Need something simple, yet elegant for dinner? This feta brined roast chicken is easy to make, but looks like something from a fancy restaurant. Brine the chicken, let it sit overnight, and then mix a few ingredients together and bake.
The brine helps infuse the chicken with flavor, and (as a bonus) keeps it from drying out. It works just like the brine for a turkey, except this will taste much better! Feta cheese is particularly effective as a brine since it is packed in water, so it’s already moist. Blending it together creates a smooth, creamy brine that penetrates the chicken, keeping it tender and moist, even under high heat. The finished chicken doesn’t have a strong feta taste, but it will be rich, tender, and delicious.
Once the chicken is brined, you create a quick and easy spice rub from lemon zest, pepper, and oregano, blend that together, and spread it all over the chicken. The feta cheese adds salty savor, the lemon a hint of tartness, and the oregano and spinach give the dish a fresh, bright flavor. The original dish called for arugula, but I’m not a fan, so I used spinach instead.
Taking the chicken out early before you cook it helps it dry out and allows the skin to become crisper when the chicken is roasted.
This penne with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives recipe is fairly hands-off, simple, and delicious. And, of course, it’s just one serving!
It also allowed me to make some progress using the enormous jar of sun-dried tomatoes that’s been in the back of my fridge forever! Add some pasta, a bit of feta cheese, olives, and a few leaves of fresh basil, and you get a tasty lunch with only a few minutes of real work. (I have a basil plant growing in my window, so that basil was really fresh).
The feta was leftover from making a feta and spinach omelette, so it also helps toward my goal of not wasting anything. I just hate having a couple of tablespoons of sauce, or a few random bits of fruit or vegetables turning into a science experiment.
Now, on to more tasty mental pictures.
Since the tomatoes are dried, you’ll have to start by heating them and softening them up a bit. You can do this overnight (if you’re organized), or just start them a few minutes before you start boiling the water for the pasta.
Once the tomatoes are soaked and the pasta is cooked, the rest of the recipe takes only a few minutes to prepare. Just cook the garlic, toss the remaining ingredients in the saucepan you used to cook the penne and heat them up with the pasta.
Since the entire meal only uses one pot, it’s also easy to clean up afterwards. I don’t have a dishwasher, so easy cleanup is good!
The nice thing about sun-dried tomatoes is that they do last a long time (if you happen to have bought a giant jar because the price was great). In addition to pasta, you can toss them on pizza, mix them in with eggs, add them to pesto, or put them in meatloaf.
My mom only eats black olives and my dad only likes green ones. I never really liked olives of any kind that much until I tried these. They were set out as a bar snack (of all things). They are bright green, mild, and don’t taste sour or briny like most olives do. They’re great with this pasta dish, and also marinated in olive oil with slivers of garlic and rosemary (which is how the bar served them). Delicious and great for a wine and cheese cocktail hour (either just for you or for company).
More Single Serving Recipes with Pasta or Feta Cheese
I was so pleased with last week’s spinach and feta salad with strawberries that I decided to try another variation, this time with blueberries. Plus, the spinach and the blueberries at the market looked so fresh that I couldn’t resist buying them. So now, we end up with blueberry spinach salad with feta cheese and walnuts.
I changed the dressing from balsamic vinaigrette to a lemony vinaigrette made with olive oil, vinegar, and lemon peel. I topped it all off with a mixture of nuts, raisins, and sunflower seeds.
I bought the nut/seed combination already mixed, you can add some, or all of the ingredients, depending on what you have in your pantry, your personal taste, or whether you feel like going to the store to get anything you haven’t got handy. You definitely don’t have to add all of them!
The resulting blueberry spinach salad with feta cheese and walnuts is crispy, a little salty (from the nut mixture), tangy from the lemon, and sweet from the blueberries.
And, it’s even red, white, and blue. It would be great for a Fourth of July picnic or party. Just throw it together ahead of time and add the dressing when it’s ready to serve. Gotta have something healthy in-between all those hot dogs!
Strawberry season has finally arrived! They’re wonderful just right out of the box, but much as I love strawberries, they’re not a complete meal. This strawberry spinach salad with balsamic dressing and feta cheese is easy to make, delicious, and even healthy (all those greens and Vitamin C). And the colors look pretty too. The tartness of the balsamic vinegar, and the saltiness of the feta cheese complements the sweetness of the strawberries. The almonds on top add a bit of extra crunch.
Since I wanted more veggies than just spinach, I added carrots, red cabbage, and tomatoes for extra color and more nutrition (I was trying to make up for indulging at a party!). The tomatoes were, sadly, flavorless, but I left them in the recipe since they’ll be better later in the year.
Make the dressing first, and let the flavors blend together while you fix the rest of the salad.
This is a great quick lunch or dinner. Just double the spinach, and add more tomatoes. You might want to increase the dressing recipe too (I like less dressing than most people).
After a rather chilly spring, summer is suddenly here in full force. It’s hot, it’s sticky and I do not want to stand over a hot stove for one second longer than I have to. That means it’s time for salads, pasta, eggs, and other quick meals that require as little cooking time as possible. So, with that in mind, today’s dish is a simple, but delicious summer pasta with green olives and feta cheese.
The feta cheese and olives are slightly salty, while the tomatoes add sweetness. And really, fresh summery tomatoes (and strawberries) are the best!
I ate my pasta hot, because I was hungry and didn’t want to wait for it to cool, but I suspect it would work just as well as a cold pasta salad. It would probably be great for a picnic. Since there’s no mayonnaise it will travel well to a park or the beach.
It’s easy to make too. Just boil the water, cook the pasta, and chop up a few ingredients. Perfect when you don’t want to cook, but you still have to eat. And it’s a lot easier and cheaper than going out or ordering in to get something.
I kept it simple with just the olives and tomatoes, but you could add other vegetables or swap the tomatoes for other fresh vegetables, such as spinach, bell pepper, or mushrooms. And don’t fuss too much about measuring the vegetables. It’s hard to mess this up!
An easy summer pasta meal with olives and feta cheese. This will work well hot off the stove or cooled off as a pasta salad.
4 ounces of pasta
4-5 pitted green olives, cut in quarters
4 leaves basil, torn
1/4 feta cheese, crumbled or cut into small pieces
1 T olive oil
generous squirt of lemon juice.
4-5 grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
Boil the water and cook the pasta.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a bowl. Add the olives, basil, and feta cheese.
Mix the olive oil and lemon juice together in a small bowl and pour over the pasta mixture.
Add the tomatoes.
Toss the pasta to coat it and combine all the ingredients.
I prefer green castelvetrano olives, but you can use black if you like them better. I add the tomatoes last to stop them from cooking (since I don't like freshly cooked tomatoes). If you aren't bothered by that, add them when you add the cheese.
This spinach and feta cheese omelette has salty feta, tender spinach, and a mild oniony bite from scallions. I had a craving for spanakopitas (spinach and feta triangles, wrapped in phyllo dough), but unfortunately, I had no phyllo dough handy.
I suppose I could have gone out to get some, but believe me, when you have to go up and down (or maybe down and up) all those steps, all 56 of them, you think twice before running out to the store for just one ingredient!
So, I decided to improvise.While I didn’t have phyllo dough, I did have the other ingredients, and plenty of eggs.
I figured with the eggs, the spinach, some feta cheese, some scallions, and a little creativity, I could get a similar flavor in an omelette without any phyllo dough. It was delicious! And, I admit it was also a lot easier to prepare than spanikopitas! The spanakopitas take quite a bit of time and effort to make (all that dough rolling). Unlike spanakopitas, this spinach and feta cheese omelette is ready in about fifteen minutes, which is much faster (and easier) gratification!
You can make it for breakfast on a weekday (since it doesn’t take long to prepare), or have it for a weekend brunch or quick lunch. Just add some fruit or a chunk of crusty bread.
1 T olive oil (or enough to coat the bottom of a small skillet)
2 large eggs
1 tsp water
1/4 C chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste (the feta is salty, so you might want to use a bit less than usual)
1/4 C feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 tsp dill
1/2 scallion, chopped, plus extra for garnish
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the water. Beat the egg and water mixture thoroughly.
Heat the oil in a small skillet on medium heat.
Add the eggs to the pan and add salt and pepper. Hold the pan over the heat and move it forward and backward (towards you and then away from you).
Meanwhile, take a fork in your other hand and use it to swirl the eggs gently in a circular motion. Keep the fork flat, and don't scrape it against the bottom of the pan. This will add layers to the omelette and keep it from sticking to the pan.
Let the omelette cook for a minute, until it sets along the outside. You'll be able to move it around the pan in one piece, but the top will still be liquid.
When the eggs are set on the bottom, but not yet cooked through, add the rest of the ingredients on one side of the omelette. Let cook for a minute or two.
Hold the pan in one hand, at an angle of about 45 degrees. Gently roll the empty side of the omelette with your fork, pushing it over to the side with the spinach filling. The end result will be a half-moon shape.
Turn the omelette onto a plate and garnish with scallions.
Omelette Cooking Tips
Omelette making can seem a bit intimidating, but it’s not that hard to master. And, while you’re practicing, you still get to eat the results (even if they don’t look perfect, they will still taste good).
I’ve explained this in more detail in the recipe, but the idea is to coat the pan with the oil first. There’s a lot of talk about using seasoned cast iron pans, but an ordinary frying pan is just fine. Then add the eggs, and tilt the pan to spread the egg mixture evenly over the bottom. Use a fork (or a spatula) to move the uncooked (and still liquid) eggs around in the pan. Then, once the edges firm up (and are no longer liquid), add the filling on one side. Flip the empty half over the filling, cook it, and then slide (or flip) the omelette onto your plate.
Since it’s a bit easier to explain omelette preparation with video and pictures, rather than words (and because I can’t hold the pan, the fork, and the camera all at once), here’s a video from the BBC that demonstrates the basic technique for making a plain omelette.