Before you panic at the “long” ingredient list realize it is all things you most likely already have in your pantry & fridge. Its a quick week night meal that you can bake while you change, set the table, throw in some laundry… Or maybe that’s just my game plan for tonight. Anyway, you gotta eat so might as well bake this up and give your taste buds something different than grocery store rotisserie chicken. Although trust me I am not hating, only appreciating how much our age bracket eats that stuff.
4 chicken breasts
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tsp of Dijon mustard (so very optional, I just like the tang)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash, any flavor
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
pinch of cayenne pepper (more if you like heat, or even a tsp of sriracha would be good)
pinch of dried parsley flakes
Here is the picture of just dumping all those ingredients and combining.
Spoon each chicken breast with the mixture. Make a foil tent for each breast. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min. For the last 5 minutes take out of foil, baste with juices and broil on low. (I did it on high and started charring the tops of the chicken-not a good look)
My friend made a great suggestion of serving the chicken with the pan juices although I thought the chicken was moist enough without making my plate messy with extra sauce. I am also nuts on plate presentation though so I’m probably wrong here on the taste scale.
My roomie is from Louisiana so I have these moments in which I just want to sit down with a mason jar of sweet tea and eat some good old finger licking Cajun food. Now I would never dare attempt to make some crawfish or authentic creole cooking, but I wanted to do a quick weeknight homage to a girl from Houma, LA.
P/S I hate okra, but would love a kick a$$ gumbo or jambalaya recipe if any of you NOLA girls would like to hook a Philly girl up. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org and the winner will get posted on the blog and will also be eligible to win a groceries tote!
1/3 cup of half and half (original calls for heavy cream but its healthier this way)
1-2 tbsp. butter (ok seems like a lot but, its delish!)
1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning
2 tsp. of smoked paprika
2 tsp. of cayenne pepper
1 tbsp. of crushed garlic
1 tsp. of dried parsley flakes
1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup of chicken broth (again do the healthier option-low sodium)
On medium to high heat in a non-stick sauté pan create a roux (fancy French word alert: butter & flour mixture). That will be the base and thickening agent for your sauce. Slowly add in the garlic and spices. Once dissolved in the roux, add the liquids (both the half & half, as well as, the chicken broth). Stir the liquids to combine with the roux. Lower heat and toss in diced chicken or shrimp (cooking times will vary but any protein of choice will work. I did 1lb. of shrimp for 2 people) Now add the lemon juice and parsley flakes. Continue stirring, if the sauce is too thin add more roux (make another flour/butter combo). However, once completely mixed & you lower the heat, it should be fairly creamy and not watery. I served over cappellini noodles, but this would be very good over some dirty rice. Oh and I sprinkled with some chopped green onion for a traditional touch!
Can I just tell you, I freaking LOVE LOVE LOVE the Morrocan chicken salad at CPK (You know California Pizza Kitchen, yes food blog people DO go to chains) Anyway, I am obsessed with it, BUT its SOOO expensive! Literally, I spend $16-$18 on the salad (the range is because the tax/tip usually makes it $17) which is totally cray to spend on a salad and yet I do. A) because of the convenience of grabbing it after work en route to my night MBA class B) because it is beyond delish! It has all the taste bud pleasing elements you can think of: sweet, savory, crunchy, creamy, etc! Anyway work was slow this week and I have an online class this semester so I am not running around as much and I figured its time to replicate this salad. Especially because I need to save my money for pedicures. Oyi my feet are looking rough! woof! Ok back to the tasty salad prep. As always this is going to reuse ingredients from other recipes. At CPK they use a champagne vinaigrette, so I grabbed a bottle of the Trader Joe’s pear champagne vinaigrette used in one of our salad recipes and a chicken dish to toss my greens with. Then the beets were in the last salad recipe as well-ha can you tell I really like them?! Might be the new truffle, lol just kidding that would never happen.
1/3 cup Dates (Sliced in halves or quarters depending on how big yours are, I did mejdool dates)
1/3-1/2 cup Toasted almonds (I tossed them in a pan to toast when I was boiling the eggs)
6 oz. Beets (Drain all the water if using the canned stuff and chop vs. slice)
10 oz. Roasted butternut squash (I just did it with salt, pepper, and paprika)
1/2 cup Cranberries (I bought dried packaged ones from the store)
3 Grilled chicken breasts (I just did it with cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, cumin, & paprika)
1 Avocado (dice into cubes)
1 medium Red bell pepper (try for the same sizes as the beets and avocado).
