Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Red Pepper And Feta Crostini

During September I was able to hit Ravinia and experience the first ever Food Network In Concert event with John Mayer and Phillip Phillips--great fun to say the least, plus, great food and a chance to watch the celebrity chefs firsthand.  Of course, Chicago featured some of its top restaurants, including a tent 'Efis' that was all about Greek.

Raul Midon

Phillip Phillips

John Mayer
As with all major events, you get a lot of little trinkets, but Efis was handing out a little pamphlet on using feta.  Couldn't help myself...and so, I modified the infrastructure on the Red Pepper & Feta Crostini.  See what you think, but I'd say it was quite delicious as an appetizer before dinner.  Just the sort of thing Jon loves. And so fast to assemble!

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Crostini

Toaster Oven

Ciabatta or French Bread
Olive Oil, for drizzling
1 clove garlic, halved
1 jar Roasted Red Peppers, sliced vertically into strips
4-8 oz fresh feta, crumbled 
Oregano, for sprinkling
1/2 lemon, for sprinkling

1. Wash your hands.
2. Drizzle your bread with olive oil and toast.

3. Rub garlic over slices of bread.

4. Cut and layer your strips of red peppers onto the toasts.

5. Add crumbled feta.

6. Toast until cheese is golden brown.

7. Drizzle with olive oil.

8. Sprinkle with oregano and lemon juice.

You might not even need supper tonight!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I'm loving this fall weather! Say no more!
But you can begin to feel a touch of chill every now and then brushing your cheeks and reminding you that the days will be getting shorter.  As I have started to lay-out the recipes that our son continues to ask for, I am fully aware that this is the time to bring in a few more soups (one of his favorite foods). You just can't go wrong here: little skill required, large amounts, cheap on the budget, and satisfying to the soul--all the things a college student needs when living off-campus.

This version of Chicken Tortilla Soup I found in a doctor's office magazine from WebMD! Perhaps this is not as complex as the original recipe, but with a few modifications, it is a lighter version and delicious nonetheless! Plus, if you are having friends over, this is a great substitute for the heavy-bean-laden American 'chile con carne' that might increase the risk of death by fumigation. 

Avoid spontaneous combustion and try this option instead!

(Adapted from WebMD magazine-Sept 2014 edition)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Large dutch oven or 5 quart sauce pan
Can Opener
Wooden spoon / ladle
PAM spray
Toaster oven

1 Tbls olive oil
1 medicum onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced (I skipped this because green pepper over-powers everything)

1 1/2 lbs of chicken breasts

2 tsp of chili powder
1-2 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

28 oz Crushed Tomatoes (I used San Marzano)
4 oz Green Chiles, diced
32 oz of chicken stock (I made mine from chicken bouillon to avoid cost of pre-made)
2 cups hot water
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed

Corn tortillas
Sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Sour cream
Hot sauce
Lime wedges.

1. Wash your hands and surfaces frequently with raw chicken. Prep the garlic and onion.

2. Heat olive oil in your large sauce pan and add onions and garlic until softened.

3. Add your chicken breasts and spices to coat all the ingredients.

4. Add the tomatoes, chiles, stock, and water.

5. Simmer x 20 minutes.

6. Remove and cool the chicken breasts.

7. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the chicken meat with 2 forks and return to soup with the black beans.

8. Simmer x 20 minutes.

9. Cut your tortillas into thin strips and spray with PAM. Toast until crisp.

10. Fill your bowls with cheese, tortilla strips and cover with soup.

11. Garnish with avocado, lime, more cheese, tortilla strips, sour cream and cilantro.
12. You just got yourself a meal!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Quick Fix Hoagies

Tailgating, leaves, football--couldnt be a better weekend. Right now, the sun is shining and the lines are being drawn.

Are you prepared for friends hanging out? Try this awesome variation we make on crisp fall days to warm us up! 

Large non-stick skillet
Toaster Oven

Turano Mini Hoagie Rolls

Apple & Gouda Cheese Chicken Sausages
1/2 - 1 red pepper, cut in strips
1/2 -1 yellow pepper, cut in strips
1/2 green pepper
1 onion, sliced
1-2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1-2 tsp olive oil
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Provolone Cheese
Mayo, if desired

1. Wash your hands. 
2. Prep your veggies.

3. Prep your sausages.

4. Heat skillet with 1-2 tsp olive oil.
5. Sear veggies until golden brown.

6. Add sausage and brown.

7. Add vinegar and stir.

8. Prep your rolls & add filling.

9. Cover with provolone & broil!

10. Great way to watch a game. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Snack Stacks

Lighten up fall snacking with this easy-breezy stack of goodness. Apple, caramel, cinnamon, crunch--all packed into one! Or, need something to fill a chocolate craving? Think about this option.

Loved this idea from Food Network. See what you think. 

Knife, for spreading 


Option 1:
Caramel Rice Cakes
Reduced-Fat Cream Cheese
Pinch of Cinnamon
Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
Caramel Sauce or melted Kraft Caramels

Option 2:
Chocolate Cookie Wafers
Reduced-Fat Berry Cream Cheese
Fresh Strawberries / Blackberries / Blueberries / Raspberries
Chocolate Sauce
Chocolate Chips

1. Wash your hands.
2. Spread 1-2 tsp cream cheese onto rice cake.

3. Sprinkle with cinnamon. 
4. Layer 4-5 slices of apple.

5. Drizzle with caramel sauce.

6. Try Option 2!
7. Spread berry cream cheese on your chocolate wafers.
8. Top off each wafer with strawberries, blueberry, blackberries, or raspberries.

9. Choose an upgrade: chocolate drizzle, Redi-Whip, chocolate chips, or a pinch of powdered sugar!

10. Bite size awesome!