Fiesta Chicken Tacos

We like Mexican food but sometimes it can be hard to jazz it up. While looking through various cookbooks and websites for ideas, I decided to give this recipe a try and serve it along side of corn tortillas. You could serve this as is with rice or even pasta, but I liked that we used this dish and filled our tortillas with something warm and cheesy.

Fiesta Chicken Tacos
recipe adapted from Pace Foods

1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell’s® Cream of Chicken Soup
(I made this homemade cream of chicken soup to use instead of canned)
1 cup Pace® Chunky Salsa OR Picante Sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup whole kernel corn
1 can drained and rinsed, black beans
4 boneless chicken breast halves, sliced
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
corn tortillas, warmed

MIX soup, salsa, water, corn and beans in 2-qt. shallow baking dish. Top with chicken and sprinkle with paprika. Cover.

BAKE at 350°F. for 45 min. or until done. Sprinkle with cheese.

SERVE by slicing chicken and stuffing in warmed corn tortillas.

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo

If you’re looking for a one bowl meal that’s hearty and comforting, this is it! I was inspired by a couple fellow food bloggers who featured gumbo recipes lately, including Kira and Emily. Because my husband is a fan of rice, I added rice to the gumbo. This recipe was pretty good and went well with the Savory Corn & Pepper Muffins I made. (Recipe soon to come!)

Chicken & Sausage Gumbo
recipe adapted from

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 pound andouille or smoked sausage, sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Creole seasoning to taste
6 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 rotisserie chicken, boned and shredded
1-2 cups cooked rice

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, whisk in flour. Continue whisking until the roux has cooked to the color of chocolate milk, 8 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn the roux. If you see black specks in the mixture, start over.

Stir onion, bell pepper, celery, and sausage into the roux; cook 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Creole seasoning; blend thoroughly. Pour in the chicken broth and add the bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in the chicken, and simmer 1 hour more. Skim off any foam that floats to the top during the last hour.

Add rice 15 minutes before serving and allow the gumbo to simmer with rice.

Commando Fried Chicken

My friend Howard prepared this dish for my Chef Spotlight Dinner where we focused on health conscious chefs. He chose to highlight Juan Carlos Cruz of the Calorie Commando and brought this delicious chicken dish!

Commando Fried Chicken
recipe from Juan Carlos Cruz

2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 frying chicken (about 3 pounds), cut into 8 pieces, all skin removed
1/2 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup whole-grain Dijon mustard
1 cup flaky corn cereal, roughly crushed (recommended: Corn Flakes)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Cooking spray

Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a bowl. Place chicken in a shallow pan and pour buttermilk mixture over chicken. Cover tightly and marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine egg substitute and whole-grain mustard in a shallow dish. Combine cereal, Parmesan, and oregano in a second shallow dish.

Remove chicken from marinade and drain excess liquid. Dip chicken pieces, 1 at a time, into the egg mustard mixture and then dredge in the cereal mixture. Place chicken on a wire rack set on top of a baking sheet. Lightly spray the chicken with cooking spray. Bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through and juices run clear when pierced with a knife.

Chicken with Tomatoes & Capers

My husband is a fan of capers but I don’t usually come across too many recipes calling for them. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough? But thanks to my friend Jen, I have a recipe I’m definitely going to make more often. She prepared this recipe for Chicken with Tomatoes & Capers and it’s a definitely winner. Such a great flavor in this dish and we love it over steamed brown rice!

Chicken with Tomatoes & Capers
from Epicurious

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspon dried
4 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons drained capers
1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Sprinkle the chicken well with salt and pepper.

Heat the oil and butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet. Add the chickenbreasts and sauté over medium-high heat, turning the pieces often until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

Scatter the shallots and garlic around the chicken. Cook briefly; add the tarragon, tomatoes, vinegar, capers, wine, and tomato paste. Stir to dissolve the brown particles adhering to the bottom of the skillet.

Blend well. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Apricot Honey Chicken

Some common sweeteners I cook with include honey, maple syrup and apricot preserves. The apricot preserves is a relatively new ingredient I started keeping on hand because it adds a light touch of sweetness without affecting the texture or color.

I also recently started subscribing to the Taste of Home magazine. It’s a great magazine that has no ads (which I don’t care for) and the recipes are from everyday home cooks like myself. This recipe happens to come from the Taste of Home magazine and the woman who created this dish actually lives very close to my hometown!

Apricot Honey Chicken
adapted from Taste of Home/Kathy Hawkins

4 bone in chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey

In a large resealable bag, combine the preserves, orange juice and honey.

Add the chicken to the bag and marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Remove chicken from marinade and place on baking dish; discard marinade.

Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until juices run clear or is cooked thoroughly.

Spinach & Artichoke Topped Chicken

One of my favorite vegetable combinations is spinach and artichoke. It could be in a dip, on a pizza, in a sandwich or better yet, stuffed in pork or chicken… I love how it tastes especially with some cheese mixed in.

This dish is one that involves a spinach and artichoke sauce that is served over a seasoned and baked chicken breast. I came across this recipe for the sauce and used it to top my baked & seasoned chicken… yum!

Spinach & Artichoke Topped Chicken
recipe inspired by Rachel Ray’s Spinach-Artichoke Cheesy Tortellini
from Express Lane Meals

For Chicken:
4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt & pepper to taste or seasoning salt
garlic & onion powder to taste

For Sauce:
1/2 10-oz box frozen spinach
1 tablespoon EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil), twice around the pan
1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and halved
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
1/2 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1-2 handfuls grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese
Salt and black pepper

For Topping:
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs for topping
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare your chicken by seasoning it to taste with salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic and/or onion powder (however you’d like) Place chicken on baking sheet.

For the sauce, begin by microwaving the spinach on high for 6 minutes to defrost.

Heat a deep skillet over medium heat with the EVOO and butter. When the butter melts and is hot, add the garlic. Using a box grater, grate the onion directly into the skillet.

Saute the onions and garlic for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour into the skillet and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, then the cream, and bring the sauce to a boil. Season the sauce with nutmeg and reduce the heat to low.

Place the defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel and wring it dry. Separate it as you add it to the sauce. Stir in the chopped artichokes and a couple handfuls of cheese, then season the spinach-artichoke sauce with salt and pepper. Topped the raw chicken breast with spinach artichoke sauce.

Combine the panko breadcrumbs and cheese for the topping and sprinkle on top of the spinach artichoke sauce.

Bake chicken in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked.

Mojo Chicken

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. Mojo is a sauce common in the Caribbean (specifically the Canary islands). It consists of olive oil, citrus juice and/or vinegar, lots of garlic and spices. It also is a great marinade and I chose to marinate chicken breasts in mojo. It really is a great and flavorful marinade for not just chicken, but pork, beef and seafood.

Mojo Chicken
recipe from

1/2 cup sour orange juice
(or you could use regular orange juice, pineapple juice or lemon juice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
4 bone;ess, skinless chicken-breast halves, skinned
Cooking spray

Combine juice and next 7 ingredients (through chili flakes) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour and up to 3.

Preheat oven to 375°.

Place chicken in a 13- x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, covered, 20 minutes; uncover and bake 25 minutes or until chicken is done.

Carribbean Jerk Chicken Salad

I made the following recipe for our annual Holiday Party where our menu highlighted Floribbean cuisine. I added this salad to the menu to give my guests more food options and vegetables. Caribbean jerk had to make its way in my menu and I chose to incorporate it by seasoning chicken that would be tossed into my green salad. This isn’t quite that blogworthy, considering I used a bottled sauce to flavor my chicken for the salad. However I did want to share the bottled sauce since it was a great find at my local supermarket!

Carribbean Jerk Chicken Salad

1 bottle Caribbean sauce
1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast

Pour entire bottle over chicken and toss to coat.

Add chicken to your choice of greens and salad veggies.

Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna

Turkey… and lots of it. What to do, what to do?! I wanted to be somewhat creative and because I couldn’t decide what to do, I ended up with Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna.

To start, I prepared my version of Turkey Parmigiana but dredging cooked turkey breast slices in a bit of flour, dipped in egg wash and then in italian seasoned breadcrumbs. Once I baked them and saw them finished on my baking sheet, I took a look and didn’t feel like having them as is. That’s when I thought of chopping them up and throwing them into a lasagna! Looking back, I think its kinda silly I went a whole roundabout way to prepare this, but the end result was wonderful. The crispness of the original coating was flavorful and still shined through despite the layers of cheese, pasta and sauce. To prepare my lasagna, I adapted Ina’s recipe with the original recipe notes in red:

Turkey Parmigiana Lasagna

courtesy of Ina Garten:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion (1 onion)
4 garlic cloves, minced (2 garlic cloves)
1 1/2 pounds breaded cooked turkey breasts (sweet Italian turkey sausage)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, divided
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
4 frozen fresh basil cubes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1/2 pound no boil lasagna noodles (Ina used cooked noodles)
15 ounces ricotta cheese
I omitted the goat cheese (3 to 4 ounces creamy goat cheese, crumbled)
1 cup grated Romano (Parmesan), plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling
2 eggs lightly beaten (1 extra-large egg)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, shredded (thinly sliced)

Preheat the oven to350 degrees F. (Ina heated hers up to 400 degrees F).

Heat the olive oil in a large (10 to 12-inch) skillet. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of the parsley, the basil, the basil cubes, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, uncovered, over medium-low heat, for 15 to 20 minutes, until thickened.

In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, 1 cup of Romano, the eggs, the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

Ladle 1/3 of the sauce into a 9 by 12 by 2-inch rectangular baking dish, spreading the sauce over the bottom of the dish. Then add the layers as follows: half the no boil pasta, half the mozzarella, half the ricotta, and one 1/3 of the sauce. Add the rest of the pasta, mozzarella, ricotta, and finally, sauce. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of Romano. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered, until the sauce is bubbling. Remove from oven and top with additional mozzarella cheese and bake until cheese is melted.

Baked Buffalo Wings

Baked Buffalo Wings platter
served with ranch & blue cheese dressings,
baby carrots & celery sticks
5 lbs chicken drummettes

salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder
onion powder
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce

Preheat oven to 375.
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Place chicken wings on baking sheet in a single layer.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, & onion powder – toss to coat.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Remove chicken from oven after 30 minutes and set aside. Do not turn oven off!
In a large bowl, add melted butter and hot sauce; stir to combine.
Add chicken to butter/hot sauce mixture and toss to coat.
Clean baking sheet and line with new sheet of foil.
Place coated chicken on baking sheet and bake in hot oven for 10 minutes.**
To serve, plate on serving platter. Spoon on an remaining juices/sauce from the baking pan over the chicken wings.
To accompany the wings, serve with blue cheese and/0r ranch dressing and celery sticks & carrots.

** To make ahead, prepare as directed above, until the second baking. You can make this in advance and keep warm in a 250 degree oven an hour prior to serving in place of baking the second time for 10 minutes.