Orzo “Greek” Pasta Salad

I don’t eat many sides from the grocery store deli but I will always be up for the various Greek pasta salads.

I make this pretty often but my produce usually just reflects what I have on hand. It comes together fairly easily and quickly. It also tastes better the longer everything marries.

Ingredients

Half a box of orzo

1/2 red onion, finely chopped

1/2 cucumber, finely chopped

1/4 tomato, finely chopped

1/3-1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

1/2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped cilantro (optional)

1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp dried mint

Salt and pepper, to taste

Pinch of crushed red pepper (optional)

Chop your veggies

Boil and drain your orzo, rinse under cold water.

Combine dressing ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Combine all ingredients plus dressing. Toss with a wooden spoon or a spatula.

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Peach Pico

This isn’t a precise recipe. It can easily be scaled up for a larger amount. This yielded me about two cups which was more than enough for our dinner tonight.

Taste as you go and adjust to suit your preference. If you have a good peach, your pico should be plenty sweet.

You can easily substitute in other fruits like mango or pineapple!

Combine gently in a large mixing bowl:

1/2 large tomato

1 ripe peach chopped

1/4 chopped medium red onion

1/8 c chopped cilantro

1/2 small jalapeño chopped (seeded if you don’t want it too spicy)

1/4 habenero chopped (ditto)

Zest of half of a lime

Juice of a lime

S&P

Sugar/honey/agave as needed if it isn’t sweet enough

Use as dip or on top of some tacos 🐷

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Balsamic Gorgonzola String Beans

Hey y’all. This isn’t a precise recipe, but just a quick write up of this yummy side dish. Scale to suit your family’s needs.

 

1 bag of trimmed string beans

Chopped garlic

Butter

Olive oil

Cup of slice almonds

1/8-1/4 c balsamic vinegar

Sugar or honey (optional)

Gorgonzola cheese

 

(If you can multi-task, multi-task. Otherwise, do the reduction first)

In a sauce pan, bring the balsamic vinegar and like a little under a regular spoonful of sugar or honey) to a boil then reduce to a simmer.

Add chopped garlic.

Stirring frequently.

Keep an eye on this, you want it to coat the back of a spoon. If it goes too far it will taste pretty gross.

Remove from heat.

Melt a pad of butter into this and fin.

 

In a large tupperware, add the string beans and just a few spoonfuls of water. Microwave with the lid ajar for 3-4 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.

In a skillet over medium heat add olive oil and then melt butter.

Soften chopped garlic then remove.

Increase heat to medium high.

Add drained string beans ands season with salt and pepper.

Sautee until some start to brown up.

Remove from heat.

Add chopped garlic and some sliced almonds.

Drizzle with balsamic reduction.

Top with more sliced almonds and gorgonzola cheese.

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Jerk Chicken Plantain Patties

Ingredients:

 

Plantain Dough

Flour

 

2 chicken breasts

Seasoning (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, coriander, smoked paprika)

 

½ head of a small green cabbage

1 small red onion

1 small sweet onion

1 serrano pepper

1 red jalapeno pepper

 

1-2 tbsp Grace Jerk Seasoning

Low-sodium Chicken Broth

2-3 tbsp brown sugar

Squeeze lime juice

1 tbsp butter

 

½ cup black beans

1 egg for egg wash

(Yields about 20 medium sized patties)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 420
  2. Butterfly and season chicken breasts (or boneless skinless thighs)
  3. Heat cast iron (or heavy bottom) skillet on medium-medium high, sear chicken on both sides, cook mostly through
  4. Remove from heat
  5. Deglaze pan with ½ cup chicken broth

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  1. Dice onions, slice cabbage, chop peppers, chop cilantro
  2. Set 2 tbsp of red onion to the side
  3. Sautee remaining peppers and onions until softened, season lightly with s&pplantain8
  4. Remove a tbsp of cooked onions and peppers and put in a small bowl
  5. Add cabbage to peppers and onions, add reserved red onion and toss together

 

  1. In the small bowl, mash beans together with the onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juiceplantain11

 

  1. Set chicken to the side

 

  1. Bring the deglazed pan to a boil, add jerk seasoning, squeeze of lime juice, butter and brown sugar

 

  1. Stir and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary (I added additional clove to pump up the jerk)

 

  1. Chop chicken and add to the jerk sauce, sprinkle a little corn starch and stir, sauce should thicken

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  1. Toss with cabbage mixture and set aside to cool

 

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  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment
  2. Flour surface and roll out plantain dough to about 1/8-1/4”
  3. Using a round container (I used the small soup container from Chinese take out)
  4. Place discs on parchment
  5. Assemble:
    1. Flour surface
    1. Gently elongate disc using rolling pin/tool
    1. Black bean mixture, shredded cheese, chicken and cabbage
    1. Fold shut and press to secure
    1. Gently crimp using a fork
    1. Place complete patties on second lined baking sheetplantain21plantain23plantain24plantain26plantain27
  6. Brush finished patties with egg washplantain28plantain29plantain30plantain31
  7. You can freeze on baking sheet then store in a freezer bag
    • Bake from frozen at 400 on lined baking sheet
  8. If serving right away, bake at 420 until golden brown, edges will be crispy
  9. Store in the fridge in an airtight containerplantain32plantain33plantain34plantain35plantain36

 

 

 

 

© 2019 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Charred Corn Salad

Summer is the perfect time for light and fresh salads. This corn salad uses fresh vegetables, fresh herbs and bright citrus. It comes together in no time and it can be made ahead! (Pro tip: try this on a taco!)

IMG_5917

Ingredients

3 ears of corn, remove corn from cob

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1 small red onion

1 habenero

1 jalapeno

About ¼ c chopped cilantro

Zest and juice of a lime

Salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder

  1. Heat a pan on high heat
  2. Remove the corn from the cob, if you don’t know how check this out.IMG_5896
  3. With no oil, add the corn and stir oftenIMG_5901
  4. Remove from heat when the corn begins to charIMG_5904
  5. Rinse your beans
  6. Chop your onion, peppers and cilantroIMG_5905
  7. Combine in a large bowlIMG_5908
  8. *Wash your hands after handling the habanero*
  9. Zest your lime
  10. In the bowl, juice your lime
  11. Add seasoningsIMG_5916
  12. Toss together
  13. Serve warm, cold or room temperatureIMG_5922IMG_5924

I served this over spiced chicken thighs and cilantro and lime rice!

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© 2018 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Pumpkin Cornbread

A very homey, Autumny treat. These are lightly spiced. They smell, taste and look like my favorite season. These would be awesome with some really hearty chili. I served these with an equally Autumny Pumpkin Soup!

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Ingredients:

 

1 cup pumpkin puree (fresh or canned)

1 cup reduced fat milk

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 ¼ cup cornmeal

¾ cup AP flour, leveled

½ tsp baking soda

1 tbsp baking powder

¾ tsp

1 dash each: cinnamon, nutmeg, clove

4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

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  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. In a small bowl, whisk and combine puree, milk, sugar and eggs.cb3
  3. In a larger bowl, combine the dry ingredientscb2
  4. You’ll add the wet ingredients to the dry, plus the buttercb6
  5. Using a silicone spatula, just combine; do not over mix your batter
  6. Spray your muffin tin with cooking spray
  7. Scoop your batter into the tinscb7
  8. Bake for about 20 minutes until goldeny; and pass the toothpick test
  9. Allow to cool in the pan before transferring to rack
    1. For a little extra yum, top with butter while they’re hotcb8cb10cb11
  10. Store in air tight container

 

 

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Curry Chicken and Veggie Noodle Stir Fry

A few people have requested the walk through to this dinner. I winged that meal. I posted about the dumplings. I knew that I needed a side that incorporated vegetables. I did not measure most of these ingredients. It’s a very quick dish. Just taste as you go and keep adjusting. You can start with what I have below, but adjust to suit your preferences.

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Ingredient:

1 box of angel hair pasta

Sliced boneless skinless chicken thigh

Shredded cabbage

Shredded carrots

Scallions

Sliced onion

2 tbsp Curry powder

1/8 c Low sodium soy sauce

2 tsp Oyster sauce

½ tsp Fish sauce

Lower sodium chicken stock, as needed

 

 

  1. Salt and bring water to a boil, cook your pasta and drain
  2. In a very large skillet or wok, on high heat cook your chicken
  3. Cook your veg (minus scallions)
  4. Throw the noodles in the pan
  5. Add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce and curry powder.nood
  6. Using tongs, toss the noodles, the veg and the chicken all together to incorporate the ingredientsnood2
  7. Taste, taste, taste and adjust as necessary
  8. If the noodles start to stick, splash in some chicken stock and continue to toss
  9. Top with fresh scallions, whites and greens. Boom!

 

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© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Chicken and Pork Dumplings

No frills. This is a very easy recipe. Once you get the technique down, you can start playing with different flavors and different fillings.

 

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Ingredients:

 

Wonton wraps

Roughly chopped scallions

¼ c shredded carrots

4-5 oz ground pork

4-5 oz ground chicken thigh

Small splash of sesame oil

1 tsp of oyster sauce

½ tsp of fish sauce

2 tbsp of low sodium soy sauce

 

  1. As you are working, keep your wontons covered with a kitchen towel to prevent them from drying out.
  2. In a large bowl, combine your ingredients using a spatulawontonwontonnnnjnn3
  3. In a sauce pan, cook a small amount of meat to taste your seasoning. Adjust as you see fit.wonton4
  4. Using a spoon, scoop a small amount of meat on to your wonton wrapper. Don’t over fill.wt5wt7wt8
  5. Dip your finger in water and rub it along the edge
  6. Fold the opposite side of the wontons and seal them
    1. You can totally do a more fancy seal. This is the easiest one in my book.
  7. I steamed these dumplings using a steamer basket
    1. Bring a little bit of water to a boil then reduce to a simmer
    2. Spray basket with cooking spray
    3. Place several dumplings at a time
    4. Steam for 5-6 minuteswt9wt10
  8. I seasoned mine impeccably and they didn’t need a sauce, however, if you want a sauce I whipped one up here

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© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved

Quinoa, Chickpea and Feta Salad

This is one of my go-to salads. I am obsessed with all things feta. I’d eat it by the handful, tbh. I often do variations of this based on what I have in my house at the time. This salad can be served warm or cold. Sometimes you just crave a big colorful bowl of veggies. Feta and balsamic go together beautifully.

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Some optional add ins:

  • cucumber
  • zuchinni
  • squash
  • fresh basil
  • fresh mint
  • fresh oregano
  • tofu
  • chopped chicken if you absolutely need meat

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of rinsed and strained chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
    • you can use a cup of halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cup of fresh spinach
  • 1 cup (measured uncooked) quinoa
  • 1 cup of feta
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar (optional, I love vinegar)
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic dressing
  • Seasoning, to taste:
    • kosher salt
    • black pepper
    • crushed red pepper
    • crushed mint
    • oregano
  1. Prepare your quinoa
    • I prepare my quinoa the same way I prepare my brown rice: LIKE PASTA! Boil it to your desired doneness and then drain in a strainer. Boom!
  2. Chop your veg
  3. Measure out your seasoningsal2
  4. Add to a large bowl
  5. Add cooked quinoa
    • The cooked quinoa will warm the salad and wilt the spinachsal1
  6. Add seasoning
  7. Add dressing(s)
  8. Toss
  9. Serve warm or coldsal3sal4sal5

 

Super Loaded Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

I was messing around in the kitchen yesterday evening trying to find something quick and easy. I had some bleu cheese leftover from buffalo bacon cheeseburgers (omg) last week. I noticed that I had some mondo-potatoes in my batch. They were obscenely large. If I grow a third ear, we’re going to blame it on the potatoes.

 

These are super indulgent and also super easy to make. I didn’t sub any low-fat ingredients this time so this is full of fat ergo perfect and hella delicious.

 

This was an improvised meal so the ingredients are not exact. It’s not so much a recipe as it is a template. Honestly, just use what you have and adjust proportions to suit your taste. It can be easily scaled as well.

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Ingredients:

Potatoes

1-2 c shredded chicken

3-4 strips of crispy bacon

About a tbsp of cream cheese

About ¼ c of bleu cheese

½ cup of shredded cheese, extra for topping

4 scallions, whites and greens

About ¼ c of pickled jalpenos

1 habenero

½ medium red onion, finely chopped

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Chili powder

 

 

  1. Preheat your oven to 425
  2. Clean potatoes
    • Rub with oil and season with s&p
    • Pierce with a fork or knife
  3. Place bacon on baking sheet and place into the oven as well
    • (you can do this on the stove if you prefer).
  4. Bake potatoes for about 45 to 60 minutes
    • Remove the bacon once its crispy
    • DO NOT BURN YOUR BACON. It’s like treason or something.
  5. Meanwhile, you can chop and prep your veg and other fixinsPS
  6. Allow to cool
  7. Chop your bacon, reserve some for topping
  8. Carefully scoop out the insides and place into a bowl
  9. Add cream cheese and bleu cheesePS2
  10. Using a fork incorporate ingredients, add salt and pepper
  11. In large bowl, combine the chicken, seasonings and fixins using a silicon spatula
  12. Fill the potato skins with the fillingPS3
  13. Top with shredded cheese
  14. Place back into the oven until the cheese is melted and the potatoes are warmed through
  15. Top with more bacon and more scallions

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Lazy Buffalo Sauce for a drizzle:

Using a 1:1 ratio, add hot sauce to melted butter and whisk until combined.

Optional: Jazz it up with Worcestershire, granulated garlic, cayenne and a little white vinegar.

 

 

© 2017 by Alexa Mason. All Rights Reserved