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These easy and healthy Carnitas can be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot and come out deliciously tender and packed with flavor every time. They make the best filling for tacos, burritos, rice bowls, and more. Serve them with these Slow Cooker Pinto Beans or add them to this Mexican Chopped Salad.

Carnitas are the ultimate filling when it comes to all your Mexican favorites. They are crunchy and crispy on the outside while still staying moist and tender inside. Seriously good and this version couldn’t be easier to make with options for the crockpot and the Instant Pot.

Slow Cooker Carnitas in corn tortillas with cilantro and onion.

If you have never had carnitas before, it is like a Mexican version of pulled pork made with spices, orange juice, and lime juice. Traditionally they are cooked in a large vat of lard until the pork gets super tender and the outside gets crispy from cooking in fat. However, as you can imagine, this isn’t the healthiest option. Luckily, it is pretty easy to make a version without the lard that is still really delicious.

The key to making carnitas at home is taking the extra step to crisp up the pork after it has cooked low and slow. This can be done in the broiler or in a cast iron skillet once the pork has finished cooking and is shredded. Personally, I always do it in the broiler since it is fast and there is less clean up. However I know some people don’t love using their broiler, so you can crisp them up in a skillet with a little oil.

What are Carnitas?

Carnitas are a traditional Mexican dish, usually made with pork shoulder that is cooked for hours in lard or cooking fat. It’s addictive and delicious and something that almost everyone I know loves once they try it. Since it is cooked in lard, it gets incredibly tender but also gets nice and crispy on the outside. Normally it is cooked with a basic spice blend and served with corn tortillas, cilantro, onions, and a spicy salsa.

Since cooking pork in a vat of lard isn’t something most people want to take on, it’s actually really easy to make a version at home using the Instant Pot or slow cooker that tastes just as delicious. The only catch is that you have to crisp up the pork after cooking it in the broiler or in a hot skillet.

Instant Pot Carnitas on a baking sheet with tortillas and lime.

How to serve Carnitas?

The most traditional way to serve pork carnitas is in a taco piled high with cilantro, white onion, salsa, and plenty of lime juice. It can also be used to make burritos, rice bowls, enchiladas, nachos, and quesadillas. And around here, I love piling it high on a big green salad with black beans and corn. Honestly, this is such a versatile protein, you can use it so many different ways. And it freezes well so don’t be afraid to make a big batch and keep some in the freezer for a quick meal.

How to make Carnitas in the slow cooker? Instant Pot?

Slow Cooker carnitas couldn’t be easier to make. First, you will want to trim a pork shoulder to remove extra fat and cut it into three to four large pieces. Then coat it in a spice rub using chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Add some lime juice, orange juice, onion, and garlic. Then cook everything for about 8 hours on low until the pork is fork tender and easily shreds.

To make pork carnitas in the Instant Pot, you will follow the same steps to start. When it comes to cooking, just use the meat setting and make sure it is on high pressure. Cook it for 30 minutes and then let is naturally release. Shred the pork using two forks.

Finally to make things crispy, turn the broiler up to high and spread the carnitas out on a baking sheet. Broil for 4-6 minutes until they begin to crisp up and then toss with some of the cooking liquid to add flavor and moisture.

Can I make Carnitas with chicken?

Absolutely! You can use the recipe included here but replace the pork with chicken thighs instead. You will also need to adjust the cooking time. It will take about 4 hours in the slow cooker and about 20 minutes in the Instant Pot. Here is a complete recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas.

Easy carnitas in three tacos with onion, limes, and cilantro.

What can I serve with carnitas?

There are so many different options when it comes to side dishes for carnitas. The most traditional would be to serve it with refried beans, rice, and a stack of warm corn tortillas. Then each person can assemble their own tacos with fresh cilantro, diced white onion, limes, and salsa.  Avocados or guacamole is also always on our table when Mexican food is involved.

When we are eating carnitas tacos, I almost always serve it alongside some type of corn and black bean salad since it is something we all love and it keeps things light and healthy. Usually, I will serve some lettuce wraps as an option too for people who are eating low carb, Paleo, or Whole30.

Then I like to use the leftovers for lunches in my own Chipotle style burrito bowls and salads. I toss in beans, corn, salsa, a little bit of cheese, and some cilantro lime brown rice or cauliflower rice.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/carnitas-instant-pot-slow-cooker

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These Grilled Red Potatoes couldn’t be any more delicious and are so easy. After spending way too many years making potatoes inside while I grilled the rest of dinner, I am excited to finally move our entire meal outside. They make a great side dish along with these easy grilled vegetables or grilled broccoli.

Grilled potatoes are defintiely something you need to make immediately. Am I the only one who hasn’t been doing this for years? I mean, there have been so many times over the years when I am cooking something on the grill and just don’t want to have to turn on the oven as well.  But with a family who demands potatoes or starch at almost every meal, it used to be a necessity. Unless I went for microwave potatoes, but let’s be honest, they are never as good.

That’s where this simple grilled red potato side dish comes in to save the day.  The potatoes and onions are packed into aluminum foil packets and cooked right on the grill with a touch of butter and any spices you like.  You can go simple with salt and pepper or mix things up with Cajun spices, paprika, oregano, or Italian seasoning to match whatever you are serving. They can also be finished right on the grill to add some extra char. It’s an extra step, but totally worth it in my opinion.

