Green Salad with Grilled Chicken

I can recall learning about food groups and nutrition back in first grade. At some point my teacher started asking students what their favorite food was and then asking what food group(s) that might fall into. Naturally, most kids were choosing dishes like pizza, ice cream or tacos. Not me. Nope, this little odd ball proudly responded with “Salad!” Seriously?!?!? What kind of six-year-old declare salad as a favorite food? It was true though and to this day I’d be happy to sit down to a really great salad over most other dishes. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to chase those veggies down with some kind of dessert but an awesome salad is hard for me to resist.

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With this lifelong love of salad you might think that I would eat them on the regular but I don’t. Inevitably, I’m too lazy to chop the vegetables or the produce I bought went bad before I found the motivation to pull out the knife and cutting board. This week I was determined not to use up what I already had in the fridge and then added one or two items that were on sale at the grocery store. Healthy eating and cheap??? YES!!! I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Tips:

  • Grill the chicken ahead of time, it tastes great cold on this salad. You could also sub out the chicken for shrimp, salmon or even steak if you’re trying to use up some leftovers.
  • If you don’t have a jar on hand for the dressing, mix the ingredients in a bowl with a whisk.

 

P1000505Green Salad with Grilled Chicken

Serves 3

Salad Ingredients:

5oz bag baby spinach

5oz bag baby arugula

1 cup cucumber, diced

½ cup radish slices

1 cup broccoli florets

1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced

¼ cup shredded parmesean cheese

¼ cup sunflower seeds

2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced or chopped

 

For the dressing:

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ cup olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

 

Directions:

Add all salad ingredients into a large bowl, toss to combine. In a mason jar, add all dressing ingredients, cover jar with lid and shake to blend well. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss so salad is evenly coated.

 

 

Garlic Feta Green Beans

P1000341We all know vegetables taste better with cheese. In fact, I’m pretty sure it is some kind of culinary law. This dish is incredibly simple to make but looks like you put a lot of effort into it and tastes delicious. Ahhh, the power of feta!!! Seriously though, it is the perfect combination for entertaining. When having guests over for dinner, the last thing you want to do is spend all evening in the kitchen while everyone else is socializing. Keep the dinner simple by including this as your side dish. I have even paired these beans with a pre-roasted chicken from the store on a busy weeknight.

Tips

  • I happen to like my beans with a slight crunch to them. If you prefer softer beans, just add 5 extra minutes to the initial roasting time.
  • To reduce prep time on this recipe, buy bagged beans that are already stemmed and washed.

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Garlic Feta Green Beans

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1lb fresh green beans

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon garlic, minced

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup sliced almonds

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rinse and snap stems off of green beans. Place beans in a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic and salt. Toss until beans are evenly coated. Spread beans out on the baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

Remove baking sheet of beans from oven and sprinkle feta and almonds over beans. Stir for even distribution of ingredients. Return to oven and roast an additional 5 minutes.

 

Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

I learned two things while creating this recipe. First, this dough was NOT meant to be biscotti. Second, it doesn’t matter because apparently, my family doesn’t care for biscotti anyway. When I tried making this dough into biscotti it was a huge fail. The edges were burning and the center was puffing up. However, one bite into the middle puffy area and I knew I needed to find a way to use this dough for something else.

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Take two and I discovered success in cookies! I have served a lot of different cookies to family, friends and co-workers over the years. I have never received more complements than I have with these cookies. The rustic appearance gives the impression that these might be a crispy cookie but they are actually quite soft inside. The bonus is that they still taste great dipped in coffee so feel free to indulge for breakfast.

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Tips:

  • This dough is thick. Be sure to use a stand mixer so you don’t burn out your electric hand mixer.
  • If you need to approach this recipe in steps, combine your dry ingredients and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap until you’re ready to finish the recipe.

 

Double Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

5 tablespoons butter (room temperature)

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup macadamia nut pieces

1 cup white chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat brown sugar with granulated sugar and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix in dry ingredients 1 cup at a time. Stir in macadamia nuts and chocolate chips.

Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds of cookie dough and place on the parchment paper. Leave 2-inches between the cookies. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and transfer the cookies from the parchment to cooling racks.

 

 

 

Farm-Style Biscuits

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I love bread. I mean, I REALLY love bread! Bring me your bagels, your loafs and your rolls! Homemade bread of any sort? Forget about it, I’m done. All of this being said, baking with yeast is always a challenge for me. That is the beautiful thing about this biscuit recipe, NO YEAST! No waiting on dough to rise (my house is always too cold to get a good rise).

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I pulled this recipe from my grandmother’s recipe box. I have no idea where it was originally printed but it is definitely a keeper. These biscuits are easy to make and taste great. The recipe also makes a manageable number of biscuits, I got nine out of it which is perfect for my small household.

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One of my favorite things about biscuits is how diverse they are. Top them with butter and honey like I did here or add your favorite jam for a snack. You could smother them in sausage gravy with a side of eggs for a hearty breakfast. Put them on the dinner table to soak up the au jus sauce from your favorite pot roast recipe. The options are nearly unlimited. The added bonus on this particular recipe is that it gives a couple of recommendations. First, it gives instructions for reheating the biscuits. Second, the recipe notes you can use this dough for topping meat pies, casseroles or cobblers.

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Tips

  • If you don’t have a pastry cutter, use your hands to blend the shortening into the dry ingredients.
  • You can use a glass or cookie cutter (basic shapes of circle or square) to cut out these biscuits.

Farm-style Biscuits

2 cups unsifted flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon cream of tartar

½ cup solid shortening

2/3 cup milk

1 extra large egg, slightly beaten

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add milk and egg all at once. Stir quickly until dough leaves sides of bowl. Turn out dough on lightly floured board. With greased hands pat out dough with biscuit cutter. Place biscuits about one inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in oven preheated to 450 degrees about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 biscuits.