Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Tortas

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Generally, this is how meal planning goes around here: On Thursday we get the grocery ads for the next week and I sit down and pick meals based on what we have on hand already and what’s going to be on sale. I email the list off to Mark and he either approves it, vetoes things or reminds me of plans I’ve forgotten that would throw off dinner. It’s a good system.

And then there are weeks when things just get busy and fall through the cracks. I realized as we were standing in the grocery store shopping for the week that I’d never bounced the week’s dinners off him – and he was really skeptical of this meal. Luckily, once dinner was on the table, he liked it. We served it along with onion rings and fresh cut-up veggies.

Grilled Chicken and Zucchini Tortas
(from Parade)
Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. paprika
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 medium zucchini
1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Hot sauce, to taste
2 cups shredded cabbage
Juice of 1/2 line
2 rolls

Whisk together the garlic, oregano, paprika, oil, salt and pepper until well combined. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and pound out the chicken to 1/2″ thick. Place zucchini and chicken on separate plates and rub each with the marinade evenly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and hot sauce to taste.  Remove half of the mayonnaise mixture to a small bowl and set aside. To the medium bowl, add the cabbage and lime juice and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grill chicken and zucchini over medium heat for about 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and zucchini is tender, flipping halfway. Slice the chicken against the grain.

Serve the chicken and zucchini on rolls topped with mayonnaise spread and slaw.


Grilled Sriracha Broccoli

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We’ve been making good use of the grill this summer – remaking lots of our favorite recipes from years past and trying lots of new things too. This falls into the “new” category.

Side dishes, in general, tend to get easily forgotten around here. After prepping a main dish, I usually just go for sides that are quick and easy – salads, fresh-cut veggies, dinner rolls, etc. This broccoli was just as easy, but definitely not forgettable. I’m sure this will be a staple for grilled dinners going forward!

Grilled Sriracha Broccoli
(from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Serves 3-4

1 large head of broccoli, cut into three sections
4 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp. Sriracha sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. sesame oil

Place the broccoli in a bowl or baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together all other ingredients to make the glaze. Pour the glaze over the broccoli and spread around with a pastry brush.

On a hot grill, place the glazed broccoli flat-side down and grill for 4 minutes. Flip and grill for an additional 2-3 minutes, until slightly tender. Serve immediately.


Garlic Beef Enchiladas

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One thing that’s been a bit of a surprise with the new kitchen is that the new freezer is smaller than our old one. I had grand plans to start stocking the freezer with meals for after baby boy is born once the kitchen was back together, but it’s become a project of using up what’s already in there first. One thing I inexplicably have a lot of? Ground beef.

When I polled my friends for their favorite recipes using ground beef, Katie suggested this one. Not only did it use up some of the freezer stock, it’s a freezer-friendly meal itself so I made a small tray to freeze as a post-baby meal. They were delicious, so I’m looking forward to being able to enjoy them again!

Garlic Beef Enchiladas
(from Taste of Home)
Serves 5

For the enchiladas:
1 lb. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. rubbed sage
1 can stewed tomatoes, chopped up
2 cups Colby-Jack cheese, divided
10 flour tortillas

For the sauce:
1/3 cup butter
4-5 cloves garlic, minces
1/2 cup flour
1 can beef broth
1 can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. rubbed sage
1/2 tsp. salt

In a large skillet, cook the ground beef and onion until the beef is browned and the onion is softened. Stir in flour and seasonings until well combined. Stir in tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes.

While the beef simmers, preheat the oven to 350F degrees and make the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in the broth. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and seasonings. Heat through and then set aside.

To assemble: Pour 1 1/2 cups on the sauce into the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish. In each tortilla, place about 1/4 cup of the beef mixture and 1-2 Tbsp. of the cheese. Roll up and place in the baking dish on top of the sauce, seam side down. Pour remaining sauce over the top.

Bake, covered, for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Remove cover, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted.


Hawaiian Hula Pork Tacos with Pineapple Slaw

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When my friend, Lindsay, mentioned she was making this for dinner a couple of weeks ago, I immediately asked for the recipe. She raved about it the next day, so it went on the menu for the following week.

I’m so glad I didn’t wait to make these! They take a little time, but they’re so worth the effort! The pork was incredible, but the pineapple slaw really took this to a whole different level. The pork is really versatile too, which made for great leftovers. After enjoying them as tacos, we had the leftover pork as sandwiches (topped with the slaw) and then used the remaining pork in quesadillas (along with some fresh pineapple). So, so good!

Hawaiian Hula Pork Tacos with Pineapple Slaw
(from Half Baked Harvest)
Serves 6-8

For the pork:
3 lbs. pork shoulder roast
2 1/2 cups pineapple juice
2 tsp. ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2-3 Tbsp. sriracha
Tortillas, for serving
Shredded cheddar, for serving

For the pineapple slaw:
3 Tbsp. Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh pineapple juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
Pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups shredded cabbage
1/3 cup green onions, chopped
3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, ginger, brown sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, sriracha and vinegar until well combined.

Place the pork in a dutch oven and add about half of the sauce. Place in the oven and roast for 3-4 hours, until the pork shreds easily. Remove the pork, shred and return to the dutch oven. Mix in additional sauce until you have the consistency you want. Heat on the stove top until heated through.

While the pork is cooking, make the pineapple slaw: In a medium bowl whisk together the Greek yogurt, rice vinegar, pineapple juice, brown sugar, orange zest, salt and pepper until well combined. Add in cabbage, green onions, cilantro, pineapple and jalapeno and toss until evenly coated. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve cooked pork in tortillas, topped with shredded cheddar and pineapple slaw.


Pepperoni Pizza Waffles

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The last phase of the kitchen re-do was getting new countertops. In an effort to save some money, we opted to take off the old countertops ourselves – which ended up happening the week before the new ones were installed so my Dad could help with it all. We’d been working around a torn up kitchen for a month already, but having no counters (or a sink!) really threw me. We ended up doing a lot of take out that week.

I think this is the only meal I made at home that week. It involved minimal equipment: one cutting board to prep on, one knife and the waffle iron. And then we ate off paper plates so there wouldn’t be any more we had to wash in the bathroom sink.

They were fun – definitely not any kind of gourmet, but fun. We used refrigerated biscuits, cut a pocket, stuffed them with pizza toppings and tossed them on the waffle iron. We served them along with warmed pizza sauce for dipping. Start to finish, it probably took fifteen minutes to get it on the table. Perfect for what we felt like dealing with that week, but I’m also thinking this would be a great, quick lunch.

 Pepperoni Pizza Waffles
(from Pillsbury)
Serves 2-3

1 can of refrigerated biscuits (I used flaky layers)
8 slices of mozzarella
Sliced pepperoni, or any of your other favorite pizza toppings
Pizza sauce, for dipping

Using a knife, cut a pocket into each biscuit and stuff with mozzarella and pepperoni (or other toppings). Cook in a hot waffle iron until golden brown.

Serve with warmed pizza sauce for dipping.


Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats

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For me, Pinterest is sort of a peer pressure zone. If I see a recipe or trend enough times, I feel like I need to try it too. This is why I started making overnight oats. I’m pretty sure the first time I saw it I thought it was gross – and then the idea grew on me. I’m a big oatmeal fan in the winter months, so this idea seemed perfect for the warmer weather.

I’ve tried quite a few overnight oat recipes, and this is the first one that has been blog worthy. I loved everything about this – the consistancy was spot-on for me and it felt like a treat without being overy sweet. I’ve already made it several times!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Overnight Oats
(from Organize Yourself Skinny)
Serves 1

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
1 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
Large pinch of cinnamon
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. chia seeds
Small pinch of salt
On top: 1 chopped strawberry, 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips, extra milk for consistancy (if needed)

In a small bowl or jar, combine the oats, milk, 1/4 cup chopped strawberries, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, chia seeds and salt. Mix until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

In the morning, thin with additional milk if desired (I didn’t – I like my oatmeal thick!) and top with chopped strawberry and mini chocolate chips.


What’s Baking: Baked Triple Berry Pancake

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The latest What’s Baking theme was baking with summer produce, which immediately make me think of berries. We grow our own strawberries and blueberries in the backyard and regularly buy raspberries and blackberries when they’re in season.

I whipped up this pancake as a special breakfast this morning. We’ve been quite busy the last few weeks so being able to sit down to a nice breakfast together felt like a treat. I also liked that the batter was mixed up in the blender – for some reason, this felt particularly easy.

We ate this with whipped cream (me) and syrup (Mark), but I also think honey drizzled over would be fantastic!

You can check out what other bloggers made for the theme in a recap later this month on Blissfully Delicious.

Baked Triple Berry Pancake
(adapted from Recipe Girl)
Serves 4

3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. lemon zest
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup blackberries
1/4 cup chopped strawberries
Whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

In a blender, comine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Pulse until well combined.

Heat a 12″ cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the butter to the skillet and let melt. Once melted, pour the batter into the skillet and top with berries. Transfer the skillet to the oven.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until puffed and cooked through. Serve with whipped cream, syrup, honey or powdered sugar over the top.


Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

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This was another burger that helped feed our work crew during the re-do. (Which, is almost done!) We cooked these up the first day, so I was able to make the patties up before things were really a disaster so it worked out well.

If you’re looking for something different from a typical burger, this is a really great option. Packed with black beans and corn, the patties themselves were really good. And the chipotle yogurt sauce and mashed avocado played off each other really well and were a great accompaniment!

Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
(from The Roasted Root)
Serves 4

for the chipotle yogurt sauce:
6 oz. plain greek yogurt
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt, to taste

for the burger patties:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 lb. ground turkey

for serving:
Burger buns
1 avocado, mashed

Prepare the chipotle yogurt sauce by mixing together the yogurt, chopped chilis and adobo sauce until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the jalapeno, garlic, salt and cumin and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook until plumped, about another 3-5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combined the cooled mixture with ground turkey, mixing until well combined. Divide into 4 equal balls and form each ball into a patty.

Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve patties on toasted buns with mashed avocado and chipotle yogurt sauce.


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Yesterday was my husband’s birthday – the official kick off of our “celebrating season”. Within the next few weeks we’ll also celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. And next year we’ll be adding Father’s Day and baby boy’s birthday to this. Of course, this is on top of any graduations and weddings that are prevelant this time of year. It gets busy, to say the least. It also means we end up eating a lot of “celebrating” food.

When I asked Mark what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said none. It was just going to be us celebrating and he didn’t want a whole cake for the two of us. I can’t really blame him – but the idea of no birthday cake just didn’t fly with me. The solution was obviously just to make a smaller cake.

This one was chocolate and peanut butter – the birthday boy’s favorite – and sized for two. Perfect!


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

(adapted from Picky Palate)
Serves 2-4

For the cake:
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocoalte chips

For the icing:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a large ramikin (or any other bowl/pan you want to use).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the semi-sweet chocoate chips at half-power for 30 second intervals, until melted.

Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate chips into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Transfer batter to greased ramikin and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean – the time will vary based on your pan, for me it was 45-50 minutes.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from ramikin to cool completely.

Slice the cake in half to make two layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Adjust the amount of powdered sugar or milk to get desired consistancy.

Spread about 1/3 cup of the icing on top of one of the laters and then place the other layer on top. Use remaining frosting to cover the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over as decoration, as desired.


Queso Burgers

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It’s sort of amazing that we always want what we can’t have. On a normal week, I’d kill to have a night of takeout and not have to cook. With the kitchen torn apart and plans to get takeout, there’s nothing I want more than to be able to cook dinner. Of course.

What have we been eating while the kitchen is a mess? Burgers. Lots and lots of burgers. They’ve been easy to put together and throw on the grill without actually needing the kitchen.

This is one of the burger variations we liked best. It’s a basic burger patty (in a pinch, you could totally buy pre-made pattys) topped with queso. So simple and yet really, really tasty.

Queso Burgers
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6

1½ lb. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
6 hamburger buns

Divide the ground sirloin equally into 6 balls, form into patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side, until they reach desired doneness.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the Velveta and diced tomatoes. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and then stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second – 1 minute intervals, stirring between, until the cheese is fully melted and well combined.

Serve burgers topped with queso.