Tag Archives: chicken

Chicken with Tomato Herb Pan Sauce

Last weekend, Freddie and I had our first date night out since Harper was born.  It had been over a year and a half since we got some good quality time together, and I’ll be the first to admit, it was way overdue.  So when my mom came in town to visit, the first thing she did was offer to watch Harper while we took a few hours to ourselves, uninterrupted, to just enjoy each others company.  And that is exactly what we did.  But don’t worry, we were home before 7 to put Harper to bed.  Baby steps…(And I am not referring to the 19 month old toddler, I am referring to her parents).

Luckily, over the last year and a half, Freddie and I have gotten very creative with our stay-at-home date nights.  We will snuggle up on the couch and watch a few episodes of our favorite reality shows, break out a board game and do our best not to get competitive, or enjoy a home cooked meal, just the two of us.  It has helped us to stay connected.

This recipe is a perfect stay-at-home date night kind of meal.  It’s simple and easy to prepare (only takes 30 minutes) but is fancy enough (thanks to the awesome pan sauce) to make it feel restaurant quality.  Plus, it only serves 2, which always brings me back to our newlywed days.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 teaspoons olive oil

2 cups cherry tomatoes (11-12 ounces)

Preparation

In a small bowl, mash butter, garlic, oregano and paprika together.  Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to lowest possible temperature.  Season both sides of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.  Measure the flour onto a plate.  Working with one breast at a time, press both sides into the flour.  Shake gently to remove excess flour and repeat with remaining breast.

Melt 1 tablespoon of oregano butter with the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet set over high heat.  Reduce to medium-high when the butter stops foaming.  Lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and sauté until browned on one side, about 4 minutes.  Flip and continue cooking 3-4 minutes.  Transfer to a small pan or oven-safe plate and keep warm in oven while preparing sauce.

Increase heat to high and add tomatoes to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to char and burst, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining butter.  Crush tomatoes slightly to release their juices and continue stirring until butter has melted.  Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen the browned bits.  Remove chicken from oven and add any juices that may have accumulated to the pan.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2011 via Cook Like a Champion

This dish is all about the sauce…and the butter, which is the base of the sauce.  It’s delicious on the chicken, but it is even more yummy drizzled over a side of rice or couscous.  This time around I served my chicken with farro and steamed broccoli.  The nuttiness of the farro was the perfect complement to the sweetness of the tomatoes and was also very helpful in sopping up the remaining sauce.

Your turn What is your favorite way to spend a date night in?  Any special recipes you like to prepare for your mate?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

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What I Ate Wednesday #7

When I grow up I want to be a product tester.  I have mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.  Especially since my entire day of eats today was inspired by some new grocery store finds.

Yesterday, as I was doing my daily Facebook check-in, I came across a post that made me drool…Non-fat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt?  Yes please!  So I did what any normal human being would do.  I jumped in my car and headed to Trader Joes and picked up a few cartons of this seasonal delight (along with $80 worth of groceries).  Ah, the power of social media.

So what other goodies did I happen to bring home in those sturdy paper bags?  (I know, shame on me for not bringing my reusable bags…).  Well, the highlights included a jar of Mango Butter, a can of Coconut Cream, Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Gran Bread and bananas (had to buy something familiar…).  I was on a roll yesterday.  I had my product tester hat on and I was determined to try a handful of new things.  The result?  Pretty darn delicious…

Breakfast:

3 egg whiles, scrambled

 2 slices of Udi’s Gluten Free Whole Grain Bread with Mango Butter

1/2 grapefruit topped with 1 tbsp ground flaxseed

I am not normally a toast eater but between this gluten-free bread and mango butter, I could eat toast all day!  I love how surprisingly light this bread is and how the mango butter makes each bite seem like a mini vacation to Turks and Caicos (memories of my honeymoon…).  Even though the mango butter does have a tad bit of sugar in it, it’s a treat I am willing to cheat for :)

Snack #1:

2 lightly salted brown rice cakes topped with unsalted peanut butter and sliced banana

There is something about peanut butter and banana that just goes together.  It’s the perfect mid day treat.  I can remember my mom snacking on a banana smothered in peanut butter and sprinkled with granola as a kid.  She taught me so many healthy habits for which I am grateful.

