Summer Fare: Chicken Arugula Salad with Pine Nuts and Shredded Parmesan

After an almost 5 year hiatus, Ms. Foodie is giving it another go. This series will be called… Summer Fare.

Ms. Foodie is not a salad person, mostly because they are unsatisfying and a pretender to health. Iceberg is just water, and once you throw cheese and those fattening salad dressings on them, what part of health is there? Mr. Foodie, on the other hand, loves salads because he feels like it is his one concession to health. His salads are always accompanied with a generous helping of Ranch, of course. So Ms. Foodie has been perfecting her own salad recipes that meet the criteria of satisfaction while allowing Mr. Foodie to feel as though he is doing something good. They also provide quick meals in Summer when the last thing Ms. Foodie feels like doing is turning on a stove.

The first key is the base, which can’t just pretend to health, but actually needs to contain some nutrients; so Hasta la Vista iceberg and Romaine. Ms. Foodie’s salad bases tend toward Kale, Spinach, or her newest favorite, Arugula. Arugula has that wonderful peppery quality, allaying boredom, and delighting the taste buds. (smacks lips)

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Ms. Foodie has been perfecting this Chicken Arugula w
ith Pine Nuts Salad for about a year now. Ms. Foodie needs the heft of protein in her salads, so in addition to the Pine Nuts, I added Chicken. I have made this salad with Smoked Deli Chicken Breast, Boiled Chicken Breast, and for this round I used a Fried Chicken Breast, the breading adding extra crunch and extra flavor. Along with Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, which add to the flavor profile and provide a nice burst in your mouth, I added a few Roma Tomatoes for some gravity. This time around Ms. Foodie decided to add chopped boiled Eggs for more gravity and protein heft. Tossed with Shredded Parmesan Cheese, and a Sesame Umami Dressing, it hits all the points for both of us: Health coupled with satisfying Flavor and Substance.

This 2018 Clarksburg Batik Chenin Blanc is also doing this recipe justice! Shout out to Bright Cellars for a great pick.

20190615_190321Happy Saturday!

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Sweet Curry Chicken and Yellow Jasmine Rice with Mixed Vegetables

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Ms. Foodie loves Pinterest! It literally has replaced any recipe books I might have (very few), and is so easy to access and categorize. Tonight’s dinner was selected from one of Ms. Foodie’s various food boards, and while Ms. Foodie enjoyed it, we will definitely be adjusting some of the ingredients for future preparations. If you want to follow Ms. Foodie’s boards on Pinterest, click here.

The recipe for Yellow Jasmine Rice was just an internet search away. Of course, Ms. Foodie added her own flourishes to the dish, as is my wont. Don’t hate, emulate.

Quickie Meals: Honey Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

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Honey-Sriracha Chicken with Jasmine Rice, Sweet Corn and Spinach

While Ms. Foodie loves to mount elaborate meals from time-to-time, for the most part, I depend a great deal on Kitchen Cabinet Cooking: what’s in the Store (my cabinet/fridge), and what can be made quickly.

This meal has several quick and dirty components:

  • Chicken Thighs: The easiest part of the Chicken to grill and bake, because thighs they require so little maintenance, while still retaining their moisture and flavor. You can cook eight chicken thighs in a 400 degree oven in as little as 45 minutes.
  • Frozen Vegetables: Look, I grew up in the Midwest, and fresh vegetables were only possible in the late Spring and the Summer—or you paid a lot of money for shipped produce which didn’t retain half the nutrients. Frozen vegetables, especially the flash frozen variety we find today, retain much of the nutrients of their fresh counterpart, and they make for an easy meal accompaniment.
  • Pre-cooked sides: Ms. Foodie adores her Rice Cooker, and when I cook rice, I always make an extra cup or two. Cooked rice refrigerates for up to five days; so that means you can focus on the meat or veggie part of your meal, and simply heat up or nuke the rice to go along with it.

Thanks to this extremely easy recipe from Healthy. Delicious., frozen Spinach and Sweet Corn, and pre-cooked Jasmine Rice, Ms. Foodie was able to crank out dinner in less than an hour.

When you have so many things to do, wherever you can save time makes a huge difference.

Honey + Sriracha Chicken.

 

Soup is Good Food: Green Soup, with a few variations…

Mr. Foodie had a bit of a relapse with this cold/flu creeping crud that’s floating around, So, Ms. Foodie needed to go back to the antioxidant-rich fare that helped to get him back on his feet a few weeks ago.

I asked my fellow Yogi mini-Milena Sarian what she does when she has a cold, and she told me about a Green Soup she makes with LOTS of garlic. She had Ms. Foodie at “hello”…

The Mr. and I are carnivores, so even though we love the veggies, protein is what gives us the best energy. Along with antioxidant and vitamin C-rich Cabbage, Kale, and Zucchini, I boiled a chicken breast with some red Chile flakes, Sea Salt, and a bit of Black Pepper. Once it was fully cooked, I chopped it up, and added it to the mix.

