Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken

Looking for a main course salad bursting with flavor and packed with protein? How about trying this filling, delicious recipe for Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken?Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found this salad recipe while searching Pinterest a while ago, and decided to make this for dinner for my husband and myself recently.  The salad was very easy to prepare, and the bonus is that the dressing for the salad also serves as a marinade for the chicken breasts before grilling!

Here’s how to make this entree salad (enough for 2 LARGE main course salads):

First, mix up the salad dressing/marinade by placing olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, sugar, tarragon, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are completely combined.  Divide the dressing in half, reserving half to dress the finished salad with before serving. Set aside.

Place the chicken breasts in a covered container.  Take the remaining half of the dressing and pour it over the chicken.  Turn to coat chicken with marinade. Place in refrigerator in covered container and let marinade for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill (inside or outside) by spraying with a non-stick spray. Cook chicken breasts on medium-high heat, turning occasionally until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and are cooked through.  Grill times will vary, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, but the average time will be about 15-20 minutes.

Once cooked, take chicken off grill, and let the meat rest for a few minutes to let internal juices redistribute.  Cut chicken breasts into 1/2 inch slices.

Arrange baby spinach, strawberries, red onion slices, feta, and almond slices in individual serving dishes.  Place grilled chicken slices on top of salad.


Add avocado chunks, then drizzle salad with remaining reserved salad dressing (do not use the dressing you marinated the chicken with).  Serve this salad, and enjoy every bite!

Here are our salads before we pounced on them and gobbled them up!  They were soooo good!  Crunch from the almonds, sweetness from the strawberries, slightly salty from the feta, creamy from the avocados, and yummy salad dressing and delicious chicken to top it all off!

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will consider making this wonderful tasting salad.  We truly enjoyed it.  Have a great day!

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://www.foodiecrush.com/strawberry-and-avocado-spinach-salad-with-chicken/

Strawberry Avocado Spinach Salad With Grilled Chicken
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Main Course Salad
Serves: 2 entree salads
Ingredients
For Marinade/Salad Dressing:
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar ( I used a white raspberry balsamic)
  • ½ Tablespoon dried tarragon (or 1 Tablespoon fresh, chopped tarragon)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For Salad:
  • 2 boneless, skinless thin chicken breasts (about 1" high, and not too "plump")
  • 6 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves
  • 6-8 strawberries, hulled/quartered
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded, then cut into 1-2 inch chunks
  • 4 very thin slices of red onion
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 slice cooked crisp/crumbled bacon (optional)
Directions
  1. Mix the salad dressing/marinade by placing olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, sugar, tarragon, salt and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and ingredients are completely combined. Divide dressing in half, reserving half to dress the finished salad with. Set aside.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a shallow container. Take remaining half of the dressing and pour it over the chicken. Turn to coat chicken with marinade. Cover, and place in refrigerator; let chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare a grill (inside or outside) by spraying with a non-stick spray. Cook chicken breasts on medium-high heat, turning occasionally until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, and are cooked through. Grill times will vary, depending on size of the chicken breasts, but average time will be about 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, take chicken off grill, and let the meat rest for a few minutes to let internal juices redistribute. Cut chicken breasts into ½ inch slices.
  4. Arrange baby spinach, strawberries, red onion slices, feta, and almond slices in individual serving dishes. Place grilled chicken slices on top of salad. Add avocado chunks, then drizzle with reserved salad dressing (do not use the dressing you marinated the chicken with). Serve, and enjoy!

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How To Can Peach Salsa

Summer peach season is winding down here in Oregon, so I wanted to post a recipe showing How To Can Peach Salsa, in case you need a new recipe to preserve some of your delicious, juicy peach harvest to enjoy year-round!How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I found the recipe a while ago, and was thrilled to can about 7 pints of peach salsa from some of the fresh peaches I picked at a local U-Pick farm.  I’ve already made peach jam, a peach shortbread tart,  an old-fashioned peach crisp, and even a decadent peach coulis to drizzle on top of desserts.  So why not try to make some jars of peach salsa to have in my pantry?

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Before beginning, I filled my water bath canner half full of water, and began heating the water on medium heat. I also began prepping and sterilizing my canning jars, lids/rings, according to manufacturer instructions and safe canning guidelines.

I placed all ingredients (lime juice, honey, chopped onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, minced garlic, and cilantro) in a large bowl, EXCEPT FOR THE PEACHES.

