Hummus Crusted Chicken

I found this recipe on Pinterest...as usual. It was a good, very quick and simple recipe.  AND a new and more interesting way to eat chicken breasts, which is always a plus! 

Hummus Crusted Chicken
recipe adapted from Gimme Some Oven

4 boneless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
granulated garlic
1 cup hummus, any kind you like.  Or make your own!
1 lemon
smoked paprika

Preheat the oven to 450.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken down.  Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.  Cover each piece of chicken with a generous coating of hummus.  Sprinkle the top with smoked paprika and squeeze the lemon over the top.  Bake 20-30 minutes, checking to make sure the chicken is cooked through.  This was great served with garlic, rosemary & olive oil quinoa and roasted veggies.

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Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Someone in our household has been sick enough to stay home for one entire month. I will be so happy to say farewell to March next week!! We are finally better and I'm back to blogging.  To make up for my lack of posts lately, I'm bringing you not only Ranch Dressing, but also this delicious salad.

When I first made the BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad and we were "mmmmm-ing" Rob said, "You have to adapt this to Buffalo Chicken!"  So last week I made this.  We loved this.  It is perfect for summer.  This would be just as good without the chicken if you prefer vegetarian or you could add an extra can of chickpeas to bump up the protein.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

1 1/2 c. quinoa
one cube or 1 Tb. vegetable bouillon
3 c. water

1/2 lb. chicken breast, cooked & shredded
1/4 red onion, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled & grated
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c. buffalo sauce + extra for serving (I use Frank's buffalo sauce)
1-2 Tb. Frank's Red Hot (optional)
1 tsp. granulated garlic
black pepper to taste
Ranch dressing for serving

Combine the water, quinoa and bouillon in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook 15 minutes.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork and season with granulated garlic and black pepper.  In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, chicken, red onion, green onion, celery, grated carrots, garbanzo beans and buffalo sauce.  If you like it extra spicy ad 1-2 Tb. Frank's Red hot sauce. Either serve immediately or refrigerate until you're ready to eat.  To serve, fill a bowl with a serving of the salad, drizzle with ranch dressing and extra buffalo sauce.
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Ranch Dressing

I'm trying to cut down on chemicals and random ingredients I don't know so I thought I would try out the Pioneer Woman's ranch dressing.  It turned out pretty good! I like less of a mayo taste so I evened out the mayo/sour cream ratio so if you love mayo, add more of that and less of the sour cream.  I whipped up this batch for the buffalo chicken quinoa salad I'm going to post next and it was great drizzled on top!

Ranch Dressing
recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

3/4 c. mayo
3/4 c. sour cream
2 tsp. vinegar
lots of black pepper (to your taste)
a few drops of worcestershire
dash of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. dried dill
2 Tb. dried parsley or 1/4 c. fresh parsley
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 green onions, coarsely chopped
3/4 c. milk (maybe more)

Toss the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, pepper, worcestershire, cayenne, dill, parsley, garlic and green onions into the blender, pulse until everything is chopped and incorporated.  Pour in the milk and blend to incorporate.  Add more milk depending on the consistency you like.  Refrigerate until you need it.

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Iced Coffee, the Easy At-Home way!

We love coffee.  Actually, we are kind of snobs about our coffee.  There's  no Folgers up in here.  HAS to be Starbucks, Seattle's Best, Tully's or Peet's coffee...sometimes Gevalia if it's on sale and I have a coupon.  I know, I know, "Dunkin' Donuts won in the blind taste test against Starbucks." BUT I could blind taste test tell you which one was Dunkin' Donuts...not a fan (their donuts...another story).  As soon as it gets warm-ish, which is right now for Phoenicians, we go straight to iced coffee for the duration of the summer.  I just can't drink hot coffee when it's hot out.  But I also can't live without coffee...so it's been a problem.

We have tried so many ways to make iced coffee in bulk so I'm not brewing coffee in the morning and freezing it for an hour so it's cold so I can add ice to it so it isn't watered down.  Because we are picky about our coffee, I can't do the "I made regular coffee yesterday and after several hours put the leftover in the fridge so now I'll make an iced coffee out of it" version.  It doesn't taste right,  and we can't have that.  Then, I found it.  The perfect iced coffee recipe that is: delicious AND can be made frugally AND lasts a long time in the fridge!

Of course, Pioneer Woman led me to the right way of doing things.  Once again.  I thought it couldn't really work and I'd be sad when my coffee flunked, but when my Aunt Michelle came last summer she and my cousin made the first batch...and-- It. Works.  I adapted Pioneer Woman's method ever so slightly just because I'm cheap and didn't want to fork over loads of cash for a food service container and cheese cloth (whatever that is) and a beautiful drink dispenser that would never fit in my normal-sized fridge.  Two gallons of this coffee costs $6 or less, depending on the type of coffee you choose. Add in the cost of your own coffee syrup and half and half, and you just CAN'T beat it.

All you have to do is buy an inexpensive Rubbermaid container that will hold 2 gallons of liquid.  I got mine at Walmart for less than $5.00.  Stir one 12-16 oz bag of strong coffee (sometimes I used espresso blend) into 2 gallons of cold water.  Let it sit 24-48 hours.  The longer, the stronger.  We like it strong!

Then, set a mesh strainer on top of a clean soup pot, layer napkins in both directions and slowly pour the coffee over the strainer.

Iced Coffee
recipe from Pioneer Woman

a 2-gallon container with a lid
2 gallons water
1 12-16 oz bag strong, high-quality coffee (If you like DD, go for it.)
mesh strainer
paper towels

half and half
coffee syrup, sugar, sweetened condensed milk, cinnamon, whatever you like in it

Rinse out your container and fill with 2 gallons of cold water.  Stir in the coffee thoroughly, making sure it is all soaked.  Cover tightly and let sit on your kitchen counter for 24-36 hours.  I usually use a 12 oz bag of coffee so I let it sit 36-48 hours. When you're ready to strain the coffee, place the strainer over a large pot or container and line the strainer with paper towels.  Slowly pour the coffee over the strainer and let the grounds collect.  Discard the coffee grounds and pour the strained coffee into dispensers or pitchers to store in the fridge.  I use a glass iced-tea jar with a spout to store mine.

To make a glass of iced coffee, fill a glass with ice (we buy the ice from the store because it stays cold longer!), pour the coffee over and prepare as you like with half and half, vanilla syrup, sugar...or sweetened condensed milk!  My favorite "Saturday coffee" is a glass of iced coffee with a couple tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk, a splash of half and half and cinnamon.

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Garlic, Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa

This photo isn't a great one of just the quinoa, but I just threw the side dish together, not thinking it would be super tasty...but it was. So when Rob insisted that I blog the "recipe" I had to make it again and take notes, this is such an easy, quick side dish that would go with lots of dinners.  I served it with Hummus Crusted Chicken, which I will blog later, and it was a yummy, healthy meal!

On a side note, I buy my quinoa at Costco in a big bag and it's much cheaper than at the health food store...in case you were wondering.

Garlic, Rosemary & Olive Oil Quinoa

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
2 Tb. olive oil
2 heaping Tb minced onion (red, yellow or white onion, or shallot)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3/4 tsp. dried rosemary
salt & pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and water in a sauce pan and cover. Heat on medium-high heat until it starts to boil, turn heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.  In the meantime, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a skillet.  Cook the minced onion 2-3 minutes and stir in garlic and rosemary heating another minute.  Turn the heat off and let the oil sit until the quinoa is cooked.  Once the quinoa is done, fluff with a fork and pour in the olive oil mixture.  Serve right away.

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Chicken Enchilada Squash Boats

It has been a bit of a blogging lull for me the last couple weeks.  I got sick.  Sicker than I can remember being in a long time!  And being out of commission for a week left me behind on life!  I am getting back into the swing of things finally and excited to share this recipe with you...writing this post makes me want to eat it again!

I saw this recipe for Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Zucchini Boats on the Skinny Taste blog and I couldn't wait to make them.  I had loads of yellow squash that I got from Market on the Move that needed to be used up right away and I am currently obsessed with homemade enchilada sauce...so it was meant to be!  I adapted the recipe a little bit to make more....because we eat a lot I guess.  You can definitely eat 2-3 of these boats without feeling super stuffed because they're so low-cal/carb. We liked this so much that I made them a few days later for my sister in-law after she had a baby and they loved it too!

I would like to say that, making homemade enchilada sauce is key. You can absolutely sub a can of sauce if you have to/want to...but the homemade sauce makes it!  On the Skinny Taste blog she gives nutrition facts, I changed the recipe a little bit and added a little more chicken, so this recipe may be a few more calories but that would be a good guideline if you're curious!

Chicken Enchilada Squash Boats
recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

Enchilada Sauce--I recommend making it!  Half the recipe is plenty so freeze the rest for later.

6-7 medium yellow squash or zucchini
1 colored bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 c. red onion, finely chopped
4 green onions, chopped
1/3-1/2 c. chopped cilantro
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 Tb. tomato paste
1/4 c. + 2 Tb. water
salt & pepper to taste
1 lb chicken, cooked & shredded (crockpot, boiled, grilled, however you like)
shredded cheddar cheese for topping

Wash and dry the squash and slice lengthwise in half.  Using a small spoon or scoop, scoop out the insides of the squash and set aside, leaving a 1/4 around the edges.  Place the squash boats upside down on a plate and microwave 1-3 minutes.  You want to just take the crispness off of the raw squash. After a minute rearrange them on the plate to get even cooking.  While you are par-cooking the squash boats, chop the reserved flesh that you  have set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 400. Heat oil in a large skillet and saute onions & bell pepper over medium heat 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to soften.  Add in chopped squash and continue cooking a few more minutes.  Stir in chopped cilantro & garlic and season with salt & pepper, cumin, chili powder and oregano.  Stir in the tomato paste and water, reduce heat to medium-low and let everything cook together 2 minutes.  Mix in the shredded chicken and heat through.  At this point if you would like the filling a little saucier, pour in a little bit of the enchilada sauce to your liking.  

Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray (you may need a second pan depending on the size of your squash).  Pour a little bit of enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan.  Fill each boat with chicken filling, press it down and place in the pan.  Top each boat with 2 Tb. enchilada sauce and a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Cover the pan(s) with foil and bake 30 minutes.  Any leftover chicken filling makes for a great salad topping or also would freeze well. This is a great meal to serve with cilantro lime rice, chips and salsa, or Mexican style pinto beans.

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