Thursday, July 30, 2015

Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

It's summertime which is a wonderful time of year.  But it's hot... super hot.... I'm melting into the concrete with my camera equipment hot.  When I finally get a chance to eat something, I don't want anything hot.  So I began looking for alternatives.  This recipe does utilize an oven however you can certainly grill outside or cook the chicken in a slow cooker.
I also prepared the orzo and chicken the night before.  It then became really easy to put together the salads the next day. Plus enjoying a cold meal on a 93 degrees day is really nice.

 

 Greek Pasta Salad with Chicken

·      1 Large Chicken Breast
·      3/4 Cup Orzo Pasta
·      2 Cups Salad Greens
·      3 Tbsp. Olive Oil
·      1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
·      1 Small Tomato diced
·      1/4 Cucumber diced
·      1/4 Cup Feta Cheese
·      1 Tbsp. Oregano
·      1 tsp. salt
·      1/4 tsp. pepper


Sprinkle oregano, salt, and pepper over chicken and drizzle just a little olive oil on them. Saute or Bake chicken breasts until they are just cooked. I baked mine, it was just easier at the time.



Prepare orzo according to package instructions.  After it's cooked, add a Tbsp. of Olive oil and set aside to cool.  Allow both chicken and orzo to cool completely before putting together salads.

Chop tomato and cucumber.  Add feta cheese to it and set aside.





Prepare your bowls. Add a cup of salad greens and half of the orzo to each bowl.  Top with the veggies and cheese.  Slice and diced chicken breast. Add equal parts to each bowl.



Whisk together remaining oil and vinegar with a pinch of salt, pepper, and oregano. Drizzle over each bowl and toss to combine.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Berry Yogurt Cake


It's summertime which at my home means it's raspberry picking season. They come only for a few weeks a year and it's a wonderful delicious time.  They're only here for a few weeks, so I pick as many as humanly possible and then eat my body weight in raspberry goodness.  Occasionally I find ways to incorporate them into my recipes.
 























Berry Yogurt Cake

20 minutes of Prep
45-50 minutes of Bake time
12 Servings

·       2 Cups Flour
·       3/4 Nonfat Yogurt
·       1 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/4 Softened Butter
·       1 tsp. Baking Powder
·      1 tsp. Baking Soda
·       1/4 tsp. Salt
·       Non-Stick Pan Spray
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·      2 Eggs
·       1 Cup Raspberries
·       1 Peach, sliced
·       1/4 Cup Blueberries
·       2 Tbsp. Powdered Sugar

Make sure you have parchment paper too.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a pie pan or a 9 by 9 pan with non-stick pan spray. Add a layer of parchment paper to the pie pan.  Then lightly spray down the parchment paper.



Take eggs, butter, and sugar and beat them for about 4-5 minutes.  It'll become super fluffy and light. Add vanilla extract and yogurt. Continue to beat for an additional 4-5 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly incorporate your dry ingredients into the egg and butter mixture.



Pour mixture on top of the parchment paper in your pie pan.  Begin to layer fruit into the pie pan.  I like to put the peaches first and then sprinkle berries over the top.



Bake for 45 minutes.  Pull out when it's lightly browned on top.




Friday, July 10, 2015

Black Bean and Chicken Tostadas

Want something that will use up that leftover chicken you made the other day?  This recipe is an easy weeknight meal for anyone to accomplish. 

I love Tostadas.  Not only are they easy to make, but they are super versatile to fit anyone's tastes.  Seriously just add whatever toppings you want. This is just one take on the hundreds of different ways you can go. I also added some leftover mushrooms to this.  It's a great way to use up leftover veggies or meat.


Black Bean and Chicken Tostadas


30 minutes of Prep/Stove time
10 minutes in the oven
10 Servings

·       2 Cups of chopped Chicken (cooked)
·     10 Medium Corn Tortillas
·       1 Large White Onion (chopped)
·       1 Cups of Carrots (chopped)
·       1 Cup of Celery (chopped)
·       2 Garlic Clove minced
·       1/4 Cup Mushrooms (cooked)
·       1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
·       2 Cups Shredded Mexican Cheese
·       1/2 lbs of Black Beans dried.
·       4 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil
·       2 tsp. Salt
·       2 tsp. Pepper
·       2 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
·       Sour Cream (for serving)
·       Lettuce (for serving)
·       Chopped Tomatoes (for serving)
·       Chopped Avocado (for serving


Add 1/2 lbs of Black Beans to 4 Cups of water in a skillet.  Set aside to soak.



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set heat under beans to high so it begins to simmer.



Mix garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cilantro, onion, carrots, and celery with oil and saute it in a griddle or skillet for 5-10 minutes. Until onions are translucent and maybe a little brown around the edges. After veggies are done, carefully add them to bean mixture in the other skillet, allow entire mixture to simmer until beans are super tender.  This took about 20 minutes for me. Then drain liquid from mixture.



Use two cookie sheets and carefully lay out your corn tortillas.  Feel free to toast them in the oven for 5-10 minutes before adding toppings, but you don't need to do this. Top each one with bean mixture, mushrooms, and chicken, then top with cheese.


Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and browned on the edges.  Serve with avocado, tomato, sour cream, and lettuce.


Friday, July 3, 2015

Easy Brownie Mix

Yay it's a very special holiday weekend! As in you can stuff your face while watching fireworks.  Yay for multitasking.  But seriously, you may be invited to about 5 different barbecues and have no clue what to bring.  Here's an easy solution for that.

I am a huge chocolate fanatic.  One of my favorite chocolatey dishes to eat is a really good traditional brownie.  Brownies are super easy to make and are also pretty full proof to bake.  However as easy as it was to stick a brownie mix from the store into a bowl, it's also a bit expensive.  The good ones retail at $3-4 a box unless you get them on sale.  I began looking into how I could make my own and it turns out it's super simple.  I had all of the ingredients on hand and it tasted better than the box kind.  I did add brown sugar instead of all granulated sugar, I felt it gave more flavor to the brownie.  But you can use all granulated sugar if you prefer.

 

Brownies

5 minutes of Prep
20-25 minutes of Bake time
12 Servings

·       1/2 Cup Flour
·       1/3 Cocoa
·       1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
·       1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
·       1 tsp. Baking Powder
·       1/4 tsp. Salt
·       Non-Stick Pan Spray
·      1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
·      2 Eggs
·       1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
·       1 Cup Chocolate Chips (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a pie pan or a 9 by 9 pan with non-stick pan spray.




A good tip with these is to use a really good Cocoa.  My favorite is Hershey's but you might have your own fav.



Typically I mix my sugars with my wet ingredients like butter but in this instance I mix the dry ingredients first and then add the oil, vanilla, and eggs.




Once everything is well mixed, you can add the chocolate chips if you like. Then add to your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Don't over bake this.





Serve with whipped cream and fresh fruit.