July 31, 2015

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Honey Orange Sauce over Cilantro-Lime Rice

Ohhhh this chicken. This delicious, delicious chicken. This is one of those meals that you can't get enough of and probably need to make at least two times in one week. There is so much flavor going on with the yummy coconut-crusted chicken and spicy honey orange sauce over the cilantro lime rice. Talk about a tropical experience!
I'm drooling just thinking about it and I seriously want some this very minute. This meal is perfect for summer and much easier to whip up than you would think!

Crispy Coconut Chicken with Honey Orange Sauce over Cilantro-Lime Rice
1 and 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1-3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 large eggs
2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Pound chicken breasts and cut into strips.
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
3. Mix the coconut with the panko in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a second medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and pepper together. In a third bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
4. Coat each chicken strip in flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip in egg and let any excess drip off. Then generously roll in the coconut mixture, shaking off any excess. Add more panko to the dish if you are running low.
5. Fry 4-6 chicken strips at a time in the oil only about 2 minutes per side until the crust is golden brown. Once each is done, place strips onto prepared baking pan.
6. Bake for 6-10 minutes or until chicken is completely baked through.
7. Serve chicken over cilantro-lime rice and drizzle with the honey orange sauce. (see below)

Honey Orange Sauce
1/2 cup orange preserves or marmalade
1/4 cup honey
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
salt, to taste

1. Whisk all of the sauce ingredients together except for the salt. Taste and add salt as needed.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
Source: Iowa Girl Eats
2 cups water
1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup long grain white rice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 lime

1. Bring water, oil, and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Rinse rice in a strainer under cold water then add to the boiling water, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, and then simmer until rice is tender, about 15 minutes. Add lime juice and cilantro then stir to combine and set aside. (You can also do this in a rice cooker.)

July 29, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Nachos

This is my first time making oven nachos with something other than melted cheese and it definitely won't be my last! Talk about the easiest and tastiest dinner ever!
This recipe is a definite crowd pleaser and there are so many possibilities with oven nachos!
You could easily switch up the toppings to suit your style, but I think I put together one heck of a meal with the ones I chose.
You have a little spice with the enchilada sauce, the creaminess of the avocado, the necessity of the chicken and beans, the salt and tanginess of the feta and the freshness of the cilantro on top of a crunchy tortilla chip. Need I say more??

Chicken Enchilada Nachos
Adapted from Gimme Some Oven
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce, divided
10 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, freshly-grated
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained (about half of a 15-ounce can)
1/2 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1. Preheat your broiler.
2. Add chicken and 3/4 cup enchilada sauce together in a medium mixing bowl. Toss until the chicken is evenly coated. Set aside.
3. Spread the chips out evenly on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the cheddar cheese. Place the sheet in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is melted, about 1 minute.  (Watch the oven carefully so it doesn’t burn.)
4. Remove then top the chips evenly with the shredded chicken, avocado, black beans and black beans. Return the sheet to the broiler for another 30-60 seconds, just to heat the remaining ingredients, if desired.

5. Remove the sheet and sprinkle the chips evenly with the feta and chopped cilantro, then drizzle with the remaining 3/4 cup enchilada sauce. Serve warm.

July 15, 2015

Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Sandwich

I've only had/tried Huevos Rancheros once in my life and it was a complete fail. It mostly just turned into a runny, tasteless mess. But for some reason, Huevos Rancheros has always looked good to me so I was determined to make it again.

When I saw this recipe, I knew it would be a winner. It looked like it was no fuss and basically mouthwatering. I'm pleased to say it was a complete hit and such a fun, new take on the classic breakfast sandwich.
We'll definitely be making this again!

Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Sandwich
Slightly Adapted from Closet Cooking
To Make One Sandwich:
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
1 English muffin, lightly toasted
2 Tbsp. refried beans, warmed
2 Tbsp. guacamole (you can easily smash an avocado and season with lime juice and salt)
1 Tbsp. salsa ranchera*
feta or queso fresco

1. Fry egg as desired, season with salt and pepper to taste.
2. Spread the refried beans on one side of the English muffin, place egg on top followed by the salsa and guacamole. Top with cheese if desired and place the other half of the English muffin on top. 

*Salsa Ranchera
1 Tbsp. oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. cumin
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted is good)
1 handful cilantro (chopped)

1. Heat the oil in a pan.
2. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and cumin and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro.

5. Puree in a food processor if desired.

July 13, 2015

Baked Chicken Parmesan Bites over Pasta with Tomato-Cream Sauce

I came up with this meal by combining two different ideas after wanting a different take on Chicken Parmesan. And I think it worked really well!

These litte bites are pure heaven. Dipped in butter, breadcrumbs and then topped with cheese, you just can't go wrong.
I couldn't believe how good each bite was and how easy they are to make, too. 
There's just something about crispy cheese^^ that calls my name. And the tomato-cream sauce is delicious is a perfect addition!

Baked Chicken Parmesan Bites over Pasta with Tomato-Cream Sauce
Adapted from Simply Eats
1-2 large chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch wide pieces
1/2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
2 1/2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic salt
A large pinch of Italian seasoning
Dash of black pepper
1/4-1/3 cup of shredded mozzarella

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels. (Patting the chicken dry will help the chicken pieces breading crisp when baked.)
2. In a small bowl, stir the minced garlic into the melted butter. In another bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt, garlic salt, Italian seasoning and pepper. Piece by piece, dip the chicken pieces into the garlic melted butter and then dredge into the Parmesan breadcrumb mixture to coat.
3. Place coated chicken pieces on to a 9x13 (or larger) roasting dish. Try to leave a little room between each piece. Sprinkle mozzarella over the top of each chicken piece and bake uncovered 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Serve over pasta with tomato-cream sauce.

Pasta with Tomato-Cream Sauce
Soucre: Annies-Eats
8-12 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked according to box directions
1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes, liquid reserved
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup half-and-half

1. Add the tomatoes to a blender or food processor. Puree until smooth, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if necessary to smooth the mixture out.
2. Melt the butter in a large, deep skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook about 1 minute, until it begins to soften. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic and red pepper flakes and mix just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir in the tomato mixture, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook about 5-8 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the half-and-half. 

July 8, 2015

Easy Stovetop Shells and Cheese

I have always been a mac and cheese fanatic. From Kraft to Olive Garden, I feel like I've tried every mac and cheese under the sun. While this isn't technically "mac" and cheese, it still has that comfort food feel and pasta shells are just as fun to eat if not more.
The sauce is creamy, cheesy and mouthwatering.
It's perfect for toddlers, kids and adults and you'll definitely want to add it to your dinner rotation after you realize how easy it is to whip up.
Pictures don't lie, right?

Easy Stovetop Shells and Cheese
Adapted from Averie Cooks
Serves 4
8 oz. medium-sized pasta shells
1/4 cup unsalted butter
scant 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain, and set pasta.
2. To a large skillet, add the butter and heat over medium heat to melt.
3. Add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown and has bubbled for about 2 minutes.
4. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, making sure to smooth out any possible clumps that have formed.
5. Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder and whisk to incorporate.
6. Add the cheddar, parmesan and whisk until melted and smooth.
7. Add the pasta and stir to evenly coat. Serve immediately.

July 6, 2015

Perfect French Toast

I have always been a big french toast fan, but it took me years to realize that the most important component of french toast is the bread. You have to have good, thick, white bread or you're french toast will just be meh. 

My dad dropped off some sliced French bread from Costco at our house a couple of months ago and I really wanted to try a new french toast recipe. I had this one saved on Pinterest and knew it would be a keeper. And boy was I right!
This french toast has a delicious cinnamon cream flavor that will keep you going back for more. Top it with some butter, maple syrup and strawberries and you've got yourself an amazing meal!

Perfect French Toast
Slightly Adapted from Cooking Classy
8-12 slices thick white bread (I used sliced French bread from Costco)
4 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
maple syrup

1. Preheat a non-stick electric griddle to 375 degrees or a large frying pan over medium-heat.
2. To a blender add eggs, milk, cream, flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon and blend on low speed until well combined, about 5-10 seconds (don't overdue it or you'll just end up with a bunch of froth). Pour into a shallow dish (one big enough to dunk two slices at once.)
3. Spray griddle or pan with non-stick cooking spray or coat with butter. Working with 1-2 slices of bread at a time, dunk into egg mixture and allow enough time for it to soak into bread (soak time will vary based on type of bread used). Flip and rotate to opposite side and soak. Lift bread and allow a little of the excess egg mixture to run off and transfer to griddle. Repeat process with remaining bread slices.
4. Cook until bottoms are golden brown then flip and cook opposite side until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.