1 package or 8-10 oz. Mixed greens (tossed w 1/3 cup of the bottled dressing)
Chopped up boiled eggs (I did 2, but 3 without the yellow of the 3rd would be good too)
Heat up a nonstick pan (I used my grill pan since it was washed & ready from the last time I made burgers) with some olive oil and sear the chicken breasts (I had them coated & rubbed in with the spices on both sides of the breasts) until cooked through about 5-7 minutes on each side. Let the meat rest before slicing and adding to salad. While you are cooking the chicken you can toss the squash with some oil & spices as well and roast in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. While the chicken and squash cools, chop the other veggies and eggs and mix well. This is how pretty the colors look:
I called this recipe the pseudo salad because its a knock off of the one from the restaurant and its much more filling than a regular old salad. This is meant to be an entrée and that’s why there is a bit more cooking involved than most salad recipes. Anyway its yummy, don’t worry about what the title means, just devour.
Fish tacos are one of my absolute favorite summer meals (with a margarita, of course). I mean, you can’t go wrong with burgers and hot dogs, but fish tacos are the real treat. I first had them at a seafood restaurant in East Hampton with our friend Tara. At the time, I only ate salmon and these were made with Mahi Mahi. I was skeptical. But once I took my first bite it was heaven!
Just like our crabby cakes, I always thought fish tacos would be too daunting to make – would I overcook the fish?! Would the sauce come out just right?! Well it turns out they were much easier to make than I thought. We’ve been doing a lot of grilling this summer and we started running out of new options so I figured, “what the hell?”.
4 fillets of Mahi Mahi
1 tbsp chili pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
A pinch of salt
4 soft tortillas
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tbsp of mayo (Helmann’s, not Miracle Whip)
1 cup of red cabbage, thinly chopped
1/2 of a lime
2 cups of finely chopped cilantro
1/2 red onion finely chopped (I used my multi-chopper for these)
1/2 tomato finely chopped
1/2 of a lime
(You could also add corn for a sweeter taste.)
Season the Mahi Mahi with the chili pepper, cayenne and salt, and grill for 15 minutes – approximately 7-8 minutes on each side. While the fish is grilling, in a small bowl mix together the cilantro, onion, tomato and lime juice. In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt, mayo, cabbage and lime juice. When the fish is just about done, warm the tortillas on the grill. Layer the fish, sauce and salsa in the tortilla and enjoy!
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Holidays are centered around food and drink. So let me share a Spanish inspired recipe with you that I threw together this weekend with a bunch of leftovers. Feel free to chow down with a fresh and strong margarita! Ole!
4 large green bell peppers
1.5 cups of rice (I used left over Spanish rice that I made from a store-bought package)
1 cup of chopped yellow Spanish onion
1 tbsp. of crushed garlic
1 packet of taco seasoning (do not add your own salt & pepper, there is plenty in the store-bought taco mix)
1 lb. of ground turkey* (I had some leftover from a taco salad)
1 tbsp. of ketchup
2 tsp. of sriracha
1/2 cup (or 4 tbsp.) of shredded cheese (Anything works I did a Mexican blend, but plain cheddar is good too).
**Add frozen corn or canned beans (About 1/2 a cup should do the trick) to stretch the ground meat further in case you don’t have that much leftover. Although if making fresh do a 1lb. package of ground turkey. (chicken or beef would work just as well).
Brown the meat with a little vegetable oil, taco seasoning, the onions, & the garlic in a nonstick pan over medium heat. My secret tip is that when the meat is done, stir in the ketchup and sriracha. It adds a good tomato-ey flavor and keeps the meat moist. Plus the sriracha adds a yummy spice/kick. Once the meat is cooked, crumbled and cooled, mix it with the corn (or beans) & rice. Note that while the meat is cooking, prepare the peppers by slicing off the tops and cutting out the ribs & seeds. Rinse and dry before stuffing. Lastly, stuff the pepper and top with the shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 min or until the cheese has melted & pepper has charred. Serves 4 people, 1 pepper per person.