Friday, March 8, 2013

Greek Salad

It's no secret to my friends and family that the wife and I have been on health kick. Working out everyday and running outside on the weekends has been our forte as of late. This has in turn, started making us add healthier choices to our menu's rotation.

This is a recipe for a salad that I just came up with because I wanted all the ingredients of a gyro but without any of the pita bread (even though it's SO GOOD). I absolutely love it because it's not only delicious but good for you. You can add anything you wish to this salad and it will be great. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Kitchen Notes
* You can add things like peperoncinis (which I have no idea why I left it out of this recipe) and olives.
* You can use whatever kind of lettuce you'd like, even spinach would work.
* If you don't have Greek oregano regular oregano work fine.

* If you can't find Greek feta than any other feta will work.
* If you don't want to grill the chicken you can just bake them off.
* Makes 4 servings as a meal

* Chicken Marinade *
* 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
* 1 tablespoon white wine
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 2 cloves garlic minced
* 1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

* Greek Vinaigrette *
* 1 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon Greek oregano
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
* 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

* The Salad *
* 4 heads of romaine lettuce washed and chopped
* 1 english cucumber seeds removed then quartered and chopped
* 6 roma tomatoes sliced into strips
* 1 red onion sliced
* 1 can garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
* 6 peperoncinis sliced thin (not pictured)
* 1/2 pound Greek feta crumbled

The Process
1. Combine all the ingredients for the chicken marinade and submerge the chicken in it. Let sit on the counter and marinade while you're preparing the other ingredients flipping occasionally.
2. Combine all the dried ingredients for the vinaigrette then whisk in the vinegar. When the salt has dissolved whisk in the olive oil until fully mixed together. Put in the fridge until serving time.
3. Preheat your grill to high. When the grill is hot add the chicken and cook for 7 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 7 minutes. Remove from heat. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing each chicken breast into thin strips.
4. On a chilled plate, add the lettuce, onion, cucumber, beans, tomatoes, peperoncinis and then finally the feta. Add the sliced warm chicken on top of each salad.
5. Dress each salad with the vinaigrette and eat immediately.
6. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Skillet Lasagna

Who loves lasagna but doesn't like all the time it takes to construct it? Well then this is the dish for you. It can literally be made in one pan in about 40 minutes or so. It is ridiculously good and very simple to make. This recipe is loosely based on the Cook's Illustrated version but with my own personal twist. I really hope you all enjoy it. Any questions please let me know.

Kitchen Notes
* Use any protein you want, for this recipe we used turkey and ground chicken Italian sausage. You just want to make sure it's 1 pound total.
* Wine is optional but highly recommended, if not using wine use chicken stock or water.
* Honestly you don't have to use lasagna noodles, this would work well with any noodle type.
* If you don't have fresh basil use 1 tablespoon of dried basil and add it when you add the oregano.
* If you don't have a cast iron skillet a large frying pan will work.
* This makes 4 good sized servings.

* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 4 cloves garlic minced
* 1 onion, diced
* 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
* 1 pound of ground meat (beef, sausage, pork, veal, chicken)
* 1/2 cup red wine
* 1 tablespoon dried oregano
* 1 teaspoon white sugar
* 28 oz can diced tomatoes
* 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
* 1/2 pound lasagna noodles broken into pieces
* salt and pepper
* 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
* 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
* 16 oz ricotta cheese

The Process
1. In a large cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic, onion, pepper flakes and meat and cook, using a spatula to break apart the meat, for 10 minutes or until all the pink is gone from the protein.
2. Add the wine and cook for another 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half making sure to scrape all those little bits off the bottom.
3. Add the oregano, sugar and both cans of tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper then add the noodles. Stir together well.
4. Reduce heat to low (looking for a simmer here) and cover. Cook for 20 minutes or until the noodles are just about done stirring every 4-5 minutes or so.
5. When noodles are just about done stir in parmesan cheese and basil and reseason with salt and pepper if needed. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until noodles are done. Remove from heat.
6. Add the ricotta in dollops to the skillet. Cover with the lid one final time for another 5 minutes which allows the cheese to warm up.
7. Serve and enjoy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm Back and I'm Making Ranch

I know, I know, it's been a while. Like well over a year a while. It's not that I haven't been cooking I'm always doing that. However I needed to free up some time to finish my MBA and I'm learning how to play the guitar now so I've been busy. However, after many requests from my friends I'm back to writing recipes and to start here's a new one that I've been using a lot as of late.

One of the biggest changes the wife and I have made is to quit using anything that we don't make ourselves. We were already pretty good about this but now we are going a little over board. We are also not using anything that is termed light or low fat because the chemicals and techniques they use to make these products actually make them more unhealthy for you than their full flavored counterparts.

So this recipe is for homemade buttermilk ranch. It's pretty killer. You can change the quantities to whatever pleases your pallet but this is a good base. All the dried ingredients are dried so with a well stocked pantry and a little sour cream, you'll be good to go. Any questions please feel free to ask.

Kitchen Notes
* Make sure to let this sit for at least 24 hours before using it or it will just taste like mayo.
* This keeps for about a month in the refrigerator.
* Makes about 2 cups.

* 1 cup mayo
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1/4 cup buttermilk
* 1 tablespoon lemon juice
* 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
* 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
* 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
* 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
* salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon a piece)

The Process
1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a whisk until it's smooth. If it's too thick for your liking add a little more buttermilk.
2. Enjoy!