Greek Salad

Greek Salad Up until we went to Greece, I typically thought of Greek salad as rather blah. With bland produce and a basic dressing, about the only thing the salad had going for it was the feta cheese (give me all the feta!!). And then, in Santorini, I had the most life-changing Greek salad ever. Literally, my life will never be the same (you can see the salad here). I have visions of this salad while I eat lunch, or nightly dreams where I’m back in Santorini eating it, and to this day I can still taste the sweet, crisp vegetables, the crunchy bread, and the salty feta all topped off with the slightest hint of oregano. The vegetables alone would have been life changing. They were literally bursting with juicy flavor unlike any I had ever experienced (even homegrown) and the green pepper (which I’m normally not a fan of) tasted like candy. Now, every time we go to a Greek restaurant, I order a Greek salad, in the hopes that it will somehow magically be like the one in Santorini, and every time I’m so let down by the plate they bring out, that I just want to send the plate back. I’ve informed Mr. RC that the only remedy to this problem is to go back to Santorini so I can get my Greek salad fill (and hoard about 50 pounds of it back on the plane). He had to go and be all practical and suggested I just recreate it at home. Obviously, my idea is much better, but to tide me over I’ll go with his idea. Of course, it’s not exactly identical (the vegetables aren’t quite up to par in flavor and mine is missing scallions), but this Greek salad is still, most definitely, life changing. 

Greek Salad Greek Salad Ingredients Croutons cucumber, tomatoes, peppers Greek-Salad-Recipe

Greek Salad
A light and fresh dish based on a traditional Greek salad served in Santorini
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Kalamata or Greek mix olives
  2. Caper berries
  3. Feta cheese
  4. Tomatoes
  5. Green pepper
  6. Cucumber
  7. Bread (I like to use a rustic or Italian style)
  8. Parsley
  9. Oregano
  10. Lemons
  11. Olive oil
Instructions
  1. First, make the "croutons". I like to use a cast iron skillet, but a regular skillet would work as well. Place the pan on a burner turned to medium heat. Add in some olive oil, and let it heat for a couple minutes before adding the bread. Toss the bread in the oil, and cook for a few minutes, tossing the whole time, until the bread is crispy and golden. Turn the burner off and set the pan aside.
  2. Next, prep and cut the vegetables and cheese. The feta cheese I like to cut into thick triangles and the tomatoes I like to cut into sixths. The peppers and cucumber I cut into thin, matchstick strips that are about 3-4 inches long.
  3. To begin assembling the salad, place a generous handful of croutons on the bottom of a large plate. Next, arrange the cucumber and pepper strips on top of the bread. Add on a few tomato slices and pieces of feta. Drizzle the entire plate with olive oil and squeeze on the juice of half a lemon. Finish the salad off with a sprinkle of oregano, salt and pepper, and garnish with parsley.
Notes
  1. This salad is great as an appetizer, a light lunch, or as a part of a dinner meal. We love to have this with grilled chicken and a glass of red wine.
  2. This can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve it. Any leftovers can be refrigerator but keep in mind the bread will get soggy, so I would recommend storing the two separately if you do happen to have leftovers.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Breakfast Nachos

breakfast nachos If you’ve been prepping for Cinco de Mayo by loading up on nachos, chips and guac, and margaritas….well, first, you’re not alone (give me all the guac and margs and nobody gets hurt!).  Secondly, you should probably eat more nachos. Because obviously nachos for appetizers, dinner, or dessert just isn’t enough. No, your life is definitely missing some nachos for breakfast. I mean, let’s be real, who doesn’t want their breakfast smothered in cheese and avocado and topped with bacon (always lots of bacon)?! Oh and you should definitely have that margarita with them…after all, you have to have something in place of the orange juice, right?!

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Breakfast Nachos
Nachos with breakfast toppings
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. Tortilla chips (I used rice and quinoa tortilla chips)
  2. Avocado, mashed (can also use guacamole)
  3. Shredded cheddar cheese (can also use feta or goat cheese)
  4. Fresh salsa (tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper)
  5. Eggs, cooked to your liking
  6. Bacon, cooked until crispy
  7. Lime cumin yogurt (1/3 c. Greek yogurt, juice of half a lime, 1/2 tsp. cumin)
  8. Cilantro, to top it off
  9. Black beans, optional
Instructions
  1. Place the chips on a serving plate.
  2. Start adding on your toppings. I did the fresh salsa, the avocado, the bacon, the cheese, the egg, and then topped everything off with the yogurt and extra cilantro.
  3. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. All ingredients and their amounts are negotiable depending on your taste preferences.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Grown-Up BLT

Grown-Up BLT Sometimes something is so gosh darn good that the only thing that comes to mind is “YUM!”. This is one such case. I mean not to brag or anything, but do you see this BLT?! Do you see it?! The amount of deliciousness piled onto that fluffy bread is something that I can’t even comprehend. 

BLTs bring back memories of summer picnics in the park and simple summer suppers on my Grandmother’s back porch. They’ve always been a favorite of mine. While nothing will ever beat a classic, I couldn’t resist the chance to fancy up this childhood favorite with swiss chard in place of lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes in place of regular tomatoes, and bacon…in place of bacon (because obviously bacon is something that should never be replaced). So here’s to you “new-adult BLT”, you are welcome in my kitchen and on my plate anytime you want!

BLT BLT with egg and avocado swiss chard Fancy BLT Jazzed up BLT

Grown-Up BLT
An adult version of the classic BLT
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. Bread
  2. Avocado (very ripe)
  3. Goat Cheese (slightly softened)
  4. Sun-dried Tomatoes
  5. Bacon, cooked until crispy
  6. Swiss Chard
  7. Eggs (cooked over-easy)
Instructions
  1. Spread one half of an avocado onto a piece of bread. Next spread on the goat cheese (I used about 1 tablespoon). Top that with about 2 tablespoons of sun-dried tomatoes. After that layer on a piece of swiss chard and a couple of slices of bacon. Finish of your BLT with an egg. Serve immediately.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/

Italian Stuffed Artichokes

stuffed artichoke recipes Over the weekend, while we were visiting my father-in-law in CT, we had these amazing stuffed artichokes that were filled with garlicky goodness and surrounded by a tomato sauce, instead of the typical oil or butter. Since I had some artichokes on hand, I decided I needed to recreate these by adding a few twists to my usual recipe. The results were just as good as the original, but better, because isn’t everything homemade better?!

FYI, these guys do come with a warning label: eat one of these and no human, animal, alien, ghost, or zombie will come within 300 yards of you for at least 24 hours. You see, there are 15, yes 15, cloves of garlic in these (how Italian of me). So basically, if you’re looking to play hooky, get rid of an unwanted ghost, or avoid a family reunion, you simply have to make a batch of these. It’s almost easier than making up a believable excuse…

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Italian Stuffed Artichokes
Yields 4
An Italian style stuffed artichoke recipe
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 artichokes
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 3 tablespoons of olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  4. 1 1/4 cup bread crumbs (I used Italian style)
  5. 15 cloves of garlic
  6. 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for the top
  7. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  8. 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 1 28 oz. jar crushed tomatoes (I used ones w/salt & basil added)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean and prepare your artichoke hearts. Peel back the leaves until it looks like an open flower blossom. Then remove the inner petals with the purple tops, by gently pulling them out. Next, scoop out the fuzzy pieces, making sure not to take the heart of the artichoke which is underneath (I found it easiest to use a grapefruit spoon for this step). Finally give the artichoke a rinse under water, shake it out, then squeeze a little lemon juice on the center to keep it from turning.
  3. In the bowl of a cuisinart, combine the bread crumbs, garlic, cheese, salt, and red pepper flakes. Pulse for a few seconds. Add in the olive oil and about a 2 inch piece of lemon (skin and all) and continue pulsing until everything is well combined (the mixture should be slightly sticky).
  4. In a glass 13x9 baking dish lay out your artichokes, keeping them upright as much as possible. Fill them with the stuffing, putting about 1/2 cup in each.
  5. Pour the tomatoes around the sides of the artichokes then cover the pan with foil. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove the foil, sprinkle on some extra cheese (if desired), and continue baking, foil removed, for about 10 more minutes.
  6. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. This goes well with a salad, and make sure you have some fresh bread to soak up the leftover sauce and filling.
Notes
  1. You can also use tomato sauce in place of the crushed tomatoes, and if you can only find whole tomatoes, simply puree them in the cuisinart for a few seconds before pouring them on top of the artichokes.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities

 

Reuben Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

reuben loaded sweet potato fries I realize that St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday. I also realize I don’t have an ounce of Irish in me so my obsessiveness with celebrating this holiday might be a bit over-the-top. Then again, what holiday am I not over-the-top about? Ok, well maybe not Have a Party with Your Bear Day because that just sounds like a disaster for any humans involved, but every other one, I’m there.

Of course, often times, my favorite part of a holiday is the leftovers. Think about it…ham and cheese biscuits after Easter, turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving, reubens after St. patrick’s day….I mean, am I right or am I right? This year though, I decided to switch things up a bit with our corned beef leftovers. Instead of our usual reuben sandwiches, I took all those delicious fixins’ and placed them on top of some crispy homemade sweet potato fries (because obviously the goal here was to see how unhealthy we could possibly be in one sitting). Let’s just say the reuben sandwich may be permanently displaced…. reuben loaded sweet potato fries reuben ingredients reuben fries reuben fries

Reuben Loaded Sweet Potato Fries
Serves 4
All the fillings of a reuben sandwich served up on top of sweet potato fries
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
  2. Olive oil
  3. Salt & pepper
  4. 1 cup coleslaw (1 cup chopped cabbage, 1 tbsp mayo, dash of salt, splash of vinegar & sriracha)
  5. 1 cup corn beef, chopped
  6. 3 tablespoons thousand island dressing (I use homemade dressing, see notes)
  7. 4 large slices of swiss Cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil then place the potato strips in a single layer on top. Sprinkle with olive oil (about 2 teaspoons), and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until crispy and brown on the outside and soft on the inside.
  2. While the potatoes bake, prep the remaining ingredients. Chop the corn beef, mix the coleslaw, and make the dressing (if you are using homemade).
  3. Once the potatoes are done, leave them on the baking sheet and top them with the reuben ingredients. First put on the coleslaw, then the meat, drizzle with the dressing and finish with the cheese.
  4. Put it back in the oven, at a reduced temp of 350 degrees, and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Eat these as an appetizer, or serve the fries along with a salad as a main meal.
Notes
  1. This recipe is easily halved or doubled, and feel free to eliminate any ingredient you might not like (such as coleslaw) or double up on ingredients you love (such as the cheese). The amounts of each ingredient used are completely up to you.
  2. Instead of fries as the base, use tater tots, or use corn chips for reuben nachos.
  3. Since corn beef can have a lot of fat, I like to toss it in a skillet over medium heat and sauté it for a few minutes to cook some of the fat off. However, this is not a necessary step.
  4. Thousand Island dressing is one of the easiest to make. If you'd like to use a homemade version for this recipe simply mix 4 tbsp. mayo, 1 tbsp. ketchup, 1 tbsp. relish, 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar, a dash of tabasco sauce, a dash of salt, and 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion together in a small bowl. Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to a week.
Runway Chef http://www.runwaychef.com/
Kitchen Necessities