Monday, April 30, 2012

Kiwi Mango Vinaigrette

I posed the question on Facebook the other day about kiwi eating. I go for the full kiwi effect- fuzz and all! A friend equated it to a toothbrush for your belly, and I like that!  Many went the way of a fuzz free kiwi.  For tonights dinner, I went without the fuzz!
I needed some fresh and light dinner to balance the festive food filled weekend.  So atop a piece of grilled mahi, resting on mixed greens, went this dressing! Garnished with avocado slices and red onion, it's the kind of dinner that energizes you! Lucky for me there is leftover dressing for lunches this week. Mixed with quinoa, this would be a healthy lunch powerhouse!

Kiwi Mango Vinaigrette
1 peeled kiwi
1 peeled mango
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp honey
1 handful fresh cilantro
salt and pepper- to taste

Allow the food processor time to whirl the mixture into a light, sweet, slightly tangy dressing!

The Main Event

After months of planning, The Bride and her Main Man made it official in front of friends and family.  She was absolutely stunning! She knows how to throw a party, and even convinced hubs to dance with me (a request usually saved for the kitchen or the deck!)
With an early afternoon arrival we nibbled on chicken salad while waiting on the Glam Squad to come do their magic.
Though I haven't done it yet I think it would be equally amazing to go all veg with it and substitute Chickpeas for chicken...

This made enough for  6 people, plus leftovers for post reception noshing!

Leave 5 skinless/boneless chicken breasts marinating in Italian dressing for 4+ hours.
Cut into strips and grill.
Place chicken breasts in food processor  and pulse for a quick chop of the chicken.
For the dressing mix the following together before pouring over chicken;
1/2 cup Mayo (I love the reduced fat with Olive Oil!)
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (tweak to your liking of zingy-ness)
1 packet Good Seasonings Zesty Italian mix
2 tsp Agave Nectar
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp Onion powder
2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp dill
2 Tbsp basil
Mix well, and pour over chicken!  Enjoy on whole wheat wrap, or fluffy soft bun!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Have cheese, will travel!

Blogger says this is my 102nd post.  Missed the big 100 post party... oops! Guess I'll have to make up for it by blitzing the blog to get to 200 posts... and really get down!

Today is the wedding day of a very awesome childhood friend.  We met 20 years ago when my family moved into our suburban utopia, and her family was right down the street!  Cue bike riding, park days, pool playing, and sleepovers that laid the foundation of youth into adolescence!
A couple of weekends ago we celebrated The Bride in Charlottesville style- a rented car took us to wineries and we finished up the evening with dinner and drinks! Needless to say more silly memories were made and random fits of laughter spontaneously erupts when the bride, her sister, and I are able to get together!

To balance out the wine we were tasting I packed some cheese and crackers. I love the versatility of goat cheese. It pairs equally as well with sweet fruits as it does savory herbs.  The spread for crackers originally was a blend of chopped roasted almonds, and dried cranberries, mixed in with goat cheese, and drizzled with honey!

With an early primping start to today's wedding festivities I'm loading up a cooler with chicken salad (recipe soon....mmm) and some easy snacks! Today's goat cheese medley has roasted pecans, dried cherries, and an agave drizzle!  Its tasty AND pretty- with a slight pink hue after spending a brief couple of seconds in the food processor.  Easy and tasty always make a wonderful match.

In an oven set at 400 degrees roast chopped pecans for 5- minutes.
In a food processor, pulse dried fruit (cherries today), pecans, and goat cheese.
Form into ball, or log, or whatever fanciful shape you desire...a goat cheese dove perhaps?!

Time to get ready for some celebrating!  Congratulations to two wonderful people! I feel so incredibly lucky to be there to celebrate the day with you!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A rainy Saturday night

While running Saturday errands, we decided to do smaller nibbles for dinner. Without the desire to settle for 1 particular style, we opted for an assortment of foods that would typically be meal starters.  To kick off a rainy evening of grilling, guitar, wine, and beer, we ate smoked salmon sushi rolls.  The smoked salmon with red peppers, cucumber, and avocado were perfect with  wasabi soy sauce. Ever the novice sushi roller, several attempts were made to create the rolls cylindrical appearance.  They were a great way to start the night with my favorite person!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring Back

With Spring's arrival it was time for our annual backpacking trip- see hubby's recap! Easter weekend offers one of the first chances for us to get away, sleep in our tent- jam packed with 2 pups- that kicks off our year of travel! Energized by a quick birthday hiking adventure last weekend, we set out to push a little further, hike a little harder, and sleep amongst towering trees and brightly lit stars.

While trips are amazing, so is the feeling of getting home to the creature comforts we've been without for a few days that makes us appreciate them that much more, and planning the next adventure.  So with screaming calf muscles and serious cravings for anything not from a wrapper or crammed into bar form, I loaded us up on protein tonight.

I made these amazing meatballs a few weeks ago- a spin off of burgers one of my dear friends created a few summers ago!  Tonight's version was tweaked a bit more.  One of hubby's friends hooked us up with fresh ground deer burger- not a fan of venison, leave it out!  Feeling adventurous, seek it out! What is more perfect than something so free range and organic...?!  I'll jump off that soapbox!

When prompted with meatballs for dinner, a lukewarm reception is expected. Nothing is sassy and exciting about a meatball. It conjures up vision of crockpots, toothpicks, and indigestion inducing sauce.  But throw in some roasted garlic, fresh spinach, and a grill and the luke warm reception is replaced with mouthwatering, and second helpings! 

I served mine with sauteed onion, mushroom, and asparagus quinoa- and substituted israeli cous cous for hubby's quinoa! 

Grilled Spinach and Feta Meatballs
1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 lb. ground deer burger
1/2 cup feta
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach
2/ Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves roasted garlic (chopped)
1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp sea salt

Mix well together and roll into 2 inch balls. Place on foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Heat grill to high heat and cook meatballs on foil, on the grill.  Roll every five (or so) minutes until they are well cooked.  Mine were on about 20 minutes.

If only all of life's ordinary- at times boring- situations could be solved by a grill... what a tasty world it would be!