Tag Archives: feta

Greek green beans

Four glorious days off in a row! I love my jobs, but this dose of “idleness” and sunshine is just what I needed.Note the “idleness” in quotes. You know me, days off of work just means that I’ll find a different way to fill that time. Friday was filled with spring cleaning and today is full of cooking and delicious recipe ideas. Then sandwiched in between was a great visit from my brother and an awesome Easter dinner with g’ma and g’pa.

Today is one of those days I yearn for in the middle of a stressful week. It’s gray and a little chill out, but that just means puttering around in the kitchen with a giant mug of tea is the perfect way to spend the day. I get to fill my house with delicious smells (and tastes, of course), all the while not feeling guilty about being indoors. After all, testing recipes and prepping amazing things for this week’s lunch is awfully important too. Well, that and shopping for purses on the interwebs, I mean, this girl’s gotta accessorize too.

These delicious green beans might have been my favorite part of the aforementioned Easter dinner. The crunch of green beans with the fresh herbs and bite of lemon just gets up and yells “SPRING!” to me. Nope, not a subtle flavor here. These beans crawl right up in your face. And the only thing that’s going to make them any tastier is when the beans, mint, and dill are fresh picked from my garden. This is sure to be my (and yours too!) go-to green bean recipe this summer.

Enjoy!

Greek green beans

Greek green beans

Lightly adapted from Bon Appetit

1 ½ lbs green beans, cleaned and trimmed
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh mint leaves
1 ½ tablespoons chopped, fresh dill
zest and juice of one lemon, less if desired
½ cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350º.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. Place into a 2 quart casserole dish. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Serve immediately.

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Feta, artichoke, and olive stuffed chicken breasts

You guys, I have to be honest here, I really struggled with this post. It’s been a rough week, and I’ve been trying to write an engaging (and positive) post, but, it’s been a struggle. This is actually the fifth attempt my friends. So for now, I’m going to give myself a much needed attitude adjustment. You’ll find me lazing away in the hottest, steamiest bath, dog earing the pages of my gardening magazines, dreaming of the spring to come. After that comes an intense stress relieving baking session. Just me and some music and all the flour covered surfaces. I expect by the time we speak next, my Pollyanna outlook will have returned.

In the meantime, though, I do want to share something that’s been rolling around in my head this week. I had coffee with a friend of mine this past week. During the course of the conversation, where we extolled all the virtues of living up here in the woods, she mentioned that up here, she doesn’t compare herself with anyone. The thought stuck with me, and I realized that I’ve been doing the same. You know, being happy with myself, instead of finding myself lacking in comparison with someone else. For me and Laura, it took being in the woods for that to happen, but you guys, I can’t even begin to explain how freeing that is. Turns out I wasted a whole lotta time thinking I was a little bit lame. Turns out throwing all in and chasing your dreams will fix that little problem!

So, while I’m off fixing that attitude problem of mine, you should totally be making this chicken recipe. Another of those easy-peasy recipes that will really impress. I just heart these Mediterranean flavors so very much. The recipe works best with Kalamata olives, but will also work with regular black olives.

Enjoy!

Feta olive and artichoke stuffed chicken

Feta, olive, and artichoke stuffed chicken

Adapted from Grassroots Co-op Recipe Collection

¼ cup feta cheese
¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 tablespoons chopped black olives
3 tablespoons chopped artichoke hearts
Freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ¼ lbs total)
1 large egg white
½ cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together feta, mozzarella, olives, and artichoke hearts. In a shallow dish, large enough to accommodate the chicken breasts, lightly beat the egg white. In another shallow dish, mix together breadcrumbs and dried basil.

Cut a large pocket along the long edge of the chicken breast, being careful not to go through the chicken breast completely. Holding the chicken breast flat with the palm of one hand, carefully run the paring knife in a slight circle, following the curve of the chicken breast.

Stuff ¼ of the cheese mixture into each chicken breast. Holding the edges of the chicken breast together, dip the top of the breast in the egg white and then in the breadcrumbs. Place in baking dish.

Bake chicken at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest, non-stuffed portion of the breast reads 170 degrees.

BBQ chicken en papillote

Guys! I finally organized the entire kitchen to my liking! Sure, I bet you’re asking yourself, “What the heck took you so long?!” Well, as you can imagine, this girl has a lot of kitchen implements, appliances, pots, and pans. When in doubt for gifts, people always add to the collection. It’s fantastic to have a hobby (ok, obsession)  that your friends and family support!

To celebrate, we’re making chicken en papillote. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a fancy way to say cooking in parchment paper, and is about the easiest. I may be losing my mastery of the French language, but I’m just embarking on mastering all those French cooking techniques. Seems an ok trade-off for now.

Now that the kitchen is all set up, food photography is just a step behind, This will be the last of the iPhone shots, that I know you’ve all come to love <groan>. It also turns out that this meal doesn’t photograph the best. I questioned sharing it with you, but the presentation at table is just too good to pass up! So what we have are the technique photos instead.

Which works, because, this recipe is really more about the technique than the ingredients. This recipe is using the Homemade BBQ sauce I showed you last week, but you can really use whatever sauce you like. Substitute whatever you have on hand, change the quantities, omit stuff altogether, it’ll still be delicious. En papillote works great for fish too, layers of asparagus, lemon and capers, oh my! For fish, the cooking temp and time will change – 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

Either protein you choose to use, this meal is sure to impress. Enjoy!

BBQ chicken en papillote

Chicken en papillote

Layers on the heart shaped parchment

2 medium potatoes
2 chicken breasts
¼ cup thinly sliced brussel sprouts (about 5 sprouts)
Thinly sliced red onion
Feta cheese
Homemade BBQ sauce
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash potatoes and pierce several times with a fork. Microwave potatoes 2 ½ – 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.

While potatoes are cooling, take a piece of parchment paper about 3 times the size of the chicken breast. Fold parchment in half, and cut out into a heart shape.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, slice thinly. Place in layers on one half of the parchment “heart.” Keep potatoes layered in a size that approximates the chicken breast. Top with chicken, then red onion, drizzled BBQ sauce, brussel sprouts, and a sprinkle of feta.

Fold parchment “heart” in half. Roll and fold paper beginning from top of heart. Continue rolling and folding in small sections until the entire packet is sealed. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 28 – 30 minutes.

Chicken en papillote2

Beginning from the top, just roll and fold your way around

To serve, plate the entire packet, and slice open at the table.

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