Monthly Archives: February 2010

Grilled Chicken Wraps

This is one of those recipes I have been making since we first got married almost 15 years ago. It is simple and completely awesome. It basically is a chicken version of a gyro wrap since most of us don’t have a spit grilled lamb just lying around at home. What makes this wrap so awesome is twofold. First, the tzatziki sauce. I could drink this stuff. I have been known to just eat it with some warmed pita bread for lunch. I love it that much. Now, I know that it isn’t a completely traditional tzatziki. Traditional tzatziki is made with all plain yogurt. But, you know what??? That is just too damned sour for mine and Ren’s liking, so I make mine with almost equal parts yogurt and sour cream. I guess I really don’t care how authentic it is, I just want it to taste good to me.  The second crucial part is the pocketless pita. These are the type of pita breads that gyros are served in at restaurants, not the ones with a pocket. We buy the Kontos brand from Costco.  This batch of sauce usually makes enough sauce for several wraps. Please note that if you keep the tzatziki around for too long, the garlic gets strong enough to kill a vampire. Not so much a problem for us, but you may not like it that strong or don’t live near any vampires. 🙂

Grilled Chicken Wraps

Grilled chicken breasts –We grill chicken tenders with a good amount of cracked pepper and sea salt.

Tzatziki sauce, recipe follows

Good Quality Feta

Pocketless Pita bread, We use Kontos brand

Shredded lettuce

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Warm the pita bread in the oven until just warm and soft, not rock hard.
  2. Spread some Tzatziki on the pita. Top with grilled chicken, lettuce, feta and some additional Tzatziki, if desired.

Tzatziki Sauce

1 C. sour cream-I prefer the full fat, but use what you have

½-3/4  c. plain yogurt, preferably Greek yogurt

3 cloves garlic finely minced I use more because we LOVE garlic, but adjust to your taste

1 large cucumber, peeled and seeded

Sea Salt

  1. Mix sour cream, yogurt, and minced garlic in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Shred seeded cucumber on the large holes of a box grater that has been placed over a double layer of paper towels. After grating, fold the paper towel around the cucumber and squeeze out all the excess water that you can.
  3. Gently stir the drained cucumber into the sour cream mixture.
  4. Add desired amount of sea salt.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Greek, Sandwiches

Best.Burger.Ever. aka Cajun Blue Cheese Burger

Let me first say that my husband can cook ANY piece of meat to perfection. Every.single.time. It is weird how awesome he is on the grill. So, these burgers are superior partly because he rocks. But, the other part, is just  because they are FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved these burgers so much, I almost needed to excuse myself to be alone with it while I ate.  There were several parts to these burgers and, in my opinion, each part was important to making the burger magical. However, feel free to adjust to your taste or time constraints. We served these with fries sprinkled with Cajun seasoning, but honestly, the fries were a distraction. The burger was absolutely the star of the show.

Cajun Blue Cheese Burger

1 lb. ground round

¼ c. crumbled blue cheese, plus more for topping each burger

2 TBS Worcestershire sauce (4-6 shakes)

Cajun Seasoning-I made my own, but feel free to use your favorite

Sautéed onions-I used a Vidalia

Spicy Mayonnaise-recipe follows

Good quality buns-Please, for the love of all that is holy, do NOT serve these on ordinary white buns. Get a good quality bun. It makes a difference. I promise.

  1. Mix ground round, Worcestershire and 1/4 c. blue cheese  together gently.  You do not want to over mix the meat. Form into patties.  Sprinkle with Cajun seasoning and grill until medium well, or desired doneness.
  2. Grill bun slightly until just charred.
  3. Place burger on bun and top with additional crumbled blue cheese. Top with sautéed onions and spicy mayo, if desired.
  4. Eat the hell out of this burger and go run on treadmill for 3 miles.

Spicy Mayonnaise

½ C. mayonnaise

2 TBS Sriracha chili garlic sauce (You may want to use less Sriracha for less heat).

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Filed under Beef, Cheese, Spicy

Oven Baked Brown Rice

First off, I have to say, I don’t love rice. I mean, I like it with Chinese food and the like, but really, I am a pasta girl at heart. However, I LOVE brown rice. It has such a great flavor and texture AND, as a wonderful bonus, it is quite good for you. I have been buying frozen brown rice at Trader Joe’s that you heat up in the microwave and have enjoyed it very much. But, I have been feeling guilty about paying a premium for something I know I can easily make cheaper at home. So, I tried Alton Brown’s recipe for Baked Brown Rice. The first time I made it, it was, hmmm..a sort of failure. It took that damned rice FOREVER to cook. And, in the end, it was still a bit on the crunchy side. Even Lily didn’t like it and she eats anything that doesn’t eat her first.  I originally made it with long grain brown rice so I thought that was the problem since the recipe called for short or medium grain. So, we went to Whole Foods and found short grain brown rice just for this *)^&% recipe. Guess what???? It still took an hour and a half to fully cook. But, it wasn’t crunchy. And, it was good and no real work. All that being said, this is a great recipe if you don’t mind starting dinner and hour and a half before you want to eat. I will definitely make it again because it doesn’t require much work at all.

Baked Brown Rice

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

Prep Time: 5 min

Cook Time: 1 hr 5 min-This is utter crap. I have made this twice and it took an hour and a half.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice, medium or short grain-I used long grain and it never got fully cooked.  I suggest short grain.
  • 2 1/2 cups water-I used one can of chicken broth and the rest water. I would use low sodium if you are going to add the kosher salt. I didn’t and it was salty, but I like salty. 🙂
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Some chopped fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Place the rice into an 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Bring the water, butter, and salt just to a boil in a kettle or covered saucepan. Once the water boils, pour it over the rice, stir to combine, and cover the dish tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, remove cover and fluff the rice with a fork. Serve immediately.

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Filed under Side Dish

Sauteed Lemon Chicken Strips

Hello again. I’m sure some of you thought I fell off the face of the earth or just gave up on this whole blogging thing. I didn’t. Life just got super busy. My sweet baby girl turned 2 and I have been busy with that and other things. But, I have been cooking, so some pretty good recipes are coming your way. Tonight we had Sauteed Lemon Chicken Strips. Lord, these are so dang good. I mean, super good. Serve it to company good.  It is really Chicken Piccata, but a bit easier. I LOVE using chicken tenderloins because they cook up so quickly and are generally, well, very tender.  I served this with Alton Brown’s Oven Baked Brown Rice (recipe coming). This is yet another awesome recipe from Cook’s Country magazine. You really should subscribe to that magazine. No, they aren’t paying me. I just love it.

Sauteed Lemon Chicken Strips

You can make your own chicken tenderloins by slicing boneless, skinless breasts lengthwise into 3/4-inch strips. Serve over egg noodles or rice pilaf.

Serves 4

1 ½ pounds chicken tenderloins

Salt and pepper

2 TBS olive oil

3 TBS unsalted butter

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 TBS drained capers

1 TBS all-purpose flour

1 C. low-sodium chicken broth

1/3 C. fresh lemon juice

2 TBS fresh minced parsley

1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to platter and tent with foil; repeat with remaining oil and chicken.

2. Add 1 tablespoon butter, garlic, and capers to empty skillet and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook until beginning to brown, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and lemon juice and simmer, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Off heat, whisk in parsley and remaining butter. Stir in browned chicken along with any accumulated juices and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Filed under Chicken

