Coconut-Crusted Chicken Tacos with Mango-Corn Salsa

It’s Taco Tuesday! When I was meal-planning for the week, I realized I hadn’t done a Taco Tuesday in a while, and also that I wanted to try something new. These are breaded without a thick dredge, and baked, rather than fried, so have an extra one or two! Easy and so delicious. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* corn tortillas
optional for serving: ripe avocado, sliced

for the chicken
* 1-1 1/2lbs chicken breast tenders (or just chicken breast cut into thin strips)
* 3/4-1C unsweetened shredded coconut
* 1/2C panko breadcrumbs
* 1t garlic powdercocotaco3
* 1t cumin
* 1/4t chili powder
* juice of 2 limes

for the mango-corn salsa
* 2 ears corn
* 1/2 a ripe mango, diced
* 1 small tomato, diced
* 1 shallot, diced
* small handful cilantro, chopped
* juice of 1 lime
* 1t apple cider vinegar
* pinch each salt and pepper

WHAT TO DO
Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with tin foil. You can also place a baking cooling rack into the baking sheet (optional) to help keep one side of your chicken pieces from getting too soggy. Set aside.

Mix all the chicken coating ingredients together in a bowl. Squeeze the limes right over the raw chicken pieces, and then toss each piece of chicken in the coconut-panko mixture to coat. Place the chicken onto your prepared baking sheet (or onto the cooling rack on the baking sheet). Bake 15-20 minutes at 350F. Then broil for 2 minutes on high to finish crisping the coconut crust.

While the chicken’s in the oven, throw your salsa together. Cut the corn kernels off the cob and saute in a little olive oil or cooking spray until it begins to char a bit. Remove from heat. Meanwhile, dice and chop the mango, tomato, shallot, and cilantro and mix together in a bowl. Add the corn and mix through. Add the lime juice, cider vinegar, salt, and pepper and mix well to combine.

Assemble your tacos and add a slice of fresh, ripe avocado for a creamy, delicate finish.

Big Kitchen Sink Greek Salad with Chicken

This was another of those happy accidents. No time to plan dinner, no time to shop, quick scan of the available ingredients (including some staples strategically always kept on-hand), and quick creative thinking led to a healthy, fresh, easy, delicious, complete dinner on a busy weeknight. I’m going to give you the recipe for THIS salad specifically, but note that the idea is pretty flexible – have a few solid foundational go-tos in your freezer and pantry, and a little of this plus a little of that can turn into dinner. The veggies and the proteins are modifiable – just use what you have! Or make this one. But get ready – “kitchen sink” is pretty accurate. I put a TON of stuff in this salad. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
* 1 ripe avocado, cubed
* 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* ~4oz hard salami, sliced into small chunks
* 3-4T pitted kalamata olives, sliced (or ant other kind of pitted olives)
* 7-8 of these simple Roasted Sweet Peppers, sliced into small pieces
* crumbled feta cheese
* 1lb chicken breast, sliced into thin, small pieces
* olive oil
* lemon pepper
* garlic salt
* Greek seasoning
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Add the lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, salami, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese in a large salad bowl, and set aside.

Place the pieces of chicken breast in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle, to taste, with lemon pepper, garlic salt, and Greek seasoning. Toss to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until cooked through – just a minute or two per side. Remove from heat and add to the salad bowl. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon at most) and the lemon juice and toss carefully to combine.

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Panko-Parmesan Chicken Over Simple Salad with Burrata

True story: the only reason I didn’t post our Meatless Monday dinner last night was that I fell asleep early. Like, early-early. That literally never happens and I’m still wondering if maybe I’m suddenly narcoleptic. But anyway, you’ll just have to wait a week for that one. Onwards.

This dinner sounds and presents fancy, but takes no time to pull together. It is simple, quick, beautiful, and undeniably delicious. Just a few ingredients and a little prep and you can plate this light, simple, lovely dinner for your family, even at the end of a busy day. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDPankParmChxwSal5
for the salad
* arugula and baby spinach
* 1 1/2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
* handful of grape tomatoes, halved
* juice of half a lemon
* olive oil
* salt
* lemon pepper
* 1 ball burrata

for the chicken
* 1-1 1/2lb thin-sliced chicken breasts (or regular chicken breasts pounded thin by hand)
* 2 eggs, beaten
* ~1/4C+ Panko breadcrumbs
* ~1/4C+ grated Parmesan cheese
* olive oil
* lemon wedges for serving

WHAT TO DO
Prepare your salad by adding all of the ingredients besides the burrata to a bowl and mixing to combine. Place the burrata in the center of the bowl for serving. Set aside.

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Heat about 2 tablespoons or so of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Prepare your beaten eggs in a bowl, and in a shallow dish mix together some Panko with some Parmesan cheese – about equal parts. I completely eyeball this, but I’d guess about 1/4 cup or so of each. Better to underestimate and have to add more than to overestimate and have to waste any Panko and Parmesan.

Coat each chicken breast first in the egg and then in the Panko-Parmesan mixture, then place into the oil to fry lightly, about 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through. With thin-cut breasts, really watch your time. They’ll cook quickly and you don’t want the meat to become dry, but you do want the crust to be golden, which is why I keep the stove temp no higher than medium.

When your chicken is done, slice each breast into strips.

Serve a nice helping of salad, breaking the burrata up as you serve, then top with the sliced chicken breast. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and you’re done. Faux fancy!

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Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Chicken over Cous Cous

sp_cp_chick1One of my dear friends is in town this week for a conference and while we thought we might not get to fit in a visit at all, we’ve now had two nights in a row of hanging out–what a treat! This evening after work we met up downtown and spontaneously decided she’d come home with me and eat with us. Bonus treat! And to top it off, she surprised me with the most delightful of gifts – a beautiful new cookbook. I’d never heard of this one, but from the flip of the first page I was hooked. Stunning food styling and photography, perfectly presented healthy, fresh, seasonal recipes, and an overall philosophy about how to eat and cook healthy and why — without going nuts. The book is Quick. Easy. Healthy. Good Food Every Day by Callum Hann and Themis Chrissidis, and their central message is, “We don’t believe in health products, ‘superfoods,’ ‘diets’ or strict eating plans. We just believe in food…” YESSSSSS. Preach on, my people!

I opened the book and flipped through the recipes and basically was like, ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ ‘yes.’ I want to make everything. I started with a recipe called Moroccan Sweet Potato, Chickpea, and Chicken Salad, but did a little tweaking to make it a heartier dinner and, because, I can’t help myself, really. You know me by now. Anyway, here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDsp_cp_chick2
* 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
* 1 medium-sized red onion, quartered and cut into slices
* 15oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
* 2T olive oil, divided
* 1T paprika
* 1/4C raw pumpkin seeds
* 1/4C dried cranberries, cherries, raisins, or currants (I used a cranberry/cherry combo)
* 1-1.5lb chicken tenderloins, cut in half
* 1T ground cumin
* 1T grainy dijon mustard
* zest and juice of 1 large lemon
* handful of fresh parsley or cilantro leaves rough chopped
* whole wheat cous cous

WHAT TO DOsp_cp_chick3
Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a large and a small roasting pan, set aside.

Put the sweet potato chunks, onion slices, and chickpeas in a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil add the paprika and toss to coat. Pour into an even layer into the large roasting pan and roast 20 minutes.

Next, put the chicken pieces and the cumin in a bowl and mix to ensure all of the chicken is coated. Spray the smaller roasting pan with nonstick spray and then add the chicken to it. Place the pan in the oven for 10-15 minutes, just until cooked through.

Try to overlap the timing on both pans so that they finish at the same time. When the vegetable pan is ready, add the pumpkin seeds and dried fruit to the pan, and return to the oven for another minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the cous cous according to the package directions.

In a large serving bowl, whisk together the second tablespoon of olive oil, mustard, and lemon zest and juice. Add the vegetable mixture and the chicken and toss to combine.

Serve the chicken and veggies over cous cous. Garnish with the fresh chopped parsley.

It’s sweet but not too sweet, and warm and rich and deep in flavor. It’s hearty and filling, but still light and fresh. It’s easy, quick, beautiful, and totally family-pleasing. One recipe in, and I’m basically obsessed with this cookbook and these chefs. More please!

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