Chicken Enchilada Dip with Corn

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I will pull up a chair to a bowl of dip. I will flat-out embarrass myself. I just love it—all kinds, really. I once had a dip party, where we played board games and everyone brought a dip and dippers, and now I’m wondering why that was just a one-time thing. Anyway, although I love all kinds of dips (salsa! French onion! hummus! guac! spinach-artichoke!), I especially love one that’s warm, gooey, and cheesy. Here’s a dip that hits all those notes, and it incorporates chicken for heartiness and corn for that special crisp-sweet goodness. If you happen to end up with any left over, it makes a pretty great filling for jalapeño poppers—maybe sprinkled with a little bacon. Just sayin’.

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Yield: Serves 10 (serving size: about 1/4 cup)

Chicken Enchilada Dip with Corn

prep time: 10 minscook time: 23 minstotal time: 33 mins

This warm, creamy dip is a real crowd pleaser. It’s a little indulgent. I’m not claiming it’s light—but I do include the nutrition info so you know what you’re getting into (it’s not that bad). The little corn kernels offer a sweet, crunchy pop in every bite—that is, if you use fresh corn (frozen won’t be quite as crisp). As always, please shred your own cheese. The preshredded stuff is coated with starch to prevent it from clumping, and it won’t melt as creamy as cheese you prep yourself. Serve the dip with tortilla chips, pita chips, and/or assorted crudités.

ingredients:

  • 5 green onions, thinly sliced and divided
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen, thawed corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup green chile enchilada sauce (I used Frontera)
  • 1 (8-oz.) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise
  • 1 cup shredded skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast (4 oz.)
  • 4 oz. pepper Jack cheese, shredded and divided (about 1 cup)
  • Sliced green onions, sliced jalapeño, and extra corn kernels for garnish (optional)

instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Separate the bottom white part of onions from the green onion tops. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add white onion bottoms and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add corn; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in green onion tops, enchilada sauce, cream cheese, and salt. Cook until cream cheese melts, stirring frequently. Stir in mayonnaise. Gently fold in chicken and half of pepper Jack.
  3. Spoon mixture into an oven-safe 3-cup baking dish. Top evenly with remaining pepper Jack. Bake at 400°F until bubbly around the edges and cheese on top melts, about 15 minutes.

NOTES:

Calories 159; Fat 12g (sat 5g); Protein 6g; Carb 6g; Fiber 0g; Sugars 2g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 303mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

Chickpea Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

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Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 2 cups pasta and 1 Tbsp. cheese)

Chickpea Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage

prep time: 10 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 30 mins

This is one of those fallback recipes you can count on when you have little time to cook but want something really good, really comforting, and really easy. My hubs said it felt creamy and indulgent, but it’s actually quite light at only about 400 calories. The serving size is large, too (2 cups!), and all that fiber (13 grams!) will fill you right on up. A good bit of the fiber comes from the chickpea pasta, which I adore; if you sub traditional pasta, the fiber will go down considerably. I love the bite of broccoli rabe—and, luckily, so do my kids—but if you’re not a fan of its bitter edge, you can sub broccolini or broccoli.

ingredients:

  • Cooking spray

  • 8 oz. sweet Italian sausage

  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup vertically sliced white or yellow onion

  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe (rapini), trimmed

  • 8 oz. uncooked chickpea pasta—rigatoni, penne, cavatappi, or rotini

  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste

  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

  • 1 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)


instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water (such as a Dutch oven or small stockpot) to a boil. 

  2. While water comes to a boil, heat a large skillet (not nonstick) over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook, stirring frequently to crumble, until browned and cooked through (about 6 minutes). Remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings. 

  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add oil to drippings in pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and red pepper to pan; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft (about 10 minutes).

  4. Meanwhile, add broccoli rabe to boiling water; cook 2 minutes. Remove from water with tongs (reserving boiling water), place in a colander, and rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well; cut into 2-inch pieces. Add pasta to boiling water; cook until al dente (about 8 minutes). Be careful not to overcook, as chickpea pasta falls apart when cooked too long. Reserve 1 1/4 cups pasta water; drain pasta.

  5. Add garlic to onion mixture in pan; cook 2 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 cup pasta water and salt. Add pasta, sausage, and broccoli rabe; stir very gently to combine. Stir in additional pasta water as needed to form the sauce. Sprinkle with cheese.