Now while this base recipe uses aluminum foil, I am going to give you some different options depending on how you like to cook things. In my opinion, using a foil packet is the easiest since it doesn’t involve any sort of parboiling or cooking first, but you can use any method you like.

Grilled red potatoes in a bowl with a yellow napkin.

How to Grill Potatoes

There are three main methods for grilling potatoes and the key to each is making sure to get the outside crispy and the inside nice and tender, without burning anything.  Luckily it isn’t too hard to do and the effort is absolutely worth it. Grilled potatoes are something magical. Between the browned exterior, slightly smoky flavor from the grill, and soft and tender inside – they are really tasty.

  1. Grilling potatoes in foil: The easiest option is to grill the potatoes in a foil pouch directly on the grill. Wrapping them in foil allows the potatoes to steam, ensuring they are cooked all the way through. It also helps prevent them from burning. Plus the potatoes, especially those on the bottom, will get a nicely browned from the heat of the grill. Depending on how large you cut the potatoes, they normally take between 30-40 minutes to be nice and tender. When it comes to flavor options, anything that works for roasted potatoes will work here as well.  Plus you can add onions and garlic for extra flavor. Plus if you find that your potatoes are quite charred enough on the outside, you can always place them directly on the grill after they have steamed in the foil.
  2. Placing potatoes directly on the grill: Potatoes can be grilled directly on the grates, but it can be tricky to get the inside nice and soft without burning the edges. I find the best way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to cut your potato into thin slices that will cook quickly. Long, horizontal slices work great since they cook really quickly. Coat them in oil and your favorite spices. You can also cook wedges on the grill but you will likely need to move them to an indirect heat source after crisping up the outside so they don’t burn.
  3. Precooking potatoes for the grill: For the most control, you can parboil or microwave your potatoes first so that they are tender before going on the grill. Cut the potatoes into whatever shape you like, then cook them in boiling water (or steam in the microwave) until they are just tender. Then toss them in oil and spices and place them directly on the grill or in a grill basket. Once they have some nice grill marks and release easily from the grate, flip them and cook on the other side.

Here is a photo of what they will look like if you don’t place them on the grill after to brown the edges. They are delicious both ways.

Grilled potatoes with onions on a white plate.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/grilled-red-potatoes

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Stuffed Turkey Burgers with salsa and cheese make for a killer turkey burger you will want to make all summer long. Goey cheese, spicy salsa, and lean ground turkey really is a match made in heaven.

As someone who admittedly doesn’t love turkey, I can’t say enough good things about these turkey burgers. They are made by adding your favorite salsa to lean ground turkey meat and then stuffing everything with mozzarella cheese. It’s a dreamy combination and one that I promise you will make all summer long. Plus it is easy to mix up the flavors by reaching for a different salsa and cheese combination. I have some ideas for you below.

Salsa and Cheese Turkey burger with a bite taken out so you can see the cheese inside with salad.

But before we get into all the fun ways to make these salsa and cheese turkey burgers, let’s talk about turkey for a minute. I am one of those people who pass on turkey at Thanksgiving. It’s just not my thing. However ever since it became a zero points food, I have been trying to utilize it more. It’s a strategy I use to help me balance out the day and save some points for treats at the end of the day. Whether you follow WW or not, it is a healthy and lean protein that is great to add to the rotation.

So for me, the trick to enjoying turkey is to add tons of flavor to it and to make sure it stays nice and moist. This can be challenging with extra lean ground turkey since it dries out quickly. That’s where the salsa comes in. It’s the best trick for making a moist and flavor packed burger with a lean protein like turkey or ground chicken. The salsa not only adds tons of flavor, it also adds moisture, almost guaranteeing we won’t end up with a dry burger. And then to make things even better, why not stuff the cheese inside.

Flavor Combos for Salsa and Cheese Stuffed Turkey Burgers

  • Chipotle Cheddar: Find a smoky chipotle salsa and stuff the burgers with cheddar cheese.
  • Salsa Verde and Pepper Jack: Use a mild or medium salsa verde and then stuff the burgers with pepper jack cheese.
  • Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese: There are lots of different roasted tomato salsa available in stores and they pair really well with goat cheese. Trust me, if you like goat cheese, these will be your favorite.
  • Traditional and feta: There is something about pairing a traditional thick and chunky salsa with feta cheese that I love.
  • Don’t like heat? Don’t be afraid to try a non-traditional salsa in this recipe. You could use a roasted red pepper “salsa”, bruschetta mix, olive tapenade, chutney, or any other salsa style condiment.

Four turkey burgers stuffed with salsa and cheese that have grill marks.

How to freeze turkey burgers?

You can make a big batch of these burgers and then freeze them for a quick and easy meal. The easiest way to freeze them is to form them into patties when they are raw. Then place them on a baking sheet or plate and let them freeze in the open fridge for 30 minutes. Then remove them and wrap in plastic wrap and return to the freezer. Then you can pull out as many burgers as you need in the future for a quick and easy meal.

Can I use ground beef or chicken?

