Slow cooker chicken fajitas! Can you say, “Yum?” Their bright colors and sizzling aroma attracts lots of attention at restaurants. Fajitas are one of the things that I order most when ever we go out for Mexican food. It is one of those thing that I never make at home though I’m not sure why. I guess I consider it a luxury item reserved for the special occasion of going out. Either that or I just don’t feel like marinating everything and standing at the stove sauteing it all. Either way, that is no longer the case. This recipe is so easy and has so much flavor, that I will be making them quite often! And the best part is… it cooks all day while you do other things!
The boys ate theirs with corn tortillas that I placed in the oven to make the shells hard (they don’t care for soft corn tortillas). I opted to make mine a salad over kale with olives and avocado and some white cheddar cheese. Both yummy choices! Enjoy!
Have you ever had one of those moments that you wish you could do over? That moment for me would have been on Monday afternoon. If I could do that moment over, yesterday wouldn’t have had to have happen. Call it mothers intuition or a sixth sense, but I knew I should not have done it and now my oldest has a broken hand. 🙁 And no, I did not break it.
They had been begging me to get the DIY Slip’ n Slide out but it is such a pain to set up and they are wild and crazy on it so I kept saying no. Then we had friends come over and the neighbor kids over and the begging started some more (from my kids, not theirs). So I gave in to the peer pressure and said okay even though I knew I shouldn’t have. And of course, my oldest gets hurt. He tried to “run” on it and fell on his hand. However, to his credit, he walked it off for a few minutes and then continued to play. He even played in his soccer game later that night. You could tell it was bothering him a little because he kept favoring it but when you asked him about it, his response was, “it’s just sore mom. I’m fine.” I totally knew it wasn’t.
Well yesterday morning, showed that it wasn’t fine. He came downstairs and it was swollen and black and blue. I almost started crying because I knew. I broke numerous bones as a kid, I knew the signs. I wanted to kick myself for not taking him to the ED the night before. So we spend the day at the doctor, hospital and Orthopaedic doctors. And what a long day it was. He was a trooper though. Never complained or cried once. When they told him it was broken, all he said was, “okay” and got up to leave. Whaat???? Thankfully the bones were not displaced and no surgery is required. Just a cast for the next four weeks, a royal blue one I might add. But still , my baby is in a cast. I feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. Mother’s guilt they call it. Always follow that mother’s intuition!!
Long story short, dinner wasn’t what it was supposed to be. I really just wanted to order out but we are trying to save money and eat healthy and those things don’t always go hand in hand with ordering out. So Buffalo Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas came to the rescue! Chunks of seasoned chicken, homemade ranch sauce, black beans, gooey cheese and Franks Red Hot all in a whole wheat tortilla and grilled to perfection! Plus, it’s low in calories and fat! Triple win!!
I make my homemade ranch sauce using cottage cheese and spices. Significantly less calories and added protein. WooHoo! I started by sauteing the seasoned chicken chunks in some extra virgin olive oil. I then added the black beans and stirring it around. Next came the ranch dressing.
This is where I stopped for the boys. I took some out for them and put it in a small bowl because they won’t eat the Franks. To the remainder of the mixture still in the pan, I added the Franks Red Hot.
I let it cook for a few minutes on low, then removed it from the heat. Now you could totally use a panini press to make the quesadilla but I decided to use my cast iron skillet. Mostly because it was already sitting there. I heated the skillet, sprayed one side of the tortilla with coconut oil cooking spray and placed it in the pan. I sprinkled some cheddar cheese on it, then added the chicken mixture. When the cheese started to melt a bit, I carefully folded the tortilla in half and cooked it a couple more minutes on each side.
Lovely, cheesy buffalo chicken without all the guilt!! Nom Nom Nom…
Serving Size: 1 Quesadilla
Buffalo Chicken & Black Bean Quesadillas
5 minPrep Time:
15 minCook Time:
20 minTotal Time:
1/2 lb chicken breast, chunked
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 15 oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Franks hot sauce (or other wing sauce)
1/4 cup homemade ranch dressing (link in post)
4 10-inch whole wheat tortillas
salt and pepper to taste
In a small skillet, saute the chicken breast, seasoned with salt and pepper in olive oil, on medium heat until almost cooked through.
Add the black beans and stir.
Add the homemade ranch dressing and stir to combine.
Add the Frank's hot sauce and stir again. Cook for 3 -4 more minutes on low. Remove from heat.
Heat a different skillet to medium heat and lightly spray with cooking spray.
Place tortilla on the heated skillet.
Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese, then spread about a 1/4- 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture onto one half of the tortilla.
