Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Cream

I’ve had this recipe on my Pinterest board for months, and I never made it until last night. For some reason, I was intimidated by making blackened chicken and by the fact that I needed to break out the food processor. And while I did set off the smoke alarm, I actually found this recipe super simple and really tasty. You can easily get this on the table in less than 30 minutes, and you don’t even have to turn on the oven. Awesome!

Blackened ChickenBlackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Cream

Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Cream
Adapted from Source: Sarcastic Cooking

Serves: 2
Time: 20 minutes

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Cajun seasoning
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup brown rice
Juice and zest from one lime
A dash of salt and pepper
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 avocado, peel and pit removed
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt

  1. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with Cajun seasoning (store bought or homemade).
  2. Add the olive oil to a large pan or skillet. Heat the olive oil for a minute over medium/high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the pan. Cook for seven minutes on each side with the lid on.
  3. After the chicken breasts have cooked all the way through, remove them from the pan and let them rest for several minutes before slicing them.
  4. Prepare the brown rice according to the package directions. Add juice from half a lime along with lime zest and cilantro. Mix together.
  5. Place the avocado, Greek yogurt, juice from half a lime and salt/pepper in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  6. Serve the sliced chicken breast on top of the rice. Add the avocado cream sauce on top. Enjoy!

Blackened Chicken with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Cream

Notes: I couldn’t find a zester, and I forgot to buy cilantro, so I just mixed my rice with lime juice. It was still really good, but it would obviously be more awesome with the fresh cilantro. I also couldn’t find a lid that fit my skillet pan, so I just placed some foil over the top during cooking. I used small chicken tenders instead of large chicken breasts, which cooked faster and made the process a bit easier. You can also substitute quinoa for the rice if you have it on hand (see the original recipe).

I feel like this style of blackened chicken would also be really good with fajitas. Let me know if you give it a try!

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

Yesterday was gross and rainy, so I ran to the grocery store to stock up on everything we would need for a lazy day at home. In between watching seven episodes of Game of Thrones season three, I pulled together this super easy dinner: pepperoni pizza roll! According to Wikipedia, pepperoni roll is actually a West Virginia delicacy, which is kind of random and hilarious. Who knew? Needless to say, it’s not a fancy meal, but it’s quick and easy!

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

(Printable recipe)

- Pizza dough
- Shredded Italian cheese mix
- Pepperoni
- Optional added toppings
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. melted butter
- Marinara sauce

- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Roll out your pizza dough in a rectangle or long oval shape.
- Brush dough with olive oil. Add cheese and toppings across the surface.
- Roll up the pizza dough until you have a log shape. Pinch the edges closed and place it in the center of the baking sheet seam side down.
- Brush the top with melted butter.
- Bake for approximately 20 minutes.
- Slice and serve with warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping.

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

I kept it SUPER simple and used Pillsbury pizza dough and substituted turkey pepperoni. I also forgot the olive oil step and everything came out fine, so you probably don’t need it. You can make this like I did with just pepperoni and cheese, or you can mix it up with any toppings you want. Olives, pineapple, peppers, sausage. You could even add a layer of BBQ or Alfredo sauce before you roll it up.

Pepperoni Pizza Roll

I served it up with orange slices on the side because I was too lazy to think of anything else and I felt like we needed something on the plate resembling a healthy food group. Enjoy!

Winter Solstice, Early Christmas and Light Fights

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! I’m SO ready to kick off a nice relaxing week with the family, and we had a great weekend to get the holiday party started.

On Friday, we celebrated the winter solstice, which is an annual event in my family and one of my favorite traditions. We got together at my parent’s house for a delicious dinner and then took turns lighting candles and making wishes for the year ahead. You can wish out loud or silently, and it’s so nice to take a quiet moment and put some positive energy and wishes into the world.

Winter Solstice

That same night, my husband and I jumped in the car and headed to Richmond for an early Christmas celebration with his family.

First order of business when we arrived: some puppy love from their weimaraner Lexi! (She doesn’t look too thrilled, but I promise, we’re buddies.)

Weimaraner

In addition to eating delicious food nonstop and exchanging gifts, we also took a tour of some UNREAL Christmas lights. My brother-in-law’s friend does a phenomenal light display every year, so we drove to check it out. In fact, his friend is one of the contenders on the ABC show the Great Christmas Light Fight! His episode airs tonight at 9 a.m. and his display is called Hadley’s Winterland.