Absolutely! These burgers can be made with any ground beef, chicken, turkey, or pork. They are really good with ground turkey sausage if you want to try something new and different. For the healthiest option, always look for the leanest option. Remember the salsa will help to keep it moist so you don’t have to worry as much about the meat getting dry. You can also use ground beef with a higher fat content, it just will be higher in calories and fat.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/salsa-and-cheese-stuffed-turkey-burgers

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These easy Grilled Chicken Tacos are a staple in our house since we literally would be happy eating tacos every night. Lately, we have been rotating between this recipe, these simple Steak Tacos, and this yummy Taco Soup. It’s healthy Mexican at its best and is sure to make the whole family happy.

Making grilled chicken tacos in the summer is something we do all the time whether it is for our own dinner or when we have friends over. Not only is it really easy, it’s also super cost effective since you don’t need as much protein per person when everyone is stuffing it into taco shells and loading it up with salsa and fixings. Served alongside some slow cooker pinto beans and rice, it’s a really great way to throw an affordable party and everyone will leave full and happy.

Grilled Chicken Tacos in corn tortillas with cilantro, onion, and red salsa.

To serve these chicken tacos, I like to set up things up buffet style and let everyone build their own tacos, salads, nachos, burritos, or bowls. It may sound complicated, but it’s actually quick and simple, especially if you let the grocery store help with some shortcuts. I always start with a couple types of salsa, usually opting to have one mild, one medium, and one hot. For the mild, I almost always serve pico de gallo and then use a homemade or store-bought red and green salsa to round things out.

After that, I offer a bunch of chopped veggies – cilantro, onion, lettuce, tomatoes, and avocado.  Finally, I set out the tortillas, chips, rice, and beans. Normally I will make the rice and beans but there are some good store-bought options as well. Then just let everyone build their own. It’s easy, budget-friendly, and chicken tacos taste good room temperature so you don’t have to worry about keeping everything piping hot.

If I am doing this for a family dinner, I will just do a smaller version of what I included above based on the things we eat the most. And I always make extra for leftovers. These keep great in the fridge and the leftovers work for so many different recipes – quesadillas, burritos, taco salads, and more.

Chicken breasts in chicken taco seasoning and lime juice in a metal bowl.

Homemade Chicken Taco Seasoning

Taco seasoning for chicken is something you can quickly make at home using spices you already have in your pantry. It can be used as a dry rub or combined with lime juice to make a marinade. You can adjust the heat level by adding cayenne or red pepper flakes to add more spice. This recipe makes enough for 1-1.5 lbs. of chicken.

  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Directions: Mix together the spices to use as a dry rub. Add the juice of 2 limes or oil to use as a marinade. You can make a larger batch of the spice blend and store it for up to three months as well.

How much taco seasoning per pound?

Generally, you will want about two tablespoons of taco seasoning per pound of meat. This could shift depending on the strength of the taco seasoning and the level of spiciness. Always start with less, since it is much easier to add more and impossible to remove it.

What kind of chicken is best for grilled chicken tacos?

The best options for grilled chicken tacos is to use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs and it is really a matter of personal preference. Chicken breasts are leaner, lower in fat, and zero points for those on Weight Watchers. However, chicken thighs have a higher fat content, which means they will stay more moist and tender. You don’t have to worry about chicken thighs drying out as much, so for anyone new to grilling, they may be a safer option. And if you are watching your budget, chicken thighs are usually about half the price as chicken breasts.

Chicken tacos with cilantro and avocado on a marble background.

Leftover Ideas for Grilled Chicken Tacos

  • Quesadillas: Grab canned black beans, canned corn, pico de gallo, cheese, and your leftover chicken for the best quesadilla filling. You can use traditional flour tortillas or a low carb option for a lighter meal.
  • Lettuce wraps: For a light and healthy lunch, wrap up your leftover grilled chicken in lettuce wraps with avocado, cheese, and salsa. Add canned black or pinto beans to make it more filling.
  • Taco salads: Everyone loves a good taco salad and this chicken works great as the protein. Top it with a spicy ranch by combining light ranch dressing with your favorite salsa.
  • Chicken tortilla soup: Grab a can of vegetarian tortilla soup in the store and top it with this grilled chicken, fresh avocado, and some cheese.
  • Burritos: My kids love burritos so for an easy lunch I stuff whole grain tortillas with this chicken, beans, rice, and veggies. If we are having it for dinner, I will top the burritos with canned enchilada sauce and cheese to make wet burritos, one of our favorites.
  • Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches: We love spicy barbecue so tossing this slightly spicy chicken with your favorite barbecue sauce and stuffing it into sandwiches is a great way to create a whole new dinner.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/grilled-chicken-tacos

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Seriously delicious Sriracha Chicken that is made on the grill is a dish that will impress your guests and is a must for anyone who loves spicy food.

As a family, we hardly ate any spicy food growing up. It wasn’t exactly standard fare in New England at the time and just wasn’t something my mom prepared. But now we are all addicted to spice and it often shows up at dinner, especially in the form of Sriracha. Like many, we are obsessed and try to work it into as many recipes as we can.

Recently, we needed an easy dish for a big family dinner and ended up making this amazing Sriracha Chicken. It can be used for chicken thighs, chicken breasts, or even pork and I can’t even tell you how good the sauce is. It is like the best spicy barbecue sauce and adds so much yummy to any protein.  I want to swim in the Sriracha dipping sauce it is so good.

Want a little extra heat? Add 1-2 tbsp of Sriracha to the marinade as well. This is something I know I will be making all summer.

Chicken with sriracha barbecue sauce on the grill.

What is Sriracha Chicken?

Sriracha is a delicious, spicy sauce that is commonly used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking. The main ingredients that make up this sauce are red chili peppers, which gives the sauce its famous kick, garlic, and vinegar. If you are like me and love spicy foods, then this sauce is a pantry staple.

I put it on everything from steak fajitas to baked potatoes. I practically have an arsenal of sriracha recipes at the ready for when I am in the mood for spicy food. Sriracha also adds great flavor to chicken dishes, especially when used in a dipping sauce.

This sriracha chicken recipe is a flavorful, spicy dish that will impress any barbeque or dinner guest. Now that I have my hands on this delicious recipe, I will be cooking tasty sriracha barbecue chicken often during this upcoming summer.

What Goes With Sriracha Chicken?

One of my favorite barbecue recipes is grilled corn on the cob. Grilled garlic corn goes well with this sriracha barbecue chicken. To make this side dish, shuck the corn cobs. Place each cob onto a piece of aluminum foil. Sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Wrap in the foil and cook on the grill grate for 15 minutes. The garlic powder in the corn recipe would highlight the garlic used in the sriracha chicken recipe marinade.

Another great side dish is roasted potato wedges. To make this side dish first preheat the oven to 475°F. Cut potatoes into wedges and place on a baking tray. Drizzle over a few teaspoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried dill. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Make sure to flip the wedges halfway through. Serve alongside the sriracha chicken, and even dunk them into the same sriracha barbecue dipping sauce.

Sriracha recipe for chicken on a plate with salad and a blue napkin.

Sriracha Barbecue Chicken FAQ

Is this sriracha chicken recipe healthy? How can I make it more diet friendly?

In general, chicken is a healthy meat to consume. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, lower in fat than red meats, and is high in protein. However, the cut of chicken you use is an important health consideration. The white meat of the chicken is lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol. So if you are on a diet or watching points or calories, I would recommend swapping out chicken thighs for chicken breasts.

As far as the ingredients go, this recipe does contain sugar and sodium, both of which can be unhealthy in large quantities. You can always reduce the amount of sugar and soy sauce in the recipe to make it healthier. If you don’t mind the taste of Stevia, you can use that in place of the sugar or opt for an unrefined sugar like maple syrup or honey.

I do not have a grill. How else can I cook the Sriracha chicken?

This sriracha barbecue chicken recipe can easily be cooked in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray an oven-safe, glass cooking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the marinated chicken in the dish and cook in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until fully cooked. You will know the chicken is fully cooked when there is no pink meat and the center is white.

Would my kids like this recipe?

Chicken is a safe bet when it comes to cooking for children. Kids are sensitive to strong flavors, so if you were to make this sriracha recipe for your children, you should reduce the amount of spice you add. This could mean making two separate dipping sauces: one without sriracha for the kids and one with sriracha for the adults.

This recipe originally was published in May 2012 but has been updated with new photos and recipe tips.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/grilled-sriracha-barbecue-chicken

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This is the base Chia Seed Pudding recipe that you can use to create all kinds of chia puddings using your favorite fruits, nuts, yogurts, seeds, and spices. Build on the basic liquid to chia seed ratio you will learn in this recipe to create endless versions of this healthy breakfast and snack.

Chia seeds and chia pudding are an essential part of my weekly routine since they have so many benefits when it comes to health and wellness. These nutritional powerhouses are packed with fiber, protein, Omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium. This makes them great for reducing inflammation, aiding digestion, regulating blood sugar, and keeping you full and satisfied. All that in one tiny little seed.

How to make chia pudding with a spoon and granola on a dark slate background.

These amazing little seeds turn into a creamy and healthy pudding that takes on the flavor of whatever they are mixed with. When you mix the chia seeds with liquid, they absorb that liquid at a pretty astonishing rate and turn gel-like. At the same time, they also take on the flavor of the liquid. This creates a consistency similar to tapioca pudding but with way more nutritional benefits. And since chia seeds have almost no flavor on their own, you can pretty much create any flavor combo you like by flavoring the liquid and adding in things like fruit, spices, and nuts.

What is the right ratio of liquid to chia seeds for chia pudding?

To create a creamy and thick pudding, you want to use a ratio of 6 to 1. For a one person serving, that means using 3 tablespoons of chia seeds and about 1 cup of liquid. For two servings, you would double that to have 6 tablespoons of chia seeds and 2 cups of liquid. For the liquid component, using milk will result in the creamiest pudding. You can use almond milk, cashew milk, coconut milk, or dairy milk. If you are using canned coconut milk, opt for the light milk or cut it with almond milk since it is already very thick. You can use black or white chia seeds and both work with the same ratio.

How long can I store chia seed pudding in the fridge?

Chia seed pudding lasts in the fridge for about 5 days. Make sure to store it in an airtight container. If you are adding fruit and other mix-ins, you may want to wait to add them until it is time to serve so they stay fresh and don’t get mushy.  This is especially true for citrus since the acidity of the citrus can change the way the chia seeds absorb the liquid. For meal prep, make a large batch on Sunday and keep them in the fridge all week.

