Greek Chicken with Tomato, Zucchini, and Artichokes

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I’ve been on a Mediterranean kick lately.  I love all the salty flavors in this dish: kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese.  It’s light, it’s fresh, and it’s a quick meal to throw together any night of the week.  Health perk: it’s just chicken and veggies!  No rice, pasta, or potatoes, so it’s calorie-friendly. There’s not even any butter in the dish – it’s all flavor and no guilt!  Here’s how to make it:

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Artichokes. Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Greek Chicken with Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Artichokes. Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 zucchini (medium to large)
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2 cups of grape tomatoes (roughly)
  • 1/2 c. kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • 8 – 10 mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil (divided)
  • salt and pepper
  • Feta cheese (to garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  While the oven preheats, drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil in the bottom of a 9×13 pan and set aside.
  2. Chop the zucchini as desired, really.  I cut mine into about 3-inch long sticks but you can just as easily cut the zucchini any way you prefer to eat it. Add the zucchini to the 9×13 pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives to the 9×13 pan as well.
  4. Nestle the chicken thighs into the 9×13 pan, amongst the veggies.  Season everything with some salt and pepper.
  5. Drizzle 2-3 Tbsp. of olive oil on top of the chicken and veggies in the pan.  Sprinkle the chopped mint leaves on top of everything.
  6. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the entire mixture in the pan.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool for 4-5 minutes.  Plate each serving and sprinkle with feta to garnish. Serve immediately.
My chopped zucchini (if you're interested.)

My chopped zucchini (if you’re interested.)

All of the ingredients, nice and nestled in the pan.

All of the ingredients, nice and nestled in the pan.

All of the ingredients, nice and nestled in the pan.

The finished product!

 

The finished product. Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks

Salmon is one of the many foods I hated as a kid. In fact, I really didn’t care for it at all up until about a year ago. I guess the old tastebuds are a-changin’ because now I love it. I eat it every week!

I actually did some quick research on “changing tastebuds” just to be certain that there was some validity to the notion that our tastes change from  childhood to adulthood.  First, I learned that everyone is born with a different number of tastebuds, ranging anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000.  The more tastebuds you have the more sensitive your are to flavors.  However, as we age, our tastebuds tend to dull and diminish in number.  Hence, our ability to enjoy things we perhaps were grossed out by as a kid.  (Not to mention that our palettes generally grow and mature as we grow and mature.)

For this dish, I pan-seared some salmon and served it over a bed of sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and leeks.  If you are not familiar with leeks, they’re a member of the onion and garlic family.  You can use them in place of yellow onions in recipes and I really enjoy their mild flavor, which I usually sweeten with a little white wine when sautéing them. I LOVE to cook with them.  And you will LOVE this guilt-free meal!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. filet of salmon
  • 4 c. raw spinach
  • 2 leeks
  • 8 to 12 oz. mushrooms (any kind you like)
  • 3-4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 c. white wine, divided
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • olive oil (for sautéing)

Directions:

1. Break down the leeks in order to cook them.  Only the white and light green parts of a leek are edible.  Therefore, cut the leek just below the dark green of the leaves.  Slice the leek in half (vertically) and then chop each half of the leek into thin slivers, discarding the root of the leek.

2. Fill a large bowl at least halfway with cold water.  Add the chopped leeks to a colander and place the colander into the bowl of water.  Stir the leeks around a bit and allow them to sit for at least 5 minutes.  This will rinse the leeks and help remove any dirt from them.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

3. While the leeks are resting and rinsing in the bowl of water, clean and chop your mushrooms.  If you bought sliced mushrooms from the grocery store, you are good to go and can skip this step!

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

4. Once at least 5 minutes have passed, removed the colander with the leeks from the bowl of water and allow them to drain for a few minutes while you continue your dinner prep.

5. Remove the skin from your salmon filet, if necessary.  Season generously with salt and pepper.

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6. Heat a medium sauté pan on medium-high heat.  Add 3-4 Tbsp. of olive oil. Sauté the leeks until soft and opaque. Once most of the water evaporates from the leeks, add 1/4 c. of white wine and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl.

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7. In the same sauté pan that you prepared the leeks, add another 3-4 Tbsp. of olive oil and sauté your mushrooms until golden brown.  When the mushrooms are almost done cooking, add 1/4 c. of white wine and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside in the bowl with the leeks.

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8. Just before the mushrooms are finished cooking, heat a large sauté pan over high heat.  Add 3-4 Tbsp. of olive oil and once your pan is good and hot, add the salmon.  After about 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium.  While the first side is browning, season the other side with salt and pepper.  After another minute or two, flip your salmon over.  (It’s important to begin cooking the salmon in a very hot pan so that you get a nice sear on the fish. However, after the first two minutes or so you reduce the heat from high to medium and leave it on medium for the remainder of the cooking process, so as not to burn the fish.)

While your fish is cooking, in the medium sauté pan that you used for the mushrooms and leeks, add 2-3 Tbsp. of oil and cook the 4 c. of spinach over medium-low heat.  Once the spinach is almost ready, season with salt and pepper and add the cooked mushrooms and leeks back into the pan with the spinach so that they can reheat.

