Big Kitchen Sink Greek Salad with Chicken

This was another of those happy accidents. No time to plan dinner, no time to shop, quick scan of the available ingredients (including some staples strategically always kept on-hand), and quick creative thinking led to a healthy, fresh, easy, delicious, complete dinner on a busy weeknight. I’m going to give you the recipe for THIS salad specifically, but note that the idea is pretty flexible – have a few solid foundational go-tos in your freezer and pantry, and a little of this plus a little of that can turn into dinner. The veggies and the proteins are modifiable – just use what you have! Or make this one. But get ready – “kitchen sink” is pretty accurate. I put a TON of stuff in this salad. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
* 1 ripe avocado, cubed
* 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
* ~4oz hard salami, sliced into small chunks
* 3-4T pitted kalamata olives, sliced (or ant other kind of pitted olives)
* 7-8 of these simple Roasted Sweet Peppers, sliced into small pieces
* crumbled feta cheese
* 1lb chicken breast, sliced into thin, small pieces
* olive oil
* lemon pepper
* garlic salt
* Greek seasoning
* juice of 1/2 a lemon

WHAT TO DO
Add the lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, salami, olives, roasted peppers, and feta cheese in a large salad bowl, and set aside.

Place the pieces of chicken breast in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle, to taste, with lemon pepper, garlic salt, and Greek seasoning. Toss to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook until cooked through – just a minute or two per side. Remove from heat and add to the salad bowl. Drizzle with a little extra olive oil (about a tablespoon at most) and the lemon juice and toss carefully to combine.

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Pink Pesto

This is a good one for all of you parents struggling with picky non-veggie eaters. I found a while ago that cooking with color worked wonders. “Ooh! Look at this purple spiky thing! What do you think purple tastes like?” And then, boom, kid’s eating purple cauliflower and dipping it in hummus and I’m high-fiving myself. I also find that involving the kiddo in meal planning for the week helps too. I usually try to get her help selecting at least one meal or all the sides or something like that. I find that encourages her to at least taste some things she might not otherwise taste, and discover she actually likes a wider variety of options (thus allowing me to grow our weekly rotation). A few weeks ago we were looking at food blogs together, and came across this post. And those two things came together – color + involving her in planning. PINK! This Tiny Sous Chef loves pink like nothing else – we HAD to try it. So tonight we finally did, with some tweaks and modifications, and it is a SERIOUS winner. Unlike traditional basil pesto, the bite is softened dramatically by the beets, which offer a gentle, luscious, flavor and texture. Still, it holds its own and satisfied all the eaters – no leftovers at all! Note, this recipe makes about 4X what you need for a Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 3 small to medium-sized beets, washed
* 3t minced garlic
* zest and juice of 1 lemon
* 1/2C pinenuts
* 2T red wine vinegar
* 1/3C olive oil, plus more if needed for consistency
* 1/2-1t fine sea salt
* 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese

WHAT TO DOpinkpesto1
Bring a pot of water to boil and then add the beets to it. Cook about 30-45 minutes, fork-testing the beets for tenderness after 30. Remove from heat and run under cold water. The skin should peel back just with a little rubbing by hand.

Cut the beets into small pieces and add to a blender or food processor. Add the rest of the pesto ingredients, leaving the olive oil and Parmesan cheese aside. Blend until well combined. Then add the Parmesan and blend again. With the machine on, stream in the olive oil until you reach the consistency and texture you like for your pesto. Taste and add more salt or olive oil if necessary.

Add your beautiful bright pink pesto to pasta, serve it as a dipping sauce for garlic bread, or in a cold pasta and veggie or potato salad for your next summer potluck barbecue. And save the extra — if you’re not going to use the rest within the next week, it’ll freeze well, too, so you can pull it out when you need a fix! Enjoy!

Made by Kid: 2-Ingredient Watermelon Popsicles

We’re on a easy summer treats kick lately, apparently. You get a few disgustingly hot days, and even if the temperature drops 20 degrees, it’s time to walk around in your bathing suit and carry a portable water fan, right?! No? Just me? Whatever.

Last year for her birthday, My Tiny Sous Chef got a cool gift from her uncle and aunt – a popsicle mold set with a book of paletas recipe. She loves it. She wanted to make fancy icy treats all winter long. And then, our hot days appear, and she tossed the book out and made her own recipe! And it’s perfect. No knocking the fancy pops — we’ll be making at least ALL of them this summer — but my kiddo nailed it with her simple two-ingredient watermelon pops and you’re going to love them, too. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1/4 of an average-sized watermelon
* honey or agave syrup

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WHAT TO DO
Cut your watermelon up into chunks and blend into juice in a blender. Add honey or agave syrup, just about a teaspoon at a time, tasting after blending each through, until the balance is where you like it (if your watermelon is sweet enough on its own, you won’t even need the additional sweetness, but early in the season you can’t guarantee it’s quite there yet).

Pour into popsicle molds (or small paper cups work just as well), add popsicle sticks, and freeze.

AAAAAAAH, Summer!

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Frozen Grapes

frozgr1Yep.

I’m writing a “recipe” post for frozen grapes. ONE INGREDIENT, PEOPLE! ONE!

I completely realize that this is a strange post, even for me, but honestly, this is literally the easiest and most refreshing snack you’ll ever try. And you barely have to do anything! I’m not saying this is going to substitute ice cream on the drippiest of humid summer days, but seriously, trust me on this one. You want these. FWIW (“for what it’s worth” for those of you not as hip as I am – HA!), these are a great snack and ALSO a great cooler for your wine without adding regular old ice cubes and watering it down. Are you feeling me now?? Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* seedless grapes – any color/variety, just seedless

WHAT TO DO
Wash your grapes thoroughly. Pull all the stems off completely, then place all of the grapes into a container you can tightly seal. Freeze. Grapes are little so it won’t take too long – a couple hours at most. Pop those lovelies when you’re craving something cold and sweet late at night and thank me because your bathing suit and/or comfy mumu (or whatever) still fits! Trust me. You’re going to want to keep a container full of these on-hand all summer fo’ sho’!

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