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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spicy, healthy goodness!  O.k. sooo since I have decided to keep track of the odd ball things I cook, I thought it may be a good idea to let my husband pick what "flavor" dinner will be.  He doesn't get to pick every night, just the ones when I'm at a mental block.  It's almost like Chopped from Food Network.  Start out with little to nothing, maybe a few things that seem like they will never go together and Whah la!  Dinner!  It's like magic, but without the blaring lights and t.v. cameras in your face.  I just have hungry teenagers walking around complaining they are "STAAAARRRVVIINGG!"  Like the world will end if they don't eat soon.

So here's the scoop with this one.  I have several items here that could be a main dish with a side and a salad or you could do like I did.  Just dump it all on one plate.  It's all going to the same place anyway.  Right?

Now with keeping to being healthy, I really am trying to manage portions!  I took two large chicken breasts that were boneless and skinless and cut each breast into 4 pieces.  I pretty much cut the breast into half, thickness and length.  Each piece was about the size of a deck of cards or slightly smaller. The thin size will cook quicker than a big chunk of meat.


1 can rotel (I used Mexican style hy-vee brand because that's what was on sale)
2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 8 pieces
Cajun seasoning

Sprinkle a small amount of Cajun seasoning on each piece of chicken.  Spray a saute pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Heat the pan on medium heat, adding the chicken breast when the pan is completely warm.  You can hold your hand a few inches from the bottom of your pan, and if you feel the heat, the pan should be ready.  You are wanting to sear the meat to seal in the juices.  Sear each side of the chicken until golden in color.  If you try to flip your chicken and if feels like it's sticking, let it be.  It's not ready to flip.  If you have to sear the chicken in 2 batches, like I did, that's ok.  Just set the seared chicken on a separate clean plate while you are searing the second batch.  Once all chicken is seared, turn the pan to low and place all of the chicken in the pan.  Pour the rotel over the chicken, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. 

Sweet potatoes and Black beans

Some may think this an odd combo.  Don't knock it until you try it!

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
3 small to medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp minced jarred jalapenos
1/2 tsp cinnamon
zest from 1 small lime
juice from 1/2 small lime

Peirce sweet potatoes and cook in the microwave until semi soft.  Should be easy to pierce, but firm enough to still handle.  I cooked mine for 6 minutes, but everyones microwave is different.  Let slightly cool.  Peel, then dice the potatoes into bite sized pieces.  In a sauce pan over med-low heat, add the beans 1/2 cup water and sweet potato's.  Heat for about 5 or so minutes, stirring occasionally.  You just want to warm the beans and heat the potatoes as well.  Add the jalapenos, cinnamon, lime zest and juice.  Stir and continue to heat for about 5 minutes.  Be careful not to let it stick. Serve warm.

Pickled peppers and onions

red, yellow, or orange peppers chopped to equal 1 cup (I used mini peppers because they are sweet and that's what I had)
1/2 small red onion diced fine
1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
1 1/12 tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp water

Put peppers, onions, and cilantro in a small bowl.  Mix sugar, vinegar and water together in a separate bowl until the sugar dissolves.  Pour over the pepper and onion mixture and stir.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  

Home Made tortilla chips *baked*

flour tortillas
sweet smoked paprika
cayenne powder

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the tortillas into 8ths.  Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray.  Place the cut tortillas in a single layer on the cookie sheet.  Spray lightly with cooking spray.  Sprinkle a small amount of each seasoning over the tortillas.  With your hands, toss the tortillas around to coat both sides with the seasoning.  Straighten them back out to a single layer and bake 10 minutes.  Let cool  or serve right out of the oven warm.
 I did not measure out the seasonings here because I regretfully "eye balled it".  I know I sometimes revert back to doing that.  I"m sorry, it's unintentional.  Basically think of this: equal amounts of spices.  Not too much or it will be way too spicy.  I lightly dust the powder over them.  O.k. so in reality this is how I did it.  I have those large spice containers you buy at Sam's Club.  On the side with the small holes, I opened the top, held my spice container at an upper angle and squeezed towards the tortillas.  So the spices lightly float down onto the tortillas.  I know, I know, such an exact science.  But it works.  Just don't squeeze hard, or you might be wearing the spices! 

Now for my fabulous looking picture, I layered 1 cup of each shredded romaine lettuce and spinach on the bottom, then added 3/4 cup of the sweet potato and black bean mixture, then sliced a chicken breast into thin slices and placed that on top.  I spooned 1/4 cup of the juices and tomato mixture from the chicken, over the chicken and let the sauce drizzle down.  I added 1 tablespoon of avocado and 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt.  Lastly I added 2 tablespoons of the pepper onion mixture.  Place "chips" on the side.  There you have it!  Dinner is served!  And this, I will make again!   A piece of advice, if you are not into nice and spicy with a little heat, you can always forgo the Cajun seasoning on the chicken OR substitute canned diced tomatoes for the rotel to cut back on the spice factor.  My husband thought this was too spicy.  I thought it was perfect.

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