Skip to content

Archive for

DLW: Chicken Garlic Sausage & Swiss Chard Flatbread


Dinner Last Week::

I love when a delicious and distinctive meal comes out of whatever is lying around in the fridge.  I think it actually improves the whole meal experience…ya know, low expectations!  Maybe I should lower my expectations all the time and be pleasantly surprised when dinner is quick and delicious and did not require it’s very own trip to the store for exact ingredients!

This is one of those dinners!  Swiss chard that was on its way to being sad, some garlic chicken sausages from Trader Joe’s, just enough mozzarella, a quarter of a red onion and some pizza dough from the fridge.  I quickly sautéed the chard and sliced and browned the sausage a bit.  Seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs and drizzled with some garlic oil!  I also pre-bake the pizza dough as I find it stays a bit crispier.  Oven is preheated to 450º with a pizza stone, roll or stretch out the dough, load it into the oven for 4-6 minutes, just until it is firm enough to pull out in one piece without ripping or tearing.  Toss all the ingredients on top and throw it back in the oven for another 3-6 minutes.

Poof!  Flatbread!

Advertisements

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini


I love me some summer, and all the light fresh summer dishes that appear at potlucks and barbecues this time of year.  However, I have a confession.  I have a love-hate relationship with peas.  Mushy green things were a common side on my plate growing up and I remember many a night when I sat at the table long after everyone else had finished…and all I had to do was eat 3 more bites of peas.  Gross!  Then I grew up (a little) and met fresh english peas…treated with the respect that such a pretty and perfectly petite vegetable deserved.  I loved them.  I convinced myself that they were two entirely different things that shared no common traits.  I’m still wary of pea dishes and always approach them with suspicion.  This little dish is shockingly simple but more than the sum of its parts.

Minted English Pea & Lemony Feta Crostini

Ingredients:

English peas, shelled
Feta (about 8 oz.)
1-2 tbsp.’s of ½ & ½ or milk
Fresh mint
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1 Baguette or crostini toasts
Sea salt for finishing

Start by blanching the peas in heavily salted boiling water for no more than 2-3 minutes.  Before you toss the peas into the pot, prepare a bowl of ice water and place it in the sink.  When the time is up, remove the peas and pour into a colander and then immediately submerge them in the bowl of ice water.  This will shock those little peas and keep them from overcooking and it sets the bright, fresh green color.  Once they have completely cooled, go ahead and drain the peas.

Next, get the feta, drain it and place it in a medium size mixing bowl.  I used half of a 16 oz. package.  Using a fork, mush up the feta and slowly add the ½ & ½ or milk.  Mix it up until it is a nice consistency for spreading on toasts, err on the side of keeping it a little thicker than you think.  First zest the lemon and then slice in half and squeeze all the juice out into a bowl or measuring cup.  Add in a tbsp. of lemon juice, a tsp. of the lemon zest, a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper.  This is a taste-as-you-go-recipe…so keep tasting and adding ingredients as needed.  You want a creamy spreadable feta with a floral lemon notes from the zest and a bit of zing from the juice.  The black pepper can be a prominent flavor as well.

Let the spread chill in the fridge for a bit.  Now grab the cooled peas and throw them in a bowl.  Take 5-10 mint leaves and stack them on top of one another, starting on the long side, roll them up like they are a yoga mat and then slice them very thinly.  Poof!  Chiffonade!  Sprinkle the mint into the peas, add some salt and maybe just a touch of lemon juice.  We brought these over to a barbecue…so I packaged everything separately and built the crostini on location…no one likes a soggy crostini.  Oh…did I mention the crostini/toasts…yeah, make them.  (Slice baguette thinly, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, lay in a single layer on a cookie sheet and then put in a 375º oven for 4-6 minutes – watch them carefully…you want them to dry out a bit and get just barely toasty, remove from oven, flip them over, repeat the drizzling and sprinkling and toss them back in the oven for another few minutes…maybe only 3 – cool completely and store in airtight bags.  Voilá…Crostini!)

Time to assemble the toasts:  spread on lovely layer of feta, place the peas over the top, add a little lemon zest, a little mint and finish with some flaky sea salt.

The other parts of this barbecue are SO worth mentioning…we grilled some white salmon that marinated in 3 mustards, tarragon, olive oil and a little vinegar. we’ve been lucky enough to cook some white king salmon once before!

It’s hard to make asparagus better than when it is lightly oiled and thrown on the grill!

This is Juno, the sweetest Doberman we’ve ever met…she makes our Cleo dog look like a miniature breed.  They are good friends and neither one of them minded when they got to nibble on a little of the cooked salmon skin!

We used some foil under the salmon as we could not bear the thought of losing even the slightest morsel to the slots on the grill.

We finished the salmon with more fresh tarragon and some fresh lemon.  And if you look really closely in the upper right hand corner of the photo…you’ll see some delicious sautéed fennel!  Unfortunately…no other photos are available of the complete dinner since I must have been on a trampoline when I took them – they were THAT blurry!

Sometimes, enjoying the meal with friends, while it is actually hot, is more important than getting the perfect shot!

Bon Appétit!

Smoky Peppadew & Paprika Potato Salad


Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

What says summer more than potato salad?  School’s out, the days are long, the weather is delightful okay…actually…our weather is fine…but June Gloom is in full effect!  A quick look outside would make you think it was chilly and dreary…but by 4 o’clock the sun is usually burning through the clouds and making an appearance.  We felt like breaking out our barbecue for the first time this year, throwing some hot dogs on the grill and eating on the patio.  Woody insisted on straightforward sides – as in cheetos…but don’t worry…we bumped the level of sophistication by getting the Baked Cheetos (did you know they make these…and they are delicious…there is hardly any difference in taste from the real fried ones…makes me wonder why they fry them in the first place!…I digress).

I love a good ‘ole standard mayo-based potato salad…but the Daring Cooks challenge calls for a healthier version., and we switched up the flavor profile a bit to make it a little more interesting.  Never a dull day around here!

Smoky Peppadew & Paprika Potato Salad

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
1 pound small red creamer potatoes or any other baby reds
3 peppadew pickled peppers,diced small
3 green onions, sliced thin
1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Dressing Ingredients:
½ cup greek yogurt (we use Fage Greek yogurt)
½ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ to ½ tsp. harissa paste (to taste)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. of Pickapeppa sauce
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
½ tsp. of sea salt and a grind or two of pepper

Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and leave on skins, cut into quarters
2. Boil potatoes till tender, about 15-20 minutes
3. Drain and cool
4. Dice peppadew peppers
5. Mix dressing, add peppadew peppers, taste for seasoning, and then toss in the cooled potatoes
6. Add in the sliced green onions and fresh cilantro and toss gently to mix
7. Chill and garnish with fresh cilantro and serve!

Yogurt.  Put it in the bowl.

Peppadew peppers are delicious…a mild and sweet pepper that is pickled and originates from South Africa.  Our favorite way to serve peppadews is whole, stuffed with goat cheese and topped with some fresh ground pepper and parsley.  These peppers have become very available in the last few years, you can find them in jars on the pickle or roasted pepper aisle in the grocery store, or more recently, they are pretty common in the olive bar area as well.

Slice and dice the peppers and set aside.  Harissa is hot chili paste used in many parts of North Africa and adds another complex flavor and a bit of heat to the dressing.

Add the peppadews, paprika and harissa to the yogurt along with a squeeze of lemon.  The peppadews add a bit of vinegar to the dressing, so not much lemon is needed.

Mix it all up.

Add in the potatoes and stir gently.

Add the green onions

Chill and serve.

BONUS!  I didn’t stop at one potato salad…nope…I made two.  ‘Cause I’m crazy like that!  This next one is a bit more traditional but still on the healthy side, recipe is a variation of Jami Sorrento’s Creamy Yogurt and Dill Potato Salad, our hostess for the June Daring Cooks Challenge.

Creamy Yogurt & Dill Potato Salad

Servings: 4
Ingredients:
1 pound small red creamer potatoes or any other baby reds
1-2 Celery stalks, sliced thinly

Dressing Ingredients:
3 tablespoons fresh dill
½ cup greek yogurt (we use Fage Greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Juice of ½ fresh lemon
Dash of Champagne Vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Dill for garnish

Directions:
1. Scrub potatoes and leave on skins, and cut into quarters
2. Boil potatoes till tender, about 15-20 minutes
3. Drain and cool
4. Slice celery
5. Mix dressing, taste for seasoning, then add cooled potatoes and celery
6. Chill and garnish with dill sprigs before serving.

Together at last…

Sit down and enjoy…hot dogs, baked cheetos, greens and of course – Potato Salads!

dinner last week…Quick Chicken Parmesan!


So you arrive home from work.  You’re hungry.  You want something home-cooked and comforting and you’re hoping it can magically appear in front of you any moment now.

Throw this quick dish together (with the help of Trader’s Joe’s).

Find a small bag of pasta in your pantry that you’ve been ignoring because it isn’t quite enough for a full meal, cook that up.  In the meantime, get the oven going according to the package of frozen breaded chicken tenders from Trader Joe’s and bake them for a bit.  If you’re like us, you probably have a half of a jar of some kind of pasta or marinara sauce in your fridge, so warm that up.  Now put everything together.  Toss the cooked pasta with some of the sauce and layer in an oven proof dish.  Place chicken tenders on top, cover with additional sauce, and top with some mozzarella cheese.  Put the whole dish back in the oven on broil for a few minutes.  Watch it carefully…when it’s bubbly, pull it out and serve it up.

Tada!  Chicken Parmesan!  Top with some fresh parmigianno and a sprinkle of fresh parsley!

%d bloggers like this: