Chicken with Feta & Green Beans

As we have mentioned in previous posts, we love our local Middle Eastern grocery store, Arash. They have some of the best quality lamb, chicken and traditional Middle Eastern ingredients that we can find in the area. When we go we always buy a giant block of French feta, which is less salty and creamier than the feta you can find at a regular grocery store. We created this dish chicken and green beans dish as a quick, one pan dinner and have since made it a number of times. The feta melts into the white wine and creates the most delicious sauce for the chicken and green beans. We can have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes which is always a major win on a weeknight.

Chicken with Feta & Green Beans

Makes: 4 servings

Prep TIme: 15 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs- depending on their size
  • 1/2 yellow onion, small dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup French feta, divided
  • 1 1/2 lbs green beans, stems trimmed
  • 2/3 green olives, without pits, halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Heat a large cast iron skillet or oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tbs olive oil to the pan and let it get nice and hot. Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper. Add the chicken thighs to the pan and cook for 3 minutes per side, or until both sides are starting to crisp up and brown. If the chicken seems overcrowded in the pan do this step in two separate batches. When the chicken has finished browning, remove it from the pan onto a plate, leaving any juices from the chicken behind.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tbs of olive oil back to the pan along with the yellow onion and garlic. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic is starting to brown. Add the white wine, chicken stock, and lemon juice and zest into the pan. Whisk well to combine and cook for a minute or two to let some of the alcohol in the wine cook off. Add 1/2 cup of the feta cheese, again whisking as the cheese starts to melt into the sauce.
  4. Add the green beans and olives to the pan; give them a good toss in the sauce to coat. Season with just a little salt and pepper. Add the chicken back into the pan on top of the green beans and add the remaining 1/2 cup feta on top of the chicken. Place in the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the juices on the chicken run clear and it is cooked through. Serve immediately.

Mediterranean Lamb Stuffed Eggplant

During this time of social distancing, we have become very specific about which markets we are going to and how we grocery shop and plan for the week. One of our favorite middle eastern markets, Arash, was our go-to this past week and this dish is inspired by all of the great ingredients that we found there! We typically have had stuffed eggplant using Italian ingredients but loved the flavor combinations of cauliflower, lamb and eggplant. The sauce can easily be swapped or paired with tzatiki or spicy green tahini to help make the flavor pop!

Mediterranean Lamb Stuffed Eggplant
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients For the Eggplant:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 whole eggplants, halved
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 tsp each salt & pepper

Ingredients For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 cups 0% Greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, diced
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prep the ingredients (see ingredient list) and cut the cauliflower into bite sized pieces. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and put the cauliflower and eggplant halves in the oven for 20 minutes. Be sure the the eggplant is skin side down.
  2. In a large sauté pan, add the olive oil, garlic and onion. Sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent but not brown.
  3. Add the lamb and use a spatula to break the lamb into small pieces. Add the salt and pepper and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until the lamb is completely cooked through.
  4. While the lamb is cooking, make the sauce. Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Mix thoroughly. If made in advance, keep the sauce stored cool in a refrigerator.
  5. Once the cauliflower and eggplant are done, allow to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spoon to scoop out the inside of the eggplant halves and place the eggplant in a large mixing bowl.
  6. Dice the cauliflower until the pieces are smaller than bite size. Add the cauliflower and lamb mixture to the eggplant and stir it all together until the ingredients are well mixed. Use a spoon to put the lamb mixture back into the eggplant halves. Overstuff the eggplants as best you can- you will have more filling than what can fit into the halves – which is ok!
  7. Put the eggplants back in the oven for 5 minutes. Top with the sauce and use the extra filling for your kids, second helpings or leftovers!

Mediterranean Bulgar Salad

This bulgar salad is one of our go-to side dishes. For those unfamiliar with bulgar, bulgar is a grain that is made from cracked wheat. It tastes like a hybrid between quinoa and rice, with a little bit more of a crunch and texture to it. It is also cooked similarly to quinoa and rice, by boiling it in water. There are many different ways to prepare bulgar. For this recipe, we serve the bulgar cold and load it with veggies and serve it as a side dish, like a salad. You can easily add a protein or additional vegetables to this dish to bulk it up a bit and serve it as a main course. It will store great as leftovers for weekday lunches as well!

Mediterranean Bulgar Salad
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients for the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 1 cup bulgar
  • 2 cups water
  • salt
  • 1 English cucumber
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 3/4 cup feta cheese
  • 1 cup parsley, diced

Directions:

  1. Prepare the dressing. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Whisk together and set aside.
  2. Bring two cups of water to a boil. Add the bulgur, lower to a simmer, then cover and cook over low heat until tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered in the pot for another 10-15 minutes.
  3. Prepare your vegetables. Chop the cucumber, tomato and red onion into bite sized pieces. This does not need to be perfect!
  4. Combine the bulgar, vegetables, feta and parsley in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss until the dressing is fully incorporated.

Mediterranean Salmon Bowls

At Tuck’s house, we know the struggle of trying to mix up the weeknight dinner routine so that we aren’t eating the same rotation of recipes week after week, all year long. “Bowl” recipes have become a frequent entree in our house for this reason. Once we have a concept in mind, we can mix and match the ingredients based on what we have in the refrigerator and what is in season. Tuck’s dad loves salmon so we try and eat it once a week but alter the flavors so the dinner menu doesn’t feel stale. This week, we did a Mediterranean Salmon Bowl since we are having gorgeous weather and raw vegetables still are appetizing. It’s quick and easy, can be made in 30 minutes. The leftovers make a great lunch on the go the next day, if you have any! 

Mediterranean Salmon Bowls 

Makes: 4 servings 

Cook Time: 15 minutes    Total Time: 20 minutes 

Ingredients For the Dressing: 

  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley 
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped 
  • salt and pepper to taste 

Ingredients For The Bowls:

  • 4 cups kale, stems removed and finely chopped like confetti 
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 4- 6 oz salmon fillets
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 2 tsp each, salt and pepper 
  • 1 small cucumber, diced 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half 
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 385 degrees. 
  2. To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl with the exception of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Whisk well to combine. Continue to whisk the mixture while drizzling in the olive oil until it is fully absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.  
  3. To make the salmon, place the salmon on a cookie sheet that is covered with foil. Brush with 1 tbs olive oil. Season the salmon fillets with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake in the oven for 13 minutes for a medium cook. 
  4. While the salmon is cooking, prepare the bowls. Mix the quinoa and kale together in a large bowl. Toss with 1/3 to 1/2 of the dressing and mix well to combine. Place in four serving bowls. Top with the cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and kalamata olives. 
  5. Once the salmon has finished cooking, remove it from the oven and let it sit for a minute on the pan. Use a knife to gently remove the fillet from the skin, and serve one piece on each kale and quinoa bowl. If you are planning to use any of the recipe for lunch the next day, let the salmon cool completely before adding to the bowls. Use the remaining dressing to drizzle over the salmon and bowl toppings.