Unexpected (but welcomed) Surprise!

1/2 of a Gluten Free Brownie

After music class today, the host offered everyone some gluten-free brownies.  Kind of hard to resist.  So I took half to munch on for the car ride home.  Chocolatey and delicious!

Lunch:

Homemade Persian Style Rice with 1/4 roasted chicken and mixed veggies

1 Dragon Fruit, sliced

I made a batch of this rice on Sunday.  I had been eyeing the recipe for a while now and was glad to finally give it a go.  It didn’t turn out as wonderfully as I had hoped it would (hence it’s not on the blog) but it’s good enough to incorporate in our daily meals.  Can’t go wrong with basmati rice and lentils.

I normally don’t buy produce at the grocery store because of my abundance of fresh fruit and veggies from my box, but after seeing some of this dragon fruit around the blogosphere I couldn’t help but pick one up on my recent visit to Whole Foods.  I only wished it tasted as wild and crazy as it looked.  A little underwhelming…

Dinner:

Mixed greens topped with short grain brown rice, carrots, feta cheese, tomato and guacamole and sautéed tofu with tahini dressing

Tuesdays is our night to eat out now that Harper has swimming in the evenings.  Tonight we enjoyed dinner with our good friends the Sewards.  We hopped on down to our favorite local restaurant for some healthy eats.  This salad was ginormous and definitely hit the spot :)

After Dinner Delight:

Homemade Vegan Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse topped with a handful of Chocolate Granola

The inspiration to pick up the coconut cream at Trader Joe’s yesterday came from a friend of mine who is also practicing clean eating.  She had recently posted a pic on Instagram with some Homemade Vegan Sugar-Free Chocolate Mousse and I was intrigued enough to try making it on my own.  I am working on perfecting the recipe and look forward to sharing it with you soon.

So how am I doing with my “falling into good habits?”.  Overall, I continue to be proud of my efforts.  I find that having a plan for each day helps me to remain successful on my clean eating journey.  Also having a few different options to satisfy my naughty cravings keeps my sweet tooth in check.

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week!  I will be busy counting down the days until my 30th birthday (eek!).

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  You only have a few days left to get your entries in.  Remember to leave a comment on the original post letting me know that you have completed the tasks.  Your comment acts are your entry into the giveaway.  Good luck!  

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Clean Eating: Round 2/Day 10 & 11

With only a few more days left on my Clean Eating Journey I have to say, my feelings are bittersweet.  “Bitter” because having a plan is always helpful to guide you in making the right decisions, giving you new ideas and making meal time mindless.  But what will be sweet about closing this chapter is that my kitchen will be clean again :)  With 5 extensive meals a day, my fridge is chock full of food (to the point where things fall out every time I open it).  Also there seems to be an everlasting sink of dishes (no matter how many times I run the dishwasher…full!).  It has also been very time intensive and therefore I spend most of my evenings cooking for the next day until the wee hours of the night.  By now, I am a bit overtired and in need of some rest.  The bed is calling my name.  So before I fall asleep at the keyboard, let’s take a look at my most recent collection of meals…

1.  Breakfast:  1 cup Greek yogurt, 15 grapes, halved, and 1/2 cup Muesli.

2.  Snack #1:  1 apples, sliced with 1 tbsp peanut butter.

3.  Lunch:  1 serving Chimichurri Steak and Sweet Potatoes with Creamy Avocado-Apple Salad and 3 cups lettuce, 1/2 cucumbers, sliced, 3 cherry tomatoes, halved, 2 tsp red wine vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil.

4.  Snack #2:  Banana and bottle of coconut water.

5.  Dinner:  1 serving Crispy Panko Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes & Peppers (recipe below)

Highlights:  Dinner was definitely the highlight of the day.  The chicken was delicious.  Crunchy and moist and full of flavor (thanks to the Dijon which brought a nice kick).  The potatoes turned out great and I am excited to have learned how to roast them (something I have never tried before…usually too busy mashing).  The peppers brought a nice sweetness to the meal.  I couldn’t help but fill up my fork with each component before launching a big bite into my mouth.  I am a firm believer in creating a sampler platter with each mouthful :)

Lowlights:  Freddie and I both agreed that breakfast kind of ended up tasting like paste.  The Muesli was a bit dry and when mixed with the yogurt turned into something you might want to hang wallpaper with.  But the grapes were pretty good!

