Saturday, June 30, 2012

Oatmeal, Raisin & Walnut Muffins

You know muffins aren't health food, right?
Good... just making sure...
But, then again, don't you feel better about a baked good that includes things thatare good for you?  Like Oatmeal, nuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds?

I made these the other day when we had an impromptu family breakfast party, and everyone agreed that this was a great little muffin!

You will notice that the recipe calls for 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup sugar... I made it with 1/2 cup but I thought it could have been sweeter.  Everyone else disagreed with me and said it was perfect the way it was... so I will leave it up to you!  We ate ours with piles of my Strawberry Habanero Jam which added a nice kick to the muffins too! I promise to blog about that awesome jam some time soon...

Makes 12 muffins
1 cup oatmeal, blended into a coarse flour
1/2 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat
1/2- 2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt, or sour cream
1 large egg
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds (optional)
1 Tbsp flax seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.
Mix all the dry ingredients. In another small bowl whisk together with sour cream, egg, and vanilla.
Stir butter mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. It's a very thick batter!
Add in walnuts, raisins, pumpkin seeds and flax seeds.

Divide the batter among muffin cups and bake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes.
Use an ice cream scoop to fill the paper liners about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  You should have just enough to fill all 12 liners.  If desired, add a couple raisins, pumpkin seeds and walnuts to the top of each before baking, my raisins on top got a little brown in the baking, but it was still yummy!

Need some more muffin ideas?  Here's some others:
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins
Apricot, Cherry, Almond Muffins
Banana Raspberry Bran Muffins

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Sweet Chili Sauce Salmon

I'm all about easy, fast.... preferably fast AND easy.
We're talking dinner here folks... keep it clean.
This meal was all that, and more.

I pulled together the salad and the BBQ salmon in under 30 minutes, opened a nice bottle of wine, and suddenly, dinner on the deck was ready. It was a fine night to eat outside and get caught up with my honey.

I served this salmon with a simple Sweet & Spicy Asian Coleslaw.

I've decided to start giving a wine pairing with some of my entrees... just to inspire you on what tastes good with what.  We've become really into wine collecting lately. We are not wine snobs, we like cheap wine (can you say under $10) and we DO like expensive too. I'll try to give you some ideas to try, see below!

Serves 2 (easily doubled, or tripled)

2 salmon fillets
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Thai Sweet Chili Sauce

Garnish Ideas:
Green onions, chives and/or Sesame seeds

As I always do when I BBQ fish, I make a foil pan to place on top of the grill (see above).  Fish mostly sticks to the grill, and I have noticed that it more prone to dry out if you put it directly on the grates.  Try this trick, it's easy to clean up, keeps moisture near your fish and your grill won't smell of fish for days.

First, rub each filet with a bit of soy sauce. Add a bit of sesame oil to the foil, then add the salmon fillets, making sure that the oil is coated on the bottom of each piece. Sprinkle the rice wine vinegar over and around each filet.  Top with a tablespoon of the Thai sweet chili sauce.  Barbeque on medium high heat for about 8 minutes.  No need to flip it.  It may get a bit brown around the edges due to the sugar content of the sweet chili sauce, but the salmon will have great flavor.  Try not to over cook, you want the salmon to be tender and moist, and not hard and dry, right?

What wine to serve with with an Asian Salmon entree like this?

We served a Stag's Leap Sauvignon Blanc 2009.  It's spicy and fresh with flavors of fruit that go nicely with salmon and any Asian food. This wine is exceedingly food friendly... and I have to say that Sauv Blanc is my new favorite white wine; good on it's own, good with diverse foods with strong flavors. What else do you want???

If you want to know more about Stag's Leap, check here! We went to a wonderful "Wine Makers" dinner in Seattle at El Gaucho with our friends.  One friend went to college with the head wine maker, Nicki Pruss. What fun to meet the winemaker!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Butternut Squash Waldorf Salad

Sweet, crunchy, savory, tangy and super duper good for you.
I made this last night after dinner... why? 
Well, I had this butternut squash that I've been meaning to use. 
Somehow, butternut squash just says Fall or Winter to me... so I've been looking at this squash trying to get inspired for something more appropriate to this season.

What about Waldorf Salad?
While this salad certainly has elements of a real Waldorf salad, it certainly is missing a key one; the mayonnaise. I was going to add it, but then reconsidered because I wanted this to be very healthy and simple, without a load of extra fat.  This has all the yummy, satisfying elements, and you really don't need the mayo. 
But, hey... it is your salad, I think that it was be a nice addition if you want to go for it!

I took this for lunch today and was very satisfied and happy with my lunch.  This would be a great buffet dish for a BBQ, a nice Vegan entree, or a side salad for any lunch or dinner.

Serves 4- 6
4 cups Butternut squash, cubed and cooked
1 large apple, cored and diced
1 cup red seedless grapes
1 cup celery, chopped or sliced
1/2 cup green onions
1/2 cup italian parsley, chopped (optional)
1/2 cup spiced, or candied nuts (sweet or savory), chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, or cherries, optional
3 Tbsp fruit flavored vinegar, raspberry or red wine vinegar
1-3 Tbsp olive oil

Peel and cube the butternut squash.  Microwave on a plate wrapped with plastic wrap for about 6 minutes.  Let sit for 10-15 minutes, then unwrap and let cool. Here's my before and after photos.  DO NOT unwrap right after taking from the microwave, can you say "steam burn"?

Here it is all cooked and cooling.  I must admit I love to see the plastic all stuck to the veggies!

While the squash is cooking, chop all the other fresh veggies and set aside in a bowl.  Add the cooled butternut squash.  Toss with the vinegar and oil (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Asian Sweet & Spicy Coleslaw

Something so satisfying and crunchy about coleslaw.
I love the stuff, but I do NOT like the typical mayonnaise versions that are served everywhere with your fish n' chips.
It's just YUCK to me.
I do a bunch of different versions of fresh, tangy coleslaw recipes, my favorite is Spicy Mexican Coleslaw
But, whoever heard of Mexican coleslaw with Asian food?
This one will be your go-to version for any Asian entree. It's sweet, crunchy, tangy and spicy altogether. I served this with a barbecue Thai Sweet Chili Sauce Salmon filet.... I'll try to get that recipe posted later this week.

Serves about 6 as a side salad

6 cups shredded cabbage, 3 cups each green and red cabbage
             or a 12oz. pkg shredded cabbage mix
]2 small Persian cucumbers
4-5 green onions
1-2 jalapenos peppers
3-4 carrots, sliced
1 red bell pepper
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp Thai sweet chili sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp garlic chili sauce, or Sriracha (optional)
Salt and Pepper... but you might not need any! Taste it first!

I recently bought a cool ceramic slicing tool while on a Japanese business trip.  I love how easy it is to slice perfect slices of so many veggies.  If you have a mandolin slicer, that would be perfect too.  Otherwise, do your best to slice the carrots and cucumbers as thinly as possible.

Combine all the sliced veggies in a bowl.  Add the dressing ingredients and toss to coat thoroughly.  Let it sit about 10-15 minutes before you serve it to meld the flavors and soften the cabbage.

Though this salad is good to eat as leftovers, it is a perfect salad to make ahead. I prep the veggies ahead of time and then add the dressing right before you serve it. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

BBC Frozen Colada- Bananas, Baileys & Coconut

June 22nd... 54 degrees and pouring rain.
Happy second day of Summer to you too.
Don't you wish you were somewhere wonderful and hot and tropical?

How about a little wonderfulness of a tropical cocktail?
All my favorite flavors; banana, coconut and rum.

Ah St Maarten, what a wonderful, beautiful place.  I'm not sure why this cocktail is synonymous with that island, but somehow it is. It's the first place I had one, and once I started to research them, it seems like everyone's memories of this cocktail are from that fair isle.

We spent two weeks in St. Maarten last December, what a surprise that place was. First off, the booze is all duty free on the island... a liter bottle of Bailey's was $14.00 at the grocery store and came with 375 milliliter 'bonus' bottle. When your Bailey's is that cheap, I guess you start dreaming up frozen concoctions with it.

