Recent Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Chicago Chopped Salad

My friend, Tiffany made this salad for us last summer at a get-together.  It is the perfect summer dinner.  I'm usually the kind of person that eats salad because it's good for me, not because I love salad.  BUT, I love this salad.  Probably because with the bacon and the yummy dressing it's not all that good for me anymore, but that is beside the point.  It made me, a non-salad-lover, love a green salad.  The best part about this recipe is that there are no specific measurements, so if you like a lot of pasta--add a lot of pasta and if you're going for a lighter salad for a side dish go easy on the pasta and heavy on the Romaine.  Just make it yours--I promise you can't mess it up.  And don't even think about leaving out the blue cheese--it's what puts this salad over the top.  (I know a lot of people don't like blue cheese, but just a couple of crumbles give it tons of flavor, so promise me you'll try it? Pretty please?)  If you want everyone at a potluck to love you, make this.  Or, you can be like me and make it and hoard it in your fridge and eat it for lunch and dinner for 3 consecutive days...   

P.S. This dressing also makes a fabulous dipping sauce for chicken tenders!

Chicago Chopped Salad


Romaine hearts, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Green onions
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Grilled chicken 
Ditalini pasta; cooked, drained, and rinsed in cold water
Blue cheese

For the Dressing:
Ranch Dressing (your favorite kind--we happen to like the Hidden Valley Ranch packets)
Honey mustard dressing (your favorite kind--Ken’s is great, but I also like the Great Value one)
Dijon mustard to taste


I like to start off by grilling the chicken and baking the bacon--that way you can do lots of chopping while you’re waiting on those babies.    

For the dressing, combine equal parts of ranch and honey mustard dressings.  Add dijon mustard to taste.  (I added about 1 Tablespoon per cup of ranch).  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine as much or as little as you like, of each of the first 7 ingredients listed.  Toss the dressing with the salad and serve immediately.  If you are anticipating leftovers or don’t intend to eat it all in one day, dress each serving individually and the salad will keep for a couple of days in the fridge without the dressing.  

Recipe Source: My friend, Tiffany J., who got the recipe from a friend in Chicago.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Mango, Corn, and Black Bean Salsa

With Cinco de Mayo approaching, mangoes are on sale here this week and I can't get enough.  Do I really know much about Cinco de Mayo? No.  But for me, as every holiday is, it is an excuse to have a party and eat yummy food! So to make myself feel a little less guilty for the pigging out that I'm sure I'll do on Saturday, I did a little research.  So, in case you are wondering too, here is a little tidbit on Cinco de Mayo: It is often confused with Mexican Independence day, which is the 16th of September.  Rather, Cinco de Mayo is the anniversary of the Battle of the Puebla, which was fought between the French and the Mexicans in 1862.  The Mexicans were definitely the underdog in the situation.  Their forces were dramatically outnumbered, but they managed to come out on top after only a 4-hour battle.  So there you have it.  The underdogs won and that right there is reason enough for me to celebrate!  

Back to the food...

Mangoes have always been one of my most favorite fruits.  I was trying to think of something to go with some enchiladas that I made and I thought this would be perfect.  And it was.  It totally hit the spot.  I love the freshness, the sweetness, and the color that this salsa added to our meal.  I sometimes struggle with what to serve as a side when we eat Mexican food.  Yesterday we served it with chips, but it also makes a fabulous Latin-style side dish.  Forget the authenticity of rice and beans, this is superb just served as a salad--and easily tossed with a little brown rice or quinoa.  Too bad there were no leftovers...      

Mango, Corn, and Black Bean Salsa/Salad
Printable Version


2-3 roma tomatoes, diced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen sweet corn, rinsed
1-15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 green onions, sliced
2 tablespoons lime juice
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper


Combine all ingredients in bowl.  Refrigerate salsa for at least 3 hours before devouring.   

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chicken Fajitas {My Way}

I love me some chicken fajitas!  About a month ago, my husband and I discovered our preferred way to have guacamole, and it, along with this fajita seasoning makes these chicken fajitas beyond fabulous! I'm addicted to say the least. We had these on the menu for 3 weeks in a row before I decided to back off a little and make them every other week for a little more variety!  :)

Seriously, the fajita seasoning really gives the chicken and peppers the perfect flavor!  Served on top of a flour tortillas piled with cheddar cheese, green onions, fresh cilantro, sour cream and a dollop (or two, or three) of guacamole these are just it! I'm writing this right before bed and I'm tempted to go make them now! The picture is making me salivate!  

