Gettin’ Ready for the Summer: Tandoori Garlic Skewers

 

Have you ever had a style of food you’re so passionate about that you would truly eat it every day of your life, if you had the funds? Go to any friend of mine, they’ll tell you: the key to Leenie’s heart? Indian food. Always Indian food.  Sure, as a Marylander, crabs speak to me.  Put the crabmeat in madras sauce and give me THAT, I will marry you!  Sounds like my first summer recipe.  For now, I’ve started innovating my summer menu to include one of my new favorite finds in the Maryland Local products: Picnic Spreads.  Do they have an Indian themed spread?

 

Ohhhhhhhhyes.

 

I found a man named Brady and his spreads are amazing: unique, surprisingly refreshing, and made with labne.  Never had labne? Coolio, now’s the time. It is a Middle Eastern tasty tangy yogurt and it’s the base of Brady’s line.

DSC_0035
Tandoori Garlic Sauce and the Hearbed Goat for extra veggie dippin!

 

Go to every Whole Foods in the DelMarVa and GET THAT STUFF IN.

Here’s a list of flavors carried in Whole Foods, including my personal favorite (le Tandoori Garlic):

Moroccan Cilantro

Tandoori Garlic

Goat Cheese Herb and Garlic

Parmesan

Chipotle Sage

So here it is, the skewers struck up on a grill in 30 degree weather, for the fam and the innovation of my summer noms:

 

Tandoori Garlic Kabobs

DSC_0050
Bubbly Tandoori Garlic Goodnesssss

Skewers

1 lb chicken

2 tbs olive oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic

pepper

salt

Veggies

(Really whatever you like)

Crimini Mushrooms

Bell Pepper (chopped into squares)

Brussel Sprouts (halved)

Yellow Onion (quartered)

 

Sauce

2 tbs Picnic Spread’s Tandoori Garlic

1 tbs coconut milk

garlic powder (optional)

crushed pepper (optional)

 

  1. Start yo grill up.
  2. No grill? Try oven on 400 degrees  and wire rack near the top.
  3. Marinate chicken in skewer ingredients.  I use the plastic bag and shake method.  While meat marinates, mix sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl.  If you want to just use the spread, go for it—using the coconut to thin it a bit.  You can also use another spread (Uniquely Greek, spinach artichoke dips, Sauce Queens) but just don’t, this stuff’s incredible.
  4. Cube chicken meat and skewer, rotating with your veggies.
  5. Place on the grill.  Rotate skewers after 8 minutes or when meat starts to firm and turn white.
  6. Three minutes before removing, baste sauce onto meat, allowing sauce to warm/bubble/stick to the meat.
  7. Serve with some tasty rice and enjoy!
DSC_0056
Red rice, grilled asparagus, and my tasty tandoori treat!

Shout out to Helen Overman and her lovely honey Adam Miller for chopping veggies and starting the grill:

DSC_0033
Good choppin’, Heli Bess!

Shopping List:

Whole Foods Market:  Picnic Gourmet Spreads, Asparagus,  Veggies, Coconut Milk

MOMs: Organic Chicken Breasts,

 

Kale and Collards Greek Yogurt Dip

A few years ago I had the luck of trying a dip from Trader Joe’s that rocked the socks right off my body.  It was a greek yogurt based dip, packed with veggies and savory goodness but, although tasty, I’m a dip from scratch gal.

After experimenting with the recipe, checking a few other basic greek yogurt recipes and adding my own flare, here it is.  A slammin’ success at the Secret Santa party, the Kale and Collards Greek yogurt Dip:

DSC_0019

Ingredients:

1 17 oz container greek yogurt (0% or 2% will do)

2 tbsp mayonnaise

1 tbsp honey

1 cup chopped kale

1 cup chopped collards

3 green onions, finely chopped

1/3 cup red pepper, finely chopped

1/3 cup carrots, peeled and finely chopped

¼ cup finely chopped water chestnuts

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

¼ tsp pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp smoked paprika (I use Burbon Smoked)

  1. After all is chopped and ready, combine ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.
  2. Allow dip to sit for at least an hour.  This will allow the spices to soak and the greens to soften.  Serve with chips, veggies, or whatever ya like and enjoy!