Cook for 3-4 minutes or until bottom side is golden brown. Fold the top of the quesadilla in half to close.
Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Garden fresh Bruschetta over grilled chicken breasts. Oh my! So easy and very tasty. With gardens in full bloom this summer it is easy to find garden fresh ingredients. Bruschetta is an Italian dish that you usually see being served over crusty bread. That is my favorite way to eat it but sometimes you just need a delicious low carb option. I love serving it over grilled chicken because there are just so many options to serve it with! Whole grain pasta or quinoa, with a slice of nice crusty bread or over the top of greens or just by itself with some grilled vegetables. You can’t go wrong with juicy tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, onion, garlic and some olive oil!
Just be sure to make the Bruschetta the night before or early in the morning to let all the flavors marinate together. If you don’t it will still be good it’s just the longer it sits, the better it is! Then all you have to do it grilled the chicken when you get home and dinner is done!
Make sure you seed the tomatoes
Grill the chicken on low and be sure to let it rest before cutting into them!
Serving Size: 1 Chicken Breast
Bruschetta Over Grilled Chicken
10 minPrep Time:
16 minCook Time:
26 minTotal Time:
4 medium vine ripe tomatoes
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 tbsp extra virgin oil
kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
3 oz part skim mozzarella shredded
1 lbs (about 4 smaller) chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Chop tomatoes and place in the large bowl with garlic, onion combo.
Sprinkle in chopped basil and stir.
Set aside and let it sit at least 15 minutes or as long as overnight.
Season chicken with salt and fresh pepper.
Preheat the grill to medium-high. Once preheated, turn to medium low.
Grill the chicken 8 minutes on each side.
Set chicken on a platter and let it rest a few minutes.
Dinner salads during the summer are a must! It’s hot and sticky outside and no really wants to eat yet alone next in a hot kitchen and cook. The air conditioner definitely makes it better but its still not the thing someone wants to do. I could eat just a regular salad without a problem but just salad for dinner to my husband, isn’t dinner. Same goes with soup. He kills me.
Any how, I have to make sure the salad has subsistence if he is going to eat it. That is why I love this oriental grilled chicken salad. It has the subsistence with the chunks of marinated grilled chicken but the light crispiness of a fresh summer salad. Plus, it is quick and easy to do. Win Win!! The original recipe is here but I had to modify it to fit my family and their picky palates.
You start by whisking the marinate/dressing ingredients together. Trim any fat from the chicken and place them in a gallon ziplock bag. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the marinade to the chicken. I like to do this in a Ziplock bag because it is an easy clean up. You are going to SAVE the rest of the sauce that you made. It will become the dressing later.
Once all the air is squeezed out of the bag, place it in the frig for at least 30 minutes. Finish off the dressing by adding red wine vinegar and some finely diced onion. Put that in the refrigerator also.
Now here comes the part where I completely cheat. My local Wegman’s makes an oriental salad blend. It comes with shredded cabbage, carrots, celery green onions and broccoli, toasted almonds, chow mein noodles and a dressing (which I do not use). The recipe I adapted my version from, chops all of this up on her own. You can do that but I find it easier to cheat and get the stuff that is already done. Up to you! Both will be yummy!
Once your chicken has marinated for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the grill on high. Once it has warmed up, place the chicken on the grill (throw away the Ziplock bag) and turn the heat to a medium low. Cook the chicken for about 18 minutes, turning it over half way through or until the internal temp has reached 165 degrees. Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow them to rest for about 15 minutes. You never want to cut into any of your meat right after it’s taken off the grill. All the juices will run out leaving you with yucky, dry meat! Blah! You can cover it with Aluminum Foil to keep some of the heat in. After the 15 minutes, you can cut them into chunks.
While the chicken is cooling, dump the salad mixture onto 4 plates, reserving the toasted almonds and noodles. Remove the dressing from and frig and whisk again just to stir everything up. Drizzle a little over the salad. Place chicken pieces on top of the salad mixture, drizzle with more dressing and sprinkle almonds, noodles and sesame seeds over the top!
There you have it! A nice a hearty oriental grilled chicken salad in no time! Enjoy!
Yield: 4 servings
Oriental Grilled Chicken Salad
30 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
50 minTotal Time:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
3 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
1 package of Oriental Salad Mix (toasted almonds and noodles set aside)
Sesame seeds, optional
Whisk together the soy sauce, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha to make the marinade.
Put the three chicken breasts in a gallon sized zip-top bag and add 3-4 Tbsp of the marinade over the chicken.
Reserve the rest of the marinade for the dressing.
Marinate 30 minutes.
To the reserved marinade add vinegar and onions.
