Pasta, Recipes, Sides

SRC: Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad

This orzo pasta salad is filled with all of my favorite flavors… dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, basil, and garlic. Simple and sophisticated, this dish can fill all your summer party needs!

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

Ben and I moved to a new house this spring. Though we’re still in Nashville, we are on the other side of town, and as such, have had to get used to new everything. New grocery stores, new commutes, new running paths(!!!), new neighbors… and a new farmer’s market. Our local market is only a couple years old, and as such, is still pretty small. BUT size does not equal quality. Quality > quantity, ya know? Last weekend at the market, I couldn’t resist ALL the lovely tomatoes that have started to pop up. They’re juicy and sweet and oh-s0-pretty. And what better dish to celebrate summer tomatoes than a pasta salad?

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

This orzo and tomato pasta salad comes together, as its name implies, with a fantastic dijon-balsamic dressing. It’s funny, I found this recipe on Heather’s blog, Join Us, Pull Up a Chair. She’s my Secret Recipe Club assignment for the month of July… and her family didn’t care for the salad very much due to the tanginess of the dressing. But I made it anyway. HA! I read the recipe before the blog post so that explains it. And the dressing was tangy, for sure. I adjusted the proportions a little but the balsamic and dijon flavors are pretty prominent and strong. If the dressing is too tangy for your taste, add more extra virgin olive oil, or add some honey. Ben and I thought it was perfect, a great pairing with the sweet tomatoes and fresh basil. MMM!

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad | thepajamachef.com | #summer #tomatoes #salad #secretrecipeclub #healthy

One of the reasons I love participating in the SRC is getting to check out the blogs of other foodies. There’s always SO many good recipes to choose from. Heather started her blog several years ago as way to organize all her recipes because they were taking over her office. I can relate to that! Some of the other recipes I found on her blog that I can’t wait to try include snickerdoodle biscotti, Kung Pao chickpeas, cranberry hootiecreeks [what an awesome name for a cookie!], and cranberry vanilla shortbread cookies. If any of those recipes sound up your alley, be sure to check out Heather’s blog! I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do. And don’t forget to make this dijon balsamic orzo salad, stat! Enjoy!

one year ago: Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame
two years ago: Ginger Banana Waffles
three years ago: Minty Asian Slaw
four years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Dijon Balsamic Orzo Salad

  • Servings: 6-8
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slightly adapted from Join Us, Pull Up a Chair

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces orzo pasta [another small shape would work too]
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 – 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced [if you really like garlic… if not, use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut into a chiffonade

Directions:

Cook orzo according to package directions. While orzo is cooking, toss tomatoes and chickpeas together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, oregano, and garlic. When pasta is cooked, drain and then place in bowl with the tomatoes. Stir together, then pour dressing and toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste, then stir in basil or use as a garnish.

If the dressing is too tangy for your taste, add more extra virgin olive oil, or add some honey.

Salad tastes great warm, at room temperature, or cold. Also, it doubles easily! Add other veggies or some cheese if desired.

Click below for more recipes from this month’s edition of the Secret Recipe Club!

Main Dishes, Recipes, Turkey

#TripleSBites: Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf

Mini turkey meatloaf… flavorful and perfectly portioned. 🙂 With a spiced fig sauce on top, what’s not to love?!?

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Who eats meatloaf for a romantic dinner?!? Obviously, we do! #nontraditional Haha. Romantic or not, these mini turkey meatloaf [meatloaves?] are absolutely delicious! Sometimes in the past when I’ve made turkey meatloaf or turkey tacos I’ve been let down with the amount of flavor the meal has since it has a different flavor than beef. So when I was making these mini treats I used SO much flavor… ginger, garlic, herbs, chile peppers, balsamic vinegar… Ben walked by and commented how good the raw meat smelled. Crazy! 🙂

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

Two of our #TripleSBites [go HERE for more info on this fantastic event and don’t forget to enter the giveawayyy! Do it now!] sponsors contributed to these delicious meat muffins [Ben’s name, not mine]. All the herbs and seasoning–ginger and garlic, herbs and chile peppers–came from Gourmet Garden. Before #10DaysofTailgate in the fall, I had never used Gourmet Garden’s squeezable herbs and seasonings, but now I do all the time. They are just so convenient, especially when you only need a little of something. For more info, check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or Pinterest. And the other major flavor player in my meatloaf was in the topping. Spiced Fig Not Ketchup is my new sauce of choice! It’s sweet and mild and I’ve been dipping everything in it lately, from sweet potato fries to meatloaf, and I’m playing around with making it into a salad dressing. Mmm! Find out more about Not Ketchup on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, or Pinterest pages. I love these blogging events because I get to try out so many awesome products. Thanks to you both for being such great sponsors. P.S. readers… you can WIN these products in the giveaway too!

Spiced Fig Mini Turkey Meatloaf | thepajamachef.com #TripleSBites

I don’t really like meatloaf in those long slices… but give it to me in muffin form and I could eat it all day long! Enjoy!

one year ago: Sweet Potato Pork Quesadillas
two years ago: Chewy Peanut Butter Brownies
three years ago: Caramel S’mores Cups
four years ago: Bacon-Wrapped Feta & Almond Stuffed Dates

Spiced Fig Turkey Mini Meatloaf

  • Servings: 4-5
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adapted from my mom’s recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Herbs from Gourmet Garden [or ~1 teaspoon dried basil/oregano/rosemary etc.]
  • 1 tablespoon Chunky Garlic from Gourmet Garden [or 3-4 cloves garlic, minced]
  • 1/2 tablespoon Ginger from Gourmet Garden [or an equivalent amount of grated fresh ginger]
  • 1 teaspoon Hot Chili from Gourmet Garden [or a pinch of cayenne pepper or red chili flakes]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup Spiced Fig Not Ketchup, divided

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together oats, milk, and vinegar. Let rest for 5 minutes, then add turkey, egg, garlic, ginger, chili, and pepper. Use your hands [or a spoon] to mix everything together, then divide between the muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and brush each meatloaf cup with Spiced Fig Not Ketchup [using about 1-2 teaspoons per meatloaf]. Return to the oven and bake an additional 15-20 minutes, until cooked through and crisp along the edges. Top with remaining Spiced Fig Not Ketchup.


Check out other yummy #TripleSBites recipes today!

#TripleSBites | thepajamachef.com

Disclosure: I received herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden and a bottle of Not Ketchup as part of my participation in #TripleSBites. I was not compensated in any way–for my time, to create a recipe, or to publish positive comments. I was not required to use these products as part of my recipe. My opinions are my own. 

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
  • Print

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.