Grilled Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

img_7194When I’m planning out my dinners for the week, I always consider whether or not they will be good leftover for lunch.  I get bored easily when it comes to lunch so leftovers can be an easy fix for that.  They add more variety than just your average sandwich or salad.  I knew these chicken tacos would fit the bill.  And they were the perfect opportunity for me to use extra pineapple I had leftover from my pineapple and spinach smoothies.

The flavor combo of the tacos and salsa tasted like summer and what a great reminder to have in the midst of winter (I love the change of seasons and can’t wait for snow, but ahhh summer . . . )  I originally wanted to serve these as tostadas, but my local grocery store seemed to be out of them.  I used my favorite La Tortilla Factory corn tortillas (see previous post for link) instead.  I warmed them in a little bit of coconut oil till they bubbled and were lightly browned on each side.

Since I can’t have a grill at my apartment, I used my Le Creuset grill pan instead.  I’m so glad I purchased it a few months ago.  It does a great job of grilling, is easy to clean up and doesn’t take up a lot of space.  I actually leave it out on my stove top for easy access.  If you don’t want to grill the chicken, you could pan fry the chicken instead or even do a shredded version in the crock pot.

I didn’t think the tacos needed anything other than the salsa, but you could serve with guacamole or other toppings of your choice.  No one likes a sad desk lunch so I hope you try these out!

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds organic chicken breast pounded to 1/2 inch thickness (you can slice them too but using a meat mallet is a great way to bang out any frustrations lol)
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 /4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon honey
Juice and zest of one lime + juice of half a lime
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped pineapple
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
Bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
8 corn tortillas

Heat grill pan over high heat.  In a small bowl, whisk together all of the spices, honey, juice and zest of one lime, and olive oil.  Place chicken breasts in a large plastic bag.  Add marinade to bag and coat the chicken evenly.  Seal and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the salsa by combining the pineapple, red onion, tomatoes, jalapeno, cilantro and juice of half a lime.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Add the chicken to the hot grill pan and grill until chicken is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.  Flip once while grilling.  Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board.  Allow to rest for a few minutes before slicing on a diagonal.  Serve with warm tortillas and the pineapple salsa.

*Recipe adapted from jessicagavin.com

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Sweet Potato Quesadillas with Radish Salsa

Happy Holidays!  It’s hard to believe we are at the tail end of 2016!  It feels like summer was not that long ago so how can January just be around ther corner?  I don’t know about you, but I need to work on my goals for 2017.  And my blog is at the top of my list.  I gained some momentum back in the fall with regular posts but have slacked off since November.  The past month has been a blur, and going forward I need to dedicate some time each week to share all of the dishes I make.  Setting aside more time for the things I enjoy also goes for painting and a few other things.

img_0386But back to Sunday Girl Eats.  I have a bunch of recipes I’ve wanted to share, but last night I made a batch of sweet potato quesadillas and just had to post about them.  I’m always looking for ways to eat more veggies and to eat healthier in general.  I find that if I’m really organized and prepared for the week when it comes to food, I have a much better chance at making this happen.  These quesadillas were easy to make and contained ingredients you most likely have on hand.  The radish salsa was uncomplicated too.  They were great leftover for lunch today, and I froze some extra for nights when I just don’t feel like cooking.

I hope you’ll continue to follow me in 2017 and can’t wait to share more great recipes!  Happy cooking and Happy New Year!

Ingredients
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups grated peeled sweet potato (about 2 large potatoes)
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin
Pinch or 2 of cayenne pepper
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of half a lime + extra for salsa
1 cup grated cheese of your choice (I used Lisanatti Almond Cheddar)
Fresh cilantro
16 small corn tortillas (my favorite are La Tortilla Factory’s Hand Made Style Tortillas Yellow Corn)
Radishes, finely chopped
Red onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeño, minced

img_0388Preheat oven to 350º F.  In a large pan over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic till soft.  Add the sweet potatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, and salt & pepper to taste. Cook until potatoes are tender and lightely browned.  Remove from heat and stir in lime juice.

