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A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned how excited I was to attend this year’s Food and Wine Conference in Orlando, FL. Well that weekend is here, and it’s been AMAZING. I’m not going to gush about it now – perhaps in a future post – but you can sneak a peak at the wonderful food and drink and learning opportunities by checking out Books n’ Cooks on Instagram.

As a part of this amazing weekend, I have received the opportunity to participate in a live #SundaySupper event at Tapa Toro, a restaurant in Orlando that combines contemporary Spanish cuisine with a vibrant, energetic atmosphere. Tapa Toro immerses the diner in Spanish culture through their unique paella pit, tapas menu, and extensive selection of imported wines.

If you don’t already know, tapas are Spanish small plates. In the spirit of this weekend’s event, the #SundaySupper tastemakers have created “small bites.” When creating my small bite, I drew on my Italian heritage and the fresh local vegetables that are starting to appear in nearby farmers markets. Chicken Caprese Skewers are easy to make – and easy to prepare ahead – and are full of bright Italian flavors.

Chicken Caprese Bites

By Books n’ Cooks

Makes 12 Bites


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 c. Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • splash of milk
  • canola or olive oil
  • 12 pieces of marinated mozzarella, Ciliegine-sized*
  • 12 cherry or grape tomatoes

* Ciliegine mozzarella are about the size of a cherry. You can use other sizes, but will need to cut to an appropriate size to top the chicken pieces.

Variation: Instead of marinated mozzarella, use plain mozzarella and sprinkle finished dish with fresh minced basil.

Prep: Place 12 long toothpicks in a shallow dish or plate and top with water. Allow to soak for at least 15 minutes, to ensure that they don’t burn in the oven.

Make the Chicken: Heat oil in a medium skillet set over medium heat, enough oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. While oil heats, place breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl or plate. In another shallow bowl, whisk together egg and a hefty splash of milk.

Dip chicken into egg and milk mixture, turning to coat. Then dip in breadcrumbs, again turning to coat well. Place chicken in hot pan – ensuring that pieces do not touch – and fry on 2-3 sizes, so that each piece has a nice crunchy crust on the outside and is cooked throughout. Move to a plate lined with a paper towel (to soak up extra oil).

Pull out an oven-safe dish – either a serving plate or plates, or a sheet pan. Skewer one piece of chicken, one piece of mozzarella, and top with one cherry tomato. Place on prepared dish.

If prepping ahead, you can stop here. Cover and refrigerate until just before serving.

Bake: About 30 minutes prior to serving, preheat oven to 450F. Bake chicken caprese bites for 15 minutes, until cheese is starting to melt and tomatoes are starting to burst.

Serve immediately.

Sunday Supper Small Bites Recipes for Entertaining

Small Starters

Pint-sized Protein


Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.






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If you haven’t lived in Maryland, you probably don’t know how crazy the weather can be. We’ll have days or weeks of really warm weather, and then a day of really cold weather. Or vise versa. The whacky weather seems to be the worst in those months when fall transitions to winter – one day I’ll be bundled up in my winter coat but the next I’ll be outside in just a light sweater. I remember Christmas last year. We had house full of people and it was too warm inside. The heat was off, all of the windows were open, and we were hanging out on the back deck.


We’re hosting Christmas again this year, and this time, I’m going to be prepared with some easy recipes in case we have unusually warm weather again. That means grilling as much as I can, instead of simmering, baking, and roasting. And since I know there will be a lot of sweets, regardless of the temperature, I plan to stash some light, healthy recipes for the holidays.

Enter: Grilled Balsamic Chicken & Strawberry Kabobs.

Pairing a lean protein with fresh fruit – what could get easier than that? Lucky for me, Florida Strawberries are available all winter (November through April) long. Strawberries are light and healthy. I’ve known that the low-calorie fruit was packed with Vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium, but I didn’t realize that strawberries are one of the healthiest food choices around. The fruit earned the top score (100) in the Overall Nutrition Quality Index, a system that ranks food based on its nutrient density (the greater the score, the greater the amount of vitamins and minerals with the least amount of calories).

With all that cancer and heart disease-fighting goodness, fresh Florida strawberries are the perfect addition to any course you’re planning for the holidays. Don’t just set them out as part of a fruit and cheese tray – let them shine as a part of a main dish, like these grilled chicken and strawberry kabobs (grilling the strawberries brings out a sweetness that is just incredible), take a starring role in a less traditional appetizer or side dish, or be the best dessert on your holiday table.


Florida Strawberry is also hosting a giveaway this season. Take a photo with Florida strawberries and submit it via social media using #FLStrawberryCap or upload it directly to the website between tomorrow, December 12, and February 12, 2017. Everyone who enters will receive a free Florida Strawberries cap. Caps are limited to one per household, but you may enter to win the grand prize as many times as you’d like. Florida Strawberry will select their favorite photo (so be creative!) to win a grand prize of a trip to TradeWinds Island Resort in St. Pete’s Beach for up to 3 people. Airfare, accommodations, and a tour of a strawberry farm in Plant City will be generously provided.

Interested in learning more about Florida Strawberries? Follow Florida Strawberry Growers Association on social media:


Grilled Balsamic Chicken & Strawberry Kabobs

By Books n’ Cooks

Serves 4-6


  • 1-1/2 lb. chicken, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbs. Italian seasoning
  • 1 lb. Florida strawberries, cored but left whole

Prep & Marinade:

Set 8 wooden skewers in a long dish. Fill with water, just to cover skewers. Allow to soak for at least an hour, so that skewers don’t burn while grilling.

Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar and Italian seasoning to a gallon-sized baggie. Shake to combine. Add chicken. Seal, removing the air from the bag and ensuring that chicken is covered by marinade. Refrigerate and allow to marinade for 1-2 hours.

Assemble & Cook:

Preheat grill, set to medium heat.

Remove soaked skewers from water. Assemble kabobs, alternating chicken and strawberries. There will be roughly 6 pieces per skewer. You may not use all of the skewers. Cook kabobs on preheated grill, 4-6 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 4-6 minutes, until chicken is cooked throughout.

Serve chicken-strawberry kabobs hot, drizzled with extra balsamic vinegar if desired.


This post is sponsored by Florida Strawberry in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Get inspired with more Florida Strawberries recipes from the #SundaySupper tastemakers.



Main Dishes

Side Dishes

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.




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This week, the #SundaySupper tastemakers are gearing up for Father’s Day, bringing you some of the favorite foods for the special fathers in our lives.

When my husband became a father three and a half years ago, I couldn’t have imagined how much of a natural he’d be. I still remember looking over at him – this big guy – with this teeny baby girl in purple curled up on half of his arm as we’d watch tv in the evening. Typical new parents, we didn’t want to put her down. Every day, he continues to amaze me with how wonderful he is as a father to our two children – playing with them, helping them learn, and teaching them lessons. He has a patience that I’ll never have (and I can only hope that at least one of our children will inherit that from him!).

Turkey Chorizo Burgers

And so, in honor of this week’s theme, I chose to make two of my hubby’s favorites – burgers and guac. He’s a simple man, and is generally happy with a large, well-cooked burger. I can usually pick out the burger he’ll order when we go out. If there’s one with pineapple or guacamole, that’s usually it. So a few weeks ago, I dug out an old favorite. The chorizo gives this burger a lot of flavor, which pairs well with the subtle guacamole. I used my own guacamole recipe instead of the one in the recipe

You’ll definitely have leftover guac, so feel free to halve the guacamole recipe or have some tortilla chips on hand.

Turkey Chorizo Burgers with Guacamole

Burgers adapted from Fine Cooking
Guacamole by Books n’ Cooks

Makes enough for 5 burgers, with guac leftover

Ingredients for the Burgers:

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb. ground spicy chorizo
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Burger buns or English Muffins
  • tomato & onion slices (optional, for serving)

Ingredients for the Guacamole:

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

Make the Burgers: In a large mixing bowl, add turkey, chorizo, and salt. Use clean hands to work the mixture, trying not to over mix. Form into 1-inch thick patties, using a finger to indent middle slightly.

Grill, flipping after 5 minutes, until center registers 165F – about 10 minutes total.

Make the Guacamole: While burgers are cooking, make the guac. Remove flesh from avocados, keeping 1-2 pits on the side. Lightly mash avocado with a fork. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder, and lime juice. Continue to mash until desired consistency. Return pit(s) to guacamole, to help the guacamole from browning.

Serve burgers on burger buns or English muffins (toasted, if desired), topped with guacamole, tomato, and onion.

Check out more of Dad’s favorites below!


Appetizers & Snacks:



Condiments & Sauces:


Main Dishes:

Side Dishes:

Plus What Dad Really Wants for Father’s Day from Sunday Supper Movement

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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This week, Sunday Supper is all about pies – sweet and savory. I don’t often make sweet pies, but believe it or not, this version of a chicken pot pie that has become one of my favorite ones to make during the week. It’s a crust-less pie (no fussing with making pie crust and rolling it out) and utilizes precooked chicken (hello, leftovers!), veggies that can be bought frozen or prepped at the grocery store, and crescent rolls for a pretty easy 30-minute weeknight dinner.

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is adapted from a Weight Watchers recipe, that I’ve bulked up a bit with a little more veggies and chicken – for those of us not tracking points – and fresh thyme.


Weeknight Pot Pie

By Books n’ Cooks


  • cooking spray
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bag (approximately 2-2 1/2 cups) diced carrots and peas
  • 4 c. shredded or diced cooked chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 tube crescent rolls (4-6 for recipe; bake the rest to serve along side pot pie)

In a large cast-iron skillet,* heat oil and butter oven medium heat. Add onion and Weeknight Chicken Pot Piemushrooms, sauteing until onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to brown. Season with thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth, vegetables, and chicken. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

While mixture cooks, preheat oven to 350F.

Stir in flour and 1/4 c. evaporated milk, stirring constantly for a few minutes until beginning to thicken. Add remaining evaporated milk, stirring for a few more minutes, or until mixture reaches desired consistency.

Unroll crescent rolls and lay them around the edges of the skillet – 4 for a smaller skillet or pie dish, 5-6 for a larger skillet. Bake in oven until crescent rolls begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Remove from oven and serve hot.

*Alternatively, use a large skillet, and transfer mixture to an oven-safe Pyrex or pie dish for baking.

Check out these other great recipes from the Sunday Supper crew!

Weeknight Chicken Pot Pie

Sweet As Pie

Mealtime Pie

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement

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Pesto Chicken with Couscous 3

I’ve been a bit surprised at how having a second child seems to drastically reduce the amount of free time I have. I didn’t seem to notice it when my daughter was born, but all of a sudden, two kids means that time disappears and I have no idea where it went.

My son, Nutterbutter, is 4 months old now, and I’ve quickly learned that I’d rather pay a little more to make life easier on myself. I order everything I can through Amazon and Target (love free shipping!), and have even ventured to do some grocery delivery, although I prefer to go to the store. The hour it would take me to drive, shop, and  get home, is just too valuable to lose to grocery shopping some weeks.

I’ve also been working to simplify our evening routine, including dinner. I make enough for leftovers, so that I’m not cooking every night. I have started to use my crockpot not just on weekdays, but on weekends as well.

When I bought this cookbook – my Black Friday present to myself last year – this recipe instantly caught my eye. But at the time, there was two problems with it: 1) it only takes a few hours to prepare, and thus, wasn’t suited for a weekday meal (when I’d be away fro 9-10 hours) and 2) my hubby hated tomatoes. But in my attempt to spend less time on chores and more time on family and things I enjoy, I ignored my hubby’s dislike for tomatoes and made it anyway.

Turns out, after a bit of encouragement to try the sweet cherry tomatoes, this recipe quickly turned into a family favorite. It’s flavorful and bright, and, as this week’s Sunday Supper theme suggests, is minimum to no work. I spent no more than 10 minutes prepping everything and throwing it in the crockpot. It only took a few minutes on hands-on work to finish the dish. While it doesn’t work for my weeknights, this meal will be on our weekend menu frequently for the near future.

Pesto Chicken with Couscous 4

Recipe Notes: The original recipe called for 4-12 oz. bone-in split chicken breasts, trimmed. We opted for boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead, as boneless chicken breasts are a bit easier for us to pack in our lunch the next day. If you choose to use bone-in breasts, your cook time should be 3-4 hours (instead of 2-3 hours) on low, and you’ll want to strain out the fat from the liquid after the chicken cooks.

Pesto Chicken with Fennel & Tomato Couscous

Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution
Volume 2: The Easy-Prep Edition (p. 97)

Serves 4


  • 1 fennel bulk, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 c. couscous
  • 1/2 c. basil pesto

In a small bowl, microwave fennel, oil, and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes total, stirring halfway through. Transfer to slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place in slow cooker. Add chicken broth and top with cherry tomatoes. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

With a slotted spoon, transfer chicken from slow cooker to a bowl. Cover with foil to keep warm. Keep 1 c. of the juice in the slow cooker (reserve the rest in a small bowl) and add couscous. Gently stir couscous and vegetables. Cover and continue to cook on low until couscous is cooked, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

While couscous cooks, whisk the pesto into remaining liquid and set aside. (I found that I didn’t have much leftover, so the second time I made this, I left all of the liquid in the slow cooker to cook the couscous and used a little extra chicken broth to thin pesto to desired consistency.)

Transfer couscous to a serving dish. Top with chicken and pesto.

(Photo Note: I reserved the tomatoes instead of combining with the couscous due to picky eaters in the family.)

Crock Pot Pesto Chicken with Fennel & Tomato Couscous

Check out some other ideas for “No Labor” recipes
from the Sunday Supper tastemakers.

Savory Snacks and Sides:

Labor Free Main Dishes:

Sweet Treats and Drinks:

Labor Free Labor Day:

  • 10 Store-Bought Cooking Shortcuts by Sunday Supper Movement
  • Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

    Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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    Packed with flavor, Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken is a quick and easy (and light!) weeknight meal.

    Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

    I found this recipe a few years ago and went through a phase of making it all of the time. I had forgotten about it until recently. I quickly added this old favorite back into our regular dinner rotation and vowed not to forget about it again. This baked, crispy chicken is healthy, flavorful, and an easy 30 minute meal for a weeknight dinner. Can’t beat that!

    Recipe Notes & Tips:

    • I always slice my chicken cutlets thinly, so they tend to cook a little faster. I’ve also taken to prepping a bunch of chicken ahead of time, portioning it into our ideal cooking portions (enough for dinner + leftovers for lunch), and freezing. The chicken defrosts quickly and removes one step from my weeknight dinner prep.
    • I don’t typically have buttermilk on hand. I’ve used whole milk, half-and-half, or whatever cream I have in the fridge. I’ve also made my own buttermilk with milk and a little lemon juice. Take your pick on what you’d like to do.
    • I’ve made this recipe using both unseasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs. Comes out great both ways. Again, just depends on what I have in the house.
    • I keep “fresh” rosemary in my freezer. At the end of every summer, rosemary plants are trimmed back. Leaves are removed from the stems, washed, given a rough chop, and frozen in an airtight container. This gives me “fresh” rosemary all year round, without having to purchase the costly containers at the grocery store.
    • This recipe is easily multiplied. I like to make a big batch of the panko-walnut breading and store it in the freezer to shave time off of weeknight dinner prep.

    Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

    Rosemary Walnut Baked Chicken

    Adapted from Cooking Light

    Serves 4

    Ingredients for the Crust:

    • 1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs*
    • 1/3 c. chopped walnuts*
    • 2 Tbs. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (freshly grated, if you have it)
    • 1 generous tsp. minced fresh rosemary*
    • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

    * See recipe notes and tips above.

    Ingredients for the Chicken:

    • 1/4 c. buttermilk, milk, or half-and-half
    • 2 Tbs. Dijon mustard
    • 4 chicken cutlets, trimmed of fat
    • cooking spray

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Place a wire rack on a foil-lined baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

    Make Rosemary Walnut Crust: In a small skillet over low heat, toast panko breadcrumbs until golden, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

    Place panko breadcrumbs and walnuts in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5-10 times, until finely chopped. (You can skip this step if you can chop your walnuts small enough, but I found the finer consistency from a brief whirl in the food processor made for easier coating.)

    Combine panko, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, rosemary, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. (If making a large batch to freeze extra, portion out some for immediate use and store extra in an airtight container or ziplock bag.)

    Assemble and Bake the Chicken: In a shallow bowl, whisk together buttermilk and mustard until combined. Add chicken to mixture, turning to coat. Dredge chicken through panko-walnut mixture, ensuring that both sides are evenly coated.

