File these under “Super Easy, Still Impressive” - palmiers (light, sweet puff pastry cookies) are criminally cinchy to make and an impressive and tasty way to end a meal on a high (and not too heavy) note. I love to eat these with chocolate sauce or whipped cream, and every once in a while I get a little crazy and add some cinnamon to the sugar.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 425.
Sprinkle half of the sugar on a cutting board. Unfold the puff pastry and press it down into the sugar. Sprinkle the other half of the sugar on top of the puff pastry and spread it around with your fingers, brushing off the sugar that doesn’t stick to the pastry.
Fold the sides of the puff pastry in to the center. Fold the pastry again so there are four layers. Using a sharp knife, cut the pastry across the short side into 1 inch slices. For the best results cut straight down, not back-and-forth like with bread or steak.
The very best baking results will be achieved using a silicone baking mat like a Silpat, but parchment paper will work in a pinch. To bake, take the sliced pieces and place them cut side down on the baking sheet. Unfold them slightly and twist the edges down, so that the cookies make a V (this part is not the easiest thing to explain, I know - basically you’ll have one end standing up on the cut side, and it will be the point on the V that’s formed with the two ends lying flat on the the non-cut side). Bake until the tops are slightly golden (about 7 minutes) and remove from the oven. Flip them over and put back in the oven another 4 or 5 minutes or so - until the tops and sides are nicely browed and the sugar has caramelized. Remove and let cool, then eat!
At home one night with plenty of nicely marinated chicken but no pita to be found, I had an epiphany - if souvlaki is basically an undressed Greek salad with chicken on a pita, why couldn’t I eat it as a DRESSED Greek salad with chicken without a pita? And thus my new summer standby meal was born - the chicken souvlaki salad. This recipe will feed two very well and leave four wanting more (I suggest getting some baklava for dessert).
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 5 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce or 2 hearts of Romaine
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 large cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
- 2 Tablespoons crumbled Feta cheese
Mix the marinade. Reserve half to dress the salad, and combine the other half in a zipper bag with the chicken. Marinate the chicken for 4 to 24 hours.
Grill (or saute) the marinated chicken breasts. Slice thinly. Prepare the salad vegetables. Top with the chicken and cheese, then the reserved vinaigrette. If you’re feeling really saucy, you can use tzaziki as a dressing instead of the reserved half of the vinaigrette. Or you could just use both.
Beans and rice, rice and beans. Endorsed by scores of nations worldwide, beans and rice provides a balance of protein and carbs that can hardly be beat (not to mention the combination creates a very thrifty meal). Add some chicken for an extra protein bump and some salsa for flavor, and you have a dinner that’s quick, healthy and delish.
This recipe came to me via the print edition of Clean Eating magazine, which I highly endorse.
These Sausage Ball appetizers are great for entertaining. They come together quickly, freeze well, and can be baked up in a snap.
- 3 cups baking mix (I use Bisquick)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 pound ground sausage (any kind), uncooked
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