Monday, June 13, 2011

Cucumber, Feta and Cranberry Pasta Salad with a Citrus Vinegarette

One afternoon, I had a facebook friend ask me if I thought my citrus vinegarette recipe could be used as a pasta salad dressing. I had never thought of such a thing! I filled her in on the fact that it definitely would not work with the traditional ingredients that are usually put into a pasta salad, but if I came up with anything I would let her know...... well did I ever come up with anything! Delicious, light and refreshing. Enjoy!

citrus vinegarette (posted in previous blog posting)
1/2 box of cooked pasta of your choice
1 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 container of crumbled feta cheese

Prepare the citrus vinegarette. Dice, very small, an english cucumber. (The ones wrapped in plastic, they aren't covered in gasoline. Yes it's true) Toss noodles with the cucumber, feta crumbles and dried cranberries. Pour a very generous amount of dressing on, the pasta will really soak it up. And toss together. Taste test to check your flavoring. Add a bit more dressing or even some salt and pepper if you need. Sprinkle with a bit more feta for presentation and serve. It's a wonderful addition to your summer picnic!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Baked Mexican Roll Up

Baking bread, cooking chicken, needing to use some black beans. TaDa! Baked mexican roll up. My mother in law mentioned to me that she uses pizza dough, rolled very thinly,  as burrito wrappers. We were pleasantly surprised with this experiment!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Bread or pizza dough (I have a homemade recipe for both posted below)
Prepared chicken (I boiled in water with 1/2 package of taco seasoning)
Black Beans
Cheddar cheese
Taco seasoning

Make the dough and allow to raise for an hour.

Roll out the dough extremely thin.
(If you only need to make 2 burritos, the remaining dough can be used for a pizza or a loaf of bread.)  

Cut the dough circle down the center to make two wrappers. Top with some shredded chicken, black beans, salsa, and cheese.

Sprinkle with taco seasoning and fold in the edges.

Hold together with toothpicks and bake for 20 minutes.

Orange Poppy Seed Vinegarette

This salad dressing is a wonderfully fresh and light option for your summertime salads. It is great on a mixed greens salad with strawberries, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds and grilled chicken. It is also the dressing that I used on the Chicken, Feta and Dried Cranberry wrap posted below. However you use this salad dressing you will certainly enjoy it!

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp of orange zest (if you aren't using fresh orange juice, just leave this out)
1/4 cup Orange Juice (I used fresh, but bottled would work too)
1/2 tsp of poppy seeds
1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
2-3 tsp of honey
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

Browsing food blogs is a peaceful pastime I have aquired. Usually when the kids are sleeping and the house is quiet, I will find the couch with some decaf and my laptop and look around at all the beautiful pictures of food. It fills me with peace and inspiration to learn new things. I came across these muffins while admiring the Pioneer Women's site last year. They were a winner of a recipe test she was doing from recipes that had been submitted to her from her readers. I made my own little changes, of course, and they have become my go-to blueberry muffin recipe ever since. They make a delightful addition to any snack, brunch or playdate. And they are so pretty to look at!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light olive oil (or grapeseed oil)
1 egg
1 generous cup of plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla Extract
3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (or 2 cups w.wheat. 1 cup unbleached)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries
Sift or stir the dry ingredients together and set aside. In your mixer, or mixing bowl, combine the sugar, oil, egg, yogurt and vanilla until smooth. Slowly add in the dry ingredients, reserving one cup. Toss the blueberries in the dry ingredient mixture and fold in. The batter will be very thick. Scoop into greased or paper lined muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

*** Added 1 cup of shredded zucchini. Baked in a bundt pan for 50 minutes. Topped with a lemon glaze which is just the juice of one lemon with 1-2 cups of powdered sugar. Combine until thick and pourable ***

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vegetable Panini

Crusty bread, warm cheesy filling, and a plate full of vegetables. Pretty much a perfect meal for me! Panini sandwiches are a treat to have and you do not have to have a panini grill to make them. All you need is a full tea kettle and a greased frying pan. Let me fill you in on the rest...

Ciabatta rolls from the grocery store bakery (these were multi-grain)
Any vegies you have to sautee (I used onion, zucchini, peppers and tomoatoes)
Cheese of your choice ( I used mozzarella and feta)
A few basil leaves if you have them
Garlic Salt

Sautee your vegies in a pan (I used cast iron skillet) in olive oil. Slice the ciabatta rolls and sprinkle cheese on one half. Top with sauteed vegies and spread out the basil leaves. Place the other half of ciabatta on top of the filling. Sprinkle the same oily pan that you sauteed in with the garlic salt. Place the fill sandwiched into the pan and top with a large plate. Put the full tea kettle on top of the plate and press down. On medium heat toast the sandwich on one side and flip over replacing the tea kettle. Toast the other side until brown and crispy. Cut on a diagonal and devour!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Shredded Chicken and Black Bean Tacos

Simple and Mexican.... seems to be my favorite combo lately! And I am not changing that anytime soon. My husband must have picked up on this theme because I got a Mexican cook book for my birthday and I am very excited to learn different techniques and how to make some of my favorite dishes! Cilantro and lime, need I say more?! Of course, I will be sharing it all with you.... 

2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded * See below comment
1/4 of an onion
1/2 of any pepper you have
3/4 of a cup of black beans
1-2 TBSP of taco seasoning
1/4 cup of water

I boil my chicken in 2 cups of chicken broth. (Mainly because it's all I can do to get it into the broth and still be able to eat it! I get wierd about cooking the chicken and then eating it! So I avoid cutting up raw chicken with all my might! But if you are normal and don't have an issue like that, you could dice it up very small and let it cook up with the vegies, but hold off on adding the black beans until later) While the chicken is boiling chop up the onion and pepper and sautee in olive oil on medium heat. Remove the chicken from boiling after 12 minutes or so and shred with two forks. Place shredded chicken into the onions and pepper. Add in the black beans. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and add the water. Let bubble and blend flavors for 5 minutes or so. Top with your favorite taco toppings and eat slowly so it's not over too quickly!

* We have many times eaten this dish without the meat. Simply add some sliced zucchini and any other vegies you would like. Makes a great vegetarian option