Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken

Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken

One of my absolute favorite things about summer (aside from the fact that I have a lot of time off work), is enjoying the things that I plant in my garden.  I wish I could say that I’m as adept at gardening as my Mammaw and Pappaw were (they had gardens that would make Martha Stewart jealous), but I am a much more modest grower.  I plant several varieties of peppers, fresh basil, and several types of tomatoes.  I’ve tried planting more, but I’ve come to terms with what my time commitment can be (maybe more when I retire, right?) and also have gotten familiar with some of the folks at our farmer’s market.

The summer combination of fresh tomatoes and basil is definitely one of the things that keeps me gardening and those perfect flavors are why this Bruschetta Style Italian Chicken is frequently on our table this time of year.  And as every good gardener knows in those moments of “What am I going to do with all of these tomatoes?” a good, fresh tomato recipe makes all of that gardening work worthwhile. ~Tracy

For the chicken:

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • garlic salt
  • Italian seasoning (I use McCormick)
  • black pepper

For the tomato topping:

  • 4 large tomatoes, diced (enough chopped tomato to equal 2 cups)
  • 2 T. finely chopped (chiffonade style) fresh basil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ T. balsamic vinegar
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Combine all topping ingredients (except parmesan) in medium size bowl and stir well. Cover and refrigerate for thirty minutes allowing the flavors to marry well.

Trim any fat from each chicken breast and pat dry with paper towels.  Lightly season both sides of each chicken breast with garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and black pepper (a light dusting of all three on each side).  Grill the chicken on an indoor or outdoor grill.

Top each grilled chicken breast with 1/2 cup of the tomato topping.  Top with shredded parmesan cheese if desired.

This recipe is ZERO WW Freestyle points, not including the parmesan cheese.

Italian Veggie Stuffed Portabellas

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I don’t know about you, but summertime makes me want to fill my plate with allll the veggies. Grill ‘em, roast ‘em, serve ‘em to me in a fresh bowl of salad. I don’t care how, just send them my way.

If you feel the same way about light summer meals and veggie side dishes, you’ll love these Italian Veggie Stuffed Portabellas. They are the perfect side for grilled meats, but they are HUGE, so they also work great as a meatless main dish. Plus, portabellas are so meaty, you won’t even think to ask, “where’s the beef?” I’m definitely showing my age with that classic TV reference! If you are a young’n, you can find it on YouTube. ‘80s commercials were the best! A little cheesy but that’s what made them great.

Speaking of “cheesy,” if you prefer a cheesy topping, I also sometimes cut the breadcrumbs down to ¼ cup and top each veggie-loaded shroom with a little mozzarella & parmesan. You can’t go wrong either way! ~Erin



  • 4 large portabella mushroom caps
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, diced
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 sundried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained on a paper towel, finely diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large handful of spinach, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 T. olive oil, divided
  • 1/3 c. seasoned breadcrumbs (I use garlic & herb flavor)
  • 1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Preheat the oven to 375°F or the outdoor grill to medium. If grilling, use a veggie pan or place on foil, to catch veggies that may fall off during cooking.

Clean mushroom tops with a damp paper towel. Use a small knife to cut off the stems and a spoon to scoop out the veins.

Spray the tops with non-stick cooking spray and place them top-down on a parchment-lined baking sheet or on the grilling pan; set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, parmesan, and 1 Tablespoon of oil until combined; set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil to sauté the onion 2-3 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until it begins to soften. If needed, add a tablespoon or two of water to the pan to help steam the zucchini soft.

Add roasted red pepper, sundried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted.

Add the garlic and cook another minute or two, until fragrant.

Turn off the heat and stir in half the breadcrumb mixture. Reserve the other half for topping.

Divide the veggie mixture evenly among the four mushroom tops. Sprinkle the remaining breadcrumb mixture over top.

Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the mushrooms are fork-tender.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 4 large servings. Each serving is 5 SmartPoints.

Caribbean Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Summer is meant for grilling.  It’s getting hot in Oklahoma and, because we’ve had a ton of rain, the humidity is at somewhere around 1,000%.  That means it’s too hot to cook a full meal in the kitchen.  I’m all about grilling out, as much as possible.  These Caribbean Chicken Lettuce Wraps are the perfect summer grill meal because you can put your chicken on the grill while you stay inside (for the most part), in the air conditioning, sipping a cold beverage and chopping a few fruits and veggies.  By the time the chicken is done, you’ll be ready to throw it all together, wrap it in a crisp lettuce leaf, and go to town on it… grilled chicken, mango, onions, jalapeno, and spices, wrapped in a big leaf of green lettuce… this recipe is the perfect fresh, light, summer meal.  It’s so flavorful, you might even find yourself eating it straight from the bowl with a spoon, like this little guy.  By the looks of that messy, nearly-empty bowl, he’s enjoying it!  ~Erin




  • 8 oz. grilled boneless, skinless chicken breast, seasoned lightly with garlic powder, salt, and pepper (baked or rotisserie chicken breast would also work fine) – room temperature
  • 2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ¼ tsp. each of garlic powder, turmeric, cumin, smoked paprika, and salt
  • ¼ c. chopped red onion
  • 1 c. diced mango
  • 1 jalapeno (seeded and deveined) chopped
  • Bib or romaine lettuce leaves, washed
  • Sliced avocado, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, and spices; set aside.

When the chicken has come to room temperature, chop in bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl.

Add the onion, mango, and jalapeno.

Toss gently until the dressing and ingredients are evenly distributed.

Serve, topped with avocado (if desired), wrapped in a leaf of lettuce.

WW Freestyle Info.:  The recipe makes 4 servings of ¾ cups each.  Each serving is 1 SmartPoint, not counting the optional avocado.

Tip:  Measure your avocado in grams – you get more for the points!

Spicy Chicken with Rice & Black Beans

My oldest son, and the pickiest eater in our house, has recently moved to his own place and begun one of life’s greatest adventures as a college student.  No, I haven’t cried, but my worry motor has been going over time.  What if he doesn’t study? What if he doesn’t go to class? What if he gets lost?  What if he misses me like crazy and wants to move home but is too proud to say so?  I never said my worries were even remotely realistic, did I?

Looking on the bright side of this situation has me cooking some of the things that he may have rolled his eyes over on his end of the dinner table.  This Spicy Chicken with Beans and Rice is a very Weight Watchers friendly dinner, filled with flavor, and very quick to throw together (I always keep grilled chicken in my freezer during the school year).  Make this and sneak some into the leftover containers you send with your college kid.  Could that convince them to eat a little something healthy…?  I’ll let you know. ~Tracy


  • 2 large chicken breasts, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt, such as Lawry’s
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 c. uncooked brown rice (I use Minute Rice)
  • 2 c. chicken broth + 2 T. more
  • 2 cans black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 2 medium jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 c. coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime for juice
  • tortilla strips for garnish, if desired


  1. Lightly season each chicken breast on both sides with garlic powder, seasoned salt, and black pepper.
  2. Grill each breast until cooked (165 degrees F) and juices run clear.
  3. Set chicken aside to rest before slicing.
  4. Cook rice according to package instructions, using chicken broth instead of water. I usually add a teaspoon of salt to the liquid as well.
  5. Mix black beans, 2T. chicken broth, sliced onion, chopped jalapeno, garlic, and cumin in a large skillet.
  6. Simmer black bean mixture on low for 15-20 minutes allowing flavors to blend together.
  7. Slice grilled chicken into thin strips cutting against the grain.
  8. Plate 1 c. cooked brown rice on dish or plate.
  9. Add approximately ¾ cup black bean mixture on top of rice.
  10. Top with several strips of grilled chicken.
  11. Sprinkle a generous amount of chopped cilantro on top and squeeze approximately a tablespoon of lime juice over the chicken and cilantro.
  12. Top with a few tortilla strips, if desired.

WW Freestyle Info.:  This recipe makes approximately 5 servings at 4 points each (excluding tortilla strips).

Huli Huli Chicken

I’ve seen recipes floating around for Huli Huli chicken. I was intrigued by the name as much as anything else. Huli Huli Chicken is a traditional Hawaiian dish, generally grilled over mesquite wood or charcoal, basted with a slightly sweet sauce. The whole chicken is cooked on a spit over the grill.  Huli means turn, so the rotating spit is where the dish got its name.

Instead of a whole chicken (who has time to cook one of those!?) I used thighs, but boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded out to an even thickness) would be a great substitution.

Marinating, then basting while grilling the chicken and pineapple, provides great flavor that can’t be found elsewhere!  Now obviously I’m no Hawaiian food expert, but this recipe seems to have come straight from the islands!    ~Kathy


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • ¼ c. chicken broth
  • I c. pineapple juice
  • ½ c. soy sauce
  • 3 T. brown sugar
  • ½ tsp ginger paste (or ¼ tsp ground ginger)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 slice yellow onion, cut ½” thick
  • ¼ c. Heinz chili sauce*
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and sliced into 6 to 8 wedges


  1. In a large freezer ziptop bag, mix marinade (everything except chicken and pineapple); mix well.
  2. Reserve a ½ cup of marinade for basting; set aside.
  3. Place chicken thighs in bag and place in refrigerator for 3 hours.
  4. Grill chicken over medium heat, until internal temperature is 165˚F and no longer pink; baste both sides with reserved marinade while grilling. (Be sure not to contaminate marinade with raw chicken.)
  5. Cut pineapple in strips for grilling.
  6. Brush with marinade and grill over medium high heat for a few minutes per side.
  7. Can also be cooked in oven at 375˚F.
  8. Serve chicken with pineapple.

*Chili sauce is found in the condiment isle, near the ketchup.

WW Freestyle Info.: This recipe makes 4 generous servings of marinated chicken thighs. Each serving is 6 points.  If use boneless, skinless chicken breast in place of thighs, each serving is only 1 point (for the marinade).

Marinated Chicken Tacos

Fire up the grill for this recipe! If you are familiar with fresh Mexican grill Costa Vida restaurant chain, this is a copycat recipe for their grilled chicken.  It is used in all their chicken entrees from burritos to salads. I absolutely LOVE their grilled chicken! This recipe is wonderful for anything you would use grilled chicken in, but my family’s favorite is tacos.  And it’s great because it is really quick to mix together; score one for me! You might even want to make a double batch, grilling and freezing some for a quick heat-up option another day!  ~Kathy


  • 3 lbs. chicken breast
  • ½ c. olive oil
  • 1 heaping T. fresh garlic, finely minced
  • 3 T. all purpose seasoning (I used a combo of original Mrs. Dash & Emeril’s Original Essence.)
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika, optional
  • Juice of 2 lemons


  1. Pat chicken dry. Trim all fat and cut each chicken breast in half, lengthwise.
  2. Add all other ingredients in a large Ziplock freezer bag. Mix to combine well. Add chicken, seal bag, and turn to coat chicken pieces completely.
  3. Place in refrigerator to marinate for 30-45 minutes, turning occasionally.
  4. Remove chicken from marinade; place on pre-heated, oiled grill. Grill on medium-low heat until cooked completely through. Chicken should reach 165 F. Chop chicken into bite sized pieces and serve warm in a soft tortilla with your favorite taco toppings.

Cotija and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Breast

It was the famous Oklahoman, Will Rogers, who said “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, wait a minute and it’ll change.”  As I type this, Oklahoma is one of those weeks during which the weather has fluctuated from near 90 to freeze warnings in the span of 7 days.  Somewhere I imagine our favorite native son is now saying, “See. Told ya!”   Around here, as we wait for a true spring to finally set in, we are grabbing the rare nice day to fire up our grill and at least pretend the weather will stay warmer!  And seriously folks, when you’re eating chicken stuffed with melted cheese and bacon, and covered with more cheese, the weather really doesn’t matter!  ~Tracy



  • 4, 4 oz. boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. seasoned salt (I use Lawry’s.)
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 4 oz. part skim Cotija cheese (I use Cacique brand.)
  • 3 T. Hormel Real Bacon Bits (no imitation)
  • 2 slices reduced fat pepper jack cheese
  • 8 toothpicks soaked in water for a few minutes


Trim any excess fat from chicken breasts.  Place chicken breasts on paper towels and pat dry (seasonings stick better to dry meat).

Combine garlic powder, seasoned salt, and cayenne pepper; set aside.


Using a very sharp knife, split open each chicken breast leaving the edge attached to create a sort of envelope for the cheese and bacon.


Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over what will be the outside of each chicken breast.

Crumble 4 oz. of Cotija cheese and put ¼ of the cheese inside each chicken breast.

Sprinkle the bacon bits equally inside each breast with the cheese.


Use toothpicks to pin each chicken breast closed to keep the cheese and bacon from falling out.  (Soaking toothpicks in water keeps them from burning on your grill.)

Carefully place each chicken breast on your pre-heated grill to cook, turning occasionally being careful not to spill out cheese and bacon.

Grill each stuffed chicken breast until it reaches an internal temperature of 170 degrees.  Juices should be clear.

Just before each chicken breast is done, place ½ slice of pepper jack cheese on each piece of chicken.  Remove from heat when chicken is done and cheese is melted.  Cheese will melt within about a minute on a hot grill.

Remove toothpicks before serving.


Hawaiian Ham Kabobs


Mom gets all the credit for this recipe.  These Hawaiian Ham Kabobs are a great quick, weeknight meal.  With a little rough chopping, you can have these all skewered and thrown on the grill in no time.  The glaze is the same glaze Mom has put on our holiday ham for as long as I can remember.  It’s the perfect sweet & tangy addition to the ham, onions, peppers, and pineapple combo.  Mmmm, grilled pineapple…need I say more?!



  • 1 lb. fully cooked ham (ham steak or a half ham works – not the spiral sliced kind)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 med. white onion
  • 2 c. fresh pineapple
  • 3 T. packed brown sugar
  • 3 T. yellow mustard
  • 1 T. water
  • 8 grill-safe skewers
  • One basting brush


Spray your outdoor grill with cooking spray and bring to medium heat.

Cut the ham into 1 inch cubes; set aside.

Cube pineapple into approximately one-inch pieces.  Peppers and onions should be cut into about one-inch squares as well.  Grilling tip: Avoid making onion chunks too thin – no thinner than a half inch or so, as they’ll cook too fast.

Build your kabobs by layering the veggies, pineapple, and 2 oz. of ham on each skewer.

Place the kabobs on the preheated grill and close the lid.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until veggies start to get brown marks, flip and grill the other side about 5 more minutes.  Meanwhile, make the glaze.

To make the glaze, stir together brown sugar, mustard, and water until well combined.

Brush all sides of the kabobs and cook for a few more minutes on each side to caramelize the glaze.

Serve immediately.

WW Freestyle Info: This recipe makes 8 kabobs.  Each kabob is 4 points.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers


I love stuffed peppers. Stuffing anything in a pepper just automatically makes it better. These Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers are easy, cheesy, and meaty. They are best grilled but great out of the oven too.

͂ Erin


  • 6 oz. fresh, sliced mushrooms
  • 8 oz. thinly sliced roast beef, chopped into small pieces
  • 8 oz. (8 slices) provolone
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 large bell peppers
  • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 T. steak seasoning


Cut the peppers in half from top to bottom; remove seeds and veins and place pepper halves in a pan. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook onions, garlic, and mushrooms until onions are translucent and mushrooms are tender. Add roast beef, Worcestershire, and steak seasoning; cook until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat the outdoor grill to medium heat or the oven to 400°F.  Line each pepper half with a slice of cheese.  Stuff the peppers with filling and top with another slice of cheese.  If cooking on the grill, place the peppers directly on the rack and cook until the peppers are tender and cheese is melted.  If cooking in the oven, place the pan of peppers on the lower rack and cook about 30 minutes or until peppers are tender and cheese is melted.

WW Freestyle Info.: Each stuffed pepper half is 10 points.  This recipe makes 4 servings.