BBQ Chicken Salad with Tortilla Strips and Healthy Ranch

 

imageSummer is officially here in Southern California and you know what that means – barbecue, beach, bikinis and beach cruisers! What goes well with that – of course a BBQ Chicken Salad. It’s hearty, refreshing and also healthy so you can look good in your bikini or swim trunks!  Check out how to make this easy weeknight or weekend recipe!


  BBQ Chicken Salad with Tortilla Strips and Healthy Ranch

Ingredients:
– 2 boneless chicken breasts
– 1 large head of organic romaine, chopped
– 2 ears of corn
– 1 avocado, diced
– 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– ½ red onion, diced
– Barbeque Sauce (for chicken)
– 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced
– Corn Tortillas
– Lawry’s Season Salt
– ½ cup Greek yogurt
– 1/3 cup Cilantro Dressing
– 2 Tablespoon barbecue sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 315ᴼ.  Cut corn tortillas in strips.  Place on a cookie sheet, spray with Pam and add Lawry’s Season Salt.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until crispy like chips.
  2. Heat the barbecue to medium-high heat.  Add boneless chicken breasts.
  3. Put the corn on the grill.   Keep the husks on, so it roasts the kernels without burning it.
  4. While the chicken and corn are cooking, plate the chopped romaine.  Add tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, tortilla strips and red onions.
  5. With about 8 minutes left on the chicken, add barbecue sauce to the chicken.  Flip the chicken after 4 minutes and add sauce to the other side.
  6. To make the dressing: combine, Greek yogurt, cilantro dressing and barbecue sauce.
  7. Remove the chicken and corn from the grill.  Remove the corn kernels from the core and place on the salad.
  8. Slice the chicken breast and add to the top of the salad.  Add dressing.
  9. You my friend, are ready to serve!

 

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image image image imageHappy cooking!

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Mud Pie Motherload

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Mud Pie has been a traditional birthday cake in T.W.O.’s family since we were babies. These past couple of years, we decided to step up our game and make the motherload of all mud pies. If this doesn’t get your taste buds excited, I don’t know what will. Peanut butter, chocolate, ganache, ice cream, oreo cookie crust and candy….we cover all the necessary ingredients.


Mud Pie Motherload

Ingredients:

Crust:
– 7 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
– 1 package oreo cookie box
Ganache:
– 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate
– 2 cup heavy cream
– 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Filling:
– 1.5 quartz chocolate peanut butter cup ice cream, softened*
– 1.5 quartz coffee ice cream, softened*
– ½ cup crunchy peanut butter
– 1 ounce dark chocolate, finely chopped, for garnish
– 4 peanut butter cups, finely chopped for garnish
– 1 heath bar, finely chopped for garnish

Directions:

For the crust:

  1. Coat the inside of a 9-inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  2. Place cookies in food processor and pulse until ground. Add melted butter to the crumbs and mix. Press mixture evenly and firmly into the bottom of the prepared pan and freeze until it’s good and set, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften and make the ganache.

For the ganache:

  1. Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside.
  2. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour cream over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has melted, about 5 minutes.
  3. Stir gently until smooth then stir in butter, one piece at a time. let cool slightly before using.

For the assembly:

  1. When ice cream is softened, spread one of the flavors of ice cream over the cookie crust and smooth the top.
  2. Spread peanut butter over the ice cream.
  3. Pour half of the ganache over the top and smooth and place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove pie from the freezer and top with the second ice cream flavor.
  5. Pour the remaning ganche on top. Spread evenly.
  6. Top with chopped chocolate candy and put in the freezer. For best results let the pie freeze for 5 hours or over night if possible.
  7. When you are ready to serve, let the pie stand for 5 minutes prior to cutting. Plate and serve!

 

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Happy Baking!

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Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

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Imagine, lounging on the beach looking at the crisp blue ocean waters of the Mediterranean in the warm sun.  Besides rose, what else is missing?  Of course, some Mediterranean orzo pasta salad!  Its refreshing, light and satisfying.  See you in paradise!


Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad

 Ingredients:

– 2 cups orzo
– 4-6 cups water
– ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
– 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
– ½ cup red onions, chopped
– ½ cup lemon juice
– 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
– 2-3 garlic cloves, diced
– 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts (optional)
– Salt
– Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook orzo as directed on the box.
  2. Once the orzo is done, strain all the water out. Place in a bowl.
  3. Mix in chopped mint, cherry tomatoes, garlic, red onions, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add artichoke hearts if deserved.
  4. Plate and serve! Store leftovers in the refrigerator.  If the pasta gets dry, add more lemon juice.

