greek nachos with lemony chicken and tzatziki

greek nachos 3

Last week one of my coworkers brought a giant bag of lemons to work and offered some to me. I graciously took some because I happened to be craving our favorite chicken wraps for dinner. We had the wraps, which we usually consume wrapped in a thin tortilla, for dinner that night when a wonderful thought occurred to me.

I was a few bites into my wrap when I turned to Mr. Eats and said, “What if I made these into nachos?”

I’m pretty sure he thought it was a terrible idea, even after I explained that they would be topped with the very same toppings we were eating at that exact moment. But, I didn’t let his lack of enthusiasm dissuade me at all. In this line of work, it’s a common occurrence for the people around you think you’re completely off your rocker when you try to explain your food visions to them. So I soldiered on.

So when the weekend rolled around and I made my nacho dreams come true.

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curry chicken wraps

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Lunch tends to be a very boring meal in my life.  BF always teases me about how, despite much I enjoy cooking, I refuse to make myself lunch.  I won’t even make myself a sandwich.  Not even when I’m making the BF’s lunch.

During the work week, it’s usually some underwhelming Lean Cuisine, or a sad store-bought salad.  Most of the time I can’t even muster the will to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  And we all know how I feel about peanut butter.  On the weekends, I can hear the apprehension in his voice when he asks what we should have for lunch, knowing that I’m going to run down a list of the leftovers we have stashed in the fridge.

Then, in this month’s Bon Appetit, there was a recipe for a curried chicken sandwich.  I don’t know why, maybe it’s because of the BA’s stunning photography, but I just could not shake this chicken recipe from my head.  It planted its little curry seed in my brain and all I could think about was how I needed it in my belly.  STAT.

The original recipe was a little too bready for me, so I ditched the bread for a wrap.  Since I had maybe two of the ingredients required for the slaw, I made something closer to my usual slaw recipe for some crunch.  I added some dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness, but I think you could replace them with some julienned apple.

This chicken would also be great in non-wrap form, with some basmati rice, or even in a salad.  Finally, a decent lunch.

Curry Chicken Wraps

Printer-Friendly Recipe

For the chicken:

  • 4 large wraps
  • 1 pound thin-sliced boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

For the slaw:

  • ½ head red cabbage (or 1 10-oz size bag shredded red cabbage)
  • 1 medium shallot or ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (I think julienned apples would be good here too)
  • 1 Tablespoons mayo, more if desired
  • 1 Tablespoon yogurt or sour cream (or just an extra tablespoon of mayo)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (or vinegar, white or apple cider vinegars would work)
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine marinade ingredients (buttermilk through red pepper flakes) in a gallon-size ziploc bag.  Add chicken and toss to cover.  Marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

2.  While chicken is marinating, make the slaw (I prefer to make mine no more than 1 hour before serving). Whisk all ingredients except cabbage, shallot, and cranberries in a large bowl.  Once combined, add cabbage, shallot, and cranberries; toss to coat.  Add additional mayo if you would like it creamier, salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate.

3.  Preheat grill to high heat.  Cook chicken until internal temp reaches 165°F about 4 minutes on each side for thinly-sliced chicken.  Remove from heat and tent with foil to rest until slightly cooled, 5 to 10 minutes.

4.  When ready to serve, slice chicken on the bias.  Spread slaw onto wraps and top with chicken.  Wrap tightly and cut in half.

* I used thin-sliced chicken because, in my head at least, it shouldn’t need to marinate as long as regular chicken breast and I needed to eat this stuff for lunch.  If you use regular chicken breast, make sure to marinate it at least 4 hours. 

curry chicken pin

teriyaki chicken sandwich

teriyaki chicken sandwich

I’ve got a treat for you, and it’s not just this amazing chicken sandwich.

