Monday, November 30, 2009

"Catching" Up!

In preparation for Turkey Day, I swore off meat for the first half of last week and paid tribute to our little friends under the sea. I was inspired by a recent trip to The Chelsea Market. Aside from scrumptious bakeries, an imported Italian food market, a dairy and a butcher, the Chelsea Market is home to The Lobster Place: a seafood haven.

The second I stepped foot in the door, I immediately feel as if I was standing on Fisherman's Wharf, in San Francisco. Everything smelled so fresh, I couldn't help but get a craving salmon, shrimp and lobster. Trust me, you would have been on the same boat as me (pun intended.) Check out how amazing their selection of fresh salmon looks! YUM!

Who couldn't help but be inspired after seeing that? I definitely was so I combined two family recipes to make one tasty salmon recipe!

Salmon Recipe:
1 piece of salmon (size varies based on number of people being served)
Italian dressing (Good Season's tastes great!)
1 clove of garlic

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep baking pan by laying down a piece of foil, long enough to cover inside of pan, then be folded over later to cover entire dish.
2) Lightly cover salmon in dressing. (Use your best judgement, if you over do it, your salmon will be rather oily.)
3) Place on foil in baking dish.
4) Dice garlic, onions and tomatoes then spread over salmon.
5) Take the ends of the foil and fold together to create a pouch for the samlon to lay in. Bake for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the salmon.
(the salmon should be flaky when finished.)
The combination of Italian dressing, onion and tomoato add a robust flavor to the fish. It really changes up the dish, almost making you forget you're enjoying a fallen friend of the sea.
On to the next:

I was so inspired by Chelsea Market (and had already promised myself I'd stay away from meat,) so the next night I whipped up a quick shrimp stir-fry.

Shrimp Stir-Fry Recipe:
1 Small bowl of pre-cooked Shrimp
Frozen stir-fry veggies (Costco has a great (and large) bag of stir-fry veggies for only about $8)
4 tbsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
3 tbsp soy salt (low sodium is great)
Onion Powder

1) In a medium sauce pan, heat 2 tbsps of evoo then add shrimp. Cook on medium heat until golden brown, adding a dash of salt, pepper and onion powder just before the shrimp have finished cooking. Set shrimp aside.
2) In the same sauce pan, heat 2 tbsps of evvo then add stir-fry veggies. (These can be added in frozen, or to make things quicker, defrost veggies in microwave first.) Cook veggies on medium heat until crisp. Next, add in sesame oil, soy salt then shrimp. Mix together and cook for an additional minute.
3) Plate then serve!

Both of these dishes were a great change from chicken and pasta. Although they are both seafood, the flavors were very different from one another.

Give one a try! ;)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Spicy Sausage Stuffed Shells

I was feeling rather adventurous today and thought it'd be fun to cook something from scratch. After eating turkey for the last 3 days, I figured pasta was the way to go! I've always wanted to try making stuffed shells, but after seeing various recipes, I always changed my mind (due to not really wanting to put in that much effort into a dish.) Little did I know, these are actually pretty easy to make.

Spicy Italian Sausage Stuffed Shells

1 box jumbo shells

1 lb Spicy Italian Sausage

1 clove garlic (3/4 piece for meat, 1/4 piece for spinach)

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 28 oz cans whole tomatoes (pulsed in food processor or blender until smooth)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped

Pinch of salt

32oz container of Ricotta Cheese

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1 egg

Pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta shells according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2. Place sausage into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until browned and crumbled. Drain and return back to skillet. Stir in garlic over medium heat for 1 minute then add in red pepper flakes, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer.

3. Place olive oil into a medium skillet over medium heat. Add in spinach and garlic. Cook until wilted down. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in Ricotta, Parmesan, Mozzarella, egg, salt and pepper; mix well.

4. Spoon about 1/2 cup pasta sauce into bottom of 2 9×13 inch baking dishes.

5. Drop 1 piece of spicy sausage from sauce mix into cooked shell then spoon ricotta filling (about 2 tbsps,) then place shells seam side down into baking dishes.

6. Top shells evenly with sauce then shredded cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and hot.

I have to admit that this recipe made enough food to feed 8 to 10 people. I froze quite a bit to eat at a later date

Recipe adapted from Picky-Palate

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ITALIAN Cordon Bleu

I love trying new dishes, especially when I'm able to use up other ingredients left in my fridge. Since I made the Club Sammies over the weekend, I wanted to find a way to take advantage of the provolone left over.

Since you all know how much I use chicken, I'm sure you can guess where this is going (even if you didn't read the title of this post.) Why not change up the traditional Chicken Cordon Bleu by substituting provolone for swiss. Just to enhance the dish a little more, I purchased prosciutto instead of ham.
OMG! It was so delicious! The combination of the saltiness of the prosciutto with the sharpness of the provolone made every bite amazing. (And the almond covered green beans on the side were a great addition!)

Cordon Bleu Recipe:
5 Chicken breasts
5 Pieces of Provolone
3 Slices of Prosciutto
1 egg
1/4 cup of flower
1 cup of italian seasoned bread crumbs

1) Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Fold slice of Provolone and lay in the middle of the chicken. Top with 1/2 slice of prosciutto. Roll up each breast and secure with toothpick
2) Dredge each rolled breast in flower, then egg and finally in bread crumbs.
3) Please breast seam side down and bake for 35 minutes on 350 degrees.

Green Bean Recipe:
1 package of fresh green beans
2 handfuls of almonds, chopped
1 tbsp salted butter

1) Boil green beans until tender. Strain then melt butter over beans.
2) Toss in chopped almonds and sprinkle with pepper.

I must say, I deserved an A+ after this dinner!! MMM mmm MMMM mmm MM!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Great Appetizer in a Hurry!

After a long week of work and lots of surprises, I couldn't wait for the weekend. To put the icing on the cake, Saturday night was LADIES NIGHT! Aside from dancing and drinks galore, everyone brought great appetizers to pass.

I wanted to make something very flavorful, quick to make and easy to transport. I found an amazing recipe from Giada on Food Network: Mini Pesto Club Sammies!

1 loaf focaccia bread
pesto sauce
1/2 package of bacon
thinly sliced white turkey

1) Slice focaccia in half, creating top and bottom slices. Toast bread in a dry frying pan on med-high heat. Spread pesto on both sides of bread and set aside.
2) Cook bacon, degrease with paper towel when finished, then place long-ways on focaccia.
3) Lay turkey on top of bacon, slightly overlapping itself. (The goal is to not have one layer over power the other, but to fully cover the bread.)
3) Lay provolone over meats. Top with other half of bread, that was already coated in pesto.
4) Cut into small cubed sammies, and serve!

Check out how great the layers look!

These are great for any party, especially with the holidays just around the corner.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Penne a la Vodka

I didn't have much in my fridge this week, nor did I have the energy to cook after working overtime almost every night. Lucky for me, I always have pasta sauce and noodles on hand. Plain red-sauce can get boring, so to mix things up I made vodka sauce! The only additional ingredient I had to buy for this recipe was Vodka, and based on my recent work load, I know I'll be craving a cocktail or two this weekend. ;)

1 quart of simple tomato sauce (homemade or store bought marinara - I used Ragu)
3/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 grated Parmesan
1 pound penne (I used whole wheat - It was fabulous!)

1) Cook pasta as directed. Strain and set aside.
2) Simmer tomato sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes.
3) Stir cream into the tomato/vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until sauce is heated through
4) Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended
5) Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat.

This sauce tastes great! If you like protein with your pasta, chicken or sausage would be a great addition.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cupcake Mania!!!

This weekend I had a rather large sweet tooth. I've been eyeing two different cupcake recipes from Picky Palate and Annie's Eats so I finally gave into temptation. And of course, I couldn't just stop after one, so I baked both! What can I say? I was really craving cupcakes!

Saturday I started with what Picky Palate recently posted; a super cute recipe for Rainbow
Bright Cupcakes (I like to call them Tie-Dye Cupcakes.) I've seen cupcakes similar to these at a little stand in Soho called Baked by Melissa. I couldn't figure out how they were able to get all the different colors to sit so nicely, but now I know (and soon you will too.)

1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
8 oz sour cream
1 box vanilla instant pudding mix
Food coloring: red, blue, yellow, green
Frosting of your choice

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2) In a stand mixer, beat the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, pudding and sour cream on medium until well combined. Batter will be nice and thick.
3) Divide batter evenly between 5 bowls.
4) Drop 5 different colors of food coloring into each cake batter bowl until you reach your desired colors. (This took me a lot of food coloring and quite a bit of time, but I think they turned out well.

5) Spoon each color into paper lined cupcake tins until all are filled. The great thing about this is they don't have to be perfect. Play around and mix up the colors to your liking. If you have piping bags available, I would suggest filling them with your colored batter. It was tricky to spoon in the batter and I'm sure it would have been much easier had I used piping bags. (Check out Picky Palate's photo below. Her photo of filled cupcakes turned out much better than mine.)

6) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove and let cool completely before enjoying.

