Kevin’s Thai Larb

Move over taco Tuesday, I have a new favorite, easy weeknight meal.  This Kevin’s Thai Larb was greeted with praise this week.  If you aren’t familiar with larb, it is a meat salad typical of Thai or Laotian cooking that is primarily a ground meat (chicken, beef, or  pork) that is seasoned with a bunch of fresh herbs, onions, and chilies. While authentic larb includes a ground rice, I have omitted this ingredient to keep the dish keto and paleo friendly.

I used Kevin’s Natural Foods Cilantro Lime Sauce as my main seasoning since it had so many of the flavors you would typically find in larb. Pulling together this one pot meal was so quick. Once the ground chicken is cooked, simply mix in the Kevin’s Natural Foods Cilantro Lime Sauce, chopped red onion, green onion, and mint for a slightly spicy and fresh entrée. Serving the larb in lettuce cups adds to the fun of meal.

I’m grateful for the ability to participate in the Kevin’s Natural Food challenge as I and my family have become hooked on these sauces! I will be sure to keep both Kevin’s Natural Food Korean BBQ Sauce and Kevin’s Natural Food Cilantro Lime Sauce on hand.

You can find all of Kevin’s Natural Food products at the following sites:




Kevin’s Thai Larb

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • One, 7 ounce packet of Kevin’s Natural Foods Cilantro Lime Sauce
  • 1 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 12 butter lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry

In a large skillet over medium -high heat, brown the ground chicken.  Once cooked through, drain excess liquid. Add the packet of Kevin’s Natural Foods Cilantro Lime Sauce to the skillet and stir to coat.  Remove from the heat and stir in the red onion, green onions, and mint. To serve, scoop some of the larb into a butter lettuce leaf and eat.  Makes four servings (three lettuce servings of larb each).


Parsley & Turmeric Chicken

In the May issue of Better Homes & Gardens there was a method of cooking chicken that intrigued me – baking chicken starting from a cold oven.  The magazine article was adamant that the result was perfectly cooked, tender chicken.  Since I am currently living in an apartment without a grill, I thought I would give it a try.


  Rather than try one of the seasoning blends discussed in the magazine, I concocted my own blend.  A few weeks earlier I had bought jarred turmeric in a local store on an impulse and have been waiting to use it.  One of my favorite recipes for chicken involves turmeric ( from Steve Raichlen’s book Planet Barbecue,  Chicken Brochette in the Style of Fez), so it was a natural starting point for  my seasoning.  For my Parsley & Turmeric Chicken, I added a bit of Mrs. Dash Table Blend, salt, pepper, and cream to make my coating. A quick dunk in the coating and my chicken was ready for the cold-oven test.

Sure enough, my chicken was ready in 30 minutes and was amazingly tender (though I do recommend testing based on final temperature since ovens vary).  I will most certainly use this baking method again.  I highly recommend that you give it a try!

Parsley & Turmeric Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons turmeric paste
  • 1 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon half and half
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken

In a large glass bowl, mix together the first 7 ingredients.   Coat a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray, then coat the chicken with the turmeric sauce and place in the baking dish.  Place the baking dish in a cold oven. Heat the oven to 450 °F and bake the chicken for 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 °F.

Note: Turmeric stains (it is what makes mustard yellow!).  This includes metal baking sheets, so a glass baking dish is recommended.


Chipotle Chicken Crantada

Chipotle Chicken Crantadas

My family LOVES tacos. It seems like we easily eat them once a week, but we do venture out to other Mexican fare.  These Chipotle Chicken Crantadas are a dish I created for a contest about a decade ago, though I have revamped it some since then.  This dish is a summery version of a tostada, where refried beans are swapped for a corn spread, and the salsa features dried cranberries.  The sweetness of the cranberries is offset by the smokiness of the chipotle sauce on the shredded chicken.  

Maybe it is time we switch to a weekly Chipotle Chicken Crantada night!