 


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bon appetite,

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Baby Kale and Farro Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

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Farro?  Heard of it?  Cooked with it?  Well if your answer is no to any of these questions, T.W.O. will be sure to change that to YES!  Farro is a food product composed of the grains of certain wheat species.  It is debatable about the exact definition, so we won’t get into it! Farro originated in Italy – Tuscany to be exact.  It can sometimes be called barley since they both have similar characteristics.  Okay, enough of the definition stuff, lets get cooking!

Ingredients:
– 1 ½ cup faro, uncooked
– 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
– 4 ½ cups baby kale, chopped
– ½ cup carrots, thick strips
– 1 cup corn kernels, fresh or roasted
For the dressing:
– 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
– 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
– 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
– 1 shallot, diced
– 1 clove garlic, diced
– 2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
– ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
– Salt
– Pepper
– Garlic powder

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a large covered saucepan.  Add the farro, pinch of salt and garlic powder. Return to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally until the farro is puffy and slightly chewy.  This should take 20-25 minutes. 

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While the farro is cooking, make your dressing.  In a bowl combine the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon mustard and soy sauce.  Mix well.  Add in shallot, garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper.

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When the farro is done cooking, drain immediately and rinse with cold water.  Drain again and transfer to a bowl.  Add cherry tomatoes, corn, kale and carrots.  Mix the dressing into the farro.  Serve immediately.  T.W.O. grilled some fresh cod to go with the farro salad.  It was a delicious addition to this protein packed, flavorful salad.

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Happy Cooking!

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Greek Lamb Burgers with Homemade Tzatziki Sauce

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It felt like summer this past weekend in SoCal.  It was in the mid-80s and with the daylight savings time upon us and a brand new barbeque in the patio, we decided to christen it with lamb burgers.  Grab your feta, tomatoes and mushrooms and let’s start cooking!

 Ingredients:
– 3 lbs ground lamb (T.W.O. prefers fresh New Zealand ground lamb from WholeFoods)
– ½ cup feta
– ½ cup mushrooms, diced
– 1/3 cup red onions, diced
– 1 teaspoon garlic powder
– Krazy Salt
– Fresh group pepper
– Fresh hamburger buns
– Lettuce
– Tomatoes, sliced

Tzatziki Sauce Ingredients:
-1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
– 4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
– 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 In a bowl, mix the ground lamb with feta, mushrooms, red onions, garlic powder, Krazy salt and fresh ground pepper.  Mix well.  Form the mixture into 3-4 patties.

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Using a bowl Mix the Greek yogurt with the dill in a small bowl to make your tzatziki sauce.  Place in the refrigerator while the burgers are cooking.

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Place the lamb patties on a heated barbeque grill and cook for 15 minutes or until done.  Remove from heat.  If you like your buns toasted, now is a good time to do it.  Dress your hamburger how you like it – T.W.O. used their homemade tzatziki sauce, lettuce and tomatoes.  That is all you need for this Greek-influenced Lamb Burger.

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 Happy Barbequing!

Chicken Fajitas

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Taco Tuesday can get a little old after a while, so T.W.O. decided to change things up a bit and make some chicken fajitas – with t.w.o. twists! These are not your average fajitas you order at a Mexican restaurant, because we decided to add cannellini beans and Rimel’s “Green Sauce.” This is a great dish not only for Tuesday, but for any day of the week! And it is great for a crowd! So invite your friends over and let’s have a fiesta!

Ingredients
-4 chicken breasts, boneless & skinless
-1 fajita mix
-Mini sweet bell peppers, sliced into stripes
-1 sweet onion, sliced into wedges
-2 jalapeños, sliced into stripes
-1 can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
Rimel’s “Green Sauce”
-Corn tortillas*
-1 Avocado, sliced
-Salsa
-Cilantro

*T.W.O. uses the La Tortilla Factory brand of corn tortillas

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Begin by cutting the chicken breasts into stripes. Heat up a sauce pan with olive oil. Add chicken breasts, fajita mix and ½ water. Cook chicken until done.

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Remove chicken, keeping the juice to sauté the vegetables. Sauté the vegetables for about 5-8 minutes. Once the vegetables are cooked, add the chicken back into pan. Add about 1/3-1/2 cup of the “Green Sauce” and mix. Keep on the heat for about 2 minutes then remove.

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Heat up the corn tortillas. Now it is time to make the fajitas! We like to top our fajitas with salsa, avocado, cilantro and a little of the “Green Sauce.” Now it’s time for a salsa dance!!

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Ole!

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Zesty Lemon Chicken

imageDo you ever get bored of baked chicken or your average barbecue chicken?  Well if your answer is yes, keep reading! T.W.O. has a solution for you – Zesty Lemon Chicken. The combination of the citrus and the herbs used to cook this dish makes it an easy week night recipe that tastes like a million dollars.  Move over barbecue sauce, let the lemons take over!


Ingredients

-4 Chicken breasts, bone-in
-1 Sweet Onion, chopped
-2 Garlic cloves, chopped
-2 Tablespoons Olive oil
-4 Lemons
– Herbs (Parsley, Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary), chopped
-Salt & Pepper
-Baby Potatoes, washed
-Lemon wedges
-Chicken broth

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In a Pyrex, place the washed chicken skin side down. Marinade the chicken, olive oil, herbs, lemon juice, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. It is okay to place the lemon skins in the Pyrex, as this adds more flavors.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Add the potatoes, onions & garlic. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to the bottom of the dish to cover some of the potatoes and the chicken.  (It should be about 1/3 of an inch)

Put in the oven for 25 minutes, then turn the chicken to the other side – skin side up – and leave it to cook for more 25 minutes, till the skin side is roasted. Once the chicken is done, plate the chicken, potatoes, lemon and drizzle with cooked broth. It’s time to eat!

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Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bites

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Blueberries. Greek Yogurt. And a Freezer. Yes – that is all you need in order to make these delicious, refreshing treats. The tartness of the Greek yogurt compliments the sweet flavors of the blueberry to make these bite size snacks the modern, healthier version of a bonbon. If you need some “pop” in your life, grab yourself some blueberries and yogurt and get to work!

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Ingredients:
-1 package blueberries, washed
-Greek yogurt*

Lay out the washed blueberries on a mat or cutting board. Make sure the blueberries are fully dried. Using a skewer or a toothpick, dip the blueberries in the Greek yogurt. Swirl around, making sure to get enough Greek yogurt on the berry to freeze. Place on a parchment paper – lined cookie sheet.

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Once all the blueberries are dipped, place in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove the blueberries and store in a freezer safe Tupperware or Ziploc bag. The berries are best after an hour being in the freezer. If you can’t wait that long, 20 minutes will do! Store in freezer.

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Cheers to snacks!

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Cabbage Crunch Salad

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Bored of your traditional salad?! We’ll T.W.O. has a new recipe for you! Cabbage crunch salad has been a favorite side dish in T.W.O.’s family for generations. It’s easy, fresh and a crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

– 1 head of green cabbage
– 1 cup green onions, chopped
– 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
– I package chicken top ramen noodles

Dressing:
-3/4 cups rice vinegar
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1/3 cup vegetable oil
-2 tablespoons white sugar
-1 packet top ramen seasoning (included in package with dry noodles)
-Ground pepper
– Krazy Salt

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Using a sharp knife, cut the cabbage in half. Take the “core” out of each half. Next, cut the cabbage in thin slices to create a “slaw”. Put the cut cabbage in a mixing bowl. Add the chopped green onions and cilantro. Break the top ramen into small clusters over the salad. If you are having a hard time breaking the ramen, place the ramen into a Ziploc bag and pound until small clusters are created. Combine the noodles with the cabbage.

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For the dressing, add all the ingredients together and mix well. Add fresh ground pepper and Krazy Salt to taste.

Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss. Make sure the dressing, ramen noodles and green onions are evenly distributed throughout the cabbage slaw. After everything is mixed well, cover with foil or plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator. It’s best to let the salad marinate for at least one hour before serving. Serve chilled.

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Bon Appetit!

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Peanut Butter Cookies

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Peanut Butter Cookies

As you probably have learned, T.W.O. loves peanut butter.  We can have peanut butter in the morning, afternoon and night! We thought we would share one of our favorite peanut butter recipes that have been exchanged between our family members for many years.  The cookies are soft flavorful and nutty! Oh, and we can’t forget about the dough….it’s pretty amazing!

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Ingredients
– 1 cup crunchy peanut butter*
– 1 cube butter, softened
– ½ cup shortening
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 1 cup brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 2 ½ cups flour
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda

* T.W.O. likes to bake with Skippy, Jiffy or natural peanut butter (oil pre-mixed)

Cream together peanut butter, butter and shortening with a mixer.  Add in the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix well. Slowly beat in the eggs.  Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, so the ingredients blends well.  Add in the flour, baking powder and soda.  Once all the ingredients are combined, you should get sticky, thick dough.  Chill the dough for an hour or until the dough gets cold.

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 Preheat oven to 350.°

 Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Take a spoonful of dough and roll into a ball. Repeat until all the dough is used.  With a floured potato masher, press down on the “balls”.  Don’t smash too much, you don’t want the cookies to burn.  If you don’t have a potato masher, you can flatten the cookie with your hand and use a fork to create a criss-cross design.

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Place the cookies in the oven for 10-12 minutes.  Don’t overcook!  Remove from the oven and let it cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.

Plate the cookies, grab a glass of milk and enjoy!!!

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Happy Baking!

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