I have to say, these turned out great. You can see the vibrant colors from the outside, but as soon as you take your first bite, they become even more colorful!

I can guarantee I will make these again. They would be great for birthday parties, especially children's parties.

Now on to the second batch! Since I already had my baking hat on from Saturday, I decided I might as well make the other cupcakes I've been eyeing. Annie's Eats has an amazing looking recipe for Cherry Coke Cupcakes! YES!! Cupcakes with Coke and Cherry's at the same time!

I have to admit, I did not execute these very well. The photo above came from Annie's Eats post. They turned out okay, but there are some things I would change, which I will discuss.


For the cupcakes:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
8 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
¾ cup Coca-Cola
¼ tsp maraschino cherry juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 jars of Maraschino cherries, stemless

For the glaze (optional):
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tbsp Coca-Cola

For topping:
2/3 cup heavy cream
3-4 tbsp powdered sugar
Maraschino cherries

1) Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.

2) In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Stir together and set aside.

3) In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar and butter. Mix on medium-high until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg until incorporated.

4) In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, Coke, maraschino cherry juice, and vanilla extract; stir to combine. (This mixture does not look appealing at all, but it's okay - it's suppose to look like that, just mix goes away.)

5) Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture on low speed, alternately with the liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.

6) Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners. Drop 1 or 2 stemless maraschino cherries into each cupcake well and push them down into the batter. (This is where I disagreed with Annie's Eats. In the beginning of her post she noted that per the original recipe she placed 1 cherry in each cupcake, but after baking and tasting she wished she had added more. She advised 4 to 5, I only did 3. I still think 3 cherries were a bit much, but if you LOVE cherries, go for more!)

7) Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the optional glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and Coke in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon or drizzle a small amount of the top of each cupcake. Allow to set.

To make the whipped cream topping, add the heavy cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Begin whipping on medium speed,

slowly adding the powdered sugar gradually increasing the speed to high as th

e cream holds soft peaks. Whip until the cream holds stiff peaks, being careful not to overbeat. (I was not able to execute this well so my topping looks a bit runny.) Spoon or pipe the whipped cream on top of the cupcakes and top each with a maraschino cherry.

If you love cherries, this is the cupcake for you. If you are looking for a great coke taste, this may not be the thing to bake. The coke taste is very subtle, but helps make the texture of the cupcake light and fluffy.

PC: Picky-Palate and Annie's Eats

Pork: The Other White Meat!

This week, I wanted to mix things up and make something other than chicken. I haven't had pork in a long time so I decided to make a roast. I've been making this for years, so it was a piece of cake. Growing up, my mother use to call me on her way home from work to have me prepare the roast for her. Her recipe has stuck with me ever since, with minor tweaks of course.

I bought my roast from Costco (yes, now I'm an avid shopper of their meat department.) What I didn't notice was that they had two small roast packaged together. I would have to guess that each roast was 3/4 of a pound so I cooked both. They turned out great and it was nice to have lunch for a few days!

Pork roast
Vegetable oil
Bread crumbs
Minced garlic
Lawry's seasoning salt, Pepper, onion powder (any other seasonings you'd like)

1) Coat pork roast in vegetable oil then coat in bread crumbs
2) Place meat in roasting pan then sprinkle on Lawry's, pepper, onion powder and any other seasons you'd like. I wish I had exact measurements for this, but this varies based on size of roast. Use your best judgment.
3) Bake on 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour. Again, this varies based on weight, but I always use a meat thermometer when making this dish. Pork should be cooked to 170 degrees, but it's best to take pork roast out of the oven at 165 degrees because the meat will continue to self-cook for some time after.
4) Slice into meat to verify that it has been throughly cooked, then enjoy!

I served this with mashed red potatoes with scallions and a side of asparagus. It was an GREAT meal!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dip Day Friday: Bacon Horseradish Dip

This week's edition of Dip Day Friday included a variety of store bought dips. We had salsa, and amazing dip from Robert Rothschild Farm's - Raspberry Honey Mustard Pretzel Dip (see below) and a bacon horseradish dip.

First, I want to touch on the raspberry honey mustard dip. If you haven't tried this before, you definitely should! What's great about this is that each dip is different. My first bite had a big raspberry taste, but my second dip, had much more mustard. It's a different taste with each bite! What could be better? This dip is great for any party.

I want to go into more detail on the bacon horseradish dip. Our dip team brought in pre-made dip, but after tasting this, I thought this dip would be so much better made from scratch. I found a great recipe on Kraft Foods website.


1 1container (16 oz.) of sour cream
1 pkg (2.8 oz.) Oscar Mayer Bacon Pieces
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/8 tsp garlic powder
Your favorie cracker

Mix all ingredients except crackers until well blended. Chill until ready to serve.


PC: Kraft Foods

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Herb-Rubbed Chicken in Creamy Orzo

Yes! It's another chicken dish. (Surprise! Surprise!) Just to reiterate, chicken is a staple in my household, so much so that I only buy the huge family bags. Since I'm always cooking it, I'm working hard to find lots of new chicken recipes.

8 oz. orzo pasta, uncooked
2 chicken cutlets, butterflied into halves (4 pieces total)
Salt and pepper
2 tsp. Herbes de Provence (I couldn't find this so I substituted it with McCormick's All Purpose Seasoning.)
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups broccoli florets
½ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1) Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil. Add the orzo and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, and set aside.

2) Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Sprinkle evenly with the Herbes de Provence. Heat the olive oil in a 12- or 14-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breast halves to the pan and cook about 3 minutes per side, until golden brown.

3) Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot to the pan and sauté 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté an additional minute, until fragrant.

4) Add the diced tomatoes with juices and the broccoli florets to the pan, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer over medium-low. Cover and let cook until the broccoli florets are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes.

5) Stir in the cooked orzo, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well blended and the cheese has melted.

6) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Since my own photo skills are lacking, check out this image from the original poster. Her photo is a GREAT representation of the meal. It was SO delicious!


Photo and recipe from Annie's Eats

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Little Taste of Thailand

Thai food is my F-A-V-E!!!!!! I love nothing more than picking up tofu pad Thai any day I am too lazy to cook. Green Curry Thai Cuisine, an Astoria goldmine, has become my kitchen away from home! The staff is very friendly, the decor is a unique blend of modern and serene, and the food is Ahh-mazing! (Although, if you search for Green Curry on Yelp, there are some negative reviews - these are just not true! I'm assuming these people have no taste.) ;)

Since we're still in somewhat of a recession, I can't give in to my Green Curry cravings all the time. I've never made Thai food before and was feeling adventurous so I whipped up a chicken peanut Thai noodle dish. (Actually, I didn't whip it up, I pretty much stirred up a mess!) There are a lot of ingredients in this dish, so I struggled putting everything together at once. It was pretty funny though.


1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles (I tried finding Asian rice noodles, but they were no where to be found in my grocery store.)

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 clove of garlic, peeled

1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled

½ cup smooth peanut butter

¼ cup soy sauce

2 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 cup hot water

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (evoo)

½ cup finely chopped onion

½ cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper (I'm not a fan of peppers so I left this out.)

3 or 4 chicken cutlets, cubed

¼ cup finely chopped cilantro

1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (optional)

2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

1. Cook noodles according to package. Drain, rinse, place in large pasta bowl and toss with sesame oil. Set aside.

2. Place garlic and ginger in food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined then set aside.

3. Place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken breast, cilantro and salt. Cook until heated through.

4. Add hot water to ingredients in step 2 and stir until mix is smooth and becomes sauce like.

5. Add sauce and chicken mixture to noodles. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds if desired.

To give you fair warning, this recipe turns out to be very big. I was able to get about 8 servings out of it! It would be a great dish for a dinner party.

Recipe adapted from Picky-Palate

Friday, November 6, 2009

Introducing: DIP DAY FRIDAY!!!

Back in April 2008, I started a fun little trend at work: Dip Day Friday. One day my team and I were having a discussion about different types of dip so I whipped one up and brought it in. It has been a weekly tradition ever since.

The rules: Each week two people pair up and bring in chips and dips (or veggies) for the entire dip day group. Gradually our group has grown from 9 people to about 20, but the more the merrier!

Since dip is a favorite for almost everyone, I've decided to pass on the dip day recipes each week.

This weeks dip: Amy's store bought Spinich dip, salsa and spicy greek yogurt and Anne's Bean Dip.

Recipe for Anne's Bean Dip :
1 15 oz can of cannellini beans
1 large clove garlic (chopped/pressed)
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
(optional roasted red peppers)

Blend. Chill. Enjoy! (It was DELICIOUS!!!) :)

Thanks, Anne.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sausage Overload

Recently, a friend and I took an eventful trip to Costco. Let me tell you, that place is a MADHOUSE on the weekends! After spending 10 minutes in a traffic jam in the parking lot, we spent another hour and a half fighting the crowds down packed aisles.

Despite the chaos, we had a pretty successful trip! We left with an overflowing cart and definitely filled every space in the car. I was sure to pick up my usual items: water, granola bars, oatmeal and paper towel. What I didn't expect to pick up was spicy sausage. Usually, I steer clear of the meat section since I don't cook enough to ever take advantage the mass quantity deals, before the meat expires. Due to over crowding and my friends curious nature, I ended up taking a look. The Costco package of sausage contained 24 links, so we decided to go halfsies on a pack... they looked so good!

Even after going halfsies, 12 links of sausage is a lot! I racked my brain to come up with an easy way to cook the sausage and this is what I came up with:

Sausage and Mozzarella Rigatoni!

1/2 a box of rigatoni or ziti (or both in my case)
3 spicy sausage links
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsps of extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
fresh mozzarella, cubed
1 tbsp maple syrup
your favorite pasta sauce (I like Ragu, it's pretty cheap at Costco)

1) Cook noodles as instructed on box
2) Place evoo in medium size frying pan and turn heat on high
3) Finely chop or mince garlic and add to oil in pan
4) Make a shallow cut down the center of each sausage link and peel off the casing. With your hands, separate the sausage to make it become similar to ground meat, then add to frying pan.
5) Once sausage has started to brown up a bit, add in maple syrup. I do this because the sausage is very spicy and my mouth can take it. If you like spice, you can skip this step.
6) Cook sausage until fully browned then toss in the mozzarella and your desired amount of sauce. (I usually use about 1/2 - 3/4 of a bottle, but adjust this depending on your preference.)
7) Once noodles are finished cooking, strain and place back into pot. Stir in meat sauce and serve.

This is great for busy weeknights. I've made it twice in the last three weeks. ;)


Monday, November 2, 2009

New York, New York, New York...

Sunday was an eventful day for New York Sports fans. Manhattan was filled with runners taking on the ING New York City Marathon; The Giants were playing The Eagles and of course The Yankees were battling it out for the World Series.

Aside from recovering from a crazy Halloween night, I spent my day glued to the T.V. watching all the events. After snacking on chips all day, it was finally meal time!

The boys fired up the grill and threw on some burgers and hot dogs (Nathan's, of course!) Knowing that I couldn't handle a stomach full of just meat, I decided to whip up a little treat for everyone: CORN SALSA!!!

1 12oz bag of frozen corn
1/2 green pepper
1/4 cup of finely chopped red onion
8-10 grape tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsps finely chopped cilantro
1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
dash of crushed red pepper
1 small lime

1) Boil corn as directed on package. Drain and rinse with cold water to bring corn down to room temperature. Once cooled and drained, place corn in a medium size bowl.
2) Dice green pepper, tomatoes, onion and cilantro and add to corn.
3) Pour olive oil over corn mixture and add salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.
4) Cut lime in half and squeeze juice over salsa.
5) Mix and serve with tortilla chips. (Scoops work best for this.)

Based on how quickly the salsa disappeared, I'd have to say I hit this one out of the park! ;)

PC: Anthony Charilas

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rainy Days Make for Lazy Days

The rain kept on coming this week and I quickly fell into the lazy rainy blues. I had no energy to cook after work so I improvised. Having just made my amazing "summer-in-the-fall-meal" of tomato/mozz sandwiches and chickpea salad, I decided to throw something together with the left overs.

I should begin by letting everyone know, I tend to over-buy items needed for recipes, hence the whole 15 bulbs of garlic thing. With that said, I obviously bought more arugula than necessary for my sandwiches. I was SO happy when I remembered this.

My meal went from reheating left-overs to creating two beautiful salads!

Salad #1: My Meal

Chopped walnuts
Pine nuts
Blue cheese
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
Balsamic Vinegar

1) Wash Arugula and place in bowl.
2) Toss in pine nuts, walnuts, raisins and blue cheese to taste. I kept adding ingredients until it was covered in cheese and looked pretty.
3) Pour balsamic vinegar over salad then olive oil. Personally, I like more oil than vinegar so again, this will vary based on preference.

Which ever way you decide to make this, I can promise it will taste delicious! The blend of blue cheese with the nuts and dressing is so tasty!

Salad #2: The boyfriend's meal

Romaine Lettuce
2 chicken cutlets
Summer chickpea salad (see previous post)
Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
Balsamic Vinegar

1) Grill chicken cutlet then chop in to cubes
2) Since I had made the summer chickpea salad the night before, all I had to do was add romaine lettuce to the chickpea salad.
3) I poured on balsamic vinegar to taste and just a little olive oil since the chickpea salad already had oil.

You should definitely try both of these. Whether you're looking to add a quick side dish to a meal or cooking dinner for two, these salads are sure to be a hit!