Line a large baking tray (or two) with 8 tortillas. Top each tortilla with the potato mixture, cheese, and some cilantro.  Cover with remaining tortillas.  Bake at 350º F for about 10-15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

img_0387For the radish salsa, combine radishes, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, and remaining lime juice.  I used about 5 or 6 radishes and half of a small red onion.

Serve the quesadillas with the radish salsa.  I also served with a small amount of Honey Jalapeño Sauce from a local restaurant, Alumni Grill.  It’s delicious!
*Adapted from Alexandra’s Kitchen

Honey Ginger Pork Meatballs

My nana, grandmom, and Aunt Betty :)

My nana, grandmom, and Aunt Betty 🙂

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! For some Thanksgivings when I was little, we would go to my Aunt Betty’s in Reading and then York.  They were some of the best holidays spent with cousins and extended family.  And my Aunt Betty was one of the sweetest people you’d ever meet.  The food was always great too, and we’d always end up pulling out the leftovers later at night to have turkey sandwiches.  That’s my kind of night!  My mom now hosts dinner, and I am on dessert duty.  Some day I’d like to take over the tradition, and my first order of business is to include a pre main course of lasagna! Italian I am not, but they definitely know how to do Thanksgiving up right, lol!

So what do honey ginger pork meatballs have to do with Thanksgiving?  Nothing, but I knew I had to get this post done before I head off to the kitchen to work on my desserts and famous cranberry chutney.  I’ll be sure to share the recipes for the desserts I make.  You can find the cranberry chutney recipe in an Instagram post from last Thanksgiving.

These honey ginger pork meatballs might be one of my new favorites.  I love fresh ginger, and the honey caramelized on the outside of the meatballs when I cooked them.  I paired them with a salad a mixed greens topped with pomegranate, roasted acorn squash, and fried walnuts.  Yum!

img_0377For the squash, I tossed the slices in honey, olive oil, and salt & pepper and roasted at 425º F for about 30 minutes.  To make the  walnuts, you blanch them in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then transfer to a paper towel to cool.  Then dredge them in powdered sugar and fry in oil till they float.  Drain on paper towels, cool, and store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  They make a great addition to any salad or are good just as a snack!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Happy Cooking!!!

Ingredients
1 pound lean ground pork
1 egg
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
About a 2″ piece fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons honey
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

img_0379Combine all of the ingredients through the honey and season mixture with salt and pepper.  Roll pork mixture into golf ball size (or slightly smaller) meatballs.  Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add meatballs in small batches.  Brown on all sides and continue cooking until cooked through.  Transfer to a paper towel lined dish.  Serve with roasted squash salad.

Montreal and Banana Smoothie Muffins

I recently traveled to Montreal for vacation.  If you haven’t been, I highly recommend paying a visit!  It’s a beautiful city rich with culture, history, and amazing food.  I would move there for the markets alone!  After a week of St-Viateur sesame bagels, croissants pâte d’amandes, fresh brie, and a host of other items at my fingertips, I need a serious food detox.  At least all of my food consumption was paired with sightseeing and shopping.

img_5948Between traveling and a couple of busy weeks at work, I haven’t been able to cook as much or share what I’ve been making.  I’m looking forward to getting back into my routine of Sunday cooking.  Today, I plan to make my favorite butternut squash soup, a quick wonton soup, wraps for lunch, energy balls, and possibly one other dish.

But first, I wanted to share a recipe for Banana Smoothie Muffins.  These are similar to the banana kale muffins I made before, but these have baby spinach in them instead of the kale and the addition of raspberries, which give them a sweet/tart taste.  I made some changes to a recipe from a 2-week clean eating challenge from POPSUGAR.  The original called for sugar and canola oil.  I used raw organic honey, a little maple syrup, and coconut oil instead.  A few notes: Since I didn’t have whole wheat flour on hand, I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, which is similar to Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix.  I forgot that Bob’s mix does not contain baking soda like Pamela’s so my muffins didn’t rise as much but still taste good!

img_6079Ingredients
3 ripe bananas
2 cups packed baby spinach
1 pint raspberries (reserve 5 to 6 raspberries and mash them with a fork)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour or flour of your choice
1/2 cup raw organic honey
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt

img_6085Preheat oven to 350º F.  Place bananas, spinach, raspberries (except for reserved ones), honey, maple syrup, and coconut oil in a blender.  Blend till smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl and whisk in one egg.  Add dry ingredients and stir till combined.  Fold in mashed raspberries.  Transfer batter to a lined muffin tin (or one sprayed with cooking spray).  Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy as a snack or for breakfast.

 

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I made my “famous” macaroni and cheese a few weeks ago when I had friends over for dinner.  Aside from grilled cheese and tater tots, mac n cheese (any kind but preferably homemade) is my favorite comfort food.   The version I make is very similar to my mom’s recipe, which is still my all-time favorite, and it can be customized to your liking.  I usually use part cheddar part Roth Grand Cru gruyère, but you can use any combination of cheese you’d like.  This last time I made it I used extra sharp white cheddar and sharp cheddar.  Since I normally try to limit my cheese intake, this dish is a splurge, but the next time I make it I plan to incorporate some butternut squash puree and substitute Lisanatti almond cheddar for the cheese.  If you’d rather have a creamier version, you could skip baking it, and just serve as soon as you mix the cooked pasta with the white sauce.  Do you have a favorite mac n cheese recipe?

Ingredients
1 pound elbow macaroni
3 cups 2% milk
1/4 cup butter plus 1 tablespoon
1/c cup flour
2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar
1 1/2 cups grated Grand Cru
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

img_5380Preheat oven to 350º F.  Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add kosher salt and cook pasta until tender.  Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl.  Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil and toss to coat.  To make the white sauce, in a small saucepan over low heat, bring milk to a simmer.   Remove from heat.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter constantly stirring with a whisk.  Lower heat if necessary so you don’t burn the butter.  Once butter is melted, whisk in the flour and continue to whisk until the mixture just bubbles.  Do not brown.  Slowly add the warmed milk and continue whisking until there are no lumps.  Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to low and season with salt and pepper.  Continue whisking until the sauce reaches the consistency of heavy cream.  Remove from heat and whisk in the cheddar and Grand Cru.  Mix until smooth.  Pour over the pasta and toss to coat.  Transfer the pasta mixture to a large baking dish.  In a small bowl, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and combine with the panko breadcrumbs.  Spread on top of the macaroni and cheese.  Bake until the breadcrumbs brown and the edges of the macaroni and cheese are bubbly.

 

Chili Two Ways

This past week I made two different kinds of chili.  One was a slow cooker buffalo chicken chili and the other was my traditional go-to recipe, which I just realized I’ve never shared before.   The buffalo chicken chili was part soup part chili consistency.  You can adjust the chicken stock quantity depending on how thick you want the chili to be.  You can also adjust the hot sauce.  I added about a 1/4 cup, and it gave it just enough of a kick.  I served the chili with leftover Kale, Bacon & Jalapeno Corn Muffins and a side of tortilla chips.

img_5383For my traditional chili, I like to incorporate chorizo, brown sugar, and hot sauce along with ground turkey or ground beef.  I always use Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted tomatoes too.  Aside from Tuttorosso, they are my favorite brand of canned tomatoes.  I made this chili for dinner with friends the other night and also whipped up img_5377a batch of my  famous (I like to think so) mac ‘n cheese.  My youngest guest said “It blowed his mind!”  Keep an eye out for the recipe this week.  It requires a little extra work but is worth it!  And chili wouldn’t be complete without corn bread so made honey corn bread muffins compliments of Krusteaz Honey Corn Bread & Muffin Mix.  It’s a great mix if you don’t have time to make them from scratch.  I used a combo of butter and coconut oil instead of the vegetable oil it calls for.  My guests enjoyed it all!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili 
Ingredients
1 pound ground chicken
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 14.5 ounce can Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2-3 cups low sodium chicken stock
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce
1 packet ranch dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 8 ounce package light cream cheese

image1In a large pan over medium heat, cook celery and onion in a small amount of olive oil till slightly tender.  Add ground chicken and cook till it begins to brown.  Transfer to slow cooker and remaining ingredients except the cream cheese.  Stir to combine.  Place block of cream cheese on top and cover.  Cook on high for 4 hours.  Stir mixture to incorporate cream cheese.  Serve with additional hot sauce and blue cheese crumbles, if desired.

*Recipe adapted from Slow Cooker Gourmet

Chili
Ingredients
3 pounds lean ground turkey
3-4 links chorizo, casing removed
1 large green pepper, finely chopped
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
2 28 ounce cans Muir Glen Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes
2 packets McCormick low sodium chili seasoning
2 packets McCormick mild chili seasoning
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese for serving

img_5375In a large pot over medium heat, brown ground turkey and chorizo, breaking up with a spoon.  Drain most of the oil/fat after cooking.  Add green pepper and onion and cook till tender.  Add remaining ingredients through hot sauce and stir to combine.  Bring to a boil and then simmer over low heat for 1 to 2 hours.  You can also transfer to a slow cooker to finish cooking.  Serve with shredded cheddar cheese and toppings (sour cream, green onion, bacon, etc.) of your choice.

 

Everything Pumpkin Muffins

img_5286Happy Fall!!!  And happy pumpkin spice EVERYTHING!  I’m a big fan of pumpkin and love the combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves, but the deluge of pumpkin spice items this year is out of control.  I’d much rather cook/bake with real pumpkin than eat the artificial products.  Aside from being a great addition to fall recipes, pumpkin has lots of health benefits including high fiber content and a ton of vitamin A.  If you haven’t cooked with pumpkin yet, try it out!  These everything pumpkin muffins are a great place to start!  They’re flourless and full of yummy ingredients.  Enjoy them for breakfast or an afternoon snack!

Ingredients
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch or 2 of ground cloves
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2  cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coarsely chopped

img_5314Preheat oven to 350º F.  Line muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray.  In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients through ground cloves.  Stir in chia seeds, walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate.  Spoon into prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.  Cool slightly and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Stay tuned for more pumpkin recipes throughout the season!  What are your favorite ways to use pumpkin?

*Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen. You can also bake into bars instead of muffins.

 

Kale Muffins-Two Ways

img_4658Aside from chicken meatballs, muffins are probably my second favorite thing to make.  Over the past few years, I’ve made so many different variations of muffins-from savory to sweet and everything in between-that I’ve lost track.  They’re one of my go-to breakfast options for the work week and also make a great snack.  This past week I ended up making two different versions, both using kale.  I’m a big fan of incorporating extra veggies into my diet any way I can.  I’m also a big fan of incorporating bacon into it, and the first muffins I made did just that! 🙂

Kale, corn, bacon, and jalapeno came together for these muffins, and they were really good!  I ended up eating them for breakfast with tomato butter I made a few weeks ago (see Instagram for recipe), but I think I would enjoy them even more with a big bowl of chili.  I definitely recommend using fresh corn if possible.  I was lucky to still have some ears of Jersey corn on hand for mine.

img_4795The second batch of muffins came from a recipe compliments of the blog Vegging at the Shore.  Vegging at the Shore features fabulous, healthy recipes crafted by Marci Lutsky and her mini chefs!  I’ve done kale and bananas together in smoothies, but I never thought to combine them in muffins.  They proved to be a great combo, and I’m glad Marci shared this recipe!  I followed her recipe except for a few changes.  Since I didn’t have whole wheat flour or apple sauce on hand as the original recipe called for, I substituted in 1 1/4 cups oats and about a 1/2 cup almond butter.  I also added 1/4 cup milk since the almond butter and oats made the batter a little too thick.  Lastly, I added a few coarsely chopped bittersweet chips to a handful of the muffins.  These muffins are a great idea especially if you have extra kale and ripe bananas to use up and are looking for a healthy breakfast option.

img_4653Ingredients
1 small bunch kale, cleaned and stems removed
4 strips cooked bacon, torn into bite size pieces
4 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/4 cup oats
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup 2% milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 cup fresh corn kernels

Preheat oven to 375º F.  Steam kale until bright green and just tender.  Cool and coarsely chop into bite size pieces.  In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  In another bowl, whisk together butter, coconut oil, milk, eggs and honey.  Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.  Fold in kale, bacon, jalapeno, and corn.  Divide batter evenly among lined muffin cups.  Bake until golden, about 22 minutes.  Let cool for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

You could also use this batter for corn bread  or even add some cheddar cheese.   What are some of your favorite muffin recipes?

*Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Magazine

Layered Chicken Fajitas

imageIf you’re looking for a new Mexican recipe, then look no further! I made these layered chicken fajitas last week and enjoyed the leftovers all week.  And that never happens!  I’m finicky with leftovers and tend to get bored with eating the same thing for lunch every day.  When I lived with one of my best friends, she would pack the same breakfast, snack, and lunch every day and never tire of it.   She’s a teacher and used to her routines!

But I definitely did not get bored with these fajitas!  It may have been the fresh, sweet Jersey  corn and Jersey grape tomatoes that really made the dish, but I think they’ll be just as good come winter when I have to use frozen or canned corn and non-local tomatoes.  I did recently buy some extra Jersey corn to freeze though.  They were also really easy to make, and you could easily serve them with a side of rice or another veggie and no tortillas.  I have a hard time saying no to tortillas and like La Tortilla Factory’s handmade style corn tortillas the best!

imageIngredients
1 small red onion, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2-3 ears fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed
1/2 pint red and yellow grape tomatoes
1-2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 packet Old El Paso fajita seasoning, divided
1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock
1/2 lime, juiced
2-3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken breast
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
Corn tortillas
Mashed avocado or guacamole
Fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

imagePreheat oven to 450º F.  In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onion, bell pepper, corn, salt, pepper, and half of the fajita seasoning.  Sauté until slightly tender. Transfer mixture to a 9×13 (or two smaller) baking dish.   To the same pan, add the beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, and lime juice.  Cook 2 minutes.  Add the chicken and the rest of the fajita seasoning.  Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.  Layer chicken mixture over top of corn mixture. Top with cheese and bake at 450º F until cheese is melted and mixture is bubbly.  Divide chicken mixture among tortillas and top with smashed avocado or guacamole, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.  Be prepared to go back for seconds!!!

*Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Zucchini and Sun Dried Tomato Chicken Meatballs

IMG_4215I like chicken meatballs so much I could probably devote an entire month of cooking to coming up with new variations of them!  In my last post, I mentioned how I made zucchini and sun dried tomato ones for my mini dinner party.  I’ve used sun dried tomatoes before in my chicken meatballs but also wanted to incorporate zucchini since summer squash is great this time of year (obviously given its name).  Zucchini also helps add moisture, and the last thing you want is a dry, tough meatball.  The great thing about chicken meatballs is they don’t really require any kind of sauce or dip.  You can eat them on their own or pair them with a salad as I like to do.  I think my next batch will include roasted eggplant.  I’ll let you know how they turn out!

Ingredients
2 pounds lean ground chicken (do not use fat free)
1 medium zucchini, grated
3-4 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes (or DeLallo Sun Dried Tomato Bruschetta with most of the oil drained)
2 eggs
1/2  cup panko breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (I like McCormick’s spice grinder)
Olive oil

Combine all ingredients and mix until just combined.  Shape chicken mixture into 1-2″ balls.  Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Cook meatballs until evenly browned and cooked through.  You can also brown the meatballs, and then finish them in the oven at 450º F for about 10-12 minutes.  (I like to do cook them this way in the winter time when it’s not too hot to have the oven on.)  Serve with a green salad or side of your choice.  They are great leftover too!