Saturday, July 3, 2010

homemade tzatziki!

yet again, the beautiful islands are calling my name. i just ordered the culinaria:greece cookbook which is absolutely magical. i spent all day reading it and couldn't resist whipping up a little greek magic in the kitchen!!

this tzatziki (say it with me: zaaaht-zee-kee) is perfect on toasted pita bread. and it's easy to make!

1/2 of a cucumber
1 serving (6 oz) of plain Greek yogurt
1/2 of a lemon
1 garlic clove, mashed or diced finely
dash pepper
dash salt
2 tbsp olive oil, the darker the better

wash the cucumber and slice it in half. scrape out the seeds and dispose them. grate the cucumber into a bowl. squeeze the cucumber pieces to get rid of the juice- you want the tzatziki to be as thick as possible, not runny.

add the yogurt (thicker the better) to the cucumber and mix. add juice from the lemon (careful about the seeds!), the garlic, pepper, and salt.

when you're ready to serve, drizzle the olive oil on top and enjoy!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

rosemary ranch chicken kabobs

these kabobs produce tender, fragrant chicken. great with a light salad or with rice and steamed broccoli.

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (or dried)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 5 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6-8 skewers

marinade: stir together the olive oil, ranch dressing, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, salt, lemon juice, white vinegar, pepper, and sugar. let stand for 5 minutes. place chicken in the bowl, and stir to coat with the marinade. cover and refrigerate for an hour.
preheat the grill (i used a george foreman style indoor grill). thread about 5 pieces of chicken onto each skewers and discard marinade.
grill skewers for 8 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, and the juices run clear. serves 5-6. 

*adapted from

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

oatmeal peanut butter cookie sandwiches


doesn't this little guy look delectable? i was craving peanut butter today and that reminded me of an oft-told story about my failed attempt at making peanut butter balls. sophomore year of college, when i first started trying to cook things, i was elated at the success of the first meal i cooked for a group, (fettuccine alfredo with broccoli and garlic bread) and thought, why not try my hand at desserts next? how about peanut butter balls? ha. did you know that there are multiple kinds of sugar? okay, sure, brown,, there is more than one kind of white sugar! confectioner's sugar is not the same as granulated sugar. here is the first lesson i ever learned about cooking. confectioner's sugar IS powdered sugar. white, powdery, you get the idea. anyway, i didn't know that then. and so, i mixed all the ingredients together, which formed....a giant sandstorm. nothing stuck together! so i thought i'd be clever and make it into a cake. nope. still didn't stick together; in fact it was more like a giant sand dune after that! 

--> feasting fact - PEANUT BUTTER:
it's awesome.

oatmeal peanut butter cookies
bowl 1 (large):
1/2 c. butter, softened (zap in the microwave until squishy, it's ok if some melts)
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur; if you don't have any, use more vanilla)
1 egg

bowl 2 (just for mixing the dry items before adding to the above):
3/4 c. flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

"bowl" 3
1.25 c. dry instant oatmeal (like Quaker, etc.)

cream the items under bowl one together, except add the egg last after mixing everything else first. beat until creamy.

now, mix all the dry ingredients in bowl two together and pour into bowl one. use a spoon or spatula to mix rather than using the beater. stir well, then add the oatmeal. mix it up really well! it should be a nice, fluffy consistency that isn't too sticky. i really liked working with this dough.

heat the oven to 350. now, take a spoon and drop small chunks onto nonstick baking pans. keep the sizes pretty small (smaller than ping pong balls). then press each with a fork once to flatten. bake for exactly 9 minutes until light brown. they will look airy when you take them out but after about two minutes they set nicely. let cool, and meanwhile, make the sandwich filling below!

sweet peanut butter filling
3 tbsp butter, softened
1 c. confectioner's sugar (aka powdered!)
1/3 c. peanut butter
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp vanilla

cream all of this goodness together with a mixer. now, the cookies should be hardened. pick two that are the same size, spread some of the filling on, and squish them together to make sandwiches! if you are big on presentation, gently place the second cookie on top with a circular motion- that will get the filling to spread evenly to the edges. :) makes 50 cookies, or 25 sandwiches. 

*recipe adapted from this website. just modified some of the amounts and added a little amaretto to kick up the flavor. also, starting now i am taking these pictures as i bake, so hopefully that will add a little color and make the food look even am i hungry for one of these RIGHT NOW.