The next step is to prepare the peaches.  The recipe calls for 10-12 peaches. I found the best way to peel that many peaches is to use this method:

Fill a medium-sized bowl with cold water. Set aside.  In a separate large saucepan, bring water to a boil.  Once water is really boiling, turn heat to low.  Carefully put a few peaches into boiling water. Let them stay in boiling water for about 60-90 seconds, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and place them immediately into the bowl of cold water to cool.  Repeat with remaining peaches, but keep the water changed (and cold) that you put the peaches into.

Remove a peach from the cold water, and peel the skin off using your hands. It should come off easily. Once peaches are peeled, remove pit, slice peaches, then cut into small chunks.

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Add chopped peaches to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine.  Fill each prepared canning jar with salsa, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use a plastic (or non-metal) utensil to slide down the inside sides of jar to remove air bubbles.  Wipe the rim and top of jar with a clean cloth to remove any debris.  Cover with prepared/sterilized flat lid, then screw on ring and tighten until ring is fingertip tight.

Repeat until all jars have been filled.  Using canning tongs, place jars upright on a wire rack in bottom of canner. Make sure that jars are completely covered with water (add additional hot water so the jars have at least one inch of watering covering the top of jars).  Put a lid on the pan and bring water to a low rolling boil.   Don’t let water boil too hard or the jars can roll around!  Once the water is gently boiling, process the pint sized jars for 25 mins.

When the jars are finished processing, turn off heat, remove lid (away from your face), and carefully remove hot jars with canning tongs. Place hot jars onto a dish towel (do not put boiling hot jars directly onto kitchen counter since temperature variances can cause jars to crack).  As jars begin to cool, they will make a “popping” sound, indicating they have sealed properly.

Let jars cool for 12-24 hours. When completely cool, check each seal to make sure they are sealed correctly (press down in center of the jar lid… there should be no “give” in the lid).  If sealed properly, wipe jars clean, label and store in pantry for 6 months to a year.  If one of the jars did not seal, store in refrigerator and use immediately.

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

It’s really not too hard to can peach salsa, and the benefit of your work will be a pantry full of great tasting salsa you can enjoy as an appetizer or topping for various meat dishes year-round, even when peaches aren’t in season!  Have a great day!

How To Can Peach Salsa / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: http://purelyprimal.com/2012/08/28/peach-salsa/

How To Can Peach Salsa
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Harvested lots of delicious peaches this summer? Why not can some Peach Salsa to enjoy year-round?
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Canning and Preserving
Serves: approx. 7 pints
Ingredients
  • 10-12 large ripe peaches
  • Juice from 2 limes (may substitute ½ cup of 5% vinegar)
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 medium red onions, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
Directions
  1. Fill water bath canner ½ full of water; begin heating water on medium. Prep/sterilize jars, lids/rings, according to manufacturer instructions and safe canning guidelines.
  2. Place all ingredients except for peaches (lime juice, honey, chopped onion, chopped jalapeno peppers, minced garlic, and cilantro) in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Either peel and cut peaches by hand OR fill a medium-sized bowl with cold water. Set aside. In a separate large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Once water is really boiling, turn heat to low. Carefully put a few peaches into boiling water. Let them stay in boiling water for about 60-90 seconds, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and place immediately into bowl of cold water to cool. Repeat with remaining peaches, but keep the water changed (and cold) that you put the peaches into. Remove a peach from the cold water, and peel skin off using your hands. It should come off easily. Once peaches are peeled, remove pit, slice peaches, then cut into small chunks. Add chopped peaches to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and mix well to combine.
  4. Fill each prepared canning jar with salsa, leaving ½ inch headspace. Use a plastic (or non-metal) utensil to slide down the inner sides of jar to remove air bubbles. Wipe rim and top of jar with a clean cloth to remove any debris. Cover with prepared/sterilized flat lid, then screw on ring; tighten until fingertip tight.
  5. Repeat until all jars have been filled. Using canning tongs, place jars upright on a wire rack in bottom of canner. Make sure jars are completely covered with water (add additional hot water so jars have at least one inch of water over the top of jars). Put a lid on canner; bring water to a low rolling boil. Don't let water boil too hard or the jars can roll around! Once water is gently boiling, process pint sized jars for 25 mins.
  6. When finished processing, turn off heat, remove lid (away from your face), and carefully remove hot jars with canning tongs. Place hot jars onto a dish towel (do not put boiling hot jars directly onto kitchen counter, as temperature variances can cause jars to crack). As jars begin to cool, they will make a "popping" sound, indicating they have sealed properly.
  7. Let jars cool for 12-24 hours. When completely cool, check each seal to make sure they are sealed correctly (press down in center of the jar lid... there should be no "give" in the lid). If sealed properly, wipe jars clean, label and store in pantry for 6 months to a year. If a jar did not seal, store in refrigerator and use immediately.

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Homemade Hoisin Sauce

Ever try to cook a Chinese dish and need Hoisin Sauce as one of the ingredients, but don’t have any in the pantry?  I’ve been in that situation before, so today I want to share with you how easy it is to make your own Homemade Hoisin Sauce!Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I usually buy a “name brand” Hoisin sauce at the grocery store. However, sometimes (especially when cooking a stir fry or another Asian recipe), I find I need just a bit of hoisin sauce, and I’ve run out (even though I THOUGHT I had some in the fridge).

Authentic hoisin sauce is made using soybeans or soybean paste… but… (go figure) I don’t usually have those items hanging around my home.  But… this recipe is an incredibly close substitute in taste to store-bought (and without using soybeans), so I say it’s a winner!

Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s why I searched for, and found a recipe online for how to make your own hoisin sauce.  That way, if I run out of store-bought, it is easy to make a small batch of homemade, without having to run to the store at the last minute! Hoisin sauce is one of the ingredients required to make Hoisin Asian Meatballs and my Mixed Salad with Hoisin Vinaigrette and Crisp Panko Chicken, so it’s nice to have in the fridge.

Here’s the ingredients you will need to make hoisin sauce:  soy sauce, water, molasses, creamy peanut butter, rice (or white wine) vinegar, garlic powder, hot sauce, and cornstarch.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

To make the sauce, put all ingredients EXCEPT CORNSTARCH into a small pan.  Heat the ingredients using medium heat, until the peanut butter and the molasses dissolve, and the sauce is smooth.

Turn up the heat on your stove top to medium-high heat.  Add cornstarch, and whisk ingredients together until all lumps are gone.  Once sauce is smooth, turn heat to a simmer, and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

This is what the sauce looked like, after it had thickened.  The recipe, as written, will yield about 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce.  Be sure to store the hoisin sauce in a covered airtight container in the refrigerator, where it will stay fresh for 1-2 weeks.  Once refrigerated, the sauce may thicken even more, so when you get ready to use it, stir it real good before using.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s it!  See how easy it is to make your own hoisin sauce?  I love learning how to re-create store bought food items in the comfort of my own kitchen. Knowing how to do this has come in handy more than once, and saved me countless trips to the grocery store “for just one more thing”.

Have a fantastic day, friends!  Hope you will remember this recipe when you need hoisin sauce for a great dish you are preparing!

Homemade Hoisin Sauce / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/hoisin-sauce/

Homemade Hoisin Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
It's very easy to make your own Asian Hoisin Sauce in the comfort of your own kitchen, with just a few ingredients!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Sauce (Asian)
Serves: ½ cup sauce
Ingredients
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon peanut butter (creamy)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar (may substitute white wine vinegar)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon hot sauce (I used srriracha)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
Directions
  1. To make the sauce, put all ingredients EXCEPT CORNSTARCH into a small pan. Heat the ingredients using medium heat, until the peanut butter and molasses dissolve, and sauce is smooth.
  2. Turn up the heat on your stove to medium-high heat. Add cornstarch to sauce; whisk ingredients together until all lumps are gone. Once sauce is smooth, turn heat to a simmer, and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, until the sauce has thickened a bit.
  3. Sauce can be used immediately on meats or veggies. Store in airtight covered container in refrigerator. When ready to use after refrigeration, give it a good stir, use and enjoy this sauce in a variety of meals.

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Chopped Greek Chicken Salad

I discovered a new (to me) recipe for a Chopped Greek Chicken Salad the other day, and decided to fix it for dinner for my husband and myself.  Wow!  We LOVED it!Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
We each had a huge bowl of salad, complete with grilled chicken, feta cheese, kalamata olives, crunchy cucumbers, etc. with a light vinaigrette dressing to top if off, and it was a complete meal for us!

The flavor of the salad was amazing… and guess what?  It’s a Weight Watchers recipe, so if you are looking to have a light (but filling) meal, a low calorie or Smart Points recipe (6 Points!), then I would highly recommend this main course salad!  As an added bonus… it’s incredibly EASY to prepare, so it’s a WIN-WIN.  Here’s how to create this delicious salad:

The first thing I did was cook the chicken. I used an indoor grill (which only took about 8 minutes), but you can cook the chicken breast any way you would like, or use leftovers.  Season chicken lightly with salt/pepper. Grill or roast chicken breasts (I used 2 thin breasts). When done, set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Once cool, cut into thin slices. Set aside.
**TIP: While chicken is cooking, prep/chop/slice veggies.

Divide the chopped romaine in half and place in bowls or on dinner plates.  Divide and add chopped (and peeled) cucumber and sliced green onions.

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Divide and add chicken slices and kalamata olives.

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Divide and add fresh chopped tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese. Doesn’t it look GOOD??? And… wasn’t that incredibly EASY to prepare?

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Drizzle each salad with 2 Tablespoons of low-fat vinaigrette salad dressing; toss salad, and serve! Enjoy!  Here are our two dinner salads ready to go! YUM!

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

This was a very filling salad, and I will definitely be making it again!  I LOVE that even a “lighter than normal” salad can be filled with so many wonderful flavors!  My husband is already wondering when we will have this one again. Soon… real soon!

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I really hope you will consider trying this fantastic salad recipe! I am confident you will enjoy it!  Have a wonderful day… make the most out of every minute you are blessed with!

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: https://cmx.weightwatchers.com/nui/explore/details2/WWMEAL:5626a7722084d63a3401ea88?mode=featured-recipes&tags=contentTags.food_course.tags:Breakfast&view=list

Chopped Greek Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Full of flavor and light in calories, this entree salad (from Weight Watchers) will really hit the spot!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Main Course Salad
Serves: 2 main course servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups chilled Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 6 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast (roasted or grilled), sliced.
  • Salt/pepper to season chicken
  • 1 cup fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup English cucumber, peeled, chopped
  • 4 medium raw scallions (green onions), sliced (white and green parts)
  • 18 Kalamata olives (pitted)
  • 4 Tablespoons Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 4 Tablespoons low fat vinaigrette salad dressing
Directions
  1. Season chicken lightly with salt/pepper. Grill or roast chicken breasts (I used 2 thin breasts). When done, set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Once cool, cut into thin slices. Set aside. TIP: While chicken is cooking, chop and slice veggies.
  2. Divide the chopped romaine in half and place in bowls or on dinner plates. Divide and add chopped (and peeled) cucumber and sliced green onions. Divide and add chicken slices and kalamata olives. Divide and add fresh chopped tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese.
  3. Drizzle each salad with 2 Tablespoons of low-fat vinaigrette salad dressing; toss salad, and serve! Enjoy!
Notes
If following WW plan, this recipe is 6 Smart Points per serving, if prepared as written.

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Homemade Cajun Seasoning

Did you know that it’s EASY to make your own Homemade Cajun Seasoning to use on seafood, chicken, pork, beef, etc.?  Well it is, and today I’m going to show you just how simple it really is to do that!Homemade Cajun Seasoning / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
I started making a Creole salmon dish several years ago and found that it called for Cajun seasoning. Off to the store I went and purchased a large container of spice mix. But… eventually I discovered that I can make Homemade Cajun Seasoning mix for a fraction of the price, with spices I already had in my pantry!

It’s really as simple as mixing the ingredients together and storing in an airtight covered container.  The cast of characters includes onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano and thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika.  The ingredients are placed in a mixing bowl and stirred to combine.  See how easy that was?

Homemade Cajun Seasoning / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I use this Cajun seasoning when I make my recipe for Pan-Seared Creole Salmon.  It has great flavor and really helps season the salmon!

Homemade Cajun Seasoning / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

If you store the seasoning mix in an airtight covered container, it should keep it’s peak flavors and freshness for up to 6 months.  The recipe, as written below will yield about 2/3 cup of the seasoning mix.

Homemade Cajun Seasoning / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Hope you will mix up a batch of this Homemade Cajun Seasoning, and will enjoy using it on and in a variety of dishes!  Once it’s mixed up and in your kitchen cupboard, you won’t have to run out to the store when you find a great recipe that uses this seasoning!

Have a great day, friends. Be kind, and encourage those around you, rather than discourage them, and help this crazy old world one person at a time!

