Chicken Parm Sliders

I have been a burger-like mood lately. I mean way more than usual. The delicious burger I shared last week is great – but obviously, like I said, more of a “cheat day” type meal.

Lucky for you, this week’s post is still a between-the-buns offering, but is more on the healthy side. Best news? Perfect for a game day gathering – which is majorly important now that football is upon us (Woo hoo!). These savory sliders are easy to prep ahead of time, pop in the oven and during a time out, dress them up and plate them!

Sliders_cookingonthebrightside

I had some ground chicken to use and I can only imagine your surprise that it didn’t go towards buffalo something or other. Instead, I added some sautéed onions and marinara sauce that keep the patties from drying out while cooking. I’ve done this as a dinner for two with some crispy zucchini chips as a side, and have also done a big batch for a larger gathering – easy to customize for any size group!

Chicken Parm Sliders (Makes 8 sliders / 5 WW points per slider)

2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped.

2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 pound ground chicken (I usually opt for ground chicken breast – leaner)

1/2 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp. bread crumbs (I use whole wheat crumbs if possible)

1 cup Prego Light Smart sauce, divided

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

8 whole wheat slider buns

1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded

Fresh basil leaves for topping

Spray butter (I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray)

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and Italian seasoning and saute for 3-5 minutes until onions are softened.

In a medium bowl, add ground chicken, half of the Prego sauce, grated parmesan, sautéed onions, bread crumbs, salt and peppers. Mix together by hand until ingredients are dispersed evenly. Form into 8 small patties. Line a plate with wax paper and add patties. Cover and chill at least 20 minutes to ensure binding.

When you’re ready to cook, remove patties. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook at 375 for 15 minutes. Flip and cook another 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Remove patties from the oven.

Add a cooked patty to the bottom half of each slider bun. (I also spray the top halves and put them in next to the patties to let them toast a little.)Top with about 1 Tbsp. of shredded mozzarella. Add 1 Tbsp. Prego sauce from the remaining 1/2 cup. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted slightly. Top with a basil leaf and bun.

Then, well, you know what to do…

Chicken Parm Sliders_cookingonthebrightside

Have a great weekend y’all!

Advertisements

Homemade Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce

The day finally arrived friends.

My hubby hit the big 3-0 this month. I was pumped. Partly because I love birthdays in general. But mainly because, well, he can’t make fun of me from his 20’s anymore. The playing field has been leveled.

Woo hoo!

Anyways, apologizes for the lack of posting. For birthday celebration, we rented some cabins at a nearby state park and headed there with some friends for the weekend – so I was busy planning, cooking and packing to gear up for our big adventure in the woods! It was awesome. The kitchen was certainly a challenge. No dishwasher. I made it – but I can’t say the same for my manicure.

Then last weekend was spent playing catch up on another bathroom renovation plus Easter festivities!

So, now I’m back…with a delicious recipe.

I had been craving some blue cheese chips. Not like, out of a bag flavored stuff – I mean the appetizer you go out and buy for like, $8 a plate – fresh chips, warm blue cheese fondue. *Drool*

Well, I figured I’d attempt them myself and y’all – these are seriously yummy and easy! They went great with my buffa-faux chicken tenders too. Duh.

BCChips_FauxTenders

With some very thrilling NBA playoff games going on, this could be the perfect addition to your dinner table! GO GRIZZLIES!

Homemade Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce (Serves 2 / 4 WW pts. each)

Ingred

1 medium russet potato

1 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1/4 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

Salt and pepper to taste

2 green onions, chopped

Heat oven to 375.

Slice potato into very thin slices, not quite transparent – you can always use a mandolin, but I just rocked it by hand. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, add slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-12 minutes on a low rack, then move to upper rack and bake another 10 minutes.

While potatoes are baking, pour milk in a small saucepan. Bring heat to medium-low and whisk in flour. Then whisk in blue cheese crumbles until melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Baked Chips and Blue Cheese steps

Once your potatoes are crisp, remove from oven and add to plate. Pour blue cheese sauce over top and sprinkle with sliced green onions.

Potato Chips with Blue Cheese Sauce

And of course, devour.

Have a great weekend y’all!

BBQ Potato Skins

So my fair city of Memphis, Tennessee just came in 2nd. In worst cities for allergies.

Imagine my surprise. As I gasp through my watery eyes and itchy throat. And sneeze. Three times in a row. Boo on allergies.

But I can endure allergies this time of year. You know why? Cause Memphis ranks #1 in something else – barbecue. We know our barbecue. We take it very seriously. I mean, have you ever had BBQ nachos at a ball game? If not – you just haven’t lived my friend.

This is the time of year when outdoor festivals boast tons of delicious food. We have several crawfish festivals. We have a hot wing festival. And of course, there’s Memphis in May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest, celebrating all the “swine” things in life. Yes, I went there.

Plated BBQ Potato Skins_Cookingonthebrightside

I had to satisfy my craving for BBQ the other night and needed to do so in healthy way! It was a beautiful weekend – and being a Memphian, I know that nothing goes with beautiful weather like hot BBQ and cold beer. So I whipped up these beauties which are great as an appetizer or for a dinner (since I love eating finger food for dinner!).

BBQ Potato Skins (Makes 10 skins / 2 WW Points each)

Ingredients

6 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast

5 small/mini russet potatoes

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, fat-free

1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided (I use Corky’s – a local BBQ establishment)

1/3 cup chopped red onion

BBQ seasoning (I use Rendezvous – another local BBQ establishment.)

Salt and pepper.

Heat your oven to 400. Slice your potatoes in half and scoop out the centers, leaving a thin border around each one. I use a melon baller and throw the extra potato in some water so I can make mashed potatoes later in the week.

Sprinkle the insides of each potato skin with salt, pepper and some barbecue seasoning. Place the potato skins on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, then flip each one and bake another 10 minutes until “flesh” is tender when pierced with a fork.

Step by Step_BBQPotato Skins

While the skins are cooking, cook your chicken breast. Allow to cool and then shred. Mix with 3-4 Tbsp. of barbecue sauce and a few dashes of seasoning.

Once your skins are ready, divide shredded chicken between each skin. Sprinkle with red onion and cheddar. Bake another 8-10 minutes and then you are in business…

BBQ Potato Skins_Cookingonthebrightside

I hope y’all have a great weekend!

Recipe Round Up: “The Big Game”

This Sunday is kind of a big deal.

I mean there’s Groundhog Day. Obviously we’re all pumped for that – who doesn’t love chubby little Phil?

There’s also the Super Bowl – which I am always pumped for, since it combines one of my passions with my profession (that would be football and marketing).

Both are probably marked on your calendar for grocery shopping and wardrobe planning, but do you know what else happens Sunday? This little blog celebrates 2 years!

Obviously a day this epic deserves a recipe round-up – so if you’re looking for some snacks to whip up for “The Big Game” – you have come to the right place. Should I even mention the fact that this might be the best blog to come to for all things buffalo, which is like, a staple for Super Bowl Sunday? That and the game is being played in close proximity to the origin of “Buffalo Wings“. Boom. Droppin’ knowledge.

I’ll stop now.

The Game Plan

The Warm-Up

Warm Up - Super Bowl Recipes

Buffalo Hummus

Buffalo Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Potato Sins

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Faux Fried Pickles

The Big Game

Big Game

Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas

Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Game Time Chili

New York (close enough) State of Mind

I had to put this in there because I’m a sucker for a theme. When I think New York – a few staples come to mind. Italian delights – mozzarella sticks and pizza. And of course salmon, bagels and cream cheese, which comes to you in flat bread form below! Maybe I’ll drum up my own creation with some pastrami this weekend!

New York State of Mind

Faux Fried Mozzarella Sticks

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

Pizza Soup

Smoked Salmon Flatbread

And let’s be honest, I could LIVE off snack foods along – so don’t be ashamed if you just make a bunch of appetizers and call it your meal. That may be exactly what happened in my household last year…and I certainly did not hear any complaints!

Hope you find something you enjoy! Have a great weekend and enjoy the festivities!

 

‘Tis the Season

Is it just me or did the really late Thanksgiving just throw the normal holiday rush into super sonic speed?

Today is December 20th. Christmas is in 5 days. I was out for almost 4 hours last night running errands and am still not done with all of the things I need to do.

What does an ulcer feel like? Does chocolate help one? Cause that’s what I’m doing – eating chocolate as a coping mechanism. At least until I get home. Then I break out the hard stuff – wine ice cream.

If you’re finding yourself in a bit of a holiday tizzy and stretched a bit thin running from party to party feeling guilty for considering a bag of Doritos as your edible contribution – then let me give you a few easy, delicious and festive ideas. If you know me and are having a party, don’t be surprised if I show up with something from the list below!

Candy Cane Crinkle Cookies – makes 2 dozen

CandyCaneCrinkles

Ingredients
5 candy canes, crushed
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar (for rolling)
Preheat oven to 350.
Place candy canes in paper bags and smash with a rolling-pin or flat side of mallet. This is a fun way to take out your aggression. 🙂
In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg and vanilla until just combined. Then add flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
Pour in crushed candy cane and fold in with a rubber spatula. Grab about 1 Tbsp. worth of dough and roll into a ball (if you get these too big, they split on the ends!). Add powdered sugar to a plate and roll the dough balls in the sugar, shaking off any excess.
Add dough to baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes. Remove and let sit for 3 minutes to solidify before removing to cool.
(Hint: Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking mats for easy clean up!).
 
Add a few candy canes to the serving plate for a little added touch and enjoy!

A Christmas Tree Veggie Platter – take maybe 20 minutes to assemble. Use your favorite veggies on as borders or to put in hollowed out bell peppers:

Veggie Tree

Cranberry Brie Tartlets – recipe makes 15, but super easy to double or triple! This has become a family favorite! Only 1 WW point per bite!

Cranberry Brie Tartlets

Wasabi Shrimp Bites – pretty fancy looking, but super easy and loads of flavor. Only 1 WW point per bite!

Instagram

 

So go home, make one (or two or ten) of these recipes, scoop up a bottle of wine and get your Merry on!

Have a great weekend and Merry Christmas my friends!

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes

Y’all.

Do you even know what tomorrow is? I mean – other than the last day in August. And Saturday.

It’s pretty much my favorite day of the year. My 2nd Christmas if you will. Today, my friends, is my Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow is the first College Football Saturday of the year. I know there was some action last night (apologies to all of our neighbors last night who were NOT watching the Ole Miss game) – but Thursday night football is kind of like an appetizer. Tomorrow, we feast.

His and Hers

“His & Hers”

Not just in the metaphorical sense either – because clearly, this is a cooking blog so I have some goodies to share with you. Now some football weekends, you give in to the bar food and beer and couch and swear to yourself you’ll work it off the next day.

But what if you could have your “cake” and eat it too?

Thanks to my Biffer’s recent quinoa kick – I remembered a recipe I made a few weeks ago and had not gotten around to sharing with you yet. And what perfect timing, because you know what goes great with college football? My favorite food group – buffalo chicken everything. This one is a little different, but I promise you – it’s delicious and filling and is perfect to serve as a little appetizer, or do what we did and serve it as a main course (with my ranch baked fries, duh).

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes (Makes 9 cakes – 2 WW pts. per cake + 2 pts. for 1/3 cup Ranch)

Ingredients

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup water

1 egg, beaten (I used about half)

4 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

1/4 cup minced yellow onion

2 small stalks celery, minced

1/2 cup fat-free shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (panko or regular)

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup fat-free ranch

Begin by cooking your quinoa according to directions. Add to a medium bowl and let cool for 5-7 minutes.

Add onion, egg, blue cheese, shredded cheddar, celery, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to the quinoa. Mix together using a rubber spatula, then stir in hot sauce.

Using your hands, form about 9 cakes out of the quinoa mixture.

Steps

After you wash off your hands (trust me, you’ll need to) heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add cakes and saute 3-4 minutes per side until lightly browned.

Plated Cakes

Serve with some ranch for dipping, and enjoy!

Buffalo Quinoa Cakes

With that, happy Game Day to all! I’ll be wearing my Blue and White and cheering on Penn State to victory tomorrow afternoon – who are you supporting this weekend?!

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Why is it that I can’t get enough of buffalo-chicken-flavored things?

Oh, right – because they’re awesome…

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

I ordered something “buffalo-style” last week at lunch and my co-worker laughed and said “You seriously have an obsession with buffalo flavor don’t you?” Um, yes…have you read my blog?

Well, just when you thought I couldn’t possibly come up with another thing to layer with blue cheese, celery and hot sauce – I went and did it again.

With my Memphis Grizzlies in round 3 of the NBA Playoffs, it’s tough to want to make like, roasted fish with vegetables for dinner when a game is on – I need (faux) bar food!

So I’ve sliced up potatoes before to make my own cheese fries, but my Tuesday evening did not warrant that kind of effort after my workout. Then I remembered seeing a recipe on a blog I follow (“My Life as a Mrs.” check her out!) for buffalo cheese fries using frozen french fries, so I gave it a shot.

Excellent choice.

Y’all, these are so delicious – and I portioned it out to make sure it was enough food without being totally horrible for you! I’m sure they’d be a welcome addition to any party you are attending this holiday weekend!

Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries (Serves 2 for a meal / 13 WW pts. per serving)

Slightly modified from original recipe found here.

Ingredients

10 oz. Alexia Waffle Cut Fries

1 cup shredded chicken breast (boneless and skinless)

1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce (+ about 2 Tbsp. for drizzling)

1/4 cup celery, chopped

1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese

1/3 cup reduced fat shredded cheddar

1 Tbsp. chopped green onion

2 Tbsp. fat-free Ranch (for dipping)

Heat your oven to 400. Layer fries on a baking sheet and bake according to directions.

Chop your veggies and mix your chicken with the hot sauce.

When fries are done baking, move them close together and top with chicken and celery. (I separated mine into 2 portions because the hubby was studying and wanted to eat later, so this portion is allll for me.) Then top with blue cheese crumbles and shredded cheddar.

Step by Step

Bake another 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with additional hot sauce and add green onions and serve with ranch on the side for dipping.

Plated

I barely needed any ranch, as these were so full of flavor!

Bite - Buffalo Chicken Cheese Fries

Try it out if you’re a buffalo chicken freak  fan like me, or if you just want to try a new (and healthy!) twist on a classic.

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend everybody!