Beans, Main Dishes, Other, Recipes, Rice, Sauces, Sides

SRC: Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

Panfried falafel served up with lots of creamy tzatziki [cucumber sauce] and a tangy Greek rice. No one said vegetarian food had to be boring!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

I’m so glad it’s a Secret Recipe Club [SRC] day! What’s SRC? Basically a fun blogging group where you’re secretly paired up with another blogger. Everyone makes a recipe from their assigned blog and posts on the same day. The club has grown over the years and now has four groups. Since I first joined a few years[!] ago, I’ve been in group A. But when I had the chance to switch groups, I got SO excited because–hello!–new blogs to explore! 🙂 So now I’m in group C and loving it! This month I was assigned to Jamie’s blog, Our Eating Habits. Jamie lives in Canada and like any food blogger, loves food. She says on her about page: “Eating is a big part of my life, so I make sure everything that goes into my mouth is tasty.” A sentiment I agree with! [And that is EXACTLY why I bought jalapeno cheetos on Saturday at the grocery store. Those are SO good. Anyway…] Jamie loves cooking and baking for her family and has an impressive number of recipes on her blog. It was so fun to browse her recipes! I was tempted to make these red velvet M&M cake mix bars for Valentine’s Day, and will make this Butterscotch Confetti at Christmastime this year! I was all set to make those red velvet bars when I saw that Jamie had a falafel recipe…and I was sold!

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

Though I love falafel, sometimes I’m hesitant to order it at restaurants because it’s easy to make it too dry since it’s basically deep-fried chickpea balls/patties. Chickpeas are a drier bean anyway, so it makes sense. That’s why I’ve been excited to see so many pan-fried recipes for falafel lately. This recipe doesn’t disappoint! It’s so flavorful and moist [sorry!]. I changed the recipe a little from Jamie’s version, using lime juice instead of lemon, and adding the zest in for a little something special. Jamie used an egg as a binder and I decided to exclude it just so I didn’t have to worry about not cooking the falafel enough. I compensated for the lack of egg by using more chickpeas and less bread crumbs. Served up with some creamy tzatziki, chopped tomatoes and red onion, on a pita or lettuce-wrap style, this is an awesome meal! I couldn’t believe how easy it was to make this tasty vegetarian meal. Jamie added mayo to her tzatziki sauce and I thought that was genius! The mayo made the sauce a little creamier and added a little extra zip, but it also tasted good without.

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice | thepajamachef.com #SRC #vegetarian

As a side, I made a super easy lemon rice. It has just four ingredients: jasmine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice and is SO addictive. The bright, fresh flavor was perfect alongside the falafel. This is not a meal to be missed! Hope you try it today. 🙂 Thanks, Jamie, for a great recipe!

one year ago: Fresh Cranberry Coffee Cake
two years ago: Go-To Pancakes
three years ago: Sunrise Muffins
four years ago: Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

Falafel, Tzatziki, and Greek Lemon Rice

  • Servings: 4
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Falafel and Tzatziki from Our Eating Habits; Greek Lemon Rice from Thank Your Body

Ingredients:

for falafel

  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 cans chickpeas [15 ounces each]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • oil for cooking

for Tzatziki

  • 2 cups plain greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cucumber, seeded and grated, pressed dry with a clean dish towel
  • 2 teaspoons dried dill [or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped]
  • 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for Greek Lemon Rice

  • 1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
  • juice of 1 lemon [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste

for serving

  • pita bread
  • chopped red onions
  • chopped tomato
  • romaine lettuce

Directions:

Begin by making the tzatziki. In a medium bowl, stir together yogurt, cucumber, dill, and mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate while cooking falafel and rice.

Next, mix up the falafel. In a food processor, pulse together onion, parsley, garlic, cumin, coriander, cayenne, lime zest, and lime juice. Then add 1/4 cup bread crumbs and 1 can chickpeas and pulse together, being careful to not completely pulverize the chickpeas. Check to see if mixture holds together, then add additional bread crumbs and/or chickpeas, pulsing gently, until mixture can be shaped into patties. I used 1/2 cup bread crumbs and 1 1/2 cans chickpeas [approximately 2 1/4 cups chickpeas]. Season to taste with pepper and salt. Shape into small patties–I used about 1/4 cup for each. Place on a plate or baking sheet and pop in the fridge to chill while starting the rice.

