Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango

I’ve been seriously obsessed with mangoes this year.

Nearly every week for the past couple months, I’ve been piling them into my cart at the store, pressing and prodding each one to find one perfectly soft.

Every week I’d cut up miscellaneous fruit and mix it together for breakfast – sometimes cantaloupe, strawberries, pineapple, all kinds of different things.  But one thing remained constant – the mango.

And then I found this recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks – Mexican Everyday by Rick Bayless.  It’s insanely easy and uses one of my favorite fruits – mango.

I truly apologize for not posting this sooner – now it’s nearly then end of mango season.   So hurry up and go find some good, ripe mangos.  And make this dish before time runs out.

I think I’m going to make a big batch of this sauce and freeze it to use it all winter long….

One year ago: Guinness Milk Chocolate Ice Cream
Two years ago: Summer Bolognese and Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Spicy Baked Chicken with Mango
adapted from Rick Bayless and Mexican Everyday

1 tbsp vegetable oil
16 (1/4 oz total) dried arbol chiles, stemmed and seeded, or 2 (1/2 oz total) guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, peeled
4 medium tomatillos, husked, rinsed, and halved
2 boneless-skinless chicken breasts, fileted into cutlets
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 tbsp honey

To make the sauce: Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the chiles to the hot oil.  Turn occasionally until they are aromatic and have changed color slightly, about 30 seconds.  Scoop the chiles into a food processor, leaving behind as much oil as possible.  Add garlic and tomatillos to the hot oil.  Cook until well browned, turning halfway through.  Scoop into food processor, add a pinch of salt and blend into smooth.

Lay chicken out in a glass baking dish and preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and scatter the mango over the top.  Bake 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove chicken to a platter.  Scoop sauce and mango into food processor with honey.  Pulse a few times to combine.  Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.



Chicken and Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing

So here at the PLFF house we’ve been making a very conscious effort to eat a lot cleaner – we’ve done away with nearly all processed foods in our house.  We still have some ways to go, but we’ve taken leaps and bounds in the past few weeks.

And you know what?

It’s not that hard.

You choose better quality ingredients.

You actually taste your food.

You embrace the whole “less is more.”

And you find that at the end of the meal, you’re still satisfied.

And full.

And after several days without consuming anything processed, you start to notice.

You notice you’re  less tired and bloated.

You notice you have more energy, even though you haven’t had caffeine in days.

Then you wake up one day and realize you’ve drank the metaphorical kool-aid.  And there’s no going back.

And I’m ok with that.

Now don’t worry, that doesn’t mean we won’t still have cupcakes and whatnot around here. But you will be seeing a lot more clean eating recipes.

One year ago: Bug-themed cake and cupcakes
Two years ago: Taco Salad

Chicken and Edamame with Orange Ginger Dressing
courtesy of Confections of a Foodie Bride

1 cup brown rice, cooked
1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1/2 orange)
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
salt to taste
1 lb chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 cup shelled edamame
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1/2 an avocado, diced
small handful of cilantro, minced

While brown rice in cooking, whisk together orange juice, lime juice, ginger and salt.  Add salt to taste.

Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat with a drizzle of olive oil.  Add chicken and cook until browned and cooked through, about 5-6 minutes.  Add in edamame, bell pepper, and cooked rice.  Remove from heat.  Add dressing and stir to combine.  Spoon into bowls and top with avocado and cilantro.


Spice Rubbed Chicken and Spaghetti with Salsa Verde Cream Sauce

In the never-ending battle of good and evil, there’s always the constant dilemma – what to do with a pound of chicken breast?  No matter how long I blog and no matter how many blogs I follow, it seems like we can never get enough chicken recipes.  I think chicken breasts are one of the most common things in the average american’s fridge or freezer. And we’re always looking for another new and interesting recipe.    Well this recipe will certainly take its place amongst the ranks of go-to chicken recipes in the PLFF household.  It’s flavorful, creamy and definitely unique in our chicken repertoire.  Oh, and easy.  That always makes for a winner in this house.

Spice Rubbed Chicken and Spaghetti with Salsa Verde Cream Sauce
Courtesy of Cassie Craves, as seen on A Taste of Home Cooking

8oz spaghetti
1 lb chicken breasts
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup salsa verde
14.5 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup sour cream (I used reduced fat)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and set aside.

