Lentil and Feta Spinach Salad

On December 27, 2013, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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There are a few go to dishes I have when making a quick lunch or needing something for a picnic or potluck.  This dish is one of those go to options. It only take about 30 minutes to prepare and most important it tastes great.  The dijon vinaigrette adds a lot of flavor that adheres well to the lentils and cheese.

It’s also a great alternative to a pasta dish for weekday night dinners. Serve it with a side salad and some fresh bread to make a more complete meal.

You can substitute the feta with goat cheese or substitute the spinach with kale.  There are a lot of options here to fit what you may have available in your garden or fridge.

Lentil and Feta Kale Salad
Serves 4

1 cups lentils, dry
4 cups water

1 bunch spinach, rough chop
2 celery stalks, 1/4 inch cut
2 carrots, 1/4 inch cut
1 bell pepper, 1/4 inch cubed cuts
1/2 red onion, diced
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon vinegar
coarse ground black pepper

Cook lentils in a pot with 8 cups of water, or follow your package directions.  Heat to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes.  You want them firm, not mushy. Drain and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to saute pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for 3 minutes then add the carrots, bell pepper. and celery. Cook for an additional 3 minutes and add chopped spinach cooking down the kale for about 2-4 minutes.

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In a small bowl, mix the balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard. Combine slowly the olive oil continuing to stir to keep the dressing thick. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Finally, in a large bowl combine the lentils and vegetable saute mixture.  Pour over the dressing and add half of the crumbled feta cheese.  Mix.  Finally, add the remaining feta to the top of the dish and serve.

 

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Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese

On July 21, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I am still at in my Extended Stay America hotel room with its quaint kitchenette. Tonight I came home after a long but enjoyable week of work, now only two weeks away from reuniting with my wife and kids.

This morning, before leaving to work, I thawed out some grass-fed ground beef I purchased at the Studio City Farmers’ Market last Sunday from Best Beef Ever. It was my first local grass-fed meat purchase since arriving in Southern California and sure enough it was pretty damn good. The only negative was due to my lack of options having to cook the hamburger patties in a sauté pan over an electric burner instead of on a grill, since my grill is currently in storage.

I also used some of the excellent goat cheese I bought from Soledad Goats at the La Canada market last Saturday.

Hotel Burger with Goat Cheese
Serves 2

1 lb ground beef
2 hamburger buns
handful of arugula or lettuce
4 half-moon slices of onion cut thin
4 tablespoons of goat cheese
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
salt & pepper

Form the ground beef into two patties being sure to salt and pepper them as you get them shaped. Add the beef patties to a medium-high heat sauté pan, preferably non-stick and let them cook for about 8-10 minutes on each side to get a nice burn on each burger’s side.  Cooking time will vary depending how thick you make your patties and how hot your burner gets.

Drain the fat from the pan halfway through before turning the patties over and continue to cook the other side.  This will help the burgers brown instead of boil in grease.

Prepare some thin half-moon slices of onion and wash your lettuce.  Place the dijon mustard on one of the buns using 1 tablespoon per burger.

Place the burger onto the bun and spread half the goat cheese on each patty and top with lettuce and onions.

Note: I only made one burger tonight and put the other fully cooked burger in a small container to save for tomorrow’s lunch. 

Tip: While staying in a hotel room it is definitely worth $3 to buy some plastic containers to store some food in for leftovers. This way you don’t need saran-wrap or aluminum foil. 

Arugula Goat Cheese & Raspberry Salad

On July 15, 2012, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I headed out to La Canada this morning to checkout their Saturday Farmer’s Market. There were several organic vendors offering all kinds of fruits and vegetables plus I found a source for fresh sourdough bread and a small producer of goat cheese spreads called Soledad Goats.  The goat cheese spread I opted for includes black pepper and added some additional flavor to the salad I made this evening.

Sorry no cooking tonight in the hotel room. Instead I opted for something quick and easy with the fresh ingredients I found.  Of course this salad would be great with chicken or quinoa or both. Enjoy!

Arugula Goat Cheese & Raspberry Salad
Serves 1

Bunch of arugula, rinsed
1 oz of goat cheese spread
10 organic raspberries, rinsed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Plate arugula and spoon out small scoops of goat cheese over salad.  Add some fresh raspberries and gently splash balsamic vinegar over salad.

Serve with fresh bread.

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Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin

On December 6, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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One of the best corporate blogs out there is the one from Whole Foods.  They feature a lot of great information about their products, values, and of course share some recipes.  Of course with a highly educated, food conscious customer, Whole Foods needs to find a way to connect with its audience.

Tonight they definitely connected with me.

One of the best parts of adopting a more vegetarian diet at home is the increase of casseroles and gratins.  Not sure what the difference is? A gratin is basically anything with a crumbled top or gratin cheese topping.  For this recipe, the crumbled top is wheat thin crackers. We converted to Whole Foods 365 brand wheat crackers years ago since it has considerably less sugar than Wheat Thins.

This recipe is also quite flexible. It makes 8 servings; though; I’d say it makes closer to 6 servings if used as a meal instead of a side.  I cut the recipe in half making enough for 2 meals and an extra lunch for one of us tomorrow.

Full Recipe: Greens and Goat Cheese Gratin

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Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula

On June 1, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Continuing our tradition of moving to a more vegetarian balanced diet this recipe for Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula was a welcome addition to this quest to find good, easy to make vegetarian dishes.

What is most enjoyable about this recipe is how fast it is to make. It was literally 15 minutes from ingredients to plate. In the time it took to cook the pasta, the mustard vinaigrette dressing, washed arugula, drain cannellini beans, and crumbled goat cheese where ready and waiting for the drained pasta to complete the dish.

The pasta salad is great for a summer dinner or even for a dish to pass at a potluck or to bring to a family event. Simple, quick and enjoyable. We will definitely be making this one again as the boiling hot Dallas summer months are upon us.

For the Recipe: Martha Stewart’s Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Arugula.

 

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Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

On February 19, 2009, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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It was at my first culinary class at a local culinary college in Portland, Oregon that I tried my first taste of goat cheese. Back in 1993 goat cheese just wasn’t that common. I had tried it on toasted french bread in a French Bistro cooking course. It was excellent. Since then I have enjoyed goat cheese in several recipes, including this one that I make about every couple of months.

The photo above includes a dollop of sour cream and instead of green salsa I used Jack’s Special Medium Salsa. I also made some fresh guacamole to accompany the main course. Usually, I just make some Spanish rice but simply forgot tonight, so hey chips and guac is always a good quick backup!

The other thing I tried this time was a tortilla product at Whole Foods by IndianLife foods. They are large tortillas with a good flavor but not enough of an improvement to justify the $4.79 price compared to the ~$2 packaged flour tortillas. My favorite choice is picking up fresh made tortillas at Mexicantown Bakery in Detroit’s Mexican Village.

Chicken Goat Cheese Burritos

Makes 4

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tsp. ground cumin
1⁄2 tsp. (each) salt and pepper
4 flour tortillas
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
1 tsp. oil
1⁄2 cup soft fresh goat cheese, broken into small chunks
1 cup fresh green salsa

1. Cut chicken into bit sized strips. In a bowl, coat evenly with cumin, salt, and pepper.

2. Seal tortillas in foil and warm in a 350° oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

3. Place beans and their liquid in a 1-quart pan and cook over medium-high heat until bubbling,
about 5 minutes.

4. In a 10-inch frying pan over medium-high heat, frequently stir chicken and oil until meat is no
longer pink in center, about 6 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, combine the goat cheese with a little olive oil in a small bowl to make a paste.

6. Lay tortillas flat. Spread some goat cheese paste on tortillas. Then toward one edge of each,
fill equally with chicken, beans (including liquid), and salsa. Fold over sides and roll up tightly
to enclose. Add more salsa to taste.

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