tequila lime chicken and grilled potato salad

Tequila Lime CollageA few bites of this and your family will recant the eye rolls and sighs of “uuugh,” when they learn “salad” is on the dinner menu. It’s filling. It’s versatile. It’s full of smoky and tangy flavor. And the ease of preparation makes it the ideal Wednesday on a Whim Meal. My daughter asked for this dinner two nights in a row she loved it so much. If you have selective eaters (like my son), you can serve the chicken and potatoes without the salad and it is still a complete meal.

Ingredients for Tequila Lime Chicken
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tb chili powder
1 TB minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 Tb minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts

Directions
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts and refrigerate overnight (*if you don’t have enough time to marinate overnight it’s fine, just let the chicken marinate as long as possible that day).

Brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking and heat your grill to medium. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill for 5 to 6 minutes on one side. Turn the chicken and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes until cooked through (be careful not to dry the chicken out by cooking a little longer on a lower flame). Remove to a plate, cover tightly and allow to rest for five minutes.

Grilled Potato Ingredients
One package mini red and white potatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 Tb olive oil
Grill basket

Directions
Add all ingredients to a ziplock bag, seal and shake. Add potatoes to grill basket and let cook for 10 to 20 minutes, rotating every five minutes or so, until tender and browned.

To Assemble Salad
Slice chicken breast into strips and place atop shredded romaine. Then over sliced chicken breast, add pinto beans, olives, corn (roast if you have the time), bacon, warm grilled potatoes, fresh avocado and Cacique brand Cotija cheese. Drizzle with the salad dressing of your choice (I use Brianna’s Home Style Real French Vinaigrette).

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*Tequila Lime marinade is from The Barefoot Contessa, Family Style

soft and chewy granola bars

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Here is the perfect snack to put into your child’s summer camp lunch box or into your beach bag on your way out the door for a day of fun in the sun. Why reach for a packaged granola bar when these are so simple to make and delicious to eat. You can change up the chocolate chips to white chocolate chips or throw in a different type of nut if you like.

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups quick cooking, old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 3 Tb mini chocolate chips

granola bars

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Lightly oil or spray the pan with cooking spray.

Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.

Pour the butter mixture into a bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minute then add the cranberries and 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into a glue and help hold the bars together).

Transfer oat mixture to the lined pan and use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut). Scatter remaining 3 Tb chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture and use the rubber spatula to gently press the chocolate chips into the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove block of granola mixture from the pan and peel away the aluminum foil. Cut into bars.

Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For softer bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in refrigerator. Makes 12 bars. Compliments: www.inspiredtaste.net

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What else can you throw in your beach bag besides these delicious morsels. Check out this Thursday’s “Beach Bag Bash” post.