Friday Food Bites: May 15, 2020

My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

There’s no need to purchase store-bought sauce, with this hearty and flavorful Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. Simple ingredients such as ground beef, onion, garlic, and spices of oregano and basil bring a bold flavor to this simple sauce.

This recipe is extremely simple. If you like easy Italian-inspired recipes then make sure to also try this Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta or this Prosciutto Mozzarella Pizza recipe.

classic spaghetti sauce over noodles

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Homemade spaghetti sauce is a classic recipe that can be prepared quickly and one everyone will love. This simple sauce is not only nostalgic but classic for a good reason. Everyone has their favorite recipe, but the best sauces are often the most basic. You can easily prepare this sauce and have plenty for leftovers or for freezing and using later.

Ingredients in Spaghetti Meat Sauce

  • Olive Oil: choose a high-quality olive oil to brown the meat and sauté the onions and garlic. This will only add to the flavor.
  • Ground Beef: the type of ground beef is entirely up to and you can also switch out the ground beef for ground sausage.
  • Yellow Onion: the onion brings a mild bite to the sauce that is a key flavor in spaghetti sauce.
  • Garlic Cloves: these minced cloves bring the most powerful flavor that is so common in Italian recipes. Using freshly minced garlic will also bring about the best flavor.
  • Tomato Paste: adding the tomato paste helps to thicken the sauce, but it also brings a strong flavor that is heightened when stirred in and cooked after the onions and garlic are cooked.
  • Diced Tomatoes or Crushed Tomatoes: for a smoother sauce use crushed tomatoes and for a chunkier sauce go with diced tomatoes. Either one makes a delicious sauce.
  • Water: this helps to bring the sauce together and you can use more or less to thicken it.
  • Dried Oregano: this classic spice adds a peppery flavor to the sauce.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese: Adding parmesan cheese is optional, but strongly suggested for that delicious cheesy flavor.
  • Fresh Basil: the fresh aroma of this peppery flavored leaf also adds a small hint of mint.

ground beef for sauce

How to Make Spaghetti Sauce

  1. Brown the Meat: heat half of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large iron skillet. Break the meat apart as it brown and then use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and set aside on a plate.
  2. Sauté the Onions and Garlic: add the remaining olive oil and reduce the heat to medium. Sauté the onions until translucent and then add the garlic.
  3. Simmer the Sauce: stir in the crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste, ground beef, oregano, and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  4. Stir in Cheese: add the grated cheese and any additional seasoning. Garnish with fresh basil.

onions and garlic in skillet

How to Store Spaghetti Sauce

Place the spaghetti sauce in an air-tight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 18 months.

Can I make spaghetti sauce without the meat?

You can easily leave the meat out of this sauce for more of a marinara type sauce. If you choose to leave out the meat I suggest using both 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes and 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes.

Can I freeze this spaghetti meat sauce?

Yes. This sauce can easily be frozen and saved for later. In order to freeze the sauce let it come to room temperature before placing it in a ziptop bag or an air-tight storage container. Make sure to include the date. The sauce will last for about 18 months stored in the freezer.

Can I use ground sausage instead of ground beef?

Yes. Changing the ground beef for sausage is an easy swap and one that will add a unique flavor.

Can I make this spaghetti sauce in the Instant Pot?

Yes. To make this easy spaghetti sauce in the Instant Pot,

  • Push the “sauté” button to heat the olive oil. Brown the meat and use a slotted spoon to remove the beef.
  • Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and then sauté the onions for 4 minutes and then add the garlic to cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the parmesan and basil.
  • Cover and seal the lid. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 10 minutes. When the time is up let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and move the valve to vent.
  • Remove the lid and stir in the grated parmesan.

Easy Spaghetti Sauce Over Pasta

Tips for making the best Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

  • Use crushed tomatoes for a smoother sauce that has a thicker base to it.
  • For a thinner sauce, that big on tomato and beef chunks use canned diced tomatoes.
  • To add even more bold flavor increase the garlic. You can really use as much as you prefer, however, unless you have an aversion or allergy to garlic I wouldn’t use less than 4 close.
  • Stir some parmesan cheese directly into the sauce.

