Gyros have always been one of my favorite foods and right now while I’m pregnant about the only Greek food I can enjoy that doesn’t have feta in it. While grocery store feta is usually fine to eat because it’s almost always made from pasteurized milk, all the little Greek restaurants around town may import their feta so I steer clear. It’s usually easier than trying to ask a little old Greek man if their feta is made from pasteurized milk.
When we are out I always enjoy the traditional beef and lamb gyro, but since I don’t have one of those fancy cookers at my house I opted to make up a quick chicken gyro dinner.
The marinade is great if you just want to serve some grilled chicken for dinner. I made up a few extra pieces and stuck the leftover chicken in the freezer for Greek style quesadillas or wraps.
My easy tzatziki recipe can be found here, although sometimes I just take the easy way out and make what I call a garlic yogurt sauce – just mix up a little chopped garlic with plain Greek yogurt until I like what I taste.
This is my second corn salad recipe of the summer and I am making no apologies. I love simple salads like this. With the hubby working from home most days, I’m always trying to come up with easy lunch recipes. Most of the time he eats leftovers, but there are days when I actually want to make something. I had him throw an ear of corn on the grill while I chopped up the tomatoes, avocado, and green onion.
My new OXO Corn Stripper made it easy and mess free to remove the kernels after the corn had cooled down.
Removing corn kernels is one of those tedious tasks that no one likes to do. When a package arrived from OXO filled with grillin’ goodies I was ecstatic to find the corn stripper inside. Sure there were plenty of other fun things in their too like new tongs and a salad dressing shaker, but it was the corn stripper that had me jumping for joy.
Mix everything up in the bowl and serve. Could that have been easier? This salad would only serve two hungry people a meal, but as a side or doubled you have plenty for everyone to enjoy.
Preheat grill to medium. Clean corn and wrap in foil. Place on grill for 15-20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Remove from grill and let cool.
While corn is cooling mix remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Sprinkle with about ¼-1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Once corn is cool enough to handle remove kernels from the cob and add to the bowl. Mix well.
Approx cost per serving: $1.13
Disclosure: OXO sent me a box of grilling supplies as part of their #Whatagrillwants campaign.
Just like I predicted, we are now in the month of July, not only that but it’s already the middle of July. It’s hard to believe 4 weeks have gone by since my last update. I was hoping to have a completed nursery at this point and we are about 99.9% there, but I still have pictures to hang and baby clothes to organize. This little corner with her crib is done though.
This photo was taken on Saturday before I headed out to our shower thrown by two of my friends. A lot of the attendees were new moms so we ended up with such practical gifts that we really needed. Up until Saturday little Hadley was going to be sleeping in dresses, but now she has a few sleep and play zip ups to relax in.
I haven’t been cooking much these past few weeks. Could you tell by the lack of recipes? We have been eating super simple meals, pasta salad, fruit, Trader Joe’s frozen dinners. I’m hoping that my cooking inspiration comes back, but I’m not expecting that for the first few months after baby.
Now that baby stuff is almost complete I’m moving on to the rest of the house. Time to clean out the freezers and attempt to make a few frozen meals. I have been doubling meals when I do actually cook and sticking half in throw away freezer containers. We will be getting meals from our church family, which will be super helpful and I’m sure our moms will help out in the cooking (and cleaning ) department.
I won’t leave you recipeless this week though. I do plan to share an easy salad we had recently later in the week.
Pasta salad can be as simple or complex as you want it. It’s so versatile, great for serving on the go or just keeping in the fridge for an easy dinner side or lunch.
I never ate sandwiches growing up, but brought my lunch to school every day. My mom was tasked with coming up with ideas of healthy and nutritious lunches that were still easy enough to prepare the night before or morning of school. One of my favorite things to bring become pasta salad. We would mix up a bunch of different veggies from the fridge with pasta, Italian dressing, and feta cheese. It was usually a pretty random assortment throw some carrots in there, red onion, maybe green onion too, hey anything else we need to use up? When I’m making up a quick pasta salad for lunch that’s still how it’s done in this house. Just last week I made a “Caesar Pasta Salad” with carrots, celery, green pepper, onion, pasta and Caesar dressing.
Sometimes I like to plan in advance and theme my pasta salads, as is the case with this one I’m sharing today. Although it did come about because I had plenty of basil leftover from another recipe and wanted to make a batch of pesto.
I was thinking about what would be a good mix with pesto, obviously something with an Italian twist – olives and mozzarella were the first two things I though of. Since it needed a little more color grapes tomatoes and artichokes also made the list.
I took the easy way out with this and skipped slicing my olives or tomatoes. I purchased the mozzarella pearls. So other than making the pesto and boiling some water for the pasta I literally just dumped everything in a bowl and stirred. Tell me that isn’t the easiest recipe ever. What’s great is it made plenty for our dinner side and a few days of lunches for me.
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I think it’s safe to say you shouldn’t expect many recipes from me for the next few months. I don’t even have a baby yet, and I’m already struggling to keep up.
Most days we are lucky to eat breakfast and lunch at home. I rarely succeed at making all three anymore. And it’s still up for for debate in our household whether the almond butter and toast I make in the morning is breakfast. I say it is. If I make dinner 3 times a week I consider that a win. Restaurant coupons are saving our budget.
When we do eat dinner at home we are keeping things pretty simple. Marinated grilled chicken with a side salad, one pot meals, lots of veggies and a little meat.
This dish plays in perfectly.
I ate Thai food, what seems like everyday, for the first half of my pregnancy. I think this baby is going to come out eating jalapenos because spice does not seem to be an issue and I have definitely accustomed her to it in the womb. Dishes where you make your own curry sauce rather than use a jarred one are great because you have complete freedom with the spice level. Obviously I crank it up pretty high for us or we add extra red pepper at the end, below I have provided a pretty mild recipe for your whole family to enjoy.
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic ginger, carrots, broccoli and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until veggies have softened. About 5 minutes. Add curry powder, garam masala, cayenne pepper, coconut milk, veggie stock, and another pinch of salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes.
Add snow peas and bamboo shoots and heat for 5 minutes. Add more salt and cayenne (or red pepper flakes) if necessary.
Serve with basmati rice. Target makes a coconut basmatic minute rice that is excellent.
You guys, I am beyond tired this week. I’m glad this is the last week of camp because it is really taking it out of me.
I have been joking with my friends that on Friday I will be throwing myself a retirement party. They think I’m kidding…. I’m looking forward to a nice relaxing July and then plenty of time spent with my little girl from August on.
These shells, while in no way healthy, are possibly one of our favorite meals. Unfortunately for my taste buds I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made these, but my waistline thanks me. My sister learned how to make them in cooking camp years ago and they have been a family favorite ever since. Now, this week I will be sharing the recipes with my camp kids and I’m sure they will be a hit.
These make a huge batch so I usually invite some friends over for dinner and still have enough to prepare an extra pan to stick in the freezer. They reheat pretty well – the sauce may clump a little, but the flavor is still there.
I don’t think I would be able to even look at these photos and recipe unless I knew I would get to be enjoying them soon. They are that good. Make up a batch today for yourself.
Cook the shells in a large pot of boiling, salted water until almost tender (about 1 minute less than what the box says). Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" baking dish.
Prepare the sauce, heat the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and reduce to low. Cook garlic 2-3 minutes. Add cream and half and half, bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by ⅓. Season to taste with salt and pepper
Combine chicken with ricotta, parmesan, and mozzarella cheese. Stir in green onion, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper. Spoon 1 cup of sauce into the bottom of the baking dish. Using a spoon, fill shells with cheese mixture. Pour the rest of the sauce over the shells. Cover dish with foil and bake 15 minutes until hot.
To Freeze: Prepare all the way up to baking in the oven. Instead cover with foil and freeze. Allow to thaw in the refrigerator the day you would like to serve it. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until hot.
Well it’s official. Time is flying by. The next time I blink it’s going to be July and then we only have a month until our little girl is here!
In the past month I have completed all the big painting projects around the house. I had a dresser and glider to paint for the nursery and an armoire to paint for our office. We tarped off an area of the garage and I got to work, safely of course using no VOC paint and a lovely respirator. I attempted to use a paint sprayer that I bought for $10 from a thrift store. That was a huge fail and I immediately tossed it in the trash, instead I just went with spray paint on the glider and old fashion roll and brush on the dresser and armoire.
This month on the to do list is sewing projects. Adding trim to the curtains and recovering the glider cushions. After that with just a few more little projects I’m calling the nursery done!
For the next two weeks I’m teaching my cooking camp again. Those kids will sure get me prepared for my own, if I don’t lose my mind first. But luckily after 3 days I can say it’s going smoother than last year.
We start our birthing classes this week and have our hospital tour and newborn class in the next few weeks. I’m sure everything will feel very real at that point. Sometimes I still forget I’m pregnant and then I get a nice jab in the ribs to remind me.
I am extremely thankful for such a healthy pregnancy, besides some sciatic nerve pain I have had a relatively easy time.
Hopefully by my next update in 4 weeks I will have a completed nursery to show you.
Pizza is always a favorite dinner, right? Why not serve up a healthy version of a classic favorite.
What I love most about summer is grilling just about everything. It makes for a quick prep and cleanup (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want less dishes). Plus it just gives whatever your cooking that delicious grilled flavor.
Grilling pizza has become our go to cooking method. Roll out some dough, toss it on the grill, load it up with toppings and you are basically done. My biggest fear with grilling pizza was having it fall through the grates, but it cooks up so quickly that it isn’t an issue. We have a much harder time transferring our pizza to the cooking stone in the oven. That is usually a two to three person process of shimmying it on to the stone while attempting not to burn ourselves.
Zucchini, squash, and tomatoes make a surprisingly delicious pizza combination. All these vegetables are plentiful in the summer from your backyard garden or farmer’s market. If you don’t have room for raised garden beds or a little plot for your garden, containers are a great alternative. Even growing a few herbs can make a world of difference in your cooking. Fresh herbs are great to add to dishes in the last few minutes of cooking. You can usually find me running outside, scissors in hand to snip a little parsley or rosemary to add to a dish.
Each summer I teach a cooking camp and my kids were always amazed when we would use herbs straight out of my garden. Last year we found a little worm on the parsley we were about to use – back to the sink to wash that little bugger off.
2 tablespoons fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, or oregano, chopped
Heat grill to medium.
In a large bowl toss together 1 teaspoon olive oil, balsamic, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, zucchini and squash. Mix well. Arrange on grill and cook 2 minutes per side. Return to bowl after cooking and set aside.
Roll out pizza dough to desired thickness. Carefully transfer to grill and cook 2-3 minutes per side, until just browned. Remove from grill. Drizzle crust with 1 tablespoon olive oil, arrange squash and zucchini on top, then tomatoes over squash, sprinkle with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Grill 4-5 minutes until heated and crust is crisp. Remove from grill and sprinkle with fresh herbs.
You can find more delicious recipes on the Recipes from the Garden #ChooseDreams Pinterest board. Check it out here.
Our grill has been fired up since Memorial Day and I see no signs of that slowing down anytime soon. One of my go to dinners has been grilled chicken breasts. I love testing out new marinades and finding new favorites. But I also like to break out of the chicken rut so I picked up a few portobello mushrooms and found this great recipe from Skinny Taste.
Loaded with toppings, meaty – but not really, just how I’m liking my burgers these days.
I’ve never been a huge red meat eater. I occasionally will eat a steak or beef burger, but during pregnancy those two things have been about my least favorite thing on the planet. I just can’t bring myself to even think about a burger. I’m loving this portobello marinade. Usually I just toss them on the grill, but a little soy and balsamic (aka the best combo ever) and you may forget it’s only a mushroom.
2 portobello mushroom caps, washed and gills removed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ tablespoon soy sauce
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
½ tablespoon steak seasoning (we used a spicy one)
2 slices red onion
2 slices Havarti cheese
4 slices plum tomato
½ avocado, sliced
2 hamburger buns
Whisk together balsamic, soy sauce, olive oil, romsemary, and steak seasoning in a shallow bowl. Add mushroom caps and spoon with sauce. Let marinate 20 minutes, turning over a few times and spooning with additional marinade.
Heat grill to medium. Grill mushrooms 5 minutes per side, basting with additional marinade.
Grill the onions and toast the buns during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Top mushrooms with cheese and let melt.
Assemble mushrooms on buns topped with onion, tomato, and avocado.
My husband and I love wraps. We, or at least I, could probably eat one for every meal. We hunt for the best wraps in town at our favorite restaurants. We have our favorite Buffalo Chicken Wrap at one place, our favorite Caesar Wrap at another and we always love to try new combinations.
There was a wrap called the Catalina Wrap which was one of our favorite indulgences at the yacht club. Similar to this Chicken, Bacon, and Avocado Wrap I’ve made for you today, it also had sprouts, tomatoes and it’s been so long since it’s been off the menu I can’t remember what else. I’m pretty sure I read sprouts weren’t pregnancy safe so I have avoided them for the last 8 months, but I can’t wait to add them back into my sandwiches, salads, and wraps. They would be a great addition to this wrap.
This is one of those great meals for using rotisserie chicken or a previous night’s roasted chicken dinner. Every once in a while I grab one from Costco or I roast my own when whole organic chickens are on sale and I have fun creating recipe with the leftovers.