Two Healthy Kitchens Quick and Healthy Recipes for Your Busy Family Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:39:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Two Healthy Kitchens 32 32 Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Drinks: Mocktails & More! Tue, 21 Nov 2023 20:39:21 +0000 The post Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Drinks: Mocktails & More! appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Drinks are a great option, since the Turkey Day celebrations tend to go on and on … and on. Even people who like to drink alcohol sometimes appreciate a tasty break in the action. And with these delicious “virgin” beverages, nobody will miss the alcohol at all! ~

Collage of 4 drink recipes with text overlay "10Non-Alcoholic Thanksgiving Drinks • Mocktails & More! •".

From the Macy’s Parade to the Thanksgiving feast to allllll those football games … the Thanksgiving festivities really do stretch for hours upon hours.

Now, don’t get me wrong … in my opinion, that’s a very, very good thing. The more festive-ness you can cram into one day, the better!

But, when it comes to beverage options, you’ve gotta think beyond the standard beer, wine and cocktails if everybody’s gonna make it through in one piece.

Plus, since a huge portion of my extended family prefers not to drink alcohol, I know how special non-drinkers feel when there’s a celebratory beverage they can enjoy, too!

With all that in mind, I’ve gathered a gorgeous collection of Thanksgiving-perfect drinks.

Full of fall flavors and cozy autumn vibes, they’re a wonderful option to add to your menu – for non-drinkers, kiddos, designated drivers … or just those folks who need to take a hydrating break between beers.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Cheers to you and yours!

Thanksgiving Mocktails

~ by Shelley

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30 Easy Thanksgiving Shrimp Appetizers Mon, 20 Nov 2023 20:46:41 +0000 The post 30 Easy Thanksgiving Shrimp Appetizers appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ Want an impressive yet easy Thanksgiving appetizer? Quick-cooking shrimp is a perfect choice that definitely makes a statement. From dips to skewers to innovative riffs on shrimp cocktail, you’ve got lots of crowd-pleasing options! ~

Hero collage with four recipe photos and text overlay "30 Thanksgiving Shrimp Appetizers • Impressive & Easy! •".

I know when most people think “Thanksgiving” they also think “turkey.”

But when I was growing up, we often had at least two back-to-back days of Thanksgiving dinner parties. To avoid boring us with turkey two days in a row, my mom ingeniously delighted us by making one of the days a seafood feast instead.

So, for me, shrimp appetizers for Thanksgiving make total sense. Start the meal with a little seafood … and you can still have turkey for the main event!

Plus, most everyone loves shrimp.

And shrimp recipes definitely feel special and a little elegant. A perfect, impressive appetizer idea to kick off your holiday feast with style!

Thanksgiving Shrimp Appetizers

FAQs At-a-Glance

How Do You Thaw Shrimp?

Purchasing frozen shrimp ahead of time – whenever you spot a terrific sale price – is a great move to keep that budget in check. And thawing them is super easy. Whether you’re thawing raw or cooked shrimp, the key is always to thaw them gently. I’ve got all the details on 3 simple methods in my article “How to Thaw Shrimp.” But, in short: you can either thaw them overnight in the fridge, submerge the entire bag in water, or thaw them directly in cold water. Pop over to my article for the full instructions on each method, as well as specific tips on what NOT to do.

What’s That “Size” Number Mean for Shrimp?

You’ll often see numbers on packages of shrimp, like 21-25 or 36-50. Those numbers indicate the size of the shrimp. How? Well, those numbers specify how many shrimp it takes to equal one pound. So, that gives you a rough idea of how big the shrimp will be, based on how many shrimp it takes to equal a pound. For example, 21-25 shrimp should have about 21-25 shrimp in a pound, which means they’ll be bigger than 36-50 shrimp that’ll have about 36-50 in each pound.

More Thanksgiving Seafood Recipes

Shoutout to everyone who’s looking for creative interpretations on the “typical” Thanksgiving menu. I’m always right there with you, searching for unique, fresh ideas!

If you were intrigued by my mom’s creation of a Thanksgiving seafood feast, then you’ve gotta check out our full collection of Seafood Thanksgiving Recipes!

(Turkey totally optional!)

Need Even MORE Thanksgiving Ideas?

Other recipes I highly recommend include:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Whatever you serve, I hope your feast is delicious.

But, most of all, I hope your day is filled with the love and laughter of family and dear friends!

~ by Shelley

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Pecan Chicken Salad Tue, 03 Oct 2023 14:58:45 +0000 The post Pecan Chicken Salad appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ If I had to pick the #1 salad my family makes ALLLLL the time on constant repeat, it would have to be this Pecan Chicken Salad with apples, cranberries and goat cheese. Mmmm … and the real magic is in the quick Maple-Balsamic Dressing. It’s all a breeze to throw together and is completely adaptable … and CRAAAAZY delicious, every single time! ~

This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps  

Overhead of salad arranged in serving bowl, with two lines of chicken fanned across; bowl of extra pecans nearby.

My family has given our hearts to lots of salads through the years, but this one truly is the go-to, gold standard that we make over and over and over again.

Especially when my daughter Amy is home from college.

She’s crowned this as absolutely her all-time most favorite salad ever.

So you’d better believe I have it on the meal plan to make my girl happy, whenever she manages to make time to come home for a visit! (Miss you, baby girl!!!)

This Chicken Pecan Apple Salad recipe evolved out of our {also beloved} “Thanksgiving Salad” – that’s the salad with goat cheese, pears and candied pecans we first shared with you back in 2014, almost 10 years ago. We were so hooked on that one, that I started looking for ways to turn it into more of a main course salad … and this recipe is the deliciously addictive result!

Flatlay of Salad in large dinner bowl with fork, two more bowls of salad, goat cheese, napkin and forks nearby.

(Can a salad actually be addictive, you may ask. I’m here to say YES … yes it can! And Amy will back me up. 😉 )

Why This Chicken Pecan Salad Is THAT Good!

Let’s look at what we’ve got going on here:

  • Tender slices of juicy chicken
  • Crunchy pecans (you can toast ’em or candy them, if you want!)
  • Juicy, crisp apples
  • Sweet-tart dried cranberries
  • Crumbles of creamy, tangy goat cheese
  • And the most wonderful Maple-Balsamic Dressing to bring it all together!
Flatlay of ingredients with labels: Salad Greens, Balsamic Dressing, Dried Cranberries, Chicken, Pecans, Apple, Goat Cheese.

It’s got such a fabulous range of flavors and textures, all perfectly working together to equal so, so very much more than each individual ingredient.

And it’s ultra-fast, ultra-quick and easy, ultra-adaptable! Here’s what I mean about adaptable …

Tips for Adapting Your Pecan Apple Chicken Salad

You do need to measure ingredients to get the right flavor balance in the dressing. But as far as the rest of the main salad ingredients go, you honestly don’t have to measure at all. I never do. Just eyeball it and toss in what you’d like.


There are so many ways you can riff on this and customize it, depending on what you happen to have on hand.

• Chicken Options (Lots of Ways … or Even NOT Chicken)

You can use warm or chilled chicken for this – either is totally great.

In the summer we’ll typically grill up some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. But, I also often use the breast meat from a rotisserie chicken I grab at the grocery store for an extra-fast dinner option.

Truly, however you’d like to cook your chicken will work beautifully. Grilled, roasted, baked, poached, pan-seared … or store-bought!

Overhead closeup of the sliced chicken fanned on the greens with pecans, cheese and fruit sprinkled on top.

And, this is a perfect way to use up leftover chicken from other meals. Be sure, though, that it’s only very simply seasoned – maybe with a bit of salt and pepper, at most. Avoid any strong flavors or marinades that would conflict with the other flavors in the salad.

You don’t even have to use chicken at all!

Try leftover Thanksgiving turkey, salmon, grilled flank steak … or even go vegetarian and leave the meat off altogether. No wrong choices here!

• Apple Options

We like to use juicy, firm, sweet-tart apples like Honeycrisp. Grab whichever apple you like best … just make sure it’s a really terrific apple, since “meh” apples will equal a “meh” salad.

Alternately, you can sub pears for the apples when they’re in season. (Remember, we use pears in our original “inspiration” salad, and they’re great here, too – but only when they’re at their peak).

• Pecan Options

You can use plain ol’ pecans, toasted pecans, candied pecans (again, like in our “inspiration” salad). I never take the extra time to toast mine, tbh. But when we’re feeling extra-fun (like when Amy rolls home from college!) I do sometimes upgrade to candied pecans.

Your choice!

And, while I know I’m calling this a Pecan Chicken Salad, you don’t absolutely have to go with pecans.

This would be great with walnuts, too. Or try slivered almonds if that’s all you happen to have on hand.

• Cranberry Options

Amy LOVES dried cranberries, and I often have a giant, Costco-sized bag in the pantry when she’s home. So, that’s an easy pantry staple for me to toss in here.

But instead of dried cranberries, you can get a little fancy and use dried cherries instead (yet again … like we do in our “inspiration” holiday salad).

• The {Ahhhh-Mazing Maple-Balsamic Dressing}

This is the one thing I’m gonna tell you NOT to mess with. Don’t be tempted to sub in a bottled dressing from the store. Disappointment awaits you along that path.

Trust me – the vinaigrette dressing is too good to miss.

It’s what really sets this salad apart from the pack.

Hand pouring dressing our of glass cruet onto salad in serving bowl below.

The proportions in my recipe card will probably make more vinaigrette than you’ll actually need for the amount of salad. Maybe almost twice as much.

But it’s good to have a little extra, if someone in your family is a dressing hog and pours with a heavy hand. And you’ll be happy to have some vinaigrette left over, for some other lucky salad later in the week.

• And What About Other “Extras”?

Sure, I can envision that you might wanna toss in some thinly sliced red onion or flecks of green onion, or maybe some crunchy celery.

And I can imagine you adding in a few red grapes – maybe even green grapes – if you’ve got some in the fridge. (Works beautifully in our creamy Healthy Chicken Salad with Yogurt Dressing, so why not?)

This recipe is written for the way we always make it. Use it as a springboard for how you make it. And don’t stress over the details.

Basically, this salad is meant to be a go-to, I-can-throw-it-together-at-a moment’s-notice kind of meal.

Improvise … have fun … and I bet it’ll become a favorite meal in your family’s regular dinner rotation, too!

Here’s all you have to do to throw the recipe together (in seriously only a few moments!) …

How to Make This Chicken Pecan Salad

Ingredient Prep

There isn’t much prep to be done – just slicing your juicy chicken (remember a purchased rotisserie chicken or leftover pre-cooked chicken works fine), then chopping up some apple and whisking together the dressing.

Overhead showing the apples cut into chunks on a cutting board with half an apple and bowls of goat cheese and pecans at edge.

I personally like to chop the apples into cubes, but thinly slice the chicken. You can definitely go with sliced apples instead of cubed, though … or cubed chicken instead of sliced. Whatever you prefer.

Step #1

Heap your salad greens in a large serving bowl, or separate them onto individual plates.

Layer some of your chopped apples, pecans, dried cranberries and goat cheese throughout your bed of lettuce, as you build the salad. (That way, you’ll have bits of those yummy “toppings” all throughout your creation … instead of only on the top layer.)

Goat Cheese Tips

I usually buy pre-crumbled goat cheese, to save a little time.

If you’re crumbling your own, though, it’s much easier to crumble super-cold goat cheese. If you try to crumble room temperature goat cheese, you’ll end up with smeary fingers and goopy blobs instead of nice crumbles.

Then, sprinkle the remaining apples, pecans, cranberries and cheese over the top of the salad and arrange your chicken.

Since I typically do sliced chicken, I like to fan it attractively on top. But, if you opt to chop your chicken in chunks, you can layer it throughout the salad with all the rest of the “toppings.”

Side view of salad in large, ridged white serving bowl with dressing and wooden servers in background.

Easy so far, right?!? You’re practically already done!

Step #2

For the dressing, whisk together some balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, smooth Dijon mustard and salt.

Make sure that all the salt is dissolved, and not collected at the bottom of your bowl.

Make the Dressing Ahead

If you’re short on time, fear not!

You can make your vinaigrette ahead of time, since it keeps beautifully in the fridge for several days.

Small glass bowl of Balsamic Dressing with whisk, measuring spoons, bowls of salad and pecans nearby.

Besides our holiday Salad with Goat Cheese and Pears, we also use this same Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette in our Adorable Thanksgiving Salad with Butternut Squash Turkey and (with a couple tiny tweaks) in our Superfoods Brussels Sprout Salad.

You’ll find plenty of opportunities to use it!

Just give the dressing a quick re-whisk, as needed, before serving.

Step #3

Serve it up … yum yum yum! (Does this even count as a step?!?)

Two hands using wooden utensils to scoop salad with a pecan and chunk of apple out of big white bowl

I recommend that you wait to add the dressing to your salad until right before serving, or that you pass it ’round the dinner table so everyone can dress their own.

FAQs At-a-Glance

Does It Matter What Type of Salad Green I Use?

Not all that much. In general, any beautifully fresh greens will work nicely.

Can I Just Use Bottled Dressing for This Pecan Chicken Salad?

I mean … of course, you can use any dressing you love. I’m certainly not gonna stop you from living your best dressing life! But, I’m also here to URGE you (beg you … plead with you) to try our Maple-Balsamic Dressing instead. It’s a game-changer on this salad (and lots of others), and I have never found a store-bought version that even comes close. I truly don’t think you’ll get the same results from a store-bought bottle.

Can I Use Chicken Thighs Instead of Chicken Breasts?

It’s much more common to use chicken breasts for salads like this one. But as I explained in the article above, virtually any cooked chicken will work (and that includes thighs if you really prefer them). This would also be terrific with salmon, thinly sliced steak, leftover turkey from Thanksgiving … even no meat at all!

Can I Make This Ahead of Time?

I don’t recommend fully making this Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad ahead of time, since the apples can turn brown, and the lettuce may get soggy (especially if you’ve added the dressing). BUT … there are lots of steps you can do ahead, so it’s extra-fast to throw together at dinnertime. For example, you can make the dressing a couple days ahead, pre-slice the chicken, toast or candy your pecans (if you’re going that route), and crumble your goat cheese (if you didn’t buy pre-crumbled). Keep everything in separate, airtight containers in the fridge until you’re ready to toss it all together.

The Very Best Dinner Salad in the Entire World???

(Amy thinks so!)

Sure, we have lots of salads here on our website. And we truly love every single one of them (otherwise, we wouldn’t bother to share them!).

But this one. THIS ONE.

When I need to throw a big, main course dinner salad together, without really even thinking about it. And when I need a quick, flexible, nourishing meal that I know (from years of experience), everyone will be absolutely thrilled with …

This is that one.

Closeup of the chicken arranged on one portion of salad in a broad white dinner bowl with fork.

You’ll love that it’s so quick and easy. And so flexible.

You’ll love that it’s a meal in itself, all together in one bowl, with no other side dishes needed.

And you’ll love that it’s just so, so good.

Amy’s all-time favorite salad in the entire world. There’s no higher praise I can give it than that!

~ by Shelley

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?


Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Closeup overhead of single servingof salad in broad dinner bowl with dressing drizzled over the chicken.

Pecan Chicken Salad

This is the #1 main dish salad my family makes on constant repeat. It's a total breeze to throw together, and it's so perfectly delicious, every single time!
• Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Includes Make-Ahead Steps •
5 from 8 votes
Pin Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 11 minutes
Total Time: 11 minutes
Yield: 14 cups (which should serve about 3-5 people as a main course)



  • 5 ounces mixed gourmet/spring greens
  • 1 cup chopped apple (we like Honeycrisp)
  • ¾ cup pecans (can optionally toast or use candied pecans – see note)
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (warm or chilled – see note)


  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • teaspoon kosher salt


  • Place greens in a large serving bowl (or divide among individual salad plates), layering in some of the apples, pecans, dried cranberries, and goat cheese as you build the salad. Sprinkle the remaining apples, pecans, cranberries, and cheese over top of greens, and arrange the chicken on top.
    Overhead closeup of the sliced chicken fanned on the greens with pecans, cheese and fruit sprinkled on top.
  • For the dressing, whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, mustard, and salt until emulsified.
    Small glass bowl of Balsamic Dressing with whisk, measuring spoons, bowls of salad and pecans nearby.
  • Dress the salad just before serving, or pass the dressing at the table. (See note.)
    Hand pouring dressing our of glass cruet onto salad in serving bowl below.


Pecans: You can use plain pecan halves, toasted pecans or candied pecans. If you’re going the candied route, I definitely recommend using our super-easy recipe for 5-Minute, 4-Ingredient Candied Pecans. They add just the right amount of sweetness without going overboard on the sugar or adding corn syrup, butter, or other less-healthy ingredients.
Chicken: As mentioned in more detail in the article above, my family usually uses either rotisserie chicken (for maximum speediness) or (on pleasant summer evenings) simple grilled chicken that’s just lightly seasoned with only salt and pepper. This recipe works beautifully with both warm and chilled chicken. Basically any preparation you prefer, or any leftover chicken you happen to have, will be fine, as long as it hasn’t been strongly marinaded or seasoned with flavors that would compete with the rest of this dish.
Serving tips: This salad is literally loaded with toppings, which is exactly how my family likes it best. Feel free to tweak the exact proportions to suit your family’s tastes. As I said in the article above, you don’t have to stress about exact measurements (except for the dressing).
Dressing: This recipe makes enough dressing that you probably won’t need it all if you follow the exact amounts I suggest for the other ingredients. But, since I wanted the recipe to be flexible for you to vary the amounts … and since some people may be “heavy pourers” when it comes to dressing, I wrote the dressing part of the recipe to be able to give you some wiggle room.
Make-ahead tips: The dressing can be made a day or two in advance and kept, covered, in the refrigerator. If you’re planning on making candied pecans (using our recipe), those can also be made in advance. For a little extra time-savings, look for already-crumbled goat cheese, rather than the logs that you’ll need to crumble yourself.


Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 146 | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Unsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 70mg | Carbohydrates: 10g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Protein: 9g
(Note that his calculation assumes you’ll use all the salad dressing, which you probably won’t.)

* Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Calorie
Tried this recipe?We’d LOVE to hear … please leave a star-rating!

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Mexican Chicken Fajita Casserole Thu, 21 Sep 2023 18:11:43 +0000 The post Mexican Chicken Fajita Casserole appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ This family-favorite Mexican Chicken Fajita Casserole has all the flavors of restaurant-style chicken fajitas, in a super-simple baked dinner! Bonus: the base features protein-packed Mexican black beans and quinoa … with no pre-cooking needed (and you mix it up right in the baking dish). Seriously delicious, and soooooo easy! ~

(Originally published as Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake {No Pre-Cooking!} on March 6, 2014. Updated photos, text and tips.)

This Recipe Is:     Make Ahead    Gluten Free  

Flatlay of finished casserole with serving spoon tucked in on wooden board; Mexican toppings waiting alongside.

This is how a family-favorite, restaurant-quality fajita dinner can actually happen, on even the busiest of nights.

And you’re the hero who delivers piping-hot chicken fajitas to the table, deliciously nestled in a cozy casserole dish. (No tortillas or messy jamming-the-fillings-into-a-wrap needed.)

And yep … you make it look easy! Because it IS!

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this casserole is 100% THAT terrific. I’ve been making it for 10 years now (and first shared it here on my website back in 2014). Yet my family falls in love all over again, every single time they see it heading to the table.


The 3 Reasons You’ll LOVE This Chicken Fajita Casserole Recipe!

✔ Reason 1: It’s Crazy-Delicious!

I mean … chicken fajitas. Yum. Of course, that involves:

  • succulent, juicy chicken strips
  • crisp-tender onions and bell peppers
  • … all tossed in a super-simple but super-yummy blend of Mexican fajita spices

But then it gets even better. All that fajita-y goodness is perched on top of a glorious layer of:

  • salsa-flavored black beans and whole grains (Surprise – we’re substituting quinoa for boring ol’ rice – and you’ll be so glad we did!)
Closeup of upper right corner of casserole dish so you can see the melty cheese over the fajita veggies and chicken.

It’s fabulous straight outta the pan, or you can melt cheese on top, or you can toss on some traditional fajita toppings … whatever you feel like.

Yum yum and YUM!

✔ Reason 2: It’s So Darn EASY (Cheater Alert!)

Like I mentioned before, this meal can happen on even busy, busy weeknights. And you won’t even break a sweat as you flex your dinner-hero muscles and whip this up in a twinkling.

It calls on a couple of my favorite, speedy cheats: mix stuff up right in the pan, and don’t pre-cook anything you don’t have to.

That’s right. You don’t even have to pre-cook the quinoa, because it cooks merrily along with the rest of the casserole in the oven.

And you mix your casserole’s base layer right in your baking dish, instead of dirtying an additional bowl.

Oh! And you can either (1) prep it partially ahead or even (2) {woot woot!!} make it entirely ahead of time and quickly re-warm it whenever dinnertime happens to actually happen.

✔ Reason 3: It’s So Nutritious, Too!

Yep. As if you weren’t feeling fantastic enough already, serving up fajitas everybody loves, in the blink of an easy-peasy eye!

Well, you’re gonna feel even better because all that deliciousness your entire family is raving about (and stuffing in their mouths) is actually GOOD for them, too!

Overhead of lower corner of casserole dish with fajita toppings like shred cheese, avocado and cilantro at right.

Lean chicken, loads of fajita veggies, black beans, PLUS protein- and fiber-packed quinoa!

With all of its nutritious upgrades, quinoa is a great choice to replace the rice you often find in typical, old-school Mexican chicken casseroles. (We use it as a starting base in other casseroles, too – like our Comforting Stuffed Pepper Casserole and our Italian Stuffed Zucchini Boats Casserole.) It works beautifully and adds such a wonderful nutrition boost!

You might also notice that some of the other Mexican chicken bake recipes out there involve calorie-laden ingredients like cream cheese, cream of chicken soup, or layers of tortilla chips. But that’s certainly not a healthy way to go, and mostly doesn’t fit with the fajita concept here, anyway. Simple ingredients are all you need in this family favorite, trust me!

So, yeah. You’re gonna feel great about this for ALLLLLL the reasons.

Ya ready??? Ok then! Let’s tackle this incredible fajita casserole recipe …

How to Make Your Easy Mexican Chicken Casserole

Another great thing about this recipe (as if it wasn’t great enough already) is that many of the ingredients you need are shelf-stable.

Flatlay of ingredients on cutting board including raw chicken breasts, whole vegetables, uncooked quinoa and dish of spices.

So you can keep most of it on hand, ready to toss together a cozy, comforting dinner with just a quick trip to grab some chicken and fresh produce. (Making it even easier to be a family Dinner Hero, with only the tiniest smidge of effort!)

Choosing Peppers and Onions

I prefer to make this recipe with a mellow, sweet onion and a colorful mix of red and green bell pepper.

But, if you prefer, you could go with (slightly “spicier”) yellow onion or even red onion (like we do with our Baked Shrimp Fajitas). And, you can mix up the pepper colors however you please. I will say, though, that I do like that red bell peppers are less bitter-tangy than using only green peppers alone. Orange or yellow bell peppers would offer a sweeter flavor, similar to a red pepper. See what looks good at your grocery store – the choice is really yours!

Ingredient Prep

Start by slicing your peppers and onion into fajita-sized strips.

You should end up with about 1½ cups of each pepper (3 cups of peppers total), and 1¾ – 2 cups of onion strips. But it’s pretty hard to shove veggie strips into a 1-cup measure, and you truly don’t have to be THAT precise. As long as you’re more or less in the ballpark, the amount should be just fine.

Flatlay of chicken, onion and peppers, all sliced into fajita strips on cutting board.

Similarly, slice your chicken breasts (or tenders) into fajita-sized, thin strips.

If you’re using tenders, it’s not strictly necessary to cut them down thinner, if you’re in a hurry. But if you have the time, I recommend cutting tenders (especially the larger ones) in half lengthwise. That creates thinner strips, with more surface area to be coated in the delicious fajita spices.

Prep Ahead!

You can slice up your veggies and chicken earlier in the day, or the day before you’re actually planning to serve your Mexican Chicken Casserole. Pop each ingredient into a separate, airtight container or baggie in the fridge … so tossing this recipe together at the last minute becomes even faster and EASIER than it already is!

When you’re ready to cook, here’s all you do …

Step #1

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

This hardly even counts as a step! Easy so far, right?!?

