9.09.2022

Greek Chicken Skewer Appetizers

We love having friends over to enjoy dinner together at the table on our deck, but sometimes it is fun to have "heavy" appetizers and call it simple meal! These mini chicken skewers provide flavorful protein bites that are delicious pared with Mini Potato Appetizers and Stuffed Mushrooms (click links for recipes). 
 

Ingredients

1/2 green bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into small pieces
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into small pieces
4 chicken thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces

Marinade for chicken:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

  • Combine all ingredients in gallon ziplock bag.  Add chicken pieces and marinate for at least 2 hours to overnight.
  • Soak short bamboo skewers in water. 
  • Drain chicken from the marinade. Thread a piece of green bell pepper, then chicken, then yellow and red pepper. Grill over medium grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  • Enjoy!

The skewers ready to be grilled

9.06.2022

Meal for a Friend in Need

When my babies were newly born many years ago, I remember how much prepared dinners brought to us by friends meant to my husband and me in our first days of absolute wonder and minimal sleep. Our sweet neighbors just had a darling baby boy and I wanted to bring them the gift of a ready-to-eat meal while they enjoyed their first few days of new parenthood awe before their own parents arrived to assist. This Greek inspired menu was perfect and easy to package with disposable foil containers. 
My girlfriends joined me at my house shortly after I dropped off the dinner for my lovely neighbors and since I made a big batch, my friends and I were able to enjoy the rest of this delicious meal together on my deck!


Greek Souvlaki Skewers

¼ cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-sized pieces


Prepare kabobs: Combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, oregano, and salt in a large resealable bag. Add chicken, coat with the marinade, squeeze out excess air and seal the bag; marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Soak wooden skewers in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat and lightly oil the grate.
Remove chicken from marinade and thread onto the soaked skewers. Discard unused marinade.
Cook the skewers on the preheated grill, turning frequently until browned on all sides and chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Serve with tzatziki sauce.

Greek-Style Lemon Potatoes With Garlic and Oregano

3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½-inch cubes

1/3 cup olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1½ teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled

1 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

½ cup chicken stock

2 lemons freshly squeezed juice

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place the potatoes in a single layer in a 9 x 13 " baking dish and pour the oil over them. Add the garlic, dried oregano, salt and pepper to taste and toss well to coat with the oil.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes. Add the stock, toss and bake for 10 minutes more. Add the lemon juice, toss and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, or until the potatoes are cooked through. If you like, preheat the broiler and broil the potatoes for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

recipe adapted from Epicurious

GREEK SALAD

1 hothouse cucumber

1 red pepper, large diced

1 yellow pepper, large diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halve

½ pound feta, diced

½ cup kalamata olives

For Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup good olive oil

Place cucumber, peppers and tomatoes in a large bowl. For the vinaigrette, whisk together garlic, oregano, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Still whisking, add olive oil slowly to emulsify. Pour vinaigrette over vegetables. Add feta and olives and toss lightly. Set aside for 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve room temp.

recipe from Ina Garten


Chocolate Chip Cake Cookie Bars

1 box yellow cake mix

1/3 cup melted butter

2 large eggs, whisked

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13" pan. Combine cake mix, butter, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Add chocolate chips and mix until combined.

Scoop dough into pan, press down even with a piece of parchment paper. Dough is a bit stiff.

Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool in pan 15 minutes then slice into squares.



The note of instructions I included with the dinner~



Dinner for New Parents Cindy and Rob 

Congrats on the arrival of baby Alex!

August 9, 2022



  • CHICKEN SOUVLAKI SKEWERS

  • TZATZIKI SAUCE

  • NAAN (heat at 400 degrees for 2-3 minutes until warm)

  • GREEK SALAD

  • GREEK STYLE POTATOES WITH LEMON AND OREGANO

  • CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE COOKIES



Enjoy chicken souvlaki skewers with tzatziki sauce, and greek salad with cut pieces of warmed naan and potatoes on the side.


You can also serve the chicken souvlaki skewers wrapped, like a sandwich. Spread some tzatziki sauce on the warmed naan and top with the chicken souvlaki, greek salad and potatoes and wrap. Enjoy!




I'm so thankful for dear girlfriends! 

