BBQ Chicken Rub, Potato Skins, and Green Beans

They say surrounding yourself with great people is a key element of success.  I agree. As such, I do not hesitate to research, use, and source great recipes for this blog. This particular recipe comes from   The writer of, a friend, superintendent and food aficionado, brings his family and friends together through easy, party-friendly recipes. I think you and your family will enjoy this meal – and the blog!

Pre-prep is key to this meal.  It’s not that it takes a long time, but the rub needs time to absorb into the chicken and the potatoes need an hour to cook – all work that can be done before dinner time meal prep.

Yesterday I readied the chicken and baked the potatoes.

Preparing the Chicken

Making the Rub

Tonight I prepared the potato skins and baked the chicken. I also baked a little extra “unrubbed” chicken for lunches this week.

Baking the potatoes and chicken

The Verdict

9.5’s and 10’s!  Everyone loved the flavor, even my discerning daughter.  The chicken was moist and flavorful. The potato skins were also flavorful and went well with the chicken.  Get the pre-prep done and dinner is a cinch!


BBQ Chicken Rub, Potato Skins, and Green Beans

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids + 2-3 lunches

BBQ Chicken Rub, Potato Skins, and Green Beans


3 Idaho russet potatoes

canola oil spray

For the rub:

.       2 T Paprika (I used Penzey’s Smoked Paprika)

·        1/4 t  Ground Black Pepper

·         1 1/2 t  Kosher Salt

·         1 1/2 t  Sugar

·        1 1/2 t Chili Powder (Ancho Chili Powder is Very Nice)

·         3/4 t Garlic Powder

·         3/4 t Cup Onion Powder

·         pinch Cayenne Pepper (This is low heat – add more if you want it!)

For the Rest of the Meal:

1.75 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

olive oil spray

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

salt, pepper, paprika

2 T grated parmesan (cow’s milk) or manchenga (sheep’s milk) cheese

1 T minced parsley

1 t chili powder

3 C fresh or frozen green beans

4 C salad greens

handful of sunflower seeds

1 carrot cut into disks

Make Ahead:

Potatoes – Make 1-2 days ahead of time.

Spray potatoes with canola oil spray.

Bake at 425 for 1 hour or until done – when a fork pierces potato easily

Set aside

Rub – Make up to 3 weeks ahead of time.

Mix all rub ingredients together.

Make Chicken – Make up to 1 day ahead of time.

Wash and dry chicken. Cut into 3” pieces. Make 3.5 lbs of chicken and you will have your chicken done for later in the week!

Massage rub into chicken. Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator so chicken absorbs flavors of rub.


Pre heat oven to 425

  1. Take chicken and leftover red sauce (salsa) out of refrigerator.
  2. Cut potatoes in half and scoop out centers leaving ¼ –  ½ “ layer of potato.
  3. Cut each ½ into 3 lengthwise strips.
  4. Place on baking sheet and spray insides of potato with olive oil spray.
  5. Top with garlic, paprika, parmesan or manchenga, parsley, and chili powder.
  6. Place chicken in lightly sprayed baking pan.
  7. Bake chicken for 20 -25 minutes.
  8. Add potato skins to oven for 10 minutes to heat through.
  9. Add 2 T lime juice,  ½ t kosher salt, and pepper to taste. Stir to blend.
  10. Place green beans in microwave safe container and microwave for 3 minutes or until done.
  11. Portion greens and salad topping for side salads. Top with no oil or low fat dressing.
  12. Plate chicken, green beans, and potatoes topped with salsa.
  13. Serve! Cowboy hats optional…

Pre-Prep Opportunities

2. Combine spices and store in a dry place until ready to use.

3. Make the spice rub for tomorrow.

4. Wash and dry chicken for the week.  Rub in spices, wrap in wax paper, and store in refrigerator until tomorrow so chicken can absorb the flavor.

Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas with Mild Red Sauce and Side Salad

Avocado and Cashew Enchilada with Mild Red Sauce and Mango and Blueberries

Just when you think you have it figured out, someone changes the rules. Last week I was raving that my kids were not missing the meat in my vegetarian meals.  This week, they missed the meat! The Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas were quite good, but the food was so soft it lacked texture – my kids liked the flavor but needed a psychological proxy for meat.  Black beans or kidney beans, butternut squash chunks, more coarsely chopped cashews, peas – something to “chew on” – would have been beneficial additions.  I do think I will make these again, but will experiment with adding different “meat textures”. Do you have any ideas? Please reply and share!


You might be thinking that this meal is too high in fat / calories.  But this recipe only calls for 2 avocados for 4 servings. Avocados often get a bad rap because of their fat content.  However it is the very nature of the avocado’s fat content that makes it a heart healthy food with anti-inflammatory properties.  Avocados are also considered a “nutrient-rich” food and help with the absorption of important anti-oxidants.  Not all fat is the same…

The Verdict

The kids rated the meal an 8.  They thought with some chicken, the meal would be a 10.  My husband and I both gave the meal a 9.5 and did not have any “meat withdrawals…”

Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas with Mild Red Sauce

Getting Ahead

Tonight is the night to get ahead for the week. While the enchiladas were baking, I rubbed the week’s chicken with the BBQ rub in tomorrow’s recipe and while we ate I baked it.  I also baked the potatoes that will be used on Tuesday and Thursday. Prioritizing healthy home cooked meals for my family is easier some days than others. I think tomorrow will be easy!


Avocado and Cashew Enchiladas with Mild Red Sauce and Side Salad

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids


For the Red Sauce:

1 lb. tomatoes, cut in chunks

2 bell peppers, cut in chunks

2 onions, cut into chunks

2 large cloves garlic

½ t salt

¼ t cumin

1/8 t black pepper

3 T lime juice

1/4 c cilantro

1/4 t chopped jalapeno pepper (optional)

For the Enchiladas:

2 medium sized avocados – ripe

juice from 1 lemon

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

4 finely minced scallions

½ C finely minced cilantro (or parsley if cilantro is not for you)

1 C finely chopped cashews, toasted

1/3 C plain yogurt

1 medium clove garlic

1/8 t salt

canola oil spray

8 corn tortillas (or flour if corn is not for you)


Pre Heat Oven 325

  1. Make the red sauce OR buy enchilada sauce or salsa.
    1. If making red sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in food processor and puree.
    2. Make the Enchilada filling
      1. Mash avocados until smooth. Add lemon juice to prevent browning.
      2. Add remaining ingredients through salt.  Mix well.
      3. Make Enchiladas
        1. Pour a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the lightly sprayed baking pan.
        2. Heat griddle and lightly spray with canola oil.
        3. Place tortillas on griddle and heat 1 minutes on each side.
        4. Scoop ½ C avocado mixture  on to tortilla in a line.
        5. Roll tortilla and place in a lightly sprayed baking dish.
        6. Repeat 7 times.
        7. Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas.
        8. Place baking dish in oven for 30 minutes.
        9. While enchiladas are cooking, portion greens and make a small side salad on each plate. Top with no oil or low fat salad dressing.
        10. Serve 1-2 enchiladas per plate and serve!

FINAL Nov 28-De…


FINAL Nov 28-Dec 1 Menu and Master Shopping List

This week worked out well.  I have made a few changes that will make it easier and tastier.   First, I recommend cooking the chicken in the oven rather than the slow cooker.  I think it lost some of its flavor in the slow cooker.  Second, I eliminated the Pastel de Papa.  I had plenty of food without it.  Third, I modified the Orzo with Peas, Saffron and chicken which added a more savory, paella flavor.  Make sure you use the “New and Improved” version.

People have tried some of the recipes and like them, but I really need people to try a menu, shop it and prepare it.  Based on my own experience, getting organized for the week is key, but it takes time that a lot of people don’t have.  I am willing to do the organizing for you.  Try it and see if it doesn’t make meal prep less stressful.  Write to me on this blog!

Final Week’s Menu

Monday:            Orange Garlic Chicken (From Fix it and Forget it), Brown Rice, and Green Beans.

Tuesday:            . New and Improved Orzo with Peas, Saffron and Leftover Orange Garlic Chicken (Modified from “Vegetarian Entertaining”).Dilled Vegetable-Barley Soup (from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest), and Oatmeal Muffins.

Wednesday:            . Dilled Vegetable-Barley Soup (from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest), and Oatmeal Muffins.

Thursday:            New and Improved Orzo with Peas, Saffron and Leftover Orange Garlic Chicken (Modified from “Vegetarian Entertaining”).


Shopping List

For 2 Adults and 2 Children


3.0 + lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts


1/2 C Minced onion

1 Medium carrot

1 Medium stalk celery

1/4 lb. Chopped mushrooms

2 Bell peppers – different colors if not too expensive

4 shallots


Fruit – Enough for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

1 Pineapple

8 Kiwi

8 Apples

5 Pears


Dry Goods

1/2 C Raw Barley

4 C Tomatoes, canned or in shelf stable container

1 T Saffron Threads

4 C Vegetable broth

1 1/2 lbs. Orzo

Brown rice

Muffin mix



1 Bay leaf

6 T Dry White Wine

1.5 t Dried Dill Weed

1 t Tamari sauce

2 T Olive oil

1.5 t Dried Thyme

2 T Balsamic vinegar

1/3 C Dry White Wine



1 T Butter

Parmesean or manchenga cheese



1 C Orange Juice Concentrate

1 C Frozen Peas

Frozen green beans




Orange Garlic Chicken

Serves 2 Adults and 2 Kids with a bit of leftovers for lunch

Source:  Modified from Fix-It and Forget It, 5 Ingredient Favorites


1.75 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 ½ t dried thyme

6 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 C Orange Juice Concentrate

1 T Balsamic Vinegar

1 C Brown rice

Green Vegetable and or side salad



  1. Measure and put all ingredients, except chicken, in a container large enough to store all the chicken and mix well.
  2. Add chicken, and cover w marinade
  3. Marinate in refrigerator for atleas 2 hours, but up to 24.
  4. Place on a roasting pan, lightly sprayed with olive or canola oil, and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until meat springs back to the touch.
  5. If making ahead also get rice cooker of brown rice cooking.
  6. When ready, serve chicken over brown rice with a green vegetable on the side.



