Hi all! It is time to head back to school. It is an exciting time but also brings some stress to parents who want to provide healthy lunches that the kiddos will actually EAT! I have been planning meals for my family for several years and I would love to share some of my favorite menus and recipes that you can try with your family.
Garlicky Greek Chicken
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil divided
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 lb. chicken thighs
- kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano. Add chicken thighs and coat thoroughly. Cover bowl and marinate in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.
- When ready to cook the chicken, preheat oven to 425°. In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining tablespoon olive oil. Season both sides of marinated chicken with salt and pepper, then add chicken skin-side down and pour in the remaining marinade.
- Sear until the skin becomes golden and crispy, about 10 minutes. Flip chicken.
- Move oven-proof pan to oven and cook until the chicken is cooked to 165°F, about 15 minutes.
Creamy Pasta Shells With Peas
- 1 pound small pasta shells or elbow macaroni
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- One 10-ounce package frozen peas
- 1/4 pound thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto coarsely chopped
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta shells until al dente. Drain the shells, return them to the pot and toss with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the peas and ham and cook until the peas are hot and the ham is lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cream and stock and simmer over moderate heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the cream sauce into the shells. Add the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve in bowls.
Caribbean Black Beans and Rice
- 2 cups uncooked brown rice
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion chopped
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 14.5-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
- 2 15.0-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed, or 3 cups cooked
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh cilantro optional
- 1 lime cut into wedges (optional)
- Cook rice according to package directions. I love cooking rice in an instant pot or rice cooker.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat.
- Add onions and cook until just soft, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add peppers, garlic and chili powder and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add coconut milk and stock and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in beans, then simmer until flavors are melded, about 5 minutes more; season with salt and pepper.
- Spoon beans over rice, garnish with cilantro and lime wedges and serve.
Black Bean Salad with Corn, Avocado and Lime Dressing
- 2 cans black beans, 15 oz rinsed and drained
- 3 fresh cooked corn kernels cut off the cob
- 2 red bell peppers diced
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots from one medium shallot
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 9 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon lime zest
- 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Hass avocados chopped
- ½ jalapeno, seeded finely diced (optional)
- In large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lime juice, scallions, shallots, cilantro, lime zest, and sugar. Mix in beans, corn, and red bell pepper.
- Add avocado and gently toss
- Season with salt, if desired.
Grape and Feta Salad
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil or any other nut oil or olive oil
- Juice from 1 Meyer lemon or regular lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- A few rounds of freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups of baby spinach
- 2 cups arugula
- 1 cup seedless grapes sliced
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds optional
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta Ingredients
- In a medium bowl, add the hazelnut oil, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Whisk until combined.
- In a large bowl, add the spinach, arugula, grapes and sliced almonds. Toss until the leaves are evenly coated with the dressing. Garnish extra sliced almonds and feta, then serve.