Tag Archives: yogurt

Strawberry Yogurt

Ben and I are yogurt-a-holics. Seriously, at any given time we have about half a shelf of our fridge full of yogurt. Tubs of plain or vanilla. Individual cartons of sundry flavors. It is insane! For awhile, I even made our own yogurt in the crockpot, then strained it out to make homemade Greek yogurt. While that stuff was good, it was time consuming and I fell out of the habit. But our other habit [buying a bazillion flavors at the store] is expensive. What’s a girl to do? Make my own toppings, of course!

Strawberry Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

Back in the days of homemade yogurt I purchased multiple flavors of jam to stir into homemade yogurt. That was easy, but pricy, and took up tons of valuable fridge space. This time, I had some frozen fruit for smoothies and made up a quick strawberry puree with just a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Hardly a recipe, yobut this sauce is a perfect addition to those store bought tubs of plain yogurt and I thought some of you may enjoy it too! Lately I’ve been prepping mason jars of strawberry yogurt on the weekend and enjoying them at work all week long. For an extra treat, add some homemade granola or a few mini chocolate chips! Yum!

one year ago: Cumin-Scented Cabbage Salad
two years ago: Extraordinary Grilled Cheese
three years ago: The Best Egg Salad I’ve Ever Had

Strawberry Yogurt
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 32 ounces plain yogurt [regular or greek]

Directions:

In a nonreactive saucepan, combine strawberries, lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon. Let sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes to let berries defrost, then set over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar melts and berries begin to break down. Gently break larger berries apart with a wooden spoon. Pour into a small bowl to cool.

Meanwhile, divide yogurt between 6 containers [1 cup/8 ounces each]. When strawberry sauce has cooled, top yogurt with 2-3 tablespoons strawberry sauce. You may have a little sauce leftover. Cover and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Time: 60 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6 servings yogurt, approximately 1 cup strawberry sauce.

About these ads

Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip

love dip. I am made for dip. In my younger years, if I wasn’t ordering chicken fingers at a restaurant, it was some kind of dip. Instant high school/college dinner! Yes! While I don’t do that very often anymore, I do love me some dips for group appetizers. Snacky foods just bring people together because they’re always coming back for more! I made this Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip for the last big church event Ben and I went to in Bloomington, soon before moving to Nashville. This dip was a big hit with everyone, and I can see it being perfect for football parties this fall too!

skinny southwest chicken dip | thepajamachef.com

When I told people the name of the dip, I intentionally didn’t emphasize the “skinny” bit. See, people tend to equate skinny with not flavorful, boring, or blah. This dip is anything BUT! The skinny bit comes from the dip’s greek yogurt base, replacing the usual suspects like mayo or sour cream. I love greek yogurt for what it is–yogurt. I could eat yogurt [greek or not] day in and day out without complaint. I love the stuff! But subbing greek yogurt for mayo or sour cream in dips and such really freaks me out. I love those other creamy things for their unique flavors and plain greek yogurt is NOT the same. But in some things, when there’s lots of other stuff going on… use the healthy, creamy, protein-packed alternative without fear. </rant> :)

skinny southwest chicken dip | thepajamachef.com

The seasoning for this creamy chicken, bean, and veggie dip was originally a flavorful blend of chili powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. But since I was making this for a crowd–and using the church’s dollar–I didn’t want to buy three new jars of spices. So I just bought one–an amped up Southwest Mrs. Dash. Seasoning blends can get a bad rap, but for dishes like this they are a fabulous bargain. [P.S. I also like to add those blends to roasted potatoes, hot rice, or even a wrap/grilled cheese.] Taco seasoning would be an equally great alternative, or you could go back to the original recipe and use the suggested blend, plus some cayenne for a ‘lil kick. However you season this dip, the Southwest/Mexican seasonings pair amazingly well with the chicken, black beans, and veggies. Be sure to make this dip ahead of time so the flavors have time to marry in the fridge before being scooped up with a salty tortilla chip. I liked it best on day number 2! Enjoy!

Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip [adapted from Yellow Bliss Road]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning [or taco seasoning, or chili powder + garlic powder + onion powder + cayenne]
  • 1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 15 ounce bag frozen corn
  • 1 cup fresh sweet peppers, diced
  • 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, Southwest Chipotle seasoning, chicken, corn, and peppers. Then slowly stir in black beans and tomatoes. Refrigerate for one hour or more [overnight is best] prior to serving with tortilla chips.

Time: 10 minutes.

Yield: 5-6 cups.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt

A few years ago, I made Avocado Soup. It was a cold, gazpacho-esque soup made with yogurt, avocados, and seasonings. Hardly any liquid and served cold, it has gone down in history as one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever served for dinner. Nowadays I would have revamped it as a dip or a sauce, but four years ago it just went in the trash. And with it, my desire to use yogurt as anything more than something to eat with granola or occasionally in baking.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

With that history of yogurt as a dinner ingredient, it came as a surprise to me when I saw this Creamy Shells and Yogurt recipe online and decided to make it. I know warm yogurt sounds weird, but hear me out. This is totally not what you think. Here, Greek yogurt makes a surprisingly delicious rich pasta sauce when combined with eggs and cheese.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

As the sauce comes together, it is almost reminiscent of a rich macaroni and cheese. It is truly one of those dishes that you just have to taste to truly understand.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

The eggs, cheese, and yogurt come together to make a tangy sauce that tastes rich while being actually pretty light, but the true star of the sauce are fresh herbs and lots of lemon zest. I used lemon thyme and mint for my herbs, but you could use whatever you have on hand. I think parsley, basil, oregano, or any of the usual suspects would work perfectly–but do try the minty lemon combo if you can. It is divine! For a little extra something-something I added some kale to the mix. You know how I love my kale!

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

Everything about this dish screams summer, and even though I only made this pasta a couple weeks ago, I’m craving it so badly now and am wondering if I can justify dirtying up the {clean} kitchen at 10:30 pm just for a small bedtime snack. Of yogurt pasta. And this after making Pumpkin Soup for dinner and telling Ben how I just cannot WAIT for apple picking, apple cider, pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins, and all the joys of fall [which do NOT include football, thankyouverymuch. That's Ben's department.]. I am so seasonally confused. I want it all, summer and fall. But most of all, I want a big bowl of Creamy Shells and Yogurt. It is totally a bright and cheery summer comfort food. I am sooo glad to have tried this pasta–hope you will too!

a year ago… Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
two years ago… Chorizo and Potato Tacos
three years ago… Taco Casserole

Creamy Shells and Yogurt [adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces shell pasta
  • 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt [whole or 2%]
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped + more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, chopped
  • 3 green onions
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 ounce Mozzarella, shredded or cubed + more for serving
  • 1 large handful kale [~1.5 cups]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add shells and cook to al dente.

Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, eggs, mint, lemon thyme, green onions, lemon zest, and Mozzarella. Wash kale, remove thick stems, and tear into small pieces.

When pasta is ready, drain and reserve ~ 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in kale. Then add 6 tablespoons water to yogurt sauce and whisk well to temper egg. Pour yogurt sauce over pasta and kale and stir vigorously to coat. Keep stirring until Mozzarella melts, then season to taste with peppers and salt as desired. Serve with additional mint and cheese as desired.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.

Maple Berry Overnight Oats

Now that it’s getting warmer out, I’m needing some interesting cold breakfasts. After a morning run in the heat, curling up with a hot bowl of oatmeal sounds like absolute torture! There are so many cold breakfasts that are actually good. Cereal is delicious but kinda boring, and in my opinion, things like yogurt and granola bars are only tolerable so many times before I get sick of them. They’re better for snacks or lunch, I think. Smoothies are one of my favorite breakfasts, but I just don’t want to get the blender out everyday, you know? Enter: overnight oats.

Maple Berry Overnight Oats | The Pajama Chef

I first tried overnight oats a few years ago and felt kinda ‘meh’ about them. But recently, I decided to give them another chance. I went with the amazing flavor combination of maple berry, and let me tell you… this is pretty much the best creamy, sweet, cool breakfast ever!! 

Maple Berry Overnight Oats | The Pajama Chef

Overnight oats, like the name implies, are made the night before you want to enjoy them. Oats are mixed with milk and yogurt so they get all soft and delicious. With the addition of vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup, along with the sweet pop of fresh berries, they just taste SO good!! I can’t wait to experiment with other kinds of berries as the summer goes on. 

Maple Berry Overnight Oats | The Pajama Chef

Enjoying them on the porch is optional, but highly recommended. :) 

Maple Berry Overnight Oats [from Tartlet Sweets]

click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 6 tablespoons plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup [or to taste]
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced berries

Directions:

In a medium bowl, stir together oats, milk, yogurt, vanilla, and cinnamon. Sweeten with maple syrup to taste. Divide between two bowls or Mason jars. Top each bowl with about 3/4 cup berries. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or about 8-12 hours. Serve with additional milk as desired.

Time: 5 minutes plus overnight.

Yield: 2 servings.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream

I am SO ready for spring. It’s been cold all week, and then last night we got several inches of snow. Not as much as some parts of the country, but still… I am over winter. Entirely. My sister thinks winter is the greatest, and even planned her wedding for December hoping for snow [and there was... see!]. In that case, snow was cute and pretty and fun. In this case, in March, snow is not fun. In my opinion, the only good part about this sort of weather is that it is perfectly aceptable to wear cozy warm sweaters, ridiculously old and soft sweatpants, and boots everyday. Not necessarily altogether now, but you get my drift. And for dinner, it is perfectly acceptable to have soup almost every night. At least, until your husband tires of it. Thankfully, he didn’t tire of soup before we enjoyed this fabulous Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream created by Joanne. I already have one black bean soup recipe that I adore… now I have two! One vegetarian, one meatatarian.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream | The Pajama ChefMy go-to black bean soup is thick and chunky with black beans, onion, and spinach, and gets most of its flavors from a variety of spices and chicken broth. This recipe is much simpler, and, as the name implies, heavy on the chipotle flavor. Heavy on the awesomeness, more likely. The actual soup recipe only has six ingredients: chorizo, carrots, onions, chipotle peppers, vegetable broth, and black beans, so the chipotle flavor really does dominate. Chorizo and chipotle peppers are a fabulous combo, but I wasn’t initially sure how the carrots would work in the mix, but it turns out that carrots with a bit of spice are pretty phenomenal.

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream | The Pajama Chef

What really makes this soup pop though is the avocado cream. It’s like a creamy guacamole… but is all in all pretty healthy since the cream comes from avocado and Greek yogurt. It’s jazzed up with lime juice and cilantro, and I added a dash of crushed red pepper. Umm, yum. The whole soup, avocado cream and all, is pretty spicy but nothing I couldn’t handle. I thought it got even better, and almost a little sweeter as it sat in the fridge for a couple days. Like many dishes, the flavors improved over time. I wish I could have had a big bowl for dinner last night in the snow, but alas… I had to settle for Panera instead [tomato soup + fuji apple chicken salad!]. Panera’s good, but homemade’s better. Enjoy!

Chipotle Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream [adapted from Eats Well With Others]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 10 ounces chorizo
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large onions, diced [I used 1 red and 1 white]
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 cups cooked black beans

for the avocado cream

  • 1 small ripe avocado, cut in half and pit removed
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • crushed red pepper

Directions:

Heat a large [4+ quart] saucepan over medium heat, then add chorizo to the pot. Break it up with a wooden spoon, then cook through. If the pan looks really greasy, wipe out some of the grease with a paper towel, then add carrots and onions, and cook until soft. Stir occasionally. Stir in the peppers, then cook for a minute until fragrant.

Add the vegetable broth and black beans to the pot, then cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then simmer for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare avocado cream by combining the avocado, Greek yogurt, cilantro, and lime juice in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Season with crushed red pepper as desired.

Puree about 1/3 of the soup with an immersion blender if desired [I forgot to do this], then serve soup topped with avocado cream.

Time: 45 minutes.

Yield: 5-6 servings.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.