Hadley's Winterland

I mean, how amazing is that? The pictures don’t even do it justice.

photo 3 Hadley's Winterland

The display included a TON of lights and figurines and an arch with lights that moved in sync with Christmas music. Not to mention a zillion other awesome elements. If you live in the Richmond area, it’s a must see!

And we obviously had to take a picture under the mistletoe:

Hadley's Winterland

We saw a few other awesome houses to wrap up the night.

Hadley's Winterland

I can’t even fathom the amount of time and energy that goes into these displays. So fun to see, and the perfect way to kick off Christmas!

Jessica Alba’s Shredded Chicken Enchiladas

Now, I know what you’re thinking. There’s no way in hell Jessica Alba eats cheesy enchiladas and still has a body like that. I agree, but the Internet claims this is her recipe, and if it’s on the Internet, it must be true!

This is the best enchilada recipe I’ve had. It’s a huge hit in my family, and it might be the best thing I know how to make. Back in the day when I first started dating my boyfriend (now husband), I cooked up a huge batch of these, and I’m pretty sure we polished off the whole dish in one day.

I apologize that I didn’t snap more pictures. It’s too delicious, so we dove right in.

Below is the recipe with a few tweaks that I make to the original. I use more cheese (duh) and I also use flour tortillas instead of corn, because I think they hold up better in the dish. I usually have a hard time finding the green chile enchilada sauce at my store, so if you have the same issue, two cans of the regular enchilada sauce work perfectly. NOTE: this is not a quick recipe, and you will make every dish in your house dirty making it. But it’s worth it for a nice weekend meal when you have more time.

Jessica Alba's Chicken Enchiladas

Jessica Alba’s Shredded Chicken Enchiladas
Source: SELF Magazine

(Printable Recipe)

- 4 cups chicken stock
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 5 oz each), cut into strips
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 jar (12 oz) salsa
- 2 to 3 cups of cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black olives, drained
- 1 can (16 oz) traditional enchilada sauce
- 1 can (16 oz) green chile enchilada sauce
- Cooking spray
- 8 flour tortillas (6 inches across)

- Heat oven to 425°.
- In a medium pot, boil stock, chicken, jalapeño and garlic 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Strain chicken, run cold water over it and shred into a bowl. Mix in salsa and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, combine cheese, cilantro and olives; set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, combine enchilada sauces and stir until simmering. Set aside.
- Coat an 11″ x 13″ casserole pan with nonstick spray. Microwave tortillas 20 seconds. Place small handfuls of cheese mixture and chicken in center of each tortilla, roll up and place in pan, seam side down. Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture. Ladle on sauce, then add remaining 1/4 cup Monterey Jack.
- Bake 20 minutes.
YUM, now I’m hungry. What is your favorite enchilada recipe?

Easy Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Based on the number of cookies I consumed over the past four days, my body is now comprised of 75% butter and sugar. To start, my dad organized a cookie day on Friday, which turned into a baking marathon. I think between my dad and I, we baked something like 20 dozen cookies.: sugar, pizzelles, molasses and chocolate chip. I was on my feet for 40 minutes at one point pressing pizzelles in the iron. Am I out of shape if I was really tired afterward?

photo 3Cookie Day

And today, our department at work had a little holiday lunch, so I needed to whip up something for dessert. Since 20 dozen cookies wasn’t enough, I decided to tackle some raspberry thumbprint cookies. These are the perfect thing to bring for a holiday event or cookie swap, because they’re easy and beautiful! You use a store-bought cookie mix as a base, but they taste like they’re from scratch. It’s the perfect way to trick co-workers into thinking you’re awesome!

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Source: Betty Crocker

(Printable Recipe)

Ingredients:
- 1 package Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- Raspberry jam (or any jam would work!)
- White baking chips

Directions:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Mix sugar cookie mix, butter, egg and flour in a large bowl until dough forms.
- Roll dough into 3/4 inch balls and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Press your thumb into the center of each ball of dough to create a small dent. Fill the dent with jam.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack.
- Melt white baking chips in the microwave. (Tip: microwave the chips for 30 seconds and then stir. Microwave again for 30 seconds and stir. After that, microwave in 10 second increments, stirring between each.) Use a spoon to drizzle white chocolate over top of the cookies.

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Like I said, quick and easy! People seemed to love these, and every last cookie is gone. (Although, people at work eat literally anything you put in the kitchen, so it’s not a great system for judging quality. But I’m going to tell myself it was my awesome baking skills.) I doubled this recipe, and it made a little more than four dozen, but I think I made my cookies bigger than the instructions stated. If you made little tea cookies, you could probably get a ton more out of the recipe. Enjoy!

What are your favorite holiday cookies?