1   15oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1   14.5oz can diced organic tomatoes in juice

1/3 c. crumbled feta cheese

2 cups mizuna

4 tablespoons romano basil vinaigrette

1.  Toss together chickpeas, and tomatoes in a bowl.

2.  Season with vinaigrette.  Toss chickpea mixture with vinaigrette, then stir in mizuna and feta.  Season with salt & pepper if desired.

Serves 2

Nutrition Information (per serving)

377 calories

Total Fat 12.1g

Sat Fat 4.7g

Cholest 22.2mg

Sodium 1,673.7mg

Carb 51.5g

Fiber 17.8g

Sugars 10g

Protein 19.5g

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I haven’t posted in a while.  It has been a busy couple of weeks.  We finished staining the deck, painting the house, and mom had a total reverse shoulder replacement with bone grafting.  Dinner has been healthy, but nothing really new and inspiring.  Now I am going back to work after a week of vacation and I have to figure out how to cook healthy meals while I am not home home and mom can not help out.  (My commute to work is about 1 1/2 hours each way.  Also, we are short handed, so I am taking on more responsibility which means less time to putter around with cooking.)

So, for my first crock pot creation this past weekend I made a chicken cacciatore -esque dish.  I served it over brown rice instead of pasta.  All the veggies and herbs are from my CSA except for the celery.  The recipe below was just a little too much for mom and I.

2 small-medium onions, sliced

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 rib of celery, chopped

2 – 40z boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 c. chicken stock

fresh basil

fresh oregano

fresh parsley

Arrange sliced onions on the bottom of the crock pot dish.  Put the chicken breast on top of the onions.  Place tomatoes, green peppers, and celery on top of the chicken.  Pour the chicken stock over the top.  Put fresh basil, oregano, and parsley sprigs on top.  Cook on low for 8 hours.

Mom and I both enjoyed this served over brown rice.

Let me begin this post by saying – if you don’t have couscous in your pantry – you should really go out and get some.   It whips up easily in five minutes and I actually have a notebook where I keep notes on what I can do with couscous (it has numerous entries).

Here is a link to the couscous I always have on hand: RiceSelect Tri-Color Couscous (available at Wegmans).

And now to the recipe…

Ingredients:

1/2lb ground beef

3 medium carrots

1 cup of yellow and green beans, chopped up

1 small kousa (marrow) squash

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini

 

 

1 medium sweet yellow onion

1 ear of corn (remove the kernels with a sharp knife)

2 tomatoes

1/2 jar of spaghetti sauce

1/2 jar of water

fresh sweet basil and Greek oregano

1 c. couscous

Shredded Italian Blend Cheese

 

Directions:

In a pot (I used my favorite IKEA pot) brown the ground beef over a medium flame.  Chop up some fresh basil and oregano (use as much or as little based on your tastes) and put in with ground beef.  While the ground beef is browning start to chop up the veggies.

Chop up the veggies in order of the recipe and add to the pot in that same order.  When you add the carrots (first veggie) turn the flame down to medium low and add about a 1/4 c. of water.  Once all the veggies are in the pot, add the 1/2 jar of sauce 1/2 jar of water combination.  Turn the flame back up to medium high and bring to boil.

When the mixture starts to boil, pour in the cup of couscous and mix thoroughly.  Turn off the flame and cover the pot.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Fluff up the mixture with a spoon or knife and put on plates.  Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top (adjust to your preference) and enjoy!

So, I tried to keep our July 4th festivities as healthy as possible this year.  I ended up cooking way too much food for us, so right now we are living on leftovers (ergo no new recipes for a few days).  Here is a sampling of what I made:

Tomato Basil Salad

2 cups of small tomatoes, halved (cherry, grape, any other small variety)

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

4 Tbsp Wegmans Basil Vinaigrette dressing

Put tomatoes and basil into a small bowl.  Pour the dressing over the tomato basil mixture.  Let marinate in refrigerator over night.  Serve either by itself or on top of lettuce.

 

Herbed Pita Chips

These were awesome – even my brother, who is a hardcore potato chip fan, enjoyed them.

3 pita breads

extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

Parmesan cheese

dried oregano

Preheat oven to 375.

Split pita breads in halves by cutting along the outside edge of the pita round.

 

Rub the inside of each pita with olive oil.

 

Cut each round into 8 wedges.  Set aside.

Place 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, and 1 tsp. oregano into a zip top bag.  Shake to combine ingredients.  Place pita wedges in 8 at a time.  Shake until oiled side of each wedge is coated.  Arrange wedges, coated side up, on baking sheets and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until pita wedges are golden and crisp.

 

Repeat the above steps until all pita wedges are coated and crispy.

Enjoy!

Today I spent a nice day drinking wine and eating such things as oreo balls and and a strawberry and whipped cream concoction that was lovely.  On the way home I was thinking about the damage I had done to my veggie quest.  I stopped at Tops in Arcade on the way home to buy a chicken breast, but I was disappointed.  The packages of chicken breasts were partially frozen and contained more chicken than I could use in a night.  I went to the Butcher Block and was horrified that the Butcher Block display case is full of meat, poultry, fish, and seafood all next to each other.  (This is the meat, etc products that are not already packaged.)  They did not have any chicken breasts in there, not that I would buy them with all the possible cross contamination.  So, I went back to the packaged meat and got a thin steak.

When I got home I had a plan in mind for a salad.  Here is what you will need:

  • 2 garlic scapes
  • 6 small peppers
  • 1/2 pint of sugar snap peas
  • 1 tomato
  • leaf lettuce
  • thin steak
  • Italian dressing

I used a medium flame.

Use the Italian Dressing as you would olive oil in the bottom of the pan.  Chop up the garlic scapes and add to the frying pan.  Slice the steak into long strips (like you would for fajitas) and put in pan.  Brown on both sides.  Add sliced peppers and peas broken in half (but still in the pod).  If the mixture looks a little dry – add more Italian Dressing.

While the mixture is cooking, fill the bottom of 2 salad bowls with the leaf lettuce (use as much or as little as you like).  Slice the tomato and put it on top of the lettuce.  At this point take the mixture and divide it evenly between the two bowls.  Pour the liquid from the pan over the salads and enjoy!

*I must say, I was disappointed with the meat.  I have become used to the local and higher quality meat I have been getting.   This piece was tough and tasteless.  (Even though I cooked it in a way that should have made it tender enough.)  It didn’t take too much from the salad, but I believe if I do this again and use the better beef, the flavor would be much better.

So, between my CSA veggies and my visit to the East Aurora Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning, I had a plethora of veggies to choose from for Saturday’s meal. So, this is what I picked out to work with:

 

  • 2 bundles of baby Swiss Chard
  • 3 garlic scapes
  • 6 small peppers of various colors
  •  3 locally grown tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  •  3 fresh sweet basil leaves
  • 2 Greek oregano stalks
  • Also 2 cilantro ice cubes from the cilantro I grew last year.

I also used some long grain rice.

First, make rice (1 cup dry) according to directions.  While the rice is cooking, chop up all the veggies and herbs and put in a bowl. ( I was in a lot of pain from my PT in the morning, so I just used the food processor – so everything was finally chopped.)

Once the rice is done cooking according to the package directions, mix in the vegetable herb mixture.

Let the rice cook on a low flame for about 20 minutes.

I also picked up a package of the goat cheese chevre  that I like.  This week I decided to try the garlic and dill flavor.

I decided to make some spinach pies that I had picked up at the Lebanese bakery to go with the rice.  I spread some of the chevre on top and served it along with the rice.

It made for an enjoyable and satisfying meal.

So this was kind of a change for me.  I’ve never done a spaghetti pie before and hiding veggies was an extra bonus.  I originally used 8oz of spaghetti in the pie, but I think I need to cut it down to about 6.  The “crust” was too thick.

This recipe makes about 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 6oz uncooked thin spaghetti

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1lb ground beef

  • 1/3 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 oz mushrooms
  • 4 stalks of swiss chard
  • 1/2 jar spaghetti sauce (no meat)

  • 1 can diced tomatoes

  • 3/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp. basil
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 oz spinach

Cook spaghetti according to directions.  Drain.  Mix parmesan cheese and eggs into the spaghetti.  Press into the bottom & sides of a greased 9″ dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Dice up the carrots, onion, and swiss chard.

   

Mix it in to the ground beef.  Cook the ground beef over medium heat until the pink is gone.

Stir in spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat & cover.  Let the pot simmer for 10 minutes.

Lay a layer of spinach leaves over the spaghetti crust.

Put meat mixture on top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Cut into squares and serve with some parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

We have about 2/3rds of it left over.  I covered it and put it in the refrigerator for dinners later this week.

 

Just a side note:

We have 2 wayward peacocks roaming our neighborhood.  This is what I saw out my kitchen window tonight:

Definitely not something you see everyday!