Step #2

Now here’s where the big cheater moves come in. Remember I told you about these?

You get to skip an ENTIRE cooking step! I know, right!?!? How cool is that!?!

You don’t have to pre-cook the quinoa!

And you don’t need an extra bowl here, either. Simply mix up your salsa, black beans, chicken broth, and quinoa right in a 9×13 baking dish. (I like to coat it with cooking spray first.)

The Magic of NOT Pre-Cooking Your Quinoa

When it first occurred to me to try cooking quinoa this way (back 10 or 11 years ago), I wondered if it would actually work. And why (if it did work) I hadn’t come across more recipes that used this {magical} method.

It seems so logical, right? If you can bake pasta without pre-cooking it (hint hint … try our 5-Ingredient Pizza Pasta Bake!) well, then why couldn’t quinoa work the same way? (These are the kinds of questions that keep food bloggers awake at night.)

If you follow THK, you know we did a big ol’ post about all the ins and outs of cooking quinoa. So, I’ve done a fair amount of research and testing when it comes to my pal, quinoa.

Still, I was so excited about the no-pre-cooking idea. Why hadn’t I seen this before? (Why, oh why, hadn’t I tried it before???) After all – you, my THK friends, know that I loooooove to skip steps if it gets a delicious dinner on the table even faster!

So I gave it a try. (I mean … what better way to see what would happen?)

I was actually shocked (and ridiculously excited) to find that … IT WORKED! Like a charm, actually! Truly like MAGIC!

Step #3

Ok, so once you’re done being crazy-excited about how easy the base layer is … it’s on to the also-easy step of adding BIG fajita flavor to your chicken and vegetables.

All you have to do here is toss your strips of peppers, onion and chicken with a bit of oil, and a super-simple seasoning combo of chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt.

Nothing fancy, but I promise it is so flavorful and soooooo good!

Then, you just spoon that fajita-seasoned chicken mixture over the quinoa mixture that’s waiting in your baking dish.

And it’s ready to pop in the oven!

Overhead of seasoned chicken and vegetables spread atop Mexican quinoa and black bean layer, ready to bake.

Step #4

Bake your Fajita Chicken Casserole (covered with foil) for about 40-50 minutes.

The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of your chicken and peppers, and on your brand of quinoa.

Basically, you’re looking for your chicken to be cooked through, for your veggies to be crisp-tender, for the liquid to be mostly absorbed, and for your quinoa to be done.

Checking Your Quinoa for Doneness

Quinoa’s perfectly cooked when most of it no longer looks like tightly closed white dots, but instead is tender with lots of visible quinoa “tails.”

In addition, although the base layer of your casserole may still be a little loose (it thickens some upon standing), you don’t want it to be really wet.

Overhead of partially baked casserole on cutting board so you can see the broth and not-quite-cooked quinoa.

If you look closely at the picture above, you’ll see that only a few quinoa tails have appeared, and it’s still pretty brothy.

It’ll be ok at this stage, but I’d really recommend giving it a few more minutes in the oven for total “Casserole PERFECTION”!

Then, all that’s left to do is carry it to the table!

And looky there … see all those eager, smiling faces, as your family cheers and happily grabs their forks? Uh-huh. You did that. You made this dinner moment happen!

(And you don’t have to admit how easy it actually was. Bask in the praise, my friend. The glory is yours!)

How to Serve This Mexican Casserole Recipe

This recipe is, at its core, basically just chicken fajitas, reinvented in casserole form.

So, it makes sense to serve it up with your family’s favorite fajita toppings.

The usual suspects are shredded lettuce, chopped fresh cilantro, maybe even some chopped tomatoes or a squeeze of lime juice. Black olives, sliced green onions and canned green chiles could work, too. And I’d definitely vote for guacamole or chopped avocados. Salsa or hot sauce, if you’d like. Oooooh … how about some sour cream and cheddar cheese? (YES!)

Cheesy Options

You can certainly opt to simply offer shredded cheese at the table, and everyone can sprinkle on their own.

But for maximum, ooey-gooey-cheesy WOW factor, I like to sprinkle a little cheese on top of the finished casserole as it comes out of the oven, and then pop the baking dish back in, just long enough for the cheese to get melty.

Two hands holding up finished casserole in white baking dish with Mexican toppings nearby.

You can run it under the broiler, too, if you want that browned-and-bubbled vibe. Mmmmmm … gooey cheese!

And what about side dishes?

Well, honestly, this Mexican Chicken Fajita Casserole is truly a complete meal-in-one.

At Mexican restaurants, classic fajitas are normally served with a side of refried beans and Mexican rice. But we’ve already worked black beans into the casserole, and we’ve got quinoa standing in for the rice … so there’s honestly no need to fuss with side dishes. And you can totally skip the flour tortillas, of course. Simple, simple!

But if you’d like to create an all-out Mexican fiesta (hey hey … like for a Cinco de Mayo feast!), I absolutely recommend this Mexican Street Corn Salad or this Corn Salsa (which doubles as a side salad).

You can be an absolute Dinner Hero, without even making a side dish, though. Really!

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can You Make This Mexican Casserole Ahead of Time?

You sure can! As mentioned above, you can prep and slice ingredients ahead of time. But you can also completely finish the recipe and bake the casserole ahead of time, cool it down and refrigerate it (as directed in the Notes section of the recipe card below). It’s great for meal prep, since you can reheat individual portions as needed. Just be sure to reheat it gently, so you don’t overcook the chicken.

How Healthy Is Fajita Chicken?

Well, that depends on factors like how much oil (with its added fat and calories) is used to sizzle up the chicken strips, and how much white rice or how many white-carb tortillas are along for the ride. In this fajita-style Mexican Chicken Casserole, we address the dilemma on multiple fronts, by limiting the calorie-filled oil, by working in lots of veggies, and by pumping up the fiber and protein with black beans and quinoa (instead of white rice).

What Spices and Seasonings Are Common in Fajitas?

The precise spice combination varies. It’s somewhat similar to taco seasoning, but fajita blends usually have a few extra spices and generally don’t include the cornstarch that’s often used as a thickener in taco blends. As an example, our basic, “classic” Homemade Fajita Seasoning includes 8 ingredients (garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, paprika, black pepper, and oregano), which is perfect for our Shrimp Fajitas. Not all of those spices are needed, though, in the simplified spice mixture we use in this casserole recipe (since we’re already packing in Mexican flavor from the jar of salsa).

Is Quinoa a Gluten-Free Grain?

Yep … quinoa is gluten-free. But, as we discuss in our article “How to Cook Quinoa (and Why You Should!)” it’s not technically a grain, even though it’s often lumped into discussions about whole grains. Fun fact alert: according to the Whole Grains Council, quinoa is actually botanically related to beets, chard and spinach.

Why Does Quinoa Have to Be Rinsed?

Quinoa has a bitter coating (called saponin) that naturally protects the crop against pests. That’s why it’s so easy to grow quinoa without pesticides and why quinoa is often able to be sold as organic – bonus! But, you want that bitter saponin layer to be rinsed away so it’s delicious to eat. Some brands are labeled as pre-rinsed, but all you need to do to rinse it at home is swish the quinoa in a sieve under running water until the water runs clear.

Bottom line: this fajita bake is always such an easy dinner and always, always so crazy-good!

Like I said, this recipe has been a fan favorite at my house for nearly a decade. (And always a great option on a busy weeknight!)

It’s the kind of meal where you keep scooping a tiny bit more onto your plate … and then just a tiny smidgen more … and then maybe just a little …

Because it’s too good to stop eating.

And I always feel fantastic knowing that I made a dinner my family enjoys this much, without fussing or stressing at all. Knowing that they truly love it … and that it’s also extra nutritious and good for them, too.

Left corner of baking dish with finished casserole, melted cheese, scallions and cilantro atop vegetables and chicken.

Whenever I make it, I feel like I’m winning on all fronts.

As dinner recipes go, this one’s a serious hero-maker. For oh-so-many reasons.

I hope you’re a Dinner Hero tonight, too, my friend! Enjoy!

~ by Shelley

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?


Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Closeup overhead of one corner of casserole dish with spoon dipped into finished recipe, cheese, avocado and cilantro alongside.

Mexican Chicken Fajita Casserole

The family-pleasing flavors of chicken fajitas, in a simple baked casserole! So easy, so delicious … a favorite for nearly a decade!
• Make Ahead • Gluten Free •
4.91 from 10 votes
Pin Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yield: 13 cups (8 servings)


  • 1 (16-ounce) jar of your favorite thick and chunky salsa (see note)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed if needed – see note)
  • 1 red pepper, cut into strips (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • 1 green pepper, cut into strips (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • ½ of a large sweet onion, cut into strips (to equal about 1¾ – 2 cups)
  • 1 pound chicken breasts, cut into strips, or 1 pound chicken tenders (see note)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • teaspoons kosher salt
  • optional toppings for serving: shredded reduced-fat cheese, shredded lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, avocados or guacamole, chopped cilantro or green onions, hot sauce such as Tapatío


  • Preheat oven to 400 °F.
    Flatlay of ingredients on cutting board including raw chicken breasts, whole vegetables, uncooked quinoa and dish of spices.
  • Mix salsa, black beans, chicken broth, and quinoa in a 9×13 baking dish coated with cooking spray.
    Hands holding casserole dish and wooden spoon, mixing Mexican black beans, salsa and quinoa base.
  • In a large bowl, combine peppers, onion, chicken, oil, and seasonings until thoroughly combined. Spoon pepper mixture over quinoa mixture in baking dish.
    Flatlay of chicken and vegetables in bowl, mixed with Mexican spices; empty salsa bowl and waiting casserole dish nearby.
  • Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on thickness of your chicken and peppers and your brand of quinoa), or until chicken is cooked through, veggies are crisp-tender, and quinoa is done (as shown in the photo in the article above, the quinoa will no longer look like tightly closed white dots but will instead be tender and you'll see lots of quinoa "tails").
    Two hands holding up finished casserole in white baking dish with Mexican toppings nearby.
  • Serve with desired toppings.
    Flatlay of baked recipe on wooden board with toppings like cheese, avocado and sour cream all around it.


Salsa: We generally use a thick and chunky salsa for this recipe, but have also tested it with looser, less thick varieties. Either will work fine, so feel free to use whatever you have on hand. However, less chunky salsa will result in a runnier, looser casserole (which is still perfectly delicious). Either way, the casserole will thicken slightly upon standing.
Quinoa: If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, then before you add it to the casserole, you will need to rinse it in a sieve, swishing it with your fingers until the water runs clear. We always look for pre-rinsed brands to save that step.
Chicken breasts or tenders: Even when using chicken tenders, we often still cut larger tenders in half lengthwise to create thinner, fajita-like strips with more surface area to be coated with the delicious fajita spices. If you’re in a hurry, though, you can use the tenders whole, although the meat won’t be as well coated in the spice mixture. Also, if using tenders, be sure that your butcher has done a good job removing the little white nub of tendon from the end of each tender. If not, you can cut that off. We generally find, however, that there’s no need to worry about removing the white wisp of tendon that extends all the way down through the tender, as it generally becomes unnoticeable after cooking.
Make-ahead tips: This casserole can be made completely ahead of time, and then portions can be reheated later as needed for quick meals or meal prep. The baked (and cooled) casserole will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least three days. Just be sure to reheat portions gently, so that you don’t overcook the chicken. We generally use the microwave, re-heating each portion just until warmed through, and then adding our toppings.


Serving: 1½ heaping cups (excluding toppings) | Calories: 314 | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Carbohydrates: 38g | Fiber: 9g | Sugar: 6g | Protein: 28g

* Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Author: Two Healthy Kitchens LLC at
Tried this recipe?We’d LOVE to hear … please leave a star-rating!
a serving of this casserole on a square white plate, with optional toppings in the background
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}
So easy! Simply mix the uncooked quinoa directly in a 9×13 baking pan along with your salsa, black beans and some chicken broth.
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}
The fajita strips just need a quick toss with the delicious Mexican spices, and they’re ready to nestle on top of the quinoa mixture for baking.
Chicken Fajita Quinoa Bake (No Pre-Cooking!) {from Two Healthy Kitchens}

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30+ Halloween Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes (Mocktails, Drinks for Kids & More!) Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:28:12 +0000 The post 30+ Halloween Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes (Mocktails, Drinks for Kids & More!) appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ At Halloween, non-alcoholic drink recipes are a must – for kids’ parties, for designated drivers, and for all those times when nobody wants to be spooky-drunk (like maybe that Halloween office luncheon). But you want your mocktails to be so terrific that nobody’s even gonna miss the alcohol. This outstanding collection definitely has you covered! ~

Collage of 4 drink photos with central text "30+ Non-Alcoholic Halloween Drinks mocktails & Kids' Drinks".

Mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks are surging in popularity right now, from the high-end bar scene to all the non-alcoholic options showing up in the fridge at your local liquor store.

And recipe developers all across the Internet have been hard at work, creating delicious, alcohol-free recipe ideas for every party, every occasion. Including Halloween!

So, I asked my blogging buddies out there to share their non-alcoholic Halloween drink ideas … and boy-oh-boy did they come through with some fantastic inspiration!

Perfect options for Halloween party guests who’d rather not imbibe (cheers to all you designated drivers out there!). And equally perfect for kiddos and under-age partygoers, too.

As you scroll through the list below, you’ll see:

  • Scary-good mocktails adults will love (just as fancy as a typical cocktail, but without the alcohol-induced headache tomorrow!)
  • Cute, kid-pleasin’ ideas with fun Halloween colors and themes (oh yeah … floating eyeballs and monster-green hues and definitely some eerie smoke!)
  • And even a few autumn-focused drinks to enjoy all through October and the entire Halloween season (think breakfast smoothies or cozy sippers for quiet, relaxing moments).

So, no matter what type of Halloween celebration you’re planning … or who’s on the guest list, you’ll have a perfect, non-alcoholic drink option.

Festive and delicious … without any alcohol needed at all!

Non-Alcoholic Halloween Drinks

More Hauntingly Fabulous Halloween Recipes

So now you’ve got the Halloween-themed drinks covered … but maybe you need other ideas for your next Halloween bash. Like some recipes that’ll be both a big hit and also a healthier twist for your party buffet (and for October snacking, too).

Mwwwahahahaha …. we’ve gotcha covered here, too! Check out these diabolical ideas:

For fruit inspiration, you’ll love our:

All so adorable! Plus, we even have a whole showcase collection of Halloween Fruit Recipes, for even more ghoulishly fab suggestions to keep that sugar content in check while still creating celebratory magic.

For a savory idea, go with our Spooky Spider Halloween Appetizer Dip. So much fun – everyone will be digging in!

And, if your party’s guest list includes people with a variety of dietary needs, take a peek at our collection of Vegan Halloween Desserts. Besides being vegan (and vegetarian, of course), many of the recipes are also gluten-free and allergy-friendly, so anybody can enjoy them. Also some ideas there that are terrific for nut-free classroom parties, too!

Square collage of 6 recipe photos with text overlay "30+ Non-Alcoholic Halloween Drinks".

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I hope all your Halloween festivities are hauntingly delicious and extra spook-tacular!

~ by Shelley

The post 30+ Halloween Non-Alcoholic Drink Recipes (Mocktails, Drinks for Kids & More!) appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

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Peanut Butter Tortillas Thu, 17 Aug 2023 12:59:04 +0000 The post Peanut Butter Tortillas appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

A New Twist on an Old Favorite!

~ These easy Peanut Butter Tortilla Sandwiches give your same-old-same-old peanut butter and jelly a creative, deliciously fun makeover! Warm, gooey peanut butter is sandwiched in a crispy, toasty “quesadilla.” Choose fillings like fresh strawberries, crunchy almonds and sweet coconut to take it to a whole new level. Your PB&J will never be quite the same again! ~

(Originally published as Strawberry-Peanut Butter Quesadillas on May 16, 2013. Updated photos, text and tips.)

This Recipe Is:    Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Vegan (and Vegetarian)  

Side view of tortilla wedge so you can see the berries, nuts and peanut butter inside; red background with 3 strawberries.

Peanut butter in a warm, toasty tortilla?? Hmmmmmmm (you ask) … isn’t that kinda like a peanut butter quesadilla? Or maybe a grilled peanut butter sandwich?

Sure is! And hey – why not?!?

Your tired-old PB&J could use a jazzed-up makeover, and your kiddos (and you!) could use a little excitement at lunchtime.

This family-favorite version of a peanut butter sandwich is a tried-and-true winner, every time!

So, What’s in This Unique Tortilla Sandwich?

The ingredients are really simple (but add up to something wonderful).

  • Creamy, melty peanut butter is studded with fillings like …
  • Fresh, sweet-tart strawberries (or you can try bananas)
  • Crunchy sliced almonds (or other nuts)
  • And just a hint of coconut, if you’d like
  • … All held together inside a perfectly seared, crispy tortilla.

It is so, sooooo good!

And definitely not your typical peanut butter and jelly sandwich, that’s for sure.

A Perfect Combination of Two Favorites!

Here at THK, we’ve had requests to give you some fun lunch ideas, especially for summertime, when pausing playtime to make lunches can feel like a serious chore.

We know how it is – during those lazy summer months, it’s easy to fall into an uninspired lunchtime rut!

So, my dear friend Gretchen and I combined two of our families’ favorite sandwiches:

  • the grilled peanut butter and jellies she loves
  • and a peanut butter and fruit pita pocket that my kiddos discovered in a Better Homes and Gardens kids’ cookbook

The result? A recipe that’ll give your kids’ boring, same-old-same-old peanut butter sandwich a whole new lease on life!

Side view of stuffed tortilla wedges on plate with warm, drippy peanut butter and fresh strawberries.

These “quesadillas” are so yummy and so versatile that my kids even request them for breakfast. (And have actually been known to joyously eat these twice in one day!)

They’re easy, fast and really adaptable – perfect any time, all day long.

How to Make A Peanut Butter Tortilla

The preparation is super simple, I promise.

Step #1

First, fire up a skillet and get it really good and hot. (Although honestly, as I explain later, you can even skip the whole cooking step if you’re in a hurry … but more on that in a sec …)

Equipment Tip: Pans … and Beyond!

This recipe works well with a cast iron griddle pan, a full-clad skillet, or a nonstick skillet – use what you’ve got. Just be sure not to preheat a nonstick pan on high heat.

Also – many of you out there may have other ways of making toasty tortilla sandwiches – in the oven, toaster oven, outdoor grill or even (for gadget lovers!) in a quesadilla press.

Do whatever works for you!

Step #2

While your skillet (or oven … or grill …) is preheating, slather some creamy peanut butter onto whole wheat tortillas.

Sure, sure … you could use regular flour tortillas (NOT whole wheat ones), but we love the boost of nutrition you get from those whole grains!

Then, arrange some luscious, juicy, sliced summer strawberries on one half of each tortilla and top the berries with a sprinkle of sliced almonds and shredded coconut.

Ingredient Tip: Choosing Your Natural Peanut Butter

We don’t usually specify brands, but we do have a little tip for this recipe.

In our own kitchens (and during recipe testing), we generally use either Jif Natural peanut butter or Smucker’s Natural. They have slightly different ingredients and nutritional profiles, and they also have different consistencies.

For this quesadilla, we highly recommend choosing the Jif Natural (hmmmmm … does that ring a bell … “Choosy moms choose Jif”???). The Jif is a bit less dense, so it easily takes on a happy, ooey-gooey consistency inside a warm, toasted tortilla.

Steps #3 and #4

Fold each tortilla in half and pop them – one at a time – into the sizzling-hot skillet. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may be able to fit a couple of quesadillas at once.)

There’s no need to prep the skillet with cooking spray or to slather your tortillas with butter, canola or cooking spray – a dry skillet works great for this.

Tortilla grilled in pan, folded closed like quesadilla.

Check each tortilla after just a minute or two, and as soon as it starts to turn golden, flip it to crisp up the other side. Just a minute or two more, and you’ll be all set!

The important key here is a really hot skillet and a fast sear.

The tortillas should have a slightly crunchy exterior, but still be really tender and soft inside. And the fillings should be just barely turning warm and melty, but the fruit should still be fresh and firm.

We speak from experience when we tell you that a long, slow cook time will yield a sadly cardboard-like tortilla and overcooked, limp, sad strawberries. (This was the unfortunate end to our first test batch!)

Once your quesadillas are perfectly cooked, plate them up and cut them into wedges. Done! So fast, so easy!

Customize Your Peanut Butter Tortillas in Lots of Ways

Feel free to get creative with your fillings. This is a sandwich, not a science – get a little crazy!

Why not try throwing in some dried fruit or different nuts?

Want more peanut butter? Extra strawberries?

Go for it!

How about adding some bananas? Mmmmmmm … sounds great!

Don’t have any coconut? No problem. Skip it this time!

You get the idea. These grilled sandwiches are so flexible, so adaptable. Because who needs more stress at lunchtime?? (Not you … and not me!)

Closeup of on folded, grilled tortilla stuffed with strawberries and warmed peanut butter, garnished with more berries.

There’s one more (time-saving) way to adapt these Peanut Butter Tortilla Sandwiches, too …

The No-Cook Option

Here’s our extra-fast, get-out-the-door-ASAP tip …

If you’re really pressed for time getting to the pool, the zoo, the __________ (insert fun summer activity of your choice) … you can skip the pan altogether.

Seriously – I’ve done this in a change-of-plans moment. And it works beautifully!

Just slather some peanut butter on your tortilla, toss on the toppings, and roll it all up like a wrap. (Kind of like our popular Granola Crunch Apple-Peanut Butter Sandwich Wraps.)

Packed Lunch Tip

This “no-cook” option works great for packed lunches for the school year. (Or for you to tote along to the office!)

Call it a burrito or a peanut butter tortilla rollup (or whatever you want!), and you’re out the door in a flash.

It’s portable enough for your family to munch in the car while the kids bicker with each other in the backseat, and you fight with your GPS over the zoo’s address! Ahhhhhhhhhh … summertime …

FAQs At-a-Glance

Do You Have to Use Whole Grain Tortillas and Natural Peanut Butter?

No, you don’t have to – these “quesadillas” will be delicious with white flour tortillas and typical peanut butter. But we definitely recommend going for the nutrition boost wherever possible!

What Can I Use Instead of Strawberries?

No fresh strawberries in the fridge? No problem! As mentioned above, this recipe is super adaptable. Try other fruit like sliced bananas … or even dried fruits. You can also try swapping in different nuts or omitting the coconut. Get creative!

Help! My Tortillas Are Tough and My Berries Are Mushy. What Went Wrong?

The key to this recipe is cooking your Peanut Butter Tortillas hot and fast, so the outside gets a nice, golden sear while the inside of the tortilla and all the yummy fillings are JUST barely cooked. You want the inside of the tortilla to still be soft, the peanut butter to be a little melty, and the strawberries to be fresh and firm and vibrant (not soggy and overcooked).

More Ways to Rev Up Your Old Peanut Butter and Jelly …

While we’re getting creative with PB&J, be sure to check out these other ideas to shake up your routine!

2 grilled tortilla wedges on white plate and red cloth, warm peanut butter dripping, garnish of 3 fresh strawberries.

Who knew peanut butter sandwiches could be so much fun?!?!

Well, hey … now YOU do! 😉

~ by Shelley

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?


Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Closeup of on folded, grilled tortilla stuffed with strawberries and warmed peanut butter, garnished with more berries.

Peanut Butter Tortillas

Give your peanut butter and jelly sandwich a deliciously fun makeover! Warm, gooey peanut butter is sandwiched in a crispy, toasty tortiilla, along with fresh strawberries, crunchy almonds and sweet coconut!
• Ready in 30 Minutes or Less • Vegan (and Vegetarian) •
5 from 9 votes
Pin Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Yield: 4 quesadillas


  • ½ – ¾ cup natural, creamy peanut butter
  • 4 (8-inch) tortillas (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1⅓ cups thinly sliced strawberries (about 12 large berries)
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut


  • Preheat a skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Spread 2-3 tablespoons peanut butter over each tortilla. Top half of each tortilla with ⅓ cup sliced strawberries, crowding the berries very closely together. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon almonds and 1 tablespoon coconut over berries.
  • Fold the tortillas in half.
  • Place one or two folded tortillas (depending on your skillet's size) into the hot, preheated skillet and cook on the first side for just a minute or two, checking frequently. Once the tortillas begin to turn golden brown, flip each over and cook for just another minute or two more. The tortillas should be golden and crispy outside, while remaining soft inside, and the fillings should just barely be warm and melty. Don't overcook or your tortillas will be burned or tough and your strawberries will be unappetizingly mushy.


Variations: As discussed in the article above, these Peanut Butter Tortilla Sandwiches are VERY adaptable. Try adding sliced bananas or dried fruits. You can also sub in different nuts or omit the coconut, if you prefer. And, for ultra-fast sandwiches, you can even skip the cooking entirely and simply roll up your desired fillings inside a tortilla (like a wrap or pinwheel sandwich).


Serving: 1 quesadilla | Calories: 314 | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 0mg | Sodium: 187mg | Carbohydrates: 21g | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Protein: 11g

* Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

Course: Sandwiches
Cuisine: American
Author: Shelley © Two Healthy Kitchens LLC at
Tried this recipe?We’d LOVE to hear … please leave a star-rating!
Strawberry-Peanut Butter Quesadillas Recipe {}
Strawberry-Peanut Butter Quesadillas Recipe {}

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Rasta Pasta Recipe (One Pot!) Thu, 20 Jul 2023 12:26:04 +0000 The post Rasta Pasta Recipe (One Pot!) appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

~ An ingenious fusion creation, Rasta Pasta marries the flavors of Jamaican jerk chicken with a creamy pasta reminiscent of Italy’s alfredo dishes. {Yes … WOW!} Our recipe streamlines the process into an easy one-pot skillet dinner. And of course, you know we’ve got some sneaky strategies for making it healthier … but still 100% absolutely addictive! ~

This Recipe:     Can Be Made Ahead    Takes Just Over 30 Minutes

Overhead of Rasta Pasta served in cream-colored bowl with second bowl, napkin, fork and beer nearby.

There’s a reason that Rasta Pasta is sweeping the globe, and has even inspired an award-winning Colorado restaurant featured on Food Network.

This stuff is GOOD. And addictive. It’s edgy yet comforting … calm and creamy, yet punchy and zingy.

Ingenious and awesome.

But Exactly What IS Rasta Pasta?

Basically, it’s the delicious crossroads where spicy Jamaican jerk chicken and veggies meet up with a cozy bowl of creamy, alfredo-y pasta.

Variations and unique interpretations abound. Some sauces are less alfredo-creamy, and some versions use coconut milk or swap out the chicken for another protein like shrimp, or even a vegetarian option.

But overall, our interpretation here is fairly typical in terms of flavors. (With some easy, nutritious upgrades, of course)! We’re talkin’ …

  • Perfectly al dente pasta
  • Red, yellow and green peppers (which mirror the vivid colors in the Rastafari flag)
  • Tender, juicy Jamaican jerk chicken strips
  • All scrumptiously bathed in a lightly jerk-spiced cream sauce
Closeup of serving spoon dipped in Rasta Pasta that's garnished but still in pot.

Ahhhh yes … now you see what I mean by ingenious. This stuff is just alllll kinds of fantastic!

So, Does Rasta Pasta Actually Come From Jamaica?

Rasta Pasta really can trace its origin back to Jamaica.

Local Jamaican lore steadfastly attributes its creation to Chef Lorraine Washington in the town of Negril, on the island’s scenic western coast.

One Jamaican newspaper, The Gleaner, explains that Chef Wahington put together the pasta dish to feed hungry construction workers at Negril’s Paradise Yard Restaurant, back in 1985.

As the legend goes … the recipe’s vibrant green, yellow and red colors prompted one of the workers to christen Washington’s creation “Rasta Pasta” in a nod to the Rastafari flag. And, since Washington first made her soon-to-be-famous dish with fettuccine (instead of the now-common penne), those enthusiastic diners ran with the rasta theme even further … pointing out that the strings of pasta looked like Rastafari dreadlocks!

The bottom line: Chef Washington’s inventive Jamaican pasta recipe was one great big HIT. Washington put it on her restaurant menu, and a new foodie obsession was born!

Flatlay of 2 bowls of pasta - one brown and one cream - on wooden board with forks and bowl of extra parmesan.

Why Our Version Is the One That’ll Steal Your Heart

With so many different variations of Jamaican Rasta Pasta for you to try, why is this THE ONE? Glad you asked!

✔ Just One Pot, Friends!

Other recipes out there involve multiple cooking processes … like separately cooking the pasta, roasting or sauteeing the veggies, and cooking the jerk chicken. (I’ve seen one Rasta Pasta recipe with 15 steps. WHOA!)

That just feels like a lot of separate pots, pans, and cooking methods happening, in order to pull a supposedly “quick” dinner together. Lots of dishes to wash. Lots of things to coordinate at the hectic dinner hour (when you’re probably helping with homework or simultaneously doing laundry or paying bills … or … or … or … all.the.things …).

I’m a devoted, raving fan when it comes to one-pot pasta recipes. So darn easy!

Overhead closeup of Rasta Pasta still in skillet on wooden board with bowl of parmesan and half red bell pepper alongside.

(Pssssst … if you’re in the fan club, too, definitely also check out my recipes for One-Pot Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta and for One-Pot Whole-Wheat Pasta with Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan, or even our “almost-pasta” recipe for Cheesy BLT Pierogi Skillet!)

✔ And It’s Healthier, Too!

Lots of other Rasta Pasta recipes automatically reach for heavy cream – maybe 3/4 cup or more – in order to create that velvety, spiced alfredo sauce.

But as the Kitchn explains, the one-pot cooking method brilliantly creates a base for creamy sauces, since it retains the starch that the pasta releases during cooking. The starch in your pasta water acts as a thickener and a binding agent. It’s the perfect building block for a cream sauce … without the typical, naughty calories and fats!

Some nonfat milk and just a dab of reduced-fat cream cheese are all you need to elevate the cooking liquid to a velvety, alfredo-esque sauce mixture. (Plus, we stir in the common Rasta Pasta ingredient of parmesan cheese.)

So, yeah. There’s A LOT to love here!!

Now let’s get to the action … and actually make this glorious concoction …

How to Make This Easy Rasta Pasta Recipe

Ingredient Prep

There isn’t much prep work to be done (yay … easy!) – mostly just slicing up some veggies and chicken.

Flatlay of ingredients before chopping, arranged on a wooden board.

But, here’s the important thing: Some of the cooking steps of this recipe happen pretty quickly, so you’ll want to have all your ingredients prepped, measured and ready, before you fire up your stove to start cooking. (This is known as mise en place.)

Ingredient Tip: Pepper Colors

You’ll notice that I call for three different colors of bell peppers: red, green and yellow.

Again, that’s because those colors are a nod to the Rastafarian culture in Jamaica. So, as I mentioned before, that particular combination of colorful bell peppers is what gave this recipe its name. And, of course, the medley of three different colors is really pretty!

But, you can certainly go with the pepper colors you prefer, or whichever ones happen to be on sale at the market.

As you’re cutting your peppers, think of fajita-size, thin slices.

Similarly, for the chicken breasts, you want bite-sized strips about 1/2-inch thick and 3 inches long.

Prep-Ahead Tip

It’s easy to get your main ingredients ready in advance. You can cut your peppers, green onions, garlic and chicken breasts up to a day ahead. Refrigerate them separately (each in an airtight container) until you want to start cooking.

Once you’ve got all your ingredients ready, it’s time to bring this delicious dinner together!

Step #1

The first layer of Rasta flavors happens with the chicken.

You evenly sprinkle your chicken with 2 teaspoons of the Jamaican jerk seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper.

Overhead of chicken strips tossed with jerk seasonings on wooden board with bowl of uncooked pasta.

NOTE that this is NOT all of the seasonings. You’re reserving some of the seasonings to add a second layer of jerk flavors to the pasta in Step #3!

Give the chicken a toss so that the strips are coated thoroughly and evenly with the spice mixture.

Step #2

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick, large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the chicken strips to your pan, giving them a frequent stir so they cook evenly.

You want to cook your chicken until it’s just barely done (which should take about 4 minutes).

The key here is “just barely done.”

The chicken strips will continue to cook a little through residual heat while they’re covered and set aside, as you’re cooking the pasta. And they’ll also cook a bit further when you add them back into the pasta pan to finish the dish.

So right now, you want them to be just done or even very slightly under-done. That way, they’ll be perfectly tender and not overcooked when you serve the final dish.

Scoop your perfectly cooked chicken out of the skillet and keep it warm, off to the side. A plate that’s lightly covered with foil works great.

Step #3

Next, add your pasta to the skillet and top it with your pepper strips, green onions and garlic.

It’s important that the pasta goes in first, so it’s submerged under the veggies.

Overhead of pasta in pot with Rasta-colored peppers, green onions, jerk seasoning, and garlic on top.

Now, remember the extra jerk seasoning, salt, and pepper you had left over, after you seasoned your chicken? This is where the extra seasonings come in, so you’re layering Jamaican jerk flavors all through the dish. (Yum!) Sprinkle them evenly over top of your pasta and veggies.

Then pour the chicken broth and milk into the skillet.

Stir everything just slightly, to combine it all a little bit and separate the pieces of pasta. BUT try really hard to keep the pasta at the bottom, submerged in the liquids. That’s key to getting properly cooked pasta in a one-pot pasta recipe like this one.

Cover the skillet and turn up the heat to bring your Rasta-inspired pot of deliciousness to a boil (this usually takes about 5-7 minutes on my stove).

Step #4

Once you’ve got it boiling, reduce the heat back down to about a medium-low or medium heat. You want to maintain a lively simmer, but NOT a hard, full, rolling boil.

Take a peek at your creation every so often, to be sure it’s not boiling too fiercely, and adjust the heat if you need to.

And, every so often, give it all a stir, remembering to keep the pasta as submerged as possible, with the veggies mostly on top.

Overhead of wooden spoon in pot after pasta is done cooking, before re-adding jerk chicken.

The precise cook time depends on your brand of pasta. But for perfectly al dente penne, you’re looking at about 13-14 minutes (for whole-wheat pastas).

Step #5

Mmmmmmm … now we get into the creamy, alfredo-y, cheese-y stage. YES! This is where it really gets good!

Just a little cheesiness goes a long way, without piling on too many extra calories or too much unwanted saturated fat. No heavy cream (or even half-and-half) needed at all!

Stir in your parmesan cheese and just 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese until the cream cheese is melted and it’s all melded into a smooth sauce.

How Creamy Do You Want Your Sauce?

You can add one more tablespoon of cream cheese now, if you want to. But I recommend waiting to taste at the end before you decide if you even need that additional dollop of cheesiness.

My taste-testers couldn’t agree on whether they preferred this dish with 2 or with 3 tablespoons of cream cheese … so the choice is totally yours!

Step #6

Stir your chicken (plus any juices that have accumulated on the plate) back into the skillet full of pasta and veggies.

Cook it just briefly, only until the chicken is re-warmed and fully cooked.

Overhead of finished Rasta Pasta still in pot with plates, forks, and extra parmesan and cream cheese nearby.

Your Rasta Pasta will continue to thicken a bit upon standing, so it’s ok at this point if it still seems a tad runnier than you’re shooting for.

Also, before you take your skillet off the heat, it’s the perfect time to give your dinner a taste, so you can adjust it exactly the way you like.

Adjusting the Flavors and Spiciness of This Jamaican Jerk Chicken Pasta

It’s easy to tweak this Rasta Pasta recipe so the flavors are precisely what you and your own family prefer, whether that’s more boldly spicy … or more mild, rich and creamy.

Here are some tips:

• Tip 1: Spice It Up

You can definitely add more jerk seasoning if you’d like your Rasta Pasta to be kickier, with more of a bold Jamaican spin on your creamy pasta dish.

I’ve written the basic recipe so it has the signature kick you’d expect from a jerk chicken dish, but isn’t TOO spicy – and should be acceptable to most families and tastes.

But you can definitely dial up the heat!

In fact, we’ve actually used as much as 2 tablespoons of jerk seasoning for a nice kick – so there’s a lot of room for you to vary the heat here.

Wooden serving spoon scooping some of the jerk chicken pieces, peppers and pasta out of the cream sauce.

Alternately, if your family can’t all agree on how much kick they like, you can simply pass the bottle of jerk seasoning ’round the table, and let each person customize their own.

• Tip 2: Adjust the Salt

You may also need to add a pinch of salt, since various brands of jerk seasoning have different amounts of salt in them.

This recipe was extensively tested with McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, since I figure McCormick spices are fairly accessible to most American grocery shoppers.

• Tip 3: Make It Creamier

Lastly, if you stirred in just 2 tablespoons of cream cheese earlier in the recipe, now’s when you can opt to add one more tablespoon (for 3 tablespoons total).

Adding the third tablespoon will make your Rasta Pasta a bit more creamy and alfredo-y. And, it slightly softens and mutes the heat level, if you find that the jerk seasoning is actually too punchy for you.

How to Serve Your Rasta Pasta


I like to sprinkle an extra cascade of parmesan on top of my skillet meal, and toss on some sliced green onions for a nice pop of color.

Flatlay of dinner scene with 2 bowls of Rasta Pasta, 2 forks, glasses of beer, bowl of extra parmesan and pot with additional pasta.

But that’s totally optional, and your Rasta Pasta will be 100% delicious and awesome if you skip the garnishes and just dive straight on in there!

Side Dish Ideas

This one-pot skillet dinner is really a complete meal, all in one easy pan. You’ve got protein, whole grains and lots of veggies … you really don’t need anything else if it’s a busy night and you wanna keep things simple.

But, if you’d like to set out a couple extra sides, I’d recommend:

  • a crisp green salad
  • a vibrant mix of other veggies that won’t compete with the jerk flavors in your pasta
  • or a refreshing fruit salad to serve as a sweet counterpoint.

Try one of these delicious ideas …

FAQs At-a-Glance

Can I Use a Different Shape of Pasta?

Sure! Rasta Pasta recipes in the US commonly feature penne, but as I mentioned above, the original Rasta Pasta allegedly used fettuccine. You can experiment with different shapes like fusilli, rigatoni, or even spaghetti. But, you’ll likely need to adjust the cooking time (use the package instructions as a guide), and possibly slightly tweak the amount of cooking liquid.

Can I Use a Gluten-Free Pasta?

This is a trickier substitution than simply swapping pasta shapes. Like I discussed earlier in this article, a key to what makes one-pot pastas like this work so well is that wheat pastas release a certain amount of starch during cooking. That starch acts as a thickening agent to help create a silky, creamy sauce for this recipe. But, depending on what they’re made of, various types of gluten-free pasta can actually contain even MORE starch. I haven’t tested the full range of different gluten-free pasta options, and can’t vouch for how you may need to adjust this recipe (and specifically the amounts of liquids) when subbing gluten-free pasta.

Can I Make This Creamy Rasta Pasta Recipe Ahead of Time?

Yep – you sure can! It performs well if you gently rewarm it on fairly low heat (on the stovetop or even in the microwave), so the chicken doesn’t overcook and get tough. It’s a great recipe for when you want to make dinner earlier in the day (when you know you’re headed for a hectic weeknight and the dinner hour is gonna be craaaaaa-zy). Or if you love meal prepping and having terrific leftovers all week long!

Can I Adjust the Spice Level of This Jerk Chicken Rasta Pasta?

Definitely! I go into more detail in the article above, but the short answer is YES … you can adjust the amount of jerk Caribbean seasonings you use. In our testing, we settled on the amount written in the recipe card (3 1/2 teaspoons) as a fairly reasonable heat level most families would enjoy. But my family has made this recipe with as much as 2 tablespoons for a much more spicy Rasta Pasta. Note that the formulations (and spiciness) of different brands of jerk seasoning vary (we use McCormick). Alternately, if you find that your pasta is too spicy when it’s done cooking, try adding an extra tablespoon of cream cheese, which softens the Jamaican flavors and tones down the heat.

Can I Adjust the Creaminess of the Pasta Sauce?

Sure thing! As directed in the detailed instructions on the recipe card below, I recommend making the recipe with 2 tablespoons of cream cheese. Then, right before you take the finished meal off the stove, taste it to make adjustments – including making it creamier, by adding an extra tablespoon of cream cheese, if you’d like.

Now, there’s no need to book a trip to Jamaica, just to find yourself some amazing Rasta Pasta. (Although, hey, I’m sure not gonna stop you if you can make a Jamaican getaway happen!)

For sure … this recipe is about the easiest way to get some creamy jerk chicken pasta in your life ASAP.

Side closeup of one portion of Rasta Pasta served in brown bowl with glass of beer in background.

With just one pot and such an improved nutritional profile, this recipe has everything that makes Rasta Pasta an enduring fan favorite. Plus, everything that’ll make you feel terrific about making it at home, for your own family, too!

~ by Shelley

Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?


Please leave a * star-rating * in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

Overhead of one bowl of pasta with another, plus fork, beer, skillet and extra parm nearby.

Rasta Pasta Recipe (One Pot!)

Rasta Pasta combines tender Jamaican jerk chicken with Rasta-colored peppers in a creamy pasta sauce. Our version is healthier and super easy … all in just one pot!
• Can Be Made Ahead • Takes Just Over 30 Minutes •
5 from 13 votes
Pin Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 27 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 9 cups


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips about 3" long x ½" thick
  • teaspoons jerk seasoning, divided (see note)
  • teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces penne pasta (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1 medium green pepper, thinly sliced (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • 1 medium red pepper, thinly sliced (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • 1 medium yellow pepper, thinly sliced (to equal about 1½ cups)
  • cup thinly sliced green onions (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • cups nonfat milk
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • 2-3 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel cheese) (see note)


Some steps of this recipe proceed rapidly, so it's best to have all your ingredients prepped and ready by the stove before you begin cooking.


    • Sprinkle chicken strips with 2 teaspoons jerk seasoning, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper, tossing to coat evenly and thoroughly.
    • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the chicken is just barely done (about 4 minutes). Remove chicken from pan and keep warm.
    • Add pasta to the pan and top with pepper strips, green onions, and garlic. Sprinkle remaining jerk seasoning, salt, and black pepper over top. Then pour in broth and milk. Stir slightly to combine a little, while trying to keep pasta submerged. Cover the pan and increase heat to bring it to a boil.
    • Once it comes up to a boil, reduce the heat to about medium or medium-low, to maintain a lively simmer (not a full, hard, rolling boil). Continue cooking, covered, but stirring occasionally and trying to keep the pasta mostly submerged, until the pasta is tender (which generally takes about 13-14 minutes for whole-wheat pastas, depending on your brand of pasta).
    • Add parmesan cheese and 2 tablespoons cream cheese, stirring to melt the cream cheese and distribute both cheeses evenly.
    • Return chicken (and any accumulated juices) to the pan and stir through, cooking just until chicken is re-warmed. (Note that this recipe will continue to thicken a bit upon standing.) Taste and adjust the salt, jerk seasoning, and cream cheese as desired (see notes below).
    • Serve pasta garnished with extra sliced green onions and parmesan, if desired.


    Adjusting jerk seasoning and salt: Various brands of jerk seasoning have different spice blends, amounts of salt, and heat levels, so you may need to tweak the exact amount of jerk seasoning to taste, as directed in step #6. We sometimes like to add up to an extra 2½ teaspoons (for 2 tablespoons total). You can also pass extra jerk seasoning at the table, so everyone can adjust their own spice levels. (This recipe was tested multiple times using McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Caribbean Jerk Seasoning.) You may also need to add an extra pinch of salt, to taste, depending on the formulation of your spice blend.
    Adjusting cream cheese amount: Our taste testers were divided on whether they slightly preferred using 2 tablespoons of cream cheese or 3. I recommend starting with 2 tablespoons and adding the third tablespoon at the end of cooking (as directed in step #6), if you’d prefer a richer, thicker, creamier sauce. Adding the third tablespoon will also slightly soften and mute the jerk seasoning flavors.
    Make-ahead tips: This recipe can be made ahead and reheated (on the stovetop or even in the microwave), and it’s good for leftovers a day or two later. The key is to rewarm it gently over a low heat, just until heated through, so the chicken doesn’t overcook when being reheated.


    Serving: 1 cup | Calories: 188 | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0g | Unsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 49mg | Sodium: 426mg | Carbohydrates: 14g | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Protein: 21g

    * Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

    Course: Pasta
    Cuisine: Jamaican
    Diet: Low Fat
    Author: Shelley © Two Healthy Kitchens LLC at
    Tried this recipe?We’d LOVE to hear … please leave a star-rating!

    In researching Rasta Pasta recipes and the dish’s history, I surveyed numerous other websites, before settling on which ingredients should be included, and bending more typical recipes into my easier one-pot method and my healthier, more nutritious eating goals. I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a nod to Little Sunny Kitchen, Delish, and A Hedgehog in the Kitchen, for serving as inspiration in creating my own version of this beloved recipe.

    The post Rasta Pasta Recipe (One Pot!) appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

    ]]> 22
    Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in an Instant Pot? Wed, 28 Jun 2023 14:25:14 +0000 The post Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in an Instant Pot? appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

    ~ Instant Pots do so many things really, really well. But can you cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot? (And what about other meats?) Here’s what you need to know … with plenty of tips to ensure success! ~

    3 frozen chicken breasts on top of plastic wrap and freezer paper, with Instant Pot, tongs and chicken broth behind.

    Like lots of other people, you might be wondering if you can use your handy-dandy Instant Pot to cook frozen chicken (or other meats). Specifically, that breaks down to two questions:

    1. Is it SAFE to cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot?

    2. And does it actually work well?

    Spoiler alert:

    Yes! You absolutely can put frozen chicken in your Instant Pot. Not only is it safe, but it also works beautifully! Read on for all the details, tips and recipe ideas

    Because – seriously – how great is this?!?

    • Maybe you forgot to get your meat out of the freezer to thaw last night, and now it’s almost dinnertime and you’re desperate to pull a meal together. (I mean, who hasn’t been there before???)

    No problem. That amazing pressure cooker there on your counter is ready and waiting with a solution!

    • Or maybe frozen chicken breasts are on sale at the grocery store today, and you’d love to score big savings without messing around with the thawing step.

    Hey hey … grab up that bargain and turn it into a quick dinner! (In fact, you might wanna nab some extra frozen chicken whenever you see a good deal, and just keep it on hand in the freezer. Smart!)

    Cooked chicken breasts on white dinner plate (1 sliced) with placemat, forks, Instant Pot and parsley surrounding.

    So let’s break this down into what you need to know …

    Is It Safe to Put Frozen Chicken in Your Instant Pot (Without Thawing)?

    If you’ve read our super-popular article about whether it’s ok to use frozen meat in a Crock-Pot, then you know frozen meats don’t work well in every cooking application, without being safely thawed first.

    The main issue revolves around how long the meat hangs out in the “Danger Zone.” That’s the temperature range between 40°F and about 140°F (according to the USDA) where bacteria can rapidly grow, multiply, and produce toxins that could potentially make someone sick.

    If your frozen meat will take too long to move through the Danger Zone as it cooks, it can open the door for food-borne illness, since bacteria can double every 15-20 minutes in the Danger Zone.

    Luckily (unlike other cooking methods such as your Crock-Pot) an Instant Pot cooks very quickly – which means it will rapidly get frozen meat to a safe temperature, past that dreaded Danger Zone.

    The Bottom Line on Safety

    Even the USDA agrees that it’s safe to cook frozen meats in an electric pressure cooker like an Instant Pot.

    Ok, but that brings us to the second question …

    Does It Actually Work Well to Use Frozen Chicken in a Pressure Cooker?

    Yes! It actually can work very, very well to use your Instant Pot for quickly cooking frozen meat – without any need to thaw it first!

    BUT …

    There are a few tips that will help ensure the very best outcome – whether that’s a deliciously juicy chicken breast, easily shreddable chicken for your weekly meal prep, or just an easy way to adapt your favorite Instant Pot recipes so you don’t have to waste time with thawing the meat first.

    Here are a few key tips to help you out …

    Tip #1 – Your Chicken Will Take Longer to Cook.

    It might seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that any recipe you’re cooking with frozen meat (rather than fresh/thawed meat) will need extra cooking time.

    For just a pound or two of frozen chicken breasts, for example, I’ve found that adding just 5 extra minutes may be all you need (as with my recipes for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos and Instant Pot BBQ Chicken).

    Note, though, that depending on the size and type of meat you’re cooking, you may need anywhere from 50%-100% more time for some meats.

    You can find recipes that are tested and written specifically for using frozen chicken, so they likely will already have factored in that additional time for you.

    Adapting Existing Recipes (Written for Fresh Chicken)

    But, if you’re trying to adapt a recipe that’s written for fresh/thawed meats, you’ll need to figure out how much time you need to add. This varies by recipe and the quantity or type of meat. (But here’s a free, handy time chart that’ll give you a rough idea of timings, to get you started.)

    In general, the main adjustment you’ll need to make to a recipe is simply the amount of time needed. You typically won’t need to make other changes – and will usually still follow a recipe’s directions about things such as selecting a high pressure setting, and about choosing a natural pressure release vs. a manual/quick release. You’ll also still need to add the amount of water specified in the original recipe to the bottom of the pot (which is usually at least a cup of water, chicken broth, or other liquid).

    Tip # 2 – Your Instant Pot Will Take Longer to Come to Pressure.

    Various factors can affect how long it takes for a pressure cooker to come up to pressure, seal, and then actually begin the cooking time. One of those factors is the temperature of the ingredients.

    Not only will frozen meats require additional cooking time (as mentioned in Tip #1 above), but the colder ingredients mean that your Instant Pot will also take a little bit longer to come up to pressure and begin that cooking time.

    In my testing with frozen Instant Pot chicken breast recipes, I’ve found that this is generally just an extra 4-6 minutes. But again, larger amounts or cuts of meat will likely need even more time.

    Tip #3 – Smaller, Separate Pieces Will Cook Better.

    I recommend starting with individually frozen chicken pieces. (Or smaller cuts or pieces of other meats.)

    Overhead of 3 frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot, in broth and sprinkled with salt and pepper - ready to cook.

    When chicken is frozen all together in one large chunk, it generally won’t cook very evenly or turn out as well.

    If you do happen to have an enormous block of frozen-solid chicken pieces, I’d suggest gently and safely thawing them until you can break them apart.

    Tip #4 – You Can Cook Any Part of the Chicken (and Even a Whole Frozen Chicken)!

    Ok ok … I know I just said that smaller pieces of frozen chicken will work better than a big, frozen-solid hunk of meat.

    But, if you think about it, a frozen chicken isn’t exactly a solid brick, since it has an open interior. Maybe that’s why recipe after recipe excitedly proclaims that you can, in fact, cook an entire frozen chicken in your Instant Pot (if your IP model is big enough, of course)!

    From frozen chicken breasts to thighs, whole legs, tenders … even the whole chicken. You really can cook any part of a frozen chicken in an Instant Pot, without any thawing at all!

    One sliced, cooked chicken breast on cutting board next to 2 whole breasts with parsley, dinner plate and parsley nearby.

    Grab pressure cooking recipes for virtually every part of the bird in our yummy collection of Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Recipes!

    Tip #5 – You Can Always Check the Temperature with a Thermometer.

    Nobody wants to eat raw chicken … and of course, it’s just not safe.

    The best way to ensure that your frozen chicken has thoroughly cooked through is to use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached the USDA-approved temp of 165°F. (Remember to check in the middle of the thickest portion of the chicken.)

    What if your chicken hasn’t quite gotten up to temp? You can simply nestle it back into your pressure cooker’s inner pot and restart the cooking for just a little bit of extra time.

    Don’t Use Your Instant Pot’s Slow Cooker Setting for Frozen Chicken!

    All of this discussion about cooking frozen chicken (or other types of meat) in your Instant Pot refers specifically to using your Instant Pot as a pressure cooker.

    Just as it’s not safe to cook frozen meat in a Crock-Pot, it’s similarly not considered safe to use your Instant Pot’s slow cooker function for cooking frozen meats.

    Always stick with the pressure cooker function if your meat is frozen.

    Okay! So you’ve got that frozen chicken … and now you know all about how to cook it up beautifully in your Instant Pot. All you need now are some fabulous recipes.

    You know I’ve got ya covered …

    Instant Pot Chicken Recipes … From Frozen!

    More Instant Pot Info and Recipes

    New to using an Instant Pot? Or maybe you’re trying to decide which one to buy?

    We can help with that, too!

    Check out one of these helpful articles for more tips and information about choosing the right Instant Pot for you, what things it does well (like cooking frozen chicken!) and what it doesn’t, plus ideas about alllllll the things you can use your Instant Pot for!

    Plus, we’ve got lots of recipe ideas for you, too. Delicious soups, stews and chilis – and even Thanksgiving dinner recipes in the Instant Pot!

    ~ by Shelley

    The post Can You Cook Frozen Chicken in an Instant Pot? appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

    ]]> 0
    10 Deliciously Easy Baked Swordfish Recipes Fri, 23 Jun 2023 21:30:37 +0000 The post 10 Deliciously Easy Baked Swordfish Recipes appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

    ~ Baked Swordfish Recipes might seem like a fancy indulgence. And for sure – these recipes are impressive enough for guests! But they’re also quick and simple enough for even busy weeknights. From swordfish steaks crowned with all sorts of toppings … to clever rollups, fun parchment packets, and even kabobs! ~

    Collage of four recipe photos with central text overlay "10 Easy! Baked Swordfish Recipes".

    Need a quick-cooking dinner idea? Try baked swordfish!

    Wanna get your family to eat more fish (but they’re hard to convince)? Swordfish for the win!

    Or maybe you need a company-worthy meal that feels elegant and swanky but is secretly soooo easy-peasy? Yup … you know what I’m gonna say: SWORDFISH!

    Pop it in the oven, and an impressive dinner will be ready in no time!

    Why You’ll Love Baked Swordfish

    • It’s Mild and Delicious

    The biggest allure of swordfish is what it tastes like. It’s a mild white fish with a subtle, somewhat sweet taste that’s generally considered to be less “fishy” than other fish. Plus, its high oil content helps keep it moist once it’s cooked.

    And, rather than being lightly flaky like many other types of white fish, it’s a firm fish with a satisfying, meaty texture that’s sometimes compared to beef steaks.

    All that is precisely why these baked swordfish recipes are a great option for people who don’t think they like fish – a terrific first step in eating more fish and seafood!

    • It’s Adaptable

    I adore cookbook author Carla Snyder’s description of swordfish as the “Little Black Dress of the sea” because it’s so elegant and “easy to accessorize.”

    Basically, its mild flavor and dense, meaty texture make it a wonderful blank canvas for all sorts of marinades, toppings and flavor combinations.

    • It’s FAST and EASY

    Baking swordfish in the oven is an ideal year-round technique that’s both simple and speedy. In fact, most baked swordfish recipes promise that dinner will be on the table in 30 minutes or less – usually with very little actual hands-on time.

    It’s a quick option for busy weeknights, but also a slam dunk for harried hosts trying to pull together an impressive meal without a lot of fuss.

    No matter how or when you serve it, baked swordfish is an easy option with practically endless possibilities! Here are just 10 fantastic ideas to get you started ….

    10 Oven Baked Swordfish Recipes

    What Should I Serve with My Baked Swordfish?

    Tailor your side dishes to the flavors of the marinades, sauces or spices in the swordfish recipe you choose.

    For example, if you’ve got a Mediterranean vibe going, this Quinoa Salad with feta, olives and sun-dried tomatoes might be perfect! This Tuscan Kale Salad would be a good choice, too.

    Want more of an Asian flair in your menu? Try these 5-Minute Asian Sugar Snap Peas or even fun little Shishito Peppers as a starter.

    You get the idea! Build your sides around the flavors you want to highlight from your main course.

    Or, for simple flavors that’ll go with practically any baked swordfish recipe, try one of these favorite side dishes:

    Is Swordfish Healthy?

    There are lots of nutritional benefits to swordfish. First, it’s a great source of protein. And it offers minerals like potassium and selenium (that provide benefits such as protecting against free radicals), and is a terrific source of vitamins D and E. It’s also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

    Plus, as I mentioned before, swordfish’s steak-like texture and unassertive flavor make it an excellent first step for people who are trying to gain the health benefits of incorporating more fish and seafood into their diets, but aren’t really sure they like fish.

    However, as the FDA explains, the main concern comes in for pregnant women (or those who may become pregnant), women who are nursing, and for young children. That’s because swordfish are very large, very long-lived predators. Their age and diet allows them to accumulate higher levels of mercury than are found in many smaller types of fish, which can be harmful to an unborn baby or young child.

    And, although WebMD points out that cooking swordfish reduces its mercury content by up to 30%, it’s still advisable for vulnerable individuals to choose an alternative protein. For more information, check out this FDA article or this Healthline article.

    FAQs At-a-Glance

    Besides Cooking Swordfish in the Oven, Are There Other Ways to Prepare It?

    Sure! With its meaty texture, swordfish is also a great candidate for grilling. And it’s fast to cook in a hot pan on the stovetop, too. Try this Grilled Swordfish with Oranges and Fennel, this Grilled Swordfish marinated in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic and oregano, or this Pan-Seared Swordfish with a Lemon and Wine Rosemary Sauce.

    What Is the Darker Area in My Swordfish?

    As Elise at Simply Recipes explains, that’s just a bloodline, which isn’t harmful and doesn’t need to be removed. However, because that darker section of a swordfish steak tends to have a stronger flavor, you can opt to remove it if you prefer.

    What Can I Substitute for Swordfish?

    Swordfish can be a bit pricier and more difficult to find than some other fishes. Although the ideal substitute will depend on the specific baked swordfish recipe you’re preparing, your best bet will be in selecting a firm-textured, mild-tasting fish. Food Network suggests that some good options include halibut, mahi-mahi, tuna or even salmon.

    With its mild, adaptable flavor and its high-end reputation as a meaty alternative to beef steaks, swordfish is an ingenious way to make any meal feel a little special, a little luxurious.

    Yet, with such easy prep and fast cooking times, baked swordfish recipes are just as perfect for fast weeknight dinners as they are for impressing company.

    Square collage of 4 finished recipes and text overlay "10 Easy! Baked Swordfish Recipes".

    Pick one of these new recipes to try this week, and surprise your family and friends with how much they just might actually LOVE eating fish!

    More Fish Recipes You’ll Love!

    Pssssst … already a fan of fish? We sure are! And we have lots more great inspiration for delicious, healthy fish and seafood dinners. Try:

    ~ by Shelley

    The post 10 Deliciously Easy Baked Swordfish Recipes appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

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    Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic Tue, 13 Jun 2023 14:26:07 +0000 The post Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

    ~ This simple Grilled Asparagus recipe is easy and super flavorful! The perfectly crisp-tender spears cook on foil, right along with a speedy lemon-garlic “marinade” sauce. A sprinkling of parmesan is the perfect finishing touch. It’s a grilled side dish that pairs perfectly with practically any main course! ~

    This Recipe Is:     Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian (see note)    Gluten Free  

    Overhead of grilled asparagus on rectangular platter with lemons and antique fork tucked in; parmesan nearby.

    If your family’s like mine, then your grill gets a regular workout all year ’round … but especially during summer’s grilling season!

    And when we’re already firing up the grill to make our main dish, it only makes sense to throw some veggies on, too. Why heat up the kitchen to cook a side dish on the stovetop or in the oven, when the grill is such a side dish rockstar?!?

    So, of course, a Grilled Asparagus recipe had to happen!

    You guys know by now that asparagus is my #1 go-to side dish choice, whether that means perfectly oven-roasted asparagus, ultra-fast air fryer asparagus … or this delicious recipe on the grill.

    Asparagus is just so good with practically every main course I can think of, so I make it A LOT, in loads of different ways!

    What You’ll Love About This Grilled Asparagus Recipe

    It Saves Time!

    What’s uniquely magical here is that the super-fast “marinade” or “sauce” cooks right along with the asparagus.

    And unlike true marinades, you don’t have to waste time letting the asparagus rest in the sauce before cooking. Combine it all together, and head straight for the grill … with no waiting!

    By the time you’re done grilling, the liquid has cooked down to practically nothing, infusing and sort of glazing the asparagus with wonderful flavor.

    And, since you’re using a piece of aluminum foil to line your grill pan and keep the tasty marinade from dripping away, cleanup afterwards is a breeze, too. No need to scrub away at a sauce-encrusted grill pan!

    Overhead closeup of top of serving platter heaped with cooked spears, on wooden board.

    It’s Ohhhhh-Sooooo Good!

    • Your fresh-tasting, wonderfully crisp-tender asparagus develops some crispy tips and fabulous golden-brown spots. And it absolutely sings with …
    • A tangy, bright squeeze of lemon juice …
    • Plus a hint of roasty-toasty, savory garlic.
    • Then, you top it all off with a cascade of salty, savory parmesan cheese.

    It’s truly delicious, yet also so very quick and simple! Just 5 minutes of prep, and then you let your grill do its thing. Easy!

    And like I said, this Grilled Asparagus pairs so nicely with nearly any main dish. Super versatile. (I’ve got yummy suggestions for you toward the end of this article.)

    Ok! Ready to get grillin’? Let’s do this!

    How to Grill Asparagus

    Ingredient Prep

    • Choosing Great Asparagus – I go into a lot more detail about this in my article on How to Buy Asparagus, but this recipe will be so much better if you purchase great asparagus to begin with.
    Raw asparagus on cutting board with lemons, head of garlic and bowl of parmesan cheese.

    Look for firm stalks, and skip bunches that feel soft or limp.

    Check the tips to be sure they’re fresh-looking and tightly closed (not frizzled, dried out, or coming open).

    Ingredient Tip: Quantity of Asparagus and Scaling This Recipe

    I wrote this recipe for 2 pounds of asparagus, because that’s actually the right amount for my family of 4. (YES, we really LOVE this recipe, and 1 pound isn’t enough!)

    Each bunch of asparagus is typically about a pound, although that can vary somewhat. But, in general, 2 standard-size bunches should equal roughly 2 pounds.

    It’s very easy to cut the recipe in half, however, if you’d rather make only 1 pound. And, you can also scale it up for larger parties – although you may need to use a larger grill pan.

    • Trimming the Ends – To be honest, I typically just snap the tough ends off my asparagus. Quick and easy. Gently wiggle or slightly bend each asparagus spear near the bottom of the stalk, and it’ll naturally tend to snap at the right place.

    If you want a more precision look, though, you can trim asparagus by cutting the ends off cleanly with a sharp knife instead.

    Raw asparagus spears on wood cutting board, some with ends trimmed off by knife.

    Even if you’re going the knife route, it’s still a good idea to snap at least a couple of the ends off with your hands first, so you can roughly gauge where most of the bunch will naturally need to be cut.

    Once your perfectly selected asparagus is all trimmed, you’re ready to go!

    Step #1

    Preheat your grill to a medium-high heat.

    While it’s preheating, cover a large grill pan or grill basket with heavy-duty aluminum foil. It’s sort of like a low, open foil packet.

    The foil is super important to keep the marinade juices from falling through to the grill.

    If your grill pan is totally flat (with no rim or sides), then create a little lip all the way around the edges by folding the foil up. Be sure there aren’t any holes where the yummy marinade can escape out of the pan and down through the hot grill grates!

    Step #2

    Spread your asparagus out across the grill pan.

    Overhead of raw asparagus spread out on heavy duty foil on grill pan; bowl of marinade in background.

    It’s all right if the spears overlap a little bit.

    But you don’t want them to be piled several layers deep.

    Step #3

    In a small bowl, mix together your lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper.

    Pour that delicious marinade sauce over your asparagus spears. Then give it all a toss, so the lemon sauce thoroughly coats all the spears.

    Step #4

    Grill your asparagus over medium-high, direct heat for about 15-20 minutes (or until it’s done to your liking).

    Side view of tops of asparagus in pan on grill with steak cooking behind.

    Flip or turn your spears in the marinade a few times, but otherwise leave the grill closed.

    Technique Tip: Grilling Time

    Remember that grill temperatures vary from one model of gas grill to the next (and certainly with charcoal grills). Also, this recipe can take different amounts of time to cook, depending on the thickness of the asparagus. So, use 15-20 minutes as a starting point for your cooking time, but be ready to adapt the timing a little and pull your asparagus off whenever yours happens to be perfectly done.

    Step #5

    After you remove your asparagus packet from the grill, drizzle it with any lemony marinade that happens to be left, and then toss it with your parmesan cheese.

    Ingredient Swap

    We’ve also made this recipe with Pecorino Romano. It’s a sheep’s milk cheese that’s somewhat similar to parm but often considered to be a bit more strongly flavored.

    Do a quick taste test to check for seasoning, and adjust with a tiny bit more salt, if needed, to get your flavors really poppin’. Sometimes I find that I need another 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but sometimes the asparagus doesn’t need it.

    Tuck a few thin slices of lemon in amongst the spears, if you’d like, just to make your serving platter extra-pretty. Or sprinkle on a bit of lemon zest for extra tang and a finishing touch of enticing little yellow flecks.

    And then, serve up that beautiful, flavorful, perfect grilled asparagus right away, while it’s still piping hot! Yum yum yum!

    What to Serve with Your Grilled Asparagus

    One of my family’s all-time most favorite grilled dinners is our Quick Flank Steak recipe, along with a packet of garlic-y Grilled Potatoes in Foil, and also this delicious asparagus. The whole meal comes together so easily, so perfectly … ALLLLLL on the grill!

    Plated dinner of grilled asparagus, potatoes and steak with serving platter of asparagus nearby.

    This easy side dish would also be perfect with our:

    And, if you’re like me, you’re always thinking, “Hey … while the grill’s on, why don’t we just cook the whole darn meal outside???” So you’ll enjoy these ideas for additional sides, plus appetizers and desserts that you can grill along with this asparagus recipe. My family adores:

    You can see the full lineup of our Favorite Grill Recipes HERE. Or click the button below to see even more grilling ideas and menu inspiration:

    Make-Ahead Steps

    So many times, the dinner hour is a blur as everyone dashes in the house after a busy day. You can shave some time off your evening prep by getting your asparagus all ready to go, earlier in the day!

    Simply rinse the asparagus, and trim or snap off the woody ends.

    Then, spread the spears out on your grill pan and cover it lightly with plastic wrap. Pop it in the fridge until you’re ready to add the marinade and fire up the grill at dinnertime.

    Overhead closeup of asparagus and lemon slices sprinkled with parmesan cheese, still on pan after grilling.

    You can also prepare the asparagus “marinade” earlier in the day or even the day before. Keep it in the fridge, too, and give it a stir right before you pour it over the asparagus and head for the grill.

    So easy!

    FAQs At-a-Glance

    Can I Scale This Recipe Up or Down?

    Definitely! As I mentioned above, I typically start with 2 pounds of asparagus for my family of 4, because we dearly love this tasty side dish recipe and I know 1 pound simply won’t be enough. But, it’s easy to cut the recipe in half to make only 1 pound of asparagus, if you prefer. Or, if you’re hosting a really big party, you can certainly increase the recipe. I do recommend, however, that you don’t heap the asparagus spears too high on top of each other (although it’s ok if they overlap a little). So if you’re making a larger batch, you may need to go with a larger grill pan.

    What’s the Best Size of Asparagus for Grilling?

    This is somewhat of a personal preference. And of course, sometimes you don’t have any control over whether your store has thin asparagus or thick asparagus spears available. But I definitely prefer medium-thin stalks for grilling, if I can get them, rather than really thick ones or super skinny ones.

    How Do I Prepare Asparagus for Grilling?

    People sometimes wonder if they need to parboil or blanch asparagus before proceeding with other cooking methods, like grilling. There’s no need for those types of extra cooking steps. Just rinse your asparagus and snap or trim away the woody ends, and it should be all ready to go!

    Do I Peel Asparagus Before Grilling?

    Nope! You shouldn’t need to do any peeling if you’ve bought fresh stalks of tender asparagus, and properly trimmed away the woody section at the bottom of the stalks. If you do end up purchasing overly tough asparagus, though, there’s no harm in using a vegetable peeler to remove any thick outer layer from the bottom inch or two of your spears after you’ve removed the woody ends.

    How Much Does One Bunch of Asparagus Weigh?

    There isn’t really a standard guideline for this, and it can vary from one grocery store to the next, or depending on the source. But, I’ve found that the fresh asparagus from my local store generally weighs in at about 1 pound per bunch (weighed before the tough, woody ends of the asparagus are removed).

    What’s the Best Way to Store Raw Asparagus?

    After a lot of testing, I’ve found that I get the best results by storing asparagus like a bouquet of flowers. Snap or cut off the dry ends (although, to be honest, I’ve been known to skip this step when I’m in a hurry). Then, stand your asparagus up in a wide-mouthed jar or drinking glass. Fill it with enough water to submerge the bottoms of all your asparagus spears. If you want to go a step further, you can tightly cover it in plastic wrap (don’t smash the delicate tips!). Store it in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it. I don’t remember where I first learned this trick, but it’s the same strategy used by experts at Food Network and The Kitchn.

    Do I Have to Use Heavy-Duty Foil to Cover My Grill Pan?

    If your grill pan has holes in it, you definitely have to cover it with a sheet of foil to prevent the marinade from escaping. You’re basically creating a rimmed, open foil pouch to keep all the liquid inside, so it cooks right along with your asparagus spears. Heavy-duty foil is best, since it’s less likely to tear when you stir and flip the spears during cooking. And, even if your pan doesn’t have holes, I still recommend covering it in foil to make cleanup easier.

    So, next time you’re planning to grill some chicken or fish or a steak for dinner … toss together this oh-so-delicious, EASY grilled asparagus recipe along with it!

    Closeup of Asparagus sprinkled with parmesan at edge of dinner plate with potatoes; fork nearby.

    With such great, bright flavors and fantastic crisp-tender texture, it’s a family favorite, every time I make it for my own family. (Remember … that’s why I always have to make two pounds!)

    And I just bet that it’ll be a hit with your family and friends, too. Happy grilling!

    ~ by Shelley

    Love the Recipe? • Were My Tips Helpful?


    Please leave a star-rating in the recipe card below – I truly appreciate all your wonderful feedback!

    Asparagus after grilling, served on platter with lemon slices and sprinkling of parmesan.

    Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic

    Yield: 8 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    A family-favorite Grilled Asparagus recipe that's fantastic with practically any main dish you're throwing on the grill! I always start with 2 pounds of asparagus for my family of 4 (yep ... we love it THAT much), but it's easy to cut the recipe in half for just 1 pound, if you prefer.

      Ready in 30 Minutes or Less    Includes Make-Ahead Steps    Vegetarian (see note)    Gluten Free  


    • 2 bunches of asparagus (about 1 pound each before trimming), woody stems snapped/cut off
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    • 3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
    • extra pinch of salt to season, if needed
    • thin slices of lemon (optional) for garnish


    1. Prepare and preheat the grill. Cover a large grill pan or grill basket with heavy-duty aluminum foil. (The foil is important to keep the marinade juices from falling through to the grill. If your grill pan doesn't have sides or a lip around the edge, then fold the piece of foil up slightly at the edges, so that the sauce can't escape.)
    2. Spread asparagus on the grill pan. (It's ok if the asparagus spears overlap a little.)
    3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the asparagus spears and toss to coat the spears thoroughly.
    4. Grill asparagus in the marinade over medium-high heat for about 15-20 minutes (turning asparagus in the marinade occasionally), until it's done to your liking.
    5. Serve immediately, drizzling any remaining marinade left in the bottom of the grill basket (most will have cooked away), and tossing with parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt to taste, if needed (sometimes I sprinkle on another 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon, but sometimes it doesn't need it). Garnish, if desired, by tucking lemon slices amongst the spears.


    Grilling: Remember that grills vary widely in temperature settings, so the settings and times you use may need to be adjusted according to your specific grill, the thickness of your asparagus spears, and how done you prefer your asparagus.

    Parmesan cheese: To make this recipe truly vegetarian, be sure to select a parmesan cheese made with non-traditional enzyme alternatives from microbes or fermentation, rather than the traditional rennet.

    Make-ahead steps: You can rinse your asparagus, cut/snap the woody ends, and spread it on your foil-lined grill pan earlier in the day. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until you're ready to grill. You can also prepare the marinade/sauce earlier in the day or the day before – cover and refrigerate until needed, and then stir again before pouring over the asparagus.

    Nutrition Information:
    Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 58Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 134mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

    Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.

    Did You Make This Recipe?

    We'd LOVE to hear! Please leave a star-rating above. And, tag us on Instagram @twohealthykitchens or use the sharing buttons below!

    The post Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan, Lemon and Garlic appeared first on Two Healthy Kitchens.

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