On Quality Time and the Kitchen Table

There’s no place I’d rather be on a cloudy, dreary day then in a warm and cozy kitchen. Considering this week’s weather pattern, you can imagine how thrilled I was to have a  free evening (scarce words with my scheduling tendencies…) and to actually spend time creating a delicious meal, rather than throwing something together as we head out the door for whatever activity we have that night.

This week I prepared two of my most recent “favorite meals” , both involving my best ingredient, chicken. I am not a huge meat girl, and to be honest raw meat grosses me out a little bit, but I cook a lot of chicken, a lot of quiche, and sprinkled with the occasional ground beef or turkey we get by just fine. 😉

As I was using these two simple, yummy recipes I couldn’t help but think of blogging them. Some things are just too good not to share!

So for those of you in search of your next “go to, super easy and actually tastes good leftover” dinner idea, maybe one of these will help!

(P.S. Although I practically collect cookbooks and have loads of beautiful ones, I tend toward Pinterest for much of my food inspiration. These are both pinned to my done! board (a goal of mine was to organize the pins I’ve actually completed) but below are my own variations/changes.

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BBQ Chicken Taquitos

 (original recipe here)

I love these taquitos for numerous reasons.

1. I think the pineapple/bbq sauce combo is amazing.

2. It’s really hard to screw these up, I promise! In fact I don’t even use exact measurements, I just throw everything together and pop it in the oven!

3. They take a little prep, but on the night you make them they are EASY and QUICK.

4. They taste good leftover. In our home, these meals come few and far between. (we are not too big on leftovers.)

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-This recipe makes approx 6 taquitos

-Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I found that the parchment paper is super helpful when it comes to cleaning the pan)

Ingredients:

approximately 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (for this I used a whole chicken from Costco, which I had cooked in the crock pot over the weekend. Their rotisserie chickens also work great!)

-1/2 red (or white) onion, caramelized

-1 bag shredded cheddar cheese

-1 can chopped pineapple (fresh is obviously SO good, but canned works too and is easier to have on hand!)

-Cilantro (I used maybe 3 TBSP chopped, it’s kind of up to you how strong you want the flavor to be)

-1 bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (our personal fav)

-1 pack flour tortillas (I have used mini and large, either works)

Directions:

The instructions are as simple as this. Mix your chicken, can of pineapple (drained), onion, cilantro, salt & pepper to taste, and as much BBQ sauce as you like together with half the bag of cheese. Fill your tortillas with the mixture and place them side by side in the pan until it is full or your mixture is gone! I then covered the top with a light layer of BBQ sauce and sprinkled the rest of the cheese on top. Since your ingredients are all cooked, the taquitos really only need to be in the oven to warm, so around 20 minutes is fine (depending how hot your oven gets) and then I pop mine under the broiler to crisp the tops a little. The first time I made these I served them with rice which was delicious, but this week I just did a vegetable which was equally good! I read in the comments on the original blog that this recipe freezes well, which I would believe, but have yet to try.

We ate this Monday, and reheated in the oven Tuesday with a little extra sauce for dipping! So delicious!

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Avocado Chicken Parmigiana 

(original recipe here)

This recipe, which I served last night along with an amazing fresh avocado/blueberry salad and some Trader Joe’s pasta, is so simple and really no different from your typical chicken parmesan, but for some reason we just love this variation!

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-The recipe makes two chicken breasts, but again- it’s one of those recipes you can kind of just guess on ratios and make as many as you need!

-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

-Spray baking pan with olive oil

Ingredients:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded

-1 egg

-3 TBSP milk

-1/2 cup flour

-1/2 cup breadcrumbs

-1 small can of your favorite tomato sauce (I’ve found that flavor really does matter in this one)

-1 ripe avocado

-1 bag shredded mozeralla

-fresh oregano and/or basil (not necessary, but definitely a great addition)

Directions:

Again, super easy! Whisk your egg and milk together in a small bowl. Mix your bread crumbs (I made mine with the ends of a loaf of bread and our mini food processor) and flour in another small bowl. Dip your chicken in the milk/egg mixture and dredge in the flour and bread crumbs. Fry in a pan with olive oil on medium/high heat to brown both sides (I actually used avocado oil which we found at Costco and just had to try. I figured it was fitting since the recipe uses avocado 🙂 ) When the sides are browned, place in your greased baking pan and cover in tomato sauce. Cover the pan in foil (important to keep the chicken moist) and bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees (the baking time is to finish off the chicken, and will vary based on the thickness of the filets). When the chicken is almost completely cooked through uncover and sprinkle fresh herbs and salt and pepper over the sauce. Then place slices of avocado on the chicken breasts, and top off with as much mozzarella as you like. I am a firm believer in lots of cheese on italian food. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until cheese has melted!

This is great over pasta, or just plain, and the avocado really adds something! One beauty of this recipe is that, if you don’t like avocado, the tomato sauce might drown out the flavor and help you incorporate it into your diet. 😉

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The other thing I love about the kitchen is that I truly believe so many memories are made there. (so much that I wrote it on a chalkboard above our little table). Growing up, family dinners wer a regular occurrence in our home, and one that I grew to love. It was such a treat to actually sit down and enjoy a meal with my husband last night- no rushing out the door to the next thing! Later in the evening we had our friends and conveniently neighbors down for the best fresh mint mojitos and strawberry shortcake, but I’ll save those for another post!

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do, and please share some of your favorites! I love new ideas. 🙂

 

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