Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch

Panzanella, a classic Italian salad made with greens and crusty bread, benefit from a hearty (but still healthy) down-south makeover with loads of lettuce, my clean-eats cornbread croutons (with healthier sugar and fat substitutes), small splurge of bacon crumbles and fresh home-style ranch dressing made with Greek yogurt. These southern-inspired swaps have been my little secret to getting teen boys to wolf down first and second servings of salad.

Bacon Cornbread Panzanella Salad

Y’all, I do declare, this Lightened-up Cornbread Panzanella Salad with Greek Yogurt Ranch is a winner for lunch and dinner. You can even pair it up with grilled chicken or hard-boiled eggs if you’d like a little extra protein. Continue reading

Brisket, Corn & Kale Salad with Low-fat Creamy Texas Dressing (+ Other Leftover Beef Recipes)

Mmmmm, so I made a beef brisket this weekend. I used to be afraid of cooking large hunks of meat, but now I say “bring it on” – plus, the center cut of brisket is a lean cut, so no worries there! One of the biggest perks, aside from gobbling up slices of meaty heaven straight off the grill, is having leftovers! I’ve shared recipes I’ve prepared with leftover brisket in the past (hit the bottom of this post for links), and today I have a brand new salad to add to the collection! Brisket Corn and Kale Salad

You will love the smoky sweet satisfaction that my Brisket Kale and Corn Salad with Low-Fat Creamy Texas Dressing offers. Also, since kale is really only one of the salad greens holds up (if not gets better) to prepping ahead, this beef salad is also perfect for packing in a jar for lunch as school, work or the gym. Continue reading

Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

I am about to change your life with two simple words that I frequently say separately, but never before together– Grilled Avocados. That’s right, I discovered avocados can and should be grilled! Tossing this creamy green fruit on the grates for a few minutes creates a smoky, simply marvelous flavor profile that plain ole avocados just can’t deliver. Grilled Avocado Tacos

With grilling season firing up and Cinco de May moments away, you’re definitely going to want to toss on a few avocados to go along with your barbecue. Or, if you’re vegetarian, vegan or just taking a plant-based day for variety, you’ll love my recipe for Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

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Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini with Ole Frijoles Pinto Bean Sauce

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Farmer Direct Co-op, however all opinions, content and enthusiasm are my own.

Spiralizing zucchini is trend that will never grow old, but every now and then I like to turn the tide and unleash deliciously stuffed zucchini boats for dinner. I’m not talking about the old-school stuffed squash my mama used to make with our backyard garden bumper crop, it might have been a bit mushy, bland, and hard to swallow (sorry mom). Instead, my recipe for Carnitas & Street Corn Stuffed Zucchini Boats with “Ole Frijoles” Pinto Bean Sauce is totally crave-worthy and turns supper-time with spicy south-of-the-border fiesta. Carnitas & Sreet Corn Stuff Zucchini With Bean Sauce

With pre-shredded pork roast and pinto beans cooked overnight, this family favorite recipe can be made in just 30 minutes – making it perfect for a busy weeknight meal. It can also be prepped the night before and popped in the oven 20 minutes before dinner. I’ve used pinto beans from Farmer Direct Co-op and, at the end of this post, you can grab the zucchini recipe and also enter to win a giveaway prize pack that includes an assortment of their top-selling organic, non-GMO and fair-trade products packaged in 1lb. bags.

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3 Ways to Grill Corn Perfectly this Summer

Raise your hand if you can’t resist corn on the cob !  Not only is this vegetable fun to eat, it’s usually super cheap in the summer season – I just bought a dozen plump, juicy organic ones at Whole Foods for $3 total! Making corn on the cob on the grill is super easy; it’s a must-have at our house for backyard barbecues and casual entertaining. You know it’s on my menu for all the big summer celebrations including Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and our big family reunion!    jennifer grilling cornThere are three main ways to cook a whole ear of corn on the grill, and I’m going to run you through them. But, first, you’ll want to find the freshest corn possible for the yummiest result. Corn sugars undergo enzymatic reactions after ears are picked, slowly converting into less tasty, mealy starches. So, the fresher the corn, the sweeter – all the more reason to make friends with your local farmers.

3 Ways to Grill Corn Perfectly -- the perfect side dish to any backyard BBQ or summer celebration!

Method 1 – Cook Corn in Husk

 Grilling an ear of corn in the husk is so simple and mess-free – the end part of the cob serves as a handle as your peel back the husk dig into the steamed kernels. Notice how I said “steamed” – that’s because this method actually uses water from all the parts of the corn to steam it into tenderness – the grill just serves as the heat source. If the corn is fresh, it won’t need a pre-soak in water. However, if the husk looks a bit dried out, soak the entire ear of corn in water for about 10 minutes before grilling.

How to: Simply place corn directly on the coals or grates of your grill or campfire (heated to about 400F degrees) and cook for approximately 10 to 15 minutes until tender (peel back husk if needed). The outside will be blackened, but inside it’s pure perfection. Peel back the husks; remove the silks and butter and season to your preferences. If you want to get fancy, you peel back husks without taking completely off, remove silks, butter and season and then pull back up the husks before grilling. But, I think this makes it too complicated (and the butter tends to drip out!)

Method 2 – Foil-wrapped

Grilling your corn wrapped in foil is a handy-dandy way to prepare it if you don’t want family and friends to be dealing with charred, messy husks. Again, you are actually steaming it with this method.  Plus, you can easily oil, butter or season your corn before cooking and the toppings won’t drip out . . . and you don’t have to deal with mess and logistics of setting out these perishable condiments if you have a large crowd.

How to: Shuck corn toss away silks and husk. Wrap the corn in heavy duty aluminum foil, with or without flavorings like butter, herbs, salt, pepper, grated cheeses, etc.  Grill right on top of hot coals, or on a grill grate set, turning a few times, about 10 – 15 minutes

Method – Naked

This is my favorite way to prepare corn on the grill because I like the nutty, smoked flavor that a bit of charring on the kernels brings. However, this method is not “steaming” like the other ways to grill corn, so the final result is not quite as juicy and, it can’t be cooked directly on coals. But, I feel like this is how we do it down here in Texas and it tastes so good — yeehaw!

How to: Pull back husks and remove completely or braid and tie off for a decorative effect. Pull away most of the silks – the remaining will burn away on the grill! Cook corn over a medium-hot grill (about 400F degrees) for about 10 to 15 minutes, rotating frequently to prevent burning and encourage all-over light charring. In the last few minutes you can brush with a flavored olive oil and sprinkle with herbs or do that while still warm before serving.

Grilled Corn with Ancho Vinaigrette is a southwestern inspired side dish for your next bbq or summer celebration.

I love serving my grilled corn with slightly spicy-sweet Ancho Vinaigrette – you can get my recipe here:

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.

I’ve also been known to grill waaaaaaay to much corn and I’ll shear off the kernels and use in recipes like my Cali-Corn-ia Shrimp Pizza!

cooking light cornAlso, check out Cooking Light’s collection of in-season ideas for Cooking with Corn.

So, how do you usually make your grilled corn – foil, husked or naked? Also, do you use those little stab-in handle thingies or just eat right out of hand? Got any corny jokes? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

 

 

 

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette

This post is sponsored by Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, however the recipes, opinions and enthusiasm are all my own!

There is so much to love about May! The weather is warmer, daylight lasts longer and backyard patios, porches and pergolas are prime party spots for good friends and great food. I don’t know about you, but my go-to cooking method from early spring well into the fall season is grilling. Whether I’m entertaining company or it’s just the family, my trusty grill is this mom’s solution when it comes to whipping up creative, healthy and quick meals. Grilled Chicken, Corn & Jicama Salad with Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce Vinaigrette

I will grill anything and everything.  I get fired up for grilling the gamut . . . meats and seafood to fruit, veggies and dessert (mmmm, banana boats)!  Today, I’m sharing a recipe for Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chopped Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette that relies on one of my secret weapons when it comes to grilling and barbeque – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Sauces, Marinades and Rubs.

Grilled Chicken, Corn & Jicama Salad with Sweet Heat BBQ Sauce Vinaigrette makes a hearty meal for your backyard cookout, picnic or potluck.

grilled corn in hand squareGrilled corn and chicken are the stars of this simple grilled salad recipe – Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub gives just the right amount of seasoning to poultry and vegetables without being overpowering or too spicy for my kids to eat. This is the original rub of Stubb’s fame, crafted by the legend himself at his original Texas Bar-B-Q joint — “It all starts with good rub.”

Stubb's Chicken Spice Rub

To dress this chopped chicken salad that also features jicama and avocado , I’ve created a simple barbecue sauce vinaigrette that is a bit spicy, a bit sweet – and certainly fun to eat! Using Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce is my not-so-secret shortcut to prepping this dressing in mere minutes. Of course, this BBQ sauce with hints of brown sugar and chipotle peppers is also excellent used in the traditional way to drizzle or douse on everything from baby back ribs and burgers to pizza and sweet potatoes.

Barbeque Brisket Skillet Nachos will satisfy a crowd!It’s also the sauce I use in my Brisket & Bean Skillet Nachos. I love that Stubb’s Bar-B-Q sauces get their bold flavors from real, wholesome ingredients with no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners.  Also, you’ll find absolutely NO (none, zip, nada) high-fructose corn syrup in these quality condiments.

Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q, maker the No. 1 brand of barbecue sauce, rubs and marinades in the the country, is located right here in Austin, Texas — so I can head over and dive head-first in a vat, if I want!  But, these barbecue “helpers” are also sold in 85% of grocery stores nationwide — so, run out and getcha some!

Stubbs Grilled Chicken Corn Chop Salad

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette is such an easy grilled recipe and the perfect fixin’s for a potluck or picnic – whether for Memorial Day, a graduation or any summer time celebration. You can also make it the night before, the dish is delicious served cold and the vinegar and lemon juice in the dressing help keep the avocado fresh for up to a day in the fridge. If you want to enjoy as a side dish or vegetarian meal — just omit the chicken and dig in!

What have you been tossing on the grill lately? Any big weekend plans for Memorial Day — a race, a party, a picnic? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Grilled Chicken, Corn and Jicama Chop Salad with Sweet-Heat BBQ Vinaigrette
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 to 6 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Rub uncooked chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon olive oil and rub with 2 tablespoons Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub.
  2. Heat charcoal or gas grill to approximately 400 F degrees and grill chicken approximately 15 – 20 minutes, flipping once, or until cooked through and internal temperature reads 165F degrees.
  3. While chicken is cooking, rub corn cobs with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon Stubb’s Chicken Spice Rub.
  4. Place corn on grill with chicken and grill for approximately 10 minutes, rotating occasionally, or until turning tender and browning in spots.
  5. Remove chicken and corn from grill and let rest for 10 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  6. Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Slice corn kernels off the cob. Add both to medium bowl along with jicama, red onion, red bell pepper and avocado. Set aside while making dressing.
  7. To make dressing, whisk Stubb’s Sweet Heat Bar-B-Q Sauce together with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey and pepper.
  8. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Garnish with chopped cilantro.
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Complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar! #FullnRichFlavor

Life got you jumping like grease on a hot skillet? My schedule is sizzling (that’s a good thing), but I’m often so busy that forgetting to eat (or grabbing something bad right before bed) could be a real issue if it weren’t for my three teen boys asking “what’s for dinner” as soon as we roll in from after their school activities. Geeze, all I want to do is take a quick nap.Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich Smokehouse make it easy to get a nap before dinner!

But, that’s when the panic can start to set in about making nutritious and flavorful dinners, knowing I don’t have anything simmering all day in a slow cooker or thawing and ready to throw on the grill. I don’t want my boys to be one of the estimated 20 percent of Americans who eats at least one fast food meal a day in the car. But, now I can get my nap and still make quick flavorful dinners in a snap thanks by keeping fresh produce and healthier convenience foods on hand like Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse high-quality, high protein cuts of meat. Both of these time and sanity-saving products are recipe ready, straight from the freezer.

BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar

I have a super quick and easy recipe to share today for BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Jar – it’s hearty yet nicely-balanced, perfect to serve my whole passel of hungry boys in under 15 minutes!  All the yummy things you’d find on a barbecue dinner plate – like corn, coleslaw, beans, smoked chicken and pickles are piled up with love in a glass mason jar.

Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich Smokehouse make last-minute dinners easy!

Another perk of these healthy flavorful dinners in a jar is that they can be eaten on-the-go and in the car (gasp)!  Just layer them up warm (or reheat premade jars) and the kids can eat them right out of the jar on the way to or from tutoring, sports games, band practices or what-have-you.  When done, screw back on the lid and deal with the “dishes” when you get home.  This quick and easy dinner recipe can also be prepped and eaten cold – it’s actually quite good on top of a bed of lettuce!Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!

If you need a comprehensive tailgate recipe or hosting an outdoor hoedown or some other fall-season festivity, these BBQ Chicken Dinners can be assembled in plastic glasses – guests can still see the beautiful layers of barbeque ingredients, but clean-up is super easy-breezy. Complete Barbecue Chicken in a Jar, perfect for tailgaing and outdoor parties.

Making a healthy, balanced meal like these Barbeque Chicken Jars does not have to be difficult if you have products from Birds Eye® and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. The high-protein, high-quality meats from Farm Rich® Smokehouse can be prepared in minutes; the hours of flavor-infusing smoking have been done on your behalf!  I also appreciate how Birds Eye Flavor Full vegetables deliver the flavor my family wants (Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli and Barbecue Sweet Corn) with the nutrition they need. Find both these brands in the freezer aisle at Walmart.

