Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chicken Pasta Salad


I hope everyone had a fabulous summer – here in Seattle summer is still going strong and when it is warm i crave this chicken pasta salad.   This salad is great any time of the year and a perfect entree especially when you are craving a solid salad for dinner.   I have been doing this salad for years and never get tired of it.   I got it years ago from a Swedish magazine but it was so long ago i have no idea what magazine i just know the recipe in my head. 

The dressing is light and refreshing and the salad is not too filling but just perfect with the chicken and the pasta.  Sometimes i mix it up and use shrimp instead of chicken and sometimes i even just omit the lettuce. 


Chicken Pasta Salad

Yields: 4 people | Cook Time: 40 minutes

7 oz (250g) grilled chicken
14 oz (400g) pasta your choice of shape
1 yellow pepper chopped into 1” squares
1 red pepper paprika chopped into 1” squares
1 English cucumber
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 full head of romaine lettuce
2 tbsp parmesan cheese
2 tbsp pie nuts
1 egg yolk
1/2 lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
7 tbsp (1 dl) oliv olj

Prepare your chicken to your liking.  I usually take chicken breast marinate them in some garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them in the oven.  I have also just chooped up chicken breast and fried it on the frying pan with garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Let it cool.

Prepare your pasta and also let it cool.

Start preparing all your vegetables yellow pepper, red pepper, cherry tomateos, and English cucumber and chop them up and put them into your salad bowl.

Boil water and place your egg in boiling water for 2 minutes and then use that egg yolk for your dressing so you are not using raw egg.

In a food processor put your egg yolk in there, your parmesan cheese, pie nuts, lemon juice, vinegar and salt and pepper.  Then pules a few times.  Add your olive oil a little at a time and pulse.  Taste for more salt and pepper.

Stop here unless you are serving right away.  If you serving right away. Clean your romain lettuce and put it with your vegetables.  Once the pasta and chicken has cooled add them to the salad and then dress with the dressing and mix.

Server right away. 

One Year Ago: Peach Tartlette

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Berry Smoothie

Smoothies to me are so versatile.  You can have them for breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner or dessert. They are perfect for after workouts too.  You can really add anything you want to your smoothie and it is pretty hard to make it taste bad.  Usually this type of smoothie with milk, yogurt, honey and some fruit is my favorite.  Once you have your basics down you can add any fruit you want.  I usually always have a banana and then just add what ever fruit i have in the fridge or freezer.

What is your favorite smoothie?

Berry Smoothie

Adapted from: Horizon Dairy

Yield:s 16 Ounces | Prep Time: 10 Minutes

12 tbsp Horizon Organic fat-free plain yogurt
½ cup fresh strawberries
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup Horizon Organic milk
½ banana
1 tbsp honey
¼ tsp vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. For thicker consistency you can use frozen fruit. You can also add some ice as well.

One Year Ago: The Best Minestrone

Monday, August 29, 2011

Muffin Pan Potato Gratins

I loved this idea of a Muffin Pan Potato Gratin. I am a potato lover and when I saw this recipe from Kate’s Kitchen and she mentions that this is a recipe she makes over and over again I knew I had to try it.  I love potatoes and grating is something I just make sometimes since I end up eating the whole thing.  In this recipe you only have to make as many as you eat.  You could use all 12 muffins cups but you don’t have to.

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was Kate’s Kitchen which is written by Kate.   Kate is a financial planner and lives in Indianapolis and she lives to cook.  Her blog is adorable and had so many delicious recipes to choose from.  But when I came across this one I just had to try it out.  And it is a keeper.

Muffin Pan Potatoes Gratins

Adapted from:  Kate’s Kitchen

Yields 12 servings | Prep Time 20 minutes | Bake: 35 minutes

“B” sized red potatoes
Freshly ground pepper
Garlic powder or 1 clove of garlic
12 tsp finely shredded romano, parmesan cheese or gruyere cheese
12 tbsp of Horizon Dairy Organic Cream

Turn on the over to 400F.

Slice the potatoes very thinly with the skin on.  A mandoline is best.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray or brush them with unsalted Horizon Dairy Butter.

Lay two slices of potato in each muffin cup.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder or garlic.

Add two more slices.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a little grated cheese about 1 tsp per muffin cup.  Add two more slices and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Keep adding slices and varying the seasoning as you wish.  End with just salt and pepper.

Pour one tablespoon of cream over each individual gratin.

Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

One Year Ago:  Basil Pesto

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Some leftovers are just better than others.  And this Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes make a great leftover for any day especially lunch.

This week we were having a work BBQ and I needed to bring a pasta salad.  I had been looking around for awhile for a good, simple, easy and delicious pasta salad.  And when I saw this I new it was a winner.

It’s simple, delicious and I first threw this salad together to try it out and it was delicious.  On top of that is taste just as good the day after and you do not have to heat it up.  I just kept it in container in a refrigerator.  This has to be one of the more simple salads I have made and also one that stores really well.

