Loaded Hummus Dip

loaded hummus dip

This summer has been unusually dry and hot for the Seattle area! Climate change? Al Gore would say so! Whatever the case, it is often too hot to cook and bake. I find myself looking for a quick dinner using the tomatoes and cucumbers from my little patio garden πŸ™‚

Garden

The quickest dinners in our household consist of grilled chicken breast, a large salad and fresh baguette from one of many favorite bakeries. Some days, I would be okay with a bowl of cereal for dinner but Hussein says “that’s not dinner” and “has no protein”.

This recipe was developed on a super hot day. It was 90 degrees and I was not feeling the heat in my kitchen πŸ˜› I grilled some chicken and decided to make a salad and hummus. Then it hit me; we often dip the chicken into the hummus, and add salad to the top for a perfect bite, so why not make it a loaded hummus!

I made my hummus using canned chickpeas, but feel free to use a premade hummus for an even easier dinner! I served this dish with Stacy’s Pita chips πŸ˜€


 

Ingredients:
3 cans chickpeas, rinsed
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup cucumber diced
1 1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup Kalamta olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced

 

Procedure:

  1. Reserve 1/2 cup chickpeas.
  2. In a food processor combine remaining chickpeas, tahini, garlic cloves, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh lemon juice.
  3. While on low speed, slowly stream in the olive oil and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mix tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, olives, parsley, mint, oregano, and 1/2 cup chickpeas.
  5. Using a mason jar make dressing by combining olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper and red onion. Shake until emulsified. dressing
  6. Pour dressing over salad and toss until well coated.
  7. Smooth hummus over serving plate.
  8. Top with salad mixture and sprinkle feta crumbles over the top.
  9. Serve with fresh pita, pita chips, or whatever you like!
  10. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Loaded hummus, easy hummus, hummus and salad

Continue Reading

National S’mores Day

Today is National S’mores Day! What a great food celebration! S’mores are a classic summer treat. Whether your on the beach sitting around a camp fire, or in your kitchen roasting a marshmallow on your stove top, S’mores are a delicious confection!

I had come across a picture of a S’mores using a Reese’s peanut butter cup in place of the classic piece ofΒ  Hershey’s Bar. And then it hit me! Combine the classic flavors of a s’mores into a cookie! And then use that cookie to make a S’more!

Here is my recipe:

 

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup roughly crushed graham crackers

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup + 1/4 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 cups mini Reese’s peanut butter cups

 

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugars and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time.

2. Add flour, graham cracker crumbs, salt and baking soda to butter and sugar mixture. Combine well.

3. Fold in 1 cups of the marshmallows, chocolate chips and Reese’s.

4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and scope dough 1 inch apart on the baking sheet. Be sure that none of the marshmallows are on the edges of the cookie.

5. Bake until golden brown; about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and top each cookie with two or three mini marshmallows place under broiler for 1 minute.

6. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Easy Broccoli Soup

Now that the cat is out of the bag, and you all know I will be competing for a white apron on Master Chef, I can share my inspiration for this soup!

I was inspired by none other than Gordon Ramsay!! One day early last week, I was binge watching Youtube when I came across a super easy broccoli soup recipe by GR. I decided to recreate it and put my own twist on it.

The soup is delicious on its own and makes for a great base for a number of toppings! I list some of my favorites below.

Here is what I came with! πŸ™‚

 

Serves: 2

Prep: 5 minutesΒ Β  Cook: 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock

1 cup water

pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Ingredients

Toppings:

Walnuts, almonds

goat cheese, crema

toasted baguette, croutons

herbed oil, parsley, cherry tomato

 

 

Procedure:

 

1. In a pot, boil broccoli in water and vegetable stock, just until broccoli is cooked (overcooking will cause soup to loose bright green color). Season with salt, pepper and garlic.

pot

2. In a blender, such as a Nutribullet, blend broccoli and 1 1/2 cup of the stock/water. Blend until smooth.

Blending

3. Pour into a bowl and garnish as desired!

Pouring

4. Enjoy πŸ™‚

 

Continue Reading

Crispy Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Fig Salad

Quinoa is not only a fad food. I believe it is here to stay in the Western markets. It is so versatile and delicious. Oh, it is also healthy :D. It is packed with protein and is gluten free. It is a very filling grain that mainly comes from Peru and Ecuador. It absorbs flavors well and is not only great accompaniment to a meal, but also can be the main attraction!

These quinoa cakes are crunchy, flavorful and pair beautifully with this salad. The peppery notes of arugula balance out the sweetness of the fruits and the saltiness of the feta cheese creates a perfect harmony of flavors. A must try! πŸ™‚

 

 

Here is my recipe:

Makes 8 cakes

3 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped

2 eggs

3/4 cup bread crumbs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil, for cooking

Β quinoa ingredients

For the salad:

2 1/2 cups arugula

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

5 ripe figs

1/4 cup blueberries

1/2 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

 

Procedure:

1. Combine cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, bell pepper and shallots in a bowl. Add in eggs. Using the best tool in your kitchen, combine the ingredients. Allow to set.

quinoa

quinoa

2. Form mixture into 8 even patties. Use approximately half cup of mixture per patty. Allow to rest.

quinoa

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Cook quinoa cakes on medium heat until browned and a crispy outer crust is formed. About 7 minutes on each side.Β  Allow to rest on paper towels (which will absorb the excess oil).

quinoa

4. To make the salad, mix together 1 tablespoon olive oil and juice of one lemon. Toss arugula in dressing. Arrange on plate and top with tomatoes, figs, blueberries and feta cheese.

5. Slice quinoa cakes and arrange on top of salad. Or serve along side the salad.

quinoa cakes

6. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Quinoa Cakes and Arugula Salad

Continue Reading

Summer Pizza

If you follow me on Instragram, you know I have a cherry tomato plant, a love for farmers markets and tomatoes. I love fresh tomatoes. When I came home one evening and found that my tomato plant out grew the planter it was in, I knew I had to pick the tomatoes that remained on the plant and make something delicious. As per usual, Hussein suggested a pasta or pizza dish, so that is where I went. You can’t go wrong with pizza, can you?

This recipe makes enough dough for 2, 12inch pizzas. I prepared one with the recipe below and the other with a traditional pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. This cream cheese spread is SO good. It would be great as a dip served with a sliced up baguette and veggies.

If you are like my sister Mona and do not like tomatoes, feel free to choose a different topping! Use any toppings you like and leave out the ones you don’t. Cooking should be fun! Make something you and your peeps will enjoy πŸ˜€

 

Here is my recipe:

 

Ingredients

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 cup warm water

1 egg, beaten

Β pizza2 pizza prep

For the tomato topping:

1 8oz package of cream cheese, at room temperature

1/4 cup greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1/2 cup red onion, finely sliced

1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Zest and juice of one lemon

pizza7 pizza5

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine yeast and water in bowl. Allow to sit for a few minutes.

3. Sift flour, sugar and salt together. Using the bread hook attachment on your mixer, combine yeast and water with flour mixture. Add in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Allow to mix until a dough is formed.

pizza dough

4. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Pour 1 teaspoon olive oil in large bowl. Place dough in bowl and cover with damp cloth. Place in warm, dark place (I use the inside of my oven) and allow to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Β pizza22

5. Cut dough into two equal pieces. Roll on piece into a round on a floured surface. Place on pre-warmed pizza stone or pan.

pizza

6. Brush edge of pizza crust with beaten egg. Poke holes into the dough using a fork. This will prevent air bubbles. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

pizza1

7. While pizza crust is baking, make the topping. Mix together cream cheese, lemon zest and juice, dill, basil, oregano, salt and pepper.

 

Cream cheese topping

8. Remove pizza from oven. Evenly spread cream cheese mixture onto pizza crust. The warmth of the pizza will help melt the cream cheese and make it easier to spread.

9. Top pizza with tomatoes and red onions.

10. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Summer Pizza by Amanda's Plate

 

 

Continue Reading

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

The weather,the shorter days and the calender is telling me that summer is almost at an end. Summer always seems to fly by. Did you do anything fun this summer?

We had many fun adventures around the Pacific North West, including berry picking, hiking up Mt. Si and swimming in Lake Quinault. Hussein completed graduate school after an intense 18 months of full time work and a demanding MBA program. And I of course started my blog πŸ™‚

Before the end of this warm, sunny, Bar-B-Q season, I thought I would share a simple steak recipe with an earthy, fresh chimichurri sauce.Β It is so quick, easy and satisfying that it makes the perfect week nightΒ dinner.

 

Here is my recipe:

 

A good cut of steak, I used strip steak

Generous pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper

Steak

For the sauce:

 

1 large clove garlic

1/4 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons oregano

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup vinegar

steak5

Procedure:

1. Season both sides of steak with salt and pepper. Heat grill or grill pan. Place steak on pan. cook for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side. (I cook mine to medium rare, cook longer for medium to medium well)

steak

2. In food processor pulse together parsley, cilantro, garlic and oregano. Slowly drizzle in olive oil and vinegar.

steak7

3. Allow meat to rest for five minutes before cutting. (I know it is tempting to just cut right in, but the juices will all be lost if you are impatient). Cut against the grain and serve with chimichurri sauce.

steak

4. Enjoy πŸ™‚

steak steakI served with oven roasted potatoes and green beans!

Continue Reading

Fiesta Chopped Salad

I am very much enjoying all of summers succulent fruit and vegetables. I have been fortunate enough to be able to go to many local farmers markets and buy the freshest of this seasons harvest.

As I looked at my fridge and pantry looking for inspiration for dinner, I decided I need to use as many vegetables as possible. As you already know from my guacamole post, I love Mexican cuisine. I came up with this easy, filling, flavor packed chopped salad with a cool avocado lime dressing. My husband, who typically does not consider a salad “dinner”, was full and satisfied with this one. πŸ™‚

Feel free to add or omit any of the ingredients. Cooking should be fun and you should create something you will enjoy!

Vegetable

Β 
Fiesta Chopped Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup chopped bell pepper
  • ½ cup corn
  • ½ cup tomatoes
  • ½ cup black beans
  • 1 cup tortilla chips or strips
Beef
  • ¼ pound strip steak, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, cumin, black pepper, paprika and salt
  • ¼ cup Mexican blend cheese
Avocado Lime Dressing
  • 1 large avocado
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Combine steak with garlic powder, cumin, paprika, black pepper and salt. Cook in olive oil. Sprinkle cheese over top. Set aside.
  2. In food processor, blend together avocado, sour cream, cilantro, lime juice and salt until smooth.
  3. Chop vegetables. Drain beans.
  4. Arrange veggies and meat on plate. Toss with dressing before serving.
  5. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Continue Reading

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Year after year, one of the top ice cream flavors in the United States is mint chocolate chip. And frankly, this is rarely my choice for ice cream. I much prefer chocolate chip cookie dough, good ole plain vanilla or something fruity like mango or strawberry. I do however, love those mint chocolate Girl Scout cookies and Andes mints. I was at Target when I came across a section devoted to M&M’s. They had more flavors than I could remember. I gravitated towards the mint flavored ones and decided they would make for a great cookie ingredient!

 

Here is my recipe:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup softened butter

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 sugar brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons mint extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 11.4 oz bag Mint M&Ms

1 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars. Add in egg, one at a time. Mix until smooth. Mix in mint extract and vanilla extract.

2. Sift flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt. Combine with wet ingredients, until well incorporated. Stir in Mint M&Ms and chocolate chips. mint 1

3. On lined baking sheet, spoon 1 tablespoon batter a few inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until done.

mint 2

4. Cool on baking rack.

5. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Continue Reading

Very berry blueberry cheesecake

One of my favorite days in elementary school, was always book fair day. We would receive a thin paper catalog of the Scholastic books that would be available, a few weeks prior to the day of the fair. I would hurry home to tell my parents which books I wanted to get. There were a lot of extra chores done in the weeks and days leading up to the book fair. I wanted to be sure to have enough money to get all the books, pencils and stickers I wanted.

During the fourth grade book fair, I decided to buy a cook book. This was the first time that I had selected a cook book to purchase. My mom had many cook books at home and being the book worm I was, I would always select a chapter book when we went to the library or book store.

One recipe in particular has stuck with me since that time and that is the cheesecake recipe. That cookbook is long gone, but my first cheesecake remains.

The recipe has evolved a ton through the years, especially after The Cheesecake Factory displayed their rich, decadent desserts, using far more cream cheese then anyone used back in the day.

 

Here is my recipe:

4, 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon vanilla

pinch of salt

 

2 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers

4 tablespoons butter, melted

cheesecake

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 cup blueberriescheesecake 9

 

Procedure:

 

1. Wrap 9 inch spring form pan with heavy aluminum foil. Be sure that the entire pan is covered in the foil and that there are no openings to the pan.

2. Combine graham cracker crumbs and meltedΒ  butter. Using back of measuring cup, press crumbs onto sides of your pan.

cheesecake 1

3. Bake crust in 325 degree oven for 10 minutes. This will help the crust set, so it remains firm when the cheesecake bakes. Place spring form pan onto a large cookie sheet and surround with 3 cups of water. This is called a water bath and will help contain moisture in your oven so the cheesecake does not crack.

4. Mix cream cheese on low setting until smooth. Add in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix in flour.

Β cheesecake 3

5. Pour batter into pan and bake at 325 degrees for 50-60 minutes, until top is firm and slightly golden.

6. Allow cheesecake to come to room temperature and then rest in the fridge for a minimum of 4-6 hours.

7. For cream topping, whisk together heavy cream, sour cream and powdered sugar. Spread onto top of cheesecake and arrange your favorite fruit.

8. Enjoy πŸ™‚

Continue Reading

Birthday Cake Recipe

We recently celebrated my husband, Hussein’s birthday. The day of his birth fell on a weekday, so we decided to wait for the weekend to celebrate. We went out to an Italian restaurant, Rione XII, an Ethan Stowell Restaurant in the Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. After a wonderful dinner, we headed home and enjoyed the delicious birthday cake I made. Hussein requested a vanilla cake topped with fruit and a light whipped frosting for the second year in a row (I am guessing this is his favorite). It is super fun to layer on the colorful, ripe summer fruit.

 

There are many steps to this recipe, but the end result is totally worth it. What better way to show someone you love them, then with something home made and delicious?

 

Here is my recipe:

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups flour

pinch of salt

cake prep

For frosting:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

cake 22

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon corn starch

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup sugar

 

Assortment of fruits and 1/2 cup sliced almonds.

fruit toppings

Procedure:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together sugar and oil. Add eggs in one at a time. Add in milk and vanilla extract; mix well.

2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder. Add to egg mixture. Mix until incorporated.

*It is very important that you do not over mix the batter.

3. Pour batter into two greased and parchment lined 8 inch cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

4. Allow cakes to cool. While the cakes are cooling, begin to make the icing

5. Using a mixer, whip together powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream until stiff (this takes 10 minutes or so). Scoop a generous scoop of icing on first tier of cake. Add 1 cup sliced strawberries, or other fruit of your liking. Be sure to cut the fruit evenly so you have a smooth leveled surface. cake

6. Place second cake on top of first cake and filling. Add the remaining icing and smooth (this does not have to be perfect as it will be covered with fruit and almonds).

cake 9

There is a new trend of “naked cakes” that look similar to the picture above. Feel free to stop here if you’re all trendy and such πŸ™‚

7. Press sliced almond onto the sides of the cake, so they stick.

cake 12

8. Find the center of the cake (I used my bench scarper to do this) and begin arranging fruit in a design that you like.

cake 14

cake 13

9. Time to make the glaze. Combine the lime juice concentrate, sugar, corn starch and fresh lime juice. Whisk until smooth. Simmer until thickens.

10. Using pastry brush, brush on glaze.

cake 19

11. Enjoy πŸ™‚

cake 20

Continue Reading