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Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa

July 18, 2018

I can’t believe I have been Food Blogging for almost 7 years and I haven’t ever posted one of our favorite dinners.

This Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breast with Avocado Salsa is one of those dishes that might seem boring because of the simplicity of it, then surprises and delights with its bold spicy heat from the Cayenne rub (just 3 ingredients!), the cool creaminess from the avocado, then the crunch from the onion, all tied together with lime juice and salt. It’s our perennial answer to what to do with the frozen chicken breasts in the freezer that actually gets us excited for dinner. And it is beyond easy to make.

I love that it’s low carb, that it is SO satisfying from the good fats in the avocado, and we usually have the ingredients on hand, if we have timed the avocado ripeness just right. My kids love avocados and any meal where they get to count it as their vegetable.

And while the little kids don’t love the spice, you can coat their chicken breasts in a ranch seasoning packed instead of the spice rub or just cook it with salt and pepper and then dip theirs in ranch. (I usually serve some pasta or rice on the side too.)

(This is such a workhorse meal for us that I didn’t even have time to get great pics of it, but couldn’t keep that from sharing with you all.)

You might even find yourself making the salsa on its own to have deconstructed guacamole whenever the feeling hits you.

And it would also make a great appetizer if you skewered chicken thighs, put the rub on and grilled them, and then dipped them into a smoother guacamole or this chunky version here.

Hope this makes it on to your weekly rotation! If my husband had his way, this would be dinner 3 nights a week.

Now I’m off to take a gaggle of kids to the pool, which is on repeat these lovely warm days.

Happy Eating! xoxo Katie

Cayenne-Rubbed Chicken Breasts with Avocado Salsa (printer version here.)


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks


  • 1. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.
  • 2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.


Recipe is from

Weekly Meal Plan 4/30

May 2, 2018

As you may know if you follow me on Instagram, Monday April 30th was my son’s birthday, and the birthday boy requested spaghetti and meatballs, so that was our meal on Monday. Sorry to duplicate. But Tuesday’s dinner was so good, every loved it. Plus I cooked extra pasta and spaghetti squash on Monday so I just warmed it up. Pro Tip.

Monday: Slow Cooker Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuesday: Paleo Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken and Sausage

This was a big hit with everyone! And I loved that it came together really easily in the crock pot. I think next time I will double up on the balsamic vinegar and add a bit more garlic, but otherwise it was really flavorful and had that comfort food factor. Also, cheese on top doesn’t hurt but if you’re aiming for health it’s a winner as is.

Wednesday: Roast Chicken with Creme Fraiche and Herbs

I love this recipe SO much – Mimi Thorisson does it with a whole chicken but I use thighs and it is quick and delicious and easy. Serve with couscous or mashed potatoes to soak up all that delicious liquid on the bottom of the pan with the melted creme fraiche and herbs.

Thursday: Bacon wrapped Pork Tenderloin – 

This is a super old post with old photos, but it sort of adds to the fact that this is a retro dinner, one that my mom used to make when I was growing up. It’s a long post but a SHORT recipe – pork tenderloin, onions, peppers, and tomatoes all sliced and stacked with semi-cooked bacon wrapped around it with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper and roast. It’s one of those ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’ kind of dish, where the combination of these ingredients is surprisingly flavorful and very satisfying. And that lemon butter zucchini side dish is strait out of my childhood and SO good. 

Friday: It’s pizza, but we are making our own and doing a Brussels Sprout + Pancetta version for the grown ups with a sauce that is just jarred alfredo sauce and probably store bought pizza dough (I love to make my own but with twins I concede to let the pizza dough makers do it). Here is a comparable recipe.

Saturday: I made three Baked Ziti so we could have some for busy sports days and this Saturday is pretty typical of our spring sports season. So glad it’s waiting there for us! The Pioneer Woman’s Baked Ziti is very close to how I make it (hope to blog my recipe soon!).

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken over Grains

April 13, 2013

Now that I am getting ready for baby in a few weeks, I am all about making meals to freeze. I will share some of my favorites as I make them this month, because finding new meal ideas to freeze ahead are one of the biggest requests I get.

As I started to think about what to make, I looked to the meals that I have bought and liked in the freezer aisle.  At the top of my list was this entree from Kashi:


I always feel great after I eat this, and knew it froze well, so I thought, what if I recreated it at home? Turns out it is super easy:

I was also excited to get to use this ingredient that friends and healthy food writers have been raving about:

This is supposed to be the healthiest fat we can eat, though I used it as a flavor booster, with the healthiness factor as a bonus (always my priority levels).