I’m part of an elite, top-secret baking team hand-picked by Stefanie of The Cupcake Project. Together, we are testing what may just be the world’s ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe. I can’t tell you much, just that I CAN’T WAIT to tell you ALL ABOUT them!!! But I can’t do that yet…
I CAN tell you all about Stefanie’s “Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake” recipe, which I plan to make today as well. The chocolate ones, though… those ones you will have to wait for. Assuming, of course, that it is deemed the “ultimate chocolate cupcake recipe.”
These sandwiches, though. These are another thing entirely. BF said he wanted “chicken sandwiches” for lunch one day, and then I came home and made these. I’m not sure if they are exactly what he had in mind, but they have quickly become one of our favorite meals.
It’s grilled teriyaki chicken breast with avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion, and spicy sriracha mayo sandwiched between a crisp and toasty ciabatta bun. You need to make these. Like now. When I tried to complain to BF about posting it, because I didn’t have any “amazing pictures” he said “WHO CARES!? IT’S SO GOOD!” … so you have him to thank for this post. :) He was very concerned about you being able to enjoy these sandwiches.
Oh, and let’s not forget our virtual picnic on pinterest! If I don’t respond to your tag (Pinterest can be a little wonky sometimes), feel free to send an e-mail requesting to be a contributor to me at wee.eats@gmail.com or you can just comment on this post with a link to your pinterest account. :)
Teriyaki Chicken Sandwiches
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
Your favorite teriyaki marinade (I think I just used a bottled one – Lawry’s or something)
1 avocado, sliced
4 scallions, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
Lettuce of your choice (Romaine is ok, but I think arugula would be great)
Cilantro (optional)
4 ciabatta buns, split
Sriracha Mayo
1/4 cup mayo
1 Tablespoon sriracha
Drizzle olive oil (about a teaspoon)
1. Marinate chicken according to marinade directions. I marinate it for about 45 minutes.
2. While chicken is marinating, make the sriracha mayo and slice the toppings.
To make the mayo – Mix the sriracha, mayo, and oil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Other flavorful (optional) mix-ins include sambal olek (chili-garlic paste), splash of lime, scallions, or cilantro.
3. Preheat grill and cook chicken until done. Tent loosely with foil.
4. Spread sriaracha mayo on ciabatta buns and grill, mayo side down, until toasted.
5. When ready to assemble sandwiches, cut chicken breasts int strips at a 45 degree angle. Assemble sandwiches – I like to sprinkle scallions on the bottom bun, top with the avocado, then tomato, then chicken (3 to 4 strips, depending on how big of strips you cut), and lettuce on top.

summery chicken pasta

summer chk pasta

I AM BACK! Well, I’ve been back, but have still been recovering from vacation. You know how vacation just makes you more tired than you were before you went on vacation? Not only that, but it also sucked all the joy out of my regular life, as I don’t want to do anything except keep being on vacation.

Where you get to hang out on boats…

enjoy scenic views…

and hike through colorful canyons…

Anyway, since it is summer, and I had to be in a bikini, I decided to take a break from the sweeter things in life for a day and post this [ relative-to-what-i-usually-post ] healthful pasta recipe instead. Just a simple pasta filled with fresh veggies, lean chicken, and garlic. Lots and lots of garlic.  😉

I do variations of this pasta all the time with different veggies … no real measurements. But this should serve as a good “jumping off point” for you. It’s actually one of BF’s favorite dinners, depending on what I throw in, of course. A splash of cream and a bit of butter never hurt anyone, though you may want to skip those depending on how far away your bikini date is.

Summery Chicken Pasta

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 (1-lb) box pasta, whole wheat if you want to feel a little better about it
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thin cut will cook faster)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup white wine (optional)
  • ½ cup (1 cup if you skip the wine), low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag baby spinach (~ 6 oz)
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, I like to halve some and leave some whole
  • ½ cup loosely-packed basil, torn, plus more for garnish (if desired)
  • Splash of heavy cream (optional, but recommended)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 – 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Italian cheese – Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, whatever you’ve got.

Cook pasta in salted water per package directions. Drain and set aside.

Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides. Bash your garlic cloves with your hand or a knife, you want them to be “broken” but not chopped or separated.

Preheat pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle oil to coat the bottom and add chicken, cooking in batches if necessary. Cook until done and transfer to a plate; tent with foil while you cook the veggies.

Add another drizzle of oil if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned. DO NOT let the garlic burn. Once the garlic is lightly browned remove the cloves of garlic and add your onion. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sauté until translucent, then add your wine and cook until almost evaporated, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add your broth and bring to a boil. (Sometimes I throw my garlic cloves back in, just remember to fish them out again before you serve it).

Chop chicken to desired size pieces and return chicken, with any accumulated juices, to the pan.

