Tahini-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Cucumber-and-Tomato Salad

Tahini is an ingredient in my pantry that goes unused for weeks yet it’s such a fantastic addition to your arsenal of ingredients.  In this recipe, tahini not only adds flavor to the chicken but it keeps the chicken incredibly tender and allows the chicken to have the most beautiful grill marks from the grill.  If you’re unsure of what tahini is, the best way to describe it is the same way peanuts become peanut butter – sesame seeds become tahini.

The chicken can be marinated for up to overnight (or as little as 8 hours) so I prepped this the evening before we would be eating this particular dinner.  The marinade is a mixture of tahini (that is well stirred), parsley, olive oil, water, rosemary, lemon zest, lemon juice, crushed red pepper, garlic and grated shallot.  Before adding the chicken, reserve some of the marinade that will be used as a sauce when serving.

While Big Guy grilled the chicken, I prepped the rice and cucumber-tomato salad.  The salad is insanely easy to throw together.  Simple mix together chopped cucumber, chopped tomato and chopped parsley with lemon juice, olive oil and salt.

Serve the grilled chicken over a bed of rice and a size of salad with a little more of the tahini marinade on top.

tahinichicken

The chicken cuts like butter and does not have an overwhelming sesame flavor.  So many fresh flavors on the plate while be filling and healthy.  This is a must-try recipe if you’re in a chicken-rut.

OH, and if you don’t have tahini in your pantry – I recommend going to Trader Joe’s if possible – incredibly affordable and excellent flavor.

Skillet Nacho Dip

Our third and final dinner utilizing the caramelized onion burgers I made over the weekend.  I can honestly say that all three dinners have been extremely different in flavors and textures and presentation.  I also think it was helpful to spread out the meals, allowing for a day of leftovers here and there.

This dinner came together SO fast – I’m talking under 20 minutes.  Diced red onion and jalapeño are sautéed in a little bit of EVOO before adding in the spices:  cumin and chili powder along with a thickening agent (I used cornstarch, recipe called for flour).  Stock is added and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken before adding in pinto beans (you honestly could use any bean here – black would be great) and the chopped burgers.  Add in some of the cheese and mix before adding more cheese on top and broiling until melted.  Before serving, top the skillet dip with diced tomato and avocado.  Serve with tortilla chips.

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I loved how I felt like I was eating a “cheat” meal – we usually doing eat nachos during the week.

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So dippin’ good.

Thai Beef Salad

I present to you another edition of “Cook Once, Eat 3 Times.”  Cooking Light has been printing this monthly feature in their magazine for a while now and I absolutely love the concept.  The first night you spend a little more time in the kitchen and then the second and third meals come together a little faster because you utilize a major ingredient from the first night.

On Saturday night we made Smoky Caramelized Onion Burgers (they were DELICIOUS but my pictures turned out incredibly dark) and I’ve been using the four leftover patties all week in our other meals.  On Monday night the burgers were crumbled and transformed into a Thai Beef Salad that was so unique and I honestly felt like I was eating a completely different meal – not just a burger crumbled up.

To make the dressing, whisk together lime juice, light brown sugar, fish sauce and Sriracha.  This dressing is used to flavor the meat as well as dress the greens when a little EVOO is added.  Like I said, crumble the burgers and sauté in a little but of EVOO until crispy and warmed.  Then add in some of the dressing and allow the liquid to be absorbed.  I made a few changes to the recipe and used romaine lettuce instead of cabbage and I used red onions instead of green onions.  The greens are tossed in the remaining dressing along with steamed haricot verts (French green beans).  Top the greens with the crumbled beef and peanuts for some extra crunch and nuttiness.

thaibeefsalad

Big Guy and I both loved the flavors in this salad.  Completely different than the burgers. So refreshing and you guys know I love a meal with a huge portion size.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how I used up the last two patties…it might just be my favorite.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad with Nectarine Dressing

Good morning, friends!  First of all, we are SO excited to be adding a little one to our family in early 2018 (due date is February 5) and we’re also terrified.  I think that’s normal.  Secondly, this blog is not going to turn into all things “baby.”  Instead, it’ll be a  lot of the same stuff with baby stuff sprinkled in when appropriate.  Thankfully, my tastebuds haven’t failed me and I really haven’t had any aversions (just one incident with salmon) and I’ve been able to cook as normal.  Since next Monday will mark the beginning of my second trimester, I’ll give you a full recap of how I’ve been feeling then (promise there won’t be any belly pictures found here).  So until then, it will be blogging as normal!

tomatosaladwithpeachdressing

Tomatoes are at their peak right now.  They are gorgeous and juicy and delicious.  We had dinner with friends on Sunday night and I wanted to make a salad to go along with our pasta main dish.  And while I could have simply used the roma tomatoes and grape tomatoes from our garden, I couldn’t pass up a beautiful heirloom tomato at Whole Foods.  It was HUGE.  And so pretty.  The salad was a simple toss of sliced tomatoes, sliced english cucumbers and slivers of red onion.  The dressing added a punch of flavor and sweetness and really made this salad something different.  The nectarine dressing consisted of red wine vinegar, fresh thyme, a little sugar and EVOO.  Right before serving, I mixed in one diced nectarine and poured over the salad.  And for a final touch, a sprinkle of basil confetti.

I am obsessed with the flavors of this salad.  So summery.

Skillet Ratatouille

Earlier this week I prepared this dinner in an effort to use up some of our summer squash that I have more of than I can eat.  This dinner is a great make-ahead meal and you can easily reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.  I’ve been eating this all week long since Big Guy was traveling for work.  And trust me, you’ll have leftovers – this recipe makes a ton of stew.

Semi-drained diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted tomatoes with chiles for an extra something-something) and combined with the drained and rinses chickpeas and set aside.

Sauté garlic in EVOO along with chopped red onion, red bell pepper, squash and eggplant.  (I doubled the amount of squash and left out the zucchini.)  Once tender, stir in the tomatoes and chickpeas along with a little salt and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover the pan and add a splash of red wine vinegar and paprika and cook until slightly thickened.

ratatuille

Topped with a fresh sprinkle of basil, this dinner is a great way to let your summer vegetables shine.

What’s growing in your garden?

Grilled Romaine Salad with Crab

Think you’re grill is only for burgers and chicken?  Think again.  Grilling romaine hearts gives them a smoky flavor while still remaining crisp.  Big Guy and I both love amping up salads by grilling the greens.

The dressing for this salad only requires TWO ingredients:  pre-made guacamole (Wholly guacamole is my favorite) and lemon juice.  Other toppings include grilled corn (another love of my life), cherry tomatoes and crab (if you don’t have access to fresh, high quality crab meat, use grilled shrimp).

I prepped all the ingredients ahead of time so that when it was time for dinner, all Big Guy had to do was fire up the grill and cook the corn and romaine.  While the romaine was cooking, I cut the corn off the cob.

Make sure to season the salad with plenty of salt and pepper – it’s a simple salad and these two ingredients make a huge difference.

grilledromaine

So fresh and full of flavor!

And don’t you dare skip grilling the romaine.

Curried Lentil-And-Vegetable Stew

Despite cooking with zucchini and tomatoes last night, we had an entirely different dinner last night.  An abundance of homegrown tomatoes and zucchini are transformed in this Indian-inspired dinner.  

I was unable to find pre-cooked lentils, so I simply purchased quick cooking lentils, and they were ready in six minutes.  The stew starts by sautéing onion in a little EVOO and then adding zucchini and garlic.  Once those ingredients cook for three minutes, add in the tomato, curry powder and ketchup.  Yes, ketchup.  It’s our secret ingredient adding a little tang, a little sweetness and a little acidity.  The curry powder adds a PUNCH of flavor.  Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute before adding in the vegetable stock that is mixed with cornstarch (one tablespoon) to help thicken up the stew.  Finally, add in the lentils and salt and allow to cook for three minutes.  The entire pot gets a pop of freshness from the juice of one lime.

Serve a bowl full of this flavorful stew with cool, tangy Greek yogurt on top.

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