Braised Chicken Tacos

I’m in a taco phase right now… Anything I can stuff into a tortilla, I want to devour. Lately I’ve made a multitude of breakfast tacos, fish tacos, and then these braised chicken tacos. If I could eat tacos for breakfast, lunch and dinner I would… well, I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that, other than the fact that I want to make every recipe known to man, and that includes recipes that aren’t tacos… but seriously, tacos are the best. Maybe I’ve told you this story, but when I was a kid, my brother Jeremy was not a taco fan. Whereas I would be ecstatic when I heard it was taco night, he would moan and groan and complain about tacos being boring and not filling. He said they were the Mexican equivalent of sandwiches… which I guess he also found boring. Weirdo! Luckily he has now changed his tune, otherwise I might have to disown him.

Onto the tacos… these are so simple, spicy and flavorful. They are a perfect and quick weeknight meal, which as you know are my favorite! Served alongside some rice and beans, you’ll have a complete (and filling) meal that no one should consider boring.

Braised chicken tacos

Braised Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

1 large bone-on, skin-on chicken breast (about 1 lb)

1 cup chicken broth

1 12-15 oz can tomato sauce (mine was 15 oz)

2 Tbsp cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

1 Tbsp chipotle chile powder

Kosher salt, to taste

12 corn tortillas

For topping:

Cilantro

Scallions, thinly sliced

Radishes, thinly sliced

Avocado slices

Cojita cheese (optional)

Lime wedges

Directions:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot, preferably a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add onions, jalapenos, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions and jalapenos are browned and have started to soften.  Add chicken broth, and scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Reduce heat to medium.

2. Add the chicken breast to the pot, skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, so that the fat has a chance to render.

3. Add the tomato sauce, cumin and chili powders and stir to combine. Flip the chicken over, and place the lid on to cover. Reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, flip chicken over and cook another 15 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

4. Remove the chicken breast, and shred the meat. Add the shredded meat back to the pot, and throw away the bone and skin. Season with salt to taste.

5. Heat up the tortillas- to heat mine, I place a stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. When heated, add as many tortillas as can fit (my 12-inch skillet can hold 3). When the first side is starting to brown and puff up, I flip and brown the other side.

6. To serve, top the warm tortillas with the braised chicken and sauce, cilantro, radish slices, scallions, avocado, cojita cheese (if using) and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve alongside rice and beans.

Source: heatherchristo.com

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Happy Thursday friends! I hope that the week is treating everyone well! This week has gone by pretty quickly in my opinion, so that’s always a good thing. Another great thing about this week was seeing the first snow flakes of the season! If you’ve been reading this blog a while, or know me, you know I love snow, and I was so excited to see a pretty snow shower when I woke up for work earlier this week. It didn’t stick, so my boyfriend has nothing to complain about yet, haha.

Another thing he had no complaints about- this meal! He loved it so much that he requested it be regularly added to our meal plan. I have no problems with that as this was simple, healthy, delicious, and super quick to make. Smoked salmon is one of my favorite things, and it made for such a great addition to a salad. Usually I have smoked salmon on bagels with cream cheese, but this was a new and extremely delicious way to indulge in it! Yum!

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Poached Eggs over Avocado and Smoked Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 Tbsp white vinegar

4 oz baby spinach

1 lemon (Meyer or regular)

8 oz smoked salmon

1 Hass avocado, thinly sliced

4-8 large eggs

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Fill up a shallow pot with about 3-inches of water. Add vinegar. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer.

2. Put about 1 oz (1 cup)  baby spinach on each plate. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top and season with salt and pepper. Place 2 oz of smoked salmon on top of greens, and top with 1/4 of the sliced avocado on each plate. Squeeze a bit more lemon juice on top.

3. To poach eggs: Break an egg into a small bowl. Slip gently into the simmering water, and use a spoon to try to keep the egg whites close together. Do the same with the remaining eggs. You may need to do this in 2 batches, if using 8 eggs instead of 4. When eggs are in the water, turn off heat, cover and cook 3-4 minutes. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon, letting water drain off. Add 1 or 2 poached eggs to each plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Source: slightly adapted from Absolutely Avocados via Cookin’ Canuck

Chicken Tostada Salads

When I saw these Chicken Tostada Salads posted on Shutterbean back in May, they screamed for me to make them immediately… actually, that happens with pretty much everything Tracy makes… I mean, have you seen her photography? It just makes everything look glorious, even the mundane. These salads are anything but mundane though. Super quick, fresh and flavorful, they are everything I look for in a meal, especially a summer meal. The crispy, cheesy tortillas make a perfect base for the “salad” that goes on top. The chicken topping is really yummy, and would also make a great filling for tacos.  This is a great recipe for the summer months to beat the heat. Just a short amount of cooking time (even quicker if you use a rotisserie chicken), and super-speedy assembly, and you have an awesome dinner!

Chicken Tostada Salads

Chicken Tostada Salads

Serves 4

Ingredients:

4 corn tortillas

3 tsp extra virgin olive oil

2 oz Monterey Jack cheese (about 3/4 cup)

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

1 1/2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (If you want to use a rotisserie chicken, use the breast meat)

1/2 cup water

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh lime juice

1/2 head romaine lettuce (6 oz), shredded

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 avocado, diced

Fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving

Sour cream, for serving

Hot sauce, for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil. Brush each side of the tortillas lightly, with 2 tsp of the olive oil. Place on baking sheet, and bake for about 10 minutes, until crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the cheese evenly among the tortillas and pop back in the oven for about 3 minutes, until the cheese is melted. Set aside.

2. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil. Add half the onion and cook  about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the chili powder and garlic, and cook about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the shredded chicken, 1/2 cup water, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook about 2 minutes, until the water is evaporated and the chicken is warm. Add 1 tsp lime juice. Remove pan from heat.

3. In a large bowl, toss the shredded lettuce with the remaining lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste. To assemble tostada salads, split the lettuce among the tortillas, and top with the chicken mixture, tomato, avocado, remaining red onion and cilantro. Top with sour cream and hot sauce if desired.

Source: Shutterbean, who adapted it from Everyday Food

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

We’ve made it halfway through the week guys!! Aren’t you excited?! I know I am… but I’ll be even happier when tomorrow is over. The hardest days of my week are always Tuesday and Thursday, and I always feel such a sense of relief when Thursday is done with. If only there was a way to fast-forward through the work day… but alas, that has not been invented yet. I discovered something this week though that is making the work week infinitely better, and that is the amazing fact that you can watch “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” on Amazon instant watch… for free if you are an Amazon Prime member. Oh yes, this was one of my favorite childhood shows, and it is still extremely entertaining. We didn’t have cable until I was in middle school, so when we would visit my Grandparents, one of the things I looked forward to was watching Nickelodeon, and the show I most looked forward to (and always wished would be on) was “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” That and “Clarissa Explains It All” were my two top shows I loved as a kid… and incidentally, “Clarissa Explains It All” is available to watch as well. My life might just be complete now!!! Oh, and they have “Hey Dude”…. now if only they would add “The Secret World of Alex Mack”.

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad with Buffalo Deviled Eggs

So now that you’ve waxed nostalgic over old Nickelodeon shows with me, it’s time for the recipe! When I saw this buffalo chicken Cobb salad over on Iowa Girl Eats it screamed for me to make it because as you know,  I love all things buffalo. This is a great way to add excitement to a salad, and an awesome variation on the classic Cobb salad. I love the addition of the buffalo deviled eggs, and they would be great on their own as well for an appetizer! This is also a boyfriend-approved salad, so like the classic Cobb salad, make this if you are trying to get more vegetables into your significant other!

Buffalo Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 (6-oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

1/4 buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s)

Salt and pepper

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Ranch dressing (optional)

For buffalo deviled eggs:

4 large eggs

1 1/2 Tbsp ranch or blue cheese dressing

1 Tbsp buffalo sauce

Directions:

1. To make buffalo deviled eggs: Place eggs in medium saucepan, and cover with water by 1-inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. When vigorously boiling, turn off heat, and let eggs sit for 15-18 minutes*. Drain, run under cold water until you can handle them. Peel the eggs, and remove the yolk to a small bowl. Add the ranch or blue cheese dressing and the buffalo sauce to the yolks, and mash together until smooth. Cut the egg whites in half again, so that you have quarters, and stuff with the egg yolk mixture. I like to put my egg yolks in a ziplock bag, snip a small hole at the end, and pipe the filling into the eggs. *If you have your own foolproof method for making hard-boiled eggs, please feel free to use that instead of this method 🙂

2. To make the chicken: Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes place in medium bowl. Mix with buffalo sauce.

3. To assemble salad: To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the buffalo chicken, deviled eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows. Drizzle ranch dressing on top if desired.

