Tag Archive for Feta

Lightened-up chicken cutlet with a taste of summer

chicken tomatoes feta

I’ve made versions of this many times. I never really make it the same way twice because it usually depends on the season, what’s fresh and what I have on hand. Regardless, the general preparation is the same and it is a little bit of summer in your mouth even in the middle of winter!

When I made this the other night, I was out of eggs so I did not bread it like I normally would a chicken cutlet (flour, egg wash, bread crumbs). So, I was thinking through what I had on hand that would help the Panko adhere to the chicken. I scoured the pantry and fridge and then I saw it, that golden jar of deliciousness that would do just the trick…Dijon Mustard!!

Well, since I was already going a bit light, I opted to go really light by not sautéing the cutlet, instead, I opted to bake it. Here is a recipe for making this for your loved ones.
   chicken tomatoes feta

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 20min; Cook Time – 20 min

Ingredients for 4:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts prepared into a cutlet or 4 already prepared cutlets. You’ll want to pound them to even thickness and to help tenderize too.

2 cups of panko bread crumbs

4 T Dijon Mustard

salt and pepper

Fresh summer salad option 1 (pictured)

2 cups grape tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

1 cup fresh corn, grilled and removed from cob (I use leftovers!)

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

salt and pepper

Fresh summer salad option 2 (not that there are only 2 options!)

1 cup red grape tomatoes, diced

1 cup yellow/orange cherry tomatoes, diced

1/4 cup basil cut in a chiffonade

1/2 cup feta, crumbled

1 ripe avocado, diced

salt and pepper

juice of 1 lime

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Make chicken cutlets as directed in the link above (including pounding them),  salt and pepper the breasts, coat with 1 T Dijon mustard, and then dredge in the Panko bread crumbs. Repeat for all cutlets and set on a baking sheet (cover baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup).

Dice the tomatoes and place in bowl. Add the basil and add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place chicken in oven on middle rack.

While it starts cooking, add the feta to the tomatoes but don’t stir. If doing option 1, add the rest of the summer salad ingredients but just stir once right before you add to the chicken. If doing option 2, dice the avocado and add to the bowl but again, don’t stir. Juice the lime over the avocado and add a bit more salt and pepper. You’ll stir it gently right before you top the chicken with it. Stir too much and you’ll mush up the avocado and feta

Cook the chicken for about 15-20 minutes depending on thickness. When the cutlets are close to done, bump up the temperature to broil. Don’t walk too far away. You just want to get some ‘browness’ on the top of the chicken breasts. Just don’t overcook it!

Remove from oven and top generously with the summer salad. Serve with your favorite sides. In the picture it is served with steamed broccoli and scalloped potatoes. The other night, I served with brown rice and steamed broccoli to keep with the lightened theme. In fact, for the entire meal, there was not one ounce of fat added!! 

(of course, if you want the uber tasty version, skip the mustard, bread with flour, egg wash and Panko then sauté in olive oil instead of baking)

Important Tips:

Don’t over stir and don’t over cook!! It’s that simple.

Variations:

Have fun with the summer salad!! Add what you like. I use grape tomatoes in the winter because they taste good all year round.

Stuffed Chicken Breast

What do you do for dinner when you have no desire to go to the grocery store but you still have a hungry family looking to you to put something together? You wing it!

You look through your freezer/fridge/pantry and try to think of something that might all go together and not taste horrible and not take too long. Did I mention that I was a bit exhausted from my week too?

Well, you can get lucky every now and again!! Even the kids loved it including a sleepover guest! I got to finish my night with a glass (or two or something like that, who’s counting) of wine and keep my feet up! Heavenly.

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Time Required: Prep Time – 10min; Cook Time – 20-30 min

Ingredients for 4:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped
1 cup feta, crumbled
salt and pepper
drizzle of olive oil
1 cup marinara

How to make stuffed chicken breasts with basil, parsley and feta:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Before you get your hands all yucky, chop your basil and parsley, and crumble your feta into a bowl. Add some salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (maybe 2-3T). Mix it together.

Then cut a slit in the thick side of your chicken breast (not the side that tapers off and is really thin). The cut should be about 3-4 inches down the length of the breast and back towards the other side without actually going all the way across. I have a picture of this but it looks kinda x-rated so I did not add it. It at least gave Denise and I quite a laugh about the comments we might receive if I posted it. 🙂

Stuff 1/4 of the mixture into each of the breasts and then secure it closed with a toothpick. I used a 4 inch wooden skewer to easily do the trick.

Add some salt and pepper on the chicken. Bake for about 10 minutes then top with the marinara sauce. Place back in oven and cook until done about 10-20 minutes longer depending on the size of the breasts.

Let rest for a couple of minutes before serving.

chicken breast stuffed with feta, basil and parsley

Important Tips:

Be sure not to cut all the way through the breast. Stuffed proteins will dry out quickly if you overcook them so be sure to pull this out just as it is done.

Stuffed portabella mushroom with spinach and feta

stuffed mushroom

Have you ever had one of those giant portabella caps stuffed with anything? I’ve only had it a couple of times and I love the concept. The stuffed portabella always tastes good.  I decided to experiment on my own and made this the other night.

Level of Difficulty: Easy Time Required: Prep Time – 5 min; Cook Time – 25 min

Ingredients:

2 large portabella mushroom caps

1/4 cup onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

3T extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

1/2 lb baby leaf spinach

1/4 lb feta cheese, crumbled (my favorite right now I get at Costco – TNUVA Feta, really good!!)

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Grill (could be done in oven too)

Preparing portabella stuffed mushrooms:

Start your grill over medium high heat. Clean the portabella (if you want to know how to properly clean mushrooms, check out this short video)

stuffed mushroom

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and sauté until golden.

portabella mushroom recipe

Add spinach and sauté until wilted.

portabella caps

Season with salt and pepper. Place spinach in a bowl and let cool a couple of minutes. Add feta and fold in gently.

portabella recipe

Salt and pepper the underside of the portabella cap (where the gills are) and place on grill for about 5 minutes.

IMG_2600

Remove from grill and brush the top of the mushroom cap with olive oil. Add spinach mixture.  Return to grill and grill for about 10 minutes or until mushroom is to desired level of tenderness.

stuffed mushroom

Meal Ideas:

You could make this into a meal if your mushroom cap is large enough. If I served it as the main course, I would add some sausage (chorizo preferably) to the spinach mixture. That would be awesome!!

Shown here with blackened tuna with cowboy caviar

seared tuna with stuffed mushroom

Grilled Pita with Tomato, Olives and Feta

Grilled Pita with Tomato Onion and Feta

I made Grilled Pita with Tomato, Olives and Feta as an appetizer for the 4th of July. I had never grilled pita before and thought I’d try it for the first time with some of my favorites foods and flavors all mixed together. Oh my goodness! It was one of the best things I had ever tasted and took virtually no time to prepare

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 10 min; Cook Time – 5 minutes

Ingredients for 12 people:

6 roma tomatoes, chopped

3/4 c. of mixed olives, finely chopped

1/4 c. red onion

3 T. olive oil

4 T. fresh mint, chopped

6 pitas (I used whole wheat)

1 c. crumbled feta cheese

Preparing Grilled Pita with Tomato, Olives and Feta:

Preheat Grill to medium-high heat. Put first 5 ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Grilled Pita with Tomato Onion and Feta

Brush one side of each pita with a bit of olive oil. Place pitas oiled side down on the grill for about 2 minutes, or until lightly browned. Turn pitas over and top with the tomato mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Cook for an additional 2 minutes with the grill closed, until the mixture is warm.

Grilled Pita with Tomato Onion and Feta

Variations:

You could really top these pitas with just about any of your favorite ingredients. You can even make pizzas out of them! I made them as appetizer and cut them into wedges to serve, but there is no reason why you can’t serve them as an entire meal!

Middle Eastern Salad

Middle Eastern Salad

As I mentioned in a very early post, I am half Middle Eastern. I am sure that is why I love garbanzo beans, feta cheese, olives, tomatoes and such. As many of you who frequent the mall food court know, Hovan makes a great side salad. Many years ago, I tried to recreate it and didn’t do a bad job at it if I do say so myself! It’s very easy to make it your own and add more or less of certain ingredients depending on your tastes.

Level of Difficulty:Easy
Time Required:Prep Time – 15 minutes. Chill time: At least 30 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Salad (these are ideas, use them all or just some):

Roma Tomatoes, Diced
Feta Cheese, Crumbled
Small or mini cucumbers, quartered
Parsley, chopped
Fresh mint, chopped
Red onion, sliced
Chick peas, drained
Kalamata Olives, drained
Pepperoncini

For the Dressing:

Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 T. Olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon Mustard
1 tsp. dried oregano

Preparing Middle Eastern Salad:

For the salad: Combine desired quantities of chosen ingredients together in large mixing bowl.

For the dressing: Combine all ingredients together in bowl and whisk together.

Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Middle Eastern Salad

Important Tips:

Most of the time, we will suggest adding “salt and pepper to taste”. However, with this dish, you need to remember that feta cheese and Kalamata olives are quite salty. If you want to add salt, do so after all of the flavors have blended together for at least 30 minutes. Otherwise, you might ruin the dish.

Variations:

You can certainly eat this as a side dish by itself. I chose to put it in some radicchio for lunch one day to make it more of a “lettuce based salad”. You can also add a piece of grilled chicken to it and some nicely crisp green lettuce if you like. You really can’t go wrong. Make it your own!

Middle Eastern Salad




Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes

zucchini recipe

These are a bit unique and a great way to bring flavor to a vegetable that has minimal flavor on its own.

Level of Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Prep Time – 20 min; Cook Time – 12 min

Ingredients:

2 medium sized zucchini
1/3 lb block of feta cheese
Pint of grape tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Special Equipment and Other Items Needed:

Mandolin or a really good knife and knife skills to slice the zucchini ultra thin
Toothpicks

Preparing Zucchini with Feta Cheese and Tomatoes:

Slice the zucchini lengthwise and ultra thin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Zucchini and feta
One at a time, place some feta cheese in the middle. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat for all zucchini strips. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a bit more olive oil. Add tomatoes.

easy zucchini preparation

Bake in oven at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.

zucchini recipe

Variations:

Try different cheeses, top with marinara sauce instead of the tomatoes

Meal Ideas:

Shown here with marinated flank steak and corn on the cob


Tomato and Feta Salad

tomato and feta salad

This is a fast, fresh and easy summer salad recipe that you can actually eat year round. People love it and it goes with just about anything, especially BBQ!

Ingredients:

1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
2T red wine vinegar
2T olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced red onions
1/4 – 1/2 cup quality feta cheese, crumbled
Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl. Toss with salt and pepper. Add the vinegar and oil and the red onions and let marinate together for a little while (5 min – 2 hours). Right before ready to serve, crumble the feta into the salad, lightly toss and serve.

Important Tip:

Don’t mix the feta into the salad until ready to serve. It will make all the juices of the salad turn white and won’t be that appetizing.

Do your best to find quality feta (usually from Greece), packed in either oil or water and sold in a block. The pre-crumbled stuff that is in plastic containers with no liquid is really not feta. I have no idea what it is other than a salty cheese curd of some sort. Splurge for the good stuff once if you’ve never had it and you’ll see what I’m talking about!!

Preparing Tomato and Feta Salad for a crowd?

Buy the large clam shell of tomatoes at Costco and a chunk of their feta. It will serve as a side for probably about 15 people.