Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tandoori Chicken Salad With Tomato and Cucumber Raita

Now THIS is what a salad should be.
Tons of flavor, different textures, hearty and filling, colorful, and overall a feast for the eyes. 
Normally I'm  not a huge fan of salad. I eat it because "it's good for me". Bah-humbug. Why can't chocolate cake be good for me?
Anyway.... knowing that I should include more salads in my diet I try to make them fun and interesting. Sue and I have done tons of salads-as-meals. (Just search "salad" in the bar at the top corner to see all our offerings, or hit the "salad" button under labels at the side of the blog.)
This one is definitely a keeper.
Indian spices, veggies, and chicken make this a fresh, new, and very tasty addition to your dinner rotation. Plus, you get a HUGE portion for only 417 calories. 
(According to Myfitnesspal one serving - and recipe only makes one serving! - it is 417 calories, 17 carbs, 7 fat, 56 protein (whaaaaaaaat!), and 6 fiber.)

Tandoori Chicken Salad With Tomato and Cucumber Raita

Tandoori Chicken
1/2 pkg Clubhouse Tandoori Seasoning
1/2 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips

1/4 cup 0 fat Greek yogurt, plain
1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and seeded, finely diced
1/4 cup tomato, seeded, finely chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/4 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp coriander
salt & pepper

3 cups baby spinach, chopped
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1/2 cucumber, sliced

Prepare Tandoori chicken - Mix together the Tandoori seasoning and Greek yogurt until well combined. Place in a seal-able plastic baggie and add in the chicken breast. Squish around to coat. Marinate for at least 2 hours - up to overnight.
Prepare Raita - In a small bowl, add the yogurt, cucumber, tomato, onion, and spices.

Stir well to combine.

Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours for flavors to blend - up to overnight. 
After chicken has marinated and Raita has sat - prepare your salad.
Prepare salad - Heat a non-stick frying pan lightly sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. Place the marinated chicken into the pan. Discard the extra marinade.

Cook until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink. Cover and set aside to keep warm.
Place spinach, lettuce, and cucumber on a serving plate.

Top with the cooked Tandoori chicken.

Lastly, drop the Raita by the spoonful over the top of the salad.

Serve immediately. 

FYI - You can make your own Tandoori seasoning if you can't find pre-made at the store. (HERE is a great link for an easy Tandoori Spice Blend courtesy of Epicurious,) 
Salad as a meal is the way to go. 
Throw some meat on top and suddenly salads don't seem so bad. :)
Looking for some fun and tasty links? Check out these fab linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Chickpea Salad Lettuce Wraps

Once again we venture into the world of ugly food. By that I mean - food that is ridiculously delicious but just isn't pretty to look at. 
Chickpeas struggle in the beauty department in general but mash them up and we are deep in ugly territory.  Deep. Deep. Deeeeeep.
Anyway... looks aside, this is one of my new favorite meals. 
It is filling, tasty, easy to put together, inexpensive to buy the ingredients, and is very healthy. 
According to Myfitnesspal, nutritional info for 1 serving (recipe makes 2 servings) it is:
287 calories, 41 carbs, 7 fat, 16 protein, and 10 fiber. 
True story. 
Trust me, eating half of this entire recipe will leave you feeling very full. 

Chickpea Salad Lettuce Wraps

1 can (540 ml) chickpeas, rinsed well and drained
1/4 cup purple onion, finely diced (or regular onion)
1 med/large dill pickle, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper
3 Tbsp light mayo
approx 12 leaves Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup alfalfa sprouts

In a mixing bowl, mash the rinsed and drained chickpeas using either a potato masher or fork. It doesn't have to be completely smooth - leave a few chunky bits for texture. 
Stir in the onion, pickle, celery, dill, turmeric, salt & pepper, and mayo. Mix until well combined.

You can proceed now and finish making the wraps OR cover and chill until ready to use. Can be made a day or two ahead of time.
Prepare wraps - Place a generous spoonful or 2 in the center of each lettuce leaf and gently spread down the center with the back of a spoon. Top with a generous sprinkling of alfalfa sprouts.

Serve immediately. 
Depending on the size of your leaves - you will get more wraps with the inner leaves and less with the outer leaves. You can spread as much or as little on each leaf as you like. 
You can also add more onion or celery or pickles or mayo as you prefer - just keep in mind it will change the nutritional count. 
Oh, yes... I also found this tastier if the mixture has time to chill a bit (like at least an hour or so) but this is not necessary. I just find the chickpeas are better cold and the flavors have more time to blend. 
And... don't leave off the alfalfa sprouts. They make these wraps uber amazing.
I brought these to the office for lunch - perfect office lunch BTW.

And all my co-workers loved them. They reminded some of a tuna sandwich without the tuna-iness and others of an egg salad sandwich without the egg-iness. 
Tuna-iness.... Egg-iness...yeeeeaaaah, my co-workers make up words sometimes. 
Completely accurate descriptions though. 
We're sharing at these fun linky parties - Lou Lou Girls, Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Adventures of Mel, Cookin and Craftin,  Feeding Big

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pickle Dip

I was browsing Pinterest a while back looking for St. Patrick's Day food ideas and came across this interesting looking Dill Pickle Dip over at Bare Feet In The Kitchen
Sue is normally the pickle fan. She LOVES them. 
When we were little and got to pick out a treat to bring on long family car trips - I would pick a chocolate bar or something similar but Sue ALWAYS chose a jar of pickles.
I mean... who chooses a jar of pickles as a treat?
Crazy people, that's who.
Anyway... even the non-pickle lovers will dig into this dip. It is deliciously different than the usual veggie or cracker dip. Plus.... it's perfect for St. Patrick's Day because it's green. 

Pickle Dip
(Slightly adapted from Bare Feet In The Kitchen)

1 pkg (8 oz) light cream cheese, room temp
1 1/2 cups dill pickles, very finely chopped
1/4 cup pickle juice
1/4 cup onion, very finely diced
1/2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp black pepper

Place softened cream cheese into a mixing bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir until very well combined. (You can use a mix master if you want to but I found a wooden spoon did the trick.)

Cover and chill until ready to serve. (At least an hour so the flavors can blend - I found the next day it was even better.)

You can serve with veggies or crackers, or even baguette bread.
You can sprinkle a little more dill and parsley on top as a garnish, if desired.

A few other options for this dip: one of the ladies at my office spread this dip on a tortilla then rolled it up, chilled it, and sliced it. 
It worked perfectly as an appie. 
Another option: As a spread on top of hamburgers or hot dogs. 
You an make it thinner by adding more pickle juice - or thicker by using less. 
Be sure to visit these fab linky parties - The Chicken Chick, Joy Love Food, Hun...What's For Dinner?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Buffalo Chicken Flower Dip

Who knew that a a manly dip like buffalo chicken dip could be turned into a beautiful flower, perfect for Easter or pretty much any spring get-together? 
Well, I didn't know before but I am totally in the know now. 
In fact, I may turn all of my dips into flowers from now on. It takes like 2 extra seconds and looks so cute. I (Sue) made this for an Easter appie but this would also work well for Mother's Day or any spring-y party. 
I made my go-to buffalo chicken dip, which is very addicting, and added some new accouterments to get this easy peasy appetizer. 
I used "hot" buffalo chicken sauce but this can easily be made milder by using "mild".  

Buffalo Chicken Flower Dip

1 pkg (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup light ranch dressing
1/3 cup buffalo wing sauce
2 Tbsp water
1 1/2 cup chicken, cooked & finely chopped
1 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded

Regular Pringles chips
3 green onions, finely chopped (green part only)
1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350.
In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Beat in the ranch dressing, buffalo sauce, and water. Stir in the chicken and 1 cup cheese.
Spread into a 1 quart, oven safe dish (NOT greased) - can also use a 9 inch pie pan. 
Cover with foil and bake at 350 30 - 35 minutes, until heated through.
To make flower - place in an 8 inch, heat safe shallow bowl. (Dip should come to the brim of the bowl.) 

Place Pringles chips around the outside of the dip so they overhang the bowl.

Sprinkle chopped green onions around the outside of the dip.

Lastly, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese into the center of the dip and gently spread to reach the onions. 

Serve immediately with the extra Pringles.
We also like to dip baguette bread or Triscuit crackers. 
The addition of the cheese takes a little of the heat out of the wing sauce but feel free to make it as spicy as you like by adding more buffalo wing sauce or, as I mentioned above, by using "hot" instead of "mild". 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter 2015

Happy Easter to everyone!
Sue was the host, once again, for our annual Easter dinner. This year was filled with so much deliciousness it was crazy. (See HERE for last year's round up!)
We had about 25 people for dinner this year - so lots of family and friends to celebrate with!
We hope you like our round up of Easter foods this year. To find the recipes and hot-to's simply click the links below the photos. 
We will start with appetizers this year:

Sue turned her spicy Buffalo Chicken Dip into a pretty spring flower. (Click HERE for our Buffalo Chicken Flower Dip)

Our Sheep Cheese Balls were a huge hit. The cuteness factor won everyone over. (Click HERE for the recipe and how-to.)

We decided to do some small "baby" sheep and one large "mommy" sheep for dinner. We were laughing so hard at how silly the mommy looked. 
And now... on to the dinner: 

There is the over all of Sue's counter top. Below are the close ups!

Sue and I had fun making these little piggy buns. We also made a bread basket to put the buns in.
(We will share the how-to and recipe soon!) 

Some simple yet tasty peas and carrots. Always a staple at dinners at our house.

Orra brought ambrosia salad while our Aunty Karen brought some tasty broccoli salad with almonds and cranberries.

Sue made some A-mazing Ranch Garlic Mushrooms. Sooooooo addicting!
(Check back soon for that recipe!)

Sue also made a brown rice pilaf with toasted almonds. Yum!

