Chicken and Kale Wrap with Buffalo Dipping Sauce

chickenkalewrapIf you’re from Nebraska, you go to Amigo’s, and it’s not because they have amazing Mexican Fast Food. You go because you would give your first born child for their ranch.
A great wrap is similar, the secret is in the dipping sauce!! You can make the most simple combination of ingredient, but if you have that dipping sauce, that’s where you bring it home!

Most people go to a casual dinning restaurant or a bar and get a burger, right? Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re great, but wraps have always had this pull on me I can’t resist, which is the first place I look on any menu. IIt makes me feel about getting something…sorta healthy…until…I slather it ranch or some other form of heaven in small cup they’ve placed on my plate. Now that I can bathe it in sodium, empty calories, fat, and preservatives, I feel better. I don’t care, it’s my splurge, so I order fries for  my side too instead of cottage cheese. I’m gonna dip those fries in ranch too. Shut up, I’m weak. Don’t act like you don’t. It’s amazing. (Periodically throughout the meal I’m telling myself ” I work out, I deserve this)

I love working out, it’s a hobby, it’s a passion. You know what else I love? Pizza, burgers, ranch, cheesecake, cookies, chocolate, french fries, mozzarella sticks, tortilla chips. This is my life.  Although  i don’t splurge a lot, and when I do, I almost always regret it, or feel like a waste of space afterwards…BUT,I love every second I’m dipping my pizza in ranch and stuffing it into my face too.

Anyways, now that I’ve dumped that out. Healthy things! :) As much as I love everything I listed above, they actually make me feel horrible afterwards, or the next day. If I carb load anymore after 4pm, I feel it for the next two days, not awesome. This is why I’ve taken one of my favorite guilty bar-food pleasures and turned it into something quick, easy, and healthy at home.

As always, feel free to substitute or remove certain ingredients.If you don’t want to plan this meal ahead, just ditch the yellow squash. Grilling your chicken is also a great and quick way to get these to the table!
These can be as simple or as complicated as you want. The secret weapon here, maybe to your surprise, isn’t the sauce, it’s throwing them on the stove top to seal the wrap and to melt everything cohesively together along with giving your tortilla the perfect crunch! Wrap it up.wrapsauce

Chicken and Kale Wrap with Buffalo Sauce
Yield: 4 wraps

4 Flat Wraps, or tortillas
2 pieces of boneless chicken, sliced in half the long-way to make them thinner
1/2 cup balsamic salad dressing
2 tbsp of lemon
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 small yellow squash, peeled, seeds removed, sliced into even 1″ pieces
1 red onion diced
1 cup of kale, chopped
shredded cheese as desired per wrap (I used a small palmful of mozzarella per)
fresh basil (extra addition if you have some in your garden, 1 tbsp)

***At least 2 hours prior, or the day before is fine too
1.Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
2. Peel, scoop out seeds, and chop yellow squash. Season lightly with salt and pepper and 1 tbsp oil.
3. Spread onto baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Toss the squash, leave in the oven, but turn the oven off after the 20 minutes. (or grill these too!)
You want your squash to be in the oven for about an hour with the oven off. This will cook them firm without overcooking, and they won’t be mushy,
4. Slice the two pieces of chicken into four, the add the balsamic, lemon, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Cover and marinate in fridge until you’re ready to cook.

*** READY!
5. Preheat heat to 425 degrees (or fire up the grill, and grill your chicken!)
6. Bake your chicken for 20 minutes or until done
7. While chicken is baking, chop your kale, basil, onions, and whip together your buffalo dipping sauce.

ASSEMBLE
8. Arrange your kale and basil (optional) and onions on the wrap leaving a 1-2″ gap at one end.
9. Then add your chicken. I do chicken here, because your other ingredients are loose and the meat helps hold it in place.
10. Now your cheese, add as much as you want, make sure the inch gap you left now as a little cheese at the end too, this will help seal the wrap together and not come apart.
11. Roll it up!
12. Heat up a skillet on medium-high. Sear 4 sides of your wrap (sealed side first), for about 30 seconds each side. You’ll get beautiful golden-brown sear marks as it crisps up. Feel free to omit this portion if you’re in a hurry or just want it cold!

