on the go: mediterranean kale salads in jars

on the go: mediterranean kale salads in jars | theclevercarrot.com

We have a gazillion empty jars with missing lids and sticky paper labels still half-attached.

Because of their odd sizes (and busted-looking appearance), they’re mostly used for vinaigrettes, leftovers and random bits and pieces.

I was never inspired to stuff them with pretty green leaves.

In fact, I was never a fan of salad in jars at all.

The trend reminds me of open shelving in a kitchen; it’s pretty to look at but does it function in real life?

For real people?

But these particular jars were just the right size.

With tight fitting lids.

And brand new.

And… if you looked at them at just the right angle they glistened in the overhead lighting at Target.

I bought 8 for $.50 each and decided to give it a go….

Read More »

15 minute meals: baked dover sole + whole grain mediterranean couscous

15-minute meals: baked dover sole with whole grain mediterranean couscous | theclevercarrot.com

You either have it or you don’t.

With the holidays on the horizon, time is of the essence. Things will get hectic. Possibly stressful. And I refuse to freak out over dinner (Who me? Never). I’ve been on the hunt for quick and healthy meals that won’t break the bank.

Because really, Christmas is in 30 days….

Read More »

mediterranean chicken pasta bake

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Bake | theclevercarrot.com

If you saw my appliances in the new house, you would cry.

I cried.

I can handle ugly. I can handle outdated. But honestly, I’ve never seen a kitchen like this before in my life. We’ve reached a whole new level of vintage, it’s called ancient. There was actually a moment in time where I contemplated contacting the manufacturer, hoping that perhaps they would send me something new and shiny out of sympathy. But that idea came and went. I just know, that the minute I go to cook something it’s going to be a complete disaster. My oven door is held up by a hook, OK?! Maybe I will show you a pic (I’m still in denial).

Since we have a couple days before moving in, I decided to prep a bunch of meals to take over. This is one of them. The idea is to just reheat and serve, hassle free. If my prediction comes true and our stove bursts into flames, at least I was prepared! Better to be well fed than stuck with greasy takeout.

So here it is, a twist on this original recipe morphed into a wholesome pasta bake. It’s packed with Mediterranean flavors that are nutrient dense and satisfying. I’ve made a couple of tweaks along the way, but you’ll recognize the key players including chicken, artichokes, white beans, and fresh herbs. This might look like a total food-coma meal, but the combination of ingredients gives you the energy you need to tackle all kinds of projects. And you won’t need a nap afterwards…

Now, this is what I want to eat after painting a house!

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta Bake | theclevercarrot.com

Tips:

  • I use organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe because they stay moist when baked. You can substitute with chicken breast as well (just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook).
  • You will need a large, ovenproof casserole dish. Mine was a 9-inch, 2 quart, oval shaped dish. Everything fit perfectly.
  • I like to buy marinated artichokes hearts from my Italian deli. You can also find them in most grocery stores.
mediterranean chicken pasta bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
Marinade
  • 1½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces*
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 tbsp. marinade from artichoke hearts
  • 4 sprigs of fresh oregano, leaves stripped
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
Bake
  • 1 lb. whole wheat fusili pasta
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, whole
  • ½ c. marinated artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • ½ c. white beans, rinsed + drained (I use northern white beans)
  • ½ c. Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • ⅓ c. parsley and basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 handfuls of part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt + pepper
Garnish
  • parsley + basil leaves
*You can substitute with chicken breast (just keep an eye on it so it doesn't overcook).
Instructions
  1. For the chicken marinade, drain the artichoke hearts reserving the juice. To a large bowl, add the chicken, artichoke juice, garlic, and oregano leaves. Drizzle with olive oil, a splash of red wine vinegar, and mix well to coat. Marinate for at least 1 hour, maximum 3 hours.
  2. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Drain and set aside.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  4. To a casserole dish, add the sliced onions and tomatoes. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are soft and the tomatoes begin to burst, about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large skillet warm 1 tsp. of olive oil over moderate heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, pat dry, and season with salt and pepper. Working in batches, brown the chicken on both sides. It will be slightly undercooked.
  6. Remove the casserole dish from the oven. Add the cooked pasta, chicken, artichoke hearts, beans, olives, and chopped herbs. Stir to combine.
  7. Top with grated cheese and bake for an additional 5-7 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbling. If you like it really brown, pop it under the broiler for a minute.
  8. Remove from the oven and garnish with fresh herbs right before serving.