Orzo with Chicken, Peas with Saffron and Smoked Paprika

Serves 6-8 ( 2 Adults and 2 Kids for two meals)

Adapted from “Vegetarian Entertaining”


1.5 lbs. Boneless skinless chicken breast, baked or grilled (hopefully this is leftover chicken that you cooked earlier in the week.)

2 T Olive oil

4 Shallots, minced

2 Bell Peppers chopped

3 C Canned Tomatoes or tomatoes in a non-can, shelf-stable container

1 T Saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 C warm water

1 t Smoked Paprika

1/3 C Dry White wine

3/4 lb. Orzo

2 C Frozen Peas

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

Grated parmesan or manchenga cheese

Optional Additions

1/2 – 1 lb. Shrimp

1/2 – 1 lb. Chorizo (spicy or mild), cooked


1.            Prepare the Orzo per package directions. When tender, set aside.

2.            In a large sauce pan, Sauté shallots in olive oil until soft.

3.            Add bell peppers and blend.

4.            Stir in tomatoes, saffron with soaking water, and White wine.

5.            Simmer until most of the liquid evaporates, about 8-10 min.  Be careful not to burn the mixture.

6.            Dice chicken.

7.            Cook peas in microwave for 1 1/2-  2 minutes.

8.            Once liquid is mostly evaporated from tomato mixture, add peas, and chicken and any optional ingredients. Chorizo should be cooked before you add it to the pot.  Shrimp will cook in 3-4 minutes in the mixture. The shrimp will turn pink when it is cooked.

9.            Serve w parmesan or manchenga cheese.

10.            Don’t be surprised if you start thinking about paella and a trip to Spain…  Really!


Dilled Vegetable-Barley Soup
Serves 6-8


3/4 C Raw pearl barley

1.5 C Water

1 T Butter

1 Onion chopped

1 t Salt

1 Bay leaf

3 Large carrots, chopped

1/2 Bunch celery, chopped

8 C Vegetable Stock or water (I buy 32 oz of regular vegetable stock and 32 oz of low sodium vegetable stock in shelf-stable containers)

1/2 lb. Mushrooms, chopped (I chop them so they are unrecognizable)

6 T Dry White Wine

1.5 t (2-3 T fresh) Dill Weed

1/4 t Fresh black pepper

1.5 t Tamari Sauce



1.      Place barley and 1 Cup water together in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes until barley is tender. Set aside.  (You could do this even 2 days before and keep in fridge)

2.      In a soup pot, saute onion, salt and bay leaf in butter until onion is soft and clear.  Add carrots and celery cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients including barley.

3.      Cover soup and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.

4.      Try not to eat it right away as it is even better the second day!

5.      Serve with whole grain bread or healthy muffins; Top soup w toasted sunflower seeds, chopped parsley, or parmesean/manchenga cheese.

Mexican Vegetable Soup

9-29-11 Dinner Blog

Mexican Vegetable Soup

I was going to convert this recipe to a crock pot recipe today; but I decided to make it on the stove top, as originally intended.  More on that in my next blog…

Tonight, I began by heating the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat.  To that I added garlic (pressed plus the skins), onions, and cumin.  I stirred and sautéed for 10 minutes.

Then I poured in the vegetable stock, tomatoes with their juice, and added 2 t salt.  I brought the soup to a boil, and then added the carrots, cooking 3-4 minutes longer.  Next I added the rest of the frozen okra slices – they were not part of the recipe, but when was I going to use the rest of the frozen okra?  Best to camouflage it in a soup and use it up!  3-4 minutes later, I added the frozen corn, kidney beans, and the zucchini. I was smiling the entire time because I had purchased chopped onions and had chopped the carrots and zucchini on Sunday.  So the only thing I had to do was press the garlic!  It was so easy and I was feeling good!

Then I turned off the soup, and using a hand-held blender, blended some of the soup, making sure to leave some chunks of vegetables.

Mexican Vegetable Soup Cooking on the Stove

The soup sat for about 20 minutes while I waited for my husband to come home, at which time, I warmed up the soup again.  I sprinkled grated cheese on the top and served with toasted 7 Grain Flaxseed Bread.

5 Servings of Mexican Vegetable Soup

Total time:  About 28 minutes (Does not include 20 minutes waiting for my husband)

The Verdict

Another winner!  Two thumbs up!  My husband, my son and his guest all rated the soup a 9.  My daughter rated the soup a 7 ¾ – I am still trying to understand her methodology…  She was looking for more flavor.  (Do you think she tasted the okra?!?!) Everyone else said it had great flavor and thought it was a very satisfying soup!  Only my husband had seconds.  Even I was quite satisfied after one bowl.

Would I make Mexican Vegetable soup again?  Absolutely! I can see how it is a very forgiving recipe. You can add any/all vegetables (almost any) leftover in your refrigerator, and I believe it will still taste great.  And to test this theory,  I have enough soup for one more meal AND I have some leftover green onions and parsley.  I am going to add them to the soup and will let you know how THAT tastes!