Here’s a great summer meal that is tasty, quick, easy, healthy and affordable – what could be better? You can use either ground turkey or chicken. We’ve tried this with both and they are equally delicious. Here’s what you’ll need (this recipe yields 4 servings):
- About 1.25 lbs ground chicken or turkey
- 1 red onion
- 3 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/4 pound feta crumbles
- About 1 and a half cups frozen (defrosted) spinach
- grill seasoning (for poultry)
- salt, pepper
- dried oregano
- 1 tomato, sliced
- Buns, and burger fixings
Dice one-half of the red onion and sauté in a pan with salt and pepper on medium in olive oil (about 5 minutes). Add the three cloves of garlic, crushed or minced. In a large bowl, mix the defrosted spinach with the feta crumbles. Add in the browned onion and garlic, mix well and let cool a couple minutes. Add in a teaspoon of oregano, and a teaspoon of grill seasoning. Add ground meat and mix together with your hands. Form into four patties.
Grill on medium (you can use a gas or charcoal grill or the stovetop) for about 6 minutes a side, or until thoroughly cooked. Toast your burger buns, and build the burgers with fresh sliced tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, and anything else you think would be tasty. A side of salad or fries makes a great accompaniment.
If you are looking for a reasonably quick and tasty Italian dinner, I highly recommend the following chicken dish.
- 4 skinned & boned chicken breasts
- Flour seasoned with ground sea salt & freshly ground pepper (to dredge the chicken in)
- 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
- Several leaves of fresh sage
- 4 thin slices of prosciutto, cut in half
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Start by cutting each chicken breast in half and dredge them in the flour. Make sure that there are no lumps of flour sticking to them.
TIP: Leaving the flour on the chicken for too long makes it goopey and pretty unattractive – don’t dredge too far ahead of time.
Set your oven on ‘Broil.’
While your oven is warming up, melt the butter in a large skillet along with your fresh sage. Add the chicken so they are all in one layer (make sure they don’t overlap so they all cook evenly). Cook this over a medium heat until the breasts are golden on both sides. Turn as needed.
Remove the chicken from heat and place on a broiling pan. On each, put a piece of prosciutto and your freshly grated Parmsean (really, fresh is a lot better than the Kraft in this dish).
Throw this under the broiler for as long as it takes for the cheese to melt (approx. 5 minutes).
This is a really tasty dish to serve with fresh polenta (make sure you start this first, as it takes longer than the chicken). Take 2 cups chicken broth, 2 cups water and boil. Whisk in 1 cup cornmeal and let it cook for about half an hour, stirring occasionally. When cooked, add salt, butter and a heaping pile of parmesan cheese. Viola!
If you like this recipe, I recommend the cookbook “Italian – the Essence of Mediterranean Cusine” by Carla Capalbo.
One of my favorite places to go within the LA area when it comes to good beer and good food in an energetic atmosphere is Library Alehouse on Main Street, Santa Monica. We discovered this small yet stylish restaurant and pub about a year ago, and we have witnessed the crowds grow in numbers, flocking to the unique beers, quality food, and laid back (but active) environment. The Library boasts 29 beers on draft, along with a wine list and a menu ripe with California-style pub food.
We were happy to stop in on Friday night before hitting the bowling lanes nearby, ordering a pitcher of North Coast’s PranQster golden ale for the table. I got an order of the buffalo wings – the best in town in my opinion. They serve them drums-only with ample amounts of celery and carrot sticks with a chunky bleu cheese dressing – delicious! Fletch ordered the alehouse burger (medium rare), with sauteed onions and cheddar cheese. You have multiple choices for building your burger (i.e. cheeses or meats), so you can be sure to quench your burger craving. Dana got the Cajun chicken sandwich, which she also claimed was very good. Honestly, I’ve never had anything here I didn’t like, but it’s tough to break away from either the wings or the burgers which are absolutely mouthwatering.
Go here to check out their website and get yourself excited to experience Library’s glory for yourself.
In true foodie form, I absolutely love the Food Network. We first saw this recipe together while watching Giada’s show on demand late one night. This baked pasta dish looked so amazing that we had to try it out the next day. The pastina was such a success that we have made it a regular meal in our dinner rotation. Click here to see its page on the Food Network website, but I will give the recipe below as well:
- 1 cup pastina pasta (or any small pasta)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup cubed chicken breast (1-inch cubes)
- 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 a small onion)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter, plus more for buttering the baking dish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Drain pasta into a large mixing bowl.
Meanwhile, put the olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook for 3 minutes. Add the onions and garlic, stirring to combine, and cook until the onions are soft and the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes more. Put the chicken mixture into the bowl with the cooked pasta. Add the canned tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Place the mixture in a buttered 8 by 8 by 2-inch baking dish. In a small bowl mix together the bread crumbs and the Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of the pasta mixture. Dot the top with small bits of butter. Bake until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
I love this recipe because it’s delicious, comforting, and a crowd pleaser. If you’re only cooking for one, two, or three, you will definitely have leftovers, which heat up great for lunch the next day. I encourage you to make this heavenly pasta and enjoy – you will not be disappointed.
This beautiful sight was tonight’s cheap, easy, and delicious weeknight dinner. The key ingredient here is Trader Joe’s “Soyaki” sauce. However, if you are so unfortunate to not live near a Trader Joes, you may purchase a similar product called “Soy Vey,” which is equally delicious. Our meal included the following: grilled chicken, couscous with peas and parsley, and baby green salad with asian vinaigrette dressing.
- Chicken breasts (one per person – Organic if you can find it)
- Soyaki or Soy Vey marinade
- Instant couscous (I use a cup of dry couscous for three servings)
- Frozen Peas
- Fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
- Mixed baby green salad (or salad of your choice)
- Salad dressing (something to compliment the marinade flavors, which is why I chose the asian vinaigrette)
For the chicken:
Marinate the breasts in the sauce and let sit in the fridge (on a plate, covered with plastic wrap) for about an hour. After marinating, grill chicken on medium heat, drizzling the leftover sauce over the breasts. Grill about five minutes per side until cooked through, being cautious not to overcook to the point that it is no longer tender. Remove from heat and let rest for several minutes before cutting into.
For the couscous:
Couscous is a wonderful, easy side dish. It only takes about ten minutes to prepare, and any store-bought box will give you directions. I like to spice it up a bit by adding some frozen peas into the water before boiling, and chopping some Italian parsley to stir in after the couscous has set. I also add a dash of garlic powder to taste, if you so desire.
Toss some salad with your dressing of choice and you have yourself a quick, healthy, affordable and amazing dinner! We enjoyed this with a bottle of Pepperwood Grove merlot – a great value wine that usually runs about five dollars.