Grilled Chipotle Chicken

Mains

If you’re anything like me, grilling food is fun to dream about, delicious to eat, and yet somewhat terrifying to prepare. So, today’s post is going to be a bit of a two for one special! Not only do I have a fabulous recipe for Grilled Chipotle Honey Chicken, but I thought I might provide some grilling enrichment in the form of a How To.

B A S I C   G A S   G R I L L I N G

Step 1. Turn on gas:  This was weird and tricky. There are two kinds of grills at our community pool– one that seemed to have BYO Propane situation going; and another that already had gas going through a pipeline. Had we brought our own propane tank, we would have opened the doors (so fumes wouldn’t collect), opened the valve on the propane. Since we did not have our own propane tank, we just turned a nozzle behind the grill. IMG_3058

Now, Obviously you won’t be able to see gas, but you’ll definitely smell it. Open the hood of the grill and wait one minute for the gas to travel through the line.

Step 2. Turn on starter: If you know anything about a gas stove, this is just like turning on a pilot light. For us there was a round button (for you it could be a nob) all the way on the left hand side of the grill responsible for getting the fire going. Press the starter (for us it took a couple times) and turn the nob next to it to High/Start. IMG_3059

Step 3. Activate the burners: Travel down the line and turn each burn to medium-high (depending your model, you may or may not need to press an ignition button for each burner). If you look inside the grill you’ll probably see baby flames.

Step 4. Allow temperate to rise: Close the hood of the grill and allow the temperature to rise for 10 – 15 minutes. IMG_3060

Step 5. Shut it down: Whenever you’re finished grilling your goods, turn everything off: starters, temperatures and do not forget to shut off the glass!

Okay! So now that all of that is out of the way, let’s talk about the food! The Chipotle Honey Chicken recipe below is super simple and I highly recommend grilling up some of your favorite veggies for sides. For us– salt, pepper, paprika (and olive oil of course) is the perfect seasoning for any veg going on the open flame!

G R I L L E D  H O N E Y  C H I P O L T E  C H I C K E N

Ingredients (Serves 4)

4 Chicken breasts

1/2 Cup Cilantro, chopped

1/4 Cup lime juice

1/2 Cup honey

2 Tablespoon Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon chipotle seasoning

1/4 Teaspoon pepper

3/4 Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Process

  1. Place ingredients in a large zip lock bag or bowl, and allow chicken to marinate overnight or at least 3- 5 hours.
  2. Preheat the grill to Medium- High (about 300- 400 degrees)
  3. Place chicken directly onto the grill. After 15 minutes, flip chicken so the other side can grill. IMG_3063
    Note: We wrapped corn on the cob in foil and placed it on the grill at the same time we started cooking the chicken. When we hit the 15 minute mark, we turned the corn and then added our squash. IMG_3064
  4. Allow the chicken to finish cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees (about 15 more minutes). IMG_3071

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Pesto Turkey Burgers

Mains

If you’ve read some of my other posts during Whole 30, you know I’m a big fan of turkey burgers. They’re lean but hardy and can pack a lot of flavor if you’re intentional about it.

Last week Jon grabbed some Plainville Farms ground turkey meat on sale at Publix. He raved that this brand was top of the line and while I didn’t take him seriously at the time— I think i’m kind of a believer now! So here we are, one week later and I’m still so in love with this turkey meat and SO in love with this sandwhich. After a delicious round two this afternoon, I proudly present to you another turkey burger recipe for the archives. Meet the Pesto Turkey Burger.

 

P E S T O   T U R K E Y   B U R G E R S

Ingredients (Serves 3)

1 Pound ground turkey

1/2 Teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon black pepper

1/2 Teaspoon salt

1 1/2 Tablespoons pesto

Mozzarella Cheese

Sliced tomato

Olive Oil

Process

  1. Preheat oven to broil.
  2. Knead garlic and seasonings into ground turkey meat. Pan fry or grill until the burger reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  3. Place sliced onion on a foil pan. Lightly season with a pinch of salt, pepper, and a drop of olive oil. Cook until tomato begins to blister (3 – 5 minutes).
  4. Place burger buns open faced into the oven (or directly on the grill) until bread is lightly toasted.
  5. Assemble the burger: Spread 1/2 tablespoon of pesto directly onto the burger, or and/or directly onto the burger bun. Top with roasted tomato and mozzarella cheese.

Notes: Jon and I differ when it comes to the presence of tomatoes on food in general. For me, the texture of a straight up tomato is no good. For that reason, I made sure mine were roasted. Also, I’m a sucker for melted cheese whereas Jon choose to have his cheese fresh from the blade to the bun!

Pesto Turkey Burger

Pork Bahn Mi Bowl

Mains

I’ve never been the sort of person to make a big deal about my own birthday. I always joke that nothing can ever top my golden birthday (turning 8 on February 8th) at the Universal Skating Rink in Orlando, Florida. My third grade guest list was awesome, the popcorn and pretzels were delicious, and I believe this may have been the first time I ever had ice cream cake. My parents couldn’t have done a better job!

This year, I was pleasantly surprised by a random act of kindness from my good friend Carolyn. A few days after my birthday I found a gorgeous cookbook and a post-it wishing me a  happy belated 28th birthday sitting on my desk.

Now, when I say this cookbook is fabulous, it’s kind of an understatement. Skinnytaste Fast and Slow has nutrition facts, allergy notes (mostly pertaining to gluten), a nice variety of regional cuisines, plus plenty of meat and meatless options. Best of all, the recipes are super straightforward and concise. (As much as I enjoy trying new things, I’ve realized I have little patience for longwinded recipes.)

Since Jon and I both love Asian cuisine last weekend I finally busted out my cookbook for a little inspiration. The Slow Cooker Bahn Mi Rice Bowl recipe was literally everything I hoped. It was a little spicy, a little sweet, and required very little effort on my part.

I have provided an adapted version of Gina Homolka’s recipe below. If you like what you see here, I suggest grabbing this book for yourself or gifting it to a friend!

P O R K   B A H N   M I   B O W L

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Ingredients

1 Pound pork tenderloin

1/4 Teaspoon kosher Salt

1/8 Teaspoon black pepper

1/4 Cup soy sauce (Skinnytaste recommends low sodium but I used the regular stuff since that’s what I had in house)

1 Tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

3 Cloves garlic

6 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar

1/4 Cup white granulated sugar

1 Cup shredded carrots

2 Radishes

1/2 Cup red onion (optional)

1 Cup red cabbage

3 Cups brown rice

1 Cup english cucumbers

2 Jalapeno peppers

1/4 Cup fresh cilantro

Process

For the Pork

1. Set crock pot to low and place the tenderloin inside. Add soy sauce, brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and jalapeño. Cover the crockpot and let this cook for 6 – 8 hours.

2. When the pork is fully cooked, use a fork to shred the meat.

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For the Pickled Veggies

1. In a medium to large size container add vinegar, sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, carrots, sliced onion (optional), sliced radishes and any other desirable veggies. Seal the container tight and refrigerate for least 3hrs (I prepared mine the night before).

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For the Bowl

1. Prepare 3cups of the rice of your choosing.

Time saver note: Jon and I used microwaveable rice (since it only takes 90 seconds). He used jasmine rice, I used a brown rice and quinoa medley— both were delicious.

2. Chop red cabbage into strips,  cucumber into rounds, and cilantro into small pieces.

3. In a large bowl, scoop 1 serving of rice into the base of each bowl. Add pork, freshly chopped vegetables, and pickled veggies on top.

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Shepherds Pie

Mains

Shepherds pie has always been the sort of meal I took for granted. Effortlessly, my mother would whip it together in a heartbeat: Boil the potatoes, brown the meat, add the veggies, mash the taters, cup the cheese and voila–molten cheese atop perfect potato ridges, and delicious meaty goodness. Unlike mac and cheese, or other “comfort” type foods, this dish never saw a bad day. Nadia Fortune has literally nailed it for as long as I can remember.

Although it’s always been one of my favorite meals, once I left for college I realized shepherds pie was not a staple in most households. In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I gift you all with a festive recipe to remember. As a proud  British descendant, I also urge you to keep this on the menu as often as possible!

S H E P H E R D S    P I E

Ingredients

1 1/2 Pound ground meat*

1 Garlic Clove

1 Onion

4 Sprigs of fresh thyme (yields approximately 1 teaspoon)

1 Cup beef broth

2 Cups frozen mixed vegetables

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 Tablespoon flour

6 Medium sized potatoes

1/4 Cup milk

1/2 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

1/3 Block cheddar cheese

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

1/2 Teaspoon salt

Note: *Today we used ground venison but ground beef is pretty standard and ground turkey works well too.

Process

For the Potatoes

  1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Place into a large pot with a pinch of salt and boil on high (without the lid).
  2. Once the potatoes can be pierced with a fork (about 20 minutes of boil time), turn off the burner and pour out the water. Mash potatoes with a large fork, mixing in milk, butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Remove all lumps.

For the Meat and Vegetables

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Chop fresh garlic and onion and place into a large pan with olive oil on and set the temperature to high. Let this cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Turn temperature to medium and add the ground meat of your choosing. Season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.
  4. Once the meat has browned, add 1 cup of beef broth to the pan, cover with the lid, and turn the temperature to medium-low. Once the broth begins to simmer, pour flour into the pan sifting 1/2 tablespoon at a time, slowly working it in to create a roux.
  5. Bring frozen vegetables to temperature (either in the microwave or in a separate pan on the stove). Add vegetables into the pan with the meat.

Assembly

  1. Pour the contents of the meat and vegetable pan into a baking dish (8×8 square or 10×8 round should fit well) IMG_2282
  2. Scoop potatoes on top of the meat and smooth down with a fork. (Note: If you don’t like the way your potato plops look, scoop potatoes into a large zip lock bag and snip one corner with a pair of scissors. Hold the main body of the bag firmly, and pipe the potatoes onto the meat instead). IMG_2281
  3. Place baking dish into the oven set to 350 degrees. After 30 minutes, place cheese slices on top of the golden potatoes and turning the oven to broil for 3 minutes. IMG_2280
  4. Remove baking fish from the oven and let this cool for 5 minutes. Once the meal has been severed, add a size of Bushes baked beans (I know it sounds crazy) and enjoy! IMG_2249

Fish Tacos

Mains

When it comes to trying something new, I think we’ve all been in this situation before:

  • Meal conceptualized
  • Ingredients purchased
  • Meal executed
  • Defeat

In this particular instance, this cycle underwent two full rotations until victory was achieved tonight. Here’s what happened…

About three months ago, George, Jon’s brother in law brought us a bounty of venison and halibut from his last fishing trip. All the goods were cut, packaged and frozen upon receipt. I, never having tried either protein before, allowed Jon to take the lead in first round preparations. Jon’s first attempt was a beautiful halibut salad with a soy dressing atop.  Although the meal overall was good, neither of us were pleased with the texture of the fish. Disappointed, we chalked it up to accidental overcooking (each slab of frozen fish was a little over 2 pounds). Making a mental note, we decided the next slab would probably need to be halved in order to prevent inadvertent overcooking.

Fast forward one month, and it was my turn for round two!

As planned, I cut the fish in half and vowed to pay special attention to the internal temperature. Thermometer in hand, we tested, flipped and tested over and over. Recipe wise, we decided to keep it simple– just salt, pepper with a little lime and ginger. After several flips and temp checks, I was certain this time we nailed it but of course this was not the case. Only 6 or so ounces of each piece achieved the perfect texture.

Jon, a firm believer in not letting good food go to waste, surprised me with round three the very next day. Instead tossing our left overs, I came home to a bangin’ batch of fish tacos. Three cheers for Jon’s perseverance and a great recipe to hold on to!

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F I S H    T A C O S

Ingredients

1 lb Fish

2 Tablespoons olive oil (if preparing fish fresh)

1 bag of tortillas

1 bag bibb lettuce

1 Mango

1/4 Cup red onion

1/2 Avocado

1 Jalapeno

1 Tablespoon Cilantro

2 Teaspoons olive oil (for the salsa)

1 Teaspoon lime juice

1 Teaspoon honey

Salt and Pepper or creole seasoning, to taste*

*Note: If you’re working with left over fish, you should only need salt and pepper for the salsa. No need to re-season the fish

Process

For the Fish (skip if using left overs)

  1. Place a medium to large pan on high, with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Rub 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil on all sides of the fish. Season with salt, pepper, or additional spices of your choosing. If using a blend with salt included (such as a creole mix), apply spice as sparingly as you would with salt.
  3. Place fish into the hot pan and allow each side to cook untouched, for 2 – 3 minutes. When the bottom begins to crisp, use a spatula to flip to the fish onto other side for another 2 – 3 minutes.

For the Salsa

  1. Using a cutting board, cut the mango and avocado into cubes and place in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Mince cilantro and dice red onions and jalapeno. Add these to the bowl.
  3. In a small separate bowl, whisk olive oil, honey and lime juice together. Pour this into the large bowl, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Warm tortillas in a clean skillet for 1 – 2 minutes per side.

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Perfect Boiled Eggs

Hello, Whole 30, Mains, Sides

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Given the choice, I always prefer to start my morning with something savory. I love donuts and granola bars but there’s nothing like the perfect balance of coffee, cream and a little something salty. All that being said, I am pleased to introduce a fool proof process for boiled eggs — my tried and true morning delight!

B O I L E D    E G G S

Ingredients

2 Eggs

Process

1. Fill sauce pan with enough water to cover the eggs.
2. Place a lid over the eggs and turn the stove on high until the water starts to boil (approximately 7 minutes).
3. Turn the heat off, but leave the pan on the burner for an additional 2 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from stove and allow the eggs to cook in the heated water for 10 minutes (the lid should remain on during this process).

Note: If you’re into soft boiled eggs, skip step four and go directly to five. Also, you may want to skip the peeling directions below as you’ll want to treat these eggs a little more delicately. Lightly tapping the shell on the counter should do just fine.
5. Remove the eggs from the pot, and place them into an a bowl of ice water. Let the eggs sit for 10 minutes.

 

P E E L I N G   H A R D   B O I L E D   E G G S

1. Place one egg into a slender glass lined with a very small amount of water.
2. Cover the glass with one hand while clasping the bottom with the other, shaking the egg and glass horizontally from left to right.
3. Once the shell begins to break, remove the egg from the glass and peel.

 

 

Shrimp and Zoodle Scampi

Hello, Whole 30, Mains

zoodle-nightDuring Whole 30 I raved about the butternut squash noodles we made with red sauce but I have to say, the zoodles (or zucchini noodles) we had tonight blow that recipe out of the water! First of all, the texture of this vegetable is SPOT ON– the closest spaghetti substitute I’ve met so far. Another attribute? This tasty meal took all but 15 mins to prepare thanks in part to Whole Foods and Veggie Noolde Co!

S H R I M P   A N D  Z O O D L E S

Ingredients (serves 2)

1/2 Pound shrimp

4 Bacon strips (we used Pederson Farms)

2 1/ 2 Tablespoons ghee

1/2 Teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 Teaspoon garlic

1/4 Cup lemon juice

10- 12 Ounces zucchini noodles

1 1/ 2 Cup cherry tomatoes (we got lucky and heirloom cherry tomatoes at Trader Joes)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Process

  1. Turn stove on high and cook 4 strips of bacon (turn this down to medium after the first minute or so). Remove the bacon and place on a plate with paper towels. Pour the bacon grease from the pan into a small cup.
  2. In a large pan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of ghee. Add 1 tablespoon of bacon grease from the bacon pan. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Let this cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and shrimp to the pan of ghee. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper  and flip after 3 minutes.
  4. Add 1/4 cup lemon juice to pan. After 3 minutes, remove the shrimp and set aside in a bowl (this will prevent the shrimp from over cooking).
  5. Add spiralized zucchini noodles to the pan. Let this cook for 5 minutes on medium low. Then, add back in your shrimp, tossing all the ingredients for approximately 2 minutes so the flavors can unite. zoodle-night
  6. While the shrimp and noodles finish up, chop 2 sprigs of basil and crumble all 4 bacon strips. Plate your shrimp, tomatoes and zoodles adding any additional basil and bacon on top.