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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Now that warmer weather is finally starting to show itself, you may be thinking that you might want to spend more time outside. Perhaps the spring season invites you to go for a jog or a walk, all around good exercise techniques.

With your mind on exercising, you should also be thinking about healthier foods to start eating, if you haven’t been doing so already. Chicken can provide an excellent source of healthy vitamins and minerals for your body, as well as vegetables that you may way to cook with it. For my next recipe, I give you spicy mexican skillet chicken.

This recipe is simple and it fills you up without letting your exercise and healthy eating go by the wayside.

Ingredients:

  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder (depending on your spicy preference)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (if you don’t have corn, don’t sweat it. I used bell peppers in mine.)
  • 1/3 cup thick and chunky salsa
  • chopped fresh cilantro, if desired (HIGHLY recommended)
  • red chile slices, if desired (once again, depending on your spicy preference)

Step 1: Remove fat from chicken. Mix chili powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken breast halves.

Step 2: Heat oil in 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in oil 8 to 10 minutes, turning once, until juice is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Step 3: Stir in beans, corn and salsa. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 3 to 5 minutes or until veggies are hot. Sprinkle with cilantro and chile slices.

It’s worth it to go the extra step and add the cilantro to the top. This herb really makes the dish. Also, consider using a fruit based salsa for this dish. I used chunky┬ámango peach salsa and the flavors really added a little something extra to the overall taste. This makes 4 servings.

Nutrition info (per serving): 290 calories, 8g fat, 70mg cholesterol, 550mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 32g protein.

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Mine is the anti-tomato version. It's still delicious! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Mine is the anti-tomato version. It's still delicious! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As some of you may know, family gatherings are a great opportunity to bring different kinds of foods for everyone to enjoy. Well, as luck would have it, I recently had one of those kinds of family gatherings, at which I tasted the best pasta salad I’ve ever had.

I would like to introduce you to Mediterranean Pasta Salad, courtesy of Norma. In a span of about two hours, the huge bowl she had made completely disappeared, and the reserve stock in the fridge was eaten later that night!

The greatest thing about this dish is its versatility. As Norma herself said it, she never follows a recipe and she always puts her spin on it. That, my food loving friends, is highly recommended with this pasta salad. You can throw in new veggies, take out what you don’t want, or even include some other form of dressing other than the oil and vinegar suggested.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of spiral or curly noodles, cooked and drained
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, diced into 1/2 or 3/4 inch pieces
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted ripe olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced red onions, optional
  • 2 tsp┬áminced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently until well mixed.

Step 2: Refrigerate several hours before serving. That’s it!

If I were you, I’d double the recipe. It makes a smaller amount, so if you like to keep eating leftover pasta salad all week like me, doubling is the way to go. This stuff goes great with a sandwich and transports easily for lunches on the go!

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