 

 PS: The dip was such a Secret Santa hit I thought I might have my dear friend, Molly, model it for us.

Is it the blurriest photo? Yes. But look at that enthusiastic tongue shot.
Is it the blurriest photo? Yes. But look at that enthusiastic tongue shot.

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: kale, collards, carrots, garlic

Wholefoods: yogurt, green onions, red pepper, water chestnuts, honey

 

Twice Baked Sweet Tater Boats

Twice Baked Sweet Potato Boats

Right between that line of mashed and baked, twice baked potatoes I love you so.

 DSC_0036

Ingredients:

(serves 1-2)

1 medium sweet potato

1 tbs greek yogurt

½ tbs salted butter

1 sprig rosemary leaves (chopped)

1 tsp brown sugar

pinch of salt

cracked pepper

  1. Poke holes one every side of your sweet potato.  Place in the microwave on medium-high for 10 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, or when the potato is soft to touch, cut potato down its length and scoop out the inside.

    DSC_0023
    Scooped Potatoes
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix filling with greek yogurt, butter, salt, chopped rosemary, brown sugar, salt and pepper.  If you aren’t a rosemary fan, you can always use sage (its incredible).
  4. Once the butter has melted, place the filling back into the potato skins.  Top off with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a touch of butter.

    DSC_0029
    Pre-baked taters
  5. Place potatoes in a pan and bake for 15 minutes.

My Winter Favorite: Cozy Greens Soup

Cozy Greens Soup

Why I love this soup?  In the winter we all just start craving our favorite fatty foods, many of which are pretty dern unhealthy.  Soup is one of the favorite winter treats, but it’s usually either incredibly unhealthy or just doesn’t fill ya up.

This soup? Tons o greens, tasty veggies, and once you add that parm rind: the fatty taste you need in your winter soup.

I love this cozy soup.  A special thanks Megan Dyer for teaching me this one!

DSC_0028

 Ingredients:

(serves 6)

2 lbs mixed greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc) rough chopped, stalks removed

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 can peeled tomatoes, chopped

½ lb dried pasta

5 sprigs fresh thyme

2 boxes vegetable broth

1-2 parmesan rinds

2 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

grated parm

 

  1. Heat a large pot over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Add carrots, onion, celery, salt & pepper.  Sauté for 7-10 minutes.
  3. Add the thyme, bay leaf, tomatoes, and parm rinds.
  4. Sauté 5 minutes, then add pasta, greens, and vegetable broth.  Cover and simmer until the pasta is cooked.
  5. Serve topped with parmesan and enjoy!

 

 

Quick & Clean: One Pan Pasta

Long, tired days = a need for quickly made comfort food.

I learned this recipe from my dear friend Megan when we worked together—it’s the perfect way to combine all of your leftover veggies and get some tasty pasta.

You’ve spent the week cooking and now have half a bell pepper, a little bit of cauliflower, and a handful of green beans—chop ‘em up and throw ‘em in.

So here ya have it: a fatty feeling, veggie using, fairly healthy comfort meal.

 

One Pan Pasta

DSC_0039

Ingredients:

(serves 2-3)

 1 pack fresh ravioli (I use La Pasta*)

½ container of Uniquely Greek Spread**

2 cups vegetable broth

½ yellow onion

your odds and ends veggies:

anything from bell peppers to brocc, I used:

1 cup broccoli

1 cup romanesco

4-5 leaves swiss chard, stems removed and chopped

  1. Pour veggie broth into a sauté pan.  Bring to a boil and add ½ yellow onion, finely chopped.
  2. While onions soften, chop up your veggies into bite size pieces.  Add firmer veggies at this point, such as broccoli and cauliflower.  Hold off on spinach and bell peppers.
  3. After a minute, add ravioli to the pan.  Boil for 2 minutes, then add softer veggies.  Boil for 1 minute, then add 1/3-1/2 of a container of Uniquely Greek feta spread. DSC_0029
  4. Mix together the veggies and ravioli with the vegetable broth and feta spread.  Once the broth has reduced and the sauce has thickened, remove from the head and enjoy!  This should take approx. 2-3 minutes. DSC_0032

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: all of my veggies

Whole Foods: Uniquely Greek (also at Annebeth’s), La Pasta Ravioli, vegetable broth

 

*La Pasta, based in Silver Spring, Maryland

**Uniquely Greek started out of the family Grecian delights shop in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania

A meal in under 30: Shrimp & Chard with a White Wine Mushroom—Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

Bloggin’ back in action with a meal in under 30 min!

 

After a long break from cooking and a wonderful Thanksgiving in Maine, I wanted to start my December off with something worth getting excited for.  Since my lovely roommate surprised me with the gift of shrimps and my lovely best friend dropped off a bag of produce just before I left for Maine, it only seemed right that I invite them both for dinner and create something great from the gifts they’ve given me.

 

The bag of surprise ingredients this week from my produce share (I feel like I’m on Chopped, it’s great):

Swiss Chard–Garlic–Romanesco–Cauliflower–Broccoli–Beets–Rosemary–Mushrooms

 

How many did I use?  All but the beets and broccoli (6 out of 8 ain’t so bad).

 

The results::

Sautéed Shrimp & Chard in a

White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

With a side of

Rosemary Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

 

 

Because the mash can stay warm/be heated without overcooking (unlike shrimp), start this guy off first:

 

Rosemary Mashed Cauliflower & Romanesco

Just to see what romanesco looks like...silly little cones
Just to see what romanesco looks like…silly little cones.

Ingredients:

(Serves 2-3)

1 small head of cauliflower (1/2 large head)

1 small head of romanesco

1 clove garlic

1 sprig of rosemary

4 tsp greek yogurt

1 tbs butter

vegetable broth

salt

pepper

 

  1. Pour vegetable broth into a saucepot and bring to medium high heat (use enough to give veggies room to boil).
  2. While bringing broth to a boil, cut cauliflower and romanesco into equally sized pieces.  Keep the two separate.  The romanesco will have to be cut into smaller pieces and it takes a bit longer to soften cauliflower.
  3. When the broth reaches a boil, add the cauliflower and a clove of garlic.  Let boil for 3 minutes, then add the romanesco.  Once the romanesco and cauliflower have softened (can poke a fork through and remove with ease).
  4. Drain the veggies from the broth and add to a blender (I love my Vitamix!) food processor, or prep your hand mixer.
  5. Add greek yogurt, butter, salt (I used a little over 1/8 tsp), pepper (fresh cracked), and the leaves of the rosemary sprig.  Blend until a smooth consistency.

 

 

Sautéed Shrimp & Chard in a White Wine-Mushroom Sauce

 The finished dish

Ingredients:

(serves 2-3)

18 shrimps (avg. 6 per person)

10 swiss chard leaves, washed and dried

3-5 crimini mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced (approx. ¼ inch)

½ stick of butter

3/4 cup dry white wine

3 cloves garlic (pressed or finely chopped)

½ lemon

pepper

red pepper

salt

 

  1. Melt butter, on medium, in a large sauté pan.  Add mushrooms, a pinch of salt, pepper (fresh cracked is tastier), and red pepper (to taste).  Sauté for 2 minutes.  Add white wine; simmer for 2 minutes.
  2. Cut swiss chard leaves into thin strips.
  3. On medium heat, add garlic and juice from squeezed lemon half to sauté pan.  Place shrimps on one side of the sauté pan, the swiss chard on the other and cover pan.  Be aware, both of these ingredients will cook fairly quickly.  By adding both at once, the shrimps start to cook on their first side while the swiss chard steams, before being tossed in the sauce.
  4. After a minute (or until pink on bottom side), flip the shrimps.  You should only have to do this once when cooking the shrimps.  **Quick “when are they done??” tip: my dear friend Nate taught me that when they look like a U they’re perfect, but a C…overcooked. **
  5. As the shrimps cook, begin tossing the chard in the wine and mushroom sauce.  Continue until softened and a darker green.  **Leaving them a little undercooked will increase their nutrient density**
  6. Either tossed together or kept separate, serve the shrimp and chard as you like with the sauce drizzled over top.  Enjoy!!

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: romanesco, cauliflower, mushrooms, rosemary, garlic, swiss chard

Whole Foods: greek yogurt, butter, lemon, vegetable broth

Baked Chicken Nuggets :: Not just for kids

I haven’t made a single post in the past two weeks.  Why?  Because it’s the awful time of year where mystical illnesses that take over your life swoop in and pretend to be over, then show up again.  Contagious? Nah, my doc couldn’t even figure it out, just said: not contagious (thanks a mill, doc).  When the only sick sickly I was feeling was dizziness and a bit of nausea, my sister, suffering from a debilitating headache, and I decided to do team cooking for comfort food.  Results: It worked.  24 hours later I felt awesome.

 

Why chicken nuggets? Our wonderful mother taught herself to make chicken nuggets back when I was called “the little panda bear”.  Most kids go through the age where they’ll only eat one weird thing or another; I just refused to eat most things.  Anywho, the chicken nuggets became a staple of the house and the neighbor kids.  She didn’t leave a recipe but we figured we’d take a crack at it.  Now that Helen (sister) refuses to eat Chik-Fil-A, this was quite an exciting night for her.

 

She might not look excited but, trust me, she is. Hey sis!
She might not look excited but, trust me, she is. Hey sis!

So here they are, healthy homemade baked chicken nuggets.  To season them we used Shenandoah Spice Blends, split the mix in half to try out two flavors (curry barbecue and sweet heat).  If you don’t have SSC blends, try any other in the cabinet.  If you don’t have any blends, try cracking some pepper, adding some paprika, and maybe some garlic powder.

 

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

 

Two flavor chicken nuggets with homemade french fries and a bit o broc
Two flavor chicken nuggets with homemade french fries and a bit o broc

 Ingredients:

(serves 2-4, depending on how hangry)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 cup crushed bread crumbs (it’s stuffing season, rull cheap ones at WF)

½ cup all purpose flour

2 tsp seasoning of your choice (rubs/blends)

1 tsp olive oil

a lil cooking spray

2-3 eggs

 

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  Cube chicken breasts into nugget sized pieces.
  2. Take breadcrumbs and crush in a bowl to a medium-fine consistency (fine enough to stick to the nuggets).  Because it’s the holidays, you can find cheap no-flavor added stuffing cubes at Whole Foods.  To crush, use the bottom of a spice bottle or something else with weight to it.
  3. Add seasonings and flour to breadcrumbs.  Drizzle the olive oil into the mixture and stir.
  4. Beat eggs in a separate small bowl.  Place a wire rack into a rimmed cooking pan (line pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper for easy clean).  Spray wire rack with cooking spray.
  5. Dip the chicken into the egg, allowing excess egg to drip off.  Roll in breadcrumb mixture, pressing to help seasoning and larger pieces stick.  Place on wire rack.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until crisp and meat is cooked.  Flip half way through cooking time for even bake.

Ingredients list:

The Trusted Table: Eggs, Sides (potatoes, sweet potato, broccoli)

Whole Foods Market: Shenandoah Spice Company Seasonings, Chicken, Bread Crumbs, Flour

 

Ladies night and a Chicken Pot Pie

 

Now that Shenandoah Spice Co. has successfully made it to DC WholeFoods (yay), it means a lot more crafty overnights in the great city.  The favorite thing about that?  Getting to stay over night in Alexandria with my very favorite ladies, Erin and Becca.

Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)
Epic Chef Becca (left) and Super Sous Chef Erin (right)

We cook, we drink our wine, we have a lovely time.  Each week I’ll bring a bag of mystery produce from my share and we’ll make a meal from the secret ingredients and whatever’s left in their fridge.  THIS time we had a fantastic visitor from a farm in Pennsylvania who was on her way to Florida.  She, like I, tends to travel in a car filled with produce and tasty treats—the kitchen went from bare bones to fully stocked.  It went from ladies night to epic ladies night.

Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair
Surprise Chef Sarah and her farm hair

This weeks head chef: Becca.  From the rural mid-west, her index of recipes is the never ending joke of what to make—steak and potatoes, meatloaf, or chicken pot pie.  Gotta tell ya, the Heartland makes one heck of a chicken pot pie.

 

A hearty winter meal, great for 4-5 with a bottle of wine (or three) or a tasty microbrew.

 

Chicken Pot Pie

Epic pot pie with greens
Epic pot pie with greens

 

 Ingredients:

(serves 4-5)

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breasts

1 cup sliced carrots

1 cup frozen green peas

½ cup sliced celery

1 cup chopped cauliflower

1/3 cup all purpose flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp celery seed

1 ¾ cups chicken broth

2/3 cup milk (Trickling Springs)

2 (9 inch) unbaked pie crusts

Optional Herbs:

Rosemary/Sage/Thyme/SSC Bread Dip

No more than a pinch of any.

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, add chicken, peas, carrots, celery, and cauliflower.  Add enough water to cover and bring to a boil.  After 15 minutes, remove from heat, drain, and set aside in a bowl for later. DSC_0016
  3. Now for gravy makin’: In a saucepot, melt a tab of butter and cook onions until translucent.  Stir in salt, pepper, flour, celery seed, and any other preferred herbs.  Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk, leaving on medium heat until thick.  Set aside.
  4. Place chicken and veggie mixture into one of the two pie crusts.  Pour gravy over mixture.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.
    Erin was very excited for the gravy.

    Take the other pie crust and lay over the top of bottom crust.  Pinch the edges of both crusts together, making a tight seal.  You can use a fork to pinch it closed.  Cut three slits at the top of the pie so the steam can release.

    Sarah removing the crust.
    Sarah removing the crust.
  5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top of the pie is golden brown.  Allow to cool, then slice up and serve!  We added a bed of greens as our side to keep it somewhat healthy in all the gravy goodness.

 

Enjoy!

 Side note:  we actually forgot to buy a second pie crust before the store closed so we made it from scratch.  It was like a puff pastry, so all you need is water, butter, salt, and flour.

Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.
Try using a bottle to roll out the dough and clear wrap to stop the stick.

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: Cauliflower, carrots, greens, onion

Sarahs Magic Car: milk, butter

Everything else from the kitchen of Erin and Becca.

Avocado Apple Cider Vinaigrette: The healthy creamy dressing

DSC_0021

 When I started down the road to healthy eating, the biggest labor o love with salads was trying to find a dressing that was both delicious and healthy.  Always loved my blue cheese and caesar but those are not the healthy choices that lead to life changing results–so why eat the dag salad anyway?

Sure, raspberry and balsamic vinaigrettes were aiight for a while but after a year I was over it.

 It was thanks to the amazing Robert Chaisson that I started learning to make my own dressings.  Thanks Robert!!!

 

The first variation was with ¼ avocado, chopped garlic, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar.    After that, I just kept playing.  The message that leaves? You can make your dressing a million ways, just have avocado and apple cider vinegar!

 

 

So today’s salad:

Blackened tri-tip steak with a three greens salad

 with a SweetHeat Avocado Vinaigrette.

 

DSC_0035

Salad Dressing:

(serves 1)

¼ Avocado

1 ½ Tbs Apple Cider Vinegar

1 1/2 tsp sweetheat spices from Shenandoah Spice Company

You can substitute that spice with come garlic powder, cayenne, or a spice you love (plus a tsp of honey) but why would you?  Sweet Heat is by far my favorite spice from that dag company.

