Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Cheese... on the Grill

Ok so it's not regular grilled cheese but this fun recipe I saw on the Whole Foods website: Grilled Goat
Cheese and Artichoke Toasties. Except they weren't really grilling them. They cooked them in a grill pan on the stove. Bummer... because they are delicious on the grill. I even accidentally took a video! -->>>

Simple to make with a few pantry staples, this is a healthy app for a party and/or a nice lunch.

8-10 ounces goat cheese
1 (14.1-ounce) can artichokes, packed in water, drained and chopped (I like big chunks you can taste!)
1/2 cup jarred pimientos, drained and finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano
4 green onions, trimmed and finely chopped (this was way too much - next time we might leave it out altogether or cut back to just one.)
8 thick slices whole wheat hearth bread (Publix bakery makes a nice round loaf of multigrain bread)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Preheat a grill to medium-low heat. In a bowl, mash together goat cheese, artichokes, pimientos, oregano and green onions. Spread evenly on one side of each slice of bread. Arrange on the grates and cover (with the grill lid). Grill until bread is deeply browned on the bottom and cheese is warm, about 5 minutes. Top with parsley and serve.

Original recipe here.

In the spirit of the Summer of Salads, can this be considered a spreadable salad? It's full of veggies... and would also be good on crackers or as a dip with even more veggies.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Tropical Fruit

This recipe was a real experiment. I took parts of different recipes and adapted them to what I envisioned.
Thomas had requested a salad with pineapple (and cantaloupe... but that part will have to wait!). Lime coconut chicken sounded like a good complement for pineapple. I hoped to add quinoa but wasn't sold until I found a recipe for lime quinoa. Add some mango and viola! We had this for dinner Monday night and it was amazing!!

Grilled Coconut Lime Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Tropical Fruit

Serves 4.

For the marinade and dressing:
5 Tablespoons peanut oil
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
Grated zest of 2 limes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons ground coriander
4 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
3 teaspoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 cup coconut milk

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, pounded out to an even thickness, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick

Whisk together all the marinade ingredient in a medium sized bowl. Place the chicken and 3/4 cup to 1 cup of marinade in a gallon ziploc bag. Squeeze any air out of the bag, then continue turning the bag to make sure the chicken is coated in marinade. Place bag in refrigerator for at least two hours. Reserve the remaining marinade as dressing for the salad. Cover and refrigerate. Grill the chicken approximately 5 minutes per side over high heat, or until cooked thoroughly. Remove from grill; allow to cool and then slice for the salad. 

For the lime quinoa:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or even water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 lime, juiced and zest freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add the quinoa and stock (or water) to a saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the coconut oil (you can swap butter), lime juice, zest, salt and pepper.

For the salad:
Romaine lettuce, chopped, about 5 ounces
Spinach, about 8 ounces
Prepared chicken
Lime quinoa
Mango (we used 2 nice ripe ones; one would be enough for 4 people)
Pineapple (we grilled half a pineapple the day before and chopped it for this salad; would be fine raw as well)
1 red bell pepper (we used left grilled red and green pepper and onion), sliced
4 carrots, cut into match sticks (or whatever shape you like!) 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 limes, cut into wedges

To assemble the salad, make a bed of lettuce and spinach on each plate then add each of the toppings. Sprinkle cilantro on the chicken, or the whole salad. Serve with the reserved coconut lime dressing (which is especially delicious on the lime quinoa!). 

Lime coconut chicken recipe from Fine Cooking here; came to me via pinterest from this adaptation from Chaos in the Kitchen here. Lime quinoa recipe found here on How Sweet It Is.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Salad

I found this Curtis Stone (remember Take Home Chef??) recipe on pinterest, posted by Menu Musings. It's easy and delicious! We adapted the recipe a little, including adding mandarin oranges.

Marinade, chicken and dressing
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp very finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp hoisin sauce
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp sriracha
¼  tsp kosher salt
2 (9-oz) boneless, skinless chicken-breast halves
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup minced red onions, white and green parts

2 lb napa cabbage, halved lengthwise, very thinly sliced crosswise
5 carrots, shredded or cut into matchstick-size strips
3 green onions (white and green parts), thinly sliced on a sharp diagonal
⅔ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tsp white sesame seeds, toasted
1 can (11-ounce) mandarin oranges, drained (we used the kind packed in light syrup)

1. Marinade: In a medium bowl, whisk soy sauce, ginger, canola oil, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha, and salt to blend. Transfer 4 Tbsp of the marinade to a gallon ziplock bag, add chicken, and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

2. Dressing: Whisk vinegar and green onions into the remaining marinade. Set aside.

3. Heat the grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from marinade, add to grill, and cook about 4 minutes per side, or until chicken shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest 15 minutes.

4. Cut chicken crosswise into ¼-inch-thick slices.

5. Salad: In a large bowl, toss chicken, cabbage, carrots, scallions, cilantro, and half of the almonds with enough dressing to coat lightly.

6. Mound salad in center of 4 plates. Re-whisk dressing and drizzle a little over and around salad. Sprinkle with the mandarin oranges, remaining almonds, and sesame seeds.

