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Archive for August, 2008

Roasted Veggie Chicken Pizza

Difficulty: Easy

A different take on the traditional. Fresh roasted veggies, chicken and creamy cheeses make up this fast meal. The ingredients are prepared separately and then placed on the pizza crust at the end. Because we don’t like using the oven in the summer, we used the grill to cook the pizza crust and I prepared everything else on the stove top.

Ingredients:
1 pizza dough, (I bought mine at Fresh & Easy)
1 10 oz. bag veggies (carrots, broccoli & cauliflower) cut into smaller pieces
2 chicken breasts, pounded until 1/2″ thick and even
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 6 oz. container garlic & herb cheese spread (I used Aloutte)
3 TBS olive oil
Seasoning salt

Directions: Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. If using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees and bake dough until browned and crisp, remove from oven and let rest. Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 of veggies, don’t crowd the pan and don’t stir for 3 minutes, you want them to get a nice roasted char. Stir, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes, again not stirring, remove from heat and repeat with remaining veggies, adding 1 TBS oil with the new batch.

Season chicken with desired seasoning. Add last TBS olive oil to pan and cook chicken breasts until cooked through, do not turn more than once to get a nice color. Remove from heat, let rest 3 minutes and then cut into 1/4-inch pieces. Spread cooled pizza crust (can be warm but not too hot) with garlic and herb cheese spread, top with roasted veggies, chicken and sprinkle feta on top. Cut into wedges and serve.

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Pork Kebabs w/Apricot Mustard Glaze

Difficulty: Easy

I know I have been MIA lately. Just tired of cooking and haven’t been too inspired lately, plus it is dang hot and I don’t want to be in a hot kitchen. So, this tasty meal is extremely easy, extremely tasty and is done on the grill! No hot kitchen!

Ingredients:
1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver skin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 apricots, pitted, quartered
1/2 red onion, cut into wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
S & P
Jasmine rice, prepared according to package instructions

Glaze
3/4 cup apricot jam
3 TBS grainy mustard
S & P
Juice of 1 lemon

Directions: Heat grill. Thread pork, apricots, onion and bell pepper on metal skewers. Season with salt and pepper. Combine glaze ingredients and microwave for 1 minute, stir to combine. Reserve 1/4 cup glaze and set aside. Cook pork kebabs on grill until pork is medium well and veggies are charred, basting with glaze as you turn them. Remove from heat, serve with rice and reserved glaze.

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Greek Pita Pizzas

Difficulty: Easy Serves 4

I was with family this weekend and my cousin told me they made the BBQ Chicken Pizzas, which they loved, but that I need to redefine “Easy”. Throw a couple a crazy kids into the mix and my “easy” recipes aren’t so easy. But I promise this recipe is truly easy!

I love Greek flavors and this dish is exploding! Red pepper hummus, creamy feta, kick in the pants Kalamata olives and a brightly dressed greens are the perfect combination. This recipe is originally intended to go in the oven to crisp up your pitas but I have found that in the dog days of summer when I don’t want to turn up the heat I just do everything in my skillet on the stove top. But if I had a few kids waiting for dinner I would throw these in the oven to make it even easier!

Ingredients
4 whole wheat pitas
1 cup of your favorite hummus, red pepper is yummy
1/2 red onion, sliced thin
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup arugula or salad greens
1/2 cup feta cheese
3 TBS red wine vinegar
5 TBS olive oil
S & P

Directions: If using the oven, preheat to 400 degrees. Brush pitas with 1 TBS olive oil. Place in oven for 6-8 minutes until starting to brown and crisp. Meanwhile whisk remaining olive oil and red wine vinegar together in small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place red onion into dressing and toss. Remove onion and in a small skillet over medium heat cook until onions are starting to caramelize, 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat. When pitas are done, place 1/4 cup hummus over each pita. Top with onions and feta cheese. Return to oven for 5 more minutes.

Lightly dress salad greens with dressing. Remove pitas from oven, let cool 5 minutes. Top with salad greens and olives, cut pitas into wedges and serve.

If doing this on the stove top: In a skillet over medium heat, brown pitas on one side for 4 minutes. Turn over and top with hummus, onions, feta. Cook for 5 more minutes until brown and crisp. Remove from heat, top with salad greens and olives. Repeat with remaining pitas.

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Difficulty: Easy

Succulent salmon with an easy and fresh couscous topped with a cool yogurt dill sauce. So good! This dinner is ready in a flash, it is healthy and satisfying.

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 salmon filets, skin on
Salt & Pepper
2 TBS olive oil

1 cup couscous
1 1/4 cup water
1 tsp salt
pepper
1/2 onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup corn
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS fresh dill, chopped

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 garlic clove, minced fine
2 TBS fresh dill, chopped
Salt & Pepper

Directions: In a small bowl combine yogurt, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Set aside. In a large skillet, heat 2 TBS olive oil over medium heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon skin side down and cook for 5 minutes, turn and cook an additional 5 minutes to develop a nice crust and color. Turn back to skin side and finish cooking with lid on pan about 5 more minutes or until salmon is cooked through and flakes easily.

Meanwhile, heat 1 TBS oilive oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper. Cook until soft, about 5 minues. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add water and bring to a boil. Add 1 cup couscous and stir. Remove from heat, add corn and place lid on pan and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork, add tomatoes and dill, stir to combine, adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper. Place couscous on plates, top with salmon filet and spoon yogurt sauce on top.

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Italian Panzanella Salad

Difficulty: Moderate

This comes from Cook’s Country and I am making the difficulty moderate since you make your own croutons, don’t be tempted to use store bought! I made this for a BBQ and it was a nice change from the usual salad fare. Crisp bread croutons, basil pesto, creamy white beans and fresh tomatoes are wonderful! And it is easy and satisfying. It can serve as a side or a main dish with some grilled chicken. Yum.

Ingredients
2 cups 1-inch cubes Italian bread
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (14-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium cucumber , peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 cup pesto
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Table salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Directions: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Toss bread cubes with 1/4 cup olive oil on rimmed baking sheet. Spread bread cubes on pan and bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes, shaking pan halfway through to prevent bread from sticking. Remove from oven and cool completely. (Bread cubes can be stored in zipper-lock bag for one or two days.)

Meanwhile, mix tomatoes, beans, cucumber, and shallot in large bowl. Whisk pesto, vinegar, and remaining 1/4 cup oil together in small bowl, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle pesto dressing over vegetables, toss well, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Ten minutes before serving, add bread cubes to vegetables and toss well. Transfer to serving bowl and sprinkle basil on top. Serve.

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