Monday, November 8, 2010

Greek Night


It had been a while since I had put together a nice dinner for Vahe, and the flavors of Greek food just sounded so good. Here's what we had for dinner last night! Click the links for recipes!

Pita with Lemon-Parsley Hummus & Sundried Tomato Hummus

 









Greek Pasta Toss

I love the flavors and variety in this pasta. The sauce is made from the feta melting down around the hot noodles, the artichoke marinade and lemon juice - yum!

Greek Pasta Toss


Ingredients:
1/2 pound whole wheat penne pasta, uncooked
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch rounds and quartered
1 yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch rounds and quartered
1 14-ounce can marinated artichoke hearts (you can chop these if you want - I leave mine as is, because I don't really care for them - just easier for me to pick out :)
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup green and/or black olives, sliced
1/2 cup crumbled feta
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

optional: lemons for garnish

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water.
2. While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
3. Saute onions and minced garlic until the onions begin to turn translucent. Then, add in the zucchini and yellow squash and cook until tender.
4. When the pasta is done, drain well, then return to pot over medium-low heat. Add in sauteed vegetables, and all of the remaining ingredients. Season to taste. Heat until the feta has melted and all of the ingredients are heated though. Garnish with lemon.

Greek Toothpick Appetizers

These are cute little appetizers that are very tasty and fun to make! If you are making any other Greek dishes, chances are you will already have these ingredients on hand - just use what you have leftover!

Greek Toothpick Appetizers


Ingredients:
Feta cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Basil leaves
Cherry or grape tomatoes
Cucumber, sliced into 1/3-inch rounds and cut in half
Olives
Red Onion, cut into wedges

Toothpicks

Directions:
1. Layer the ingredients on the toothpick, and serve! (I like to wrap the basil leaf around the tomato before sticking it on.)

Marinated Greek Chicken Kabobs

This is probably one of my all-time favorite chicken marinades. It had been a while since I made it, and I had forgotten how good it was! I can't remember where I initially got this recipe, or if the recipe that I have is the original or my own - either way, it's outstanding!

Marinated Greek Chicken Kabobs


Ingredients:
Marinade:
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

1-1.5 pounds chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 red onion, cut into wedges
1 large green bell pepper, cut into wedges
1 zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1 yellow squash, sliced into 1/4 -inch rounds

kabob sticks


Directions:
1. Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl or gallon-sized ziploc bag. Add in chicken, coat well, then marinate in the refrigerator for 2-6 hours.
2. Preheat the grill or barbeque to high heat.
3. Stack the chicken and vegetables alternately on the kabob sticks, making sure not to crowd the stick. (I usually do about 4 pieces of chicken, and 4 veggies per stick)
4. Grill the skewers on the pre-heated grill until the chicken is cooked through.

*You could also bake these in the oven. I would assume 375-degrees for about 15 minutes or so? Just a guess though - check to make sure they are done!

Hummus

Hummus seems to be emerging as a new "health food." And while it is very healthy, and very tasty - it doesn't need to be very expensive or bland. The basic ingredients of hummus are garbanzo beans (or chickpeas), a little olive oil, lemon juice, and a little garlic and salt. Just stick everything in your food processor or blender, and puree until it is the consistency you want (I prefer mine a little chunky!). From there, you can pretty much add anything that you want to add more flavor. Here are a few variations that I tried last night..

Hummus
Ingredients:
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, reserve liquid
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

For lemon-parsley hummus (pictured above) add:
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For sun-dried tomato & basil hummus (pictured below) add:
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil (use the oil too)
1/4 cup packed basil leaves

Directions:
1. Put all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender, and puree until desired consistency. Use the reserved liquid from the garbanzo beans to reach desired thick/thinness.


Great with pita bread!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cake Mix Pumpkin Bars

Oh, hello there Heaven in my Mouth.

I got this recipe from our friend, and fellow pumpkin lover, Shalynna. I'm a sucker for anything cake mix or pumpkin - so when she told me about this recipe that used BOTH I just had to try it. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!!!

Cake Mix Pumpkin Bars


Ingredients:  
Crust:
1 box yellow cake mix (not the kind with pudding or butter recipe)
    *RESERVE 1 CUP FOR TOPPING
1/2 cup melted butter
1 egg

Filling:
16 ounce can pumpkin
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cloves)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
5.3 ounce can evaporated milk

Topping:
1 cup reserved cake mix
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter

Optional:
Caramel sauce
Whipped cream

Directions: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a 9x13-inch pan.
2. Mix all of the crust ingredients together, making sure to reserve 1 cup of the cake mix for the topping. Spread evenly in bottom of pan.
3. Mix together all of the filling ingredients, pour over crust.
4. Mix together all of the topping ingredients, crumble over filling.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45-55 minutes.
6. Let cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled (at least 6 hours). Serve alone, or with caramel sauce and/or whipped cream.


Thanks again, Shalynna!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Oriental Chicken Salad

After a weekend-long Halloween candy binge, a good salad sounded so good. I always love Asian salads, one of my favorite is Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad. I found a few copy-cat recipes online, but none of the dressings really did it for me. So, I put together my own - and it hit the spot!

Oriental Chicken Salad


Ingredients:
salad:

3 cups chopped romaine
2 cups coleslaw mix (cabbage, red cabbage, carrots)
1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1/2 cup chow mein noodles
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 grilled chicken breasts, sliced


dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger


Directions:
1. Mix all of the salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
2. Blend together all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. 
3. Toss salad with dressing, and enjoy!!


Also great served as a wrap! 









Monday, November 1, 2010

French Toast & Raspberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast

Ok, I realize that there isn't really a recipe for French toast - but, I have to let you know my new secret ingredient - flour! Add a little bit of flour to your batter (about 1 tablespoon per egg) - and it will thicken your batter and turn out even better then before!

French Toast



Ingredients:
for every 4-6 slices of bread use:
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 dash nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour

Directions:
1. Wisk all of the ingredients together. Dip both sides of bread in batter, and cook over a medium-low stovetop. (Remember to re-stir the batter each time you dip bread into it, the cinnamon will float to the top, and the flour will sink to the bottom.)

and... if you are ready for a really sweet breakfast, try mixing together 2 ounces of cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam (for every 4 slices) and spreading it inside two pieces of bread, or one thick slice cut in half. Put the two pieces together, dip in the batter and cook just like before. YUM!

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