Monthly Archives: June 2014

Stone Fruit Chicken-Rice Salad

I don’t know why it doesn’t occur to me to always have precooked rice, lots of fruits and/veggies, and chicken on hand to make a hodge podge rice bowl. These kinds of meals are always exactly what tastes so good to me and what leaves me feeling satisfied. I do have a ridiculous love for rice so I try not to eat too much of it (hence why it’s never in the house). If I could figure out how to control myself, maybe I could actual have certain foods on standby. But rice with chicken and fruits or veggies along with an Asian flavored sauce or a light vinaigrette is usually my perfect little meal. Which explains why I was so drawn to this Stone Fruit Chicken-Rice Salad.

Grilled chicken, nectarines, brown rice, cherries, scallions, almonds, and mint are mixed together before being tossed with a simple vinaigrette of olive oil, lemon and Dijon. Served with whatever kind of green you like (I used arugula), this salad is a perfect lunch or even a light which takes advantage of summer’s fruits. I look forward to nectarines, peaches, berries and especially cherries each year so as soon as I saw cherries in the store, I grabbed a huge bag no matter the cost. Substitute this salad with rotisserie chicken, turkey, blueberries, corn, spinach, zucchini, basil, tomatoes or whatever your heart desires. No matter what you throw in, you won’t go wrong.

DSC05116

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Sprinkle both sides of chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 5 minutes on each side or until done. Let stand 5 minutes. Chop chicken.

DSC05111

Combine oil, rind, juice, and mustard in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk.

DSC05112

Add chopped, cooked chicken, nectarines, and remaining ingredients; toss well.

DSC05113

DSC05114

DSC05117

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions:

  • Arugula
  • Sliced almonds

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: Cooking Light magazine

Green Pesto Sauce

I’m a real sucker for pesto but it’s one of those sauces that I don’t like to buy (I think it’s better when it’s fresh) yet I never make it at home, even when I have a bunch of basil.  Pesto is so full of flavor and so easy to make that it’s just silly that I don’t make it more. It’s good on any meat, pasta, veggie, pizza, sandwich or even eggs. When I came across this recipe for Green Pesto Sauce, I wasn’t sure what to think since it’s made with fruit juice but one day at the store, I found myself looking at bottles of Naked juice and decided to give this pesto a try.

Basic pesto ingredients of basil, parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, and nuts (I used sliced almonds because I had them on hand) are combined with parsley, green fruit juice and lemon juice which add other layers of flavor. This isn’t your basic pesto so the hint of sweetness from the fruit juice may not be your cup of tea. And while I prefer regular pesto, I was pretty surprised with the interesting and unique flavor of this.

DSC05058

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients. Cover and process or blend until almost smooth.

DSC05056

DSC05057

Serve at once atop steamed or roasted potatoes or vegetables or cover and chill up to 2 days. Stir in additional juice to desired consistency.

DSC05059

Additions:  None

Omissions:  None

Substitutions:

  • Sliced almonds
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

Overall Rating:  Like It

Source:  Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars

Thirty years ago tomorrow, my favorite person in the world was brought into this world: my sister Katie. I still remember the early Illinois morning she was born, while I was sound asleep. My mom had been up the night before watching television with my dad on a typical weeknight and there were no signs from her that she might be heading into labor in the next few hours. But she did, while I was peacefully asleep, and when the phone rang, I jolted awake. The news that I had a baby sister made me cry. I wanted a baby brother (I’ve told her this before). But I never spent another minute wishing for a brother and I’m beyond thankful that she isn’t just the best sister anyone could ever ask for but she is also an amazing woman. She is never judgmental, just listens when I need her, and is the yin to my yang. She is my rock to my roll. She is my everything. And now she has given me a niece and a nephew who I can’t get enough of, even though we all live over 1,500 miles away from each other. If I could have one wish for the rest of my life, it would be that we could see each other each and every day.

Because of my sweet Katie, I made these Frosted Sugar Cookie Bars. Because birthdays are a perfect reason to eat icing.

DSC05100

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray, and set aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg white, sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix until well combined. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt to form a crumbly dough. Press the dough into the prepared pan to form an even layer, and poke the dough every few inches with a fork so it will bake evenly. Bake 17-20 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Cool completely. To make the frosting, beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and half and half until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt, and food coloring, and beat again until fluffy. Spread over cooled cookies and add sprinkles. Cut into squares.

DSC05097

 DSC05099

DSC05101

Additions: None

Omissions: None

Substitutions: None

Overall Rating: Love It

Source: The Baker Upstairs blog

 

%d bloggers like this: