Appetizers, Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes

SRC: Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub

This month for Secret Recipe Club I was assigned to The Avid Appetite, a fun blog written by Rachel. Rachel lives in Jersey City with her family and shares her love of family, fun, and food through her wonderful blog that she’s maintained for 5+ years. So many of her recipes sounded so delicious that it was hard to just pick one! After checking out my options, I narrowed it down to Pepperjack Pimento Cheese Dip, her favorite Iced Coffee recipe, Spicy Sweet Potato Wedges, and Berry Baked Oatmeal… and my final pick, Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps. I wish I had time to try everything!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub These buffalo chicken lettuce wraps certainly hit the spot! They were the perfect blend of spicy, creamy, cheesy, and cool. We enjoyed them during Selection Sunday last week [go Hoosiers!], but they’d be equally good during any sporting event, party, or get together. To be honest, buffalo chicken isn’t always my favorite–some versions are too spicy, and most versions are too messy–but this recipe may make me a diehard fan. 🙂 If you like buffalo chicken, you’ll love this recipe!

Fancy up your buffalo chicken by serving it in some cool, crisp lettuce wraps! This is the perfect game day appetizer or light dinner option. Mmmm! #secretrecipeclub

I changed a few things with Rachel’s original recipe–namely, using feta cheese and ranch dressing in place of bleu cheese and bleu cheese dressing, but the heart of the recipe is still there. If you’re a bleu cheese fan, knock yourself out, haha. I also added celery on top for some crunch! Yum! Thanks, Rachel, for this tasty treat!

one year ago: French Toast Casserole
two years ago: Tasty Mexican Lentils

three years ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
four years ago: Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola
five years ago: Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

  • Servings: 8 as an appetizer, 4 as a meal
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from The Avid Appetite

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts or 4-5 chicken thighs – I used bone in, skin on chicken thighs but boneless skinless would work too
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • extra virgin olive oil, if using boneless skinless chicken
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s red hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta or bleu cheese
  • 1 head Boston or iceberg lettuce, washed and dried, then separated into individual leaves
  • 1/3 cup ranch or bleu cheese dressing
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place chicken on a large baking sheet lined with foil. [If using boneless skinless chicken, brush chicken with olive oil.] Sprinkle chicken with pepper, paprika, and thyme. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked through. Let rest for about 10 minutes to cool, then remove skin and bones and chop into bite size pieces.

Meanwhile, place cream cheese, hot sauce, and feta in a large mixing bowl. Stir together and add chicken. Transfer mixture to an oven safe baking dish to heat through, or place in a skillet set over low heat. Cook until cheese has melted, about 10 minutes.

When ready to serve, spoon buffalo chicken into prepared lettuce leaves. Drizzle with ranch dressing and top with celery.

Enjoy!

Be sure to check out all the other recipes made by my SRC friends this week at the link below!

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Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup reminds me of chicken noodle soup, hold the chicken and add the meatballs. This version has tiny turkey meatballs and is SO tasty!

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

I feel like every other recipe I’m making and sharing this winter has been soup! But it’s just so good this time of year so I can’t resist. 🙂 Before making this Italian Wedding Soup, I’m not sure I had ever really had it before. I just saw the recipe in a magazine and thought it would be good! Guess what? It was! Ha. Big surprise there, right?

Italian Wedding Soup | thepajamachef.com

Since I don’t have a family version or favorite restaurant version to compare this to, I can’t really say that this is the best Italian Wedding Soup of all time or anything like that. But I can say it’s incredible! And why wouldn’t it be? It really does remind me of a twist on chicken noodle soup. You have the same basic base: chicken broth, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, pasta… and then you add in some cute ‘n tiny meatballs [with a twist of lemon for some extra tasty oomp!] and some spinach. Then BOOM! You’ve got a tasty and interesting soup, hearty enough to eat alone, with some crusty bread and a side salad or a tasty sandwich. Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice
two years ago: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
three years ago: Red Velvet Marshmallow Bites
four years ago: Sunrise Muffins
five years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Italian Wedding Soup

  • Servings: 10-12
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from September/October 2014 Taste of Home

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey

for soup

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 2 small or 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups small pasta [like acini di pepe, orzo, or ditalini]
  • 2 – 10 ounce packages fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • additional Parmesan, for serving

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well–your hands are going to work best! Roll into small, 1 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill for a few minutes.