See Curtis's original recipe here, and Menu Musing's post about it (step by step photos!) here.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Music: Never Mind the End by Tei Shi

Found this version of the song to share (original here is super creepy, which doesn't negate the greatness of the song but does detract...). Via This is Our Jam.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pool Time

Things are looking good out by the pool. We love the new liner!
new table and new cushions for the chairs.
(burger Friday last week)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Southwestern Salad

Summer of Salads continues: Southwestern Salad
It's the dressing that makes this salad really sing and for that we have the blog Damn Delicious to thank for this recipe.

8 ounce package romaine hearts, cleaned and chopped
6 ounce package baby spinach
2 ears sweet corn, grilled, kernels removed from cob (we had corn the night before so I just prepared a couple extra ears)
1 14.5-ounce can seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
2 avocados, pitted and cubed
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half if large
1 portion of chicken of your choice per person (I used frozen chicken tenders we had in the freezer, cooked them ahead and let cool before serving - or omit the meat if you prefer!)

Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (we used Fage 2%)
2 cloves garlic
juice of one lime
2 pinches salt
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 Tablespoons olive oil

The original directions used the food processor for this, but T loves the blender so we tried that. Put the cilantro, yogurt, garlic and lime juice in the machine of your choice. We added the vinegar as well so there'd be enough liquid to get the contents going. Once it's smooth, with the motor running, slowly add the olive oil. No need to make it in advance, but I'd recommend making it first and then assembling the salads. Letting it sit just that 10 minutes brings the flavors together. It stores well in the fridge too.

Serves 4

Monday, May 19, 2014

Summer of Salads

Mothers' Day keeps on giving .:)
I order Cobb salad a lot at restaurants and it never occurred to me until last year to make it at home. Crazy, right? It's super easy and just as delicious when you assemble it yourself.

Last Monday night we had Cobb salad from our Mothers' Day leftovers - some applewood smoked bacon (from the BLTs we had from lunch) and steak from dinner. Add some grape tomatoes, blue cheese and hard boiled eggs on top of romaine lettuce and dinner is done. Even Thomas ate it all (with a healthy amount of blue cheese dressing).

It was so tasty that I thought, hey, this should be the summer of salads. Keep the kitchen cool. Experiment with some new recipes. Eat a lot of veggies... It's a win-win. And I'll plan to share the best recipes here on the blog.

For inspiration, I set up a group pinterest board (let me know if you want to join!)

Follow Amy's board Summer of Salads on Pinterest.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Quote of the Week

You're only human. You don't have to have it
together every minute of every day."
- Anne Hathaway

Friday, May 16, 2014

More Quiche!

Here are the recipes for the two delicious quiches we had for dinner Thursday.

Tomato Asparagus Quiche with Goat Cheese

12-15 stalks asparagus, partly cooked (I used Trader Joe's frozen Grilled Asparagus Spears, defrosted)
a handful (7-10) grape tomatoes
1 prepared pie crust (Publix is our go-to brand)
3 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1-2 Tablespoons grated Gruyere
1 - 1.5 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare a heavy baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper (just in case the egg spills, this will help it make less of a mess).

Prepare the veggies: Slice the asparagus into one-inch lengths. Cut the tomatoes in half (or smaller) so each piece is about the same size. Place the tomato pieces on a paper towel and roll them around to remove some of the moisture. Season the tomatoes lightly with salt and pepper.

Next prepare the custard. Beat the eggs well then fully incorporate the milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Assemble the quiche. Pour about half the custard into the prepared pie crust then scatter most of the asparagus around evenly. Add about a quarter more of the eggs then the rest of the asparagus and all the tomatoes. Sprinkle the Gruyere evenly then add dots of goat cheese (around 1/2-inch or so in size, depending on how big a goat cheese hit you want in a single bite) over the entire top. Finish by adding the remaining egg mixture.

Bake on the prepared tray for 25-30 minutes or until set up. I recommend the bottom rack of the oven - that'll help keep the crust from burning around the edge. Remove from oven and let cool five minutes before slicing.

Potato Cheese Quiche

This one is almost exactly the same as Ham Potato and Cheese Quiche

3 small potatoes (I used Yukon creamers)
1 prepared pie crust (Publix is what I like; they're in the freezer section)
3 eggs
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup grated Gruyere
2-3 Tablespoons grated cheddar

Preheat the oven to 375. Prepare a heavy baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper (I baked these two together on the same tray).

Stab the potatoes, then microwave for 2 minutes on high under a paper towel. Leave them untouched for 4-5 minutes then take them out and peeled and dice them. I like to cook them ahead and let them cool. The skins won't hurt you so skip that step if you want. I dice them into about 1/2-inch cubes. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper.

Prepare the custard: Beat the eggs well then fully incorporate the milk. Season with salt and pepper.

Next, assemble the quiche. Pour about half the custard into the prepared pie crust then scatter most of the potatoes around evenly. Add a layer of Gruyere, then more eggs, the rest of the potatoes, the rest of the Gruyere, all the cheddar with any remaining egg mixture last.

Bake, on the bottom rack, 25-30 minutes, or until set up. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

More Quiche Recipes from me:
Ham, Potato and Cheese Quiche (one of my most popular posts!)
Butternut Bacon Quiche (love this!!)
Crustless Quiche (with spinach, tomato and three cheeses)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Quote of the Week

Nobody has ever measured, not even poets,
How much the heart can hold.
-Zelda Fitzgerald

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Quote of the Week

Take criticism seriously,
but not personally. If
there is truth or merit
in the criticism, try to
learn from it. Otherwise,
let it roll right off you.
- Hillary Rodham Clinton
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