NOTES:

Calories 409; Fat 17g (sat 6g); Protein 30g; Carb 41g; Fiber 13g; Sugars 7g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 654mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

Shrimp and Vegetable Curry with Cauliflower Rice

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Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup cauliflower rice, 4 oz. shrimp, & 3/4 cup sauce)

Shrimp and Vegetable Curry with Cauliflower Rice

prep time: 8 minscook time: 12 minstotal time: 20 mins

How about a 20-minute dinner that tastes like it took an hour? That's loaded with vegetables, too? This recipe delivers all that and is mild enough—and creamy enough—to satisfy everyone at the table. My kids hugged me after eating this, and I'll take that as pretty darn high praise! Do take note that it's a bit of a splurge. Though the calories are low (under 400 calories), the saturated fat is on the high side; try to balance out the rest of your day with food that's lower in sat fat. I do think it's worth it to go full fat with the coconut milk here for the most satisfying, creamy texture. Just think of it as a splurge, something to enjoy every now and then. Or hell, maybe once a week! And don't forget to squeeze on a little lime juice before tucking in; it's the perfect finishing touch, brightening the whole bowl.

ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup vertically sliced yellow onion
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced and divided
  • 1 Tbsp. red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1 (13.6-oz.) can coconut milk (full-fat)
  • 1 lb. raw large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 1 lb. riced cauliflower (I used fresh, not frozen)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • Thinly sliced Fresno or red jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • Lime wedges

instructions:

  1. Heat a large skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add onion and zucchini; sauté 3 minutes. Add half of garlic; sauté 2 minutes. Add curry paste; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar, fish sauce, and coconut milk; bring to a simmer.
  2. Add shrimp; cover and cook until shrimp are almost done, about 2 minutes. Add spinach; cover and cook until spinach wilts, about 2 minutes. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, heat another large skillet over medium-high heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil; swirl to coat. Add cauliflower and remaining half of garlic; sauté until crisp-tender, about 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro. Divide cauliflower rice evenly among 4 bowls; top evenly with shrimp and sauce. Top with Fresno/jalapeño slices and additional cilantro, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

NOTES:

Calories 376; Fat 21g (sat 13g); Protein 33g; Carb 14g; Fiber 5g; Sugars 9g (added sugars 1g); Sodium 766mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

White Chicken Chili with Poblanos

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A big pot of chili just screams comfort and goodness. But you don’t always have hours to devote to one, y’know? This chicken chili, with a broth that’s both, well, brothy and slightly creamy, takes only a little more than a half-hour to make. It’s deeply savory and full of flavor, thanks to a few well chosen ingredients. The broth gets its body from pureed beans (it’s not thickened with flour), so it’s gluten free. You’ll be happy you made it whether it’s a cold, damp night or a warm evening—it’s an all-weather chili!

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/3 cups)

White Chicken Chili with Poblanos

prep time: 10 minscook time: 25 minstotal time: 35 mins

This hearty pot of chili comes together from start to finish in only 35 minutes, thanks to a trifecta of smart convenience products: rotisserie chicken, canned beans, and bottled tomatillo salsa. The salsa gives the broth loads of flavor, and all you have to do is twist open the lid. Know that poblano peppers can be tricky: Sometimes they’re as mild as bell peppers, and other times they’re hotter than jalapeños. If yours is particularly spicy (be brave and touch a piece to your tongue), use just one pepper—or go for it with two if you’re a hothead.

ingredients:

2          Tbsp. canola oil

2          cups chopped white onion

2          poblano peppers, seeded and chopped

6          large garlic cloves, minced

2          tsp. ground cumin

1          tsp. dried oregano

4          cups unsalted chicken stock (I used Swanson), divided

1          cup bottled tomatillo salsa (I used Frontera)

1          tsp. kosher salt

1          tsp. freshly ground black pepper

3          (15-oz.) cans unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided

4          cups shredded boneless, skinless rotisserie chicken, white and dark meat (about 1 lb., 1 small rotisserie chicken)

3/4      cup thinly sliced radishes

1/2      cup thinly sliced green onions

2          ripe peeled avocados, thinly sliced or chopped

1          jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and poblanos; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook until onion is tender, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Stir in cumin and oregano; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

 

2. Stir in 3 1/2 cups chicken stock, salsa, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. 

 

3. Meanwhile, combine remaining 1/2 cup stock and 1 can of beans (about 1 1/2 cups) in a blender; process until smooth. Stir bean puree and remaining 2 cans of beans into pan; return to a simmer. Add chicken; simmer 5 minutes. 