    Place chicken on prepared baking sheet/wire rack. Spray top of chicken with cooking spray. Bake for approximately 13 minutes (less time for thinner slices, more for thicker), or until chicken is cooked through.

    Serve hot.


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    Sesame Seed Chicken

    Sesame seed chicken. Every time this chicken is mentioned, my dad tells a story of when I home from college and my mom was away for 3 weeks caring for a sick relative. I tried to help out around the house while she was gone, mostly laundry and cooking. One night, I decided to make this sesame seed chicken and chaos ensued. My brother flipped out about how “sesame seed chicken is an appetizer” and not a meal. I’m not sure he actually ate that night, but he certainly emailed my mother, complaining about it. Needless to say, I’ve never made sesame seed chicken as a main meal again.

    Actually, I don’t know if I ever made sesame seed chicken after that night, until Sophie’s birthday party last month. Apparently my brother traumatized me. Well, I won’t forget about this recipe again. It’s easy and it’s a great spin on a chicken fingers. I served it with the honey mayo (below), but feel free to add or substitute your favorite dipping sauce instead.

    Sesame Seed Chicken with Honey Mayo

    Books n’ Cooks

    Ingredients for the Chicken:

    • 1 c. mayonnaise
    • 2 c. plain breadcrumbs
    • 1 c. sesame seeds
    • 1/4 c. dry mustard
    • 1/4 c. minced onions
    • 2-3 lbs. chicken breasts, fat trimmed and cut into 1-2 inch pieces

    Ingredients for the Honey Mayo:

    • 2-3 Tbs. honey
    • 1 c. mayonnaise

    Preheat oven to 475F.

    Place mayo in a large ziplock bag. In another ziplock bag, combine breadcrumbs, sesame seeds, mustard, and onions. Toss chicken pieces in mayo to coat, and then in breadcrumb-sesame mixture.

    Place on a baking sheet, in a single layer. Bake until browned and cooked throughout, about 15-20 minutes.

    While chicken is cooking, mix honey and mayo in a small bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Serve chicken hot or at room temperature with honey may.

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    It’s just barely September and I’m ready for fall. I’m ready for warm soups and stews, comfort food like meatloaf and pasta. Unfortunately, the weather here doesn’t agree with me. With the exception of a couple of cool days following some storms, it’s still been 90+ degrees pretty regularly.

    But I don’t care. I’ve been craving soup. And the moment I told my hubby that we were having Chicken Enchilada Soup for dinner, at 3pm, he couldn’t stop asking when it was going to be ready. We really enjoy this recipe, one that I had found last year and never got around to photographing. It’s quick and easy. It’s healthy, even when I deviate from original recipe (minus the tortilla chips). It’s adaptable – use up leftover veggies, add extra chicken for a heartier soup, add extra kick with an additional chipotle. Make it your own. And it freezes beautifully – important for me this past week, as I was making a double batch so that I could deliver some to friends with a newborn.

    Below, I included both directions for making this in a crock pot as well as making it on the stove-top.

    Chicken Enchilada Soup

    Adapted from Skinny Taste

    Serves 6

    • 2 tsp. olive oil
    • 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 c. low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
    • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
    • 1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce*
    • 1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro or 3 Tbs. freeze-dried cilantro
    •  15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
    • 14.5 oz. can petite diced tomatoes
    • 2 c. frozen corn
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 2 to 3 skinless chicken breasts – raw for the crock pot or cooked & shredded (roughly 3 c. if you’re using leftover chicken) for the stove-top
    • Optional toppings: additional cilantro, scallions, shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, tortilla chips

    * Tip: Freeze extra chipotles in ziplock baggies for future use. One or two chipotles in a bag, and they defrost in 5 minutes or so on the counter.

    Directions for the Crock Pot:

    In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat oil. When hot, add onion, garlic, and chipotle. Saute until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

    While above is cooking, add remaining ingredients to a crock pot. Then add onion saute. Give a quick stir, ensuring that the chicken breasts are completely covered. Cover crock pot and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

    Remove chicken from crock pot and shred with a fork. Return to crock pot. Give a quick stir, and cook on high heat for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to warm up the chicken (if it cooled while shredding) and the soup (if it switched to low heat after cooking for the 4-6 hours).

    Directions for the Stove-Top:

    In a large pot over medium-low heat, heat oil. When hot, add onion, garlic, and chipotle. Saute until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients (including cooked, shredded chicken) to a saucepan. Give a quick stir. Bring to a boil and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes, until soup is hot and flavors have melded together.

    Serve hot with your choice of toppings.

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    I’m not feeling very inspired to write today. Maybe it’s because me and sloppy joes don’t really have a history. I had them at my in-law house one of the first times I went home with my hubby. Something about this recipe struck me and I ended up loving it. I think it’s the slight tang of the sauce. Sloppy joes quickly became a regular in our weeknight menu – it’s healthy & filling; it comes together pretty quickly; and it’s one of my favorite leftovers to take to work. Enjoy!

    Above, served with mixed berry salad with vanilla syrup.

    Sloppy Joes

    Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s The Food You Crave p. 91

    Makes 6-8 sandwiches


    • 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey
    • 1 medium onion, diced
    • 4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
    • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded & small diced
    • 1-15.5 oz. can low-sodium red beans, drained & rinsed
    • 1 1/2 c. no salt added tomato sauce
    • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
    • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
    • 1 Tbs. unsulfured molasses
    • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tsp. dry mustard
    • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
    • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
    • 8 burger buns or sandwich thins for serving


    1. In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, brown meat and onions until meat is mostly browned.
    2. Remove drippings from pan – pour or use a turkey baster to remove them – and add bell pepper and garlic, cooking for 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, minus the burger buns. Cook for another 5 minutes until flavors meld together.

    Serve on burger buns or sandwich this.

    Make ahead and reheat in a crock-pot on low for 2-4 hours.

    Nutrition: 1/2 c. of the sloppy joe mixture is 220 calories and will yield a full 8 servings.

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    Finally – a break from desserts and some savory food! And a healthy recipe at that!

    These chicken enchiladas were a treat for my hubby. I had never made enchiladas before, mostly because I always thought they were a bit too cheesy or creamy for my taste. However, I loved these – made with a chipotle tomato sauce, chicken, and veggies. I’ve made them a couple times now. As noted below, I usually use larger tortillas than the recipe calls for, so bulk up the filling with extra veggies (usually bell peppers or mushrooms), in order to keep the nutrition facts similar to the original recipe (about 250 calories per enchilada!). I make a big batch of these on the weekend, and then hubby and I heat them up for lunch or dinner during the busy week. They’re even better leftover!

    Chicken Enchiladas

    Adapted from Gina’s Skinny Recipes

    Makes 4 servings (8 enchiladas)

    Ingredients for the Sauce:

    • non-stick cooking spray
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1-2 Tbs. chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (1-2 chipotles), minced
    • 1-1/2 c. tomato sauce
    • 1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
    • 3/4 c. low sodium chicken broth
    • kosher salt and fresh pepper to taste

    Ingredients for the Enchiladas:

    • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
    • 8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
    • 1 c. diced onion
    • 2 large garlic clove, minced
    • 1/4 c. finely chopped cilantro
    • kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
    • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
    • 1/3 c. low-sodium chicken broth
    • 1/2 c. tomato sauce
    • 8 (7-inch) tortillas*
    • 1 c. shredded low fat Mexican cheese
    • 1/2 c. chopped scallions or cilantro for topping

    * The original recipe called for 8 7-inch reduced carb whole wheat tortillas (at 50 calories each… so that each enchilada would be about 160 calories). I used 8-10 inch whole wheat tortillas (at 130 calories each). Each enchilada was about 250 calories.

    Make the Sauce:

    1. Spray a medium sauce pan with cooking spray. Over medium heat, saute garlic until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Make the Filling:

    1. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil. Add onions and garlic, sauteing until soft. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, and chicken broth. Cook for 4-5 minutes.

    Make the Enchiladas & Bake:

    1. While the chicken mixture is cooking, preheat oven to 400 and spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. When chicken mixture is ready, place 1/3 c. chicken mixture into each tortilla. Roll it, and place it in prepared baking dish, seam side down.
    3. Cover with sauce and top with cheese.
    4. Bake 20-25 minutes, covering with aluminum foil if the top starts to burn.

    Serve topped with scallions or cilantro, and if desired, sour cream. Serve with rice.

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