Bold and Bright Craves

Weary of the Crock Pot and the Instant Pot? Are you just plain weary? Kind of sick of cooking, but not willing to sit in the drive thru lanes (please don’t, the food is not healthy, even the five lanes at Chick Fil A, lightning strike me now)?

A local farmer friend of mine says her husband is sick of wet chicken. You know, chicken stew, chicken in saucy sludge, etc. Well, these dishes will bring you out of the wet chicken fog! Even better, they are a lovely transition to the summer, featuring a cold side, a tropical fruit, and a room temp entrĂ©e. 

Each of these dishes have a few components that take a bit of time and love, but when the various flavors come together, YOWZA. These are not pots of melded, slow cooked ingredients, but definitive, differently flavored parts that come together in a balanced, satisfying whole. They’ll leave you feeling clean and pleasantly full, not like the I-should-take-a-shower-after-that-greasy-burger-and-pollution-choked-drive-thru. You know what I mean. Bon appetit! 

Baked buffalo chicken with blue cheese potato salad

(wet chicken with ZING)

Serves 4


4 small-medium chicken breasts, pounded and seasoned with salt/pepper

Note: if no breasts available, you can use a whole traditional flavored rotisserie chicken, shredded

Buffalo sauce: 

3/4 cup honey

3/4 cup hot sauce, preferably Frank’s

1/2 stick butter, melted

Blue cheese potato salad:

1 small bag bite-size potatoes (2 pounds), quartered

2 celery stalks, sliced

1/4 cup chopped dill pickle or cornichons

1/2 cup or more mayo

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 teaspoon Dijon

1 teaspoon granulated or brown sugar

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, divided

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper


Preheat oven to 400. Spray a baking dish. Whisk together hot sauce, honey, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Pour buffalo sauce into sprayed baking dish and nestle in the pounded, seasoned, chicken breasts. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Bake until meat thermometer reads 165, and no longer or chicken will dry out (about 25-30 minutes). Be sure to baste chicken with the sauce after about 12-15 minutes. If you are using shredded rotisserie, place chicken in the baking dish and pour buffalo sauce over it. Heat until warmed through, 7-10 minutes.

While chicken is baking, put quartered potatoes into a large sauce pan and cover with water. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Simmer until potatoes are cooked through. Drain and sprinkle with salt and one tablespoon apple cider vinegar immediately. While those cool, mix remaining ingredients in a large bowl. When potatoes are completely cooled, add them to the blue cheese mixture, and stir to completely coat. Put in fridge to chill while chicken cools out of the oven.

Plate chicken and pour over some sauce carefully. Sprinkle with blue cheese and some scallions (just the green). Serve with chilled blue cheese potato salad. Top with celery leaves, and a bit more salt and cracked pepper to the whole dish.

Bang bang shrimp with mango salsa

(deconstructed shrimp sushi roll)

Serves 4


12 ounces medium raw shrimp, tails and peels removed

Teaspoon vegetable oil, sesame oil, garlic

Tablespoon soy sauce, tamari, or aminos

1 ½ cups sticky rice 

1 large piece nori (seaweed sheet) chopped into small pieces (optional)

2 medium avocados, mashed

Juice of half a lime

Kosher salt

Mango salsa:

2 ripe mangos, diced

1/4 cup red onion, small dice

1/4 cup red bell pepper, small dice

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Juice of half a lime

Bang bang sauce:

1/2 cup light or regular mayo

Tablespoon sweet chili sauce

2 teaspoons Sriracha

Sesame seeds


Cook sticky rice according to package instructions. While rice is cooking, heat oils in a deep skillet, medium heat. Add shrimp, garlic, and soy sauce. Stir, then cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Flip each shrimp and cook 2 more minutes. Take off heat.

While shrimp and rice are cooling, prepare smashed avocado, mango salsa, and bang bang sauce. Mix avocado, lime juice, and salt in a small bowl. Toss mango, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and lime juice in another small bowl. Whisk mayo, sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha in a third small bowl. 

To assemble, plate a serving of rice. Add nori if using. Add 8-9 shrimp, then avocado mixture, salsa, and drizzled bang bang sauce. Top with sesame seeds and serve at room temperature.