BBQ Chicken Pizza

bbq chicken pizza

I was first introduced to “fancy” pizzas when I started working full-time right out of college. There happened to be a fantastic pizza place down the road with what seemed like an endless display of CRAZY delicious pizzas — everything from buffalo chicken ranch pizza to penne a la vodka pizza to Caesar salad pizza — how could I ever choose?! I was in pizza heaven. I could never imagine going back to plain old cheese pizza and luckily, when the hubby and I first started dating, there was another fancy pizza place a block from his apartment! Once we moved in together, we started making pizza at home as a quick (and healthier) solution to ordering out. When the hubby began cutting back on dairy in his diet, I came up with some pizza ideas that didn’t revolve around cheese. This BBQ chicken pizza is the recipe that I keep going back to — it’s quick, easy, and delicious!

The toppings on this pizza really impart so much flavor that you’ll never miss the cheese if you’re dairy-free or looking to cut more calories. Recently, I’ve been making the recipe half-and-half…that’s half with cheese and half without (my way of ensuring that I get my cheesy leftovers!). The tang of the BBQ sauce, the sweetness and bite of the red onion, and the heartiness of the chicken make for a satisfying weeknight meal. Just serve with a big side salad and you’re good to go.

bbq chicken pizza

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Spiralized Italian-Style Zucchini Noodles

spiralized italian style zucchini noodles

Pasta is definitely up there on my list of quick and comforting meals, but what if you could eat a bowl full of “pasta” with only a fraction of the calories? My latest (and new favorite) kitchen gadget makes it possible — the veggie spiralizer. This recipe was my first attempt at spiralizing for a main course and I was THRILLED with the results. The gadget creates beautifully curly ribbons of veggies that can be cooked in no time.

I used the “thick” side of the spiralizer to get linguine-type noodles and I used two zucchinis since this was a main dish, but one would work for a side dish. No peeling required, I just washed the zucchinis and spiralized them, then patted out the excess water on a paper towel.
spiralized italian style zucchini noodlesI cooked the noodles in a pan with olive oil and garlic, then sprinkled some Italian seasoning into the pan. The noodles cook really quickly, in about 5-7 minutes, and that’s IT! Way faster than traditional pasta and no need to boil water! Not to mention that this dish is naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and a totally fun way to add more veggies to your diet.
spiralized italian style zucchini noodlesI mixed my zucchini noodles with a little bit of margarine and topped with Parmesan cheese. Fantastic as a quick weeknight meal or side dish, and it can be bulked up with your choice of protein. I’m so obsessed with my new kitchen toy that you can definitely expect many more spiralized recipes in the future!

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‘Chicken Club’-style Chicken with Creamy Pesto Sauce

chicken club style chicken with creamy pesto sauceWhen the hubby and I come home from work, I usually ask him two questions:
1. “How was your day?” — generic, I know, and the answer is usually “busy”
2. “What did you have for lunch?” — this one gets a mixed response, ranging from egg salad to pulled pork sandwich to chicken and rice bowl.

Oh, the luxury of eating lunch in New York City every day. It’s something I’ve never experienced since I’ve been bringing lunch to my suburban office, well, forever. I’m not sure I would know what to do with all those food options! I realized that I really only order decadent lunches when I’m on vacation, and a chicken club sandwich is always at the top of my list. Maybe it’s the REAL bacon or the REAL mayo they use in the Caribbean, but that sandwich always tastes better when it’s ordered at the swim-up pool bar!

Since chicken seems to be our dinner protein of choice more often than not, I’m always trying to come up with creative chicken recipes. This time, I decided to bring the “chicken club sandwich” to our chicken dinner, thanks to fresh avocado, sweet tomato, smoky turkey bacon and creamy pesto drizzle. It tastes just like the real thing, minus the bread!

I baked the chicken, but you could easily throw it on the grill or grill pan. Roughly chop the topping ingredients, whip up the sauce, and you’ve got a light and easy weeknight meal that’s incredibly tasty!

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No-bake Key Lime Cheesecake Parfait with Lemon Oreo Crust

no-bake key lime cheesecake parfait with lemon oreo crust

I’ve had the biggest sweet tooth ever since I was little and I’ve never “grown out” of loving dessert. Visiting my grandmother in Brooklyn was really where dessert became a true “experience.” I used to love gazing into the dessert display at the diner, picking out the cake that looked the most decadent. When I was younger, I would go straight for anything chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. It wasn’t until recently that I started to love fruit-based desserts and put them on an even playing field with chocolate, thanks to my husband. In fact, the hubby says he knew I was “the one” when I brought him key lime pie bars (his all-time favorite) on our second date (adorable, right?!). Since then, I have a new-found love for citrusy desserts and this one combines key lime cheesecake with lemon Oreos…bright, tart, sweet and creamy all at the same time!

