Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce

IMG_4938

Does anyone else falter slightly when asked which food is their favorite? Please tell me I’m not alone here.

I feel like I like so many different flavors that it is hard for me to pick, although I will admit that Mediterranean is amongst my favorite. As long as we stay away from goat cheese. I just can’t do the “tang” and that flavor stays on anything it remotely touches on a plate. Goat feta/cheese = not for me. Cow feta = I could eat with a spoon.

I first talked about these Shawarma topped fries in my menu plan, but at the time, I wasn’t sure if I would serve this over fries or rice. I will admit I’m glad I went the fry route. Crispy skinned potatoes also are awesome. That said, I’m sure rice would work too and as long as you’re using a packet, would make this quicker for a weeknight meal.

IMG_4942

My recipe tips would be to be sure to cut the potatoes on the thinner side as this will allow for more crisping. I would also recommend spraying your foil with non-stick spray for the fries. Mine stuck to the foil a bit despite the olive oil (which was slightly disappointing as I lost the crispy sides on some of them). I also subbed some of the mayo out for plain Greek yogurt on the sauce, and it worked well for us.

Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Chicken Shawarma Fries with Mediterranean Salsa and Garlic Sauce
Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Ingredients:
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. allspice
pinch cinnamon
pinch cayenne pepper
salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. thin boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 lbs (2 large) Russet potatoes
salt and pepper
non-stick spray

For the Mediterranean Salsa:
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed Parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1 lemon, juiced
Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning, to taste

For the Garlic Sauce:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
salt
water to desired consistency

Add 1/2 lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, spices, and garlic to a large ziplock bag. Squash to combine. Add the chicken and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay the chicken in a single layer and bake for 12-15 minutes or until cooked through, flipping the chicken halfway through. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes prior to cutting into bite-sized pieces. Set aside

Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees.Re-spray the foil with non-stick spray (or replace the foil). Slice the potatoes thinly into fries (can leave the skins on). Toss in a bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crispy, stirring halfway through.

Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the salsa in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. Add all the ingredients for the garlic sauce in a bowl. Mix. Add water, a little bit at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.

Top the fries with the chicken, salsa, and garlic sauce. Serve.

Advertisements

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken tortilla soup (2)

I don’t feel like I need to speak to the beauties of the crockpot too much. A hot meal ready when you walk in the door? Not too many complaints there! 

While crockpots are wonderful dinner tools, one of the things I still struggle with is cooking times. Even on the best day, the crockpot is likely to be cooking whatever meal it contains for at least 10 hours. Yes, this has resulted in some over cooked meals… Because of this fact, one of the things I find myself using the crockpot for the most is soup. It is much harder to overcook soup (unless you run out of liquid – haven’t done this yet…)

chicken tortilla soup in crockpot
chicken tortilla soup close

Like many other classic recipes, there are about a million variations of chicken tortilla soup. This adaption is based off a recipe from one of my co-workers that I adapted somewhat to our tastes. I left the chicken breasts whole to cook with the soup, shredded them, add added them back to the soup. Does not get easier than this! Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Crockpot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Adapted from Shannon

Ingredients:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thawed if frozen)
1 large bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen or fresh corn 
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1-2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1 cup Black Bean and Corn salsa
1-1/2 cups cooked brown rice
8 oz. corn tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese
light sour cream, garnish

Add ingredients through the salsa to the bowl of a crockpot. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove chicken breasts and shred. Add back to soup with cooked rice. Turn the crockpot to high to heat through, if needed.

Roughly crush the tortilla chips. Place in the bottom of each bowl. Spoon the soup over the chips. Top each bowl with Monterey jack cheese and sour cream if desired.  

Flank Steak Tacos with Cilantro Lime Marinade

His mom has a tatoo that says, “Son”… When in Rome, they do as he does… If he says, it’s not you, it’s me. He’s lying… Anyone else always cracked up by the Dos XX most interesting man in the world commercials? I love them… 

Anyway, one thing those commercials always make think of is Mexican food. We love it in any form. Everything from simple ground beef tacos to the most elaborate enchiladas you can make. The recipe for these beauties comes from Laurie at Simply Scratch. She makes a great pico too! The tacos really require no more work that your average taco recipe. Only a little more time so that the meat has a chance to marinate. The result? Delicious, simple taco perfection. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Flank Steak Tacos with Cilantro Lime Marinade
From Simply Scratch 

