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Avocado Chicken Salad

There’s a dish at one of the best places to eat in town, but unfortunately it is only on the spring and summer menu, which isn’t out yet. With the extra warm weather this weekend, we decided to try our hand at making the same dish at home. We seriously lucked out. With a few modifications, this recipe is a near exact copy and was amazing.

Ingredients:
4 avocados, pitted and removed from skin
1/2 cup diced red onion (we used white because it’s what we had on hand)
1 celery stalk, diced
juice from 1 lime (about 3 tablespoons, feel free to add a bit more!)
1/4 cup cilantro (we left this out, but it would have been a great addition)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (feel free to use a bit more)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups cooked shredded chicken (we used three cooked chicken breasts. Oven roasted with chili lime seasoning)
8 slices sourdough bread (we used a pre-sliced loaf of french bread)

Directions:
Roast the chicken in the oven at 375 degrees, spiced with your favorite Mexican seasoning, we like chili lime. Cook at least 30 minutes or until cooked through. Dice the onions and the celery in a food processor. When the chicken is cooked and slightly cooled, shred it with a fork or in the food processor. If you prefer your chicken salad a bit chunky, feel free to dice it instead. We added the shredded chicken to the food processor and then added the avocados and spices. If you prefer it a bit chunky, just mix everything together in a bowl. Taste and add lime juice and salt as needed. When ready to eat, toast the bread. We brushed both sides with olive oil and toasted each side until browned.

My opinion:
I was starving, so we didn’t wait for this to chill. In the summer, we will definitely chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes. Also, next time we’ll add a bit more cumin and maybe some more lime juice. This would be equally delicious with cucumber slices and bread. If you’d like it a little spicier, feel free to add a jalapeño. We will probably add some serranos from the garden this summer.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jamaican Jerk Chicken

I’ll admit I was skeptical about this recipe. But after one bite, I wasn’t skeptical at all. It was deliciously flavorful and less labor intensive than we thought it would be. Warning: it’s pretty filling.

Ingredients:
1 tb Ground allspice
1 tb Dried thyme
1 1/2 ts Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 ts Black Pepper freshly ground
1 1/2 ts Ground sage
3/4 ts Ground nutmeg
3/4 ts Ground cinnamon
2 tb Salt
2 tb Garlic powder
1 tb Sugar
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c Soy sauce
3/4 c White vinegar
1/2 c Orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
1 Scotch bonnet pepper, Seeded and finely chopped (if you can’t find this, feel free to use a habanero)
1 c white onion Chopped
3 Green onions finely chopped
4 6-oz Chicken breasts Trimmed of fat, up to 8-oz each

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, slowly add olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, orange juice and lime  juice. Add the Scotch bonnet pepper (we used habaneros since we couldn’t find Scotch Bonnet), onion and green onions and mix well. Reserve about a cup or so of the marinade to use later. Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least an hour, but the longer the better! Remove the breasts from the marinade and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. If you prefer a sear, turn on the broiler and broil each side first for a few minutes and then bake. Or if you prefer, fire up the grill and cook for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. While grilling or baking, baste with the left over marinade. Heat the rest of the leftover marinade and serve on the side for dipping (we just did this on the stove). If you prefer more intense flavors, feel free to double the spices.

My opinion:
Even without doubling the spices, this was plenty hot. It was the right combination of sweet and spicy and the chicken was very moist. We will try this on the grill next time! The rice and slaw will be in another post. I”m having trouble locating the original recipes to link back to at the moment.


I’m rather picky when it comes to Italian food. I blame my trip to Florence for spoiling Americanized Italian food for me forever. Luckily, there are a few recipes that measure up to my expectations and one of them is this delightful Eggplant Parmesan from the Food Network with a few modifications.

Ingredients:
eggplant, peeled (we particularly enjoyed an heirloom variety) and cut into disks
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups vegetable oil (we used our deep fryer)
1 1/2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder (we used a bit more)
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley (we used about 2 tablespoons, since we didn’t have fresh oregano)
1 teaspoon dried oregano (or minced fresh if you have it)
1 teaspoon ground white pepper (we used a little more of this too, about 2 teaspoons)
1 cup all-purpose flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups egg wash (which for us, was four eggs and one cup milk)
1 pound penne or fusilli pasta, cooked (we used bowtie because that’s what we had)
2 cups red sauce
Grated Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling (we used Mozzarella)
cooking spray of your choice (we used Pam Olive Oil spray)

Directions:
To bread the eggplant, first add the eggplant disks into the buttermilk and allow to soak, 1 to 2 hours (we let it soak for about an hour and a half).
Next, over medium heat, bring the oil to 350 degrees F in a wide shallow saucepan or deep fryer; then hold the oil warm until frying. Combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan powder, garlic, parsley, oregano and pepper in a bowl. Remove the eggplant from the buttermilk, and then coat with flour and tap off the excess. Dip the eggplant in the egg wash and finish with the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture, coating well. Repeat the process with each eggplant, and then fry in the preheated oil. Allow the eggplant to brown, and then flip the cooked eggplant to ensure even cooking. Once golden brown on both sides, remove the eggplant and place on paper towels to allow the excess oil to drip off.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Drain the cooked pasta and once all the water is removed, toss with 3/4 cup of the red sauce. After tossing the pasta with the sauce, portion the pasta on plates. Place the cooked eggplant on a cooking spray covered baking sheet and finish with the remaining sauce. Add some cheese and bake, 4 to 5 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. After baking, place the eggplant over the sauced pasta and serve.

My opinion:
This is the best and simplest Eggplant Parmesan recipe we’ve found. I wouldn’t hesitate to serve this to friends and family.


Before the current big hullabaloo over this restaurant, J and I decided to figure out how to recreate our favorite chicken sandwich at home. Mostly because the nearest restaurant to us is more than an hour and a half away. This recipe is so close! With a bag of Oreda waffle fries, it’s almost like you’re there.

Ingredients:
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup Dill Pickle Juice (we bought the hamburger slices and just used the juice)
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1 Egg
1/4 cup Milk
1/2 cup Flour
1 tablespoon Powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Celery salt
1/4 teaspoon Dried basil

Directions:
Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about 1/2 inch thick all around. Cut into four pieces, as even as possible. Marinate in the pickle juice and Tabasco Sauce for 30 minutes. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in a zip lock bag. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then place in the bag and shake. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350, or use a deep fryer (that’s what we did). Remove the chicken from the flour mixture and tap off the excess. Place in the oil. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through. If using a fryer, it takes about 5 minutes total. Be sure to check the first couple to make sure they are cooked all the way through. Blot on paper and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.

My Opinion:
So good. It’s very, very close to the original. It just needed to be a touch sweeter, so next time we’ll use a bit more powdered sugar and a touch less pickle juice.

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We’ve been eating a home a lot more lately. Which means, when we’re craving specialty food, we have to make it ourselves, while trying to use up the left overs.We had left over onions and green peppers from grilling and decided to try our hand at sweet and sour chicken adapted from this recipe. It was amazing. Right up there with the Kung Pao. Flavorful and even better easy.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sherry wine
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (you can use fresh too)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cups vegetable oil
1 (15 ounce) can pineapple chunks (we used a bigger can and be sure to save the juice!)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 medium green pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

Directions:
Mix together first 6 ingredients. Add chicken; coat well. Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Fry chicken until lightly browned (we skipped this since we velveted the chicken).  Removed chicken; drain. Drain pineapple, reserving liquid. Add enough water to juice to make 1 cup (if you used a larger can of pineapple, you should have one cup of juice from the can and won’t need the water). Add the cornstarch, mixing well. Combine pineapple juice mixture and next 4 ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Stir green pepper, onion and chicken into sauce; cook until thoroughly heated. Serve over rice.

My opinion:
I know what you’re thinking, will this sauce really taste good? It has ketchup for goodness sake! I promise, you it will not only taste good, but be delicious. I like this dish so much better than the one at our favorite local Chinese place. Especially without the breading. One of the secrets is not to cook the green peppers too long. You want them to still be bright green, not dull green. Next time, we might add a dash or two of chili peppers to make it a bit spicy. Yum!

About Aurora

My father named me after Sleeping Beauty. The princess theme stuck. Unfortunately, the only castle I can claim is the one in Disney Land. These are the musings of a princess without minions, knights or fairy tales. I have to do my own bidding.

The views in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer or clients.

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