Tag Archives: easy dinner

Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus

Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Roasted Chicken Shawarma with Cosmic Hummus
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Apologies for the infrequent posts lately, but I have been traveling a lot so haven’t been able to cook much. The other night I was in the mood for some good Middle Eastern food. We have a place locally that makes this crave worthy shish tawook where the chicken is perfectly moist and full of flavor with little burnt parts from the flames.

I decided to roast mine in the oven versus over the flames on skewers. Roasting does allow you to keep it nice and moist because it simmers in the juices imparting more and more flavor as it cooks. Another note is I used chicken breast because my lovely wife hasn’t come around on the greatness of chicken thigh meet. When I make dishes where she can’t tell I will slide a few thighs in there.

I’ve made hummus several ways… garlic, roasted pepper, jalapeno etc..but I spotted a recipe from a local joint called the Cosmic Cafe that used cucumber and cilantro which sounded good due to the freshness they would add. It was different and a good compliment to the tangy and spicy schwarma. I used store bought Naan bread and also a box of Rice a Roni. The rice and pasta combo just works. Don’t use the package seasoning in those boxes but instead make your own mix with high quality spices.

Ingredients:
Chicken Schwarma
2 free range air chilled chicken breasts
1 white onion sliced
stems of cilantro (leftover from hummus)
4 cloves of smashed garlic
2-3 lemons juices
squirt of Sriracha
1/2 cup of olive oil
splash of pickle juice
1 tbs of paprika
1 tbs of turmeric
2 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of red pepper flakes
Kosher Salt and Pepper

Cosmic Hummus
2 cans of Garbanzo Beans
1 lemon juiced
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 pealed cucumber
handful of cilantro
2 tsp of garlic powder
1 tbs of paprika
Pinch of cumin
Kosher salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:
Prep: wash your cilantro, peel your cucumber, cut your onion, juice your lemon and smash your garlic. Score your chicken breast. Also for the cilantro rip off a handful for the hummus and put the rest in the marinade for the chicken.

1. Marinate your chicken. Add everything into a Zip-Lock bag and let it marinate over night or at least two hours. The lemon will help tenderize the chicken and the spices get an opportunity to be absorbed into the chicken.

2. Make your hummus but rinsing your garbanzo beans and pull out some of those shells you will find. Personal preference. Add the beans, cucumber, cilantro, garlic into a food processor and pulse. Slowly add your lemon juice and then your olive oil. I put 1/2 cup of olive oil in my ingredients but eyeball it and add as much as you like or until you get the hummus to the consistency you like (thick or thin). Add your spices and let it blend for 5 minutes more.

3. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. If you like dryer chicken use a larger pan like a 9 x 13 or go with a smaller dish or pan if you want it more juicy. Add all the contents into the pan and roast the chicken for about 40 minutes. Check on it about thirty minutes into the roasting and turn it or move things around. I flipped mine because I was going to a “wetter” chicken. When your chicken is cooked, remove the cilantro and discard, Remove your chicken and slice it into the bite sized pieces and add it back into the pan and move it around to coat it in the sauce. Serve the chicken and onions with your sides…

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Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti

Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti

  • Servings: 4-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Goat Cheese Turkey Baked Ziti
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The request for a pasta dish came in from my better half. Somewhere along the way we started adding a little goat cheese to our spaghetti sauce to give it a little tang. We have a friend that describes the taste of goat cheese as “wet fur”. If you share a disdain for goat cheese you can omit it. I guess we like the taste of wet fur… who knew?

So instead of spaghetti I settled on a baked ziti. What’s cool is I found this penne pasta that was gluten free. It held together nicely and frankly I couldn’t tell the difference. In fact, Jill claimed that it was the best baked ziti dishes that she has ever eaten and when I told her it was GF she was shocked. I think what really made this dish shine was the combination of the goat cheese in the sauce and then the blistered smoked mozzarella (Trader Joes) on the top.

The ground turkey really crumbles well so it blends into the sauce perfectly. One cheat I often do when in a rush is to use jarred sauce and then add to it. I used Rao’s for this one and added some garlic slices, parm, goat cheese, tomato paste, red wine and some basil.

Ingredients:
1 package of ground turkey (you could sub beef, pork, chicken, sausage)
1 package of Penne pasta (I used gluten free)
1 jar of Rao’s Marinara Sauce
4 cloves of sliced garlic
1 shallot diced
2-3 tbs of tomato paste
1/4 cup of goat cheese
1/4 cup of grated Parmesan
Fresh smoked mozzarella (sliced or pinched on top)
1/2 cup of red wine
Basil (fresh or dried) (optional)

Directions:
Prep: Get a boiling pot of water for your pasta, dice your garlic and shallot and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
1. While you wait on your water to boil take a large pot and add your ground turkey. Oil if you need it. I always use medium heat. Once your meat is browned I added the shallot and sweated it out for 3-4 minutes. I then added the garlic slices (you can mince if you prefer) and let them soften for about 1 minute.

2. Now add wine, sauce, basil and tomato paste and bring it to a simmer. Depending upon your pasta and boiling water you can let this simmer until the pasta is done. Drain and strain and set aside. IMG_0873

3. Turn the heat off and add the goat cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir until well combined. If it’s too thick you can add a little water (pasta water if you saved any). Now add the cooked pasta and stir well until everything is well coated.

4. Pour this into a baking dish and top with the smoked mozzarella. On your lowest oven rack or at least in the middle put your dish into the oven but crank it on broil. When cheese is blistered remove and serve.
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Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pan Roasted Herb Chicken, Potatoes, and Carrots
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I am getting behind on my posts and have several queued up. This one is pretty boring and simple but I think it goes to show you can create a healthy meal without a lot of fuss but that passes the taste test. I think roasting chicken is probably my favorite way to cook it. Somehow it comes out with concentrated flavors and retains its juices really well. The root veggies come out with little crispy edges with super tender inside.

Ingredients:
2 free range chicken breasts (I went boneless skinless but for more flavor go bone in and skin on)
Two potatoes (cut into same sized pieces)
2 carrots (cut into same sized pieces)
Fresh Rosemary and thyme
Kosher Salt and Pepper
splash of chicken broth

Directions:
1. This is a bit embarrassing because it’s stupid simple. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a pan add your chopped carrots and potatoes along with the chicken breasts. Rub your chicken breasts and veggies with olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper. Roast until the juices run clear. I add a splash of chicken broth about half way through when I flip everything.

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Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Italian Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells
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Tonight was pasta night and I was thinking stuffed shells. It eats like a less cheesy and rich lasagna. You can control your cheese, meat, spinach ratio. I have made this several times and don’t really have a recipe for it but rather make it up each time.

Italian sausage is good but sometimes a little over powering. I found a lighter version that was lighter on fat and spice. I wanted to bump up the spinach ratio while lowering the cheese mixture. Jill was held up at work so I had to cook it a little longer than I wanted. I used my biggest cast iron skillet to accommodate all the shells but by doing so I left some shells exposed. Just be careful because you will harden up the exposed noodle part. I like the chew it gives them but you may not.

Really delicious meal that lets the pasta, Italian sausage and spinach shine through with the sauce nicely tying it all together.

Ingredients
3/4 package of Jumbo pasta shells
1 package (1 lbs) of light Italian Sausage (casing removed)
1 jar of Tomato Sauce
Parsley
1 bag of spinach
4 cloves of garlic
handful of fresh cut basil
Parmesan Cheese
Mozzarella cheese
1 container of Ricotta
1 small onion

Directions:
1. Boil your pasta in salted water according to the directions on the box. Drain and rinse with cool water so you can handle them as you stuff them.

2. Make your stuffing. Brown your pork sausage and remove the rendered fat. Add your onion, spinach and two cloves of minced garlic. The spinach has a lot of water so when everything is soft and wilted, remove as much of it as you can. Pour into a bowl and let it cool. IMG_0028

3. When the meat spinach mixture is warm add 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese and your ricotta cheese. Mix well and taste. Adjust seasoning accordingly. You shouldn’t need extra salt with the sausage and parm but taste it to make certain.

4. I used the same cast iron skillet after I removed the meat mixture. I added a jar of marinara sauce. To that sauce I added 2 cloves of minced garlic and tomato paste and crushed red peppers. Brought it to a simmer and then added my basil. I turned it to low while I stuffed my shells.

5. Stuff your shells and put them into the sauce face up. I liked to add a some mozzarella or parm on the top and finish them in an oven around 375 degrees until the cheese melts. Like I mentioned above mine when a little longer because Jill was running late. IMG_0025IMG_0026
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6. Serve in a bowl with some sauce added.
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