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CEiMB: Chicken Pepian

4 Aug

I am currently out of town so please bear with me if I don’t respond to your comments in a timely manner. I promise to get back to you as soon as I’m settled back home. Be sure to check back Monday for an awesome guest post!

Several weeks ago, my good friend Bri of Yoshimi vs. Motherhood was the CEiMB host of the week and chose this Chicken Pepian. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn’t have my food processor readily available, and I was afraid the blender I had would not stand up to the task of making this tomatillo sauce. I was incredibly disappointed to not be able to cook along with the group that week, particularly once I read the positive reviews. I used this recipe as an excuse to dig my food processor out of storage, and it was well worth the effort.

Even though this recipe sounded a little complicated at first, the dish was very easy to make and came together quickly. I only have two notes for the next time I make this dish: First, I will probably just grill the chicken then serve it alongside the Pepian sauce OR I will use cutlets instead of thick chicken breasts because the pan-frying method didn’t work well for me with this recipe. Second, I will either only make half the sauce or be ready to freeze the other half. I’ve got about half the sauce in my freezer right now as the recipe yielded way more than what we used with four pieces of chicken, but I’m looking forward to having it on-hand when I’m looking for a quick chicken dinner.

Chicken Pepian
10 medium tomatillos (about 3/4 pound)
1 poblano pepper, halved, seeds removed
1 medium onion, quartered
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup no salt added vegetable broth
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
5 whole peppercorns
2 whole allspice
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp salt
4 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the broiler. Remove papery outer layer from tomatillos then rinse them in warm water to remove some of their natural stickiness. Pat dry, then cut into quarters. Toss tomatillos, poblano, quartered onion and garlic with 4 teaspoons of the oil, place on a baking sheet and broil until charred, about 10 minutes.

Place tomatillos, poblano, onions and garlic, cilantro, broth, jalapeno, pumpkin seeds and spices and salt in a blender and blend on high until totally smooth, about 30 seconds.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in skillet and cook the chicken until browned on both sides and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Add Pepian sauce to skillet, covering chicken pieces. Bring to a simmer and cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Serve chicken topped with sauce and garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Serves 8.
Modified from Ellie Krieger.

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CEiMB: Sloppy Joes

21 Jul


This post is for my dad because, of all the things I’ve cooked over the past two months, this is the dish he keeps talking about. There’s been several dishes that he told me he would like to see again, but as he’s learning, I don’t really prepare the same recipe twice very often. So after he finished eating these Sloppy Joes, he looked at me and said, “When are you going to make these again? I want a date!” It’s only been a few weeks since I made them, but they have become his new mark to which all other recipes have been compared. “This was good, but it wasn’t Sloppy Joes.” “When are we having Sloppy Joes again?” These are the phrases that have become commonplace around the dinner table.

It’s crazy to me that the standout recipe is for something as simple as Sloppy Joes, but leave it to Ellie Krieger to turn such a traditional kid-friendly meal into something grownups will love too. I honestly can’t even remember the last time I ate a Sloppy Joe, and it definitely wasn’t something we ate regularly when I was growing up. I was just browsing through the recipes that the CEiMBers have already made that I missed and decided to give these a try. Well, needless to say, dinnertime around here may never be the same again. Luckily for my dad, his birthday is coming up, and I know just what to give him :D

Even though the rules have changed over at Craving Ellie in My Belly and we are now only posting every other week, I have lots of Ellie recipes to catch up on and will continue posting regular Thursday CEiMB recipes, at least for a while. We’re always looking for new members, so feel free to join in at any time!

Sloppy Joes

1 pound lean ground chicken
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium jalapeno pepper, minced
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 15-ounce can red beans, drained and rinsed
12 ounces no salt added tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can of no salt added tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon mustard powder
8 whole wheat sandwich buns

Brown the meat and the onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat into crumbles as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard. Add the garlic, jalapeno, and red pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 5 minutes more. Place a half-cup scoop of the mixture onto each bun and serve.

Serves 8.
Source: Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger

Enchilada Casserole

6 Jul


Between blogs, magazine subscriptions, e-newsletters, etc. I see a ton of recipes every day. I can’t put my finger on exactly what makes some stand out over others, but sometimes I just see a recipe and think “I have to make this right now.” At least, this was the case when I saw a recipe from Taste of Home for their “Enchilada Casser-Ole!” To me it looked and sounded like a combination of two of my favorite foods: tacos and lasagna. Of course, I had to try it!

I did make a few substitutions; some in order to “healthify” it a bit more, and some just for taste preferences (I was wary of using Italian dressing so I opted for tomato sauce instead). The end result was phenomenal and definitely something I’ll make again. It was also delicious leftover which made a great lunch for the rest of the week – always an added bonus.

