August 30, 2010

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers - Two For One in under 30 minutes - Part 1

I am sure everyone likes the "buy one, get one free" or "two for one" deals. So here is my deal.While spending less than 30 minutes in the kitchen you can create two meals. It started out with getting 3 pieces of chicken breast which ended up being huge... almost 2 pounds in total. I cut the pieces into 1 inch thick strips (no measurement tape required). So I figured I make one of our new favorites- Almond crusted chicken fingers. And while those are baking in the oven for 20 minutes just go for Chicken fajita preparation for tomorrow nights dinner.  The way I see it- dinner will be a snap tomorrow night and the chicken fingers are a great snack on Saturday for lunch or for a full dinner if served with some steakfries and broccoli.

Almond Crusted Chicken Fingers
adapted from
1-2 pieces of chicken breast, trimmed of fat and cut in strips
1 cup of raw almonds
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Eggbeater or eggs
Cooking oil spray

1. Preheat oven to about 425 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet and layout with aluminium foil. Spray some Oil spray to avoid too much sticking later.

2. Trim any fat of the chicken and cut the pieces of chicken in strips.

3. In a small food processor grind up the almonds.Then add all the spices, mix again and  add the olive oil.
(You can mix up an egg instead- I just don't usually have egg in the fridge.)

4. Dip the chicken first in the egg beater, then in the almond mixture and place on the baking sheet.
Spray all pieces with a bit Cooking oil spray, it helps getting them crispy. Put the sheet in the oven and set time for 20 minutes.

August 29, 2010

When it has to be fast... Roasted BBQ Chicken and Pesto Tortellini

I am sure everyone knows the feeling. It's already late and I am hungry, husband is not around tonight and the easiest would be just to stop and grab some fast food somewhere. I stopped on the way home at the supermarket and grabbed a roasted chicken for five bucks and a package of my favorite wheat tortellini. I knew I had still some pesto at home.

Now, one would say the roasted chicken is not the greatest health food  if you think about all the fat. As tempting and delicous as the nice roasted skin looks like  it's a big no no.... I mainly just use the white meat for my dishes - more so because I am not a fan of the dark meat (but my husband uses it for lunch meat so it works). I use the roasted BBQ chicken quite often if I am in a time crunch or just don't feel like spending to much time in the kitchen. So there will be a few more recipes.

Same could be said about the pesto- there are quite a few calories if you use lots of it. But a spoonful isn't gonna hurt. Anyway, going back to me being hungry. In less than 15 minutes I had my dinner ready. And here is how I did it:

Roasted BBQ Chicken and Pesto Tortellini

Roasted BBQ chicken (flavor does not matter)
1 cup Wheat tortellini (per person)
Some parmesan cheese

1.Start boiling the water for the tortellini. While waiting for the water to start boiling peel of some pieces of chicken.

2. Heat a small coated pan and add some cooking spray. Add the pieces of chicken. Sprinkle with a little bit of lemon pepper if you like it like me. The meat usually has enough flavor. Add the tortellini to the water- about a cup full per person. Boil 6-8 minutes.

3. Turn the chicken occasionally - just want to get it a bit crunchy, gold brown. Remove from stove. Drain the tortellini, then add a tablespoon of pesto and mix it.

4. Serve tortellini and chicken. Sprinkle some parmesan over it.

You certainly can add any kind of veggies or a salad.. I was just too hungry this time. The leftover BBQ chicken I am gonna use for BBQ chicken pizza and some lunch meat.The rest of the tortellini I keep in the fridge or freezer for another quick meal soon.

August 26, 2010

Quick yet delicious BBQ Chicken dinner when running late

Just the other night I knew I was going to run late after visiting a friend. So I needed to get dinner on the table quickly. Before I left I prepared in just a few minutes what I needed.
Cut up some chicken breast pieces in small cubes-no perfection or geometrie required - and get rid of all the fatty pieces..I am really picky with the fat. Tossed the chicken pieces in a bowl. Got out my BBQ sauce and Dijon mustard and mixed the chicken with it. No other spices- the BBQ sauce has enough salt in. Covered it up and put it in the fridge.
I had some broccoli on hand so I trimmed it, washed it and put it in a pot with water- ready to cook. I knew I would have steak fries with it- so no prep necessary here.

First thing I did when I came back was preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Got my baking sheet pan out, alu foil to cover the pan (and save me the scrubbing later on). Added the fries and up in the oven with them. Set the timer for 20 minutes.

Next, while catching up with my husband and enjoying a glass of wine, I got my favorite grilling pan out and started heating it up on high. Added the chicken to the pan, turned down to medium and turned the chicken occasionally. At the same time started the broccoli on high - for about 10 minutes (or less if you like it more crunchy). Chicken was done in about 10-12 minutes. Still nice and juicy, not dried up. Just covered it up for the time being. Word of advise: Add water  to the pan as it usually is messy after using BBQ sauce..