 

4. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups chili into each of 8 bowls; top servings evenly with radishes, green onions, avocados, and jalapeño, if desired.

NOTES:

Calories 357; Fat 12g (sat 2g); Protein 30g; Carb 35g; Fiber 11g; Sugars 2g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 653mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

Herby Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

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Everyone needs a good recipe for great ranch dressing, right? This one is easy, fresh, and packed with flavor. It’s really good served very cold—either draped over crisp greens or as a dip for veggies. My current favorite way to have it is shown above: a simple iceberg (yes!) salad with sliced grape tomatoes and bacon. Simple can be so good.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 2 tablespoons)

Herby Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

prep time: 10 minscook time: total time: 10 mins

Confession: I like ranch dressing. Not the bottled stuff, which I think is pretty bland. No, I mean homemade buttermilk ranch. I like it loaded with fresh herbs and with a little bite from fresh garlic, which is what makes it so good. I also like it served very cold over equally cold crisp greens like romaine (when it's not being recalled), Little Gem lettuce, or iceberg lettuce, which I've recently rediscovered. The recipe here is for the dressing alone; the salad shown is just a serving suggestion. You might want to go ahead and double the recipe; it's a good thing to keep on hand.

ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup whole buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke's; I'm Southern...)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane

instructions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl; whisk until well combined. I like to chill mine until very cold before serving, about an hour or so.

NOTES:

Calories 111; Fat 12g (sat 2g); Protein 1g; Carb 1g; Fiber 0g; Sugars 1g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 183mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

Kale Salad with Pears, Pomegranates, and Pickled Onions

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Every Thanksgiving table should include a big, fresh salad. With all the rich casseroles, gravy, and savory (and sometimes surprisingly sweet) sides, something fresh is a necessity. Whenever I bust up a big salad into the Turkey Day mix, I’m often met with jokes and gentle ribbing. But you know what? My salad always gets eaten. Every freaking leaf. This is a great one for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving because it can easily accommodate dietary needs and restrictions: It’s vegan and gluten-free, and if someone has a nut allergy, you can easily omit the pecans.

Yield: 8 (serving size: about 1½ cups)

Kale Salad with Pears, Pomegranates, and Pickled Onions

prep time: 35 minscook time: 5 minstotal time: 40 mins

I have a real problem with lame salads, those that feel like an afterthought. Salads, after all, are a great opportunity to play with texture, flavor, and color, bringing all those elements into harmonious balance. This one does just that, combining earthy-chewy lacinato kale, sweet-juicy pears, toasty-crunchy pecans, and tart-crisp pickled onions. I happened upon a bag of petite Seckel pears at my local Publix store, which I think makes this salad feel a little special—but any sweet pear will work beautifully here. You don’t have to cut them the way I did (using a mandoline); you can just quarter, core, and thinly wedge or slice them. See below for tips and technique photos.

ingredients:

  • 1 cup mirin (sweet rice wine—see photo below)
  • ½ cup natural rice vinegar
  • 1 medium red onion, vertically sliced

  • 2 (8-oz.) bunches lacinato kale
  • 3 Seckel pears or 1½ Bartlett or Anjou pears, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils (about ½ large pomegranate)
  • ½ cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 Tbsp. natural rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane

instructions:

  1. Combine mirin and ½ cup vinegar in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Add onion; return to a boil, and immediately remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes or until cooled to room temperature. You can make the pickled onions a week ahead; refrigerate in an airtight container. 

  2. Meanwhile, remove stems from kale and discard. Tear leaves into pieces. Place kale in a large bowl; drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Massage oil into kale leaves until leaves slightly wilt. Add pears, pomegranate, and pecans to kale; toss gently to combine. Remove half of onion from mirin mixture with a slotted spoon; add to salad. (Reserve remaining onion for another use) 

  3. Combine remaining 5 tablespoons oil, 3 tablespoons vinegar, syrup, mustard, salt, pepper, and garlic in a jar; close with lid, and shake until emulsified. Drizzle over salad.

NOTES:

Calories 196; Fat 16g (sat 2g); Protein 3g; Carb 13g; Fiber 3g; Sugars 8g (added sugars 2g); Sodium 168mg
Created using The Recipes Generator

The first step for this salad is to make a batch of pickled onions. I have you make double what you need for the salad—because why not go ahead and use a whole onions?

