Knock-Off Jason’s Deli Mediterranean Wrap

I was struggling to come up with something I could eat the on the Jason’t Deli menu the other day and then I found this little gem: The Mediterranean Wrap.  Yum!  And so easy, it really just begged to be knocked off at home.  So here’s my version:

Collect up your ingredients:

  • 2T Hummus (roasted red pepper or otherwise)
  • 4 Slices oven roasted turkey
  • 2 C Field greens or baby romaine
  • 1/4 C Sliced Red pepper
  • 1/4 C Diced cucumbers
  • 1 T Fine Diced red onion (or purple onion according to Jason’s)
  • 1T Sliced Kalamata olives
  • Optional: Tomatoes and feta

All wraps start with a good foundation – the glue that will hold them together.  In this case it’s the hummus so spread that out over the entire wrap.  Now lay your turkey over most (but not all!) of the hummus layer.  You want to leave a sneaky bit open on one side so your wrap will “stick” when you roll it up.  Cover the turkey with the field greens. Complete your toppings with the peppers, cucumbers, onions and olives.  Now it’s time to get your wrap on.  Start rolling on the opposite side of the sneaky open bit.  Continue rolling pressing firmly all the way across making sure that no one tries to make a break for it out of wrap jail.Now just slice and enjoy!

Then go get a breath mint, ’cause we put a lot of delicious onions on this wrap.

–Martta

Greek Chicken Kabobs

Something fresh and delicious is in order for Sunday night dinner.  Yesterday I went with an easy standby – Greek chicken kabobs and a simple Greek plate to go with it.  Yum o! 

To start, I did a quick marinade. 

I mixed:

  • 1 pound of chicken
  • 1 T of Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t of Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
I set that aside for about an hour and then I strung the chicken on to bamboo skewers.  I placed the skewers on the grill with a cut lemon.  
I could get all fancy here and talk about how grilling the lemon gives it a smoky flavor or how the citrus oils release while the chicken is cooking to give everything a lemony flavor, but I’ll leave all that to your imagination.  Suffice it to say, if you haven’t grill lemons before, give it a shot.
When you pull the kabobs off the grill, pick up and squeeze out the lemons on the kabobs.

Now just grill up a bit of pita bread, throw down a Greek salad and some hummus and you’ve got dinner.

–Martta

Harry Potter Food!

Well now that you already know how I did the Sorcerer’s Stone Jell-o, here is the rest of our menu for our big Harry Potter movie viewing party: 

We made our desserts first.  Pretzel rods dipped in chocolate and rolled in sprinkles of all kinds for the wands. Then owl feed, which turned out to be SUPER addictive!  It was a traditional white trash snack mix.  Man do I love those Wheat Thins Stix!  And finally on to our pièce de résistance: Dragon chicken with dragon egg grapes and forbidden forrest broccoli. 

The kids love their dragon chicken with ranch dressing so I simply mixed the ranch dressing with food coloring to come up with dragon “wings” and fire breathing.  They loved it!  Caroline especially liked the fact that she could mix all the colors and turn her ranch dressing brown.  

Then to cap off our Harry Potter movie fest, a traditional glass of butterbeer for everyone!  Yum!  

I’ve tried a lot of butterbeer recipes and this one is my favorite.  Although, I don’t add the rum extract and I dash in some butterscotch schnapps for the adults.  Yum!

–Martta

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

With the cold weather hitting Austin the last couple of weeks, I wanted something nice and warm for dinner… you know, something to keep me warm while cooking, then warm my whole body while eating. I find myself looking for something to bake or cook because I’m cold and I want to heat up the oven!

After spending some time on Pinterest, I found this Tomato Basil soup recipe, but definitely altered it a bit to my liking. Here is my version…

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

2 – 28 oz cans crushed tomato

1 cup chicken broth

1/2  sweet onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp black pepper

10-12 fresh basil leaves

1 cup heavy cream

First, sauté the onion & garlic in a little bit of olive oil. When translucent, add the crushed tomato, chicken broth, sugar & black pepper. Simmer for about 20-30 min. In a blender or food processor, puree the soup with the fresh basil leaves until smooth. I did mine in 2 batches. Return the soup to the pan and add the heavy cream. Simmer for another 15 min. You can add more chicken broth if it appears too thick.

I served mine with toasted sourdough bread, and it was so delicious! You can lighten this up by removing the cream, or make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth.

Enjoy this on a cold winter day!

-Heather

Roasted Garlic and Kale Soup

The weather has been dreary with off and on rain here in Austin for the past couple of days.  It’s been so long since we’ve had anything besides sun that everyone is retreating indoors and getting cozy.  Of course, cozy is a relative term – the high will be in the 80’s today even with the rain!

But hey, that’s not going to stop me from putting on a sweater and making a pot of soup while I catch up on the DVR.  One of my new go-to vixen diet approved soups is this delicious roasted garlic and kale soup.

Kale is in season now which makes it a super cheap addition to this soup.  You can generally pick up a bunch for under a dollar – that’s a lot of super food benefit for less than a buck!  Grab a bit of this soup and you’ll stock up on vitamin A, C and K as well as many others.  Check out the nutrition profile here.

For this soup you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Head of garlic plus 3 cloves of garlic
  • 4 T Olive oil, divided
  • 6 Shallots, sliced
  • 2 T Flour
  • 1 C White wine
  • 4 C Chicken Stock
  • 2 C Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 Can cannelini beans
  • 1 Bunch of Kale

This soup actually comes together fairly quickly, you just need a bit of time to roast the garlic in advance.  If you’ve never roasted garlic before, it’s a snap.  Slice the top off a head of garlic.  Place the garlic bulb in a square of tin foil and drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil over the bulb.  Seal up the package and set to roast in a 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes.  I generally use my toaster oven for this step because I tend to roast the bulbs one at a time.  But if you’re doing a whole batch, it would make sense to put it in the oven.  

After some quality time in the oven, allow the bulb to cool and then gently squeeze out the garlic.  It will be soft and just slip right out of the bulb.  Roasted garlic has none of the sharpness of fresh garlic – you could spread it on a slice of bread right now for a delicious snack.  But if you’ve only roasted one bulb you have to hold yourself back and save it for the soup!

Place your shallots in your stock pot with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Cook over medium high heat until the shallots are deliciously caramelized.Sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons of flour and continue cooking for another minute, until no white flour flecks are visible.  Then deglaze the pan with the 1 cup of white wine. Use a wooden spoon to scrap up any bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow the mixture to thicken.  I like to add the roasted garlic in now as well to make sure it perfumes the whole pot.

Next add 4 cups of chicken stock, the can of beans, and shredded chicken.  Turn the soup to medium and bring it up to a simmer while you work on the kale.

Kale is a pretty tough green.  It’s not going to wilt as soon as it touches a hot pan like spinach.  In order to maintain it’s beautiful green color, I like to do a quick sauté with some garlic in separate pan.  You can wash, chop and add it directly to the soup at this point and simmer for 10 minutes, but you’ll end up with a brownish green.  Who wants that?  I will get another pan dirty to make a prettier soup.  That’s the kind of crazy I am.

If you’re my kind of crazy, mince your three cloves of garlic and heat over medium high heat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  

While the garlic is going, wash and chop the bunch of kale.  If you’re feeling up to the task, cut out some of the tougher ribs but if you’re lazy like me, just tell people it gives the soup character.  (yes, I’m too lazy to take out tough ribs, but not too lazy to wash another pan for a prettier soup.)

Add the sautéed kale to the soup and get ready to serve.  All it takes is one final stir and you’re ready to go!

Dish it up with a nice slice of toast on the slide and you’ve got a hearty soup for a cold (or not so cold) rainy day! 

–Martta

Giada’s Chicken Marsala

One of my favorite dishes is chicken marsala. Something about the flavor of marsala wine just gives chicken & mushrooms an amazing depth of flavor. Giada De Laurentiis’ Family Dinners book has this amazing recipe for chicken marsala that brings even more amazing flavor to the dish.

Chicken Marsala with Mascarpone Mustard Sauce

I tend to leave out quite a bit of the butter & I don’t miss it at all. The mascarpone more than makes up for it! And if you can’t find dry marsala, just use sweet… I’ve used it in the past, and I don’t think it makes a significant difference in the final product. I found my mascarpone near the specialty cheeses & spreads, like Allouette & Borsin. If your grocery store does not carry it, you can substitute heavy cream… about 3/4 cup should be perfect, and just let it simmer & reduce a little longer.

