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An easy recipe for Baked Chicken Fajitas | alidaskitchen.com

Baked Chicken Fajitas

Tracking PixelThis easy recipe for Baked Chicken Fajitas is filled with juicy seasoned chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, all made quick and easy in the oven. Thanks to Hunt’s® tomatoes for sponsoring this post.

An easy recipe for Baked Chicken Fajitas | alidaskitchen.com

Chicken fajitas are one our favorite dishes ~ especially since discovering this easy recipe for Baked Chicken Fajitas. From the delicious seasoned chicken to the abundance of crisp-tender vegetables to the tasty toppings, chicken fajitas are one of those meals made with wholesome, real foods that are guaranteed to please the whole family. It’s a win-win!…

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Overnight Baked Peach French Toast | alidaskitchen.com

Overnight Baked Peach French Toast

Overnight Baked Peach French Toast is a delicious breakfast bread pudding made with cinnamon swirl bread, juicy peaches throughout, topped with a buttery brown sugar oat crumble and made on the lighter side. 

Thank you to CansGetYouCooking.com through the Mom It Forward Blogger Network for sponsoring this post.

Overnight Baked Peach French Toast | alidaskitchen.com

With back to school just around the corner, I am looking for ways to streamline our routines to make those hectic mornings a little easier. I am stocking our freezer with waffles, pancakes and muffins to have quick and easy breakfasts, as well as keeping easy recipes, like this Overnight Baked Peach French Toast, at the ready at all times.

Overnight Baked Peach French Toast puts a summer twist on our favorite French toast recipe (this Baked Pumpkin French Toast).  In lieu of pumpkin and spices, it has delicious, juicy peaches in every bite. Otherwise it is made with the same cinnamon bread cut into cubes, the same wonderful buttery brown sugar oat crumble topping that everyone loves and also made lighter using nonfat evaporated milk.  Everything about this Overnight Baked Peach French Toast is just so good…and easy too!…

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Skinny Fried Chicken | alidaskitchen.com

Skinny Fried Chicken

An easy recipe for Skinny Fried Chicken that is baked, not fried.  The result is a flavorful, moist and crispy chicken that will have your family running back around the table!

Skinny Fried Chicken | alidaskitchen.com

Baked chicken dishes are one of my favorite recipes to make because they are typically quick and easy, healthier and perfect for a weeknight.  So when I received a copy of Back Around the Table: An “In the Kitchen with David” Cookbook from QVC’s Resident Foodie David Venable, his recipe for Skinny Fried Chicken recipe was right up my alley.  This Skinny Fried Chicken is baked, not fried, is easy to make and tastes incredible!…

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Baked Garlic Cheddar Chicken | alidaskitchen.com

Baked Garlic Cheddar Chicken

Baked Garlic Cheddar Chicken is an easy recipe to transform those plain chicken breasts into a healthier garlic cheddar cheesy family favorite made in less than 30 minutes!

When it comes to feeding my family, there are two things guaranteed to be winners at our table – chicken and cheddar cheese.  Bonus points if it can also be something healthy, fast and easy. Sound familiar?  I know how popular chicken and cheese can be, especially with kids, so I have been on a mission to combine the two into a healthier recipe.  Most recipes I found use way too much butter for my liking, so I looked through the some of my healthier baked chicken recipes to come up with a lighter version of Baked Garlic Cheddar Chicken. …

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Baked Garlic Mustard Panko Chicken - Alida's Kitchen #recipes #WeekdaySupper

Baked Garlic Mustard Panko Chicken #WeekdaySupper

This Baked Garlic Mustard Panko Chicken takes minutes to prepare and then bakes to delicious garlicky, mustard perfection crusted with Panko breadcrumbs.  Quick and easy, perfect for a weeknight!

