Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

This is the time of year here in Utah where I’m over the cold and need some warm sunshine in my life. I dream of being on a beach somewhere tropical. Since that’s not happening anytime soon, I have to get creative in order to get out of my winter funk. That’s where my Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw come to the rescue. The warm, spicy flavors take me back to our time in Jamaica 10 years ago! I made it yesterday on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was a hit! Watch me make it here!

Ben and I went on a cruise 10 years ago and we had authentic Jerk Chicken when we stopped in Haiti then again when we were in Jamaica. I fell in love with the sweet and spicy flavors! In Haiti we had the real deal-grilled Jerk Chicken on a huge outdoor grill (wish I had pics). Then in Jamaica we just went to a Hard Rock Cafe and they had the BEST Jerk Chicken sandwich served with a guava based sauce. We loved the sauce so much that they gave us a bottle! Ever since that trip, we have been making Jerk Chicken on the grill using store-bought spice blends.

I was taking pics of food back in 2010 before it was even cool to do it! Ha!
With our awesome, crazy, funny tour guide, Alfonso, in Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

I am always trying to come up with new taco recipes because they’re my favorite food and can be so versatile. I have had these Jerk Chicken ones in mind for a long time and am so so happy with how it turned out. You just add some chicken breasts to your slow cooker along with onions, garlic, jalapenos, and lots of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Sounds like a weird combo but trust me it’s amazing! When it’s done you just shred it and serve on tortillas with the Mango Lime Slaw. You can also grill the chicken instead!

Just throw it all in and let it cook. So easy and feeds a crowd! Omit the broth but leave everything else if you’d rather grill the chicken.

Now let’s talk about the slaw. Oh my goodness! My Mango Lime Slaw is so simple yet so crazy delicious! Mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and mayo are blended up then tossed with slaw mix. It is bright, tangy and pairs so well with the sweet and spicy chicken. It makes for the perfect bite!

Fun fact: the lighting in the TV studio is terrible for food pics! This is the best I could do. I guess I need to make it again to get some better pics-oh darn!

You know what else is great about these tacos? Kids love them! My own kids devoured them. My 12 year old is soooo picky and went back for thirds! At the Good Things Utah station, there were a bunch of kids in the audience that got to have some and they all loved them too. You’d think that the unique combo of flavors would be too much for kids but that’s not the case. It has just enough spice not to overwhelm and the sweetness is just so yummy!

You need to get these on your menu ASAP! Feeling the winter blues? Take a trip to the islands in your own kitchen! You’ll love these Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw. They are one of my favorite recipe creations yet!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Tacos with Mango Lime Slaw

Ingredients

For the chicken:
3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2-3 jalapeños-stems removed, sliced in half, seeds removed
1 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 TB soy sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

For the slaw:
14 oz bag traditional slaw
1 1/2 cups mango, fresh or frozen (thawed)
2 limes, juiced
Cilantro, 1/3 bunch
1/2 red onion, rough chopped
1/2 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mayonnaise

Additional ingredients:
Flour tortillas
Avocado slices
Queso fresco

Directions

Place chicken in slow cooker then add onions and jalapeño. Mix all remaining ingredients in a bowl then pour over chicken. Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3-4 hours. Shred chicken in the slow cooker with the broth (or remove, shred, and place back into broth).

To make slaw, place mango, lime juice, cilantro, onion, jalapeño and salt in a food processor or blender. Blend until mostly smooth. Add mayo and blend. Place slaw into medium/ large bowl and add 1 cup of mango mixture then toss to combine. Save remaining sauce for garnish.

Place chicken in tortillas and top with slaw. Garnish with avocado, queso fresco and extra dressing (if desired).

Notes:
1. You can also grill the chicken. Place chicken breasts in a zip top bag and add all chicken ingredients minus the broth. Marinate for 3 or more hours then grill. Slice to serve on tacos.
2. Leave seeds in jalapeños for extra spice. Not spicy enough? Add some cayenne pepper.

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

I have another quick, easy, and healthy dinner for y’all! This is really more of an idea than a recipe because it is so versatile and there are so many delicious filling ideas. I actually used to HATE sweet potatoes until about 7 years ago when I created the hash linked here. I love them now and am always looking for ways to add them to our dinners.