Combine spices in a small bowl and toss to combine.  Sprinkle over both sides of chicken breasts and rub.  Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side.  Remove from pan and cover with foil until ready to serve.

In the now empty skillet, heat the remaining 2 tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic, cooking until tender, around 5 minutes.  Add salsa, sour cream, and cilantro, stirring to combine.  Heat through.  Add drained pasta and stir to combine.  Spoon pasta onto serving plates and top with chicken.


BBQ Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Pizza

When my husband and I went on our honeymoon in Maui, we probably ate our weight in fresh pineapple. How could you not, you’re in the mecca of pineapple!  One morning we made the mistake of trying to eat an entire pineapple for breakfast.  It tasted wonderful, but it was so fresh and so acidic, that it literally burned the insides of our mouth.  Yet we kept eating.  Because we’re gluttons for punishment the pineapple was THAT good.

Only thing better than fresh pineapple is grilled fresh pineapple.  Love it with the spicy honey BBQ chicken, with the chicken pineapple quesadillas, and how it’s hit some of it’s shining glory – BBQ chicken, grilled pineapple, and PIZZA.  I’m a pretty firm believer that pretty much anything is better is pizza form.  And this pizza is true to form.  Amazing.  Get it on your menu before grilling season is over!

BBQ Chicken and Grilled Pineapple Pizza
adapted from Sing for Your Supper

1 batch pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
2 chicken breasts
3/4 cup BBQ sauce, divided
2 tbsp Ranch dressing
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into slices
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 375.  Preheat grill to medium heat.

Spread dough on pizza stone or pizza pan. Par-bake pizza dough for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper.  Grill over direct medium heat until juices run clear and chicken is cooked to temperature, basting with 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce.  Grill pineapple over direct heat, 2 minutes on each side.

Remove chicken and pineapple from grill, chop into small pieces.  Combine remaining BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.

Remove pizza dough from oven.  Spread BBQ sauce/ranch dressing mixture over pizza dough.  Top with half of the chopped chicken and pineapple.  Top with half of the cheeses.  Top with the remaining chicken and pineapple, followed by the remaining cheeses.  Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until crust is crispy and cheese is melted.  Top with cilantro.


One year ago: Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Chicken Parm Burgers


Chicken Parmesan is one of those things that we all love (don’t lie).  But our waistlines don’t love it – with the breaded piece of chicken, lots of ooey cheese, it’s not exactly figure friendly.  And therefore doesn’t really frequent the menu here at casa de PLFF.  So when I saw these burgers in Bon Appetit, I knew they were onto something.  Sure, there’s still bread.  Sure, there’s still ooey cheese.  But there’s much better portion control and doesn’t come with a side of additional pasta.  These burgers were super comforting and downright delicious.  Unlike their traditional counterpart, these will definitely be frequenting our weekly menus.  

One year ago: Blackened chicken over garlic lime pasta

Chicken Parm Burgers
inspired by Bon Appetit
1 loaf ciabatta bread, split and cut into 6 buns
4 tbsp minced fresh basil (about 6-8 leaves), divided
3/4 cup marinara sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 lb ground chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, grated
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced

Mix marinara and 2 tbsp of basil on a small saucepan and heat over low until warm.

Combine chicken, bread crumbs, 1/2 tbsp olive oil, onion, remaining basil, and salt in a medium bowl.  Shape into 6 patties.

Heat remaining olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick pan.  Cook patties until bottoms are crusty, about 4 minutes.  Turn patties over, cook an additional 3 minutes.  Top with cheese, cover, and cook an additional minute. 

Assemble burgers with ciabatta and top with warm marinara. 


Honey Grilled Chicken and Pineapple


We’ve already discussed my love of grilled pineapple.  It really is divine.  But combine it with chicken and a sticky sweet and spicy glaze?  Swoon!  This recipe has been in my book for quite some time, and I have no idea its origin.  All I know is that it’s quick and easy, sweet and spicy, and just downright delicious. 

So go throw it all on the grill, grab a margarita, sit out on the patio, and enjoy.  This is what summer is all about!

One year ago: Raspberry Lemonade Cupcakes

Honey Grilled Chicken and Pineapple
original source unknown

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup honey
1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp lemon juice
1 lb chicken breasts
1 pineapple, cored and sliced

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until translucent, about 6-8 minutes.  Add honey, chili powder and hot sauce, simmer for 1-2 minutes.  Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice.  Set aside, will thicken slightly.

