Southern Living’s Chicken and Wild Rice Skillet Bake


The weather this weekend in VA was beautiful, but confusing! I sat by the pool, baking in the sunshine with a cold iced tea, while flipping through the latest issue of Southern Living, full of crockpot meals, soups, and other fall favorites. I enjoyed one last poolside weekend, but bring on the chilly weather! This recipe from Southern Living caught my eye and didn’t disappoint. It takes a little time, but was savory and satisfying and good for a crisp fall night. Make sure to use a big enough skillet or oven-proof pan! I started off with a smaller cast-iron skillet and halfway through had to switch to a bigger pan. Oops. Enjoy!

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
6 oz uncooked wild rice
3 tbsp butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup skim milk
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp dry mustard
3/4 tsp fresh black pepper, divided
1/2 cup bacon, chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp dry sherry
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
fresh flat-leaf parsley and sliced almonds for garnishes

1) Bring 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 4 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Stir in rice, return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 30 min.
2) Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy saucepan over low heat, then whisk in flour until smooth.
3) Gradually whisk in milk, then broth and dry mustard. Turn heat up to medium and cook for 4 minutes, whisking constantly until mixture is thickened and starting to bubble. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt and pepper.
4) Cook bacon in 1 tbsp oil in a large (12-in +) cast-iron skillet or large oven-proof pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown. Stir in the onion, carrots, and mushrooms, and cook for another 5 minutes or until onions are tender.
5) Stir in garlic, cook 1 minute. Stir in sherry, and cook 1 minute until evaporated. Remove mixture to a bowl.
6) Preheat oven to 375.
7) Season chicken with remaining 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to skillet or pan you were using before, and cook chicken in oil over medium-high heat for 4 minutes on each side, or until brown.
8) Remove skillet from heat, transfer chicken to a plate.
9) Drain rice if there’s any water left over, then pour into your skillet. Mix in the bacon/veggie mixture and the sauce, and stir together.
10) Put chicken on top of the mixture and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serve with chopped up fresh parsley and sliced almonds!


Spaghetti Squash Sausage Bake


In an attempt to eat a little healthier, I’m making an effort to come up with some recipes that don’t include pasta, or rice, or bread or some other carb. But for the love of all things delicious, don’t take my cheese! I found this recipe on a great blog you can find here. Roasted spaghetti squash is combined with chicken sausage, garlic, and onions and topped with skim milk mozzarella cheese and scallions. Savory and cheesy, but without all the carbs!

1 3-lb spaghetti squash
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
2 links spicy chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup shredded skim-milk mozzarella
scallions, sliced

1) Preheat oven to 370.
2) Slice spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds and stringy thingies. Drizzle a tbsp of olive oil on a baking sheet and place spaghetti squash cut side down on the sheet. Roast for 45 minutes.
3) Remove spaghetti squash from oven to cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat the other tbsp of oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a minutes. Stir in the sausage and cook until done.
4) Add the spaghetti squash to the skillet and stir until well combined. Top with mozzarella and bake for 6-8 minutes until cheese is good and melty.
5) Remove from oven and top with scallions and serve!

Spiced Roasted Chicken, Three Cheese Macaroni and Strawberry Spinach Salad


Three recipes all in one post! These dishes pair so well together – a sweet and tangy salad, cheesy pasta and salty spiced chicken. If you have the time, brining the chicken overnight or since the morning makes a world of difference.

Roasted Chicken:

4 split chicken breast on the bone
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
bay leaf
2+ tbsp Montreal seasoning blend (divided)
onion powder
garlic powder
fresh black pepper

1) The night or morning before your dinner, fill a large pot (I use a soup pot) with water and stir in kosher salt, sugar, brown sugar, bay leaf, and 2 tbsp Montreal seasoning. Bring to a boil.
2) Once boiling, remove from heat and let cool. Fill a large bowl with chicken and pour some ice over the chicken. Then pour brine over chicken (make sure it’s not hot anymore or it will start to cook the chicken). Cover and put in fridge and let soak in brine overnight or all day.

1) Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 350.
2) Rinse chicken and pat dry. Then season each piece to taste with Montreal seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, fresh black pepper and paprika. Feel free to add any more spices too. This can’t really be over spiced (just be careful not to over salt – Montreal seasoning has salt in it).
3) Spray a roasting pan with pam and place chicken bone side down. Roast for 1 hour.
4) Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Strawberry Spinach Salad:

6 cups spinach
1 pint strawberries, sliced
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup sliced almonds
half red onion, sliced thin
poppyseed dressing (I like Brianna’s)

1) Combine spinach, strawberries, almond, and onion in a large serving bowl.
2) Just before serving, add avocado and toss with poppyseed dressing.

Three Cheese Mac & Cheese

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, diced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups 2% milk
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
3/4 cup grated Parmesan, divided
1/4 tsp salt, plus more to taste
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup panko
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
dash of nutmeg
dash of cayenne (optional)
2 tbsp butter

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan and cook 8-10 minutes or until tender. Add flour and garlic, cook one minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Cook 2 minutes or until thick (stirring constantly with a whisk). Add Gorgonzola, 1/2 cup Parmesan, salt, and stir until cheese has melted. Discard the bay leaf.
2) Preheat oven to 350 (you can cook this while the chicken is roasting – I put it in for the last 30 minutes and then remove and cover with foil while chicken is resting).
3) Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and add pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Drain.
4) Add pasta to cheese mixture and stir well. Stir in mozzarella and sprinkle in some nutmeg and cayenne to taste.
5) Spray a square baking dish with Pam and pour in the pasta and cheese mixture. Top with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan and panko.
6) Spray top of pasta with Pam and sprinkle with a little black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.


Chicken Tamale Casserole


This is indulgent. This is cheesy. This is topped with a bunch of tomatoes so I can justify it.

1 8.5 oz package Jiffy corn muffin mix
14.5 oz cream-style corn
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 cups shredded nacho / taco cheese blend, divided
1 1/2 cups of your favorite enchilada sauce
3 cups shredded cooked chicken (from rotisserie chicken is affordable and easy)
– diced tomato
– cilantro
– green onion
– you can also top with sour cream, shredded lettuce, or salsa!

1) Preheat oven to 400. Spray a 9×13 inch casserole dish with Pam.
2) Combine corn muffin mix, corn, eggs, milk, spices and 1 cup of cheese in a large bowl. Stir until well mixed and then pour into casserole dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
3) Remove from oven. Pierce the cornbread mixture with a knife in several places. Then pour enchilada sauce evenly over top of cornbread mixture. Top with shredded chicken and the rest of the cheese. Bake another 20 minutes.
4) Let cool for 10 minutes and add all of your toppings.


As found on I Wash You Dry.



Stir Fry Chicken with Bok Choy


1 package boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 6), cut into 1-inch pieces (you could also do chicken breasts)
1 tbsp plus 4 tsp soy sauce
3 tbsp dry sherry
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp canola oil
1 white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
4 baby bok choys, sliced
1 can drained, sliced water chestnuts
2 tsp tomato paste
1/4 tsp dried red-pepper flakes
3 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tbsp fresh scallion, chopped
1/8 tsp kosher salt

1) In a medium bowl, stir together. 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sherry, and the cayenne. Add in chicken and marinate for 10 minutes.
2) In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until almost done. Remove and set aside.
3) Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to the pan. Cook onion, garlic, and coriander together, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add remaining 2 tbsp sherry and red wine vinegar. Cook for 1 more minute.
4) Add bok choy, water chestnuts, the remaining 4 tsp soy sauce, tomato paste, red-pepper flakes, and water. Cook for 3 minutes. Add chicken back to the pan with any juices. Add in the cilantro, scallion, salt and cook until chicken is done, a couple minutes longer. Serve with steamed white or brown rice!


Chicken with Herb-Roasted Tomatoes


I get really bored with chicken breast and stumbled on a whole list on Bon Appetit of “not-boring” chicken breast dinner recipes, so decided to try one! This was definitely not dry, flavorless chicken breast. The herb-roasted tomatoes I could have eaten by the bowlful. This recipe is for two! Use the same skillet for all of this, because you’ll keep “setting aside.” This helps with easy clean up too!

1 carton cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
kosher salt to taste
fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon

1) Preheat oven to 450.
2) Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon oil, and herbes de Provence in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to coat.
3) Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large ovenproof skillet. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook for about a minute.
4) Transfer skillet to oven and roast for 15 minutes. Remove tomatoes from pan into bowl, and stir in Worcestershire.
5) In same skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper, then sear on both sides in skillet until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
6) Transfer skillet to oven and roast for about 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes.
7) Heat another few teaspoons of oil into the same skillet and add shallot, cooking for about 1 minute. Add vinegar and stir, deglazing pan, scraping the bottom.
8) Add tomatoes back in and simmer about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
9) Slice chicken and add to plates. Spoon tomatoes over each piece of chicken, and garnish with fresh parsley and tarragon.

Chicken Vindaloo



Pardon the terrible photo. This recipe was done just in time for a massive thunderstorm and the loss of power. So we ate this in the dark… minus the brief flash of the camera as I took the picture. I love Indian food, and of course, spicy food. This isn’t terribly spicy, but maybe add the cayenne last if you’re questionable on spice. I served this over jasmine rice, with naan on a side. Next time I think I might add a raita. Enjoy!

1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
fresh black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (cut into 1-inch pieces)
8 cloves garlic, minced
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
kosher salt
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1) Combine curry powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and black pepper in a small bowl.
2) Add chicken to a separate bowl, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture. Add in 4 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Set aside.
3) Heat canola oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add onion and a sprinkle or two more of salt and cook about 5 minutes, until onions begin to soften and brown.
4) Reduce heat to medium high and add ginger, 4 cloves of garlic, and the remaining curry powder. Cook for 1 minute.
5) Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Add in chicken, 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 2/3 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover partially, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through – about 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with cilantro and over rice, with naan as a side.