Tag Archives: avocado

Spicy Taco Chicken Bowl

The “new” craze right now is creating recipes and putting the dish in bowls. At first, I wasn’t really into the bowl idea but it didn’t take long for me to realize I kinda liked the idea. Placing breakfast, lunch or dinner in a bowl helped to cut down on the amount of food we actually ate. I put less in a bowl compared to  how much I put on a plate.

One of my first bowl adventures was my Asian Bowl with Lollipop Lamb Chops. Not to brag too much but that recipe was a big hit with hubby. Now, he has another favorite. My Spicy Taco Chicken Bowl. This recipe was a little spicy with various textures and flavors that complimented each other. Although there are several components to the recipe, I think it is a very simple dish. Shredded spicy taco flavored chicken, crispy yellow rice, seasoned black beans and a mix of avocado and tomatoes. The hardest thing about this recipe is the wait time. Yeah, this one isn’t quick to make only because the chicken has to bake. While the chicken bakes about an hour all of the other pieces can easily be pulled together.

Even I couldn’t complain about having chicken again. Plus, I didn’t take the easy way out and make wingettes. Instead, I opted for chicken legs because they are meaty and you don’t have to take a long time to clean them like chicken thighs. Granted, I think chicken thigh meat is sweeter than chicken leg meat but it takes work to get thighs ready for cooking. Maybe the next time I make a Spicy Taco Chicken Bowl I’ll build in extra time and try it with chicken thighs. Whichever chicken part you choose (legs vs. thighs), I am confident you will enjoy my Spicy Taco Chicken Bowl. Healthy, Easy and Delicious!

Spicy Taco Chicken Bowl

Ingredients:

6 – 8 chicken legs washed

2 plum tomatoes diced

2 scallions diced

2 slices bacon diced

1 can black beans rinsed

1 avocado diced

1 pkg hot and spicy taco seasoning

½ stick butter melted

1 ½ cup water

1 ½ cup chicken broth

1 ½ cups white rice

1 ½ tbsp salt

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

½ tbsp ground black pepper

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cilantro

½ tsp dried parsley

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp Chile powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place chicken in a large bowl. Season with 1 tbsp salt, black pepper, Chile powder and all but 1 tsp hot and spicy taco seasoning. Add melted butter and mix until chicken is well coated. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray then place chicken in one layer in the baking dish. Bake for 1 hour until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes then pull meat off the bone into chunks. Place chicken in a medium size skillet with ¼ chicken stock and remaining taco seasoning. Stir and let simmer for 5 minutes.

While chicken is cooking prepare the following:

Rice:

Rinse rice with cold water to remove some of the starch. Place in a microwaveable casserole dish with a pinch salt, turmeric, water and chicken broth. Place in microwave uncovered for 21 minutes until cooked. Remove from microwave and fluff up rice with a fork. Let cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. While rice is cooling cook bacon in a large skillet until crisp over medium high heat. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels. Reduce heat to medium high and add rice and scallions to the bacon grease breaking up any clumps of rice. Let rice crisp up for about 3 minutes then stir and flip to crisp up the other side. Cook for an additional 3 minutes then toss in bacon and mix in thoroughly. Cook another 2 minutes then remove from heat.

Prepare Tomato and Avocado:

Place diced tomatoes and avocado in a medium sized bowl. Season with a little salt, ground black pepper, parsley and lemon juice. Gently toss with a spoon. Cover and set aside in the refrigerator.

Black Beans:

Place black beans in a small pot and add a little chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper, cilantro and onion powder. Cook over medium heat for 3 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Bowl Setup:

Place crispy yellow rice in the bottom of an individual bowl. Add chicken to one side of the bowl then add the black beans along with tomato and avocado mix. Enjoy!

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Prawns and Avocado

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico, my hubby and I enjoyed a delicious lunch appetizer called Prawns and Avocado. I was hesitant to order the dish at first because I sometimes have a reaction to shrimp but I decided to give it a try. Boy was I glad I did. The appetizer was so refreshing.

The dices of avocado were fresh and the prawns were soft and sweet. I have to admit it was difficult sharing the appetizer with hubby after I took the first bite. Fortunately for hubby, I love him dearly so I did share two pieces. After we both looked at the empty plate we agreed I should try replicating the appetizer once we got back home. I wasn’t able to get the exact recipe from the chef so I recreated Prawns and Avocado from a photo I took with my phone. Yes, it looked so appetizing and tasted so good I took a picture before we gobbled them all up.

My version of Prawns and Avocado is not quite like the wonderful dish we enjoyed in Puerto Rico but it is pretty darn close. There definitely is a difference between the shrimp I get at the local market but the flavor is similar.

Remembering how the appetizer was described on the menu helped me keep the recipe simple. Prawns (shrimp), avocado, red onion, lime juice and cilantro was all I needed to make this tasty treat pop!

