Honey Ginger Chicken Strips

Happy Friday everybody! I don’t know about you, but I am SO happy it’s the weekend. Why is that? Mainly because I don’t have a ton of things lined up this weekend – which means I get to relax a little, do some work around the house, and perhaps whip up some delicious dishes that I can share with you. That’s a win-win, right?

So when the husband is in his study mode, Friday night is his true break night. If it’s nice out, we enjoy hanging out on the patio, having a beer or a glass of wine, and just solving the problems of the world. Sometimes, we like to go out to a bar, hang out with friends, see a movie or just something to take a break from the norm!

And since it’s the weekend and we like to go out, I usually try to make some “weekend” food. So things like lightened up pizzas, hot wings, etc. usually show up on our Friday menu. You know, bar food – but without the grease and the guilt!

Well, I posted my delicious ranch fries yesterday…and you may have noticed something else on the plate. Some tempting looking chicken strips…drizzled with warm honey…

Honey Ginger Chicken Strips (serves 2)

3/4 pound chicken tender strips (8-9 strips)

1/2 cup skim milk

1 tsp. minced garlic

1/2 Tbsp. liquid from jar of pickled ginger

1 tsp. seasoned salt

1 Tbsp. ground ginger

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

2 Tbsp. honey

Place chicken strips in a plastic bag or small dish. Add milk, minced garlic and juice from ginger. Marinate at least 2 hours. I threw this in the fridge in the morning before work so it had lots of time to soak.

When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. I use a spare oven rack and set it on top of a cookie sheet lined with foil, so the chicken gets crispy on both sides and doesn’t stick. You can just use nonstick spray on a cookie sheet if that’s what you have!

Mix the bread crumbs with flour, seasoned salt and ground ginger. Add chicken strips to bread mixture and coat well.

Spray rack with nonstick spray and add chicken breasts. Spray with cooking spray or olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and turn, baking another 10-12 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Heat up honey in microwave. Drizzle evenly over each chicken breast and serve.

Have a great weekend – go home, pour a glass of wine and eat something delicious!

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I will be honest – I am a bad Southerner.

I was born, raised and reside in the South and yet I do not like sweet tea. I like wearing jeans and a t-shirt to sporting events. I’m not a fan of bourbon/whiskey concoctions. And up until about a month ago, I had never tasted pimento cheese.

Now, for my friends up north, out west, and well, anywhere you don’t say “y’all” – pimento cheese is a big Southern thing. Pimento cheese sandwiches (white bread slathered with the stuff – crusts cut off of course, if you’re being proper) are a staple. They serve them every year in Augusta, GA at The Masters. Basically, it’s a mixture of cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos (aka the sweet red bits of pepper found inside of a green olive). And maybe some seasoning. Grocery stores sell tubs of it – but it always just looks like orange nastiness to me. Yes, that is a technical term thankyouverymuch.

I think I never got over the mayonnaise thing – always kind of grossed me out. Like, just cheese and mayonnaise? Ew. (I am like a 6-year-old – I have to disguise mayonnaise in recipes so I can’t tell it’s in there.) But perusing my cooking magazines, there was a special section on pimento cheese and different variations. With bacon or jalapeno or roasted garlic. Hm, maybe I could handle this – I mean, minus the mayonnaise, these were all things I liked! Then I recalled, the husband ate a pimento cheese burger at a bar we went to and loved it. So really, how bad could it be?

Ummm, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, it’s amazing and I’m already coming up with other ways I can use it. But for starters…it’s delicious all wrapped up and baked inside of a chicken breast.

Oh, and the best part about this bad Southerners’ pimento cheese? It’s healthy!

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken (serves 4)

Let's pretend you see a lemon in here too...

Lightened Up Pimento Cheese

3/4 cup shredded, fat-free cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. onion, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. pimento, minced

1 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1 slice turkey bacon

In a medium bowl, add cheese, minced onion, minced pimento, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce and salt. Cook your turkey bacon and crumble and add to the mixture.

Using a fork and some serious elbow grease, mash everything together. You want to break the cheese into small pieces – until it’s a “spreadable” consistency. I’ve been meaning to try this out in a food processor, but I hate cleaning it – so I’ll stick to the lazy approach!

Refrigerate until ready to use…oh look, you’re ready!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 (4 – 5oz.) chicken breasts (I get the thin ones)

Seasonings – I use salt, pepper and smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine!)

About 20 toothpicks

Pimento cheese (recipe above)

Preheat your oven to 375.

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper with at least 2 inches between. Using a meat mallet, take out any aggression you may have on the chicken breasts and pound until about 1/4 inch thick (maybe less – I didn’t measure).

Season both sides of chicken with a little salt, pepper and paprika. Now scoop about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. of your pimento cheese in the middle of each breast, leaving some space on the sides.

This is where I must apologize that it stops looking “pretty”…it is a skill I need to master, but right now, you’ll just have to trust me that it tastes better than it looks!

