healthy greek-inspired chicken burgers {with feta!}

My mom has been a brave, bold kitchen dynamo lately! She’s been trying out new recipes and then sharing her successes with me. Thanks, Mama! Then I get to share my faves with you guys!

A couple weeks ago, I shared a recipe for easy, colorful roasted veggies. Today, I’m sharing another recent winner: healthy, easy, greek-inspired chicken burgers.

These come together quickly, and I actually LIKE having leftovers because these burgers heat up great the next day. I also like them crumbled over a fresh tossed salad. The feta cheese and spices really kick these burgers up a notch!

greek chicken burgers

  • 1 lb lean ground chicken breast {uncooked}
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

For toppings:

  • 1 jar roasted red peppers
  • chopped lettuce
  • sliced cheese
  • sliced avocado
  • hamburger buns or rolls, if desired

1. In a bowl, combine the ground chicken with the feta, garlic powder, and oregano. Mom recommends just using your hands to mix!
greek burgers uncooked

2. Divide mixture into four balls and press them into patties.

3. Heat a pan on the stove {or your grill/broiler.} Grill the patties until golden brown and cooked through, about 8 minutes per side.

greek burgers grilling

4. Serve topped with red bell peppers, lettuce, cheese, onion — whatever your favorite toppings are! I like eating mine without a bun, topped with avocado, onion, and red bell pepper. Yum!

greek burgers openfaced

if you liked this recipe, you might also enjoy:

healthy chicken and bell peppers with goat cheese

Hi, everyone! Happy Thursday! Hope your week is thrumming along nicely. 🙂

A little while ago, I promised you this recipe that my mom made for dinner one night during our family reunion in Pittsburgh. Not only is it easy, healthy, and delicious, I love this recipe because it is full of flavor and easily customizable. Don’t like goat cheese? Substitute feta or parmesan, or leave out the cheese altogether. Mom served it over orzo pasta; I like it best over quinoa. Whatever suits your fancy! This also makes great leftovers and heats up well. Hope you enjoy!

chicken and peppers

chicken & bell peppers with goat cheese

– 2 large chicken breasts, or a package of chicken tenders
– 1/2 cup flour
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 bell peppers; I like the combination of orange and yellow
– 1 small onion
– 1 can diced tomatoes
– 1 small can tomato sauce
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– fresh basil, to taste
– goat cheese {or feta or parmesan, if you prefer}
– salt and pepper, to taste
– pasta or quinoa, for serving

1. Slice the bell peppers and onion into chunks and set aside.

2. Cut the chicken into small pieces. Pour the flour into a pie pan or shallow dish so it is an even layer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. With your fingers, roll the pieces of chicken in the flour until they are evenly coated.

3. Pour the olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, pour in the chicken and saute until cooked through. The flour will create a nice golden-brown crispiness. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

4. In the same olive oil, saute the bell peppers and onion for about 10 minutes, until the peppers are soft and the onion is translucent.

5. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, minced garlic, and chicken. Cover and simmer on low.

6. Finely chop the basil. Just before serving, add the basil and goat cheese, to your taste.

7. Serve by itself, or over pasta, rice or quinoa.

Cheers! {We enjoyed this for Mother’s Day dinner, pictured below!}

mothers day

my 3 fave ways to use chia seeds

chia seeds

In the past year, thanks to some of my favorite bloggers {I’m looking at you, Julie and Lindsay!} I’ve been introduced to a nutritional powerhouse: chia seeds! In just one tablespoon of chia seeds, you get six grams of fiber, three grams of protein, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Here are three of my favorite, no-fuss ways to use chia seeds in my daily life:

1. Smoothies. Just sprinkle some chia seeds on top of your fruit and ice and blend away! A smoothie combo I’ve been loving lately is strawberry + banana + mango.

smoothie

2. Salads. I love adding a tablespoon of chia seeds on top of my favorite healthy chicken salad.

chicken salad lunch

3. Baked goods. Stir a spoonful of chia seeds into your muffin or bread batter — or hey, why not even try some in brownies, cookies or cakes? I just made a batch of chocolate-chip banana muffins with some chia seeds added in!

banana muffins

When the weather cools down a little, I know I’ll be switching out my breakfast smoothies for a warm bowl of oatmeal — another great dish to sprinkle chia seeds on! I’ve yet to try overnight oats but I’ve heard chia seeds are a crucial ingredient in helping the oat mixture thicken overnight. This and this are both on my “to try” list of recipes!

