Category Archives: Appetizers

Light & Easy Chicken Salad

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Something interesting hit me the other day. I have never put a recipe on the blog with chicken. I normally don’t eat a lot of meat or poultry but on occasion, I indulge, and I do like it! It’s funny because I grew up eating the bird almost every day…and if there was a single thing to name as a staple that was constantly in my fridge as a child, it would be chicken salad. My mother always had a tupperware full of the stuff as it was her favorite snack ready for eating at any time of the day. My mother made us dinner every night and it always included some protein, some starch, and of course a green vegetable.  The protein was chicken pretty often and when there was leftovers she would shred it up and make chicken salad for the week. The trick to her amazing chicken salad was using chicken that had been well seasoned and cooked to perfection. My favorite was when she made rotisserie chicken; it yielded the best leftover chicken salad. Kris and I had some chicken for dinner this week and I knew exactly what I would do with the leftovers. Can you guess? I wanted to make a lighter version than I grew up on; so I subsituted plain greek yogurt for the mayo, because hey, we all could use a little less calories in our daily intake. Let me tell you….You can not even taste the difference and to be honest I like it even better. I honestly loved this new version so much that I called my mom right away to tell her the good news…less calories and less fat and one of the best versions I have ever tasted! She seemed interested but she’s pretty set in her ways…I wonder still if she will ever stray from what she knows and loves. Sometimes people are sticklers that way. But, if you are like me, and you want a new, light, and healthier take on the classic then please make this as soon as possible. You won’t regret it! 

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Light & Easy Chicken Salad

Serves 4


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Prep Time
15 min

Total Time
15 min

Prep Time
15 min

Total Time
15 min

For the Chicken Salad
  1. 3 cups cooked chicken, diced *See note
  2. 1 cup grapes, quartered (I used a mixture of red a green for color)
  3. 2 stalks celery, sliced
  4. 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  5. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  6. 1 TBSP fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
For the Greek Yogurt Sauce
  1. 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  2. 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  3. 1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
  4. 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1/2 tsp pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all the chicken salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce. Mix the sauce into the large bowl and stir it all together to coat. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve open-faced on wholegrain toast, in lettuce wraps, or on crackers! Chill leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Notes
  1. I used cold leftover rotisserie chicken from dinner the night before. Leftover BBQ chicken or baked chicken would be just as delicious in this! If your chicken is freshly cooked and hot, make sure to cool the chicken salad in the fridge before serving.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Grilled Artichokes w/ Lemon Caper Aioli

DSC_0307Yesterday was Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday! So, because it was such a memorable day, and we were celebrating two major reasons to love on my on pops, I decided to make his favorite grilled veggie. When I was growing up, I could find my dad in the kitchen on special occasions, otherwise it was mostly my mother who cooked. My father was the grill master and would always be the one to prepare a select few things; he made the juiciest steaks, the best gyros, and of course, the perfect artichokes. He knew what he was really good at and he stuck to his classic recipes. From what I can remember, we seemed to always have those crazy good artichokes on those long summer nights and it was usually for a Sunday supper. Sunday dinners were always special in our home. My sister and I would sit down with my mom and dad and discuss the past weeks events and the future weeks plans. It was nice and I really miss those times.

I wanted to make the same grilled artichokes I grew up with, but with a bit of a twist. Kris and I don’t own an outdoor grill, so the job had to be done on a grill pan on our stovetop (which incidentally turned out perfectly!). I have always been a bit intimidated by the big green vegetable, that some what resembles a succulent or cactus flower, but have learned that they are just the opposite of intimidating. In fact, they are super simple to prepare but do require just a few tasks. The thing about artichokes, is they take some time to prepare and they need a lot of flavor enhancing goodies. They are all about a labor of love and that is one reason why I adore them so much. Even when it comes time to eat them, you have to “get through” the outer leaves to reach the perfectly cooked center, called the heart. You must coax these babies with a lot of affection and they will most definitely love you right back! The lemon caper aioli is a friendly dipping sauce for the artichokes and is really nice if you are serving this as an appetizer for a small gathering, but otherwise isn’t really much needed. These artichokes can be eaten straight from the pan and have enough seasoning to sustain them alone, although the ailoi is always a nice touch. Serve them how you wish and remember to give them a try for your next dinner! Enjoy! 

