Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch

Cobb Salad

It’s only been almost 2 years since I posted. All I can say is that food and babies don’t mix for me. My last post corresponds perfectly with when I found out I was pregnant with baby #2 and then the sick set in. The second time around was worse than the first for me- I had some degree of aversion to food most of my pregnancy. And it turns out having 2 kids is slightly more chaotic (and sleepless) than one, so it has taken a long time for me to find the time/energy/etc. to get back here. But it doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking. The minute I give birth my appetite comes back and then it quadruples with the nonstop nursing. So lots of cooking and eating going on this past year. I have more than fifty drafts of recipes I want to share (many I’ve made repeatedly and have become quick-healthy-kid-approved favorites)!

My goal is to post a recipe once a week. Bonus if I can pull out my real camera and take a photo to go with it. My phone might have to do occasionally. I can count on one hand the number of time I’ve used my DSLR in the last year-ish: Gwen’s birth, Christmas morning, and Gwen’s first birthday. (She turned 1 on March 1st so no excuses now that I technically no longer have a baby!) Besides adding another girl to our family, last year we moved from Colorado to the Seattle area. And I absolutely love it here! The winters are milder, the summers are glorious, the Pacific Northwest is stunning, and I can’t get enough of this city. Dustin started working with a new pediatric dental practice (a job that may become permanent- we are yet to see), we took our first trip to Europe (babymoon!), and took our first international trip as a family (Costa Rica!).

Now that we’re somewhat caught up, let’s talk about this recipe. My post-pregnancy self craves salads and protein (and I’ve lost much of my sweet tooth which is slightly sad, but mostly great for my health). So we eat a lot of greens and meat. This salad packs in a lot of protein with grilled spiced chicken breast, bacon, and hard-boiled eggs. And I even snuck some Greek yogurt into the dressing. I included the changes I made next to the original recipe. I chose to grill the chicken because my indoor grill pan is my best friend, but come summer I’ll definitely be repeating it on the outdoor grill. My girls devoured theirs and my husband didn’t complain that he was eating salad for dinner so that’s saying something!

Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad with Honey Mustard Ranch

INGREDIENTS

Grilled Chicken:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. thyme leaves
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (I just added a pinch)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 18 oz.)

Honey Mustard Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I used half mayo and half low fat plain Greek yogurt)
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp. kosher salt (I only used 1/2 tsp. and think it could be reduced further)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained and patted dry (I used Trader Joe’s frozen roasted corn)
1 head iceberg lettuce, chopped (I used romaine lettuce)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 large avocado, cubed
10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (I only used six)
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Cook the chicken and the corn:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with oil. (I grilled my chicken on an indoor grill pan headed to medium-high.)

2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon oil, paprika, salt, cumin, thyme, black pepper, and cayenne. Rub the mixture all over the chicken. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake until cooked through but still juicy, 15 to 20 minutes (or grill). Transfer the chicken to a plate and when cool enough to handle, cut into small bite-size pieces.

3. Meanwhile, arrange the corn on the same baking sheet. Crank up the heat to broil and broil the corn until just slightly charred, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool. (I roasted my corn in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.)

Make the dressing:

4. In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, buttermilk, mustard, honey, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the salad:

5. Arrange the lettuce on a serving platter or in a big salad bowl. Top with the tomatoes, avocado, bacon, roasted corn, eggs, and chicken. If you’re like me, line them up in the most OCD way possible and get really annoyed when the lines aren’t perfectly straight. Drizzle the dressing to taste over the salad, and toss if you want to ruin all those pretty lines. Serve immediately. Any leftover dressing keeps in the fridge for a week or so.

Serves approx. 4.

(Adapted from Cravings)

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By in Salad, Uncategorized, Vinaigrette/Dressing · Comments { 0 }

Orange Couscous with Cranberries and Cashews

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I realized while typing out this recipe that it would make a very festive Christmas side dish. And here we are on the first 80+ degree day of summer! You don’t have to wait for Christmas to make this couscous. Dotted with green onions, sweet dried cranberries, and roasted cashews, and tossed in a maple-orange vinaigrette, it’s light and fresh and perfect year-round! I served it with Parmesan and panko crusted thin-cut pork chops and steamed green beans. It would be excellent with chicken kebabs or grilled shrimp or fish or just about anything.

Orange Couscous with Cranberries and Cashews

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup couscous (I used whole wheat)
1 cup water or low-sodium chicken/vegetable broth
zest of 1/2 orange
2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
1 tsp. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped
2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

1. Put the couscous in a medium bowl. In a very small saucepan, bring the broth and a pinch of salt to a boil over high heat, then pour it over the couscous. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand until the couscous is tender and the broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Gently scrape and fluff the couscous with a fork and serve as is (stir in a little butter or olive oil, if you like).

2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange zest, orange juice, maple syrup, and oil, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Pour the dressing over the warm couscous and gently toss to combine. Add the cranberries, cashews, and scallions and gently toss again. Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve.

Serves 4.

(Adapted from Keepers)

By in Sides, Uncategorized ·

Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Sausage

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It has been a ridiculously long time since I shared a recipe. I’m going to try and play catch up and post the favorites I’ve been making these last few months. We’ll start with this chicken sausage and broccoli rabe pasta dish. It’s creamy and cheesy without being too heavy.

Broccoli rabe is one of my favorite vegetables. But it can be bitter if not prepared carefully. A quick blanch usually does the trick. Here it’s conveniently boiled for several minutes with the pasta and then layered with a garlicky bechamel, savory chicken sausage, and noodles. The instructions are long (or rather, detailed), but really this is a simple, relatively fast dinner to prep. (And can be made ahead of time- just pop in the oven 30 minutes before you want to eat.)

Baked Pasta with Broccoli Rabe and Chicken Sausage

INGREDIENTS

12 oz. pasta of your choice (I used some gourmet whole wheat noodles I don’t know the name of)
1 bundle fresh broccoli rabe, stems and leaves cut into 1-inch segments (I used 8 oz. frozen chopped broccoli rabe)
12 oz. Italian chicken sausage (or turkey or pork), casings removed
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (I used a combination of the two)
6 oz. mozzarella, cut into small cubes

for the bechamel:
2 cups milk, full fat is ideal
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
pinch nutmeg
pinch crushed red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

1. Cook the pasta and rabe: Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add pasta and five minutes before its cooking time is up, add the broccoli rabe. It will seem like too much for the water, but with a stir or two, the rabe should wilt and cook alongside the pasta. (If using frozen, you can add the frozen broccoli rabe directly to the boiling water and cook for several minutes.) Drain the broccoli rabe and pasta together and place in a large bowl.

2. Cook your sausage: Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil in a large, wide saucepan (you will use this for the bechamel in a few minutes; you could also use your pasta pot, once it is drained) over medium heat. When hot, add the sausage, breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it starts to brown, about five minutes. Remove with slotted spoon or spatula, leaving any fat behind.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

4. Make the bechamel: Melt your butter in same saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, add your flour and stir it into the butter until smooth. Cook the mixture together for a minute, stirring constantly. Pour in a small drizzle of your milk, whisking constantly into the butter-flour mixture until smooth. Continue to drizzle a very small amount at a time, whisking constantly. Once you’ve added a little over half of your milk, you’ll find that you have more of a thick sauce or batter, and you can start adding the milk in larger splashes, being sure to keep mixing. Once all of the milk is added, add the salt, garlic, nutmeg, and few grinds of black pepper, and bring the mixture to a lower simmer and cook it, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, or until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

5. Assemble and bake: Add the sausage and bechamel to the bowl with the pasta and broccoli rabe. Stir in mozzarella and half of grated parmesan or pecorino until combined. Pour into a lasagna pan, deep 9×13-inch baking dish or 3-quart casserole dish and coat with remaining parmesan or pecorino. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges and craggy points are nicely bronzed.

Makes a 9×13 pan, serves ~6.

(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

By in Uncategorized ·

Greek Quesadillas

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Not a particularly festive recipe for you today, but one of the many I’ve made these last few months I’ve been away. I’m cooking plenty, but I’ve lost the motivation to photograph and blog every detail of it. So you’ll probably get a new recipe sporadically. I don’t think I’ll ever be as constant at posting as I was before Clara showed up. Life has changed.

But I think you’ll enjoy today’s recipe. Quesadillas are an easy last-minute meal that please everyone around here. These quesadillas have a Greek twist with Mediterranean veggies, chicken (if you wish), feta, and oregano. You can use mozzarella but I always prefer Monterrey Jack because it melts so smoothly. Add whatever other veggies (pepperoncini, maybe) or protein (how about chickpeas) you want and devour with hummus or tzatziki (cucumber-yogurt sauce) or tahini.

Greek Quesadillas

INGREDIENTS

whole wheat tortillas
olive oil, butter, or cooking spray
fresh spinach, chopped
red onion, diced (or green onion)
roasted red pepper, chopped (or tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes)
sliced black olives (or kalamata)
chicken, chopped or shredded (optional)
mozzarella or Monterey Jack, grated
feta, crumbled
pinch oregano
pinch crushed red pepper flakes
hummus, tzatziki, or tahini sauce, for serving

DIRECTIONS

1. Warm a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush with olive oil or butter or coat with cooking spray. Place a tortilla on top and sprinkle with cheese. Spread desired toppings over the cheese and sprinkle more cheese over the toppings. Top with a second tortilla. (Or you can spread the filling over half of a single tortilla and fold it over- makes for easier flipping!) Cook until the bottom of the quesadilla is golden brown and the cheese has begun to melt. Flip and cook until the other side is golden and the cheese has melted and is oozing out the sides. Slice and serve with sauce of choice.

(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

 

By in Greek, Uncategorized ·

Sweet Potato Pancakes

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Clara and I took a trip to Virginia last week to visit my parents. I always love going home. But especially in the fall when the lush green landscape turns colorful. Clara loves having her grandparents’ attention, a cat to stalk, and a large home with a basement full of new toys to entertain her. And my mom and I have an unspoken arrangement where I cook most of the meals (not her favorite task) while she plays with Clara. We all get a break and get to do what we love most.

We had planned to make it into DC early before I flew out for some famous blueberry buckwheat pancakes at the Eastern Market (a must try if you’re in the city). But instead we were exhausted (was the morning after trick-or-treating, after all) and slept in (’til 7:30 which is exciting for us) and made breakfast ourselves: scrambled eggs with chives and Canadian bacon and a stack of pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup. Today’s recipe I actually made before our trip. It’s a riff on my spiced pumpkin pancakes that uses sweet potato instead. I actually think I like these more. They’re easily dairy-free if you use almond milk and coconut oil. And still delicious frozen and re-warmed in the toaster over the next few days.

p.s. Have you tried Trader Joes Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread? It’s amazing on just about anything- including these pancakes.

Sweet Potato Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
pinch of cloves
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk or milk or buttermilk, etc.
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. melted butter or coconut oil
1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup mashed, cooked sweet potato (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)

DIRECTIONS

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. In a medium bowl, combine the almond milk, egg, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and mashed sweet potato until smooth. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Batter will be thick, however if it is way too thick add in a tablespoon or two of milk.

2. Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, about 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter.

(Adapted from Ambitious Kitchen)

Makes about 10 pancakes.

By in Uncategorized ·