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Friday, May 31, 2013

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives, Capers and Sun Dried Tomatoes

For 100 years, Hellmann’s has brought together the best ingredients - such as oil, vinegar and now cage-free eggs – to help bring out the best meals and moments to America’s tables. I personally grew up on Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise and to me and my family, there is NO substitute. It's always fresh, creamy and consistently delicious. 

To celebrate its 100th birthday, Hellmann’s is teaming up with celebrity chef Mario Batali to showcase how decades of delicious meals start with real, quality ingredients. Mario put his own spin on a classic recipe for Chicken Pasta Salad with Green Olives and Raisins and it inspired me to create my own unique twist on his salad and enter the contest myself. 
Mario Batali's Salad Creation
I opted to incorporate some of my favorite aromatic flavors like Kalamata olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, fresh oregano and lemon; then used grilled chicken instead of sautéing it for that extra depth in flavor. This salad was exquisite and would make the perfect cold meal on a hot summer's day or shared with family and friends as an accompaniment at your next gathering!

Grilled Chicken Pasta Salad with Kalamata Olives, Capers and Sun Dried Tomatoes
Prep Time:  15 minutes             Yield: 12
Cook Time: 15 minutes             Serving: 1 cup 
Total Time:  30 minutes

  • 1 lb. Bowtie Pasta (I used Barilla Plus)
  • 1 lb. Boneless Chicken Breasts 
  • 3/4 c. Kalamata Olives, pitted and halved
  • 2 tbsp. Capers
  • 3/4 c. Sun Dried Tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 Scallions, chopped
  • 1 c. Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise
  • 1 Lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and cool. 
  2. While pasta is cooking, season your chicken with salt and pepper; then grill 7-8 minutes per side until chicken is cooked through. Cool, then slice into strips. 
  3. In large bowl, whisk together the Hellmann's, oregano, lemon zest and juice until it's creamy. 
  4. Add cooked pasta, chicken, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes and scallions and toss to coat.


Want to get in on the action?
Join the Hellmann’s Blue Ribbon table and co-create your own recipe with Mario Batali. ENTER HERE for your chance to win a seat at the World’s Longest Picnic Table for Hellmann’s 100th birthday celebration in September. You can also visit to watch Mario share his modern twist on some of Hellmann's classic recipes! 

Disclaimer:  I was compensated to write this post. All opinions are my own based on my own personal experiences.

Shared on Thursday's Treasures at Chocolate, Chocolate and More 6/13/13 Shared at Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook 6/14/13

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lemon-Thyme Stuffed Zucchini

Zucchini are available year round, but they are at their best during late spring and summer seasons and are generally ready to be consumed 40-50 days after planting the seeds. If you're purchasing zucchini from your local grocery store or farmers market, look for ones that are small to medium in size and have a shiny, bright green skin and are firm. Avoid zucchini that has pitted skin, a spongy texture or is soft and wrinkled. When ready to use, wash them under cold, running water and lightly scrub the skins to remove any excess dirt. Trim the neck and bases and leave the skin on. 
My family and I love zucchini and one of my favorite ways to prepare it is to stuff and bake them. You can use just about any vegetable combination inside that you like, but we really liked this version with the fresh, light taste from the lemon and thyme. 

Lemon-Thyme Stuffed Zucchini
Prep Time:  15 minutes                        Yield: 8
Cook Time:  15 minutes                         Serving: 1
Total Time:  30 minutes

  • 2 Medium Zucchini, rinsed
  • 2 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Scallion, chopped
  • 1/2 c. Mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 Lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, removed from stem
  • 3 tbsp. Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp. Pecorino Romano Cheese
  • 2 tbsp. White Wine (I used a Chardonnay, but you could also use chicken or vegetable broth)
  1. Trim the top off of the zucchini, cut it in half; then cut it again in half horizontally forming 4 halves per zucchini (total of 8). 
  2. Scoop out the middle flesh of the zucchini; then dice. Place the zucchini shells in an oven safe dish.
  3. Heat oil in a nonstick saute pan; then add the chopped zucchini, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the vegetables start to soften. 
  4. Add the lemon zest and juice, thyme, breadcrumbs, cheese and wine; mix well. 
  5. Stuff the mixture into the 8 zucchini shells, spray with cooking spray then bake at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned and the shells have slightly softened. Makes 8 shells.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 27, Carbs 3.4g, Fat 1.2g, Protein 1.1g, Fiber .8g, Sugar 1.2g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate. 


Shared on Thursday's Treasures 5/30/13

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Help Stop Hunger with Carrie's Experimental Kitchen and Feeding America

Did you know...
...that 17 million children living in the U.S. are living in food-insecure households and that only 10% of those households struggle with poverty and homelessness? Research has shown that food insecurity and hunger are serious threats to children’s health, growth and development. The nation’s economic growth depends on the well-being of our children. As such, the existence of childhood hunger in the United States threatens future American prosperity.

