Garlic and Herb Crostini

I have a confession to make. I am addicted to garlic. Garlic and salt. If you do not share my passion, cut all my garlic measurements in half. I said I wanted happy dinners where we all enjoy the same food… maybe my ulterior motive is to keep from being the only one who stinks?

This is the garlic bread that everyone INSISTS I make whenever I have a party (or any day of the week that they can convince me)… It is not low fat or low carb, but it is soul satisfying. I still count that as a type of health.

Extremely garlicy, salty and boasting a depth of flavor you just don’t get in typical garlic bread applications, this recipe serves well as an appetizer, side dish or base to many dips and salads.

The NUTS and BOLTS:

  • 1/4 C Butter, Softened
  • 1/4 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1.5 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • Pepper to taste
  • Loaf of Bread (baguettes work well. I love multigrain bread for this. Also feel free to try it on whatever size or thickness you like depending on its final destination)

WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL:

What you will need is a mini-prep food processor or a regular size one with its small bowl attachment inside. Alternatively, you could melt the butter and combine it that way. However, that does make it a touch harder to apply.

Combine your butter and oil in the processor and blend until smooth. Add all of your spices and blend again to whip. If using the melting method, you can place everything in one bowl and stir to combine. This is a great job for your kitchen helpers! My eldest loves to stir and, of course, taste for seasoning; over and over and over. At least until I rip away the spoon.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees for crunchier crostini or broil for lightly crispy, more tender outcome.

Slice your desired loaf of bread on the bias according to your application:

  • Cracker-Like – 1/8″
  • For Topping – 1/4″ – 1/2″
  • As a Stand-Alone Item – 1/2″ to 1″

Using a knife or offset spatula (or spoon if melted – don’t forget to dig down and collect the sunken treasure spices), spread a thin layer over the surface of each slice. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. If broiling, watch your bread like a hawk as it can turn into charcoal at a moments notice. I have had this happen to me on numerous occasions. It should be nicely browned in just 2 or 3 minutes. Despite the peril, I prefer using this method because I like how gently crispy and tender to the tooth it comes out. Just succulent!

MONKEY METER:

This is a crowd pleaser. I have never had anyone turn it down and just about everyone comes back over and over for more. It never fails, whatever we have left gets eaten before we can clean it up that night. Pretty universal 5 of 5

Posted in 10 Ingredients or Less, Appetizer, Bread, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Apple Ginger Chicken Salad

apple ginger chicken salad

I don’t know about you, but I have often found chicken salad to be a bit of a bore.. I won’t order it out and rarely eat it at parties. In my search for ways to dress it up, I decided to abandon the traditional mayo or miracle whip dressing and make one from scratch. When I am stuck for ideas, I generally use two approaches. I search the net or go to the store. I happened to need storage bins, so the store it was.

My inspiration for this salad actually began with a vegetable not listed in the main ingredients. I was rolling by the fresh herbs (a favorite spot of mine – I ADORE Basil!) and bumped into the cart of fresh broccoli waiting to be stocked. A challenge! Could I sneak a bunch of broccoli into my chicken salad? It looked so beautiful I had to give it a shot.

Then, back to the problem of a dressing… I decided to go with greek yogurt (it was on sale!) and fat free sour cream (a not-so-guilty pleasure of mine that I use whenever possible). I picked up some fresh ginger and chicken tenderloins (although you can easily use any leftover cooked chicken you have at home) and out the door I went.

Down to the NUTS and BOLTS:

Chicken (if not using leftovers):

  • 1.5 Lbs Chicken Breast Or Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • 1/4 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Pepper

Dressing:

  • (1) 6 Oz Container Greek Yogurt, Plain
  • 3/4 c Fat Free Sour Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 tsp Ginger Root, Peeled And Freshly Grated
  • 2 tsp Dried Basil (Told You I Loved Basil!)
  • Salt And Pepper to Taste

Vegetable Components:

  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper, Finely Diced
  • 1 Cup Minced Broccoli Florets
  • 2 Med. Stalks Celery, Finely Chopped
  • 1 Tart Apple, Finely Diced (1/4″ Cubes)
  • 2 Scallions, Finely Sliced

WHAT TO DO WITH IT ALL:

The first thing you need to do is cook the chicken or dice your leftover / pre-bought rotisserie chicken. Mix chili powder, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl and sprinkle liberally on both sides of the raw chicken. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Place tenderloins or breasts in the pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side until no longer pink.  Remove and set aside to cool.

While the chicken is resting, you can make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. It is easiest to use a Microplane to grate your ginger after first peeling the rough outer skin with a paring knife or potato peeler. I also use Alton Brown’s adjustable measuring cup ( like this one, but with Alton’s cute face doodle on it) to measure out sticky or viscous items like the sour cream, honey and dijon mustard.

Unless you were super speedy, your chicken should be cool. Dice your chicken in whatever size puts a smile on your face. I like mine rather small, around 1/4″ cubed. My goal is to have all the different types of ingredients nearly equal in size, except the broccoli which we are trying to hide. I just don’t like big chunks in my food, except for in chocolate chunk cookies – but that’s another recipe. Toss the chicken with the dressing using a spoonula or large spoon.

Time to disassemble vegetation. When creating this recipe, I chopped everything by hand and it took quite a while. I am going to suggest you use a food processor. I wish I had! In that case, roughly chop your broccoli florets and process until very small, almost crumb like. Remove from the work-bowl and add to your bowl with the dressing. Next, break down your bell pepper and celery into 2 inch pieces and pulse the processor until you have a fine dice – please be careful not to liquefy! The scallions will need to be sliced by hand. Add all vegetables to the bowl with the chicken and broccoli.

Leave the skin on your apple for the beautiful color and slice first in half, using a melon baller to remove the core. Lay the apple flat side down and slice into a fine dice as you would an onion. Stir into the salad and taste for seasoning. You may need more salt. I chose not to add it to mine because I knew I was serving the salad on my Crostinis which have plenty of salty goodness.

My mother-in-law tested this on mini pretzels and loved it! In that way it would make a great after-school snack. The bit of salt and carb balance the flavors very well. If you made my following Garlic Herb Multi-Grain Crostinis recipe with a party rye or something, I think you would have an excellent appetizer opportunity. This makes a TON of salad – it fed my mother-in-law, myself and husband, my twins, my eldest and we have leftovers.

 When I went to photograph the salad, we lined the bowl with baby spinach for the color and topped with fresh-from-the-garden chives that my eldest grew. My husband decided to mix it all up and eat it that way and is glad to report that it was delicious.

MONKEY METER:

Eldest normally hates sauce, said it was yummy. Not overly saucy. Good ginger flavor. Only complaint was that the vegetables were too crispy. Maybe next time I could par cook them? 4 of 5

Both twinkies said yummy and delicious. They each ate a bowlful but once they spied the Crostini wanted nothing else. Definitely got a lot of bang for the buck nutritionally, but they gave it up fairly quickly for them.. maybe it was too crunchy ? It did take a lot of chewing in baby mouths. 3.5 of 5

All grown-ups loved it. 4.25 of 5

Posted in Appetizer, Chicken, Low Fat, Main Dishes, Sneaky | Leave a comment

Welcome Hungry Monkeys!

First off, thank you. Whether you already know me or are somehow stumbling onto my recipe blog unawares, I want to say how I appreciate your willingness to investigate this concept with me. I believe we can feed our families food that is healthy, responsible, chock full of nutrition AND so tasty our kids will beg us for it.

My approach to creating delicious, nutritious food is simple.

  • Start with quality ingredients.
  • Use organic as often as budget and availability allow.
  • Utilize your spice rack heavily but judiciously.
  • Be SNEAKY! Add fruits and veggies everywhere you can.

I am so excited to begin this journey. I have wanted to write a cookbook on this subject for a while now. With 3 daughters (2 year old twins and a 7 year old), however, time is sometimes short for my own projects. My fantastic husband suggested I begin this blog as a means to that end. I can record my recipes here, receive feedback and accept requests for difficult ingredients so as to inspire myself to cook more often, practice my photography, take time to write and within a year or two achieve my goal.

Thank you again. I couldn’t do it without you!

In return for your commitment to provide me with honest feedback, I promise:

  • to test my recipes on real live children and be honest about the results.
  • to explain every step and photograph processes that are more complicated.
  • to create specific steps and whole recipes for your children to help in the kitchen
  • to entertain as best I can.
  • teach you to be SNEAKY

Welcome, fellow foodie! Our journey begins now.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment