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!

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Peppers with Cheesy Baked Polenta

Finding quick and easy dinner recipes is like finding simple DIY projects for your home. They’re super rare, and even when you think you find one, it’s probably a trap.

That’s why this meal is perfect—you can make it as easy or complicated as you want. Use pre-cooked polenta with a jar of your favorite store-bought tomato sauce, and I swear you can get this on the dinner table in less than 40 minutes. If you have extra time or extra patience, add more chopped veggies, cook up polenta from scratch or experiment with homemade sauce.

Now, I promise it’s delicious, but it’s not the most photogenic dish in the world.

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Peppers with Cheesy Baked Polenta

Cheesy Baked Polenta

Cheesy Baked Polenta

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Peppers

Spicy Chicken Sausage and Peppers with Cheesy Baked Polenta
Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4

(Printable Recipe)

– 1 package fully cooked chicken sausages
– 1 green bell pepper
– 1 small onion
– 1 tsp. minced garlic
– 1 tbsp. olive oil
– 3/4 cup Spicy Red Pepper Pasta Sauce (or any tomato sauce would work)
– 1 roll plain pre-cooked polenta (18-ounces)
– Shredded mozzarella cheese

– Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
– Slice polenta roll into thin disks, about 1/2 inch thick. Spray the bottom of a baking dish with cooking spray or coat lightly with olive oil. Layer polenta rounds to cover the bottom. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Add a second layer of polenta rounds and cheese, continuing until the roll is gone. Add a final sprinkling of cheese.
– Pop the polenta into the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the cheese is browned and bubbly. You may need to turn on the broiler for a few minutes at the very end.
– While the polenta is baking, chop your chicken sausage into bite-size pieces along with the bell pepper and onion.
– Add olive oil and minced garlic to a pan. Stir the garlic for two minutes. If you want to make this extra spicy, toss in a bit of red pepper flakes at this point.
– Add your sausage, pepper and onion to the pan. Stir and cook for 10 minutes until sausage is heated through and veggies are softened.
– Pour in tomato sauce and continue stirring until heated through.
– Once polenta is done baking, slice into rectangles and place on plates. Cover with sausage and pepper mix. Enjoy!

COOKING TIP: If you cook for just one or two people, like me, you know that SO much can go to waste. When you go grocery shopping for this recipe, pick up your favorite pizza crust or dough at the same time. Use half the sausage, mozzarella and pasta sauce to make a smaller portion of this dish. The next night, you’ll have plenty of ingredients left for an easy homemade sausage pizza. No leftover ingredients, and you’ll save on the grocery budget too.

Weeknight Dinners: Attempting New Recipes

For about two years now, I have set up blog accounts and then never blogged. I absolutely love reading other people’s blogs. I have about 40 in my Feedly reader that I check every single day. What can I say? I’m nosey. I like seeing what other people are wearing, finding recipes and generally stalking people I find interesting. But I can never think of anything to write about when it comes to my own blog. The other day, my sister (we call her Gritz) requested that I finally start posting so she can keep up with my life. So here goes. It will probably be awesomely boring, but if nothing else, I know Gritz will be my loyal (and only) reader. But fair warning: I’m not a photographer, and I’m certainly not a chef.

Deciding what to have for dinner is the bane of my existence. By the time I get home from work, I’m starving, and I just want a plate of food to appear in front of me. But in the interesting of saving money (and calories), I’m trying to be better about meal planning and cooking at home, at least on the weeknights.

I’m constantly searching for quick and easy recipes that I can make with my limited cooking skills. I have a bad habit of tackling recipes way outside of my abilities and then having what my husband lovingly calls a “rage quit.” It’s a term people use when playing video games, when you get so frustrated you just freak out and quit in a fit of rage. These cooking rage quits have happened on multiple occasions. (The “Christmas crack” with saltines, chocolate and caramel that stuck to the parchment paper … the Paula Deen empanadas that took 10 years off my life and tasted terrible.) The list goes on and on.

In an effort to help other time and talent challenged “chefs” like myself, I’ll try to share a few recipes here that work (and maybe a few that didn’t so you can save yourself from a rage quit of your own). Here are two new recipes I tackled over the last week:

Greek Chicken and Crispy Pita with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

Greek Chicken and Crunchy Pita with Garlic Yogurt Sauce

(The credit goes to my mom on this one. Not sure where she got it, but it’s one of her signature dishes.)

Time: 30 minutes (Note: 30 actual minutes … not 30 “Rachel Ray minutes,” aka 2 hours)
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1 ½ lbs. beef tenderloin, or chicken, or marinated pork tenderloin, cut into bite size pieces
Diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
3 oz. butter or margarine
½ tsp. oregano
2 tsp. chopped fresh dill

1 pint plain yogurt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

4 small pita bread loaves cut into bite size chunks

– Heat skilled with ½ the butter and lightly toss pita bread chunks until crips. Keep warm in 200 degree oven. Prepare yogurt sauce by stirring in garlic powder, salt and pepper.
– Heat remaining butter in skilled. Add meat and sauté until well browned.
– Add diced tomatoes, oregano, and chopped fresh dill and continue to sauté until tomatoes are well cooked.
– Put the pita bread on a big serving dish. Cover with yogurt sauce. Spoon meat mixture over yogurt sauce.

Verdict: A perfect weeknight meal. This is easy to make with a short ingredient list, which is good for the grocery budget. The fresh dill really makes it, so don’t skip that. Plus, pita tossed in butter until it’s crunchy? Yum. Even my husband, who is not a big yogurt fan, liked the garlic sauce over the top. Plus, I used whole wheat pita, so if you ignore the butter, it’s healthy, right?

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I used the recipe found on this site and followed it exactly.

Verdict: Too time consuming for a weeknight. This is one of those recipes you find on Pinterest, where you know it’s healthy, but you’re hoping it somehow magically tastes like cheesy, fatty, deliciousness. It definitely tastes healthy. I kind of wished I mixed more cheese throughout the whole thing, because cheese makes everything better. I probably won’t make it again. It’s not the recipe’s fault. It’s my fault for loving unhealthy things. Let’s be honest: I brought the leftovers for lunch today, and I want to throw them away and get Taco Bell.

Update: I actually ate the leftovers, and I think I liked it better the second day. Although, I acted like a child and only ate the insides and not the peppers.

What are your favorite weeknight meals?