Reduce heat to low and add spinach, basil, tomatoes, and cooked pasta to the skillet. Add a healthy dose of grated parmesan to the pasta. Throw in a tablespoon of butter and a dash of cream if you’re feeling saucy, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Toss until the spinach is wilted to your liking.

Serve sprinkled with extra parmesan and basil.

TIPS

  • You can also sauté bell peppers with your onion for an extra ‘punch’ of flavor
  • I like to drop a few strands of saffron into the broth while it boils as well
  • I also like to add half of my tomatoes while the broth is boiling so they burst and flavor the sauce, then the other half at the end so they are more “fresh”.

chicken and dumplings

chkgnocchidumplng

TGIM

Wait, that’s not how it goes, is it?

I think I just need a redo of my weekend, so thank goodness it’s Monday (and I’m one day closer to next weekend).  I learned a lot of valuable lessons this weekend…

  • I learned that my dutch oven will not retain moisture as well as my crockpot, so I should definitely use more liquid (or check the liquid) when I’m using it.
  • I learned to always check that my wallet is actually in my purse before I leave the house.
  • I learned to make sure that I turn the stovetop off before setting a tray full of treats down on top of the stove to cool and walking away.
  • I learned that not all hair places are created equal, and that there is a reason ladies spend so much to get their hair done. And that it’s not always worth it to save a few pennies by going somewhere cheaper.
  • I learned just how little sleep I can get and still be relatively functional. Or how unfunctional I am without sleep (hence #1 and 2 above)
  • I also learned that ricotta gnocchi is amazing.  Lighter, tastier, and much less fussy than its potato-y cousin.

I’d never had ricotta gnocchi, but I know how badly potato gnocchi can go horribly wrong. It can be tasteless, pasty, and heavy. Chicken and “dumplings” has a pretty big error ratio as well. Those “dumplings” can end up being dry biscuits, gooey balls of dough, or even just thick noodles, but this was different. The ricotta gnocchi came out light and fluffy – like little cloud-like pillows floating in rich, hearty chicken broth… amazing.

So if you’re looking for something warm and comforting, look no further. This new take on chicken and dumplings is just what you need. It’s like a big, warm hug … in food form.

I found the original recipe in Bon Appetit, but modified it so that I could use chicken breast instead of thigh and (more importantly) so that I didn’t have to go the store… so leeks became onions, parsnips became, well, nonexistent, and the rest is more or less the same. The recipe makes a ton of gnocchi. A ton. And trust me, you’ll want to use this stuff later on… I have a bag full in my freezer right now. Maybe I’ll cook some for dinner tonight…

Chicken and Dumplings

[ Printable Recipe ]

Gnocchi

  • 1 pound ricotta
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 1 1/4 cups finely grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

Chicken and Gravy

  • 10 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • Shaved Parmesan (I didn’t use it, but no biggie)

Gnocchi

  1. Gently mix ricotta, 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour, egg, Parmesan, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl just to blend (do not overwork). Form dough into a ball (it will be sticky); wrap in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Place dough on a lightly floured work surface. Divide dough into 4 equal portions and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Using your hands, roll 1 portion into a 1/2″-diameter rope; cut crosswise into 1/2″-thick pieces. Lightly dust gnocchi with flour and transfer to pre-pared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Cover gnocchi with a kitchen towel and chill until ready to cook. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 months ahead. Freeze on sheets, then store, frozen, in an airtight container.

Chicken and Gravy

  1. Bring broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add chicken; reduce heat to low, cover, and gently simmer until chicken is tender and cooked through, 20–30 minutes. Remove chicken; let cool slightly and shred into bite-size pieces. Bring broth to a boil and cook until reduced to 8 cups, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and cook, whisking constantly, until roux is pale beige in color, about 15 minutes (do not brown).
  3. Scrape roux into simmering broth; whisk until thickened and broth coats the back of a spoon. Reduce heat to low and add vegetables. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add shredded chicken and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill, uncovered, until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm before serving.
  4. Cook gnocchi in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until gnocchi float to the surface, about 2 minutes (slightly longer if frozen). Using a slotted spoon, transfer gnocchi to bowls, dividing equally. Ladle chicken and vegetables with gravy over. Season with pepper and top with Parmesan.

[ Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2012 ]