Buffalo Dipping Sauce
1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt
4 tbsp of Wing Sauce
** I like mine spicy, and very buffalo–y. You can also start with less, add one tbsp at a time until you get a desired flavor.

1. Whisk together ingredients, then divvy out 1/4 cup to each person on the side, or you can spread the dip in the wrap if you’re not a dipper.

 

Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini, Muffins

chocbanzucchiniI think as you grow into an adult,  you have this non-understanding of how you didn’t like certain foods as a kid. Mine is definitely zucchini. Grilled, baked, saute’, mashed, shredded. I’m in, both feet…feed me. What makes zucchini better? Match it up with a banana, or blueberries (yes, seriously, grill them with blueberries, it’ll change your life)

I have done Chocolate Zucchini Bread before, and its one of my favorite summer recipes…but there is also something to say for the convenience of a muffin for grab and go… or… chopped up and mixed in with your yogurt in the morning. (gotta get that protein in right?!) :)

They’re light, they’re fluffy, they contain very little sugar, no butter…no oil. I mean really. I love them, my Dad loves them, you will love them.
If you’re making these for people who claim they don’t like zucchini, or have texture issues…do what I do. Process your zucchini in a food processor, until it’s completely mushy. This gets rid of the shreds of zucchini without taking anything away from the muffins. The most comments I get on my zucchini recipes, is from people that claim they dislike zucchini. You can’t taste it. As long as it’s not shredded, there can’t be texture issues. In fact, the last time I made a zucchini snack, I intentionally handed them to people I knew didn’t like zucchini, but that loved muffins. They had no idea, and were instantly. Also a great way to sneak something in healthy for your kids.
Sometimes, secrets make friends…full.

I haven’t tried to sub in applesauce for sugar yet, but please feel free to and comment how they turn out! I have preached this time and time again, but you can’t taste the yogurt, if you think you can (crazy) then sub in sour cream. It will just add more flavor and give them the same great fluffy, texture!

Chocolate Chip Banana Zucchini Muffins Yield 15 muffins
Slightly adapted from Peanut Butter and Peppers

1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup plain Greek Yogurt, or sour cream
1 cup zucchini, shredded
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup milk + 1 tbsp
1 1/2 cups flour, unpacked
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1. Cut the ends off, and peel a small zucchini (1 cup is usually a smaller zucchini). Chop into cubes and toss in your food processor or chopper. I used to ground mine with a cheese grater which often led to me cutting myself until I got a processor. I over-process mine until it looks mushy. Then I transfer it to a fine strainer, squeeze as much water out as I can, and let it sit for about 20 minutes to dry out a bit. Fluffing occasionally.
2. Line your tin with paper liners, and give them a light spray of non-stick oil.
3. In a bowl, mix banana, sugar and egg with a fork or whisk until somewhat smooth.
4. In the same bowl, add yogurt, zucchini, vanilla and cinnamon until combined. Stir in milk with a spatula.
5. In another bowl, mix flour baking soda, baking powder, and salt with a fork or a whisk. Then, add it to the wet batter, mixing gently with a spatula. Just before it’s combined, add in your chocolate chips. This will help you to not over mix. AKA, don’t over mix/work the ingredients!
6. Fill tins just bellow full. Bake in oven for 14 minutes, test with a toothpick.I remove my muffins from the pan right away and set on a cooling rack so they don’t continue to cook in the pan.

Let cool almost completely and you won’t have a problem peeling off the paper!choczucmuf2
 

 

Bacon-Eggy Cups

baconeggysSo these quick bite, travel-friendly, pop-and-go, egg-delicious bites have been floating around the internet for a while now. Clearly I’m not the inventor, but I do believe I’ve customized a new version I haven’t seen anywhere else. After scouring the interwebs for far longer than I will confess here, I found several different combinations, tips, and guidelines…giving me this wonderful recipe! Although simple, they do take a little time to put together, but a Sunday night is perfect for this, and it makes several, which will give you lots of servings for the week!

