Foodie Friday {Caribbean Chicken Tacos}

I love tacos, but we tend to eat the traditional Mexican versions.

I ran across a recipe a few weeks ago that peaked my interest.  I decided to change it up a little and came up with the following.  Pretty darn good if I say so myself. 🙂

Very light and flavorful.  Perfect for a summertime dinner.

Caribbean Chicken Tacos Marinade | Pure & Simple

Start with a simple marinade.  My opinion?  The longer it marinates the better!

Caribbean Chicken Tacos | Pure & Simple

Use the juice from fancy chunks pineapple in the marinade.  Use the pineapples in the chicken mixture.

Caribbean Chicken Tacos Salsa Verde | Pure & Simple

Use salsa verde in the marinade and as a garnish on the tacos.  We tried the Trader Joes Salsa Verde ($1.99) version and liked it a lot!

Caribbean Chicken Tacos Grilled | Pure & Simple

Grill the chicken, onions, and pineapple to make the taco mixture!  Having a grill would make this a lot easier.  I had to make two batches on the cast iron grill skillet.

Caribbean Chicken Tacos Recipe | Pure & Simple

CARIBBEAN CHICKEN TACOS

  • 1 lb chicken breasts or tenders (thawed)
  • 1 TSP Cholula (Chili Garlic)
  • 1 TSP oil
  • 1 Lime, Juiced
  • 1/2 TSP cumin
  • 1/2 TSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP salsa verde
  • 1 TSP adobo sauce
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
    • Small container of fancy cut pineapples will work (juice only)
  • S&P
  1. Place all ingredients in resealable Ziploc bag.
  2. Marinate for 2-3 hours or while at work.

———————————————————–

  • Fancy cut pineapple chunks in juice (small container)
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  1. Heat grill or cast iron skillet.
  2. Grill chicken 3 minutes on each side or until done.
  3. Brush onion and pineapple with oil.
  4. Grill 3-5 minutes on each side.
  5. Remove from heat.  Coarsely chop chicken, pineapple, and onion together.

Serve with warmed corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, salsa verde, limes, and chopped lettuce.

We tried flour tortillas and I think corn would have been better suited, and I’m not a big fan of corn tortillas usually.  This flavor combo needs something other than flour.

NOTE: I added mushrooms to our dish.  It isn’t necessary, we just had it available. 🙂

What have you made recently?

Until next time…

love-Jennifer

Foodie Friday {Chicken Marsala}…

I love weeks where I sit in the office and get tons done.  This was not one of those weeks.  I sat in the office on Monday and accomplished a ton!  A ton is never enough in this business though.  I was out all day Tuesday running errands and networking with some of my favorite peeps.  I spent Wednesday at The Masters with Raymond.  Yesterday was spent lunching and networking, relaxing {minimal} and attending a workshop with my friend Amanda.

I cannot believe it is Friday!  The weekend is packed with appointments as well!  *breathe* 😉

Chicken Marsala Recipe | Pure & Simple

I made Chicken Marsala for the first time ever last week.  It was delish!

I used a McCormick Recipe Inspiration Spice Mix.  This was my first experience using these and for the price (on sale for $1) I thought it was worth it.

McCormick Recipe Inspirations | Chicken Marsala Recipe

There are 6 spice pockets/pouches and a recipe card on the back.  I changed the recipe some to make our dinner. 🙂

CHICKEN MARSALA W/McCORMICK RECIPE INSPIRATIONS

  • 3 chicken breasts, sliced in half
  • 4 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 of each spice pocket/pouch
  • S&P
  1. Mix flour, garlic, marjoram, onions, S&P in shallow dish
  2. Reserve 1 TBSP of flour mixture
  3. Coat chicken with remaining flour mixture
  • 1 TBSP butter + 1/2 TBSP (divided)
  • 1 TBSP oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup marsala wine, dry
  1. Heat butter and oil in large nonstick skillet on medium heat
  2. Cook several chicken pieces 3 minutes per side or until golden brown
  3. Remove from skillet & keep warm
  4. Repeat with remaining chicken.  Remove all chicken pieces & keep warm
  5. Add mushrooms to skillet.  Cook and stir for 4-5 minutes or until tender
  6. Mix chicken broth and reserver flour mixture
  7. Add to skillet along with wine
  8. Bring to a boil, stirring to release browned bits in bottom of skillet
  9. Stir in 1/2 TSBP of butter and 1/2 basil spice pocket
  10. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened
  11. Spoon sauce over chicken to serve
  12. Sprinkle with 1/2 parsley spice pocket

Serve with roasted potatoes, asparagus, and crusty bread.

