What I Ate This Week: 28 September - 4 October

MONDAY: Almond Crusted Dijon Chicken

I made this recipe for the first time a couple of weeks ago. And it was an instant favourite. Plus, it's really healthy! This time, I made an "unhealthy" alteration: I added grated parmesan cheese and a little extra salt and pepper to the crushed almond coating. Yummmm. Will continue to make this one.

TUESDAY: Avgolemono

If I could live off of one meal forever, it would be avgolemono and spanakopita. Just heaven. Now, the best thing ever did happen and the store down the street just started selling a large range of Greek items. And one of this was spanakopita. But I am saving it for a special occasion! I am excited to compare it to the Costco kind that comes out around Christmas, my mom's homemade spanakopita, and the stuff I had IN Greece. I hope it's just as yummy. But I did want to make the avgolemono to feel a bit cosier as the temperatures are starting to cool down and the leaves are starting to change. Killian's also had a cold, so I thought that this might help since it's my go-to when I'm sick. 

I don't really stick to a strict recipe when I make this anymore, since I make it pretty regularly. I start off with as much chicken broth as I want soup. Then, I combine some cold water, salt and pepper, and lemon juice (this is what will vary the most depending on your preference, I prefer LOTS of lemon) in a small bowl (soup will be mixed in, so make sure the bowl is big enough for whisking). I cook the rice and chicken separately, then shred the chicken. I have made this recipe with orzo, which is what it's supposed to be made with, typical white rice, and now risotto rice (I tried it for this first time this week, since we can't find orzo and had some left over). Orzo is by far superior. The others will work, but it won't be as soupy, and leftovers will not be as yummy. It also won't have as nice of a texture.

Then I temper the eggs by ladling in a small amount of the hot broth at a time, while whisking continually. At one point in time, I thought this step could be rushed/skipped. I was wrong. This is avgolemono. Not egg drop soup. So take your time and bring those eggs up to temperature before whisking them into the rest of the broth. So once your eggs are tempered, add them back into the pot and stir in your orzo and chicken. Add more lemon, salt, and pepper if you like, then serve with a little pepper garnish, maybe even a slice of lemon! 

WEDNESDAY: Strawberry Feta Spinach Salad

Picture by The Nifty Foodie

This was a healthier option for the week. One that I was pretty pleased with. I will say that I didn't make the dressing that they have on the site, and instead used balsamic vinegar. I would definitely like to try the dressing they have suggested though, as the balsamic was not very fitting. I enjoyed this so much that I had it again on Friday, but with added apples and goats cheese instead of feta. I also added arugula to this to break up the spinach a bit. I'd like to have a green with some more texture and volume in this salad when I make it again in the future.

THURSDAY: Prawn Fried Rice

Picture by Damn Delicious

I wanted to use up some prawns we had at the house. So I decided to switch up my go-to fried rice with this recipe. If I made it with the prawns (or shrimp) again, I'd add in some pineapple chunks I think. To cut on the fishy taste. I think I'll stick to my regular fried rice next time! Maybe I'll even share the killer recipe...

SATURDAY: Pesto Ranch Chicken

Photo from Picky Palate

This recipe is one of my all-time faves. Tried and true, I have always made this in the crock pot. I don't have a crock pot here in Ireland, so I decided to try it out with two moderations: I made it with ranch dressing rather than ranch seasoning, and I cooked it in the oven. I also decided to switch up how I served it. I've always had it over rice, because I find that it soaks up the pesto really nicely. This time, I served it over some spiral noodles. In the end, I think I still prefer the tenderness of the meat that you get with the crock pot, but I did really like it with pasta! I didn't really notice any difference between using the dressing vs. the seasoning, which was nice to know.

SUNDAY: Apple Rose Tarts

I tried to make a mozarella penne for dinner on Sunday night, but failed miserably. So we ended up just picking, and I luckily had gotten the ingredients to try out a dessert so we weren't food-less. I was excited to try out these apple roses. I saw her youtube video on my aunt's facebook page and it was super easy looking. Plus, the end result is really pretty, so I wanted to try it out one night to see if I could serve it when we have guests over in the future. We got the puff pastry at the store today, so I decided why not try it out. 

The only thing I changed with this recipe was using tangerine preserve rather than the suggested apricot preserve. Everything else I followed exactly. I used the suggested cinnamon and powdered sugar. I think the main thing I would change about this recipe is the cooking time on the apples. I did them in the microwave, like she did in her video, and mine came out so cooked that they didn't hold their shape, which did not make for a very pretty rose. It looked much better with full, intact slices of apple. Also, listen when she says to roll out the pastry dough. I didn't, and got mouth-fulls of dough with no filling. Not the best!

I'm thinking I'll play around some more with this recipe in the future. It could be fun to try out some different preserves to give it different flavours. I think maybe even sprinkling it with brown sugar to give it some more flavour could be nice. That's the only thing I didn't love about the taste- that it was a bit bland. I'm also contemplating adding a mint leaf before serving to give it a more "rose" look. I loved this though, it's really quick and easy. Bonus, it's perfect timing to pop in the oven while you're eating dinner and have ready just as you're finished eating!