Cilantro Lime Rice and Beans and Chicken Sausage

Transitioning back to “real life” from vacation is always a challenge. So in meal planning for this first week back, I tried to keep things simple and inexpensive and healthy. After all, we need to recover from all angles after a week of amazing fried seafood overload! And this dinner meets all of those needs: almost one pan; cheap, basic ingredients; easy and quick; and healthy. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED 
* ~2T olive oil
* 1/2 a red onion, chopped
* 3T minced garlic
* 1t ground cumin
* 1 1/2C long grained rice
* 3C low sodium chicken broth
* 14.5oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
* 4oz can mild diced green chilies
* salt
* pepper
* 10oz package fully cooked chicken sausage of your choice (I used a kale and shallot-flavored variety)
* 1/2C cilantro, chopped
* juice of 1 large lime
* additinal lime wedges for garnish (optional)
* Greek yogurt for serving (optional)
* avocado slices for serving (optional)
* hot sauce or sliced jalapeño for garnish (optional)

WHAT TO DO
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and sauté for about 3 minutes.

Add the minced garlic and cumin and sauté for 30 seconds, then add the rice and stir to combine. Add the black beans, green chilies, and broth and bring the pan to a boil.

Immediately reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the rice is tender, stirring once or twice.

While that’s simmering, cut the sausage into half-circle slices and brown lightly in a pan.

When the rice is cooked and all the liquid is absorbed, remove the pan from heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken sausage and stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Easiest, Fool-Proof, Perfect Chicken Marinade

Is an intro really necessary with a title like that?? Probably not. So I’ll keep it simple. This is a seriously delicious marinade. Most of the ingredients you likely have on hand anyway. You can whip it up in a flash and you can make it ahead for a longer marinating time or throw it together after a bust work day and let your chicken sit for just a half hour. Regardless of how much time it sits in and soaks this up, you will end up with juicy, flavorful chicken. Seriously, I don’t call it fool-proof for nothing! Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
for about 1.5lbs chicken
* 1/4C olive oil
* 1/4C balsamic vinegar
* 1/8C soy sauce
* 1/8C Worcestershire sauce
* 1/2 a lemon, juiced
* 1/4C brown sugar
* 1t dried rosemary
* 1T grainy Dijon mustard
* 1t salt
* 1/2t black pepper
* 1t garlic powder

WHAT TO DO
Add all of the ingredients to a large zip-top bag. Close it up and get most of the air out and mix it up so that all the ingredients combine. Then add your chicken, reseal and move the bag around to ensure the contents are well covered. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to overnight and then grill up your chicken and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Spanikopita Quesadillas

For some reason I’ve been thinking about making a huge Greek salad for days. But especially on a Meatless Monday, a Greek salad alone does not a dinner make. So when I was planning my grocery list I tried to think of a way to keep it fresh, light, and quick for a busy workday evening, but also keep it Greek. And then this wonderful thing happened. Here you go. 

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1T butter
* 1T olive oil
* 1 small sweet onion, diced
* 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
* 4-5C chopped fresh spinach
* salt
* pepper
* juice of half a lemon
* 1 egg
* 1/3C crumbled feta cheese
* 1/4C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
* 1/4C fresh dill, chopped
* whole wheat tortillas

WHAT TO DO
Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large pan. Sauté the onions until soften and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and spinach, season to taste with salt and pepper, squeeze lemon juice over the pan, and cook until the spinach wilts, another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix together the egg, gets, Parmesan, and dill until well-combined. Add to the spinach mixture in the pan and stir together.

Heat a smaller frying pan over medium-low heat. Place one tortilla in the pan and spoon some of the spinach/cheese filling mixture onto the tortilla in an even layer. Too with another tortilla and cook about 3 minutes, flip carefully, and cook another 3 minutes.

Remove the quesadilla from the pan onto a cutting surface and allow to cool for a minute or two before cutting into sixths for serving. Repeat until you’ve used up your filling. 

Serve topped with tzatziki (or just plain Greek yogurt) alongside a nice Greek salad and enjoy!

Meatless Monday: Whipped Goat Cheese, Ricotta, and Tomato Pie

I spent the weekend with one of my best friends who was visiting from out of town. And it was wonderful. And guess what I didn’t do? I didn’t meal plan or grocery shop for the week. So I fully planned to order in tonight. But then this came together. And what do you know? It was pretty awesome. Totally simple, weeknight-friendly, and seasonal. All around win. Here you go. 

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 prepared pie crust (or make your own, of course)
* 12oz goat cheese
* 1/2C ricotta cheese
* 3 egg whites
* 4 large ripe tomatoes
* salt
* freshly round black pepper
* dried thyme
* olive oil
* honey (trust me)

WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 400F.

Spray a 9-inch pie dish with nonstick spray and transfer your crust into it.

Add the goat cheese, ricotta cheese, and egg whites to a food processor and while together.

While that’s spinning, slice the tomatoes and sprinkle generously with salt, black pepper, and thyme.

Build your pie: layer the cheese mixture into the crust; top with a layer of tomatoes; repeat. Finish with tomatoes on top.

Drizzle olive oil over the pie and bake for 40 minutes. Let the pie cool 3-5 minutes to allow it to set and then serve with a drizzle of honey. YES PLEASE. Enjoy!