More delicious pasta recipes to try:

Easy Homemade Spaghetti Sauce


Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

There's no need to purchase store-bought sauce, with this hearty and flavorful Homemade Spaghetti Sauce. Simple ingredients such as ground beef, onion, garlic, and spices of oregano and basil bring a bold flavor to this simple sauce.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian American
Keyword spaghetti sauce
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Total Time 43 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 271kcal
Author Aimee Mars


  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Yellow Onion chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves minced
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 tablespoons Fresh Basil chopped


  • Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and break it into 4 equal parts to brown for 3 minutes. Begin breaking the ground beef down into bits and cooking until it's completely browned, about 5 minutes.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the skillet and transfer it to a side plate. If using a fattier version of ground beef drain half the grease leaving about 1 to 2 tablespoons.
  • Bring the heat down to medium and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and chopped onions. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onions become fragrant and translucent. Place the minced garlic in the skillet and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute, which brings out the flavors of the paste.
  • Pour the crushed (or diced) tomatoes, water, dried oregano, salt, and pepper into the skillet and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Stir in the grated parmesan to the sauce and serve over pasta. Garnish with fresh basil.


For a thicker sauce: add additional tomato paste and continue to let simmer until it begins to thicken.

For a thinner sauce: stir in more water and let it heat.


Calories: 271kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 568mg | Potassium: 331mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 207IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 2mg



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Vanilla Crazy Cake

Vanilla Crazy Cake is Chocolate Crazy Cake’s zany cousin! You’re going to love it. Dixie Crystals sponsors this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. BE SURE TO CHECK OUT ALL OF MY RECIPES ON THE DIXIE CRYSTALS WEBSITE! Crazy Cake, also known as Wacky Cake or Depression Cake, is made without any butter, eggs, or milk. […]

The post Vanilla Crazy Cake appeared first on Something Swanky.

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Friday Food Bites: May 22, 2020

My name is Nick Dekker, but you can call me “Dr. Breakfast.” I’m a food/travel writer, tour guide, and arts administrator. With my wife Beth and our two boys Will and Owen, we chase down breakfast everywhere we go. You’ll find us exploring coffee, brunch, donuts, beer, bourbon, travel, the arts, and our amazing city of Columbus, Ohio.

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Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps Recipe

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps are quick and easy to make and to eat.  Filled with healthy, flavorful ingredients they are family friendly, great for lunch or a light dinner!

Wraps are perfect for all ages and taste delicious with so many flavors inside! If you are looking for other ideas of ways to turn your favorite meal into a handy wrap try this Buffalo Ranch Chicken Wrap or Bacon Cheeseburger Wrap.

Two parts of a wrap stacked on each other on a plate.

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

I am always trying to find new lunch combinations that are easy to make and healthy.  Recently, me and the hubby went to a local sandwich place that had chicken caesar salad wraps. Chicken caesar salad is my favorite of them all, so I ordered it and loved it. The best wrap that I have had, and I couldn’t wait to make it at home! Especially since the weather is getting warmer, and I find myself wanting more salads and lighter foods.  This wrap is definitely going to be a staple in my weekly menus this summer.

Not only is this a healthy and tasty wrap, but it is also just fun to make!  In fact, my kids want me to turn everything into a wrap now so that they can help make it! They love to help with the tossing and wrapping. I love that they are getting a healthy meal that they enjoy eating and I’m not having to force them to eat! I promise you this recipe is so simple and easy to follow and it will turn out looking so impressive.  Each bite is bursting with flavor while still keeping a fresh and light overall feel.  Be sure to try it for lunch or dinner soon!

Chicken Caesar Salad Ingredients:

Just a few simple ingredients come together so quickly and easily in this crowd pleasing wrap.  In fact, many of the ingredients can even be bought pre-made, which is so nice!  I love chicken caesar salads, I always have.  But, when you add in a tortilla to wrap it up, now that is just so much better!!

  • Caesar Salad Dressing: I use the light version to keep it a little healthier.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated
  • Garlic powder: Adds a little bit of subtle flavor.
  • Pepper: To taste
  • Lemon juice: The bright citrus flavor adds freshness.
  • Chicken breast: Cubed and cooked, Tyson grilled and ready worked great!
  • Romaine lettuce: I used the premium with shredded carrots.
  • Salad croutons: Chopped so that they are easier to eat.
  • Whole grain wraps or tortillas: Use an extra large one so that it is easier to wrap.

How to Make a Wrap:

Two simple steps are all it takes to have a delicious meal ready to go.  Just grab your ingredients, toss them together and wrap it up in your favorite tortilla.  In just minutes you can have a restaurant quality meal in your own kitchen.

  1. Toss Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine caesar dressing, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, pepper, and lemon juice. Add the romaine lettuce, cubed chicken and salad croutons. Toss until coated well.
  2. Fill tortilla and roll: Place about 2/3 of the chicken mixture into each wrap and roll up.

Fresh Ingredients for the Chicken Caesar Salad Wrap in a clear glass bowl.

Is a Chicken Caesar Wrap Healthy?

The great thing about preparing your own food at home vs. eating out is that you have complete control over every ingredient that goes into your food.  To make sure this wrap is healthy, just make careful choices when choosing your ingredients.  Use a low-fat dressing and read labels carefully to ensure you find one without a lot of added sugars.  Also, there are so many great low carb or low fat wrap options available now, so be sure to choose one that suits your specific dietary needs.

Variations for Chicken Caesar Wraps:

These chicken caesar salad wraps are so easy to make there is really no way to mess them up! Here are a few tips and ideas to help you keep this classic recipe interesting.

  • Pinwheels: A  fun way to serve these chicken caesar wraps is to cut them into pinwheels! They would be great as an appetizer for entertaining.
  • Toothpicks: Add toothpicks to help them stay together if you’re bringing them somewhere.
  • Bacon: Adding crumbled bacon to the mixture of this wrap is so amazing!
  • Serving:  Serve your wrap with a side of fresh fruit, potato salad, pasta salad, chips, or chopped vegetables.

Overhead view of a open chicken caesar wrap.

How Long Can You Store Chicken Caesar Wraps?

Once fully prepared, eat or refrigerate your chicken caesar wrap within two hours.  If you are making these for later use like in weekly meal prepping, I suggest storing the ingredients separately then mixing together right before you eat it.  Otherwise, the croutons and other ingredients may turn slightly soggy.  If you want to make ahead for later use, just leave out the dressing in the mixture and dip the wrap in dressing as you eat it later instead.  To store, cover the caesar salad wrap tightly with plastic wrap or foil.  Stored this way, they will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Close up of a wrap in someone's hand.

More Delicious Chicken Caesar Recipes:

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 4 Servings

A delicious and healthy chicken caesar salad wrap that is perfect for an easy meal or on the go!

  • 3/4 cup lite Caesar Salad Dressing
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups chicken breast cubed cooked, Tyson grilled and ready worked great!
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce I used the premium with shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup salad croutons chopped
  • 4 whole grain whole grain wraps or tortillas

Updated on May 25, 2020

Originally Posted on September 4, 2014

Nutrition Facts

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

Amount Per Serving

Calories 511 Calories from Fat 297

% Daily Value*

Fat 33g51%

Saturated Fat 6g30%

Cholesterol 69mg23%

Sodium 1047mg44%

Potassium 348mg10%

Carbohydrates 30g10%

Fiber 4g16%

Sugar 4g4%

Protein 24g48%

Vitamin A 2133IU43%

Vitamin C 3mg4%

Calcium 193mg19%

Iron 2mg11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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Top 5 Food Travel Podcasts You Must Follow in 2020

Top 5 Food Travel Podcasts Contents [show] ⋅About this list & ranking Food Travel Podcasts Eat Well Travel Better: The Business of Food Travel ExtraVirgin Food and Travel The Food and Travel PaulCast Eat Well, Travel Often Podcast Submit Blog Do you want more traffic, leads, and sales? Submit your blog below if you want to grow […]

The post Top 5 Food Travel Podcasts You Must Follow in 2020 appeared first on Feedspot Blog.

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Greek Salad with the BEST Dressing

Greek Salad is a fresh, crunchy, vibrant salad with the BEST Greek dressing!  Every bite is packed with color and the best flavors that will keep you digging in for more!

I absolutely can’t get enough of salads with a feta crumble in them.  I find myself poking around in the salad to try to get some in every bite!  For more salads with feta cheese try Grilled Berry Feta Chicken Salad or Italian Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad.

Greek salad in a white bowl with a wooden spoon.

Greek Salad

Juicy tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and a sweet and savory dressing, with feta crumbles throughout… Wow, when I read the description of a greek salad on a menu recently, I was so ready to go home and make it my own!  This vibrant salad is so full of color and flavor.  It easily compliments any meal or it can stand alone as the main dish.  Packed full of nutrients, it is a must try for any salad lover!

The Greek dressing the girls have been helping me make at home is so perfect on this salad! It brings the flavors of the fresh fruits and vegetables to life!  I love how fresh and light this salad is!  Simply said, this dish is amazing!  It is ready in just minutes and will be a favorite in our house for a while to come!

Greek Salad Ingredients:

All of these fresh ingredients are flavorful and delicious, but need to be washed before tossing together.  The best way to wash them is to fill a clean sink or large bowl with cool water and rinse each item thoroughly.  The dirt and debris will sink to the bottom.  Then, your left with clean fresh ingredients that are ready to combine, toss, and enjoy!

  • Romaine Lettuce: Adds a crunch to the texture of this salad.
  • Cucumber: Fresh melon flavor.
  • Roma Tomatoes: Sweet and colorful addition to the salad.
  • Kalamata Olives: Large, dark purple olive with a smooth, meaty texture.
  • Large black olives: Soft meaty texture with tart, tangy, slightly acidic flavor.
  • Feta Cheese: Crumbly Greek cheese with bright white color and a salty flavor.

We’re Making Salad!

The great thing about salads is they are so easy to make! Simply grab all your ingredients, toss them together with your favorite dressing, and voila a great meal or side dish is ready to go!  I love to wash and prep all the ingredients as soon as I get them home from the market or store and have them ready to go in the refrigerator.  This extra time is so worth it when I can pull all the ingredients out and toss them right away and have a delicious salad in minutes!

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large bowl add the romaine, cucumber, tomatoes, olives , and feta cheese.
  2. Make Greek Dressing: Make the recipe for greek dressing.
  3. Toss: Toss together ingredients and Greek dressing to evenly coat all ingredients with the dressing.

Greek Salad ingredients in a clear bowl.

What are Roma Tomatoes?

A Roma tomato has a thick fruit wall and few seeds.  They have a dense and slightly grainy flesh.  They are oblong and a little heavy for their size.  The are more firm than other tomatoes.  They can be eaten raw or cooked.  They are often used to make tomato paste since they have less water content than most tomatoes.

What is the Difference Between Kalamata Olives and Black Olives?

First of all, Kalamata olives are purple whereas black olives are..wait for it…black.  However, in addition to the obvious color differences, there are some other differences between the two olives as well.  Kalamata olives are known as “Greek black olives” but are bigger and more oblong in shape than a black olive.  The cool thing is they are picked by hand in order to avoid bruising the olives.  They have a stone in the middle and are usually not pitted before being served. They are bitter when they are first picked so they go through a process of “debittering” which can take up to 3 months!  Their flavor is compared to that of a fine wine.

In contrast, a black olive that we would generally find in a jar at the grocery store is actually picked green then pumped with oxygen to turn them black, their new color is kept by adding ferrous gluconate. Both olives are high in sodium, rich in healthy fats and contain a natural antioxidants.  I prefer a mixture of the two in my greek salad because I think together they are just right.


Pouring dressing on Greek salad ingredients.

