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Greek Zoodle Salad with Oregano Marinated Grilled Chicken

Wednesday, 12 July 2017 15:13

Greek Zoodle Salad with Oregano Marinated Grilled Chicken

This has to be one of the healthiest and tastiest dinner recipes that I have ever posted. Brenda and I bought a spiralizer last year and have made a bunch of different things with it, like this Pad Thai Zoodle recipe. I have to say, I think this Greek Zoodle Salad has to be our favorite (for now) of all the zoodle dishes that we prepare. The marinade for the chicken doubles as the dressing for the salad and ties everything together very nicely. Definitly give this a try and please leave a comment to let me know what you think.  I promise I will get some pictures of this to add to the recipe soon.

Ingredients:

For the marinade / dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons red wine or balsalmic vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed with the side of your chef's knife
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tsp sugar or honey (optional) to taste (or no calorie sweetener like a splenda packet)

For the salad:

  • 2 bonless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 zucchini
  • Baby spinach (optional)
  • 1/4 English cucumber, diced
  • 10 pitted kalamata olives, halved, or more to taste
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 head of brocholi cut into spears (or frozen brocholi spears)
  • 1/2 cup fresh asparagus cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
  • 1 ear of corn on the cob or frozen corn
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • Roasted red pepper (optional)

Instructions:

  • Marinate the chicken:  whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, garlic oregano, salt, pepper and honey or sugar in a mixing bowl mix together. Reserve 3/4 of the mixture for dressing. Add the chicken breasts to the remaining mixture, turning to coat both sides. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 4 hours. We tend to add the marinade to the chicken breasts in a zip top bag and seal it tight to marinade.
  • Place the tomatoes, red onion, brocholi, asparagus and corn on a cookie sheet or grill pan and roast in the oven at 425 or on the grill until just softened and slightly charred. Cut the kernals from the cob after roasting if using corn on the cob.  Allow roasted vegies to cool, or add them to the salad hot if you like.
  • Optional: Pound the chicken breast out to make it slightly thinner and more tender. No need to pound it super thin. This can also be done before marinading.
  • Grill the chicken, basting with the narinade throughout the grilling process about 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  • While the chicken and vegies are roasting cut zucchini into noodle-shaped strands using a spiralizing tool.
  • Assemble the salad:  place "zoodles" in a large bowl, add spinach if desired and top with cucumber, roasted tomatoes, red onion, brocholi, asparagus, corn, olives, feta cheese and roasted red pepper. Toss the salad before serving and top with sliced grilled chicken and the reserved dressing.
  • Enjoy!

This should be enough to server 4 people. Brenda and I usually cut this in half and still have leftovers to enjoy the next day for a snack or lunch.

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Easter Bread

Wednesday, 19 April 2017 07:40

Growing up my Mom had a few different bread recipes that she regularly made, but Easter was the only time she would break this one out.  I remember she would have the dough rising on her bed with a sheet pulled over the top.  The smell of yeast permeated the house.  This became everyone's favorite bread, probably because it was only for special occasions.  

I made this for the first time for Easter in 2017.  I'll be honest, the day before Easter was crazy, so much going on that the bread was left to rise way longer than expected.  I was worried it wasn't going to come out right, but in the end it looked and tasted great.  We didn't braid the hard boiled eggs into the loaves the way Mom used to, but I think it is still special.  I probably wont be waiting until Easter to make this again.

We cut the recipe in half to make it easier to work with, and it is still a lot of bread.

Ingrdients:

  • 5 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup oil (we used olive oil, mom used vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Instructions:

  • Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and set aside to activate for 5-10 minutes.  It should turn foamy showing that the yeast is good.
  • Add the flour to the bowl of your stand mixer with dough hook attached.  Add sugar, salt, oil, activated yeast and lightly beaten eggs.  Mix with dough hook on low until soft dough forms.  Knead (in the mixer or by hand) for 15-20 minutes until smooth.  
  • Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 3 hours.
  • Turn the dough out from the bowl, punch down and shape into loaves.  We split the dough into 3 equal pieces and rolled them out to form long strands that we braided together to form 1 large braided loaf.  This could easily make 2 or 3 regular loaves.  cover the loaves lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise again until at least doubled in size (this is where we left them much longer than expected, and it came out great).
  • bake on center rack of oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

 Easter bread - 1

Easter bread - 2

Easter bread - 3 Easter bread - 4

 

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Overnight Belgian Waffles

Sunday, 15 January 2017 12:45

Hi, my name is Scott and I'm a carboholic.  Especially for breakfast!  For me most weekeds are not complete without a stack of pancakes for breakfast on either Saturday or Sunday.  But sometimes we go nuts and like to make waffles instead.  Especially when strawberries are in season.  Now you can take our buttermilk pancake recipe and use that as a basic waffle recipe, or on really special occasions we have a to die for Liege waffle recipe that took years to perfect after having those sweet crispy waffles in Brussels on vacation, but for the best breakfast waffle recipe you have to start the night before.  This has become our go to recipe when we have the urge for waffles (and we think of it ahead of time).  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 2 cups warm milk
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Instructions:

  • The night before, combine the water, yeast and sugar in a very large bowl (the batter will expand enormously). Allow it to stand for about 5 minutes, until the yeast dissolves and the mixture has started to bubble.  This tells you the yeast is good.
  • Stir in the milk, butter, honey, vanilla and salt.
  • Add the flour and whisk until the batter is smooth.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to sit at a cool room temperature, or in the fridge overnight.
  • The next morning, heat a Belgian waffle iron according to the manufacturer's instructions and brush the top and bottom with melted butter or cooking spray.
  • Add the egg yolks and baking soda to the batter and whisk until combined.
  • In a serarate bowl whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  Fold beaten egg whites into the waffle batter
  • Pour just enough of the batter onto the hot waffle iron to cover the grids, close and cook for 5 to 6 minutes on medium heat, until the waffles are golden brown.
  • Serve with fresh berries and whipped cream, or whatever toppings you like.

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Ribs

Saturday, 23 July 2016 00:00

I love good ribs!  I could break into the baby back ribs song, but I spare you the singing.  We have tried for years different methods of making ribs at home.  Some were good, some not so good.  But finally we have found the perfect method for cooking ribs.  So this really isn't a recipe but the process that we follow to slow smoke ribs.

Picking out the right ribs is important.  I suggest going to your butcher or local meat market and asking for St Louis style pork ribs.  You want there to be some fat, and nice meaty ribs.

Next is a good rub for the ribs.  there are lots of good rubs available in the store, but I like to use my own rib rub recipe.  Although it is called a rub, you shouldn't actually rub it into the flesh of the meat.  That will just tear up the meat.  Coat the ribs with a little bit of olive oil, spinkle with the rib rub, and pat it so that it sticks to the meat well.  set it aside for at least an hour so the rub turns to a syrupy marinade.

DSC 2731 500

3-2-1 smoking method:

Prepare your smoker (Or grill).  We use a small electric smoker since we don't really cook a ton of meat all at once.  

 smoker

If you are using a grill, you'll want to cook the ribs over indirect heat, and keeep the temperature around 225.  Once the temperature has stabalized, add the glazed ribs to the smoker.  You should have a pan of water or even better, a comnination of water, beer and apple cider in the smoker to produce steam that will keep the ribs moist.  Add a few chuncks of hardwood chuncks for the smoke.  I like to use a combination of apple wood, cherry and hickory.  This method of smokig is called 3-2-1 smoking for the length of time for each stage of the cooking.  I have done this many times, and the ribs are always juicy, tender and flavorful.

Ribs on smoker

  • The first 3 hours the ribs will be on the smoker with smoke, meat side up.  Make sure that the water pan has enough liquid throughout the cooking.  I also like to spritz the ribs with apple cider a few times in the first 3 hours.  
  • The next 2 hours you will wrap up the ribs in aluminum foil, and add some apple cider before sealing up the foil.  Back on the smoker this time meat side down, no smoke necessary for these 2 hours since the ribs are wrapped up.  
  • The last 1 hour, back onto the heat, meat side up, without the wrap and still no smoke necessary.  The final 15 to 30 minutes you can add barbeque sauce.  I like to finish off the last few minutes on the gas grill with higher heat to get a little char on the ribs, but that is up to you.

The ribs are really cooked through after the first 3 hours, but the 2 hours in the foil wrap make them very moist and tender.  You will notice the meat is starting to pull back from the bones when you unwrap them after being in the foil.  After the full 6 hours on the smoker the ribs will be tender and flavorful.  My mouth is watering writting this up.  I can't wait for the ribs to come off the smoker today!

Scott Pollacek - about me

 

Maine Squeeze Ice Cream

Friday, 06 April 2012 11:08

For the 4th of July weekend we decided to make some homemade ice cream.  We have a ton of blueberries and some fresh lemon so we came up with this recipe for the "Maine Squeeze".  Maine because when we vacationed in Maine a few years ago we got completely hooked on blueberries, and squeeze for the hint of fresh lemon.  Really this is a great vanilla ice cream base with a swirl of blueberry compote.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  This vanilla base can be used for a whole lot of flavors.  Get creative and leave a comment with what you have tried.

Maine squeeze ice cream

Ingredients:

For the vanilla ice cream base:

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs

For the blueberry swirl:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1/8 tsp corn starch dissolved in 1 Tbs cold water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions:

For the blueberry swirl:

  • Combine the berries, honey, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the blueberries begin to burst.  
  • Add the corn starch, salt and vanilla, cook until mixture begins to thicken.  Add lemon zest just at the end.  
  • Cool mixture and keep in the fridge until the ice cream is ready.

For the vanilla ice cream base:

  • In a medium saucepan combine the cream, half and half, vanilla bean seeds 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 1 hour.

heavy cream for ginger ice cream

  • In a small bowl, combine the eggs and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and beat to a homogeneous consistency.

eggs and sugar for ginger ice cream

  • Bring the cream mixture back to a boil and turn the heat off. Immediately strain and whisk a third of the cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture and then immediately whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining cream mixture.
  • Chill the mixture over an ice water bath.

almost ready to freeze the ginger ice cream

  • Churn the chilled mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions (30 minutes to 1 hour).

ginger ice cream into the ice cream machine

  • Pour half of the soft ice cream into a container and top with half of the blueberry swirl.  With a rubber spatula gently fold the blueberry swirl into the ice cream.  Top with the remaining ice cream then blueberry swirl and gently fold again.

Notes:

I find that the vanilla base is a little sweet on it's own but with the tart blueberry lemon swirl it balances out nicely.  If you were using this on it's own or with other falvors, you may want to cut the sugar a bit.

 

Scott Pollacek - about me

 
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