Have you ever made Chicken Marsala?  And Marsala wine is not very good drinking wine. blech.

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {Americano Chicken Pockets}…

I wanted to call them Homemade Hot Pockets — Raymond poo poo’d that recipe name. 😉

Americano Chicken Pockets Recipe | Pure & Simple

We made this awesome recipe earlier in the week and ate on it for several days.  My favorite type of dish is one that allows us to enjoy a few dinners and a lunch.

I also made a crockpot pot roast.  Definitely not as good as I had hoped.  I will keep tweaking that recipe. 🙂

Americano Chicken Pockets | Pure & Simple

In the morning you will:

Step 1: Break out the trusty Crockpot.

Spray the Crockpot with non-stick spray.  Add 3 frozen chicken breasts, 1 TSBP lemon-pepper seasoning, and 1/4 cup chicken broth.  Let the chicken slowly cook for 5-6 hours.

American Chicken Pockets Bread | Pure & Simple

These are my favorite rolls!

 

Step 2:  Lay out your dinner rolls so they can thaw during the day.  Our bag of yeast exploded (oops), so I would recommend laying on a cookie sheet and covering with a damp tea towel.

Ingredients Chopped | Pure & Simple

In the evening:

Step 3: Time to make dinner!   Chop up one onion, 4 oz of mushrooms, 2 roasted sweet red peppers, 2 garlic cloves, and the cooked chicken.

Melt 1 TSP butter and saute onions, mushrooms, and garlic.  Once those are tender, add the roasted peppers, chicken, and 2 TBSP honey mustard dressing, 1/4 TSP each S&P, lemon pepper seasoning, and 1/2 TSP italian seasonings.  Heat through and remove to a bowl.

Add 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and stir to combine.

Step 4:  Roll out each dinner roll and fill with chicken mixture.  Since our bag of rolls turned into a bag of yeasty dough — we made larger than life hot pockets.  The size is up to you.  I would recommend smaller “rounds” or “pockets” if you have kids.

Press the dough together to form a seal.  You can always press with a fork (similar to making an apple turnover).

Americano Chicken Pockets  Ready for the oven | Pure & Simple

Step 5: Brush tops with melted butter, sprinkle with S&P and bake at 350º for 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Now for the recipe:

AMERICANO CHICKEN POCKETS

  • 3 chicken breasts, frozen
  • 1 TBSP lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

——————————-

  • 1 TSP butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 roasted sweet red peppers, chopped
  • 2 TBSP honey mustard
  • 1/4 TSP each S&P
  • 1/4 TSP lemon pepper
  • 1/2 TSP italian seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 24 frozen dinner rolls, thawed
  • 1 TSP butter, melted
  1. In the morning, spray the Crockpot with non-stick spray.  Add chicken, lemon pepper seasoning, and chicken broth.
  2. Cook on low for 5-6 hours.
  3. Also in the morning, lay out the dinner rolls to thaw.
  4. In a large skillet, saute onion and mushrooms in butter until tender.
  5. Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer.
  6. Add the chicken, peppers, honey mustard and seasonings; heat through.
  7. Remove from heat to a mixing bowl.
  8. Add cheese.
  9. Flatten each dinner roll into a 5″ circle.
  10. Place 1 TBSP (give or take) of the chicken mixture in the center of the circle.
  11. Brush edges with water and press to create a seal.
  12. Repeat with remaining bread and chicken.
  13. Place on a greased baking sheet, brush tops with melted butter.
  14. Bake at 350º for 18-22 minutes until golden brown.
  15. Cut in half to serve.

Serve with tomato soup (we prefer Trader Joe’s Organize Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Soup), and a spinach side salad.  Raymond is still talking about this dinner and we had it on Tuesday! 😉

Enjoy!  Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

Foodie Friday {Crock Pot Lemon Italian Chicken Recipe}…

Happy happy Friday once again! 🙂  What a nice week — it was rather long but rather short. I like confusing everyone. 😉

I managed to get a few things accomplished .. and managed to have a mini-meltdown.  I proclaimed that I needed a vacation several times to Raymond on Monday.  I may not have said vacay in the works, but I instantly felt better.  Perhaps just declaring I need a break helped my brain breathe a little easier. 🙂

We cooked quite a lot this week!  My favorite was the Crock Pot Chicken Taco Salad and Meatballs with Mashed Potatoes. 🙂 Yum to the tum!

