Category Archives: Main Dishes

Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash

I am participating in a fitness challenge hosted by our local hospital. It’s a 12-week challenge, with various fitness activities, classes and opportunities to win cool stuff. At the last class, they had a cooking demonstration and showed us how to make a few easy recipes. Here is my adaptation of their Bruschetta Chicken. I had a spaghetti squash that needed to be cooked so I decided to incorporate it into the recipe as well. You can use fresh tomatoes instead of canned for the bruschetta, I just find the canned to be more flavorful during the winter.

Bruschetta Chicken with Spaghetti Squash
serves 3-4

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 to 3/4 cup prepared low-fat Italian salad dressing (like Good Seasons or Kraft)
1 15-oz can petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, slivered
1-3 cloves garlic, minced (depending on how well you like garlic)
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 small spaghetti squash
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, optional

Trim any fat off of chicken breasts, then slice diagonally into 4-5 strips. Place chicken strips in bowl and pour salad dressing over, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours, turning occasionally. You could also place the chicken and dressing in a Zip-lock bag instead of a bowl.

Combine tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste then cover and refrigerate at least an hour to allow flavors to mingle.

Cook spaghetti squash by whatever method you prefer. I cut mine in half lengthwise, seeded and removed the strings, then placed in a small casserole dish with a little water and microwaved it for 14 minutes. I let it cool a few minutes, then used a fork to separate the strands and placed them in a bowl.

Place chicken and the salad dressing marinade in a skillet and cook over medium heat until cooked through. Spread a tiny bit of the bruschetta sauce over the chicken, and combine the remainder with the spaghetti squash. If desired, sprinkle parmesan cheese over the squash. Plate and serve.

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

I have 3 different types of lentils in my pantry and use them regularly. They cook in about 30 minutes and are very versatile. Sometimes though, I want to serve a meal that practically prepares itself. While I am not a big proponent of canned soups, there are a couple I will occasionally use. Campbell’s Lentil Soup is one of them. It’s seasoned well and makes a great base for soups and stews. Here is one of my go-to recipes when I want to do zero chopping and measuring.

Quick and Easy Turkey-Lentil Stew

1 lb. ground turkey breast
1 tbsp. Canola oil, I just eyeball it
2 small cans Campbell’s Lentil Soup
16 oz jar of roasted Salsa Verde
1 15 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1-2 cups water, as needed to get to desired consistency
1 Parmesan cheese rind – optional*
1/2 cup shredded cheese – optional – I used Asiago because it’s what I had, but Feta would be good too
salt and pepper, as desired

Brown ground turkey in Canola oil in large pot. Add all remaining ingredients except shredded cheese. Cook 20-30 minutes, although if you cook it longer it will thicken up nicely. Garnish stew with cheese if desired. Delicious and easy.

*I buy Parmesan cheese rinds from Kroger, in the deli section, and freeze until needed.

Quick and Easy Chicken Fajita Soup

This is a great quick and easy soup. It’s made from mostly pantry/produce items that I keep on hand all the time. You can use a store-bought roasted chicken or any leftover chicken that you have.

Store-bought jalapeño peppers are usually mild but occasionally you will get a hot one. Just use half the pepper, or omit if you are adverse to the heat.

Chicken Fajita Soup

Serves 6

32 oz. chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
½-1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
16 oz salsa verde (I used the roasted variety)
28 oz can petite diced tomatoes, not drained
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1½-2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 package fajita seasoning mix
1 c. frozen corn
Salt and pepper to taste

Lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired

Combine chicken broth and next 7 ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add shredded chicken, fajita seasoning mix and corn and cook an additional 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve with lime wedges, guacamole, sour cream, and chopped cilantro if desired.

You can also crush tortilla chips and sprinkle over the soup.

Quick Saucy Salsa Chicken

I made this tonight while searching for a quick, easy one-pan dinner. I had some chicken breasts that needed to be cooked, and all day I had been thinking about something creamy, yet spicy for dinner. After a quick search in the pantry, I came out with a jar of Bertolli Alfredo sauce and a jar of World Market Roasted Tomato Chipotle Salsa. Weird, I know, but somehow I knew it would taste good.

I’ve never been a fan of jarred Alfredo sauce on its own; it’s too easy to make the real thing. However, the ready-made kind makes a great sauce base and can be combined with all kinds of other flavors for quick meals. In this instance, the addition of salsa to the Alfredo cuts the fat and calories per serving, and amped up the flavor significantly. From prep to the table, this dish was ready in less than 30 minutes, and it was delicious. It will definitely be going into the dinner rotation.

If you are not on a low-carb meal plan, this would be good with Mexican rice, or spooned on top of a baked potato. I ate mine as-is, and Carla crushed a few corn chips over hers.

Quick Saucy Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into one-inch cubes
1 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 jar salsa
2 cups frozen broccoli and cauliflower florets (don’t thaw it)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook about 5 minutes, just long enough to sear it on one side. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and cook about 5-6 minutes, or just until chicken is cooked through.

This was very saucy, which I liked. If you do not want a lot of sauce, you could use about 2/3 or 3/4 of each jar of sauce and salsa, or use 6 chicken breasts instead of 4.

Vegetable Beef Soup

Dinner cannot get much easier than this, and it freezes and reheats well.

Vegetable Beef Soup

2 lb ground chuck or ground round
1 large yellow onion, diced
28 oz can petite-diced tomatoes
14 oz can tomato puree
28 oz water
1 tsp. minced garlic
1-2 tbsp. Better Than Bouillon Beef Base*
½ tsp. dried oregano
1 ½ c. frozen baby lima beans
1 ½ c. frozen yellow corn
2 c. frozen cut okra
salt and pepper to taste

Cook ground beef and onions together until ground beef is browned and onions are very tender. Add, tomatoes, tomato puree, water, garlic, bouillon and oregano. Bring to a boil and simmer 1 hour. Then add lima beans and simmer 20 minutes. Add corn and okra and simmer an additional 20-30 minutes, until okra is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. If it seems too thick, add more water and adjust seasonings.

*Be careful with beef bouillon concentrate, it gives a great flavor but if you add too much, it will be too salty. I add a little at the time and taste before I add more. Always add this before adding salt.

Individual Frittatas – Cheeseburger style

I made a large batch of these savory muffins so I could freeze some to take out for future quick meals. I used my Texas-size muffin pans because I thought it would make a good main dish serving size, however, half of one is plenty for me. Next time I make them I will use regular size muffin pans.

2 lb ground beef – I use ground sirloin
1-2 cups water
2 yellow onions, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup reduced sugar ketchup
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste
18 large eggs, beaten
2 cups cheddar cheese – I use a fat-free type

Lightly spray 12 Texas size muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use oil. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine ground beef, 1 cup water, onion and garlic in a large skillet over med-high heat. Cook until all water has evaporated, stirring often to break up the meat. I usually add another cup of water and continue to cook until that water has evaporated also – this gives the ground beef a softer texture that I like, but it’s up to you whether you do this or not. Once the water has evaporated, if there is any fat accumulated in pan, drain it off. Add ketchup, soy sauce, salt and pepper to the cooked meat, and stir.

Spoon ground beef evenly into muffin pans. Top with cheddar cheese, then pour beaten eggs over the beef and cheese mixture. Place muffin pans in preheated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes, until tops are slightly browned and puffed. Let the frittatas cool for about 10-15 minutes then remove from pan.

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