9. Once you have flipped the salmon over, add 2 Tbsp. of butter and the 3-4 sprigs of thyme.  Be careful – thyme has a tendency to spit and sputter hot oil when you add it to the pan.  Give it a few seconds to calm down a bit before approaching the pan.  Tip the pan at an angle towards you, so that all of the oil and butter forms a small pool, and spoon this oil/butter mixture over the fish as it cooks.  Do this once or twice during the span of the fish cooking.  While not necessary, it makes your fish that much more delicious.

10. Removed the cooked salmon and allow it to rest for 3-4 minutes before cutting into it.  While the fish is resting, in the medium sauté pan that you used for the mushrooms and leeks, add 2-3 Tbsp. of oil and cook the 4 c. of spinach over medium-low heat.  Once the spinach is almost ready, season with salt and pepper and add the cooked mushrooms and leeks back into the pan with the spinach so that they can reheat.

11. Once the leek, mushroom, and spinach mixture is hot, spoon a bed of it onto each plate.  Cut your salmon filet into two pieces and place each piece on top of the bed of the spinach.  Serve immediately.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Pan-Seared Salmon with Sautéed Spinach, Mushrooms, and Leeks; Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Meatless Monday: Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Making stuffed peppers is exciting because you are basically working with a blank canvas!  This dish is endlessly customizable.  You can stuff them with anything and everything you want!  ANY meat, ANY vegetables, and ANY rice, pasta, grains, etc.  They make the perfect “whatever’s in the cupboard/fridge” dinner option.

My inspiration for today was to essentially build a tortilla-less burrito.  So I filled the peppers with brown rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, diced jalapeño, corn, cilantro, and lime.  I was also craving some avocado so I decided to top the peppers with a drizzle of creamy avocado-lime ranch dressing. Lastly, I finished each pepper with a sprinkle of Mexican cheese. I also made sure to make a TON of extra salsa so that I could enjoy it throughout the week with some homemade tortilla chips. (Healthy snack! High five!)

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Ingredients

For the salsa:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 small container of grape tomatoes
  • 2 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1 lime (zest + juice)
  • 1 jalapeño
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

For the stuffed peppers:

  • 4 or 5 bell peppers (any color you like)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 c. shredded Mexican cheese blend

For the avocado-lime ranch dressing:

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime (zest + juice)
  • 1/3 c. ranch dressing

Directions

To make the salsa

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare the brown rice according to package directions.
  2. While the oven is preheating and the rice is cooking, begin to prepare the salsa.  Add the corn and black beans to a large mixing bowl.
  3. Chop up the grape tomatoes and add those to the mixing bowl as well.  (I quartered the grape tomatoes in order to get nice small chunks.)
  4. Zest and juice one lime directly into the bowl. Add the chopped cilantro. Season the mixture with salt and pepper (I used 2 pinches of salt which is probably just shy of 1 Tbsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper).
  5. Dice 1 jalapeño pepper.  If you don’t want your stuffed peppers to be insanely spicy, make sure to remove the jalapeño seeds before you dice the jalapeño. Add this to the mixing bowl.
  6. Stir gently to combine ingredients.
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

To make the stuffed peppers:

  1. Slice the top off of each pepper and remove the meat and seeds from the middle.  Then, gently cut a small sliver from the base of each pepper.  This will help the pepper sit upright without tipping over.

 

 

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

2. Prepare the filling for the peppers.  In a large bowl, combine the 2c. of cooked brown rice with 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the salsa mixture.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

3. Spoon the filling into each bell pepper. Pack the filling tightly and add enough filling so that the pepper is well stuffed. In the bottom of a baking pan (any pan big enough to fit your peppers) add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan.  Place the peppers into the pan and cover with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes or until peppers are cooked through.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

To make the avocado-lime ranch dressing:

  1. Cut the avocado in half and scoop the meat into a food processor. Puree for 30 seconds.
  2. Add 1/3 c. of ranch dressing to the food processor with the avocado.  Blend until smooth (30-45 seconds).
  3. Pour the avocado ranch dressing into a bowl. Add the zest and juice of one lime, as well as a pinch of salt. Stir to combine.
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

To finish the peppers:

  1. Once the peppers are done cooking, remove them from the oven. Sprinkle the tops of each pepper with Mexican cheese blend.  Return the peppers to the oven for a few minutes so the cheese can melt.
  2. Once the cheese has melted, plate each stuffed pepper. (I usually serve them in bowls because once you start cutting into it, it can get a little messy!)
  3. Drizzle each pepper with avocado ranch dressing and serve. Bon appétit!

    Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

    Southwestern Stuffed Peppers, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Accounting for Taste is also on Pinterest!

I don’t know why I never mentioned this sooner. I’ve had a Pinterest account for Accounting for Taste for about as long as I’ve had this blog! Pinterest is my lifeblood. It’s where I keep every recipe I ever hope to test out. Every successful recipe I’ve ever made and shared with my WordPress family.  Are you a Pinterest devotee, like myself? Follow us and you’ll never miss a recipe!

http://www.pinterest.com/dpums/accounting-for-taste/

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AFT is now on Facebook! Show us some love!

