This weekend I had my first wedding dress fitting! Let me tell you, finding a wedding dress has been quite an obstacle. Everything looks like a cupcake… strapless, embellished, poofy. Uh-uh. Not for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not and have never been a “foofy” girl. There are not many simple, modern dresses out on the market and the ones that are are few and far between, or in my case; sold out:( I gave up being on the hunt and decided to have one custom made. The experience so far has been amazing. I had an initial design meeting to let my dressmaker (who is awesome by the way) know what I was looking for where we went over some inspiration photos, sketched some stuff up, and conceptualized. Then during my last meeting, we actually started the draping process which was so much fun. It is like we are just designing the garment right on my body! After 7 years of schooling in this area, you would think I would just be able to do this project myself… Glad I am still paying for that education! But let me tell you, spending that much money on a dress and having to stand in only your underthings for an hour while people pin and tuck on you in a mirror surrounded room will really make you want to get in shape and eat lighter. A couple of my pals have committed to this cause with me to make the process easier. Its hard to have to go it alone! After work yesterday we we rounded up a couple of pups and went on an hour long hike. After sweating it out and being in the sunshine, all I wanted was something fresh, crisp, and healthy so that is how this recipe came about. It is super simple and you can use any vegetables or pasta you like. To make it even more healthy, a grain like farro or quinoa would be tasty. If you can, have someone help you chop to make it go by faster or put on some jams and pour yo self a glass of vino. I will be way jealous as I am only allowing myself to indulge with the vino on the weekends. I mean, you can’t deprive a gal of everything she loves!
Mediterranean Baked Chicken Orecchiette with Lemon Dressing:
- 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast tenders
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. or so paprika
- 1 tsp. or so garlic powder
- 1 lb. orecchiette
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 english cucumber, diced
- 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1 head broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
- 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (chickpeas would be good as well)
- (1) 8 oz. jar green Spanish olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced pickled pepperoncini peppers, chopped
- 6 oz. fat free crumbled feta
- large fistful of fresh mint, chopped
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup grape seed oil
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about the juice of 4 lemons)
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with foil. In a bowl, toss chicken tenders with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Bake for around 30 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Tent chicken and set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once boiling, drop in the pasta. When pasta has around 2 minutes left to cook, drop in broccoli florets for just a couple of minutes until they soften and turn a bright green color. Quickly drain pasta and broccoli and run under ice cold water to cool and stop the cooking process. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add peppers, onion, cucumber, tomatoes, beans, olives, pepperoncinis, mint, and pasta/broccoli mixture.
To make the dressing, add grape seed oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and red pepper flakes to a jar. Screw on the lid and give it a good shake.
Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss salad with the dressing and let stand for about 10 minutes. Serve salad topped with warm sliced chicken. *Note: We generally try to only make our own salad dressings. Its really easy and once you get the acid/oil proportions right, you can change up the flavors and herbs to the combo of your choice. It is so much better for you and actually a whole lot more affordable, however, an Italian or store bought vinaigrette would work for this as well.