Monday, October 5, 2009

Single Serving Asian Chicken Salad

I am cleaning up my computer, and I found this recipe hiden amount other documents. This was one of my first recipes that anyone ever asked me to share. I hope that you enjoy this easy single serving salad.

Asian Chicken Salad

1 to 2 cups of red cabbage
1 or 2 carrots
1 green onion
1 chicken breast
Soy Vay Cha-Cha Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
A handful of peanuts
Some sliced almonds
Some chow mien noodles (optional)

Dice cabbage and place in large bowl, wash carrots and peel into the cabbage bowl, cut green onion and add to cabbage. For quick cooking boil chicken breast, shred and add meat to cabbage mixture For more a flavorful version marinate chicken in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and green onion for a half hour and then grill to desired doneness. Dice meat and add to cabbage… Pour desired amount of dressing over salad and add nuts, before serving add crispy chow mien noodles or sesame sticks. For an added bit of fun add Madrin Oranges too.

Fun Fall Recipe

I found this recipe somewhere last year and I thought I would pass it along. This is a great dish that really brings a feeling of fall to the table. I hope that you enjoy....

Baked Stuffed Pumpkin

4 ounce(s) sweet Italian sausage (use more if you want, especially if you are using orzo or another grain)
.5 cup(s) chopped onion
1 (1 1/2-pound ) pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces or acorn squash
.5 cup(s) chopped Granny Smith apples
.25 cup(s) white wine
1 cup(s) Israeli couscous, cooked (available at Trader Joe’s) , Orzo or regular Couscous will work too
.25 cup(s) dried cranberries
1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon(s) fresh thyme
1 teaspoon(s) fresh oregano, chopped
.5 teaspoon(s) salt
.25 teaspoon(s) fresh ground pepper
4 small (1-pound) pumpkins, hollowed out (Not needed but nice for presentation can use casserole dish)

Make the stuffing: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Decase and crumble the sausage meat and place it in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook the sausage until it is almost done -- about 8 minutes. Remove the sausage from the pan, increase heat to medium, and add the onion and 2 cups of the chopped pumpkin. Sauté until the pumpkin begins to soften -- 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chopped apple and sausage and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the wine, cook for 2 minutes, remove from heat, and set aside. Combine the couscous, dried cranberries, olive oil, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add meat mixture to the bowl and toss to combine. Bake the pumpkins: Evenly fill the hollowed-out pumpkins with the stuffing mixture and place the pumpkins in a shallow baking dish. Cover the dish with aluminum foil, bake for 25 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

Lemon Bread

This recipe is a family favorite. My dad has been making it for as long as I can remember, and since I got married I have been making it too. I hope that this recipe becomes a tradition for you too.

Lemon Cake/Bread

One loaf

2 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¼ lb. butter
11/2 cups flour
11/2 tsp. salt
21/2 tsp. Baking powder
¾ cup milk
6 tsp. Grated lemon zest

fresh lemon juice

One standard size loaf pan smeared lightly with butter and with a piece of waxed paper on the bottom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter, sugar, and eggs until creamy. Add peel and beat into butter mixture. Sift dry ingredients into a separate bowl. Beat dry ingredients into butter mixture. Add a bit of the milk while mixing. Continue until all ingredients are combined. Pour into loaf pan. Bake for at least 40 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick, which should come out clean when done.

While the bread is baking combine add enough sugar to the lemon juice to make the glaze. Add the sugar slowly. The lemon glaze should be pourable.

Take the loaf out of the oven. Place it on a rack to cool. While still hot pour glaze on top.

Notes: If wrapped in plastic and placed in bags after it has cooled the loaf will keep in the freezer at least 4 months. Glaze and peel will keep tightly closed in the refrigerator for a month.

Japanese Food Guide

A friend of mine moved to Japan and I created a food guide that I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy...

Japanese Food Guide

Oyako Donburi - Chicken and Egg with rice

Tonkatsu Donburi - Fried Pork, Egg, Onion, and rice
Gyudon aka Gyuniku Donburi - beef and rice available at Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya

Gomaae- spinach with sesame dressing
Gyoza -Japanese Dumplings, normally pork
Korokke -Japanese Croquettes, many different fillings

Nikujaga - Meat and Potatoes cooked with Soy and Sugar
Okonomiyaki - a fried food of cabbage and batter, can be top with dried fish and seaweed can be filled with shrimp, pork, yam, etc.

Ramen -Noodle soup
Tempura - Deep fried vegetables
Udon - Noodle Soup
Kare Raisu Kare Raisu - (Curry Rice) is cooked rice with a curry sauce. It can be served with additional toppings such as tonkatsu. Curry is not a native Japanese spice, but has been used in Japan for over a century.
Yakisoba Yakisoba are fried or deep fried Chinese style noodles served with vegetables, meat and ginger
Oden A nabe - dish prepared with various fish cakes, daikon, boiled eggs, konyaku and kombu seaweed, boiled over many hours in a soya sauce based soup
Shabu-Shabu Shabu-shabu is Japanese style meat fondue. Thinly sliced meat, along with vegetables, mushrooms and tofu is dipped into a hot soup and then into ponzu vinegar or a sesame sauce before being eaten
Tonkatsu Tonkatsu- are deep fried pork cutlets. Tonkatsu is usually served with shredded cabbage or on top of cooked rice

Omuraisu Omuraisu (abbreviation for omelet rice) is cooked rice, wrapped in a thin omelet, and usually served with a gravy sauce or tomato ketchup
Hayashi Raisu Hayashi rice is Japanese style hashed beef stew, thinly sliced beef and onions in a demi-glace sauce served over or along side cooked rice. It resembles kare raisu, and, like kare raisu, it is also eaten with a spoon.
Yakitori - Yakitori are grilled chicken pieces on skewers. Most parts of the chicken can be used for yakitori.

Nigiri- Small rice balls with fish, shellfish, etc. on top. There are countless varieties of nigirizushi, some of the most common ones being tuna, shrimp, eel, squid, octopus and fried egg
Gunkan- Small cups made of sushi rice and dried seaweed filled with seafood, etc. There are countless varieties of gunkanzushi, some of the most common ones being sea urchin and various kinds of fish eggs.
Norimaki- Sushi rice and seafood, etc. rolled in dried seaweed sheets. There are countless varieties of sushi rolls differing in ingredients and thickness. Sushi rolls prepared "inside out" are very popular outside of Japan, but rarely found in Japan.
Temaki Temakizushi (literally: hand rolls) are cones made of nori seaweed and filled with sushi rice, seafood and vegetables.
Oshizushi Oshizushi is pressed sushi, in which the fish is pressed onto the sushi rice in a wooden box. The picture shows trout oshizushi in form of a popular ekiben (train station lunch box).
Inari Inarizushi is a simple and inexpensive type of sushi, in which sushi rice is filled into aburaage (deep fried tofu) bags.
Chirashi Chirashizushi is a dish in which seafood, mushroom and vegetables are spread over sushi rice. It can resemble domburi with the difference being that chirashizushi uses sushi rice while domburi uses regular, unseasoned rice.
Sashimi – Raw fish served in larger pieces than Nigiri, without the rice

Aji. Spanish mackerel, horse mackerel.
Aji-no-tataki. Fresh Spanish mackerel.
Akagai. Red clam.
Tarako. Cod roe.
Akami. Lean tuna, cut from the back of the fish.
Ama-ebi. Sweet shrimp, usually served raw.
Odori-ebi. ``Dancing shrimp,'' ama ebi served living.
Anago. Conger eel (saltwater).
Ankimo. Monkfish liver.
Aoyagi. Yellow clam.
Awabi. Abalone.
Ayu. Sweetfish.
Baigai. Small water snails.
Bonito. English word, for the Japanese katsuo.
Botan-ebi. ???.
Buri. Adult yellowtail.
Chikuwa. Browned fish cake with a hole running through its length.
Chutoro. Medium fatty tuna, from the upper belly.
Ebi. Shrimp.
Engawa. (1) Halibut fin muscle; (2) meat surrounding the scallop muscle.
Fugu. Blowfish, toxic if improperly prepared!.
Geoduck. Mirugai, in the American Pacific northwest.
Hamachi. Yellowtail.
Hamachi-kama. Yellowtail collars.
Hamo. Pike conger.
Hatahata. Sandfish.
Hirame. Halibut.
Hokkigai. Surf clam.
Hotatagai. Scallops.
Ika. Squid.
Ika-geso. Squid's tentacles.
Ikura. Salmon roe.
Iwana. Char.
Iwashi. Sardine.
Kajiki. Swordfish.
Kamaboko. Fish cake.
Kani. Crab meat.
Kani-kamaboko. Fake crab meat.
Kanimiso. Green contents of a crab's head.
Kanpachi. Very young yellowtail.
Karei. Flounder, flatfish.
Katsuo. Bonito fish.
Katsuo-boshi. Dried bonito fish.
Kimachi. A small fish from the yellowtail family.
Kohada. Gizzard shad.
Koi. Saltwater carp.
Kurodai. Snapper.
Langostino. A small shellfish.
Madai. Red seabream.
Maguro. Tuna.
Masu. Trout.
Mekajiki. Blue marlin.
Mirugai. Long neck clam.
Niika. Cooked Monterey squid.
Nijimasu. Rainbow trout.
Otoro. Fattest tuna.
Saba. Mackeral.
Sake. Salmon.
Sanma. Japanese mackeral.
Sawagani. Small crabs.
Sayori. (Springtime) halfbeak.
Seigo. Young sea bass.
Shako. Mantis shrimp.
Shira-uo. Whitebait, icefish or salangid.
Shiro maguro. Albacore tuna.
Shirako. Sperms sacs of the cod fish.
Suzuki. Striped bass, rockfish.
Tai. Sea bream, porgy, snapper.
Tairagai. Razor-shell clam.
Tako. Octopus.
Nama-tako. Fresh or raw octopus.
Tekka. Tuna, especially in a roll.
Kazunoko. Herring roe.
Tobiko. Flying fish roe.
Torigai. Cockle clam.
Sazae. Conch.
Toro. Fatty tuna.
Negitoro. Chopped and mixed negi-onion and toro.
Unagi. Freshwater eel.
Unagi maki. Eel roll.
Unagi no kimo. Eel innards.
Una-don. Grilled eel, served on rice.
Uni. Sea urchin.
Kanikama. Imitation crab.
Mentaiko. Spicy, marinated cod roe.


Cabbage is an inexpensive, versatile vegetable used to add nutrition and flavor to a broad range of meals. Cabbage is often sliced into thin strips to be served with korokke, tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet) or other fried dishes. It is also an important ingredient for okonomiyaki.
Cabbage can be added to just about any dish, from soups and stews to pan-fried meals to side salads. Japan is one of the world's top cabbage producers and the vegetable itself is one of the most frequently purchased vegetables in Japanese supermarkets.

Hakusai (Chinese cabbage)
Chinese cabbage or hakusai is popular in many parts of Asia, where it is often pickled. In Korea, hakusai is the cabbage variety usually used to make kimchi, the nation's most famous dish.
In Japan, hakusai is also pickled in a dish known as hakusai no sokusekizuke, which, however, is much milder than kimchi. Furthermore, fresh hakusai is a very popular ingredient in hot pot (nabe) dishes.

Horenso (spinach)
Horenso enjoys popularity thanks to its health benefits and variety of vitamins, being particularly rich in calcium and iron.
A well known horenso dish is horenso no goma-ae (spinach with sesame dressing), which involves blanching the horenso and then mixing it with a sweet, soya sauce and sesame flavored dressing. Horenso is also used as a topping in soups.

Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)
Komatsuna is grown and consumed mostly in Japan, China, Taiwan and Korea. It is similar to spinach, in that it contains many important nutrients and vitamins, but it does not have the same bitterness as spinach. Komatsuna is commonly eaten raw in salads or boiled and served in soups and stews. It can also be pickled.

Mizuna (Japanese mustard, spider mustard)
Mizuna has recently become very popular as a salad leaf. It is frequently paired with julienned daikon (giant white radish) in a fresh tasting salad. Otherwise, mizuna may appear in soups or Japanese hot pot (nabe), or as a garnish on various dishes.

Shiso (Perilla leaf)
Shiso is a mint-like herb whose distinctive flavor is a staple in Japanese cooking. It comes in two varieties which are used for different purposes. Aojiso (green shiso) is often served with sashimi, in salads or to flavor soups and stews. Akajiso or red shiso is used to pickle Japanese plums and add color to dishes.

Root Vegetables

Daikon (giant white radish)
Daikon is a very popular and versatile Japanese vegetable. It can be eaten raw or cooked or ground up to form oroshi, a topping used to flavor various dishes like grilled fish and soup.
Especially the bottom half a daikon is often quite spicy like other radish varieties. However, when cooked, this spiciness disappears and the vegetable becomes slightly sweet.
When used raw, daikon is usually cut into julienne strips and paired with mizuna leaves in a salad. When cooked, daikon is usually boiled in soups and stews. It is the most popular ingredient in the oden hot pot.
Daikon makes also Japan's most popular pickle. Known as takuan, pickled daikon is included in virtually every dish of Japanese pickles. During the harvesting season, daikon hanging from farm houses in preparation for pickling is a common countryside sight.

Kabu (turnip)
Kabu is almost always boiled and served in soups or Japanese hot pot, (nabe). It is a common miso soup ingredient and is often used to make pickles. Kabu usually have a spicier taste than Western varieties.

Jagaimo (potato)
Jagaimo were not part of traditional Japanese cuisine until relatively recently. They are believed to have been brought by Dutch traders from Indonesia to Kyushu in the 17th century. However, potato cultivation in Japan did not begin until the end of the 19th century. Today, jagaimo are closely associated with Hokkaido where they are a regional specialty and common crop.
Jagaimo are popular in several Japanese dishes and adapted Western dishes. Nikujaga (meat and potato stew) combines beef, vegetables and potatoes in a sweet, soya sauce flavored stew. Jaga batta is a popular festival food in which a grilled potato is seasoned with butter and soya sauce. Jagaimo are also common in Japanese curry and korokke.

Satsumaimo (sweet potato)
Satsumaimo were originally grown in Kagoshima, formerly called Satsuma. hey are a popular winter vegetable used in both sweet and savory dishes. Satsumaimo are often simply grilled, peeled and eaten plain in a snack called yaki-imo. Satsumaimo may also be battered and deep fried in tempura or boiled in soups, stews or Japanese curry.
Daigakuimo is a dish composed of candied satsumaimo. Its name comes from the word for "university" because the snack was invented for university students looking for cheap, tasty food. Because of their natural sweetness, satsumaimo are sometimes made into sweets and snacks.

Satoimo (taro root)
Satoimo are eaten throughout Asia, especially in India, China, Korea and Japan. They are a starchy root vegetable known for their somewhat sticky, slimy texture.
Satoimo are always cooked before eaten, and typically appear in boiled or stewed dishes. Satoimo can be added to miso soup, Japanese hot pot (nabe), Japanese curry or appear battered and deep fried.

Nagaimo (yam)
Nagaimo and its wild mountain variety yamaimo are slightly different in taste, texture and shape, but are prepared and consumed in the same way: sliced and grilled, or eaten raw.
Raw nagaimo is grated to form a sticky, paste-like cream known as tororo. Tororo is used as a topping for rice, soba or udon noodles, or mixed with dashi (fish stock) for flavor. Some people experience a slight reaction when raw nagaimo comes in contact with the skin. This can result in a tingling sensation around the lips.

Renkon (lotus root)
Common in Japan and greater Asia, renkon's attractive pattern makes it a useful vegetable for creating visually appealing dishes. It is not usually eaten raw, but peeled and boiled in water. Depending on how long it is cooked, lotus root may be crunchy like a fresh carrot, or starchy and soft, like a cooked potato.
Renkon is often battered in tempura, boiled in soups or stewed dishes like chikuzenni, fried in pan-cooked dishes or dressed with vinegar in a salad. It is almost always sliced to show off its attractive pattern.

Gobo (burdock root)
Burdock plants exist all over the world, however, the vegetable is mostly consumed in Asia and especially in Japan. Gobo grow to about 1 or 2 meters and length and are cut before sold to make them more manageable. Gobo are always cooked before eaten and are commonly added to soups as a topping.
The most popular gobo dish is kinpira gobo, in which gobo and carrots are shred into thin strips, stir fried and glazed with soya sauce, sugar and sake.

Ninjin (carrot)
Ninjin are a widely available and popular vegetable in Japan. They are often thicker than carrots seen in North American and European markets although the taste is the same.
Like carrots in other parts of the world, ninjin are often enjoyed raw in salads, or cooked into various dishes such as Japanese curry and Japanese hot pot (nabe). Because of their bright color and sturdy consistency, ninjin are often cut into decorative shapes or simply used to add color and visual appeal to a dish.

