If you missed my love story about focaccia, you can read it here. The love is real. So real, in fact, that my recipe makes 2 whole loaves of the magical bread. That’s stupendous if you are having guests for dinner. It might even be stupendous if you are super duper hungry and plan to eat an entire loaf in one sitting. Don’t judge, please. I can neither confirm nor deny that this may or may not have happened.
However, since it’s currently just Travis and I typically eating the focaccia recipe at our house, we usually have plenty of leftovers. Perfect for creative leftover recipes like this focaccia grilled chicken sandwich! I’d like to say that this is a totally Italian take on a chicken sandwich…But then I threw some guacamole in there and made it a bit of a mutt of a recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry about that. It’s too delicious to be sorry.
Why is this focaccia chicken sandwich a winner? The bread is salty and rich, the cheese and guac are creamy, and the chicken and veggies are fresh and delicious. Oh, and then throw some herbs/spices on there and BOOM! You have a taste explosion. In your mouth.
So, first make the focaccia and enjoy it for all it’s worth with some pasta or whatever you may desire. Then, take what’s left and make yourself a sandwich that will leave you asking for more.
Focaccia Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Chicken sandwich with an Italian twist...focaccia bread, mozzarella cheese, and Italian herbs
Slice the focaccia loaf into quarters. Slice each quarter in half so there is a top and bottom half.
On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the bottom halves of the focaccia topped with the grilled chicken, mozzarella cheese, oregano/Italian herb blend, and red pepper flakes. Put the top halves of bread on the baking sheet next to the bottoms halves, cut side up (so they can toast).
Broil on high until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
You want to know a secret?? I. LOVE. CHEESE. It’s actually not really a secret. I’d happily tell everyone I could that I love cheese. I just had to get your attention somehow…sorry :). If you have the same affinity for cheese that I do, you will most definitely love these white chicken enchiladas. No joke. I had a hard time photographing these enchiladas because they basically look like a pile of melted cheese all said and done. *sigh* Ok, yes, there are worse things in the world than too much cheese. But still, a real struggle to photograph.
This is a recipe I grew up on…not sure where my mom got it to be honest. But it was something relatively easy, quick, and tasty. Also, apparently with kids you make what they like and will eat. Speaking of which, my little one is finally eating some real food and it seems like he already has his opinions at 5 months old. I guess I thought for some weird reason that he would love everything but he tends to favor grains and avocado (and milk, of course!). Hmm. Sounds like me now that I think about it. I think we must be related or something…
This is really just the most basic form of this recipe, and it’s perfectly wonderful the way it is. However, you can spice it up a bit if you so choose. My mom would add chopped onions to the “adult” enchiladas because my sister and I were too grossed out by onions as children apparently. I’m starting to like onions more and I’ve found if you puree or grate the onions that you really only get some delicious flavor without too much of the texture of the onion. I’m sure you could add beans to this recipe, or your other favorite taco/enchilada fillings. When it comes down to it, it’s really all about the sauce and the cheese. You could cover a piece of cardboard with this sauce and cheese and it would be delicious…yeah, that was too far. Don’t attempt that. You get the point though.
If you love cheese, or chicken, or enchiladas, or anything good in life, then these are worth a shot. Perfectly creamy and cheesy with a little kick from the diced green chiles…yum!! Comfort food at its finest.
16 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a Mexican cheese blend)
10 flour tortillas
Salsa or cilantro, optional, for serving
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, chicken broth, sour cream, and green chiles. Stir constantly until it comes to a simmer and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat.
Add a scoop of the sauce to the bottom of a 9x13 glass baking dish (about 1/4 cup) to keep the tortillas from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Fill each tortilla with a little cheese and chicken (you will need to split the cheese so that you end up with a little extra for the top, but use all the chicken between the 10 enchiladas). Roll, and place seam side down in the baking dish.
Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees until heated through. Add any remaining shredded cheese on top and put back into the oven until the cheese melts.
Serve with salsa, cilantro, or your favorite toppings.
*To cook my chicken breasts, I coated them in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven on a foiled-lined baking sheet for 25-35 minutes.
Sometimes I can't fit all 10 enchiladas in one pan, so you can use two smaller pans instead (this freezes well once prepared).
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
I’m approximately 0% Italian by blood. My husband is also 0% Italian I’m pretty sure. We are both pale, blue-eyed, and blonde-haired. I’m cool with that. However that doesn’t stop me from channeling my inner Italian to cook dishes like this spinach and cheese manicotti that are oh so *delizioso*. Yeah. That was my inner Italian coming out. Sorry.
I actually didn’t have manicotti to make this manicotti recipe because that’s how I roll. BUT, I was able to make some homemade lasagna noodles that I rolled up with the filling inside and it worked great! You certainly can buy manicotti or use store-bought lasagna noodles cut in half. Honestly, I couldn’t find manicotti at the store after I put everything else for this recipe in my cart. Since I’m too lazy to go to another store or ask where the manicotti may be, I made the noodles. The truth comes out.
You are also more than welcome to make your own pasta sauce for this recipe. I often do have homemade sauce in my freezer but for this recipe I took the easy way out and bought a nice store-bought sauce. It did the trick!
One thing I love about this otherwise cheesy and carb-filled recipe is that it does sneek some veggies in there! Apparently now that I have a little one I think about hiding vegetables in food. Such is life. The little guy’s only a couple months old though so he pretty much has a one track mind and it’s focused on milk right now.
Spinach and Cheese Manicotti
Manicotti stuffed with a 3-cheese and spinach filling and topped with your favorite pasta sauce
Cook the frozen spinach according to packaging (I microwaved mine in a microwave-safe bowl). Place the cooked spinach in a kitchen towel and let drain. Squeeze the excess water out by twisting and squeezing the towel.
Mix the spinach, ricotta cheese, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese (the remainder is for the top), Parmesan cheese, egg, and salt and pepper together in bowl. Transfer to a zip top bag. Seal the bag and cut a corner off to create a piping bag.
Squeeze the cheese mixture into the manicotti. This is easiest to pipe a little from each side to make sure you get the mixture all the way through the noodle.
Spread 1 cup of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a lasagna pan. Place the manicotti in the pan, top with the remaining pasta sauce and reserved 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes.
*I used homemade whole wheat lasagna noodles that I cut in half and rolled up once I put the filling in them. Either way works!
You know you think it when you hear “turkey burger”…just a hint of disappointment knowing that you’ll have to slather on some extra condiments to make up for the otherwise dry and bland burger itself. You don’t have to pretend that you love the taste turkey burgers *so* much more than beef burgers. I’ve been there. I know. BUT, luckily these turkey burgers are by no means bland and DEFINITELY not dry. I would even venture to say that I would pick this turkey burger over a beef burger. It’s THAT good. You will be in shock. And awe. And wonder why you’ve suffered through so many bad turkey burgers pretending to like them because they’re supposed to be “healthy.” Trust me here.
Now, on the flip side, don’t let the word “spicy” scare you. These turkey burgers do have a couple of spicy ingredients but are by no means 5-alarm, call the fire department spicy. The spice just perks up the otherwise kind of bland turkey. The green chiles also add some much needed moisture to the turkey. As does the cheese. Plus, it’s hard to go wrong with cheese.
I kind of got this recipe from my mom. I say “kind of” because when I asked her what was in it she replied, “ground turkey, cheese, green chiles, and hot sauce.” Thanks, mom. That’s real helpful. Just kidding…I love my mom and I’m sure she would figure out the exact amounts for me if I wanted but she just knows how much goes in. It’s like her secret. Well, I’m outing her secret. Because it’s too good not to share. I also added a little fresh cilantro because we have an enormous amount in our garden. Totally optional. Totally delicious.
What did I put on my turkey burgers? A little extra cheese (there’s never enough), guacamole, and lettuce. Um, YUM! I think we even added pickles to the mix when we had leftovers. You can also use your traditional burger toppings and it would be delicious. Basically, you can’t go wrong with these burgers.
Gently blend ingredients together until just combined.
Form into 4 patties.
Grill over medium heat for 5-6 minutes per side, until golden brown and the inside temperature reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Since these are turkey burgers, make sure they are cooked all the way through.
I topped my burgers with lettuce, a little more cheese, and guacamole. You can also use your favorite traditional burger toppings!
By Flavor From Scratch
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/
Shepard’s pot pie. What exactly is that? Well that’s a good question since it’s kind of something made up from mixing other recipes together. Think chicken pot pie with a mashed potato (like Shepard’s pie) topping. Usually in my chicken pot pie recipe I use an exorbitant amount of potatoes for the chicken to potato to other vegetable ratio. So, why not just make potatoes a star with a mashed potato topping?? Genius, I know. It was bound to happen someday.
Chicken pot pie/Shepard’s pie/Shepard’s pot pie are recipes that usually go well on a cold winter night since they tend to warm your belly and your soul. Well, folks, here it is April 8th in southern Michigan and there is snow on the ground and there’s more snow in the forecast. So let’s forget the whole “it’s good in the winter” thing and say that this would be a perfect April dish when the snow is coming down in parts of the country where there should be no more snow for the season. It’s okay, next week will probably be 80 degrees and sunny based on the weather patterns here.
Enough about the crazy weather and back to the Shepard’s pot pie. Everyone has preferences for what they like in their pot pie recipes. Please, add whatever you like. I’m not a fan of mushrooms and onions aren’t huge on my list of favorites (so I only added a little onion). Some people love those so add mushrooms and more onion if that’s you’re pleasure. You can add frozen corn…that would be delicious. You could even make this with ground beef instead of chicken if you wanted to really go the Shepard’s pie route! Hmmm, I didn’t think of that before but that would have been good. Whoever tries it with ground beef, let me know how it goes.
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon to top the potatoes before baking
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper, to taste
Ingredients for the Pot Pie
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
salt and pepper, to taste
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound chicken, cooked and cubed
3/4 cup frozen peas
1 refrigerated pie crust
Directions for the Mashed Potatoes
Add diced potatoes into a pot of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
Drain the potatoes and set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter, milk, and salt and pepper into the same pot. Once melted, add the potatoes back into the pot and mash.
Directions for the Pot Pie
While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1/3 cup of butter in a large saute pan over medium heat until melted. Add in the flour, onion, carrots, celery, and salt and pepper. Stir constantly while cooking for 8-10 minutes, or until the vegetables are just getting tender.
Remove from heat and add in the milk and chicken stock.
Heat over medium to medium-high heat until mixture comes to a simmer, stirring constantly. Let simmer for 1 minute, until the mixture thickens.
Add in the cooked chicken and peas and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Press the pie crust into an 8x8 pan (on the bottom and up the sides of the pan). This might take some finagling to fit but luckily pie crust is forgiving in this case.
Pour the chicken pot pie mixture into the uncooked pie crust. Top with a layer of mashed potatoes, making sure to press the potatoes all the way to the edges. Top with 1 tablespoon of butter (cut into smaller pieces to spread over entire top).
Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet (in case it spills over) and bake in a preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
Let sit 15 minutes before serving.
If you don't let the pot pie sit after baking, the chicken and veggie mixture will be thin and tend to run everywhere. Letting it sit for a bit helps the mixture to stay together a bit more while serving.
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