Homemade Cajun Seasoning / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Adapted From: http://www.yellowblissroad.com/cajun-seasoned-popcorn-diy-cajun-seasoning/

Homemade Cajun Seasoning
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Make your own Cajun spice blend in the comfort of your own kitchen and save some $... plus it's ready in under 5 minutes!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Seasoning Mix
Serves: ⅔ cup
Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
  • 4 Tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon dried thyme
  • 4 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 4 Tablespoons paprika
Directions
  1. Combine all spices in a small bowl. Mix well, to blend.
  2. Store dry spices in an airtight, covered jar for up to 5-6 months (for best flavor)
  3. Use as needed. Recipe makes approximately ⅔ cup Cajun spice blend.
  4. Enjoy this spice blend on fish, beef or poultry!

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Cajun Chicken Pasta

I recently celebrated a birthday, and one of the first things I did with a gift card I received was to purchase a new cookbook for my collection.  The first recipe I made from that cookbook was this delicious “lightened-up” recipe for Cajun Chicken Pasta. We LOVED it, so I want to share it with you today!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This "lightened-up" dish is packed with veggies, chicken and great flavor!
The original version is a popular restaurant item in a famous restaurant, but in this version, it has been lightened up, and prepared as written, will be under 400 calories per 1½ cup serving!  It’s absolutely delicious!

Look at all those fresh colorful veggies that are in this dish! The best tip I can give you is to prep them before beginning!  If you have all ingredients ready to go, you can prepare the dish while the pasta cooks and it should be ready in about the same amount of time!  Also to save time… bring a large pot of salted water to a boil right at the start (for the pasta).

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Combine milk, cream cheese and flour in a blender. Mix until well blended. Set aside.  This is a “slurry” that will be used to thicken the Cajun sauce later.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Prepare chicken and sauce while pasta is cooking.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

While pasta is cooking, prepare the chicken. Season chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of the Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium-high. When hot, add chicken (may need to work in batches depending on size of skillet).

Cook chicken about 3 minutes (till golden brown on bottom), then flip and cook other side about 3 minutes.  When done, remove the chicken to a plate. Set aside.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add olive oil to the skillet (same one you cooked the chicken in).  Turn heat down to medium.  Add the bell pepper and onion slices.  Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once veggies are tender, add the mushrooms and tomatoes to skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, stirring often.  Add the rest of the garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper.  Stir to blend and continue cooking.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Turn heat down to medium-low.  Pour in the “slurry” ( milk/cream cheese/flour mixture) and a cup of chicken broth. Stir well, to blend. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has started to thicken.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add the chicken back into the skillet.  Add 1/8 teaspoon salt and the rest of the Cajun seasoning (1/4 teaspoon).  Stir and cook until chicken has been heated through (1-2 minutes).  Once mixed, add the cooked pasta to the skillet, and gently stir and toss, to fully coat pasta and chicken with Cajun sauce.

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When heated through, it is ready to serve!  Garnish each serving of chicken and pasta with sliced green onions… and serve while hot!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We absolutely loved this meal!  So much flavor!  I also highly recommend Gina Homolka’s cookbook “The Skinnytaste Cookbook” for anyone looking to cut some calories out of their meals! It is a wonderful cookbook with some delicious recipes!

Have a great day.  Be kind out there, people!  It’s such a small thing… but your kindness really can have a huge impact on others!

Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  The Skinnytaste Cookbook” by Gina Homolka, Published 2014, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, pages 187-187.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Chicken
Serves: 5 servings
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup fat-free milk
  • 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour (Gluten-free, use sweet rice flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons light cream cheese
  • 8 ounces penne pasta or linguine (Gluten-free, use brown rice pasta-check label)
  • Salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
  • 1¼ teaspoons Cajun seasoning (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut in thin slices
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeds removed, cut in thin slices
  • ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 medium scallions (green onions), chopped
Directions
  1. First... prep veggies, gather ingredients, and heat large pot of salted water to boiling.
  2. Combine milk, cream cheese and flour in a blender. Mix until well blended. Set aside.
  3. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain; set aside. Prepare chicken/sauce while pasta cooks.
  4. Season chicken pieces with 1 tsp.Cajun seasoning, ½ tsp. garlic powder, and ¼ tsp. salt. Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray; heat to medium-high. When hot, add chicken. Cook chicken about 3 minutes (till golden brown on bottom), turn, cook other side about 3 minutes. When done, remove chicken to a plate. Set aside.
  5. Add olive oil to skillet. Turn heat down to medium. Add bell pepper and onion. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once veggies are tender, add mushrooms and tomatoes. Cook 2-3 minutes, then add minced garlic, and cook for an additional minute, stirring often. Add the rest of the garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper. Stir to blend.
  6. Turn heat down to medium-low. Pour in the "slurry" (milk/cream cheese/flour mixture) and a cup of chicken broth. Stir well. Cook for a couple minutes, stirring, until sauce has started to thicken.
  7. Add chicken back into skillet. Add ⅛ teaspoon salt and the rest of the Cajun seasoning (1/4 tsp). Stir and cook until chicken is heated through (1-2 minutes). Once mixed, add cooked pasta to skillet, and gently toss, to coat pasta and chicken with sauce. When heated through, it's ready! Garnish each serving with sliced green onions... and serve hot!

Here’s one more to pin to your Pinterest boards!Cajun Chicken Pasta / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This "lightened-up" dish is packed with veggies, chicken and great flavor!

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Piña Colada Fluff Salad

I recently made a Piña Colada Fluff Salad… and my husband and I can’t stay out of it,  grabbing a spoonful here, and a spoonful there…because it is sooo incredibly good!Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This sweet, delicious tropical tasting salad only takes 5 minutes to prepare and serves 8!
When I first showed it to my husband, he didn’t seem too thrilled since he’s not much of a pineapple and coconut kind of guy.   But… and that’s a BIG but… after he took a taste of it, he took another bite, said it was “refreshing”, then took another bite and then another!  You get the picture!  He ended up absolutely LOVING this sweet taste of the tropics “dessert” salad, that is made in about 5 minutes! Can you believe it? Yep. Only takes 5 minutes to make this delicious dish! How’s THAT for a real timesaver!?

I can’t vouch for it’s “healthiness”, but I can absolutely vouch for it’s “amazingness!  Delicious! Here’s the cast of characters: crushed pineapple, miniature marshmallows, shredded coconut, whipped topping, rum extract, chopped nuts, and vanilla pudding mix. Yep.

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Trust me, this salad is fantastic!  And it’s SO EASY to make in about 5 minutes. Here’s what you do…

Place the pudding mix and an entire can (juice included) of crushed pineapple into a large serving bowl.  Stir ingredients until they are completely mixed together.

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Add the marshmallows, shredded coconut, chopped nuts, and rum extract to mixture. Top it off with the whipped topping.  Gently fold all the ingredients together until completely combined.

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Once thoroughly combined, cover the bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve (I recommend refrigerating it for a couple hours, at least!).

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s it!  See how easy that was?  When ready to serve you should notice that the salad has thickened up a little bit. Scoop it up, serve, and enjoy the taste of the tropics with this simple sweet salad.

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I really hope you enjoy this salad.  We truly did (and are still enjoying the leftovers, I might add!).  We had this with our dinner, but you could also serve this as dessert, if you wanted to.  This easy recipe is definitely going into my KEEP pile of recipes!  Enjoy!

Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  http://www.momontimeout.com/2015/02/pina-colada-fluff/

Piña Colada Fluff Salad
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Enjoy a taste of the tropics with this simple and delicious sweet salad!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Salad/Side Dish
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 box vanilla instant pudding mix (3.4 ounces)
  • 1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple (do NOT drain!)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 teaspoon rum extract
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 tub Cool Whip (8 ounces), thawed
Directions
  1. Place the entire can of crushed pineapple (undrained) and the pudding mix into a large serving bowl. Stir ingredients until they are fully mixed together.
  2. Add chopped nuts, rum extract, marshmallows and coconut to bowl. Top with entire tub of Cool Whip, and fold the ingredients in together until fully combined.
  3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate salad until completely chilled (recommend a couple hours) and you're ready to serve.

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Piña Colada Fluff Salad / The Grateful Girl Cooks! This sweet, delicious tropical tasting salad only takes 5 minutes to prepare and serves 8!

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Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine

A few days ago our oldest son popped in for a visit, and ended up staying to have dinner with us. I made this yummy, quick recipe for Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine, and we enjoyed it very much!Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
The recipe is one I’ve had for years and years, but do not know the original source, since only the recipe was written down on a little 3×5 card.  I’ve made a few changes to the recipe over the years to suit my taste buds, and let me tell you… it is good!

The basic recipe is actually quite simple… cook bacon, cook pasta, cook a few simple fresh ingredients, combine and serve in about 20 minutes! It tastes wonderful, too!  Here’s how you make this dish:

In a skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to paper towel to absorb grease.. Drain bacon drippings, BUT LEAVE 1 TABLESPOON BACON DRIPPINGS IN SKILLET (sorry for the slightly blurry photo). **Tip: While bacon is cooking, bring water for pasta to boiling, then cook in separate pot**.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Add chopped onion, tomato, basil and crispy cooked bacon pieces to reserved Tablespoon of bacon drippings in skillet. The photo below is before I added the cooked bacon. (I used a variety of colored tomatoes, but any fresh tomatoes will be perfectly fine!). Cook 3-4 minutes until onion is tender, and tomatoes have begun to break down. Add minced garlic and a couple Tablespoons of starchy water from the pasta that is cooking. Stir well, to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated completely through on medium heat.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Heat lightly salted water in large pot for pasta. When boiling, add pasta, and cook according to package directions. (Note:  I did this while cooking the bacon and sauce to save time).  I made the fettucine from scratch with my little pasta machine earlier in the day just for fun!  Isn’t it beautiful?  I used it in this meal (because I find it relaxing to make homemade pasta), but absolutely recommend using store bought pasta for the easiest way to make this dish!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

When pasta is finished cooking, drain and add pasta to skillet with the sauce. Gently toss with tongs, to thoroughly coat the pasta with sauce. Cook until heated through, adding an additional touch of water if necessary to thin the sauce to cover.

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place pasta and sauce onto serving dishes, then garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried or fresh parsley. Serve, and enjoy!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We really enjoyed this pasta dish with a simple mixed green salad on the side.  The recipe, as written, makes 3 main course servings or 4-5 small side servings.

As I write this blog today, my heart is broken over the Hurricane Harvey destruction and horrific flooding occurring in Texas and Louisiana this week. We are continuing to pray for our fellow citizens impacted by this event, and are hopeful God will meet their needs physically, emotionally and spiritually during and after this tragedy. He is “a very present help in times of trouble”.

Have a good day, friends. May you know God’s unconditional love, no matter what you are going through!

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Original Recipe Source: unknown (recipe handwritten on a 3×5 card many years ago)

Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Main Course
Serves: 3 main or 4 side
Ingredients
  • 6 ounces fettucine noodles
  • 3 slices raw bacon, cut into ½ inch slices
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil (or 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons starchy pasta water
  • Grated Parmesan cheese (for garnish)
  • Dried parsley (for garnish)
Directions
  1. Heat lightly salted water in large pot. When boiling, add pasta, and cook according to package directions. (I did this at same time I was cooking bacon and sauce).
  2. In a skillet, cook bacon pieces until crisp. Transfer bacon pieces to paper towel to absorb grease. Drain grease from skillet, BUT LEAVE 1 TABLESPOON BACON GREASE IN SKILLET.
  3. Add chopped onion, tomato, basil and bacon pieces to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook 3-4 minutes until onion is tender, and tomatoes have begun to break down. Add minced garlic and a couple Tablespoons of water from the pasta that is cooking. Stir well, to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated completely through on medium heat.
  4. When pasta is finished cooking, drain and add pasta to skillet with the sauce. Gently toss to coat the pasta with the sauce. Heat until hot throughout. Place pasta and sauce onto serving plates, and garnish with grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of dried parsley. Serve, and enjoy!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Fresh Tomato, Bacon and Onion Fettucine / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

 

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Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls

What’s NOT to love about Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls?  They are super easy to prepare, can be on the table in about 20 minutes, and they taste fantastic served on the side with meats, soups and salads!Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!
Before beginning, be sure to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

Mix the melted butter, Italian seasoning, garlic, dried parsley and dried basil together, in a small bowl.  Unwrap the crescent rolls. Separate dough into triangles. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the butter and seasoning mixture (but reserve a bit of the mixture to use later).

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Place some of the grated mozzarella at the wide end of the dough (or place the string cheese half at the wide end).

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Carefully roll up the dough, and try to tuck the edges of dough in, to seal. Place dough onto parchment paper, with about 2 inches in between each one.  Brush the tops of the dough with the remaining butter/seasoning mixture. (I even sprinkled just a bit more mozzarella cheese on top)!

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Bake rolls at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven. If any cheese has leaked out, simply push it back onto roll with a spatula while cheese is still warm!

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Serve rolls while they are warm… and enjoy!  They taste wonderful (and I bet you can’t stay out of them)!

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

We really enjoyed these scrumptious rolls, and I LOVED how EASY they were to make!  The original recipe from Amanda at The Chunky Chef, was double this amount (16 rolls).  I cut the recipe in half (which is the way I wrote the recipe below), since we only needed 8 for our small family.

Sure hope you will give them a try.  They really are quite delicious!  Have a fantastic day, friends. God bless you!

