I don’t know about you, but the idea of heating up my kitchen these days is a horrifying thought.  And while the ease of eating out on a nightly basis sounds lovely, my bank account begs to differ.  I loathe hate am not keen on turning on the oven.  I have resorted to using the microwave, stove top, crock pot, and toaster oven more times than I can count in the last few Hades-like weeks.   So, I thought I would share the top five recipes I’ve made lately, as well as how they each went over with the fam.  Four of these recipes come from the website, Skinnytaste.  I have been cooking from this site a lot lately.  The recipes are all healthy and flavorful.   The last one is my own creation but don’t get impressed.  It’s a total throw in the crock pot(s) and walk away.

Therefore, without further ado:

The Top 5 Recipes That Won’t Cause Your Kitchen to Combust!

1.  Chicken Panini with Arugula, Provolone, and Chipotle Mayonnaise –  This is a repeat recipe.  I usually use chicken tenders that I’ve pounded thin and then season with salt, pepper, and garlic.  I also use spinach because my family is not huge on peppery arugula.  The chipotle mayo totally makes this sandwich!  I have a panini press (Thank you Dad!)  but you could do as she suggests, using a George Foreman grill.  Or just two skillets:  One on top (weighted down) to press the sandwich flat until golden and crispy.

2.  Chicken Ropa Vieja –  Who else out there loves their crock pot? To quote Megan, it’s like having a 1950s housewife slaving all day on your dinner.  Fantastic.  Anyway, Ropa Vieja:  I think you could put this in a boot and it would still taste amazing.  We have eaten this as rice bowls, in tortillas, over polenta, and inside quesadillas.  I usually up the spiciness by adding a couple of chipotles in adobo in with the chicken.   Yum.

3.  Skinny Turkey Cuban Sandwich –  I love Cuban Sandwiches!!  The pickle!  The ham!  The crispy toasted roll!  This recipe is just a little twist on it with turkey in the place of the usual roast pork.  All it takes is a short trip through the panini press and voila!  Pure magic!  The kids ask for this recipe.  A lot.

4. Mexican Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas –  Here’s the crock pot again!  This recipe creates a lot so even with my hearty eaters, we had leftovers.  The meat has a great texture and flavor.  I usually serve it with refried beans and chips/salsa.  My crew likes to load their tortillas with the pork, avocado, cilantro, onions, lime, tomato, and lettuce.  We’ve been known to even throw shredded cabbage inside for crunch if we have it!  This is another repeat performance at our house.

5.  BBQ Chicken Baked Potatoes –   Were you aware you can make potatoes in the crock pot?  You can!  And they taste great!  I make this with chicken thighs.  We like that they stay moister and really absorb the flavor of the bbq sauce.  You can certainly use breasts if you’d rather.  So are you ready for my recipe?  It’s pretty complex.

  • Your ingredients are:  Baking potatoes, Boneless/Skinless Chicken Thighs or Breasts, Your favorite BBQ sauce (I use Head Country), and Baked Potato toppings (we use bacon, sour cream, salt, pepper, & butter )
  • The process:  Wash baking potatoes and dry thoroughly.  Wrap in foil.  Place in crock pot on low for 8 hours.  In another crock pot (Yes.  I have two), place chicken thighs and add enough bbq sauce to come 1/2 way up chicken.  Toss chicken around to coat and the cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Shred chicken and return to sauce.  Serve over baked potatoes with chosen toppings.
  • If you don’t have two crock pots, I would recommend cooking the chicken overnight.  Shred and refrigerate the chicken and sauce.  Then after the potatoes are cooked, reheat the chicken until hot in the microwave.

There you have it!  5 Keepers at our house!

Now it’s your turn:    What are your go-to recipes when the mercury rises?  Let us know!  We’re always looking for new things to try out!