Enchilada Casserole
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can diced salsa style tomatoes
1 cup dry black beans, cooked
8 ounces no salt added tomato sauce
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
6 whole wheat tortillas
3/4 cup fat free sour cream
4 ounces reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded

In a large skillet, cook ground meat and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, cooked beans, tomato sauce, taco seasoning and cumin. Place three tortillas in a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with half of the meat mixture, sour cream and cheese. Repeat layers.

Cover and bake at 400° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.
Adapted from Taste of Home

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken

29 Jun


If you follow many other recipe blogs, you have more than likely seen this recipe before because it is one of Cooking Light’s most popular chicken recipes. So you might ask why I am reposting it, but on the off chance that you haven’t seen it, I want to pass it along because it really is good enough to warrant a repost. Trust me when I say that it’s on all the blogs for a reason. And it seems like a great time to post a simple and delicious barbecue recipe right before a holiday known for its fantastic cookouts, right?

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast
6 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Preheat grill.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on hot grill coated with cooking spray. Grill chicken 5 minutes on each side.

Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Grill 1 minute. Turn chicken over and brush chicken with remaining honey mixture. Grill 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

6 servings.
Source: Cooking Light

CEiMB: Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

23 Jun


I really love participating in Craving Ellie in My Belly. Ellie Krieger has some truly delicious recipes, and it’s a great excuse to make a new one every week. Plus, the bloggers that faithfully cooks along each week are just an amazing group of ladies, and I feel so lucky to be part of their club! This week’s host, Margaret of Tea and Scones, not only makes some of the most delectable looking breads and pastries I’ve ever seen, she is so sweet.

And just like Margaret in a game of Words With Friends, this recipe was a winner! I had to make a few changes based on what I could find at the store – like subbing yellow squash for zucchini and leeks with a little fennel seed for a bulb of fennel – but the roasted vegetables came out delicious! Unfortunately my other substitution, using boneless chicken breast with a lemon pepper rub did not turn out as well. The flavor was great, but our chicken got a little overdone. Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to try the bone-in chicken, or maybe I will just cook the chicken separately, either way, I’ll definitely be making these roasted veggies again. Delicious!

Tuscan Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

6 Roma tomatoes
3 medium yellow squash
2 leeks
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon salt-free lemon pepper seasoning blend
3 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cut the tomatoes lengthwise into quarters and remove the seeds. Trim the squash and cut it in half crosswise and then cut each piece in half lengthwise once if the piece is thin and twice if it is thicker, so that the pieces are relatively uniform. Do the same with the leeks so they are cut twice lengthwise, into thin strips.

Put the vegetables into a large baking pan. Toss them with garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then give the vegetables a stir and add the rosemary and fennel.

Rub the lemon pepper seasoning on the chicken breasts then arrange the chicken pieces in the pan with the vegetables. Cook for about 20 to 30 minutes more until the chicken is done and the vegetable are tender and beginning to brown.

Serves 3.
From Ellie Krieger’s “The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life” p. 210

Pasta with Chicken and Pepper-Cheese Sauce

8 Jun


I love to cook. I always have. I remember being quite young and being in the kitchen helping my grandmas and mom cook. I am comfortable in the kitchen, and cooking is something I feel I do really well. And I love to feed people. Especially my family. So when my brother gets excited when he finds out I’m cooking dinner, it’s a huge compliment to me. And luckily for him, this is the dish I had made.

Spicy? Cheesy? Yes,please. Those are two of my favorite words when it comes to recipes, so I was all about this one. I basically followed the recipe except that I did “healthify” it a bit by substituting in reduced fat and fat free dairy products, which cut the saturated fat in half without compromising any of the flavor! This was a bit on the spicy side, especially topped with the fresh jalapeno slices, so if you prefer a milder flavor, you may want to use only half a pepper.

Pasta with Chicken and Pepper-Cheese Sauce
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 4 ounces each
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
1 medium jalapeno pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup no salt added chicken broth
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 cup fat free sour cream
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced (optional)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain; keep warm.

2. In a small mixing bowl combine 1 tablespoon flour, salt, red pepper and black pepper. Toss flour mixture with chicken to coat. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet heat the cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add green pepper, chopped jalapeno pepper, and garlic; cook and stir until the vegetables are tender. Remove vegetables with a slotted spoon; set aside.

4. Add chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir for 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken from skillet.

5. Stir 2 tablespoons flour into drippings in skillet. Add broth, milk, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add the cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Stir 1 cup of the hot mixture into the sour cream; return all of the sour cream mixture to skillet. Stir in chicken and vegetables. Cook until heated through. Do not boil.

6. Arrange pasta on individual plates or a large platter. Spoon the chicken mixture over pasta. If desired, garnish with jalapeno pepper slices.

Serves 4.
Source: Better Homes and Gardens “Easy Everyday Cooking,” p. 187

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