Crazy Feta

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One of our favorite restaurant chains in DC and Arlington, VA is Cava.  They have the best grilled cheese, souvlaki, meatballs and crazy feta, an appetizer served with warm pita bread that inspired my recipe today.  It’s super simple and so delicious you’ll make it again and again.  If you’re short on time you can skip the roasting steps for the pepper and garlic and puree them raw.  Roasting will give the garlic and peppers a sweeter flavor so you may want to only use one raw jalapeño if you’re electing not to roast it.

What to buy:

  • 16 ounces feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • juice from one lemon
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 400 and cut off the top of garlic bulb, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil and wrap in foil
  • place peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and brush with olive oil
  • add peppers and garlic to oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until softened
  • remove peppers from oven, allow to cool, remove skins, discard seeds, and dice into small pieces
  •  add crumbled feta to jalapeños, lemon juice, olive oil
  • squeeze roasted garlic out of bulb and stir to combine
  • season to taste with salt and pepper
  • serve at room temperature with warm pita bread, pita chips, crudités or baguette slices

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Super Bowls

DSC_0308If you’re looking for a healthier twist on the traditional Super Bowl feast you might want to check out this idea of a “Super Bowl” from Vintage Mixer. In lieu of chicken wings and pizza,  spread your table with ‘super foods’ like quinoa and sweet potatoes and everyone can make their own super bowl, topped with a generous amount of creamy avocado jalapeño lime dressing.  We ate these while the quinoa and roasted vegetables were still warm but you could served everything at room temperature.

The options for what to include in your bowls are endless.  I added:

  •  quinoa (brown rice or any grain you like is a good base)
  • roasted spiced sweet potatoes
  • roasted spiced chickpeas
  • roasted spiced corn
  • roasted vidalia onions
  • dried cranberries
  • diced carrots
  • diced snow peas
  • diced cucumber
  • avocado jalapeño lime dressing
  • feta

other ingredients that would be great:

  • micro greens and sprouts
  • nuts
  • a fried or boiled egg
  • roasted cauliflower or broccoli
  • edamame
  •  sunflower or sesame seeds
  • herbs like cilantro, parsley or basil
  • rotisserie chicken

To make the perfect creamy, spicy avocado jalapeño lime dressing: combine 1 medium avocado, 1 small jalapeño (with or without seeds depending on how much heat you like,) juice of 1 lime, 1 clove garlic salt and pepper to taste, 1 tablespoon honey, agave or maple syrup, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon cumin.
Puree everything in a blender or food processor until smooth.

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Mediterranean Chicken {in your Crockpot}

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This is a simple way to prepare a healthy dinner with delicious Mediterranean flavors.  I think you’ll love how the chicken tastes after simmering in a sauce of tomatoes, olives, olive oil, garlic, prunes and herbs.  I added my chicken to the crockpot when it was raw and it turned out great but if you have extra time you could sear the chicken in a skillet to add a little color and extra flavor before adding to your slow cooker.  If you like this recipe, check out a similar one for Chicken Marbella here.

What to buy (serves 2-3):

  •  juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pitted green olives, I used green but Kalamata would be great too
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 7 ounces diced tomatoes and juice, I used half of one of those 14.5 ounce cans
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup prunes

What to do:

  • combine lemon juice, olives, capers, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, onion flakes, oregano, parsley, tomatoes and juice
  • place chicken, onions and prunes into  slow cooker and cover with tomato mixture
  • cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is done
  • spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with feta if you like

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Sweet and Spicy Brown Sugar and Sriracha Glazed Chicken

This recipe was born out of my desire to make a dinner that tasted like hot wings without using a deep-fryer (oh that I actually owned one!)  It is simple, spicy and delicious with minimal ingredients you probably have in your fridge. DSC_0186What to buy (serves 2-3):

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sriracha
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger paste (I like Gourmet Garden brand)

What to do:

  • whisk together 3 tablespoons melted butter, sriracha, brown sugar, lime juice, garlic and ginger
  • sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper
  • add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to a pan over medium-high heat and cook chicken for 8-10 minutes, flipping once or twice and spooning approximately 1 tablespoon of sauce on each side while chicken cooks
  • when chicken begins to turn a golden brown, add remaining sauce and cook another 5-10 minutes to allow sauce to reduce and caramelize
  • serve hot when chicken is no longer pink in the middle, spooning the sauce on top as a spicy glaze

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Easy Baked Brie and Cranberry Dip

baked brieWho doesn’t love baked brie in all its bubbling glory? This simple way to make it without bothering with a pastry wrapping is my go-to for easy entertaining or a fancy afternoon snack. The tartness of the cranberries pair perfectly with the rich, gooey brie. It’s festive and simple, good for the holidays or anytime. If you don’t like cranberries you could sub in any fruit compote or jam you like, maple syrup and pecans or a balsamic blueberry sauce.

What to buy :

  • a hunk of brie cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup cranberry relish or sauce
  • assorted crackers

What to do:

  • preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • slice off the top and bottom rind of the brie
  • place the cheese in a small baking dish
  • top the brie with this cranberry and bake for approximately ten minutes or until the cranberries are
  • bubbling and the cheese is gooey, serve hot
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Cranberry Mustard Salmon

I had half a jar of cranberry relish leftover from the holidays and two salmon steaks in the fridge.  A quick search provided this recipe from Epicurious and 20 minutes later, a delicious dinner.  The vinegar cuts the sweetness of the cranberries and the dijon mustard gives the salmon with a great flavor.  DSC_0147

What to buy (serves 2):

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 boneless salmon fillets
  • 1/3 cup cranberry relish
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

What to do:

  • preheat oven to 450 degrees
  • whisk oil and mustard in medium bowl to blend
  • sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place in a baking dish, skin side down
  • spoon 2 tablespoons mustard-oil mixture on top of salmon fillets
  • whisk cranberry relish and vinegar into remaining mustard-oil mixture and season with salt and pepper
  • roast salmon until fish is cooked through, about ten minutes
  • transfer to plates and spoon sauce over; serve hot

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