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The leftover pickled onions will hold up well in the fridge for a couple of weeks, and you can use them on tacos, other salads, grain bowls, and more. My easy two-ingredient method relies on two products from the Asian foods aisle: mirin and rice vinegar. These guys:

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You can find rice vinegar at any supermarket and mirin at most (I got mine at Target). The mirin is seasoned with salt and sugar plus has a pleasant, light wine flavor—so it takes the place of wine, salt, and sugar. The rice vinegar is softer than many other vinegars, which could make the pickled onions sharp and wince-inducing.

I love lacinato kale for its bumpy texture and earthy and faintly sweet flavor. If you can’t find it, you can use regular curly kale—just know that it’s a little tougher. No matter which you use, do take a minute or two to massage the leaves with a little oil first, to help break down the fibers and tenderize the leaves.

As for the pears, as I mentioned above, I lucked into some gorgeous Seckel pears at the Publix down the road. They come in a bag, like this:

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And they’re smaller than most pears. See?

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Now for the pomegranates. Look, I know that the arils you can buy in the little cups are very convenient. I’ve used them myself on more than one occasion. But they just don’t taste as good as ones you pull fresh from the whole fruit. I learned a trick that makes that process a little easier. First, cut about 1/4-inch off the top of the fruit, like so:

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One you take the “lid” off, you can see where the paper-thin membranes are. It’s a little tricky to see in the photo above, but look for the spoke-like thin white membranes that grow out from the core. You want to score the outer skin of the pomegranate where those membranes run, from the top to the bottom of the fruit, like this:

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Once the skin is scored, you can pull apart the fruit. It will break along those “fault lines” like so—

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Now you can just gently prod those arils out without having to pick through all the pith and membrane. I swear it’s worth the effort (and there’s not much effort to it).

This salad will fill a big ol’ bowl (meaning it makes a lot). But I predict it will all get happily eaten, with thanksgiving.

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Orange-Olive Salsa

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Yield: 4 (serving size: 1 fillet and 1/4 cup salsa)

Slow-Roasted Salmon with Orange-Olive Salsa

This slow, gentle roasting technique might just become your new favorite way to cook salmon. The low heat (only 250°F) keeps the flesh super-unctuous and oily-rich, and pretty much assures you won’t overcook the fish. The accompanying salsa is the perfect partner, with its bright pop of juicy citrus and meaty bits of buttery Castelvetrano olives (can we all just agree that they’re the best olives?).

prep time: 20 minscook time: 20 minstotal time: 40 mins

ingredients

  • 4 (6-oz.) salmon fillets (I used skin-on, sustainable farmed salmon)
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 navel oranges

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted Castelvetrano olives (about 16 olives)
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. slivered shallot or red onion
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

instructions

  1. Let salmon fillets stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes to take the chill off. Preheat oven to 250°F.

  2. Arrange fillets in an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 3/8 tsp. salt and black pepper. Drizzle evenly with 1 tablespoon oil.
  3. Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from one of the oranges; set zest aside. Remove peel and all pith from both oranges; slice between membranes to remove orange sections. Place sections in a medium bowl. Hold orange membranes over salmon in baking dish, and squeeze juice over fillets.
  4. Bake fillets at 250°F for 20 to 25 minutes, to desired degree of doneness. (Mine were to my liking right at 20 minutes.)
  5. Meanwhile, add olives, parsley, shallot, red pepper, orange zest, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to orange sections; toss gently to combine. Serve salsa with salmon.

NOTES:

Calories 397; Fat 27g (sat 5g); Protein 27g; Carb 11g; Fiber 2g; Sugars 8g (added sugars 0g); Sodium 538mg
Created using The Recipes Generator
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OK, so maybe you’re not sold yet on this idea. Let me try to get you there… Have you ever bought some beautiful salmon fillets, anticipating that oily, silky, fatty-in-all-the-good-ways texture, only to overcook the fish (even slightly) so that the texture falls flat? Yeah, that won’t happen with this slow-roasting method. It cooks the fish ever so gently so that it never loses that buttery silkiness you crave.

This recipe is pretty simple—not too much technique to explain. The hardest part is maybe sectioning the orange?? But even that isn’t hard. Just cut away all the peel and pith, and then cut between the membranes to extract the sections. Like this:

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After you’ve removed all the sections, don’t toss the membranes just yet. Hold on to these guys—

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And squeeze them over the fillets in the baking dish, like so:

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Then bake for a short 20ish minutes, and you’ll be delighted by the results. No. More. Overcooked. Salmon. I mean, just look at this texture!

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