Preheat grill to medium heat.  Grill chicken over indirect medium heat for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.  After flipping, brush glaze over chicken.  Flip again when finished cooking, glaze again. 

Grill pineapple for 4-6 minutes, until tender.  Brush with glaze.  Serve immediately with additional glaze.


Chicken Tequila Burgers


Chicken, lime and tequila are not a new combination here on PLFF, you’ve already seen my favorite Tequila Lime Chicken recipe.  So when I found ground chicken on sale, I remembered this recipe I had seen on Annie’s Eats that I’ve had saved forever.  It’s like my regular tequila chicken recipe with a few extra goodies added in and all rolled into a burger!  How could it not be good?

And in true Annie style, it certainly disappoint.  I was worried about the burger getting dry (it is ground chicken breast after all), but it was juicy and incredibly flavorful.  Will definitely be in our regular rotation, especially this summer.

One year ago: Skinny Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Chicken Tequila Burgers
adapted from Cara’s Cravings, as seen on Annie’s Eats

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
1 lb ground chicken breast
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
zest of 1/2 lime
1 oz tequila
dash of soy sauce
salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, sliced thin
burger buns

Preheat broiler.  Line baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush lightly with olive oil.  Combine garlic, jalapeno, ground chicken, cilantro and lime zest in a large bowl.  Add in tequila, soy sauce, salt and pepper, and panko.  Mix ingredients by hand until just mixed through.  Form mixture into 4 patties and place on prepared baking sheet. 

Broil burgers for around 12 minutes, flipping halfway through (6 minutes on each side), check for doneness before serving. 

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a small sauté pan.  Add bell peppers and sauté until they start to soften.  Add onions and sauté an additional 5-7 minutes.  Top burgers with onion and pepper mixture. 


“Jailbird” Fried Chicken (aka, Friendly\’s Fried Chicken)


Chef Jeff Henderson is such an amazing inspiration.  Don’t know Chef Jeff?  You should.  He’s the mastermind behind the Chef Jeff Project, where he took at-risk kids and put them to work in his own catering company.  Or maybe you’ve seen his memoir, Cooked, about his journey through selling cocaine and doing time in prison to being the executive chef at Cafe Bellagio in Las Vegas.  Or maybe you’ve seen his recent cookbook, Chef Jeff Cooks.  In addition to all of his motivational and inspirational speaking engagements.

A client first introduced me to Chef Jeff (not personally, but told me about his book).  I was intrigued from the get-go.  How could I not be, it combined the two things that interest me most in this world – criminals and cooking.  I ran home and bought Cooked online and had it read cover to cover in less than a week.  It’s so much more than just your average “triumph over tragedy” kind of story.  Chef Jeff is a brilliant writer and makes anyone believe in the power or determining your own destiny.  He completely inspires me.  And any chance I get, I let interested clients borrow his book so he can continue to inspire others.  Inspiration is something my clients don’t get much of.  But they can relate to him.  And by the end of the book, they, like so many others, respect him and are inspired to work as hard as he did to overcome their bad decisions in life. 

I joked earlier this week about wanting to have drinks with Paula Deen or oogle Curtis Stone in person, but if I really got the opportunity to meet one chef of my choice, it would certainly be Chef Jeff.

And it was actually Chef Jeff that inspired the whole idea behind my Green Mile in the Mile High menu for Foodbuzz’s 24×24.  As he shares in Cooked, he learned his favorite fried chicken recipe when he was incarcerated and working in the kitchen in prison.  He served that same fried chicken recipe in a buffet he ran at one of his restaurants and everyone raved that it was the best fried chicken they had ever had.  If that fried chicken could survive Vegas, I knew it would be the perfect inspiration for this entire menu.

And boy, was it.  This was hands down the best fried chicken I’ve ever eaten.  Ever.  And most of the guests agreed.  The skin was perfectly crispy, the flavor was a total knock-out, and the chicken was still so incredibly juicy.  We don’t make fried chicken often, but wow, I’ve certainly found my go-to recipe for when I do make it!

So moral of the story – go to Amazon or to the library and get Cooked.  Read it and be inspired.  He includes the friend chicken recipe in the book, so you don’t even have to print it off here.  But when you’re done reading the book, make this chicken.  You won’t regret either decision.

Cook’s note: I more than tripled the recipe for our big party.  But the recipe below is just for approximately 4 people.