Source: barely adapted from Iowa Girl Eats and my Chicken Cobb Salad

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Happy Monday all! We’ve made it through the first day of the week, and hopefully everyone survived intact! Personally, I find Tuesdays to be even harder though, so if I can just make it through tomorrow I’ll be okay 🙂

I thought that you would appreciate a  healthy, refreshing salad to start off this week, especially with the high humidity and temperatures that are hitting the Northeast, and other parts of the country as well. Today it was over 90 degrees here, and that will continue for the next couple of days. This is a perfect salad for summer… good for lunch, a light dinner, or a dish to bring to a picnic or party. I made my salad with honey (as I didn’t have agave in my pantry), but if you use agave then this will be vegan. It is also gluten-free, so it great for those with food restrictions and/or allergies! Most importantly, it is delicious!

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cumin seeds

1 cup plum tomatoes, finely diced

3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3-4 limes)

2 tsp honey (or light agave nectar)

1 tsp grapeseed oil

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1 avocado, diced (optional)

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)

Mixed greens, for serving (optional)

Directions:

1. To toast the cumin seeds, place a small skillet over low heat, add the cumin seeds, and toss for about 5 minutes, until fragrant.

2. In a large bowl, add the toasted cumin seeds, tomatoes, lime juice, honey or agave, and grapeseed oil. Mix together. Add the quinoa, and stir well to combine. Add the beans, scallions, cilantro, avocado (if using), and jalapenos (if using), and mix in gently. Season to taste with salt. Serve over greens, if desired.

Source: slightly adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Chicken Cobb Salad

Do you ever feel like you need to get some vegetables into your body, stat?! I do! Especially after many indulgences in a row, my body just craves veggies! This is a great way to incorporate vegetables into a meal in a guy-friendly way. I think a hearty salad that has the good stuff, but also some chicken, bacon and cheese is the perfect way to get my boyfriend to eat his vegetables, and be happy about it!  This classic salad was so tasty, and also very beautiful looking! Of course, when you eat it it becomes jumbled like any normal salad, but at least for a couple of minutes it looks so orderly and elegant! … and now I’m really inspired to try some other variations on the Cobb salad like this one, this one and this one.

Chicken Cobb Salad

Chicken Cobb Salad

Serves 4

3 Tbsp red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

4 slices bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled

2 hard-boiled eggs

1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded

1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat broiler, place oven rack 6-inches from top. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and place on baking sheet. Broil for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned. Flip chicken over, and broil for 6-8 minutes more, until chicken is fully cooked. Let cool until they can be handled. Chop into 1/2-inch cubes and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss the lettuce with the dressing.

3. To assemble salads, place a serving of lettuce on each plate, and then arrange the chicken, eggs, bacon, cheese, avocado, and tomato on top of the lettuce in rows.

Source: adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook and Everyday Food: Great Food Fast

 

Taco Pockets

A few years ago Ron’s mom gave me a cookbook filled with recipes she loves and uses frequently in her own kitchen. It is wonderful!! It has recipes for things like chicken stock, beef stock, vegtable broth, buttermilk dressing, homemade mayonnaise, pasta sauce and a bunch of other great recipes! She put it all in a binder so that it’ll be easy to add more recipes throughout the future. These taco pockets are one of the recipes she included, and has told me many times how great they are, but it has taken me til now to make them! I blame my terrible tendency to procrastinate. I am so glad that I finally made them though. They are just as good as she said they were, and Ron and I both thoroughly enjoyed them, They are a spin on a burger, but they are spiced up with taco seasonings, and wrapped in a tortilla instead of a bun. A very fun twist on a couple of my favorite things- tacos and burgers!

Taco Pockets

Taco Pockets

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 lb ground sirloin, turkey, or chicken

1/2 medium Spanish onion, grated

2 tsp water

2 Tbsp ground cumin

2 Tbsp chili powder

A pinch of cayenne pepper, or a dash of hot sauce

1 tsp garlic powder, or 2 cloves minced fresh garlic

1 tsp salt

4 12-inch flour tortillas

4 oz. cheese (Monterey jack, pepper jack, cheddar or smoked cheddar)

1 head Romaine lettuce, shredded

1 large tomato, chopped

Chopped fresh cilantro, optional

Avocado or guacamole, optional

Salsa, optional

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat with the water, onion, spices and salt. Form into 4 patties.

2. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray, or brush with a little oil. Place the patties in the skillet and cook about 5-7 minutes on each side.

3. To assemble pockets, place a tortilla on a plate. Put any toppings you’d like in the center of the tortilla, and then lay the patty on top. Fold the tortilla over the patty on all four sides. Flip over, and cut in half.

Source: Adapted from Rachel Ray