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!

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.

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.

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!

Adventures with Coconut Milk…

It’s always an adventure when I’m in the kitchen! Ms. Foodie had a senior moment (yes, I’m near that age…) and tried to drink Coconut Milk, assuming it was the same as Coconut Water. Hmm…. right. I’m sure you know how well that went.

So what else does one do but find a recipe in which to use it? Coconut Milk doesn’ t have a long shelf-life once opened; so I combed the Internet to find a recipe to my liking.

The closest I came to this was a Brazilian Chicken with Coconut recipe on AllRecipes.com, but in Ms. Foodie fashion, I followed the parts I wanted and modified the rest.

I wasn’t interested in the overabundance of heat, so I kept the Cayenne and skipped the Jalapenos. I also wanted to lower the acidity, thus, the Tomatoes were discarded. Then I increased the Tumeric, Cumin, Coriander and Cayenne to two teaspoons, and added in equal parts of Cilantro. This wonderful potpourri of spices was used to coat the Chicken Breasts (I used six), which were then cooked in Olive Oil.

Finally, the recipe calls for sauteing chopped Onions, Garlic, Ginger, and Tomatoes (which I eliminated), in Olive Oil, combine the Coconut Milk with these, and pour this mix over the Chicken. This dish is way too flavorful to waste dipping sauce over it–Ms. Foodie prefers her chicken saturated. So, I placed the chicken pieces on top of the Onions, Garlic, and Ginger, then poured the Coconut Milk over everything.

I also had some Green Beans in the store, so I chopped those up and sprinkled them on top of the mix.

After simmering for 15 minutes (no longer, otherwise the cream separates from the water and it’s not pretty), my Coconut Milk dish was served up over Basmati Rice.

Any ideas for a name for this Patootie modification?

More fun with Chobani!

So Ms. Foodie made good on her promise to whip up a recipe using Chobani Greek Yogurt. I took 6 oz. of the plain flavor and made a zesty marinade for our chicken breasts last night!

It’s only me and Mr. Foodie, so I used the six ounce size of the yogurt to cover two breasts, and even had some leftover marinade after coating the chicken. But, if you use more breasts, you can double, triple, quadruple the recipe–you decide…

I threw in three teaspoons of Olive Oil, 3/4 teaspoon of Ground Ginger and Cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of Thyme, 1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Powder, 1/2 teaspoon of Minced Onion, 1/4 teaspoon of Rosemary, and a 1/2 cup of Lime Juice.  After mixing all the ingredients into the yogurt, I used it to coat the breasts on both sides, then let them sit in the fridge for 20 minutes while warming up the broiler.

At 500 degrees, the chicken flash cooks, but the lovely yogurt coating holds in all the flavor–no dry breasts on this watch.  Lots of taste with a bit of zing!

But here’s the best part: I refrigerated the leftover yogurt marinade and stirred it into eggs this morning to make myself a Ms. Foodie Omelette.

This is back to pure Kitchen Cabinet Cooking, because everything was already in the store: two eggs, some leftover roasted turkey breast, and Roma tomatoes.  And with all the flavors packed into the yogurt, who has to season?

I also had some potato salad with dill in the fridge, so it accompanied the Omelette, along with Sourdough toast.

Mmmm Good!

Flavor Fusion!

Ms. Foodie decided to play with different flavors tonight: some Roast Chicken Breast basted with butter and Italian Seasonings, Spicy-Sweet Peanut Noodles, and a Spinach Salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and fresh blueberries.

Oven-roasted chicken is always tasty, and adding a brine, baste or marinade only enhances the flavor.  Before roasting for 45 minutes to an 1 hour at 400 degrees, I basted the chicken breast with butter, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Sea Salt, Pepper and a hint of ground Ginger.  Turned out beauteous, don’t you think?

There are so many variations on Peanut Sauce on the Internet, from Thai, to Chinese, to dipping sauce, and on and on.  I played around with one recipe by taking a 1/4 cup of chunky peanut butter, adding a teaspoon full of chili-garlic sauce, a tablespoon of honey, and a 1/2 cup water.  I cooked up some Thai-Rice Noodles, drained them, and tossed the Noodles with the Peanut Sauce.

After sprinkling a bit of Cilantro for color and a bit of bite, this Flavor Fusion was ready to go!

 

 

Finally, fresh Baby Spinach is a quick and dirty way to give boring salad some zing!  The blueberries add a bit of sweet to the mix, and are chock full of antioxidants.

And it looks pretty too!