Category Archives: simple

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. 

 

 

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.

 

Spinach Pie


IMG_1909

Ughhh, I love this so much. It’s like a giant spanikopita, which is one of my favorite foods in the world. It’s both healthy and indulgent enough, needs almost zero seasoning, and can be prepped the day before, then assembled after work for a quick meal that’s ready in no time flat.

  • 32 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained really well
  • 1.5 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 large vidalia onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. dried dill
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 C. crumbled feta
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • One sheet puff pastry
  • 1 egg (for egg wash on puff pastry)

1.Preheat oven to 375.

2.Heat the 1.5 TBSP EVOO over medium in a large saucepan.

3.Dice onion and mince garlic, then add to the saucepan and stir until soft and translucent.

4.Remove onion mixture from saucepan and set aside to cool.

5.Wring out as much liquid as possible from thawed spinach, using a cheesecloth, or in small fistfuls with your hands.  This is key so you don’t have a soggy spinach pie.

6.In a large bowl, combine the spinach, the room-temperature garlic and onion mixture, the feta, nutmeg, salt, pepper, dill, lemon and two eggs. Mix well to combine. If you’re going to make this the day before, so the flavors really meld together, leave out the eggs until the next day.

IMG_1902

7.Roll out the sheet of puff pastry according to directions, then line a standard-size pie pan with it.

IMG_1901

8.Top the pastry with the spinach mixture, evenly spreading it around the pie pan.

IMG_1903

9.Fold pastry over itself, then brush with the egg wash (use the remaining egg for this).

IMG_1904

10.Bake for 45 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

IMG_1906

11.Let cool for five minutes, cut and serve.

IMG_1908

 

Lemon Chicken

FullSizeRender_3
This was honestly one of the best meals I’ve made in a long, long time. First of all, it’s super easy. Second of all, it made our house smell amazing. Third of all, it’s bright and light and so delicious we both were practically licking the sauce from the plate. I couldn’t wait to have leftovers the next day.

LEMON CHICKEN (serves 4 – recipe from Ina Garten)

2 lbs. chicken breast, skin on (this is critical to the dish, don’t get skinless breasts)
1/4 c. EVOO
8 cloves minced garlic
1/3 C. dry white wine
Zest of two lemons (be sure not to grate into the white part, or the “pith” – this will make the dish really bitter)
Juice of two lemons
1 Lemon, cut into six quarters
1.5 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
Kosher Salt & freshly cracked black pepper

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.In a small saucepan, warm the EVOO over medium heat, then add the mined garlic and cook until fragrant, about 60 second. Remove from heat.

3.Add white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme and 1 tsp. salt, stir to combine. Pour into a medium size baking dish.

FullSizeRender_1

4.Pat the chicken breasts dry and season with kosher salt and pepper on both sides. Add to the baking dish with the sauce, skin-side up.

FullSizeRender

5.Take the six quarters of unsqueezed lemon and tuck them among the chicken breasts.

FullSizeRender_2

6.Bake, uncovered, for about 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is done and the skin is light brown. If you use a meat thermometer and it indicates the chicken is done, but the skin isn’t brown and crispy, just crank up the broiler and cook for about 2 minutes, making sure not to burn it.

7.Remove, loosely tent with foil, then serve. We had this with quinoa and roasted veggies, and spooned the lemon sauce all over everything. So, so good.

FullSizeRender_4

Bacon-wrapped Asparagus


FullSizeRender_2

What’s better than grilled asparagus? Grilled asparagus, wrapped in bacon. These were so simple to make and completely delicious, and totally worth the little bit of a smoky kitchen. Throw open those windows and get ready to make this fantastic side!

BACON-WRAPPED ASPARAGUS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 4 pieces bacon
  • 1 tsp EVOO
  • Pinch of Kosher salt

1.Preheat the oven to 400.

2.Trim the asparagus – you can either just snap off the ends or cut them. Wash and dry well.

3.Divide the stalks into four even bundles.

FullSizeRender

4.Wrap one piece of bacon around each bundle, making sure not to overlap the bacon as much as possible. This is key to getting the bacon to cook at pretty much the same rate the asparagus does.

FullSizeRender_1

5.Place each assembled bundle on a cooling rack over a foil-covered baking sheet (this will create a little convection-cooking and allow the bacon to cook evenly). Brush the asparagus with a little olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt.

6.Bake for approx. 25 minutes or until bacon is cooked through. Serve and enjoy!

IMG_1524

Blood Orange Citrus Salad with Honey, Basil and Sea Salt


CS2

Winter in San Antonio has been…not terrible. While the poor East Coast is getting Snowzilla’ed, we’re outside enjoying the sunshine. And Central Market is currently having their Citrus Celebration, which features about 60 different kinds of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, etc. It’s beautiful and delicious and makes me happy every time I set foot in that store.

This salad is perfect as either an appetizer or a dessert. Blood oranges are seasonal, and sweeter than a typical orange, but the addition of a little drizzle of honey, some flaked citrus salt (if you have it, if not, regular salt will work too) and some julienned basil is the most amazing combination. So many flavors!!

BLOOD ORANGE CITRUS SALAD WITH HONEY, BASIL AND SEA SALT (Serves 2)

  • Two blood oranges
  • Local honey, approx. 1 tsp. per salad
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • Pinch of flaked citrus salt or regular sea salt
  1. Cut off the top and bottom of the orange, so it can stand on one end. Then, carefully remove the skin with a sharp knife, making sure you don’t cut away too much of the orange.

FullSizeRender

2. Cut orange into slices, width-wise, and arrange on a plate.

3. Drizzle with honey, sprinkle with sea salt and top with julienned basil. Serve immediately.

CS3

citrus

Look at all this citrus!!! Come on!!

Paleo Chicken Fingers (Gluten-free)


IMG_0561

Ok, to preface this  – I am not “going gluten-free.” However, I’m half Sicilian, and I love pasta way too much. And I also have a wedding dress I need to fit into in seven months, so something’s got to be done. So for the past few weeks, I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free recipes during the week, and “cheating” during the weekends. It keeps me in check with what I’m consuming, especially down here in Texas, and the portion control piece of all of this is also working out better than I expected. After three months of indulging in our new city, it’s time to reign it back in. And it’s a testament to these recipes that Brendan had NO CLUE I’d decided to start eating, and cooking, gluten-free. These were seriously delicious.

PALEO CHICKEN TENDERS (serves 4)

  • 1 lb. chicken breast or chicken tenders
  • 1.5 C almond meal (Bob’s Red Mill makes a great combo of the meal/flour)
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Prep your setup: in one bowl, have the eggs. In another, larger bowl, combine the almond meal with the spices. IMG_0559
  3. Using a fork (this will keep your hands from getting all breaded, themselves) dip the pieces of chicken first in the eggs, then on both sides in the almond meal, lightly pressing to make sure the almond meal forms a good coating on the chicken.
  4. Spray a cooking sheet with cooking spray or rub some olive oil on it.
  5. Place the “breaded” chicken on the baking sheet, then bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping once, until golden and chicken is cooked through.
  6. Serve with a side of honey mustard – I made this by just combining dijon mustard with a little honey and a little mayo – and some green beans.  So good.

IMG_0560

Roasted Red Pepper Dip




IMG_7559

Every good soft pretzel bite deserves something even better to dip it in or spread on it. There’s this awesome restaurant in town, POSH at The Scranton Club, which serves fresh-made soft pretzels accompanied by this incredible dip in lieu of your usual bread basket. Their food is fantastic, so even though I usually want to eat this whole basket, I try to show some self-control so I can still have room for dinner.  Then, I just make this soft pretzel bite/roasted red pepper dip at home.

I don’t even like roasted red peppers, but this – blended with cream cheese, feta, lemon and seasonings – is out of this world. I’ve taken this combo to a couple parties this year, and it quickly became my most-requested recipe.

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP (inspired by POSH at The Scranton Club)

Continue reading

Soft Pretzel Bites



IMG_7557

A confession:  I never made anything bread-related before this, and these (along with the feta and roasted red pepper dipping sauce) were one of the biggest hits of anything I’ve ever made. That’s how easy this recipe is. You can go full flour on this recipe, or half it with whole-wheat flour for a healthier version – they’re equally delicious (seriously.)

Continue reading