I’m glad Josie at Pink Parsley didn’t think it was weird when I shot her a quick message telling her I was going to be stranded in her hometown (4 hours from my hometown) with nothing to do for about 8 hours waiting to catch a flight to LA. I was hoping she’d invite me over to kill the free time I had. Wouldn’t you know? She did.
I informed my husband I was going to a blogger’s house for breakfast and he basically said “had fun,” without really thinking through the scenario, I suppose. He did, responsible man that he is, eventually ask Josie’s last name at the last minute in case I went into labor or something.
Yeah. I guess I haven’t mentioned that on the blog but I’m currently pregnant. Like, really pregnant. Juuust shy of 36 weeks. You might have seen some hints of it on Instagram or maybe you made inferences based on my lack of blog posts lately. Or maybe by now my readers have dwindled down to only people that know me in real life anyway in which case this is no news to you
Anyway, Josie and I had tons to talk about from babies, to raising little boys, to recipes. One recipe that came up was a lightened up homemade Ranch dressing.
She mentioned the recipe on her blog was a lightened up version of a recipe she’d seen on Shawnda’s blog, Confections of a Foodie Bride. I would also like to mention that if I was stranded in whatever part of Texas Shawnda lives in, I’d also send her a note begging for a lunch or something to help kill my time. Hopefully, she’d oblige. And by the way, I’d do the same for all you people but I know you’ll never be stranded in my town of Population 500 in rural South Carolina.
Anyway. After talking about Ranch dressing I basically had to make it as soon as I got home and it was shockingly easy. I don’t know why it seems intimidating but it totally shouldn’t. Josie’s adapted recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook (via Shawnda’s blog!) is a lightened up version of the original and I changed Josie’s version just slightly to make it more of a veggie dip and less of a dressing by omitting the buttermilk so the consistency was thicker. I took the dip to a dinner party and it was a resounding hit – so much that people were finding random things after the veggies were long gone to dip in the dressing just to have more of it.
Ranch Veggie Dip (adapted from Pink Parsley; originally from The Gourmet Cookbook)
- 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 3 Tbs snipped fresh chives
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 tsp dried dill
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice if desired. If mixture is too thick, add a splash of buttermilk. If too thin, thicken with additional Greek yogurt.
- Store, chilled, in an airtight container.
A friend came to visit me and brought with her some eggs that her mom’s chickens had laid.
I couldn’t think of anything besides eating these eggs for dinner so naturally I planned our evening’s dinner around them. Generally when I make breakfast potatoes I make a recipe that I remember from my childhood. My mom would always make us rosemary skillet potatoes after chilly mornings browsing the local flea market. And though I keep attempting to master the recipe, I just can’t. I’m sort of a bad potato cooker and the fact that her recipe is cooked entirely stovetop means the potatoes, for me, never get soft enough before they get too dark on the outside (and by dark I mean burned). Now I can make do with an al dente potato. My husband cannot.
This will be our family’s breakfast potato recipe. It is cooked in the oven, which frees up the stove for egg frying anyway. The recipe calls for bell peppers and I think it is nice to add a little veggie to the potatoes when you can. We loved this meal, partly due to these potatoes, so much that had it two nights in a row for dinner. The recipe as written makes a bunch but I just heated up leftovers on a sheet pan in the oven and they were good as new.
Breakfast Potatoes (adapted from The Pioneer Woman)
- 4-5 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks (1″ cubes)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 whole onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 red bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, garlic, onion, red bell pepper, olive oil, butter, seasoned salt, cayenne pepper and some kosher salt and pepper.
- Pour potatoes onto two rimmed baking sheets. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, shaking the pan twice.
- Raise the heat to 500 degrees and bake until crisp and brown, 15 to 20 minutes, tossing twice.
- Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper before serving.
I had a pretty busy week last week: various after school obligations, doctor’s appointments, my mom’s art opening an hour away in the big city. So when I saw this recipe on Elly’s blog marketed as “15-minutes” I penciled it in for dinner. I knew that it would definitely take me more than 15 minutes (stopping to sequester the cat into the back bedroom, pausing to kiss my elderly dog on the nose, becoming entranced by a story on the evening news) but I knew it would far less than 30 minutes and these days that’s a win.
Also…it had some flavors that got us out of our usual rut. I’ve just been sort of uninspired with the cooking lately (hence the infrequent blog updates) and have sort of been milling around in a circle of familiar flavors (burritos, pastas, take-out).
I buy individually frozen chicken breasts from Costco which are awesome and thaw quickly in the sink. I threw a couple of frozen breasts into the sink, ran out to the barn and did whatever I do out there that takes so long, and came back to chicken ready to be cooked.
The meal came together quickly as promised and was quite delicious. It was refreshing to have some new flavors on our palates and it was refreshing to truly enjoy dinner again (rather than just going through the motions as you do with chores like brushing your teeth).
It is sort of a one pot meal and I packed it all up and ate it cold for lunch the next day. It was fantastic.
Green Chicken with Vegetable Orzo
(adapted from Jamie Oliver)
- 1-1.25 lbs. chicken breast, pounded 1/2″ thin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup orzo
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 small green bell pepper
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- 4 green onions, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped dried dill
- 1/4 cup black olives
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Tzatziki sauce for serving
- Bring chicken broth and water to a boil stovetop. Add orzo and cook according to package directions.
- Meanwhile season the chicken on both sides with the oregano, allspice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and once hot, add the chicken. Cook through, about 4 minutes per side. Rest for a few minutes before slicing into strips.
- Next, remove the stem and seeds from the peppers and chop coarsely. Combine with sliced green onions, black olives, feta cheese, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
- When orzo is tender, rinse in cold water and add to your bowl with the vegetables. Mix thoroughly.
- Add the juice of the lemon, dried dill, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Stir. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Top with sliced chicken breasts and tzatziki sauce.