Used the rest heat and melted some magarine (less than a tablespoon) in a small coated pan. Added a tablespoon of Garlic Herb breadcrumbs. Browned it. Threw in the broccoli and stirred it up a bit so that they all got coated and maybe even a bit crunchy.
Voila, fries were ready at that time. So dinner was ready to serve. Without any stress. I would say it was caloriewise probably in the 500-600 range..(not counting my wine!)
BTW: I had some leftover bean salad which goes really well with it.

Grilled BBQ Chicken with Crusted Broccoli and Steakfries
for about 2 servings and a bit leftover the next day
2-3 pieces of chicken breast-trimmed of fat and cut in 1-11/2 inch cubes or stripes
1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
3-4 tablespoons of BBQ sauce

1 crown of broccoli
1 tablespoon of butter or magarine
1 tablespoon of bread crumbs

Steak fries or sweet potatoe fries

 1.  Trim the chicken of any fat. Cut in small stripes or cubes. Toss in a bowl and mix up with mustard and  
      BBQ sauce. Let sit at least for 30 minutes.
2.   Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put frozen steakfries on a baking sheet and add to the oven.Set timer to
      20 minutes.
3.   Preheat the grill pan on high , add chicken and turn down to medium. Turn a few times to avoid burning.
      Start boiling the broccoli at the same time.
4.   When chicken is done, put aside and cover. Drain the broccoli.
5.   Melt some butter or margarine and add breadcrumbs. Brown it , then toss the broocoli in it to get
6.   Serve and enjoy.

August 24, 2010

Healthy snack and great for a party

On one of the summer evenings I was craving for some snacks and I went on a search for dips. I always loved avocados but I've never made guacomole. I found a great, quick and easy recipe for a dip. But that's just half the story. I am not a great fan of chips- once in a while some wheat crackers are ok. I have read and heard a lot about pita chips. I bought some in the store, but urghhhhh -the amount of sodium just scares me. Again I went on a search and after reading a few recipes and how-to's  I got started with ......

Homemade Pita Chips and Avocado Corn Salsa

Homemade pita chips:
  • 4 wheat pita pockets
  • lemon pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • non fat cheddar cheese and or  parmesan cheese (fresh or dry)
  • Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 400- 425 degrees.
Cuts the pita pockets  in  small pieces (squares or triangles) .

Separate the two halves and lay them out on a baking pan (which you should lay out with parment paper or aluminium foil- no clean up afterwards).  Spray on Olive oil spray, then sprinkle with pepper, garlic powder,onion powder. No salt, the bread has already plenty. If you like add some cheese on top..
The 4 pita pockets fill 2 baking sheets and they can be baked at the same time.

Bake in the oven for about 6-8 minutes. After 5 minutes start keeping a closer eye on it as you don't want to burn them. While this is going on you can start the avocado corn salsa.

Avocado Corn Salsa
adapted from
  • 1/2 -1 cup thawed frozen corn
  • 6-8 cherry or grape tomatoes(you could use regular ones but the small ones are sweeter)-quarted
  • 2 avocados chopped in small cubes
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
  • a dash of salt

1-2-3.. add it all in a bowl and mix it up. Keep in the fridge or just dive in...yummy.

Both you can do in under 15 minutes. So if friends are on the way and you have all the ingredients on hand you can impress them with this healthy snack. Or you just give yourself a treat..

August 22, 2010

A new love - black beans

Wow, it’s been more than 6 weeks since my last post. I was so busy trying out new recipes. Und now I am wondering with which one to start with. I discovered a new love for black beans and I was on a mission to find different ways of using them. They have plenty of health benefits, are tasty and filling and so easy to use.
I started stocking my pantry with black bean cans, the low sodium kind of course. Another item that found a regular place in my fridge- cilantro. With those two and a fewother items on hand I can create some great salads or side dishes.

Roasted Corn, Black Bean and Mango Salad
adapted from

This one is so easy to make. While caramelizing the corn and keeping an eye on it you can dice up the rest of the ingredients and have a great salad ready in 10 minutes.

1-1 ½ cup frozen thawed yellow corn
1 clove of garlic minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ripe mango – peeled , diced in small cubes
1 can black beans (low sodium) rinsed
1/2 of a red onion chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
3 tablespoon lime juice (about 2 small limes)
1 small canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce- minced
1 ½ tablespoon cilantro
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Heat up the olive oil in a small pan(medium) and add corn and garlic. Stir occasionally until brown- about 8 minutes. The corn gets a nice caramelized look and taste.

While preparing the corn chop the rest of your ingredients and add to a bowl. Add the corn and mix everything together in a bowl. Cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

In less than 10 minutes you whipped up a great salad (or side dish to chicken or fish) . Great for lunch as well- just fill a a pita pocket.