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For most of us in the United States winter appears to be making an early arrival.  Even us Floridans are starting to feel like it's time to pack up the bathing suits and unpack the boots.    

With the sudden nip in the air, I found myself dreaming of being on a tropical island in the Caribbean with a cocktail in hand, while I relax in the sun -- aah! 


The Main Dish
Unfortunately, I can't jet-set off to the Caribbean anytime soon, so instead I'm going to bring a taste of the Caribbean to our dinner table tonight with today's featured recipe for two -- Caribbean Chicken Nuggets.   

The Side Dish
I'll be serving the Caribbean inspired meal with a Coconut-Topped Cinnamon Sweet Potato.  I was so excited to try these that I accidentally took a bite before I took a picture of my delectable creation.  I tried to patch up my fork mark, but unfortunately you can still see a bit of the damage in the photos -- oops! 

Caribbean Chicken Nuggets
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3 x 1 1/2-inch nuggets
1 egg
1/4 cup milk 
1/2 cup flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup coconut 
1 teaspoon Caribbean citrus seasoning (such as Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon salt 
pepper
cooking spray 

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
2. Combine milk and eggs in a shallow bowl.
3. In another shallow bowl, combine panko bread crumbs, coconut, salt and Caribbean citrus seasoning  Mix well. 
4. In a third shallow bowl place 1/2 cup flour. 
5. Season chicken nuggets with salt and pepper, dredge in flour.  Dip chicken in milk mixture; dredge in bread crumbs.

6. Once nuggets are well coated place them on a greased baking sheet.  
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. 
While the chicken is baking I put together the sweet potato side dish as well as a creamy aioli, which is a wonderful dipping sauce for the nuggets.

Coconut-Topped Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes
Total Time: 12 minutes
Prep: 4 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes

What you'll need
1 sweet potato
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Directions
1. Place washed sweet potato on a microwave-safe plate.  Microwave on high for 8 to 10 minutes or until very tender. 
2. Remove potatoes from microwave and let cool.  While potatoes are cooling melt butter in a separate microwave-safe bowl. 
3. Mix together melted butter and cinnamon sugar.  
4. Cut the sweet potato in half lengthwise. Pour butter and cinnamon sugar mixture over each sweet potato half. 
4. Sprinkle coconut evenly over potatoes.  Enjoy!
Creamy Aioli 
Total Time: 2 minutes
Prep: 2 minute
Cook: 0 minutes

What you'll need
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1/2 cup mayonaise 
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/4 teaspoon paprika

Directions
1. Stir together mayonnaise, garlic, paprika and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Serve alongside Caribbean Chicken Nuggets. 

* Note -- I did not use all of the aioli with tonight's meal, which is no problem because it also goes great with tomorrow night's Lemon-Basil Pork Chops.  Just cover and refrigerate the leftovers, and you can use it again tomorrow night.

Once the chicken nuggets and sweet potato are baked and the creamy ailoi is mixed, dinner is served! Enjoy.  And have a very Happy Halloween!
Chicken and Sweet Potato Recipes adapted from Weight Watcher's Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipes Magazine
 
 
Monday: Crunchy Caribbean Chicken Nuggets with Coconut-Topped Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes panko and coconut crusted chicken nuggets with Caribbean citrus seasoning served with a coconut-topped cinnamon sweet potato 

Tuesday:  Lemon-Basil Pork Chops with Italian Zucchini • boneless pork chops breaded and seasoned with a delicious blend of lemon and basil served with roasted Italian zucchini and yellow squash 

Wednesday: Mini Pizza Burritos • tortillas stuffed with sausage, onion, pepper and cheese baked to crispy perfection

Thursday: Pasta Casserole • pasta, sausage, zucchini and mozzarella baked in marinara sauce

Friday: Chicken Fried Rice • chicken, rice, vegetables and egg stir-fried in soy sauce 
 
 
I just received all of the digital proofs from our wedding day.  Since the arrival of this disk I feel like I've been pouring myself over each and every picture, savoring all of the good times from the day we said 'I Do.' 

It's amazing how your wedding day goes by in the blink of an eye, yet it creates memories that last a lifetime.  Here are a few of my favorite moments from the big day that I know I'll cherish forever. 
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Walking down the aisle with my Dad. We were both trying so hard not to cry. We both failed.
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Exchanging our vows and our rings
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Walking out of the church, and being surrounded by so many friends and family members
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Sitting in the wrong chairs -- oops!
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Laughing about inside jokes with best friends
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Dancing with my Dad
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Cutting the cake
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Feeling so blessed and so loved every second of the day
Photographs taken and provided by Elan Photography.  
 
 
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The Main Dish
Do you want homemade pasta in under 10 minutes?  Well, your wish is my command.  Today's featured recipe for 2 is ready in 8 minutes!  And what's even better, this recipe requires minimal ingredients, and yet it has a big impact on your taste-buds. 

The Side Dish
I'll be serving the Spicy Tomato Basil Capellini with a Caesar Salad, but I've put a unique spin on this classic side dish by grilling the romaine hearts.  Grilling romaine lettuce gives the salad new and exciting flavors that you'll be sure to enjoy.  

Spicy Tomato Basil Pasta
Total Time: 8 minutes
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 6 minutes

What you'll need
4 ounces angel hair pasta (about 1/4 of the box)
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons basil pesto 
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chicken stock

Directions
1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. While the pasta cooks, combine tomato, basil pesto, red pepper flakes and salt in a medium skillet. Cook over medium-high heat for 4 minutes, or until tomato softens. 
3. Add pasta and chicken stock. Toss gently.  Cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Garnish with fresh basil leaves (optional).  
Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
2 romaine hearts
3 scallions, chopped 
1 hard boiled egg, diced
2 tablespoons light Caesar dressing
1 garlic clove, pressed with a garlic press
cooking spray

Directions
1. Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat. 
2. Cut 2 romaine hearts in half lengthwise, coat with cooking spray.
3. Place romaine hearts, cut side down, on the grill rack.  
* Tip -- before placing the romaine hearts on the grill I would grease the grill grate as well.  Also, I'd remove any of the thin lettuce leaves as these will easily fall through the grill rack. 
4. Grill for 5 minutes or until romaine is tender and browned.  
5. While the lettuce is grilling, mix together Caesar dressing and garlic. 
6. Drizzle lettuce with dressing, and sprinkle with scallions and diced egg.  Serve and enjoy!
Recipes adapted from Weight Watchers Four Ingredient 10 Minute Recipes Magazine. I absolutely love this magazine!  It is definitely one of my new favorite cooking magazines! 
 
 
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Today's featured recipe for 2 allows you to create a good tasting meal that is loaded with nutritious vegetables.  I hope you and your plus 1 like it as much as we do.
  
Garlic and Soy Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

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What you'll need
1/2 bell pepper (any color), diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
1 cup mushrooms (about 2-3 mushrooms), sliced
1 1/2 cups uncooked egg noodles
1/4 cup chicken stock 
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil 
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
4 garlic cloves, chopped
red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup chow mein noodles (optional)

Directions
1. Cook noodles according to package directions.  
2. In a Wok or large skillet, heat sesame oil, chicken stock, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and garlic over medium heat. 
3. Add vegetables to the Wok.  Mix well until vegetables are well coated.  Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and heated through. 

4. Add noodles.  Let heat for an additional 2 minutes.  
5. If desired, season with red pepper flakes.  Also, to add some crunch to your dish you can top with chow mein noodles. 
The side dish
I'll be serving tonight's stir-fry with a Pea-Pod, Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  I've written about this recipe already, but it's so good that I had to share it again.  Plus, it's the perfect recipe to utilize some of this week's leftover vegetables.

Pea-Pod, Tomato and Cucumber Salad
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes

What you'll need
2 cups sugar snap peas
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced (or 1/4 pint grape or cherry tomatoes)

For the dressing
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper

Directions
1. Cover the bottom of a small skillet with water.  Add pea-pods; cover pot with lid.  
2. Steam pea-pods over low heat for about 5 minutes or until pea-pods are tender; drain.
3. Put pea-pods in a bowl of ice water for 1 minute.  Remove and let dry. 
4. In a mixing bowl, combine pea-pods, cucumber and tomato. Gently toss.
5. In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, salt and pepper.  Mix well. 
6. Drizzle dressing over vegetables.  Toss well.  Serve and enjoy!
 
 
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I love today's featured recipe for 2, not only because it tastes good, but also because it is another quick and easy meal idea that is packed with great flavors.  

The Main Dish
For the main dish I'll be making Buffalo Chicken Tacos.  I'll of course be using my favorite buffalo wing sauce -- Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce.  I honestly can't get enough of this stuff!  
The Side Dish
I'll be serving the tacos with a side of Creamy Ranch Coleslaw.  This side dish not only compliments the tacos well, but it is a great way to use the leftover cabbage from last night's dinner.

Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Total Time: 18 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 3 minutes

What you'll need
2-3 cups rotisserie chicken 
1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce (I prefer Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo Sauce)
1 celery stalk, sliced
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 tomato, diced (I used 1/4 pint grape tomatoes since I'll be using grape tomatoes later in the week)
1 avocado, diced
Ranch dressing 
shredded cheese 
4-5 soft taco shells, warmed 

Directions
1. In a skillet, heat chicken and buffalo sauce over medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot.
3. Spread a thin layer of ranch dressing over each tortilla.  Top with chicken.
4.  Add celery, cucumber, tomato, avocado and cheese.  Personally, I'm not a fan of blue cheese, so I use shredded cheddar cheese instead. 
5. Fold each taco.  Serve and enjoy!
The side dish
I'll be serving the Buffalo Chicken Tacos with a side of Creamy Ranch Coleslaw.  Since the chicken tacos don't take long to make, I recommend preparing the coleslaw before you start making the tacos.  The coleslaw also tastes better after it has been chilled in the refrigerator.

Creamy Ranch Coleslaw
Total Time: 10 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes

What you'll need
1/4 head cabbage (about 2 cups), finely shredded
1/2 carrot, finely shredded
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon sweet onion, diced 
2 teaspoons sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon dry Hidden Valley ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions
1. Combine shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. 
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, ranch seasoning mix, salt and pepper.
3. Add dressing to the cabbage mixture.  Mix well.
4. Add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.  Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the Food Network's Bobby Flay's Creamy Cole Slaw

The leftovers
After 3 nights of cooking with rotisserie chicken, you should be all out of chicken.  You will however have a 1/4 of cabbage leftover, which you can dice and serve as a topping in the Chicken Tacos.  Alternatively, you can double the recipe for the Creamy Ranch Coleslaw and have a few extra servings for lunch the next day. 

Most likely you'll have leftover taco shells.  However this never concerns me, because taco shells keep well when refrigerated or when frozen.  I know that I'll be cooking with them next week, so I put my leftover shells in a Ziplock bag and store them in the refrigerator until then.  Alternatively, here are a few other great recipe ideas that will help you use your remaining soft shells:

Mexican Lasagna 
Steak Fajitas
Fiesta Cheeseburgers

I'll be using the leftover cucumber half in a Pea-Pod, Cucumber and Tomato Salad tomorrow night.  I'll also be using the remaining tomatoes in the salad as well as in Friday's Spicy Tomato Basil Pasta.  Stay tuned!
 
 
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Yesterday I showed you a recipe that required 2 cups of rotisserie chicken. Since 1 rotisserie chicken offers a lot more meat than just 2 cups, I'm going to show you 2 more great recipes that will help you use the leftover meat.  

I'm going to start with this perfectly-peanuty Asian Chicken Salad.  When my husband first tried it he told me it tasted like a salad from Panera.  Since we both love Panera I interpreted that to mean, this recipe is a keeper!

Asian Chicken Salad
Total Time: 15 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 0 minutes

What you'll need
For the salad dressing
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon honey
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 teaspoons peanut butter
salt and pepper

For the salad
1/2 Nappa cabbage, chopped
1 romaine heart, chopped
2 cups rotisserie chicken, diced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 red pepper, diced
3-4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chow mein noodles 

Directions
1. Add cabbage, lettuce, carrot, red bell pepper, chicken, scallions and sliced almonds to a medium mixing bowl. 
2. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the dressing.  Mix well.
3. Add dressing to the cabbage mixture.  Toss well. 
4. Divide the salad mixture into 2 bowls.  Top with chow mein noodles just before serving.  Enjoy!
The leftovers
Typically, when you buy romaine hearts they come in a package of 3, so you may end up with leftover romaine lettuce.  Don't worry though, because I have an amazing caesar salad recipe that I'll share with you later in the week, which perfectly utilizes the remaining romaine hearts.  Additionally, since you only need 1/2 Nappa cabbage I'll also be sharing a coleslaw recipe that will help pickup the leftover cabbage.  Stay tuned!
 
 
If you haven't noticed yet, I'm slightly obsessed with cooking with Cream of Chicken Soup.  It's creamy and delicious, and it can take any dish from ordinary to extraordinary by simply opening a can.  And today's featured recipe for 2 is just another example of why I love Cream of Chicken Soup inspired meals so much.  

Chicken Roll-Ups
Total Time:  35 Minutes
Prep Time:  10 Minutes
Cook Time:  25 Minutes

What You'll Need
1 package crescent rolls
2 cups cooked rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 package of Knorr/Lipton Chicken flavored rice
1/4 cup browned bread crumbs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Unwrap crescent rolls from package.  Keep two of them together to form a rectangle. 
3. Sprinkle cheese and chicken on top of the crescent roll rectangles.
4. Roll up crescent rolls and seal edges by pinching crescent dough together.
5.  In a medium mixing bowl, mix together cream of chicken soup and mayo.  Season with a little black pepper.  Pour soup mixture over the top of the wraps.  Sprinkle with browned bread crumbs.  
6. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. While the chicken is baking, cook rice according to package directions.  Serve and enjoy!
Note -- I ended up making 3 chicken roll-ups in total, 2 for my husband and 1 for me.  Therefore, I had two crescent roll triangles leftover, which I decided to save, so that I can bake them tomorrow night and serve them alongside my Asian Chicken Salad.  
 
 
Monday: Chicken Roll-Ups with Rice chicken and cheese stuffed in a crescent roll and baked with a light cream mixture and browned bread crumbs, served alongside chicken flavored rice

Tuesday: Asian Chicken Salad • a delicious blend of cabbage, chicken, red pepper, scallions and sliced almonds tossed in a peanut, soy dressing and topped with chow mein noodles

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Tacos with Creamy Ranch Coleslawbuffalo shredded chicken served between flour tortillas and topped with cucumber, tomato, avocado, celery and ranch dressing 

Thursday: Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry with Pea-Pod, Cucumber and Tomato Saladwide egg noodles and vegetables stir-fried in a garlic, sesame soy sauce, served alongside a pea-pod, cucumber and tomato salad

Friday: Spicy Tomato Basil Pasta with Grilled Romaine Cesar Saladangel hair pasta and grape tomatoes cooked in basil pesto and red pepper flakes, served alongside grilled romaine lettuce drizzled in a light Caesar dressing and topped with diced hard boiled eggs
 
 
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Today's featured recipe for 2 is a New Orleans favorite that makes one-pot cooking look easy and taste great, it's Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya!

Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya
Total Time: 45 minutes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
1 andouille sausage, halved lengthwise and sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 celery stalk 
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 teaspoons paprika
1 cup long-grain white or brown rice
1 1/2 cups water
3 scallions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions
1. Heat oil in a medium Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add sausage, cook turning occasionally until sausage is browned on all sides, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. 
2. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes. 
3. Stir in paprika.  Cook for 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes, rice and water.  Cover and simmer over medium heat until rice is cooked and has absorbed all of the water, approximately 15 minutes. 
5. Add shrimp to pot.  Cover and cook until shrimp are opaque throughout, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. 
6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with scallions.  Serve and enjoy!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Shrimp Jambalaya