Chipotle Chicken Crantada

Chipotle Chicken Crantadas

 2 tablespoons jarred, diced chipotle
16 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
 2 lbs fresh,boneless, skinless chicken breasts
 1 cup  plain greek yogurt
4 cup frozen, super sweet corn, thawed
1 t salt
1 t garlic
 2 avocado, pitted and chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup dried cranberries
6 ounces queso fresco, crumbled
8 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
4 Tablespoons lime juice
 16 Tostada shells
 2 Cups shredded green cabbage (coleslaw mix)
In a  large bowl mix together chipotle chilies, and cranberry sauce.
 Add a small amount of the sauce to the bottom of a 4 quart crock pot, place the chicken breasts on top, then cover with the rest of the sauce.  Cook on low 4-5 hrs (or on high for 2-3 hrs).  
Just before serving time, prepare the corn spread. Add the yogurt, corn, salt, and garlic to a food processor, and process until a smooth spread forms.   
To make the avocado-cranberry salsa, mix the avocado, onion, dried cranberries, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime juice in a medium bowl, until evenly combined. 
When the chicken is ready, shred the chicken in the crock pot, and stirring to make sure the sauce is evenly distributed.  To plate the crantadas, place 1/16 of the corn spread onto each of the tostadas, layer with equal amounts of the shredded cabbage, and then equal amounts of the shredded chicken.  Top each tostada with equal amounts of the avocado-cranberry salsa and serve.


avocado sandwich

Chicken & Avocado Sandwich

I can’t believe it is already time for school again.  I feel like summer just disappeared! Now that I will have to pack lunches for my kiddos, I have been experimenting with healthy options that will keep them fueled for the day.

avocado sandwich

For example, in my bento box for this post I packed snap peas, strawberries, blueberries, and a Chicken and Avocado Sandwich.  Adding the avocado to the sandwich is more than just a creamy layer – the good fat is beneficial for the absorption of other vitamins and minerals. The chicken and cheese provide protein and calcium, whereas the whole grain bread adds complex carbohydrates and fiber.  I’m hoping this will be a satisfying and well received lunch!

avocado sandwich

Chicken & Avocado Sandwich

2 slices of whole grain bread
½ medium sized avocado
2 ounces cooked, sliced chicken breast or chicken lunch meat
1 tablespoon mustard
1 ounce slice of provolone cheese

Toast the bread, then spread the avocado on one side of each piece of bread. Lay the chicken evenly over the avocado on one slice, spread the mustard over the top, and add the provolone cheese.  Then place the other piece of toast, avocado side down, on top. Serve.


Chicken Tinga Sloppy Joes

Chicken Tinga Sloppy Joes

The Del Real recipe challenge deadline was extended a few days, so I took advantage of the extra time and created another entry.  I decided to try a unique version of a kid favorite classic – the sloppy joe.  Instead of the usual ground beef and tomato-based sauce, I used Del Real’s Chipotle Chicken Tinga.  To create a sweet & spicy sandwich I stirred in a bit of avocado and mango and added a slice of pepper jack cheese to each sandwich.  The mix-ins also helped to tame the spiciness of the chipotle for the younger crowd.

Chicken Tinga Sloppy Joes

I have really enjoyed trying the different flavors of ready-to-eat products Del Real offers.  While I didn’t have time to finish creating a third recipe with their shredded beef, I was impressed with the flavor as it tasted as if I had ordered it in a restaurant.

The contest has netted quite a few tasty looking recipes – you can view and vote for your favorite on the Del Real Contest website!

Chicken Tinga Sloppy Joes

Chicken Tinga Sloppy Joes

16 ounce package Del Real Chipotle Chicken Tinga
½ cup diced yellow mango
1 Hass avocado, peeled and diced
4 good quality hamburger buns, split
Four, 0.75 ounce pepper jack cheese slices

Heat Del Real Chipotle Chicken Tinga in microwave according to package directions.  Add to a large bowl and shred large pieces of chicken.  Add the mango and avocado to the chicken and stir to combine.  Evenly place the chicken mixture on the bottom slices (cut side up) of all four buns.  Add one slice of pepper jack cheese on top of each mound of chicken, then top each sandwich with the top half of the bun (cut side down) and serve.


Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken

A few weeks ago I attended a goodbye dinner for a client. The mealtime banter was light and fun, and at one point turned to the grocery shopping habits of another client in attendance.  It turns out that despite that fact that his Denver field assignment is without his family, he can’t seem to pry himself from buying what he referred to as the “pillowcase” sized bag of broccoli and other warehouse goodies from Costco.  This means he eats a lot of the same meals, over and over.

I joked that I should write one of my blog posts on seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week. While said in jest, it sounded like a good challenge to me, just one I will write over two postings to keep you in suspense.

The first step was to buy a bag of broccoli at Costco.  It really is nearly the size of a pillow, but the price is fantastic so I can see the draw of purchasing the mammoth bag.  I must admit it is a lot for my family of four to get through in a timely fashion, so I can’t imagine trying to do so by myself.

