Chicken Enchiladas

These may not be 100% authentic, but they are fast, easy, healthy and most of all, delicious!

My Simple Chicken Enchiladas
Serves 7-8 (one piece)

8 ounces cooked chicken, shredded
1/4 cup black olives
1/2 cup cheddar cheese (divided)
2 ounces soft goat cheese
1/4 cup onion, minced
1/2 – 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
8 soft tortillas (6-8″)
1/2 cup salsa (divided), red or green.

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together chicken, olives, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese, the goat cheese, onion and cilantro.
  3. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup salsa on the bottom of the pan.
  5. Taking a tortilla, scoop 1/8 of the mix, place on the tortilla and roll as in the above picture. Place in the baking pan.
  6. Repeat with all tortillas.
  7. Spread remaining salsa on the top of the tortillas. Top with the remaining cheese.
  8. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until the cheese begin to brown.
  9. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomatoes and sour cream (or Greek yogurt.)
Due to poor planning, I only had 8 inch tortillas, so the nutritional data will reflect that. I think it would have been better with 6 inch tortillas, and would have obviously had fewer calories. But sometimes you need to work with what you have.

This is another great way to use “chicken over-production” (aka “left-overs.”) You could also replace the chicken with ground beef, or shredded beef, pulled pork, or even fish (tilapia, whitefish, flounder.) Or replace the meat with beans. The key to making this easy is to use what you have on hand, and when you use precooked meat, all you are doing is reheating it. You could even make these, wrap them tightly and freeze them individually for later use, and just thaw and heat in the microwave. (If you do that, don’t top with the sauce and cheese until you are ready to heat them.)

Nutritional data:
Calories (per piece): 179
Fat:                         10.2g
Sat fat:                      3.4g
Chol:                    31.5mg
Sodium:              641.4mg
Carbs:                     19.3g
Fiber:                      12.2g
Protein:                   15.5g
The high sodium level is due to almost everything about this recipe: the tortillas, the salsa, the cheese, the olives. And once in a while, I am okay with that, because this is such a good meal.

Here is a quick question for any beer drinkers out there: 
If I were making this for you, which beer would you most want me to serve with it, and why that beer?

Baked Caprese Salad

Baked Caprese Salad
Serves 4

1 large tomato
Fresh basil
2 ounces mozzarella
4-6 cups arugula
Olive oil

  1. Preheat broiler in high. Move the top rack to the highest position in the oven.
  2. Slice tomato into 1/4-1/2 inch thick slices. Season with salt if desired. Place on baking sheet.
  3. Lay the fresh basil on the tomato.
  4. Top with cheese. (I used shredded.)
  5. Place in oven for 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is browned.
  6. Place arugula on plate. Top with broiled tomato and drizzle with olive oil.
Nutritional data:
Calories:       135
Fat:             11.1g
Sat fat:          3.5g
Chol:           10mg
Sodium:  168.5mg
Carbs:          4.7g
Fiber:           1.5g
Protein:        6.4g
My wife told me not to take pictures of this because the baking sheet is not spotless. I told her that cookware that get used will not be spotless. (Sort of like a cookbook that doesn’t have drips, spatters, stains and spills on the pages obviously doesn’t contain any good recipes.)

Baked Avocado Fries

Bake Avocado Fries
Serves 2

1 ripe avocado, seeded and sliced into 8 wedges
1 egg white
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn meal (but you will only use about 1 teaspoon–the rest just makes it easier to work with.)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
Your preferred spices and herbs

  1. Preheat oven to 450. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Mix corn meal with spices (I used garlic powder.)
  3. Mix herbs with panko crumbs (I used dried basil.)
  4. Coat avocado wedges in corn meal.
  5. Whisk egg white and water until lightly frothy. 
  6. Dip each wedge in egg white, one at a time. Roll in panko crumbs and set on prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Baked until browned (16-20 minutes, depending on your oven.)
Serve warm with a sauce or dip. This recipe went well with a ranch salad dressing. 
Development notes:
Special thanks go to Andrew Carpenter for sending me a picture of this recipe. 
Since I had never made this recipe before, I several versions. I also tried a version using a thin Greek yogurt wash (2 tablespoons yogurt with 2 tablespoons milk.) It had no better flavor than the egg wash version, but the egg wash created a better crunch. I also tmade a southwestern style, replacing the garlic powder with chili powder and dried cilantro for the basil. That tasted good with a spicy sauce (I like Sriracha.)
I considered not using the corn meal coating, but I opted to use it because the corn meal coating helps the egg wash stick to the avocado, creating a better crunch. It only adds about 5 calories and 1 gram of carbs to each serving.
Nutritional data:
Calories:     151
Fat:          10.7g
Sat fat:       1.5g
Chol:          0mg
Sodium:    56mg
Carbs:      11.7g
Fiber:         4.9g
Protein:         4g

Wilted Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

Wilted Lettuce Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
Serves 2-4 (depending on the portion size)

1 large head of leaf lettuce (red or green), torn into pieces, carefully rinsed and laid out to dry.

  1. Place lettuce into a large salad serving bowl.
  2. Set aside.
Mix together in a large microwave safe bowl:
  1. 4 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  2. 2 tablespoon sugar (you can also use Splenda or Stevia–I used Splenda in the numbers below. Table sugar would add 21 calories per portion.)
  3. 2 tablespoons warm bacon grease
  4. 1/4 small red onion, sliced into thin rings
  5. 4 strips of cooked bacon, chopped.
  6. Just before service, place in microwave and bring to a boil.
  7. Stir to make sure the sugar is dissolved.
  8. Pour over prepared salad and toss to coat.
  9. The salad is ready when the lettuce is starting to wilt from the heat of the dressing.
Nutritional data: (for 1/4 of the above recipe)
Calories:    109
Fat:            9.8g
Sat fat:       3.6g
Chol:     14.9mg
Sodium:  195mg
Carbs:        1.3g
Fiber:         0.1g
Protein:         3g

Question for you:
Would you prefer this with beef, pork, chicken or fish? Why?

Oh, Just To Make It Official…


I have had a few people ask me via email if it is okay to post my recipes ot Google+ or pin them to Pinterest, or otherwise share them.  My answer:


In fact, if you like my foods, I hope you share them! (To paraphrase the voting philosophy that used to apply to Chicago, “Share early and share often.”)

My entire goal with my blog is to help all of you enjoy life, reach your goals and eat great food. If you pass these recipes on, either by pinning them to Pinterest, copying them to Facebook or Google+, tweeting them, or linking them on your blog, you will only help me reach more people and potentially help more people. (And I think I’ve made that easier by adding the appropriate buttons at the end of each post.)

It may sound idealistic, but I truly believe that if you help enough people, the benefits will be greater than the sum of the individual parts.

I am going to leave you with a simple question, but I hope you take the time to write an answer:

What is your favorite comfort food?

Thanks! I can’t wait to see what everyone prefers.

Bacon-Corn Broccoli Slaw and Jalapeno-Cheddar Polenta

Bacon-Corn Broccoli Slaw 
Serves 4

2 strips bacon (reserve 3 tablespoons bacon grease)
1 cup frozen corn kernels (or the equivalent cut from the fresh cobs.)
1/2 cup diced onion
12 ounce package of pre-cut broccoli slaw

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ranch dressing
1 teaspoon your preferred herb blend (I used Penzey’s Sunny Paris.)

  1. Fry bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan. Chop into a smallish pieces.
  2. Add corn and onion to the pan. Over medium heat, saute until the corn begins to brown (5-6 minutes.)
  3. While the corn and onions caramelize, mix yogurt, vinegar, ranch dressing and herb blend together. Taste, and add salt, pepper or sugar to taste.)
  4. Put broccoli slaw mix in a bowl. Top with yogurt dressing. Add corn and onions, and bacon.  Toss to coat. 
  5. Serve warm or cold.
Nutritional data: (6 ounces by weight per serving)
Calories:         129
Fat:                   7g
Sat fat:              2g
Chol:           8.9mg
Sodium:      142mg
Carbs:          12.1g
Fiber:             1.9g
Protein:             5g

Jalapeno Cheddar Polenta
Serves 4

1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
16 ounces fluid (I used half beer, half water)
1/2 cup dried polenta
1/8 cup shredded cheddar

  1. Preheat non-stick skillet over med-high. Spray with cooking spray. 
  2. Saute pepper and onion for 3-5 minutes, until the pepper begins to get brown.
  3. While you are doing that, bring your liquid to a boil.
  4. Add the polenta to the boiling liquid.
  5. Turn heat down and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in peppers and onions.
  7. Top with a bit of cheese when serving.
(Note that my polenta is brown, but only because I used a dark beer.)

Nutritional data: (4 ounces by weight per serving)
Calories:          113
Fat:                 1.2g
Sat fat:            0.7g
Chol:            3.7mg
Sodium:      25.3mg
Carbs:           18.8g
Fiber:              2.3g
Protein:            2.8g

Homemade Pickles

Homemade Pickles
Serves: 48 spears

2-4 one quart jars with lids.

12 small pickle cucumbers (approximately 4 inches long)
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced

3 cups white vinegar
4 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
2.5 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
2 teaspoon dill seed
2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seed
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Fresh dill

  1. Wash pickles. Slice lengthwise into quarters.
  2. Wash the jars and lids, let air dry.
  3. Combine the vinegar, water, and next 7 ingredients in a 2-3 quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil, let boil for 5 minutes.
  4. While the vinegar mixture comes to a boil, pack the pickles and onions into the jars, evenly divided. (I simply used a 1 gallon jar, put the onions on the bottom and the pickle spears on top.)
  5. Cut the fresh dill into four inch lengths. Slide the dill segments into the jar, between and around the pickle spears. (Use as much as you want. More dill makes more flavor. I used most of a two foot long bundle.)
  6. After five minutes of boiling, pour the hot sauce into the jars. 
  7. Cover and refrigerate.
I based this recipe on one found in Cooking Light, adding a few ingredients and increasing the quantities of other ingredients. 
I can’t give the nutritional data for these pickles, because it would be impossible for me to measure the amount of sugar and salt that is absorbed into the pickles. And since sodium is the only nutritional concern when considering pickles, I will use the values that the magazine found when they had their pickles tested at the lab. (While I made some changes to the ingredients, I kept the same amound of sugar and salt.)
Their lab analysis shows that after 24 hours in the brine each spear had 49mg sodium and after five days, it increased to 66mg. That compares to 220-450mg per spear when you buy pickles in the store.
These pickles are not canned. They must be stored in the refrigerator, but as long as the pickles stay submerged under the brine, they will keep for a long time. (I ate a few after less than 24 hours in the bring and found them to be excellent. My wife and son agree.)

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Grilled Halloumi Salad

Serves 1

Life is busy. But that does not mean we can’t eat wonderful food!

1 ounce Halloumi cheese
1-2 cups fresh arugula
1 slice from a large tomato
1-2 teaspoon olive oil

  1. Preheat your grill on high for 5 minutes.
  2. Brush your grill and using paper towel and a tongs, wipe vegetable oil on the grate to prevent sticking.
  3. Lay the cheese on the grill. Flip after two minutes. The cheese will not melt into the grate, but will brown as in the picture.
  4. Remove after another two minutes.
  5. Lay the tomato slice on the arugula. I cut the halloumi into strips and laid over the tomato.
  6. Lastly, I drizzled some Wild Mushroom and Sage infused olive oil. (This is available from Olivada, in Sheboygan, WI.)
Nutritional data:
Calories:    162
Fat:          13.7g
Sat fat:       6.7g
Chol:        25mg
Sodium:  380mg
Carbs:           2g
Fiber:            1g
Protein:         9g
By the way, halloumi cheese originated in Cyprus, and is a blend of cow and sheep milk. It has a very high melting point because it is heated and shaped before being brined. Because of the brine, it is salty, which nicely offsets the spicy/peppery arugula. The light drizzle of olive oil is all this salad needs for a balanced flavor profile.

Make Your Someday Today is a twice-weekly podcast, where we talk to successful people in all walks of life and around the world on Monday, and then on Thursday, I take a specific message from the previous guest and give my “Trevitorial”, where I help you apply that message to your life. The entire purpose of the show is to help all of us overcome our challenges and fears and become the person we want to be, the person we deserve to be.