Ingredients:
2 lbs. flank or skirt steak
1/3 cup olive oil
1 lime, juiced 
1 garlic clove, smashed 
2 tsp. honey
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly removed from the stems
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. Ancho-Chili powder (I just used regular)
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
aluminum foil
10-12 soft flour tortillas
lettuce, shredded or chopped
Monterey Jack cheese, freshly grated 

Pico de gallo:
4 roma tomatoes, seeds removed, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small
1 jalapeno pepper, diced finely
1 clove garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
pinch of Kosher salt
few grinds of black pepper 

For the marinade, in a mini food processor, place the cilantro, garlic, and lime juice and pulse quickly until chopped. Toss the remaining ingredients up to the tortillas into the food processor and pulse until combined. Place the steak and marinade in a ziplock bag and marinate on the countertop for 30 minutes. Be sure the meat is at room temperature before grilling. 

While the meat is marinating, combine all the ingredients for the pico de gallo. Toss to mix. Cover and place in the refrigerator while you finish the tacos. 

After 30 minutes, grill the steak for 6-10 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Remove from the grill and cover with aluminum foil. Let the meat rest for 5-7 minutes before slicing so the juices in the meat can redistribute. Slice across the grain at a slight angle. Warm some flour tortillas, top with desired toppings, and serve with the pico de gallo.

Taco Ring

This might be the recipe that won me my husband. See, being from Nebraska, we both were (and are) huge Nebraska football fans since as far back as I remember. My husband and I actually met while we were both in high school, and it was at one of these Nebraska football parties where our relationship really began. Guess what dish my girlfriend and I had made to bring to the party 🙂

Story aside, we had both sadly forgotten about this recipe until my husband brought it up during my menu plan a couple months ago. While football season is still a few months out, it worked quite well as our main dish for the college basketball finals several weeks ago. One of the things I love about this dish is that it looks really impressive while still being really easy to make. If you can brown hamburger and chop vegetables, you can master this recipe. Besides game day, this recipe would also work great for backyard barbecues and graduation parties. The other thing I love. The taste. It really is all the taste of tacos in a more portable vehicle. What’s not to love? We certainly won’t be waiting as long to make this again. Enjoy!

(Printable Recipe)

Taco Ring
Recipe from the Dobbes

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. ground beef, cooked and drained
1 pkg. taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
2 Tbsp. water
2 pkg. crescent rolls
1 medium green bell pepper (any color will work)
1/2 head lettuce, shredded
1 small onion, chopped
1 can sliced black olives
1 cup salsa
light sour cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine cooked meat, seasoning mix, cheese and water in a large bowl. Arrange crescent triangles in a circle on a 13″ round baking stone or other baking dish with bases overlapping in the center and points to the outside (there should be a 5″ diameter in the center). Use an ice cream scoop to scoop the meat mixture over the rolls. Fold the points of the triangles over the filling and pinch dough together at the center (filling will not be completely covered). Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. 

Using a v-shaped cutter or regular knife, but off the top of the bell pepper. Remove seeds. Shred lettuce and cube tomato. Chop onion. Place bell pepper in the center of the ring; fill with salsa. Mound lettuce, onion, tomato, and olives around the pepper. Garnish with sour cream. Slice with pizza cutter and enjoy.

Grilled Chicken Quesadillas

The weather here for the past week or so has been unseasonably warm. Because the weather has been so nice, we decided to break out the grill. Grilling in November… no complaints here! The cold and snow can stay away for as long as it wants. As far as I’m concerned, I want snow for Christmas and that’s about it.
Anyway, back to the recipe. It’s been a couple months since I found this recipe here on blogchef.com. I’ve made several recipes off this site, and every single one of them has been great. We have a great chicken teriyaki recipe that we have made off this site as well.
I made a few changes to the recipe. Mostly for simplicity. The recipe calls to puree chopped green chiles with sour cream to make a sauce. Given the other ingredients, I saw no reason why the green chiles needed to be pureed, so I just mixed them together with the sour cream right out of the can. Even theough the recipe is not bad on its own (lots of veggies and chicken) my other changes were mostly things to make the reicpe a little healthier – whole-wheat tortillas, light sour cream, spray butter for the tortillas, and less olive oil.
Overall, we both really enjoyed this recipe. If the weather holds out, try them (or if you are like us you grill when it is -30 degrees F anyway). Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken QuesadillasAdapted from blogchef.com
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

2 tomatoes, diced
1 onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 (9-inch) whole-wheat tortillas
1 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 c. sour cream
1 can chopped green chilies
spray butter

Boil chicken breasts on the stove top until cooked through. Cool for a few minutes. Shred and set aside. Can grill chicken breasts if desired.

