Buffalo Chicken Salad

Dental school continues to take over my life… the good news is, I graduate in approximately 287 days, 14 hours and 15 minutes. But, I mean, who’s counting?  Last week I took part 2 of my national board exam.  2500 dollars and 3 days of testing later, lets just say it sucked.  The light at the end of the tunnel is dim, but it’s there.

In between the craziness of  school I’ve managed to squeeze in some great times with friends and family. Summertime is my favorite time of year. It’s the season of weddings, cookouts, festivals, pool days and all things warm and fuzzy…  I am sad to realize that it is already over half way over.  Where has the time gone?

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So speaking of summer, I think this is an awesome light summer recipe.  I am so excited to share this recipe because it is so simple and so delicious.  I love that this recipe used greek yogurt as an alternative to mayo, which is in traditional chicken salads.  I’m also pretty much obsessed with anything with Franks Red Hot in it, I think it temporarily satisfies my craving for chicken wings.  And by temporarily I mean for like 5 minutes.  I hope you all enjoy this as much as I did.

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup Franks Red Hot Wings Buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, shredded
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • 1/2 cup  crumbled blue cheese ( I hate blue cheese… so I skipped this and a splash or ranch dressing instead!)

Instructions:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt buffalo sauce, garlic powder, and black pepper.

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2. Stir in chicken, celery, cilantro, and blue cheese.

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3. Refrigerate until serving.  I served mine in pita pockets.  Delicious.

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Recipe has been modified from: The Novice Chef 

Other recipes I’ve made with Franks Red Hot:

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Moms Christmas Rice

Merry Christmas! Christmas this year was low key and quiet, but I loved every moment of it.  We celebrated with my in-laws the weekend before Christmas.  Christmas day was spent with Mom and Husband.  We stayed in pjs, watched movies, and ate endless amounts of food all day long.  Perfection!

For dinner on Christmas day mom made us her famous Christmas Rice, it was delicious! This is one of my favorite dishes, once you start eating it, you can’t stop… consider yourself warned.

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Pound Lean ground beef
  • 1.5 Cups rice 
  • 3 Cups water
  • 4 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 Yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Package sliced almonds

Instructions: 

1. Cook ground beef in skillet, drain excess fat.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

2. Place 2 tablespoons of butter in pot and chopped onion.  Saute onions until bright golden yellow color.

3.  Add rice, water, cinnamon and salt.  Bring to boil. Cover pot and simmer, until rice is cooked.

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4. While rice is cooking add 2 tablespoons butter and almonds to skillet.  Saute almonds until lightly browned.

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5.  In serving dish arrange cooked rice, ground beef, and almonds as desired.

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Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

Erin, this post is for you! 🙂

For those of you who are sick of the pumpkin craze, my apologies. Yesterday we had friends over for Friendsgiving and it was wonderful.  We had so much food and great friends to celebrate an early Thanksgiving with.   I made this double layer pumpkin cheesecake and it turned out awesome.   So many people are afraid of making cheesecake, but have no fear! I promise this is completely doable, even for you non-bakers!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Instructions: 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Blend in eggs one at a time. Remove 1 cup of batter and spread into bottom of crust; set aside.

3. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, cloves and nutmeg to the remaining batter and stir gently until well blended. Carefully spread over the batter in the crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until center is almost set. Allow to cool, then refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight. Cover with whipped topping before serving.

 


I hope everyone have has a fabulous Thanksgiving.

Our thoughts and prayers are still with those who lost everything in hurricane Sandy and are spending Thanksgiving in shelters.

Eggplant Rolls

Hello friends!

I’m sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted.  Things have been a little hectic around here. We had a rough final exams week last week, thank God that’s over.  I’m pretty sure I loose at least 5 years off my life during each finals week because of stress alone. This week I’ve been on spring break and it has been wonderful.  I went to Chicago for a few day, I love Chicago.  My mom had a work conference there so I met her there and snuck in some much needed quality mommy time.  ❤

Now, on to more important things – like Eggplant Rolls. Yummy! I served these next to some pasta, green beans, and a salad and they turned out delicious.

Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Medium Eggplants
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 whole Egg, beaten
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese, divided
  • ½ cups grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ cups Basil
  • 2 cups Italian Seasoning
  • 2 cups of your favorite Pasta Sauce

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut off stem of each eggplant and slice lengthwise into 6 slices. Put the slices on backing sheets, brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Roast eggplant for 8 – 10 minutes per side, remove from the oven, making sure they are tender.  Cover with foil and allow to steam for another 10 minutes.

3.  Combine ricotta, egg, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh basil, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper to taste.

4.  Spread half of the pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Evenly divide the ricotta filling over the eggplant slices and spread to cover completely. Starting with the narrower end, roll up each eggplant slice tightly.

5. Place eggplant seam side down in dish and top with remaining pasta sauce. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of Mozzarella and ¼ cup of Parmesan cheese. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.

Middle Eastern Beef Goulash

Last nights initial dinner plan was a homemade chicken noodle soup… and then the sun was shinning and it was close to 50 degrees outside.  During a normal February day in Ohio it would be gloomy, snowy, and freezing outside, aka soup weather.  Not so much the case for today (which I am so okay with!). Chicken noodle soup, will just have to wait.

Instead, I was really in the mood for some home cooked Arabic food.  This is the middle eastern version of goulash, and its so so yummy.  It can be made with ground beef or with a feta cheese blend.  This is one of grandma’s recipes, it was my first time making it and she will be pleased to know that it turned out delicious!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package defrosted philo dough (usually found in frozen food section)
  • 1 cup butter (or margarine) melted

Instructions: 

1.  Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Heat oil in pan.  Add onion.  Once onions are golden yellow, add ground beef.  Cook ground beef until completely browned, drain any excess fat.  Season ground beef with salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Melt 1 cup of butter.  Brush 13 x 9 baking dish liberally with butter.  Cut philo dough to fit baking dish (I had to cut mine in half).  Begin layering philo dough one sheet at a time.  Between every 3-4 layers, brush liberally with butter. Continue until 1/2 way through phil dough sheets.

 

4.  Once half way through philo dough sheets, add cooked ground beef evenly. Continue layering philo dough sheets, still adding butter between every 3-4 sheets.  Once last sheet has been placed, section with knife into sizes that you’d like to serve.  Place final layer of butter.

5.  Bake in oven, uncovered for 45 minutes.  For first 20 minutes place on low rack, during remaining time place in middle rack of oven.

 

Molokhia

So this recipe by no means belongs in the all-american meal category….in case you didn’t notice when you read the title and had trouble pronouncing it.  This is an Arabic dish that my mom made us quite regularly growing up and it’s delicious.  It’s something so simple and so comforting that brings me right back to being at home.

Molokhia (pronounced mulukhyia) is a green leafy plant and is prepared by finely chopping the leaves and cooking it in a chicken broth with some garlic.  No, I don’t have my own little molokhia garden growing in the back – however, most arabic stores sell this in the frozen food section.  Here’s what the package looks like:

 

As far as the nutrition facts go, 1/2 cup is 20 calories, it has 0.3 grams of fat, 3.1 grams of carbohydrates, and 1.3 grams of proteins.  It’s traditionally served over rice and/or some pita breads that’s made crunchy in the oven!  The consistency might seem a little strange to some – I guess some people might describe it as “slimy?”  But I promise it’s not a gross slime 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Molokhia
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic

Instcturions:

1. Put 4 cups of water in pot.  Add 2 bouillon cubes.  Bring to boil. (This part is actually the lazy way out…you’re supposed to boil chicken and use the stock from the chicken instead of the water and cubes)

2. Reduce heat to medium-high.  Add frozen package of Molokhia and salt.  NEVER bring to a boil, leaves and water will separate.

3.  Once hot, place 1 teaspoon of margarine in separate, small pan. Add garlic and cook until golden yellow color.  Now add garlic to soup.

4.  Serve over rice.  Enjoy!

Moussaka – aka “Eggplant Lasagna”

I spent most of my childhood in Dallas and it’s a place that i’ve called home for so many years now. So, since I had some time off school, I decided to go visit family that I have in Dallas.  While I was there I spent some serious quality time with my Teta (Grandma, in arabic).  I took full advantage of this time and was able to get some awesome recipes from her! 🙂

My goofy little cousins!

Tonight I made moussaka for dinner and it turned out delicious.  If you don’t know what moussaka is, the best way to describe it is as an eggplant lasagna. This is one of my hubby’s favorite meals so I was pretty nervous about making it.  I know I don’t quite have the skill level of my grandma or even his mom, so expectations were high! Nonetheless, it turned out yummy!!

Just as a heads up, this took me about 40 minutes to get everything together and in the oven. If you’re making this recipe for 2 people, cut all ingredients and cooking time in half!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Eggplants
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground red pepper (optional, added for spice)
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomato
  • Shredded mozzerlla cheese
Instructions:
  1. Make 1 cup of rice.  Allow to cook while you prepare the rest of the meal.
  2. Prepare 2 eggplants: cut off ends of eggplant, peel eggplant using vegetable peeler.  Cut lengthwise in to 1/2 inch thickness.
  3. Take each slice of eggplant and brush olive oil on both sides.  Then sprinkle both sides lightly with salt and pepper.  Place on baking sheet.
  4. Set oven to broil.  Place baking sheet in oven for 5 minutes.  Then remove from oven and flip slices of eggplant over.  Put back in oven for 5 more minutes. Then set aside.  (This is an alternative to the traditional way of making moussaka, which is deep frying the sliced eggplant.)
  5. Heat 1 tsp olive oil, brown 1/2 cup of chopped onion. Then add ground beef and brown.  Drain any excess fat.  Season ground beef with salt and pepper.  (I used approximately 1/2 tsp of each).  Set aside.
  6. In small pot heat 1 tsp of olive oil.  Brown 1/4 cup of chopped onion.  Add 1 can of tomato sauce, 1 can of diced tomatoes.  Bring to boil.  Season with 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, and 1/4 tsp of ground red pepper.  Set this sauce aside.
  7. In a separate bowl, add 1 can of tomato sauce with 1 cup of water.  You also want to season this watered down tomato sauce with salt, pepper, and ground red pepper.
  8. Now we are ready to assemble the lasagna!  Use a 13×9 baking dish.  Brush baking dish with olive oil.  Line bottom of pan with a small amount of the watered down tomato sauce.
  9. Line baking dish with sliced eggplant.  Add ground beef on top of the first layer of eggplant.   Then add layer of tomato sauce with diced tomatoes.  Sprinkle a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
  10. Place a second layer of eggplant.   Spread remaining watered down tomato sauce on top layer of eggplant.  Sprinkle top of “lasagna” with shredded mozzarella cheese.
  11. Cover baking dish with foil.  Bake in oven on 400 degrees for 35 minutes. You should see some of the tomato sauce bubbling on the very bottom of the baking dish.  Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes.
  12. Remove from oven.  Serve over rice and enjoy.