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I love, love, LOVE this pizza. If you like wings, and who doesn’t, then you will love this pizza as much as we do. I actually love anything with hot sauce and blue cheese on it. In fact, I might even eat a shoe if it had Frank’s hot sauce and a sprinkling of blue cheese on it. I just love the combination.  This pizza would be perfect on Super Bowl Sunday cut into small pieces as appetizers. Also, next time, I might make my homemade blue cheese dressing to drizzle on top. YUM!! Go make this pizza. Now. Right now. This recipe is a combination of  different recipes I found on the internet, but the main one was Rachael Ray’s Buffalo pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ chicken breast cooked and chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup medium to spicy heat hot sauce-It’s gotta be Frank’s hot sauce.
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or your favorite mix-We like the Mexican blend.
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles-Or, more. More is better.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Melt butter and stir in Worcestershire and hot sauce. After the butter is melted and the sauce is well combined, mix some of the sauce with the chopped chicken. Set aside.
  3. Stretch dough to form pizza using cornmeal or flour to help you handle it. If you let it rest and warm up a few minutes it will handle even easier. Drizzle a little olive oil on pizza pan or cookie sheet. Place pizza on cookie sheet and bake the pizza for about 6 mins. The pizza dough should not be browned only partially baked.
  4. After the pizza has cooked a bit, cover the pizza dough with a little more of the Buffalo sauce (just enough to coat the bottom), the saucy Buffalo chicken, and the cheeses. Bake for another 10 minutes or until browned and crisp.
  5. *You can use a rotisserie chicken, store bought Buffalo sauce and a pre made crust for an easier meal.

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Filed under Cheese, Chicken, Pizza, Spicy

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Last night, Ren and I decided to make “dueling” pizzas. We made BBQ Chicken and Buffalo chicken pizzas to see which we one liked better. Needless to say, it was a draw. They were both outstanding. I made homemade dough for these pizzas, but that was totally not necessary. I don’t know why I feel the need to make things harder because any store-bought dough or premade crust would be fine.  We also grilled a bunch of chicken to use on both pizzas, but for an easy weeknight meal, a rotisserie chicken would be perfect.  The thing that I liked the best about the BBQ pizza was the lime sauce that you drizzle over it. Even though it was a bit unconventional, it really made the pizza stand out.  This is another great recipe from Cook’s Country magazine.

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Serves 4

1 rotisserie chicken , skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce-We used Stubbs spicy BBQ sauce. That sauce ROCKS!
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro-Again, no cilantro here
1/2 red onion , sliced thin
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 (1-pound) ball ready-made pizza dough-Or, homemade if you are a nut like me.
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2
cup sour cream
2 tablespoons juice from 2 limes-

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine chicken, barbecue sauce, and 2 tablespoons cilantro in medium bowl. Toss onion, 1 tablespoon oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in small bowl.

2. Brush additional 2 tablespoons oil all over rimmed baking sheet. On lightly floured surface, roll dough into 16- by 9-inch oval (about ¼ inch thick) and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush dough with remaining oil and bake until dough begins to brown and bubble, about 6 minutes.

3. Scatter chicken mixture over dough and top with onion mixture. Bake until onion begins to brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle cheese over pizza and bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to cutting board. Whisk sour cream, lime juice, and remaining cilantro in small bowl, then drizzle over pizza. Slice and serve, passing sauce at table.

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Mediterranean Couscous

This is one of my absolute favorite salads ever. It has lots of yummy stuff in it, including lots of feta cheese. I could eat my weight in feta. I love it so much! This salad is good with any kind of grilled food, but it is especially good with chicken. The only thing I would change is to add a little bit more dressing. When you pour the dressing over the warm couscous, the couscous absorbs the dressing. This is fine when you serve it the first night, but if you have any leftovers, they might be a bit dry. I just drizzled a little bit of olive oil over it before we ate it again. This recipe came from Cook’s Country.

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

Serves 4

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups plain couscous
Table salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 medium clove garlic , minced
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 can (16-ounces) chickpeas , drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
3 medium scallions , chopped
4 ounces feta cheese , crumbled
Ground black pepper

1. Bring water to boil in medium saucepan. Remove from heat, add couscous and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and stir. Cover and let stand 10 minutes. Transfer couscous to serving bowl and fluff with fork.

2. Meanwhile, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, and oil in small bowl. Add lemon juice mixture and chickpeas to couscous, toss well to combine, and cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Toss in parsley, scallions, and feta. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

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Filed under Cheese, Greek, Salad, Side Dish