Combine diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, and lime juice. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste. Set aside. Mix sour cream and chopped green chiles in a small bowl. Can puree in a blender until smooth if desired. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute onion and bell pepper until tender. Stir in garlic and cook until aroma flows. Mix in the cooked chicken and half of the pico de gallo mixture. Remove from heat, set aside and keep warm.

Lightly oil grill grates and preheat the grill. Spray one side of each tortilla with spray butter. Lay out tortillas butter side down on the grill. Top each tortilla with desired amount of cheese and 1/4 c. chicken mixture on one half of each tortilla. Top with a little sour cream sauce. When the bottom of the tortillas are lightly browned and the cheese has started to melt, with a spatula, fold one side of the tortilla over the top and press down. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping once, until grill marks are prominent and cheese is completely melted. May cut into wedges if desired.

Black Bean Avocado Dip

With tailgate season upon us, I thought I’d post this recipe for a great chip dip. We made this recipe a couple weeks ago for a backyard BBQ, but it would make great game day fare! I know that all that we brought home from the BBQ was an empty bowl. This recipe comes from a family friend who is an AMAZING cook – she actually gave me a handwritten cookbook of her favorite recipes for our wedding!

The only thing I might do differently next time is add a few more tomatoes, but that is just personal preference. Make it! You’ll like it!
Black Bean Avocado Dipfrom Kathy Jones
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (11 oz) mexicorn, drained
2 chopped avocados
1 c. chopped tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped onions
1 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno pepper (we just used 1 medium sized pepper)
1 tsp. lime juice
Dressing:
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. garlic salt
black pepper to taste
Mix first 7 ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients; stir well. Pour over bean-avocado mixture. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Serve with chips.

Southwest Chicken Skillet

I made this recipe a couple weeks ago when we were having my brother over for dinner after work. As long as I remember to thaw the chicken, it is another delicious, quick meal. We got this recipe from my mother-in-law when we got married. I do not know for sure where she got it, but I do know that it is one of my husband’s favorite meals from back home.

When I make it, I usually double the sauce that goes over the chicken. It’s a simple mixture of salsa and dijon mustard, and it’s always good to have a little extra. The ingredients for this are just as simple as the recipe itself. You probably have most of them already – the exception possibly being the fresh cilantro and green onions. Try it!
Southwest Chicken Skillet (with sauce ingredients doubled)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 c. prepared salsa
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 c. (4 oz) shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped green onions
Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, and salt over chicken breasts. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and garlic. Cook 5 minutes. Turn chicken over.
Combine salsa and mustard. Spoon over and around chicken. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through. Sprinkle cheese, cilantro, and green onions over the chicken. Cook 1-2 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Mango Salsa with Grilled Chicken

I’ve had this recipe forever but never tried it. I got it as a gift from one of our hometown neighbors for my bridal shower almost 2 years ago. It’s one of those recipes that sounds great, but you never really think of when you’re searching for recipes because it really is so SIMPLE. I also have never really dealt much with mangoes, so I don’t really know what to do with them.

After all of that, this is something that we are going to need to throw into the summertime rotation more regularly. For something so simple, it definately was delicious! The recipe card says that it can also be used on fish, but I doubt we’ll be going that route since I avoid eating anything that swims… Once again, I cannot take any credit for this meal. My husband had it on the table ready to go when I got home from work (at like 9:15pm!). After working that late, it really is nice to come home to supper. I could get used to this =-)


We did make a few modifications to the recipe based on what we could find. When we were at the grocery store, they were out of serrano peppers. Rather than go back looking for one later, we just subbed a seeded jalepeno. We also ended up adding about a mango and a half because we had bought 2 at the store.

Mango Salsa
1 lg. ripe/fragrant mango, diced
2 Tbsp. each sweet red pepper and yellow pepper, cut into small pieces
1 Tbsp. minced serrano pepper
1 Tbsp. minced cilantro
juice of 1 lime to temper the sweetness
Mix all ingredients. It is good on grilled chicken or fish or with chips.