Greek Salad Tips and Variations:

  • No lettuce: I know, I know, you’re thinking a salad with no lettuce? But traditionally in Greece, their salads are served with no lettuce.
  • Feta Cheese: The crumbles of cheese throughout the salad are a favorite of mine.  However, if you are going for an authentic Greek presentation, place large chunks or blocks of feta cheese on the top of the salad instead.
  • Serve with: In Greece you will find this salad served with bread.  (Yes, please!) Also, I love the contrast of pairing this cool, fresh salad with a creamy warm soup.  Something about the yin and yang of that is just so perfect!
  • Storing: Eat it up quick because this salad will not last long in the refrigerator. Once prepared, the salad will last a maximum of 2 days, but you will probably experience sogginess.  Instead, I suggest you store the ingredients separately from the lettuce and mix up individual serving sizes as needed.
  • Optional Ingredients: Sometimes I love to just keep adding on to this delicious Greek salad.  Capers, lemon or lime juice, shrimp or chicken, red onion (Rinse in warm water and drain before adding to the salad), avocado (weird but good).  Really the options are limitless with this extremely versatile flavor base.
  • How to store olives: Unopened your olives can be stored at room temperature up to 2 years. Opened olives need to be refrigerated in their own liquid in a non-metal container.  When stored properly, they will last for 1 to 2 months after opening.

Finished greek salad in a white bowl.

More Delicious Greek Favorites:

Greek Salad with the BEST Dressing

Prep Time 5 minutes

Total Time 5 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 24 Tablesppoon

Greek Salad is a fresh, crunchy, vibrant salad with the BEST Greek dressing!  Every bite is packed with color and the best flavors that will keep you digging in for more!

  • 3 cups romaine chopped
  • 1 cucumber sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes sliced
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup large black olives
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • Greek Dressing Recipe

Nutrition Facts

Greek Salad with the BEST Dressing

Amount Per Serving

Calories 12 Calories from Fat 9

% Daily Value*

Fat 1g2%

Saturated Fat 1g5%

Cholesterol 1mg0%

Sodium 62mg3%

Potassium 44mg1%

Carbohydrates 1g0%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 581IU12%

Vitamin C 1mg1%

Calcium 13mg1%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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New Orleans Gumbo | The Recipe Critic

This New Orleans Gumbo is a southern classic! It is full of sausage, shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, okra, and a dark roux. Enjoy the flavors of Louisiana in this comforting Creole dish!

Every region of the country has their signature dish and Gumbo is the star of Louisiana. This soup is so full of flavor and comfort. For more southern favorites, try BeignetsSouthern Hush puppies, and Shrimp Creole.

A bowl of New Orleans Gumbo and rice topped with scallions.

New Orleans Gumbo

You many not be able to travel to the south and enjoy all the yummy comfort food but you can still enjoy it in your own home! This gumbo is actually quite easy to make. The hardest thing is being patient with cooking the roux but you can do it!

What is Gumbo?

Gumbo is a popular Louisiana soup and is actually the state’s official cuisine. Gumbo can be Cajun or Creole but almost all are made with a dark roux, a combination of meat and shellfish, Creole or Cajun Seasoning, and the “holy trinity” of vegetables- green bell pepper, onion, and celery.

A stew of shrimp, okra, tomatoes, and sausage in a pot.

How to make Gumbo:

A good gumbo takes time and attention, especially in the beginning, but it pays off.

  1. Make the Roux– Heat butter over medium-low heat in a large deep pot. When melted, whisk in the flour a little at a time and then continue to cook, stirring constantly (Don’t walk away!), until it is as dark as chocolate, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.

  4. Add the okra and simmer another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with oil over medium high heat and cook sausage 2-3 minutes per side.

  5. Stir the sausage and raw shrimp into the gumbo and simmer another 4-5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.

  6. Serve over white rice and garnish with scallions.

Process shots of making a dark roux; mixing in celery, onion, and green bell pepper; and adding in tomatoes and seasoning.

What is the difference between Creole and Cajun Gumbo?

Cajun gumbo uses oil for the roux and does not contain any tomatoes. A Creole Gumbo typically contains tomatoes and uses butter in the roux. The recipe below uses tomatoes, tomato sauce, and butter so it is a Creole version.

A close up shot of shrimp and okra in a bowl of Gumbo.

Can it be made in advance?

The roux can be make up to 4 days in advance and then stored in the fridge. Making the roux in advance will save you a lot of time since that is where the bulk of your undivided attention is needed.

Like with any soup or stew, gumbo tastes best the next day so making it in advance works great.

Tips for making the best Gumbo:

  • Do not rush or shorten the cooking time of your roux. The darker the roux, the more depth of flavor your gumbo will have.
  • Do not burn your roux. Cooking the roux requires your full attention so make it when you don’t have distractions. You can always store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it in your soup.
  • Use okra! It is delicious and helps to thicken the broth. Fresh okra isn’t as readily available around the country but you should be able to find frozen okra in your local grocery store and it works just as well.

A pot of authentic Gumbo made up of okra, tomatoes, shrimp, and sausage.

More southern classics you’ll love!

A bowl of shrimp, sausage, and okra gumbo over rice.

New Orleans Gumbo

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes

Author Melanie Dueck

Servings 8 People

This New Orleans Gumbo Recipe is a southern classic! It is full of sausage, shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, okra, and a dark roux. Enjoy the flavors of Louisiana in this comforting Creole dish!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (without salt)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen okra sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • cooked basmati rice

Nutrition Facts

New Orleans Gumbo

Amount Per Serving

Calories 397 Calories from Fat 234

% Daily Value*

Fat 26g40%

Saturated Fat 11g55%

Cholesterol 209mg70%

Sodium 1889mg79%

Potassium 739mg21%

Carbohydrates 18g6%

Fiber 4g16%

Sugar 5g6%

Protein 24g48%

Vitamin A 1684IU34%

Vitamin C 43mg52%

Calcium 175mg18%

Iron 4mg22%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Liege Waffles Recipe Hack

Need Liege waffles in a hurry? I got you! This Liege Waffles Recipe Hack is the perfect shortcut recipe to make an extra special breakfast (or treat) when you don’t have time to make the dough from scratch.  This post has been sponsored by Rhodes Rolls. All thoughts and opinions are my own. CHECK OUT […]

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Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade | The Recipe Critic

This absolutely perfect chicken marinade will make your chicken so tender and juicy you will be amazed!!  This will be the one recipe that you use on repeat all summer!

Since you guys loved my steak marinade so much, I made this perfect chicken marinade recipe for you!  This recipe was created from my Greek Dressing which makes the flavor of this chicken unbelievable!

Cooked marinated chicken on a plate with green garnish.

Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

I have found that clean eating helps me so much! I feel and look better!  Although, sometimes when I’m trying to eat healthy it seems like meals can get boring with just a meat and vegetable.  However, when my chicken is filled with this much flavor I don’t feel like I am sacrificing to eat healthy at all.  Whether I cook it on the grill, in the oven, or on the stove top, I am able to achieve a delicious meal with this marinade every time!

Trust me when I say this chicken marinade recipe is going to totally change your chicken game.  The chicken recipes you love will be so much better! No more dry and flavorless chicken.  This marinade is so simple and will be a go-to for sure!

Marinade Ingredients:

All of these ingredients work so well together to create a well balanced flavor in your chicken.  Like any good marinade, you will find an acid (vinegar), an oil (olive oil), and a combination of herbs and spices for amazing flavor.  A bonus is that many of them will be ingredients you already own!

  • Olive oil: Keeps the chicken extra moist and juicy
  • Red Wine Vinegar: Breaks down the fibers in the chicken to make it tender.
  • Garlic Cloves: Fresh is best, but using a jar will work too.
  • Italian Seasoning: The Italian seasonings blend is such a classic spice combo that will go with any meal.
  • Lemon Juice: I love using a bit of citrus to freshen up the flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds saltiness and flavor.
  • Dijon Mustard: Great spice for the chicken.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: Adds great flavor and more saltiness.
  • Salt and pepper: To taste!

Combining the Marinade:

Making a marinade is so simple you will be amazed. And even better, you don’t have to use ANY dishes!! You will add the ingredients directly into a large seal-able bag and add your chicken.  And that’s it.  So simple and so worth it!

  1. Combine: Place all marinade ingredients into a gallon sized bag.
  2. Add chicken to marinade: Carefully coat the chicken in the marinade for at least one hour or overnight.
  3. Remove chicken: After a minimum of 1 hour, remove the chicken from marinade and discard.

The Best Ways to Cook Marinated Chicken:

The good news is when cooking marinated chicken you have so many great options for cooking.  We love to use the grill over the summer at my house, but I have listed below directions for stove top or baking in the oven as well.  Whatever option you choose, this absolutely perfect chicken marinade will take your chicken to the next level!!

  • Baking Instructions: Place marinated chicken on a shallow baking pan in a 400 degree oven for 22-25 minutes.  Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
  • Stove top: Grease a skillet and heat to medium-high heat.  Cook for 10 minutes on each side.  Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.
  • Grill: Place on cleaned and oiled grill rack at medium heat for 9-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken.  Turn chicken over halfway through cook time.  Once internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, remove from the grill.
  • Slow Cooker: Add marinated chicken to your slow cooker.  Then cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Chicken marinating in a ziploc bag.

Helpful Questions About Marinating Chicken:

When I first started creating a perfect chicken marinade recipe I had so many questions about how to use it! I mean a lot of questions!  I know many of you may be wondering the same things, so I have shared some of the things I have learned when cooking using this amazing marinade.

  • How long do I marinate?  Marinades are effective with as little as 30 minutes of soak time, however I find that an marinating overnight in the refrigerator will make your meal prep feel so much easier the next day and give your chicken the most flavor.
  • What if I marinate too long?  If chicken is left too long in the marinade it will actually become more dense and tough.  So, be sure to remove the chicken from the marinade before 2 days.
  • Do you marinate in the fridge?  Always marinate meat in the refrigerator.  Do not marinate at room temperature or outdoors.  Otherwise bacteria can very quickly multiply on your raw meat.
  • Do I need to poke holes in my chicken before marinating? Use a fork to pierce the chicken breasts all over. This will guarantee that the marinade will soak completely into the chicken to make it juicy.
  • What type of Chicken do I use? Use whatever types of chicken you prefer — chicken breasts, thinly sliced chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or chicken thighs.  All of these options work fantastic with this marinade.  Chicken tenders and thinly sliced chicken breast will cook much quicker than thick chicken breasts so beware and keep a close eye on cook times.

View of chicken marinating in bag.

How to Get Soft and Juicy Chicken Every Time:

First of all, always start with a marinade to make your chicken extra juicy and flavorful!  This perfect chicken marinade is made with all the essentials to make your chicken taste amazing and super tender.  In addition to that, I recommend flattening your chicken breasts before marinating and cooking as well to help you navigate cook time and get the most juicy, well-cooked chicken possible.  Finally, I recommend preheating the grill or pan before placing your chicken on it.

Storing Marinated Chicken:

If you do not plan to use the marinated chicken within a few days, then you need to store it in the freezer.  Otherwise, it can be stored in the refrigerator.

  • To store: Place your chicken in a freezer bag, pushing as much air as possible out before sealing.  Raw, marinated chicken pieces can be stored in the freezer up to 9 months or the refrigerator for just a couple of days.  While cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer for about 2-6 months and the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • To Defrost Frozen Chicken: Place the chicken overnight in the refrigerator.  I find that adding the marinade before freezing my chicken is so helpful.  Then, I can just pull it out when I need it and cook it right away. So quick and easy and delicious!

Finished marinated chicken sliced on a plate.

Try More Chicken Recipes!

Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

Prep Time 10 minutes

Total Time 10 minutes

Author Alyssa Rivers

Servings 6 Pieces of Chicken

This absolutely perfect chicken marinade will make your chicken so tender and juicy you will be amazed!!  This will be the one recipe that you use on repeat all summer!

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

I like to brush the chicken with the marinade a few times during the grilling process.

Nutrition Facts

Absolutely Perfect Chicken Marinade

Amount Per Serving

Calories 172 Calories from Fat 162

% Daily Value*

Fat 18g28%

Saturated Fat 3g15%

Sodium 374mg16%

Potassium 52mg1%

Carbohydrates 2g1%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 1g1%

Protein 1g2%

Vitamin A 14IU0%

Vitamin C 2mg2%

Calcium 19mg2%

Iron 1mg6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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