Monday, June 28, 2010

bbq chicken pizza

would you believe that you can get away with using NO tomato sauce at all on a pizza? ok, ok, some would call it a crime...but i call it delicious. 

bbq chicken pizza
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or diced
premade pizza crust
bbq sauce
3/4 red bell pepper
2 green onions
cheddar cheese

spread bbq sauce over the entire pizza. add bell pepper and chicken. top with cheddar cheese and green onions. bake at 350 for about 12 minutes!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

black bean & cheddar soup

so i bought this bag of dried black beans the other day hoping to kick start some healthier eating. i was trying to figure out what to do with them and decided to try making a soup. i've never used dried beans before, so a few things were new to me. first of all, you have to rinse them and take out any deformed or messed up beans. then, you have to spend at least 2 hours getting them to a somewhat mushy consistency. so this soup is best in a slow cooker or at least when the beans are prepared earlier in the day.

around lunchtime, i added 1.5 cup of dried black beans to a pot, and added hot (not cold) water to cover them about 2 inches above. bring the water to boiling on the stove, and let boil for 5 minutes. then remove from heat and cover with lid until 1 hour before i was ready to eat dinner. keep the water in the pot. then i added the rest:

black bean & cheddar soup
1.5 cups dried black beans, cooked as per above
1/2 cup cream of celery condensed soup
1/3 cup salsa (i used salsa verde)
2 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup white onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
bag cheddar cheese, grated
a few green onions, chopped into small pieces

heat a burner to medium-high on the stove, and return the beans to the heat in the pot they are already in. add the rest of the ingredients except the cheese and green onions. bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 45 minutes. top with a generous heap of cheddar cheese and a few pieces of green onion. you can also use sour cream. makes about 8 servings.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

chicken & bell pepper tostadas

sour cream sauce:
1 cup sour cream
1.5 tbsp onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, finely chopped
juice of 1/2 of a lime 
1 garlic clove, minced

combine ingredients at least an hour ahead of time and refrigerate, covered. 

2 avocados
1/8 cup tomato, diced
1 tbsp sour cream
juice of 1/2 of a lime
garlic salt

mash avocado in a medium bowl. mix in the rest of ingredients. make right before cooking tostadas.

chicken tostadas:
6 yellow corn tortillas
3 chicken breasts, shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded, cored, and flattened
1 yellow or green bell pepper, seeded, cored, and flattened
1 poblano pepper, seeded, cored and flattened
1/4 cup onion, diced
bag shredded cheddar cheese

2 tsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
juice of 1/2 of a lime
dash salt
1/4 tsp pepper

line a baking sheet with foil and toast the tortillas in the oven until crispy. (about 10 minutes at 350 degrees).

on the same baking sheet, lay the peppers, outside skin side up, on top. broil for a few minutes until blackened. then cover in a bowl with saran wrap for a few minutes. this will make the outer skin easier to peel off.

while the peppers cook, mix the sauce: olive oil, garlic, lime, salt and pepper. add shredded chicken and onions and toss to coat well. once the peppers are done, dice them and add to the mix.

heat oven to 400 degrees. now, lay the tortillas on a baking sheet and top each with some of the chicken mixture. layer on some of the sour cream mixture. then top with as much cheese as desired. toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortillas are toasted.

taken from this fantastic website, except my recipe for guacamole! serve on the side with chips.

Monday, June 14, 2010

greek style kabobs

we were looking for a quick meal for a hot summer day, and decided to put together some basic greek ingredients together for an easy marinade. 

greek style chicken kabobs
4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
1 cup olive oil (depending on preference- put in enough to cover the chicken) 
juice of one lemon
1 tbsp oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp pepper
1 tsp salt
vegetables to grill- i used 1 onion and 1 green bell pepper, cut into cubes

mix the olive oil, lemon juice, and seasonings in a medium bowl. add chicken cubes and let marinate. (we put this together quickly and 10 minutes was great- though an hour will add more flavor). cut the veggies while the chicken marinates. 

heat the grill and brush with a little bit of oil to prevent sticking. alternate threading the veggies and chicken on the skewers. cook about 7 minutes on each side, until cooked through. you can also broil these, a few minutes on each side! enjoy!!