Have you ever tried chia seeds? If so, what are your favorite ways to use them?

Kitchen Tip Tuesdays: making the most of oven time

Hi everyone! Today I’m excited to be participating in Kitchen Tip Tuesdays, hosted by Tammy’s Recipes!

kttovenmittbanner425

I have a simple tip to share: something I’ve just started doing recently that relates to meal-planning, saving time and saving money/energy!

I eat a lot of chicken — for most meat recipes I use chicken, whether it’s baked with veggies, diced up in soups and chili, shredded in the crock pot, or tossed with a bit of mayo to make chicken salad sandwiches.

I used to just bake the chicken when I needed it. But one night I had an idea: why not bake some extra chicken to use later in the week? It seems simple, but it had never crossed my mind. Now, whenever I am baking a chicken dish, I put a couple extra chicken breasts in the oven. I usually cook them in a glass pan with a little bit of water or chicken broth in the bottom of the pan to keep them moist.

That way, I have cooked chicken to use the rest of the week! Now it’s so easy to add cooked chicken to salads, rice, sandwiches, or pasta. Making dinner is so much quicker!

This tip can also work with roasting veggies, baking cookies, or making bread. Now pretty much whenever I need to turn on my oven for one dish, I think, “Is there another dish I can also cook right now? This maximizes my use of the oven and saves energy, time, and meal preparation later!

What are your kitchen tips? I’d love to hear in the comments section below!

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Hope your week is going great!

I’m excited to share this quick & healthy dinner recipe with you today: I adapted this recipe from LaaLoosh and made it a little heartier by adding chicken. {Her post lists it as a side dish; Mike and I ate it as a main dinner dish.}

cilantro-lime quinoa with chicken

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 cups fat free vegetable broth
  • a 4oz can green chiles
  • 2 tbsp lime juice {I used the juice of one lime}
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 2/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped {I did not use a jalapeno because I am a wimp when it comes to spicy things, but I’m sure it would be tasty if you’re feeling daring!}

1. Spray a pot with non-fat cooking spray and set over medium high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, chicken and garlic and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 7-8 minutes. {If mixture sticks to the pan, add in a bit of the broth to deglaze.}

2. Stir in chiles and cook for another 2 minutes.

3. Add in quinoa and remaining broth and bring to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed {about 25 to 30 minutes.}

5. Add in remaining ingredients and fluff with a fork. Serve immediately.

This smelled SO good cooking! Mike and I were so hungry that I forgot to take a picture of our bowls before we began to eat. All I have for you is a picture of the meager leftovers in a Tupperware container, ready to go into the fridge for lunch the next day.

quinoa

You’ve just gotta trust me … it was delicious!!

This recipe is definitely a make-again for us! And with the mix of quinoa and chicken, it’s a healthy dish that will also keep you satisfied — perfect to get a healthy start on the new year.

What are some of your favorite healthy yet hearty recipes?

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:
chicken & quinoa salad
honey-lime chicken enchiladas
crock-pot chicken w/black beans & corn

This post is linked up with Menu-Plan Monday!

MPM-Winter

easy honey-lime chicken enchiladas

Tired of turkey leftovers? I was in the mood for Mexican food tonight, and when I saw this recipe for a honey-lime marinade for chicken, I was inspired! I turned it into a crock-pot recipe, added some diced onion and bell pepper, tortillas and cheese and green tomatillo sauce, and made honey-lime chicken enchiladas. They turned out del-i-ci-ous, and SO easy!

I made a small batch since it’s just Mike & me, but you could easily double or even triple this recipe to feed a bigger family. These enchiladas heat up great as leftovers and even freeze well for later meals.

honey-lime chicken enchiladas

– 2 large chicken breasts
– 2 tsp minced garlic
– 1/3 cup honey
– 1/3 cup lime juice
– 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
– 1 small onion, diced
– 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
– 3 wheat tortillas
– 1 cup shredded reduced fat Mexican cheese
– 1 small can green enchilada sauce

1. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock-pot. Add chicken broth, honey, and lime juice, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.

2. Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper in a little olive oil over low heat for 3-5 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add ingredients to crock pot mixture and cook for another 1-2 hours.

3. The chicken mixture is done when chicken is fully cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated. If needed, take off the lid and turn heat to high for the final 15-20 minutes of cooking.

4. Turn off crock-pot and use a knife and fork to pull apart/shred the chicken.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 glass baking pan by pouring about 1/3 of the can of enchilada sauce into the pan to coat the bottom.

6. Fill each tortilla with the shredded chicken mixture and a spoonful of enchilada sauce. Roll and lay into the pan. Pour the remainder of the enchilada sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with cheese.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is fully melted and edges of the tortillas are a little crispy.

I served mine with brown rice and broccoli for a filling, healthy and delicious meal!

What are some of your favorite post-Thanksgiving, non-turkey meals? {Actually, this recipe would probably work well with turkey, too, now that I think of it!} 🙂

Hope you’re having a great week!
-Dallas

crock pot chicken with black beans & corn

Happy Wednesday, everyone! How is your week going so far? We are having gorgeous weather here in Lafayette and I am trying to soak up as much of it as possible, especially now that I am both feeling loads better from that darn cold bug.

I’ve been going for long walks around the neighborhood and eating lunch outside at school. I also have been trying to take advantage of crock-pot cooking to have dinner ready and waiting when I get home. Who wants to spend extra time in the kitchen when the weather is so nice?

Here is a recipe for crock-pot chicken with black beans and corn. I made it without tomatoes, so this is a great recipe for people with heartburn or sensitivity to high-acid foods. However, you could also easily add a can of diced tomatoes or some tomato salsa to this recipe if you would like that extra flavor!

crock-pot chicken with black beans & corn

– 1 package chicken breasts {I typically use 3-4 chicken breasts so I have leftovers for lunch the next day}
– 1 can black beans
– 1 can corn
– 1 onion
– 1 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 can diced tomatoes {optional}
– 1 package taco seasoning {I use the low-sodium kind}
– 1 avocado
– cheese and/or sour cream for garnish

1. Dice the onion. Saute for 3-5 minutes on low heat with the garlic.{I think this helps bring out the flavor of the onion and garlic. If you are short on time, you can omit this step and just dump the diced onion and garlic in the crock pot without pre-cooking.}

2. Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of the crock pot. Top with black beans, corn, onion/garlic mixture, and tomatoes.

3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

4. About half an hour before serving, add taco seasoning and mix well. Use a knife to shred the chicken.

5. If mixture is too liquidy, take the lid off and turn setting to “high” and cook for about 15 minutes more.

6. Serve topped with chopped avocado, shredded cheese, sour cream, of whatever your favorite toppings are!

My go-to staple is to serve this dish over rice. If you have a little more time on your hands, it is also delicious served over fried potato slices; I got the idea from a local restaurant that serves a dish called “Irish nachos” that uses fried potatoes instead of tortilla chips as a base. It was easy, relatively quick, and the potatoes complemented the dish nicely. It’s a good change if you’re looking for something other than rice or tortillas to serve this dish with.

fried potatoes {aka “irish nachos”}

1. Slice a potato thinly. I like to leave the skin on, but you can certainly peel if you wish.

2. Spray a pan with olive oil. Fry the potato slices until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes per side. Top with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, or whatever else your heart desires!

3. Let cool on a paper towel to soak up any extra oil before serving.

4. Top with shredded chicken/black bean/corn mixture. A delicious twist on classic nachos!

This is a great recipe to make on a busy weeknight. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do. And hope you are getting a chance to enjoy this lovely autumn weather!

What are some of your favorite quick, easy weeknight meals?

Till soon,
Dallas

————————–

-Time spent: 15 minutes preparation & 15 minutes for potatoes
– Cost: about $8.00

You might also enjoy:

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew
ground turkey enchiladas
tilapia with pineapple salsa

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

Confession: I used to be afraid of crock pots.

It sounds silly, I know. I guess crock pots just sounded too good to be true! Throw a bunch of food in a crock pot, turn it on, go to work all day, then come home and dinner is ready? Are you sure there isn’t a catch?

I was worried about leaving something on all day in the kitchen without anyone being home. Isn’t that dangerous?

“No,” my mother told me. No, said the blogs and resources I scoured online.

“Why don’t you try it?” Mike encouraged me. He could tell I was wanting to make the leap into crock-pot cooking ever since I glimpsed the beautiful 4-quart brand-new crock pot his mom had bought him that he’d never taken out of the box.

A new era has dawned in our tiny apartment kitchen. Today I took that baby out of the box, rinsed the pot and lid with soap and water, and plugged it in. For my first crock-pot attempt, I tried something simple: chicken & veggie stew.

This recipe could not be easier or quicker. It took me ten minutes to prepare as I rushed to get ready and out the door for school this morning. Here is the recipe I used; you could easily substitute other veggies based on your preferences or what happens to be in your pantry.

crock-pot chicken & veggie stew

– 3 or 4 chicken breasts
– 1 medium-sized sweet potato
– 2 carrots
– 2 celery stalks
– 1 can corn, drained
– 1 can peas, drained
– 1 can green beans, drained
– 1 can chicken broth
– 1 tbsp garlic or onion powder
– 1 tsp chili powder
– 1 tbsp parsley

1. Dice the potato. Peel and slice the carrots and slice the celery.

2. Dump veggies into the crock pot.

3. Add chicken breasts on top.

4. Pour chicken broth over everything.

5. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

6. 30 minutes before serving, sprinkle chicken with garlic/onion powder, chili powder, and parsley.

All day long, I thought about dinner simmering at home in the crock pot. Whenever I worried about something catching fire and the apartment burning down, Mike reassured me it would all be okay. {If you haven’t guessed by now, I can be a bit of a worry-wort sometimes!}

When we returned home this evening and opened the front door, a delicious aroma greeted us. The stew turned out fantastic! Yummy, warm, healthy, hearty … and ready to eat as soon as we stepped inside. What a treat to have a homemade dinner waiting for us on the kitchen counter!

It’s official: I am a crock-pot convert. I can’t wait to try all sorts of new slow-cooker recipes and share them with you on this blog. Please chime in below if you have any recipes or links to share!

Here are some helpful slow-cooker tips that recently were shared on one of my favorite blogs, I’m an Organizing Junkie:

Do you use a slow cooker to prepare meals? What are some of your favorite crock-pot recipes? How do you save time when making dinner on a busy weeknight?

Have a wonderful day!
-Dallas

the pantry challenge + white chicken chili with corn muffins recipe

Confession: my pantry is a bit of a jumbled mess.

I’ve tried organizing it multiple times, but no matter how I sort through all of the cans, jars and boxes, it always looks messy. I finally realized the problem is that I simply have too much stuff crammed in there! So many cans and boxes and mixes that it’s impossible to even know everything that I have. So when I go to the store, I inevitably buy new cans and jars of stuff that is already buried in the back of my pantry. What a waste!

So, inspired by this post by Jill at the lovely blog Reini Days, I’ve made a resolution to use up all the food in my pantry that I already have. I’m not going quite so hardcore as Jill and her family did — I am still giving myself permission to buy new food and ingredients that I don’t currently have if necessary. But I will make an effort each week when doing my meal-planning to make recipes centered around ingredients that already live in my pantry before I go out and buy new things at the store.

The other night, I got my new pantry challenge off to a great start when I made a big batch of chili! I had friends over for Labor Day dinner and I made two big pots of chili. Look at all the cans & boxes from my pantry that I used in this single night:

Count ’em! That’s eight cans and two boxes for a total of ten items that were languishing in my overstuffed pantry! Perfect way to kick off the challenge I’ve set for myself.

Since I had seven friends over, I made two big pots of chili. In one pot, I made a tomato chili recipe from my mom that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the near future. In the other pot, I made a white chicken chili that was delicious and is perfect for anyone who is sensitive to high-acid foods such as tomatoes or suffers from heartburn because this chili is tomato-free! This is the recipe I’m going to share today. I call it “California-style” because I think it’s best served with sliced avocado on top!

california-style white chicken chili

– 1 package chicken breasts or chicken breast tenderloins
– 1 green bell pepper
– 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
– 1 tsp mixed garlic
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 can white beans {I used organic great northern beans}
– 1 can corn
– 1 package white chili seasoning
– 1/4 cup water
– 1 medium avocado

1. Pour the olive oil and garlic into the bottom of a large pot. Turn heat on low. Dice the bell peppers and pour into the pot. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until pepper begins to soften.

2. While pepper is cooking, cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

3. Drain the can of beans and corn and pour both into the pot.

4. Add the chicken, water and white chili spice packet and bring chili to a boil.

5. Turn heat down a little and simmer the chili for 20-30 minutes {or longer if you have the time … the chili gets more and more flavorful the longer you cook it. YUM!}

6. Before serving, top chili with diced avocado if desired.

My friend Xun who came over for dinner absolutely loves cornbread, so I served the chili with corn muffins, which were super easy to make. I just used a Jiffy boxed cornbread mix and poured the batter into muffin tins instead of a bread pan.

jiffy corn muffins

– 1 package jiffy cornbread mix
– 1 small can corn
– 1 egg
– 1/3 cup milk or buttermilk

1. Preheat over to 400 degrees.

2. Combine cornbread mix, egg and milk.

3. Drain can of corn and add to the batter. Mix thoroughly.

4. Pour batter into paper-lined muffin tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Each box of mix yields about six muffins. For our get-together, I used two boxes and doubled the ingredients.

These were fantastic! We had a bit of each kind of chili left-over, but the corn muffins were all gobbled up by the night’s end!

It was a really fun night, and chili is such a relaxing meal to cook — all you really need to do is plop all the ingredients in the pot and let it simmer until you’re ready to eat. Perfect for having people over and wanting to spend your time visiting rather than slaving away in a hot kitchen.

So, does anyone else want to join the challenge with me? I’m excited to update you on my progress as I try out new recipes to clear out my pantry!

Have a great day–
Dallas

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-Time spent: 1 hour {including cook time}
-Cost: about $10 {though I had almost all the ingredients in my pantry already, hooray!}

MPM-Winter
This post is linked up to Menu-Plan Monday at I’m an Organizing Junkie!

chicken & quinoa salad

A few weeks ago, Mike and I went down to Indianapolis for the day. We went to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch, one of my favorite restaurants — I used to eat there all the time when I lived in California, but since moving to Indiana the closest one is in Indianapolis about an hour away. Whenever we go there, I always get my favorite pizza, the Barbeque Chicken Pizza. This time I tried something a little new: the Hawaiian Barbeque Chicken Pizza {pretty much the same pizza, but with pineapple added. YUM!}

Another item on the menu, however, did catch my eye: a healthy and delicious-looking chicken quinoa salad. I ended up sticking with my tried-and-true fave pizza, but I made a mental note to sometime come up with my own version of the salad inspired by the CPK version.

I tried out this recipe tonight, and it turned out great! Both Mike and I give it two thumbs up!

{This recipe currently serves two people, but can easily be modified to serve more.}

chicken & quinoa salad

– 2 chicken breasts
– 1 cup uncooked quinoa
– 1 and 1/4 cups water
– 4 cups arugula {or your choice of lettuce}
– 1 cucumber
– 2 roma tomatoes
– 1 tsp chopped garlic
– feta cheese to taste
– pine nuts to taste
– salad dressing to taste {I used fat-free sesame; I think a balsamic vinagrette would be nice, too}

1. Cook chicken in a pan on the stove until golden brown; I used a nonstick pan, but you might want to use a little olive oil if you’re worried about it sticking to the pan.

2. While chicken is cooking, boil 1 and 1/4 cups of water. Stir in quinoa and garlic and cook about ten minutes, until all the water is absorbed.

3. Slice up the roma tomatoes and cucumber and cooked chicken.

4. Serve quinoa and chicken warm over bed of arugula. Top with tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese, pine nuts, and salad dressing.

YUM!

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Time spent: 25 minutes
Cost: about $6.00