In a small saucepan set over high heat, combine rice, chicken broth, rosemary, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, then stir. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 15-20 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff with a fork and season with pepper and salt to taste.

While rice is cooking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and when hot, cook falafel patties, about 3-4 minutes per side until heated through and browned on each side.

Serve falafel in a pita or with lettuce, topping with onions, tomato, and tzatziki. Rice is great on the side or in the pita too!

Be sure to see what other SRC members made this week:

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Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Sauces

Greek Dressing

Who says simple is boring? This quick and easy greek dressing takes just a few minutes and a few ingredients but is so good that you’ll never want to buy bottled dressing again!

Greek Dressing | thepajamachef.com #simple #healthy #salad

 

Greek salad has been my LIFE recently. I’ve eaten a huge bowl for lunch everyday the past couple weeks, and think that’s going to happen again soon. [But I need more tomatoes!] My philosophy is… a big salad for lunch means dinner can be whatever I want. Even mac & cheese from Panera. That stuff is so good and I’d never ordered it myself until last Wednesday, much to Ben’s relief [on Panera dates before I’d always steal like half his bowl]. Because salad for lunch = indulgence for dinner. Or something like that. Right?!?

Greek Dressing | thepajamachef.com #simple #healthy #salad

Anyways, salad. And this dressing. I just can’t get enough! It’s creamy and tangy and so so fresh. I know my Greek salad isn’t exactly authentic and this dressing isn’t either, but it’s close enough. It’s full of flavor–all garlicky and lemony and herby! Just perfect. Some salad dressings are a little too oily without enough vinegar and acid to balance things out, but this half and half combo is just how I like it. I adapted a grandma recipe [not my grandma, but Laurie’s] so that’s why it must be so good! 🙂

Greek Dressing | thepajamachef.com #simple #healthy #salad

I use this dressing to top off a simple Greek salad of romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, and feta. Heavy on the chickpeas and feta for me, please! If you like, you can add olives or chicken or whatever else sounds good. Apparantly the dressing is also a killer chicken marinade. Filing that bit ‘o info away for next time! BTW this dressing keeps for about a week in the fridge, so feel free to make a double batch. You’ll need it!

three years ago: Cinnamon Bacon Carbonara
four years ago: Lime Yogurt Cake with Raspberry Sauce

Greek Dressing

  • Servings: 8 ounces
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adapted from Simply Scratch
Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oregano, loosely packed [or 1 teaspoon dried oregano]
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • generous amount of freshly ground black pepper
  • to serve with a simple salad: torn romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, chickpeas, red onion, feta

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth. I love my immersion blender for this! Taste and season with additional salt or pepper if necessary.

You can also finely chop the oregano and mince the garlic and shake all ingredients together.

Store in a jar, refrigerated, for up to a week.

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.

Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sauces

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce

These baked chicken nuggets and homemade honey mustard sauce are an easy way to satisfy fast food cravings at home!

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce | thepajamachef.com

Even though I love salads, vegetables, and all sorts of healthy goodness, as well as eating at local restaurants, sometimes fast food just sounds SO good. Do you know what I mean? I rarely indulge, except on road trips or nights that I really really have no desire to cook and we have no leftovers. [This is super rare.] To be completely honest, the health aspect is only part of the reason I don’t indulge that often. It’s the cost. It just seems ridiculous to me to spend $7+ on a “good” fast food meal… especially keeping in mind what fast food is really made of. So what to do, what to do. Make my own fast food, of course! Chicken nuggets and chicken tenders are my absolute fave. Always have been, always will be.

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce | thepajamachef.com

True, it takes longer. And it’s not exactly like what you’d get at a fast food place. But seriously… if it’s just the crunch of chicken and the endless vats of dipping sauce that you desire, this will be well worth it! I’m not going to lie; these chicken nuggets aren’t healthy. They’re baked, not fried, so there is some redeeming qualities to them, but healthy they are not. Their breading is held on by an unexpected blend of balsamic vinegar and honey, a combination that’s sweet and savory all at once!

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce | thepajamachef.com

Though you can dip these chicken nuggets in whatever sauce you like–ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard… might I suggest this homemade Chick-Fil-A sauce? Before seeing this recipe I didn’t realize that Chick-Fil-A had their own special sauce besides their honey mustard, so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this recipe. I can speak for the taste though–it’s amazingly, utterly, wonderfully delicious! So next time you have a craving for fast food, why not make some at home? I bet you have most of these ingredients in your pantry and fridge right now! I know I do. 🙂 Enjoy!

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Double Chocolate Banana Muffins
two years ago: Pesto Potato Salad
three years ago: Salmon with Lemon, Tarragon, and Garlic Sauce
four years ago:  Summer Mexican Soup

Baked Honey Chicken Nuggets with Homemade Chick-Fil-A Sauce

  • Servings: 4-5
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from Macaroni and Cheesecake

Ingredients:

for chicken nuggets

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, Panko if possible – if regular bread crumbs you may want to toast in a dry skillet for a few minutes until golden brown
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces

for Chick-Fil-A sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce

Directions:

Line a large sheet pan with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a shallow bowl, whisk together honey and balsamic vinegar. Place bread crumbs in another shallow bowl. Roll chicken in honey then dip in bread crumbs, being sure to coat each side. Place on prepared pan and repeat until all chicken is used. Bake for 30 minutes or until cooked through.

After chicken is in the oven, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate while chicken cooks, about 30 minutes, to allow flavors to marry.

Serve chicken nuggets with sauce, ketchup, etc. Extra sauce will keep in the refrigerator for a couple weeks.

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com
Chicken, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sauces

Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw

Ben and I are big barbecue fans. Seriously, major barbecue fans. It’s one meaty dish we can both agree on. Ben loves a good brisket or pulled pork while  I’m more partial to chicken but occasionally can be swayed to a more “hearty” meats. In our four years’ of married life, we’ve enjoyed barbecue in many, many ways… at restaurants, homemade, semi-homemade, and store-bought. Homemade has always been the best, because seriously. Indiana. Not exactly a state renowned for its barbecue. BUT wait. I just realized that my homemade might not be quite as good as what’s available locally anymore. Even though this homemade Sweet ‘n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw is pretty darn fabulous.

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com

Why, you ask? Because Ben and I are moving down south! To Nashville, Tennessee. On Friday! As in, later this week. Ahhhhhh. [Cue frantic packing… because who is ready to go any sooner than they have to be? Not me. Ha!] Now, I know that the politics of barbecue, or barbeque, or BBQ, or whatever you call it run deep, and vary by region, cooking method, etc. And I realize that true barbecue connoisseurs might not consider this “real” barbecue because it’s made in just an hour or so, in the oven. To them I say “bah.” Or rather, Ben says “bah.” I just say it’s good. It’s sweet, spicy, and utterly addicting. If I do say so myself, adding an apple to the chicken as it cooks was an utterly genius move.

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com

Speaking of moves, we’re moving because I accepted a position earlier this month at a university library in Nashville. It’s been a crazy few weeks of packing, finding a new apartment, trying to sublet our current apartment, saying goodbye to friends and family and our favorite local Bloomington spots, and a myriad of other details… some fun and others not so fun. But we are so excited for this new adventure. There’s no one I’d rather share it with than this guy!

ben

Ben is simply the best. 🙂 As is this barbecue. If you make it, don’t forget the slaw. It’s the perfect tangy, crisp accompaniment to the sweet ‘n spicy chicken. Kinda like I am to Ben. Or he is to me? I’m not quite sure that comparison is valid, but my mind is muddled from all this packing. So there you have it. Our big move, aka the reason I haven’t been blogging much lately. I have a few posts scheduled over the next couple weeks so I shouldn’t disappear for long, and then once we are settled and have the kitchen ready to go, things should be back to normal here. 🙂 If you have any Nashville recommendations, be sure to send ’em my way. Have a great week! Enjoy!