 Last weekend, when I first tried these at home, my husband proudly (loudly) announced this was his favorite mixed drink "of all time".  Hmmm..."of all time?" I drily remarked?
Ha, going to have to stop serving you buster, you are SO cut off!

Think ahead on the bananas, and next time you have a bunch going speckly and brown, peel them and freeze them whole in a large ziploc bag. Not only do they make excellent smoothies in the morning with a little juice, or yoghurt, but they also make fantastic cocktails.

BBC baby... this is where it is at.

Serves 2
2 bananas, frozen, broken into 4-5 bits each
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream Liqueur
1/4 cup Malibu Rum
1/4 cup creme de Banana liqueur (creme de cacao would work too)

In a blender, break the frozen banana into 1-2" chunks, add in the liquid ingredients and blend on high until it is totally smooth.  Blend it a bit longer than you think it needs... unless you like a lump of frozen banana.  After one, or two, of these you won't care about the cold rain of a Seattle Summer, or of lump of frozen banana. 

You are going to be THIS HAPPY after one of these...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip Muffins

I was thinking of making muffins the other day, but really, when do 2 people need 18 muffins?  Yeah, pretty much never.

I woke up on Monday  and it was cold and rainy... again.
Have I mentioned that it's pretty much the worst June ever in Seattle?
I am sure I have...
I laid in bed and contemplated staying there, head under the covers.
Then I remembered those muffins...
Hey, wouldn't people at work be happy if I brought in muffins still warm from the oven?
Heck yes they would...
I whomped this batch together in my standmixer, just dumping it altogether not following the elaborate "first mix this together, then mix that together, then finally combine".  I didn't have time for that... it was 5am and I need to get moving. I had these in the oven in under 10 minutes.  I love a recipe like that.

I found this original recipe online and knew it was a keeper.Of course, I made some tweaks... mostly reducing the amount of the mini chocolate chips... the original called for 2 cups. In 18 muffins that's a lot of chips. But do what you like, that's what cooking is all about.  It gives the illusion of 'healthy' by using half whole wheat flour, but it would be equally delicious with all white flour I am sure.

(I forgot to show the butter, the milk and the yoghurt... did I mention it was 5am?)
Makes 18 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup yoghurt, or sour cream
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

Preheat oven to 375ยบ F. Paper-line or grease 18, 2 1/2 –inch muffin cups.

Combine all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, peanut butter and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, milk and yoghurt (or sour cream); beat until smooth. Add flour mixture to peanut butter mixture; beat until just blended. Stir in morsels.

Spoon batter into prepared cups, or better yet, use an ice cream scoop, filling 3/4 full.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out slightly sticky. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Store in airtight containers.

Need some more muffin ideas?  Here's some others:
Apricot, Cherry, Almond Muffins
Banana Raspberry Bran Muffins

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ginger Rhubarb Vodka Cooler

Okay, so this recipe takes some advance preparation.
You just can't buy this stuff off the shelf... but do make it, you will be happy. 
If you like rhubarb, and you also like cocktails, you will not be disappointed.

I know I've been on a rhubarb, and ginger, kick lately. I've always loved ginger, and adore rhubarb at this time of year.  In the past week or so, I've made a Ginger Rhubarb Whole Wheat Pie and also a Carrot Ginger Martini.... so, keeping in the same vein, here's one more toast to you with a ginger and rhubarb cocktail.

As you can see from the picture above, you can see I found a great Ginger Beer called the
"Cock and Bull"... which I think is a pseudo-British version of ginger beer.  Ginger beer isn't beer at all, it's just a stronger flavored ginger ale, which makes a very nice substitute if you can't find the "Cock and Bull" brand.

It's Dad's Day today, so here's to all the great Dad's in my life, love you SO MUCH!

In a glass of crushed ice,
2 jiggers of Rhubarb vodka
2 jiggers of Ginger Beer, or ginger ale

About a week before you want it, prepare the rhubarb vodka:
In a quart jar, add 2 cups chopped fresh rhubarb and 1/2 cup sugar, fill to the top with vodka.  I used lemon vodka, but regular is just fine.  Screw on the top and shake it up. Leave on your counter for a week, shaking it every day. After a day or two, the vodka will take on a rosy glow. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Indian Spiced Salmon

Here's a simple, and fast, way to prepare salmon fillets that tastes different and exotic from so many other ways on the barbecue. If you like spice, but not the heat, omit the cayenne pepper, and it should be fine! I can imagine that this would be quite a nice paste to use on chicken too.

I saw this recipe in the new Sunset magazine for June 2012, but it had way too many complicated spices that most people wouldn't have.  I actually had a bunch of the spices the recipe called for, but when I thought about how many people I know who would NOT have these spices hanging around, I figured it could use some simplification.  

The intense spices pair very nicely with salmon. Add some basmati or jasmine rice and a little  Raita Cucumber and Tomato salad.


Serves 4

4 salmon fillets
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 tsp garam masala, (optional)
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest

In a small bowl, add all the dry spices.  Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and olive oil.  Mix to a paste and carefully pat the mixture on the tops and the bottoms of each fillet. 

Make a foil tray out of two thicknesses of foil, crimping the edges up on all sides.  Add the fillets to the foil pan and put it on a medium hot grill for about 10 minutes.  The salmon should start to look a little crispy on the edges and the bottom.  You may not get the tell tale white oozing that sometimes happens when you bake salmon, but the spice rub is covering it up.  Try not to over cook the salmon, you want some tenderness to the texture.

Here's what the foil barbecue pan looks like... obviously this is a different recipe, but I wanted to give you a visual.  This Lemon Rosemary Salmon is pretty yummy too!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ginger Rhubarb Whole Wheat Pie

I scored a huge bunch of rhubarb the other day on my way home from work.
I'm a huge rhubarb fan and I've been meaning to go to a local Farmer's market to get some. Something about the rhubarb in the grocery store, and it's price, keep me from buying it. 
Hey, rhubarb should come from your own garden, or be given to you. 
I was driving home from work the other day, still all dressed up from my day, when I passed a neighbors house with a HUGE pile of rhubarb and leaves sitting at the end of her driveway nearest the street.  It was screaming "Free Rhubarb".... I pulled over.  As I clippity clopped towards the rhubarb in my heels, the neighbor emerged with a smile on her face, so happy to give her rhubarb away. I was pretty happy to be on the receiving end.

One thing about rhubarb, while the "ideal" stalk of rhubarb is nice and ruby red, don't be too picky, even the green ones taste good. As you can see from my picture above, my filling isn't the picture perfect red, but it still tastes great anyway.

This didn't start out being a vegan pie recipe, but I've had one of those sticks of Crisco in my fridge for a while and I wanted it gone!  It's been there since Thanksgiving when I made a Vegan pie for the holiday gathering for my niece, who is a vegan.  Vegan pie crust is pretty much a slam dunk... it involves stuff you already know. If you prefer to use butter, here's my basic pie crust recipe that always works well for me, Easy Pie Crust.

Makes one double crusted pie

1 2/3 cup all purpose white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup Crisco
3 Tbsp cold water 

6 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 tbsp candied ginger, chopped small
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tbs flour

Make pie crust first, as it's best when it has a chance to chill for 30 minutes, or more.  I use a food processor to mix the two types of flour, a dash of salt and the Crisco vegetable shortening and pulse the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal.  Then, add in about 3 Tbsp of ice cold water and mix until just combined. Wrap in plastic wrap, flatten into discs and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Chop your rhubarb into 1/2 slices.  If your stalks are super thick, you might want to cut each stalk in half lengthwise first, then into slices for smaller pieces for ease of shoving it into your 'pie hole' later on when eating it.

In a large bowl, add the chopped rhubarb, the sugar, the flour and the candied ginger.  Mix well.  Pretty quick you will see the rhubarb start to release some liquid, which is fine, just give it another stir before adding it to the pie crust.

Roll out the pie crust and line the pan.  I like to use a deeper dish ceramic pie plate, but any 9" will work.

