No matter where you live or what your food budget, you’ve been affected by the sweeping rise in costs at the grocery stores. In the U.S., the basic increase is at about 10% over the last year — somewhat less for produce and somewhat more for meat. To make it through the check-out line without crying, folks have resorted to all sorts of strategies, many of which include reducing meat purchases much of the time. (I’m a constant store cart snooper and am both amazed and saddened by by what shoppers have resorted to in order to feed their families.) While I’ve got the cash to feed our small family of two plus doggies, I, too, have been forced to cut back or at least look at the best buys to keep us fed. Chicken is always a hugely popular dinner yet the ubiquitous boneless breasts many people (not me) have lived on are now sometimes simply out of sight. I did just hear their prices seem to be beginning to drop; thank goodness. What’s available for a song (Why is a song cheap?), however, are the drumstick portions of chicken legs and how wonderful, how easy, and how delectable they are. Chicken legs are not just for kids any longer!! I’ve got a few ways to show you to cook and serve them, including the simplest way, which is to only brown them stove top and finish them in the oven. Sure there are sauces or rubs and great sides like grilled corn or a filling vegetable salad (see above) and only you know exactly how YOU’d want to eat them.Continue reading
This post celebrates 5 complete years of blogging on MORE TIME AT THE TABLE. Thanks for your loving kindnesses. Here’s to the next five years! Book almost here. I’m reading the proof copy now. So exciting!!
(above: iphone photo by sean anthony morgan)
Ok, now on to the pasta dinner on the grill…
For a few years, I’ve loved making summer pastas mostly on the grill. No big heavy sauce on the stove for hours like wintertime, just a few choice lovelies grilled to perfection and stirred into hot pasta (scroll down for pasta info) with some fresh herbs and maybe a little cheese. If you’ve a burner on the side of your grill, you can do the pasta outside as well and save your kitchen and you from the damp heat. If it’s not too warm, you can use your stove, which may be quicker.
My grilled eggplant and sausage pasta made on the grill is one of the favorites on our deck and also on the blog. It might soon be one of your summer go-tos as well.
There have only been a handful of times in my life when I didn’t want to cook. This is one of them. For a couple of days, we just ate out or ordered something sent over. I did send up a big pot of chicken noodle soup to the family, because they wanted it. I guess we had to eat, but I had no interest in figuring out meals for us or lighting the stove. After a while we thought we’d better fix something, so Dave grilled some chicken and I rustled up a big pan of vegetable curry. We ate it on trays in front of the tv watching “The Newsroom,” my newest tv crush.
Chicken-Guacamole Salad with a Big Squeeze of Fresh Lime…
chicken-guacamole salad 3-4 servings
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped roughly, divided
- 1/2 cup fresh green pepper, chopped in 1/2″ pieces
- 1/4 cup red sweet pepper, chopped in 1/2 ” pieces
- 1/2 jalapeño, minus seeds and veins, very finely minced (for more heat, use the whole pepper)
- 1/4 cup red onion, minced
- 1 cup roughly chopped tomatoes
- 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded, and roughly chopped
- 1 cup cooked rice seasoned with a light sprinkle of salt and pepper
- Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
- 1 Lime, cut in half (Cut one of the halves into slices)
- 2 chicken breasts, grilled and chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar grated
Mix cilantro through tomatoes in a large bowl, reserving 2 T cilantro. Stir in avocados. Mix the reserved 2 T cilantro into the cooked rice and add the rice to the guacamole salad. Season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Squeeze half of the lime over the salad. Add chopped chicken breasts and spinach and stir gently. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve mounded, with a piece of lime on each plate to use at table.
Cook’s Notes: Don’t even have the energy to chop, stir, or cook? Buy a roasted deli chicken and pre-made guac for an even easier meal. Many shops now sell freshly-made pico de gallo or salsa. The packages of microwave rice would work well for this dinner and would cut both time and kitchen heat.
Wine? Not. It’s time for a margarita or a beer. (Ok, Sangria, Riesling or an Oregon Pinot Blanc if you have to have wine.)
Dessert? Lemon sorbet.
about avocados from the California avocado commission
|courtesy ca avocado commission|
Calories, yes. Cholesterol, no.
Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.
Avocados and Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but a healthy diet and exercise plan may help reduce your risk of developing the life-threatening illness.
The American Heart Association (AHA) Dietary Guidelines recommend a diet that has at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, contains up to 30% of calories from fats (primarily unsaturated) and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, trans fats and sodium while being rich in potassium. Avocados can help you meet the AHA dietary guidelines because they have both monosaturated and polyunsaturated fat and contain potassium.
If you liked this, you might like other avocado recipes like Shrimp Cobb from More Time at the Table
Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine.
38 Power Foods is a group effort! Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available:
Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved. If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits: Mireya@MyHealthyEatingHabits.com
two-dog kitchen and around the ‘hood
first three taken with my iphone
|Sweet Peas next door in front yard|
|My hydrangeas from the west garden|
|South garden hostas in bloom|
|All the toys are mine, you see. Right?|
Sing a new song,
|Dedicated to Gus and Irene Matthews|
Hello! I missed you. (Actually, I didn’t; I had no time to miss anything.) But I’m happy to be back. Thanks for being here.
Back from vacation and hot, hot, hot. HOT! I know it’s hotter out east, and the temperature has been going down this afternoon as a storm approaches, but I sort of miss Canada. Recipe way below if you’re interested…
I really miss being waited on. Having my coffee delivered every morning. Having no laundry (til I got home). Being with Dave all the time without anything to distract us from one another. (Ah, gee.)
Making new friends I wish I were with this minute.
|She could find a French cafe anywhere.|
|Did you know they make wine in Quebec? I liked the dessert wines best and brought some home.|
|Dave’s favorite pose.|
|Coast of Cape Breton|
|Somewhere off the coast of Canada!|
|Me and my castle.|
I guess I digressed, but we did wine and dine for nine days…. My favorite city (and we went on a ship from Montreal – Boston, visiting Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Halifax, and Bar Harbor in between) was Montreal; I’m dying to go back. Our best meal was at Hamersley’s Bistro in Boston. Many thanks to Lydia Walshin of Perfect Pantry fame, who recommended it as her favorite go-to.) Balanced, accessible wine list. House-made pâté with crispy, crusty, chewy baguette. Small, but perfect entree list; I chose “Lamb Three Ways.” I now know there is a God. Dave had roast chicken the likes of which I pray to taste again in my lifetime. (I thought I made great roast chicken with pan juices.) Kind, but refined service. No snooty guys in long aprons rolling their eyes; these folks were genuine food-lovers who knew their restaurant and wanted to make sure you knew it, too.
Did you come for a recipe? Ah, grilled chicken and Greek salad! About it: I’ve made similar salads, but not quite exactly like this. There’s one on the blog, but I thought the idea worth repeating as we love this come hot weather. Grill up some chicken tenders or boneless breasts very quickly (Who even wants to stand in front of the grill?) while your partner makes a fast chopped Greek salad mixed with a bit of couscous. If it’s just you doing all the cooking, make the vinaigrette and couscous first, next the mixed vegetables, then the chicken, and last, toss the salad. Arrange it all on a big, beautiful platter (buy one–check out Good Will) and dinner is served. It was so hot last night that we ate inside.
grilled chicken tenders with couscous greek salad serves 4
You can also make this salad with cooked, diced rotisserie chicken. After tossing couscous with vegetables and greens, add the chicken and then the vinaigrette.
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
- Kosher salt and pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, divided
- Crushed red pepper
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for brushing on chicken
- 1 1/2 cups cooked couscous made with onion and garlic (see below for directions)
- 1/2 English cucumber, unpeeled
- 2 ripe tomatoes
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/4 pound feta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 pound boneless chicken tenders
- 1 – 1/12 cups cooked couscous with added onion and garlic (see below for directions)
- 4 cups mixed fresh salad greens
1. Make a vinaigrette first: Whisk well together 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, 3/4 t Dijon-style mustard, a good pinch of salt, pepper, dried oregano and crushed red pepper. Drizzle in slowly 1/2 cup olive oil and whisk until well-combined or thickened (emulsified.) Set aside.
2. Make the couscous as per directions below. Set aside.
3. Chop the English cucumber, tomatoes, green pepper (if using), feta, and red onion. Mince the parsley. Add all of the vegetables to a large bowl and stir in kalamata olives. Mix together gently with the other teaspoon of dried oregano, a pinch of crushed red pepper, and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Set aside.
4. Grill until just done (about 2 minutes on each side) 1 lb. of chicken tenders or boneless chicken breasts brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Place at center of a large serving platter. Cover and let rest 2-4 minutes.
5. When chicken is resting, add 4 cups mixed greens and the 1 – 1 1/2 cups couscous to the vegetables in the large bowl and toss together. Drizzle with lemon vinaigrette and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss well. Taste and adjust seasonings. Uncover the chicken and spoon the salad mixture onto the serving platter around the chicken tenders. Drizzle a bit more vinaigrette over the chicken and serve hot or at room temperature.
*COUSCOUS: Buy a box of couscous with roasted garlic and olive oil, such as the one made by NEAR EAST. Don’t follow the package directions. Sauté 2 tablespoons minced onion and 1 clove minced garlic with a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper in a tablespoon or two of olive oil until softened–a couple of minutes. Add the required 1 1/4 cup water and seasoning packet and bring to a boil. Add dried couscous, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit until you need it, then fluff with a fork. You’ll need just 1 1/2 cups; use the rest for lunches.
above: the salad made with diced rotisserie chicken
We drank a brilliant Oregon white with this: Tony Soter‘s North Valley “Hyland White,” 2008–made from Riesling and Traminer vines. I don’t know if they’re still making this wine. At a quick glance, I didn’t see it on their website, but you should always call the vineyard to see what’s available. If they only have a couple of cases or a few bottles, it won’t show on the site. The winery, in 2008, made only 70 cases of this wine.
|Here’s our wine group tasting at Soter a couple of years ago.|
|The kids had Newman for supper last night. They’ve been apart for so long!|
Sing a new song,
all photos and text copyright Alyce Morgan, 2012. no use without permission. just ask.