To a hot grill add the chicken breasts. Turn heat to medium low.
Cook them with the lid down about 8 minutes per side or until there is no signs of pink.
Transfer the chicken to a plate and allow them to rest 15 minutes.
Distribute Salad Mix to 4 plates.
Whisk the dressing and drizzle a little over each salad.
Add chicken chunks to each plate.
Garnish with the almonds, noodles and sesame seeds on each salad.
Add more dressing if desired.
Adapted from http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2013/05/grilled-ginger-sesame-chicken-salad.html
Ah, Philadelphia. The city of brotherly love. Known as the birthplace of American democracy, it’s home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, America’s first Zoo, The Philadelphia Museum of Art (think Rocky running up the steps), America’s oldest farmers market, the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles and 76’ers and last but most importantly…Philly cheesesteaks.
Mmm, cheesesteaks. There is nothing like an authentic Philly cheesesteak. I dare you to find me one person that would not eat a cheesesteak (non vegetarians of course)! The real question is: With or without? It’s a much debated question in Philly that can lead to people not speaking to each other but in my opinion (and sorry to those who disagree), cheese whiz is gross. I prefer a mixture of white American cheese along with provolone.
I’m lucky to visit this fun but crazy city fairly often because my brother and one of my best friends lives there. However we save the authentic cheesesteak experience for when we are there. I make a low carb version at home because let’s face it, all that bread really isn’t good for ones diet.
Now I have made these using different types of meat. I have made them with lean roast beef and thinly sliced flank steak but I am not a big beef fan so I prefer them with thinly sliced chicken breast or ground chicken/turkey. Use whichever you prefer.
To start, I saute the sliced onions and mushrooms with some garlic in olive oil. You don’t want your mushrooms caramelized (or maybe you do) but you do want them soft. When both mushrooms and onions reach desired softness transfer them to bowl and add to the empty skillet your meat of choice that has been seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook completely and add back in the onions and mushrooms and stir to combine everything.
Once everything has been combined, slice the peppers in half and de-seed them. Place the pepper half on a lined baking sheet and fill them with the meat mixture. Now, you can also just cut the top off the pepper and de-seed it and stuff the mixture into the standing up pepper but I find it harder to eat that way. Also, if you are like my husband, you can put some cheese at the bottom of the pepper before adding the mixture.
Place half a slice of white American cheese and half a slice of provolone over the top of the peppers and broil on high until the cheese is melted and bubbly! Serve immediately!
Note: These are my meat and cheese preferences. Use what ever you prefer! I don’t recommend broiling if you are using cheese whiz though.
Serving Size: 1 whole pepper
Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers
20 minPrep Time:
5 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
4 peppers cut in half and seeded
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion chopped
1 package baby bella mushrooms sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground turkey or meat of your preference cut into strips
Salt and pepper to season meat
4 slices of white American cheese, halfed
4 slices of Provolone Cheese, halfed
In large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat, add onion, mushrooms and garlic when the oil is heated.
Saute until onions are translucent and mushrooms become tender.
Transfer onions and mushrooms to a bowl and add seasoned ground turkey to the skillet.
Cook 5-7 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
Add onions and mushrooms back to the skillet. Stir
Place pepper halves on a large baking sheet, fill the peppers with some turkey/onion/mushroom mixture
Top each pepper with 1/2 a slice of American cheese and 1/2 a slice of provolone cheese.
Broil peppers on high till the cheese has melted and is bubbly.
You may want to pre-bake the peppers at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes while the meat mixture is cooking if you like a softer pepper
I wish I lived where I could grow my own lemon tree. Lemons to me are clean and refreshing and I LOVE anything lemon flavored or lemon scented. There is nothing like fresh squeezed lemonade or nice and cool lemon ice in the summer time! Unfortunately, I live in NY. No lemon trees are going to grow here. So, we buy our lemons from the store. Boring…
One of my favorite Chinese dishes has always been lemon chicken. It’s one of the things I order most whenever we go to PF Chang’s. Even though Chang’s serves theirs with broccolini, it still isn’t all that healthy. Extremely yummy but not healthy. The batter deep fried until crispy is mouth watering but is high in calories. I knew I could create this recipe at home with out the deep frying.
I’ll be honest. I did a lot of trial and error with this recipe. The first couple came out way to “lemony” and needed more sweetness. I tried Stevia but that left it bitter. The next one had enough sweetness (I used a couple tablespoons of molasses) but tasted more like a sweet and sour sauce, not a lemon sauce. I needed a happy medium. Not to sour not too sweet. Enter honey. The perfect ingredient for adding a touch of sweetness and a little honey taste.
