Southwest Chicken Melts

The past two weeks have been so super busy for me.  Besides my normal jam-packed weekends, work has been crazy, I have been ontop of my workout schedule, and I have been shopping like a maniac to get ready to move!  Who has time to make a great dinner when there’s a sale on duvet covers at Bed Bath?

Oh, and I should probably mention… that a lot of my free lunch-break time has been spent with my dear Kindle reading the second book of 50 Shades of Gray.  Talk about deeeeelish.

I wanted to share today’s recipe with you not only because it was really yummy, but because I’m probably going to make it again soon.  Yesterday marked the boyfriend Dave’s first day on a new diet.  He changed around some things and also wants to do LOW-NO CARBS for three weeks.  Ugh.  I think Chicken Melts will be our new theme for dinner.  (I was hoping for that to be stuffed potatoes, but clearly those will have to wait)

This recipe stood out to me and has been saved in “My Recipe” box for months because of the Roasted Poblanos… mmmmmmmmmmmm!

What was really special about this dinner is that my Dad helped me make it.  My dad has a few specialties… he makes a mean Grilled Cheese, Captain Crunch with Chocolate Milk, Sweet & Spicy Bacon, and really, really, really good Roasted Red Peppers.  While I’ve been meaning to learn how to do the Peppers for a while, I haven’t quite found the time yet, so when he was coerced offered to help me with the Poblanos, I was so excited.

Poblano Chiles ready to roast! Thanks Dad!

Southwest Chicken Melts

Recipe inspired by:  Sunset, 2010

Makes:  4 Servings

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons of Oil (I use Sunflower Seed Oil)

4 Poblano Chiles

4 Chicken Breasts (if you have the monster-huge ones, slice them in half)

2 teaspoons Cumin

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

Black Pepper

Lime Wedges

1 Avocado, pitted & sliced

1/2-1 Cup Shredded Cheese (I used Cabot Reduced Fat Jalapeno Cheddar)

Directions:

1.  Put your oven on the broil setting.  Prepare a broiler pan with water.  Rub 1 Tablespoon of oil on the chiles.  Place the Chiles on the broiler pan and put in the oven (dont forget to leave the door open on broil!).  Keep your eye on the peppers, as you’ll need to turn the chiles 90 degrees (with tongs) once the skin ontop has browned.  Repeat until all sides are dark brown or charred.  

2.  Take the “burnt” chiles and plop them right into a brown paper bag.  Either place the bag in a plastic bag to avoid leakage or use a brown paper grocery bag wrapped in a plastic bag (we save ours when we go shopping!).  Close the paper bag and allow the chiles to steam for 10-20 minutes and let cool.  Leave the broiler on, you’ll use it later.

3.  Meanwhile, you can rub or spray 1 a little bit of oil over the chicken breasts.  Combine the seasonings (cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper) and sprinkle over the chicken breasts.  Grill the chicken or use a grill pan and cook, turning once until browned and cooked through (maybe 5 minutes each side if they’re thin sliced).  

4.  Take the cooled chiles and peel off the skin running under cold water if need be.  Slice off the top.  Slice in half and remove seeds to lower the heat, leave them in to keep it hot.

5.  Squeeze some lime over the chicken, top with avocado slices, a reserved roasted poblano, and a sprinkle to a 1/4 cup of cheese.  Put the assembled chicken breasts onto the broiler pan and broil for maybe 3 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and just brown.  Enjoy!

Shred your own cheese! A nice cheddar or jack cheese would do here. I had a block of reduced fat and like to go a little healthier whenever possible.

I used some extra avocado since only 2 of us wanted it and it was just too good to waste!

TaDa!!

 

MMM… getting hungry today thinking about this one!  We ate the melts with a side salad, but you could do black beans, rice, or even put it on a nice crusty roll if you’re not trying to Low-Carb like Dave!

Another variation would be to buy a jar of roasted red peppers which will cut down on the time it takes to make these and also would cut down on the heat.

 

TexMex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Did you vote?  I did!  After arriving at 7:10 and waiting in a 30 min line, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t receive an “I Voted” sticker!  Boo!

 

Stelly says “I voted! Ruff Ruff!”

 

Typically,  recipe-post process includes about a week or sometimes two (or more… cough cough) in between the time that I make the recipe and the time I sit down to post it for you.  Today’s recipe is from TWO nights ago.  I don’t even remember the last time I did this.  I love it so much I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.

I’ve seen this recipe a few times traveling around the food blogger network and I’ve been itching to try it.  There are many different versions but the recipe I based mine off of was perfect for me, I didn’t need to get ONE thing from the grocery store.  I added a few personal touches and voila, here I had one damn delicious dinner just in time to watch the election coverage.

I’ll give you the original recipe size but let me tell you what I did… since I was the only person eating this dish, I only baked one sweet potato.  I cooked up the entire batch of filling and added some Organic Quinoa to it to use for other meals.  I also probably ate an entire serving’s worth of filling while “tasting” and snacking while the potato was baking.  Whoops!  It’s just that good.

TexMex Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Recipe adapted from:  Bev Cooks

Ingredients:

2 Sweet Potatoes

2 Tablespoons EVOO (I used Sunflower Seed Oil)

1/2 Sweet Onion, chopped

1 Tablespoon Garlic, minced

1 Jalapeno, chopped (seeded for less heat.  I used 1/2 can Jalapeno Wheels since I had some in the house)

1 can Corn, no salt added

1 Tablespoon Cumin

1 Tablespoon Chili Powder

1 bag fresh Baby Spinach

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed

Handful Mushrooms (I used 1 small can, again… we had it in the house)

1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

2 teaspoons or 1 heaping Tablespoon Fat Free Cream Cheese

1 cup (or less) Reduced Fat Cheddar or Mexican Blend Shredded Cheese

Parsley Flakes & Smoked Paprika for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Rinse Potatoes and pierce a few holes or slices in the top.  Pat dry and place on foil or a baking sheet in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes, checking at the 1 hour mark.  They will be cooked when it can be easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling. (I baked this the night before)
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet (med high).  Add the Onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the Peppers and Garlic, saute another 3 minutes or so.  Now, add the corn and saute for another 3 minutes.  Add the seasonings and stir.  Dump the spinach ontop and saute until it’s just cooked and wilted.  You may need to stir to get all of it cooking.  Season with the salt and pepper.  Remove from heat.
  4. Slice the potatoes in half by length and with a spoon, scoop out most of the potato.  (see the photo… mine came out totally uneven, one had too much removed and one not enough.  Don’t sweat it.)  Place the Potato in a large bowl, adding the Corn Mixture, Beans, Mushrooms, Yogurt, and Cream Cheese.  Stir to melt the cream cheese and combine.  Taste and add seasoning if necessary.
  5. Evenly spoon the filling back into the sweet potato boats and top with shredded cheese.
  6. Switch the oven to broil, slide the potatoes back in until the cheese is just lightly browned and bubbly.
  7. Garnish with a shake of Smoked Paprika and Parsley and serve immediately!

Note:  Use leftover topping with Quinoa, over Pasta, or just eat it plain… it was amazing.

So, the results were awesome.  I actually surprised myself.  I can’t believe how good this is.  Since i had eaten so much of the topping while I was cooking (lol) I was only hungry enough to finish one Sweet Potato boat (1/2 potato).  I cannot wait to have one today for lunch!!!!!

Onion, Garlic, Oil: saute it up!

Add your Seasoning and Peppers

Add Corn and Spinach…

Once it’s all cooked, add it to another bowl along with the Sweet Potato, Mushrooms, and Beans.

See, they’re totally ugly and uneven (dont worry if yours end up this way!)

Stuffed, Cheesed, and ready for the oven

Here’s where the whole bowl of leftover topping went + a batch of Quinoa! YUM!

Warning:  Serious Food Porn ahead!  Proceed with caution!

Slice me up that sweet po!

Saved you a bite!!

Insta-Tater

I think I like this whole Stuffed Potato thing… I’m going to hunt down a few more recipes for the near future… it’s on.

Here are the one’s I’ve tried:

Breakfast Stuffed Baked Potato

Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato

Salsa Chicken & Southwest Quinoa

After my “John the Dietitian” meeting last week, I was inspired to try something new.  I like to ask John for suggestions of meals and snacks, and he’s helped out so much with that.  John has me addicted to plain fat free greek yogurt or fat free cottage cheese… topped with berries and a tablespoon of Polaner All-Fruit jelly.  YUM.

This week, John recommended cooking a chicken breast in a skillet… smothered in salsa.  Um, WOW!  So good.  The salsa is like, zero calories and absolutely zero points for Weight Watchers.  It has fiber and hardly any sugar.  What a great idea.

Beth’s Salsa Chicken

Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Serves:  2 (1 WW point per oz of chicken)
Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken Breasts (i use 6-8oz)
  • Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Cayenne Pepper (if you dont’ want spicy try Paprika!)
  • 1 Jalapeno, seeded & sliced thin
  • 1/2 Onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Jar of your Favorite Salsa (15 oz)
Directions:
  1. Marinate the chicken in the salsa for as long as you can.  
  2. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray.  Heat to medium-high temperature.  Take the chicken out of the salsa.  Reserve salsa.  Place the chicken on the hot pan and season the top.
  3. Place the onion and jalapeno ontop of the chicken.  Let the chicken cook for about 5 minutes (or longer, depending on thickness) without touching it.  Now, carefully flip the chicken to make the onion and pepper side-down.
  4. Let it cook for another 5 minutes, flip again, then dump the salsa ontop.  Cook until the chicken is done (reaches 165 degrees inside).  Serve and enjoy!

My chicken grilling with some seasoning!

How pretty!

Oh… and by the way… I’ve fallen in love.

I’ve fallen in love quinoa (keen-wah… in case you’ve always wondered) !  I know I’m a little late to the Quinoa Party… but seriously.  WOW.  This wasn’t the first time I’ve enjoyed it or tried it, but the first time I’ve made it myself.  I had always been a little intimidated and I don’t know why… doesn’t get much easier than that!

I made this “Southwest” Quinoa to go along with my Salsa Chicken.  I totally wished I had fresh Cilantro to really complete the southwest feel… but I didn’t.  Oh well!  It was still so good!

Southwest Quinoa

Serves:  4-6 (4 Points per Serving if you do 6)
Recipe by:  It’s Good to be the Cook
Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 Cups Water (or chicken broth… I just didn’t have it)
  • 1/2 Can Corn
  • 1/2 Can Black Beans, rinsed
  • 2 Jalapenos, seeded and minced
  • 1 Tomato, cored and chopped
  • 1 Cup Onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
Directions:
  1. Cook Quinoa according to the package directions:  Combine Quinoa and Liquid in a LARGE pot (it will almost triple in size!).  Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower temperature to LOW, then cover.  Simmer for 15 minutes covered.
  2. Fluff with a fork when it’s done and take off of the heat.  Make sure all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Add all of the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Serve!

    The uncooked quinoa floats ontop of the water before it boils. Just stir it in and get it goin before you turn the heat all the way down.

    Everything that’s going into the Quinoa

    Finished product

I loved this and it went perfectly with the salsa chicken.  It was fresh and spicy and delish.  Try Quinoa ASAP… it is awesome and so healthy!

YUM!