Baked Garlic Mustard Panko Chicken  - Alida's Kitchen #recipes #WeekdaySupper

As much as I love grilling this time of year, I can never get enough baked chicken recipes, like this Baked Garlic Mustard Panko Chicken.  It is a healthy chicken dish that is quick and easy to prepare and then bakes in the oven for about 15 minutes.  That is just enough time to make a garden salad, set the table, grab a glass of wine, and still have a moment to sit until the timer goes off!  …

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Pretzel Crusted Grilled Cheese | alidaskitchen.com

Pretzel Crusted Grilled Cheese

Pretzel Crusted Grilled Cheese puts a tasty pretzel twist on everybody’s favorite childhood grilled cheese sandwich.  

Pretzel Crusted Grilled Cheese | alidaskitchen.com

Throughout the month of April, we celebrated National Grilled Cheese Month with many tasty variations of the classic sandwich.  While I developed a delicious Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese, that was not the original recipe I had in mind.  I wanted to make a grilled cheese with pretzels – in either the crust or the filling, it didn’t matter.  Pretzel-something grilled cheese was going to happen.   I tried mixing pretzels with cheese for a topping or crushed in the filling, and the results were just not satisfactory.  However I am very excited to share that finally on the last day of National Grilled Cheese month I discovered the secret…and it works!…

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Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #grilledcheese #SundaySupper

Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese #SundaySupper

Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese is a simple grilled cheese sandwich sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and then baked to crunchy, melty, cheesy perfection.

Parmesan Crusted Baked Grilled Cheese | alidaskitchen.com #recipes #grilledcheese #SundaySupper

After many experiments (and many nights in a row) of making grilled cheese sandwiches, I developed an appreciation for the art of the baked grilled cheese.  In fact, it has revolutionized my grilled cheese making endeavors – so much so that I may never use a skillet again!   The key to what makes this sandwich amazing is the Parmesan cheese topping that encrusts the bread when it bakes.  Parmesan cheese brings out the amazing flavors in the grilled cheese sandwich (kind of like salt when cooking or baking – inexplicable, but necessary)….

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Baked Garlic Pretzel Chicken #WeekdaySupper

Baked Garlic Pretzel Chicken #WeekdaySupper

Baked Garlic Pretzel Chicken #WeekdaySupper

Baked Garlic Pretzel Chicken is a healthy baked chicken breast encrusted with a garlicky Parmesan pretzel coating.  It takes minutes to prepare, bakes in about 20 minutes, and is a dish the whole family will enjoy!

One of our healthy meal staples is boneless, skinless chicken breast.  It is a great source of protein that is low in fat and so versatile.  While we have several healthy chicken recipes that we enjoy often, it is fun to come up with delicious new ideas for cooking with chicken.  The inspiration for Baked Garlic Pretzel Chicken was actually from two of our favorite quick and easy recipes – Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Lighter Pretzel Crusted Chicken….

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Salted Caramel Brownies....made on the lighter side!

Salted Caramel Brownies

Salted Caramel Brownies

With a fudgy brownie base, a smooth caramel topping,  a drizzle of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt, you really can’t go wrong with these Salted Caramel Brownies made on the lighter side!

Like most people, I am obsessed with salted caramel anything.  Salted caramel ice cream, candies, straight from a jar perhaps?  Clearly Salted Caramel Brownies were a no brainer!  The brownie layer alone was fudgy and delicious.  The caramel layer was actually very easy to make, which was nice (and dangerous!).  Last,  a little drizzle of bittersweet chocolate (or you could just sprinkle some semi-sweet chocolate chips to simplify things) and a sprinkling of sea salt….

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Baked Barbecue Chicken ~ easy and healthy!

Baked Barbecue Chicken #SundaySupper #FamilyDinnerTable

Baked Barbecue Chicken ~ easy and healthy!

