Monday, February 22, 2010

What an inspiration weekend!

Susan and Steve invited us and some others over for a dinner at their house. Knowing that it would be a late evening, I took a LONG nap before heading over to their home at 8:30. Good thing since we got home way past 3 am! Well, I was truly inspired! Steve is an amazing cook, I would use the term chef, but I think that you have to go to school to be called that! Anyways, we started off with this amazing dip... scallops, shrimp, tilapia, with mango and peppers, etc.... delicious. Then some chipotle sausage with a wide variety of sauces to dip it in. Well, after this and being full, we had a spinach salad with blackberries and raspberries and a mango poppy seed dressing. On top of the salad was bacon wrapped scallops and seared tuna steaks! WOW! This could have been the entree, but instead we had chipotle raspberry sauteed chicken breasts with asparagus (think these were marinated in italian dressing?) all plated beautifully over shoepeg corn with peppers and seasonings. It was simple delicious.
Of course, their wine collection would make any one's mouth water! I dream of having a wine stash like that!

This meal was an inspiration because of the presentation. When I plate dinners, it just simply doesn't look like this! I must work on the aesthetic appeal. It was also an inspiration because of how well everything complemented the mix of flavors. I hope to be this creative in the kitchen one day... I just LOVE following recipes versus creating on my own and experimenting. Steve reminded me a lot of my brother... he can just throw stuff together and also has a wonderful presentation. The only difference between the two... John simply never makes the same thing twice, so there is never a recipe! He just creates and then the next time it is somewhat the same but also different!

I will be posting some recipes this week, so make sure to try them out!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sonoma Chicken Salad

Coming up for lunch ideas is a tough thing to do for us. For one, I am limited at work on microwave options... That will be changing soon, but regardless sometimes if you are warming up something that has a strong flavor you feel bad for stinking up an office!
Ryan will eat whatever for lunch, which helps out a lot! We usually buy chicken salad from Whole Foods or V.Richards, where the salad is already made up and ready to go! However, after wasting time one day on Whole Foods website, they posted our FAVORITE chicken salad.... Sonoma Chicken Salad! I was so happy because at $9.99 per pound of this stuff, you say to yourself, if only I could get the recipe! So, please enjoy this one, it is amazing and when you take out your lunch at work, you will feel important with this fancy looking and colorful salad!

Sonoma Chicken Salad:
From Whole Foods


1 cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar (love Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar)

5 teaspoons honey

2 teaspoons poppy seeds (or less if you don't like too many poppy seeds)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3/4 cup pecan pieces, toasted

2 cups organic red seedless grapes

3 stalks organic celery, thinly sliced


In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, poppy seeds, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to

dress the salad. This can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the chicken breasts in one layer in a baking dish with 1/2 cup water. Cover

with foil and bake 25 minutes until completely cooked through. Remove cooked chicken breasts from pan, cool at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cover and refrigerate.

When the chicken is cold, dice into bite-size chunks and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in pecans, grapes,

celery and dressing.

It is really good to put on a bed of lettuce (preferably bibb lettuce) or put on a pita.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Greek Pasta Bake

Hello All!
Last week was another crazy week, we did eat well, but I am still slacking on my blogging. I am currently finishing my year long training program at Pilates on Highland. I test out next Wednesday, then I will be a full instructor! So, needless to say between the papers to write and the reformer work that I am attempting to master, it is crazy!

Other than that, we had a great Valentine's Day. I will post some yummy recipes from what I made on Vday for our neighbors on another post, but it was super delicious so you will want to check those recipes out.

For now, here is the Greek Pasta Bake (once again with no pictures-I am too lazy to upload them!)

Greek Pasta Bake (adapted from Tasty Kitchen)

3 chicken breasts (diced into bite size chunks)
8 oz whole wheat penne pasta
28 oz tomato sauce
1 jar artichokes (drained)
1 jar roasted red peppers (drained)
14.5 diced tomatoes (drained)
1 bag of chopped frozen spinach (thaw it out and then squeeze it until it is dry)
1/2 cup of onion
1 can (2.25 oz) sliced black or green olives
1 bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbs red pepper flakes
1/2 or more cups mozzarella cheese (I used smoked Mozzarella Cheese which was amazing!)
1/2 cups Crumbled feta cheese (I must be honest and say that I didn't measure, so I probably used more!)

Oven preheated to 400 Degrees
Boil water and start cooking pasta, drain when al dente
Cook chicken in pan with a little olive oil until cooked through
Combine cooked chicken, pasta, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, roasted peppers, olives, onion, yellow pepper, and spices (basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes). Add a dash of salt and pepper if you wish. Mix this all together well. Then put in 9x13 pan and sprinkle the top with the feta and mozzarella. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly!

You will love this meal, we ate it for several dinners as it dose make a lot for just 2 people, but we love leftovers on busy weeks!

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Look Ahead

While reviewing recipes to make for the week, I have decided to try a lot of new meals this week!
Just to get you excited, here is what I am planning on making!

Greek Chicken Pasta Bake
Sonoma Chicken Salad
Chicken Gyros
Jalepeno Popper Dip

Check back through the week, I will try to take some pics and definitely post the recipes and my "critical review" haha.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Goat Cheese Pasta

Above copyrighted by Mandi! I am so lazy and bad at putting pics up that now people take pics of them themselves and send to me! LOVE IT! Thanks girl for sending me a great pic!

Lots has been going on here in the Pearce home, we have been "winter cleaning" if you will. I think that we are going to get a bill from the waste management company regarding the large amounts of trash we are putting out! It is so refreshing though to clean closets and the garage out!
Anyways, to move on to a delicious recipe....
Holly from Pilates on Highland inspired me to make this easy recipe that she enjoys herself. It is delicious, we have made it several times.

Goat Cheese Pasta:

Benissimo Brand Italian Olive Oil (this is an olive oil that comes with added seasonings right in the glass jar-add all the flavor you need! It is available at Publix, Whole Foods, etc)
4 Organic Chicken Breast
1 Organic Green Pepper
1 Organic Red Pepper
1 Organic Yellow Pepper
1 Head Organic Broccoli
8 Ounces Organic Whole Wheat Pasta (I like the Bow Ties or Spirals, but you can use whatever you have in the pantry)
Approx 4 ounces of Belle Chevre Goat Cheese (or other type of Goat Cheese but this one is made in alabama and is simply amazing!)
Optional: Toasted Pine Nuts

Chop the peppers, toss in the olive oil and bake on 350 for about 45 minutes (or until they reach your particular texture that you enjoy)

Cook the pasta until al dente and drain

Cut the broccoli where you just have the florets, rinse well. Then get a bowl that will hold the amount of broccoli that you have, wrap the broccoli in a wet paper towel (may need two depending on the amount) and make sure that the paper towel(s) covers all of the broccoli and that it is not damp but rather wet. Then put in microwave for approx 4 minutes, until steamed. By the way this is how I always cook my broccoli!

Cut the chicken in bite size pieces (cubed). Toss the Chicken in the olive oil and add to medium-hot pan. Cook the chicken until done. Don't be afraid to add more of that olive oil if you need it!

Once the peppers are roasted, combine the chicken, pasta, peppers, and broccoli. At this point add about 2 TBS of the olive oil and toss. Then add the goat cheese and combine all. The goat cheese will make the dish creamy and soooo tasty! If you want, add some toasted pine nuts!

This dish is quick and easy, plus it tastes great and is great to warm up for leftovers!
I am working on taking pics of the meals, so next time I make it, I will put a pic up!

Give me feedback if you enjoy!