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source:  https://www.thechunkychef.com/cheesy-garlic-crescent-rolls/

Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
These easy to prepare cheese-stuffed and Italian-seasoned crescent rolls will be a wonderful addition to any meal!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Side dish
Serves: 8 rolls
Ingredients
  • 1 (8 ounce) can refrigerated crescent rolls
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese OR 4 pieces string cheese (cut in half to make 2 short pieces)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
Directions
  1. Before beginning, be sure to preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.
  2. Mix the melted butter, Italian seasoning, garlic, dried parsley and dried basil together, in a small bowl.
  3. Unwrap the crescent rolls. Separate dough into triangles. Using a pastry brush, brush the dough with the butter and seasoning mixture (but reserve a bit of the mixture to use later). Place some of the grated mozzarella at the wide end of the dough (or place the string cheese half at the wide end). Carefully roll up the dough, and try to tuck the edges of dough in, to seal. Place dough onto parchment paper, with about 2 inches in between each one.
  4. Brush the tops of the dough with the remaining butter/seasoning mixture. Bake rolls at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until rolls are golden brown. Remove from oven. If any cheese has leaked out, simply push it back onto roll with a spatula while cheese is still warm! Serve, and enjoy!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Easy Cheesy Garlic Crescent Rolls / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

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Chocolate Oaties

Looking for a quick and easy treat? How about Chocolate Oaties… delicious “No-Bake” drop cookies featuring chocolate, peanut butter, nuts and oats? The best part is they only take about 10 minutes to make, and are soooo GOOD. Yes, please!Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Delicious 10 minute "no-bake" drop cookies with chocolate, peanut butter, nuts and oats!

I grew up eating Chocolate Oaties. My Mom made them for our family quite often, I suppose because they taste so good (gotta be that chocolate-peanut butter combo!) and the fact that they are fairly inexpensive and ridiculously QUICK AND EASY to make in 10 minutes. Whatever her reasons were, these no-bake cookies were always a big hit with our family.  Here’s how to make them:

Measure the peanut butter, oats, vanilla, salt and chopped nuts into a large mixing bowl. Set aside. (It’s important to do this BEFORE next step! Trust me.)

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

In a medium saucepan, place sugar, cocoa, butter, and evaporated milk. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil ingredients for 1 minute. Immediately remove the chocolate sauce from heat and pour over peanut butter/oat mixture in mixing bowl while it is boiling hot.  The very hot chocolate sauce helps to melt the peanut butter!

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Stir well, to fully melt peanut butter and combine all ingredients.  Place a piece of wax paper on a 9×13 baking sheet. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto wax paper (Use 2 spoons… one to scoop, and the back of the other to scoop/drop cookies onto paper).  Place baking sheet (uncovered) into refrigerator, and refrigerate for an hour so they can set up.

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

That’s it!!!  See how easy that was?  Remember to store any uneaten chocolate oaties in a covered container in refrigerator. By the way… here’s one I saved for you… want a bite?

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

I hope you enjoy these quick, yummy, easy to prepare drop cookies… we sure do!
Have a great day, friends.

Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks!

Recipe Source: My Mom

Chocolate Oaties
 
Prep time
Total time
 
You can make these delicious no-bake chocolate and peanut butter flavored drop cookies in about 10 minutes!
As Prepared By:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: approx. 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups quick cook oats (dry)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½-3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cube butter
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
Directions
  1. Measure the peanut butter, oats, vanilla, salt and chopped nuts into a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, place sugar, cocoa, butter, and evaporated milk. Cook on medium heat, stirring often, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil ingredients for 1 minute. Immediately remove sauce from heat and pour over peanut butter/oat mixture in mixing bowl. Stir well, to fully melt peanut butter and combine all ingredients.
  3. Place a piece of wax or parchment paper on a 9x13 baking sheet. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls onto paper (Use 2 spoons... one to scoop, and the back of the other to scoop/drop cookies onto paper). See NOTES section for tip.
  4. Place baking sheet (uncovered) into refrigerator, and refrigerate for an hour so they can set up. Enjoy! Store chocolate oaties in a covered container in refrigerator.
Notes
I used a rounded Tablespoon batter for each cookie (yielded 31, 2-3" wide cookies).
If you want more cookies, simply make them smaller by using a rounded teaspoon!

Here’s one more to pin on your Pinterest boards!Chocolate Oaties / The Grateful Girl Cooks! Delicious 10 minute "no-bake" drop cookies with chocolate, peanut butter, nuts and oats!

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