Inside the Life of Me.....

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mediterranean Salad with Green Beans and Feta

Here is another salad we are going to try this week! I love how it mixes the greens with fruit and cheese... I think we will love it!

Mediterranean Salad with Green Beans and Feta


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 8 ounces green beans, trimmed and halved

  • 2 navel oranges

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta (6 ounces)

  • 1 head romaine lettuce (about 1 1/2 pounds), halved and roughly chopped

  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

  • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, rinsed and drained

  • How to:

  • In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook green beans until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain green beans, and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.

  • Using a sharp knife, slice off both ends of each orange. Cut off peel, following the curve of the fruit. Halve fruit from top to bottom, and thinly slice each half crosswise.

  • In a bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Add feta, oranges, lettuce, onion, beans, and green beans. Toss to combine.

  • Zucchini and Chicken Salad

    Here is a salad that I want to try this week, looks so good!

    Zucchini and Chicken Salad

    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 1/4 pounds zucchini, thinly sliced
    • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 1 bunch (about 8 ounces) spinach, chopped
    • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
    • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

    How to:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup oil and lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Add zucchini; toss to coat, and let marinate while cooking chicken.

  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken until golden brown and opaque throughout, about 7 minutes per side.

  • Toss chicken with zucchini mixture, spinach, onion, pecans, Parmesan, and mint. Serve.

  • Recipe from: Martha Stewart Recipes

    Saucy Pizza Skillet Dinner

    I made this recipe last week for Tyler and it was a hit! Looks similar to some of the other dishes I have made, but a little different ingredients!

    Saucy Pizza Skillet Dinner

    - 1 small box of lasagna dinner noodles 
    - 1 package (6.4oz) dried spaghetti sauce mix
    - 1 (4 oz) can of mushrooms (stems and pieces), undrained
    - 1/2 c. chopped green sweet pepper
    - 1/2 c. sliced (pitted) olives
    - 1/2 c. shredded mozarella cheese (I used a lot more cheese!)

    How to:
    1. Break dinner noodles into bite size pieces and put into large skillet with seasoning, 3 cups water, mushrooms and sweet pepper.

    2. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, reduce heat. Simmer for about 13 minutes or until pasta is tender. Uncover and cook for 2-3 min.

    3. Sprinkle with olives and top with cheese! Remove from heat once cheese is melted and let stand for a couple minutes to cool.

    Zesty Chicken with Black Beans and Spanish Rice

    Yum!! Tyler and I really liked this one! It is so simple to make and really fills you up!

    Zesty Chicken with Black Beans and Spanish Rice


    - 2 Tbs. cooking oil
    -1 lb. boneless, skinless, chicken breast
    - 1 (6 to 7.4 oz.) Spanish rice mix (I used a box of Spanish Rice Mix from the store, same thing!)
    - 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
    - 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
    - (sour cream and green onion optional--- I used both these, they really add flavor!)

    How to:

    1. Heat 1 Tbs. of cooking oil over skillet (medium/high heat), add the chicken pieces and cook until chicken is lightly browned and cooked through
    2. Cook rice as instructed on box or package, letting sit (covered) for 5 minutes after cooking.
    3. Add tomatoes, beans, a little pepper and green onion to chicken in skillet and stir around on low heat for a couple minutes (until rice has had a chance to sit for 5 min)
    4. Add rice to skillet mixture, stir around... take off heat to cool
    5. Add sour cream to top if desire!

    This would also be a great meal for winter time, it reminds me of a stew or soup! :)

    Wednesday, September 15, 2010

    New things I am interested in....

    As I am resting in the fact that I am not teaching this year and have some more time on my hands (ie. not grading until all hours of the night, planning what to teach, phone calls, emails, dealing with parents... etc)... I have been finding that I am interested in all kinds of things that I never had time to pay attention to last year... here is my list!

    1. Watching old episodes of Grey's Anatomy... yes, this is a strange one, but I LOVE that show and it is fun to just lay on the couch on my days off and watch them!

    2. Dangling earrings... LOVE THEM... think I always have but have had more time to research fun jewlery websites and realize that I have the need to collect them.. haha.. here are some fun earrings websites

    - Francesca's Collection (LOVE their jewlery and dresses)
    - Ruche (My sister lead me to this one, so cute)
    - Sugar Bean (super expensive, but love to look at them!)

    3.Charms, charms for necklaces, earrings and bracelets! Check out these charm websites:

    - Pandora- I started collecting pandora charms for my pandora bracelet about 3 years ago, they are fun!!

    - Chamilia- this is another site where you can accrue charms for the pandora bracelet (I have both kinds of charms)

    - Brighton Collectibles- they now sell charms and bracelets, I started making one for myself that has charms that symbolize my marriage and family, really cute charms and cheap!'S

    - Sugar Bean- again, kind of expensive, but I love the idea that you can just change out the charms on small hoop earrings

    4. Creating new home items from scratch.. currently I am thinking about making a home made head board for our bed using fabric and wooden rods, hard to explain, but I will take pictures once I make it! I also have saved some ideas from that I can use to make cute Christmas presents and wrapping paper!

    5. Cooking for Tyler, well DUH right?? It seems most of my blogs are regarding my cooking.... but I have come to find it relaxing and another way to show Tyler I care... he doesn't seem to mind!

    6. Making it a point to spend time with my girl friends... whether it is once a week or only works out once every other week, I am realizing the importance of having girl friends and am really trying to be diligent about spending time with them

    7. Joining a new bible study for couples.. this is so important to me that we go to one together! I am excited to meet some new couples this week!

    8. Getting back in shape and on a routine... ok, so maybe my new love for cooking has not been good on the weight aspect... so I am trying to make it a habit to do yoga or jog everyday, along with lift weights and do abdominal work.. we will see how it goes!!

    So, there you have it! A couple new things that I am intrigued by.. of course there are many more, these were just at the top of my list today...

    Lime Salmon with French Style Green Beans

    Haven't made too many new recipes the last couple days, but here is one I tried last night and it was good!

    Lime Salmon with French Style Green Beans

    So it might not look too appetizing, but it was!!

    - 3 large pieces of salmon
    - 1/8 tsp.salt
    -1/8 tsp. pepper
    -1/8 tsp. lime zest (shredded peel)
    - 2 tbs. cooking oil
    - 1 to 2 tbs. sesame seed
    - 1 can of french style green beans (drained)

    How to:

    1. boil green beans on stove for a about 15 minutes while you are mixing the dressing together.
    2. In a small bowl, add salt, pepper, lime zest, oil and sesame seed... stir together
    3. In a glass baking dish, cover the bottom with foil and lay salmon in it
    4. Brush dressing onto salmon, add some cut up lime slices on top
    5. Drain beans and add around the salmon
    6. Cook at about 380 degrees for around 20-25 minutes or until fish is cooked through

    The flavor is very light, but a quick summer fish dish to put together!!

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Planning desserts for Thanksgiving!!

    This year for Thanksgiving, Tyler and I will be spending the feast with my parents AND his parents! We are excited to have both sides of the family together and I am already thinking about what to make for it!

    Here are some options for desserts:

    Apple Crisp
    Apple Tart
    cranberry/ raspberry dessert
    Pumpkin Cupcakes
    Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Hmmmm.... decisions, decisions!! Good thing I still have a while to decide!! I am excited to try some of these!!

    Friday, September 3, 2010

    Sneak Peek...

    I have started to decorate for Fall... I know, I know, it is EARLY... but you know if I lived anywhere but AZ, people WOULD say that September means Fall and that it is AOK to decorate!!

    I have many more ideas for what I want to do.... but here is a start...

    not completely finished, need some pinecone filler for the two jars!
    on top of the pot shelf in the kitchen

    Love these colors

    my new fall centerpiece, except missing some candles in the far left vase and going to put all this is a large dark colored serving tray once I buy one!! Oh yeah, I also need to finish the black ribbon on the vase... it didn't make it all the way around!

    It's definitely a work in progress! I am still looking to add a berry wreath and a few classic pumpkins!

    Happy Fall!

    Wednesday, September 1, 2010

    Greek Chicken Cutlets

    Ok, one more chicken recipe for today!! Tyler and I both love feta and olives, and this recipe combines both!

    Greek Chicken Cutlets


  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives

  • 4 ounces feta cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1 1/2 pounds thin chicken cutlets (about 8)

  • How to:

  • In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, mint, and 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

  • Heat a grill pan over high; brush lightly with oil. Season cutlets with salt and pepper. Cook, working in batches as necessary, until chicken is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Top chicken with tomato mixture, and serve.

  • ** Recipe from Martha Stewart Collections

    Spinach and Brie Chicken

    I seem to have a thing for chicken recipes this week! Maybe because chicken is relatively inexpensive and I am watching the grocery budget! This recipe looks super yummy and I pretty much have all the ingredients (a lot of the ingredients are from my previous post).. makes it easy!

    Spinach and Brie Stuffed Chicken 


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 8 thin chicken cutlets (1 1/2 pounds total)

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen leaf spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

  • 4 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 8 slices

  • 1 cup orzo

  • 2 plum tomatoes, cored and chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

  • How to:

  • Set a large saucepan of salted water to boil. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place chicken on a large rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Dividing evenly, spread one side of each cutlet with mustard; top with spinach, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Starting at short end, roll chicken up tightly, and arrange, seam side down, on sheet.

  • Season rolled chicken with salt and pepper. Broil, without turning, until tops are lightly browned and chicken is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cook orzo in boiling water until al dente. Drain well; return to pot. Add tomatoes, parsley, butter, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Serve stuffed chicken with orzo

  • Not sure if I am going to make the Orzo, I might do a cucumber salad instead!

    ** Recipe from Martha Stewart Collections

    Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa

    Tyler loves rub on Chicken, so I thought I would make something yummy for him tonight! This recipe looks good, and not difficult... plus requires little groceries, so I think I will try it!

    Cayenne Rubbed Chicken with Avocado Salsa


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 8 ounces each)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 1 Hass avocado, pitted and cut into chunks

  • How to:

  • In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cayenne; rub all over chicken.

  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add chicken, and cook until browned on the outside and opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes per side.

  • Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine onion and lime juice; set aside. Just before serving, fold avocado chunks into onion mixture; season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken topped with salsa.

  • ** Recipe found from Martha Stewart Recipes