Creamy Feta Dressing

I love the salad at a local Greek restaurant. This is my version. We all liked it and will definitely have this again.

Ingredients

1/3 block of feta cheese, crumbled
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 and 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
Kosher salt
Black pepper

Method
Place all ingredients on food processor and blend until smooth. Generously drizzle over your favorite salad greens, tomatoes, kalamata olives, carrots, and red onions. Serve with warm bread.

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Easy Red Lentils with Rice

I am always on the lookout for easy, delicious, and nutrition recipes. When a recipe meets all three criteria, I am ecstatic. This is one of them. I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed and drained ( I purchase mine at Whole Foods)

2 cups water

2 cups of broth

1 cup of tomato sauce or 1/2 can of tomato paste

1 onion, chopped

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

1-2 Tablespoons grapeseed or sunflower oil

3 cloves of garlic, chopped or pressed with garlic press

1 t. cumin

1 t. turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garam masala*

1/2 teaspoon curry powder *

2 dashes hot sauce (Tapatio, Tabasco, or Cholula Sauce works well)*

Fresh cilantro

Brown rice for serving

*Use less for a milder, less pungent flavor

Method:

Add onions, carrots into a large pan and sautee with grapeseed or sunflower oil (can tolerate high heat) until onions are translucent. Add spices and continue stir-frying for an additional minute. Add liquids (vegetable broth and water), tomato sauce, garlic, hot sauce, dried lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer. Check periodically to make sure there is enough liquid and add water or broth accordingly. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes.

Serve with rice. ( I use brown basmati rice). Garnish with Fresh Cilantro.

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Irish Soda Bread Scones

Irish Soda Bread Scones

 

From Simply Scones by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright

 These mildly sweet scones are perfect at meals or at snacktime.  Don’t forget to serve them on St. Patrick’s Day.

 2 Cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. caraway seeds (optional)

½ tsp. salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled

½ cup buttermilk

1 large egg

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

½ cup raisins

½ cup golden raisins  (See Note)

1 egg yolk mixed with ½ tsp. water for glaze (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Butter a 10-inch diameter circle in the center of the baking sheet.  (Or use parchment paper).

In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, caraway seeds (if using), and salt.  Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes and distribute them over flour mixture.  With a pastry blender, or two knives used scissors fashion, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.   In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  The dough will be sticky.  With lightly floured hands, knead in the nuts and raisins until evenly distributed.

With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into a 9-inch diameter circle in the center of prepared baking sheet.  If desired, brush the egg mixture over the top and sides of the dough.  With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean. 

Remove the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.  Using a spatula, transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool.  Recut into wedges, if necessary.  Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.

These scones freeze well.

Note:  ½ cup dark or golden raisins may be used instead of two varieties.

Easy Flatbread Pizza

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When you are a busy mom, there are days when you don’t have much time for elaborate meals. This one takes less time to prepare then going through a drive-through, I promise. Plus, it’s loaded with vegetables. And, it’s delicous! Adjust toppings according to your tastes. This combination is perfect for us!

Ingredients

Kangaroo Whole Wheat Flatbread or Tandoori Naan bread
Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade (I use HEB brand
Tomato basil feta or plain feta, crumbled
Chopped artichoke
Chopped sundried tomatoes
Chopped kalamata olives

Fresh Roma tomatoes sliced in half
Parmesan cheese
Pickled jalapeños (optional)

Method

Spread tapenade on flatbread. Top with remaining ingredients. Bake 10 to 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tortilla Soup

This soup is a crowd-pleaser. I made my version vegetarian but you could add boiled chicken and chicken broth if you like.

Ingredients:

1 medium yellow onion chopped

3 large carrots, chopped

1-2 Tablespoons olive oil or grapeseed oil

2 cans Eden Organic Black beans (rinsed)

1 container of Pomi chopped tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container of Pomi strained tomatoes (26.46 oz)

1 container vegetable broth (4 cups or 32 ounces- I use the Pacific brand)

2 cups water

3-4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper (dried spice)

and/or 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust accordingly to your preference for spiciness)

Condiments:

1 cup shredded monterrey jack cheese

warmed corn tortillas or tortilla chips

2 avocados, diced

fresh sprigs of cilantro

(cooked chicken* optional)

lime wedges

Method:

Saute onion and carrots in olive or grape seed oil for 2-3 minutes or until onions become soft and translucent. Add black beans, strained tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, broth, water, garlic, and spices. Bring to boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add additional water if soup becomes too thick.

To serve, place desired condiments in bowl, pour soup over condiments. Squeeze lime juice from wedges into soup. Enjoy!

 

Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles

 

This dish is like a Mexican or Tex-Mex lasagna.  The great thing about is that it feeds and pleases a crowd and reheats well.  You can serve it at a dinner party with a green salad and it you’re done (except of course for a great dessert!)  Feel free to add or omit ingredients to your taste.

 If you want to make it vegetarian, use drained and rinsed, canned organic black beans instead of the chicken, and add frozen corn kernels in addition to the diced red bell pepper and diced tomatoes. 

 1 box of Organic Chicken Broth, Imagine, Whole Foods, or Wolfgang Puck are great

 Chicken breasts, boneless, skinless, about 3 or 4

 Corn tortillas, torn into pieces (Mission is a good national brand) (1 bag of 12 tortillas—you will probably not use all of them in one recipe.)

 3 small cans/jars or one large can/jar of enchilada sauce Or, if you can find it, 2 jars of El Pinto Green Chile Sauce, pureed. (If you use “El Pinto” Green Chile Sauce, I recommend using 1 jar of “Medium” and 1 jar of “Mild”.

 1 package of Shredded Cheese (Trader Joe’s or Kraft Mexican 4-cheese blend) is great (otherwise, you can use a mixture of freshly grated Monterey Jack and Cheddar Cheese—I really like Tillamook Monterey Jack and White Cheddar)

 Cotija Queso Seco, crumbled

 1 red or yellow bell pepper or one of each, cut into small dice

 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes, cut into small dice

Pour the broth into the saucepan, and put the chicken breasts into it.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer and gently poach the chicken breasts until done.  Remove from broth and let cool.  Shred the chicken and set aside.  You can do this ahead of time or even the day before.  Or, you can buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store and save even more time!

 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

 In a rectangular casserole dish, start by putting an even layer of tortilla pieces at the bottom of the pan.  Then pour a layer of sauce over them.  Then put a layer of shredded chicken.  Then put a layer of diced bell peppers and a layer of diced tomatoes.  Then add a layer of cheese.  Then add a layer of tortilla pieces and then sauce, then chicken, then cheese, then another layer of tortilla pieces ending with a layer of cheese.  (You can play with this as long as you end with the top two layers being tortillas and cheese (cheese at the very top.)

Bake at 375 degrees F. for about 45 minutes to an hour until golden and bubbly. Make sure it is bubbling in the middle. 

Serve with sour cream and either your favorite guacamole, or mashed avocado with lots of fresh lime or lemon juice and kosher salt.

 Use your favorite brand of enchilada sauce, medium or mild, to your taste.  Some good brands are:  “Old El Paso” “Hatch Green Chile Sauce”, “El Pinto Green Chile Sauce it comes in a jar”—If you use “El Pinto, it is a good idea to puree it in a blender or food processor until smooth because it is very chunky, but it is all natural and really delicious” (www.elpinto.com).  Sometimes I mix one medium and one mild can/jar of sauce.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

As you know, I love roasted vegetables. Love them! I love roasted mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, etc. I found this recipe on pinterest. I tried it once and mostly followed the recipe (adding some olive oil instead of all butter and adding garlic because garlic makes everything better, in my opinion.) It was a hit with my family. I tried to make it again a month or so later and when I went to retrieve the recipe from pinterest, it was gone! The picture was there but the original website it was linked to was no longer available so I had to improvise since I couldn’t remember exact proportions. This is the recipe I used and they turned out delicious.  I am sure that you and your family will like these! Mine did! Enjoy.

Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes or yams

1 tablespoon of butter

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 cloves of garlic sliced

Kosher Salt to taste

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash, peel and cube sweet potatoes into 1 inch pieces. Place in a glass baking dish. Place slices of garlic in olive oil in a small bowl to coat garlic. Add olive oil mixture to sweet potatoes (this ensures the garlic won’t scorch). Use more or less olive oil depending on how many sweet potatoes or yams you use.  Cut butter into small pieces and add to mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat.  Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and slightly browned and caramelized. Enjoy!

I served this with red lentils and homemade pita bread. Recipes to come!