You start with these grains, and while they cook according to their packages:

You make the yummy sauce for the top with these ingredients:

Note the jalepeno – I decided to leave it out since my kids don’t love spicy, but if you do, leave it in!  I was so happy to discover how easy this dish is.  First you melt the 2 T. of the coconut oil on med-high heat, then saute the aromatics in it:

I can’t believe how much the pureed Lemongrass and Ginger speed up this dish, and you don’t even notice the difference.  If you can’t find these ingredients in these tubes, try to get the original and just use about the same amount (1 T.) of minced ginger, and about six 1-inch pieces of lemongrass stalks (about 2-3 stalks, tops trimmed) removing them after the sauce has simmered.  Then you add the chicken:

Then after the chicken has turned mostly white, add the cocount milk and lime juice, simmering on med-low for 10 min. to infuse the flavors:

After 10 min, mash this mixture of flour and coconut oil together and add to sauce thicken it (it does a beautiful job! It is just like thickening a french sauce with butter and flour):

When it is all cooked, add the veggies (I love how the frozen bag of stir fry veggies felt like I was eating the Kashi meal since they are perfectly cut, also super speedy):

Cook until veggies are cooked through, then serve over combined grains.  If you are freezing them like I did, just lay out 3 medium sized containers, letting sauce cool before assembly:


Ready to freeze! I did layer grains with sauce on top, so each container is like the entree, even though this picture looks like I froze them separately. It was so good I made a second batch the next day and we ate if for dinner – the kids were licking their plates.

Lemongrass Coconut Chicken (printer version here.)

1 c. wheat berries – cook according to package

1 c. red quinoa (use regular if you can’t find red) – cook according to package

1 c. brown rice – cook according to package

2 T. coconut oil

1 large shallot, chopped*

2 garlic cloves, chopped

3 T. lemongrass

1 T. ginger

3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced (I try to use organic)

1 t. salt

1 can light coconut milk

2 T. lime juice

2 T. flour + 1 T. coconut oil

Bag of stir fry veggies (broccoli, carrots, snap peas)

* If you like it spicy, can add 1/2-1 jalapeno minced with shallot and garlic, or serve with Sriracha sauce.


Cook grains according to package directions. Rice will take longest, around 50-60 min, and a rice cooker helps, so put it on first.  Then wheat berries and quinoa should be around the same time, so you can cook them together on stove, around 15 min. Look at packages to get amount of water needed.

While the grains cook, melt coconut oil on Med-High heat in a large fry pan. Add shallots and garlic, saute for 3 min until fragrent.  Add lemongrass and ginger, saute for 1-2 min.  Then add chicken, and sprinkle with 1 t. salt.  Cook 3-5 min., flipping over until chicken is mostly all white.  Then add coconut milk, and simmer for 10 min.  While it cooks, mash together 1 T. coconut oil with 2 T. flour, then add to chicken/coconut milk mixture to thicken it.  Cook for a few minutes then add veggies. Stir to combine and warm up veggies.

Serve over combined grains when hot, or freeze in portion sized containers.


Please let me know what your favorite make ahead freezer meals are!!

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken

January 24, 2013

Buffalo Chicken, Beer and the Patriots are the Super Bowl trifecta in our house.

This year I won’t be having the beer (25 weeks, yay!).


And the Patriots will not be attending. (Moment of silence:                                            )


But there can still be Buffalo Chicken.

And it can be ridiculously easy too.

This is especially important if you have a desire to actually WATCH the game (ok, chat with everyone who came over to watch the game and discuss the commercials) and not slave away in the kitchen while it is on.  And when you factor in that this is actually pretty healthy, as opposed to the wings you can order and promptly go up a pant size after eating, this might be the most perfect Super Bowl Recipe ever.  Besides Buffalo Chicken Dip, see here.

First, I throw three chicken breasts (about 1/2 per person) in the oven with a pat of butter and some salt & pepper on each for 30 min. at 350.


Then after they have cooled for 20 minutes or whenever  I get around to it, I slice them on the diagonal and toss them in a crock pot set on low.

Then I pour one bottle of this on top:

If you can’t find their Buffalo Wing Sauce, the regular Frank’s Red Hot works perfectly.

Let it cook for 2-4 hours on low, and then when it is done, it is melt in your mouth, falling apart goodness:


Serve with crisp Boston or Romaine lettuce, Marie’s Blue Cheese Dressing (love the Lite version), and a bun or Hoagie Roll.

Since Buffalo Chicken is a very personal thing, I am sure you can come up with ways to tweak this all your own (chop up celery and mix with dressing? Add crumbled blue cheese or tomatoes? Sounds perfect. Knock yourself out!  My husband often makes his into a salad. He thinks his carbs taste better in beer).  I know this is so easy it doesn’t even need a recipe, but for all you cut-and-pasters out there, here you go:


Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken: (serves 6)

3 cooked chicken breasts

1 bottle Frank’s Red Hot



Blue Cheese Dressing


Slice Chicken and cook on low for 2-4 hours. Serve on rolls with lettuce and dressing.


Farfalle with Salmon, Asparagus, and Heirloom CherryTomatoes

August 4, 2012

Farfalle with Salmon, Asparagus, and Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes


This dish is great for a quick summer dinner but nice enough to bring to a party.  

I put it together on one of those nights you only had 10 minutes at the store to get something for dinner. Luckily, they had beautiful grilled salmon in the prepared food section.  It turned out SO good, I had to share it with you!

If you can’t find it prepared you can use pre-cooked chicken, or cook which ever you prefer at home first then cut up into 1 inch pieces. 

2 T. olive oil
1/4 c. shallots, chopped
2 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 pint cherry tomatoes (heirloom if possible, so pretty and good!)
1 lb. farfalle pasta
1/4 c. freshly grated parmesan cheese (more to taste)
2 salmon fillets,  or 2 chicken breasts, grilled or baked

Boil salted water, then add farfalle.  Cook according to package.
While it cooks, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then saute the shallots for 2 min until soft, then add garlic for 1 minute more. Add cherry tomatoes, and cook for an additional 3 minutes. 
I then added blanched asparagus, cut into thirds.  (Blanched means I boiled it for 2 minutes then put it into an ice bath, then into the saute, which is an all around great technique for any vegetable.)

Meanwhile drain farfalle, reserving 2 c. cooking water. The starch in the water will help mix with the parmesan and give it a delicious sauce.  Add the farfalle to the veggies, stir to combine, then add salmon/chicken and parmesan and stir.  Toss with 1 c. cooking water until pasta is well-coated.  Add more water if more sauce/moisture is desired.  

The flavor cold the next day is delicious.  

Roast Chicken and Potatoes with Thyme

July 25, 2012

Hello there!

Making Roast Chicken is like a meditation.  It is simple and pure, requires some attention, and has lasting positive residual effects later that week.  It has a special place in my heart since it was one of the first married meals I ever made, and is still one of my family’s favorites.

I talked about it on earlier blogs , but I recently made one and grabbed some pictures along the way.  It is so easy and so delicious, I hope it inspires you to make one at home soon.

This recipe was helped by the herb garden growing nicely in the back yard.

You start with a 4-5 Roaster Chicken.  You remove the giblets, rinse it, pat it dry, and salt and pepper the interior cavity and outside with about 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper.  When I was first married, I followed Julia Child’s recipe, so much of what I do is from her directions.  I can always hear her voice when next I rub about 2 T. Butter, softened on the skin, since she said/wrote the chicken likes it when you massage the butter into it.

Next, I stuff the cavity with these goodies:


A whole lemon cut in half, a head of garlic cut in half, 20 sprigs of fresh thyme (Julia uses Herb de Provence so if you want to use that, use about 2 Tablespoons), and another Tablespoon of butter for good measure.

I cut up 4 carrots, 3 celery and 1 onion, and made a bed out of the veggies so the chicken doesn’t stick to the pan, and it will help flavor the gravy. (This trio of oinion, carrot and celery is called mirepoix and is a famous aromatic flavor base of French Food).  Also, I use a plain old cook sheet, NOT a roaster pan.  These birds are so small, the sides of the roaster pan slow the cooking way down and doesn’t allow the yummy browning to occur.  The cookie sheet gives all the surfaces of the bird a chance to turn glorious.

Place the bird in the oven, breast side up, and cook for 15 min.  Rotate every 15 min on the back, side, side, breast.

If the veggies start to brown, use a spatula and scoop them off. If the chicken starts to brown too quickly, reduce heat to 375 or you can tent the part with foil.

After one hour, slice the leg of the chicken and see if the juices run red or clear/yellow.  If it is red, cook for 15 more minutes. If yellow/clear, the meat is done. You can also use a meat themometer in the thigh and see if it is 165 degrees (the recommended safe temperature for poultry).

While the chicken was cooking, I also sliced up some potatoes in true French peasant style. 

I tossed the with olive oil, salt, pepper, and 1 T. of chopped thyme. Then I cooked them for 25 min at 425, flipping halfway through cooking. They were unbelievably delicious.

This was a meal fit for company, but in fact it was just me and the kids since my husband was traveling.


My daughter gets very excited when this is for dinner since it is her favorite:

I will use the leftovers for salads for lunch, then make stock out of the carcass.  I will show you how next time.  Happy Eating!