Thursday, May 29, 2014

Greek Orzo Salad

Ok so this was seriously one of the best sides we have had with Sunday dinner in a while and we all just raved about it.  I was getting good pics of the pasta in the nice pasta bowl...all the colors were looking wonderfully bright and delicious.  I was basically just zoning out at dinner looking forward to doing this post because I loved the dish that much!

As I got to organizing my thoughts and editing the pictures it occurred to me that I didn't have a recipe.  Dad had made it but he is so diligent about keeping the recipes he uses so I didn't give is another thought, just knew ole dependable, reliable, wonderfully predictable Dad would have it waiting for me.

And then the air went out of my balloon with a big obnoxious farting noise as this is the response I got from Dad when I asked for the recipe:

I kind of combined recipes. Cooked the orzo in chicken broth as per directions. Added grape tomatoes, feta cheese black olives and whatever you think. Dressing was olive oil and lemon juice.

Ummmm.....Ok.....well how much of everything, Dad?

To taste. 


So friends, here it is.  As we all know...some of the best recipes come from throwing a whole bunch of ingredients in a bag and hoping for the best!

Greek Orzo Salad
1 package orzo
I container grape tomatoes
Feta cheese
Kalamata Olives, drained
green onions, sliced
Olive oil
lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cook the orzo according to the package directions. We substitute chicken broth for the water to give it a little more flavor.  Drain pasta and add remaining ingredients to taste.  I would start with the entire container of grape tomatoes, a handful of feta cheese, all the olives (but that is because I am obsesed with olives), all the green onions, and then about 3 turns of the olive oil around the bowl and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  As always salt and pepper to taste. 
Once you have mixed everything together let it sit for at least 30 minutes and then taste to see what flavors need to be adjusted.  This allows time for all of the ingredients to "marry" thus giving the true flavor of the dish.
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Halibut Picatta

These days life has been a little bit hectic, which I love, but it has left little time for home cooked meals.  Lately it seems the only home cooked meal I get is the one we prepare as a family on Sunday afternoons.  I am perfectly happy with that as I can think of no better company than the fam with whom to share a meal!

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were looking for a new fish recipe to try that wouldn't take a ton of prep and came across this one. 

My family doesn't seem to have much of a sweet too (unless ice cream sandwiches are in the room, then back up) but we do love ourselves some salty goodness!

This recipe fit the bill with the fish, the capers and the sweetness of the sherry to cut it all into Sunday Dinner perfection!

Halibut Picatta
2 6-ounce (fresh) halibut fillets
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup sherry
2 tablespoons capers
1 tablespoon fresh italian parsley, chopped
½ fresh lemon (zest and juice)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
¾ pound fresh asparagus

Steam asparagus until almost soft and set aside.
Heat the oil and 1 tbsp. butter in a nonstick skillet on medium high heat until bubbling (careful not to burn the butter).  Season the halibut with salt and pepper.
Add the halibut to the hot skillet and cook until lightly golden brown on both sides, 
about 3-5 minutes per side.  
Set the halibut aside and turn the heat to medium low.  
Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute (careful not to burn).
Add the white wine and deglaze the pan.  
Simmer to reduce the sauce a bit, about 5-10 minutes. 
 Turn off the heat and add the capers, butter, lemon and parsley until butter completely melts.  
Season with salt and pepper.  Check the taste at this point. If you like more of a lemon flavor, add another squeeze of lemon and re-taste.  If too lemony, add a little more butter.
Place the halibut fillets on top of a handful of the asparagus and then drizzle with the sauce.

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Creamy Garlic Pasta

When it comes to my Achilles heal the very top of the list, behind any vice I could possibly have, are starches!

Potatoes, pasta, bread....Y.U.M.M.E.R.S!

It's horrible...I really have no self-control (shocker) when it comes these three favorites.

So with a strong will and a heavy heart I have been try my best to avoid them like the plague....Try as I might, I failed.

Went down in flames, hit my startch rock bottom....FAILED!

In my defense, it really wasn't my fault.  I blame Pinterest.

No really, if I am forced (clearly against my will) to spend hours looking at all the amazing, scrumptuous recipes, I am only being set up for failure.

That makes sense, right?  No?  Well we're gonna go with it anyway!

Giving in to my failure I went back to one of my stand-by mantras....Go big or go home!

All of that to be said, I tried this as a side to a really healthy meal otherwise and it might just have to be a another sin on the list of sinfully delicious treats I allow myself...and you know what, I am totally ok with that!

1 lb angel hair pasta
(3) 14.5 oz cans of chicken broth
2 cups of whipping cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp minced garlic
chopped parsley for garnish

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.  When butter is melted, add garlic.  Cook for 1 minute.  
After cooking garlic, add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  
Once chicken broth is boiling, add angel hair pasta.  Cook pasta until done then lower heat and let simmer until most of the broth has evaporated.  
Turn heat off and add whipping cream and parmesan cheese.  
Garnish with chopped parsley and serve!
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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

This time of year I am always on the lookout for grilling recipes that keep the family outdoors during the amazing weather.  More often than not though I find a recipe that is written to be cooked in the kitchen and with a few small adaptations, voila! We have a grilling recipe in minutes!

That is exactly what I did with this one and though the spice was a little too strong for my 3 year old nephew, the adults seemed to gobble it up!

Happy grilling season!

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce
4 — 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
½ avocado
½ tsp garlic powder

Combine all of the spices and mix well.  Rinse the chicken breasts and place in a ziplock bag.  Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and toss to coat.  
Spray the grill grate with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken for 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. 
Meanwhile, mix Greek yogurt, remaining lemon juice, garlic powder and avocado in a food processor.
To serve, place the chicken on a bed of quinoa and drizzle the sauce on top.
We served the chicken over creamy garlic noodles with an arugula salad and it was sheer perfection!

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