Crunchy Mexican Tostadas with Shredded Chicken

Homemade crunchy chicken Mexican tostadas recipe | jessicagavin.com

What’s a girl to do with a bunch of lonely leftover chicken? Sometimes a mom’s gotta get a little bit creative with meals, but that doesn’t mean it’s got to lack in the flavor department, am I right? You know what is awesome? Crunchy things, like a fried corn tortillas. Who doesn’t like those cute little crispy triangles, especially dipped in some guacamole. My self control goes right out the window!

However something even more glorious is layering different flavors on top of each golden crisp tortilla, and Mexican tostadas are like a mariachi band serenade of flavors and texture for your taste buds. You won’t think this is silly once you try it and start dancing, show me what you got!… 

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Spicy Sriracha Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

Fast recipe for stir-fry honey Sriracha sauce chicken | jessicagavin.com

When 6 o’clock rolled around at my house when I was just a little sprout, I would instantly hear the rustlings of my mom and grandpa busily shuffling around the kitchen. They were conjuring up something seriously delicious for dinner. Within a few moments, the sounds of cool meat sizzling in hot oil appeared and then the rhythmic clang of a hard metal spatula hitting the side of a hot wok continued until a feast for a hungry family of six was presented on the table.

It was pretty awesome how quickly dinner could be ready, plus so much flavor infused into each enticing bite. Cantonese cooking is all about the sauce, typically a yummy savory and sweet sauce to toss with any protein or vegetable.

Now with my own family to care for, I’m short on time from daycare pick up to bedtime. Fast and flavorful meals have become a necessity. I recently began my obsession with Sriracha, the spicy ruby red thick chili sauce that people use on just about anything! I’ve discovered that it’s even more incredible in a big bowl of steaming hot sriracha honey chicken stir-fry, nom nom nom!… 

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Grilled Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw

Grilled Barbecue Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Coleslaw | jessicagavin.com #bbq

I swear I just blinked and spring was pretty much over! It’s just a few more days until memorial day, which means it’s time to fire up the grill for the summer. I love grilling, there are less dishes to clean and I get to cook outdoors! We are big fans of pulled chicken sandwiches and I figured it was about time to make them at home.

I don’t own a crock pot, and don’t want to wait for hours for the chicken to slow cook in the oven. A great compromise is adding a generous amount of spices to tender chicken thighs, grill them over a hot flame, and your meat is ready to be smothered in BBQ sauce in way less time. I’m ready, how about you? Ready, set, grill!… 

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Chicken Ragu Pasta with Mushrooms and Bacon

Chicken ragu paparadelle pasta with bacon and mushrooms | jessicagavin.com #italianrecipe

I’m savoring every warm and hearty last bite of comfort food that I can, why you ask? Because I’m not quite ready to trade in my cozy winter soups, stews and pastas recipes. I also know it’s still chilly in other parts of the world outside sunny California where I live, so this ones for you guys!

I usually look forward to the weekends because it gives me a chance to take my time in the kitchen, but not so much nowadays as I get quite distracted with James beggining to crawl and chasing after him, haha. If you’re like me, you really don’t have a lot of time to watch your pot simmer all day. This calls for a rapid recipe for chicken ragu pasta with mushrooms and bacon. My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicious taste. Now grab your biggest pot and let’s get going!… 

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Hearty Chicken Ale Stew with Vegetables

Hearty Chicken Ale Stew with Vegetables | jessicagavin.com

Brrrr, oh it’s definitely time to make some stew to take the chill out of your bones! I may be experiencing “Cali winter”, aka I still occasionally wear shorts and flip flops on the weekend, but I still crave warm winter foods. To get started we are going to need some chicken (check!), vegetables (double check!), and some beer (check! Wait, whut?!?!).

Oh yes, some BEER. If you haven’t tried adding a little bit of bubbly fermented goodness to your soups and stews yet, then you have been missing out. Not to fret, I have a hot and delicious, bowl scraping, ask for seconds recipe for a hearty chicken ale soup with vegetables coming your way! Don’t worry, you don’t have to be born before 1993 to enjoy this savory dish (gosh I feel old!)…. 

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Wholesome White Bean and Chicken Chili

white bean and chicken chili recipe | jessicagavin.com

It’s football season everyone! I’m actually not that big of a fan, as in no specific team loyalties except the Niners and Raiders are near my hometown, ALAMEDA, whut!, whut! Gosh, do you remember when Joe Montana said he was “Going to Disneyland” after the 49ers won the Superbowl? Geez, a man of my heart.

I may not be a die hard pig skin fanatic (unless you mean the crispy stuff on the outside of a slow roasted porchetta), but I sure do LOVE some Sunday night football food! I definitely don’t mind stirring up a big pot of chili or noshing on fresh chips, salsa and guacamole while the hubs and babes enjoy the game on the lazy boy chair. And guess what, I’m making some soul soothing white bean and chicken chili soup for this Sundays match up, it’s got all the right heat to get you fired up for the game, who’s with me?… 

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Delicious Chicken Parmesan Recipe

Delicious Chicken Parmesan Recipe | jessicagavin.com

Nothing says I love you like a piping hot plate of pasta and layering on a crispy breaded chicken is the icing on the cake! My husband grew up eating homemade Italian food that his mom and grandma would prepare. The sauces were always made from scratch (lucky guy!) and the food carefully made with love. Jason’s mom Joan and grandma Rose are amazing cooks! Over the years they have taught me how to make meatballs, fresh rolled pasta, and chicken spadini to make sure Jason always gets to indulge in his favorite foods.

I never try to compete with mama, but I like to make some of Jason’s favorite comfort foods to remind him of home. Nothing puts a smile on my husbands face than a crunchy tender piece of Chicken Parmesan, topped with fresh tomato sauce and gooey melted cheese. Oh yes, I get major points when I make this which I redeem for trips to get  ice cream cones!… 

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Chicken Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Chicken butternut squash soup recipe | jessicagavin.com

I’m really bumming out… Today is my official first day back at work from maternity leave, I sure hope I can make it at work without crying, yikes! It’s been the most amazing and challenging 4 months since the arrival of baby James. I can’t believe how much he has grown and taking on his own jubilant personality! It’s been a blessing that I’ve been able to indulge in each tender moment. I’ve learned how to navigate through epic diaper blow outs in public, the ninja creep out of the nursery after putting him to sleep, getting my zombie wake up calls during those late night feedings, and I’m a whiz at cooking and eating with one hand, haha.

Spending each day with my adorable buddy has given me the chance to see him grow into a strong and healthy boy, hear his first full bellied blissful laugh, knowing that he recognizes us, and that we can make each other smile. My favorite times are our mornings when Jason brings our little early bird into our room and we get some family cuddle time before we start the day. It’s so cute how he likes to watch The Chew and Ellen, by the way I need to start recording my favorite day time TV shows!

Sorry for all the sappy puppy dog lovey mommy stuff, it’s mostly for James to know someday if he ever reads this, just how much he is loved and that he has made me a better person.

Now that it’s back to reality! That means back to work and being more efficient with my time at home. What I needed was some quick, easy and hearty meals that I could prepare as soon as I walked through the door so we could maximize our time with the little guy. A big pot of chicken butternut squash soup is one of the answers., Who doesn’t love a steamy wholesome bowl of chicken soup?… 

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Herb Brined Butterflied Roasted Chicken

Herb Brined Butterflied Roasted Chicken recipe | jessicagavin.com

Are you having a more intimate holiday this year, maybe a romantic dinner for two? Sometimes roasting a whole 12 pound turkey seems a little intimidating or excessive (unless you like lots of leftovers, which is not a bad thing). How about a super flavorful crispy roasted chicken in under an hour? The answer is a delicious and juicy herb brined butterflied roasted chicken!

Nothing is better than filing your home with smells of a fragrant roasted chicken on a cool evening. I especially like cooking the bird on a hearty bed of root vegetables, like for my lemon and herb roasted chicken recipe, it’s a full meal all in one! But I wanted to try a few new techniques to make an even more flavorful and tender bird. As the holidays are approaching I feel like this year’s culinary buzz words for cooking your poultry is “dry brine” and “spatchcock” aka butterflied, hehe, I know. Both of these preparation and cooking techniques are designed to save you time and effort, while adding flavor and even cooking. Yes!… 

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Chicken Enchiladas with Pumpkin Sauce

serving dish of chicken pumpkin enchiladas | jessicagavin.com #mexicanrecipes #food

Oh man… I am so excited to share this recipe with you, it’s my new fall favorite and guaranteed to score you some high fives from the fam bam!  I’ve added pumpkin purée to as many sweet recipes that you could imagine, but this was my first time with a savory dish. To my surprise, these chicken enchiladas with pumpkin sauce are my best pumpkin inspired dish so far! I seriously couldn’t wait to devour these amazing mini burritos the next day, and I wasn’t in the mood for sharing!

Enchiladas have been one of my go to meals to make for a crowd while on a budget. This worked especially well during those penny pinching college days. I used to just grab a whole roasted chicken, canned red enchilada sauce, flour tortillas and Mexican blend cheese and called it good. I’d call my hungry study buddy’s over for a mini feast and we were fueled up for the long cram sessions ahead. Enchiladas are so simple and filling, but I really wanted to make the enchilada sauce from scratch. Instead of the traditional red or green chili sauce, even though it may sound strange, I thought a pumpkin sauce may be a nice way to switch up. Oh yes, it was divine and I’ll tell you why…… 

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