Tag Archives: chicken

Fiesta con pollo

29 Mar

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I was searching for a creative title for this post, and kept coming up short….so I turned to my Spanish knowledge (fun fact: I was a Spanish major until my third year of University, when I switched my second major to Political Science due to lack of course availability) for something creative….for those of you who don’t hablar much Español, the title means “party with chicken.” Doesn’t have the same ring, eh? Why the Spanish? Because I used my leftover chicken from the weekend to make a delicious Mexican supper on Monday. As you can see from the photo above, I combined the chicken and rice with refried beans and wraps (and other ingredients) to make some tasty burritos. How did I do it? Let’s get started!

I finely chopped a HUGE clove of garlic, a bit of green pepper and part of an onion (why the pink tinge? I had previously chopped some beets which will appear in the final meal shot). I sauteed the veggies in a tsp of olive oil, then added some Epicure Pueblo Bean Dip Mix, Salsa Mix, and Nacho Cheese Dip Mix (if you don’t have these, you could just use chili powder and cumin). I chopped the chicken, and added it to the skillet along with the little bit of leftover rice and a bit of salsa, seasoned with salt, and cooked it all together for a few minutes.IMG_0605

 

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I spread half a cup of refried beans over the wraps (note: this was the first time I bought organic refried beans…the can said “lightly” salted…they needed some help, so I topped them with garlic salt, cumin, and more dip seasonings). Then, I put the filling over that. I folded/wrapped up the tortillas (fold the ends in first so the filling doesn’t gush out, then roll up), put a thin layer of salsa over the bottom of my baking dish, put the burritos on top, topped with more salsa and a bit of light Tex-Mex shredded cheese. I baked for about 1/2 hour at 350 until the cheese was nice and melt-y and everything was heated through.

IMG_0609The result of my Mexican madness? DELICIOUS! As I was eating this, I thought “it’s been a while since I made Mexican at home…I need to do it more often ‘cause it tastes SO good!” And since the chicken was already chipotle-flavored, it went perfectly in these burritos. On the side, I enjoyed boiled beets (I didn’t peel them, ‘cause it’s way easier and I don’t mind the peel) and cut them smaller before cooking so they’d cook faster and a salad with a sort of Southwest dressing I made (olive oil, Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, salsa, light BBQ sauce, liquid smoke and the various Epicure seasonings, then just slightly sweetened). Take a close look at the salad. See the bean sprouts in there? Remember how I told you about how I try and avoid buying bags of them ‘cause they go slimy so quickly? Well, no less than 2 days after I wrote that post, my mom bought a whole bag! She had company over on Saturday while I was out and made stir-fry….well, having that bag in the fridge just makes my mind work harder to think of ways to use them up before they head into slimy territory. They were in a salad at lunch yesterday, and again at supper (they brought a little Asian to the Tex-Mex party).

Do you ever make Mexican food at home? Any favourite dishes/recipes/ingredients? And any good ideas for using up bean sprouts (besides the obvious)? There are still some left!

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Leftover love and Asian Invasion

25 Mar

Remember that chicken I made last week? Well, as much as I love a hot roast chicken, I also love it for its versatility as leftovers (note: if you don’t have the time/inclination to make a whole roast chicken yourself, a rotisserie roasted chicken from the grocery store is also quite tasty, and a great substitute for leftover roast chicken). Last Saturday, I used the chicken to make a delicious pizza for lunch (though I don’t always succeed, I am trying to eat more protein/slightly bigger meals at lunch time, so this pizza was perfect).

I did the usual crust routine (my flatout stash is fully stocked thanks to my recent trip). For my sauce base, I mixed 2 ounces of the cooked chicken, chopped up with light BBQ sauce and light ketchup, with some cumin sprinkled in (I don’t love the flavour of the BBQ sauce I currently have, hence the ketchup/cumin additions). I spread this over the crust as the sauce. I added some chopped red pepper and red onion, then topped with 1/3 cup grated light cheese. To top it all off, I gave the pizza a light sprinkling of cumin and ground chipotle pepper (I went VERY light on this….that stuff is HOT). Then I baked it up for a few minutes until everything was melted and hot. Mmmm! This was yummy…will have to do it again. The addition of the cumin and chipotle really kicked up the flavour/smokiness. This pizza reminded me of the BBQ Chicken pizza at Boston Pizza…..only better, ’cause it was obviously healthier. 🙂

