Make Your Own BLT Bar

Sometimes simple is better. When trying to decide what to make for a girls lunch last weekend we decided BLT’s were the perfect pool side treat! The key when making something so simple is having the freshest and best ingredients. When you set up your bar make sure you put it in logical order so your sandwich comes together perfectly! Our set up started with: Bread- Mayo- Avocado- Bacon- Tomatoes- Lettuce

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Ingredients:

  • Farm fresh juicy tomatoes cut in 1/4” slices
  • Iceberg lettuce, washed and dried and placed in the fridge to get cold and crisp

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  • Bacon – we provided two kinds. Whole Foods sells a black pepper crusted bacon that adds an extra somethin to your sandwich. We also provided traditional plain bacon. You can certainly fry the bacon but since it was a hot summer day and we wanted to enjoy time at the pool, we placed the bacon on baking sheets lined with cooling racks so the grease could drip through. 20 minutes at 400 will get you crispy bacon. When you take it off the racks, place the bacon on paper downs to cut down on excess grease.

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  • Mayo- we offered light/reduced fat and real
  • Avocado- a good substitute for mayo or addition to in my opinion
  • Bread- a fresh sliced whole wheat loaf and white bread for the traditionalists in the fam

Plate it in order on a table and go to town. Bite into that juicy, crunchy and salty sandwich!

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Oven Fried Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In an effort to keep things healthy post January 1, last weekend I decided to try a healthy spin on buffalo chicken wraps–one of my favorites. Whats better than a soft flour tortilla, crunchy fried chicken smothered in buffalo sauce, some mayo or ranch and crunchy lettuce…. amazing. So, how can we make this better? Avoid frying and the calorie ridden flour tortilla. This recipe satisfied my craving. The crunchy bread crumbs and avo purée make this healthy dinner feel indulgent but it’s much more friendly to your waistline.


Ingredients:

  • Package of chicken breasts, washed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup or so of Franks Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 cup or so 2% Greek yogurt 
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped for topping 
  • Bibb lettuce, washed and separated
  • Avocado 
  • Fresh parsley 
  • 1 tbsp White balsamic vinegar 

Directions:

  • For this recipe I cut my chicken into nugget shapes. You can cut them into tenders or anything you want. 
  • In a large mixing bowl add your chicken and sprinkle with salt. Add 3/4 of the Greek yogurt and some Franks red hot. Stir everything to combine and then cover with saran wrap and stick in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. (A few hours is fine if you want to get prep out of the way early).

    • Pre heat the oven to 375.
    • Pour panko bread crumbs into a shallow dish and wet with some oil. Coat each piece of chicken with the bread crumbs but pressing them firmly into the chicken, and place on a cookie sheet topped with a drying rack. This will help crisp up the chicken. 

    • Bake for about 30 minutes or until they get golden. If necessary broil them at the end to finish browning. 

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    • You have the option of spraying the chicken with a light olive oil towards the end to ensure the breadcrumbs get nice and crispy.
    • Meanwhile put avocado, the rest of the Greek yogurt, fresh parsley, vinegar and salt and pepper in blender and purée until smooth. I also added a few celery leaves. 

     

    • When the chicken is done, assemble a lettuce wrap with the purée, chicken, celery,  and a drizzle of hot sacue and a dollop of ranch.  Enjoy!

    These also make great chicken nuggets for kids without the hot sauce on top! My neighbors 2 year old ate them right up! 


    Updated 3/26/17

    Healthified Chicken Enchiladas

    My father is on a new diet so last night’s dinner was all about taking a dish I love (see recipe here: chicken enchiladas verde) and making it calorie friendly.  My brother also happened to be home and he is on the opposite end of the diet spectrum. With this dinner we managed to make everyone happy. My father, who is on an 1800 calorie a day diet, consumed 424 calories and the rest of us consumed 614, the main difference being the cheese but he also only had one tortilla (with no cheese) and used lettuce for the rest whereas I had two tortillas. The lettuce wraps are a great way to enjoy a wrap with less calories and an added crunch. We did, however, find a whole wheat wrap with only 45 calories which is a great find! Overall this was a healthy meal with lots of fresh veggies that was delicious and offers you a lot of options when cooking for a diverse group of people.

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    Above is a healthy option with the same tasty chicken used in the baked enchiladas below.

    Keep in mind that cheese is about 100 calories per ounce, so you better make sure you want that cheese! It made me think twice about snacking on the delicious, sweet manchego cheese while cooking this meal.

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    For the Salsa:

    • Can of whole peeled tomatoes, diced
    • Cucumbers, diced
    • 1/2 white onion, chopped
    • Orange bell pepper, chopped
    • One jalapeño, chopped
    • Fresh chopped cilantro
    • Juice and zest from one lime
    • Salt and fresh cracked pepper
    Combine and let the flavors meld for 20-30 minutes

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    For the Chicken:

    • 3 lbs boneless chicken breasts
    • 2 cans Trader Joes green chiles
    • 1 jar Trader Joe’s salsa verde
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/2 white onion
    • Fresh chopped cilantro
    • One jalapeño
    • 3 tbsp reduced fat sour cream

    Place chicken breasts in a pot of water with salt, pepper, and other seasonings if you have them on hand. I threw in some salt and oregano.  Bring to a light boil and let cook.

    Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Saute the garlic,onion and jalapeno in one cap full of extra virgin olive oil until translucent. Add in 1 3/4 cans of green chiles, the jar of salsa verde, the lime and lime zest. Season with salt & pepper.  Add a dash of cumin.  You want this to cook down on medium to low heat until the onions are sweet and all the flavors meld together.

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    Shred the chicken into small pieces with two forks or your fingers. Add the chicken and sour cream, salt & pepper to the pan.

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    Roll each tortilla with 1/2 manchego and 1/2 asiago cheese and the chicken mixture.  Spray the bottom of your casserole dish with olive oil, place the enchiladas in the dish and then spray the tops of the tortillas with olive oil.  This is a much better alternative to frying the tortillas and they will still crisp up in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

    When they are almost done, add the remaining chiles and cheese to the top of the enchiladas. When the cheese bubbles, take them out.

    For the side of black beans:

    • Fresh lime juice
    • Fresh chopped cilantro