Heavenly Chicken

This chicken is so good that Brendan took one bite (eyes closed, of course, which is his “tell” that something is seriously delicious) and said something so filthy it’s unprintable on this blog. The Greek yogurt and lemon marinade tenderizes the chicken over the course of a couple hours, and the mix of spices sinks all into it and combines to make some of the tastiest chicken I’ve ever had. This is a great make-ahead meal if you meal-prep, and it’ll keep for a full work week. I strongly recommend grilling this, as that just takes it to a whole other level.

Heavenly Chicken (serves 4)

  • 1.5 lbs chicken breasts. I used thinly-sliced, but you could do regular size too.
  • 1 6-oz (approx) container of plain greek yogurt – not fat-free. This is key.
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp. ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Pepper
  1. Combine the spices.

2. In a dish large enough to hold all the chicken, combine the greek yogurt and lemon. Combine until mixed well, then fold in all the spices.

3. Add chicken to the spiced greek yogurt mixture, then coat evenly, making sure all chicken surfaces are covered.

4. Marinate for at least four hours and up to ten.

5. Grill the chicken until it’s done, flipping once or twice and getting those nice grill marks (thanks Bren).

6. When chicken is fully cooked, serve with a nice root vegetable salad or save for a week’s worth of meal-prep deliciousness.

 

Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Lemons and Olives with Quinoa and Lemon-Tahini Dressing

I’ve been trying recently to make salads that combine a bunch of produce and taste like they could be served in Paris (“Feed me like one of your French girls”).  This was a great combo of some cherry tomatoes that were a couple days away from their expiry date, roasted cauliflower (which is my all-time fav), chickpeas, mediterranean olives and lemons, topped with a lemon-tahini drizzle and served over a quinoa and bulgur mix. It seems way fancier than it is, takes about 10 minutes tops to throw together, minus cooking time, and makes a ton of a really healthy, super filling dish for lunch or dinner.

Roasted Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Lemons and Olives with Quinoa and Lemon-Tahini Dressing

  • Two 15.5-oz. cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • One lemon, sliced into fairly thin rounds
  • Half a large head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size slices
  • 1/3 cup olives, pitted
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes
  • One cup dry quinoa, or quinoa/bulgur mix, which is delicious and takes approx. 10 minutes from start to finish to cook
  • 1.5 tbsp. Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp. coarsely-ground salt
  • 2.5 tbsp. EVOO, or Lemon Olive Oil, if you have it
  • Lemon-Tahini Dressing
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, for easier cleanup.
  3. Spread chickpeas over the parchment paper, then top with sliced cauliflower, olives, cherry tomatoes and sliced lemons. 
  4. Drizzle olive oil over everything, then add herbs de provence and salt. With your hands, mix everything until fully covered. 
  5. Roast for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and use a spatula to flip as much as you can. Roast for another 15 minutes or until tomatoes are blistered and cauliflower has browned edges. 
  6. While the dish is roasting, make the quinoa/bulgur mix according to package directions. When ready, fluff with a fork and remove from heat. 
  7. Serve the veggies and chickpeas over the quinoa. Drizzle with some lemon-tahini dressing to taste. 

 

 

Lemon-Tahini Dressing

This dressing is so simple, so delicious and can be used as a drizzle over anything from roasted veggie sides – it would be fantastic over roasted asparagus – to a salad or a hearty dish over grains. It keeps for about a week but honestly, you’ll be lucky if it lasts for more than a day. Enjoy.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing (makes about 1.5 cups)

  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO (lemon olive oil, if you have it, is amazing in this)
  • 1 large garlic clove, pulverized or finely grated on a microplane
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  1. Combine all ingredients, then stir really really well until it reaches a “drizzle” consistency – you want it to slightly coat a spoon, but also pour off pretty easily. Make sure you eliminate all the lumps of tahini – you want this to be smooth.

    pre-mixed

  2. Season to taste with more lemon juice, salt and olive oil as needed.
  3. Serve and enjoy, or keep in the fridge up to a week.

 

Quinoa, Lentil and Herbed Root Vegetable Salad

Apparently my new thing is to just combine some grains/legumes, roast some veggies, toss it with some fresh herbs and there you go: a delicious side, or main, that goes with almost everything. Rosted radishes are among my very favorite roasted veggies – you can get a big bundle of them for about a dollar right now, and organic carrots are about $1.50, so this whole dish couldn’t possibly cost more than $5 total. I honestly don’t know what my deal was with avoiding lentils for so long. They’re super healthy, filling and delicious, too!  Enjoy.

Quinoa, Lentil and Herbed Root Vegetable Salad

  • 1 Cup green lentils, cooked
  • 1 C. uncooked quinoa (makes approx. 2.5 cups)
  • 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch sticks
  • 1 cup radishes, quartered
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  • Kosher salt & fresh pepper
  • Fresh dill & fresh flat-leaf parsley, one generous tbsp. each.
  • Sprinkle herbs de provence (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Prepare the veggies. In a roasting dish, toss with EVOO, kosher salt, fresh pepper and herbs de provence. Cook approx. 25 minutes or until roasted, turning once or twice.
  3. Cook lentils according to package directions (should take about 25 minutes).
  4. Cook quinoa according to package directions (should take about 20 minutes).
  5. While everything is cooking, make an herbed lemon-yogurt dressing. Combine greek yogurt, lemon juice, salt and shredded garlic, then add chopped herbs.
  6. Combine roasted veggies, lentils and quinoa, then top with the remaining fresh dill and parsley.
  7. Top with a little herbed lemon-yogurt dressing and enjoy!

 

Herbed Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

Herbed Lemon-Yogurt Dressing

  • 1 C. Greek Yogurt
  • 1.5 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or shredded on a microplane
  • Fresh dill and fresh parsley, chopped, approx. 1 tbsp. each
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO or Lemon Olive Oil

This one is pretty difficult. Ready?

  1. Combine everything, season to taste, add more olive oil or lemon juice to thin the dressing to your preference.
  2. Refrigerate for about an hour. Will keep for approximately five days, but odds are good it’ll be gone before then.

 

Broccoli and Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Bombs

This is really simple, super delicious weeknight meal. Taking the shortcut of using a “steamables” version of the broccoli and cheese sauce allows you to throw all this together in no time flat for a healthy meal that makes great leftovers, too. Honestly, I would roll just about anything up in chicken – but this one earns its name since these little chicken bombs are legit “the bomb.”

BROCCOLI AND CHEESE-STUFFED CHICKEN BOMBS (serves 2-3)

  • 1.5 lbs thin-sliced chicken breasts
  • Broccoli & cheese sauce (steamables)
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1/2 C. water
  • Squeeze of lemon
  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. Cook broccoli and cheese steamables according to package directions, set aside until it’s room temperature (so the heat from it doesn’t start to cook the chicken once you start assembling).
  3. Arrange your little assembly station: place the panko breadcrumbs in one bowl, mix the EVOO, water and squeeze of lemon in another bowl,
  4. Salt and pepper the chicken.
  5. Lay chicken on a flat surface, then top with the broccoli/cheese mixture and a sprinkle of the mozzarella. 
  6. Roll the chicken up in a little twirl of deliciousness, then dip in the EVOO/water/lemon mixture, then roll in the breadcrumbs. If you have olive oil spray, lightly give the chicken bomb a little spray. This will help them develop a golden color as they cook.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
  8. Place the chicken in a lightly greased baking dish, then cook for approx. 30 minutes or until cooked through. Serve and enjoy.

 

 

 

Stuffed Peppers

Ok, so I hated these growing up. Then one day about a year ago, I decided to try them again. And they’re AMAZING. Making them with ground turkey and adding a secret spice to them kind of makes them taste – warmer, I think. Brendan added these to the top of his “favorites” list and he gets soooo super psyched whenever I tell him I’m going to make these for dinner. This all comes together really quickly, especially if you use quickie rice, looks so pretty and makes perfect leftovers, too. Enjoy.

STUFFED PEPPERS (makes 6 halves)

  • 3 red and/or orange bell peppers
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. EVOO
  • 2 tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 vidalia onion, chopped
  • 1 large tsp Garam masala (don’t skip this, it gives it a unique flavor we love)
  • 1 large tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 C chicken broth
  • Grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • Uncle Ben’s quick-cook rice (I use the whole grain brown chicken-flavored rice) that cooks in 90 seconds
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Heat EVOO over medium heat in a large skillet. Add chopped onion, garlic and cilantro, sautee for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add ground turkey, garlic powder, garam masala and salt, stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the turkey is browned.
  4. Add 1/2 C. chicken broth and all the tomato sauce, turn the heat to low and simmer for five minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the peppers lengthwise (I think this also makes the dish look so much better), scrape out the seeds, but keep stems on if possible for decoration.
  6. Heat up the rice according to package directions, then add to the turkey mix. Stir to combine.
  7. Place peppers in a baking dish, then carefully stuff with the turkey and rice mixture. 
  8. Top with shredded cheddar cheese.
  9. Add another 1/2 C. of the chicken broth to the baking dish, creating a little pool of liquid around the peppers (don’t splash this IN the peppers).
  10. Cover and bake at 400 for 45 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven, top with scallions and serve immediately.

 

French Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

Ugh, I swear this is how French women stay skinny. I crave vegetables in France. There’s just something simple and indulgent about how they’re cooked and presented, and my very favorites are haricots verts, or French green beans. They’re basically American green beans, but super skinny (very French). This is a super simple, incredible tasty side that I could have with almost every meal I make. Enjoy.

FRENCH GREEN BEANS WITH TOASTED ALMONDS (serves 3-4 as a side)

  • 1 Lb. haricots verts (you can usually find these in grocery stores like Whole Foods, Wegman’s or Central Market, they’ll be labeled “French green beans.”)
  • 2 Tbsp. walnut oil
  • Heavy pinch fleur de sel
  • Fresh-cracke black pepper
  • 1/4 c. blanched and slivered almonds (you can find these in a bag in the grocery store, you don’t have to do this yourself).
  1. Heat walnut oil in a nonstick skillet over a little more than medium heat.
  2. Add green beans and a heavy pinch fleur de sel. Stir and cook for about three minutes.
  3. Cover most of the pan with a lid and cook for 6 more minutes, stirring every 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat a small pan over medium, then add walnuts and toast, shaking the pan frequently and watching closely so the almonds don’t burn. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat when golden brown.
  5. Add salt and pepper to haricots verts to taste, then top with toasted almonds. Serve and enjoy. J’adore les haricots verts!

Buffalo Chicken Meatloaf

Texas is good at a lot of things, but they miss the mark on anything buffalo (wings, hoagies, bites, etc.). I’ve really been missing that food since we moved here, and finally came up with a recipe that solves my cravings, sneaks in some veggies and can even be made gluten-free. It’s awesome and one of my go-to’s when I need some comfort food.

BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATLOAF (serves 3-4)

  • 1 Lb. ground chicken
  • 1/3 c. blue cheese dressing, plus more for dipping
  • 4 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot (or your favorite hot sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 3 scallions (whites and greens)
  • 1 large stalk celery, diced (plus more stalks for serving on the side)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 c. almond meal (or flour if you prefer)
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine all ingredients except for the blue cheese and Frank’s Red Hot.
  3. Form into a meatloaf shape, place into a lightly greased pan.
  4. Combine blue cheese & Frank’s Red Hot, pour over the meatloaf to coat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes, carefully pouring off the runoff after about 25 minutes.

6. Let rest for about 5 minutes, them slice and serve with a drizzle of blue cheese and fresh-cut celery sticks.

 

Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad

Roasted Winter Vegetable Salad

Annnnd, I’m back. What a year. For everything we’ve all been through in 2017, I’m really hopeful for everything ahead in 2018. As Nina Simone would say, it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and I’m feeling good.

This hearty winter salad helps. Freekeh serves as the base and is loaded with protein and fiber. Roast up some veggies (including a sweet potato), toast some almond slices, whip up a quick lemon-maple vinaigrette and toss it all together. This is awesome and filling on its own, but Brendan has eaten it for breakfast, warmed quickly and topped with a fried egg. And it’s good for you!!  Anyone else need a detox after the holidays?  Hell, anyone need a detox after the dumpster fire of 2017?  Start here.

ROASTED VEGETABLE WINTER SALAD (serves 4)

  • 1 cup freekeh, pre-cooked
  • 1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups cauliflower, broken into florets (I had purple cauliflower on hand, which was so pretty in this, but any color will work)
  • 1/4 c. almond slices
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries

Lemon-Maple Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 400.
  2. In a small pot, bring one cup of freekeh (no need to rinse this, like you do with quinoa) and 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes or until cooked. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.

    Freekeh

  3. Toss brussels sprouts, sweet potato and cauliflower with a glug or two of EVOO and some kosher salt & fresh-cracked black pepper. Roast at 400 for about 25 minutes or until browned and tender. 
  4. To make the dressing, combine the lemon juice with the salt and pepper. Next, add the maple syrup and then whisk in the EVOO. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and add the almonds, flipping often, until golden brown – about 3 minutes. Keep an eye on these – they’ll go from perfect to perfectly burned in a span of about 30 seconds. 
  6. In a large bowl, combine the cooked freekeh, the roasted vegetables, toasted almonds, dried cranberries and the dressing. Mix everything together.
  7. Serve and enjoy. Happy 2018!

    Winter Roasted Vegetable Salad