Baked  Barbecue Chicken is a quick and easy recipe for enjoying a classic favorite, made in a healthy way.  For some reason, Barbecue Chicken always makes me think of summer, but we enjoy this dish no matter what the weather is outside – even when there are several feet (!!) of snow on the ground!  Perhaps it’s a little too early to be discussing snow…

The concept of Baked Barbecue Chicken is not new to the blog.  I have made a few tweaks to the previous recipe to simplify the process and yield a shorter cooking time ~ all with great results.   This recipe is very easy.  You can make your own barbecue-style sauce (like this easy pantry sauce or this one if you like some spice).  If you prefer, a store-bought sauce also works great.  The recipe can easily be adjusted to yield more or fewer servings to fit your needs.   I like to make plenty of extras because barbecue chicken is so versatile  and leftovers can be transformed into something different for a quick and easy weeknight supper….

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Baked Pumpkin Pasta

Baked Pumpkin Pasta #WeekdaySupper


Baked Pumpkin Pasta from Alida's Kitchen

Baked Pumpkin Pasta is a quick, healthy pasta dish made with pumpkin, zucchini and ricotta cheese.  This simple comfort food is perfect for a weeknight dinner.    

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: Fall is my favorite time of year for cooking and baking.  Mainly because I love pumpkin recipes!  While I typically prefer to use pumpkin in baked goods, this Baked Pumpkin Pasta made for a delightful, easy and healthy weeknight dinner.  …

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S'mores Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

S’mores Brownies #SundaySupper

S'mores Brownies | alidaskitchen.com

What do you get when you cross a brownie with a s’more?  This easy recipe for S’mores Brownies!   

As Labor Day marks the unofficial end of Summer, I am looking forward to cooler temperatures, Halloween (!) and, of course, lots of pumpkin recipes.  While Fall baking is my absolute favorite, sometimes nothing hits the spot quite like a s’more.   I have made several s’more-inspired recipes, including muffins, blondies, Golden Graham’s bars, even a cool and creamy pie!  But these S’mores Brownies might be my favorite s’more-inspired treat.  The chocolate brownie base is the perfect vehicle for all of the yummy s’more toppings, plus they take only minutes to prepare….

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Baked Cinnamon French Toast | alidaskitchen.com

Baked Cinnamon French Toast

Baked Cinnamon French Toast is a decadent yet simple breakfast (or breakfast for dinner, as we talked about yesterday).  Made with cinnamon swirl bread that is drenched and baked into a rich custard, Baked Cinnamon French Toast toast is beyond delicious.  It takes 10 minutes to prepare and then you can bake it right away since this is not an overnight French toast.  While it’s not an overnight variety, you certainly can make it ahead and store covered in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake


This Baked Cinnamon French Toast is not something that I would have every day, simply because I like to have my boring old breakfast of old fashioned oats with a banana every day.  But this French toast is definitely a wonderful treat worth enjoying for a special occasion…like perhaps for Mother’s Day this Sunday (hint hint Mike!)

Baked Cinnamon French Toast
 
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 slices cinnamon bread or cinnamon raisin bread
  • 2 cups half and half (fat free works fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (light better works fine)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13"x9" pan with cooking spray.
  2. In prepared pan, place six slices of bread and top with remaining 6 slices of bread.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together half and half, eggs, butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over bread, pressing bread down so some liquid is absorbed.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes until bread is golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

Source: I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter

baked dorito-crusted chicken

Baked Dorito-Crusted Chicken


Baked Dorito-Crusted Chicken came to me in a dream, which is funny because I’m typically not a flavored chip person (except for salt ‘n vinegar…yum!)  I dismissed it as a quirky pregnancy dream.  That is, until we had a bag of cheese tortilla chips (remember my Green Giant post?), which were just asking to be paired with chicken.

Baked Dorito-Crusted Chicken tastes like…wait for it….yep, you guessed it.  Doritos and chicken.  And it’s really good!  The chicken is moist and juicy.  The salty, cheesy chips give a nice seasoning to the chicken as well.  We were very happy to finally turn my crazy dream into a delicious reality!

baked dorito-crusted chicken

Baked Dorito-Crusted Chicken
 
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 cup crushed cheese tortilla chips (or any chip will work here)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk (I used skim)
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 to 5 ounces each)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Put crushed chips in a shallow bowl.
  3. In a separate shallow bowl, whisk egg and milk until combined.
  4. Dip chicken breasts in milk mixture and then dip in chips, coating the chicken. Place on prepared baking sheet and lightly spray tops with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.

