staying hungry : grilled chicken salad

I blame Park Ave for this week’s dinner challenge meal.

I had a perfectly good meal planned for this week…and then I had Magnolia’s Strawberry Spinach Salad. And it was SO GOOD that it was all I could think about. And I was still planning on making my previously scheduled dinner challenge meal until F. Oliver’s changed my life. And then…it was a done deal. I had no choice but to go to Wegmans and put this week’s previously scheduled meal on hold for this beauty:

Oh my word…great decision.

Grilled Chicken Salad

Serves 4



Start with 2 cups of spinach and arugula mix, then add sliced strawberries and grilled chicken. Sprinkle with goat cheese and walnuts and then drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


4/5. Perfect spring salad, definitely hit the spot after craving Magnolia’s fantastic rendition.

staying hungry : grilled raspberry balsamic chicken over roasted asparagus and pecan pilaf

So, I kind of cheated this week…again. But whatever, at least this one didn’t start out frozen.

Technically, these meals are supposed to be derived from recipes pulled from the endless stream of blog posts and magazines I hoard, but this recipe came straight from the aisles of Wegmans.

And I have no remorse about said circumstances because it turned out to be a darn good, though perhaps long-winded, meal.

The idea came from these places:

1. Wegmans is giving out samples of asparagus! I like asparagus. I’ve never purchased and/or cooked asparagus.
2. Asparagus = spring.
3. Chicken sounds good.
4. Oh my word what if I marinated the chicken in that dressing again??? That’s such a good idea!
5. Do I want to put it over a brown rice pilaf?
6. Do I want to put it over a roasted vegetable pilaf?
7. Do I want to put it over a wild rice and quinoa mix?
8. Do I want to put it over a brown rice pilaf?
9. Wait, did I already look at that one?
10. How long have I been standing in this aisle?
11. HEY! Pecan!
12. Man, I’ve been here for awhile.

And behold, a recipe was born.

Grilled Raspberry Balsamic Chicken over Roasted Asparagus and Pecan Pilaf

Or: Holy Goodness That Title Is Long



I’m so bad at this part. Here’s my best effort. Or an effort:

1. Marinate the chicken in the dressing for at least an hour. How much dressing, you ask? Oh, you know, that much. Enough to cover it well.

2. While the chicken is marinating, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss asparagus in olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Start the rice. Read the box. And then proceed as directed.

4. Put the asparagus in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender but not too tender.

5. When you have about 10 minutes of cooking time left, start grilling the chicken. Depending on the size of your cut it should only take 3-5 minutes per side to grill well.

6. Assemble: scoop of rice, a few stalks of asparagus, a few pieces of chicken.

7. Drizzle a little extra dressing on top.

8. Devour.


4/5. I really, really, LOVE this meal – it’s 110% spring! Next time I’m adding goat cheese because I have issues and I’ll add goat cheese to basically anything. I think I’m also going to start adding this dressing to everything because oh my word…it’s so amazing. But overall: winner, winner, chicken dinner!

staying hungry : tuna, white bean, and beet salad with dijon viniagrette

For the love of all that is the Weekly Dinner Challenge…

We finally have a rave-worthy meal around here!!!

Now, it may not look like much, but this salad packs an AMAZING punch. It’s from the hallowed pages of Everyday Food, a sure source of winning recipes every time.

This recipe is from the May 2012 edition. Here’s the original ingredient list:

Tuna, Chickpea, and Beet Salad


1/4 balsamic vinegar

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cans light tuna

1 head romaine lettuce (I used a bag of spinach and arugula)

3 cups baby spinach (I used an arugula field mix…because I’m an addict)

1 package cooked beets (8 oz)

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained (15.5 oz) (I used white beans instead)


Here are my I’m-too-lazy-to-wash-multiple-bowls directions: Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, Dijon, and olive oil in a medium bowl. Add in the flaked tuna, chopped beets, and beans. Toss to coat. Add equal portions on top of salad mix to each bowl.

Apparently my kitchen motto is “Less is more.” Only when it pertains to dishes. Not when it pertains to chocolate.

Rating: 4.5/5. This salad is going to be a lunch staple this spring/summer. Light but filling and packed with protein…and the dressing just takes it over the top! THANK YOU, Everyday Food, for redeeming these Challenge posts!

staying creative : instagram easter

Spoiler alert…instagram photos will probably be the only thing I post about for the next 7-10 days.

Or years.

People…I can’t even tell you how excited I was when I found out that an instagram app for the demon the droid had been released. It was like my birthday/Christmas/the Super Bowl all rolled into one…x 10. My daily sin count is going to be lowered by approximately 10,000 coveting points now that I no longer have to envy everyone else’s amazing instagram photos.

I’ll just stick to solely envying their iPhones instead.

It’s a 50% decrease!

Here are my favorite instagram photos from Easter weekend…expect a lot (LOT) more where these came from.

And p.s. – come find me on instagram and let’s follow each other!!! I’m bekastays.

beka stays hungry : chicken stir fry with goat cheese and raspberries


Oh. My. Word.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.

As soon as I saw this recipe on Iowa Girl Eats I abandoned my former Diner Challenge plans for this week and switched to this recipe. I just couldn’t wait to try it!

My instincts have never served me better.

Chicken Stir Fry with Goat Cheese and Raspberries

mildly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats


1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed

1 cup chicken broth

dash garlic powder

1 teaspoon canola oil

2 chicken breasts, sliced

salt & pepper

1/2 small red onion, sliced thin

1 scallion, sliced diagonally

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 bag (6oz) baby spinach and arugula

1/4 cup bottled fruity dressing – I used Annie’s Fat Free Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1 oz goat cheese (or feta cheese)


1. Combine quinoa, chicken broth and a dash of garlic powder in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then cover and turn the heat down to medium-low. Simmer until quinoa is tender and all the broth has been mostly absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. Turn heat off and let the remainder of the liquid soak into quinoa, about 2 minutes. Fluff with fork.

2. Meanwhile, heat canola oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season chicken slices with salt and pepper. Add chicken, red onion, scallion, and minced garlic to the skillet and stir fry until chicken is cooked all the way through.

3. Add salad dressing and baby greens to the skillet and toss until wilted, about 1 minute. Divide quinoa among plates, then top with the chicken stir fry, raspberries and cheese.


5/5. AMAZING!!! This dinner is spring. You can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be making it again (and again and again) throughout the spring and summer…and fall and winter, too.

good things : spring anticipation

Yesterday’s temperatures (SIXTIES!) sent my recent spring-centered thoughts into overdrive. As Josh Turner (and Point #1) would say, “Bring on the sunshine, bring on the good times.” We’re ready for you, spring!

This is basically all I’ve been thinking about lately, Pinterest-style:

1 – Zac Brown Band (and all country music!)

zac brown band

pinned here via here

2 – Southern Weddings

white camellia cake

pinned here via here

3 – Road Trips

road trip!

pinned here via here

4 – Bicycles and Baskets

aqua bike

pinned here via here

5 – Jamba Juice

(not pinned, but my favorite Jamba Juice memory!)

6 – Sunshine


pinned here via here

7 – Kittens and Baseball…or All Things Spring

kittens and baseball. an oddly adorable spring combo.

pinned here via here

beka stays real : it’s time for spring



pinned here via here

When you’re in your apartment dressed in two pair of socks, boots, three layers of sweaters, and a down coat, huddled next to the only furnace that is putting out any semblance of heat and drinking hot tea…it’s time for spring.

(And FYI: by tea, I mean hot water spiked with lemon juice, cinnamon, and ginger. OH MY WORD…I’m making that a habit. So good!)