Pita Chips

These chips are so simple to make and perfect when you have pita bread that is nearing its end.  Serve alongside the traditional hummus or even guacamole and salsa.

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Pita Chips

pita bread

olive oil

salt

Preheat your oven to the broil setting.

Cut the pita bread into triangles or strips.  Drizzle olive oil onto a sheet pan.  Place the pita bread on top.  Drizzle a little more olive oil onto the pita.  Then sprinkle with salt.  Bake until golden on top.  Then take out of oven and flip over the chips so they can get brown on the other side.

You can store these in a plastic bag after they cool.  Enjoy!

*For my hummus I like topping it with chopped kalamata olives and olive oil!

 

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Olive Romaine Salad

This is probably the easiest salad ever constructed.  Fresh chopped romaine with salty kalamata olives and a homemade dressing.  Whip it together in under 10 minutes for a light side and you will not be disappointed!

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Olive Romaine Salad

washed and chopped romaine

pitted and chopped kalamata olives

olive oil lemon dressing

Place the romaine and olives in a large salad bowl.  Toss with dressing.

Olive Oil Lemon Dressing

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2-2/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together all the ingredients.  Can be stored in the refrigerator if you do not use it all.

Creamy Grilled Corn

This side dish was inspired from traditional Mexican street corn, but I substituted many of the ingredients for what I had in my cupboard. A great accompaniment to burgers and dogs, it will be sure to grace the table at countless cookouts.  My sister claims it is her new favorite dish!  Grilling the corn is really easy, just brush it with olive oil and place on the outside sections of the grill until it is cooked through.

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Creamy Grilled Corn (serves 4-6 as a side)

4 ears of grilled corn

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

2.5 limes juiced

zest of one lime

red pepper chili flakes to taste (I used 1/2 tsp)

2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese

Remove the corn kernels with a sharp knife.

Pour olive oil in a pan on medium/ high heat.  Put corn in pan.  Add all the other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Cook until everything is heated and serve hot.

 

Sesame Peanut Noodles

This pasta dish is adapted from Nigella and is perfect for summer weather.  The fresh peas, hearty whole wheat pasta, and creamy peanut butter work well together and make a healthy, yet satisfying meal.  The longest time taking element is boiling the water for the pasta!  Serve it as a main course or side dish for cookouts.

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Sesame Peanut Noodles (makes 1 lb pasta)

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 tsp red pepper chili flakes

1/2 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

1/2 cup pasta water reserved when draining

lb. whole wheat pasta

2 cups sweet peas, washed and ends trimmed

Boil and cook pasta according to directions on the box.  When draining, save 1/2 cup of the pasta water.

As pasta is draining, whisk together all the over ingredients to make the sauce in a bowl (not peas).

Place the peas and pasta in a large bowl.  Pour dressing on top and mix thoroughly.  I served this at room temperature and chilled.  Both tasted delicious!

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Butterscotch Bars

I don’t know about you, but I have always loved butterscotch, ever since I tried it as a traditional hard candy as a kid.  These bars are really easy to make.  The top and bottom layers are the same crumb mixture and the middle is simply butterscotch chips, salt, and sweetened condensed milk.  This dessert can be made under an hour and everyone will beg for the recipe!IMG_3334

Butterscotch Bars (9×13 in pan) originally from Cooking Light

1 cup packed brown sugar

5 tablespoons melted salted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

2 cups AP flour

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

butter for pan

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9×13 pan.

Combine sugar and butter in a large bowl with an electric hand held mixer.  Add vanilla and egg.

Combine flour, oats, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and baking powder together in a separate large bowl.

Add oat mixture to wet mixture and combine until a crumble forms using a fork.   Place 3 cups of this on the bottom of the pan and press down with fingers to make an even layer.

Melt the sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch chips, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a heat proof bowl in the microwave at 20 second intervals, mixing in-between.  Pour over the bottom layer of the crust and spread so it covers everything.

Sprinkle on the nuts and the rest of the crumb mixture.  Press down so all of the butterscotch is coated with the oats.  Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

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My Other Kitchen

After eating at My Other Kitchen just once I already know it is going to be one of my go to places.  This new restaurant opened up late April and features Greek food.  The interior is bright, clean, and has stool seating, and outside there are tables for when it is warm.  You can either sit down and eat there or order takeout.  My good friend Anna and I went together, and both ordered the Greek salad with grilled chicken on top.  The fresh vegetables, salty feta cheese, and fantastic homemade dressing combined to form an awesome salad.  I would seriously order extra dressing it was that delicious.  I’ve heard the pan roasted chicken is also stellar with roasted potatoes and that will be my next conquest.  After dinner I also tried their baklava, which was very satisfying, filled with tons of nuts, and it was not too sweet.  Definitely check this place out sometime soon!

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Coconut Pretzel Bars

This dessert is a variation of 7 layer bars, but I deviated from the more traditional route because I did not have all of the necessary ingredients.  However, these were still delicious, and I love the added crunch and salty element the pretzels gave.  You can whip these together in under an hour and are one of the easiest baked desserts to make!

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Coconut Pretzel Bars (one pan)

2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter melted

14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 1/3 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup chopped pretzels

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter 9x13in brownie pan.

Mix melted butter and graham crumbs together.  Press onto the bottom of the pan.

Sprinkle on both types of chips, coconut, and pretzels on top.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk on top until it covers everything.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.

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Gazpacho Andaluz

While in Spain, I fell in love with gazpacho, which is a cold vegetable soup that originated in southern Spain.  My favorite gazpacho was prepared at the Restaurante Botin, and I found a recipe supposedly mimicking the dish online.  I was pleasantly surprised when I tasted it, it transported me right back to Madrid!  It is a perfect summertime dish and I think next time I will top it with grilled shrimp.

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Gazpacho Andaluz (four large servings)

6 slices of bread, diced

3 tomatoes, VERY ripe

1 cucumber, chopped

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 quart water

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

3 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground cumin

4 ice cubes

Garnish: chopped egg, drizzled olive oil, extra chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, croutons

In a large bowl combine the diced bread, tomatoes, cucumber, olive oil, and water. Let it soak in the refrigerator for an hour.

After the hour puree the mixture in the blender in batches and pour into large bowl.  The original recipe called for you to put this mixture through a sieve, but I did not have one and it still turned out great.

Add the garlic, wine vinegar, salt, cumin, and ice.  Chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.

When plating pour the soup in a bowl and top with cubed vegetables, egg, etc.  Drizzle over a little olive oil on top.

 

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Sugar Cookies

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These are classic and simple – not to mention the batter is phenomenal. This recipe makes quite a lot of cookies – about 3 dozen.

Ingredients

3 cups of flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg, lightly beaten

3 tbsp half and half

2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into large bowl.

Add in the butter and blend in pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.

Add in egg, vanilla, and half and half.

Chill dough for 1 hour for easier rolling.

On floured surface, roll dough to 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Place shapes on baking sheet. Bake for 6-7 minutes, or until lightly brown.

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Overnight Cold Oats

This is such an easy recipe and a perfect way to eat oatmeal when it is hot outside.  You simply mix all the ingredients together the night before you want to eat it and you have perfect oats the next morning!  Add some fresh fruit, honey, cinnamon, peanut butter, etc. when you serve it because the oats are a little bland on their own.  Enjoy!

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Overnight Cold Oats (1 serving)

1/3 cup oats (I used steel cut)

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1/3 cup skim milk

Mix all the ingredients together.  Place in a closed container in the fridge overnight.  When serving top with whatever you desire!