Saturday, May 24, 2014

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with Corn and Avocado Salad

I have a very urgent message from my kitchen to yours: YOU NEED TO MAKE THESE QUESADILLAS.

I was telling my friend about this mouthwatering creation and she said: "I am convinced that barbecue sauce is the greatest condiment of all time." This was such a wonderful nugget of wisdom--it is so true!

I had a hard time photographing these BBQ Chicken Quesadillas with Corn and Avocado Salad but I knew I needed to share this recipe with you immediately. This was one of those meals that I cooked, plated, took a bite and immediately closed my eyes and said "MMMMmmmmMMmmmm." When that happens...well, people need to know about it.

There are a few key components take these quesadillas above and beyond. Tender chicken breast that is baked to perfection, crusted in a bunch of tasty spices is a good place to start. Thinly sliced red onions add a necessary tang. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce because...well...see comment above. Monterey Jack cheese is an absolute necessity--it melts so wonderfully and keeps all the tasty goodness packed inside crispy whole wheat tortillas.

Because we can't stop, won't stop, I also add some crispy bacon strips. Duh.

There are a few different ways that people build quesadillas. I prefer laying one tortilla in a big pan, adding all the fillings to one side then folding the tortilla in half to form a half moon. Some people layer one tortilla on top of another and cut it like a pizza, but I tend to lose all my filling this way.

When it comes to bringing this whole meal together, sour cream is a great way to cool down the spicy tang of the barbecue sauce. The corn and avocado salad is fresh and light, the perfect compliment to our crispy, gooey quesadillas. Let's get to it -- I know you can't wait any longer!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Simple Sides: Garlicky Spinach with Crispy Bacon

I have this vision for a new series and as you can see I am calling it "Simple Sides."

Oftentimes I feel like we all get bogged down with the main course that sometimes the hardest thing to do is pull together some delicious side dishes to round out the meal.

This happened to me this past weekend. I was cooking oven roasted chicken thighs that I wanted to have a really delicious crisp skin and juicy meat. After I popped the chicken in the oven I realized that I hadn't made any plan on what to serve alongside this chicken. Panic ensued and I went scurrying through my fridge and freezer trying to see what veggies I had on hand.

Luckily this story has a happy ending and this Garlicky Spinach with Crispy Bacon is just that. This side dish comes together in a flash and it is packed with great flavor. Anything that has bacon in it HAS to be good, so this should seem like a no-brainer. Add tasty garlic and protein-packed spinach to that equation and we are in side dish heaven.

I don't know about you, but at big holiday meals I am always loading up on extra potatoes and veggies rather than turkey or ham and if this spinach was part of that, Lord knows I'd be going back for seconds and thirds.

The recipe below is a perfect side for two, but it can easily be multiplied to serve a larger crowd.

If there are more vegetables or side dishes you'd like me to try out as a Simple Side, feel free to leave a comment below!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Marinated Feta and Avocado Salad

We need to talk briefly but seriously about this salad right here. This is my current obsession, as in, eating it morning, noon, and night.

This lovely is no brain child of my own. I must give credit where credit is due. So, a million thank you's to Union Street Grill and Patio in Newton, MA. Union is one of our favorite date spots--not only do they have the most BANGIN' outdoor patio in the greater Boston area, but their cocktail selections are fun and original (think Sangria Rita which is absolutely a margarita with a float of sangria) and the food--so, so good.

When I saw this Marinated Feta and Avocado Salad on the menu, I was hooked. It perfectly suited my avocado obsession as well as my general obsession with all things feta cheese. Feta everything.

I tried to eat this salad like a lady. But somehow it inevitably led to me shoveling forkful after forkful in my mouth. The creamy avocado, the tangy and crumbly feta, a perfectly sweet and sour citrus vinaigrette, and an irresistible crunch from pistachios--this is what salad dreams are made of.

Ever since this date night, I've been thinking about this salad and how I knew I could satisfy my craving for another heaping plateful at home. And so, here it is. A recreation of that same Union Street dish that is so close to the original I cannot help but urge you to give it a try. Let's do this.