Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-Lime Butter

I made my meal plans for the weekend and told Jon (the grill master) that we were going to grill broccoli. His response? "So that means I'm taking my grill apart on Sunday to get all of the broccoli bits out of it?" Ok, so I was a little skeptical too, and Jon had every right to be skeptical. After all, this is coming from the woman who had him grill radishes 2 years ago (major fail!). So although it sounds a little odd, I knew we had to try it when I came across this recipe on the blog Confections of a Foodie Bride.  

We are both so, so glad we did. We love roasted broccoli, especially when it gets a little charred, and grilling it was even better. It was crisp, charred, and kept so much of the broccoli flavor. And the chipotle-lime butter I put over it before serving was just heavenly... so heavenly that I even put it over my roasted potatoes, and think it would be great on baked potatoes.

I made one change to the original recipe, and that is only because I was doing it from memory - I didn't have the recipe in front of me when making the butter. I omitted the honey, but actually, I am glad I did. The butter was just perfect without it. To see the original recipe, check out the above link to Shawnda's blog, Confections of a Foodie Bride.

The Butter
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp adobo sauce from the can of chipotle peppers
Mix everything together. Chill until ready to use.

The Broccoli
  • 1 large head of broccoli cut into large florets (tip - keep one side flat when cutting - it will make it easier to grill)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Optional: crumbled fresh cheese; I used ricotta salata. The original recipe calls for queso fresco but my store did not have it in stock.
Toss the broccoli with olive oil and salt. Grill for about 8 minutes, flipping once at 4 minutes. Top with a few spoons of butter and crumble cheese over it. ENJOY!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Grilled Chicken and Veggies with Penne in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce

Aaaah it's just about summertime and that means grilled veggies, lots of grilled meats, and fresh herbs straight out of the pots on my deck (one of these days I'll get around to making an actual herb and vegetable garden in the yard... maybe). Although I love grilling, I also still like to have sauces for my meat, or a saucy side. So when I saw this recipe for Penne with Chicken and Veggies in a Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce, I knew I would change it to a grilled chicken and vegetable recipe.

The original recipe is from the blog Sunny Side Up In San Diego. My version of the recipe is below and includes the following changes - I used zucchini and red peppers as my veggies, I marinated and grilled the chicken, and I used basil instead of parsley as garnish. At the last minute I added whole cloves of roasted garlic to the finished dish because I just love when I order a pasta dish in a restaurant and come across a whole clove of garlic!

Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • Marinade: I used 1/3 c olive oil, 1 tsp white balsamic, and a blend of dried herbs (Italian seasoning, thyme, oregano, basil)
  • 12 oz penne, cooked
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper, cut into large pieces for grilling
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 bulbs of roasted garlic (cut top off, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil, roast in a 400 degree oven for 35 minutes until soft then remove cloves from paper by squeezing them out)
  • 1.5 c of light cream or whole milk
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 c shredded Parmesan cheese
  • Basil for garnish (chiffonade)

  • Marinate the chicken for a few hours. Heat grill to 400 degrees. Grill chicken until cooked through (internal temperature of 170). Let rest until ready to slice.
  • Drizzle the zucchini and pepper with olive oil and season with a touch of salt and pepper. Grill the zucchini and peppers until cooked; slice and set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. Add onion, saute 3-4 minutes.
  • Add garlic from one bulb and mash with a fork.
  • Mix cream/milk with cornstarch and add to the pan. Whisk to incorporate the garlic, and bring to a slow simmer for a few minutes.
  • Lower heat and add cheese; whisk.
  • Add pasta and veggies.
  • Plate the pasta and top with sliced chicken; garnish with basil.
This was so good because you got the sweet garlic flavor in the sauce along with the bold and almost smoky flavors from grilling the chicken and veggies all in one bite. I ate leftovers for 2 days, and my daughter even loved it! I will definitely make this one again and will try some different veggies, too.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monterrey Chicken

These days I'm all about doing everything on the grill and what a gorgeous weekend it was to do just that.

I found this recipe for Monterrey Chicken on the blog All Things Simple. The recipe calls for cooking the chicken on a George Foreman grill and then finishing it in the oven, but I decided to do it all outdoors on our grill. I put foil under the chicken for the "top and melt" portion of the recipe and it worked really well.

I followed the author's recommendation to marinate the chicken. One ingredient in her marinade was Montreal Steak Seasoning, but I haven't used that blend in years due to how salty it is. I looked up the ingredients and found this Montreal Steak Seasoning Recipe on I omitted the salt from the mixture and instead seasoned the chicken with a touch of salt just before putting it on the grill. Below is my adaptation of the recipe.