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw | thepajamachef.com

one year ago… 1970s Style Tacos
two years ago… Honey-Lime Fruit Salad
three years ago… Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Pork

Sweet 'n Spicy Apple BBQ Chicken & Slaw

  • Servings: 4-6
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Ingredients:

for the chicken

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs
  • 6 ounces BBQ sauce of choice [I used a local Spicy Apple BBQ Sauce, but for something similar you could use this recipe]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • extra sauce for serving

for the slaw

  • 2 cups red cabbage, chopped/shredded
  • 2 cups green cabbage, chopped/shredded
  • 1 small apple, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 stems basil, leaves torn [~ 1/4 cup]
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • a couple dashes Sriracha
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Heat olive oil over medium heat in an oven-proof Dutch oven or pot with tightly fitted lid. Add onion and apple and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Then add garlic and cook for another minute. Add chicken and BBQ sauce and toss to coat. Season with pepper. Remove from heat, cover, and place in oven for 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the slaw. Toss together cabbages, apple, celery, and basil. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, maple syrup, and Sriracha. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture [you may not need it all] and season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

When chicken is done cooking, shred with two forks carefully in the pot, or remove to a cutting board to shred. Return chicken to pot and then serve with slaw and extra BBQ sauce as desired.

Note: For more tender chicken, reduce heat to 200 degrees after it has fully cooked and leave chicken in oven, covered, for another hour. The chicken is still delicious after 90 minutes but it does shred a little easier later on.

Beans, Main Dishes, Recipes, Sauces

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce

We eat a lot of black beans around here–as a simple side with tacos, on salads, with rice. For some reason though, it’s rare that the black beans themselves are the star of the meal. And why not? They are so good and so filling! These Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce are the perfect example of that.

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce | thepajamachef.com

I honestly wasn’t expecting much of this meal, but it was so phenomenal that I just had to share. Quinoa and black beans are a natural combination, and when flavored with garlic and taco seasoning, are pretty amazing. I also added some cheese because duh. Cheese. It’s all melty and wonderful. You could certainly add the cheese separately to the burrito, but I kinda liked the gooey factor when it was stirred in with everything else.

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce | thepajamachef.com

As good as the burrito filling is, adding some guacamole and a quick Southwest Sauce makes this burrito. For sure. The sauce’s intriguing ingredients–salsa, mayo, lime juice, maple syrup, and spices–sound a bit off, but trust me. It totally works! This sauce is tangy, sweet, and has a tiny kick–but no real heat. You could spice this up if you wanted though! These Quinoa Black Bean Burritos make a wonderfully easy vegetarian weeknight dinner, and the leftovers last for days. Serve it with a side salad and chips and salsa for a complete meal. My kind of recipe! You can bet this will be part of our regular rotation from now on. Enjoy!

a year ago… Summery Squash & Chicken Lasagna
two years ago… Watermelon Coolers
three years ago… OTT: Brown Sugar Bacon Twists 

Quinoa Black Bean Burritos with Southwest Sauce

  • Servings: 6-8
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adapted from Food.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed [I used 1/2 cup each red and white quinoa]
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans [or a 15 ounce can], drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
  • flour tortillas
  • chopped avocados or guacamole [I made a simple guac–1 mashed avocado, lemon juice, cilantro, salt, pepper]

for Southwest Sauce

  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise [I think sour cream or plain yogurt could be substituted too]
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder

Directions:

Place quinoa and broth in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook at a simmer until all liquid has been absorbed–about 12 to 15 minutes. Then, add black beans, garlic, cheese, and taco seasoning and stir until cheese has melted. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes or until heated through.

Meanwhile, prepare Southwest Sauce. Whisk together salsa, mayonnaise, maple syrup, cumin, lime juice, and chili powder. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. If salsa is chunky, you may want to smooth sauce by pureeing in a blender or food processor.

Serve by spooning quinoa black bean mixture in a large flour tortilla. Top with avocados or guacamole, then roll shut. Drizzle Southwest Sauce on top immediately before serving.

Linked up with Foodie Friday and Weekend Potluck.