 

baked garlic parmesan chicken

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken puts a delicious twist on a classic favorite with some added garlic (which makes everything better!).  When I found this recipe, the title alone was so appealing, it vaulted to the top of the list and was made within a day.  I reduced the recipe to be made for two (but it can easily be multiplied for more!), added some heat with red pepper flakes and changed some of the amounts and proportions since the first time I made this, there was too much breadcrumb mixture leftover.  Served with a simple side salad or a favorite veggie, Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken is a  healthy, quick and easy chicken dish that makes a perfect weeknight meal…or any time!

Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken
 
Yields: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ⅓ cup dry breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • 2 4-5 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine oil and garlic.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, and basil. Add crushed red pepper to taste.
  4. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken in oil mixture and then in bread crumb mixture. Place coated chicken on prepared baking sheet. Repeat. Top with any remaining breadcrumb mixture and lightly spray tops with cooking spray.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until chicken in cooked thoroughly.

Adapted from All Recipes

pasta pizza pie

Pasta Pizza Pie

Pasta Pizza Pie combines two Italian favorites (and two of my favorites!) into a delicious pizza-inspired baked pasta.  First, you start by baking a pasta “crust.”  Then you spread your favorite pasta sauce over the crust and top it with your favorite toppings.  I used a 12-inch saute pan in lieu of a pizza pan, and it worked great!

Pasta Pizza Pie puts a fun twist on pizza and a fun twist on pasta,…and incidentally since it’s also a “pie,” this Pasta Pizza Pie is perfect for today, March 14th (3.14)…”Pi Day!”


Pasta Pizza Pie
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped*
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms (I used baby bellas)*
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced *
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup milk (I used skim)
  • 8 ounces (1/2 of a 1 pound box) rotini-shaped pasta, cooked and drained
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1½ cups of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Muir Glen Tomato Basil)
  • crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
  • * substitute with your favorite pizza toppings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 12-inch saute pan or pizza pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the last minute, add minced garlic and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir egg, milk, pasta and ½ cup cheese. Spread pasta mixture in prepared pizza pan. Bake this pasta crust for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove pasta crust from oven and spread sauce over crust. Top with onion-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Shake crushed red pepper flakes over cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Campbell’s Kitchen

Baked Balsamic Chicken | alidaskitchen.com

Baked Balsamic Chicken

Tracking Pixel

Baked Balsamic Chicken is wholesome, easy and delicious!  This dish can be customized to use whatever herbs you like (or have on hand) and is perfectly paired with Minute® Multi-Grain Medley! Thank you Minute® Rice for sponsoring this post.
 This Baked Balsamic Chicken recipe has been a family favorite for years. The recipe was created when Greta was first born over 3 years ago and has been a regular feature on the dinner rotation ever since. The marinade takes minutes to prepare and then is poured in a zip-top bag with the chicken.  Let that sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake.  Then you just pour the chicken and marinade in a baking dish and bake.  Simple!

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Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Every time I make Baked Tortellini with Spinach, I am left with 6 ounces of fontina cheese.  While I would happily make it 3 more times, I have also had this Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta dish on my list of things to make for some time now.   The first time I made this dish without mushrooms, and it was good, but I felt it needed something more.  It needed mushrooms.  Mushrooms are not typically my go-to for anything, but it really cried out for something earthy and meaty.  Sauteed in a little garlic, the mushrooms were the perfect addition to this dish.  I used some Parmesan cheese for some of the fontina in the original recipe to give the recipe a little more bite.  Topped with buttery, garlic breadcrumbs, Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta is a delicious and sophisticated twist on macaroni and cheese ~ perfect for company or Sunday dinner comfort food.

Looking to use up the leftover mascarpone cheese?  Try Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta
 
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells, uncooked (penne or other similar shaped pasta works too)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1¾ cups (6 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I use light butter)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine flour and milk in a large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook for about 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute mushrooms, with a pinch of salt, until softened (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add 1 clove of minced garlic in the last minute, if desired.
  5. Remove milk mixture from heat and add cheeses, whisking until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Add cooked pasta and mushrooms, stirring to coat and combine.
  7. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and pour pasta mixture into pan.
  8. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs, stirring to coat. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over pasta mixture.
  9. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Adapted from Cooking Light, November, 2006

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Pumpkin Banana Muffins put a Fall twist on banana bread with the perfect balance of pumpkin and banana. 
Pumpkin Banana Muffins | alidasktichen.com
Pumpkin Banana Muffins are a huge hit in our household. They are made with whole wheat flour, bumping the nutrition value.  The pumpkin and banana make for a moist muffin, so not a lot of oil is needed.  I typically make these as a combination of mini muffins (24) and standard muffins (3) and freeze half of the mini muffins.

So last week was Adam’s first day of preschool. I decided to make Pumpkin Banana Muffins as a special surprise after school. Pumpkin Banana Muffins are his favorite muffin of all time, so I knew they would be a hit.  He loved school and was welcomed home with his favorite treat.  It is safe to say, he had the best day!

Pumpkin Banana Muffins | alidasktichen.com

Pumpkin Banana Muffins
 
Yields: 30 mini-muffins (or 15-18 standard muffins)
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour/1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with baking spray and fill empty cups with water. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the bananas, pumpkin, oil, eggs and vanilla, until well-blended.
  4. Add banana mixture to flour mixture, gently folding until combined.
  5. Divide mixture evenly among prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes for mini muffins / 13 to 15 minutes for standard muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

ETA 10/19/12:  I have made these several times since posting and have experimented with different flours, since white whole wheat flour isn’t an ingredient I always have on hand.  All whole wheat pastry flour works really well, and the recipe has been updated below accordingly.

Pumpkin Banana Muffins {alidaskitchen.com}

Source: Pumpkin Banana Bread

healthy buttermilk oatmeal peach muffins

Oat Peach Muffins

One of the first cookbooks I purchased was the Better Crocker’s New Choices Cookbook.  I have found several wonderful recipes in that book, including these Oat Peach Muffins.  These muffins are one of my very favorites from the book, and it’s nice knowing they’re made on the healthier side.

What really makes these muffins amazing is the molasses.  Molasses adds such a delicious character to the muffins and really goes well with the peaches and cinnamon.  The oats give a hearty texture, while the buttermilk yields a moist crumb.  These muffins are a great way to put to use all of those fresh peaches this time of year.   I do often use frozen peaches though, so we can enjoy these muffins all year long.

Oat Peach Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup chopped peaches (thawed if frozen)
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray (or line with paper liners).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk. Add brown sugar, oil, molasses, vanilla and egg, whisking until blended.
  4. Fold in flour mixture with buttermilk mixture until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold in peaches.
  5. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s New Choices Cookbook

healthy baked buffalo chicken breast tenders

Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders

Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders are made with simple pantry ingredients, and because they are so delicious and easy, they have become a fixture in our dinner rotation.  The seasoned flour gives an interesting boost of flavor to these otherwise basic baked chicken tenders.  It also is a nice complement to the hot and spicy buffalo sauce.  While either buttermilk or egg whites work great for moistening the chicken before breading, I tend to prefer the tang from the buttermilk.  The buffalo sauce makes a modest amount to contribute the spicy  buffalo flavor without excess, thus making it a bit lighter.  The result is a spicy buffalo baked chicken dish that is as delicious as it is easy.  The recipe also halves easily, making a simple dinner for 2.  I enjoy my buffalo chicken plain, but it is also delicious served with your favorite side of blue cheese dressing for dipping.

Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk OR 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound chicken tenders OR boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
  • Cooking spray
  • ½ cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place a wire rack on rimmed baking sheet (optional). Set aside.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder and salt.
  3. Put buttermilk (or egg whites) and breadcrumbs, each in separate shallow bowls.
  4. Working with one tender at a time, dredge chicken in flour mixture, then dip in buttermilk and then toss with bread crumbs, making sure chicken is coated, and then place on prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining tenders.
  5. Spray tops of chicken with olive oil cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk the hot sauce and butter until combined. Once chicken is done, remove from oven and drizzle with hot sauce mixture, making sure to flip to get both sides.. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Food.com

healthy lighter chicken parmesan

Light Chicken Parmesan

This Light Chicken Parmesan is a delicious and healthy spin on a classic favorite.  There are a few tricks that helped with the lightening up of this dish.  Baking the chicken results in moist meat without having to use any extra fat.  By breading only one side of the chicken, you get the benefit of the delicious breadcrumb/cheese mixture without the excess.  Using part-skim mozzarella cheese helps keep the fat and calories down without sacrificing taste.

The sauce can easily be substituted with your favorite marinara (use jarred for a time saver) – simply skip to step 5.  We enjoyed Light Chicken Parmesan with a mixed green side salad for a light, healthy dinner.  Spaghetti tossed a little olive oil, herbs and red pepper flakes would also be a delicious accompaniment to this dish.

Light Chicken Parmesan
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, adjust to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 slices whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 to 6 ounces each)
  • ¾ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (3 ounces)
Instructions
  1. Make Sauce: Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring frequently, until tender (about 8 minutes). Add garlic, pepper flakes, and Italian herb seasoning. Cook, stirring frequently for 2 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Uncover and reduce heat to medium low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and flavors combine (about 30 minutes).
  3. Add vinegar and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until slightly cooled.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blender, or food processor, puree sauce until smooth.
  5. Make Chicken: Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in upper third. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  6. In a food processor, combine bread, Parmesan, oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until mixture becomes coarse crumbs; transfer to a shallow bowl.
  7. Place flour in a separate shallow bowl, season with salt and pepper. Place egg white in a third shallow bowl, and beat with fork until frothy.
  8. Dip top side of chicken breast in flour, shaking off excess. Dip same side in egg white, letting excess drip off. Then dip in breadcrumbs, pressing to adhere. Place on prepared baking sheet, breaded side up (Note: you only bread one side). Repeat with remaining chicken.
  9. Bake until breadcrumbs are browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with mozzarella. Continue baking until chicken is cooked through and cheese is melted and slightly browned, about 2 to 4 minutes.
  10. Serve chicken with a generous amount of sauce.

Light Chicken Parmesan

Source:  Chicken from Everyday Food Light; Sauce adapted slightly from Clean Eating, March, 2012

chipotle macaroni and cheese

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese is a delicious, cheesy, veggie-filled baked pasta with a Mexican twist.  It is made with three different cheeses (yum!) and lots of vegetables (yum!).  The chipotle chiles add a nice smokiness and spice which, along with the chili powder, balance nicely with the tomatoes and cheeses.  Black beans give a protein and fiber boost while adding a nice color contrast to the rest of the dish.  A traditional breadcrumb topping is sprinkled over the top before baking.

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese is very easy to prepare and the result is no ordinary mac ‘n cheese, that’s for sure. This recipe makes plenty, and the leftovers heat up nicely for lunches the next day.

Chipotle Macaroni and Cheese
 
Yields: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups dry whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other short pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 (14½ ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, including juices
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (from can of chipotle chiles)
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting fat and salt.
  2. In a large pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chiles, onion, and bell pepper, and cook 4 minutes, or until onion is tender. Add garlic and cook 1 minute, or until garlic is fragrant, stirring frequently.
  3. Sprinkle with flour and chili powder, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes. Cook for 3 minutes, or until mixture is thickened.
  5. Add adobo sauce, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, milk, Parmesan and egg, stirring until combined and cheese is melted. Add cooked pasta and black beans, stirring until combined.
  6. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with bread crumbs. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Adapted from Cooking Light

smoked gouda baked pasta with broccoli

Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli

I recently made an old favorite frittata recipe using smoked Gouda cheese.  The good thing about smoked Gouda is that it is so flavorful, a little goes a long way.  That also means that whenever I purchase a block for a specific recipe, there is usually some leftover.  Not a bad problem to have, that’s for sure.  This time I decided to put it to use with a fun twist on a classic ~ Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli.  Who doesn’t love fancy, new versions of macaroni and cheese!

The first time I made macaroni and cheese with smoked Gouda, it was really tasty, but there was something missing.  The smoked Gouda wasn’t as pronunced as I had hoped.  So after experimenting with some seasoning, I found a little paprika was the key.  It really brought out the smoked Gouda flavor.  The broccoli was also a nice addition to this dish, giving a nutrition boost while adding some texture and color.  One can never have too many mac ‘n cheese recipes, and this version is definitely a keeper!

Smoked Gouda Baked Pasta with Broccoli
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces short pasta (such as elbows, penne, rotini)
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) smoked Gouda cheese, shredded
  • ⅓ cup (about 1½ ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 12 ounces frozen broccoli florets, thawed and lightly chopped
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted (about 1 minute).
  4. Gradually add milk, paprika, mustard, salt and pepper, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, and then cook until thickened (about 2 to 3 minutes).
  5. Add cheeses to milk mixture, stirring until melted and then remove from heat.
  6. Add broccoli and cooked pasta to the cheese sauce, stirring until well-blended.
  7. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  8. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until bubbly.

Adapted from Cooking Light

baked cayenne-rubbed chicken with avocado salsa

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa is one of those dishes that combines very simple ingredients to make something versatile, classic and delicious.  The spice rub is an easy way to add flavor to the chicken without any added fat or calories, keeping things nice and light.

The avocado salsa topping is also a combination of simple, fresh ingredients.  The creamy avocado cools the spicy chicken, and the red onion complements everything quite nicely.  While delicious as-is, I can also envision adding some black beans or corn to the salsa or served as a simple side.

The chicken can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake, and the recipe halves easily to serve dinner for two.

 

Baked Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa
 
Yields: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt, plus additional for salsa
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper, plus additional for salsa
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (4 to 6 ounces each)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided (approximately from 1 lime)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (adjust amounts to taste preference). Rub all over chicken and place in prepared baking dish.
  3. Squeeze 2 tablespoons of lime juice over chicken. Bake uncovered for approxmiately 30 minutes, or chicken is cooked thoroughly.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the salsa. Put red onion and remaining lime juice in a medium bowl and let sit. Just before serving, mix in avocado and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve salsa over chicken.

Adapted from Everyday Food Light

Four Cheese Lasagna

Four Cheese Lasagna

If we were ranking dinner favorites in our household, this Four Cheese Lasagna would be #1 without question.  There is cheese, cheese, cheese and more cheese.  And if you’re so inclined, the potential for even more cheese.  Yes.  Yum.  Amazing.  In fact, I had an entirely different recipe planned to share with you today, but……I decided it would be wrong of me to keep this from you any longer. It is so good!

I made very few changes from the original recipe, because frankly it’s darn near perfect.  A few items of note:  I have used light butter and regular butter – either one works fine.  I always use skim milk and low fat ricotta cheese, yielding fabulous results.  I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make it vegetarian.    The first time I made this, I added gorgonzola, the optional fifth cheese, and prefer it without.  It adds an interesting dimension to the dish, but I realized I’m not really a gorgonzola fan.

There is a little extra time involved in making this lasagna, but every second is worth it.  This lasagna can be served as an elegant dinner for company or as an incredible treat for a lazy Sunday, and the leftovers heat up perfectly!

Four Cheese Lasagna
 
Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 1½ cups)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated finely (about 1 cup), divided
  • 15 ounces low fat ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, plus 2 teaspoons for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2½ cups skim milk
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 15 no-boil noodles
  • 8 ounces fontina cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (about ¾ cup) (optional, see note)
Instructions
  1. In a large glass bowl, place Gruyere and ½ cup Parmesan cheese.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, egg, black pepper and parsley. Set both bowls aside.
  3. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat until it begins to foam. Add shallots and garlic, stirring frequently until soft (about 2 minutes). Stir in flour until thoroughly combined, about 1½ minutes (mixture should not brown). Gradually whisk in milk and broth; increase heat to high, cover and bring to a full boil, whisking frequently. Add salt, cayenne and bay leaf, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until sauce thickens (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and discard bay leaf. Gradually whisk in ¼ cup sauce into ricotta mixture. Pour remaining sauce over Gruyere mixture and stir until smooth; set aside while softening noodles.
  5. Adjust oven rack to upper middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place noodles in a 13-by-9 inch baking dish and cover with very hot tap water; soak 10 minutes, agitating noodles occasionally to prevent sticking. Remove noodles from dish and place in a single layer on kitchen towels and pat dry. Wipe out baking dish and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  6. Pour ½ cup sauce in the bottom of baking dish. Place 3 noodles in a single layer over sauce. Spread ½ cup ricotta mixture over noodles and sprinkle evenly with ½ cup fontina. Drizzle ½ cup sauce over cheese. Repeat layering of noodles, ricotta, fontina and sauce 3 more times. Place final 3 noodles over the top and cover with remaining sauce, spreading with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle evenly with remaining ½ cup Parmesan cheese.
  7. Spray large sheet of foil with cooking spray and cover lasagna; bake until edges are bubbling, about 25-30 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Remove foil and turn the oven to broil. * Broil until surface turns spotty brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining parsley, cut into pieces and serve.
Notes
* If your dish is not safe under the broiler, turn oven up to 500 degrees and cook for 10 minutes, or until spotty brown on top.

Note: If you want to include gorgonzola cheese, sprinkle it on top of the fontina on each layer.

Source: America’s Test Kitchen

 

chocolate malt muffins

Chocolate Malt Muffins

I had a lot of leftover malt powder after making Triple Chocolate Malted Cookies.  While I’m sure Mike would love if I used it up making several batches of his favorite cookie, I had other ideas.  One of them, of course, being muffins!  These muffins were a fun change from our usual breakfast.  The malt flavor was not overwhelming, and the chocolate chips gave a little extra interest.  A little chocolate for breakfast can’t be a bad thing, right?  Definitely not if that means enjoying these muffins!

Chocolate Malt Muffins
 
Yields: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chocolate malt powder (plus 2 teaspoons for topping)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (plus 2 teaspoons for topping)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffins tin (line cups or spray with cooking spray). In a small bowl, mix 2 teaspoons malt powder and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, malt powder, sugar and baking powder until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix the oil, buttermilk, egg and vanilla.
  4. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and fold gently until just combined; gently fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Divide batter evenly among 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with malt powder/sugar mixture.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from weewelcome

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Zucchini Bread

Childhood summers, playing in the vegetable garden, my 3rd birthday “cake”, that’s what this zucchini bread tastes like. 

Throughout my childhood, my parents had a vegetable garden.  I remember they grew cucumbers, green beans, various other vegetables, and of course zucchini.  Zucchini plants are the gift that keeps on giving.  Even better, lots of zucchini meant lots of delicious zucchini bread!

My mom said she got this recipe from an old relative of my dad’s.  Isn’t that the way it is…the greatest recipes are the old tried and trues?  Classic zucchini bread…one of the best simple pleasures.

Zucchini Bread
Yields 4 small loaves

3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup canola oil
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (with peel)
3 cups flour (I used 1 1/2 cups all-purpose and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray 4 small loaf pans with cooking spray (or grease/flour).  Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Sift dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla until creamy.  Add zucchini and stir until combined.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients in with the wet ingredients until combined (do not over mix).
  5. Evenly distribute batter among 4 small loaf pans and bake for 60-70 minutes.  Let cool in pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.