24 March 2010

Greek Chicken & Pita Casserole

This isn't Burger King... you can't have it your way! Unless, of course, you come to my house! I not only made the Greek Chicken dish, but I made Mac-n-Cheese for my niece and salmon with steamed broccoli for our friend.

This dish was very different, I won't lie. It was good, but won't become a regular dish in our rotation... but I will make it occasionally. I think that the onions were maybe a touch overpowering. Though I followed the recipe, I think 1/4 cup of onion would have been fine. OK, here goes:

  • 4 cups chopped chicken or turkey, cooked (I actually boiled 2 chicken breasts and then shredded them using 2 forks, it made 4 cups exactly)
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 c chicken broth
  • 1.5 tsp Greek seasoning blend
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2-3 (6) inch pitas cut into bite-size wedges
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c pitted kalamata olives


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large bowl, combine cooked chicken, soup, onion, broth, 1 tsp Greek seasoning and garlic. Transfer mixture to an ungreased 3 quart baking dish
  2. Coat pita wedges with cooking spray (I used EVOO) and sprinkle with remaining Greek seasoning (I added extra). Sprinkle pita wedges, tomatoes, cheese and olives on top chicken mixture. Bake uncovered about 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes about 4 servings (I think its more like 6 servings).

Wine Review

My sister went on a cruise a couple weeks ago, and their first stop was Key West. She went to the Key West Wine Company and bought a few different bottles. This particular bottle is Key Lime Wine. It is a very refreshing and sweet citrus flavor. This is a wine that would go good with a citrus chicken dish or a dessert. Very yummy!

Boston Creme Pie

There is no way to express how amazing this Boston Creme Pie was! I chose a very simple recipe online because I didn't have all the ingredients for the more complicated versions. Even taking that into consideration, it was wonderful! I used 3/4 cup of milk for the pudding and added 1/4 c Jamaican Dark Rum to make full cup (it should have only been about a tbsp, but that just wasn't cutting it for me). I have been requested to make this for Easter too!


  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant vanilla flavored pudding
  • 1 c cold milk
  • 1.5 c whipped cream (recipe calls for cool whip brand, I made homemade using heavy whipping cream)
  • 1 round cake (made to package instructions. Calls for yellow cake, I had white cake mix in the pantry)
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp cold milk


  1. Beat pudding mix and 1 cup milk with whisk (or hand mixer) for 2 minutes. Stir in whipped cream and rum. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cut cake horizontally into 2 layers with serrated knife (I also shaved the top of the cake to make it into a flatter surface).
  3. Put bottom layer of cake on serving platter. Spread pudding mixture and put top layer on.
  4. Microwave chocolate and butter on high for 1 minute (my microwave only took 30 seconds). Stir mixture until smooth. Add sugar and milk and mix well. Spread over cake.
  5. Refrigerate for 1 hour and serve.

Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken with Melted Strawberries

This was such a good, and refreshing dish! The actual recipe calls from Parmesan cheese, but I thought fresh mozzarella sounded so much better. This is a very sweet and slightly savory dish that I was completely shocked by when my sister all but licked her plate clean! She is the pickiest eater next to my niece, so I was surprised, and impressed that she ate it. I served with herbed rice and steam broccoli. Yum!

  • 3 c fresh strawberries (halved or quartered depending on size)
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 c strawberry jam
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper
  • Boneless chicken breasts (however many you'd like to make, recipe calls for 6, I made 4)
  • Fresh Mozzarella ball cut in thick slices (I used 1 large ball for 4 breasts)
  • 6-8 large basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 cloves minced garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In 3 quart baking dish combine strawberries, vinegar and jam. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Cut horizontal pocket into each chicken breast by cutting from side to side, but not through to the other side. Wrap 1-2 basil leaves around mozzarella cheese slice and stuff into pocket cut into chicken breast. Secure pockets closed using a toothpick or skewer. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. In a 12 inch oven safe skillet, cook garlic in oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add chicken. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the baking dish with strawberry mixture to oven. Bake mixture and chicken an additional 15 minutes (or longer, until chicken is no longer pink and strawberries are softened).
  4. Serve chicken with strawberry mixture spooned over the top and sprinkle with fresh chopped basil.

Stuffed Caprese Salad

This is a yummy twist on the traditional caprese salad! I was feeling totally adventurous and decided to make this last week for my husband, sister and best friend as a starter to dinner. Caprese salad is one of my favorites!!!

  • 4 tomatoes (I picked medium to large tomatoes)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Fresh mozzarella cut into small chunks (I used 2 large mozzarella balls and it was enough to fill the tomatoes)
  • 1/4 c slivered red onion
  • 1/4 c snipped fresh basil


  1. Cut the top off the tomato and spoon out the core, seeds and all, leaving about a 1/2 inch thick shell. Discard pulp. Sprinkle tomatoes with sea salt and pepper. Stand shells on plate (I shaved the bottom of the tomatoes so they would stand better)
  2. For dressing, combine EVOO, vinegar and sugar. Shake well.
  3. In medium bowl, combine mozzarella, red onion, basil and 1.5 tbsp of the dressing. Toss to mix. Spoon cheese mixture into the tomato shells. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. To serve, place each tomato on individual plate and sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.

Murgh Kari (Chicken Curry)

I had a serious Indian food craving last night, and had some left over chicken so I decided what the heck, lets try my hand at chicken curry. The thought of it the next day is making me drool. LOL. I think it turned out wonderful especially paired with potato curry, basmati rice and naan.
  • 2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c cooking oil
  • 1.5 c chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1.5 tsp minced fresh ginger root (I used ground ginger)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp each: ground cumin, turmeric, coriander, and cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 (15oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 c plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 lemon


  1. Sprinkle chicken breast with salt
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add chicken and partially cook it. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onion, garlic and ginger to remaining oil and cook until onion is tender. Stir in curry powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, cayenne and 1 tbsp of water into onion mixture. All to heat for about a minute while stirring. Mix in tomatoes, yogurt and some of the cilantro. Return chicken breast to the skillet along with any juices on the plate. Pour about 1/2 cup water onto the mixture. Bring to boil, turning chicken to coat. Add garam masala and remaining cilantro.
  4. Cover the skillet and simmer until chicken is completely cooked (about 20 minutes)

Wine Review

LAN is a rioja wine, product of Spain. This particular bottle is a 2005 crianza. This wine is a semi-dry red wine that is delightful when paired with beef. It has a slightly sweet flavor with a dry finish. I love this wine, it has become a staple in my home.

Herbed Garden Couscous

Wow is all I can say about this spin on a salad! This was so insanely simple to make and amazingly delicious to eat! (the ingredient list is long, but don't worry, its easy to make) Now, Rob is no fan of walnuts and didn't want them on his salad, but I made him try a bite with a walnut and even he is hooked! As long as you're not allergic to walnuts, try it even if you don't care for them. This is so good, I have made it a few times already!

  • 1 c whole wheat or plain couscous (cooked)
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium cucumber, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 c snipped fresh chives
  • 1/4 c snipped fresh Italian parsley (flat parsley)
  • 1/4 c snipped fresh mint
  • 1/4 c snipped fresh oregano
  • 1/3 c balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 c olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 c crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 c coarsely chopped walnuts (toasted optional... I didn't toast mine)


  1. Cook couscous according to package instructions. Fluff with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine tomatoes, cucumbers, green pepper, chives, parsley, mint and oregano. Fold in couscous.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Pour over couscous mixture and toss to combine. Spoon into serving bowl or cover and chill up to 24 hours.
  4. When serving, top with feta cheese and walnuts.

Wine & Balsamic Glazed Beef

Again, excuse the quality of the picture. OK, so this was a very tasty recipe, however, if i could do it over I would have chosen a different cut of beef. See, I didn't want to spend the money on the beef tip loin or sirloin so I opted to get stew meat. Bad idea. Stew meat needs to cook all day to be tender, and with the quick cooking of this recipe, it just wasn't allowed ample time for tenderness. Oh well, new recipes are always a lesson learned. Other than the slight tough meat, it was very good! I served this with steamed broccoli and baked potatoes.

  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 lb boneless beef top loin or sirloin steak (cut into large chunks)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 c dry red wine
  • 2 c sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp butter


  1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Add steak only (don't add liquids or cover skillet). Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-13 minutes or to desired doneness turning meat occasionally. Once cooked, transfer to platter and keep warm.
  2. Add garlic and red pepper to skillet and cook about 10 seconds. Remove from heat. Carefully add wine (especially if you use gas stove). Return to heat. Boil uncovered for about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid is evaporated. Add mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce and honey. Return to a simmer. Cook and stir 4 more minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Stir in butter until melted, spoon over steak.

Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

Sorry for the quality of this picture (and the next few), it was taken with my cell phone. OK, I made this dessert a month ago when my dad and his fiance came over for dinner. It was absolutely the most delicious chocolate mousse I have ever tasted. I was, admittedly, a bit skeptical because the recipe called for honey! Who puts honey in mousse? Rest assured, you couldn't taste it and it just added to the sweetness. I have made this a couple more times since then and its totally worth it! Side note, I used Ghirardelli bittersweet and semisweet chocolate.

  • 3/4 c raspberry jam
  • 1 tbsp raspberry liquor or orange juice
  • 3 oz semisweet chocolate
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbps brandy or orange juice
  • 2.5 c whipping cream
  • Chocolate curls or grated chocolate


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the jam over low heat until melted, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in raspberry liquor (I used raspberry brandy). Set aside and cool completely.
  2. For the whipping cream, I use heavy whipping cream bought in the dairy isle at the grocery store. I use 2.5 cups of it and put it into my kitchenaid mixer and whip until light and fluffy.
  3. After whipped cream is ready, in another small saucepan heat chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in honey and brandy (I actually used Grand Marnier). Then add 1 tbsp of the whipped cream and blend until well combined (the texture is really odd, don't worry). Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Remove 1 cup of the whipped cream and set it aside for later use.
  5. Stir about a half cup of whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. After that, fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate until fully blended.
  6. Put mousse into parfait glasses or fancy individual serving bowls. Put into refrigerator to chill. Top with some of the remaining whipped cream, raspberry sauce and curled chocolate when serving.

Mexican Rice

OK, this rice is very good, but I found it necessary to cut back on the amount of jalapeno as it is very spicy. Other than that, this is a delicious accompaniment to any Mexican entree.

  • 1 c long grain white rice
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1.5 c chicken broth (I use reduced fat, low sodium)
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 1 tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, halved

In a medium sauce pan, cook rice in oil over medium heat for about 3 minutes.

Stir in onion, green pepper, jalapeno, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, and cilantro.

Add in chicken broth and bouillon cube and bring to boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Serve with tacos, burritos, fajitas or any other Mexican main dish. Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Lime Chicken Fajitas

This was a delicious dinner. The aroma the chicken produces while baking is mouth watering... and when adding it to the skillet with everything else... wow. This is simply delicious when adding cheese and sour cream. Delish!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (2 whole breasts)
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (I used extra cinnamon)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large garlic cloved, peeled and minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno peppers
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Tortillas
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place potatoes in a shallow baking dish. Drizzly with about 1/2 the oil the recipe calls for and season with a touch of salt. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, season the chicken with cinnamon, salt and pepper. Arrange in a separate baking dish and back about 30 minutes or until no longer pink and juices run clear (I cooked the chicken and potatoes at the same time on the same oven rack). When chicken is done allow it to cool enough to handle it and then shred it (I use 2 forks to shred).

In a skillet, heat remaining oil over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until tender. (I cooked the jalapeno with the onion and garlic, I don't think it made a difference)

After the onion and garlic is cooked, add in the shredded chicken, jalapeno and lime juice and cook until heated through.

The recipe called for corn tortillas, but I am not a huge fan of them so I used flower tortillas. Heat the tortillas and spoon the chicken mixture into them. I added sour cream and cheese to mine and it was heavenly. I also made homemade Mexican rice to serve on the side.