Grilled Chicken with Cheddar and Berry Coulis

Cabot Cheddar Cracker Cut slices paired with a berry coulis makes a great appetizer with or without the cracker or an amazing topping for a grilled chicken breast.
Disclosure: I received free samples of Cabot Cheddar Cracker Cut Slices as mentioned in this post. I was not expected to write this review nor was I compensated for my time. Opinions are my own,

Summer should  be easy. ..as in air dried hair, bare feet, and cut offs. Summer meals should match the carefree spirit we embrace this season. I’m happy to share that the  good folks at Cabot agree and are making summer effortless with  their award winning cheese in packages of 26 cracker cut slices. No slicing required!  So open a package and make an appetizer with or without the cracker! Here’s my first attempt … Cabot Vermont Seriously Sharp  Cheddar paired with my berry coulis and topped with a sprig of cinnamon basil..

I also used 2 of these  Cabot cracker cuts on my latest grilled entree that combines fresh cinnamon basil, berries and cheddar over grilled chicken.  What’s not to love about this?

 

Grilled Chicken with Cheddar and Berry Coulis

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar Cracker Cut Slices
  • 4 tablespoons berry coulis
  • cinnamon basil for garnish

Instructions

1. Place each chicken breast between sheets of wax paper and pound to 1/2 inch thickness with a mallet or rolling pin

2. Combine lemon juice , olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Place chicken breasts in a zip lock plastic bag. Add juice mixture to bag. Seal bag and turn to coat chicken evenly. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Heat grill. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray. Cook about 5 minutes per side or until done, adding 2 cheddar cheese slices to each breast during the last few minutes of grilling.

4.When cheese is melted, remove chicken from grill and top with berry coulis and cinnamon basil.

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CheeseCake Bites with Berry Coulis

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean shunning desserts, it means satisfying a  sweet tooth with  small portions of dessert like these cheesecake bites with berry coulis.
Consumers are interested in nutrition. But more often than not,  our attention is focused on  what to eat,  rather than on how much. Make no mistake:  size does matter, and changes to portion sizes  can make a BIG difference. Today we’re celebrating the Recipe Redux‘s 6th birthday and the emphasis is on portion size! Here’s our challenge:

Small Bite Desserts: In honor of our 6th birthday, we’re celebrating with cake or another small bite dessert than suits your fancy. Show us your small bite dessert creation.

When I eat dessert, the first bite is the most satisfying, and I experience  diminishing returns for each bite thereafter.  I’ve learned that what I really want is a small bite or taste, not a ginormous plate piled high with sweets. Small bites are not only figure friendly, but satisfying.

This past weekend I conceived some new ways to use what’s growing in my garden: cinnamon basil. Here are the results:  this delicious  sauce made with a medley of berries (blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and red raspberries), served over  mini cheesecake bites and garnished with cinnamon basil.My small bite creation requires only 6 ingredients (besides the coulis). Why do I think this is healthy? There are primarily two reasons. 1. I  shrunk the size of the cheese cake keeping calories, sugar and fat in check. 2. Berries are good for you! Be sure to  visit the links below for more small bite dessert recipes to satisfy your desire for dessert within the  framework of  healthy lifestyle.

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CheeseCake Bites with Berry Coulis makes 2 dozen

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 24)

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg
  • 24 mini vanilla wafers
  • cinnamon basil for garnish

for the berry coulis

  • 16 oz. frozen or fresh fruit medley
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup berry jam

Instructions

1. Place a mini cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.

2.Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer, until fluffy.

3.Add sugar, vanilla, cinnamon beating well.

4.Add egg beating well after addition.

5. Lay a mini vanilla wafter, flat side down, in each muffin cup. Spoon cream cheese mixture over wafers.

6.Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Serve with berry coulis. Garnish with cinnamon basil.

for berry coulis

add ingredients for coulis in small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until sauce thickens. Serve warm or cool.

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Berry Coulis

Berry coulis is an amazing accompaniment to both sweet and savory foods.

This weekend I got a chance to share my joy of cooking and gardening with this gift basket I assembled for our new neighbors.   It includes some  of the ingredients for my berry coulis and the herb that is working overtime for me this summer, 

cinnamon basil . . I grew six of these plants from seed, not knowing what I’d use them for, and it’s been my most clipped summer herb! It really rocks in  this berry coulis which, by the way,  I’ve been smearing  on top of both sweet and savory foods.  I made this with frozen fruit, but would be a great way to use up fresh berries if you have berries to spare .  Stay tuned for some of my new recipes using this delicious fruit coulis.

Berry Coulis

by Diane Boyd, MBA, RD, LDN

Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

  • 16 ounces frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, red raspberries)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh cinnamon basil
  • 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup berry jam (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry or raspberry)

Instructions

1. In a small sauce pan, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes until sauce begins to thicken. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate unused sauce.

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Light Arnold Palmer with Cinnamon Basil Simple Syrup

Just in time for summer, this deliciously  sweet mocktail  has only 4o calories  and will be popular at all your outdoor events.

Last year  I  grew some of my  basil from seed. I was skeptical  about trying a variety of basil I knew nothing about; cinnamon basil. But the decision was fortuitous. The plants  grew to  about 25 inches tall with dark purple stems and  small glossy leaves fragrant of cinnamon.   I will admit, at first I was unsure how I would use this culinary herb.  But it ended up to be my most clipped plant, and it was fabulous in fruit salads, cobblers and in my Apricot Bread with Fresh Basil.  The decision to replant cinnamon basil again this spring was a no brainer..I ‘m excited to share some of the ways I’ll be enjoy this beauty, including in cocktails and mocktails for May celebrations (which just so happens to be  May’s  the Recipe Redux theme!) Here is our challenge:

Showers and celebrations with friends abound this time of year. Show us your healthy, colorful drink concoctions for festivities like bridal showers and graduation celebrations.

So  today I ‘m meeting the challenge by re-creating a non-alcoholic drink,  the Arnold Palmer, with less calories and sugar than the original version and using that gem of a basil I started from seed.  By using Truvia®Nectar instead of sugar in the simple syrup, I was able to control calories and carbs; each glass of  has only 40 calories and about 10 grams of carbohydrate. Making the simple syrup with several cinnamon basil leaves imparts a unique flavor complementary to both the lemon and the tea. Kick off the garden party season on a healthy note and serve your friends and family my Light Arnold Palmer with Cinnamon Basil Simple Syrup. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post  to see what drink concoctions my Recipe Redux colleagues are making for this month’s  challenge. 

Light Arnold Palmer with Cinnamon Basil Simple Syrup (serves 8)

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Truiva® Nectar
  • 7 leaves fresh cinnamon basil
  • juice of 10 lemons
  • 4 cups cold brew black tea
  • cinnamon leaf Basil stems for garnish

Instructions

for the Cinnamon Basil Simple Syrup

1. Combine water, Truvia Nectar® and cinnamon basil in a small saucepan. Use a wooden spoon to smash the basil against the sides of the pot to release oil.

2. Bring to a simmer; simmer for 5 minutes.

3 Remove from heat. Strain to remove basil and pour simple syrup into a glass container . Refrigerate until ready to use.

for Arnold Palmer Beverage

1.For each serving, add ice to highball glass. Fill glass half full with  tea. Add juice from lemons and 2 teaspoons simple syrup to fill glass. Stir. Garnish with more cinnamon basil. Repeat for each additional serving.

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Slice of Hummus Appetizer

Fuel an active lifestyle and celebrate National Hummus Day, May 13,  with a  Slice of Hummus.
Disclosure: I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe, I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.

I am forever encouraging individuals to eat more vegetables. Conversations about vegetables often prompt this question to me,  “Are you a vegetarian?”  I am not. My eating   patterns closely align with the  Mediterranean diet.  However, I adapt it to meet my nutritional needs and goals by  consuming more yogurt and milk than the typical Mediterranean diet. There is one part of the plan I  do believe is non-negotiable:  physical activity and enjoying food. It’s why I focus on delicious foods to  fuel an active lifestyle, and today’s post is no exception!

Have you ever asked yourself  one or more of these questions:

• How can I  improve my  overall diet quality?

• How can I better my nutrient intakes?

• How can I lower my  body weight parameters including body mass index and waist circumference?

If so, perhaps you  should consume foods for which there is evidence of an  association with improved  overall diet quality,  better nutrient intakes (including fiber and potassium), and lower body weight parameters including body mass index (BMI ) and waist circumference. One such food happens to be hummus, and I’m going to show you how to bring  this plant based protein  to the table as a  delicious appetizer. Start with Sabra classic hummus spread on a  toasted ancient grain mini naan (cut into quarters). Top with  chopped pistachios and a dried apricot slice. Finish with a drizzle of  honey. Enjoy!

Here are  five reasons, Slice of Hummus Appetizer,  is now my  go to appetizer:

  1. I’m  active and have little time for food prep. This is done in 5 minutes.

2. I  prefer to consume nutrient rich foods, but don’t like to disappoint my friends and family by serving up  something short on taste. No one will ever guess this appetizer is good for you.

3. I  want to eat more veggies and plant based proteins. And if you are wondering, where’s the vegetable  in this? It’s hummus (hummus is made of  chickpeas and is in the vegetable subgroup legumes we all could benefit from eating more of.)

4. This appetizer can be made ahead of time and it’s also easily portable!

5. In the unlikely event there are any leftover  appetizers,   they won’t  be wasted. The Slice of Hummus appetizer  holds over well when refrigerated until the following day, and they work for me as breakfast(yes I did say breakfast)  or a post-exercise recovery snack providing the 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein I follow after a bout of cardio.

Remember to eat your veggies, include physical activity daily, and enjoy nutritious and delicious foods in good company on National Hummus Day and everyday!

 

A Slice of Hummus

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Ingredients (serves 16)

  • 4 mini ancient grain nann
  • 1 10 oz container Sabra Classic Hummus
  • 4 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 16 dried apricots
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place naan bread on baking sheet and heat for one minute.

2. Cut each mini naan bread into quarters. Place on a serving plate.

3. Spread 1 tablespoon Sabra classic hummus on each piece of naan, sprinkle with crushed pistachios and top with dried apricot.

4. Drizzle with honey. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

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