One year ago: Deviled eggs and Thyme potatoes au gratin

“Jailbird” Fried Chicken (aka, Friendly’s Fried Chicken)
adapted from Chef Jeff Henderson (and Friendly)

3/4 cup ground black pepper
1/3 cup kosher salt
3 tbsp garlic powder
3 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp cayenne pepper
2 cups all purpose flour
3-4 lbs bone in chicken drumsticks or thighs
1 cup buttermilk
canola or peanut oil

To make spice mix, combine pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne.  Divide in half and set aside.

Coat chicken in half of the spice mixture.  Coat in buttermilk and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. 

When ready to fry,* heat oil in cast iron skillet to 375.  Gently drop chicken and fry, turning once, for about 12-14 minutes, or until internal temp reaches at least 165. 

* for the large amount of chicken we did, I used a deep turkey fryer.  Heated the oil to 375, dropped in several pieces of chicken at a time for about 12 minutes. 


Another round with Jose Quervo….


Oh wait, it happened again.  I found myself staring in the freezer at several freezer bags with a pound of chicken breast in each.  Wondering yet again what to make.  After my usual skim through Google Reader and the stack of recipes I’ve pulled out of magazines, I was still feeling uninspired.  I was already making several new recipes last week, wanted to go back to something familiar. 

I pulled out my standby cookbook full of family recipes and realized that even though I’ve made it eleventy million times, I’ve never blogged this recipe.  I’m not sure how this is possible, as I make it several times a year, and nearly weekly in the summertime.  It is such a flavorful marinade but also goes with just about anything as side dishes.  Often we’ll just grill a bunch over the weekend to have on hand during the week to throw in salads, on a sandwich, etc.

Oh and I always have everything on hand that goes in this marinade.  Pretty much all out of the pantry.  And the liquor cabinet.  Ok, and the fridge but I always have limes and lime juice in the fridge so that hardly counts. 

One year ago: Brunch Stuffed Peppers and Pasta Bolognase

Tequila Lime Chicken
Original recipe source unknown

1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup water
3 tbsp tequila
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
3-4 chicken breasts

Combine marinade ingredients and add chicken.  Marinade for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.

Preheat grill to medium.  Grill chicken over direct medium heat for approximately 12 minutes or until internal temp reaches 170 degrees.


Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas


These quesadilla have been popping up all over the blogosphere (I might have just made that word up) and when a recipe becomes this popular this quickly, it’s always worth paying attention to.  And boy, does it have my attention now!  It was super easy to throw together, even on a weeknight, it contains one of my most favorite things (grilled pineapple) and it was just plain good.  Simple recipes = simple pleasures in life, at least in my life.  This recipe will definitely frequent our menu in the summertime.

Note: I followed the recipe pretty loosely with a lot of eyeballing.  Check out the original recipe for more details if you need them.

One year ago: Chicken and Corn Chili and Caramel Pie

Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas
adapted from Pioneer Woman and seen on the Novice Chef Blog
yields 4 large quesadillas

1 large chicken breast, butterflied into cutlets (a little less than 1lb of chicken)
1 small pineapple, cut into strips (Novice Chef also has a great pineapple cutting tutorial, this is how I have always cut pineapple and it really is the fastest way!)
1 small handful of cilantro, chopped
about 1 1/2 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce, divided
4 large tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar/Monterey jack blend

Preheat grill to medium heat.  Once chicken breast is fileted, season with salt and pepper.  Grill over medium heat, basting with BBQ sauce.  Grill about 8-10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 170.  Set aside to cool slightly.  Once cooled, dice chicken into bite sized pieces. 

Add pineapple strips to the grill, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until pineapple is just tender.  Remove and set aside to cool slightly.  Chop into a fine dice.  Reduce grill heat to medium low.

Combine diced chicken, pineapple, and cilantro in a medium bowl.

Heat tortillas in the microwave for just a few seconds to make them pliable.  Sprinkle cheese on one half of the tortilla.  Top with chicken and pineapple mixture.  Drizzle a little more BBQ sauce over the top of the chicken mixture.  Top with more cheese.  Fold tortilla over in half and set aside on a sheet tray.  Repeat with remaining tortillas and chicken mixture.

Grill each quesadilla over medium low heat for about 5 minutes total, flipping halfway through, or until quesadillas are heated through and cheese is melted.  Cut in half and serve.