1.  Breakfast:  Sweet Mango Smoothie (1/2 frozen mango, peeled, pitted and diced, 1/4 cup cooked oatmeal, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/4 cup crushed ice, 1 tbsp vanilla protein powder, 1/2 tsp honey) and 2 large egg whites, scrambled with 1 oz Swiss cheese.

2.  Snack #1:  Avocado-Tomato Toss (1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved, 1/2 cucumber, chopped, 1 oz avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped, tossed with 1 tsp olive oil)

3.  Lunch:  3 oz deli turkey, 1 tsp Dijon on 1 whole wheat English muffin served with Asian Slaw (1 cup shredded green cabbage, 1/2 cup shredded celery root, 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sesame oil, 5 Thai basil leaves, chopped)

4.  Snack #2:  1 cup diced pineapple, 1 banana, 14 walnut halves.

5.  Dinner:  Loaded Potato (3 oz ground turkey sautéed with 3 oz tofu seasoned with 1/4 tsp Chinese five-spice powder and sautéed in 1/2 tsp olive oil until turkey cooked through served on 1 sweet potato, baked) and 1 1/2 cups chopped broccoli, steamed and seasoned with salt and pepper and tossed with olive oil.

Highlights:  Today’s highlight was a tie between breakfast and dinner.  The mango smoothie was super refreshing and delicious.  And I love the idea of a loaded sweet potato.  The turkey/tofu mixture was an unexpected, yet scrumptious topping.

Lowlights:  As much as I had hoped the Asian slaw would be the perfect side dish, it was a bit boring and bland.  But I am not giving up on it.  It has potential.  It is just about finding the right thing to jazz it up a bit.

Crispy Panko Chicken with Garlic Smashed Potatoes & Peppers

Ingredients:

1 lb baby redskin potatoes, scrubbed well

4 whole plus 2 chopped cloves garlic, divided

12 sprigs fresh thyme, divided

1 tbsp olive oil, divided

Sea salt and ground black pepper

4 tsp Dijon mustard

4 4-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs

1 cup sliced yellow onion

1 1/2 red, yellow and/or green bell peppers, sliced

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a roasting pan, toss potatoes, 4 whole cloves garlic, half of thyme, 2 tsp oil, salt and black pepper.  Roast on lower oven rack, stirring halfway, until potatoes are tender and beginning to brown, about 45 minutes.

2.  About 30 minutes before potatoes are done, spread Dijon on all sides of chicken and season with black pepper.

3.  On a parchment -lined baking sheet, spread panko.  Bake on center oven rack, stirring halfway, until golden, about 5 minutes.  Press all sides of chicken into panko.  Arrange chicken on sheet and bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes.

4.  Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat remaining 1 tsp oil on medium.  Add onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.  Add bell peppers and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add remaining thyme and 2 chopped cloves garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add 1/4 cup water, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender and liquid evaporates, about 10 minutes.

5.  Meanwhile, strip leaves from thyme in roasting pan and sprinkle over potatoes, discarding stems.  Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl and roughly mash with a potato masher.  Serve chicken with smashed potatoes and bell pepper mixture.

Recipe from Clean Eating

This was Freddie’s favorite meal yet.  It was a great, clean take on comfort food.  Baked, breaded chicken, garlic potatoes…right up his alley!  I am sure he will be requesting this meal a lot :)

As we head into the holiday weekend, I am excited to finish off strong.  There are some super yummy meals lined up that I can’t wait to indulge in.  And if all goes well, I might have to whip up another clean eating dessert.  Because what is a holiday weekend without a little sweetness?

Happy Friday everyone!

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Clean Eating: Day 8

First day of Week 2, and I’m feeling good (I also can’t get this Michael Bublé song out of  my head).  I always love starting something new.  It inspires me and encourages me.  And even though I’m smack in the middle of my Clean Eating Journey, as I begin week 2 I am refreshed and renewed.