Hello, friends! I decided to branch out and expose Accounting for Taste to other social media platforms. Pinterest has played a major role in bringing lots of traffic to the website so it seemed only natural that I reach out to other media outlets to send delicious recipes out into the world.

Check us out on Facebook and show us some love!  https://www.facebook.com/AccountingForTaste

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Bear with me these next few days as I upload some great past recipes and bring the Facebook page up to speed. It will be full of drool-worthy photos in no time!

Thank you so much for “liking” AFT on Facebook!

xoxo – Danielle

Meatless Monday: Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Eggplant

I’m not sure when exactly it happened, but orzo has become a staple in my kitchen.  And lately I’ve been loving various combinations of orzo, kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes, spinach, artichokes, etc. So when I sat at my desk daydreaming about what to make for “Meatless Monday” tonight I knew it was going to involve something that I could stuff with orzo goodness and Mediterranean flavors.  Enter: eggplant.

I chuckle a little any time I whip up eggplant anything because as a kid eating eggplant was my nightmare.  I HATED it. Trying to eat it, I would gag and everything. Fast forward 20 years later and it’s one of my favorite foods!

Last week’s “Meatless Monday” recipe was also dedicated to eggplant so I promise next week I’ll step away from the purple fruit.  But I’m happy to say that this week’s dish was a great success!

Mediterranean-Style Stuffed Eggplant

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup orzo
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 roma tomatos, diced
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 medium eggplants

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Prepare the orzo according to the directions on the box.  Drain and dump in a large bowl.
  3. Add the tomato, olives, pine nuts, basil, and olive oil to the large bowl.  Season with about 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Stir to combine.
  4. To create your eggplant “boats”, slice the eggplants in half, lengthwise. With a small knife, cut around the edge of the interior of the eggplants leaving about a 1/2 inch rim; make sure not to cut all the way through. Using a spoon (or your hands), gently remove the meat of the eggplant. You can either slice it up into small chunks and add it to the bowl with the orzo mixture or simply discard it.
  5. Place the hollowed out eggplant halves (your “boats”) onto a cookie sheet.  Drizzle the eggplants with some olive oil and season with about 1-2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
  6. Spoon the orzo mixture into each eggplant “boat” and lightly press to pack it in.
  7. Cover the eggplants lightly with some aluminum foil.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the eggplants are tender. Enjoy!
Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Mediterranean Style Stuffed Eggplant, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

(Is that a paper plate? You’d better believe it. It’s Monday, my friends. Ain’t nobody got time for dishes!)

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

With swimsuit season fast approaching, the beau and I have decided to take dieting a little more seriously.   Portions will be smaller and pasta, potatoes, and rice will be taking a backseat to heaping helpings of veggies. That also means “Wing Wednesday” will be on hiatus for a while.

In case you haven’t already heard of “Meatless Monday”, it’s not something I invented.  “Meatless Monday” is a movement geared towards encouraging people to forego at least one meat-centered meal a week.  It’s by no means meant to convert anyone to vegetarianism, rather, it’s to expose people to the health and global benefits of a diet more evenly balanced between meat and plants.  See the video below to learn a little more about it or visit the Meatless Monday website:

I’ve taken the Meatless Monday pledge and will be consciously planning one or two meals a week that don’t involve meat.  And because I believe in the movement, I’ve decided to spread the word and feature Meatless Monday meal options from now on.  This week’s featured dish: Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo.  The recipe is featured in the May 2014 issue of Cooking Light magazine.

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Cooking Light magazine, May 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour *
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 2 large eggs *
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs *
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano *
  • 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup)
  • Cooking spray
  • 6 ounces part skim mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced or shredded *
  • 1 15 oz. can of diced fire-roasted tomatoes *
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

* I took liberties with the original recipe.  See original recipe here.

Preparation

  • Arrange oven rack 10 inches below broiler element. Preheat broiler to high.
  • Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and return to pan. Add parsley, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss.
  • While orzo cooks, cut top and bottom off eggplant. Partially peel eggplant lengthwise with a vegetable peeler, leaving long purple stripes. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place flour in a shallow dish. Combine 1 teaspoon water and eggs in another shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Combine panko, oregano, and Parmigiano-Reggiano in another shallow dish.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Dredge eggplant in flour, dip in egg mixture, and dredge in panko mixture, gently pressing mixture to adhere. Arrange on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat tops of eggplant slices with cooking spray.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Broil 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned and tender but firm. Top evenly with diced tomatoes and mozzarella; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts and begins to browns.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

  • Arrange 1/2 cup orzo mixture on each plates; top each serving with 2-3 eggplant slices. Sprinkle evenly with pepper.
Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

Eggplant Parmesan with Parsley Orzo, Photo Credit: Accounting for Taste

 

If you’re wondering how I managed to get the cheese to melt in a perfect little circle on each slice of eggplant: I bought sliced mozzarella cheese from the grocery store and used a large circular cookie cutter to cut out circles of cheese. I figured it’d be more aesthetically pleasing that way. It’s still got nothing on the perfection photographed by the Cooking Light professionals, though. So to do the dish justice I made sure to include the photo from the magazine.  Bon appétit!