Fold the tips of the chicken to the center and secure with a toothpick. Now fold up the sides, creating a sealed pocket with the chicken. I use about 4 toothpicks per breast…sometimes 6 for the really stubborn ones. The cheese is going to heat up and melt, so you don’t want it spilling out everywhere!

(But it’s okay if some does – because burnt cheese is delicious in my humble opinion.)

Transfer chicken to a lightly greased baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. I know you want to dive right in – but remember to take the toothpicks out before you do.

Now wash it down with some sweet tea if you’re into that kind of thing. I chose wine.

Pimento Cheese Chicken, Baked Chili Fries and Green Bean Casserole - WW Points = 10!

I will keep you posted on what other delicacies I pimentocheesify – my first experiment was a stuffed turkey burger AND cheese fries…

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

(Dang, if only I liked sweet tea…)

Georgia Baked Chicken

I promise chicken is not the only thing we eat. But to be honest – we do love chicken, because it’s so versatile! I mean check out what I’ve shown you so far – we’ve made it into a hot wing inspired soup, put together a delicious Italian dish, made a Chinese meal to die for, and even rolled it into a Stromboli.

And people say chicken is boring…psh, that’s just crazy talk!

This particular recipe is the most requested chicken dish in my household (read: the husband’s absolute favorite) and with good reason, it’s amazing! I’ve been making this one for quite a while, like since I used to make “family dinners” for my roommates in college. Which reminds me of when my friend tried mashed potatoes for the first time. I know, 21 years and no mashed potatoes? Craziness. Her verdict? “Tastes like the inside of a french fry.”

So scrounge up the like, 5 ingredients it takes to make this (do we really count salt and pepper?) and…make it!

Georgia Baked Chicken (serves 2)

8 oz. chicken breast

1/2 cup crushed corn flakes

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, reduced fat

1 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 Tbsp. dried parsley

Butter spray

Preheat oven to 350.

In a shallow dish or bowl, mix together corn flake crumbs, parmesan cheese, garlic salt, salt and pepper.

I think I could just eat this with a spoon...

Spray both sides of the chicken with butter.

Now press the chicken into the crumb mixture, coating it evenly on all sides. Repeat with both pieces of chicken.

Place chicken in a lightly greased casserole dish (I top each breast with a little more crumb mixture if you have it), give it another spray or two of butter and cover with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. (I use the skinny cuts of chicken – so if you use the thick pieces, add more time).

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and parmesan green beans, but the other night I threw it together with salt and vinegar kale chips and sautéed squash. Like I said earlier – versatile! (Oh, not to mention it’s only about 6 points!)

Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

BBQ Chicken Stromboli

I live in a city known for some really good barbecue. There is an entire festival dedicated to barbecue. We have barbecue nachos and barbecue potato skins on several local menus. My office is between two barbecue restaurants. Do you know what it’s like to smell delicious, smokey sweet barbecue when are starving and you know you still have to drive home and well, cook whatever is for dinner? Torture I tell you…

So the husband and I have been making our own pizzas lately. Sometimes it’s just a big one that we share but more often than not, we make individual ones and dress them up a little differently (read: I love olives and he does not). One type of pizza I love is barbecue pizza – but for some reason I just end up opting for the regular pepperoni if we are ordering out.

Well last week, I threw together some dough before we went out for cocktails (it had been a long week and I desperately needed a good dirty martini) and I had to restrain the husband  from ordering a delicious looking burger from the bar. I knew what I had up my sleeve – and I just knew it was going to be good.

I. was. right. (Psh, duh…)

You need to try this. I promise the dough is not all that intimidating! It’s great to make when you have a few hours to occupy yourself and just let it rise – and the best part? Your own individual Stromboli is very filling…and a very reasonable dinner for the ole diet! (12 WW points people – for dinner, that’s awesome!).

BBQ Chicken Stromboli (serves 2)

Wheat Crust

3/4 white wheat flour

1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 Tbsp. honey

1/2 Tbsp. Italian herb seasoning

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup warm water

Mix together flour, salt and Italian seasoning. In a small bowl, add yeast to warm water and mix, then let sit 5-7 minutes. Add oil and honey to flour mixture and then add the yeast and water. Mix well until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover and sit in a warm, dry area for at least 2 hours until dough has risen.

BBQ Chicken Filling

1/3 cup sliced red onion

4 oz. ground chicken breast, cooked

1 cup fat-free mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/3 cup fat-free cheddar cheese, shredded

2 Tbsp. egg beaters

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

Garlic salt

1/4 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. parsley

1 Tbsp. oregano

1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan, reduced fat

Saute the onions for 3-5 minutes in a little butter spray in a non-stick skillet. Cook the chicken, then mix with 1/3 cup of the barbecue sauce and 1 Tbsp. parsley. Mix mozzarella and cheddar together in a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

When the dough has risen, divide into 2 equal parts.

On a well floured surface, roll one piece dough into a rectangle. Brush center with 1/8 tsp. olive oil (leaving about a 1 inch border on the outside) and sprinkle with garlic salt.

Lightly drizzle a little barbecue sauce and spread within the border. Sprinkle a layer of cheese, add half the chicken, half the onions, and then sprinkle with more cheese.

Using a pastry brush, spread the egg beaters on the “bare” border. Fold in the short sides of the dough.

Now, take one end of the “unfolded” side and begin to roll (lengthwise). Press seam down until sealed and place seam side down on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.

Brush the Stromboli with additional egg beater and sprinkle with oregano and Parmesan cheese. Cut 4-5 diagonal slits in each.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. Serve with additional barbecue sauce for dipping if desired.

Now I can’t wait for warmer weather so I can enjoy cocktails on our patio while the dough rises…I mean, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a nice cold beer with one of these babies?

Orange Chicken with Fried Rice

So do you have a type of food that you are rarely in the mood for, but when you are, watch out? No? Just me?

There are some foods I think I could eat for every meal – like sushi. But for some reason, Chinese food rarely sounds good to me. Then, I met the husband, who could actually do those Chinese buffets that just eek me out. He loves Chinese food…and Mexican, another one of my “rare craving” cuisines. (Pizza is always good for both of us though…of course.)

Well – when I started Weight Watchers – it was a lot of chicken and seafood and ground turkey. Nothing wrong with those, but afterd a while it was time to branch out and get really “freaky” – I decided to make Chinese food. And guess what I discovered – when I know what’s in a dish and I make it myself, I friggin love Chinese food!

So now it’s a staple and once you have all of the ingredients, it’s super simple and super delicious!

Orange Chicken for 2:

8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, minced

1 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce

1 tsp. Sriracha (or more if you like an extra kick!)

1 Tbsp. orange zest (about 1 medium orange)

2 1/2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice (about 1/2 a medium orange)

2-3 ounces snow peas

1 Tbsp. peanut oil

In a medium bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, chili garlic, Sriracha, orange zest and orange juice. Chop the chicken into 1/2 inch pieces and add to liquid. Marinate about 1 hour.

Once chicken has marinated, heat 1 Tbsp. peanut oil in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, reserving as much of the liquid as possible. Cook 3-4 minutes before flipping. Add remaining liquid and snow peas. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-12 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the liquid has thickened into a sauce.

Now for the fried rice…

Vegetable Fried Rice for 2:

1/4 cup egg beaters

1/4 Tbsp. reduced calorie margarine

1/2 medium carrot, diced

2 Tbsp. yellow onion, diced

3 Tbsp. soy sauce (you can always use reduced sodium or reduce to 2 Tbsp. if desired)

1 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. frozen green peas, thawed

1/2 Tbsp. sesame oil

1 1/2 cup cooked white rice

Coat a wok (or large skillet) with non-stick spray and heat to medium. Add egg beaters, swirling around to get a very thin layer of cooked egg. Once it is no longer runny – use a rubber spatula to scrape and break into small pieces. Set aside in a small bowl.

Now add margarine, carrots, onions and garlic and cook until tender – about 5 – 7 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium-low and add rice, sesame oil, black pepper, and green peas. Cook 2-3 minutes before adding in soy sauce. Stir well until all of the rice has the “brownish” color to it. Add in egg and stir until it is incorporated.

Serve rice with orange chicken and enjoy!

Bring on the fortune cookies!

In the beginning…

I honestly can’t even explain how excited I am to FINALLY be starting a blog! I am sure those of you reading it know me through my parents, sister or husband – so thank you for your support. I will try to keep your interest by posting new and delicious things!

So first off comes one of the first recipes I made when I started losing weight – Chicken Parmesan. It’s quick and easy and delicious – really, what’s not to like? (Also great with eggplant if you want a veggie version!)

Lightened Up Chicken Parm for 2

2 thin-cut chicken breasts (about 6 oz. total weight)

1 egg white, beaten with 1 tsp. water

1/8 cup plain bread crumbs

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese, reduced fat

1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1 cup “Light” spaghetti sauce (I use Ragu Lite)

1 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese (2% or fat free)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


In a large dish, mix together bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Mix until blended well.In a bowl, beat egg with water until combined.

Line up egg, crumb mixture and a lightly greased baking pan. Pat chicken breasts dry and dip in egg. Move chicken breast from egg to bread mixture – gently pressing the crumbs into the chicken on both sides. Then place in pan and repeat with remaining breast.

Bake chicken in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Lightly grease a baking dish and add sauce (I often add a little garlic salt and oregano to kick it up a notch). Place baked chicken breasts on top of the sauce and sprinkle each with  1/2 Tbsp. shredded Parmesan and divide the shredded mozzarella between the two.

Return to the oven for 15 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.

I love serving this with a side of whole wheat spaghetti and my special green bean casserole – which I will post at a later date!

Hope you enjoy!