Marinade for 2 chicken breasts:
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • I added a few shakes each the spices found in Montreal Steak Seasoning - garlic powder, coriander, black pepper, paprika, dried dill week, and red pepper flakes.
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp Rotel, or canned diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsp real bacon bits or crumbled bacon
  • 2 tbsp shredded cheese; I used cheddar
  • Marinate the chicken for a few hours (if you use the actual Montreal Steak Seasoning, don't marinate it as long due to the high amount of salt in the seasoning)
  • Heat the grill to 400 degrees. Season the chicken with a pinch of salt and grill until cooked through (internal temperature of 170)
  • Put foil under the chicken on the grill
  • Top chicken with 1 tbsp each of barbecue sauce, tomatoes, green onions, bacon, and cheese.
  • Close lid and let the ingredients "melt" together for about 4 minutes.

    This chicken had so much going on, so many different flavors (I was actually wary about it at first) but surprisingly they all worked so well together. It sounds corny but each bite was like a bunch of flavors bursting in my mouth. Sweet, spicy, and tangy. I loved it!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

BBQ/warm-weather food was the theme of this Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap, which meant I'd be doing the prep and Jon would be doing the grilling. I know how to grill, but I'm not that great at it, and Jon really enjoys it so it works well for us. Actually, he prefers that I stay away from "his" grill!

The recipe I was given in the swap was for Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken with Melon Salsa from the Blog Cheese Curd in Paradise. Now I know a lot of people love melon and prosciutto, and I can appreciate that they work really well together, but Jon and I both aren't fans of fruit with our food. I thought about making a tomato-basil mixture to replace the melon salsa, but instead decided to stuff the chicken. Jon was a bit alarmed that I wanted to put potentially messy stuffed chicken on his grill, but I assured him that having the chicken wrapped in the prosciutto would keep it from getting messy - and it did! I stuffed the chicken with a mixture of spinach, ricotta, and garlic.

We weren't sure how the prosciutto would handle being cooked on the grill but it did great! It got nice and crispy and infused a lot of that great "bacony" flavor into the chicken.  And the spinach-cheese mixture stuffed into the chicken worked well too.

My adaptation of the recipe is below.

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp frozen spinach
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ricotta
  • 4 thin slices of prosciutto (not too thin)
  • Cut a pocket in the chicken breasts (like you are going to butterfly them, just don't cut all the way through. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Thaw the spinach and press any water out. Mix the spinach with the garlic and ricotta. Spoon half of the mixture into the pocket of each chicken breast.
  • Lay 2 slightly overlapping pieces of prosciutto on a flat surface, and put one chicken breast close to one edge of the prosciutto. Wrap the prosciutto around the chicken breast, making sure it completely covers the opening of the pocket.
  • Heat grill to medium-high (Jon greased the grates with some olive oil first). Cook 2 min per side to sear, and then cook until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees (approximately 12 minutes).
  • Let rest for a few minutes before slicing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with a Dijon-Garlic-Herb Sauce

I love grilled meats - I love marinating them, the sear you get on the grill, and I especially love the fact that Jon loves grilling and is really good at it. However, when we grill meat I miss having the pan juices and "brown bits" to make a sauce or gravy. So this past weekend I made a broth-based sauce to serve atop our grilled pork tenderloin.

Jon came up with a simple garlic-herb marinade for the pork, so I came up with a simple Dijon-Garlic-Herb sauce. I wanted a sauce that would be light enough to let the pork and flavors from the marinade stand out while still adding some additional yet complementary flavors and moisture. This sauce did just that, and it worked well over the Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, too.

Below are the ingredients and directions for the marinade, pork, and sauce.

Marinade Ingredients
(amounts are approximate)
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Cooking the Pork
We marinated the pork overnight. When ready to cook, heat grill to high. Sear the pork on all sides, and then place foil on the grill and put the pork on the foil and loosely close it (this is a new method Jon has played with over the past several months that he really likes - the pork stays so juicy). Cook until the pork's internal temperature reaches 150 degrees (our tenderloin was 1.5 lbs and was on the grill for about 25 minutes). Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Sauce Ingredients
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 c brandy
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 c light cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter, separated
Sauce Directions
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic; saute 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the brandy and bring to a simmer for a few minutes.
  • Add the broth and thyme. Bring to a boil and then let simmer until a few minutes before you are ready to serve the sauce. At that point, whisk in the cream and butter and let simmer on low for a few minutes.
  • Serve over the pork.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hot and Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken

I just ate this last night and I already want it again. It was THAT good and THAT addictive... I was scooping sauce out of the baking dish and eating it after I finished my plate and was sad when it was gone. What a great dish to celebrate my blog's 5th anniversary!!!

So what is this great recipe? It's for Hot and Cheesy Jalapeno Chicken. I first saw it pinned on pinterest from this blog, Just Cook NYC.  The full recipe wasn't written out, so I found the original recipe in the book Hot and Cheesy by Clifford A. Wright.

After reading it, I (of course) decided to make some changes. The original sauce was simply jalapenos, milk, and cream. I added garlic and cilantro to add some depth of flavor. I also seasoned the chicken with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper - the original recipe did not call for seasoning the chicken. Finally, I reduced the amount of butter called for, used light cream instead of heavy cream, and used a mix of Mexican cheeses instead of only Monterrey Jack.

I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who loves cheesy, bubbly sauces. And even if you aren't the biggest fan of heat, don't worry - the heat from the jalapenos mellows with cooking. Below is my variation of the recipe.

  • 4 jalapenos, seeds and veins removed, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • small handful of cilantro
  • 1/4 c whole milk
  • 1.5 tbsp butter, separated
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 c light cream
  • Salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • A few shakes each of chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper
  • Approximately 1/2 c shredded Mexican cheeses (I used a blend of Mexican cheeses by Kraft)
  • In a blender, puree the jalapenos, garlic, cilantro and milk.
  • Heat 1 tbsp butter in a saute pan over medium heat; add the flour and whisk to make a roux. Add the jalapeno sauce and cream, and stir until bubbling, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. At this point the sauce can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
  • When ready to cook the chicken - preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil and 1/2 tbsp butter in a saute pan.
  • Season chicken; add to the pan. Cook 2 minutes per side (you are just searing/browning the chicken).
  • Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. Pour the jalapeno sauce over the chicken, then top with the cheese.
  • Bake approximately 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Optional: garnish with cilantro and serve over rice.
I hope you love this as much as I did!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Dijon-Garlic-Herb Panko Crusted Chicken

A few years ago I started using Panko breadcrumbs when making breaded chicken, veggies, etc. It's a Japanese breadcrumb, and each crumb is larger in size than traditional store-bought breadcrumbs, and they add a ton of crunch, even when baked.

The other night I used Panko breadcrumbs to make a variation of this recipe for Mustard-Herb-Panko Crusted Chicken from the blog For the Love of Cooking. The original recipe called for Italian Style Panko Breadcrumbs, however, whenever you buy something already seasoned (marinated meats, breadcrumbs, bottled marinades, etc) it usually comes with a lot of extra sodium (the brand I looked at had 450 mg per serving compared to 50 mg per serving in plain Panko). Therefore, I seasoned my own breadcrumbs. My version of the recipe is below; amounts are approximate.

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c Panko breadcrumbs mixed with 1 tbsp Italian herbs (I like McCormick's Perfect Pinch, Italian), 1 tbsp dried parsley, and a bit of extra dried basil and dried thyme
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese (optional, I threw it on at the end)
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray it with cooking spray.
  • Mix the Dijon mustard and garlic
  • Season chicken with salt and pepper, and then coat it with the Dijon-garlic mixture. Dip in breadcrumb mixture and then place on the cookie sheet.
  • Bake on 450 approximately 25 minutes, or until the chicken's internal temperature has reached 170 degrees. When there are just 2-3 minutes left, sprinkle them with the cheese and turn the broiler on. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Look how crispy! They were so moist and flavorful, too.

I served them with roasted broccoli and a simple Garlic Parmesan Risotto.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Jalapeno Popper Chicken

Blogger's Choice was the theme of this Taste of Home Cooking Recipe Swap, and it's my favorite theme. Each blogger is assigned another food/cooking blog, and you can choose to cook any recipe from that blog. I was given the blog The Cookaholic Wife which was a great blog to get - so many great recipes!

One that really caught my eye was this one for Jalapeno Popper Chicken. Jon and I both love spicy food and jalapenos, and I love making chicken - especially stuffed chicken - so this recipe was right up my alley. I made a few minor changes, one of which included double-dipping the chicken in flour and egg before putting it into the breading mixture. I do this when I make Jalapeno Poppers and the method gives it a great, thick, crunchy breading. I added some cumin to the mixture of spices in the breading, and I lightly seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper before stuffing. I kept the ribs in the jalapenos and used and entire jalapeno between our two chicken breasts... we love heat! Finally, I used a mix of panko and regular breadcrumbs instead of just panko.

The cheese I used was Cracker Barrel's Jalapeno Cheddar. It's very similar to our favorite cheese that we cannot find anywhere anymore - Yancey's Fancy Jalapeno Cheddar. It has SO much heat, much more than your standard pepperjack.

The verdict - LOVED it. It had great flavor and heat, and the breading was so crunchy and delicious. My adaptation of the recipe is below.


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 slices Jalapeno Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, minced (with or without seeds and ribs)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 c Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 c regular breadcrumbs
  • About 1/4 tsp each of Mexican oregano, chili powder, and cumin
  • Cooking spray


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut a pocket into the chicken breasts and season lightly with salt and pepper
  • Stuff the cheese and jalapenos into the pockets; close with a toothpick or two
  • In three separate bowls - first bowl: flour. Second bowl: eggs beat with 1 tbsp water. Third bowl: breadcrumbs mixed with the oregano, cumin, and chili powder. Dip the chicken in flour, egg, then flour again, egg again, then breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
  • Bake on 350 for approximately 45 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 180 degrees (I take them out around 170 and let them rest). Turn the broiler on for the last 2-3 minutes to get a nice, crispy coating.

I will definitely make this again. I served them with sauteed spinach and this Mexican Confetti Rice without the peas/corn. Perfect!