A few of the ingredients all ready for their party in the pot!

I pounded my chicken breast to make them easier to cook evenly… this also cut down on my cooking time… especially good when making this on a weeknight and the kids are screaming they are “STARVING”.

I like to use smaller pastas like penne, rotini, or bowtie… it’s much less work to eat, and the nooks & crannies hold the sauce better than the fettuccine Giada recommends.

I highly recommend this recipe! It’s great for a nice dinner at home or even a small dinner party. We usually eat this with caesar salad & a nice crusty bread.

Try this & enjoy!

-Heather

HookingupwithHoH

Vixen Diet Approved: Sage Chicken with Caramelized Onions and White Beans

This meal is fast to prepare and really filling.  With thoughts turning to Fall (even if the temperature isn’t cooperating), I’m ready for some earthy flavors and stick to your ribs kind of meals.

The challenge I’ve had with cooking lately is that I’ve had to cut out a lot of my favorite foods.  I got an infection earlier this year which really knocked out my ability to process more complex foods like cheese, milk, red meats, processed foods with lots of dyes etc.  I’m slowly recovering, but it’s a REALLY slow process.  Annoyingly slow.

I’ve been spending tons of time explaining to people what I could and couldn’t eat and then I finally realized I could pretty much shorten the long winded explanation to “I’m basically eating vegan plus chicken”.  It’s short, people understand it, it’s easy to say.

As I was sitting in a restaurant explaining to my friend why I wasn’t ordering food while he ate (Restaurants are a nightmare because who knows what’s going into that meal???), I told him I’m on a vegan plus chicken diet and he says “Oh, you’re on a Vixen diet”.  Ooh I like that.  I’m on the Vixen Diet.  Why yes, yes I am.

So enter an entirely new category in the cooking section of the blog – Vixen approved foods.  This recipe was one of my first concoctions when I had to turn to cooking almost all of my meals at home.  Trust me, it’s challenging.  No butter, no cream, no cheese – Paula Dean wouldn’t last two minutes in the kitchen I’m working in now!

Creativity is king and it’s a dang good thing I’m not sick and tired of chicken yet!  Fall and Winter foods are so rich because of the delicious butter and fat but with a lot of that out the door, I needed to find ways to capture the feeling without making me regret dinner.  So here it is, my sage chicken with caramelized onions and white beans.  You only need a few ingredients to make this happen – most of which are probably already in your pantry. 

So gather up the following:

  • One pound of chicken
  • Dried sage
  • 1 T Olive oil
  • One large sweet onion
  • 1/2 C White wine or chicken stock
  • One 15-oz. can cannellini beans
  • Once package of pre-washed arugula or spinach
  • Salt and pepper
Ingredient notes:
  • I use boneless skinless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs would be a great substitute and flavor boost.
  • If you have fresh sage, consider adding a bit in to the oil to infuse it before cooking the chicken.
  • If butter is an option for you, create a sage brown butter sauce for an even richer dinner.
  • White or yellow onions will also work in this dish, I just happen to like the little extra bit of sugar in the sweet onion

Begin by seasoning your chicken with sage, salt and pepper.  Sage just says Fall to me and it pairs so well with poultry – I bet this would also work with turkey.  Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat and add the chicken.  

While the chicken is browning on both sides, slice the onion and rinse the beans.  Cook the chicken through and remove from pan.  Add the onions and turn the heat to medium.  Stir, sautéing the onions, until lovely and golden. 

Deglaze the pan with the wine or chicken stock.  Use a wooden spoon or a heat safe spatula to scrape up all the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan.  Once the liquid begins to bubble add the rinsed beans to the skillet.  Warm for a minute and slide the chicken back into the pan to heat again.

To serve, place two cups of arugula or spinach on a plate and spoon over the onion and white bean mixture along with a bit of the pan sauce.  Slice the chicken and serve along with the salad. 

I know, it doesn’t look like a huge, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal.  But trust me, you will be full.

–Martta