Tuesday, June 25, 2013

chipotle chicken skewers with creamy dipping sauce

another from mel's kitchen cafe.

WE had these for father's day and they were GOOD!  I kinda wanted the kids to not eat them so we could have more.  But even my kids, who don't love meat, liked them.

Again, I thought I wouldn't like these because I'm not a huge fan of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, but I loved them.  So super duper good, and the chicken stands on it's own, you almost don't need the dipping sauce, it certainly wasn't the best part of the meal, for me.

I even think you could just marinade the chicken and not skewer it, but I don't like fat chicken, so I would take the extra effort to skewer it.  We did have a problem with slightly overcooked chicken, it was a little dry, because it cooks really fast, so beware.  Also, the dipping sauce makes a ton, and we didn't even eat half of it.  So next time I will half the recipe.

Chipotle Chicken Skewers with Creamy Dipping Sauce
Yield: Makes about 15-16 skewers, serving 6-8
You could definitely use full-fat sour cream or mayo/yogurt, but I'll attest that the sauce was divinely yummy made with reduced fat ingredients. Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce can be quite spicy so if you want to knock the spice down a bit, scrape the seeds out of the chile and discard before mincing the chile for the marinade/dry rub.
    Chicken Skewers:
  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4-5 medium chicken breasts)
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced (scrape out the seeds before mincing to reduce spiciness)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 bamboo or metal skewers
  • Creamy Dipping Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup lowfat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup lowfat mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, from 2-3 limes
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. Slice the chicken breasts into long, thin strips, about 1/2-inch thick. You should have right around 30 strips. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cilantro, chipotle chile, adobo sauce, salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Toss the chicken with the brown sugar mixture coating all the pieces evenly. Cover the chicken (or place in a ziploc bag) and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  2. For the dipping sauce, in a bowl, stir all the ingredients together. Cover the mixture and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until the flavors combine. Alternately, you can make the dipping sauce in advance and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Be sure to season the dipping sauce with additional lime juice, salt and pepper to taste before serving.
  3. 30 minutes before grilling, cover the bamboo skewers with water and soak. Skip this step if using metal skewers.
  4. Preheat an oven broiler or gas/charcoal grill. Weave two strips of chicken onto each skewer. Broil or grill the chicken for 5-8 minutes until cooked through, using nonstick cooking spray on a foil-lined pan if you are broiling. Serve immediately (if you broil, you may need to cook in batches) with the dipping sauce.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Cookbook sent to me by Rebecca L (thanks, Rebecca!)

Sweet and spicy pork tenderloin

I was a little skeptical of this one, because I'm not a huge fan of meat (other than taco meat) and chili seasoning, but we really liked it.  I think it's my favorite pork tenderloin I've made, and I've tried lots of marinades and such...

I wanted to grill it, I like to grill in the summer to avoid using the oven, so I adjusted it slightly.  I added the dry rub to the pork, then grilled for however many minutes on each side, (we had it two days in a row, and we perfected the cooking time, but now I cannot remember how long per side).  We just try to get it to the right temperature.  With a minute or so remaining of cooking time, I added the sauce and let it cook into the pork.  Super yummy.  My kids complained that it was a little spicy, but I thought it was great.

from mel's kitchen cafe

Sweet and Spicy Pork Tenderloin
Yield: Serves 6
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 (12- to 16-ounce each) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  1. Adjust an oven rack to middle position and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the pork tenderloin dry with a paper towel. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture and use the rest to rub over the pork tenderloin on all sides.
  2. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it is rippling and hot. Add the pork tenderloins in a single layer and cook the pork until browned on all sides, 5-7 minutes total (flipping as needed). Transfer the pork to an aluminum-foil lined baking pan and bake until the meat registers 140 degrees at the thickest part, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer the pork to a platter or plate and tent with foil, letting it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  3. In a bowl, combine the reserved spice mixture, ketchup, vinegar and sugar and brush over the cooked pork. Slice the pork and serve.
Recipe Source: from Cook’s Country April/May 2012

5 minutes per side (x4)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Sandwich

For our RS activity last night, they had a light dinner with little tea sandwiches. The avocado one was my fave. Very simple.

Cream cheese smeared on bread.
Then layer:
Sliced avocado
Sliced cucumber
Baby spinach
Sprouts (if you dare risk e coli poisoning)

Mmm. A good summer sandwich.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Black Beans

Black Beans and Rice

Cook Time: 1 hr | Makes: *Serves 4-6


  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 2 (16-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4-5 cups hot, cooked white or brown rice


In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic and saute, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until all the vegetables are soft and tender. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, bay leaf, oregano and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens and the vegetables are tender, about 45 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, add a tablespoon or two of hot water to thin to desired consistency.

Stir in the fresh cilantro and season with salt and pepper; discard the bay leaf. Serve over the hot rice.


Kim made these while I was in Fallon. A good way to spice up your black beans. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Flank steak

Andy's grandpa always used to make flank steak supposedly, it's kind of tradition in his family. I've never had it, but I have his recipe and have made it a few times in the last year. Super easy. I'm sure there's a better, more complex recipe somewhere out there, but this is so quick and really good.

Poke holes every few inches in steak with a fork. Sprinkle thyme on a flank steak and cover with soy sauce (I marinade mine in a ziplock bag, you can do it in a cake pan too). Let marinade for 4 hours or whatever. Grill. Cut very thinly against the grain-this cut of meat is very very lean and can be tough, so this step is absolutely necessary.

Guacamole Salad

I can never think of a vegetable to go with Mexican dishes, like when we have tacos or something. but I discovered this and really like it. I leave the beans out.


  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped (about 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup small diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and diced (about 1/2-inch pieces)
  1. Place the tomatoes, yellow pepper, black beans, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over the vegetables. Toss well. This mixture can be refrigerated for 3-4 hours before serving.
  2. Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste if needed, and serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 3, 2013

let's talk chicken.

my friend brought some grilled chicken for us after i had damon. i love grilled chicken, but i hate dealing with chicken breasts and sometimes they are too big/thick. but my friend brought grilled chicken tenderloins - soooo much better than breasts. i remember mom told me to buy these in college, but i haven't since. they are perfect for grilling. or when the chicken isn't mixed in to other things (ie soup, crock pot chickens, etc ... for these things i still use chicken breasts).

we have eaten grilled chicken every week since. with grilled veg. yum.

i buy the big bag at costco.

our favorite is this recipe. super quick and easy. i let it marinade for like 24 hrs.

just thought i'd share my new discovery and renewed love of grilled chicken.