Ahhh…. the memories.

Prawns and Avocado

Ingredients:

½ avocado diced

½ lb medium cooked shrimp cut in half

1 tbsp fresh lime juice

1 tsp fresh cilantro chopped

1 tbsp red onion diced small

1 tbsp olive oil

½ tbsp lemon juice

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground black pepper

3 dashes hot sauce

1 baguette or ciabatta bread sliced

Place shrimp in a large bowl. Add salt, pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and hot sauce. Stir to mix. Set aside.

Place avocado in a medium sized bowl along with lemon juice and a pinch of season salt. Mash the avocado until smooth but leave a few chunky pieces. Spread avocado over bread slices. Top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

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Salads

Today’s post is dedicated to Salads. Salads are on our dinner table almost every night mostly because they are Healthy, Quick and Easy. Basic lettuce and tomato salads are a little too plain to make it on our table. I prefer adding various ingredients that touch on the five food groups which are vegetables, dairy, grains, fruit and protein.

I have to admit in my early days of cooking I made a lot of plain salads. I thought I was spicing it up if I added avocado or seasoned croutons. I didn’t start experimenting with making more robust salads until I expanded my dining choices from food chain restaurants (no offense) to downtown restaurants with new age names (again, no offense) like “Planet One Bistro” which featured out of this world meals. Cute right? Okay, I made the name up because I didn’t want my local restaurants to be mad at me for saying their name was “new age”.

Building a salad is like creating a work of art. Various colors, textures, shapes and sizes blend together into a beautiful edible piece of art both pleasing to the eyes and mouth. One of my signature salads is one made with a 50/50 mix of greens, bright red tomatoes, English cucumbers, deep blue blueberries, shaved parmesan cheese, croutons and crumbed bacon. I top it off with my favorite dressing Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade. Yummy! My Big Salad is also a family favorite.

If you ask me, it is hard to make a bad salad. No matter what you add to a salad it is a reflection of you and your taste in food. So, go crazy and create your own master piece salad. It’s sure to get rave reviews.

Salads

Ingredients:

Fruity Salad:

1 bag 50/50 mixed greens

2 roma tomatoes cut into quarters then sliced

¼ English cucumber cut in half then sliced

¼ cup blueberries (sliced strawberries and raspberries optional)

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup kalamata olives

¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese

parmesan flavored croutons

Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

Avocado Salad:

1 bag 50/50 mixed greens

2 roma tomatoes cut into quarters then sliced

1 ripe avocado cut half then sliced

¼ English cucumber cut in half then sliced

¼ cup walnuts

¼ cup kalamata olives

¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese

ranch flavored croutons

Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

Mushroom and Egg Salad:

1 bag 50/50 mixed greens

4 large baby bella mushrooms sliced

2 roma tomatoes cut into quarters then sliced

2 boiled eggs diced

2 slices bacon cooked and chopped

¼ English cucumber cut in half then sliced

¼ cup kalamata olives

¼ cup crumbled feta or goat cheese

seasoned croutons

Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade

Layer the ingredients for each salad into two bowls. Top with Gazebo Room Greek Salad Dressing and Marinade or your favorite salad dressing.

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Guacamole

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My hubby has been trying to get me to make Guacamole for years. He has even brought home recipes from co-workers who he said made “the best” guacamole for office parties. To say I was intimidated by his “the best” statement would be an understatement. My past attempts at making Guacamole never quite hit the mark. It was either too lemony, too salty, too garlicky or too yuck!

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Yep, I don’t mind saying I made some terrible Guacamole in my earlier days of cooking. Now? Now, I can say I have finally pulled together a recipe that is simple and full of flavor. Keeping it simple is the key to making Guacamole. Having only a few ingredients and seasonings helps to keep the avocado the star of the recipe. After all, it is not really Guacamole without the avocado.

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Speaking of avocado, did you know that avocados are rich in fiber with about 10 grams in a medium-sized avocado. One of the things I love about avocados is that they are versatile. I use them in salads, toppings for my tacos and tostadas or in spreads or dips. I think some folks even use avocados as a hair conditioner and as a facial mask to improve their complexion. I would rather eat avocados than wear them.

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So, for anyone out there that has been intimidated by the idea of making good Guacamole try my version. I no longer feel like a wimp and neither will you.

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Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 small container of fresh salsa drained

4 ripe avocados cubed

1 4oz can of jalapenos drained

½ tsp cilantro

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

Dressing:

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, salt, black pepper, cilantro and garlic powder.

Place drained salsa in a medium-sized bowl. Pour lime juice over salsa and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add avocado and jalapenos to the salsa. Pour dressing mixture over avocado. Gently toss salsa and avocado together. Let chill at least 15 to 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or thin slices of french bread.

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