9.02.2022

Ham and Cheese Sliders / Roasted Vegetable Sliders

Bring these sliders to your Labor Day gathering with friends this weekend- such a yummy bite of goodness and makes all ages happy. They are a great appetizer or even a quick weekday meal for your family.
Ham and Cheese Sliders


HAM AND CHEESE SLIDERS

1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced in half 12 count (I made 24 for a staff snack)

½-¾ pound cooked deli ham, thinly sliced

¾ pound Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

½ cup butter, melted

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 tsp poppy seeds

2 tsp dried minced onion

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ teaspoon salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13” baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Using a large knife, slice rolls in half horizontally. Do not separate rolls- try to cut them in half as one big “sheet.”

  • Put the bottom layer of rolls in prepared pan, line with cheese, then ham, then another layer of cheese. Add top layer of rolls.

  • Make the sauce: melt butter in microwave safe bowl. Mix in  mustard, poppy seeds, minced onion, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Pour sauce on top of rolls, spreading carefully to put over all the tops. If it spills over, that’s ok. Cover with aluminum foil and let rolls sit for 10 minutes.  

  • Bake covered for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Take foil off and cook for a few more minutes. 

  • Slice into individual sliders and serve warm or cold.   


ROASTED VEGETABLE SLIDERS


Layer a slice of mozzarella on the bottom, roasted zucchini and red pepper next and top with rolls spread with pesto

1 package Hawaiian sweet rolls, sliced in half 12 count
8 ounces fresh mozzarella sliced into 12 slices
3 zucchini
2 red bell peppers
1/4 home made or jarred pesto

Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices and red pepper into quarters. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Roast over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side (pepper may take longer). Put peppers in brown paper bag to steam for 15 minutes. Take out of bag and remove skins from peppers. Spread pesto on top

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13” baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  • Using a large knife, slice rolls in half horizontally. Do not separate rolls- try to cut them in half as one big “sheet.”

  • Slice zucchini into 1/4 inch slices and red pepper into quarters. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Roast over medium heat for 3-5 minutes per side (pepper may take longer). Put peppers in brown paper bag to steam for 15 minutes. Take out of bag and remove skins from peppers. Spread pesto on top layer of rolls.

  • Put the bottom layer of rolls in prepared pan and layer with mozzarella, zucchini, peppers. Place pesto roll sheet on top.

  • Bake covered for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Take foil off and cook for a few more minutes. 

  • Slice into individual sliders and serve warm or cold.   



9.01.2022

Figs!

Figs! What do you do with them? Trader Joe's has large plastic boxes of figs replacing the big peach and nectarine boxes as summer fruits begin to fade. I find them very enjoyable and you can, too, with this easy snack or breakfast idea. Just slice a few figs, add a dollop of ricotta (or goat cheese), top with some toasted walnuts and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!



 

8.28.2022

Mini Potato Appetizers

This appetizer is one of my favorites- easy to make, yummy and a true crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

14-16 small red potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup sour cream
several slices bacon, cooked and chopped
green onions, chopped 
salt and pepper

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Cut potatoes in half, put on rimmed baking sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange all the potatoes cut size down.
  • Roast until lightly brown and easily release from baking sheet, about 25 minutes.
  • Let cool and spoon a dollop of sour cream on each potato and top with a spinkle of bacon bits and green onions.
  • Enjoy!

8.27.2022

Stuffed Mushrooms Appetizer

Stuffed mushrooms are a delicious, easy to serve appetizer option. Add them to your list! 


Ingredients

20-24 large button mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 (5.2 oz) Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In skillet, melt butter then add onion, finely chopped mushrooms stems, garlic and parsley. Saute until tender, about 5 minutes. 
  • In small bowl, combine Boursin, breadcrumbs, half of parmesan and cooked mushrooms stem mixture. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Stuff mushroom caps with the rest of the parmesan and bake until mushrooms are golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy!


Mushrooms ready to be popped in the oven


7.06.2022

Ratatouille

My husband and I love going to our neighborhood farmers' market on Sundays to buy all the delicious fresh local veggies and fruit and support our local farmers. Last weekend we found beautiful Japanese eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini, squash, peppers and basil...which were perfect for this delicious dish. 

In regular ratatouille, the veggies get quite stewed and soft and I searched for a way I could cook the veggies without them losing their form. I forgot I posted a simple Delicious Deconstructed Ratatouille on my blog back in 2013! When I found this similar amazing recipe, I wanted to try it in my cast iron skillet. Although the concept in both recipes is the same, simmering the tomatoes with the peppers and onions into a flavorful sauce and drizzling the finished dish with basil and parsley olive oil puts this dish over the top!