Hunger is one of the most serious issues facing America and Feeding America is one of the most effective hunger charities in the country, with food banks serving every state. To help fight hunger, I'm doing my part by creating a virtual food drive this summer to help raise awareness and money.

Feeding America Understands Hunger
Feeding America is the leading domestic hunger relief organization, with network food banks serving every state. Feeding America’s nationwide network of over 200 food banks provides food and groceries to 33,500 food pantries, 4,500 soup kitchens and 3,600 emergency shelters. This extensive network helps feed 37 million Americans each year -- delivering over 3 billion pounds of food. Each week nearly 5.7 million people receive emergency food assistance from an agency served by a Feeding America member.

Will you support my virtual food drive today?
Every dollar you give to my virtual food drive helps provide EIGHT meals to people served by the Feeding America network. When was the last time your dollar bought eight of anything? 

Please consider making a donation to help me reach my goal of $1000 this summer.  Whatever you can give will be greatly appreciated, and every little bit helps. Just $1 can help prepare 8 meals for a needy family!  

Join me in helping the fight against hunger by donating 

Thank you so much for your support!  

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mediterranean Turkey Sliders with Horseradish Dressing

Did everyone have a nice long weekend? We didn't do much as hubby was still out of town staying with his mother and father, who is still in the hospital after having surgery last Monday. There were some complications, so his progress is going a little slower than anticipated, but he is expected to be coming home soon. 

Today is National Hamburger Day and since grilling season is officially here, I'm sharing a new burger recipe with you. I know, you're probably thinking "You're a day late. Yesterday was Memorial Day." BUT, how many of you were actually around yesterday and surfing your computers? I didn't think so. Besides, it's just the beginning of summer and there are many more grilling opportunities left in the season! ;)

Though many of you grill all year round, I tend to stick to my indoor grill during the winter months instead of venturing out into the freezing cold. I had purchased some ground turkey a few weeks ago and wasn't really in the mood for a meatloaf so I came up with these sliders. 

I REALLY liked these sliders and all of those fresh Mediterranean flavors like garlic, lemon, Feta and oregano really gave it a robust flavor; not to mention the little kick from the Horseradish Dressing and the sweetness from the Kings Hawaiian rolls.  The family devoured these; even the little one who doesn't particularly care for ground turkey. I personally think it was because they were so cute too! 

Mediterranean Turkey Sliders with 
Horseradish Dressing
Prep Time:  20 minutes                       Yield: 12
Cook Time: 10 minutes                       Serving: 1
Total Time:  30 minutes

For the Mediterranean Turkey Sliders

  • 1 lb. 99/1 Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 c. Scallions, chopped
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Lemon, zest only
  • 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 3 tbsp. Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Prepared Horseradish Dressing
  • Slider Rolls (I used Kings Hawaiian

For the Horseradish Dressing
  • 1 tbsp. Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
  • 1 tbsp. Reduced Fat Sour Cream
  • 1 tbsp. Horseradish
  • 1/2 tsp. Honey
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp. Kosher Salt

For the Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

  1. Combine the turkey, scallions, garlic, lemon zest, olives, cheese, oregano, and oil; mix well.
  2. Section the meat mixture into 12 equal portions and form small burgers with them. 
  3. Grill approximately 3-5 minutes per side or until the meat is no longer pink on the inside.
  4. Place the burger on the roll; then top with 1 tsp. of Horseradish Dressing.  Makes 12 sliders. 

For the Horseradish Dressing

  1. Whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. Makes 1/3 cup (16 teaspoons). 

Nutrition Facts per Slider
Calories 171 , Carbs 16.7g, Fat 6.8g, Protein 9.5g, Fiber .1g, Sugar 5.5g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Nutrition Facts per Teaspoon of Horseradish Dressing
Calories 3, Carbs .5g, Fat .1g, Protein .1g, Fiber 0g, Sugar .4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Barbecue Party Calculator from Food Network

Are you having a last minute get-together? 

Here are a few simple tips from The Food Network to 
ensure you have the right amount of food! 

For the Food
  • Adults will consume 1 pound of food total; children, about 1/2 pound.
  • The more options you have, the less you need of each; decrease the main course portion sizes by 1 to 2 ounces if served on a buffet.
  • Guests will always eat and drink more at night than during the day.
For the Drinks
  • You can either create a few mixed drinks to be served punch-style, allotting 1 gallon for 10 guests, or provide a do-it-yourself array of alcohol and mixers (one 1-liter bottle of alcohol will make up to 22 mixed drinks). 
  • Allow for 1 bottle of wine per 8 guests.
  • Guests will consume 2 drinks in the first hour, and 1 drink every hour after that. 
  • Buy 2 pounds of ice per guest, and a large number of lemons and limes.
For Hors D'oeuvres and Appetizers Only
  • Assume each guest will eat 4 to 6 bites per hour. 
  • For a cocktail hour preceding a larger meal, 6 bites per person total is a safe estimate. 
  • Planning a more intimate dinner party with plated appetizers? 10 ounces of leafy greens for an appetizer salad will feed 10.
For Main Courses
  • Each adult 6 to 8 ounces of meat or seafood total for their main course. 
  • Smaller grill staples like hot dogs, ribs, chicken legs and thighs each run 1 1/2 to 4 ounces each. 
  • For hamburgers, each store-bought patty is about 6 ounces. Consider making homemade smaller patties so guests can mix and match proteins.
For Condiments
  • For ketchup, one 20-ounce bottle.  
  • For mustard and relish, one 10-ounce bottle each. 
Side Dishes
  • For pasta salad, 1 cup per guest
  • Baked beans, about 1/2 cup
  • For a group of 10, plan on 7 cups of potato salad and 5 cups coleslaw to feed the crowd.
  • Individual desserts like cookies and watermelon slices, assume guests will eat about 2 each. 
  • For larger cakelike options, each guest will most likely eat 4 ounces. 
  • Pre-slice your cakes or serve messier desserts or ice cream (also 4 ounces per guest) in cups.

Read more at Food Network and Happy Memorial Day

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Here we are...Day 5 of Salad Week is here already! Today I made Mediterranean Pasta Salad using fresh garden cucumbers, tomatoes and crumbled feta cheese. A simple, flavorful salad you can make in 30 minutes that goes well with just about anything else you decide to serve. 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes                                          Yield: 8
Cook Time: 15 minutes                                          Serving: 1/2 cup
Total Time: 30 minutes

  • 2 1/2 c. Farfalle Pasta, dry (I used Barilla, but you can substitute any type of pasta you wish)
  • 1/2 Cucumber, skin on, small dice
  • 12 Grape Tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tbsp. Red Onion, minced
  • 1/4 c. Feta Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano (or 1 tsp. Fresh Oregano, chopped)
  • 3 tbsp. White Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and cool. 
  2. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, feta cheese, oregano and pasta to a bowl; then add in the vinegar and oil. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 
Nutrition Facts
Calories 152, Carbs 23.5g, Fat 4.8g, Protein 4.5g, Fiber 1.3g, Sugar 2.4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.

Did you miss any salad recipes this week? 
Which one was YOUR favorite?

I'll be taking the next few days off for Memorial Day Weekend. 
Enjoy your time with family and friends! xo 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Corn Salad with Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette

It's Day 4 of Salad Week and I brought you another vinaigrette-based salad to add to your summer salad repertoire. This time, I used some leftover corn on the cob I had after making too many ears (go figure!), mixed it with some grape tomatoes; then made this sweet and tangy honey-wasabi vinaigrette to give it an Asian flair. 

Corn typically is in season June-August; however, you will start to see some stores and local farmers markets carry the fresh ears in May. I prefer the Butter-Sugar or White Corn variety; as they are generally sweeter than the others. For this recipe, you can use corn that has been cut off of the cob or frozen corn that has been defrosted and drained. This refreshing salad is great, especially for those who don't like to eat corn on the cob (or can't like Gab with her braces!) and would go wonderfully with some of my Asian Pork Spareribs

Corn Salad with Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette

Prep Time:  15 minutes                               Yield: 8
Cook Time: 15 minutes                                Serving: 1/2 cup
Total Time:  30 Minutes

For the Corn Salad
  • 4 Ears Corn on the Cob, cooked and cut from the husk (approximately 3 cups of kernels)
  • 1 Scallion, chopped
  • 1 c. Grape Tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tbsp. Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Prepared Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette
For the Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette
  • 1 tsp. Honey
  • 1 tsp. Wasabi Paste
  • 1 tsp. Ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp. Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. Canola Oil
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
For the Corn Salad
  1. Add the corn kernels, scallion, tomatoes and parsley to a bowl; then add the prepared Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette. 
  2. Mix well, season with salt and pepper; then refrigerate until ready to serve. 
For the Honey-Wasabi Vinaigrette
  1. Combine the honey, wasabi paste, ginger, vinegar, mustard and oil. Whisk well.
Nutrition Facts
Calories 87 , Carbs 13.4g, Fat 4g, Protein 1.7g, Fiber 1.7g, Sugar 2.9g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into Calorie Count and may not be 100% accurate.