Okay, I'll stop, if you promise to try them! I just know you'll love them too!

P.S. If you haven't planned your Cinco de Mayo meal check out these other recipes for some ideas of what to make. 
Main Dish
Chicken Fajitas (this post)  (with this Fajita Seasoning)
Fajita Seasoning

Chicken Fajitas {My Way}
Printable Version
1 pound chicken breasts
½ medium yellow onion, sliced in half moons
½ green pepper, sliced in long strips
½ red pepper, sliced in long strips
2-3 tablespoons fajita seasoning (see recipe on this blog)
2 tablespoons olive oil, separated

In a large non-stick skillet add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Over medium-high heat cook onion 1-2 minutes until partially translucent. Add red and green peppers and continue to cook 5-8 minutes until onions and peppers are bite tender.  Remove onion/pepper mixture from skillet and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and place chicken breast(s) in skillet, cover and cook on medium (or medium-low) until partially cooked on one side, flip and partially cook on the other side.  Remove chicken from pan and place on a cutting board. Cut chicken into strips and place back in the pan and cook chicken until no longer pink and juices run clear. 

Add the peppers back to the pan with the chicken. Add ⅓ cup water and 2-3 tablespoons of fajita seasoning to taste. Let simmer 1-2 minutes until thick and seasoning is evenly distributed. 

Serve fajita mix inside of warm tortillas with cheese, green onion, cilantro, guacamole, and sour cream. 


Recipe Source: Lu, from this blog! :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fajita Seasoning Mix

I've mentioned before in my post about our homemade taco seasoning that we outlawed buying packaged taco seasoning......this is now true for fajita seasoning too!  We like it so much more then the packets you find in the grocery store, and the best thing is that I always have all these seasonings on hand. I usually make a few batches of this recipe and keep it in a storage contained in the cupboard with the rest of my spices.  

It's a cinch to whip up even if you don't have some sitting in the cupboard ready to use.   It literally only takes a few minutes. 

I hope you enjoy this flavor with your fajitas as much as we do!  

Stay tuned this week for my favorite way to make chicken fajitas! They go great with homemade guacamole!   Happy Cinco de Mayo this weekend!

Fajita Seasoning Mix
Printable Version
Yield: about 10 teaspoons
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin

Combine the above ingredients in a small bowl or container and use as needed in recipes that call for fajita seasoning.

Recipe Source:  lightly adapted from

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

{Easy Squeezy} Guacamole

I just started liking guacamole in the last few months. I think the reason why is that I've almost always had store bought guacamole, which can be absolutely disgusting.  I was reading the ingredient label on a package of guacamole made by one of our local grocers produce department. There was about 30 ingredients, a lot of which were junk.  I could taste all the junk, and that's why I even looked at the ingredients. 

Anyhow, enough of my blabbing, I am a guacamole snob!

So after years of not being too fond of avocados and thus, guacamole, I've come out of this funk after making my own homemade version that is fresh and tasty (oh, and easy squeezy)!

What I love about this recipe is it is simple, 6 ingredients, and it's really fast!  The best part is the taste (it better be, right?), I absolutely love the lime juice, it give it the perfect kick that keeps me coming back for more.    

We love this on tacos, taco salad, fajitas, burritos, or simply with tortilla chips.  Stay tuned this week for my favorite fajita seasoning recipe and chicken fajita recipe in honor of Cinco de Mayo!   

{Easy Squeezy} Guacamole


2 medium avocados, peeled and pitted
½ fresh lime, juiced (more to taste, if desired)
⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon onion powder
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste) or ⅛ teaspoon taco seasoning
⅛ teaspoon garlic salt


In a small bowl add avocados and mash with a fork to the desired consistency. I like my guacamole pretty smooth.

Add juice from half a lime, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and garlic salt. Mix to incorporate.

Serve with tortilla chips, or have on tacos, taco salad, fajitas, or in 7-layer bean dip, etc.

Recipe Source: Lu, from this site! :)  

Original photo (updated other pictures 4/6/16)
It's fun to see how my food photography has changed.