I would have loved to have coated the chicken in a breading a baked it but I wanted this to be a quick meal. Battering and baking chicken chunks is not a quick task. Instead I sauteed the seasoned chicken in 1 tablespoon of olive oil till it was browned and cooked through.
After removing the chicken to a paper towel lined plate, I got to work on the sauce. Fresh lemon juice and zest, honey, onion, garlic, hot sauce (for the adults) and some cornstarch make up the sauce that I boiled on low till it thickened.
I then added the chicken back to the pan, stirring to coat, along with some chunks of lemon and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top. You can also sprinkle some chopped green onions over the top if you wish. My kids won’t touch it if they see the green onions so it’s pointless for me to use them in this recipe.
I served ours over Israeli Couscous but brown rice, or quinoa would be great too. You can also mix in broccoli or broccolini to add some color and flavor. We served ours on the side.
There you have it! Fresh honey lemon chicken in less than 20 minutes!
Yield: 4 servings
Honey Lemon Chicken
This Honey Lemon Chicken is quick and easy to make!
15 minPrep Time:
10 minCook Time:
25 minTotal Time:
1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless (raw) chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp hot sauce (or hot pepper flakes, optional)
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder (or minced fresh garlic)
1/2 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp chicken stock
optional toppings: sesame seeds, thinly-sliced green onions, extra lemon zest, lemon slices
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
Add the chicken and saute for 5-7 minutes or until it is cooked through and no longer pink inside, stirring and turning the chicken occasionally for even cooking.
Transfer the chicken to a separate (clean) plate with a slotted spoon.
In a separate bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients together to form the honey lemon sauce, until combined.
Pour the (whisked) sauce into the empty saute pan.
Cook over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reaches a low boil and thickens.
Add the chicken back into the pan and toss until it is evenly coated with the sauce.
Remove from heat and serve the chicken immediately, topped with optional toppings if desired.
Okay, dump chicken sounds horrible, I know…BUT I have to tell you how simple and fabulous this chicken is! Three ingredients! That’s it! And literally all you do is dump them in the slow cooker, turn it on and go about your day. The majority of dinner is done when you get home and you have wonderfully moist (sorry Anna) and delicious southwest chicken. How easy is that?
You take fresh or frozen chicken (I buy my chicken in large quantities, divide it up and freeze it), a jar of your favorite salsa and some homemade taco seasoning and dump it all in your slow cooker.
Once it is done cooking, you take two forks and shred the chicken. Or if you are like me and the sound of forks scrapping against glass or metal is worse than nails on a chalkboard, you put it in your stand mixer and let the paddle attachment shred it for you!
Seriously though, I can’t stand the sound of utensils scrapping against a plate, teeth, glass or metal. If it were healthy and cost effective, my family would eat with plastic utensils at every meal. I spend most of my meals cringing. Anyone else have this problem or am I the only weird one?
Anyway, back to the chicken. I use this recipe for pretty much every Mexican/Southwest meal I make. We made tacos with it this night but I have made burritos, enchiladas, tostada’s, copycat southwest egg rolls and salads with it. If you want you can add corn and black beans for the last half hour of cooking and make it a meal over brown rice or quinoa! Kind of like a burrito bowl! The options are endless!
I usually divide the mixture up and freeze half to use another time.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of salsa. If you prefer peach or mango salsa, use it! It’s actually very tasty. Prefer more spice? Add hot salsa. Like it green? Add salsa verde! You get the picture, taylor it however your family wants!
Slow Cooker Southwest Dump Chicken
Slow Cooker Southwest Dump Chicken to use in tacos, enchiladas, burritos or salads
5 minPrep Time:
6 hrCook Time:
6 hr, 5 Total Time:
1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, trimmed of fat
1 16 ounce jar of your favorite salsa
3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning (or 1 packet store bought)
Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
Place fresh or frozen chicken in a single layer at the bottom of the slow cooker.
Sprinkle the taco seasoning evenly across the top of the chicken breast.
Dump the jar of salsa over the top of the chicken breast.
Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Depending on your slow cooker and whether you use fresh or frozen chicken. Internal temp of the chicken breast should be 165 degrees.
Remove chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred with two forks or place in a stand mixer and shred the chicken on low speed with the paddle attachment.
Place chicken back in the slow cooker and stir everything together.
Serve in tacos, burritos, enchiladas or salads. Or add cooked corn black beans and serve over rice.
Recipe freezes well. After chicken has cooled, place in a freezable container for up to 4 months.
Get creative! You can add corn and black beans to the slow cooker for the last 30 minutes for more vegetables. Also try out different salsa's ! I have used homemade and even ones with mango's and peaches! It was fabulous!