See that salad on the side? That’s where the Asian Invasion part of the title comes in. After last Friday’s tasty Chinese fest, I had leftover Asian veggies that aren’t normally in my fridge (like snow peas and water chestnuts)….I made a tasty salad and added in the veggies, along with tomatoes, onion, celery, cucumber and spinach. Then for my dressing, I made “Asian balsamic vinaigrette.” I combined a tsp of sesame oil, a splash of balsamic vinegar, fat-free Italian salad dressing and some soy sauce and shook it together….mmm! Loved the flavour combo…winning (no, I am NOT a Charlie Sheen wannabe).

I liked the salad/dressing combo so much that it has made several repeat appearances. I made a tasty salad for Monday’s lunch….with 2 ounces of the leftover chicken and then lots ‘o veggies…onion, celery, water chestnuts, coleslaw mix, cucumber (forgot about the snow peas though…oops). And the dressing was the same as Saturday’s.

For Thursday’s lunch (carried over from Wednesday, since it was a snow day :)), I made a slaw with the same dressing, broccoli slaw mix, chopped red onion, the rest of the snow peas (didn’t forget this time ;)) and chopped cabbage. The Asian invasion is a welcome addition to the usual lunch/meal rotation.

Do you use any Asian ingredients in your cooking? How do you switch up your usual meals?

P.S….continuing on the leftover theme…I have one more meal I made with the leftover chicken and, you guessed it, more of the mushroom cream cheese….but that’s to come in another post!

Simple St. Paddy’s Supper

19 Mar

After a week of eating out, I was so happy to cook my own supper. I wanted something simple and healthy, but since it was St. Patrick’s Day, something a little special (and Irish maybe). Since I had the opportunity to go to our local farmers’ market (normally I can’t since it’s during the day on Thursdays, when I’m teaching) and buy a fresh roasting chicken, I decided on roast chicken.

The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was quite tasty. I had some leftover beer from the stout cupcakes so I poured that in as the liquid (my mom and I both agreed that it didn’t really add a unique flavour) and stuffed the chicken with a lemon, cut in half, and a head of garlic. I seasoned liberally with salt and pepper, then roasted at 375 for about an hour and a half, removing the lid during the last 1/2 hour of cook time to allow the chicken to brown. It was very moist and juicy….I LOVE a roast chicken…it is comfort food to me (and thankfully one that’s not super-fattening, if you don’t eat the skin). And it’s great for leftovers. 🙂

2 of my sides were purchases that I made on my trip to London – rainbow carrots (aren’t they pretty?) and Israeli couscous. I roasted the carrots with a tsp of olive oil, cinnamon, cumin and coriander (YUM) during the last 45 minutes of the chicken’s cook time. For the couscous (I’ve been wanting to try Israeli couscous for some time now, and finally found it at the Bulk Barn. It’s little pearls which taste kind of like pasta, and are bigger than regular couscous…overall, I liked it), I sauteed some mushrooms and garlic in a tsp of olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme, then added a bit of defrosted, drained spinach. I cooked the couscous in chicken broth (for added flavour) then added to the cooked veggies. Finally, for an Irish component, I made braised cabbage. I cut up some cabbage, then cooked in chicken broth and a splash of wine. My seasonings were salt, pepper, thyme, Dijon mustard, mustard powder and caraway seeds (I had remembered hearing that they go good with cabbage somewhere, and it even said so on the back of the spice jar, and as I was adding them, I was watching Rachael Ray on tv, and she was making a cabbage dish with caraway…weird, eh?). I liked the flavours in this…I’ll certainly pair caraway and cabbage again (caraway seeds are what give rye bread it’s unique flavour, FYI).

And of course, St. Paddy’s Day needed a special dessert. 😀 I had yet to try one of the stout cupcakes, so I used one as a base to make Irish sundaes 🙂 (my apologies if you’re Irish and reading this and thinking that I have killed your country’s cuisine :P). I cut the cupcake in half, topped with a scoop of the light thin mint ice cream I bought in Buffalo, a splash of Bailey’s mint and fat-free Reddi Whip (another Buffalo purchase). This dessert was a little more decadent than my usual guilt-free concoctions, but it was St. Paddy’s and March Break, so a bit of a special occasion called for something special, right? My verdict on the cupcake? I found it a touch dry (maybe because it was a couple days old or maybe because I cut back on the oil?), but I thought the beer added a bit of complexity to the flavour…it tasted a bit different that your typical gingerbread. And the ganache was really good!

Before I leave this post…something a little different (and not food-related). That’s the beauty of having your own blog….you can post whatever you want, and show off your own little projects. My friends Tracy and Lisa brought me this lovely bouquet at the Trop Swap last weekend (thanks ladies!) but by Thursday, it was looking a little droopy.  Check out my bouquet makeover! By switching out the main vase, cutting down the flowers and adding in some little egg cups as mini vases, I had a whole new arrangement. It didn’t look sad and droopy at all. I love doing fun home things like that (and love having the blog to show them off)! I think Martha would be proud, don’t you?

Feeling Blue

4 Mar

I love President’s Choice Blue Menu products…anyone with me on that? (if you are reading from outside of Canada, probably not…since they’re sold at Canada’s Loblaw chain of grocery stores). They are are great option for those trying to watch fat/calories, or just boost the nutrition in your diet. A word of warning though? Beware the “health halo” effect on these products (when you automatically think, “oh, it’s Blue Menu, it must be healthy” and just throw it into your cart without checking the nutritionals….or you buy it and take it home and eat with reckless abandon because it’s “healthy”). I’ve noticed that sometimes on Blue Menu Products, they’re only Blue Menu because they’re high in fibre or another specific nutrient, and they’re not especially low in calories.

Anyway….the other night I had PC Blue Menu Garlic and Herb Chicken Skewers (FYI the package doesn’t look exactly like the picture, but that’s what was on their website). It was Tuesday night, I had hula hooping at 6:30 and my mom had had a busy day, so I was looking for a supper that could mostly be prepared ahead. I pulled out 6 of these skewers (3 each) right after school so they could thaw on the counter. I made a quinoa salad by cooking just under 1/2 cup of quinoa, then combining the cooked quinoa with tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, celery…maybe some bell pepper (can’t remember!) and olive oil, fat-free Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, cumin, dried basil, garlic salt and pepper. I let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so the flavours could blend. I cut the bottom part of a butternut squash in half, topped it with butter spray, Brown Sugar Twin, spices, salt and pepper. I threw it in the oven at 400 right before I left. I’m not sure exactly how long my mom cooked the skewers – I’d guess about 20 minutes at 400 (although the box says broiling or grilling is best, we baked them).

The skewers were yummy! They only have about 45 calories each, and they are really flavourful, and nice and juicy (as long as you cook them properly I guess). I found three was the perfect amount, and it made a perfect supper paired with the squash and the salad. I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can cook them on the grill!

Do you like Blue Menu products? What’s your favourite? Or do you have another brand of healthy food items that you love?

Cheap and Cheerful Chicken

26 Jan

I didn’t get home until 7:30 last night (I met a friend for coffee and then had my weekly hula hooping class) and my mom also had a busy day, so for supper, we got some help from the grocery store with the good old rotisserie roast chicken. I always love this meal – the meat is so juicy and tasty, and it’s a healthy standby for when you’re in a hurry. And, at only $8 or $9, a whole roast chicken is a pretty good deal – even better if you can stretch it through the week.  Here are some of my favourite ways to use up leftover chicken:

Soup – just add the cooked chicken to any soup (canned or homemade) for added protein to fill you up more. For a quick chicken noodle soup, cook a combo of carrots, celery and onions (or any other veggie for that matter) until tender in a bit of broth. Add cooked chicken and cooked pasta and enough broth for desired volume, season with salt and pepper, a bit of thyme is great too…cook until heated through.

You can use leftover roast chicken in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken – this can be a huge time saver if you’re using it in a casserole or other dish and don’t have time to cook the chicken yourself.

Sandwiches – you can simply slice the chicken, put it on bread and add your favourite toppings or condiments. Or you could add some cheese, grill it and call it a panini. How about mixing in some light mayonnaise or Miracle Whip, apples, and celery for a yummy chicken salad?

Salads – top off any salad with leftover chicken for a great protein boost. Good on anything from a basic garden salad, to Greek, to Caesar….whatever you can create!

This post is short and sweet, but hopefully it has lent some inspiration as to what you can create with a humble kitchen staple? And good ideas I’ve missed? Leave them below!