Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 26 - the 4th of July

With my husband still out of town, his 40th birthday Tuesday, and the 4th of July weekend, there will be no major weekly meal plan. At least I will make no attempt to create one when we haven't finalized any plans for this coming week. And with the house in its current state, I would prefer up not even think about it.

I won't leave you hanging though ! I still have many recipes to catch up on this week , some are BBQ friendly for this weekend. And here is a link to a July 4th post I did a few years back:

And 101 picnic dishes you can make in less than 20 minutes:

Happy Cooking and Enjoy your 4th!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Grilled Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Watermelon, Feta, and ArugulaSalad

This was a simple yet scrumptious recipe based on something I saw on The Chew.  I just altered the ingredients a little, and it was So delicious!  It was a hit with everyone and I'm making this watermelon salad a regular this summer.  And I don't even like watermelon!!!  But it was so good with the bite of the arugula and the saltiness of the feta, just a refreshing summer side.  Perfect for any quick weeknight meal or to entertain with at a backyard BBQ.  HOpe you get the chance to try it really soon!

Happy Cooking!

Grilled Yogurt Marinated Chicken with Watermelon, Feta, and Arugula Salad
a new recipe based on
For the chicken:
2 lbs of chicken tenders
1 cup of greek yogurt (I used 2%)
the zest and juice of one orange
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chipotle pepper powder (add more if you like things really spicy, but I needed this to be kid friendly too...a little of this stuff goes a long way.  Much spicier than regular chile powder)
2 tsp corriander seeds, toasted and ground (I don't have a device to grind spices, so I just pounded it in a ziplock baggy with a rolling pin)
2 tsp ground cumin

3 cups of seedless watermelon, cubed
4 cups of baby arugula
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 T red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Your chicken need to marinate for 2-4 hours before grilling, so plan accordingly.  To make the marinade, combine the yogurt with the orange juice, zest, chipotle powder, salt, cumin, and corriander.  Whisk until combined.  Pour into a gallon sized zip lock bags (or two) and place the chicken inside.  Gently squeeze the air out, seal the bag, and then push the chicken around to coat it in the marinade.  Allow it to sit in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours, until you are ready to grill.

Over medium high heat on your grill, cook the chicken tenders for about 5 minutes on each side or until 165 degrees inside (use a meat thermometer if you are uncertain - the juices should run clear).  I wish I had a picture of these all done, but the kids distracted me and then we ate them all, (we had guests over too). 

Now on to the best part - the salad!  And I'm totally serious about this salad...I don't like watermelon but I went back for seconds on this one.  You must not make this ahead, as the arugula will wilt, and the watermelon will leak too much of its juice.  You can make the dressing ahead of time by combining the red wine vinegar, olive oil, mint, scallions, and salt and pepper to taste.  Just whisk it together and add more salt or pepper if you see fit.  Just remember that the arugula has a peppery bite and the feta will be salty.  Its easy to had more seasoning later, but impossible to take it away.

Just before the chicken is ready, combine the watermelon, feta, arugula, and dressing.  Stir gently to combine and serve immediately.  So yummy!!!!  I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kale Salad with Blue Cheese and a Creamy Mustard Yogurt Dressing

I have been obsessed with Kale salads this spring/summer.  I've had a few at different local restaurants and wanted to play around with them at home.  Every single one has been so different yet so delicious!!!  Here is the first of two recipes for a summer friendly, cold, filling, kale salad.  This one has a delicious mustard yogurt dressing and is the perfect side dish when grilling out.  As I mentioned in some earlier posts, I'm trying to cut out extra carbs.  this is the perfect side to compliment any grilled meat and with the added blue cheese, it is a very substantial salad.  No missing the carbs here! Yummy! 

I just love the idea of all those wonderful vitamins and nutrients from the kale without having to cook it.  Just remember one thing, when using Kale raw, either purchase baby kale, or remove all of the inner stems (rib that runs through the middle of the kale leaf).  I've seen professionals use a food processor to shred the kale, but I just used a knife.  Use what you have and what you feel comfortable with. This particular kale was grown by my son's class at school.  It was regular kale so the stems were very tough and had to be removed.  No need to do such work with baby kale - just shred and go.  You should be able to find either at your local grocery store.

Give this one a try and let me know what you think!  More to come later this week.

Happy Cooking!

Kale Salad with Blue Cheese and a Creamy Mustard Yogurt Dressing
an original recipe by Me

1 large bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves shredded, about 4 cups
3/4 cup shredded carrots
2 thin slices of vidalia onion, largely chopped (picture demonstrates this below)
1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup greek yogurt, (I used 2%)
1/4 cup mayonnaise, (I used Helman's made with olive oil)
1-2 T dijon mustard, depending on how much you like mustard
1 T milk, to thin out the dressing 
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese (I prefer to purchase a block and crumble it myself)

First, prepare the kale as pictured below.

The kale looks like this after you shred a leaf, with the stems removed first
Add the carrots and onion to the kale.

Stack the two thin slices of onion and cut three ways vertically, then horizontally to achieve small pieces that add just the right amount of flavor.
All the veggies in the bowl now!
And now to make the dressing...
The cast of characters
Combine the mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, milk, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.  Whisk until smooth, as pictured below.

Combine the vegetables with the dressing, cilantro, and blue cheese.  Stir until well combined.  Store in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to allow the flavors to combine.  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Biscuits with Berries

It's that time of year again!  Strawberry season and I LOVE fresh strawberries.  And what's better than fresh strawberries???  Strawberry shortcake with homemade biscuits!!! 

This biscuit recipe was very easy.  I don't know why I haven't made then before?!?!  Another concept that I was completely intimidated by and now I know I can make them whenever I want.  My family loves biscuits and these are so moist, flaky, and delicious that they are amazing by themselves with a little butter and honey.  Slice your biscuits in half and top with fresh sliced strawberries and some whipped cream and you got yourself a fantastic summer treat!  Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!

Biscuits with Berries
from the Chew 
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for rolling biscuits in before baking)
4 tsp baking powder
2 T sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
5 T butter (cut into thin pats)
1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used greek yogurt
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or wax paper - yes, I ran out of parchment, used wax paper and it worked just as well).

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, lemon zest and salt. Add the pats of butter and cut in using your hands or a pastry blender.  (I used my hands, just combine by snapping the butter between your fingers, as if you were snapping to music.  You may want to take your rings off for this gets messy).  Combine until the butter is blended and the mixture is crumbly. In a medium bowl, stir together the yogurt and milk.  Pour into the flour mixture and work together with a spoon until incorporated.  Add additional flour as needed but dough should still be moderately sticky.  (I needed no additional flour)

Using a 3-ounce ice cream scoop, drop balls of dough into a small bowl of flour one at a time. Working with your hands, loosely shape the dusted ball and place on the baking sheet.  Repeat with remaining dough spacing about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.

One scoop of dough into the flour
Shake off excess flour and shape into biscuit.
Place on baking sheet and re-shape if necessary.  Homemade biscuits are supposed to look homemade.
  My efforts yielded 10 biscuits, but the original recipe made 12.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown on top.  (My biscuits actually took 15 minutes, but it depends on how large your biscuits are and your oven.)

Allow them to cool slightly.  Serve immediately or wait until completely cool to store in an airtight container.

To make strawberry shortcake, you need berries and whipped cream.  Make your own whipped cream or just buy some all natural from the store.  Slice your fresh berries and add a little sugar to allow them to macerate (create juices).  Store them in the refrigerator for an hour or until serving.  Take a biscuit, cut in half, top with berries and whipped cream, and ENJOY!  YUMMY!

Week 24 and 25

So week 24 kind of disappeared in the madness. My previous post explained a bit about my recent lack of activity. Aside from that, my husband just got back from a week long business trip and he leaves again later this week for another 5 days. Yuck!

This week, week 25, you'll see some new recipes and a few repeats. As always, I have posted any accompanying link to the recipes and will post more as the week progresses (and life permits). Some recipes I'll be making up as I go along.

And now I have 12 recipes pending a post!!! I'll find a way to catch up somehow. Until then, enjoy the first full week of summer!!!

Happy Cooking!