I made a Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole. So. Much. Cheesiness.
(Check back soon for that recipe!)

And no Easter dinner is complete without meat!
Orra brought this juicy, tender ham. So Good!
My favorite!

Sue's in-laws brought the turkey!

Sue's daughter and her boyfriend BBQ'd some chicken thighs as well.
Who doesn't love BBQ chicken?

As for desserts.... as usual, we had a few choices!

Cousin Carol-Anne made a moist and delicious gluten-free carrot cake. Love the colors of the frosting!

I made a bunny cake for our mom to take to the Seniors' Center. I used our never-fail Delicious Plain Cake as the base (Click HERE for that recipe.) Then topped it with vanilla buttercream frosting, shredded coconut, a jelly bean nose, and 2 mini M&M eyes. 
Adorable, right?

These meringue nests make a great gluten free dessert option! I filled them with homemade orange, lemon, and lime curd. (Check back soon for the recipe!)

Lastly, Sue made this adorable Sugar Cookie Cheesecake Fruit Cups. She also made a gluten free chocolate chip version - you will be able to find both recipes when we post that blog. (Check back soon for the link!) 

Before we end this post I just wanted to share the fun, mad-hatter type hat that mom and I put together out of papier mache and some dollar store finds for her seniors' center Easter party. 
She won Best Overall with it!! Yay mom! (Isn't she cute?)

Once again, we hope you have a wonderful Easter!
Please feel free to leave us comments or questions below! (We love hearing from you!)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Sheep Cheese Balls

Sometimes when I imagine something, turning it into reality can be harder than expected and the results are just not what I had pictured. These sheep, on the other hand, were super easy to turn into reality and looked exactly like I had imagined.
Super-de-duper adorable, right?
Eeeeeeeeeeeee! **Insert excited hand clapping here**
I wanted to make something for Easter that would have everyone talking. These little cutie-patooties worked like a charm. And.....guess what.... you can make them too!
I would not lie to you about something as cute as these guys, 
They are not that hard (all you need is some patience) and there is no specialized tools involved (unless you count a plastic bendy straw as a specialized tool.)
Plus... our cheese ball recipe is easy peasy and delicious!

Sheep Cheese Balls

Cheese Ball
1 pkg (8 oz) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, room temp
1 can flaked ham
1 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded
generous dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper

white cheese (I used Monterey Jack)
whole, pitted olives
black food coloring (or *see note)
crackers (I used Wheat Thins Spinach & Roasted Garlic)

In a large bowl, mix together Philly cream cheese, ham, cheddar cheese, Worcestershire, and salt & pepper until well combined.

Using a small cookie scoop, or pinch off golf ball sized amounts, and roll into a ball.
Continue until the entire mixture has been formed into balls. 
Finely shred the white cheese until you have about 1 cup. (Please note - it needs to be very finely shredded!)

Roll each ball into the shredded cheese to coat well. (You may need to shred a little bit more white cheese - it will depend on the size of your balls.)
To make the sheep head and ears - cut an olive in half lengthwise. Place, cut side down, on a cutting surface. Cut the corners off of one half (these are the ears). The other half will be the head. (See photo below for clarification.) You can discard, or eat, the large center piece from the cut half. 

For the legs of the sheep - cut an olive in half lengthwise. Slice each half into thin slices horizontally. 
For the eyes of the sheep - Cut a 1/8 inch thick (or thinner, if desired) piece of white cheese. Use a plastic straw to press into the cheese. Squish the straw to extrude the cheese. This will be the outer part of the eyes. Dip the flat end of a toothpick into black food coloring (NOTE - if you do not have black, mix 1 drop of red + 1 drop of blue + 1 drop of green to get black.) Gently press the dipped end of the toothpick onto the center of the small cheese circles for pupils. 
Assemble your sheep - (Step 1) Place 4 slices of olive on a cracker for legs.
(Step 2) Place a cheese ball firmly on top of the cracker, making sure to cover half of the legs.
(Step 3) Firmly - but without squishing the ball - press on the sheep's head and 2 ears.
(Step 4) Very carefully place the eyes on the sheep's head. (You may find it helpful to dip a toothpick in a teeny bit of cream cheese and place it on the back of the eye to get it to stick to the olive.) 
(See photo below for clarification.)

Chill until ready to serve.

They each have their own personality.

On a serving platter they make a pretty cute appetizer.

If you find you are getting frustrated putting the eyes on then I just wanted to show you that they work without eyes too...

They just lose a smidge of their cuteness factor.
Yes..... they are a little fidgety BUT are sooooo worth the effort. Make them with a helper and the time will be cut in half. I believe I got a total of 24 or so balls out of this recipe using a small cookie scoop. I only made a dozen sheep and then just stacked the rest of the cheese balls in the center of the plate because I didn't have a helper and was beginning to run out of patience. :)
P.S. - these also work for celebrating the Year of The Sheep (Ram/Goat) on the Chinese Zodiac. 

Be sure to visit these fun and fabulous linky parties - Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons