Garlic, White Bean and Spinach Salad

Garlic, White Bean and Spinach Salad

A salad recipe straight out of my Italian Great Grandma’s kitchen that can be eaten warm or cold. It’s great for a picnic, potluck or barbecue and makes a great side dish, appetizer or light lunch. The best way to eat it is with a slice of crusty bread and an extra drizzle of olive oil. Al fresco doesn’t hurt either.

The salad starts with a generous amount of sauteed garlic and spinach that is tossed with Cannelini beans, red onion, thyme, olive oil, red wine vinegar and Italian cheese. For this one I used Ricotta Salata but you an also use Parmesan or Romano with good results.

Cannelini beans or white kidney beans are super creamy, have a mild flavor and are packed with nutrition. I use them often in my cooking. I love them in this salad. When left overnight they soak up all the wonderful flavors and intensify in flavor.

Garlic, White Bean and Spinach Salad

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Garlic, White Bean and Spinach Salad
(by Reeni)

6 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Olive oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper
1 + 1/2 cup Chopped Frozen Spinach
2 (15 ounce) cans Cannelini Beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup Red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup Ricotta Salata or Parmesan Cheese, grated
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for serving
2 tablespoons fresh Thyme, Basil or Parsley
1 tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar or Lemon Juice
Red Pepper flakes, optional

1. In a large skillet saute garlic and a pinch of salt in olive oil over low heat until fragrant. Add spinach and saute until tender. Turn off heat. If serving cold allow to cool before going on to step 2, if serving warm go right to step 2.

2. Toss with beans, onions, cheese, oil, vinegar and thyme. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes if desired, to taste.

3. Serve warm or chilled with a drizzle of olive oil over top and crusty bread.

Printable Recipe
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Garlic, White Bean and Spinach Salad

Be sure to check out the new Burger Club Challenge: Bobby Flay!

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Lemon Chicken Milanese with Couscous Salad

Lemon Chicken Milanese with Couscous Salad

Chicken Milanese is a fancy name for breaded, fried chicken cutlets. My recipe takes this simple idea a little further by marinating the chicken in a lemon based marinade and adding lemon zest to the bread crumbs.

Typically served with arugula salad, I went down another road to celebrate my garden fresh string beans and tomatoes. The couscous salad can be eaten hot or cold and is packed full of string beans, black olives, grape tomatoes, roasted red peppers strips, garlic, fresh thyme and ricotta salata. It is dressed up in a basic red wine vinegar dressing with a hint of lemon to brighten up the flavors.

Couscous Salad

Do you eat couscous? If you don’t, you should! It’s as easy to make as boiling water, pouring it over top and waiting a few minutes while it ‘cooks’. It doesn’t get any easier than that! Couscous is a healthy grain made with semolina and rolled into tiny grains that are steamed. It’s a blank canvas for a palette of flavors. And one of the most versatile, delicious foods I know of. Not to mention it is also one of my current obsessions. 

There are quite a few steps to this recipe, but most of them can and should be done ahead of time. The marinade can be made the night before or the morning of and the couscous can also be made ahead. The extra step of marinating the chicken is so worth it. The longer you can marinate it the better. The lemon flavor will not only shine through but will cause the chicken to be extra juicy and tender. It also makes some of the the best sandwiches! And serves as the base for some awesome Chicken Parmesan. Smother in mozzarella and tomato sauce; bake until cheese is melted and starts to brown.

Lemon Chicken Milanese with Couscous Salad

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Couscous Salad
(inspired by Giada De Laurentiis)

1/2 Onion, diced
1 cup Fresh String Beans, ends trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper
3 cloves Garlic
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Couscous, uncooked
1 cup Boiling Water
3/4 cup Small Black Olives
1/3 cup Red Pepper, roasted or fresh, thinly sliced
1/2 heaping cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Ricotta Salata, Parmesan, or Feta, crumbled
1 tablespoon Fresh Lemon or Regular Thyme or Basil, chopped
Dressing:
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1. In a large skillet or saute pan heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and beans. Saute until onion are soft and translucent. Add garlic and season with salt and pepper. When garlic is fragrant remove from heat. Stir in couscous and boiling water. Cover for 10 minutes. Remove cover and allow to cool if serving cold. If not go right to step 2 without uncovering.

2. Meanwhile make the dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. The dressing may seem like a lot but you want extra to spill over onto the chicken when serving and the couscous will soak some of it up.

3. In a large mixing bowl toss couscous with the olives, peppers, tomatoes, cheese and thyme. Pour dressing over top and toss again. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or refrigerate to serve cold.
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Couscous Salad

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Lemon Chicken Milanese
(adapted from Michael Chiarello)

About 1 pound Chicken Cutlets
Lemon wedges, for serving

Marinade:
1 Lemon, zested and juiced*
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/4 cup Vegetable or Olive oil
3 cloves Garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme**
1 teaspoon Dried Basil
1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt and 1/8 teaspoon Black Pepper
Breading:
1 heaping cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
Lemon zest, set aside from marinade
1/4 teaspoon Salt
A few grinds of Black Pepper
1 + 1/2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 cup all-purpose Flour
2 eggs
Vegetable Oil for pan-frying

1. Set the lemon zest aside to go into the bread crumb mixture. A few hours before cooking in a large shallow pan or large bowl whisk all the marinade ingredients together. Add chicken cutlets and refrigerate. Can also place it all in a large Ziploc bag if desired.

2. To make the coating combine the bread crumbs, cheese, lemon zest, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Work in the olive oil by hand, pinching it between your fingers. Set up a dredging station. Spread the crumb mixture onto a dinner plate or in a shallow, wide bowl. Spread the flour on another dinner plate/bowl. In another shallow bowl beat the eggs.

3. Dip the cutlets in the flour to coat both sides and shake off the excess. Then dip in the egg letting any excess drip back into the bowl. Then oat the cutlets on both sides with the seasoned bread crumbs pressing them into place. As each cutlet is coated, place it on a tray. Cover the cutlets and refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour.

4. In a large skillet heat enough oil to generously cover the bottom. Heat over medium-high heat. Test it by carefully dropping in a little flour or bread crumbs. Should sizzle right away. Cook cutlets in batches, don’t crowd the pan. Cook until golden on the bottom, turn and cook on the second side until golden (internal temperature 165 degrees Fahrenheit). Should take 2-3 minutes on each side depending on their size. Using tongs carefully lift the cutlets as they are done allowing any excess oil to drain back into pan. Set on paper towels to drain.

5. Serve immediately with couscous salad and lemon wedges.

*Microwave for 15 seconds and roll against counter using the palm of your hand to get the most juice out of your lemon.

**Pinch dried herbs between your fingers to ‘wake’ up the flavor.

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Lemon Chicken Milanese with Couscous Salad

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Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

A zesty recipe for cold rice salad packed with Southwestern flavors like green chiles, avocado, corn, tomatoes, red onion and cilantro lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil. The bright and fresh flavors make it the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled and it is perfect for a pot-luck, picnic or barbecue.

Rice salad may sound a little strange to you if you’ve never eaten it before. As it did to me. But I loved it and I’m certain you will too. The rice was soft and tender and completely delicious cold. An ideal dish for lunch or dinner on a sweltering summer day. To elevate it from a side dish to a main dish simply add protein like cooked shrimp or chicken. The leftovers make a great lunch-time treat the next day. 

Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

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Southwest Rice Salad
(loosely adapted from Bon Appetit)
(Makes 8 side dish servings)

1 cup long-grain Rice (I use Brown Basmati)
1 Avocado, diced
1/3 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, quartered
1 cup Corn, fresh or frozen, thawed
4.5 ounces diced Green Chilies
1/2 cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped

Dressing
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
3 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Sea or Kosher Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Rinse the rice thoroughly in a colander with cold water in a colander. Cook according to package directions. Rinse rice again after cooking to cool it down. Drain well.

2. Meanwhile make dressing by whisking lemon and oil in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. In a large mixing bowl toss rice with the rest of the ingredients. Pour dressing over top and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving.

Printable Recipe
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Southwest Rice Salad with Lemon Dressing

This is going to my July Side Dish Showdown. Keep those side dishes coming for  – add your links here and be sure to look over the guidelines as I’ve made some small changes.

And don’t forget to send me your favorite burger (beef, turkey, chicken, bean, veggie or fish) recipes for the Burger Free For All!

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Roasted Red Potato Salad with Pesto Sauce

Roasted Red Potato and Tomato Salad with Pesto Sauce

A Roasted Red Potato Salad recipe dressed with a fresh basil pesto; a healthy alternative to mayonnaise-laden salads. Aside from the pesto sauce the salad is a simple one with only three ingredients: the potatoes, grape tomatoes and red onion. Simple to make, complex in flavor. Not only are the potatoes roasted but so are the grape tomatoes. Roasting them adds another layer of flavor, especially from the tomatoes that intensify and add a nice pop of acidity to the salad. The pesto sauce is made with basil, parsley, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Flavors that compliment both potatoes and tomatoes.

When I saw that my basil desperately needed to be cut back I immediately set my mind on pesto sauce. I love the feeling I get when I cook with plants plucked right from my own backyard. It’s an earthy feeling. And the food naturally tastes better! But I have a confession. I don’t particularly care for doing the work involved with gardening…like the weeding…and the watering. I know that some enjoy that, and although I’ve tried, I just don’t. I suppose I should marry a farmer…

I could woo him with this delectable potato salad and other garden-fresh delights!

Roasted Red Potato and Tomato Salad with Pesto Sauce

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Roasted Red Potato and Tomato Salad with Basil Pesto Sauce
(by Reeni)

5-6 cups Red Potatoes, diced, skins on
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
2 cups Grape Tomatoes
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

For Pesto Sauce:
1 cup packed Fresh Basil leaves
1/3 cup Fresh Parsley leaves
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 cup Pine Nuts or Walnuts
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Also need:
1/2 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes with 2 tablespoons of Olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out in a greased baking sheet. Toss tomatoes with 1 tablesoon Olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread out in a separate baking sheet. Bake potatoes until tender about 25-30 minutes and tomatoes until shriveled about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile prepare the pesto by adding the basil, parsley, garlic and nuts to a food processor. Pulse until chopped. Stream in Olive Oil with food processor running. Add Parmesan and pulse to combine. Add Extra-Virgin Olive oil with food processor running. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

3. To a large mixing bowl add warm potatoes and tomatoes with any juices in the pan, along with the red onion. Pour pesto over top and toss well. Season with salt and pepper. Can be served warm or refrigerated to be served cold. Mix well before serving.

Print Recipe
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Roasted Red Potato and Tomato Salad with Pesto Sauce

I’m adding this to my July Side Dish Showdown and also sending it to the lovely Deb of Kahakai Kitchen for her Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays round-up!


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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chile Garlic Vinaigrette

Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette

Sugar snap peas and sweet peas collide in a burst of vibrant flavors with a warm garlic and chile pepper vinaigrette.

While the peas steam a simple vinaigrette is made by heating olive oil with chopped garlic and Serrano chilies. Red wine vinegar is whisked in and then the whole magnificent concoction is poured over top of the peas along with fresh basil. Equally good hot or chilled; I had the leftovers straight from the refrigerator for lunch the next day. Positively delectable!

I heart sugar snap peas. They’re sweet, crispy and the pods ‘pop’ a little when you bite into them. They are good to eat raw or cooked. I can eat them like candy.

I really like the idea of a warm vinaigrette. It allowed the flavors of the garlic and serrano chili to mellow out and permeate the oil in a way that isn’t possible when made cold. And while it was nicely flavored it wasn’t overwhelming, the sweet flavors of the peas still shone through.

Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette

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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chile Garlic Vinaigrette
(Vinaigrette adapted from Bobby Flay)

3 cups Sugar Snap Peas
1 cup Sweet Peas
1/4 cup Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 Serrano Chile Pepper, chopped, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil or Parsley, chopped

1. Steam the vegetables until tender.

2. Meanwhile heat olive oil in a small saute or sauce pan over low heat. Add garlic and pepper; cook until garlic starts to turn golden. Remove from heat. Whisk in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Add the peas to a medium mixing bowl, pour vinaigrette over top and gently toss. Garnish with fresh herbs.

Printable Recipe
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Sugar Snap Peas and Sweet Peas with Warm Chili Garlic Vinaigrette


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Panzanella Salad: Tomato, Bread and Parmesan

Panzanella Salad

This bright, fresh and rustic recipe for Italian Panzanella salad couldn’t be simpler to make or more delicious! It’s as easy as tossing rough cut tomatoes, crusty hunks of bread, sharp red onion, sweet basil and salty Parmesan together. With a little drizzle of olive oil and vinegar over top it’s good to go. Granted there is a short wait after salting the tomatoes but all it takes is a little planning ahead.

This is the perfect way to showcase the tomatoes, onion and basil that I’ve planted in my backyard garden. And I’m sure it will grace my table in many shapes and forms this summer.

Panzanella Salad

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Panzanella Salad
(adapted from 200 Super Salads by Alice Storey)

1 + 1/4 pound large Tomatoes
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
5 ounces Italian Bread
1/3 cup Red Onion, thinly sliced in half moons
6-7 Basil leaves, rough chopped plus extra for garnish
2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
2 tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese, shaved slices
Sea Salt and Fresh Black Pepper

1. Rough chop the tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces and put them in a nonmetallic bowl. Sprinkle with sea salt and allow them to sit for an hour.

2. Tear the bread apart into rough bite-size chunks.

3. Squash the tomatoes with your hands, discard liquid and then toss with bread, onion, basil, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish top with extra Basil leaves.

4. Serve with Parmesan shavings over top. Best served immediately.

Print Recipe
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Panzanella Salad

Don’t forget to check out the next Burger Club Challenge hosted by Kim of Stirring the Pot!

I’m linking this to to Two for Tuesdays: Celebrate REAL FOOD!

24TbadgeGIRLICHEF


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Avocado and Feta Salsa with Marinated Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Skewers

Avocado and Feta Salad with Marinated Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Skewers

A bright and beautiful Avocado Feta Salsa recipe served with marinated grilled chicken and shrimp. The salsa mingles the fresh flavors of sharp Feta cheese, buttery avocado, juicy grape tomatoes, crisp corn, slightly pungent red onion, and aromatic basil. It is lightly dressed in lemon and extra-virgin olive oil and allows the vibrant flavors to shine brightly. Summer on a plate.

The chicken and shrimp are simply marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and thyme. They grill up juicy and tender picking up the subtle flavors of the marinade. Eaten together they make a tasty, complimenting trio that is texturally pleasing to the eyes and mouth. Light, clean and healthy. Food that makes you feel good.

The salsa is quite versatile. For lunch the next day I mixed what was left of the shrimp right in with the salsa. Delicious! The salsa on its own or in combination with the chicken or shrimp could also get stuffed into pitas, served over salad greens or be gently tossed with cooked pasta and additional dressing.

 Enjoy my version of surf and turf!

Avocado and Feta Salsa/Salad with Marinated Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Skewers

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Avocado Feta Salsa with Marinated Grilled Chicken and Shrimp Skewers
(by Reeni)

Salsa:
1/2 to 1 Lemon, juiced*
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Avocado, diced
1 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
4 ounces Crumbled Feta Cheese
1/4 Red Onion, thinly sliced in half moons
1/2 cup Cooked Corn, chilled
Sea or Kosher salt and Fresh Black Pepper
6 large Basil leaves, cut in a chiffonade** or thinly sliced

1. In a small mixing bowl whisk 1/2 lemon, olive oil and mustard.

2. To a separate medium bowl add avocado, tomatoes, Feta, onion and corn. Pour dressing over top and gently toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add additional lemon juice if needed and garnish with basil.

3. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors time to develop.

Marinated Chicken and Shrimp Skewers
2 Lemons, juiced*
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Oregano
2 large boneless, skinless Chicken Breast
1/2 pound Shrimp, cleaned and deveined
Bamboo or Metal Skewers

1. A few hours before serving whisk all ingredients except chicken and shrimp together. Divide evenly and marinate the chicken in refrigerator. Store the remaining marinade in refrigerator.

2. A half hour to an hour before cooking skewer the shrimp and marinate them in the marinade you set aside earlier. Soak bamboo skewers in water.

3. Grill the chicken until juices run clear or an internal temperature of 165 – 174 is reached. When the chicken is almost cooked grill the shrimp skewers on each side. They are done when they turn pink.

4. Let the chicken sit for five minutes, then slice and serve with the salsa over top followed by the shrimp.

*Microwave for ten seconds and then roll against counter using the palm of your hands to get the most juice.

**Stack the leaves, roll them up then cut across the rolled leaves with a sharp knife to make thin ribbons.

Print Recipe

Avocado Feta Salsa: 5 servings/175 calories per serving
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Avocado and Feta Salsa/Salad

I’m sending the Avocado Feta Salsa to Priya of Mharo Rajasthan’s Recipes for her Vegetable/Fruit Event: Avocado!

I’m also sending this to Nithu of Spicy Tasty to enter in her Sizzling Summer Contest.


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