Wednesday, April 29

Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Salad

Mediterranean grilled chicken with a creamy and crunchy cucumber relish

Sprouted Kitchen Greek Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki

I'm a sucker for anything with tzatziki, a Greek yogurt sauce, and have featured many recipes for it on this blog. So it should come as no surprise that I have been anxiously waiting to make this recipe (which I've actually adapted quite a bit) for grilled chicken with tzatziki from the Sprouted Kitchen cookbook for several months. This version of tzatziki is actually more of a salad than a sauce and features lots of diced cucumbers, red onion, and herbs with just a little bit of yogurt and lemon to bind it. I also added some chunks of feta, mainly because I'm obsessed with the good sheep's milk feta that's packed in water from Whole Foods (first mentioned here) and have been coming up with excuses to buy it as much as possible. The chicken is marinated in many of the same ingredients that are in the tzatziki, plus some additional herbs and spices, and gets nice and charred on the hot grill. Pounding out the breasts allows the meat to cook evenly and provides extra surface area to spoon the salad on top of. This makes a healthy but filling meal, especially paired with some couscous or warm rice.

Note: This recipe is pretty forgiving about being prepared in advance or reheated. The only thing you should not do is add salt to the tzatziki salad until just before eating. The salt will draw water out of the cucumbers and make the mixture watery if it sits for a long period of time.

Related Recipes:
- Salmon with Radish Raita Sauce
- Grilled Lamb Burgers with Feta, Tzatziki, & Arugula
- Beef & Lamb Kofta with Yogurt Sauce

Yogurt-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Tzatziki Salad:
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/4" thin
- 3 Persian or hothouse cucumbers, diced small (about 3 cups)
- 1/4 red onion, diced small
- 3-4 oz. feta cheese, preferably sheep's milk, diced small
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced + 3 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/3 c. whole-milk Greek yogurt
- 1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/4 c. fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Whisk together 1 c. yogurt, lemon zest, juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. parsley, 2 tbsp. dill, cumin, red chile flakesoregano, and 1 tsp. each of salt and pepper.
  • Place in a resealable bag with the chicken and marinate for 30 mins at room temperature or up to to several hours in the fridge.
  • Preheat a grill to high and remove the chicken from the fridge if it was marinating in there.
  • Grill the chicken for 4 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cucumbers, onion, garlic, and remaining dill and parsley in a bowl.
  • Stir in 1/3 c. yogurt and 3 tbsp. lemon juice and a large pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well and taste for seasoning. Gently stir in the feta, trying not to break it up.
  • Divide the chicken onto plates and top each with a generous amount of tzatziki salad.

Serves four

Tuesday, April 28

Creamy Linguine with Peas

Pasta and sweet peas bathed in heavy cream

Linguine and Peas Bathed in Cream

I love coming home from work, preparing dinner, and being able to eat it (preferably with my husband in our backyard) before the sun goes down. The changing seasons and longer days are getting me excited for warm summer evenings when we can dine al fresco every night. I find myself wanting to do less cooking this time of year so that I can fill my after-work hours with more walks and activities before sunset. This pasta comes from Canal House Cooks Everyday and requires barely any time in the kitchen. Pasta and peas (I can get fresh English peas at my farmers market, and they're worth seeking out if you can find them) are tossed with a generous amount of heavy cream and parmesan cheese... and that's about it. The pasta is creamy but not heavy and is especially good with a simple green salad with an acidic vinaigrette. Add it to your weeknight dinner rotation and you won't be disappointed.

Related Recipes:
- Pesto Orecchiette with Chicken, Peas, & Fava Beans
- Garlicky Fettuccine Alfredo with Peas
- Risotto Carbonara with Peas

Creamy Linguine with Peas:
- 1 lb. linguine or fettuccine pasta
- 1 lb. English peas, fresh or defrosted
- 5-6 scallions, sliced
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1 c. grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tbsp. salted butter
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, season generously with salt (taste it - it should taste a bit salty), and add in the pasta.
  • Cook until 2 minutes before al dente, then add in the peas and scallions and cook for another minute.
  • Drain and reserve 1 c. pasta cooking water and return the empty pot to the stove over low heat.
  • Add the butter and cream to the pot and cook for a couple minutes, or until the mixture starts to bubble.
  • Add in the pasta mixture, parmesan, a splash of the pasta water, and a generous amount of freshly cracked black pepper.
  • Toss together for about a minute, adding more pasta water if needed to moisten. Check for seasoning and add some salt or more pepper if needed.
  • Divide onto plates and serve.

Serves four-five

Tuesday, April 21

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Chocolate chip-pretzel-walnut-granola cookies

Kitchen Sink Cookies

This recipe (adapted slightly from Food52) is like chocolate chip cookies on crack. It starts with a simple cookie batter but then things get interesting as salted pretzel sticks, jumbo milk chocolate chips, toasted walnuts, and granola clusters all mix in to the dough. These are thin and crispy cookies, not soft and cakey, and they are full of crunch from the granola, pretzels, and nuts. The sweet-salty combination makes the cookies super addicting and it's impossible to just eat one. We had some friends over on Sunday afternoon and the six of us polished off an entire batch of two dozen cookies and half a gallon of milk.

More Cookie Recipes:
- Salted Chocolate Chunk Cookies
- White Chocolate Buttered Popcorn Cookies
- Ginger Sugar Cookies

Kitchen Sink Cookies:
- 1 3/4 sticks (7 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. chocolate chips
- 3/4 c. pretzels, chopped
- 3/4 c. granola
- 1/2 c. walnuts
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 3/4 c. white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- parchment paper or baking mats

  • Combine the butter and sugars in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.
  • Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until combined, making sure to scrape down the side of the bowl.
  • In another bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and stir together.
  • Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
  • Gently mix in the chocolate chips, granola, pretzels, and walnuts.
  • Set the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375F and line 2-3 large baking sheets with non-stick mats or parchment paper.
  • Spoon heaping tbsp. of the dough into your hands and roll into balls, then arrange on the baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.
  • Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once.
  • Let cool on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes before eating.

Makes two dozen cookies

Monday, April 20

Grilled Beer Brats with Peppers & Onions

Juicy grilled sausages topped with a sweet pepper and onion relish

Grilled Beer Brats with Peppers & Onions

I've been traveling almost non-stop for the last two weeks and I was so happy to finally get to spend a chill day at home over the weekend. I was eager to get back into my usual routine and enjoy the time with my husband and kitties. We slept in, took a long walk around our neighborhood, and spent some time in our backyard enjoying the nice weather and the grill. We made these beer-braised brats for lunch on Saturday and they were so easy and delicious. The sausages go through a two-part cooking process by first simmering in beer and then finishing on the grill. The beer braise keeps the bratwurst super moist and the grill crisps them up. I served them with mustard and sautéed peppers and onions, but you can finish them with whatever toppings you like best.

More Sausage Recipes:
- Roasted Bratwurst with Red Cabbage
- French Lentils & Sausages
- Roasted Sausages & Polenta

Grilled Beer Brats with Peppers & Onions:
- 6 uncooked bratwurst sausages
- 2 hot dog buns
- 2-4 light lager-style beers
- 3 yellow or white onions, 2 of them thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 bell peppers, preferably mixed colors, thinly sliced into half moons
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. caraway seeds (optional)
- dijon mustard
- kosher salt

  • Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat and add in the peppers, sliced onions, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 30 minutes, or until very soft.
  • Lay the bratwursts in a deep lidded pot and add in enough beer to cover. Quarter the remaining onion and nestle the onion wedges in the beer. Add in the caraway seeds.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover with a lid, and lower to a simmer.
  • Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the sausage casings are opaque and the sausage is no longer pink. Turn off the heat, uncover, and let the sausages sit for at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat a grill to high.
  • Remove the sausages from the beer and pat dry.
  • Grill over high heat for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes, or until browned.
  • Grill the buns for 1-2 minutes per side.
  • Let the sausages rest for a few minutes, then place in the buns and top with mustard and some of the peppers and onions.

Serves four-six

Tuesday, April 7

Snap Pea & Burrata Salad

Sweet peas, fresh greens, and creamy burrata cheese make a lovely spring salad

Add burrata cheese (the creamier, sexier cousin of fresh mozzarella) to any salad and it becomes an instant hit. It works well with fruit, roasted vegetables, and even with lighter green salads like this recipe from April Bloomfield. The salad is a really fresh combination of raw sugar snap peas, peppery arugula, and mint and basil leaves tossed some lemon juice and olive oil, but the addition of burrata takes it to a whole new level. The cheese adds richness and body and makes this a show-stopping appetizer or side dish for a spring dinner party. I actually had this as a light supper alongside grilled baguette and made little crostini-like bites as I was eating this (highly recommended).

More Burrata Recipes:
- Grilled Eggplant with Burrata & Romesco
- Grilled Peach, Burrata, & Prosciutto Salad
- Burrata, Prosciutto, & Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

Snap Pea, Arugula, Herb, & Burrata Salad:
- 8 oz. burrata cheese*
- 1/2 lb. sugar snap peas, strings removed, cut in half lengthwise
- 4 c. (loosely packed) baby arugula
- 1/4 c. fresh basil leaves, torn if large, plus more to garnish
- 1/4 c. fresh mint leaves, torn if large, plus more to garnish
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- salt, preferably fleur de sel or large flake salt**

  • Combine the sugar snap peas, arugula, basil, and mint in a large bowl.
  • Add in the lemon juice and then the olive oil and toss to coat. Season with salt.
  • On a plate or platter, rip the burrata apart to create a bed of cheese.
  • Arrange the salad on top and drizzle with a little more olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves four-six (appetizer or side dish)
*I like the balls of burrata packed in water, like Angelo & Franco or Trader Joe's.
**Maldon is a great choice - I love this little tin.

Monday, April 6

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Mint Sauce

Savory grilled lamb with a bright and herbaceous sauce

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Mint Sauce

We invited our friends over for an Easter lunch yesterday and it was a beautiful spring day for grilling in our backyard. To me, you must serve lamb on Easter, and these grilled chops were a nice update from the traditional roasted lamb with mint jelly. I used lamb loin chops instead of the lollipop-style rib chops because I think they have more meat and flavor. The grilled lamb gets a nice char from the hot grill and bone-in cut helps it stay juicy. The mint and parsley sauce is bright from the lemon and fresh herbs and helps to cut through all the richness of the meat. It's the perfect dish for entertaining this spring and pairs well with fresh vegetable sides.

More Lamb Recipes:
- Crispy Lentils & Lamb
- Spiced Herbed Lamb Chops
- Lamb Bolognese

Grilled Lamb Loin Chops with Mint-Parsley Sauce:
- 2 1/2 to 3 lbs. bone-in lamb loin chops
- 1 lemon, zested and 2 tbsp. juice reserved
- 3/4 c. tightly-packed mint leaves
- 1/2 c. tightly-packed parsley leaves
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 garlic clove
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- aluminum foil

  • An hour before cooking, remove the lamb chops from the fridge and allow to sit at room temperature. Brush both sides of the lamb with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • In a food processor, combine the mint, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and garlic and blend until a paste forms.
  • Add in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.*
  • Preheat your grill to high.
  • Cook the lamb for 8-10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, for medium doneness.
  • Let the lamb rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10 minutes. Drizzle with the mint sauce and serve the rest on the side.

Serves four-five
*Can be made a day ahead and stored, covered, in a cool, dry place.

Thursday, April 2

Little Gem Salad with Creamy Lemon Dressing

This quick side salad is the perfect mix of creamy and crunchy

Little Gem Salad with Radish, Avocado, and Creamy Lemon Dressing

Lately, I've been favoring sturdy lettuces in my salads instead of tender baby greens. There are tons of varieties of lettuce available at the grocery store and farmers markets nowadays, so you don't have to choose iceberg if you're looking for green with some crunch. My current favorite is little gem lettuce, which is like a mini version of romaine. Because it's less delicate than mixed greens, heartier lettuce can and should take on a heavier dressing. This creamy lemon dressing gets a richness from heavy cream but still feels light from the lemon juice. It's a great pairing with crunchy radishes and soft avocado and makes a lovely side salad to almost any main course.

Note: You can substitute little gem lettuce with romaine hearts and cream with creme fraiche or plain yogurt if needed.

Related Recipes:
- Green Salad with Grapefruit, Fennel, & Avocado
- Spring Pea Salad with Pea Shoots & Radish
- Butter Lettuce, Radish, & Gorgonzola Salad

Little Gem Salad with Radish, Avocado, & Creamy Lemon-Garlic Dressing:
- 4 heads little gem lettuce, chopped
- 6 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
- 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
- 2 tsp. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. dijon mustard
- kosher salt
- black pepper

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, and a pinch of salt and pepper, until smooth.
  • Slowly whisk in the cream and then the olive oil. Taste for seasoning.
  • Add the lettuce and radish to a large mixing bowl and toss with the dressing.
  • Arrange slices of avocado on top and top with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves two-four (side dish)

Wednesday, April 1

Spicy Calamari Pasta

Linguine tossed with a quick and spicy tomato sauce and squid

Spicy Linguine with Calamari

This pasta is a weeknight winner to add the rotation of quick post-work dinners. It starts with a base of spicy tomato sauce, which the squid quickly simmers in before everything gets tossed with linguine. If you don't have much experience eating or cooking with squid, this is a great beginner recipe. The calamari has a similar texture to the al dente pasta and the spicy sauce tempers its flavor without overpowering it. To cook the squid, all you need to do is simmer it in the sauce for five minutes - just make sure not to overcook it or it will turn rubbery! This recipe is adapted from Williams-Sonoma's blog, which I've really been enjoying lately.

Note: You should be able to find squid that's already cleaned in the seafood section of good grocery stores. Buying cleaned squid will save you a ton of time and effort, and you can even ask your fishmonger to cut the bodies into rings for you.

More Calamari Recipes:
- Serrano-Lime Squid & Bok Choy Stir-Fry
- Linguine with Calamari, Shrimp, & Asparagus
- Grilled Japanese-Style Squid

Spicy Calamari Pasta:
- 1 lb. linguine pasta
- 1 lb. calamari, cleaned, bodies sliced into thin rings and tentacles left whole
- 1 small yellow onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 c. bottled clam juice
- 6 oz. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1/4 c. olive oil
- 3/4 tsp. red chile flakes
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- handful of minced parsley
- kosher salt

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat and add in the onion, garlicoregano and red chile flakes.
  • Cook, stirring often, for 4-5 minutes, or until softened but not brown.
  • Add in the tomato paste and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the paste turns a slightly rusty color.
  • Add the wine and let reduce for 2-3 minutes, then add the clam juice, lower to a simmer, and cook for 15-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, season with salt, and cook the pasta until al dente.
  • During the last 5 minutes that the pasta cooks, add the calamari to the pan with the sauce and cook until opaque.
  • Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 c. pasta cooking liquid, and add the pasta to the sauce.
  • Toss everything together, adding pasta water to moisten if needed.
  • Check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Divide onto plates and garnish with parsley.

Serves four-five