Tonight I’m making this easy recipe.  I must admit .. this is my first time making it. I will come back and let you know if it is delicious. 🙂

Crockpot Lemon Italian Chicken Recipe | Pure & Simple

PS — have I expressed my love for the ole Crock Pot recently!  Super easy and simple.  *heart* 😉

Crock Pot Lemon Italian Chicken Step 1

Spray Crock Pot with non-stick spray.

Place 1.5 TBSP butter in the bottom.

Top with 3 frozen chicken breasts.

Crock Pot Lemon Italian Chicken Step 2

Sprinkle Italian Dressing Mix, pepper, dried oregano, and dried parsley on top.

Crock Pot Lemon Chicken Step 3

Add juice of one lemon. Place juiced lemon halves around chicken.

Crock Pot Lemon Italian Chicken Step 4

Cover.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

And for the recipe:

CROCK POT LEMON ITALIAN CHICKEN

  • 3 chicken breasts (frozen)
  • 1.5 TBSP butter
  • 1 Packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing Mix
  • 1/4 TSP pepper, dried oregano, dried parsley
  • Juice of one lemon (reserve peel)
  1. Spray Crock Pot with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Place butter in bottom of Crock Pot.
  3. Top butter with chicken.
  4. Sprinkle chicken with seasonings (italian dressing mix, pepper, oregano, parsley).
  5. Add lemon juice.
  6. Place lemon halves around chicken.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

I plan to serve with Pioneer Woman’s Smashed Potatoes and a spinach, avocado side salad. 🙂

What have you made this week that is delish? 🙂

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

 

Foodie Friday {Low Fat Ranch Dressing Recipe}…

Are you really bad at asking for help?

I am.  As in, really bad at it.  I either don’t do it and get mad when nothing is done … or demand instead of ask and then nothing gets done.

This has been one of those weeks for me where I’m trying to catch my breath.  I don’t like to have balls drop.  I think I can do it all.

I’ve been pretty busy the past 3 weeks and this week it started catching up to me.  I need to get better at asking for help with groceries, dishes, cooking, and the like.

All that to say … I didn’t cook much this week.  I cooked some but nothing fabulous.

I did manage to find this awesome recipe on Pinterest and decided to modify. 🙂   Super easy and super delicious! 🙂

Simple ingredient list

Simple ingredient list

Low Fat Ranch Dressing Recipe | Pure & Simple

LOW FAT RANCH DRESSING

  • 1 Packet of Ranch Dressing (dry mix)
  • 1 Cup Greek Yogurt (2%)
  • 3/4 Cup Skim Milk (less if you prefer thick ranch)
  • 1/8 TSP S&P, Dill (dried is fine)

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and whisk together.  Refrigerate and serve.  It is tangy enough to remind me of Ranch.  It isn’t quite as good as restaurant dressing, which keeps me from eating too much.  I could swim in the ranch from Texas Roadhouse.  Seriously.

Don’t forget about my homemade italian dressing recipe! 🙂

What have you made this week?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {Sloppy Joe’s}…

Every time I write “sloppy joe’s” I think of that scene in Billy Madison.

I like the idea of sloppy joe’s but I hate Manwich.  Nas.tee.  I don’t know what is in that can of goop.  I prefer homemade. 😉

I have recently become interested in The Pioneer Woman’s show on the Food Network.  Her recipes seem so easy … and look tasty.  Right up my alley.

I tried her Sloppy Joe recipe a few weeks ago, and true to form I have modified here and there to make it Jennifer’s way. 🙂

First step is to finely chop all your vegetables.  I’m partial to onions, green pepper, and mushrooms.  You could add carrots, zucchini, tomatoes.  Any veggie would work so long as it is finely chopped.

Sloppy Joe's Veggies

Veggie Packed Sloppy Joe's | Pure & Simple

SLOPPY JOE’S (Inspired by Ree Drummond)

  • 1 LB lean ground beef
    • I prefer 96/4.
  • 1 green pepper (finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 OZ mushrooms (fined chopped)
  • 1/2 CUP ketchup
  • 1/4 CUP water (as little or much is needed)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 TBSP packed brown sugar
  • 1 TSP chili powder
  • 1 TSP dijon mustard
  • 1/4 TSP red pepper flakes
  • 1 TSP hot sauce
  • 1/2 TSP worcestershire sauce
  • S&P
  • Rolls
    • Martin’s Potato Rolls are my favorite!  Less calories, sugar, and carbs than whole wheat.
  • Slaw
  1. In a large skillet, saute meat until no longer pink.  Season with S&P.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, add remaining ingredients and heat over medium heat.
  3. NOTE:  Add as little or as much water is needed to keep things moving and saucy.  As the veggies cook, they will release water as well.
  4. Once meat is cooked through, drain and add to saucepan.
  5. Cover & simmer for 20-30 minutes until veggies are tender.