I made two sets for a test, I wasn’t sure how easily the eggs alone would hold up, even in the muffin tins. I love baked eggs, and being familiar with them, no matter how much you grease them, or how long you whip them, they’re hard to take out of the dish (which is why you use a pretty cassoulet, and leave it in!) and they deflate quickly. Some suggest putting muffin liners in to keep from sticking to the pan, but they still stick. I find if you have something of a base, these will pop-out of your muffin-tin effortlessly, and best of all, no scrapping!

Because my special person loves hash-browns…ding-ding! That’s what I used. You can use the shredded if you want, HOWEVER, if you’re looking to save some effort and time, if you buy the pre-made frozen patties, you can put them on the same grate as your bacon in the oven and they can partial cook at the same time. This will save you from dirtying another dish as well…my favorite. The shredded frozen is cheaper, but they do need to be partially cooked before becoming the base of these morning delights.

Although I love adding all kinds of different ingredients and flavors into my eggs, I kept it really simple this time. Bacon is so flavorful, as long as you add the right amount of salt and pepper, the eggs and bacon will speak for themselves! BUT… if you do want a little something-something… Buy the jarred jalapenos, if you toss a few of those in, make sure you add in just a little of the juice as well!! Or kale. I love chopped kale!

Bacon-Eggys

6 eggs
8 slices of bacon
3 hash-brown patties
1 full handful (or about 1/2-3/4 cup) of shredded cheese of your choice
1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp chili powder

Full size muffin tins, not the mini’s

1. Preheat oven to 425
2. Place a metal cooking rack ontop of a large baking sheet lined with tin foil. Line your bacon on the rack leaving enough room on one side for the hash-browns. Using the tin foil will allow you to wrap up all that grease for easy cleanup. My stove is electric. I can cook bacon faster, in larger quantities, and more easily in the oven! Bake for 12-15 minutes. You want the bacon to be almost cooked, but not too much or it will break when you wrap it in the muffin-tins.
3. While the hash-browns and bacon are in the oven, whisk the remaining ingredients in a bowl, and spray your tins with non-stick spray.
4. When the bacon is finished, dab it with a paper towel on each side to remove the grease. Then cut the rectangle patties into thirds. This will be the base.
5. Place your third of hash-brown in the tin, press down a bit to make sure it covers the bottom. Then take your bacon and wrap it around the edge of tin (I cut the extra off so it didn’t overlap, and set them aside for my morning sandwich!), try to get it along the outside of the hash-brown base. Take a 1/4 cup, and under-fill it a little and use this as measurement for your egg mixture, you want the tins to be 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 25 minutes. I took a knife while it was still hot and scrapped around the edges, then just a large spoon to remove them. Let them cool completely before you store them in your fridge.

Re-heat for 1 minute in the microwave.

Baked Apple Dutch Baby

dutchbaby3I have been eyeing Dutch Baby recipes for well over a year, but have had yet to test one out until this morning. One thing that always drove me away from these is the 20 minute bake time…which is silly that, that was the only thing scaring me away. Bacon, waffles, pancakes, french toast take just as long, so what was the big deal, I’m a fool.

I was able to skim down the recipe to make just a single portion, which was awesome, because the only thing that should ever be allowed to re-heat in the breakfast department is a casserole or french toast.  Have you ever tried to microwave a pancake or a waffle….no where near the same. Albeit, if you’re going to…here’s a tip. Use the toaster. Seriously.dutchbaby1

A Dutch Baby, German Pancake, or Puff Pancake is a cooked in a cast-iron pan, if fluffs up as you bake it, and then when you take it out, it will deflate. It’s an interactive presentation,so if you have kids, it’s a great way to get them involved in the process so they can see it change forms…and let them add their favorite toppings! Traditionally served with cinnamon or lemon, I of course decided swerve off the beaten path. I began by baking some apples with lemon, cinnamon, and sugar, the perfect topping, along with a fried egg of course. I think round two is going to have to involve toasted almonds!

