Tag Archives: olives

Greek Chicken Pasta

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Who doesn’t love an easy yet tasty pasta meal? I know I certainly do and this chicken pasta dish adapted from the Noble Pig doesn’t disappoint. The chicken adds protein to the dish while the addition of spinach makes this a complete one pot meal. The feta and olives give the dish a Mediterranean flair. Depending upon what I have on hand, I’ve used both Greek and Spanish olives so simply choose one you like. If you are short on time or have leftovers, use rotisserie or pre-cooked chicken. Simply add the chicken in during the final step and cook until heated through.

GREEK CHICKEN PASTA

12 ounces spaghetti

3 Tablespoons olive oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed

1 large onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

12 ounces baby spinach

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes

1 cup whole olives of your choosing

1 cup toasted pine nuts

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

  • Cook spaghetti as package directs.
  • While the spaghetti cooks, heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Add the chicken breasts and tossing regularly, cook until browned on all sides, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add in the onion and the garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the spinach, wine, oregano, chile flakes, olives, pine nuts, salt and pepper.
  • Drain pasta and return it to the pot.
  • Add the chicken and spinach mixture and cook over medium heat until warmed, about 4 minutes.
  • Transfer to plates and top with feta cheese.

Serves 4

Greek Style Chicken Breasts

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Here’s an easy chicken dish adapted from a Cooking Light recipe that is packed with flavor and sure to please the entire family. I’ve turned the dish into a one pan dinner by cooking the chicken and the vegetables in the same skillet. The chicken breasts are simply cooked with a touch of salt, pepper and dried oregano. The addition of tomatoes and olives sautéed with onions and garlic make a simple sauce and when you top it all with some salty feta cheese you have a light and tasty meal. It really doesn’t get much easier than this.

Serve the chicken alongside a fresh Greek salad and some warm pita bread and you are good to go.

GREEK STYLE CHICKEN BREASTS

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 6 ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 large red onion, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup Greek olives

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Season the chicken breasts on both sides with the salt, pepper and oregano.
  • When the oil shimmers, place the chicken in the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes until it is browned and cooked half way through.
  • Flip the chicken over. Add the onions and garlic to the pan around the chicken and cook for 3 minutes.
  • Add the olives and tomatoes to the pan and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and divide among four plates. Divide the sauce over the chicken then top with the parsley, feta and a squeeze of lemon juice.

 

Serves 4

 

 

Greek Village Salad

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Last summer I was lucky to take not one but two trips to Greece. The first trip was to the Ionian Islands of Cofru, Paxos and Antipaxos. The second trip included the town of Meteora and the city of Thessaloniki and several villages in between. The geography was varied but the one thing that held true regardless of our locations was the food. Whether eating at fancier restaurants or simple mom and pop operations, all of the food was simple, fresh and delicious. Fish was a mainstay when we were near the sea while inland grilled lamb reigned supreme. But the one item that was guaranteed to be on every menu was a village salad.

The actual ingredients in a village salad may vary depending upon location but cucumbers, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese were mainstays. Oregano, whether fresh or dried was often included. Some salads may include peppers or onions. Because we were there during the steamy days of July all of the ingredients were local, super fresh and tasted so wonderful. I actually ate a salad as an entree at more than one meal.

I’ve attempted to recreate the salad on numerous occasions but some how the salads never taste quite as good as they do in Greece. But by using the freshest of ingredients; vegetables bought at the farmer’s market rather than the grocery store, feta cheese and olives from a Greek importer rather than mass produced products that come to Belgium from Greece via the United States, the results are pretty darn good.

GREEK VILLAGE SALAD

2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup baby cucumbers, cut into coins

1 cup mixed Mediterranean olives

3/4 cup feta cheese, cubed

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers and olives in a large bowl.
  • Gently fold in the feta cheese taking care not to crumble the cubes
  • Drizzle the oil over the top of the salad, sprinkle with the oregano, salt and pepper. Toss well to combine.

Serves 4

Marinated Bocconcini

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Fresh mozzarella and tomatoes are natural partners but when you throw in a few olives and some capers you have Mediterranean extravaganza in a bowl.  This salad, from The Cheese Course by Janet Fletcher is super easy and tasty too.  Fresh oregano is a departure from the typical basil that is usually paired with this cheese and vegetable combination.  The oregano give the dish an earthy touch but you could easily use an equal amount of basil if you wish.  I’ve served this dish as both a salad as well as an appetizer; allow guests to spear their cheese and tomatoes with toothpicks and everyone will be happy. Enjoy!

MARINATED BOCCONCINI

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 pound bocconcini, well drained

1 tablespoon capers, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley

Sea salt to taste

1/2 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup black oil cured olives

  • In a small saucepan heat the oil, garlic, oregano, and pepper flakes over medium heat until the garlic sizzles and just begins to color, 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
  • Place the bocconcini in a bowl and cover with the seasoned oil.  Add the capers and parsley, stirring to coat.
  • Cover and let stand for several hours, stirring occasionally.  Just before serving season to taste with salt.
  • Arrange the bocconcini on a serving platter alongside the tomatoes and olives.

Services 6 to 8

Lemon Chicken w/ Oil Cured Olives & Capers

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This dish is a take on a traditional chicken piccata.  The olives and capers provide a salty contrast the tangy lemons .  And most importantly, the dish is faster to make than one would think.  You can buy whole boneless chicken breasts and pound them into thin yourself but if you buy chicken filets you will save time.  To get the most flavor out of this dish, serve the chicken with a pasta or risotto that can absorb the sauce.

LEMON CHICKEN w/DRY CURED OLIVES & CAPERS

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Salt and fresh ground pepper

8 thin, boneless chicken breast cutlets

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 shallots, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups, low-sodium chicken broth

1 large lemon, seeded and sliced into 1/4 inch moons

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup black olives, pits intact

4 tablespoons capers, rinsed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • Spread the flour in a shallow dish and sprinkle liberally with the salt and pepper.  Dredge each cutlet in the flour mixture and set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add half of the cutlets and cook until light golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.  Add more oil to the skillet if needed and repeat the cooking process with the remaining chicken.
  • Add the shallot and garlic to the oil left in the skillet and cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the broth and lemon slices, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits.  Simmer until reduced and syrupy, about 8 minutes.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, olives, capers, and any accumulated chicken juice.  Return the chicken to the sauce. At this point the chicken can sit over low heat until ready to serve.
  • Immediately before serving stir in the butter, one piece at a time.  Turn off the heat, adjust the salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Serves 4

Marinated Olives

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I love olives.  Whether eaten as part of a dish or right out of the container, they are all good.  Sometimes however, it is nice to kick them up a notch.  When that is the case I make these quick marinated olives.  It literally takes minutes to put together so you will be enjoying these fancy olives in no times.  Your friends will think you slaved away in the kitchen; only you will know the truth.

MARINATED OLIVES

2 cups green olives

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 lemon, scrubbed, de-seeded, and chopped (include rind)

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before serving.

Yields:  2 cups olive

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Oranges and Dry Cured Olives

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This simple salad celebrates the best of the Mediterranean winter season and is the perfect way to end a dinner.  (In our house, we always serve salad after the entree and before the dessert course).  It is so easy but the combination of the sweetness of the oranges, the saltiness of the olives, and the bitterness of the arugula simultaneously please all of the taste buds.

I serve the salad with a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with just a touch of salt and pepper.  Because there are only four ingredients, be sure to use a good quality olive oil and vinegar.  Too many balsamic vinegars are heavy on the acid and light on the sweetness so taste test it before offering it to your guests.  The dressing is also served on the side, guests can add as much or as little as they like.

ARUGULA & FENNEL SALAD w/ ORANGES & DRY CURED OLIVES

For the salad:

4 cups arugula, washed, dried, and broken into bit sized pieces

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup dry cured olives

  • Divide the arugula evenly between four plates forming a compact bed of leaves.
  • Distribute the fennel, oranges, and olives over the top of the arugula.

For the dressing:

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt & freshly ground pepper

  • Divide the olive oil between four small dishes or dressing cups.
  • Place one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into each cup on top of the oil.
  • Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to each cup.
  • Nestle the dressing cups onto the salad plates and serve.

Serves 4

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