Quick and easy meals for the whole family

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

When it gets hot, you don’t want to spend hours cooking in the kitchen.  So on this Recipe Wednesday, Meredith Williams, owner of Pepper Moon Catering, shows us some quick and easy meals the whole family will enjoy.

Pesto Grilled Chicken Skewers

Cilantro Pesto Marinade

2 T coarsely chopped walnuts

2 t minced garlic

1.5 c loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves (no thick stems)

½ c loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves (no thick stems)

½ t kosher salt

¼ t black pepper

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

2# raw chicken breasts, cut into strips

  • In food processor, finely chop walnuts and garlic. Scrape down sides of the bowl.
  • Add cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper and process until finely chopped.
  • Slowly add olive oil.
  • Put pesto in a large Ziploc bag.
  • Add chicken and coat all pieces.
  • Double bag and freeze.
  • Thaw chicken completely when ready to cook.
  • Soak bamboo or wood skewers for at least 1 hour prior to using.
  • Remove chicken and skewer each piece with one soaked skewer.
  • Place on hot grill and cook until internal temperature at thickest point is 165.

Yields 4-6 servings.

Chicken Enchiladas

Ingredients

1.5 – 2 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 breasts)

1 whole green pepper, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 Tbsp canola oil (original recipe used 2 T olive oil)

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

4 oz cream cheese

1 cup reduced far Mexican blend shredded cheese, divided

1 19oz can enchilada sauce, divided (old El Paso)

1 cup salsa (3/4 Tostitos and ¼ Mrs Renfros Habanero for spice)

8 eight-inch whole-wheat tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Warm canola oil in saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Boil water with T of salt. Add chicken and boil until internal temp of each piece is 165 degrees.
  4. Once oil is warm add chopped peppers and onions and saute until begins to brown. As it browns, continue to stir.  Saute until reduces by half.
  5. Once chicken is cooled, sliced and pull apart by hand into small pieces. Trick:  slice against the grain of the meat and it will shred easily.
  6. To chicken, add cream cheese, half of the Mexican shredded cheese, half of the enchilada sauce and cilantro.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Place a heaping spoonful of the mixture into the center of each tortilla and wrap.
  9. Place the tortillas, seam side down, into a greased 9 x 13 casserole dish, top with remaining cheese, enchilada sauce and salsa. Trick:  put cheese on tortillas first, then sauces – tortillas won’t get as soggy.
  10. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until cheese melts.

Serve enchiladas with fresh or canned fruit to make a balanced plate.

Stand Up Fish Tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup thinly sliced (long strips) white onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 8 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1/2 ripe peeled avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 lime wedges

Preparation

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients in a food processor; process until smooth.
  2. Combine jalapeño sauce and onion in a small bowl.
  3. Combine paprika and next 5 ingredients (through ground red pepper); sprinkle evenly over fish.
  4. Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  5. Add fish to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
  6. Warm tortillas according to package directions.
  7. Divide fish, onion mixture, and avocado evenly among tortillas.
  8. Serve with lime wedges.

Buttermilk and Honey Grilled Chicken Tenders

Buttermilk and Honey Marinade

¼ cup hot sauce

¼ cup tomato paste

3 T honey

1 cup buttermilk

½ small sweet onion, chopped finely

6 garlic cloves or 6 T minced garlic

1 T black pepper

2 teaspoons salt

2# raw chicken breasts, cut into strips

¼ teaspoon salt

  • Whisk together first three ingredients in a large bowl until smooth.
  • Whisk in buttermilk, onion, garlic, pepper and salt until well-blended.
  • Place marinade in gallon plastic sealable bag.
  • Sprinkle chicken with ¼ t salt.
  • Add chicken to bag and coat all pieces.
  • Double bag and freeze.
  • Thaw chicken completely when ready to cook.
  • Soak bamboo or wood skewers for at least 1 hour prior to using.
  • Remove chicken and skewer each piece with one soaked skewer.
  • Place on hot grill and cook until internal temperature at thickest point is 165.
  • Serve with Toasted Pecan Pesto

Yields 4-6 servings.

Toasted Pecan Pesto

2.5 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thick stems removed

2/3 cup olive oil

½ c chopped toasted pecans

½ c loosely packed fresh mint leaves

2 t minced garlic

1 T fresh lemon juice

¾ t salt

¼ t dried crushed red pepper (cayenne)

Process all ingredients in food processor until smooth.  Chill before serving.