Veggies sliced, topped with herb oil and ready for oven

Ratatouille right out of the oven

  • RATATOUILLE RECIPE
  •  
  • VEGGIES
  • 2 Japanese eggplants
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow squashes
  • 2 zucchinis

  • SAUCE
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from 8-10 leaves

  • HERB SEASONING
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, from 8-10 leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F 
  • Slice the eggplant, tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately ¹⁄₁₆-inch (1-mm) rounds, then set aside.
  • Make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch (30-cm) oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until soft, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the crushed tomatoes. Stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated. Remove from heat, then add the basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.
  • Arrange the sliced veggies in alternating patterns, on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the middle of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Make the herb seasoning: In a small bowl, mix together the basil, garlic, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Spoon the herb seasoning over the vegetables.
  • Cover the pan with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover, then bake for another 20 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.
  • Serve while hot as a main dish or side. The ratatouille is delicious the next day--cover with foil and reheat in a 350˚F oven for 15 minutes, or microwave to desired temperature.
  • Enjoy!

Ratatouille appetizer served on a slice of ciabatta

Ratatouille served over pasta


 

5.16.2022

Roasted Rainbow Carrots

Roasted carrots are such an unexpected but delicious side dish. Both my husband and I love them and prefer them savory versus sweet. The herbs in this recipe offset the sweetness of the carrots perfectly!


Roasted Rainbow Carrots

  • 2 pounds rainbow carrots, cut in half lengthwise and the large sections of the carrot quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss cut carrots with olive oil, salt pepper, and herbs on baking sheet. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. If carrots are not tender, uncover, lower heat to 375 degree and bake 10 to 15 minutes until tender.  Serve hot, warm or room temp. Enjoy!


5.15.2022

Prosciutto Eggs Cups

Prosciutto Eggs Cups are the perfect brunch entree and are a great gluten-free protein option. I made these for Easter brunch and often make them on the weekend to have in the fridge to bring to work for breakfast for the week ahead. They are so simple to make and use just a few simple ingredients!

Prosciutto Eggs Cups

  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • 12 eggs
  • chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tin lightly with non-stick spray. Gently lay one prosciutto slice into each cup. Crack an egg into the cup and sprinkle a few chopped chives on top. 
Bake for 11minutes for runny yolk or 13-15 minutes for more well cooked egg. You can also add cracked pepper but these don't need salt because the prosciutto is so salty!


Serve Prosciutto Eggs Cups with a fruit salad, marinated beets and roasted carrots for a delicious spring brunch!


7.14.2021

Heirloom Tomato Galette


Taking full advantage of the peak of tomato season, I purchased some beautiful heirloom tomatoes at the farmer's market this morning. There were pre-made pie crusts in my refrigerator that were ready to use, so I decided to make a couple of galettes. Galettes are so easy to throw together with fresh ingredients you have on hand and look rustically beautiful. 

This galette makes a perfect appetizer or summer side with grilled chicken and a corn salad. I had it cooling on the counter when my daughter and her friend returned home from a trip and it was the perfect bite after their travels. They loved it!

Heirloom Tomato Galette

  • One store-bought pie crust (or you could make your own)
  •  pounds heirloom tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz firm cheese like Gruyere or Gouda, finely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 large egg, beaten 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • flaky sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives or thyme


Preheat oven to 400°. Gently toss tomatoes, garlic and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl. Let sit 5 minutes (tomatoes will start releasing some liquid). Drain tomato mixture and transfer to paper towels.
Unroll room temperature dough and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Scatter cheese over dough, leaving a 1½"" border. Arrange tomatoes and garlic over cheese. Bring edges of dough over filling, overlapping as needed to create border; brush with egg. Sprinkle tomatoes and edge of crust with flaky sea salt and tomatoes with pepper as well. Chill in freezer 10 minutes.

Bake galette until crust is golden brown and cooked through, approximately 40 minutes. Let cool slightly and sprinkle with herbs. This is delicious hot out of the oven as well as at room temp. Enjoy!


Scatter shredded cheese on dough
Dry tomatoes on paper towels

Galette ready for the oven!

Cut a slice and enjoy!