Tag Archives: Cherry Tomatoes

Simple Green Salad

7 Jan Mixed Green Simple Salad

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. I made this salad last November, on a warm (yes, Los Angeles is warm in November) Saturday. I walked down to my local Ralph’s grocery store (and boy did it feel good to get out and go for a walk!), wandered the produce section and returned excited for a simple, yet delicious lunch.

The thing I love most about salads is you can add pretty much whatever you want and you can add whatever dressing you see fit. You can top it with cooked salmon, chicken, beef, tuna, whatever protein your heart desires. Don’t like tomatoes? Don’t add them! Throw in some mushrooms or squash instead! Make the salad the main course, or make it your side dish, you decide! Leave a comment with what you like in your salad!

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

SIMPLE GREEN SALAD (serves 1)

  • 50-50 Blend of Spring Greens and Spinach
  • 1/2 Hard Boiled Egg
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or other dressing of your choosing)

Start by chopping your hard-boiled egg into small chunks. Set aside and chop your avocado as well. I saved the other half for lunch the next day! Be sure to save the half with the seed still intact as it will slow the browning process down a bit. Chop up your cherry tomatoes (or half of a Roma tomato) into bite site pieces. Some people like to just eat cherry tomatoes whole, but because I have sensitive teeth, I need my tomatoes in smaller form so my teeth don’t freak out on me.

Hard Boiled Egg

Hard Boiled Egg

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

avocado

Fresh avocado! Yum!

Since this was my lunch, I pulled out a shallow pasta plate to use as my dish. I grabbed a large handful, plus a little bit more, of my 50-50 blend (make sure you wash yours if it doesn’t come pre-washed) and placed in the plate. I sprinkled the tomato slices, egg and avocado pieces around the entire bed of greens. Then I sprinkled some feta cheese on top, making sure to break up the extra-large chunks. Make sure everything is evenly distributed so you get a little bit of everything in each bite. I then dressed my salad very lightly, then put a little more in a little dipping bowl and dipped my fork in it every now and then. The dressing was from Trader Joe’s and is also a great marinade for chicken. It was a great lunch and so healthy too!

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken with Couscous

10 Sep

Continuing on my chicken cooking marathon, along with deciding what to make from the box of produce I received thanks to my roommate, came this lovely dinner. Included in the box was a container of cherry tomatoes along with a couple of suggested recipes and one of them was a couscous recipe with the cherry tomatoes. It sounded yummy and I had another chicken breast in the freezer that I could do something with so my dinner was (mostly) figured out. Deciding what to do with the chicken though, that was the next question. I pulled out my “Best Ever Three & Four Ingredient” cookbook and looked for something that I had all the ingredients already. I found a recipe for Honey Mustard Baked Chicken which sounded delicious. This is a very easy dinner for anyone to try out. Hope you enjoy!

BAKED HONEY MUSTARD CHICKEN WITH COUSCOUS (serves 2, plus extra couscous salad)

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken and Couscous Salad Ingredients L-R: Salt, Lemon, Cherry Tomatoes, Honey, Mustard, Chicken Breast, Cucumber, Lime, Couscous, Pepper, Citrus Salt

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken and Couscous Salad Ingredients L-R: Salt, Lemon, Cherry Tomatoes, Honey, Mustard, Chicken Breast, Cucumber, Lime, Couscous, Pepper, Citrus Salt

  • 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (or 4 Chicken Thighs)
  • 2 Tbsp Mustard
  • 2 Tbsp Honey
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3/4 Cup Dry Couscous
  • About 12 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 Small/Medium Cucumber
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 Lime
  • About 3 Tbsp Olive Oil, plus an additional 2 Tsp
  • 1/4 Cup Feta Cheese
Honey Mustard mixture

Honey Mustard mixture

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl mix the mustard and honey together. Add in salt and pepper to taste. In a small roasting pan lay your chicken breasts (or thighs) out. *Side note: I only made one chicken breast and saved the extra honey mustard sauce for later.* Brush on the honey mustard mixture all over the chicken pieces. Once the oven is ready place your roasting pan on the middle rack and cook for 20-25 minutes (25-30 for thighs). About every 8-10 minutes be sure to brush the chicken with pan juices. To check for doneness, stick the breast or thigh with a sharp knife and if the juices run clear it’s done!

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

Chicken breast ready for the oven

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken fresh from the oven.

Once the chicken is in the oven start on your couscous salad. Cut all your tomatoes in half and peel your cucumber and chop into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.

Cucumber Cucumber Cherry tomatoes, couscous saladWhen There’s less than 10 minutes less on your chicken start your couscous. The great thing about couscous is it cooks in 5 minutes. Seriously. If you ever need a great side dish in a jiffy make some couscous. Near East is the most common on store shelves and they have lots of varieties, along with recipes to spice it up a bit! In a medium saucepan bring 1 cup of water and 2 tsp of olive oil to a boil. Add in your couscous, stir and cover. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.

couscous

I love the way dry couscous looks

couscous

Couscous is done and ready to be made into a salad

In a medium salad or serving bowl, combine your couscous, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers. Take your lemon and lime halves and squeeze the juice into the mixture, then add in the 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Taste and adjust as needed with more salt, pepper, lemon and/or lime juice. Add in small amounts only as needed. Trust your taste buds. Add in the feta cheese and mix once again.

Couscous Salad

Adding in the tomatoes and cucumbers

Couscous Salad

Couscous salad is done and ready for serving!

When your chicken is done serve with the couscous salad and enjoy! I did! Pairs well with a white wine.

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken and Couscous Salad

Honey Mustard Baked Chicken and Couscous Salad!

Grilled Chicken and Spinach

6 Mar

Sometimes all you want is a simple dinner. What’s simpler than a chicken breast lightly seasoned and grilled on the stove top? It’s also healthy because of its simplicity. Be forewarned though, it is relatively easy to under or over cook a chicken breast, especially a thicker piece. (Trust me, I’ve under cooked it more than once.) My dad once said t hat you can tell there’s a good cook in the kitchen if they can cook a chicken breast. I still think cooking a chicken breast this way is super easy and everyone should feel comfortable doing it. I love that you can buy chicken breasts individually wrapped. It makes freezing them for later consumption quite easy. But back to my dinner. I still had fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes from my pork chop meal so I cooked those up as a side dish in the same pan, as well as the sauce that went with them. So I re-heated the sauce and poured some over my chicken. If you don’t have any kind of extra sauce in your fridge I would recommend using white wine and deglaze the pan after your chicken is done and use that on your chicken. Feel free to use whatever spices your heart (and taste buds) desires.

Chicken breast ready for seasonings

Chicken breast ready for seasonings

SIMPLE GRILLED CHICKEN (serves 1)

  • Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Garlic Powder (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Heat your oil in a small pan over medium heat. While waiting to heat up season both sides of your chicken breast with salt, pepper and any other spices or herbs you have chosen. Once the oil is hot place your chicken breast in the pan and let cook for about seven to nine minutes.

Chicken Breast seasoned and in the hot oil

Chicken Breast seasoned and in the hot oil

You can see the chicken breast starting to cook. This piece is almost ready to turn over.

You can see the chicken breast starting to cook. This piece is almost ready to turn over.

Depending on how thick your breast is will depend on how long it takes to cook. After about seven minutes, turn over and cook another seven to nine minutes. The breast should be tender to the touch of a fork or knife. You may need to slightly pry open your breast (there’s usually a small opening already on one side that you can almost see inside) and see if it’s still pink or not. The more chicken you cook the easier it will become to tell when it’s done. Remember, it’s better to under cook the chicken and have to put it back in the pan, than over cook it and have dry, tough chicken.

Chicken Breast

Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes cooking in the same pan as the chicken

Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes cooking in the same pan as the chicken

While the first side of the chicken was cooking I prepped my tomatoes by cutting in half and got my spinach ready. After I turned the chicken over and it had been cooking for a few minutes, I moved it over a little and I added my spinach and tomatoes to the other side of the pan and cooked them down for a few minutes. I re-heated the pork chop sauce and after removing the chicken to my plate I poured about a tablespoon or so over my chicken. Enjoy!

Chicken with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes. Enjoy!

Chicken with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes. Enjoy!

Spiced Pork Chops and Spinach With Tomatoes

20 Feb

Oh how I love pork chops. And yet this was the first time I’ve made them. My dad makes really good pork chops and it’s always difficult for me to make something for the first time that my dad has a special recipe for. But rather than try his recipe, I found one in my new favorite cookbook, Weeknights With Giada, as well as a delicious sounding side dish, wilted spinach with tomatoes and basil. Unfortunately there was absolutely NO basil to be found. Anywhere. I swear. All the produce guys I spoke with said the cold snap from the previous week took a toll on the basil shipments and they didn’t get any in. Boo! Oh well, I’d survive. Not only was I making pork chops for the first time, I was also going to be using my new deep skillet for the first time! (Yes, I was geeking out.) While each recipe was fairly simple, I didn’t do proper prep work and so my pork chops were done way before my spinach and tomatoes were. And because I was focused too much on my spinach, my pork chops were sitting a little too long, and while they were still yummy, I should have taken them off the heat a few minutes sooner. C’est la vie! Next time they will be even juicier! Oh, and the sweet and sour glaze is delicious and I’ve used it on chicken and salmon since then. (And yes, those are my new bamboo cutting boards!)

Spiced Pork Chop Ingredients L-R: Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, Salt & Pepper, Butter, Boneless Pork Chops, Green Onions, Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Olive Oil, Fresh Rosemary

Spiced Pork Chop Ingredients L-R: Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, Salt & Pepper, Butter, Boneless Pork Chops, Green Onions, Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Olive Oil, Fresh Rosemary

SPICED PORK CHOPS WITH SWEET AND SOUR GLAZE (4 servings)

  • 4 Boneless Pork Chops, about 1 inch thick
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Honey
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 3 Scallions
  • 1 Tsp Fresh Rosemary Leaves
  • 4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Season both sides of your pork chops with the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of salt and red pepper flakes and about half that of black pepper for each chop. In a large skillet (should be big enough to hold all four pork chops) heat your oil over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, place your chops  in and cook about 8 minutes on each side. Then remove to a large plate or platter and cover with foil until ready to serve.

Pork chops in the pan

Pork chops in the pan

Spiced Pork Chops after being turned

Spiced Pork Chops after being turned

All done! I turned over one more time before removing from heat.

All done! I turned over one more time before removing from heat.

When you put your pork chops into the pan start on the sweet and sour glaze. If you don’t want so much extra (I still have about 1/2 cup in my fridge) then only make half this recipe. (I will probably do this next time.) Mince your garlic, chop your rosemary leaves and chop your scallions finely.

Sweet and Sour Glaze in progress. Green onions and garlic chopped up and all ingredients on the stove.

Sweet and Sour Glaze in progress. Green onions and garlic chopped up and all ingredients on the stove.

Only use the white and pale green parts of the scallions though, that’s where all the flavors lie. You can chop the dark green part and use as garnish. In a small saucepan or pot, combine your balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, scallions, and rosemary over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until the honey has dissolved. Lower the heat all the way down and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. By this time you should have turned your pork chops over. The sauce should reduce slightly. Make sure your butter is at room temperature. It should be soft enough to easily squeeze with your fingers. Cut the butter into about 1/2 inch cubes. Remove from the heat and whisk in your butter until the sauce is nice and smooth and all the butter has melted. Your sauce and chops should finish at the same time.

Spinach with Tomatoes Ingredients L-R: Cherry Tomatoes, Shallot, Garlic, Fresh Spinach, Salt & Pepper, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil

Spinach with Tomatoes Ingredients L-R: Cherry Tomatoes, Shallot, Garlic, Fresh Spinach, Salt & Pepper, Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil

WILTED SPINACH WITH TOMATOES AND BASIL (6 servings)

  • 1 Pint Cherry Tomatoes
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Shallot
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Pound Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/3 Cup Chopped Fresh Basil Leaves (which I didn’t have)

Do your prep work first (when you are prepping your pork chops). Thinly slice your shallot, cut your tomatoes in half, and mince your garlic. Also chop your basil leaves. In a large skillet heat your oil over medium-high heat. Add in your shallots and cook for about 3 minutes, until they are soft and starting to turn translucent. Add in your garlic and cook briefly until you can smell it then add in your tomatoes and cook for another two minutes. In handfuls add in your spinach and stir slowly until wilted, about 5-7 minutes. Turn heat down to low, salt and pepper and stir in the balsamic vinegar and basil leaves. Let simmer for about a minute. Start this dish once you turn your pork chops over and you’ve turned the heat down on your sauce. It should all end about the same time. I only used about half a pound of the spinach and half a pint of tomatoes so I wouldn’t have too much leftover. (Re-heating cooked spinach isn’t always the best, it’s best fresh from the stove.)

Shallots cooking

Shallots cooking

Shallots and tomatoes cooking

Shallots and tomatoes cooking

Add in the spinach...

Add in the spinach…

Almost done....

Almost done….

Pour a large spoonful or two (depending on  your spoon) over your pork chops and enjoy! I paired this with a red wine I already had open, Poggiotondo Rosso Toscana 2010.

Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze and Spinach and Tomatoes

Spiced Pork Chops with Sweet and Sour Glaze and Spinach and Tomatoes

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