Poblano Chicken Salad

I was inspired by this post to make this yummy sandwich – “inspired” because I modified this a lot to suit our tastes and my cooking style. I am so happy with how this little experiment tasted and I will make this again. The poblano gave this chicken salad a pleasant smokey/grassy flavor but if you don’t like poblano you could substitute red bell pepper. If my husband liked those I would try that combo sometime because I love the sweet flavor of a roasted bell pepper 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Poblano Chicken Salad – 

For the Roast Chicken:

  • 1 bone-in, skin on chicken breast
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
For the Poblano Mayo:
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 3 TBSP mayonnaise
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 vine ripened tomato, sliced
  • Romaine lettuce
  • sliced pepper jack cheese
For chicken: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Prepare your chicken for roasting by washing with cool water then drying with paper towels. Drizzle olive oil over the top and season generously with kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 30 -35 minutes.  Place on a cooling rack when finished and let cool for at least 20 minutes before shredding. Set the shredded chicken aside.
For the poblano mayo: Place a rack about 6-8 inches away from your oven broiler, and set your oven to “broil”. Rinse your peppers, cut off the tops, take out the seeds and ribs inside. Take your knife and carefully cut in half from top to bottom. Place the peppers on a baking sheet lined with foil. Place under the broiler for about 7-10 minutes. You want them to blacken and blister so you can easily remove the skin later. Take them out once they’re nice and charred – set them aside to cool until it’s safe to handle them. Peel the skin off all the peppers (it’s ok if you can’t get every bit off). Place the peeled peppers on a cutting board and dice them for easier blending.
Using your stick blender and carafe or a food processor, blend poblanos, mayo, salt, pepper cumin, chili powder, and lime juice together until the peppers are minced fine. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add the poblano mayo and diced celery to the shredded chicken then mix until combined. Serve on toasted bread (or in a wrap) with lettuce, tomato and cheese; enjoy!

Crispy Chicken Sandwich

Yum! Frying is something I don’t do very often so it’s definitely a treat for us. Everyone enjoyed it – even my pickiest eater. I love panko breadcrumbs because the texture creates the perfect, crunchy crust on whatever you stick it too. I have used it to top macaroni (twice), chicken parm, and mahi-mahi. I don’t even buy regular breadcrumbs anymore. Another great thing about this recipe is that it is easily modified if your family prefers more or less spice. Next time I might try more cayenne pepper or maybe I’ll add my homemade blackening seasoning to the panko. Oh, and if you don’t want to bother with pounding the chicken, you could use cutlets or chicken tenders and adjust the cooking time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Crispy Chicken Sandwiches – Mom Makes…

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (I had 3 large)
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups panko
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • kosher salt and ground pepper
To finish the Sandwich:
  • sandwich rolls
  • pepper jack or your favorite cheese
  • Plum tomatoes, sliced
  • Romaine leaf lettuce
  • barbecue sauce, honey, ketchup or your preferred condiment
  • pickles
Directions –
1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees and place a wire rack on top of a half sheet pan. Place chicken breasts in a resealable plastic bag. Pound with the flat side of meat mallet until flattened to 1/2  inch thick. Once your chicken is pounded, cut each breast in half ( I ended up with 6 pieces). I did this so the chicken would fit better on the bun and also for easier cooking.
2. In a small bowl or shallow dish, season the flour with salt and black pepper, and lightly beat the eggs in another shallow dish. In a third shallow dish, combine panko breadcrumbs with oregano, garlic, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
3. Dredge pieces in the flour to coat, shaking off any excess flour. Dip the floured chicken into the egg and then coat with the panko mixture. Place on a plate to rest. Repeat with remaining pieces.
4.  Heat 1/ 2 inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once the oil starts to shimmer, sprinkle a little flour over it. If it sizzles its ready. Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
5. Once the chicken is done, place on the rack lined baking sheet and lightly salt while still hot then place the sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Assemble your sandwich and enjoy!

Cheesy Orzo

Quick Post: I really enjoyed this and I seem to have a thing for orzo pasta side dishes when I need something to go along with fish. I modified this more than I usually do for a first attempt with the addition of peas and lemon zest. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Cheesy Orzo – adapted from Food Network

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 box of vegetable stock
  • 2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano or Romano
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • the zest of half a lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat a 8 inch pot with a tight fitting cover over moderate heat. Add butter, onion and garlic and saute for 2 or 3 minutes. Add broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Stir in orzo and return broth to a boil. Cover pot and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until liquid is absorbed and pasta tender. Remove lid and stir in frozen peas and cheese. Season with salt, pepper, and lemon zest. You favorite fresh herbs may also be stirred into the orzo or rice to strengthen the flavor even more.

Salmon Baked in Foil

Sockeye salmon was on sale at Publix this week. My family loves it and it’s definitely considered a treat so I wanted to find a recipe that was simple and had flavors that we could all enjoy. I have used this method of cooking salmon several times before. It’s so versatile and I usually season the fish with kosher salt, pepper, butter and lemon slices – it’ as easy as that.

Verdict: Yum – this was quick, easy and so flavorful. Baking salmon in foil is one of my favorite ways to cook fish, and the cleanup couldn’t be easier. Adjust the baking time based on the size of your fish because it’s really easy to over cook the fillets. Even though mine were a little over done (18 minutes for mine) they still tasted great. Tomorrow I’ll share the cheesy orzo we enjoyed with this, thanks for reading, enjoy!

Salmon Baked in Foil – adapted from Food Network

  • 4 (4 ounces each) salmon fillets
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
Directions –

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sprinkle salmon with 2 teaspoons olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stir the tomatoes, shallots, 2 tablespoons of oil, lemon juice, oregano, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place a salmon fillet, oiled side down, atop a sheet of foil. Wrap the ends of the foil to form a spiral shape. Spoon the tomato mixture over the salmon. Fold the sides of the foil over the fish and tomato mixture, covering completely; seal the packets closed. Place the foil packet on a heavy large baking sheet. Repeat until all of the salmon have been individually wrapped in foil and placed on the baking sheet. Bake until the salmon is just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Spaghetti Shrimp Scampi

This was a quick and easy dinner that the whole family enjoyed. I didn’t change a thing about it either, but next time I may add a little more butter and lemon juice. If you like really saucy pasta dishes, you might find this too dry for you but that is easily remedied. Overall this was a light and flavorful dish that I will make again. Simple ingredients, simple steps equaled a new family favorite – you can’t beat that! Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Spaghetti with Shrimp Scampi – adapted from Food Network

  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 pound spaghetti
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 pound large shrimp (about 16 shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, zest grated
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 1/4 lemon, thinly sliced in half-rounds
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
In a large pot of boiling water, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the linguine, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, or according to the directions on the package.

Meanwhile, in another large (12-inch), heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute. Be careful, the garlic burns easily! Add the shrimp, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, and the pepper and saute until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slices, and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.

When the pasta is done, drain the cooked linguine and then put it back in the pot. Immediately add the shrimp and sauce, toss well, and serve.

Classic Sandwich Bread

I have been using the same sandwich bread recipe for a year now, and I decided it’s time to try out a new one. Not that anything is wrong with the old one, it’s just that I want to experiment. It’s a basic white bread recipe that is easily veganized (if that is a concern of yours) by substituting your preferred unsweetened milk substitute (ie. almond milk). For this I’ll use a combination of half and half and 1% milk – why not? I’m debating if I should use AP flour as the recipe suggests or a combination of bread flour and white whole wheat like I use in my other recipe.
I decided to go with my usual combination of bread/white wheat flour for this, because my conscience gets the best of me. I might as well sneak in extra fiber where possible for my family. The great thing about this combination is that it’s never too “wheaty” for us – if that makes sense.
Verdict: Yum! This has a mild and subtle flavor, slightly sweet with a nice crumb, and its soft, but not too soft – perfect!  I will double the recipe next time for sure and I will continue to try new recipes for basic sandwich breads cause I’m a food geek and it’s fun for me! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Classic Sandwich Bread – adapted from King Arthur Flour
  • 3 cups AP Flour (*I used 2 cups bread and 1 cup white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup milk (*all half and half here)
  • 1/2 hot water
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast

Directions –

Mixing: In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir till the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased surface, oil your hands, and knead it for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth and supple. (You may also knead this dough in an electric mixer or food processor, or in a bread machine set to the dough or manual cycle). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen.

Shaping: Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8″ log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 60 minutes, until it’s domed about 1″ above the edge of the pan. A finger pressed into the dough should leave a mark that rebounds slowly.

Baking: Bake the bread in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until it’s light golden brown. Test it for doneness by removing it from the pan and thumping it on the bottom (it should sound hollow), or by measuring its interior temperature with an instant-read thermometer (it should register 190°F at the center of the loaf). Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a wire rack before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf.

Pizza Bites

This recipe has been on my list for a long time now. Today was a great day to try it because I had all of the ingredients sitting in the fridge – bits of mozzarella, already opened pepperoni and only one 18 ounce ball of dough (left over from calzone night). M was away golfing, so I decided to treat the kids and I to a fun dinner. How cute are these? And they’re so easy to put together. I divided my dough ball into 18 equal pieces, cut up cubes of mozzarella and cut my giant slices of pepperoni into thirds. These little bites would also make a perfect party appetizer.

Verdict: These were so yummy – the kids loved them too. The only problem is that 18 isn’t enough for the four of us, but lucky for them I wasn’t super hungry. Next time I’d double the amount, or make sure we eat a salad along with this. These will be in our rotation for sure, and I know that these would be well received at any party.

Pizza Bites – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 -18 ounce ball of dough, divided into 1 ounce pieces
  • 4 ounces mozzarella, cubed into 18 pieces
  • 6 large slices of pepperoni, cut into thirds
Topping –
  • Parmesan, Pecorino Romano
  • Pizza seasoning or oregano
  • olive oil
Directions –
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a pie dish with olive oil. For easy clean-up I use plastic wrap to cover my work surface 🙂
Flatten a piece of dough with the palm of your hand, place a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella cheese on top of the dough. Pull the dough around the filling and pinch closed. Place the ball seam-side down into the pie dish. Repeat with remaining dough pieces.
2. Lightly brush the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with pizza seasoning and cheese. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pizza or marinara sauce if desired.

Shredded Pork Tacos

This pork couldn’t be easier to prepare and it’s so flavorful. I love crock pots for this reason – set it and forget it. I haven’t made this recipe in at least a year and a half, but pork shoulder was only $1.77  a pound at Downtown Produce – dirt cheap! I love a good deal 🙂
I seasoned this the night before, wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it chill out overnight. I started it pretty early in the morning so it could cook for at least 8 hours, and shredded it with two forks once it was done. After cooking, I took out about 2 cups of the liquid just to make serving this less messy.
Verdict: So good – tender and flavorful. I served this with my taco/burrito go to “orange” rice and fresh pico de gallo. The leftovers will be even better and this makes a ton. Thanks for reading, enjoy!
Pulled Pork Tacos – adapted from feasting.in
  • pork shoulder roast (mine was almost 3 pounds)
  • 4 tbsp. paprika (I used half smoked, half sweet)
  • 2 tbsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
Directions –
1. Prep the night before – Mix up the seasoning well and liberally coat your pork roast, wrap in plastic and store in the fridge.
2. Place the roast and enough water to come up half the side of the meat. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Shred with two forks and enjoy with your favorite taco or burrito fixin’s.

Individual Calzone

I’m on a mission to make sure my husband has good stuff to eat for lunch besides your basic sandwich, and this meal is a step in that direction. Unlike the giant one  I made before, this one will be meant for one person to enjoy. He requested sausage, bacon and olive (ick – I don’t like the last ingredient, but I love him so what the heck?)

These came together really easily, especially because I kept all the toppings in separate bowls. I rolled out the 8 ounce dough balls into 8 inch diameter circles and topped it with sausage, pepperoni, bacon, mushroom, tomato, cheese – not all in each though. Be sure not to roll out your dough to thin so you don’t end up with a tasty mess later. I vented the tops of each calzone and lightly coated them with olive oil for browning.

Verdict: Everyone loved these and I was reminded why I love this pizza dough recipe – it’s perfect! These will be a repeat in our house for sure. Next time, I’ll use less dough per kiddie sized calzone, probably 6 ounces instead of 8. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Mini Calzone – Mom Makes

  • 5 – 8 ounce balls of pizza dough
  • 1 cup cooked sausage
  • 2 ounces pepperoni, chopped
  • 3 strips of chopped bacon
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 4 baby Portobello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 Roma tomato, chopped
  • sauce to dip in (we used marinara)
Directions –
1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
2. Roll out your dough 8 inches in diameter, place your favorite toppings on half of the dough and leave a good 1/2″ or more empty space around the edge. Fold into a half and crimp the edges to seal well. Cut some slits to vent and lightly brush the top with olive oil if desired. Place on a Silpat-lined (or foil) cookie sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully place each calzone on a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before cutting. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich on Rosemary Focaccia

Quick Post: Oh, this was so good! I think this focaccia is my favorite savory bread to date, and thankfully it’s my husband’s too. The last time I made it I baked two loaves off in a 9 inch cake pans; we used one for something that I don’t remember and the other one was stashed in the freezer. I marinated chicken cutlets in my favorite marinade, grilled it, fried up some bacon, sliced a perfect avocado and Roma tomato. I sliced and toasted the focaccia, placed baby swiss on each slice, topped it with a spring mix, and the rest of the toppings. It was the perfect sandwich 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Simple Marinade for Chicken – Mom Makes

  • 2 pounds chicken breast, pounded to an even thickness (or use chicken cutlets)
  • Juice of one lemon (adding the zest would be a nice touch)
  • 4-6 TBSP olive oil (depends on how much lemon juice – more acid vs. oil will cook the chicken)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • oregano, parsley or your other favorite herb mixture – dried or fresh
Directions –
1. Place your prepared chicken in a Ziploc bag or some other sealable container.  Combine all marinade ingredients thoroughly, and pour over top of your chicken. Place the chicken into the fridge to marinade for 1 to 5 hours.