Broccoli and Chicken

One of the ways we have enjoyed eating the broccoli is in a Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken Saute.  Equal parts of quickly boiled broccoli and cooked chicken chunks are slathered in a butter sauce that has a generous amount of fresh garlic, ricotta, and lemon pepper seasoning stirred in it.  The recipe I share below calls for cooking the chicken from scratch, but if you have leftover baked or grilled chicken (or even pork) it can easily be substituted.  

Broccoli and Chicken4

I’m counting the Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken as dish one. Two other broccoli dishes I would recommend are:

Tune in next month for the remaining four recipes of the seven different ways to eat broccoli in a week!

Lemon & Ricotta Broccoli and Chicken

¼ cup +2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken, chopped in 3/4 inch cubes
1 pound fresh broccoli florets
2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
2 teaspoons lemon pepper salt
¼ cup ricotta


Melt the ¼ cup butter in a large saute pan.  Add the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is cooked throughout and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a 3 quart pan. Add the broccoli to the water and boil for 5 minutes, or until florets are bright green and begin to get tender; drain, place in a large bowl, and set aside.  Remove the chicken from the saute pan and add to the broccoli.  Add the remaining butter to the saute pan, then once it is melted add the garlic to the saute pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until begin to brown. Stir in the ricotta and lemon pepper until the ricotta is mixed in, then pour over the chicken and broccoli.  Stir to coat, and then serve warm with rice, if desired.

Note: If you prefer to steam your broccoli, you can substitute broccoli that has been steamed for 5 minutes for the boiled version


Cashew Chicken Salad

Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

I love cashews.  I think they are my favorite nut, perhaps because they had a seat at our holiday get-togethers growing up.  My grandfather would set them out in a bowl where the adults had gathered and I couldn’t resist snagging a few for myself.  They are perfectly salty and creamy, and I find it disappointing that there are so few when you have a container of mixed nuts.

This Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados is a result of merely wanting – and buying – a copious amount of cashews.  I figured it was better to incorporate some into a dish rather than scarfing them down by myself.  We often eat chicken salad in my house for lunch, so why not shake it up a bit and make a cashew chicken rendition?

Cashem Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

A bit of soy sauce, ginger, and rice vinegar added to mayonnaise form the creamy dressing, and cashews, green onions, orange pepper, and water chestnuts add just the right amount of texture, crunch and flavor to the chicken salad. Serving the salad as a stuffing to avocados was just another fun way to break out of the lunchtime rut.

Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

I served the Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados with some rice noodles and cashews on the side so that my family could add as much or as little as they wanted.  The dish was an instant hit, even with my two little kids. Lunchtime success!

Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

P.S. If your New Year’s resolution has you trimming fat from your diet, try the Cashew Chicken Salad over arugula instead of avocados (though note that avocados pack a lot of nutrients, so they shouldn’t be vilified for their fat content!) . My husband and I thought this was just as yummy over greens (plus I was out of avocados after the photos seen here and the salad was requested again by the hubby).

Cashew Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados

12.5 ounce canned chicken, drained
4 green onions, diced
¼ cup diced orange pepper
1/3 cup salted cashew pieces
¼ cup diced water chestnut
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
4 large, ripe avocados
Crispy rice noodles (optional)
Additional cashews (optional)

Add the canned chicken, onions, pepper, cashew pieces, and water chestnuts to a large bowl; set aside.  In a separate, small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, soy sauce, vinegar, and ginger until a smooth sauce forms. Pour the sauce over the chicken mixture and stir to coat and mix the ingredients well. Slice the avocados in half lengthwise, remove the pits and then place the sliced avocados cut side up.  Evenly divide the chicken mixture between the avocados, stuffing the pit cavity.  Serve with rice noodles or additional cashews, if desired.



Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup

In the winter months my family is a huge fan of soup. It is an easy, warm meal that we enjoy for both lunch and dinner, plus it is one of the best ways to get my kids to eat a variety of vegetables in one sitting. Typically, my go-to recipe is chicken soup, starting with homemade stock using leftover rotisserie chicken. These days I often use rice instead of noodles, to make the soup gluten free (and because it is an easy leftover addition). This month I decided to change it up a bit and added both wild rice blend and mushrooms, resulting in a hearty and stew-like consistency Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom5

It is so good that sometimes I am torn between packing it up for my weeks-worth of lunches or actually leaving enough for the rest of my family to have some too. Since I love my family, I do share the batch, it just means that it doesn’t last past 2 days in our house.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom

While I usually make my own stock, I decided to write the recipe below for pre-made stock for easier replication. I recommend tasting your soup for salt prior to adding the amount I have listed below since I tend to start from a low sodium base. The other great thing about this recipe is that it can easily be halved or doubled.

Chicken,WildRice, and mushroom

I’m looking forward to enjoying this soup – and others! – all winter.

Chicken, Wild Rice, and Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons butter
1 lb mushrooms, chopped
16 cups chicken stock
3 cups diced carrots
3 cups diced celery
3 cups chopped, precooked chicken
3 cups wild rice blend
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Melt the butter in a non-stick skillet, and cook the mushrooms until browned, about 15 minutes. Add the mushrooms, along with the stock, carrots, celery, and chicken to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the wild rice blend and reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour longer, or until the rice is tender and the soup has thickened. Stir in the salt and pepper. Serve; allow to cool and then store leftovers in the refrigerator.


Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Each week my church small group does a potluck lunch and we rotate the entrée. Amazingly, we all love – and tend to gravitate towards – Mexican inspired dishes. A group favorite is chicken enchilada casserole. Since it is such a hit I figured it was about time I experimented with a recipe of my own.

One of the first things I wanted to try was ramping up the quantity of vegetables. I had a bag of frozen southwest blend vegetables that fit the bill. Plus the corn, black beans, chilies, red peppers and onion in the mix added a great pop of color.


I also decided to use shredded pre-cooked rotisserie chicken as a time saving step. I typically get more than 2 cups of chicken from the rotisserie chicken I buy, which means I was able to get two meals out of my chicken by using the remaining chicken and bones to make homemade soup.

To build the casserole I layered corn tortillas, my chicken & vegetable blend, cream sauce, and cheese in three layers.


The resulting chicken enchilada casserole was declared a winner by my family. I can’t wait to make it for our church group!


enchilada Casserole

enchilada Casserole

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

2 cups shredded, pre-cooked rotisserie chicken
28 ounce can rotel, drained
14 ounce bag of frozen southwest blend vegetables, thawed (~2-3 cups)
1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies, drained
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoon fiesta lime Mrs. Dash
¼ teaspoon salt
18, 6-inch diameter corn tortillas
3 ½ cups Mexican shredded cheese blend


Preheat oven to 350 ° F. Prepare a 9 x 13-inch baking pan by lightly spraying with cooking oil. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the shredded chicken, drained rotel, vegetables, and chilies; set aside.

Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine. Cook for 1 minute until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add half of the chicken stock, and whisk until combined. Then add the remaining chicken stock, and whisk until combined and thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly, then stir in the sour cream, fiesta lime Mrs. Dash, and salt.

To assemble the enchiladas, place 6 tortillas in the prepared baking pan so that they cover the bottom of the pan. Spread about 1/3 of the cream sauce evenly on top of the tortillas. Sprinkle half of the chicken evenly on top of the sauce, followed by 1 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat with a second layer of tortillas, cream sauce, chicken, and cheese. Then add a final layer of just tortillas, cream sauce and cheese.

Cover the casserole with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and begins to brown around the edges and the casserole is cooked through. Remove from the oven, cut into squares and serve.  Refrigerate any leftovers.


Malaysian Curry Tuna Sandwich

A few years back, a good friend of mine brought a house warming gift when she visited me at my new home. It was a simple gift, but perfect in selection, since she new I loved to tinker in the kitchen and try new things.


It was a jar of Malaysian Seven Seas Curry made by Spice Appeal, which she found at a craft and specialty food event. I absolutely LOVE the flavor, and often put it in my chicken or tuna salad, which I thought I would share today.

The contents of the little jar have long been gone, but I managed to snag two industrial sized jars of it online to make sure I never run out again. Weighing in at a pound a piece, my replacement jars will make a ton of Malaysian Curry Tuna Sandwiches.

For this spicy sandwich, I like to mix in celery, grapes, green onions, and cashews,



Along with mayonnaise and a generous amount of the curry.


You might think the grapes are an odd addition, but they add a nice sweet compliment to the heat of the curry.

Once it is stirred together it gets served in pita pockets, and then you let your family rave about your delicious lunch.


Can’t wait to try it? Stop on by – once you taste it I’m sure you will run out to find some for your spice collection!


Malaysian Curry Tuna Sandwich

(2) 7 oz. Cans of tuna packed in water, drained
1/3 cup cashew halves
½ cup diced red seedless grapes
½ cup diced celery
2 green onions, diced
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Malaysian Seven Seas Curry
4 Pita pockets, cut in half and opened to make 8 pockets

In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, cashews, grapes, celery, green onions, mayonnaise, and curry. Stir until well combined and them evenly stuff the pita pockets. Serve immediately.