Senior year of college can be a difficult year. With graduation looming, thoughts of five-day work weeks and losing access to your parents’ credit card linger in your head. My senior year was defined by trying not to flunk my tax accounting class, searching for a job and learning to cook.

Six friends and I began P.O.W. (Potluck of the Week) a Saturday night dinner club with a different theme each week. Rotating apartments, the host would declare the theme and cook the main dish while everyone else was assigned an appetizer, salad, side dish or dessert. Our moms became a constant resource for recipes, ideas and techniques. Every week was a cooking adventure of great food and even better memories. The seven of us laughed until it hurt and ate until we couldn’t breathe, all the while gaining a greater appreciation for the home cooked meal.

Because my Mom was, and still is, my culinary inspiration, I created a cookbook for her with all the recipes from P.O.W.

Tonight I revisited “Mexican Night” from senior year….And I’m really missing those college days.

Salad with Avocado Dressing

Mexican Chicken

What You Need

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Block of Monterey Jack cheese
  • Shredded Colby Jack or Cheddar cheese
  • 1 can of mild enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 egg
  • Tortilla chips, black pitted olives, and green onions (optional)

What To Do

  1. Using a meat hammer, pound chicken until each breast is 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Wrap each pounded chicken breast around a 1-2 ounce block of Monterey Jack cheese.
  3. Beat eggs and pour into a shallow dish; dredge each chicken breast through egg and then roll in the breadcrumbs.
  4. Once each chicken breast is coated in breadcrumbs, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil in a pan on the stove to brown each chicken breast; cook for 5-8 minutes, flipping the chicken half way.
  5. Place all browned chicken breasts in a baking dish, pour enchilada sauce to coat all the chicken and then sprinkle with cheese.
  6. I skipped this step, but if you desire, sprinkle broken tortilla chips over the chicken and add black olives.
  7. Bake in the oven for 350° for 30 minutes.

Avocado Salad Dressing

What You Need

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What To Do

  1. In a food processor combined all ingredients except for the olive oil.
  2. Once all ingredients have been blended, add the olive oil.
  3. Season to taste, add more lemon or salt if desired.
  4. Pour chilled dressing over salad.
  5. For the salad, I used romaine lettuce, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and hearts of palm; you can use any desired ingredients in your salad.

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