Menu Plan 3/11-3/17

I’m not gonna lie. This could be the most exhausted I’ve ever been. It’s the best kind of exhausted though. This week was supposed to be my “Spring Break” from school. You know, a time to catch up on papers, projects, sleep… etc. Ha! Instead, I’m catering a lunch for 300 people today and will be working a really large local event at a Country Club  most of next week. Currently, I’m scheduled for 60+ hours! If you haven’t figured it out, apparently I am crazy.

Needless to say, because of how hectic next week will be, I’ll take advantage of my day off Monday to prep most of my dinners for the week. Quick and Easy is the name of the game.

Sunday: Rolling over the Garlic Alfredo and Panzanella from last week.

Monday: Spicy Citrus Shrimp Tacos with Southwestern Cream Sauce, black bean and corn salsa

Tuesday: I’m making a big batch of Turkey Chili to munch on through out the week.

Wednesday: Orange and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, crash hot potatoes and broccoli

Thursday: Leftover Turkey Chili

Friday: Grilled Lime Chicken with chimichurri sauce, brown rice with tomatoes and leftover black bean and corn salsa.

Saturday: A gigantic burger. Most likely, Brie Stuffed Burgers and french fries.

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Posted in Menu Plan Suggestions | 2 Comments

Tips & Tricks: Using up all that Garlic!

I love garlic. So I never hesitate to buy the gigantic buckets of peeled garlic cloves every time I get the chance at Sams. When I started buying the bulk garlic, I couldn’t use it fast enough before it started to go bad. Now that I know how to use it I am getting the most for my money! Instead of buying that pre-chopped garlic packed in God knows what, use your food processor and a little olive oil and make your own! It stores in your fridge beautifully, and makes it so easy to have minced garlic for your recipes. I also roast batches of the garlic cloves in foil and freeze it off in batches. That way when I need roasted garlic (and let’s be honest, when don’t I?) I can pull a bag out of the freezer and toss it in any recipe!

I’m all about saving money, eating less preservatives and quick help at dinner time. These really aren’t recipes, more directions for preparation, so adjust as needed! 🙂

Chopped Garlic

In a food processor pulse garlic until minced, move garlic to storage container, leaving about 1/2 inch from top of jar. Top with about 1/2 inch of olive oil and seal tightly. This will last about 2-3 weeks in the fridge. I add a little more oil when I am about half way down the jar to help keep the garlic moist.

1 teaspoon of chopped garlic = 1 garlic clove (approximate)

Roasted Garlic Cloves

Preheat oven to 400. Place garlic cloves on a large sheet of aluminum foil. Drizzle with olive oil to moisten the cloves. Fold up sides of foil to form a sealed pouch. Place on baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until garlic is golden and soft.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge. To freeze, place in a freezer safe bag. I store mine in small snack size bags so I can have small portions, inside a freezer bag and freeze.

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Posted in Tips In The Kitchen... | 2 Comments

Athenian Orzo

I get super excited when I find a relatively healthy recipe that is delicious and has a large serving size. It is literally the best of both worlds. It appeals to the “healthier” me while simultaneously appealing to my inner fattie.

I knew just by looking at this recipe that it would be delicious and it totally was. At 400 calories per serving (well a little more than 400 because I added a little more cheese) it is a fantastic healthy weeknight dinner. Plus it finishes in the oven which is my favorite type of dinner because it gives me time to clean up, which saves me from the dreaded after dinner clean up. Do yourself a favor. Give this a try, it comes together very quickly and tastes amazing!

Athenian Orzo

Slightly Adapted from: Eating Well
Serves 4


1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 large tomatoes, chopped (canned diced tomatoes would work here as well, but fresh tastes so much better!)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper
1 pound medium shrimp, (30-40 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 cup orzo
3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or other 3-quart) baking dish with cooking spray. Put a large pot of lightly salted water on to boil.
Heat oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add wine and cook for about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, oregano, basil, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper; cook for 5 minutes. Drop in shrimp and cook, stirring, until barely pink, about 2 1/2 minutes.
Cook orzo in the boiling water until tender but still firm, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Toss with the tomato-shrimp sauce. Sprinkle with feta and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley.
Bake, uncovered, until the feta is bubbly, about 10 minutes.


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Posted in 500 Calories or less, Seafood Dishes | 9 Comments

Cuban Black Bean Hummus for Krystal’s Virtual Baby Shower

What can I say. I love babies and I adore Krystal at Mrs. Regueiro’s Plate. So naturally when I was asked to prepare a dish for her Virtual Baby Shower from her friends in the blogging community, I jumped at the chance. We were asked to prepare either a Cuban or Filipino dish to honor the heritage of their gorgeous little family. I originally chose mini empanadas for my dish but I very quickly changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong the empanadas were fantastic but the dough for that specific Cuban empanada was the most difficult dough I have ever worked with. I will certainly have to tweak that recipe a little before sharing it with you.

Enough about that! Back to the party. I stumbled upon this Cuban Black Bean Hummus and knew it would be a winner. Black beans, garlic and lime juice? Pish. Let me just tell you I almost like this more than traditional hummus! I served this with Cuban bread crostinis. I would say this dip is very worthy of celebrating just about anything!

Congratulations Krystal and Eric on your future bundle of joy! I am so happy for both of you!

Be sure to check out all the party fare here, thank you Joelen for hosting the shower!

Cuban Black Bean Hummus

16 ozs black beans (drained)
1 tbsp tahini
3 tbsps olive oil
1 lime juice
2 garlic cloves (peeled and sliced)
1 tsp cumin
salt (taste)
ground pepper (taste)

Combine all of the ingredients into a food processor.
Process until smooth.
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to one week).
Bring to room temperature before serving.
Serve with toasted baguette rounds, pita or fresh vegetable sticks/slices/rounds.

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Posted in Appetizers, Vegetarian Dishes | 5 Comments

Menu Plan: 3/4-3/10

It seems like the closer I get to graduation, the faster time is going. I can’t believe I only have 6 weeks left in class! With that comes papers, projects, portfolios and a lot of work. Thank God this week is Spring Break! I plan on getting a few things marked off my bucket list this week: including focaccia, the infamous Rose Cake and candied bacon. Despite the list above we are trying to stay on the diet this week. The key is sharing, so be on the look out friends who live close by, you may be getting a delivery. 🙂

Sunday: Dinner with friends! To be decided…

Monday: Healthy Sesame Chicken and Brown Rice

Tuesday: Chicken and Biscuit Pot Pie

Wednesday: Seviche Style Shrimp and Avocado Tacos

Thursday: Out at the water park! Dinner will be probably be a sandwich. 🙂

Friday: Thai Chile Beef with leftover brown rice.

Saturday: Garlic infused Fettucine Alfredo and Panzanella.

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Posted in Menu Plan Suggestions | 1 Comment

French Onion Tart

I called this a French onion tart not because it is necessarily “French” but more so because it tastes like a thick cheesy bowl of French onion soup, in tart form of course. The caramelized onions are sweet, the Swiss cheese is a little tangy and the puff pastry crust is buttery. Everything I love about a French Onion soup! We made a version of this tart in class a few weeks ago and I just knew I would have to come home and make it. The result? An INCREDIBLE savory tart loaded with flavor. I served this along side beef with a mushroom sauce and it was the perfect accompaniment. You could serve this with a salad for a vegetarian dinner as well. I’m also aware that this is in a pie pan and not a tart pan but that’s because I didn’t own a tart pan! Can you believe it? Well I do now! Thank you Calphalon outlet. 🙂

This recipe isn’t difficult, it just takes a little time. You know what though? Sometimes that is okay. Especially when the result is this delicious!

French Onion Tart

1 sheet of puff pastry
1 1/2 cups dried beans or uncooked rice for blind baking (these will not be eaten!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large sweet onions, peeled and sliced thinly into half moons
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cracked pepper
4 sprigs of fresh thyme (or about 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme – more to taste)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg, beaten
5-6 oz Swiss cheese, shredded (fresh is really important here, not the bagged stuff)


Preheat oven to 375. Using a 8 inch pie plate (or tart pan) as a guide, invert pie pan on puff pastry. Using a sharp knife, cut around the outline of the pie pan. Set puff pastry scraps aside.* Lightly spray pie pan, lay puff pastry inside pie pan and press to form to pan. Fold over any excess dough around the top inside the pan. Line the dough with parchment paper that has been cut to fit inside the dough and fill the pie pan with dried beans or uncooked rice. This will allow the dough to partially cook without over browning or getting an unruly shape. Bake until crust is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. This will depend on your oven. Once slightly cool, remove parchment and beans (these can be saved for another time). Set aside.

While your crust is cooling (or baking if you are good at multitasking), heat butter and oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add onions, thyme leaves (removed from sprigs), salt and pepper to taste. Allow to slowly caramelize until onions are sweet and golden brown (about 10 to 15 minutes) stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes further. Check seasonings for salt and pepper. Adjust as necessary. Remove from heat, transfer onion mixture to a bowl and allow to cool 5 minutes. Once slightly cooled, add Swiss cheese, egg and cream. Stir to combine. Pour into pie shell, smooth top with spatula. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until tart is mostly set in the middle and golden on the top. This may take up to 25 minutes depending on your oven.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

* Looking for something to do with the leftover puff pastry scraps? Don’t roll them up, leave them flat, folding in half if necessary and roll out evenly. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife cut strips of the puff pastry and twist the strips to form a twisted bread stick of sorts. Season with salt and maybe a little garlic powder and bake at 375 until puffed and golden.

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Posted in Side Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes | 1 Comment

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that I should have a cheese budget. I am a freak for cheese, especially goat cheese. Thankfully I can get a huge log of goat cheese at my local Bulk stores for cheap! It took me about 2 seconds to realize that I needed to make this recipe for dinner. I’ve made several versions of this sauce, but I loved that this one came in under 350 calories per serving. This comes together pretty quickly and tastes amazing. The fact that it’s pretty healthy is just icing on the cake. Thank you Elly Says Opa!

Chicken with Goat Cheese and Sundried Tomato Sauce
Barely Adapted from: Elly Says Opa

2 chicken breast halves, about 5 oz. each
1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine (I used Chardonnay)
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped and drained, if they are oil-packed
2 ounces goat cheese
salt and pepper
Chopped basil for garnish

Sprinkle chicken breast halves with salt and pepper.

Heat skillet over medium heat and add oil.

When oil is hot, add chicken breasts. Cook through, about 3-6 minutes per side depending on how thin they are. Set aside and keep warm. Drain the pan if there is a lot of excess oil.

In the same skillet, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add wine and chicken broth. Increase heat to medium-high and cook liquids down until reduced by half, being sure to scrape up the browned bits from the chicken.

Add in sun-dried tomatoes and heat through. Take skillet off the heat and stir in goat cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with basil if desired.

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Posted in 500 Calories or less, Chicken Dishes | 4 Comments