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Baked Apple, Dutch Baby

1 small apple, peeled and sliced
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
dash of cinnamon

1 egg
heaping 1/4 cup of flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
1/4 cup milk (this will depend on your flour as well, you want it to be a runny batter, start with less milk if you need to)
1/8 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp cinnamon

1. Peel a small apple, and slice into thin pieces.
2. In a small bowl combine apples, 1 tsp of sugar, 2 tsp of lemon juice, and a dash of cinnamon, mix well
3. Put apples on a pan lined with parchment paper and set aside.
4. Combine all ingredients in the batter together, bring it together gently, but you don’t want any air bubbles either. You want the batter to rest for a few minutes, preheat your oven to 400 degrees while you wait.
5. In your single serving cast iron (6″) melt 1 tbsp of butter (on medium), you want the pan to be hot.
6. Pour your batter into your hot cast-iron and place in the oven for 18-20 minutes on a rack in the middle, place the apples on your cooking sheet on the rack below.
7. When finished it should start to puff and the center shouldn’t look doughy, looking golden.
8. Take out of the oven, you can leave in the cast-iron if you wish, I slid my onto a plate, topped with my baked apples, a dash of syrup, and sprinkle of powdered sugar. Oh…and a fried egg, duh.dutchbaby4

Banana Swirl Crunch Bread

bananacrunch2Yum. I love banana bread, that’s not a big secret around here…now is it! :) What I love about this recipe that separates it from the other…few…I have, is the crunch!!! These actually remind of the Cinnamon Crunch Bagels from Panera. My boss spoils us with super amazing coffee…every day, and Panera once a week. My heart wants to eat a bite out of every single one…but I usually try to refrain and just take a half of a cinnamon crunch. Then I drink the Hazelnut Pecan cream cheese spread. Just kidding, but I do this in my head while my hand spreads a tablespoon on my bagel half. See the things I dream about? Eating bags of bagels and drinking cream cheese. My word.

I feel like I need to walk you thru eating this bread. Take a bite, the first thing you experience is the crunch on the outside as your nose just inhales the warm cinnamon. The you hit the fluffy bread, topped with just a little bit of butter….the perfect banana bread bite! See don’t you want to go make this now? It takes five minutes to put together…you can even do it in the morning before you shower. You’re welcome!

It’s summer, and it’s getting hot..I know. But doesn’t this just bring you back to the fall a little bit, beautiful carbs…cough…I mean bread. Everyone has their faults…mine just happen to be chocolate and flour :) bananacrunch1

Banana Swirl Crunch Bread 
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (or 3 small)
5 tbsp. butter, melted
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1 cup milk
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/8th tsp salt

2 tbsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. sugar

1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Mix together the 2 tbsp of cinnamon and 3 tsp of sugar in a small bow
3. I liked to line my pan 9×5 (or 1 lb) with parchment paper, but if you rather not, just grease and flour your bread pan well.
4. In a large bowl, combine the egg, butter,vanilla, and sugar.
5. Mix in the milk and bananas with a whisk. Then add your flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring until smooth.
6. Pour half of the batter into the pan, sprinkle with 2 tbsp of the cinnamon sugar, and make swirling motions with a fork or a knife
7. Add the remaining batter, then sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar on top and gently press down.
8. Bake for 20 minutes at 400, then turn down the heat to 350 for another 2o minutes or until your toothpick comes out clean.bananacrunch3

White Wine Stroganoff

WhiteWineStroganoff1Stroganoff has been one of my favorite comfort meals fo—eva. That’s what Sunday’s are for right? Your favorite guilty meals??! Well, this one isn’t too guilty, just super delicious. Strange how as kids we have such different taste than we do as adults. I used to loath mushrooms and onions, and now I find myself wanting to put them in as many dishes as possible. Such savory ingredients for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

This meal is less about it being a pasta dish and really all about the sauce. Slow cooked mushrooms, onions, garlic, and wine melded together make it a delicate sauce that will leave you grasping at every last drop. The longer you let the onions and mushrooms simmer the more fragrant and flavorful the sauce, but if you don’t have the time, it can also be a quick 15-20 minute dish.

