Tag Archives: chicken

BBQ Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Potatoes

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Indulgent Flavors with a Healthy Twist

If you have been reading along with me (either this post or this post), then you know that I love BBQ sauce! I pretty much have to since I was born and raised in Texas, and because of that, baked or grilled BBQ chicken is a staple. A delicious staple. And even more delicious when you combine sweet and tangy BBQ chicken with crispy, salty bacon and cool, creamy ranch. Did I mention it was all dairy free and refined sugar free? Oh, and made in one pan, then stuffed inside a hot baked potato for minimal mess?! It just gets better and better! Flavors so delicious and indulgent, you wouldn’t know it was paleo and Whole30 compliant. Let’s get to the recipe, shall we?

BBQ Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Potatoes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 large russet or sweet potatoes
  • 2 lbs of chicken (if you have leftover meat from my Roasted Chicken with Carrots this would be the perfect use for it!)
  • 3/4 cup of compliant BBQ sauce (here is mine, and here is my favorite store bought brand)
  • 4 slices of compliant bacon
  • 1/2 of a red onion, thinly sliced
  • Six to eight mushrooms, sliced
  • Ranch dressing (here is mine , and here is my favorite store bought brand)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp pepper, divided
  • 2 tbsp of avocado oil
  • Optional toppings:
    • sliced avocado
    • chopped scallions
    • an extra drizzle of BBQ sauce

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Pierce potatoes several times with a fork
  • Place in oven to bake for about 45-60 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork
  • Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper (skip the next few steps if using leftover chicken meat)
  • Cook the chicken in avocado oil in a large pan, over medium-low heat
  • Once cooked through, shred or cube the chicken
  • Set aside
  • In the same pan, cook bacon until desired crispness
  • Set aside on paper towels to drain
  • Crumble bacon once cooled
  • In the same pan, place the sliced onions and mushrooms, season with remaining salt and pepper
  • Cover and cook over low heat until desired tenderness
  • Place cubed or shredded chicken back into the pan with the vegetables
  • Cover with BBQ sauce, stirring to make sure it’s evenly distributed, and cook until warm
  • By now, the potatoes should be done
  • Slice them open and fill with BBQ chicken/veggie mixture
  • Top with crumbled bacon, a generous helping of ranch, and any other desired toppings
  • Leftovers will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week

For more potato recipes, check out my Taco Stuffed Potatoes with Avocado Chipotle RanchOven Baked FriesCreamy Whole30 Mashed PotatoesMustard Potato Salad, and Roasted Potatoes.

I hope you enjoy this cozy and comforting, healthy, minimal-mess meal! It’s a win-win; happy family with satisfied taste buds and full bellies, and less time cleaning up after dinner! Get out of the kitchen and go relax…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

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Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

This post contains an affiliate link for Primal Kitchen’s Mayo. If you purchase using the link, it does not cost you anything extra, I will just receive a small commission. 

The Best Things in Life are Green

I think we can all agree that avocados are delicious and amazing. My husband used to not like avocados or guacamole! I know what you’re thinking…how could things work out between us?! I was convinced I had to change his mind. I did 😉 Now, he eats plain avocados as a side, or on a salad, and gets so excited when I make guacamole. He has especially taken a liking to my Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados. The funny thing is, he also used to not like chicken salad. Hmm…now I just have to convince him to like mushrooms.

If you read my Roasted Chicken with Carrots recipe then you will know I roast a whole chicken often. Since we are a small family of three, we always have plentiful leftovers from a whole chicken. One of my favorite dishes to make with the leftover meat is chicken salad; it’s so simple, and if you already have chicken on hand you don’t have to turn on the oven! If you use a great Whole30 approved mayonnaise like my Lemon Garlic Aioli or this one from Primal Kitchen (which is delicious and currently on sale!), it is full of healthy fats. Healthy fats are necessary for brain development in babies and children, and can actually aide in weight loss and reduce risk of heart disease in adults. So, basically, chicken salad combined with avocados…fatty, super delicious, heart disease reducing, brain healthy meal!

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Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of shredded chicken
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 small tomato, diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • Avocados (1/2 an avocado for each person eating)
  • Optional balsamic glaze:
    • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup raw honey

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl
  • Let chill for at least one hour
  • If making balsamic glaze, combine ingredients on stove and let simmer until it is reduced by half
  • Cut avocados in half and remove seed
  • Using a spoon, scoop out a little bit of avocado where the seed was to create a little “bowl”
  • Scoop the avocado half out of the skin using a spoon
  • Serve chicken salad inside the avocado “bowl”
  • Drizzle with balsamic glaze if desired *highly recommend*
  • Store leftovers covered in fridge for a week

If you have someone in your life who is either a chicken salad or an avocado hater, first of all, you don’t need that negativity in your life, but second of all, make them this and see if it can change their mind! Eat your healthy fats…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

Roasted Chicken with Carrots

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Money, Money, Money!

A hot topic when you’re trying to eat healthier is MONEY! How do you stay within a reasonable budget and feed your family well? It is not as hard as you may think; there are tons of creative ways to save money and stretch your dollar at the store. Healthy food doesn’t have to be expensive or pretentious. We’re about to get real here and talk… budget.

One of my favorite ways to save money is to buy a whole chicken. I roast it, we have leftovers for days, then I make broth with the bones. For our family of three, we can have four meals from one six pound chicken. Guess how much I paid for my last six pound chicken? $4.74!!! It was on sale for $.79 a pound! Add a $.79 bag of carrots and some potatoes (on average 2-4 dollars per five pound bag), and you’ve got a few healthy meals for under ten dollars! *insert happy dance here*

So was my cheap chicken organic and pasture raised? Unfortunately, no. While I want to be able to buy everything grass fed/pasture raised/organic, we are simply not able to do so on our budget. My husband is an E5 in the Marine Corps, and I am currently staying at home with our daughter; right now, we have a tight budget, but I am doing the best I can to feed our family healthy, real foods.

Don’t guilt yourself if you can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods, or if you have to dig through the “reduced” bin at the store; you’re doing the best you can for your family. What do you think is healthier: a “regular” chicken from the grocery store, or a bucket of Colonel Sanders’ chicken? The answer is obvious, and, actually cheaper! (4.74 vs a 20 dollar 10 piece bucket)

The bottom line is just do what is right for your family. If you can afford grass fed beef, pasture raised chicken, and organic produce, that’s wonderful and I’m a little jealous, but you should buy it! If you can’t, get what you can afford! I shop at our base commissary, Walmart, and Aldi; I use coupons, I buy in bulk (I bought a ten pound bag of chicken leg quarters yesterday for $5!), and I shamelessly dig through the “reduced” bin of frozen meat. All to save us money while still eating healthy. You know how people ask what you would do if you won a million dollars? Well, I would go to the grocery store and NOT get out my calculator! Big spender!

Okay, enough talk about budget, let’s get to the chicken. Some ideas for leftovers: shred and add sauces (like hot sauce or BBQ) to top baked potatoes or salads, make sandwiches, or chicken salad! Then be sure to save the bones for a nutritious, low sodium chicken broth for all the soups you’ll be making this fall! This chicken is simple, healthy, and cheap, and it makes the perfect centerpiece for either a weeknight or a nice Sunday meal. Add some of my Roasted Potatoes or Creamy Whole30 Mashed Potatoes for the side, and if you want more veggies other than carrots, try my Crispy Brussels Sprouts. There you have it; a simple, budget friendly, healthy, complete meal!

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Roasted Chicken with Carrots

Serves 10. 

Ingredients:

  • 5-6 pound chicken
  • One lemon, cut in half
  • One head of garlic, cut in half widthwise
  • Two stalks of celery, cut in half
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp kosher salt (I use kosher because it makes a better crust on the skin)
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 6-8 large carrots, quartered lengthwise

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425 F
  • Set quartered carrots on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish
  • Season with a little salt and pepper
  • Remove giblets and neck from bird, if necessary
  • Dry inside and out with paper towels
  • Season liberally inside and out with salt and pepper
  • Stuff the cavity with lemon, celery, and garlic
  • Season the outside with the dried herbs
  • Tie the ends of the drumsticks together with twine and tuck the ends of the wings into the bird
  • Set on top of bed of carrots
  • Roast for 70-90 minutes, until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F
  • Baste with juices
  • Let rest for 10-15 minutes

You will feel so fancy roasting a whole chicken, and it truly is a great way to save money. Not to mention, delicious! Feed your family well, keep your budget on track…and enjoy your pinch of crazy!

One Pan Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas

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Winner, Winner, One Pan Dinner

It has been fairly hectic in the Mills’ household lately, and recently we had one of those days. You know, one of those days that isn’t just a pinch of crazy, but a GENEROUS pinch [heaping tablespoon] of crazy. So what do you do for dinner on those generous pinch of crazy days? You could pick up fast food on the way home, halfway enjoying your questionable beef, and consequently regretting decisions dating back to 1997. (Just me?) Or you could make a one pan dinner!

All you need to prepare this spicy, satisfying, simple meal is: a cutting board, a knife, and either a big baking sheet or a 9×13 dish! You could even buy crisp, pre-chopped fajita veggies and cut out the chopping! I’m using a lot of adjectives and exclamation points because easy dinners (and easy clean ups) make me excited!!!

Actually, this “recipe” is so easy that I almost felt it wasn’t worth it to post, but I want to be authentic by showing that it doesn’t have to be extraordinarily expensive, difficult, or time consuming to feed your family healthy food. I wish I could be as fancy as some of the chefs I watch on TV (Top Chef is my guilty pleasure!), but in reality, I’m just a mom trying to get dinner on the table in under an hour, and trying to conceal my toddler’s vegetables in a thick blanket of guacamole.

Now, the seasoning on these fajitas is fairly bold, so if you know your family doesn’t do spicy, scale it back a bit. It’s adaptable to different seasonings, or even different veggies, because you kind of just dump everything together and toss it in the oven. It truly is perfect for those days, and you will feel good about feeding your family a healthy, home cooked meal. The leftovers are excellent with salad greens and my Dairy free Garlic Herb Ranch. 

If you have a busy day coming up, I hope you plan on making this dinner! Your budget and belly will thank you!

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One Pan Chicken and Shrimp Fajitas

Serves four or five, but great as leftovers for fajita salad.

Ingredients:

  • Three large chicken breasts, cut into slices
  • 1/2 pound shrimp
  • Three bell peppers, cut into strips
  • One onion, cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, plus a little more for shrimp
  • 1 tsp pepper, plus a little more for shrimp
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne
  • Lettuce wraps or tortillas for serving
  • Optional toppings
    • guacamole
    • salsa
    • cilantro
    • squeeze of fresh lime

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 while preparing meat and vegetables
  • Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper, set aside
  • Spray either a 9×13 pan or large baking sheet with cooking spray
  • Put all chopped vegetables and chicken on prepared pan
  • Drizzle evenly with olive oil
  • Sprinkle seasoning evenly over it all
  • Mix until oil and seasoning is evenly coating everything
  • Cook for 35 minutes
  • Place shrimp on top and cook for another 5-7 minutes until shrimp is pink
  • Serve with lettuce wraps or tortillas and top generously with guacamole and Spicy Garlic Salsa

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I hope these simple and quick fajitas free up your evening; less time cooking and cleaning means more time with family. Enjoy them…and enjoy your [generous] pinch of crazy!

 

 

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