Pita Chips

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It was Mediterranean night for the group this week, (and because I am a food snob) I knew I would need to make pita chips to go with my fave tzatziki sauce. After a quick search, I stumbled upon this simple recipe. Caution: These are highly addictive! the kids and I eat them plain – they are perfectly crunchy, salty and a little savory :) I think they’ll be a great addition to their school lunches instead of pretzels or chips. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Pita Chips – adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Topping -

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

1) Mix and knead the dough ingredients together to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until just about doubled in bulk.

3) Preheat the oven to 450°F, with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. If you don’t have a pizza stone, see tips, below.

4) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces.

5) Shape each into a ball, cover, and let rest for 10 minutes.

6) Working with two pieces of dough at a time, roll each into a 6″ circle. Transfer them to the hot stone.

7) Bake for 4 minutes, until puffy. Turn them over, and bake for an additional minute. Remove from the oven, and place on a rack to cool.

8) Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

9) Once the pitas are cool, carefully separate the two sides of each to make 16 thin rounds.

10) Brush rounds with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

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11) Cut each round into 8 wedges. Divide the wedges between two parchment-lined baking sheets.

12) Bake the chips in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until crisp; turn the chips over after 10 minutes of baking.

13) Remove chips from the oven, cool completely on the pan, wrap airtight, and store at room temperature.

Italian Antipasto Salad

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I made this salad for a group of ladies and judging by how little of this was left, it was a hit ;) The salami and provolone combo is what makes this crave-worthy and I like the different textures of the lettuces. The vinaigrette compliments this salad perfectly, and thanks to the Dijon it stays well mixed for long periods of time. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Italian Antipasto Salad – adapted from The Food Network

  • 1/2 head romaine lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 head iceberg lettuce, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup rinsed canned red kidney beans, patted dry
  • 1 cup rinsed canned garbanzo beans, patted dry
  • 8 ounces salami, cubed
  • 6 ounces Provolone, cubed
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette, recipe follows
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions -

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

antipasto

Red Wine Vinaigrette – adapted from Epicurious

  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions -

Pour all ingredients in a 8 ounce jar, replace the lid and shake vigorously.

Pina Colada Popsicles

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I haven’t made popsicles since last Summer, but I have been so inspired by the pretty pictures floating all over Pinterest. The kids were excited about these – because you know I never make sweet things! But these are the kind of treats I don’t feel guilty about giving them and they’re quite healthy. These are so easy to make and I’m sure I will try out a few more popsicle recipes before school starts up again :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

**If you’re interested in making these “boozy”, you could swap half the water with light rum**

Pina Colada Popsicles -

    • 8 ounces frozen, diced pineapple and mango
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
    • 1/2 hot water
    • 1 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes

Directions-

Simply mix ingredients together, by hand or in a blender/food processor, and pour into individual popsicles molds.  Add a popsicle stick in the center of the mold and place in freezer for at least 4 hours.

Remove popsicles from freezer and run exterior of popsicle molds under hot water for a few seconds and then gently pull on popsicle stick to release from mold.

Multi-Grain Bread

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I’m always looking for new sandwich bread recipes, so when I came across this one (thank you Pinterest!), I knew it was going to be the next loaf on my long list of recipes to try. This loaf tastes nutty and slightly sweet; and I like that there is a boost in flavor and fiber with this Bob’s Red Mill 7-Grain Hot Cereal. I’m glad the loaves turned out so well, because now I don’t have to find other recipes to make sure this doesn’t go to waste. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

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Multi-Grain Bread – adapted from Country Cleaver

  • 1 cup 7-grain Hot Cereal, such as Bob’s Red Mill
  • 2 ½ cups Boiling Water
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 1 package Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Salt
  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour, (15 ounces) *hold back at least 1/2 cup for kneading*
  • 1 ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour, 8 ¼ ounces
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, melted and cooled
  • ½ cup Oatmeal

Directions -

1) Boil 2 ½ cups of water, pour over 7-grain hot cereal. Stir and let set until temperature cools to 100 degrees, about 1 hour.

2) Into stand mixer bowl fitted with dough attachment, pour in hot cereal. Add in honey and yeast. Turn on mixer and stir to combine. Lastly add in melted and cooled butter. Slowly add in flour. Knead until all ingredients combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 20 minutes. Add in salt. Knead again until salt has been combined – about 1 minute.

