Dinner Menu: Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken w/Mexican Rice

It’s been unseasonably warm here after our early snow in September, so grilling is on the menu.

On the board:

  1. Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken
  2. Mexican Rice Medley
  3. Green Beans
  4. Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies (recipe here)

Spicy Lime Cilantro Chicken:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup sliced pickled jalapenos and juice

 Place ingredients in a zip-lock bag and marinate 1 hour or overnight.  Broil or grill for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes, until breasts are cooked to 165 degrees. Continue reading

Cranberry Pepper Steak

This can be grilled or broiled.  This goes great with baked potatoes or rice.  If you’re grilling, grill up some fresh vegetables (coat lightly with olive oil and grill in a grilling basket, turning often) for a quick and easy dinner.

 Cranberry Pepper Steak:

  • 1/2 cup canned whole cranberries*
  • ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 lb sirloin steak
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper


In saucepan, combine cranberries, pepper flakes, & vinegar.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, cook until thickened and reduced by half. Rub sirloin on both sides with garlic, chili, salt & pepper (use more of each if desired).  Cut into 4 pieces, grill or broil 5 minutes on each side for rare.  Spoon sauce over cooked steaks & serve.  Serves 4

*I usually keep a bag or two of fresh craberries in my freezer. I add 2 tbsps of sugar to 1 cup of cranberries and simmer over medium heat until reduced.  Add a splash of orange juice and more sugar as needed.

Fajita Steak Salad

Here’s a  secret to make this an easy, tasty, hot day salad.  Mix marinade, add meat and freeze until you are going to do some grilling.  Thaw, add peppers to marinade, let marinate 30 minutes, then grill along with your other meal, let cool and slice into strips and refrigerate.  They will refrigerate for up to 3 days.  When you’re ready to make the salad, the meat and peppers are already cooked up, sliced and ready to go.  Quick and easy for a hot summer night.

Fajita Steak Salad:

  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 lb sirloin
  • 1 ea. Red, yellow & green peppers, quartered
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced in rings
  • 12 oz spring greens or 1 head leaf lettuce

serving bowl

zip-lock bag

Mix together garlic, limejuice & cumin.  Set aside 3 tbsp.  Combine remaining marinade, sirloin and peppers and marinade overnight.  Mix together the 3 tbsp of marinade with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper, mixing dressing well and refrigerate until served.  Remove steak & pepper from marinade and grill steak for 3 to 5 minutes each side for rare, grill peppers, turning frequently, careful not to burn them.  Remove to a plate, let cool slightly while adding onions and greens to serving bowl.  Cut steak & peppers into strips, add to salad and toss with dressing.

Tuscan Panzanella Salad

This is great with grilled chicken or steak.


Tuscan Panzanella Salad:

  • 1 cup basil leaves, torn
  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • 6 kalamata olives, halved or sliced
  • 3 large tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1-15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese

large bowl


In serving bowl, combine basil, onions, olives, tomatoes and beans.  Whisk together vinegar, 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper.  Toss with tomato mixture and refrigerate until serving.  Just before serving, add to bread bowls and toss with croutons and parmesan cheese.


Bread Bowls:

  • 2 small loaves Shepard (round) bread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or butter

baking sheet


Cut each loaf in half to make two bowls.  Hollow out the loaves to make bread bowls.  Tear the torn bread into 1-inch pieces, toss with olive oil and spread onto baking sheet and bake at 350° until toasted for croutons.

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

From the menus, something simple to start the week off with, it’s a great recipe to double, sauce freezes well.  Fresh pasta is great (I use linguini, but you can use ravioli, fettuccini) or regular dried spaghetti.


Spaghetti w/Meat Sauce:

  • 9 oz. fresh pasta
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2-14 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • or
  • 2-15 oz can tomato sauce & 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 3 tsp. crushed garlic
  • 3 tsp dried basil
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp rosemary

2 saucepans

large skillet


In sauce pan, combine tomato products with 2 tsp ea.: basil, garlic & oregano. Add rosemary. Simmer on med heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to low and cover.


In skillet, heat oil, sauté pepper, onion, garlic.  Add to sauce.  Brown hamburger, adding 1 tsp ea: garlic, basil, and oregano. Drain excess fat and add to sauce. Let simmer for ½ hour. 


Cook pasta according to directions, drain and serve with sauce.

Washday Beans and Rice

Did not mean to go away for so long. I switched DSL providers and what should have been a 3-day event, turned into a 10-day ordeal.  Without further ado, here is the great, inexpensive beans and rice meal.  Add cornbread (those $0.60 Jiffy boxes are great) and you’ve got a tasty dinner.


Washday Beans & Rice:                        

  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup chicken broth                               
  • 14oz can red kidney bean           
  • 4 links Italian or Andouille sausage (sweet or spicy) – slice each link into 4 to 6 pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp to 1 tbsp Cajun Creole Seasoning* (start with tsp and work your way up to taste)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 large tomato diced (or 14 oz can of diced tomatoes)

2 quart saucepan

deep skillet or Dutch oven


Combine rice with water & chicken broth in a saucepan, cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cook until all the liquid is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Meanwhile, heat oil in skillet (medium-high temp); add onions & sausage, cook until sausage is done in the center, mix sausage, beans, seasoning and tomatoes together into saucepan.  Keep heat low and let simmer 10 minutes to let flavors blend.  Serve beans mixture over rice, add cornbread and honey.

*You should be able to find Cajun spice in most grocery stores, but if you cannot find this seasoning, mix equal parts of the following together and store in an airtight container:  paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon zest, black pepper, red pepper, allspice, thyme, ground cloves, mace, cayenne, and crushed bay leaf.

Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Our run of unseasonably warm weather has come to an end and once again, it’s time for comfort foods.  This soup is one of my favorites.  Quick, easy and full of goodness.


Chicken Tortilla Soup

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 8 cups of water
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp limejuice
  • ½ tsp ea. – sage, basil, rosemary
  • ½ ea. chopped green, yellow, red pepper
  • 1 to 4 jalapenos chopped
  • ½ tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 8 oz frozen sliced carrots
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 16 oz sweet corn
  • 1 cup fresh salsa
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 flour burrito size flour tortillas

large saucepan


To saucepan, add water, chicken, vinegar, orange juice, limejuice, sage, basil, rosemary, bell peppers, celery, red pepper flakes, carrots and 8 oz of corn. Puree 8 oz corn, jalapenos, salsa, and ½ of cilantro.  Add to soup.   Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes. Cut tortillas into strips and add to soup.  Simmer for 5 minutes; add remaining cilantro and cheddar cheese.


Serves: 4  Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook Time: 20-30 minutes