Thai-Spiced, Honey-Glazed Chicken Skewers

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Meat on sticks. There hasn’t been enough of it this summer so I’m trying to remedy that before grilling weather is officially over. (It’s coming. Sigh.)

When I was making the meal plans for the week, I was pleasantly surprised to realize I already had all the ingredients for these skewers on hand, so they went on the menu. It’s simple ingredients, but they pack a big flavor punch here.

I set my chicken up to marinade in the morning, but starting to marinade the night before would be good too. I’d give this a few solid hours in the marinade to pack the biggest punch.

Thai-spiced, Honey-Glazed Chicken Skewers
(from The Iron You)
Serves 4

1 lb. chicken breast, cut into strips
2 tsp. Chinese five-spice
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Sriracha mayo, for dipping

In a small bowl, whisk together the Chinese five-spice, cayenne, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the chicken strips and toss until well-coated.

Add the chicken to a ziplock bag. In the same small bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil and lime juice. Pour over chicken in the bag, seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate and let marinate for several hours.

After marinating, place the chicken on skewers. (If using wooden ones, soak in water for at least a half hour beforehand.)

Preheat a grill to medium and oil the grates. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway, until cooked through. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve with Sriracha mayo for dipping.


Creamy Taco Mac

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This could also be called “DIY Hamburger Helper” – it’s the same idea, but from scratch. There’s nothing super novel here but it’s quick and good and generally a crowd pleaser.

It also freezes well. I cooked this up before Jacob was born and froze half, casserole-style, for afterwards.

Creamy Taco Mac
(from Annie’s Eats)
Serves 6

1 1/4 lbs. ground turkey
8 oz. rotini pasta
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
4 Tbsp. taco seasoning
3 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. When you drain it, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey and onion together until cooked through. Add the garlic and cook another minute, until fragrant. Add in the diced tomatoes and taco seasoning and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add in the pasta, cream cheese, sour cream, pasta water and stir until the cheese is melted as all is well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce and serve.


Honey Chipotle Chicken Tenders

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Surprise! It’s a chicken recipe! This is the first chicken recipe I’ve blogged since getting pregnant that doesn’t involve bite-sized pieces.

For most of the pregnancy, I couldn’t handle chicken cooked at home unless it was bite-sized. So weird. But, the last month or so of being pregnant, I could finally tolerate chicken strips and breasts again – so I made them in force. Funny enough, even though I made these as strips, they would have been excellent bite-sized, too.

The sauce is spicy-but-sweet and even though these are baked, they taste just as good as a fried boneless wing. They tasted like something we’d order when out for bar munchies. I’m planning to make them again when football watching season is in full swing!

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tenders
(adapted from Creme de la Crumb)
Serves 4

For the chicken strips:
1 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 eggs
1-2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs

For the sauce:
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. chipotle adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. hot sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1/3 cup cold water + 2 Tbsp. corn starch

Ranch dressing, for dipping

In a shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper until well combined. Whisk in the eggs and enough water to make the consistency a thick batter.

Dip the chicken into the flour mixture and then into the panko, coating well in each, and place on a lined baking sheet. Bake at 400F degrees for 20 minutes, flipping halfway.

While the chicken cooks, make the sauce: combine all ingredients except the cold water/cornstarch in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Whisk together the water and cornstarch and add to saucepan. Stir until the sauce thickens. Reduce heat to low until ready to use.

After the chicken is done, dip strips into the sauce. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.


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.


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.


Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs

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I really, really adore grilling weather. Now that it’s warm enough to grill, I get super annoyed when we have rainy weeks. It’s like, c’mon Mother Nature! We’ve only got limited time to begin with!

I’m also feeling a bit of a time crunch because I don’t know how cooking will go once baby boy arrives. I don’t want to set too many expectations for things to do after – so I’m trying to tackle some of my must-make recipes now. Of course, kabobs always seem to top the list.

These were another huge hit. Unlike some of the other kabobs I’ve made, these are flavored with spices instead of sauce which makes them a bit healthier. We loaded the skewers with veggies and served them with rice for a full meal.

Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs
(from Allrecipes.com)
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. oilve oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lime, juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Veggies – we used two bell peppers and a zucchini

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and spices. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Chop veggies into bite-sized peices.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.  Thread chicken and veggies onto skewers.

Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the juices run clear.


Chipotle Chicken Kabobs with Avocado Cream Sauce

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We got a sneak peak of grilling weather the week before last – a few days of temps in the 70s. After this brutally cold winter, it was such a nice, welcome change. Of course, things are back to a more seasonal low-60s, with the evenings just a little too chilly to comfortably grill.

During our sneak peak, though, I happily busted out some recipes I had bookmarked last year and didn’t get around to trying. These kabobs were by far the favorite of the week, so I wanted to share them for those of you lucky enough to live in a slightly warmer climate. Seriously, if you don’t already have dinner plans for tonight, this is what you should be making. The chicken is good by itself, but the avocado sauce really seals the deal here. I could have eaten it with a spoon. (And, may have finished off the extra that way…)

Chipotle Chicken Kabobs
(from Annie’s Eats)
Serves 4

Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. chili powder
3/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 chipotle chili in adobo
2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into uniform chunks

for the avocado cream sauce:
1 avocado, split and pitted
1/2 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a medium bowl, whisk together the lime juice, oil, salt, chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne, garlic, brown sugar and chipotle. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes – I left mine overnight and it turned out fantastic.

When ready to cook, preheat the grill to medium-high heat and oil the grates. Thread the chicken onto skewers and cook, turning once or twice until all sides are slightly browned and chicken is cooked through. Remove to a plate and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

To make the avocado cream sauce, add the avocado, Greek yogurt, garlic and lime juice to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with kabobs for dipping.


Honey BBQ Chicken Wraps with Broccoli Slaw

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One of the most common questions I get asked when people find out I’m expecting is, “Do you have any cravings or food aversions?” For the most part, the answer has been no. I’ve been lucky enough to continue eating fairly normally throughout the whole pregnancy (albeit, with lots more cooking help from Mark).

My one hang up? Chicken. For some reason, I just could not do a chicken we cooked here until about halfway through the pregnancy. Chicken at a restaurant? Fine. Pre-cooked, store-bought chicken? Fine. Any sort of home preparation? Blech.

Rather than trying to force the issue, I just worked around it as much as possible – which is where sandwiches like these came in. These are super minimal effort and time (fifteen minutes, tops), but still made me feel like I was making dinner. And coupled with the sauce and broccoli slaw, it didn’t feel like a straight-out-of-the-freezer section meal either.

I’m sure this is a dish I’ll revisit once baby boy is here and we need quick meals.

 

Honey BBQ Chicken Wraps with Broccoli Slaw
(very slightly adapted from I Should Be Mopping the Floor)
Serves 4

4-8 (depending on size) Honey BBQ chicken strips (I bought Tyson brand – you could make these at home pretty easily too)
4 burrito-sized wraps

For the slaw:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. white wine vinegar
3 cups broccoli slaw

For the sauce:
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Bake the chicken according to package directions.

While the chicken bakes, mix together the ingredients for the slaw, tossing to coat the broccoli slaw evenly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whisk together the sauce ingredients. Set aside until chicken is done cooking.

Once the chicken is done, spread 1 1/2 Tbsp. of the sauce on each wrap. Divide chicken between wraps. Top chicken with broccoli slaw. Wrap up burrito style and cut in half to serve.


Taco Bread Twist

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I realize it’s only mid-August, but I’m mentally preparing myself for fall. Fall is always a weird season for me. I love so much about it: apple everything, pumpkin picking, Halloween, Thanksgiving, changing leaves, football. The end of Fall is always disappointing. I hate winter so I try to stretch out fall as long as possible. Which means even though it’s only preseason, I’m in full football mode. And that I’m making fun Sunday dinners while watching the game.

This easy dish could be either dinner or a fun appetizer. It was also a lot easier and quicker than I was expecting. It’s basically all the goodness of a taco, shoved inside a bread. The recipe relies on pre-made dough, but you could use your own favorite French bread recipe.

Taco Bread Twist
(from Bev Cooks)
Serves 4

1 lb. ground chicken
2 T. taco seasoning
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 chipotle peppers, diced
3 t. adobo sauce
1/3 c. black beans
Pinch of salt and pepper
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 (11 oz.) tubes refrigerated French bread
1 c. cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 t. Mexican oregano

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees.

In a large pan, brown the ground chicken. Stir in the taco seasoning, red bell pepper, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, black beans, salt, pepper and cilantro. Cook another 3 – 5 minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat.

On a clean and lightly oiled counter, place the French breads side by side. Using a serrated knife, lightly cut into each loaf from tip to tip. Using your fingers, spread the dough until you get a 4-inch well in the center.

Sprinkle the cheese along each well. Divide the chicken mixture between the wells. Using your fingers, pinch the dough tightly, closing the mixture inside the bread.

Transfer each loaf to a lined baking sheet, placing them seam side down. Twist each loaf around each other.

Lightly brush the twist with the egg wash. Using a small knife, lightly score little slits across the top of the twist, allowing for ventilation.Sprinkle the Mexican oregano on top of the twist.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the bread is cooked through. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.


Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

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I can’t remember the last time I bought tater tots, but they went on the shopping list as soon as I saw this recipe. And then I couldn’t get them out of my mind. Usually, recipes sit on my to-make list for a while before I get to them – this one got made the next week.

The tater tots sort of soak up the buffalo sauce and turn into these delicious pillows of buffalo goodness. The casserole is pretty much buffalo wings you can eat with a spoon. Comfort food at it’s finest.

Buffalo Chicken Tater Tot Casserole
(from The Black Peppercorn)
Serves 4

1 lb. cooked chicken breasts, diced
1/3 c. butter
1/2 c. hot sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. salt
1/4 c. crumbled blue cheese
1 package tater tots
1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
1/3 c. diced celery

Melt the butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Once melted, whisk in the hot sauce, garlic and salt. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes and then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

Toss half of the buffalo sauce with the cooked chicken and spread in the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish. Sprinkle the blue cheese over the chicken, then layer with enough tater tots to make one layer.

Drizzle the remaining buffalo sauce over the top and sprinkle evenly with the cheddar cheese. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let sit for 5 minutes and then sprinkle with diced celery before serving.