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Crockpot Shredded Salsa Chicken

crockpot shredded salsa chicken

I’ve been on a two-ingredient kick lately (i.e. for dessert), but a dinner recipe that’s only two ingredients AND cooked in the slow-cooker…am I dreaming?! I promise, this is the easiest recipe you’ll ever throw together for dinner and it’s incredibly versatile. Plus, I heard that salsa is one of the healthiest condiments out there, so this recipe is a win-win for sure! Place chicken in the slow cooker and top with the salsa of your choice, let it cook, then shred the chicken and mix it with the leftover salsa — that’s all there is to it! Due to the short cooking time (for a crockpot recipe), I like to whip up a batch over the weekend and keep it in the fridge to use for quick lunches and dinners throughout the week. I LOVE the shredded salsa chicken as a filling for tacos and I ate the leftovers in a salad the next day. Try a fruit-flavored salsa for a sweeter dish (my favorite is Trader Joe’s spicy, smoky peach salsa) or salsa verde. The shredded salsa chicken can be used as a base for a ton of different meals:

Salsa + chicken + tacos + toppings = Taco Tuesday

Salsa + chicken + iceberg lettuce + toppings = Mexican lettuce wraps

Salsa + chicken + romaine/spinach + toppings = Mexican chicken salad

Salsa + chicken + avocado + tomato + whole wheat wrap = Mexican chicken wraps

Salsa + chicken + mac and cheese = Mexican mac and cheese

Salsa + chicken + tortillas + cheese = salsa chicken quesadillas

No matter how you eat it, the salsa infuses the chicken with a ton of flavor and the little crispy burnt pieces are the best! The hubby even proclaimed that this was the best chicken I’ve ever made. Should I be insulted that I only used two ingredients and there was no real “cooking” involved? I think not…I’ll take what I can get 🙂
crockpot shredded salsa chicken

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Lemony seashell pasta with turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, mozzarella

lemony seashell pasta with turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, mozzarellaThere’s a distinct difference between fall/winter pasta and spring/summer pasta, and this recipe is refreshingly light and perfect for the warm weather. Fresh avocado and tomato balance out the smokiness of the turkey bacon while the cubed mozzarella provides a creamy bite. Forget the heavy marinara or cream sauces — the lemon and olive oil dressing serves a perfectly light sauce. This recipe would be great as a pasta salad side-dish (for a BBQ, let’s say), but we ate bowls of it for dinner. The hubby LOVED the fact that dinner didn’t include chicken (for once) and DID include bacon! lemony seashell pasta with turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, mozzarella

Is it just me, or are avocados the most finicky ingredient to work with, ever?! They’re either not ripe enough at all or over-ripe and turning brown…so frustrating! While I recently learned this little trick to finding perfectly ripe avocados, I really lucked out for this recipe — the avocado was perfectly ripe on the exact day that I wanted to make this recipe for dinner! I chalk it up to my “expert” grocery shopping skills…I bought an under-ripe avocado and let it sit for a day or two before determining it was soft enough to use. So, basically, the recipe revolves around the avocado. Just go with it…oh, and be sure to give the chopped avocado a quick squeeze of lemon to prevent it from turning brown!

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Lightened-up Confetti Cake

lightened up confetti cake

If there’s one thing in life that I love, it’s cake (and glitter, and the beach, and my hubby…but not in that order). Any kind of cake will do (I don’t discriminate), but there’s just something about digging into a sweet slice of cake and creamy frosting that makes me so happy!

If there’s one thing I don’t love, it’s dieting…aka NOT eating cake. So when I was trying to slim down for my wedding, I needed a way to have my cake and eat it too (literally) without completely de-railing all of my hard work. I had seen “healthier” cake recipes that called for diet soda — cola for brownie mix and clear soda for cake mix. While these work perfectly well, I don’t normally drink soda so I decided to swap it out for something that I always have in my fridge AND has zero added chemicals or additives…good old seltzer water. That’s right, forget about the oil and eggs — I give you permission to completely ignore the back of the cake mix box!
lightened up confetti cake
There are only 2 ingredients and 3 ridiculously easy steps to baking a lightened-up cake, and the recipe can be used for many cake mix flavors:
1. Mix together dry cake mix and seltzer (ignore the directions on the box)
2. Transfer to a baking dish
3. Bake for 30 minutes

That’s IT! The end result is an entire pan full of moist, fluffy cake and each serving is only 140 calories. Swimsuit season has never tasted so great! Continue reading