Sunday, February 21, 2010

fruit and nut salad with brie and citrus viniagrette

i love using fruit in salads! pears are especially versatile. they have a sweetness that can temper a nice vinaigrette dressing, but also a gentle tartness that keeps a salad from becoming a dessert.

add in some sunflower seeds, which are always a great addition to a salad, and you've got a healthy, yummy salad indeed.

fruit and nut salad
1 head of lettuce
1/4 cup almonds, slivered
1/3 cup carrot sticks
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/8 cup honey roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup mandarin oranges, rinsed
1 pear, diced
brie cheese

rinse the lettuce, then rip off pieces and tear them into smaller salad-sized pieces. mix everything together except the oranges and pear. wait to dice and add until about ready to serve so the salad doesn't get soggy. serve with the following dressing, topped with small brie squares. serves about 8.

citrus vinaigrette dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup orange juice (no-pulp)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp pepper

*the dressing recipe came from this website, but the salad is pretty much something i threw together!

lemon basil tortellini salad

this pasta was a merger of two food experts, italy and greece. tortellini, the great stuffed pasta, hails from italy and is often served with cream sauce or soup. i have always liked tortellini, even by itself, but my love forever deepened when i discovered its comforting properties brought out by a ham and cream sauce on a rainy day in venice. on the other hand, the marinade for the chicken is inspired by a sunny day riding an ATV in santorini, greece, using major greek food ingredients (garlic, oregano, lemon).

how do we put them together? by merging! adding the traditional italian seasoning of basil into the marinade gives the chicken some depth, and sharing some lemony love (and olives) with the pasta brings out tangy flavors alongside the vegetables. and of course, a heaping dose of olive oil, which is adored by both countries.

lemon basil marinade
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2.5 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
1 tsp oregano, chopped
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
juice of one lemon
zest of one lemon

mix ingredients together in a large ziploc bag or plastic tupperware container. shake, and set in the fridge for at least 2 hours before cooking. to cook, drizzle a small amount of olive oil into a skillet on medium heat. cook each chicken breast in the oil for about 7 minutes each side, until lightly brown and fully cooked through. no lie, i threw these things together and this chicken was perfectly delicious!

tortellini salad
1 family size package of 4-cheese tortellini
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup of olives, cut into small slices
3 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp basil, chopped
juice of one lemon

bring a pot of water to boil. add tortellini and cook for about 7 minutes (follow package instructions).

meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. add garlic, and when the garlic sizzles, add the onion and bell pepper pieces. cook for about 6 minutes. pour veggies and oil into a large bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients. stir well. add the cooked/strained tortellini and the chicken from above (cut into bite sized pieces) if you made it earlier.

with the chicken and veggies, this is enough for 6-7 people. i served it with the fruit and nut salad (see following post!) and easy to make what i call "banilla" cups.

banilla cups (aka banana pudding + vanilla wafers)
no-cook banana pudding mix
heavy whipping cream
mini vanilla wafers

follow the instructions on the pudding box, but instead of using all milk, use half milk and half whipping cream. whisk until it reaches a pudding-like consistency. use small clear plastic cups and layer with wafers and pudding! chill in the fridge until ready to serve. one small box of pudding should make enough for 5-6 servings.

Monday, February 15, 2010

chicken wrap adventures part 1

a tale of two chicken wraps!

chipotle chicken rolls
2 chicken breasts, shredded
5 green onions, sliced and chopped
1/5 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1 garlic clove, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (or use chipotle salsa if you don't want it to be too spicy)
dash salt
dash pepper
6 sheets phyllo dough
spray on olive oil or butter

mix everything together in a bowl. transfer to a plastic bag and cut the tip of the bag (to use to squeeze the mixture out). place a sheet of dough in front of you on the counter, with the long side closest to you. spray a thin layer of oil or butter on top. then add a second sheet on top and spray again. then add a third sheet and spray again. now, squeeze a thick line of mix all the way across the sheet on the long side, but leave a little space along the edges. roll the entire long length away from you, then pinch the edges shut. place seam side down on a nonstick pan, and spray a thin layer of oil or butter on top. do the same for the rest of the mix!

bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. let cool for a minute, then cut each log into 4 pieces. serves about 3.

avocado dip
1 avocado
1.5 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp cilantro
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil

mash avocado, then mix the rest of the ingredients in. the original recipe called for a food processor, so if you have one and want this to be a smoother dip, go for it! just add a little more lime juice and olive oil too.

southwestern chicken wraps
1 chicken breast
2 tbsp corn (from a can)
2 tbsp black beans (from a can)
3 tbsp cheddar cheese
1 green onion stalk, diced into small pieces
2 tbsp carrot sticks
1/2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp barbeque sauce
2 tsp ranch dressing
dash salt
dash pepper
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
6 sheets phyllo dough
spray butter or spray olive oil

boil chicken in a small pot of water until cooked through (no pink). if you cut the chicken into smaller pieces, it will cook faster.

mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl while the chicken cooks. after chicken is cooked, shred it and add to the bowl.

follow the same steps as above, layering 3 phyllo sheets with butter or oil in between each, spreading half of the mix along the last sheet. then roll. make a second wrap roll with the remaining mix and phyllo sheets.

 this is how to spread the filling! set the rolls seam side down on a pan and spray with butter or oil. then bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (until golden brown). when slightly cooled, slice into 4 sections each. you can serve with different kinds of dip, including ranch, sour cream, guacamole, or my favorite "fiesta ranch dip" which is a dressing packet mixed with a 16 oz container of sour cream. serves 2-3!

*the first recipe is modified from a rachel ray's book of 10, and the second was inspired by the use of phyllo dough, but i made up the filling on my own.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

guacamole dip

guacamole dip
1 avocado
1.5 tsp lime juice
dash salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 can Rotel diced tomatoes, drained

mash up the avocado, then mix all the other ingredients in. makes enough for about 3 to munch on as a snack!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

raspberry fudge brownies

just in time for valentine's day! 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


i love biscotti. usually i really enjoy baking sweets but don't often eat a lot of them...i like to give them away. but biscotti to me are nice and toasty and go well with coffee or hot chocolate. and, they're not too sweet. so i don't always give them away. :) they can also have a great variety of ingredients like the following:

white chocolate chips

macademia nuts


--> feasting fact: BISCOTTI
the name sounds like biscuit...and it is like a biscuit, although think of the Britishy hard style biscuits in this case. they are "twice-baked" cookies although i like to cook them...thrice. haha. basically you cook the whole slab of dough once as a cookie, and then you cook the sides to make the cookie harder and crunchier. i just like to make things even so i cook them on each side for a shorter period of time. the longer you cook, the crunchier the biscotto. (biscotto is singular; biscotti is plural)

white chocolate macademia biscotti
1 cup butter
1.5 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup almond slivers or slices

preheat oven to 325 degrees. spray two pans with nonstick cooking spray.
in a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. beat in eggs, vanilla and amaretto.

separately, stir flour, baking powder and salt. add to larger bowl.

add the "toppings": nuts, chocolate chips, and almonds.

divide dough in half. roll each into a log and set in the middle of the pan. (see below for size)


bake 20 minutes until light brown. let cool for and cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices. (see below) let cool for a few minutes, then arrange slices on their sides and cook for 6 minutes. then flip each piece to its other side and cook for 6 more minutes. the cookie should be light golden brown.

here is how i sliced the bread after it's first jump out of the oven. see how it's slightly diagonal? simple enough.


--> feasting fact: mix and match!
you can make this recipe your own by adding different combinations of ingredients. pick two or three of the following, then follow the basic recipe above!

almond slivers or slices (1 cup)
butterscotch chips (1 cup)
cherries, dried (1 cup)
chocolate chips (1 cup)
cinnamon, ground (2 tsp)
cocoa powder, unsweetened (1/2 cup)
cranberries, dried (1 cup)
hazelnuts, chopped (1 cup)
macademia nuts, chopped (1 cup)
orange (1 tbsp orange zest + 2 tbsp orange liqueur or orange juice)
pine nuts (2/3 cup)
walnuts, chopped (1 cup)
white chocolate chips (1 cup)

you can also melt some chocolate and either drizzle it over the cookies or dip the end of the cookie into it. let cool and enjoy! this recipe makes about 30 biscotti cookies.

*this recipe is modified from one of my favorite sites yet again!