/* calories per chicken breast and is SUPER tasty.  The olives, tomatoes and feta make the pretty bland blank canvas of chicken breast really delicious-briny, salty, tomatoey. Yummy!

Sorry-this photo isn’t the best. I was starving by the time it was time to eat.

Chicken

Couscous, Kalamata Olive, Tomato and Feta Cheese Stuffed Chicken

  • 1/3 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup uncooked whole-grain couscous
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 3 tablespoons chopped plum tomato
  • 3 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, 1/4 inch thick
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

1. Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan; remove from heat. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 4 minutes. Place couscous in a small bowl that is large enough to hold the couscous and other ingredients through garlic; fluff with a fork. Cool for 10 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and next 8 ingredients (through and including garlic); toss.

2. If chicken is not at the desired thickness place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness. Divide couscous mixture evenly among breast halves; roll up jelly-roll fashion. Secure with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 400°.

4. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook for 6 minutes or until browned; turn chicken over. Bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until chicken is done.

Adapted from Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2011.

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version

I’ve made many chicken enchilada recipies over the years. I found this one on the Cook’s Illustrated website and decided to give it a try. The flavor was great. The recipe stated that it made 12 enchiladas but I ended up with only 10. I’ve adapted it to my own taste.

Make sure that the cooked chicken is finely shredded, or the edges of large pieces will tear through the tortillas. Serve these enchiladas with lime wedges, low-fat sour cream, sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, and hot sauce.

Chicken Enchiladas-a lighter version

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • 5 medium garlic cloves minced or pressed through a garlic press
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 large breasts), trimmed of excess fat
  • Ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces 50 percent light cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilis
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
  • 10 (6-inch) soft corn tortillas
  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (for serving)
  • light sour cream (for serving)
  • avocado (for serving)

Instructions

  1. 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the onion, oil, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato sauce and water, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2. Nestle the chicken into the sauce. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate; set aside to cool. Strain the sauce through a medium-mesh strainer into a medium bowl, pressing on the onions to extract as much liquid as possible. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. 3. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-sized pieces. Toss together the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, 1 cup of the cheddar, the jalapeños, and cilantro, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. 4. Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave on high until warm and pliable, 40 to 60 seconds. Spread the warm tortillas out over a clean work surface. Place 1/3 cup of the chicken mixture evenly down the center of each tortilla. Tightly roll each tortilla around the filling and lay them seam-side down in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish.
  5. 5. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 cup of the remaining sauce over the enchiladas to coat them thoroughly. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar down the center of the enchiladas. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the enchiladas are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. 6. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns, about 5 minutes longer. Serve, passing the remaining 1 cup sauce and the lime wedges separately.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

What yummy little bites!! The coating on these bites are a combination of buttery Ritz Crackers, walnuts and panko so they’re tasty and crispy. The honey mustard sauce is tangy, sweet and has a touch of heat. All around they’re delicious. They’re really easy to make and came together in about 30 minutes-start to finish.

Chicken Bites with Tangy Honey Mustard Sauce

For the marinade:

  • a few tbps soy sauce (for marinade)
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed (for marinade)
  • 1/2 nip bottle scotch (for marinade)

For the chicken:

  • 3 chicken breasts (just over 1lb.) cut into 2-bite size pieces
  • 1/2 sleeve Ritz Crackers, crushed into tiny pieces
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, put through food processor to a fine grain
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup flour

For the honey mustard dipping sauce:

  • 6 tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • cayenne pepper-to taste
  • chipotle powder-to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a ziplock bag large enough to hold all chicken and marinade add all marinade ingredients and let it sit while you prepare the breading and honey mustard sauce.

Place crushed Ritz Crackers (a potato masher or food processor works well), walnuts and panko into a bowl. Place eggs in a 2nd bowl. Place flour in a 3rd bowl. Line them up in assembly line fashion: flour, eggs, breadcrumbs.

For the sauce: combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Throw it in the fridge to cool until the chicken is finished baking. (Note: the measurements above are to taste-if you like more honey-add more, if you like less mustard-add less.)

Roll chicken pieces through flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs and arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake in the oven for about 15-18 minutes (depending on how thick the pieces are) until done, flipping once during baking.

Serve with the dipping sauce. They’d also be great with Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, BBQ sauce or some ranch dressing with hot sauce.

Slightly adapted from Mary Ellen’s recipe.

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Thanks for hosting the swap Sarah! http://tasteofhomecooking.blogspot.com/

Hurricane Sandy Chicken Piccata

I live on Long Island which was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy last week. Since my power went out Monday night I went and borrowed my mom’s butane stove to cook dinner on Tuesday night.  I’d made Chicken Piccata before and love it. I love the tangy saltyness of the capers along with the bright citrus from the lemon. All around just a tasty dish.  So I cooked this up on the little stove by candlelight. I ate it by candlelight, with a glass of wine and my book. It was delightful 🙂

Thankfully I did not have any flooding at my house and my power went back on late Tuesday night after I made this dinner (only out for about 24 hours). But many many many others in my town and area are not as lucky and are in a very dire situation-they have lost their homes and everything in it and are left with nothing-even electricity. If you’d like to help please donate here: Red Cross. Any little bit helps so much!!!

 

Hurricane Sandy Chicken Piccata

  • 4 skinless and boneless chicken breasts halves
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • All-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup brined capers, rinsed
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
  2.  In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
  3.  Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis’ book , Everyday Italian.

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup

Years ago , I believe it was for my wedding shower (must’ve been 2005), I received a slow cooker.  It was from our registry, a Cuisinart 6qt, and it was pretty and shiny. Unfortunately it had the same problems many others had with the same cooker(so I see on the Amazon reviews)-a rattling cover, steam sneaking out and running down the side of the insert into the holder and making the screws rusty. In other words-I didn’t trust it. I used it maybe twice.

So recently I bought a new one–this gorgeous DeLonghi model from Amazon and I fired it up this weekend. It’s wonderful! It cooks evenly, it’s easy to clean and it’s gorgeous looking don’t you agree? I trolled the internet looking for reviews and this one consistently got the highest marks.  No rattling, no steam coming out. Just works like it says it will.

Here it is in action. I don’t have a lot of counter space but it still fits really well!!

Yummy Time!!

So anyway I wanted to use the new cooker and I looked all over for a good chicken soup recipe. As always, Gina at SkinnyTaste, came through. This is my adaptation of her recipe. It was delicious!! You can make it spicy or not, up or lower the veggies and beans or use different beans. It’s very versatile. I had a variety of fixings on the side to top it too-tortilla chips, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro, avocado and chipotle sauce too.

Note: the Salsita, chipotle powder and chili powder are all to individual taste in the recipe below.

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp Salsita (chipotle hot sauce). Goya makes it. Or you can use 1 chipotle in adobo-but be careful-they’re hot. I found the Salsita gave a bit more control with the heat.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus more for garnish)
  •  15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 15 oz cans corn
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 2 8 oz skinless chicken breasts (16 oz total)
  • shredded cheddar cheese for topping
  • fat-free sour cream for topping
  • tortilla chips for topping
  • avocado for topping

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, 3-4 minutes. Slowly add the chicken broth, tomato sauce and Salsita and bring to a boil. Add cilantro and remove from heat. Pour into crock pot.
  2. To the slow cooker add drained beans, diced tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano and stir. Add the chicken breasts; cover and cook on low heat for 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and shred with two forks. Add chicken back into the soup, adjust salt,  cumin, chili powder, chipotle powder and Salsita to taste. Serve in bowls and top as desired.

Chicken Florentine Pasta

The original recipe for this was in my September issue of Cooking Light Magazine. I changed it up a bit as I didn’t want to grill the chicken and then pick the meat off of the bones. It’s an easy to make, pretty fast recipe and the end result was delicious.  It’s a pasta that is very lightly coated with the cream sauce.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb uncooked capellini
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup) plus extra for sprinkling
  • 4 cups fresh spinach leaves  

Preparation

  1.  Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat a large non-stick skillet over med-high heat and melt butter.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook until cooked through and browned. Set aside and wipe pan clean.
  2.  Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain well; keep warm.
  3.  In the same skillet over medium-high heat add the oil; swirl to coat. Add flour and garlic; cook until garlic is browned (about 2 minutes), stirring constantly. Add milk and broth, stirring with a whisk; bring to a simmer, and cook 2 minutes or until thickened. Add cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and spinach; stir until spinach wilts. Add pasta and chicken; toss to combine. Serve sprinkled with remaining parmesan.

Adapted from Cooking Light.

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