Greek Chicken Salad

Down here on the Gulf Coast, the summers can get blazing hot, like an oven.  That Southern heat slaps me in the face and takes me down.  Most of us just stay inside on those days, sucking on air conditioning while we can.  During those times, salads come to mind – crispy, cold, and refreshing. If you are as crazy as I am about Greek food, you will love this crunchy, delicious main-dish salad.  The original recipe calls for a homemade lemon-herb dressing, but I used Ken’s Steak House Greek Dressing.  It is perfect….and FAST!

Prep Time:     10 minutes

Serves:     8-10

  • 5-6 cups chopped Romaine lettuce
  • 3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 6 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (Reserve 1 ounce to dress the top)
  • Ken’s Steak House Greek Dressing

Combine first six ingredients in a large bowl.  Toss with just enough dressing to coat.  Garnish with remaining cheese. Serve with toasted pita bread triangles or pita crackers.

White Chili

Chili is a Fall staple around our house, and I am always looking for ways to break up the monotony of the ground beef and tomato variety.  Cook a box of Jiffy cornbread (or make your own from scratch) and this meal will be ready in no time.  If you have cooked, chopped, and frozen your chicken breasts ahead of time, then bring out about 3 or 4 cups to thaw.  This recipe will warm you from your head to your toes!

Prep Time:     10 minutes

Cook Time:     30 minutes

Serves:     8-10

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, white if you have it
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 can great northern beans, undrained
  • 2 cans navy beans, undrained
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (remove seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
  • 1 tablespoon Greek seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded Colby/Monterey Jack cheese

Chop the chicken breasts and onion.  Saute with the olive oil in a dutch oven.  Add all remaining ingredients except the cheese.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and simmer 30 minutes.  Add cheese, mix well, and serve.

Cowboy Soup

Every now and then, if ground beef is on sale or if I have a little extra time, I’ll buy 5 pounds of the stuff and cook it.   Then I place it in 5 zipper bags and freeze.  That makes several soup recipes and cuts down drastically on time.  The same goes for chicken breasts.  Boil up a bunch of those, debone, chop, freeze in bags, and you are ready for your meals to be even faster on those weekdays when you don’t otherwise have the time.  About 2 cups of chopped chicken equals a pound.

Cowboy Soup may be the easiest ever! It is fresh, healthy, and changeable.  Pretty much any vegetable you like can be substituted or added.  You can also omit those you don’t like.  The original recipe calls for a can of Spanish rice.  Because I wanted to cut the carbs, I deleted the rice and added a can of green beans.  This soup, like all soups, is fantastic reheated.

Prep Time:     13 minutes

Cook Time:     30 minutes

Serves:     8-10

  • 1 can cream style corn
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can Rotel
  • 1 can Veg-Al, drained
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 large can green beans, drained
  • 2 cups water

Brown meat and drain.  Add remaining ingredients, salt and pepper to taste, and simmer 30 minutes.

Awesome and Easy Creamy Corn Casserole

My daughter-in-law, like me, believes in speed in the kitchen.  This recipe, one of her favorites, is exactly what it says – awesome, easy, and creamy. The combination of crunchy cornbread and creamy corn, not to mention butter and sour cream, make this a dish to remember.  The prep is 8 minutes flat.  It’s a perfect choice for those pot luck dinners when there is no time for anything complicated or for a Thanksgiving meal when everything else IS complicated.  It is definitely not for those watching their waistlines!

Prep Time:     8 minutes

Cook Time:     45 minutes

Serves:     8

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 package Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (14.75 ounce) can creamed corn
  • 1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 9 baking dish.  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients and spoon into prepared dish.  Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown.

Note:  This dish can be doubled.  Just use a large pan.

Irish Apple Cake a la Mode

Eating this cake is like taking a trip to Apple heaven.  Unless you have some strange aversion to butterscotch and apples, then waste no time running to the grocery store to grab the ingredients for this one.  I have made this recipe more times than I can count.  It involves chopping up some pecans and about 4 apples.  The rest is mixing and throwing in the oven.  I love to make this apple cake most in those months when the oppressive heat of the summer has been laid to rest, and the freezing cold winter has not yet awakened.  Soft chunks of apples and melty butterscotch with crunchy pecans… it’s the perfect cake for Fall.  

Prep Time:     30 minutes

Cook Time:     60 minutes

Serves:     12

  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 cups diced apples (about 4 apples)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 12 ounces butterscotch morsels
  • Vanilla ice cream

Cream together first four ingredients.  Add flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.  Fold in diced apples and chopped nuts.  Pour batter into greased and floured 9 x 13 baking pan.  Sprinkle butterscotch morsels over mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Serve warm topped with scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Aussie Chicken

After dining at a popular Australian-themed restaurant several years ago, I scoured the Internet to find a similar recipe to the luscious chicken dish I had ordered and eaten with delight. With honey, cheese, mushrooms, and bacon, I had never eaten anything like it. It is easy to prepare and mixes up a really different dance of unusual flavors. This recipe is part of the Allrecipes Tried and True Favorites cookbook.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2 inch thickness
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
  • 6 slices bacon, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup prepared mustard
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp. Set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes. Remove half of sauce, cover and refrigerate to serve later. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the skillet and sauté for 3 – 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a 9 x 13 baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with parsley and serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce.

Pumpkin-Mushroom Soup

This soup is Fall in a bowl. The creamy pumpkin richness is an addiction at our home in the cooler months, and it is a definite Thanksgiving tradition. My amazing sister-in-law, Kathy, gave me this recipe probably 20 years ago. She is a great cook (although she won’t admit it), and many of my favorite recipes were gifts from her kitchen collection. Originally from Winterthur’s Culinary Collection, I am happy to don my sweater and welcome the cool breezes with this warm wonder.

Yield: 3 quarts

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon nutmeg
  • 32 ounces chicken broth
  • 28 ounces prepared pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • optional garnishes – sour cream, chopped, fresh
    parsley, croutons

In a large dutch oven, saute onions in butter until translucent. Stir in dry ingredients until mixture bubbles. Add chicken broth and pumpkin; cook 10 to 15 minutes. Add half and half to the pumpkin mixture. Bring to a boil. Add mushrooms. Allow to cook until mushrooms darken and become soft. Serve in bowls and top with optional garnishes, if desired. Soup can be frozen, but mushrooms should be omitted.

Spicy Peanut Soup with Chicken

4 Servings

I first saw this recipe in a magazine, probably Bon Appetit or some such. A sense of adventure and a “what the heck” attitude prompted me to prepare this strange soup. With an “order out” backup plan in place, I proceeded with the preparations. The meal was a hit with everyone, especially my younger son, for whom I have made it no less than 20 times. When he drove far away to graduate school, the first recipe he asked for was this one. He texted me while shopping for groceries the first day he arrived, and he made a pot of it as soon as he returned to his apartment. The original recipe says, “An intriguing, rich, and spicy soup with West African roots.” It is indeed intriguing and unforgettable.

PREP: 35 minutes TOTAL: 35 minutes

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 3/4 to 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use natural or old fashioned)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 can drained, diced tomatoes in juice

Combine chicken cubes and hot sauce in medium bowl and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss again. Whisk chicken broth, peanut butter, and tomato paste in another medium bowl to blend. largest butter in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and zucchini; sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add chicken and sauté until no longer pink on outside, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add broth mixture and tomatoes to pot. Simmer until chicken is cooked through and favors blend, about 5 minutes. Season soup to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.