Y’all know that I always have Mexican food on my mind and tacos are my favorite food ever. How did it take me so long to start making Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes?!? They are so good and so simple! For the ones pictured here, I used ground beef cooked with bell pepper and my favorite Frontera taco sauce. Then I topped them with shredded cheddar, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, and green onions. There are so many more options too! For the actual “recipe,” I listed what was used for the picture but check the notes for more yummy ideas. I love this family dinner because everyone can customize their sweet potato to their liking!

My favorite taco sauce!

Did you know that just one sweet potato contains 400% of your daily Vitamin A? They are such a great source of fiber, beta-carotene, antioxidants and potassium too. Skip the tortilla for this meal and fill a sweet potato with all the taco goodness that you love!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 25-March 2: Ground beef (2 days only-Friday and Saturday), taco seasoning (several brands), bell pepper, sour cream, shredded cheese

Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients

4 sweet potatoes
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pouch Frontera Taco Skillet Sauce
1 bell pepper, chopped
Pico de gallo
Shredded cheddar
Sour cream
Green onions, sliced
Guacamole

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Line a baking sheet with foil and prick (clean) sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake until tender, about 45-60 minutes depending on size.

In a large skillet, brown ground beef with bell pepper. Drain if needed. Add taco sauce and cook until warmed through.

Open up sweet potatoes and fill with taco meat, cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and green onions.

Notes:
1. Ground turkey can be used instead.
2. Other topping ideas: black beans, salsa, sliced avocado, black olives, corn, jalapenos, lettuce, fresh tomatoes

Chocolate Strawberry Italian Love Cake

I’m the worst food blogger ever. You know why? I totally forget to take pictures of the process sometimes. I get so focused and involved in cooking or baking that I completely forget to pick up my phone and capture the moment. It really shouldn’t matter so much but in order to make Google happy, I need to post lots of pictures and lots of words. I guess I’ll just have to be rebellious this time because this is what I got…

But really…do you need anything else? Look at this beauty! My Chocolate Strawberry Italian Love Cake is just as delicious as it is beautiful. I have been making it without the strawberries for years and now I can’t live without this new version.

What is Italian Love Cake? The origin is a bit of a mystery according to my research so this is what I think: The ricotta makes it “Italian” and when you taste this cake for the first time, it will be love at first bite. Sounds like a good story to me!

When my kids were younger, they loved watching this cake bake in the oven. The ricotta layer swaps with the cake batter and it’s like magic the way they both end up separated. Make sure to turn the oven light on and watch!

I love the addition of the strawberries to the ricotta so much! They add a touch of tart and sweet that really enhances the flavor. Now, if you aren’t a fan of ricotta this might not be for you. I’m just being honest! I love the texture but my ricotta hating daughter wasn’t sold. For the cake layer you know I love a dessert that uses a box cake! You can use any flavor chocolate you like but I prefer the “double fudge” kind. The whipped “mock mousse” layer is divine! Just 2 ingredients are transformed into the most delicious, fluffy, perfectly sweet chocolate mousse. I think it might be my new “go to” frosting for chocolate cakes!

Valentine’s Day is just a few days away and I can’t think of a more perfect dessert! Chocolate and strawberries are a classic combo for the holiday and this dessert is a delicious new spin that is sure to make any occasion special.

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 11-17: chocolate cake mix, ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar, vegetable oil

Chocolate Strawberry Italian Love Cake

Ingredients

1 box chocolate cake mix (plus eggs, oil, water to prepare)
32 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
¾ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 eggs
1 pint strawberries, hulled and diced
1 (5.9 oz) box instant chocolate pudding mix (large box)
3 cups heavy whipping cream

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare cake mix as directed on box. Pour batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combing ricotta, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Blend well. (A stand mixer with paddle works best) Fold in the strawberries. Pour and spread mixture carefully and evenly over the cake batter.

Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes if using a glass dish. Add 15 minutes if using metal. Be careful not to overbake. It’s done when inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Using an electric mixer, blend heavy cream with pudding mix until combined and a thick mousse texture. Add more cream (or milk) if it gets too thick. Spread evenly over cake once it has completely cooled. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes

There’s just something about adding fresh herbs and lemon to chicken. It completely elevates the dish and transforms it into something that tastes special. Am I right? Well, guess what? My Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes might taste fancy but it’s so simple to make!