Week 25: June 23, 2013

Sunday: date night

Monday: grilled haddock with vegetables and arugula salad

Tuesday: crockpot pork carnitas, rice & beans, guacamole salad

Wednesday: grilled skirt steak, farro, grilled asparagus

Thursday: crockpot turkey meatballs & pasta, salad

Friday: pizza night

Saturday: girls night out

And one more thing: below is a photo of my lemon mint ice water. I LOVE flavored water in the summer made with fresh ingredients! So many possibilities, totally delicious, and a great way to drink more water. Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Falling Behind

To be completely honest, I feel like my life has been more chaotic than usual the last 5 weeks. And slowly, as I embrace what life throws my way, I am giving into chaos and giving up things that don't matter as much. That includes my blog posts, unfortunately. I have 8-10 recipes photographed but I just can't seem to find the time or energy to post them. I'm sorry - I will get there...eventually.

This is the first week I haven't posted a menu in more than 5 months. It actually made me a little upset. You see, I hold myself to ridiculous standards. Then I get on here and apologize to you for things you probably don't even care about. Ha! It's just me, apologizing to myself, for not being able to keep up with my unrealistic expectations when life dishes out more than I can handle.

So I promise myself- and you readers that follow - that I will get to a point where I can post frequently again. I'll just have to keep you posted on when that day will be.

Until then, Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week 23 - better late than never

So I realize I'm days late with my weekly plan, but as I mentioned last week, we've been on vacation.  Better late than never!  We got back into town last night and I had less time than I thought to even BEGIN to think about posting things.  A few days in your home town is nice, but stressful.  Everyone wants to see you - family, friends, old and new.  Sometimes you just want to sit and enjoy the day with your immediately family and watch your kids play with your parents.  We did a little of both this trip - it was lovely.

So now we are back in the swing of things, with sickness following us home.  Never a dull moment, right?  We have another action packed week, so forgive me for the simple and scarce menu.  Again, I will do my best to post new recipes between wiping noses and chasing the kids around (I'm going on three weeks for some of these recipes).  Enjoy your week!

Happy Cooking!

Week 23 - June 9, 2013

Sunday - grilling out with the family: grilled steak and chicken, field greens, veggies & dip, tuna pasta salad

Monday - traveling in the car: eating on the go

Tuesday - grilled italian sausage with pepper and onions, sauteed greens

Wednesday - dinner out with friends

Thursday - grilled marinated chicken breasts, broccoli, salad

Friday - pizza night

Saturday - date night

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week 22 - It's June already?!?!

Is it just me, or is this year flying by???  I can't believe it's June already!  That's means that 2013 is almost 1/2 over...CRAZY!  Anyway, I am happy to say that I feel healthy, blessed, and beyond thankful for my chaotic life.  I don't think I would change a thing!  (Well maybe if the baby girl would sleep through the night, or stop crying when I close the bathroom door, but you know what I mean.)

My little boy, my first born, is about to finish his first year of preschool.  He LOVES school, his teachers and his friends.  Wednesday we will say goodbye to some of his friends as they move to different schools or different grades than him (age differences) next year.  We signed him up for summer camp at his school to provide him with some consistency, but also to give him something to look forward to.  And the best part is that most of his classmates will be continuing too.  So this week, before summer camp starts, we are going to sneak in a trip back to our home town, the town my husband and I grew up in:  Rochester, NY.   That means that any cooking I might be doing will be with friends and family and very impromptu.  I plan to continue to try to finish the 10 posts I have pending, but I will be on vacation so forgive me if I continue to be absent.

This week I have posted links to recipes I have made in the past, (some already posted on this site, others I made before starting the Healthy Home Revolution began).  Most of them are for grilling outdoors and enjoying the beautiful summer weather.   Enjoy your week!

Happy Cooking!

Week 22: June 2, 2013

Sunday:  chipotle BBQ turkey burgers with mustard dill potato salad, sauteed swiss chard, and baked beans

Monday:  grilled salmon with citrus salsa verde, arugula salad, couscous

Tuesday:  grilled flank or skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, salad, grilled potatoes

Wednesday: grilled chicken fillets with tomato basil salad

Thursday:  leftovers

Friday:   pizza night

Saturday:  greek orzo and grilled shrimp salad