How long do chia seeds need to soak in milk?

Ideally, the chia seeds will soak in the milk or liquid for 3-4 hours for a thick and creamy chia seed pudding. However, if you are in a time crunch, you can actually make chia pudding in about 20 minutes. Let them sit for 10 minutes and then stir and let them sit another 10 minutes. Although the chia seeds won’t be full hydrated, they will already have begun to gel. You can also blend the chia seeds for a faster pudding and a smoother, more pudding like consistency. To blrnd chia seed pudding, just place everything in a blender and blend until nice and smooth.

Is Chia Seeding Pudding low carb? Keto? Vegan? Paleo?

You can make chia seed pudding low carb, keto, vegan, and paleo as long as you choose the right liquid and sweetener. For low carb and keto, make sure to use a low carb milk like unsweetened almond milk paired with no-calorie sweeteners like Stevia or Splenda. For a paleo chia pudding, use honey instead of maple syrup. For a vegan chia pudding, use plant-based milk and either maple syrup or liquid sugar for your sweetener.

Using yogurt in chia seed pudding

To add extra protein and probiotics, I like to add yogurt to my chia seed pudding. Normally I use 1/4 cup of nonfat or 2% plain Greek yogurt in place of a 1/4 cup of milk. You can also use flavored yogurt to infuse flavor into the pudding. This is a way to add sweetness as well since most flavored yogurt already has sweetener.

Fifteen Flavor Ideas for Chia Seed Pudding

  1. Mango Coconut: Blend together 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk with 1/2 of mango. Use that for the liquid portion of the pudding and then add some chopped mango and shredded coconut.
  2. Mexican Chocolate: Add two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a pinch of chili powder to the liquid. Make sure to stir it very well so the cocoa powder fully dissolves in the liquid and taste to adjust the sweetness as needed.
  3. Chocolate Banana: To add natural sweetness to the chia seed pudding, add one mashed banana to the liquid. Then add two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and stir well until fully mixed.
  4. Apple and Almond Butter: Top the chia seed pudding with chopped apples and melted almond butter. Add some cinnamon to the chia seed pudding while you are preparing it.
  5. Creamsicle: Add 1 tsp of orange zest to the liquid and use extra vanilla extract.
  6. Strawberry: Blend together 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Use this as the liquid to make the chia seed pudding and top with fresh strawberries.
  7. Blueberry Lemon: Add 1 tsp of lemon zest to the liquid when making the chia pudding. Top with fresh blueberries.
  8. Peanut Butter and Jelly: Top the chia seed pudding with sliced grapes, sliced strawberries, and melted peanut butter.
  9. Pumpkin Pie: Add 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree and 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to the chia seed pudding base. Top with crumbled graham crackers.
  10. Chocolate Strawberry:  Top the chia seed pudding with sliced strawberries and melted chocolate chips or chocolate syrup.
  11. Banana Split: Add a mashed banana to the chia seed pudding base. Then top the prepared chia seed pudding with sliced strawberries, chocolate syrup, and crushed peanuts.
  12. Vanilla Cinnamon: Use double the amount of vanilla extract in the chia seed pudding base as well as 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon.
  13. Pecan Pie: Instead of vanilla extract, use almond extract. Then add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the chia seed base. Top the finished pecan pie chia pudding with chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup.
  14. Yogurt: Replace 1/4 cup of milk with a 1/4 cup of your favorite yogurt.
  15. Protein Packed: Add your favorite protein powder to the mix as well. I like adding collagen protein to my chia seed pudding to add protein and collagen at the same time.

 

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/chia-seed-pudding

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This easy Asian Noodle Salad with Broiled Hoisin Chicken Thighs will fulfill all your salad dreams. Inspired by a fresh spring roll, this is the furthest thing from a boring green salad.

This Asian noodle salad is packed with flavor from the fresh herbs, crunchy veggies, honey soy dressing, and broiled crispy chicken thighs. We have been eating it for lunches for the past couple of weeks and couldn’t be happier. Not only can you make it in advance (yay!), I think it gets better after a day in the fridge when the noodles really have time to soak up the dressing. The recipe itself originally was inspired by fresh Vietnamese spring rolls and then took on a mind of its own from there.

The base started with rice noodles (soba noodles would work as well), lots of fresh crunchy veggies, and fresh herbs, which are key to a good spring roll. The dressing is a simple Asian inspired dressing with fresh lime juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey, garlic, and a Thai chili pepper for a bit of spice. Then to add some protein, I broiled up some boneless skinless chicken thighs with Hoisin sauce. It’s a delicious and fairly simple meal.

Asian Noodle Salad with Chicken in a beige bowl with noodles, veggies, and peanuts.

For a vegetarian version of the salad, there are a few different options. The first is to broil tofu in place of the chicken. Start by slicing the tofu into horizontal planks and pressing it to remove some of the excess moisture. From there, brush it with the hoisin and follow the same steps as the chicken. Consider placing it on a wire rack to prevent sticking. If you don’t want to use tofu, you could also add some edamame, chickpeas, seitan, or tempeh. Or if you aren’t worried about protein, just leave it out completely.

If you are on Weight Watchers, you may be wondering if you can use chicken breast to reduce the number of points. You absolutely can but I wouldn’t broil the chicken since it can quickly get dry. Instead, chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and quickly cook it in a skillet with coconut oil or cooking spray until cooked through. Then toss it with the hoisin sauce.  Shredded rotisserie chicken breasts tossed in hoisin would work as well. If you go this route, the salad only has 5 Freestyle Smartpoints per serving.

Vietnamese noodle salad with chicken in a bowl with peanuts.

What noodles are used in an Asian Noodle Salad?

Honestly, you can use almost any noodle to make an Asian noodle salad. For Vietnamese salads, vermicelli or rice noodles are usually used. I love this option since they are no cook and just need to be soaked in hot water. Soba noodles are another popular choice and add a hearty texture since they are normally made with buckwheat, which adds some texture and bite. If you can’t find Asian noodles, you can use any regular pasta noodle. Look for a whole wheat or high fiber option to make things healthier.

How to Make Vietnamese Salad Dressing

  • 4 tbsp. lime juice
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (or a combination of fish sauce and soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp. honey (or agave, brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Thai red chili pepper (or 1 serrano pepper, seeded and minced)
  • Instructions: Stir everything together and taste. You can add some olive oil or sesame oil to thin the dressing out as well or make the flavor milder. Keeps in the fridge 3-5 days.

How to Meal Prep Asian Noodle Salad

This is one of my favorite salads for meal prep. The best way to pack up the salads is to use a mason jar. Place the noodles in the bottom of the jar and pour in the dressing. Then pile the veggies on top of that and finish with the chicken. This ensures that the veggies stay nice and crunchy. Plus it gives the noodles time to absorb all that yummy flavor. When ready to eat, mix everything together in the jar or on a larger plate.

This recipe was originally published in 2014 but has been updated with new photos and information.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/asian-noodle-salad-with-broiled-hoisin-chicken-thighs

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This Balsamic Chicken with Garlic Zucchini Noodles is another example of how balsamic vinegar makes everything better. The savory chicken, tender mushrooms, and garlicky zucchini noodles make for a healthy dinner that has so much flavor. Some of my other favorites with balsamic are these Crispy Balsamic Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Balsamic Chicken Thighs and Vegetables.

This easy balsamic chicken recipe is a dinnertime staple in our house. Not only is it quick and easy, it’s something we all love and I have been making for years without the zucchini noodles. However, with summer around the corner, I am trying to cut back on carbs so this time I decided to throw some zucchini noodles into the mix. And we loved it! The zucchini noodles soak up the garlic balsamic sauce and are the perfect addition. Plus it saves you from having to make a side dish.

Balsamic Chicken with Garlic Zucchini Noodles in a cast iron skillet with parsley

The major flavor component of this dish is the sauce for the balsamic chicken. It’s made with a simple combination of balsamic vinegar, garlic, chicken broth, and thyme. When they cook down together, the outcome is a rich savory sauce that you will want to eat by the spoonful. It flavors the chicken, mushrooms, and zucchini noodles so that every bite is packed with flavor. It’s important to cook it right in the pan so you can incorporate all the browned bits on the pan. These add flavor and depth to the sauce. And if thyme isn’t your thing, feel free to swap in another herb like rosemary or oregano.

Cooking Ideas for Balsamic Chicken with Zucchini Noodles

  • Honey Balsamic Chicken: If you like a sweeter sauce, you can a couple of tablespoons of honey to the pan along with the vinegar, chicken broth, and thyme. It will add a nice touch of sweetness to balance out the vinegar.
  • Balsamic Chicken with Tomatoes: For some more veggie goodness, add cherry tomatoes to the mix as well. You can add them to the pan along with the mushrooms. They can be added whole or halved. If they are halved they will create more of a sauce since the juices will be released.
  • Balsamic Chicken Thighs: This recipe works great with chicken thighs as well. Boneless skinless chicken thighs cook in about the same amount of time as the chicken tenderloins.
  • Make it spicy: If you like some spice in your food, add some red pepper flakes to the olive oil or when you add the garlic.

How to make zucchini noodles?

  • Spiralizer: The easiest way to make zucchini noodles with a spiralizer. There are so many different types available from small handheld options to larger countertop options to attachments for a stand mixer. Honestly, I have tried all three and use my stand mixer attachment most often.
  • Mandolin: If you already have a mandolin and don’t want to invest in another piece of kitchen equipment, you can slice the zucchini into thin planks with the mandolin and then use a sharp knife to cut the planks into noodles. It takes longer but also produces a good noodle.
  • Vegetable peeler: If you don’t mind wider noodles, you can make thicker noodles using a vegetable peeler. I find they are a little harder to cook and eat, but they work.
  • Store bought: Most store now offer premade fresh and frozen zucchini noodles for purchase. They are more expensive but are fast and easy. Look for them in the produce section or in the freezer.

Balsamic chicken with zucchini noodles on a white plate and wood background.

Side Dishes for Balsamic Chicken

If the zucchini noodles aren’t enough of a side dish and you need some extra heft in your meal, consider adding these side dishes

  • Pasta: Often times I will make some regular or whole wheat pasta to mix into the zucchini noodles for the bigger eaters in the family. Just double the sauce so there is enough for the pasta as well.
  • Baked or roasted potatoes: During colder months, I almost always make some roasted potatoes to serve on the side. They add a good textural component to the dish and who doesn’t love a crispy, roasted potato. To stick with a low carb option, you could use Parmesan roasted cauliflower.
  • Polenta: We have a slight obsession with polenta and it works so well with this dish. The earthy, slightly sweet polenta is dreamy with the mushrooms and balsamic sauce.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/balsamic-chicken-with-garlic-zucchini-noodles

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These healthy Steak Tacos taste better than your local taco shop but are made with good for you ingredients that most people already have in their pantry. By using a chili and cumin spice rub along with plenty of lime juice, the steak comes out tender and packed with flavor. Consider serving it with these healthy crockpot pinto beans or Mexican corn.

Steak tacos are always the answer. Whenever I am staring at the fridge at 5 PM and don’t know what to make for dinner or planning for a last minute get together, tacos are my number one option. They cook quickly, are almost universally loved, and are affordable to cook for big crowds. Plus if you take the time to put together a wide array of toppings, it feels like something you spent lots of time planning. I always put out two to three different kinds of salsa along with chopped cilantro, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, shredded cheese, sour cream, and plenty of avocado. It makes for an impressive presentation without hardly any work.

Close up of a steak taco on a corn tortilla with onion and cilantro.

For this steak taco recipe, there are three options when it comes to cooking method. You can grill, broil, or cook them stove-top.

  • Grilled Steak Tacos: In warmer months, I am always cooking these on the grill. The grill adds a nice smoky flavor to the beef and to me it feels the most like an authentic since it is comparable to a taco al carbon you would find in Mexico. To maintain an authentic street taco al carbon, you’ll want to be minimalist when it comes to toppings. Lime juice, cilantro, onion, and some spicy red or green salsa is it. But no one would blame you for adding avocado.
  • Broiled Steak Tacos: During colder months or lazy nights I don’t feel like firing up the grill, the broiler is your best friend. Broiling steak is a great way to quickly cook the steak and get it browned on the outside from the high heat. When broiling steak, make sure to keep a close eye on it since it can overcook quickly. And always let it rest before slicing it.
  • Carne Asada Style Skillet Steak Tacos: If you are looking for a carne asada steak taco, you have two options. One is to cut the meat before cooking into small pieces. Then quickly cook it in a skillet or griddle until it is just cooked through. If you want to grill or broil the tacos, you can still do that and then chop it into small pieces after. Just make sure to let the meat rest so you don’t end up losing all the juices.

Steak Taco Seasoning Recipe

This recipe uses a quick an easy homemade spice blend to season up the meat. You can use it for these healthy beef tacos and on all kinds of beef, chicken, and pork dishes. It is awesome for anything on the grill, even veggies.  The recipe below will make a large batch you can store with your other spices. It can be used on its own or combined with lime juice like is done in the recipe.

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1.5 tsp garlic powder
  • 1.5 tsp onion powder
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Optional: Add some cayenne powder for extra heat.

What kind of steak to use for tacos?

You can use virtually any kind of steak for tacos but certain cuts are better for certain types of tacos. For carne asada or grilled steak tacos, it is best to use flank steak, skirt steak, or sirloin steak. Flap meat also works and can be very affordable. In Mexican markets, you will usually see steak labeled carne asada or palomilla. The carne adasa may come pre-marinated. For slow cooker style beef tacos, you can use a round roast, brisket, eye round, or a chuck steak.

Two grilled steak tacos topped with cilantro and onion in a basket with a brown napkin inside

Creating the Perfect Taco Toppings Bar

Like I mentioned earlier, when you make tacos for a crowd, the taco bar is what will take it to the next level. It also gives you the allusion of having spent hours planning when you can actually pick up virtually everything from the grocery store and just put it into pretty bowls and dishes. If you want to add some homemade touches, I recommend making the guacamole and a homemade salsa. This creamy avocado salsa is amazing and always gets rave reviews.

  • Tortillas: Grab a few packs of corn and flour tortillas. If you can take the extra step of heating them up on the grill or over a gas burner on the stove, it adds tons of flavor. Store them wrapped in a towel in a basket or tortilla warmer.  You can also provide lettuce wraps for a lighter option.
  • Chips: It’s not really a taco party without some chips. Provide a fried and baked version so people have a lighter option as well.
  • Salsa: Salsa is one of the most important parts of any good taco party. I like to provide a mild, medium, and spicy option. Usually, I grab pico de gallo for the mild option, green salsa for the medium, and a spicy red salsa for the hot. If you live near a Mexican supermarket or restaurant, consider buying their homemade salsas since they are almost always better then store bought. You will also defintiely want some guacamole.
  • Cheese: Usually I provide two cheese options. One traditional shredded cheese, usually a sharp cheddar or jack cheese, alongside a crumbly Mexican cheese like cotija or queso fresco.
  • Veggies: You will have all the basics – onions, cilantro, jalapenos, tomatoes, and lots of lime. You can also add lettuce or cabbage, radishes, and pickled onions or carrots.
  • Sour cream: Use traditional sour cream, light sour cream, or Greek yogurt. You can also buy the thinner Mexican crema.
  • Sides: Beans and rice are the traditional options but you can switch it up with corn, a big green salad, fresh fruit, or a quinoa salad with mango.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/steak-tacos

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This healthy Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Broccoli made with a light garlic butter sauce may just be my new favorite sheet pan meal. It’s got everything I love – perfectly roasted chicken, crispy potato wedges, and roasted broccoli all cooked on the same pan for easy cleanup.

Chicken and potatoes are a staple in almost every household but it can quickly get boring. Plain chicken breast, a simple baked potato, and maybe a steamed veggie or salad. It’s easy and healthy, but let’s be honest, it isn’t the most exciting dinner. That’s where this recipe comes in. It takes all the elements of a classic chicken, potato, and vegetable dinner but makes it something you will crave. Let’s be real, everything tastes better when it is covered in a rich garlic butter sauce and roasted to bring out all the flavors.

Chicken and potatoes with broccoli on a silver baking sheet with minced garlic.

It’s also the type of meal that is easy to pull off on a busy weeknight without the need to get out a million pans or worry about timing out a bunch of separate dishes. From start to finish, you can make the whole dish in 30-40 minutes depending on how quickly you can chop. You can always use chopped bagged broccoli and smaller chicken breasts or cutlets to speed things up.

Since chicken, potatoes, and broccoli don’t cook in the same amount of time, it’s important to start by roasting the potatoes. You will want to cut them into fairly small wedges so they don’t take hours in the oven. Usually, I get 8-10 wedges per potato by simply cutting the potato in half lengthwise and then cutting the halves into 4-5 wedges. Those will cook for about fifteen minutes on their own before you add the chicken and broccoli. Doing this ensures you get crispy, fully cooked potatoes without ending up with dry, overcooked chicken.

Now let’s talk about the sauce for this chicken and potatoes for a moment. The secret to getting tons of flavor without having to use tons of oil or butter is to use chicken broth. It will add a nice, rich flavor to the whole dish. And when it is paired with lots of freshly chopped garlic and herbs from the Italian seasoning, it becomes something rich and magical.

Tips for this Roasted Chicken and Potatoes with Broccoli

  • Chicken: If possible, I normally try to use organic chicken breast or a chicken breast that doesn’t have added liquid. Not only are these chicken breasts smaller, they also release much less water when they cook. If you are using larger chicken breasts, I would recommend cutting them in half, like a chicken cutlet, so they will cook in the 12-15 minutes the recipe calls for. If you think they will take longer due to the size, you can add them earlier in the cooking process. Just wait to add the broccoli so that it doesn’t burn.
  • Veggies: Although I am a huge fan of roasted broccoli, lots of people like to make this recipe with green beans. Chicken, potatoes, and green beans is definitely a popular choice and will work fine with this recipe. Carrots, asparagus, cauliflower, and snap peas are all good options as well.
  • Low carb and paleo: For Paleo folks, you can use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. You could also use turnips, rutabaga, or celeriac for a low carb twist.
  • Spice blends: The options are endless with how you can flavor up this meal. I love it with the rosemary and thyme that’s in a classic Italian seasoning blend. It’s also delicious with Cajun seasoning for a spicy kick, homemade or store-bought ranch seasoning, or lemon pepper.

Can you cook chicken and potatoes together?

That all depends on the size of the chicken, part of the chicken, and the size of the potatoes. Let’s start with the basics. At 400 degrees, it will take 45-60 minutes to roast baby potatoes, halved smaller potatoes, or quartered regular potatoes.  If you have pieces larger than that, it will take longer and if you have pieces smaller than that, it will be faster. Since I wanted these potatoes to cook in 30 minutes, I went with smaller wedge style pieces. Now let’s talk chicken. As you may have expected, it depends on size. A 6-8 ounces ounce thick breast will probably take between 25-35 minutes. A bone-in chicken breast will take 45-60 minutes. Bone in thighs take about 30-40 minutes and boneless thighs take 20-25 minutes.  Again since I wanted the chicken to be fully cooked in about 15 minutes, I went with smaller breast pieces.

So to cook chicken and potatoes together, you just need to choose a combination that works or add one element later in the cooking process, like we did in this recipe. If something doesn’t go right, you can always remove the chicken or potatoes early to prevent overcooking. Also, if you are ever worried about raw chicken or it not being fully cooked, I recommend purchasing a meat thermometer and using these USDA guidelines. I included my favorite at the bottom of the post.

Can I add rosemary to this dish? I love rosemary chicken and potatoes.

Yes! When I first starting making this recipe and sharing it with friends, I would always get asked about rosemary. You can absolutely add it. Just add 1-2 teaspoons of freshly chopped rosemary to the sauce. Also, there is some rosemary in the Italian seasoning I recommended, so you will still get some of that flavor if you follow the recipe.

Products and tools used to make this recipe:

  • There are all kinds of Italian seasoning out there.  Usually, I make my own or use this one that you can find at the grocery store or on Amazon.
  • I have this meat thermometer and love it. It works in the oven and on the grill and makes it super easy to check the temperature of your meat as it cooks. For anyone who is nervous about cooking meat and/or overcooks meat frequently due to those nerves, this is a worthwhile investment.

Article source: https://www.slenderkitchen.com/recipe/roasted-chicken-and-potatoes-with-broccoli

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