August 30, 2010

Grilled "Chicken" Wraps

For lunch today, I have created something quick and easy. If you have never tried Morningstar's Grillers Chicken, I highly recommend it. It is made of soy but it tastes just like chicken right off the BBQ.

  • 1 Morningstar Grillers Chicken
  • 2 garden vegetable and spinach tortillas
  • lettuce
  • tomatoes
  • pickles
  • mustard
Zap the soy patty in the microwave in 90 seconds, then the tortillas for 20 seconds. Tear patty into bite size pieces and place in wrap along with a ton of your desired veggies and your favorite condiment. Voila! Grab a piece of fruit and I promise you this meal will fill you up.

August 23, 2010

Quick lunch

My interest in chickpeas heightened while living in the Fiji Islands. The Indo-Fijians, who are originally from India cook with chickpeas frequently and make wonderful curries. The only downfall was you could only find them dried. I would boil the heck out of them and they still wouldn't be the same texture as canned chickpeas. I made the most of it and still ate them all of the time. I mostly made hummus.
I haven't made many chickpea salads but I found this one in Better Homes and Gardens and decided to try it. I used cherry tomatoes instead of roma and substituted pita chips for the regualar pita bread. It's good but I am going to play around with the ingredients next time and make it even tastier.

Chickpea Salad with Pita Chips
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 ounces feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • pita chips

Combine the vinegar, oil, and salt/pepper to taste. Mix with chickpeas, tomatoes, and mint. Add feta right before serving.

August 21, 2010


My good friend Crystal was telling me about this spicy green pepper relish that her grandfather used to can. He has passed and she hasn't eaten it since and has been really craving it. I love a challenge and set out to replicate this relish that reminded her of her grandpa. She read me his barely readable diction of the recipe and I looked up green pepper relish recipes online to compensate for parts of the recipe that were unclear. This is what I came up with.

Spicy Green Pepper Relish
  • 12 green and red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 6 white onions, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
  • 3 poblano peppers, chopped
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 TB mustard seed
  • 1 TB celery seed
Using a food processor, grind the peppers and white onions to the desired size. I chopped mine very finely. Place in a huge bowl and mix in the salt. Cover and refrigerate overnight. The peppers and onions will sweat and there will be a lot of liquid left over. Strain out all of the liquid. Add water and strain again. For the best result, I used a cheesecloth to remove excess liquid. You want to make sure and remove most of the salt.

In a saucepan, bring the vinegar, sugar, mustard and celery seed to a boil over low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add veggies and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
You can either refrigerate or can the relish. I chose to can. If you refrigerate, it will last 3 weeks. If you can the relish, it will be good up to 1 year if placed in a cool, dark place.

August 13, 2010

What's for Lunch?

I found a new recipe in Redbook magazine that looked quite good. Salmon Nicoise Salad with mustard vinaigrette. Nicoise salad is comprised of boiled eggs, tomato halves, lettuce, nicoise olives, boiled new potatoes, steamed green beans and tuna. I exchanged the tuna for grilled salmon. Brush a little oil on each side of the salmon, sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill approximately 3-4 minutes on each side over medium heat.

Vinaigrette's are very easy to make and so much better than the over-processed salad dressings in the supermarkets. First, grill 2 lemon halves which gives the juice a nice flavor. Then squeeze the juice of the two lemons in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of spicy mustard and 2 tablespoons of honey. Again, use locally harvested honey. Local honey is available at the Richmond Farmer's Market and it is really tasty! Whisk it all together, add salt if needed and pour over the salad. Homemade salad dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 months!

August 12, 2010


My favorite thing to make this summer has been pesto. Freshly picked basil is available at the Richmond Farmer's Market for $1.50/bundle. The farm stand that sells the basil is also organic, which is awesome!!

I make pesto a variety of different ways. I use basil or cilantro, almonds or walnuts, Parmesan or feta. It's fun to mix it up and try different recipes to suit your taste and the dish.
Pesto can be basted on grilled shrimp, mixed with whole grain penne pasta, or spread on a toasted baguette for a quick appetizer.
I don't measure ingredients when I make pesto, just throw it in and it will come out just fine.

Basic Pesto:

  • A bunch of basil or cilantro, roughly chopped
  • A handful of nuts (almonds, walnuts, pine)
  • A few glugs of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic (add more if you love it, like me!)
  • grated cheese (feta, parmesan)
  • salt to taste
Put everything in a food processor and pulse until it forms a choppy texture. Add more olive oil if you want it more runny. If you want a fine pesto, just keep it in longer. I prefer big chunks of basil/cilantro in my pesto. Pour mixture over cooked pasta or a salad for a healthy, fresh dish. (No cooking is required of the pesto.)

It is best served fresh but the pesto will keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for several days. If you want to save any for later use, just freeze in an ice cube tray, pop out when frozen and put in a freezer bag.

August 9, 2010

Catching up.

It has been 2 weeks since my last post and I have to apologize. I went on a family trip to visit friends in St. Louis and it threw off my cooking for a good week. I have been looking for beets at the Richmond Farmer's Market lately and finally found some. But, they were tiny! I don't know if they picked them too early or if they are supposed to be this small, but I bought them anyway.

Beets have always been on salad bars, but I notice most people would not go near them. I tried them out once and loved them and have eaten them ever since. My only thing was I had only tried canned beets and I wanted to eat fresh. So I bit the bullet and bought the tiny beets.
I keep seeing recipes for roasted beet salads, but since I won't have enough beets for a salad I decided to still roast them in the oven.

I cut off the tops and bottoms, brushed with a little extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Throw in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork. After they were cooked, I just peeled them and popped them in my mouth. It took about 30 seconds to eat them.