Tag Archives: simple

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.

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  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.

 

Spinach Pie


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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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Pitaya (Dragonfruit) Breakfast Bowl

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I’ve been sporadically buying these for a couple weeks down here in San Antonio, and realized lately I better learn how to make them myself, because $9 for a breakfast bowl is notttt happening. Dragonfruit (or Pitaya, if you want to be really fancy about it) is a crazy-looking fruit that’s packed with antioxidants and is a gorgeous bright pink color the stuff my eight year old birthday party dreams were made of. I combined a frozen smoothie pack of this with some coconut water and frozen cubes of fresh papaya and banana, plus about a tablespoon of chia seeds that I soaked overnight. Then, you blend it into “eat with a spoon,” not “drink with a straw” texture, top artfully with fruit and toppings of your choice and serve to your fiance, who will think this is so pretty he’ll instagram it (Hi Brendan!).

PITAYA (DRAGONFRUIT) BREAKFAST BOWL (makes 1)

  • 1 packet Pitaya Plus Smoothie Pack (NEPA friends – check Wegman’s)
  • 1/2 frozen banana (peeled and cut into slices)
  • small handful frozen papaya cubes
  • Coconut water, about 1/3 a cup
  • 1 tbsp. soaked chia seeds (optional)
  • Toppings (your choice): Sliced fresh banana, raspberries, blueberries, coconut flakes, granola, kiwi, etc.

1. In a Nutribullet or a blender, combine the smoothie pack, frozen banana and papaya, chia seeds and coconut water. Blend until it’s an “eat with a spoon” consistency (add more frozen banana or even ice to thicken it, or more coconut water to thin it).

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2. Pour carefully into a smallish bowl.

3. Top creatively with fruit, granola, coconut etc. There are so many options for this beautiful, insanely healthy way to start your day. Enjoy!

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Cauli-rice


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I swear, cauliflower is one of my favorite sneaky little foods. It seems so boring and basic, but then all of a sudden, it’s cauliflower mashed “potatoes” that would easily pass for the real thing. Or it’s an insanely flavorful roasted little snack. Or it’s blended with potatoes and a hearty, comfort-food-style soup.  I kept reading about cauliflower “rice” and – amazingly – doubting its ability to be awesome. And then I tried it, and once again, cauliflower surprised me. This was so delicious (and healthy!), I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the real deal.

CAULI-RICE (serves 2)

  • Half a head of cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp. EVOO
  1. Carefully cut away most of the stems of half a head of cauliflower. Working in batches, pulse in a food processor until the texture resembles rice.

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2. Heat EVOO in a large skillet over medium heat.

3. Add cauliflower to the skillet when oil is heated, then cover and let cook for about 10 minutes. You want to let this sit a bit to pick up some flavor from browning, so don’t stir it more than once or twice.

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4. When cauliflower is ready, serve alongside just about anything. We had ours with salmon in parchment for a super-simple, heart-healthy Sunday dinner.

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Paleo Chicken Fingers (Gluten-free)


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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.

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French Green Bean Salad



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French Green Beans are one of my favorite foods in France. To be clear: these are not green beans, those chunky, crunchy, scowl-inducing veggies your mom used to make you eat as a kid. These are French Green Beans, or haricots verts, slender little delicate beans that are delicious on their own or quickly blanched and then tossed with some carrot sticks, a couple beet greens and that dijon-spiked, shallot-based classic french vinaigrette. This is not a salad. This is an event.  Enjoy.

FRENCH GREEN BEAN SALAD (Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side)

  • 1 lb. French Green Beans
  • 1/4 C. matchstick carrots
  • 1/2 C. beet greens (no more – the beans are the star of this, not the greens)
  • Classic French Vinaigrette

1.Blanch your green beans. You do this by gently boiling some salted water in a large pot, then throwing the beans in for no more than 2 minutes, or until the beans have a little bend to them, but aren’t soggy. Test them pretty often, so you make sure you get the right texture – it’s key to the salad.

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2. Have an ice bath ready, and when the beans are ready, quickly drain them in a colander and dunk them in the ice bath so they stop cooking. 

3. Drain the beans and pat them dry. Toss with 3/4 of the vinaigrette, then add the carrots and beet greens, and toss with the rest of the vinaigrette.

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4. Serve immediately and enjoy. J’adore les haricots verts!

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Classic French Vinaigrette



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I have tried and failed to duplicate that French vinaigrette – the real kind, the Paris kind – for years now. When we went to Paris in July, I made it my mission to figure it out. Every place we went that served something with the right flavor, I asked them what was in it. Vinegar and olive oil were usually the response, until one waitress hooked me up. This. This is the one.

  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped shallot
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp. good whole-grain dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 c. EVOO

1.Combine vinegars with the shallot and garlic. Let sit for 15 minutes – this mellows the flavors and sweetens it, somehow? It’s awesome.

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2. After 15 minutes, whisk in the mustard and the salt and pepper.

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3. Whisking constantly, drizzle in the EVOO until combined.

4. Taste and season. Serve with just about anything.

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Classic Pesto


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When I lived in Boston, I was part of a cooking club with some of my girlfriends, and the first thing we ever made was a Pesto, which I instantly fell in love with. There’s something so perfectly end-of-summery about it, and while it doesn’t keep all that long, you can freeze it in an ice-cube tray and then pop out little ice-cube portions of pesto whenever you get a craving. Brendan and I found these enormous, gorgeous bunches of basil at the Farmer’s Market on Friday, so I threw together this pesto. We’ve been eating it all weekend. Pestoooo.

CLASSIC PESTO (Makes about 2 cups)

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed (just leaves, not stems)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 C. EVOO
  • good pinch kosher salt, to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon, to taste
  1. Toast the pine nuts. Just put them in a skillet over medium heat and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking pretty frequently to rotate them. Keep a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
  2. Add basil leaves to a food processor (there’s no getting around having one of these to make pesto) along with the garlic and pine nuts, and pulse a couple times until it’s combined.IMG_0687

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Add cheese, pulse again until combined, scraping down the sides with a spatula. With the processor running, slowly add the EVOO until it’s all blended.

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3. Season with kosher salt and a squeeze of lemon to taste. We’ve had this on pasta, toast and as a base for a breakfast sammie. So good.

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  • A postscript – August was…interesting. There’ve been some real moments and challenges, but all I can say is how grateful I am for all the people in my life who love me, especially the support of Brendan, my family, and Pam and Mark G. I know I’ve been posting a lot less, but I had to take a break for a little while to kind of get my voice back. September is going to be one of the most decisive months of my life, but I’m going to keep writing through it. Lots to come. xo