When one of my lovely girlfriends visited me awhile back, I made this salad for lunch. It’s quite easy, and the combination of cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, and pine nuts is amazing. Gone, gone, gone!

6 cups baby spinach

1 lb grilled chicken tenderloins, sliced thin and chilled

4 cups diced cantaloupe

2 avocados, diced

4 oz prosciutto, chopped

1/4 cup diced red onion (optional)

2 oz pine nuts

Dressing suggestion: Ken’s Steakhouse Lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette (yes, I’m recommending it again)

1) Prepare each salad as follows: spread spinach on plate and top with chicken, cantaloupe, avocado, prosciutto, red onion, and pine nuts; serve with dressing of your choice

Now wasn’t that easy?

Servings: 4

NOTE: This is a “repeat” recipe featured on my original “Kitchen Novelist” blog 07/05/12–the one that disappeared into a black hole (which is the reason WordPress and I met up).


This easy dish is impressive, not only in presentation but taste. Though I usually use chicken tenderloins in place of whole chicken breasts since tenderloins are more forgiving when it comes to “moist and tender,” use whichever you like (though I would give whole breasts a good pounding to thin them a bit). As for the Pepper Jack cheese, it’s every bit as good as mozzarella–in a different way, of course. Enjoy!

3/4 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs

1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs

3 tbsp chopped parsley, divided

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

8 chicken tenderloins

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp butter

8 slices deli ham

8 slices Pepper Jack Cheese

1) Preheat broiler

2) In large zip top bag, add Italian and Panko breadcrumbs, 2 tbsp parsley (reserving 1 tbsp for topping), salt, and pepper; shake to combine; add chicken and shake to coat

3) In oven-safe skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil and butter; when butter melts, add breaded chicken to skillet and cook 3-4 minutes each side until done; remove skillet from heat

4) Place slice of ham on each chicken tenderloin in skillet, followed by slice of Pepper Jack cheese; place skillet under broiler and broil 2 minutes until cheese melts and is lightly browned; remove from oven and sprinkle with reserved parsley; yum!

Servings: 4


This is my version of a tasty recipe found at: She Cooks, He Eats blog. The enchilada sauce is what caught my eye–a unique addition to nachos. After a bit of recipe tweaking, we had a fabulous appetizer for a meal. Would I change anything the next go around? Possibly more enchilada sauce–good!

8 cups tortilla chips

2-13 oz cans chicken breast, drained

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

8 oz Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, grated

3 green onions, sliced thin

1-10 oz can enchilada sauce

1 medium tomato, chopped

1 avocado, chopped

1/8 cup cilantro, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees

2) Put chicken breast in medium-sized bowl; add salt, pepper, and oregano; toss to combine; set aside

3) In large casserole dish, arrange two layers, using half the following ingredients for each layer: tortilla chips, chicken, black beans, cheese, green onions

4) Pour enchilada sauce over top and bake 10 minutes until cheese melts; remove from oven

5) Top nachos with tomatoes, avocado, and cilantro; serve it up!

Serves: 4-6


Tortilla soup in all its various get ups is among my favorites, and this recipe is right up there with others that have found their way into a bowl with my name on it. In this instance, it’s the lime that stands out. In fact, next time I think I’ll add a wedge to the bowl rim for those who want to give it more punch. Sorry, no leftovers…

4 cups chicken broth

juice of one lime

2 tbsp taco seasoning

2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp dried cilantro (or 1 tbsp fresh minced)

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1-1/2 cups diced onion

1-15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can diced tomatoes, not drained

1/2 cup instant white rice

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, diced

Recommended toppings: sour cream, grated Monterey Jack cheese, diced avocado, broken tortilla chips

1) Turn slow cooker on low heat and add all ingredients (excepting toppings, of course); stir to combine, cover, and cook 6-8 hours

2) To serve, ladle into bowls and, to make it extra special, pile on those toppings

Now wasn’t that easy?

Serves: 6-8


Sometimes you just don’t feel like cranking up the grill. The solution: a grill pan. The end result: these colorful mouth-pleasing sandwiches. Senior and Junior Too give them the nod.

1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

sea salt

ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups roasted deli chicken, chopped

2 cups baby spinach, chopped

8 slices sourdough bread

4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1-1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

2 tbsp butter, softened

1) In large skillet over medium heat, saute artichoke hearts and red bell pepper 3-4 minutes; salt and pepper to taste; stir in chicken and cook 2-3 minutes; remove from heat and immediately stir in spinach

2) Assemble 4 sandwiches as follows: sourdough bread slice spread with cream cheese, then topped with chicken-artichoke mixture, mozzarella cheese, and sourdough bread slice

3) In large skillet (I used a grill pan) over medium heat, melt 1 tbsp butter; grill sandwiches 3-4 minutes on one side; spread top slices with remaining butter and flip; grill 3-4 minutes until cheese melts and bread turns golden

Makes 4 sandwiches


I like sweet and sour chicken. Unfortunately, the fat calories really like me too. When I came across a lower-fat recipe, I decided to give it a try. It required tweaking–less sugar, pass on the garlic, and a bit more soy sauce–but it came out yum. Senior, Junior, and Junior Too agreed. This is a keeper.


1/2 cup sugar

4 tbsp ketchup

1/3 cup white wine vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins, cubed

2 eggs, beaten

Optional: cooked rice

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees

2) In medium bowl, combine sweet and sour sauce ingredients: sugar, ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and salt; set aside

3) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat

4) In shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, salt, and pepper

5) Dredge chicken in cornstarch mixture, then dip in beaten eggs; gently drop chicken into skillet and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 5 minutes; remove from heat

6) Place chicken in a greased 9×13 baking dish and pour sweet and sour sauce over it; bake 45 minutes, gently stirring chicken every 15 minutes; serve (over cooked rice, if you like) and enjoy!


Oh, how our family enjoys lettuce wraps and lettuce cups. I think it’s because my guys get more of the “good stuff” (the filling) without filling up on bread on tortillas. And crisp lettuce leaves are so refreshing. More thumbs up for this easy-to-put-on-the-table meal!


1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp brown sugar

3 tbsp water

2 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 cup peeled and finely chopped carrots

3 green onions, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 lb ground chicken

1-8 oz can water chestnuts, drained and diced

1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed and leaves peeled from core

1) In medium bowl, mix soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, orange juice, brown sugar, water, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, and oyster sauce; set sauce aside

2) To large skillet, add sesame oil and heat over medium; add carrots, green onions, and ginger and cook 5 minutes, stirring often; add chicken and cook 5 minutes, stirring often, until chicken is just cooked through; stir in sauce and bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook five minutes stirring often

3) Remove skillet from heat, stir in water chestnuts, and spoon mixture into lettuce cups; see–easy!

Servings: 4


Even with the weather warming up, there’s room for a good casserole, and Mexican Chicken Casserole is good. The tortilla chips on the bottom of this casserole combine with the salsa to form a bottom soft polenta crust, while the tortillas on the top are nice and crunchy. No leftovers–again.


2-1/2 cups lightly crushed tortilla chips, divided

12 chicken tenderloins

1-16 oz jar salsa (I used Pace brand)

1-1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (I went spicy with this and used Cabot’s Hot Habanero)

2 green onions, sliced thin

1/2 cup diced tomatoes

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees; lightly oil a large casserole dish

2) Scatter 1-1/2 cups tortilla chips (reserving 1 cup) over bottom of casserole dish; top with chicken tenderloins (a single layer); pour salsa over chicken; cover with aluminum foil and bake in oven 40 minutes

3) Remove aluminum foil; scatter reserved 1 cup tortilla chips over top, followed by cheese, green onions, and tomatoes; bake 5 minutes longer and serve

Servings: 4


Tacos! That one word brings my guys to the table–and quick. The chicken’s brown sugar-cumin rub and made-from-scratch salsa sets this recipe apart from others. So tasty and so many thumbs up.



1/2 red onion, diced

2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced

6 Campari tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 tbsp fresh, chopped cilantro

2 tbsp fresh lime juice

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper


1 tbsp brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp chili powder

1-1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied

spray olive oil

4 large flour tortillas

2 cups shredded lettuce

3/4 cups grated Colby-Monterey Jack blend

1) SALSA: In medium-sized bowl, mix onion, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and black pepper; set aside

2) TACOS: In small bowl, mix brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, sea salt, and black pepper; rub mixture over both sides of butterflied chicken breasts

3) Spray olive oil spray over large skillet (I used a grill pan); cook chicken breasts over medium-high, 4-5 minutes each side until just cooked through; remove from heat, let cool a few minutes, and slice thinly

4) Spray olive oil spray over same skillet and heat tortillas both sides until warmed through; place one tortilla on each of four plates and divide chicken between them; top with lettuce, salsa, and cheese and serve immediately; eat ’em up!

Servings: 4


I served this dish at a murder mystery dinner party, and it went over extremely well. The combination of pecans, brown sugar, and maple syrup is over the top tasty. A dozen thumbs up!


1 cup chopped pecans

1 tbsp Cajun seasoning

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1/3″ thick medallions

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup maple syrup

1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees; lightly oil large casserole dish

2) Spread pecans on baking sheet and bake 15 minutes; remove from oven and set aside; increase heat to 375 degrees

3) To large zip top bag, add Cajun seasoning, salt, black pepper, and chicken; shake to coat

4) To large skillet, add butter and olive oil and heat over medium; add chicken and cook 2-3 minutes each side until just cooked through and lightly browned; transfer chicken to casserole dish

5) To same skillet, add brown sugar and maple syrup and cook 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves; add toasted pecans and cook additional 1 minute; pour over chicken; cover casserole dish with foil and bake in oven 15 minutes; remove from oven and serve

Servings: 6