The first paragraph in the picture to the left speaks of the changes in our style of cooking "as we emerge from the long, often dark winter months, we yearn for simple, uncomplicated dishes." So, as I promised I'm going to share the recipe I spoke of in my post on Sunday. I actually just devoured the leftovers for lunch. Thought I'd take another picture to go along with this post, but this woman was FAMISHED. Sorry, no additional picture. Need inspiration, simply scroll down to the picture I posted earlier. I have to get this typed up so Jack can get some outdoor time before the predicted rain showers begin to fall.
Warm Chicken/Bacon Spinach Salad (opted to give you one more picture...Ha!!!) One day I'll be good at prepping my dinner and having my camera handy to take a picture of each step. However, half the time I'm cooking I'm way too hungry to set up photo shoots for the active ingredients. Plus, not sure the hubby would be happy that a meal which normally takes 30-40 min to prepare now takes up to two hours. Jack also said he wouldn't stand for it; takes away play time.
1 lb chicken; diced
1/2 cup of Garlic Expressions Vinaigrette
1 package of sliced portabella mushrooms
1 large bag of spinach
1 tomato; chopped (I usually use cherry tomatoes and slice in half, but didn't have them for this dish)
1/4 cup of crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon of honey
4 slices of thick smoked bacon
1. Marinate diced chicken in Garlic Expressions; overnight if possible. If not possible, let it marinate for up to an hour or more. Cook chicken on high heat and fast to retain moisture. Drizzle a little more garlic expressions on cooked chicken if you so desire. Set aside.
2. Cook bacon strips. If you want to be really bad, save a little bacon fat to add to the dressing later. I try not to do this, but occasionally it just slips in somehow.
3. While bacon is cooking, heat grapeseed oil (or whichever oil you prefer) in a small skillet and sauté mushrooms until golden brown.
4. Heat balsamic vinaigrette and honey in a large skillet on low heat. Throw in spinach and toss until some of the spinach is slightly wilted. If you prefer, you can just heat the vinaigrette and honey and toss all ingredients at the end. I like for my spinach to be cooked a little bit more so I take half of the spinach I wish to use and cook it and then add more uncooked spinach at the end.
5. Combine chicken, spinach, mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, and feta in large bowl. Drizzle the warm vinaigrette on top and toss.
This is a wonderful recipe that's quick and easy. And, amazingly enough, it's good as leftovers. Well, as long as you leave all ingredients in their own containers and just heat as needed the following day and toss. Viola!
Remember when I told you on the 'about' page how Jack dislikes when we leave him in the evenings for any reason at all. Several months ago we left to get a pizza from a local hole in the wall called I Love New York Pizza. I needed something green too, so I ordered their warm bacon spinach salad. Needless to say, I didn't eat the salad at the restaurant and I should have. It was too cold and unsatisfactory by the time we returned home. Of course, me, always trying to figure out how I can make something better; I thought......hmmmmm......let me take a shot at making my own Warm Bacon Spinach Salad. Jack agreed this was a great idea. For selfish reasons, of course. Mom.....cooking....AT......HOME.....YES!!!!!!!
This was dinner on this amazing Spring Forward day. Scrumptious. I'll share the recipe in a follow up post. In the meantime, wrap your head around marinated chicken, feta, mushrooms, spinach, balsamic vinaigrette, honey, and tomatoes. Now, doesn't that all sound wonderful? If you can, between the time you read this post and Wednesday when I upload the recipe, grab a bottle of GARLIC EXPRESSIONS Vinaigrette from your local grocery store. Order it on Amazon if you have to. You won't regret it.
Just thought you may want a picture of the bottle so it's easily identifiable the next time you're at the grocery store.
PROMISE!!!!! Recipe coming soon.
Extra hours of daylight mean.................
Longer games of Frisbee.
Longer time spent outdoors watching the lizards and the butterflies.
SPRING. FORWARD. The beginning to Jack's favorite time of year.
Let me start out by telling you exactly how I felt about being dressed up for that dog parade mom mentioned to you in her previous post. See, I'm a little bit like my mom. She loves playing dress up. Sometimes I sit and watch her go through a gazillion different outfit changes before she decides on "the one." Back to the point, though. I love getting dressed up too; when I know I'm going somewhere. However, unlike her, I have two choices. Bandana Red. Or, Bandana Blue. Not on this day.
First, it was the bow tie. Pretty snazzy, huh? I liked it until mom took down my collar which is left by the front door. And, typically only retrieved when it's time to go outside for a walk. But, nooooooooo. She had a different idea in mind. I thought it was time to load up in the truck. You know what she did? She sits down at the kitchen table and begins affixing this goofy bowtie to my collar. I whined and whined, but she didn't care. She just kept repeating "Jack, hush" and torturing me with the sound of the buckle hitting the table as she wrapped and wrapped to secure the bowtie. The torture didn't end there. She proceeds to put it on me. But, we don't go outside. She stares at me holding a pile of sweater vests and shirts. Then, like she does for herself - one vest on. Pause. Stare. Mumbles. Vest off. Different sweater vest on. Pause. Stare. Mumbles. 2nd Vest off. Shirt on. And that continues until she ultimately decide on this beige woven I'm wearing in the picture. All of this the night before the dog parade. I barely slept. I mean what the hell was going on? I thought I was going for a simple walk.
The next day, to my chagrin, this is what I saw..........................
Hundreds of dogs in froo froo costumes. I was in shock. Partially because I knew this wasn't going to be the normal downtown stroll, but also because I couldn't believe these outfits. But, because my mom was thrilled to be enjoying the company of her friends who came to tag along; I sucked it up and went with the flow. But let me tell you one thing. I'll be DAMNED if she dresses me up next year for this. Just let me walk the darn thing and YOU dress up, crazy woman. My goodness gracious; what do they do to us?!?!?!
On a side note, I'm so glad we could contribute to the Young-Williams Animal Center. But, we'll happily contribute from the sidelines next year, mom. From the sidelines. You got that?!?!? I'll be perched up on a bench watching the parade go by. Happy that I don't have to keep my eye out for dog poop. Ugh!!!
This Saturday the city of Knoxville is hosting its annual Mardi Growl costume parade. And, I've been debating whether or not to be that dog owner. You know, the one who dresses up their beloved pet and prance around town. I think it could be fun. Maybe a little stressful for Jack, though. He's under the impression that he isn't a hairy, four-legged creature. So, not really sure how he'll do around hundreds of dogs. The last time I took him to the dog park with a friend Jack didn't even interact with the other dogs. I mean he started off somewhat interested, but I took my eyes off of him for a second and guess where he was? Sitting ON A BENCH beside this lady while she scratches his chest. Away from his own kind. What have I done to this animal? Who knows.
I think I'm going to go for it. I'm an animal lover and the fact that all proceeds go to Young-Williams Animal Center, Jack's going to have to suck it up and work with me. We've got costume decisions to make. I'll be posting pictures I'm sure.
But, if Jack decides he doesn't want to hang with the boxers, labs, fellow goldens, beagles, poodles, etc.... you'll find him just sitting on a bench watching the parade go by.