It could be somewhat tender to roll out, I had some breakage with mine, which surprised me. More so than all white flour... must have something to do with less gluten.Oh well, now let's see how I can get by this?  So... I rolled mine between two sheets of plastic wrap and it worked very well! Line the pie plate and fill with the rhubarb filling.

Add the top crust and crimp the edges.  You can also use a fork to seal the edges, that's how you keep all the juice inside the pie!

Preheat oven to 375
Bake at 375 for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Please use a cookie sheet under the pie pan, it will help keep nasty, sticky spills from making a mess in the bottom of your oven.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Carrot Ginger Martini

Okay, so maybe a healthy martini is just wrong...?
I love ginger and I like carrot juice. I've been thinking a martini combination with both would be great. I have this friend who likes "juicing" (actually many friends like that...) who suggested "what about a juicin' martini?" with great enthusiasm.  I think enthusiasm breeds enthusiasm, don't you?
That's why that girl is my official taste kitchen employee, love that. 

My daughter liked the idea so much (remember she's the one that inspired the famous Honey Badger Martini?) that she offered to run to Whole Foods right away. "Or better yet, I will bring my new juicer to your house!!!"

It's funny to me that I have some many "juicin'" friends.  
My Mom was the first juicing maniac I ever met. 
I know, I know... many of us say our mother is the first maniac we ever met.  
Really, the only person I knew who was juicing in the the 1970's was Jack LaLane.... however, like making kim chi and sending pate de foie gras to school for my lunch, my Mom was, well.. a little different in a miraculous sort of way.

Thanks to my Mom, my enthusiastic taste tester and my daughter for inspiring this little martini in such different ways. 

Makes 1 large martini, or two pathetically small ones

2 jiggers Carrot Juice, (I used Carrot Orange from Trader Joe's)
2 jiggers vodka (if you had Ginger vodka, that would be great!)
1/2 jigger orange triple sec
1-2 jiggers ginger beer, or ginger ale

Add the carrot juice, vodka and triple sec in a shaker of ice.  Shake, shake, shake.  Strain into a glass and pour in a bit of the ginger beer on top. Garnish with a carrot stick,. because that's super healthy.... and funny too.

It's so healthy (nudge, nudge, wink, wink), I am sure you'll want two. 

You know martinis are NOT healthy, right?

Here's some others I should tell you about...
Blackberry Raindrop Martini

Burning Ring of Fire Martini
Coconut Water Martini
Honey Badger Martini

Raita Salad- Perfect with Indian Food

I make stuff up...
No, not like lying, but making up recipes that suit my taste of the day.
This is one such recipe.  I was making an Indian rubbed salmon, and needed a healthy side dish.  Lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions... but didn't want anything too zippy, just a nice cooling accompaniment to the intensely flavored entree.

Raita is yogurt and cucumber saucy condiment in India, something to cool the mouth when eating spicy dishes.   I just used a little nonfat plain greek yogurt as a dressing with a little garlic and lemon thrown in for good measure.  If you didn't have yogurt, I think that sour cream would probably work too.

Serves about 4

4 small persian cucumbers, sliced
1/4 white onion, slivered
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup greek plain yogurt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Salt & Pepper
1/2 tsp cumin, if desired
A squeeze of lemon

Combine all the ingredients and toss lightly. Adjust seasonings as needed.  Let the salad for 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to mingle and get happy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chicken with Mushrooms & Bacon

I'm always on the look out for main dishes that are easy to make ahead, and even transport somewhere else if necessary.  My husband jams with a little rock band of guys on Tuesday nights, so the 'groupie' wives take turns feeding this motley crew.  They are enthusiastic eaters and very appreciative of whatever we feed them too.  I love to feed people like that!

I sauteed the mushrooms-bacon mixture the night before, and got the chicken thighs ready to go in 9x13 pans and popped them into the fridge (covered) until the next day. I worked all day and ran straight to practice, whew. While the band was jammin', we threw the sauteed mushrooms around the chicken, added a cup of wine to each pan and baked it up.  Delicious smells filled the house, and then we filled our bellies!

There are many great recipes out there for chicken, bacon and mushrooms, but I made this one up because I needed something different than they offered.  I used bone-in chicken thighs with most of the skin attached for a reason, I felt it added to the presentation of the dish and I think that the chicken has more flavor cooked on the bone with skin on.

Trim the chicken thighs of some of the skin if it looks like there is a bunch of extra hanging off.  I think you could make this with the boneless, skinless kind but it could be drier and not as pretty to serve. I bought the big pack of baby bella brown mushrooms at Costco specifically for this dish,  I wanted the meatiness of the portabella mushroom, so if you can't find the baby bella kind, just chop up portbella mushrooms.  I think even white button mushrooms would work fine too.

Serves 6-8

4 lbs, about 12-16 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on
24 oz. mushrooms- mini bella's or other brown, sliced
1/2 lb bacon, sliced
1 large onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, chopped
4-5 fresh sprigs thyme, or 2 tsp dried thyme
2 cups wine, red or white (I used white)
Salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Add the uncooked chicken thighs, skin side up in the bottom of a 9x13 baking pans.  Salt and pepper generously. Set aside

In a large saute pan, or dutch oven, over medium high heat, cook the chopped bacon until it starts to release some fat and cooks up a bit, stirring, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the chopped onions, thyme and garlic.  Cook another 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to soften.

Add the chopped mushrooms.  Saute for another 3-4 minutes until the mushrooms start to shrink in size and release some liquid.  Add some salt and pepper and taste to make sure it tastes good to you.

Add the mushrooms around the chicken thighs, but don't cover them up, just surround them with the mixture.  Add one cup of white or red wine to each pan and bake, uncovered, for 60 minutes.  Check often and spoon some of the liquid over the tops of the chicken thighs.  The skin will start to brown and get crispy.

Let sit for 5 minutes or so, then serve with some brown rice, mashed potatoes, cous cous or quinoa. 
Here's some other good "comfort food" chicken recipes
Chicken, Bacon and Prunes (Colombian)
Chicken Marbella

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Baked Greek Chicken, Tomatoes and Feta

You know I was ready for grilling on the deck and a little Greek salad on the side, making my favorite Greek Chicken Souvlaki and Tzatziki Sauce
But dang... it is cold today. 
Cold, with rain... the classic Seattle combo.
June in the Pacific Northwest is almost never nice.
Rainy and 55 degrees sums it up pretty well. 
I am so ready for Summer, or heck... how about a nice hot Spring?
I guess if I want a hot Spring then I'd better move to Arizona, huh?

So back to the food...
I'm looking at what I intended to make for dinner and just 'not feeling it'. I'm freezing cold, I want something hot and comforting.
So why not chicken cooked with the 'Greek Salad"?  
Yeah.... leave out those cucumbers and it's going to taste pretty good

We gave this two thumbs up... sunny bright flavors that were also comforting, easy to prepare, delicious and healthy too. A squeeze of lemon, and you are almost there.

Serves 4-6

4 large chicken breasts
4-6 oz feta cheese, cut into cubes, or crumbled
4 medium tomatoes
1/2 large onion, diced
1 bell pepper, cut into chunks
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
Seasoning salt, I like Cavender's Greek Seasoning.
3-4 large Fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Brown the chicken over medium hot heat in an oven safe pan, use a tablespoon of olive oil and ample seasoning on the chicken breast.  Make sure each side has a nice brown sear, which usually takes about 4-5 minutes. 

While the pan is still hot, add the onions, bell pepper, chopped garlic, fresh thyme and diced tomatoes. Give a stir or two to mix around the chicken, keeping each chicken breast exposed but surrounded with the veggie mixture. 

Back in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  The chicken should feel firm when you poke it with your finger (be careful!) and the sauce should seem like it is starting to thicken. 

Add the feta and put back into the hot oven to heat up and soften the cheese.  You could even broil the top for 1-2 minutes (but watch it the whole time) to get a little char on the veggies and cheese.  

Serve at once with a little lemon on the side and a couple of minced green onions on top.  It would be nice with pasta, like Greek Orzo, or even rice.

Enjoy... relax... Summer is here anytime you eat like you are in Greece.
Love that place.

Greek food is one of my all time favorites, here are some of my favorites: