Tag Archives: salad

summer dining: greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

It is hard to believe that it’s June already, and summer is just around the corner! Summer has always been my favorite season for a multitude of reasons: my birthday, no school, picnics, barbecues, swimming in outdoor pools, running and biking along the Hudson, lightweight colorful dresses, fresh and simple outdoor meals, farmers market trips, the list goes on!

Today I am going to share with you a delicious meal that is a perfect excuse to dust off your grill and outdoor dining set and invite some friends over for an al fresco dinner!

greek style mixed grill kebobs and pine nut orzo salad

Sourced from Rachael Ray, Serves 4

Ingredients for kebobs:

  • 4 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup green olive tapenade
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 lemons, juiced and 1 zested
  • 1/3 plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 pounds firm white flesh fish, halibut or swordfish, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks (I used shrimp instead)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 12 (2-inch) chunks
  • Black pepper
Ingredients for orzo salad:
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • 8 Greek hot peppers, for garnish
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, for garnish
  • 2 tomatoes, diced, for garnish
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water to prevent burning.

Place a pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil for the pasta salad. When the water boils, salt it and cook the pasta to al dente.

While the pasta cooks, in a small bowl combine the garlic, oregano, rosemary, tapenade, red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the juice of 1 lemon with about 1/3 cup olive oil. 

Place the fish and chicken in separate shallow dishes or bowls and season with salt and pepper then divide the dressing between the bowls and coat the fish and chicken evenly.

Skewer the fish and chicken on metal or soaked wooden skewers.

Grill the chicken 10 to 12 minutes until firm and juices run clear, and the fish for about 6 to 8 minutes, turning the kabobs frequently.

Drain orzo and combine with pine nuts, onions, parsley, feta crumbles, the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

Serve the orzo salad with 3 pieces each of chicken and fish along side. Garnish plates with a couple of hot peppers, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers on each plate.

I didn’t get a picture of a finished plate because it was so delicious that we dug in immediately, but you should be able to get an idea from the pictures I took while cooking that this was an absolutely delectable meal. The shrimp/chicken were packed with flavor from the tapenade, fresh herbs, spices and lemon juice, and the orzo salad was so light and fresh from the cucumbers, feta, tomatoes and had a nice crunch from the pine nuts. That salad alone would make an excellent addition to any picnic.

Bon appetit!

Advertisements

citrus salad, herbed quinoa and baked tilapia

I love to watch the food network while i’m running on the treadmill at the gym because i get absorbed in the show and before I know it, I’ve run for 30 minutes! Sometimes I get lucky and find inspiration for dinner. These recipes came from an episode of Giada that focused on light & healthy cooking. I made them for my housemates and they were a huge hit! The citrus salad has become a mainstay. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

From Giada on the Food Network

Caramelized onions, fennel and grapefruit-what could be bad? This salad is light and refreshing, a nice fusion of sweet, crunchy and tart. It would be a great addition to a summer picnic.

From the Food Network

Ingredients

Caramelized onions:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

Salad:

  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

For the caramelized onions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the salad: Peel and trim the ends from each grapefruit. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, fennel, cucumber, scallions, and thyme.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Arrange the caramelized onions on top and serve.

Herbed Quinoa

From Giada on the Food Network

Quinoa is a superfood and I try to incorporate it into my diet as often as possible. The fresh herbs add a wonderful fragrance and freshness, which really dresses up the quinoa. This is a great high protein side dish.

Ingredients:

Quinoa:

  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Baked Tilapia

Tilapia is a great inexpensive white fish that takes on whatever flavor you want to give it. We always have fillets in the freezer at my house which come in handy when i don’t have much time to prepare dinner. This fish is lemony and a little spicy and is ready in minutes!

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (margarine or butter substitutes work too)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  • Place tilapia in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt; pour over the fillets. Sprinkle with capers, oregano and paprika.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

These three recipes come together to make a light and delicious dinner that is equally impressive and easy!