Wednesday, March 31, 2010

De-Puffer Project

So if you tried my Greek Slaw and saved your cucumber juice you can try this little project. Everyone knows cucumber slices are great for soothing and de-puffing your eyes. With this little trick you can have your cucumbers and eat them too!

All you need is cucumber juice, cotton balls and ice trays. If you don't have ice trays you could just use wax paper. I just like the shape and handiness from using a tray.

So it's simple, you just dunk the cotton balls in the juice, plop them into the tray and freeze them. What you get is a refreshing eye de-puffer/face toner. Did you know your pores actually look smaller when you rub them with something cold? I tried them out this morning and loved it!

Greek Slaw

So if you haven't noticed I do a lot of Italian/Greek inspired dishes. This is for 2 reasons: One we love that kind of food, and two we do a lot of bulk, Costco shopping...so if you notice a trend of feta cheese and kalamata olives it's because I have a huge thing of them in my fridge.

Back to this week's recipe. Greek Slaw! Sounds kind of ugly when you say it out loud, but until I come up with something better this is it.

We've been trying to eat more veggies and when I saw cucumbers were only $.20 each I loaded up my basket with 5 of them. Fast forward to me being home and clueless as to what to do with 5 cucumbers! I love Tzatziki sauce, you know that cucumber sauce that comes on Gyros? Well I wanted to do something inspired by that, but was more veggie than saucy. If that makes any sense at all.

 
First of all I started peeling the cucumbers. The skin doesn't really bother me, but for what I wanted to do, I thought I should. It was actually pretty therapeutic.

Then I got out my new handy grater. Only 5 bucks from Ikea. Is it wrong to plan a whole meal around getting to use a new kitchen gadget? I say gadget like it's some new life changing product. It's a grater, they've been around forever! But I didn't have one, so I was pretty pumped.

So grate up all 5 cucumbers. They are extremely watery so make sure you're okay with your prep area getting wet. As you go, put the grated cucumber in a strainer and sort of push the water out. I actually put a mixing bowl under my colander to catch all the cucumber water.

Yum, huh? If you want you can save yours too and use if for this refreshing project.

Chop up about 20 kalamata olives and put them in a mixing bowl along with the cucumbers.

Add in about 5oz. of cherry tomatoes, or how ever many you want. You can make this as veggie light or heavy as you like. 

Traditional Tzatziki sauce is made with Greek yogurt. Which is delicious, but I didn't have any on hand, so I used sour cream mix with a little goat cheese.

Then generously mix in oregano and dill. Two very important spices for getting that "Greek" taste. 

Mix it all together. Pretty simple.

Coat some chicken breasts with olive oil and season with dill weed and oregano. This is just to continue with the Greek flavors and make everything flow taste-wise. Then grill it up, either on a Foreman, skillet or actual grill.

Then dice it all up! 

After you cut up all the chicken you should think about how you want to serve/eat what you're making. Actually, you should think about it before because you'll be wishing you had some pitas, and instead all you have are Triscuits. I admit it, I frequently embark on a new dish with little, or no idea as to how it will turn out. Turns out the Triscuits were really good with it and made it a really fun dinner!

This is how I served it. I piled up the Greek slaw in the center of the plate, topped it with the chopped chicken, added the Triscuits in a circle just to be festive and garnished with a little feta cheese.
It turned out really good! We had fun with the appetizer-ish dinner and had a ton of leftovers (duh, 2 people vs. 5 cucumbers!) The next night we ended up grilling burgers and instead of lettuce, cheese and all that I just topped mine with this slaw and it made a pretty excellent Greek burger. 

Try it out for yourself, it makes a good dinner, and would be good for entertaining too. Also, if you have pitas around stuff 'em with it and let me know how it is!

Friday, March 19, 2010

RAVE-ioli!

Lately. we've been buying the ravioli they sell at Costo. They are large and come in a couple of flavors. This is the chicken and mozzarella and it is so good! If we are starving I'll just make it as directed, and serve it with pre-made alfredo or tomato sauce. But if I have time, and want to make it a little more special, I'll do something like this...

First you'll need to chop up about 20-25 kalamata olives and set them aside. These are the red ones and are the strongest tasting. If you don't like this kind you could use black ones, but if you are feeling brave and adventurous, try these! They give this dish a truly unique kick. 

**If you have a George Foreman type of grill go ahead and turn it on now so it can be heating up.**

Also, chop up about half of a yellow onion. You can use more or less depending on your preference. Then put the choppings in a skillet on medium to high heat.

You won't need to add any oil to the onions because your going to throw in about 6 strips of chopped bacon at the same time. This will take the place of oil and increase the flavor of the onions themselves.

While the bacon and onions begin to sizzle a bit, go ahead and add a heaping teaspoon of minced garlic.  I keep a big container of pre-packaged minced garlic in the fridge because I rarely have fresh garlic laying around and this is just way too handy.

Next, you'll want to add a small can of mushrooms to the mix, stirring occasionally to keep things from scorching.

Here's the ravioli I was talking about earlier. Huge and loaded with flavor! I gave it a quick spray with canned olive oil.

Start laying the uncooked ravioli directly on the hot grill. (If you don't have one you can get pretty much the same effect with a skillet.) Let it cook and just keep an eye on it. 

Add a can of diced tomatoes to your skillet. Make sure to drain them really well. The consistency of this dish should be chunky, not runny. Keep stirring occasionally.

Grab your olives and toss them in too. 

Your ravioli should be nice and hot. They should be slightly golden brown in places and the cheese should be bubbling out a bit.  

Gently place and toss them with your skillet mixture letting the flavors mingle for a few minutes. Look at those colors!

Get out your plates and utensils, as well as your garnish. Feta! 

Sprinkle the feta cheese on top and serve to your adoring fans.

Enjoy! This is a hearty, filling meal with tons of flavor that comes in layer after layer. I'm sure you'll find ways to add to, play with, and make it your own. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Get a Tan!

This is my new favorite bargain/hoard inducer.

Did you know the 99¢ Only Store is selling Banana Boat Adjustable Color Self-Tanner. I thought it was a pretty good deal, because usually it's like $7-$10 a bottle when you get it at Target. For those of us who are pigmently challenged that's a lot of money we could be spending on bronzer and sunscreen, so of course I tossed a bottle in my basket.

I had to question it though...while I love the 99¢ Only Store, I always have the nagging feeling they're only selling the stuff that came out wrong or is past its due date. With 99¢ self-tanner, I instantly had flashbacks of middle school where my attempts at self-tanner ended up looking more Oompa Loompa-esque than stunning surfer girl.

In college I discovered I could mix the tanner with lotion to get a more natural look. Now nearly every skin care line has something similar, and with this particular one you can adjust it based on how much color you want/need. Pretty cool huh?

Like I said, I was a little leery of only paying 99¢ for a tan, but the results are great! I use it a few times a week on my legs and arms. I have since gone back for more and I now have 4 bottles under my sink. Like I said, hoard-inducing.
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