Diet Schmiet. Make it taste good!

Most of my friends are on diets. I should be too. I really WISH I could be on a diet, but I just don’t want to. This does not stop me, however, from wanting to be healthy and to eat … Continue reading

Creamy Cilantro Poblano Chicken

As we promised, our summer continues with a guest blogger! Our series of summer blog dinners begins with one of our very own, Hunter Moore. Hunter has been with us for several years, but he isn’t only a great employee and friend, he’s an excellent chef! Surrounded by a lot of siblings and family members, he grew to love cooking for them and in large portions! He claims he doesn’t know how to cook for just one, so if you’re lucky to dine with him, there are always plenty of leftovers! Sunday night, I had the privilege of indulging in one of his favorite meals: Creamy Cilantro Poblano Chicken with Mexican Rice. Between the smells and the taste I was on sensory overload and my stomach was stuffed! Hunter says if you’re cooking for a big group, this is the meal to cook. It’s easy, delicious and now you can cook it yourself!

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Ingredients

  • 3-4 large boneless/skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 8oz cream cheese
  • 3 poblano pepper
  • 1 1/2 head of cilantro
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock (more or less depending on how thick you like the sauce)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 cups of white rice
  • 2 tomatoes
  •  1/2 yellow onion
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp granulated chicken base
  • 1 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil

Directions

Roast the poblano peppers on high broil in the oven. Rotating them until all sides are charred. Take them out of the oven, de-seed and peel off the skin.

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Season the chicken breasts with cumin, salt and pepper. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees.

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While the chicken cooks, place the poblanos, cilantro, chicken stock, butter, salt and pepper, and cream cheese in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Once the chicken has cooked, take out the pan and our the poblano sauce over the chicken. Place back in the oven and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees.

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Begin prepping the sauce for the rice. Quarter the tomatoes and place them into the blender with the garlic, granulated chicken base, salt, pepper, and one cup of water. Blend until smooth.

Make sure you have a pan with a nice tight lid for cooking the rice. Clear lids work well so you can see into the the pan while you’re cooking.

Brown the rice in vegetable oil on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or until the rice begins to slightly change color. Add in de-seeded and diced bell pepper and onion.

Drain excess oil in the rice and pour in the tomato sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes to rid of the raw tomato taste.

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Add one cup of HOT water and lower the heat to low. Put on the lid and cook for 20 minutes. You’ll know the rice is done when the liquid is gone in the pan. Do not open the lid or the rice will not cook properly! Add a little water to the rice after 20 minutes if it’s still a little bite-y.

And you’re done! “I love cooking this meal, but I love eating it even more.” — Hunter

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Good luck and we hope you enjoy this meal as much as we did! Stay tuned for our next guest blogger!

We’ve Caught the Cooking Bug!

After working with Leah for a few years, you begin to enjoy the art of cooking. As she shares her recipes with the staff, and teaches her techniques in the kitchen, the cooking bug spreads around like wildfire! Many of our staff have special recipes they enjoy cooking and treat us to every now and then.

This summer we’re going to do something a little different and start guest blogging. But here’s the catch: our staff will be the guest bloggers and post their recipes! We can’t wait to see what they’ll be coming up with. Maybe you can take some of these recipes and cook them for your friends and family at a summer backyard party! Stay tuned!

California Dreaming


I was lucky enough to be a guest blogger on my friend’s blog Stacy Pate.  You might remember she blogged on here last weekend.  Here is what I posted on her site http://www.livesimplylivepurely.com/.

I’ll admit it.  I sometimes catch myself California Dreaming.  (hee-hee)  In this California dream, I am on a coastal highway in a convertible (not sure what convertible – I don’t own one)  letting the salty air whip through my hair (my hair knots in the wind and the humidity makes it GIANT) with my radio blaring the Beach Boys (I don’t ever listen to the beach boys).  Well, you get the picture, it’s a dream after all.  In this dream I am footloose and fancy free enjoying the sunshine and fresh air and on my way to a delicious meal served alfresco on some bluff overlooking the ocean.  I am not sure if these opportunities really exist in California.  I am sure, however, that they have an abundance of fresh foods and delicious produce.  In my continuing search to make healthy recipes that taste good I created this Lo-CAL(ifornia)southwestern poblano pocket.

So, I love chili rellenos at Mexican food restaurants.  (Anything deep fried and covered in sauce.)  However, these do NOT fall into the healthy foods category.  In fact, the veggie part is barely recognizable!  The following recipe uses dark green poblanos, fresh sliced avocado, and lean ground turkey.  The creamy avocado replaces the heavy sauce and the zesty guacamole salsa I use adds flavor to the lean turkey.  The recipe has a lot of steps, but is totally worth it.

Lo-CAL(ifornia) Southwestern Poblano Pockets


6 large poblano chilies

1 pound ground turkey breast

½ Medium onion

2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

½ Cup green avocado/habanero prepared salsa (I use Zaaschile)

1 large avocado, cut into thin slices

1 1/2 Cup finely shredded Monterey Jack Cheese

Wash, dry, then roast the poblano peppers until the skin turns black.  (You do this by placing the peppers directly onto high heat.  You can use a grill, the flame from a gas burner, or the broiler on high.  Just continually turn the peppers so that they char evenly on all sides.

Let the peppers cool.

Once cooled, peel off the blackened skin and remove the seeds by pulling on the stem end.  Slit the peppers open down one side creating a “pocket” and place them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Meanwhile, in a medium non-stick skillet, brown the ground turkey breast stirring in often so that it creates small crumbles.  Once cooked through, add your onion and garlic and let it continue to sauté until the onion is cooked and turning soft.

Turn off the heat and stir in your green salsa.

 

Line the middle of each Poblano “pocket” with 3-4 avocado slices.

Top the avocado with the hot turkey mixture and the shredded Monterey Jack cheese (divide the turkey and the cheese evenly among the peppers)

 

Gently pull the sides of the peppers up over the filling (they won’t cover it completely)

Pop them under a broiler for 10 minutes or so until the cheese is brown and bubbly.

Serve them with fresh lime wedges and more salsa on the side!  These make a great, low-cal main dish with black beans and rice or a salad.

 

Maple Vinaigrette

OK – Here is the recipe for my maple vinaigrette.  This recipe is SO simple (and delicious).  I use it in several different applications.  The easiest way to use this dressing is, as a dressing!  The cool thing about this recipe is that it is great for a winter or a spring salad.

For a winter salad, slice some pears, add some craisins, crumbled blue cheese and cinnamon spiced pecans to assorted salad greens.

For a lighter, spring version, sliced strawberries, fresh blackberries, candied walnuts and crumbled feta added to baby spinach and tender leaf lettuce make a perfect sweet and crunchy salad.

I also like to use this dressing to make a veggie side dish.  Here’s how… Toss together a bag of baby spinach, some toasted, slivered almonds, and a handful of crumbled, cooked bacon.  Heat the maple vinaigrette in a saucepan until it is hot, but not boiling.

Pour the hot dressing slowly over the spinach and other ingredients, tossing and lightly coating them as you go.  (Don’t over-dress it)  The spinach will heat up and start to wilt creating a warm spinach side dish to go with any main entrée you are making!

Maple Vinaigrette

  • 1 Cup dark balsamic vinegar
  • ½ Cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ Cup water
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper

Simple Directions:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together well
  2. Store in frig.  Bring to room temp before using and whisk again to blend