Saturday, May 23, 2015

Easy Italian Cucumber Salad

I just whipped up this salad for a picnic tomorrow. It was very quick and easy. There aren't many ingredients and most you probably have on hand.
It is the season for picnics and cookouts and easy recipes are always winners!

Easy Cucumber Salad

2-3 Cucumbers
3 Roma tomatoes
1/2 small red onion
Bottled Italian salad dressing
Fresh purple basil
Cracked black pepper
Mozzarella Cheese, fresh

Wash the veggies. Slice Cucumbers into thick rounds then quarter the rounds. Dice tomatoes. Combine those in a large bowl. Dice onion and add to bowl. Crack some black pepper over veggies.  Snip some fresh purple basil in there. As much as you like. Stir all that together then pour about half a bottle of Italian dressing over veggies and stir. You may want more dressing, but this amount looked like enough for me. Cover and chill for several hours before serving. Just before serving, stir in some fresh mozzarella cheese.

That's it! What are some of your favorite cookout sides?

Happy picnicking!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Clean, Healthy Snacks

Well it's that time of year again. Summer is sneaking up on us. Yay!! It truly is my favorite time of year. I'm definitely a warm weather girl.
I'm going to share with you a few of my favorite snacks for those warm weather days of summer. (Really, these snacks are great all year round.)
These are easy, healthy snacks that are also clean and natural.

Frozen Grapes
These are such a refreshing treat on a hot day!  Just wash red or green seedless grapes, dry well, place in a plastic bag, and then place the bag flat in the freezer. Keep the bag flat so the grapes are in a single layer. Freeze for a few hours until they are solid. Keep in the freezer for a quick snack. 

Clementines/Mandarins and Nuts 
 These little orange babies are so good and sweet. Nature's candy! Pair these with almonds or pistachios and you've got a great snack.

Celery/Apple with Nut Butter 
Nothing fancy here, just raw celery or a sliced apple with a natural, no sugar added nut butter of your choice. I made almond butter in my Vitamix with just roasted almonds and a tiny bit of sea salt. If you need to sweeten it, mix in a little raw honey.

Frozen Yogurt Drops 

These are very easy to make with plain Greek yogurt and a little honey. Pipe drops, freeze, and enjoy.
 Start with about one cup, or one seven ounce container of nonfat or low fat plain Greek yogurt. Choose wisely and use plain as it doesn't have added sugar. Mix in one tablespoon of raw honey. Put that mixture into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with a corner snipped off. Pipe onto a lined cookie sheet. Just pipe small, bite size drops. Freeze until firm, a few hours. Transfer to a container and keep in the freezer. 

Have fun making your healthy snacks and share some of your ideas! 
Happy snacking!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Smoked Paprika and Rosemary Roasted Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken around here. It's good stuff. Don't ya think? Problem is....sometimes I get into a cooking rut. Yea, you too? Thought so. I feel like sometimes I've been cooking the same thing over and over again. Or, it's chicken night. ...what can I do differently to keep smiles all around my kitchen table?

And speaking of the kitchen table--- my awesome husband built ours from wood taken off his family's farm. The boards were used in hog killings back in the day.  Still has the knife marks. (If that makes you queasy,  just stop for a minute, close your eyes, and think of just how good bacon tastes.) It is actually a pretty cool table with rich history. And we get to sit around it every day.  3 times a day!  (Or more) Y'all sit and eat with your family around the kitchen (or dining room, or breakfast nook, or patio) table. Make memories, TALK to one another, pray together.

Ok...I guess you might want to know about this chicken. That is, if you're still reading.

Well, I have this delicious smoked paprika.  I also have fresh rosemary in my herb garden. And a freezer full of chicken thighs. We love chicken thighs...tender and full of flavor. Roasting on high heat does not take long, so that's also a plus for this recipe. Another plus is that I used Kerrygold butter.  Enough said, right?

So basically, melt butter, pour over chicken, season only one side, and roast. Done. And delicious.

Smoked Paprika and Rosemary Roasted Chicken

8-10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 tablespoons butter (I prefer Kerrygold)
Sea salt & black pepper
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
Fresh rosemary

Preheat oven to 400°
Pat dry your chicken and place on a baking pan with sides. I  use a shallow stone. Melt the butter. Pour butter over chicken then season with sea salt and pepper. Adjust the salt to your personal preference and needs. Next, sprinkle or rub the smoked paprika on your chicken thighs. Begin with 1 tsp and add more as you like. I like a good amount. Snip fresh sprigs of rosemary all over the chicken.
Place in oven and roast until done...30-45 minutes or until chicken is 180° internally. No need to turn the chicken while it is cooking.

*Note* Regular paprika will not have the same flavor as the smoked, so I would not substitute it.