3) Remove dough from mixer bowl, and onto a lightly floured surface. Flatten and knead until dough shapes into a large ball. Pour a small amount of oil into a large bowl. Add dough to bowl and roll around bowl gently to ensure it is coated with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and towel to keep away light. Set aside in a warm place for one hour.

4) Remove risen dough from bowl and place on lightly floured surface. Pull and stretch dough into a 18×12 inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife divide in half so it measures 2 9″x12″ sheets. Starting from the top, tightly roll each dough sheet into a log. Flip and pinch all ends together with thumb and forefingers. Repeat with other dough log. Temporarily set aside.

5) Sprinkle oatmeal out onto surface and carefully set into two loaf pans. Gently cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise a second time. Let rise for one hour.

6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you do have a pizza stone, it is a good idea to put in oven and let come to temperature – not necessary, but does make crusts of bread extra crispy and helps distribute heat evenly in the oven.

7) Unwrap loaves and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the center of the loaves reaches 200 degrees. Remove from loaf pans and let cool on wire rack.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

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I have made this twice in two weeks! My picky daughter loves this dinner and can't get enough of the peppers and pineapple :) This is a fairly guilt-free take-out fake-out meal when you consider that Chinese restaurants bread and then deep fry their chicken, this is stir fried instead. Thanks for reading, enjoy! :)

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken – adapted from Steamy Kitchen via The Shiksa

  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 can (8 to 10 oz) pineapple chunks in juice (reserve the juice)
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper (or more to taste– spicy!)
  • 2 tbsp high heat cooking oil, divded (ex. grapeseed, peanut oil)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

Directions – 

    In a bowl, whisk together the egg white, cornstarch, and 1/4 tsp of the salt. Add the chicken pieces and stir to coat evenly. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

    Meanwhile, whisk together 1/4 cup of the reserved pineapple juice, ginger, vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, remaining 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper (or more to taste–optional).

    Set a wok or large saute pan over high heat. When a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates, pour in 1 tbsp of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the red and yellow bell pepper chunks and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok onto a plate. Wipe the wok or pan dry.

    Return the wok to the stove on high heat. When a bead of water instantly sizzles and evaporates, pour in the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and swirl to coat (be sure to fully coat the pan so the meat won’t stick). Add the chicken to the pan, spreading it out in one layer.

    Let the chicken fry, untouched, for 1 minute, until the bottoms are browned. Flip and fry the other side the same for 1 minute. The chicken will still be pinkish in the middle.

    Add the cooked bell peppers, pineapple chunks, and pineapple juice mixture to the pan. Let simmer for about 2 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes till the sauce thickens. Serve over Jasmine rice.

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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It was one of those days…I had no clue what I felt like making for dinner, and I was unmotivated ( lazy) to go grocery shopping. I wanted something quick and easy that required only what I had on hand. Thankfully, this PW recipe met all those requirements. I thought the flavor was really good and I will make this again! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

*I only had one lime that gave me 2 TBSP of juice, so I used half for the marinade and half for the sauce*

  • 2 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (breast Halves)
  • OPTION 1 MARINADE/SAUCE
  • 1 Tablespoon Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Pure Sesame Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
  • Juice Of 2 Limes
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Fresh Ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey (or Brown Sugar)
  • Peanut Or Canola Oil For Frying

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 1/2 cup Peanut Butter (crunch/chunky Is Good!)
  • 3 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hot Chili Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
  • Juice Of 2 Limes
  • Water, As Needed For Thinning
  • Romain lettuce leaves
  • 1 whole carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and julienned

Directions -

In a bowl, mix together the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, hot chili oil, lime juice, ginger, and brown sugar if using. Whisk it together, then pour off half the liquid into a separate bowl.

Dice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and put them into the bowl you used to make the marinade. Throw in the squeezed lime halves and set this aside to marinate for a bit.

Into the small bowl with the other half of the marinade, whisk in the cornstarch and honey. Set aside.

In a heavy skillet over high heat, pour in a small amount of oil. When it’s hot, add the chicken pieces in a single layer. Let it sit on one side, undisturbed, for about a minute, then stir the chicken around and cook it until it’s totally done, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low, then pour in the sauce that you mixed in a separate bowl. Stir it around; the sauce will immediately start to thicken. Cook over low heat for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Peanut Sauce: To make the peanut sauce, combine all the peanut sauce ingredients, adding water until it gets to a nice drizzle-able consistency. Taste and add more of what it needs: spice, sweetness, etc. Set aside.

Lay our lettuce leaves, add chicken, carrots and cucumber then top with peanut sauce.

Hummus

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This was really easy to make and I enjoyed eating it with lots of raw carrots. Now if I can only get my kids to try it, that would be great! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

Hummus – adapted from The Kitchn

  • 1 15-oz can of chickpeas, drained
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon, juiced
  • 1 small clove of garlic, minced finely
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

Tools

A food processor or blender

Directions -

Combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. If it is a little dry, just add a little more lemon juice or olive oil, a teaspoon at a time, until you have the desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper if you like. Scrape out the hummus in a serving bowl and sprinkle the sumac on top. Serve with raw veggies, or spread on some pita bread.

Baked Zucchini Fries and Ranch Dressing

This recipe is floating around Pintrest lately. I knew I would have to follow my sister’s lead and serve these alongside hamburgers. These were really tasty and a healthier alternative to fries, and if you haven’t made homemade ranch before, you really should!  It’s fresh, creamy, flavorful, and what makes it even better is that it’s cheap to make and full of ingredients that you can pronounce. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

P.S. I reheated the leftover “fries” in the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes, and they were just as crispy! :)

Baked Zucchini Fries – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (*I forgot to add this, but it would have been a nice addition*)
  • 1 lb zucchini, cut into 4-5-inch sticks

Directions -

  1. Preheat oven to 425 and place a cooling rack in your baking sheet.
  2. Place flour in a large zipper bag.
  3. Whisk eggs with 2 Tbsp water and place in a shallow dish.
  4. Place Panko, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine.
  5. Place zucchini in the bag with the flour and shake until well coated. Dip the zucchini into the egg and then into the panko, turning to coat well.
  6. Place breaded zucchini on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

Buttermilk Ranch Dressing – adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride

  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried chives
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Directions -

  1. Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender.
  2. Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing.
  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge for a week or more.

Grilled Chicken and Pear Salad

Strange combination for this family, but I decided to try it. Grilled fruit is always a good idea, and I’m hoping these pears don’t disappoint! I recently started ordering produce from a local co-op and it’s been a great motivator to try new recipes. I never buy pears, and honestly wasn’t a huge fan – chalk it up to never eating them as a kid. I’m also hoping that the simplicity of the rest of the dish doesn’t equal lack of flavor…we will soon see.

Verdict: All the components of this salad work together really well. They were all leery of the pear, but tried it anyway. I’m pleased with how it turned out, and most of my family (minus the pickiest eater), enjoyed this. Up next, the cheddar biscuits we ate with this salad! :) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Grilled Chicken and Pear Salad – adapted from Plan to Eat

  • 1 pound chicken breasts, boneless/skinless
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • 2 pears, cored and sliced
  • 6 cups mixed greens with baby spinach
  • Goat cheese, optional

Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ cup grape seed or olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions -

1. Prepare the vinaigrette and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

2. Butterfly each chicken breast or pound to an even thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.

3. Grill chicken and pears until chicken juices run clear and pears and soft, warm, and slightly charred.

4. Remove chicken and pears from grill and slice chicken into strips.

5. Plate greens, top with chicken and pears, sprinkle with goat cheese, and drizzle with vinaigrette

Garlic Green Beans

Quick Post: These were so good, (so was the entire meal – roast chicken and garlic rice pilaf linkage). This is such an easy, amazingly flavorful meal and definitely company worthy (not to mention cheap!) It hits all the right buttons! Thanks for reading, enjoy :)

Garlic Green Beans – adapted from A Sweet Pea Chef

  • 1 lb. fresh green beans, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter (**next time, I’ll use 1 TBSP**)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Directions:

Steam green beans until slightly tender, about 6-8 minutes.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes. Transfer steamed green beans to the melted butter and garlic. Toss to coat green beans evenly and continue to saute for approximately 5 minutes over medium heat.