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Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladCan I be real for a minute?? I now have a one year old. EEK! I get it now when people say kids grow up fast…where did the time go? When our little man was first born we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into and now we have no idea what it was like before him. The laughs, smiles, and squeals just melt my heart. He plays like it’s his job (busiest boy in the world) and I swear he can run faster than I can. Something I must work on I suppose…Maybe less galette and more salad? Only if it’s this spicy chicken Southwest salad, of course! (Nice transition, right? Totally worked real hard on that one. Also, not giving up the galette. That would be silly.)

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladThis is a super simple, weeknight, use-all-your-leftover-veggies, I-can’t-even-think-of-making-dinner kind of meal. And it’s AMAZING! Sometimes simple is better than the hard stuff and this is definitely quick and easy. Perfect for someone who wants to be somewhat healthy but also has to chase a one year old that they can’t keep up with (aka…me).

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladMy absolute favorite part is that I usually have everything I need to make it because the ingredients are staples in my house. And actually I lied because I have another absolute favorite part…there’s not actually a recipe! MIND BLOWN! If you say you can’t cook because you can’t follow a recipe, this is good news for you. All you really need to do is follow a shopping list. Or maybe just go find these things in your fridge or pantry. 

Spicy Chicken Southwest SaladTravis and I probably have this once a week. I’ll have Travis grill up some extra chicken if we’re already grilling, I cut it up, and either freeze or refrigerate it depending on how quickly I plan on using it. Then it’s just a matter of chopping, heating some ingredients up (if you so choose) and eating. Nom, nom!

Spicy Chicken Southwest Salad
Hot and spicy chicken DEFINITELY spices up this Southwest salad!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. Lettuce (Romaine, or your favorite kind), ripped or cut into bite size pieces
  2. Grilled chicken, cubed
  3. Hot sauce
  4. Black Beans, rinsed and drained
  5. Frozen corn
  6. Avocado, sliced or diced
  7. Hard boiled egg, cubed
  8. Cheddar cheese, grated
  9. Tortilla chips, crushed
  10. Ranch dressing
  11. lime, for garnish
Additional Options
  1. Tomato, diced
  2. Bell pepper, diced
  3. Red onion, finely chopped or diced
Instructions
  1. Mix desired amount of hot sauce with the grilled chicken (I like mine hot so I add quite a bit!). I usually heat up the chicken and hot sauce in a saute pan if it's not already warm, but this is optional.
  2. Heat the black beans and frozen corn in a saute pan over medium heat. Again, optional but if you eat it cold, please make sure to use canned or fresh corn so you don't break a tooth!
  3. Layer desired ingredients over lettuce. Top with ranch dressing and crushed tortilla chips. Finish with a squeeze of lime to garnish.
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Focaccia Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Focaccia Grilled Chicken SandwichIf 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.

Focaccia Grilled Chicken SandwichHowever, 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.

Focaccia Grilled Chicken SandwichSo, 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
Yields 4
Chicken sandwich with an Italian twist...focaccia bread, mozzarella cheese, and Italian herbs
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 thick loaf of focaccia*
  2. 1 pound grilled chicken, sliced
  3. 4 thick slices of fresh mozzarella cheese (about 6-8 ounces total)
  4. 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian herb blend
  5. 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  6. 4 leaves of romaine lettuce
  7. 1 tomato, sliced
  8. guacamole (about 2 tablespoons per sandwich)
Instructions
  1. Slice the focaccia loaf into quarters. Slice each quarter in half so there is a top and bottom half.
  2. 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).
  3. Broil on high until the cheese melts and the bread is lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add lettuce, tomato, and guacamole.
Notes
  1. *I used my focaccia recipe to make this sandwich.
  2. This is only a guide to a sandwich. Please, make it your own with this recipe as a starting point! Then share what you made in the comments!
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White Chicken Enchiladas

White Chicken EnchiladasYou 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.

White Chicken EnchiladasThis 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…

White Chicken EnchiladasThis 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.

White Chicken EnchiladasIf 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.

White Chicken Enchiladas
Yields 10
Creamy and cheesy chicken enchiladas with a kick!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 cup butter
  2. 2 tablespoons flour
  3. 1/2 cup chicken broth
  4. 1 cup sour cream
  5. 1 can diced green chiles (4.5 ounces)
  6. 1 pound cooked chicken breast, cubed*
  7. 16 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (or a Mexican cheese blend)
  8. 10 flour tortillas
  9. Salsa or cilantro, optional, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Pour the remaining sauce over the enchiladas.
  5. 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.
  6. Serve with salsa, cilantro, or your favorite toppings.
Notes
  1. *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.
  2. Sometimes I can't fit all 10 enchiladas in one pan, so you can use two smaller pans instead (this freezes well once prepared).
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Spinach and Cheese Manicotti

Spinach and Cheese ManicottiI’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.

Spinach and Cheese ManicottiI 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. 

Spinach and Cheese ManicottiYou 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! 

Spinach and Cheese ManicottiOne 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
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 10 ounces frozen spinach
  2. 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  3. 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  4. 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  5. 1 egg
  6. salt and pepper, to taste
  7. 10 manicotti, cooked*
  8. 24 ounce pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes.
Notes
  1. *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!
Adapted from The Cooking Jar
Adapted from The Cooking Jar
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Spicy Turkey Burgers

Spicy Turkey BurgerYou 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.

Spicy Turkey BurgerNow, 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.

Spicy Turkey BurgerI 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.

Spicy Turkey BurgerWhat 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.

Spicy Turkey Burgers
Serves 4
Juicy and flavorful turkey burgers
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pound ground turkey
  2. 1/2-3/4 can chopped green chiles (4 ounce can)
  3. 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  4. 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  5. 1 teaspoon hot sauce or Sriracha
Instructions
  1. Gently blend ingredients together until just combined.
  2. Form into 4 patties.
  3. 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.
Notes
  1. I topped my burgers with lettuce, a little more cheese, and guacamole. You can also use your favorite traditional burger toppings!
Flavor From Scratch http://www.flavorfromscratch.com/