 

  1. Combine ingreedients into a bowl and, using a fork, mash together thoroughly.  Because the spices are not being heated, you may need more to get the flavor through.

Cooking the Steak (Super easy, promise)

Ingredients:

¼ lb tri tip steak strip (skirt steak or flank also fine)

1 tsp Blackend Bayou seasoning

1light drizzle of oil

  1. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat.  When oil is hot, lay steak in pan and sear on either side (Tthe spice will start to darken). Cook to your liking!

 

In the salad?

DSC_0025

4 leaves of romaine (chopped)

a cup of pea shoots

a cup of arugula (chopped)

1 green onion shoot

thinly sliced tomato

¼ cup of finely chopped apple

a sprinkle of raw gorgonzola

Results:

Sweet and spicy tasty salad with a dressing that makes me feel like I’m eatin’ something fatty without making me feel fatty.  It feels like fall and for once I feel full from a salad deemed healthy: oil free, low sodium, low sugar.

DSC_0037

Ingredients:

The Trusted Table: pea shoots, romaine, arugula, cilantro, tomato, onion

Whole Foods: Shenandoah Spice Company’s Sweet Heat, steak, apple, avocado, vinegar, gorgonzola

 

Back in the Zone: Veggie Chili–Go Big, Go Belly.

Vegetarian Chili: The Affordable Meal goin’ for DAYS

DSC_0017

So it has been about a week now since the blogging fun—that’s what I get for leaving my camera in DC and being Queen Spaz of rush hour.

This rainy day seems like a perfect time to pick it back up again with the ever perfect, ever tasty, money saving rainy meal: a big ol’ pot of veggie chili.

Chili really is the perfect thang to have right when it starts getting cold and if creative enough, with enough seasonings, you can really put almost anything in it.

Between tightening my belt for my bridesmaids dress (hey there Allie, buyin my dress!) and my Trusted Table produce share fresh off the farms, veggie chili just seemed to make sense:

Meals for days at a dag reasonable price.

And for those wondering: why use silly ol’ 2-alarm chili packs? Because spices are expensive.  This pack is $2.50 and requires zero measuring.  You can add whatever floats ya boat–curry, smoked paprika, whatevs.

Ingredients:

DSC_0014

(serves 1 bazillion)

1 2-alarm chili kit (sold at WF and most grocery stores)

1 cup cauliflower (finely chopped)

¾ cup red cabbage (finely chopped)

1 yellow onion (diced)

1 bell pepper (diced)

1 carrot (thinly sliced)

1 can black beans (drained)

1 can kidney beans (drained)

1 28 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes

¼ cup tomato sauce or ½ small can tomato paste

olive oil

 

Optional additions:

These can really be anything your heart desires, but this is what I used:

jalapeño

1 tsp spicy plum chutney (Virginia Chutney Company)

1 clove crushed garlic

1/2 tsp bourbon smoked paprika

 

  1. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil into the bottom of your pot and bring pot to medium heat.  Add onions, cauliflower, cabbage, bell pepper, and sliced carrot.  Saute for 5 minutes.
  2. Add spices listed on back of kit, whole peeled tomatoes (and liquid), tomato sauce, and drained beans to pot and turn to low.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Add masa flour, red pepper, and optional ingredients to pot and simmer for 15 minutes on low.
  4. Serve with a dollop of greek yogurt, avocado, some diced onions/tomatoes, and hot sauce for DAYS.♥

 

Other great optional ingredients: Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes, Serrano/Habenero Peppers

 

Ingredients List:

The Trusted Table: red cabbage, bell peppers, carrot, garlic

Whole Foods: yellow onion, cauliflower, Virginia Chutney, greek yogurt, avocado,whole tomatoes, tomato sauce, 2 alarm chili, beans

Farmers Market: jalapeños