Here is a look at what the first day of Week 2 looked like…

Breakfast:

2 slices of Ezekiel Bread toasted topped with a mixture of 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1 tbsp unsalted peanut butter and 1 banana sliced

Snack #1:

1 cup Greek yogurt topped with 1 cup sliced strawberries and 1 tbsp ground flaxseeds

Lunch:

Fennel & Orange Salad:  1/2 bulb fennel (trimmed and sliced), 1 orange (peeled and sectioned), 4 cups arugula, 2 oz deli turkey, 1/2 cup cannellini beans (drained and rinsed).  Drizzle with a mixture of 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp honey, 1 tsp olive oil).

Snack #2:

2 lightly salted brown rice cakes topped with 2 tbsp almond butter

Dinner:

Chicken and Tomato Sauce:  Saute 4 oz chicken breast (chopped) with 1 tsp olive oil, 1 clove garlic (minced) and 1 zucchini (sliced).  Add 15 oz diced can tomatoes and 1/8 tsp each of dried oregano and dried basil.  Cook until heated through.

Highlights:  Today it’s a tie between breakfast and dinner.  I was surprised at how much I liked breakfast.  The thought of cottage cheese blended with peanut butter sounded strange, but the outcome was delicious!  And it’s a great way to pack tons of protein into your breakfast.  Dinner was delightful.  It would have been even better atop some pasta, but I’ll take what I can get at this point :)

Lowlights:  No lowlights today.  Everything was pretty scrumptious!

While I was at the store today, picking up a few more items for meals this week and indulging myself in way too much Kleenex (I have a thing for the boxes…they are so pretty!), I happened along the new Clean Eating issue.  And let me tell you…it is jam-packed with deliciousness.  I am trying to convince my hubby to jump on board for another 2 week stint.  We would have to take a week of in-between because we have too much going on to be on such a strict meal plan, but I’m really enjoying this journey so far and think 2 more weeks would be fun.  Wish me luck on getting Freddie to join me for round 2 :)

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Clean Eating: Day 7

Week one is officially over.  7 days of clean eating under my belt.  7 more days to go.  Although, would it be crazy for me to continue for another 2 week plan?  My husband might think I am crazy.  He has supported me throughout this entire process and has even joined in on the fun.  But I figure, we’ve already come this far, why not try another 2 weeks?  Let’s see how the next week goes and I’ll let you know what our decision is.  In the meantime, here are today’s eats…

Breakfast:

Turkey and Egg Muffin:  1 whole wheat English muffin toasted, topped with 1 egg and 2 egg whites scrambled, cherry tomatoes and 2 oz deli turkey

1 peach

Snack #1:

1 carrot stick, 1 stalk celery, 1/2 cucumber

Lunch:

Tuna Sandwich:  5 oz white albacore tuna, 1 stalk celery minced, 1/8 red onion minced, 3 tbsp Greek yogurt, 1 tsp Dijon atop 2 slices Ezekiel Bread and Romaine lettuce.

Snack #2:

1 pluot

20 grapes

1 tbsp walnuts

Dinner:

2 cups Summer Pasta Salad

4 oz chicken breast

2 cups kale sautéed with a dash of vegetable broth, shallots and red onion

Highlights:  Breakfast was filling and delicious!  Normally not a fan of tomatoes on sandwiches, the cherry tomatoes brought a nice sweetness to the eggs.  Definitely a combination I will try again.  And having a peach sliced on the side, pretty much made my day :)

Lowlights:  Not a total bummer, but the tuna sandwich wasn’t nearly as good as what I usually make.  I can whip up a mean tuna sandwich, but tuna melt’s might be my specialty.  Some melted sharp cheddar cheese would have done this sandwich wonders.  Guess a girl can dream!

After completing my first week of Clean Eating, I am feeling very proud of myself.  Although there is a lot of work involved (shopping, planning and sometimes…eating), everything has gone pretty smoothly.  After peeking at week 2, I am looking forward to some new dishes.  Can’t wait to share them with you.

Hope everyone has a great week!  Thank God it’s Monday :)

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Clean Eating: Day 2 & WIAW

2 days down and 12 to go.  And I’m feeling good so far.  Hungry…but good.

But honestly, I do feel clean.  Very clean on the inside :)  I don’t feel weighed down or foggy.  I don’t feel full and lazy.  I feel energetic, healthy and great!  Just a tinge hungry…

Since I am documenting my eats for the next few weeks, I have decided to participate in a blog link up called What I Ate Wednesday or WIAW.  It’s a fun and exciting link party thrown by Jenn of Peas and Crayons where bloggers from all over the blogosphere share their delicious eats for a day.

This month’s theme is Summer Staples.  When I think of summer, I think of fruit (surprised?).  And drinking a nice cold smoothie filled with fresh and juicy fruit is a great way to stay cool in the summer heat.  Enter today’s breakfast…

Breakfast:

Green Berry Shake:  Blend 1 cup mixed greens, 1 cup blueberry, 1 cup milk (I mixed cows milk and almond milk), 1 tbsp flaxseeds, dash of cinnamon and 6 ice cubes.

1 egg, hardboiled

Snack #1:

2 organic lightly salted brown rice cakes, 1 tbsp unsalted peanut butter, 1 banana and 8 oz organic low-fat milk

Lunch:

2 sprouted corn tortillas each topped with 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 oz turkey and a handful of mixed greens

1 cup organic black bean vegetable soup

Snack #2:

1/2 grapefruit and 1 tbsp flaxseeds

Dinner:

3 oz chicken, seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika

3 oz sweet potato, baked

2 cups spinach sautéed in 2 tsp olive oil with 1 clove garlic, minced

Biggest success of the day…

Hardboiled eggs.  I made perfect hardboiled eggs.  I have made hardboiled eggs before, but this hardboiled egg was the best I have ever tasted.  It has been a while since I hardboiled an egg so I googled a how to and follow this “recipe”.  It was perfect!  I highly suggest giving it a try…unless you have your own magical way to make hardboiled eggs, in which case…Please share :)

Since tomorrow is my weekly CSA link party, I won’t be posting my eats.  But I will make sure to post Wednesday’s meals on Thursdays post.  Double the pleasure, double the fun.  Can’t wait until Thursday?  If you want a sneak peek, follow me on Instagram (inherchucks).

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What’s in the Box? #34

No matter how busy my life gets, Wednesdays always seem to get me focused and back on track.  Blame it on the fruits and veggies, but when hump day rolls around the fog seems to clear and things start to fall into place.  Having a CSA box to look forward to keeps me motivated to cook and always makes for some exciting menus.  And with all of the delicious recipes and ideas that have come through this link party, our family meals have been elevated to a whole new level :)

Our party continues to grow and I couldn’t be more grateful.  Last week we had a total of 56 link ups!  I appreciate all my loyal party goers and welcome those who are linking up for the first time.  When it comes to recipes and ideas on how to use your produce, we got you covered.  From breakfast, to lunch, to happy hour and beyond, there is no limit to how your CSA can feed you :)  So thanks everyone for keeping the inspiration flowing and making our tummies happy!

On to this week’s goodies…

Call me crazy, but I might be just a little too excited about this head of lettuce.  I usually pass over it and rarely give my lettuce the time of day.  But this head of lettuce is too pretty to ignore.  I wish I knew what kind it was because I plan on seeking this variety out in the future (maybe even growing a few heads in my garden).  It makes me want to have a fancy dinner party and invite all of my close friends over to enjoy a crisp salad dressed with a homemade vinaigrette.  Chilled salad forks included :)

And although I have been known to throw some grated carrots into my salads as well, I am still on my roasted carrot kick.  I also love my cauliflower roasted.  But then again, it seems as though I love ALL my veggies roasted :)

I was surprised at how fragrant my leeks were this week.  It was the first aroma that hit me when I opened up my box.  I was expecting onions with how strong the smell was, but I was excited to find leeks instead because I have had a taste for another homemade quiche.

With the holy trinity of summer fruit, I might be inspired to create something beautiful.  I plan on keeping it simple because enjoying the fruit “as is” happens to be my favorite part of summer.  The strawberries and nectarines will definitely be making an appearance in this week’s Sweets for a Saturday.  Which, by the way I was featured in last week…yay Gooey Cookies ‘n Cream Bars!  I will have to search through some of my plum recipes to see what pops out at me this week.  And while I am on the subject, here is the plum recipe I promised you last time.  I was hoping to post it on the blog, but was unable to snap a pic before dinner was demolished.  I always have good intentions, but it can be hard to juggle blog life with real life…real life always wins :)

Those little cucumbers are absolutely adorable.  After reading through some of your posts, it looks like most of you are pickling these kind of cucumbers.  I have never embarked on a pickling journey, but you all have inspired me.  I am not the biggest pickle fan myself, but I have friends who would appreciate some homemade pickles.  And what about relish…could I make relish?

And finally, dino kale.  At the start of my CSA journey, I would have cringed at the sight of kale.  But now I jump for joy.  After nearly two years into my CSA love affair I have collected some pretty awesome recipes.  Not to mention all the delicious ideas you all have shared with us.  Now, I can’t seem to think of a reason not to love kale!

Your turn:  What are some of your favorite ways to use the fruits and veggies shown?  Any special recipe, tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Looking forward to reading your responses :)

Linking up for the first time?  Click here for more info…and Welcome!  PS:  Don’t forget to tell your readers about the party by linking back to this post.  Thanks!


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Harper’s Rainbow Star Party: Part 2

After the table decorations were all set and ready to go, it was time to start putting on the finishing touches.  One of my favorite decorations was the rainbow photo banner.  I was so excited when I found it on Etsy because not only was it a great idea, it matched perfectly with our theme.

The banner was meant to hang, but with the way the wind was blowing that day it kept falling down.  So we decided to display it on the dessert table instead and it ended up working out great.  A photo banner was a fun way to document Harper’s first year and watch her grow from month to month.

One of the things I learned from attending some of Harper’s friend’s 1st birthday parties, is that having an area where the babies can play  and hang is a great way to entertain the little ones.  So we brought some of Harper’s favorite toys to the park to share with her pals.  “Baby central” was a huge hit!

And of course, no party is complete without good food and drinks.  Guests enjoyed an assortment of LaCroix Sparkling Water which comes in an a variety of delicious and refreshing flavors.  I love how colorful the cans are :)

We also had a variety of Gatorade as well.  Otherwise known as rainbow in a bottle :).

For small snacks to munch on, I created a rainbow vegetable platter with homemade spinach dip (recipe to come).  I used an assortment of bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and cucumbers to fashion a colorful display.

I also constructed a rainbow out of different types of fruit inspired by a picture originally found on Pinterest.  I chose to use sliced strawberries, peeled mandarin oranges, chopped pineapple, green grapes, crisp blueberries and juicy blackberries.  We were able to find most of the fruit at our local farmers market the day before so it was super fresh.

For a late lunch we served marinated grilled chicken, tri-tip and an assortment of grilled rainbow vegetables.  We also had a rainbow pasta salad made with this colorful Farfalline found at World Market tossed with red tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, broccoli, red onion and cheddar cheese.  All of the delicious food was prepared by our dear friends Kat and Christina.  Thanks ladies :)  You rocked it!

And what about the birthday girl?  She was having a good ol’ time :)  Looking cute as can be in her rainbow dress and pink leggings.

I think that is about it for Part 2.  Stay tuned for Part 3 coming up later this week where I will share about the cake, party favors and more!

All images were taken by my good friend and talented photographer Rachel Bradshaw of Little Sparrows Photography.

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Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are available all year round, but it is in the fall when they are at their best.  They’re colors are so rich and vibrant, they can brighten up any dish.  Besides their appearance, bell peppers add a lovely combination of  sweet and bitter flavors that help complement other ingredients.  Plus, they have significant health benefits such as being a good source of vitamin C, beta carotene and folic acid.  So really, you can’t go wrong with bell peppers.

I was so excited to get peppers and shallots in my box this week.  It made this meal a no brainer.  I love it when things come together.  The only ingredients I had to pick up at the market were the chicken and the potatoes.  One of the perks of having a plot in the community garden is that you have access to the community herbs that grow there as well.  So Harper and I took a nice walk down to the garden to pick some rosemary off the bush.  Doesn’t get any fresher than that!

Even though bell peppers are a fabulous vegetable on their own, I can never eat a meal without some greenery on my plate.  So I decided to sauté some rainbow chard to serve on the side.  I heated some olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Then I added a combination of shallots and onions and cooked until they were tender.  After washing the chard and removing the inner stem, I gave a rough chop to the leaves and added it to the pan.  I poured in a 1/2 cup of chicken broth and let it simmer for about 10 minutes until the chard was nice and soft.  So easy and delicious!

Roast Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers

Ingredients

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Cooking spray

2 cups thinly sliced yellow bell pepper

1 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (about 1 large)

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Preparation

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees,

2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and oregano.  Brush chicken with 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; sprinkle spice rub over chicken.  Add 1 1.2 teaspoons oil to pan.  Add chicken; cook 3 minutes or until browned.  Turn chicken over; cook 1 minute.  Arrange chicken in an 11×7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until done.

3.  Heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add bell pepper, shallots, and rosemary; sauté 3 minutes.  Stir in broth, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes.  Increase heat to medium-high.  Stir in vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Serve bell pepper mixture over chicken.

Mascarpone Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds peeled Yukon gold potatoes

1/3 cup 2% milk

3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until tender.  Drain; return to pan.  Add milk, cheese and salt.  Mash to desired consistency.

Recipes from Cooking Light via MyRecipes.com

When I look at this dish, it reminds me of fall…on a plate!  The reds, yellows, and oranges with a hint of green bring to mind the beautiful colors of autumn leaves.  It’s the perfect dinner for the season!

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Sipping Chicken Soup with Rice

Does anyone else remember this book?

Definitely one of my favs! And whenever I get in the mood to cook some homemade chicken soup, I can’t help but chant the refrain, “Sipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice”.

My mom always made a killer homemade chicken soup.  Of course, like everything else, she made it from scratch.  And more than the delicious taste, this soup warmed you up, cured your cold and comforted your soul.  My mom never followed a recipe.  She just put a little bit of this and a little bit of that and it always turned out just right.  Being that I am more of a stickler for recipes, I went on a quest to find one that would replicate what I remember eating at home.  I have tried a couple here and there but nothing seemed to catch the essence of her creation until now.

I found this particular recipe on Pinterest (where I find most of my recipes these days).  What I love about this site is thatit’s a virtual pin-board filled with tons and tons of pictures.  They have everything from fashion to art to home decor, but I love to look at the food.  When I came across this picture I immediately felt the urge to take a bite.  My tummy got all warm inside and I knew I had to recreate this moment.

Now that we are moving into the colder months, and the temperature is beginning to drop outside, a batch of homemade chicken soup was in order.  Plus, I couldn’t resist with the beautiful bunches of celery and carrots I was delivered this week.  Served with a toasted ciabatta role and a fresh green salad, this meal hit the spot!

Ingredients        

2 (32 ounce) cartons of low sodium chicken broth

1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 stalks of celery, halved lengthwise & sliced

2 carrots sliced

1 parsnip, chopped

1/2 large yellow/brown onion, diced

2 tablespoons of diced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon of dried thyme

Freshly ground pepper

1 rotisserie chicken, remove bones and skin and cut meat into bite size pieces

Large handful of frozen peas

Large handful of frozen corn

1 tablespoon dried tarragon

1 tablespoon dried parsley

Cooked rice

Salt to taste

Preparation

Heat the broth in a large pot over medium heat.  To the broth add in the chicken base, garlic, celery, carrot, parsnip, onion and ginger.  Sprinkle in thyme and pepper.  Allow to low simmer until vegetables are tender.

Add chicken to the broth with peas, corn, tarragon and parsley.  Simmer until tender.  Season with salt as needed.

I cook my rice in a rice cooker while the soup is simmering and then add the rice to the soup right before I serve it.

Recipe adapted from Deep South Dish

The original recipe gives you tons of options including making your own broth and adding different vegetables.  It also suggests you use a whole chicken or parts.  I decided to go the easy route and use rotisserie chicken because it saves a whole lot of time and tastes just as delicious (plus whole chickens kind of gross me out when they are raw and I have a hard time handling them).  Either way, this is a great template for you to create your own homemade chicken soup.  And when you do, don’t forget the refrain, “Sipping once, sipping twice, sipping chicken soup with rice!”

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