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Grilled Artichokes w/ Lemon Caper Aioli

Serves 4


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Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
30 min

Prep Time
15 min

Cook Time
15 min

Total Time
30 min

For the Grilled Artichokes
  1. 4 globe artichokes
  2. 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  3. 2 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  5. salt & pepper
  6. 1 TBSP chopped fresh dill
  7. 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsely
For the Lemon Caper Aioli
  1. 1 large egg yolk
  2. 1 garlic clove, minced
  3. 1/2 tsp salt
  4. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. pinch of cayenne
  6. juice of a small lemon
  7. 2 tsp dijon mustard
  8. 1/4 tsp pepper
  9. 1 TBSP capers (optional)
Instructions
  1. 1. Prepare the Lemon Caper Aioli. In large clean bowl, whisk the egg yolk, garlic and salt with 2 teaspoons of water until frothy. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the olive oil, about a teaspoon at a time, until it become thick and creamy looking. Whisk in the cayenne, dijon, lemon juice and pepper. Add the capers and whisk. Cover and set aside in the fridge.
  2. 2. Prepare the artichokes. Add the olive oil and the smashed garlic clove to a small bowl and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 TBSP red wine vinegar. Cut off about an inch off each of the artichoke’s stems and about 1/2″-1″ off the top of the artichokes. Peel away some of the outer lower tough leaves. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scoop out the choke (the “hairy” middle). Add the artichokes to the boiling water and boil for 10 minutes, using tongs to push them under the water from time to time. Drain the artichokes and place on a large plate or baking sheet. Heat your outdoor grill, or your stove-top grill pan or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once cool enough to handle, brush each artichoke with garlic infused olive oil and sprinkle each one with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place cut side down and grill for 5 minutes or until visible char marks are seen. Plate the artichokes cut side up and sprinkle with freshly chopped dill and parsley. Serve immediately with (or without) the lemon caper aioli. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. These artichokes could serve a small gathering of 4-6 people as a little, yet super delicious, appetizer, or 2-4 people as a side.
  2. The aioli is obviously not vegan. If you are not consuming animal products, a nice lemon vinaigrette could work just fine. These artichokes are just as good without a dipping sauce when served on their own!
Adapted from Aioli from Sprouted Kitchen
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Homemade Pita w/ Fattoush Salad

DSC_0254I honestly do not know a whole lot about Middle Eastern cooking, but I can tell you that I am always fascinated by it. I seriously can’t get enough of the entire Persian-style spread because it is always deliciously healthy and super flavorful. Normally, the cuisine consists of dishes that are prepared with herbs, vegetables, and rice along with meat, lamb, chicken or fish. Fresh herbs and vegetables are the main ingredients and make almost every meal especially wholesome. The traditional spreads, also called Meze, typically include one of my favorite salads I have ever tasted, Fattoush. Fattoush is a simple veggie salad (think tomato, cucumber and romaine) w/ a classic zesty spice and toasted pita bread crisps. The spice that I am referring to is called “Za’atar”, which isn’t very accessible in local grocery stores but can be made effortlessly right in your own home. My dear friend, whom happens to be Persian, told me her secret to homemade Za’atar and I have forever kept it on the forefront of my spice rack since she divulged her classified blend (which I will share with you shortly, you’re welcome). Za’atar is a classic blend of sumac, dried thyme and toasted sesame seeds. Sumac, though, is the ingredient that is most difficult to get a hold of. I couldn’t find it at Ralphs but had good luck at Whole Foods. (Trader Joe’s just came out with a exotic spice pack that includes one with Sumac! Yay for TJ’s!) Whole Foods sells the organic sumac and they also sell the already-made Za’atar blend, if you would like to go that route. Just wait until you try this magical spice concoction. It lends this tangy and herby flavor that you can not get from anything else (trust me I tried to find sumac substitutes all over the inter-web). I now have officially become obsessed with Za’atar and put it on almost everything; my avocado toasts, egg scrambles, hummus dips, and in lots of salads and vinaigrettes. You should also know, the following homemade pita bread recipe is not at all difficult to prepare and can be made in just 40 minutes flat! Not only can you taste the difference between homemade pita bread and store-bought pita, but you can actually see it! It puffs up perfectly and serves as an impeccable vessel for this salad or anything else you can imagine to be wrapped in it’s amazingness. I hope that this dish finds you in good company because it makes a lot and can serve up to eight people. Enjoy my friends! 

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Homemade Pita w/ Fattoush Salad

Serves 8


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Total Time
1 hr

Total Time
1 hr

For the Homemade Za’atar
  1. 1/4 cup sumac
  2. 1/4 cup toasted white sesame seeds
  3. 2 TBSP dried thyme
  4. 1 TBSP dried oregano
For the Homemade Pita
  1. 2 tsp active dry yeast
  2. 1 cup luke-warm water (not too hot)
  3. 2.5 cups flour, plus more for dusting
  4. 2 tsp sea salt
  5. 1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl
Fattoush Vinaigrette
  1. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. zest and juice of 1 large lemon
  3. 1 tsp honey
  4. 3 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 1 tsp pepper
For the Fattoush Salad
  1. 1 cucumber, chopped
  2. 3 tomatoes on the vine, chopped in small quarters
  3. 1 red bell pepper, chopped, stem and rib removed
  4. 1 green bell pepper, chopped, stem and rib removed
  5. 1/2 small red onion, finely diced
  6. 3 green onions, green and white parts, sliced thin
  7. 1 bunch mint, finely chopped
  8. 1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
  9. 2 cups romaine (1 bunch), shredded
For the Homemade Za’atar
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl. Store in an empty and clean spice canister or glass jar. Set aside.
For the Homemade Pita
  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the yeast with water. Let sit for 5 minutes to dissolve. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil and stir until a scrappy dough is formed. Sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth (add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the surface or to your hands, careful not to work with too much flour, the less the better). Form the dough into a round disc.
  2. In another large glass bowl (or clean the one you just used), spread about 1 tsp of olive oil around the sides of the bowl with your fingers, making sure to go all the way up the sides. Add the dough ball to the bowl and toss the dough so that it is lightly coated with oil on all sides. Cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic wrap and let it rise anywhere from 30 minutes-1 hour or overnight in the fridge (it should double in size)* (see note).
  3. After it has risen, deflate the dough and turn it out to a lightly floured work surface again. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and flatten each piece into a round disk. Using a rolling pin, roll each of the 8 discs into thin circles (about 8″ wide and 1/4 inch thick). They won’t roll out to perfect circles and this ok, it looks more rustic anyways. Sprinkle with more flour if the pieces start to stick. Heat a lightly oiled cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Lay a rolled-out pita piece onto skillet and cook for 30 seconds or until small bubbles start to form. Flip and cook 1-2 minutes on the other side. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes. The pita will start to puff up and visible char marks will show. Remove the pita from the heat and keep covered with a dishtowel until all the remaining pitas are cooked.
For the Fattoush Vinaigrette
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
For the Fattoush Salad
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and mix well. Lastly, sprinkle the homemade Za’atar over the top of the salad (about 2 TBSP). Serve the salad in the homemade pitas immediately. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. I let my pita dough sit in the fridge overnight because I think the flavors develop so much better, but if you are short on time, allowing the dough to rise after 30 minutes to an hour should do the trick.
  2. This salad can be made up to a day ahead of time and stores nicely in an air-tight container in the fridge for a few days.
  3. Store the pita breads in a ziplock bag for up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat in conventional or toaster oven.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

DSC_0237For My Sara:

“A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten and the future worth living for.” 

As the summer is fast approaching, I know you probably have a ton of get-togethers, parties, showers, and birthdays to attend because, well, I do too. Summer is the time for celebrations and festivities and the warm sunny weather acts as a tiny bonus canopy for us to play under. One of the things I am most looking forward to is my best friend Sara’s baby shower. She is due in July to welcome her tiny baby girl, Rylee James. I could not be more excited, thrilled, overjoyed, elated and all the other synonyms for “so freaking happy” that exist. Sara is one of the most kind and compassionate women I know and her patience amazes me everyday. This little girl will grow up to be and incredible woman because of her kind mother. I feel nervous and anxious for the day she is born as I hope to be an important role model and guide in her life. I hope I get to see her as often as possible and that she will know she can always come to me for advice. I can promise that I will always be someone she can confide in I will always listen without judgement. She can tell me her secrets and I’ll swear to not to tell her mother (but I totally will Sara, don’t worry). I honestly can not wait to meet her. Rylee has a world full of love to come out to and she will be one blessed baby! 

So, because of these momentous occasions, I figured we all needed a good pasta salad recipe for the large crowd affairs. Who doesn’t love a perfect one-bowl dish that can serve up to ten people?? I know I do, but I am always looking for something different to bring to the table. After all, how many times can a girl eat that same old boring potato salad or those mayo-filled deviled eggs? It is time for a new side and it comes in the form of a delicious pasta salad with fresh herbs, sweet peas, crunchy kale, and crispy chickpeas all dressed in a sun-dried tomato pesto. This pasta salad is where it is at, people! It has incredible flavors that hit all over your mouth and will keep your friends asking you for the recipe. I am most definitely bringing this salad to my BFF’s shower and I can’t wait to share it. The sun-dried tomato pesto makes a lot so feel free to save a bit as a spread on sandwiches or for an accoutrement for cheese and crackers. You won’t want to lose any to the sink, that is for sure. I hope that the summer greets you all with love and friendship and that you spend your days counting your blessings, as I know I will. 

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Orzo Pasta Salad w/ Sun-dried Tomato Pesto

Serves 10


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Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

Cook Time
40 min

Total Time
1 hr

For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. 1 15oz can Organic Garbanzo Beans (chickpeas)
  2. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 1/2 tsp curry powder
  4. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  5. 1/2 tsp cumin
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/4 tsp pepper
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. 1 7oz jar of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (use entire jar and oil)
  2. 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  3. 2 super packed TBSPs fresh basil, roughly chopped
  4. 1/4 + 1/8 cup red wine vinegar
  5. 1/2 cup water
  6. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Pasta Salad
  1. 1lb Orzo
  2. 1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves sliced thin (chiffonade style)
  3. 1 cup fresh English peas
  4. 4 green onions, thinly sliced (green and white parts)
  5. .75oz fresh mint, finely chopped (see note)*
  6. .75oz fresh cilantro, finely chopped (see note)*
  7. 1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp pepper
For the Crispy Chickpeas
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Drain and rinse the chickpeas a few times under cold water. Lay the chickpeas out on a paper towel and dry them. Add the chickpeas to a small bowl and drizzle the olive oil and add the spices. Stir to combine and then lay them on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, rotating them every 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
For the Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
  1. Combine all the ingredients into the blender and blend for a few minutes, scraping the sides as needed, until fully combined. The pesto will be thick. Set aside.
Salad Assembly
  1. Cook the orzo per package directions. Drain and rinse and add to a large bowl. Add all of the tomato pesto to the warm orzo (about 1.5 cups). Toss well to coat. Add the English peas, kale, herbs and crispy chickpeas, toss to combine. To finish the salad, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Toss one more time and then place in an air-tight container in the fridge. Serve cold or at room-temp. Enjoy!
Notes
  1. This dish serves up to ten people as a side.
  2. Trader Joe’s sells their organic herbs in little plastic packages that weigh .75oz. Use the entire pack for the mint and cilantro.
  3. This salad can be made a day ahead before serving. I recommend drizzling a bit more olive and adding a little more salt and pepper (to taste) to liven the pasta up, if serving the next day. I like mine drizzled with a bit of Sriracha for some heat but that is totally optional.
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/

Caramelized Cremini Crostini

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There’s this little secret I have to share with you. It might not be news for you, as you may be one of the lucky people who has already found the enlightenment. This classified information really needs an opportunity to come out of hiding and straight into every home and kitchen to shine like gold. So, here I am to deliver the broadcast…are you ready? You sure?? (Of course you are sure, you are still reading aren’t you?) Caramelized onions are THE BEST way to enrich flavor to just about any dish. A simple and incredibly delicious meal enhancer at it’s finest! It takes just minutes to prepare and truly makes all the difference, trust me on this one. I often prepare caramelized onions/shallots in the beginning of the week and store them in the fridge in an easy open container for quick additions to salads, sandwiches, omelets, and pastas. This time, I had a few large shallots lying around and decided they would be absolutely fantastic with a leftover half-bag of Cremini mushrooms I had in the fridge. A perfect pairing to stack high up on toast with melty cheese and fresh herbs. An ideal appetizer for a party or gathering, if you ask me. You will soon learn how the caramelization process brings out the natural sugars in the onions/shallots. As they start to brown, a deep richness and subtle sweetness perfume the air and the depth of flavor is obvious (and imminent). One of my favorite parts about this particular flavor enhancement is that it isn’t full of calories, like most seasonings are. Some would argue that bacon, for example, makes everything better. But, I would argue, caramelized onions are one step ahead (whilst being vegan, super low in fat, and high in fiber!). So move over bacon, there’s a new sheriff in town! 

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Caramelized Cremini Crostini

Serves 4


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Cook Time
20 min

Cook Time
20 min

Ingredients
  1. half of one baguette, about 10 slices
  2. 3 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  3. 5 oz Cremini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  4. 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  5. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  8. 5 oz Cambozola cheese (or any soft blue or gorgonzola cheese you like)
  9. 1 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
  10. 1 TBSP chopped fresh chives
  11. red pepper flakes for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Place the baguette slices on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 TBSP olive oil. Bake for about 8 minutes and then set aside.
  2. While the baguette slices are baking, heat 2 TBSPs of extra-virgin olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot slices, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper and toss for about a minute. Add the Cremini mushrooms and sauté all together for about 10 minutes, continually stirring to avoid burning. Add the balsamic vinegar and toss together for one more minute and then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Top each baguette slice with a bit of the shallot/mushroom mixture and then a slice of Cambozola on top. Place back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and sprinkle chopped fresh parsley and chives over the top. Option to sprinkle red pepper flakes. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Notes
  1. Double for the recipe for an easy party appetizer!
HONEYED HOME http://www.honeyedhome.com/