Chicken enchiladas

Healthy-style with non-fat plain Greek yogurt, whole-wheat tortillas, and salsa verde!

Ok, I’ll admit that I’m skeptical of any “low-fat” or “low-calorie” recipe, but this one sounded especially good, so I gave it a shot. It delivers on taste and health, no doubt!

I modified this recipe slightly from the Weight Watchers Chicken Enchiladas recipe in the “Five-ingredient, 15-minute recipes” edition, dated 3/24/17.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 8 (6-inch) whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 4 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (I used both breasts and one leg)
  • 1 single-serving container non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 oz. (about 1 cup or half an 8 oz. brick) shredded Colby-Jack cheese (or Monterrey Jack)
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar tomatillo salsa (the original recipe calls for salsa verde, but I couldn’t find anything by that exact name). I used this one that I found at the grocery store:

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  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Here’s how to do it:

  • Preheat your broiler
  • Pull both breasts and a leg off of a rotisserie chicken, removing the skin
  • Shred the chicken with two forks, using the forks to pull the chicken in opposite directions
  • Cut an 8 oz. brick of Colby-Jack cheese in half and grate one half

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  • In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, the yogurt, 1/2 of the grated cheese, 1/4 of the jar of salsa, and 1/2 of the cilantro
  • Heat in the microwave for 2 minutes, then stir
  • Heat tortillas by stacking them, placing a damp paper towel between the tortillas as you go, then microwaving the stack for 45 seconds
  • Spray a 9X13 pan will cooking spray, then pour 2/3 of the remaining salsa in the bottom of the pan
  • One by one, fill each tortilla with a heaping spoonful of chicken mix (I used a large metal serving spoon), roll the tortilla around the mix and place the roll, seam-side down, in the pan
  • Top rolls with remaining salsa and cheese
  • Broil on high until the cheese melts and has a little crust on it. I broiled for about 4 minutes.
  • Top with remaining cilantro and enjoy!

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Lettuce-wrapped leftovers

A healthy way to serve leftovers – yes please! These lettuce wraps are the perfect solution to getting rid of those leftovers that you don’t want to throw away, but aren’t enough to make a meal of… And, I bought the perfectly-trimmed and washed lettuce right from the grocery store. You can’t miss ’em – they call them “Lettuce Wraps.” You’ll want a leafier, less-rigid lettuce – romaine isn’t ideal for wrapping.

I used some leftover Tilapia and some leftover chicken thighs for these. I just cut both up into bite-size pieces and heated them up a little. I also cut carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, and onions into matchstick-size pieces. That’s what I used, because that’s what I had on hand, but you can build your wraps with whatever you have in the fridge. Leftover steak, tuna fish, or rotisserie chicken would also be really good!

To add tons of flavor, I also created a salsa with some leftover corn, about half a jalapeno, a handful of grape tomatoes, finely diced dill pickle, and a little fresh parsley – yep, all leftovers! A spicy sauce to top it off was yummy – mix these together:

  • 2 Tbsp of store-bought sesame-garlic sauce
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 Tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar

I put all of the components on a pretty platter and sat at the kitchen island with my hubby while we ate with our hands – perfection!

 

My hubby is a thigh guy… chicken thighs, that is.

I know white meat chicken is healthier.
That’s why it’s not as yummy.

To me, chicken thighs are the perfect meat – juicy and tender, but still fairly healthy, especially when the fat is trimmed off. I always give chicken thighs a VERY good trim. I just use my knife to take off any large chunks of fat – both on the top and underside of each piece of meat – before I cook it.

Thighs are also easier for a weeknight dinner because they’re smaller cuts of meat than the breast, and take much less time to cook through. I make them at least every couple of weeks.

Here’s what I do:

  • Trim the fat from the top and bottom of each thigh, and cut off any stringy veins on the underside (I don’t like to think about it either, but it’s better than eating them)
  • Heat a large skillet on the stove top for about a minute on medium high (about a 7 out of 10)
  • Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pan, and let that heat for about a minute
  • Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika, rosemary, and oregano on the top of each thigh
  • Use a fork to place each thigh in the pan, top side down to get a nice sear on those spices
  • Let cook for 4-5 minutes, then check for a nice brown color; if you don’t have a nice sear yet, leave them go for another minute, then check again

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  • Flip over and let cook for another 5 minutes or so, until you get a nice sear on the bottom (If your pan is getting really dry and you feel like the pan is too hot, turn the heat to medium. You can also add a 1/4 cup or so of water.)

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  • Cut a thigh open at the thickest point to make sure it’s done – it should be at this point because these cook quickly. If you see any shine or pink in the middle, leave on a couple minutes longer (You can also put a lid on the pan to speed cooking.)
  • Remember that dark meat looks different from chicken breast – you just don’t want to see any parts that look raw

Pull out of the pan and serve with you favorite side dish – I like to use leftover potatoes, roasted veggies, or 90-second microwaveable rice, plus a green salad.

Rotisserie chicken, 3 ways

Do yourself a favor… Let your grocery store do the work!

The rotisserie chicken is the best thing your grocery store does for you. Take advantage of it. I bought one today from my local big box store when I was stocking up on toilet paper and drinks. I used every speck of meat and it went a VERY long way to getting me through the cooking week.

Here are the “recipes”:

Chopped salad:
Makes two large salads; amounts are estimated because there’s no need to measure this; throw caution to the wind – pile up what you like and leave out what you don’t.

  • One rotisserie chicken breast, cut up into cubes
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 15 or so grape tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed (microwave for 20 seconds or so)
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 avocado, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cucumber, roughly peeled and cut into thick disks, then quartered
  • 1 apple, cut into cubes (whatever variety you have on hand is fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 2 Tbsp blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup kidney beans (which I forgot… grrr…)
  • One heart of romaine lettuce, cut into easy-to-eat salad size pieces ( I slice lengthwise down the middle, turn 1/4 of the way, slice lengthwise down the middle again, then cut 1/2 inch horizontal sections from the tip to the bottom.)

Lay lettuce in the bottom of a large shallow bowl, then put little piles of each of the other ingredients on top of the lettuce. Arrange them any way you want, but it’s pretty when you put ingredients of different colors next to each other.

Dress your salad with whatever dressing you like best. I used a homemade lemon dill vinaigrette. Here’s the recipe:

Vinaigrette:

Put the following ingredients into a small glass jar (with a lid for shaking up) or in a small bowl (for mixing together with a fork):

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (If you don’t have fresh, use the squeezey one like I did – it’s fine!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill (if you have fresh, use a little more because dried is more potent)
  • 1 /4 tsp black pepper (or more if you prefer)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, grated (your lemon zester works great for this!

Shake or mix, then pour!

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Chicken salad:

I will get three sandwiches out of this recipe for my hubby’s lunches through the week!

  • 2 rotisserie chicken legs, cubed (sub with breast meat if you prefer)
  • 2 rotisserie chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1 apple, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)

Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Take a bite for a taste test. Add a little more of whatever you think it needs, based on your family’s tastes. Then, put in the fridge to chill.

After a few hours, pull out the salad then add:

  • 1 Tbsp more of mayo
  • 1 small squirt more of yellow mustard

This helps, as the chicken and apples absorb the condiments and dry out a bit as they chill.

Serving suggestions:

  • Scale the recipe up (multiply each ingredient by 2), then add to a pretty dish, top with parsley, and serve on croissants with a salad for a yummy girls’ lunch.
  • Put it on a soft roll or in a wrap with lettuce and tomato.
  • Serve on a bed of greens.
  • Also mix in dried cranberries or chopped pistachios if you like. They add beautiful color and are great compliments. I didn’t add nuts because I’m going to store this in the fridge, and they will soften. However, if you’re serving right away, the nuts would be amazing!

 

Chicken fajita skillet:

The easiest of the easy and delish by itself, served over rice, as a wrap, in a quesadilla with taco cheese, or a million other ways!

  • 1 rotisserie chicken breast (mine was a large chicken, so you may need more)
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 1/2 large red pepper
  • 1/2 large green pepper
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp taco seasoning (to your taste buds’ wishes)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp or so water

Heat a skillet on the stove top for a minute, then add 1 Tbsp olive oil (heat about a 7 out of 10). Let that warm for a minute. Add sliced peppers and onions to the hot skillet. Reduce heat to medium and let the vegetables soften 7-10 minutes (should lose most of their crispiness, but a little is good). While that cooks, pull the chicken into strips with your clean hands. Add to skillet when vegetables are softened . Add taco seasoning, and a few tablespoons of water, then stir all the ingredients together.

Serve it up on rice or pasta, as a wrap or quesadilla, or just by itself!

*Hint – You can use the mild or medium taco seasoning in a packet, but I didn’t have any, so I made my own. You can find lots of easy recipes for it on Pinterest.

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And never, I mean don’t EVER, forget to “drop” a few pieces of chicken along with way for your loyal sous chef!

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Weird Chicken and rainbows: They’re what’s for dinner!

Weird Chicken is one of my favorite dishes. I’ve been making it for years and have served it to many. It’s always a hit. I found the recipe in a fundraising cookbook put out by a company I used to work for. A woman I worked with contributed the recipe – thanks Nancy! And, paired with these rainbow veggies, it’s a complete and delicious meal.

Promise me you won’t be afraid of the prunes or olives. Baked prunes are tastier than raw prunes and, while I don’t like olives, I like the flavor they lend to the marinade and just eat around them.

Tips:

  • I use 3 chicken breasts in a 9X6 glass baking pan. This allows the marinade to cover the chicken almost completely. Not only does this help the chicken marinate better, but it also keeps it juicy while cooking, and reduces cooking time – the chicken boils in the marinade while it also bakes.
  • If you need to cook more chicken and use a bigger pan, double the marinade for best results.
  • I think chicken tastes better sliced thin. If cooking for a crowd, I like to slice all the chicken, place it on a platter, then spoon the marinade, prunes, and olives over the top to serve.
  • Try the prunes and chicken together. It’s definitely “weird” but it’s also delicious.

Weird Chicken:

  • Place chicken breasts in a baking dish.
  • Add
    • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    • 2 tablespoons oregano
    • 1/2 cup green olives
    • 1 cup prunes
    • 3/4 cup white wine
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/4 olive oil
    • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Cover the dish and marinate in the fridge, at least overnight. 24 hours is better.
  • Pull out the dish and uncover to allow it to come to room temperature while the oven preheats – it just helps it get up to temp a little better in the oven (Optional – add 1/4 cup more brown sugar on top before baking, but I think the dish is amazing without the extra sugar).
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • When preheated, place the dish in the oven (uncovered) and bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

(Before and after)

  • Test the chicken for doneness
    • Cut into the thickest part of the biggest chicken breast. The chicken should be white. You should not see any pink, and the meat should not look shiny at all. This is what you’re looking for:
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      If this is not what you see, put the pan back in the oven for 5 more minutes, then test again.

Rainbow Roasted Veggies:

To a 9×12 baking dish, add:

  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled, halved, then quartered (8 pieces)
  • 1 lb. brussel sprouts (a little either way is totally fine)
  • 20 or so grape tomatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped, fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh rosemary
    ( use dried herbs if that’s what you have, just use less – it’s FINE!)
  • Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes
  • Uncover and cook for 20 minutes more
  • Test for doneness
    • Stick a sharp knife into several veggie pieces. If it goes into each piece easily, with little to no resistance, your veggies are done. If not, put the dish back in the oven for 5 more minutes, then retest.

Enjoy! May your chicken always be weird, and may you always eat rainbows!