Archive for July, 2011

Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with Spunky Peanut Dressing

Salad made with the Produce Geek's picks of the week

Simple, yet full of flavor: Grilled Chicken & Spinach Salad with Spunky Peanut Dressing

Who isn’t looking for ways to keep summer meals simple? This gluten-free salad proves that you don’t have to give up taste – even when you don’t have a lot of time to spend on a dish.

The Produce Geek recommended organic spinach on his pick list this week, so I used that as the building block of a grilled chicken salad that really hits the spot. Topped with my own-made peanut dressing (one you can easily recreate at your home), this dish is full of flavor even though it demands very little effort. Garnish with a wedge of Athena cantaloupe for visual appeal –  which doubles as a built-in appetizer or sweet treat for dessert.

Vegetarian or Vegan? Grilled tofu substituted for the chicken makes an equally excellent salad!

 

What You’ll Need for the Salad:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Organic spinach – 4 cups

    Produce Geek's Picks for week of July 25, 2011

    "Raw materials" for our salad

  • Athena cantaloupe – 4 wedges

Other ingredients…

  • Green pepper –  2 cups, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Sweet red pepper – 2 cups, sliced and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Spring onions – 1/2 cup, chopped into small pieces
  • Grilled chicken tenderloins – 1 lb

What You’ll Need for the Dressing:

  • Peanut oil – 1/3 cup
  • Raw apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar) – 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce) – 2 1/2 tsps
  • Honey (I prefer raw, but regular will do) – 1 Tbsp
  • Natural peanut butter – 1/3 cup
  • Fresh ginger – 1 tsp
  • Cayenne pepper – 1/4 tsp (or more or less to taste)

Get cooking…

  1. Assemble foundation of the salad by placing a bed of spinach on your plates.
  2. Place green and red pepper pieces around the perimeter of each serving.
  3. Top with grilled chicken tenderloins and spring onions.
  4. Create your peanut dressing:
    1. Put all dressing ingredients into a blender.
    2. “Blend” until smooth.
    3. Pour dressing into individual sauce cups or ramekins.
  5. Place salad dressing and wedge of cantaloupe on each plate and serve.
Makes 4 servings
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Mean Green Vegetarian Stir-fry

Mean Green Vegetarian Stir-fry

Mean Green Vegetarian Stir-fry

This week, the Produce Geek recommended three of my all-time favorite green vegetables: Green peppers, green beans and organic broccoli.  I could hardly wait to create a dish with them!

Green is good, so I decided to add even more green – and amazing flavor – with pesto. What really makes this vegetarian stir-fry unique is that it features eggs. Not only do they give the meal an attractive texture, but they’re a marvelous protein source.  

And to make a good thing even better, I added Kalamata olives into the mix – truly the “icing on the cake”.  I enjoyed this stir-fry without any underlying grain, but feel free to serve it on a bed of rice or pasta if you prefer.

Note that this stir-fry can be easily adapted to the tastes of carnivores or vegans by substituting chicken or beans. For all intents and purposes, this meal is also gluten-free, but be sure to check the label on the olives and pesto you’re using if gluten is a concern for  you.

What You’ll Need For the Stir-fry:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Green pepper – 3 cups, sliced then cut into bite-sized pieces

    Raw materials for Mean Green Vegetarian Stir-fry

    Raw materials for this week's recipe

  • Green beans – 3 cups fresh beans
  • Organic broccoli – 3 cups, cut into bite-sized pieces

Other ingredients…

  • Eggs –  Either 8 whole eggs or 4 whole + 8 whites (if you’re watching fat and cholesterol)
  • Kalamata olives – 3/4 cup, pitted
  • Pesto – 4 Tbsp
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, minced

Get cooking…

  1. Warm 1 Tbsp of olive oil in an extra large deep frying pan or wok on med-high heat.
  2. Add garlic cloves, green pepper, green beans and broccoli – stir often and cook for approximately 10 minutes until veggies are starting to get tender.
  3. Lower heat to slightly lower than medium and add eggs.
  4. Stir constantly until eggs are thoroughly cooked and mixed throughout the vegetables.
  5. Add olives and pesto, and stir until evenly distributed throughout the dish.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
Makes 4 servings

Salsa-fied Green Squash and Garbanzo Stir-fry

Stir-fry made with Produce Geek's picks for Week of July 11, 2011

Salsa-fied Organic Green Squash Stir-fry

Green squash (aka Zucchini) is not my favorite vegetable as a side in itself, HOWEVER, it makes an exceptional lead character in stir-fry dishes. On his pick list this week, the Produce Geek recommended organic green squash. Who am I to argue? So I took his lead and crafted what developed into a satisfyingly hearty vegetarian & gluten-free stir-fry that combines green squash with cabbage, yellow pepper, mushrooms and garbanzos – zipped up with salsa and topped with a dollop of sour cream. Ole’! Want to go from vegetarian to vegan? Simply abstain from the sour cream.

Also featured this week on Produce Geek’s Eat This Now blog – Dark sweet cherries. Although I couldn’t find a home for them in my stir-fry, I do have a simple dessert suggestion that preserves the integrity of the fruit. So read on!

What You’ll Need For the Stir-fry:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Organic green squash – 3 cups (cut squash in half lengthwise, then cut those pieces into half lengthwise again..and
    Organic green squash and other stir-fry raw materials

    Organic green squash & the other stir-fry "raw" materials

    so on until the thickness is 3/4 inch or less. Then cut those pieces crosswise into 2 inch long pieces.

Other ingredients…

  • Green cabbage –  3 cups, chopped
  • Yellow sweet peppers – 2 cups, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • White mushrooms – 2 cups, sliced
  • Garbanzo beans – 2 cups, cooked
  • Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
  • Quinoa (Never heard of it?) – 2-3 cups cooked (or substitute brown rice instead)
  • Salsa – 2 cups (Mild, medium or hot – it’s up to you!)
  • Sour cream

Get cooking…

  1. Warm 1 Tbsp of peanut oil in an extra large deep frying pan or wok on med-high heat.
  2. Add garlic cloves, green squash, cabbage and peppers – stir often and cook for approximately 12 – 15 minutes until tender, but not soggy.
  3. Add mushrooms and cook for approximately 5 minutes until no longer raw.
  4. Lower heat to medium-low, then stir in salsa and garbanzos and cook until thoroughly warm.
  5. Serve over quinoa and top with a dollop of sour cream.
Makes 4 servings

What You’ll Need For Dessert – Dark Sweet Cherries in Vanilla Greek Yogurt:

Dark Sweet Cherries with Vanilla Greek Yogurt

Creamy and sweet - Dark sweet cherries and vanilla Greek yogurt make the perfect summer dessert

 

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • Dark sweet cherries – 9 cherries per serving  (6 cut in half and pitted, 3 whole)

Other ingredients…

  • Vanilla Greek yogurt – 1/2 cup per serving

Get cooking…

  1. Stir cherry halves into yogurt.
  2. Spoon into individual serving glasses or dessert cups and top with whole cherries as an edible garnish.
It doesn’t get anymore “yum” than that!  Of course, the cherries are perfection on their own as well. Thanks for the tip Produce Geek!

Chicken and Apricot Stir-fry in Ginger Sauce…with Nutty Peach Appetizer

Because today’s post is something of a “ribbon cutting” for From Pick to Pan, WELCOME! You can read more about my inspiration for sharing these posts on my About This Blog page. But to summarize, I’m a natural foods fan and devoted follower of the Produce Geek’s weekly recommendations for what fruits and vegetables have the best flavor and price – right now! So, every Wednesday, I publish a stir-fry or salad recipe that puts a few of  his picks for the current week into delicious action. 

Creative, simple, healthy. Something for everyone. And I invite and encourage you to take artistic liberty with these recipes. Substitute meat for beans, beans for meat, snap peas for snow peas, snow peas for snap peas…and share comments to let the rest of us know about the twists you’ve made to make these creations your very own!

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Although not traditional stir-fry fare, two of the Produce Geek’s suggestions this week captured my mind’s eye immediately: Apricots and White Peaches. 

"Raw" Materials for July 6, 2011 Post

"Raw" materials for this week's recipe

In this gluten-free stir-fry, I used some favorite stir-fry staples: broccoli, bok choy, sweet red peppers, onions and grilled chicken breast – then added sliced apricots to give the dish an unexpected sweetness and tang. The ginger sauce adds another layer of taste to bring out the flavors of the other ingredients without overwhelming them.

I didn’t incorporate the white peaches into my stir-fry, but rather into a sweet & salty, nutty appetizer (which could serve as fantastic light dessert instead). 


What You’ll Need For the Stir-fry:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • 4 medium/large apricots – cut into halves, pitted, then cut into slices

    Chicken and Apricot Stir-fry

    Chicken & Apricot Stir-fry

Other ingredients…

  • Broccoli –  3 cups, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Bok Choy – 3 cups, chopped into slightly larger than bite-sized pieces
  • Grilled/cooked boneless chicken breast tenderloins – 1 pound
  • 2 Large sweet red peppers – chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Sweet onion – 1 cup, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 Garlic cloves – minced
  • Peanut oil – 1/3 cup (plus a little extra for prepping the pan)
  • Raw apple cider vinegar – 1/4 cup
  • Fresh ginger root – 1/4 cup, minced
  • Orange juice – 3 Tbsp
  • Honey – 2 Tbsp (I prefer raw honey, but regular will do)
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or substitute light soy sauce) – 2 Tbsp
  • Cayenne pepper – a few optional dashes
  • Brown rice – 2 – 3 cups cooked

Get cooking…

  1. Warm a tsp of peanut oil in a large deep frying pan or wok on med-high heat.
  2. Add garlic cloves and onions and brown for approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Add broccoli, bok choy and red pepper.
  4. Stir often and cook until tender, but still maintaining some snap (approximately 10-12 minutes).
  5. In a medium bowl, make ginger sauce: combine peanut oil, apple cider vinegar, ginger, liquid aminos (or soy sauce), orange juice and honey. Whisk well to mix ingredients.
  6. Add ginger sauce, apricots, grilled chicken and a few dashes of cayenne (optional) to the stir-fry. Stir until all ingredients are warmed and mixed thoroughly (approximately 3 minutes).
  7. Serve over brown rice.
Makes 4 servings

What You’ll Need For the Appetizer:

First the Produce Geek’s picks…

  • 2 White peaches – cut into chunks

    Nutty Peach Appetizer

    Nutty Peach Appetizer (doubles as a light dessert)

Other ingredients…

  • Raw peanuts (or roasted & salted) – 4 Tbsp
  • Sea Salt – a few light dashes (skip if using roasted, salted peanuts)
  • Cilantro – dried, 3-4 pinches

Get cooking…

  1. Combine peach chunks, peanuts, sea salt and cilantro in a medium bowl and stir until ingredients are evenly distributed.
  2. Spoon into individual serving glasses or dessert cups.
Makes 4 servings
ENJOY! And remember to subscribe to this blog by email or RSS to get my weekly recipes automatically. Subscribe also to the Produce Geek’s “Eat This Now” blog to keep on top of the best produce picks each week.
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