For a limited time, earn $0.75 on Birds Eye Vegetables and unlock $1.00 off one Farm Rich® Smokehouse product with Ibotta while supplies last. Note: If you haven’t used Ibotta, you have to download the app available on iOs and Android. Before you shop, be sure to unlock the rebates for both Birds Eye Vegetables and Farm Rich® Smokehouse. Then, shop! Buy the products that you’ve unlocked at major retailers. Finally, verify your purchase by scanning your barcodes and submitting a photo of your receipt!

What night of the week is craziest for you? How do you deal with dinner with only a few free minutes? Please share in the comments – XOXO, Jennifer

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, Birds Eye®, and Farm Rich® but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #FullnRichFlavor  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!
BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Mason Jar
Print Recipe
Make a complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in 5 minutes, layer ingredients up in a jar to eat on the go, at a football game, tailgating or other outdoor parties.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Layer this BBQ Chicken Dinner in plastic cups for easy tailgaing!
BBQ Chicken Dinner in a Mason Jar
Print Recipe
Make a complete BBQ Chicken Dinner in 5 minutes, layer ingredients up in a jar to eat on the go, at a football game, tailgating or other outdoor parties.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 5 minutes
Instructions
  1. May be served warm or cold. To prepare warm, heat beans, corn and chicken in separate containers according to instructions on packages. Skip this step if preparing cold.
  2. Using 16-ounce glass mason jars or 12 - 16 ounce "squatty" clear plastic glasses, layer ingredients in each container in this order, starting at bottom -- approx 4 oz beans, 2.5 oz corn, generous handful rainbow slaw, 2 tbs. dollop of ranch dressing, 3 oz chicken and 2 tbs. dollop of BBQ sauce.
  3. Skewer pickle slices and grape tomatoes together on toothpick and add as garnish. Serve immediately.
  4. May be prepared cold and stored in refrigerator (with lid or cover) for up to 3 days.
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CaliCornia Shrimp & Avocado Pizza for Labor Day

CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza is a quick and easy meal solution made on Naan bread or pre-made crusts.

Even though the calendar has turned to September and I still am getting acclimated to our back-to-school routine, it certainly feels like summer every time I step out the door. Officially, it IS still summer until fall arrives on September 22nd and no one can stop me extracting every last kernel of enjoyment from the season.   On these last warm-weather weekends, my family will eat our dinners al fresco, practice handstands barefoot the grass and usher in the autumnal equinox with our final trips to the lake.

Handstand at Lake

A fantastic outdoor meals for the end of summer or Labor Day weekend is CaliCornia Shrimp Pizza – this quick, easy and amazingly tasty pizza reminds me of the sunshine state with a laid-back vibe and showcase of Mother Nature’s best bounty. Succulent roasted shrimp, sweet corn and creamy avocado slices blend with melted fresh mozzarella and ranch dressing (I used OPA! by Litehouse™ Greek Style Yogurt Ranch Dressing). A crispy yet soft and chewy crust is easily “made’ with Naan bread or pre-baked crusts. Other convenience items like frozen shrimp and a southwestern roasted corn blend with peppers (found in freezer section), means I spend less time making meals and more time with my feet up on the chaise lounge recovering from the long run or workout of the day. And, if I’m lucky I can get one of personal pizza deliver guys (my sons) to deliver me a piece so I don’t have to move another muscle!

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.

 

What are you eating during this long holiday weekend? Taking any dips in the ocean, lake or pool? Do tell! Share in the comments below! XOXO — Jennifer

 

CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
CalCornia Shrimp Pizza makes a speedy mead for busy weeknights - grill or make in the oven.
CaliCornia Shrimp Pizzas
Print Recipe
Enjoy these quick and easy shrimp pizzas from the grill for a relaxed weekend meal -- naan bread or pre-baked crusts save you time!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time
12 minutes
Instructions
  1. Heat oven or gas grill to 400 F degrees.
  2. In small bowl, toss together thawed shrimp with olive oil, cilantro, salt and pepper.
  3. Place shrimp on rimmed baking sheet and heat up in oven for4 to 5 minutes. Or, skewer and heat up on grill for about the same amount of time, taking care not to overcook. Remove shrimp, but leave oven/grill on.
  4. Spread each crust with approximately 2 tablespoons of OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing, reserve remaining to drizzle on top of finished pizzas.
  5. Place slices of mozzarella on pizza and sprinkle with about ¼ up of thawed corn blend. Top pizzas with roasted/grilled shrimp.
  6. Place pizzas in oven or on grill with lid closed and heat up for another 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and edges are turning golden brown.
  7. Remove pizzas and top with sliced avocado and drizzle with remaining OPA Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing.
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