Next, begin on the soup. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion and cook until almost tender, about 6 minutes. Add celery and cook another 2 minutes, then add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Pour in chicken broth and season with pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Gently drop in meatballs. Allow to cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes. Add pasta and allow to cook for another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until meatballs and pasta are fully cooked. Stir in spinach, then serve, topped with more Parmesan. Enjoy!

 

Beef, Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

A cheesy, creamy, and hearty soup… if you haven’t had cheeseburger soup before, you are in for a treat!

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on thepajamachef.comI know January is supposed to be all about healthy recipes and “cutting back.” That’s not exactly my philosophy though. I don’t say this to be all holier than thou or anything, and I don’t think I’m being naive/blind, but I don’t think I really indulge to levels of epic proportions during the holiday season. I’ve never been able to eat and eat and eat beyond the point of fullness, and if I did, it won’t be on traditional holiday fare [it would be on some sort of baked pasta :)]. So while I’m all for a reset in January of healthy habits, I’m still all about moderation and enjoying all food all year round. Hence a cheesy, comforting soup in January. 🙂

Amish Cheeseburger Soup on thepajamachef.com

There’s honestly not too much to say about this soup… it’s like a cheeseburger in a bowl, minus the bun of course! LOL. Plenty of cheese, sour cream, hamburger meat, potatoes, and some veggies to thicken it up! I did healthify the original recipe by using real cheese instead of Velveeta, but feel free to use either to suit your family’s preferences. Ben and I loved every bowl of this soup! I will be honest, it’s not one I’d make every week or even every month, but it is a hearty, comforting meal on occasion. It would be a wonderful addition for a soup potluck–it’s definitely different from anything anyone else would bring, I’m sure! Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Healthy Tropical Banana Muffins
two years ago: Cranberry Steel Cut Oats with Caramelized Pears
three years ago: Mexican Cornbread Pot Pie
four years ago: Lasagna Soup
five years ago: Whole-Wheat Corn Bread

Amish Cheeseburger Soup

  • Servings: 10
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adapted from 4 Little Fergusons

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 8 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, diced [about 3-4 carrots]
  • 1 1/2 cups celery, diced [about 4 stalks]
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 8 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed [about 2 pounds]
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk, room temperature
  • 16 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 16 ounces sour cream

Directions:

In a large stockpot set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add carrots, celery, and onion and saute for 8-10 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, in a separate skillet, cook ground chuck through. Drain off fat and set aside.

When vegetables are cooked, season with parsley, basil, and pepper, then add chicken broth and potatoes. Cover and reduce to a simmer, cooking until potatoes are soft and tender.

While potatoes are cooking, in a separate saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the remaining butter. When melted, slowly whisk in flour to make a roux. Constantly stir for 1 minute, until bubbly. Slowly pour in room temperature milk, stirring continually until mixture thickens. If you use skim milk this may take longer but it will happen. Then pour in potato mixture along with ground chuck and shredded cheese. Reduce heat to low and cook until everything is incorporated and cheese is melted.

Off heat, stir in sour cream. Cover and let rest for a few minutes, then season with additional herbs or pepper.

Note: I think it’d be great to add some diced tomatoes to the soup next time!

10 Minute Lunches, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sandwiches and Wraps

10 Minute Lunch #7: Curried Chicken Salad

Chicken salad… it can be boring, or awesome. This version is pretty darn amazing! I hope you give it a try. 🙂

Back in the days of grad school, I was ALL about the 10 minute lunch. These working days, I am ALL about leftovers for lunch… or special salads. 🙂 But I resurrected the 10 minute lunch lately with this fantastic curried chicken salad! I saw a few pics of curried chicken salad from different folks on Instagram, but I just made my own version based on what I had in my fridge.

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

I enjoyed this chicken salad on some fresh, homemade whole wheat bread. Recipe coming soon! But back to this chicken salad…it’s filled with all sorts of deliciousness. Golden raisins [golden > regular in my book!], crunchy celery, curry powder [duh], cinnamon [for a sweet kick!], and real mayo! I’ve tried to like using greek yogurt in the place of mayo, but I almost never like it… So why skip the good stuff?

Curried Chicken Salad: a 10 minute lunch on thepajamachef.com

This curried chicken salad was a great few day’s worth of lunches. I used leftover shredded chicken from one of the whole chickens we roast a couple times a month, but you could also use store-bought rotisserie chicken or just poach some chicken. It made for some great, hearty sandwiches. Creamy, crunchy, and flavorful! And fast! Just what I like for busy lunchtimes. 🙂 Enjoy!

one year ago: Coconut Curry Popcorn
two years ago: Dark Chocolate Crumb Bars
three years ago: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Icing
four years ago: Chicken Pot Pie

Curried Chicken Salad

  • Servings: 2
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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 of an apple, diced – about 1/2 cup
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • bread, lettuce, crackers for serving

Directions:

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, apple, celery, and golden raisins. Add mayo, lemon juice, and mustard and stir to coat. Sprinkle curry powder and cinnamon on top then stir again.

Serve on good bread, a crisp lettuce leaf, or with crackers.

Main Dishes, Recipes, Soups

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

An easy, flavorful minestrone soup that can be made in the crockpot. We love this soup on cold winter nights.

Crockpot Minestrone Soup #winter #recipes #easy #soup | thepajamachef.comGrowing up, I didn’t like soup at all. Minestrone soup was probably my least favorite of them all, with all its tiny vegetables, white beans, and floaty spinach. The pasta was the only good part!! And there never was enough of it. It’s not like my mom served soup all the time or anything. I just remember it being an option. A gross option. Fortunately, my tastes have matured a bit. Now, I LOVE soup. Love love love it. I frequently make a big batch on the weekend and freeze leftovers in individual containers to make the lunch packing chore easier.

Crockpot Minestrone Soup #winter #recipes #easy #soup | thepajamachef.comIn the winter, this is one of my favorite soups to make. I usually have all the ingredients on hand so making this hearty Italian in the crockpot is super simple. There are some ways to fancy it up though, if that’s your thing–you can saute the veggies, use fresh herbs instead of dried herbs, etc. But the classic crockpot cooking style of “toss it in and forget it” TOTALLY works for this recipe. The one deviation I take from that is cooking the pasta separately, to help it not soak up all the broth right away. That’s not too hard, is it? Hope not, because this is one delicious soup!! Enjoy!

two years ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
four years ago: Eggless Cookie Dough

Crockpot Minestrone Soup

  • Servings: 8
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adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 cups/48 ounces chicken or vegetable broth, reduced sodium if possible
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 3 small diced carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 28 oz can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Parmesan cheese rind, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked small pasta like ditalini or small shells
  • 1 – 10 ounce package frozen spinach, defrosted with liquid squeezed out
  • Parmesan cheese for garnishing

Directions:

Add beans, broth, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, basil, and rosemary to a large crockpot. Stir and add Parmesan cheese rind, if using. Set crockpot to cook on low for 6-8 hours.

An hour before you want to eat, bring a small pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and add pasta to crock pot along with defrosted spinach. Stir, cover, and let crockpot cook for another 30 minutes or so to heat through.

Before serving, remove bay leaves and Parmesan rind. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan!

 

Notes:

  • If desired, you can saute the onion, carrots, and celery before adding to the crockpot.
  • Fresh herbs can be used in place of dry herbs.
  • A thicker minestrone can be achieved by pureeing half the beans with 2 cups chicken broth.
  • The pasta absorbs the broth as it sits, so when you reheat it, you may have to add additional broth or water.
  • Soup reheats and freezes well!