Last weekend was cold and cloudy when I made this. It was the perfect dish to brighten my day! Served it with a side of asparagus and it felt like spring.

Simple, bright, flavorful ingredients.

I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this because that’s what is on sale at Lee’s this week but you could definitely switch those out with bone-in skin-on breasts or even chicken thighs. You can still get a great sear on skinless though! Just make sure your heat is almost all the way high and leave them alone for 4-5 minutes per side. You can also pound the breasts thin so that cooking time is faster. I was in a hurry so I left mine as is. Turned out great, though, thanks to an internal meat thermometer!

Look at that sear!

Do you use Better than Bouillon? If not, get some! I hardly ever use canned broth anymore because the flavor doesn’t come close to what this can do. I keep the chicken and beef flavors in the fridge at all times. I love the richness and depth of flavor that it adds!

I love that this came together in 30 minutes and my kids devoured it. I also love that it works wonderfully for a “dine-in” Valentine’s dinner. I always cook a “fancy” dinner for my family on Valentine’s Day and this would be so perfect!

Sponsored post for Lee’s Marketplace. Items on sale the week of February 4-10: chicken breasts, butter, and Dijon

One more close up! This is fun to make!

Lemon Thyme Chicken & Potatoes

Ingredients

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lb potatoes, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon chicken base
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Cook potatoes in salted boiling water until tender, drain, set aside.
Add the juice of 2 lemons, chicken base, thyme, garlic, Dijon and water in a small bowl then whisk to combine and set aside. (Do not discard lemon halves)
Sprinkle chicken liberally with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet on high heat. Add chicken and sear for 4-5 minutes until brown and seared. Flip and brown other side.
Lower heat to medium-high then add liquid and reserved lemon halves to the skillet, cover, and continue cooking until internal temperature of chicken is 165°. Flip chicken over halfway through cooking to keep covered in sauce and moist.
Remove lid then add 2 tablespoons of butter and allow to melt into the sauce. Remove chicken and place on platter. Add potatoes to the pan and toss. Pour over chicken, sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper, and serve immediately.
Notes:
1. Bone-in, skin on chicken breasts or chicken thighs would also work great in this dish.
2. Use a meat thermometer to ensure perfectly cooked chicken.
3. Red potatoes or Yukon Golds are recommended.

BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders

Are you ready for the big game this weekend? If you’re still trying to decided what to make (because it’s all about the food right?) then look no further! My BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders are kind of amazing if I do say so. My husband always replies with “But you should say so!” Ha! He’s the best and really missing my food right now since he’s deployed overseas. I will definitely be putting these on the list of my new recipes to make for him when he gets home.

I made these yesterday on ABC4’s Good Things Utah and it was such a fun segment. I know I say that every time but I seriously love being there and love everyone there-the adorable receptionist, the camera crew, the interns, the producers, and the hosts. I can’t say enough about the good vibes and fun that is had in that studio! Watch my segment here!

Love cooking with Nicea!

Caramelized onions are a labor of love but very easy! You just have to be patient and give plenty of time because you just can’t rush the process. Check the recipe notes for tips! Also, you can use whatever BBQ seasoning that you’d like but I have tried two and the Traeger Chicken seasoning is the best. Adds a ton of flavor!

I will fully admit that I got the worst pictures yesterday of these sliders so bear with me. I am trying to be better at getting pictures of the process and not just the final product so here are a few that I had to screen shot from my video.

Hold the top with your hand and slice the King’s Hawaiian Rolls across horizontally.
Look at all those sweet, rich caramelized onions!
Lots of cheese is always a good idea!

These sliders are great for parties but would also work for a busy weeknight meal. Get the kids in the kitchen to help assemble them because they are so fun to make. As always, if you make them please give me a comment below and let me know what you think!

One more just because I love these ladies so much!

BBQ Chicken & Caramelized Onion Sliders

  • Servings: 18 sliders
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Ingredients

3 large yellow onions, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
18 pack King’s Hawaiian rolls
3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon BBQ seasoning
8 large slices cheddar or pepper jack cheese (7-8 oz)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted

Directions

Heat a large nonstick skillet to medium-low heat. Add olive oil and onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until very soft and brown.

Preheat oven to 375.

Break rolls in half so that there are two sections of 9 rolls. While keeping rolls connected, slice each section in half horizontally using a large serrated knife. Place bottoms of rolls in a 9×13 pan.

Place chicken in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons of BBQ seasoning. Toss to combine. Spread evenly over rolls in the pan. Drizzle 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over the chicken. Next, add caramelized onions evenly across the top. Add cheese slices then place tops of rolls on.

Add 1 teaspoon BBQ seasoning to the melted butter and stir. Brush tops of rolls with butter mixture. Cover loosely with foil and place in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil. Bake 5-10 more minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Notes:
1. Be patient with the onions! It takes a while but is totally worth it.
2. If onions start to get dry, add about 1 tablespoon of water to the pan.
3. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the onions to speed up the process.

Muffaletta Pinwheels

I’m imagining that part of you are excited right now because you’ve had a muffaletta sandwich and love them. The rest of you are thinking “muffa-WHAT???” Ha! If you are the latter, let me explain. Muffaletta sandwiches are a New Orleans staple and are made on a special round Italian bread and filled with a variety of meats like salami and ham. They also include cheese and a tangy olive salad which is definitely my favorite part.

I was raised in a small town in East Texas called Livingston. It is only 1 1/2 hours from the Louisiana border so I grew up with a lot of Cajun food. I grew up eating crawfish etouffee, boudin, gumbo, jambalaya, etc and still love it so much. The “fancy” restaurant in my hometown is still there and called Shrimp Boat Manny’s and they’re famous for their delicious Cajun seafood. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!

To have a muffaletta sandwich is to love it and since I can’t transport myself to New Orleans anytime soon, I created these Muffaletta Pinwheels. They include all the flavors of the classic sandwich but rolled into the perfect appetizer. They will take you right to New Orleans!

The olive cream cheese mixture is my favorite part! Giardiniera mix is basically pickled vegetables and usually includes cauliflower, carrots, pearl onions, red peppers, and celery. Peperoncinis are always in my fridge because we put them on everything-sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, you name it. Both ingredients can be found near the pickles and olives in grocery stores.

The process is pretty easy! Make the olive cream cheese mixture then layer the meats and cheeses on. Don’t be scared to roll it all up! It can be a little messy but that’s ok. Refrigerating the rolls before slicing helps them to firm up a little and makes them easier to cut.

My Muffaletta Pinwheels are the perfect dish to bring to your Super Bowl parties this weekend! This recipes makes A LOT but you will leave with an empty tray. I tried them out on my teacher friends and took the giant tray pictured below. They loved them and some are patiently waiting for this blog post so they can have the recipe!

This is a huge tray and the pinwheels are double stacked!

This is a sponsored post for my favorite grocery store, Lee’s Marketplace. If you make this recipe please comment here and let me know what you think! A share on social media tagging Lee’s and I would be amazing too!
Items on sale at Lee’s the week of Jan 28-Feb 3: ALL OF THEM! YAY!

Muffaletta Pinwheels

  • Servings: About 50 Pinwheels
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Ingredients

5 large “burrito sized” flour tortillas
2 packages cream cheese (8 oz each), softened
1 cup giardiniera mix, drained and finely chopped
½ cup peperoncinis, drained and chopped
1/3 cup black olives, chopped
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
10 oz Genoa salami, thinly sliced
10 oz deli ham, thinly sliced
10 oz mozzarella, thinly sliced
10 oz provolone, thinly sliced

Directions

In a medium-sized bowl, mix cream cheese, giardiniera, peperoncinis, and olives together. Place tortilla on a flat surface. Spread a thin layer of the cream cheese mixture on, leaving a ½ inch border. Place one layer each of salami, ham, mozzarella, and provolone on top. Add another, even thinner, layer of cream cheese over the top. Carefully but tightly roll tortilla up. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap then repeat with remaining tortillas and fillings. Refrigerate rolls for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Slice into 1 inch pieces and serve.

Notes: Giardiniera mix and peperocinis can be found near the pickles and olives in most grocery stores. Use mortadella ham for more authentic muffaletta flavor.