Saturday, April 24, 2010

Welcome Spring!

Say hello to spring with this easy grilled chicken recipe. The earthy green of the avocado and bright red tomato make a beautiful and delicious salsa and is definitely the star of the dish. Cooking Light suggested to serve this with saffron rice...well good luck finding such an exotic flavor in the minute-rice section! And I wasn't feeling ambitious enough to make my own that night so I just went with some easy Spanish Rice (one of those 5 minute Fiesta Sides) which was actually pretty tasty for how quick and easy it was.

The first night I had this I made everything pretty close to what the recipe called for and felt that it needed a little kick. The salsa was kind of oniony instead of spicy. So when I had the leftovers I chopped up a whole jalapeno (membranes and seeds removed) and threw it in with the second half of the salsa. It still wasn't very hot so I was kind of disappointed. The other thing I did the second time around to kick up the flavors was serve the chicken and salsa over some salty yellow corn tortilla chips. I really liked this addition because it gave the dish a crunchy texture which really helped because the avocados were pretty mushy a few days later.

Quick & Dirty

  • For the chicken I used dried cilantro instead of dealing with fresh cilantro that I'd end up throwing away most of a few days later
  • I pounded the chicken breasts a little so they'd cook faster on the grill
  • I also used bottled lime juice because unfortunately my lime went bad really fast :(
  • I tried adding some jalapeno to the salsa for a bit of a kick but I think I should've left some seeds in
  • The chicken came out pretty good, a bit of a crispy skin but moist on the inside
  • Mixing the chicken, salsa, and some crunchy chips together in one bite was the best way to eat it
  • Once in a while mix in a little spicy Spanish rice and it was a pretty good dish overall
  • The salsa needed more flavor...and I wonder if you actually marinaded the chicken for longer than 3 minutes if it would have had more flavor as well
  • I couldn't get my chicken to get real pretty grill marks like in their picture...I always just seem to brown the entire side and it makes it hard to eat
  • I was kind of hoping this would compare to Applebee's Fiesta Lime Chicken because that is definitely a favorite of mine but it didn't even come close

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bugs Bunny's Dessert

What's up Doc? A carrot a day keeps the doctor away, you say? Well I don't think Bugs is the only one who'd like to eat this dish every day. I made this for a side dish to go along with the turkey rolls but it doubled as dessert as well. So much more do I need to say?

The color and texture will remind you of sweet potatoes but surprise surprise, it's carrots! There's so much sweetness added that there's not a lot of carrot taste left, so this is perfect for those picky eaters who insist they don't want to eat their veggies. It does take a while to bake in the oven so make sure to plan ahead so it comes out hot and ready when everything else is ready to go.

I'm pretty sure Bugs was talking about this dish when he said "Carrots are devine... You get a dozen for a dime, It's maaaa-gic!"

Quick & Dirty

  • I cut the recipe in half because I didn't think I needed 8 servings of it...but I probably could've made the whole thing because Cooking Light's definition of a serving is a little different than mine
  • Used regular sour cream...another thing I'm not a fan of fat-free
  • Next time I might try putting the servings into individual souffle dishes
  • Creamy
  • Sweet
  • Nutritious!
  • That I didn't make the entire 8 servings because leftovers were just as delicious!
  • Some people may think it's a little too sweet...especially as a side dish.  Personally I could eat this for the main course, side dish and dessert!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turkey Dinner all rolled up!

The weekend before Easter I was craving a full turkey dinner for some reason. We normally have ham for Easter so I knew if I wanted to fulfill this craving I'd have whip it up myself. I've never made a whole turkey before...actually I've never done much with turkey myself other than some delicious sandwiches. I looked to see what I had marked for turkey recipes in my Cooking Light magazines and apparently this is the only one that had piqued my interest. It actually turned out to be the perfect thing for a whole turkey dinner for one. I think the only thing missing was the mashed potatoes!

Whenever anyone cooks with turkey on TV everyone is always worried about how dry it's going to be, so I didn't go into this one with real high expectations. I've also had back luck with "rolled up" or "stuffed" things in the past because I can usually only get a little bit of the stuff stuffed into the meat and that ends up being the best stuff...I mean part. I decided to give a shot anyway because it looked fairly easy and if it turned out to be pretty good it'd be a nice dish to add to the rotation because it'd be nice change from the usual pasta and chicken dishes. It took me forever to find anything resembling a "turkey cutlet" in my mega mart and I think I end up buying turkey tenderloins. Turns out these don't really pound to be really thin and then have something rolled up in them very well, but they worked. Wonder if I could find turky cutlets anywhere else in town. I've been settling with whatever ingredients I find at this store (it's literally just a couple blocks from my house and I've walked over there on numerous occassions) but I may have to venture farther in the grocery store world as I continue to further my food adventures!

The Quick & Dirty

  • Used turkey tenderloins instead of cutlets just because that's all I could find, cutlets probably would've worked better
  • Didn't use any dried sage...pretty much just forgot to buy any, probably would've helped spice up the stuffing mixture
  • Used regular chicken broth instead of the fat-free, less sodium stuff...this is one place where I don't think losing the few extra calories is worth the taste that's lost
  • The chicken actually came out pretty moist and not dry at all!  Some people suggested cooking the turkey in the chicken broth which probably wouldn't be a bad idea
  • I kept the extra stuffing that wouldn't fit in the turkey and just served it on the side which turned out to be a great plan
  • I made a few rolls and had the extras for dinner a few nights later and I think it was even better warmed up the second time around!  I kept the cranberry glaze in a separate dish and warmed that up again too and all the flavors seemed to be even stronger after sitting together in the fridge
  • The stuffing tasted pretty strongly of onion and not a lot of apple, but that's probably my own fault in not cutting back on all the ingredients in equal proportions when halving the recipe
  • I think the sage would've helped so next time I'll have to make sure and get some
  • The stupid roll up concept really wasn't necessary and seemed to add extra stress to the prep.  Next time I might just try making everything separately and piling it up together at the end