Using a base of two cups chicken broth (including the broth from the boiled chicken breast), and a cup of water, I added an entire Garlic bulb (she did say LOTS), chopped fresh Ginger root, added two Bay leaves, and a medley of wild dried Porcini, Shitake, Black, and Oyster Mushrooms.

Sprinkled generously with Sea Salt, Black Pepper, and Basil, and polished with two eggs stirred into the hot broth, this soup is definitely the hit!

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Chicken and Rice Soup

Ms. Foodie combined chicken soup for the soul with powerful, cold-busting, antioxidant lemon and garlic. With the additions of celery, carrots, Jasmine rice and spices, this made a hearty and warm meal for a Fall evening.

That’s Amore!

Ms. Foodie turned the kitchen into Little Italy this weekend.

I made two Lasagnas for a going away party. One vegan/gluten-free, the other traditional, loaded with lots of meat and cheese. For the vegan Lasagna, my go-to source was AllRecipes.com; of course, Ms. Foodie added her own magic, but appreciated the help, as I’m a carnivore at heart.

The traditional Lasagna is a recipe that I keep perfecting over time, and it just gets better and better. One day I’ll share it… maybe–heh! heh!

The magic touch for both Lasagnas–Kale–a super food  that is heartier and just as healthy as spinach. It’s highly versatile, and has becomes a regular staple in Ms. Foodie’s kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms. Foodie also whipped up some Ground Chicken Marinara Sauce, and if I must say so myself, I put my foot in it!

Mr. Foodie agrees, as he forwent a fresh dinner for leftover Linguine with said Meat Sauce–I knew I married him for a reason…

 

Rainy Day Cookies and Stew–necessarily, in that order!

"Raining" courtesy of Peter Griffin/Public Domain Pictures.net

So we are experiencing our first rain of the season here in Los Angeles. Save for venturing out for a Yoga class, Ms. Foodie is fortunate enough to be ensconced at home with her two furry babies, with visions of culinary delights dancing in her head.

The afternoon started with test-driving a recipe for Almond Butter Cookies from a blog called Good Life Eats. Author Katie Goodman does some killer desserts, and she has some great Holiday offerings that Ms. Foodie plans to try as that Season draws near.

Ms. Goodman gives some great information about an Almond Butter called “Barney Butter“, that is Peanut free. Many nut butter manufacturers still use the same processing plant to do Peanut products along with the others, so if you have a Peanut allergy, even trace amounts can be dangerous. Thankfully, me and Mr. Foodie do not–we just enjoy the smooth taste of Almond Butter. Almond Butter is also easier on the digestion.

Ms. Foodie’s personal choice is Trader Joe’s Almond Butter with Flaxseed Oil. It made the cookie mixture a bit less firm when forming it into balls, but oh, what melt-in-your-mouth delight! Chased with a glass of cold milk, it was a perfect slice of yummy!

And what’s a rainy day without some nice, hearty stew? After finding uninspiring offerings on the food blogs, Ms. Foodie did her own thing with stuff in the Store. Kitchen-Cabinet Cooking at it’s finest! Two leftover lemon Chicken Breasts, a cup of mixed vegetables, Potato Gnocchi, one can of Cream of Mushroom and Garlic soup, a half cup of Sour Cream, and a tablespoon of Coconut Oil.

I threw it all in a Crock Pot, set it to low, and left the ingredients to meld.  Stews and soups always bring such lovely smells to the home!

Didn’t cancel out the Almond Butter cookies though… good thing the batch made three dozen! Mr. Foodie is doing the Happy Dance.

Hot Wings for a Hot Day

Yeah, it’s really hot, but Ms. Foodie was in the mood for Buffalo Hot Wings. There’s a recipe on AllRecipes.com that I just love, and it doesn’t require turning on an oven. Praise the Lord, and pass the chicken wings!

One of the teachers at my Yoga studio brought in some Summer squash from her garden, so I chopped this up and sauteed it, along with Kale, Mushrooms, andVine-Ripened Tomatoes, in Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.

A cool meal makes the weather more bearable!

Succulent and Spicy Chicken Breast

Summer has finally come to Los Angeles–can you tell Ms. Foodie is thrilled? Not. But, it does give the opportunity to be ingenious about using the stove top or the crock pot, instead of turning on an oven–God forbid.

So instead of roasting the two breasts I had defrosted for dinner, I rubbed them down with a combination of Olive Oil, Thyme, Rosemary, Cilantro, Pepper and Celery Salt, then slapped on a bit of Tapatio for good measure. I placed them in my lovely covered Calphalon skillet over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, andVoila! Chicken breast that are succulent, spicy, and pretty darned delicious!

With leftover rice in the store, I re-heated it, chopped some Kale, and mixed it all together with Trader Joe’s Three-Cheese Blend. A hearty–yet healthy meal in less than 45-minutes.

Summertime, and the living is easy!