There is a certain attitude that comes along with summertime. A laid back, relaxed, let’s embrace the moment kind of mindset that I adore relishing in. The golden, sunshine filled days cool into lazy firefly evenings that can spontaneously turn into impromptu entertaining. I love it when these last minute gatherings materialize out of thin air and I especially love it when I’ve got a delicious savory appetizer on hand that can go from fridge to table in minutes. This goat milk brie and phyllo was born out of one of those delicious impromptu evenings spent with friends and has now become a favorite crowd pleaser! Some evenings I just pop a few of these in the oven for the family and skip dinner all together!
Please join me over at Eat, Live, Run for the rest of the story…I have the pleasure of guest posting over there today. Simply click here.
It reminds me of sitting atop a cliff overlooking the swirling sea as the brilliant sun slipped out of sight and I dined on the most succulent chicken souvlaki I had ever tasted. It was actually the first chicken souvlaki I had ever tasted. The chicken melted off the stick and into my mouth drenched in the flavors of zesty lemon and earthy oregano. It was an experience that tantalized all of my senses. It was bliss. On a stick. In Greece. On my honeymoon. And I shall never forget it.
Makes me happy.
Just like I’ll never forget this moment in time…
a moment when nothing else mattered in the world. I was a newlywed happily exploring the wonders of Greece one delicious moment at a time.
Last week I shared my story of falling head-over-heels in love with tzatziki. This week I’d like to share a favorite Greek treat that deliciously accompanies the dreamy creamy tzatziki…chicken souvlaki. It makes me happy. It takes me right back to that seaside cliff gazing into my tall-dark-and-handsome-Greek-god-of-a-husband’s eyes every time.
Isn’t it amazing how food can instantly transport you to another time and place?
Another thing that makes me happy about chicken souvlaki is how easy it is to make!
This is what you do…
Grab a pound of chicken tenderloins.
Place them in a bowl.
Pour in some extra virgin olive oil.
Squeeze in the juice of one lemon.
Add some Worcestershire sauce.
Some dried oregano. LOTS of dried oregano.
Make sure to crush the oregano between your finger tips (or in the palms of your hands) to release the lovely earthy flavor.
Sprinkle a few pinches of salt & pepper and give the chicken a good toss making sure to coat every piece. The nice thing about using chicken tenders as opposed to chicken breasts is that they marinate quickly, within a half an hour to an hour. That makes me happy.
When you are ready to put them on the grill just thread them onto pre-soaked wooden skewers, again the tenderloins make for easy prep… no cutting involved!
Again I’ve got a smile on my face.
Then throw them onto a screaming hot grill.
I decided to use my stove top cast iron grill for further simplicity.
I’m happy. Are you happy?
Grill the souvlaki 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked all the way through,
and you’ve got gorgeous golden grill marks on the chicken.
HAPPY birthday to my tall-dark-and-handsome-Greek-god-of-a-husband! Let’s go back to Greece and celebrate honey, o.k.? O.k. (that would make me over-the-moon happy)
You know what else makes me happy?
That YOU stopped by today!
Are YOU happy?
O.k. I’ll stop now.
Now go enjoy the tantalizing flavors of Greece from your very own home and BE HAPPY!
Here’s the recipe…
Oregano & Lemon Chicken Souvlaki
1 pound chicken tenderloins
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 of a cup)
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 (heaping) Tablespoons of dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Here’s what you’ll do:
1. Put the chicken into a bowl.
2. Add all other ingredients.
3. Mix well, coating chicken on all sides.
4. Let chicken marinate for a 1/2 hour to hour covered in fridge (or longer if you wish).
5. Thread marinated chicken tenders onto a pre-soaked wooden skewer.
6. Place souvlaki onto a screaming hot grill and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through and has gorgeous golden brown grill marks.
Serve with some dreamy creamy tzatziki and BE HAPPY!
Well, it’s a virtual progressive dinner party in which over 50 bloggers are participating! Share Our Holiday Table is a fund-raising event to support Share Our Strength’s, ‘No Kid Hungry Campaign’ to raise awareness of child hunger in the U.S.. The dinner party will begin today and last throughout the entire week.
After hearing about this great fundraiser, I just happened to be sitting at my dinner table and looked across the overflowing bowls of food to see my two lovely girls happily chatting and abundantly serving themselves. It made me stop and think. I was struck by how much I take for granted. I then tried to imagine my own two children sitting at our dinner table staring at empty plates with nothing to eat. My heart sank, my eyes stung with tears and I knew what I had to do.
I just couldn’t imagine how awful it would be.
So today, by participating in this dinner, I am joining a team of many to help put a stop to child hunger.
I have chosen to bring prosciutto & cream cheese wrapped asparagus packages to the table. They are so easy and delicious. AND these little gems are gluten-free.
It is such a simple yet elegant addition to any meal!
These are the three ingredients: asparagus, cream cheese and prosciutto.
First, you’ll want to wash your asparagus and cut off the tips.
Next fill a pot with water and make sure to generously salt the water…
bring the water to a full boil and cook the asparagus until tender, about 3-4 minutes.
Next drain the asparagus…
and immediately place them into a bowl of ice water.
This will stop the cooking and maintain the gorgeous bright green color! After a minute or two drain them again and then pat them dry with a paper towel and set aside.
O.k. now it’s time to get the “wrapping” ready…
Thinly spread some cream cheese all over a piece of prosciutto,
cut the prosciutto into four sections, place an asparagus on the edge, make sure to leave the full tip exposed.
Now gently roll until the entire piece of cream cheese covered prosciutto is wrapped around the asparagus.
And you’re done!
How easy peasy is that?
In no time flat, you’ve got gorgeous little packages of deliciousness just waiting to be enjoyed.
I’d like to thank you so much for stopping by and for joining me in the SOS Progressive Dinner Party!
If you’d like to join the fight in ending child hunger, you can make a donation to Share Our Strength by clicking here. And if you can’t make a contribution, that’s o.k.- I’m just so glad that you stopped by!
Wishing you a warm holiday season full of love and laughter…
and may you never, ever have an empty plate.
Here’s the printable recipe:
Prosciutto & Cream Cheese Wrapped Asparagus makes 25 wraps
half a package of cream cheese- room temperature
1- 4oz. package of prosciutto
Here’s What You’ll Need To Do:
First you’ll want to wash and trim your asparagus. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil and cook asparagus until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Drain asparagus and quickly place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, drain again and dry with paper towels. Next spread a thin layer of cream cheese over the surface of one piece of prosciutto and cut into four pieces. Roll each piece with one asparagus, making sure that tip is exposed.
Please enjoy browsing through the links below for other delicious appetizer ideas
Sweet & savory prosciutto cups are a delicious gluten-free appetizer! They’re so beautiful they’re like edible art!
How is it possible that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away!
Can you believe it?
I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited for Thanksgiving this year! It’s going to be a totally different kind of experience for my entire family. This year we are packing up, leaving suburbia and heading for the hills, literally, we will be enjoying Thanksgiving at our cabin in the country! I cannot wait! But that isn’t the only thing that will be different this year. This year we will be incorporating a gluten-free theme into our holiday feast, due to the fact that my sister was just recently diagnosed with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. That means that my sister cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein in wheat. We’ve all been trying to wrap our arms around this new lifestyle and way of cooking and wouldn’t you know that in the serendipitous way that life is, many fabulous, wonderful, gluten-free people have come into my life through blogging! One of these people is Shauna of gluten-free girl. Thanks to Shauna, I am taking part in a “gluten-free Thanksgiving” extravaganza that includes 50 plus bloggers, (some gluten-free and some not), that have all taken the gluten-free challenge!
I just love a good challenge! Especially when I can learn something.
I’ve decided to make a naturally gluten-free recipe…I will be bringing prosciutto cups filled with goat cheese, arugula and fresh figs to the Thanksgiving table this year. They are incredible! Delicate, sweet & salty little bundles of deliciousness I tell you!
It really couldn’t be any easier. Get your taste buds ready!
I bought all of my ingredients from Trader Joe’s, they do a great job of letting you know what products are indeed gluten-free. As a matter of fact, this recipe was inspired by Scottie, one of my faves at TJ’s.
Here’s what you’ll need: goat cheese, arugula, and 1 fresh fig…
And of course prosciutto. You’ll want to cut the prosciutto into small (approximately 2inch by 3 inch) rectangles.
Next grab a mini muffin tin pan and gently press four pieces of prosciutto into each cup.
Bake the prosciutto cups at 375º for about 15 minutes until nice a crispy and they hold their sweet little cup-like shape.
Once they are baked, immediately place them on a cooling rack.
Aren’t they just beautyfull?
Edible art in my opinion.
After the prosciutto cups are cool, it’s time to fill them.
First a healthy dollop of creamy goat cheese.
Then a sprinkling of chopped arugula.
And finally a smattering of diced fresh figs to seal the deal.
I’m telling you, it’s edible art! It really is!
These gorgeous little bundles even enticed my two daughters!
One thing that I know for sure is…
I am thankful that these marvelous little prosciutto cups will be adorning our holiday table this year! Not to mention that they have become an all time FAV!
Participating in this gluten-free challenge was a joy! I learned that gluten-free cooking is fun and easy and totally satisfying, even when you don’t need to eat gluten-free!
For more incredible recipes, check out gluten-free girl’s newest fantabulous cookbook. It would make a great holiday gift and you can find it on Amazon!
Sweet & Savory Prosciutto Cups
Author: Wendy Hondroulis | Wenderly
Gorgeous little prosciutto cups are like edible art!
1- 3oz package thinly sliced prosciutto
1 cup fresh arugula, chopped
1-4.5oz container goat cheese
1 fresh fig diced
1 mini muffin tin
Pre-heat oven to 375º.
Cut prosciutto into small rectangles, (you’ll need 36) and gently press four pieces, slightly overlapping into nine of the cups, bake for 15 minutes. Let prosciutto cups cool, then add about a tablespoon of goat cheese, sprinkle with chopped arugula and then top with 4 or 5 pieces of fig.
For other delicious gluten-free recipes, check out these other fantastic folks who participated in this gluten-free Thanksgiving fun in the links below!
Brilliant golden sunshine, crystal blue skies and a carnival of colors for all to enjoy. THAT is what I think of when I think of Indian summer days. And this September has been no exception. Well except for the fact that it has been hotter than blazes around here, but that’s why they call it “Indian summer” right? I’m always chomping at the bit to pull out all of my sweaters and wrap myself in the romance of crisp air, warm sun and hot apple cider. Instead, I end up sweating, changing my clothes twelve times a day and cranking up the AC rather than building a fire.
Am I the only one?
Well romance aside, this time of year still offers up many wonderful veggies just begging to be used in some kind of fabulous dish. And I have the perfect one! Try this vibrant, crunchy, delectable dish for tailgates with chips or even as a perfect light lunch served in a lettuce bowl or a side to compliment dinner. It’s the perfect way to wrap up the summer months and indulge in the Indian summer days before the hearty stews and soups of colder weather set in!
These are the simple ingredients just waiting to become a dazzling array of colors that will compliment Fall’s glory! Black beans, a red pepper, corn, garlic, 1 purple onion, 1 lime, fresh cilantro and Italian flat leaf parsley.
First you’ll want to dice your veggies. Slice and dice your purple onion.
Slice and dice your red pepper.
Mince you garlic.
Chop your fresh cilantro and flat leaf parsley and put it all into a big bowl.
Next you’ll need cumin seeds.
Aren’t they cute little guys? You’ll need to toast them in a dry pan over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes until they become fragrant and a teensy bit brown. They pack a big punch of flavor and are responsible for the unique flavor of this this salsa in my opinion!
For a little kick, some crushed red pepper flakes.
The dressing, if you will, is nothing other than the juice of 1 lime, olive oil and some salt & pepper.
Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the veggies and herbs waiting in the bowl. I find that this wooden juicer works like a dream. Gets every last little drip of juice out of that lime.
Wish you could smell this…it’s intoxicating.
Pour in the toasted cumin seeds, olive oil and some salt & pepper.
Would you look at all of those colors? Indian summer in a bowl.
Mix it all together and try not to eat spoon-fulls (or drool into the bowl) while you do .
Do you think I’m kidding? I kid you not.
About this time, I run and grab a chip or five so I can sneak a taste to satiate my senses that are screaming to be satisfied.
So there ya have it….
A beautiful rainbow of summer’s last offerings mimicking the palette that only Mother Nature can create.
Indian summer in a bowl.
Indian Summer Black Bean Salsa Adapted from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
(makes 6 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 red pepper, chopped
1 small purple onion, chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped fresh flay leaf parsley
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Here’s what you do:
First thing that you’ll want to do is toast the cumin seeds. Just warm a skillet over medium heat, toss in the cumin seeds and stir for about 1 to 2 minutes until they start to smell good! In a big bowl, mix the toasted cumin seeds & black beans and then the rest of the ingredients: mix well. Store in fridge, covered for up to a week!
I love the 4th of July! I love everything about it. The parade, the picnics, the friends and family, the fireworks. What I don’t like is rushing around worrying about what I can make for all of the festivities! Last year as I was planning and plotting about what dishes to make for the holiday packed with picnics and parties the thought occurred to me…
Does it really have to be this difficult?
I heard myself say out loud.
Thank goodness this “self discussion” was going on in the comfort of my own home and not in the middle of my local grocery store is all I have to say.
Not only did I talk to myself out loud, I’m quite certain that I clapped & jumped with glee over the idea of a watermelon feta flag as it popped into my head. And blueberries! Don’t forget the blueberries! We just went to Berryfield Farms and picked blueberries so this year my flag will be embellished with delicious, fresh off the bush, blueberries!
I adore watermelon and feta. Have you ever tried it? Sweet & salty, creamy & juicy. The flavors compliment one another in a way that will make your mouth sing (or maybe even talk out loud).
My Yanni introduced me to this decadent duo years ago while on our honeymoon in Greece. And you know what they say,”when in Greece…” so I gave in and instantly fell in love!
These are the fresh and gorgeous ingredients.
Watermelon, feta and blueberries.
I just love the colors and textures together.
Next you’ll need a platter, preferably a rectangle but an oval would work too and a small bowl.
Pour the blueberries into the bowl and place at the top left corner for the stars.
Next, slice your feta because feta makes everything “betta” (at least that’s what I think).
Cut the slices into cubes.
I used one 8oz square of feta.
Don’t ya just want to pop one in your mouth?
I did…………………………………..(don’t tell anyone)!
Next, the watermelon. I used half of a seedless watermelon. As a far as quantity goes for this recipe, it depends on the size of the platter you use. It’s always better to have to0 much than too little because my family is always lurking about ready to dive in, therefore the extras come in handy (don’t mess with mama’s stars & stripes).
It’s all about the stars & stripes when making a watermelon feta flag ya know.
So cut your watermelon into slices.
Trim off the rind.
Cut the watermelon int to strips.
And finally cubes.
Now grab a platter with bowl of blueberries,
and place the watermelon and feta into pretty rows starting with the watermelon until you fill the platter!
Now don’t forget cute little toothpicks for easy not to mention healthy handling of the goods!
And that is my easy peasy patriotic no hassel 4th of July watermelon feta flag!
Hope you enjoy a lovely holiday weekend!
Here’s the easy peasy recipe:
Patriotic watermelon & Feta Flag
A sweet & salty refreshingly delightful treat!
Half of a seedless watermelon
8 ounces of feta cheese
1 pint of blueberries
Cut and cube half of a seedless watermelon.
Cube 8 ounces of feta.
Rinse off 1 pint of fresh blueberries.
Pour blueberries into a bowl, preferably square and place in the top left corner of a rectangle (or oval) platter.
Assemble watermelon and feta into rows, starting with the watermelon.
Serve with a side of toothpicks for easy and healthy handling of the food.
I just adore my local Farmer’s Market! There is nothing more satisfying than waking up on a Saturday morning, rolling out of bed, grabbing a cup of coffee, my favorite straw bag and heading out to a Farmer’s Market! I love strolling up and down the white tent lined streets, admiring the many fresh just-picked-from-the-garden-fruits and vegetables… and the flowers! Be still my heart. Just being surrounded by such beauty and color tantalizes all of my senses and inspires me to come up with new fun ways to prepare simple, delicious, wholesome food.
I know what you’re probably thinking…
why am I talking about fresh fruits and veggies while showing photos of jam? Right?
Well just so you know, I did buy some fabulous veggies while enjoying my first Farmer’s Market trip of the season! I will be sharing those recipes with you in the days to come and will feature weekly recipes that will be inspired by my Farmer’s Market endeavors. For now, I thought it best to ease you into the Farmer’s Market experience with something as simpleand delicious as it is easy. So for now, it’s all about the jam.
Jam… sweet, sweet jammie jam.
While I was strolling along amongst the fruits and veggies, I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a darling tent filled with vibrant colors and sweet little precious jars of jam. It was so full of cheer and happy chatter that I found myself eager to join in the fun by grabbing a spoon and sampling the sweet jam nestled in these cute little jars…
I could have stood there forever, happy as a little lark, licking spoons full of jam all afternoon.
Then I realized that people would stare, and start to talk about the lady licking spoons full of jam, so I decided against it.
But talk about a party in your mouth!
And it’s made of fruit so it HAS to be good for you, right? Well at least I think so.
After sampling a few more jams, I decided that I just couldn’t live without the Hot Pepper Strawberry jam. It had the perfect balance of sweet meets spicy and I instantly new what I wanted to prepare.
I headed for home, straw bag in tow, eager to treat my family to the sweet, spicy goodness that I had just fallen in love with. And boy let me tell you, I had no clue what a hit it would be.
If I had known, I’d have bought a case of the sweet & spicy stuff!
So here we go…
And these are the three ingredients folks…homemade hot pepper strawberry jam, a brick of cream cheese and some of your favorite crackers (I prefer whole grain crackers myself) and…
but of course… a spoon!
Grab the main ingredient….Hot Pepper Strawberry jam (just typing those words makes me start to drool).
As you can see, I prefer to empty the jar into a separate bowl for extra dollops of the good stuff.
Go ahead and enjoy a few spoonfuls, but I’ll caution you that once you start it’s hard to stop. You may just want to buy two jars, one for tasting and the other for this yummy snack/ delightful appetizer.
It’s just a thought.
Now with your spoon just slather enough jam to cover the top of the cream cheese and allow a few artistic dribbles to cascade down the sides.
But make sure not to use the spoon that you’ve been sampling with.
It just doesn’t get any simpler than this does it?
Next grab a cracker, dip it into the cream cheese slathered with sweet, spicy hot pepper strawberry jam…
now close your eyes…and enjoy the oooey gooey sweet and spicy flavors mixed with the cool cream cheese and salty crunch of the cracker.
Don’t be surprised when you hear an involuntary “mmmmmm” come humming out of the corners of your mouth, which can get kinda messy with cracker crumbs and all.
And remember that a simple, sweet Farmer’s Market treat is only a jar of jam away!
Or an empty jar of jam that is…boo hoo!
(and don’t forget to lick the spoon)
Do you enjoy your local Farmer’s Market? What’s your favorite Farmer’s Market food find? Please share below!