I like serving these with fries.  We had sweet potato fries in the freezer, and they were just okay.  I think tater tots or shoestring fries would be better.

Enjoy!  What have you made this week that was delicious?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {Lasagna}…

I have knocked it out of the ballpark this week with recipes.  First was my lasagna, then my Crock Pot BBQ (beef), then my veggie pizza.  I’m sure the Crock Pot BBQ will end up on the blog next week. 😉

So let’s talk about this lasagna shall we.  I have never made a true lasagna before.  It looked hard and I’m not that great at making Italian food.  I’m great at Mexican and American, not so great at Italian.

A few weeks ago we tried Spinach Lasagna Rolls, and they were just okay.  As my friend, Kelly from Foodie Fresh, would say:  They were a 5 on a 10 point scale.

I wasn’t ready to give up on the recipe, so I thought I would get creative with the ingredients.  I like the idea of lasagna rolls but they were a huge pain to put together with the rolling and stuffing and baking.  I like easy.

I tried something new this week and it turned out great!  I hope you enjoy!

Lasagna

HEART HEALTHY LASAGNA

  • 1 LB Lean Ground Beef
    • I prefer 96/4
  • 2 TBSP Italian Seasoning
  • S&P
  • 1 Jar Puttanesca Sauce (reserve some for the top, about 1/4 cup)
    • My favorite is from Trader Joe’s
    • Any jar marinara style sauce would work, pick your favorite
  • Lasagna Noodles
    • I used half a box.  How many you need will depend on the size of your dish.
    • My dish was 9″ x 9″
  • 5 OZ Frozen Chopped Spinach, thawed and completely drained
  • 15 OZ Ricotta Cheese (low fat, NOT fat free)
  • 1/2 CUP Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 TSP Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 TSP Garlic Powder (optional)
  • S&P
  • 9 TBSP Mozzarella Cheese, part skim
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a large skillet, saute ground beef until no longer pink.
  3. Season meat with italian seasoning, S&P.
  4. Drain meat, and transfer to large mixing bowl.
  5. Add Puttanesca (or marinara) sauce to meat and stir until combined.
  6. Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package instructions.
  7. Once cooked, drain.  Allow them to dry on paper towels.
  8. In a separate mixing bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, egg, parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic powder, and S&P.
  9. In a baking dish, layer lasagna noodles on bottom of dish, then ricotta mixture, then meat mixture, and repeat.
  10. Once you have layered to the top, end with a layer of lasagna noodles.
  11. Top noodles with 1/4 cup Puttanesca Sauce (or marinara).
  12. Top with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Bake covered for 20 minutes.
  14. Remove cover and bake additional 10 minutes.

OPTIONS:

  • Vegetarian:  You could eliminate the meat and make this a vegetarian lasagna.
  • Bulk it up with more veggies:  I plan to add more veggies to the mix next time.  Onions with the beef.  Zucchini or eggplant with the ricotta mixture.
  • Side dishes: large garden salad, roasted veggies (asparagus, broccoli), and garlic bread.
  • Make ahead:  You can assemble this ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!  This was a MAJOR hit in our house; so much so that it was gone by lunch the next day.  Next time I will make double and freeze.

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {BRAVO! Cucina Italiana}…

I had several Girl’s Nights planned this week so my menu planning was pretty sparse.  Raymond had a Guy’s Night planned with his brother and dad on Tuesday, which left us to one day of enjoying dinner together.

We cooked dinners that I have blogged about before which leads me to, “Nothing new here.”

BRAVO! Cucina ItalianaSo I thought I would blog about Bravo!’s Happy Hour menu.

Bravo! Cucina Italiana is located at Northlake Mall.  I have never been to this restaurant and had no idea it was Italian food.  The full name had escaped my attention.

A few weeks ago a friend invited me to Bravo! for an after work get together.  She said they had Happy Hour specials.  Count me in!

I wasn’t really sure what to expect as I’m not a big fan of Italian food.  Shocking, I know.  😉

Let’s just say … this place is awesome!

The Happy Hour specials are available Monday – Friday, 3-7pm & 9pm-close.  

They have appetizers available for $3.95 and several drink options for $5.

BRAVO! Drink Menu BRAVO Bar Menu

I’ve been twice and each time ordered the same thing … well almost.  Raymond is so mad that I haven’t taken him yet. 😉 Maybe next week.

What I’ve tried:

  • Shrimp Fra Diavolo w/Crispy Eggplant
    • Famous Fra Diavolo sauce, topped with green onions and pesto bread crumbs
    • Pretty good but fairly saucy
  • Crispy Shrimp Napoli
    • Fried shrimp with green onions and our lemon butter, charred tomato Napoli sauce
    • My FAVORITE dish!
  • Caprese Salad
    • A classic with marinated tomatoes, fresh Mozzarella, basil and a field greens salad
    • Very good — the mozzarella was definitely fresh
  • Portbello & Boursin Bruschetta
    • Topped with melted Provolone, carmelized onions, crushed red pepper, tomatoes and Boursin
    • 2nd FAVORITE dish!

I might order the BRAVO! Burger when I go with Raymond. 🙂

They offer a variety of martinis, sangria, and other mixed drinks for $5 as well.  The White Peach Sangria was a little too sweet, but the Lemon Basil Martini was delicious!

So if you ever want to try out the restaurant and need a date — call me! 😉

BRAVO! (NORTHLAKE MALL)

6851 North Lake Mall Dr.
Charlotte, NC 28216

(p) (704) 597-1455 | (f) (704) 597-1026

What is your favorite Happy Hour spot?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {“Grilled Chicken”}…

Happy happy Friday!  It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!  I spent the morning reading, walking with Raymond and Cody, chatting about childhood memories {Raymond and I have the best convos}, eating breakfast, then writing!

You see … I need to update this website.  I’m in dire need of something that is much more organized and pretty.  Something magical is in the works, but in order to go from “current” to “complete” the designers need content.  That content needs to come from me.

I finally finished putting together the content today.  I am SO excited about the final product!

But anywho … I’m supposed to talk about recipes today! 🙂

Today’s recipe is pretty easy and you might say to yourself, “Why did she even bother?”

I bothered writing this because there was some interest in the topic at my last Girl’s Retreat.

Without further ado …

Grilled Chicken Supplies

“GRILLED” CHICKEN (OVEN BAKED W/CAST IRON SKILLET)

  • 3-4 chicken breasts, thawed
    • More or less depending on how many you are feeding
  • Canola oil
  • Favorite seasoning
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place cast iron skillet in oven while preheating.
  3. Fillet the chicken breasts.  *Optional step:  I like making the chicken go further.  You know … bang for that buck!
  4. Prepare salad.  We always eat our “grilled” chicken on a salad, so while the oven preheats I prepare the salad.
  5. Remove pan from oven.
  6. Drizzle with canola oil.  Just enough to cover the bottom.
  7. Season chicken with your favorite spice.
    1. Right now mine is Weber Beer Can Chicken.
  8. Don’t forget to season both sides!
  9. Place chicken in pan and back in oven.
  10. Cook for 7-8 minutes — then turn.
  11. Cook for another 5-6 minutes.
    1. Keep a watch on the chicken.  The time depends on the thickness of the breasts.
    2. Thicker the breast, the longer it should cook.

My favorite cast iron skillet?  The griddle style!

Cleaning a cast iron skillet?  There are several suggested ways.  I have found this to be the easiest:

  • Place 2-3 inches of water in cast iron skillet.
  • Place on stovetop and boil for 5-10 minutes.
  • Discard water and wipe with paper towel.

Enjoy!

Jennifer Signature

Foodie Friday {Overnight Oats In A Jar}…

In an attempt to actually eat a balanced healthy breakfast every day I went on the hunt for easy recipes.  I love my breakfast casserole but I needed something a little easier.

Overnight Oats In A Jar | Recipe

I have been following Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life for about 6 months, and Courtney always raves about her delicious Overnight Oats In A Jar.  Well I gave in this week and tried it out.

I’m slightly obsessed.  I tweaked the recipe and came up with my own, but did use her recipe as a base.

My favorite part of the whole thing?  It is easy peasy!  I can make it at night, grab in the morning, and enjoy a balanced breakfast while printing off forms for a meeting or checking email.

I think it is delicious but Raymond won’t touch it with a 10 foot pole.  It looks less than appetizing. 😉

OOIAJ Recipe | Pure & Simple

Have you ever tried cold oatmeal before?  If so, what did you think?

Until next time…

Jennifer Signature