Pesto Pasta Salad with Feta and Tomatoes

Adapted from: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Yields:  6 servings | Prep Time: 20 Minutes

1 pound bowtie pasta
1 cup basil pesto
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
4 ounces (about 1 cup) crumbled feta cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tbsps olive oil, as needed

Cook the bowtie pasta according to package directions in a large pot of salted water. Drain the pasta and run it under cold water just until it cools slightly. Drain the pasta well.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Stir in the pesto and gently mix until the pasta is coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste (about 1/4 teaspoon each). Add the halved tomatoes and feta cheese. Toss to combine.

Cover the pasta and refrigerate up to an hour before serving. If the pasta seems at all dry before serving, you can stir in the additional olive oil to moisten the pasta.

One Year Ago:  Ice Cream Petite Fours

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs

I always love simple and delicious appetizers.  These Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs are always a huge hit.  Usually I always have vegetables and dip, or lots of good cheese and crackers for appetizers.  But I remembered those delicious Trader Joe’s appetizers we used to get years ago.  If you are ever in a crunch for appetizers and need something quick, try these out, Trader Joe’s Pastry Bites with Feta Cheese and Caramelized Onions. You can find them in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s.

I decided to make these from scratch during a party and they were a huge hit.  But I needed to find an easier way to make them also, and decided to try the frozen puff pasty – they were awesome and so easy.

On top of that today Monika at Splendid Willow is featuring some great simple appetizers for her 2 cent series and she is featuring these Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs.  There are some other great appetizer ideas from other bloggers too, if you are looking for some great ideas.

If you want to make these Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs you can either buy the dough or make it yourself. They are both good but one is a bit quicker.

Caramelized Onion and Feta Puffs

Makes: 24 puffs | Thaw: 40 minutes | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake: 15 minutes

1 box (17.3oz) Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry Sheets or use recipe for Galette Dough
2 large yellow onions
4 tbsp of butter
8 oz feta cheese

Thaw the pasty sheet at room temperature 40 minutes or until easy to handle.  Heat over to 400 F.

Slice your onions and caramelize them with 4 tbsp of butter in a pan.  It should take you about 15 minutes to caramelize your onions.  Remember to keep the onions on low temperature and stirring constantly.

Once the puff pastry has thawed cut the sheets into 2″x2″ squares and place into a tartlette pan or muffin pan.  Fill each pasty with onion and then feta.  You should use abut 1 tsp of onion in each and about 1 tbsp of feta in each pasty.

Once done seal each pasty by combining each corner together. Place in the over for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Galette Dough
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup and 1 tbsp  ice water

Using a food processor add the flour, sugar and salt together and pulse.  Then cut butter into flour mixture and pulse again until the butter is completely incorporated.  Add ice water and continue to pulse until mixture comes together to form a mass.Add more ice water if necessary, one tablespoon at a time. Gently form mass into a ball and divide into two equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight. (Dough can be frozen, too.)

One Year Ago: Rhubarb, Strawberry and Blueberry Crumble

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread

I am always looking for things to do with my old bananas.  When I saw this recipe Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread recipe I knew I had to try it out.  I had both items going bad and this was perfect timing.  I ended up doing two loafs.  One with Chocolate Chips and one with dates and walnuts.  I do have to admit that the chocolate one was slightly better.   And don’t forget to wrap your bread in a towel.  It makes a huge difference.  This bread will not only be gummy but it will dry out quickly.


Whole Wheat Zucchini Banana Bread

Adapted from: Marcus Samuelsson

Yields: 1 Loaf | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Bake Time:  55 minutes

2 eggs
1/4 cup honey
1 cup mashed banana
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 cup chocolate chips, raisins, dried fruit, nuts, or a mixture of any of these

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a standard-sized loaf pan.

Beat together the eggs, honey, banana, brown sugar, and vanilla until well-combined.

In a medium-sized bowl, sift together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Mix into the egg/banana mixture just until combined.

Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips, just until combined.

Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Let rest for 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

For best results, store loosely draped with a kitchen towel. Wrapping your bread in plastic or foil will result in gummy texture.

One Year Ago: Summer Watermelon and Tomato Salad

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pear Rosemary and Goat Cheese Foccacia

Add some goodies on top of flat bread, put it in the oven and out comes deliciousness.  It’s that simple.  You can either make your own bread or you can get some in the store.  If you get foccacia in the store it comes in different thicknesses.  If the bread is more than an inch thick I usually slice it in half and then sprinkle with olive oil and add my toppings.  But if you want to make foccacia from scratch it is very simple and all you need is a little time for it to rise.  You can really use your own imagination of what you want to put on the bread.  I love the combination of salt, rosemary and olive oil and you could leave it at that – but adding cheese and pears gives it a little sweetness and creaminess.  There are so many options, just use your imagination.

The Pear Rosemary and Goat Cheese Foccacia is featured in the second issue of the amazing magazine by House of Fifty.  If you missed it you have to go and check it out, Janell of Isabella and Max did a fabulous job and all the recipes have step by step instructions.

Picture from House of Fifty

Pear, Rosemary and Goat Cheese Foccacia

Yields: 2 – 9 inch breads | Prep Time: 4 hours | Bake Time: 15 minutes

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

3/4 cup (177 ml) warm water (105° to 110°F)
2 tsp (30 ml) milk, slightly warmed
1 1/2 tsp (6 grams) sugar
1 1/4 tsp (5 grams) active dry yeast
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
6 tbsp (90 ml) olive oil
2 Bartlett Pears (thinly sliced)
1 tsp fresh rosemary needles
8 ounces of goat cheese
2 tsp coarse sea salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let the mixture sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the flour, salt and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the yeast mixture and mix well on low. Attach the dough hook, raise the speed to medium-low and knead the dough for 8 minutes longer.

Brush a large bowl with a generous amount of olive oil. Scrape dough into the bowl and brush the top with additional oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a cool place until it doubles in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Press the dough down with a floured hand. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide it into two balls. Brush a large baking sheet (or two small ones) with olive oil, place the balls of dough on it and brush the top with more oil. Set it aside for 20 minutes, lightly covered with a kitchen towel. After 20 minutes, dip your fingers in olive oil and press and stretch each ball of dough into an 8 to 9-inch circle shape. It will be dimpled from your fingers. Cover again with the towel and let it rise for another 1 1/4 hours in a cool place.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Brush tops of dough with remaining olive oil and top the sliced pear, goat cheese, rosemary, coarse sugar and coarse sea salt evenly over the dough. Bake for 15 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and puffed around edges. Let cool before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

One Year Ago: Top Wineries in Walla Walla, WA

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

I have no idea why but Rum Raisin ice cream is not very common here, growing up in Sweden I used to love it as a kid and I have not had for over 10 years.  Soak your raisins in rum overnight and then make your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe and add them.  You will not be disappointed.  The ice cream is creamy and the cold frozen raisins pop with rum in your mouth. Delishhh!

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Adapted From: David Lebovitz

Yields: 1 quart | Prep Time: 24 hours | Chill Time: 2 hours

1 cup (250ml) raisins
½ cup (120ml) dark rum
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Soak the raisins in rum overnight.

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.

To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.

Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

Remove the vanilla bean.  Drain the raisins from the rum and pour into the custard and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

I made this delicious ice cream with Horizon Organic Dairy products.

Come visit me and the other Horizon Dairy Community Leaders on the Back to School Discussion boards where you can join the discussion and get some great back to school tips, on anything from time savers, to school lunches and lots more advice from moms. Don’t miss out on the discussions.

One Year Ago: Chicken Stock

Monday, July 25, 2011

Polish Cucumber Salad

This Polish Cucumber Salad my mother used to make for me as a kid and I have loved it ever since.  It is one of my favorite simple summer salads. Not only does it not require a lot of ingredients but it is quick and takes about 10 minutes to make.   You can use any kind of cucumber for this salad but I prefer to use an English cucumber since I think they taste better.  The salad is also very easy to adjust.  If it is too vinegary for you add some sugar, and add salt to taste. Enjoy!


Polish Cucumber Salad

Yield: 4 servings

Total Time: 10 minutes


1 English cucumber
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar
1 tsp dill weed
Pinch of pepper
1 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp sour cream


Slice the cucumber into thin slices. Either us a cheese knife or a food processor to cut into thin slices.

In a separate bowl add all the other ingredients, salt, sugar, dill, pepper, vinegar and sour cream. Mix it together and then pour over the cucumbers and mix them.

This salad should be prepared just prior to serving, as the cucumber release a lot of liquid if allowed to stand any length of time.


One Year Ago: Pear Coffee Cake

Monday, July 18, 2011

French Potato Salad

This is the Secret Recipe Club “assignment!”  Every month you get a name of a blog and you need to choose ANY recipe from that blog and then blog about that recipe by a date.  It’s a secret because the blog owner does not know you are doing this until the reveal date.  My secret blog this month was  A Spoon Full of Thyme which is written by Kate.   Kate has a great food blog with a lot of delicious recipes,  I had a hard time narrowing down of what to make.  But it is summer time and lots of BBQ are going on, I wanted to make a new potato salad and Kate had this great French Potato Salad on here that I wanted to try.  I am not a fan of potato salads with mayo but usually just make mine with onion, olive oil and vinegar but this sounded delicious and needed to try it.  And it is definitely a keeper.  My only recommendation is use to use young potatoes.  To me young potatoes are the best, they are small, solid and they do not crumble.  Young potatoes were one of my favorite things growing up in Sweden.  Here you can usually find them during the summer time. And of course I keep the skin on, but you can always peel your potatoes if you want to.

French Potato Salad

Adapted from: A Spoon Full of Thyme

Yields: 6 servings | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 30 minutes

1 pound small white boiling potatoes
1 pound small red boiling potatoes
2 tbsp good dry white wine
2 tbsp chicken stock
3 tbsp Champagne vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
10 tbsp good olive oil
1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
2 Tbsp minced flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp chiffonade of fresh basil leaves

Drop the white and red potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Serve warm or at room temperature.

One Year Ago: Croutons

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