Dinners Week 2: Fire up the grill, crank up the crockpot, and get ready for some comfort food!




Grilled Chicken Salad with Homemade Balsamic Dressing:
For the salad:
1 head romaine, chopped
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 oz fresh goat cheese (I buy the log, not the crumbles, cheaper & tastier)



For dressing: recipe from CovCom Cooks!
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 c vegetable oil
Arrange lettuce on platter and top with strawberries, pecans, and goat cheese.  Mix all dressing ingredients together in an air tight container and shake vigorously.  DO NOT over mix, however, as it will turn into syrup.
For chicken: recipe from CovCom Cooks!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
marinate for 2 to 12 hours by mixing the following, pouring over chicken, and sealing in a Ziploc bag:
3 T mayonnaise
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
1/2 T salt
1/4 T pepper
After chicken has marinated for at least two hours, heat grill over medium high heat to 400 degrees.  Cook chicken for 5 minutes, flip, cook for 5 minutes more, flip, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, flip, and cook for 5 minutes more. (If not quite done, keep flipping and cooking 5 minutes per side.)

SERVE WITH: Parker House Rolls!!!!!  What's not to love???

NOTES:  I generally look at my recipes for the week and see what needs to be marinated and prepare the marinade and store the meat right when I get home from the store.  This grilled chicken is my go-to chicken and is a hit every time.  My kids call it ChickFilA chicken, I think because it's peppery :)  If you have never grilled before, don't be intimidated.  It's basically the same heat and time as an oven...you just have to control the heat and flip the meat.  Our pastor's wife, Anita, in Scottsdale used to make this dressing and chicken a lot.  The recipes are hers!  This meal is great for our family and is also fancy enough to have when we have company or to make as a meal to take to someone.


Crockpot Black Bean and Chicken Soup: from my friend Stacey
4 chicken breasts
2 (15oz) cans black beans
2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes
2 cans cream of chicken soup (or use this substitution)
1 can diced green chiles
1 cup salsa
Combine all ingredients in the crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
Serve atop tortilla chips and top with sour cream and shredded cheddar.

NOTES: If you have a crockpot, a can opener, and 5 minutes in the morning, you have time to make this delicious meal!  Honestly, it takes more time to clean out the cans for recycling than it does to prepare this dinner :)


Marinated Pork Tenderloin: recipe from CovCom Cooks!
Whole pork tenderloin
Cavender's Greek seasoning (found with spices)
Newman's Caesar dressing (not creamy)

Sprinkle pork tenderloin with Cavenders Greek Seasoning.  Put in a Ziploc freezer bag.  Pour approximately 1 cup of Newman's Caesar dressing over pork and marinate for 24 hours.  Grill or bake uncovered for approximately 45 minutes.  Pork can be slightly light pink, and it's done.

SERVE WITH: Twice baked potatoes: recipe from Dinner Week 1 and salad (had leftovers from night before from Dinners on the Porch...living lettuce, red pepper, mushrooms, and avocado dressing)

NOTES: I buy the two to a pack pork tenderloins from Harris Teeter.  You can also find these at Costco.  I go ahead and marinate my meat right when the day I arrive home from the grocery store, refrigerate one tenderloin and freeze the other.  This pork is great in the oven, but it is dynamite on the grill!  If I bake or grill this, I start at a higher temperature (425 or so) for about 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 350 and cook for the remaining 25 minutes.  Cook time really depends on the size of your tenderloins.


Homemade Pizza: Again, I know you know how to make pizza, but this was my take this week
Fresh pizza dough ball (I buy the whole wheat from Harris Teeter; Publix & Trader Joe's have them too)
1 cup Ragu pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Al Fresco spinach and feta chicken sausage links (browned and sliced)
1 red pepper (roasted on high broil 5 minutes on each side, left in a Ziploc bag to cool, peeled, and sliced)
2 oz fresh goat cheese
Roll out dough to desired thickness, add pizza sauce, add toppings.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until crust is brown and cheese is starting to brown.

NOTES: I usually buy two pizza doughs at a time and make a plain cheese pizza for the kids and then a fancy one for me and my husband.  Love doing this on Fridays and having pizza & a movie night like we used to do in my house growing up.  Also, the pizza dough package will tell you to cook the pizza at a higher temperature, but I have found that, when I do that, the edges get too crispy and the middle is too soggy.


Mama's Supper Club Tilapia:
I found this recipe on pinterest...MaMa's Supper Club Tilapia Parmesan 

SERVE WITH: Roasted Asparagus from Dinner Week 1 and

Gourmet Cheese Grits:  recipe from CovCom Cooks!
4 cups milk
1 cup uncooked grits (not instant!)
1 stick butter (divided)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 egg
4oz Gruyere cheese (grated)
1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese (grated)
Bring milk to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add 1/2 stick butter and grits.  Stir until it is the consistency of oatmeal (about 5 minutes.)  Take grits off heat.  Add salt, pepper, and egg (be sure to temper the egg so it doesn't scramble.)  Stir well.  Add remaining 1/2 stick butter and Gruyere  cheese.  Pour into greased 1 quart casserole dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.

NOTES:  Between the tilapia and the cheese grits, this is a heavy dish, but it is GREAT comfort food!  I usually prepare the grits earlier in the day because they require constant attention.  That way, I can pull them out of the fridge and throw together the asparagus and tilapia so that they're all ready for the oven at the same time.  The leftover grits (if there are any) are also great for breakfast!


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