Typically the dish uses steak strips, or ground beef, but I reached out a little differently and used spicy sausage this time. I love steak, but the sausage with the heat was a great change-up. Modern Stroganoff also uses sour cream stirred in at the end giving its creamy trademark, but classic Stroganoff however does not. The trade-off of using wine instead of the sour cream allows you to soak out the savory, rich textures and flavors that the white wine pulls out of the ingredients.

WhiteWineStroganoff2

White Wine Stroganoff- serves 2

1/2 lb cooked hot sausage ( feel free to substitute in ground beef or steak)

1/4 cup of yellow onion, thinly sliced

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

1 clove of garlic

2 Tbsps butter

1 oz of white wine (I just do a bar pour here if you don’t have a jigger)

1/4 cup of milk + 1 tbsp flour whisked in (you can also substitute cream or half-and-half)

1/4 cup beef broth

s/p to taste

1 Tbsp parsley

2 Tbsp chopped kale

2 cups of uncooked pasta

 

Instructions
1. Slice your onions and mushrooms, add them in a saute pan with butter, garlic, and 1/8 tsp of both salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes.
2. Add the sausage (or beef) along with the beef broth. Let this cook for 10 minutes on medium-low.
3. Add the white wine to the mushroom mix, cook for another 10 minutes. Start to boil your water for your pasta at this point, and cook the pasta.
4. Add the parsley,kale, and milk to the saute pan, make sure you don’t let it get past simmer or the milk/cream will curdle. Cook for 2-3 minutes
5. Your pasta should be about ready at this point, drain the pasta, reserving a couple of tablespoons of the water, add the water and pasta to the pan and cook on medium for 2-3 more minutes. I like to sprinkle a little cheese over the top, turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan to melt the cheese before serving.

**If you’re in a rush combine the wine and broth, cook together for 10 minutes instead of one at a time.

Baked Eggs

one1

I love eggs. Every weekend, eggs are a part of my breakfast in some fashion. It’s a great source of protein, and the perfect extra power-up for my morning weekend workouts.
My favorite thing about making eggs, whether you make them alone or pair them with something else, is everything is interchangeable. You can eat them solo, or pair them with as little or few meats and veggies as you want. Don’t like spinach, don’t use it. Love sausage? Throw it in there. Extra cheese? No problem. I also use my little cheat here for prosciutto in this recipe. Since I use such a small amount, if I don’t have any prosciutto on hand, I’ll just crisp up some deli ham in a sauté pan for a perfect texturized crunch, and it also gives the ham a little smoky flavor too.

spinachI won’t cloud this up with chat, you’re hungry, and the day is ticking away.  You’re 15 minute decadent breakfast awaits you…
Ingredients
1/2 Tbsp. Butter
2 Tbsp. of Cream (or you can substitute milk)
1 Tsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Spinach
2 Tbsp. of Sliced Ham
2 Eggs
1 Tsp Parsley
1/8 Tsp Salt
1/8 Tsp Pepper
2 Tbsp. of Mozzarella Cheese

Directions
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a sauté pan, wilt your spinach with 1 tsp of olive oil.
3. Take your deli ham and slice it thinly to equal out 2 tbsp., and add it to the sauté pan with wilted spinach.
4. In a ramekin, spray with cooking spray, then add your butter, and cream (or milk), crisped ham. CAREFULLY crack your two eggs, not breaking the yolk. Top with salt, pepper, salt, and pepper, and top with cheese.
5. Place your ramekin, sitting in shallow pan with sides. Fill the shallow pan up with a little water so that it comes up to about an inch up on the sides of the ramekin.
6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
7. Serve with whole-grain toast, pefect for dipping the slightly running yolk and gooey cheese in!

 

 
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