Tamanegi (onion)
Japan is one of the world's top onion producing countries, and onions are widely used in many Japanese dishes.
As in most other cuisines, onions are usually cooked before eaten, and are a typical ingredient of many fried and stewed dishes such as Japanese curry, various domburi (meals served over a bowl of rice), and Japanese hot pot (nabe). Onion may also be an ingredient in miso soup, or grilled alongside meat in a teppanyaki.

Shoga (ginger)
Ginger, originally important from China, is commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is a winter flavor, used to add heat to winter meals or served with fish to counter the "fishy" smell.
Ginger may be served ground into a paste, which replaces wasabi as a spice for certain types of sushi and sashimi and to add flavor or counter fishy aromas. Ground shoga is also often served on top of tofu for flavor.
Thinly sliced, pickled ginger, called gari, is served with sushi and eaten in between bites to clear the palate. Another kind of pickled ginger, beni shoga, is commonly served with heavy meats or fried foods such as yakisoba and tonkatsu. Beni shoga is a dark red pickle with a stronger taste than gari.

Other Vegetables
Takenoko (bamboo shoot)
Takenoko symbolizes spring more than any other vegetable. As its name (lit. "child of bamboo") suggests, takenoko is the soft top of a young bamboo plant. Takenoko must be harvested just before the plant peaks out of the soil, otherwise it become hard and green.
Takenoko is consumed grilled, steamed with rice, deep fried in tempura, or boiled in soups and stews.

Negi (leek, green onion)
Negi are included in many fried and boiled dishes, or used as a topping for domburi (rice bowl) dishes such as gyudon (marinated beef over rice). Negi are usually described as having a taste similar to the green onion, though sweeter.
There are as many different varieties of negi as there are regions of Japan; however, the two most common are the Kanto variety with a long, white stem (see picture to the left) and the Kansai variety, whose stem is almost entirely green.

In Japan, tomatoes are mostly eaten in Western style cooking, eaten raw in salads or used as a garnish. While it is one of the most popular vegetables in Japan, it is rarely cooked in Japanese dishes. Cherry tomatoes are especially popular to fill up small spaces in bento boxes.

Kyuri (cucumber)
Kyuri are usually thinner than Western cucumbers and are always eaten unpeeled. They are commonly found raw in salads or as a garnish, or pickled in an iced brine. Kyuri are a popular summer time vegetable.

Nasu (eggplant, aubergine)
Nasu are smaller and less bitter than their North American and European counterparts. They are an important vegetable in the Japanese cuisine and used in a wide variety of dishes.
"Nasu dengaku" is one typical dish in which the vegetable is cut in half and baked under a layer of miso paste. Another common dish featuring nasu is "nasu miso itame" in which the vegetable is fried with onions, miso and sugar.
Nasu has also a place in cultural folklore: Dreaming about Mount Fuji, a hawk or nasu on New Year is considered good luck. And in a Japanese proverb, parents are warned against giving nasu to their daughters-in-law in the fall.
This warning comes from the fact that fall nasu are particularly delicious and are better kept to oneself. However, it also refers to the fact that nasu are a "cooling" vegetable best eaten in the hot summer months. Consequently, it is thought to deter pregnancy, thus being a poor gift for a daughter-in-law.

Piman (Green pepper)
Piman comes from the French word for pepper, poivron. Japanese piman are usually smaller than bell peppers. They have a thin skin and sweet taste, and are often served battered and deep fried as tempura, or stir fried in Chinese style dishes. They are also eaten raw in salads.

Shishito (Small Japanese green pepper)
Shishito are a smaller variety of piman, Japanese green peppers. They are a sweet and mild pepper. Shishito are most commonly served as tempura or roasted and topped with soya sauce and bonito flakes.

Kabocha (pumpkin)
Kabocha make their appearance in fall and winter. Kabocha's high vitamin A content made it an important vegetable for northern Japan's long winters.
Kabocha is traditionally eaten in celebration of the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, when people lack the nutrients found more commonly in summer vegetables. Kabocha is often enjoyed as tempura or boiled in sugar and soya sauce resulting in a soft, sweet dish.
Recently, with the import of Halloween from North America, kabocha has become a popular ingredient around the October 31 holiday, for example in kabocha purin, sweet pumpkin pudding.

Tomorokoshi (corn)
Foreign visitors to Japan may notice the frequent addition of corn to Japanese breads, pizzas, pastas, salads and more.
Tomorokoshi is a popular vegetable in Japan, closely associated with Hokkaido, where it is grown. However, the vegetable is so popular that local growers cannot meet demand. Most tomorokoshi is now imported from the United States. Both fresh and canned corn is popular.
When tomorokoshi is in season, it is often grilled, buttered and seasoned in soya sauce. Tomorokoshi is also included in many Hokkaido specialty foods such a Hokkaido style ramen (noodle soup) and miso soup.

Okura (okra)
Okura has a sticky layer surrounding the seeds of its fruit, producing a consistency similar to nagaimo (yam). When okura is consumed raw, the sticky texture is present, however, it is cooked off when boiled or fried.
Okura is a summer vegetable that is often eaten raw in salads, deep fried in tempura, or served with soya sauce and katsuobushi (smoked bonito flakes). Okura leaves are not commonly consumed in Japan.

Goya (bitter melon)
Goya is the most famous vegetables in Okinawan cuisine and the key ingredient in goya champuru, Okinawa's signature dish composed of stir fried goya, tofu and eggs. Goya is well known for its bitter taste.

niku肉 meat
gyuuniku牛肉 beef
butaniku豚肉 pork
toriniku鶏肉 chicken
hitsujiniku羊肉 lamb
shichimenchou七面鳥 turkey
sooseejiソーセージ sausage
beekonベーコン bacon
hamuハム ham

Agari. Green tea.
Biiru. Beer.
Doburoku. Sort of a thick, soupy sake.
Nihon Shu. A sake, rice wine.
Ocha. Tea.
Sake. Rice wine.
Shochu. 25-40% spirit made from potatoes or rice

Useful phrases for eating out
Domo. Thank you.
Domo arigato. Thank you very much.
Dozo. Please.
Gaijin. Outsiders, foreigners.
Gochiso-sama [deshita]. Traditional phrase closing a meal.
Hai. Yes.
Itadakimasu. Traditional phrase opening a meal.
Itamae. The sushi (or other Japanese) chef.
Konichiwa. A greeting, roughly `how are you'.
Omakase. Chef's choice.
Okonomi. The practice of ordering sushi a few pieces at a time.
Sabinuki. `No wasabi, please.'.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Wonderful World of Wraps

Continuing on the lunch theme, let's explore the wonderful world of wraps. Wraps are one of the easiest things to put together for lunch, the possibilities of fillings are only limited by your imagination. Breads used can be any tortilla, flat bread, lavash, and even lettuce. The key is to use a base that helps bind the sandwich together, and to leave a 1/2 inch of topping free wrap. Let's take a look at some variations of the wrap....

Rare roast beef, tomatoes, spinach and cream cheese
Turkey with chive cream cheese.
Hummus with roast lamb, red onion, and cucumbers
Salmon and cream cheese with cucumbers and red onion
Turkey with cranberry butter, stuffing, and cheese
Chicken with Cesar and romaine
Pesto, provolone, artichoke hearts, and tomatoes
Cream cheese, avocado, black olives, walnuts, tomato, lettuce, and sprouts
Pasta sauce, pepperoni, and cheese
Brie, spicy mustard, sprouts, and turkey
Pesto, prosciutto, and roasted red peppers
Buffalo chicken, blue cheese, and lettuce or celery chopped thin
Grilled chicken, pepper jack, and salsa

I could keep this list going, but I think that you get the idea, play around with flavors that you like, experiment with different breads, and find what works for you. These are great for kids as they are visually appealing when sliced into little pinwheels. I hope that you give the wrap a try and find your own favorite.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kids Lunch Ideas

School has started and if you are like me, the hot lunches at school are just not going to cut it for your child. If you are faced with the dilemma of what healthy, fast, and kid friendly lunch to serve your child, here are some great ideas for you to try ...

Plain old PB&J, not anymore, mix it up by making a peanut butter, banana, and jelly sandwich on cinnamon raisin bread. Or try making a roll up with the same ingredients, or mix up that peanut butter completely by serving it with apples and granola on some whole wheat bread. For those of you who have daring children try peanut butter, bacon, and apple sandwiches.

Since there is not very much time to eat during lunch have your kids make their own trail mix. My son mixed cranberries, golden raisins, peanuts, and mini chocolate chips together and loves snaking on this while talking to his friends. Take your child with you to the store and have them pick out the ingredients, this will make them more likely to eat it, and it is a fun way to spend time with your child too.

Make your own lunchable, pack some deli meat, crackers, cheese, throw in some carrot sticks, with ranch dip, and let your kids make there own meal, with ingredients that you picked out and know the nutritional value of.

Instead of a plain old ham and cheese or turkey and cheese, turn them into roll ups with some fun extras added. For turkey and cheese use some cranberry butter, for the ham, add some bread and butter pickles.

Buy some reusable containers and give your kids fun snacks like red ants on a log, yogurt mixed with berries and bananas, apple sauce with cinnamon and sugar tortillas, or veggies and dip.

Have your child try something new: sushi, a Prosciutto with pesto sandwich or wrap, Chicken Cesar Pita, Asian chicken salad, or humus and veggies in a pita.

Get your child involved with the food that they will be eating for lunch. Discuss the options for their meals and let them decide what sound good to try. Making lunch together the night before is a great way to spend some family time, plus getting kids in the kitchen and teaching them new skills is never a bad thing.

Enjoy lunch and try something new...

Quick and Easy Pasta for Kids

There are some days when I am not in the
mood to eat at the same time as the kids
are. On those days I struggle to find something healthy and wholesome for the kids. Here is what I came up with one night, that received raving reviews.

Whole Wheat Pasta
1 apple peeled and diced
1/4 cup of dried cranberries
1 package of Green Giant's New Immunity Blend

Cook pasta and veggies as directed. Mix cooked vegetable with drained pasta, add in apple and extra cranberries, serve.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Captain Crunch Fried Chicken

I love fried chicken this is probably due to the Sunday dinners that we would have while I was growing up in the Midwest, but something about good fried chicken just makes me happy. I have spent years playing around with different breading options and one that always seems to catch every one's attention is my Captain Crunch Fried Chicken. I use Peanut Butter Captain Crunch, but I am sure that the regular would work just fine. I thought that this would be a fun meal for my son to help make, and he seemed to enjoy helping out with this meal. So without further ado, here is the recipe for Captain Crunch Fried Chicken:

3 cups of Captain Crunch cereal

boneless skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins

2 eggs, cracked and mixed


Place cereal in a plastic bag that will be large enough to hold the mashed crunch, and the chicken pieces. Pour around 2 inches of oil into a cast iron skillet and heat on medium low. While oil is heating, use a rolling pin or kitchen mallet crunch the cereal into crumbs leaving some larger pieces. Dredge chicken in egg mix and left out letting as much extra drip off as possible. Place chicken into bag and shake until all pieces are well coated. Place chicken in heated oil and cook until crust is golden brown, and chicken is cooked through.The timing depends on the size of your chicken piece. Remove chicken from pan and place one a plate lined with a paper towel to drain. Serve with mashed potatoes, corn, and a house style salad and enjoy a fun meal that the kids will love too.

It's Been Too Long

Dear Reader,
I am so sorry that it has been awhile since my last post. I injured myself, my husband headed out of town for work, my son started kindergarten, and you and my blog got neglected in the craziness. I have been cooking up a storm and having fun. I will be posting some great lunch ideas for kids and adults too. I also have some new recipes and an old favorite that I am teaching my son to make to share with you. I hope that you enjoy the upcoming posts, and I promise to not let it be so long in between posts.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Farmer's Market Surprise Meal

I call this a surprise meal because I was taking my son to a birthday party in Hampton, and low and behold there was a farmer's market going on right next to the museum. I found some little neck clams, shallots, and a wonderful baguette. All I needed to do was stop off at Total Wine and a meal was born. To make these great steamed clams, I diced two shallots, and cooked them for about 2 minutes with a small amount of butter, I then added a bottle of Kitchen Sink White Wine, the clams, some red pepper flakes, and cranked up the heat. The clams were open and ready to go in a little under 8 minutes, I garnished with some fresh parsley from the garden, and dinner was done. The only plus to this meal would have been if we could have gotten our 5 year old to try it, but that is probably an ambitious undertaking on our part.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tatanka Burgers

I have to say that living in this area I am blessed with the bounty that comes to the farmers markets. I have Williamsburg and Yorktown to visit on Saturdays, and now on Wednesdays there is the midweek Farmers Market in Port Warwick. All of these market offer not only local fresh veggies, but meat and seafood too. At one of the stands there is bison meat, which I had never tried before, so I decided to get some. A stand a little bit down had some great looking onion rolls that looked like they would be great as burger buns, tomatoes from Julia and Bill who have the best tomatoes that I have ever bought, and a meal was in the works. I had some onion and mushrooms on hand so I thought I would find a place for them in the meal and this is what I came up with.

Tatanka Mushroom Onion Burgers

1 pound of ground bison

1/2 cup of chopped mushrooms

1/2 cup of chopped onions

salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix onion and mushrooms with bison meat, season with salt and pepper. Shape patties into desired size (I was able to get six good size burgers out of a pound), and refrigerate for 30 minutes. In you are going to pan fry them I suggest you add some olive oil or butter to the pan as the meat is so lean that I think they need the fat to cook without burning. If using a grill heat to medium. Cook burgers for 3 to 5 minutes on each side* , add cheese if desired and top with tomatoes, lettuce, and other condiments of your choice. Serve with oven baked potato wedges and get a meal that the whole family will love.

*Note: Bison meat is best rare...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Tequila and Lime Chicken

Grilled Tequila Lime Chicken

3/4 cup of Tequila (make one that you would be willing to drink too, little "airplane" bottles are great for this dish)

5 limes

1/4 cup of diced onion

2 tablespoons of chopped cilantro

a splash of orange juice

a splash of Tapatio

1 package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs

In a large non-reactive bowl mix tequila, onion, cilantro, orange juice, and Tapatio. Zest two of the limes and add zest to tequila marinade. Juice all five of the limes and add the juice to tequila marinade. Place chicken in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Heat the grill on high and when the temperature hits 350 degrees F, place chicken on grill, reserving the marinade, and cover. Cook for five minutes on one side, flip and continue cooking till done. While chicken is cook pour reserved marinade into a small pot and reduce till liquid slightly thickens. Remove chicken from grill and pour reduced marinade over the chicken, keeping the solids in the pot. Garnish with diced onion and cilantro, serve with lime wedge.

Katrina's Tequila Lime Chicken

Fried Goodness

Really it does not get much better than this, deep fried jalapeno slices. Can we say best bar food ever, if only someone at a nearby bar would catch on to this. I would be there just for these. I could be served Pabst with these and be a happy camper. I was first introduced to these tasty morsels at Adam's Ribs (for information and location check out I was in Maryland visiting family and we headed over to Adam's for a relaxing meal. We ordered their onion loaf as an appetiser and littered among the the onions were some fried jalapenos. I told everyone I knew about these and received the news that Chili's now has these with their new onion ring like appetiser. So i figured that these could not be that hard to make, and guess what this was the easiest few minutes I ever spent cooking.

Fried Jalapeno Sliced

1 cup of flour

a paper bag

salt and pepper

canola oil or other non olive oil of your choice

pickled jalapeno slices

Add two inches of oil to a heavy bottomed skillet and heat on medium/medium high. If you have a candy thermometer you are looking for a target temp of 350 F. While oil is heating remove desired amount of jalapenos from your jar (or use serranos if you tried out my recipe for pickled serrano slices) and place on a paper towel. Gently pat dry attempting to remove as much moisture as possible. Place flour in a paper bag and season with salt and pepper. Place jalapeno slices in bag and shake so each slice is lightly coated. Remove slices from bag and if oil is ready, add to pan and fry for three minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and serve. Make sure to have some nice cold beverages on hand for your guests.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rena Inspired Salad

My friend and I were discussing the recipes found In True Blueberry and got into a discussion on the best fruits to mix with blueberries. I did not really have an opinion on this since I love blueberries on there own but lemon and blueberry is a almost unbeatable flavor combinations for me. Rena, felt that peaches and blueberries go together the best, so in honor of her and the peaches from the farmers market that needed to be used before they went bad, I made a peach and blueberry salad, and Rena was right those two taste great together.

This simple salad is made with two sliced and pitted peaches, sitting over mixed greens, a sprinkling of blueberries, feta cheese, and a lemon vinaigrette make this a flavorful and light salad that goes perfect with grilled chicken or pork.

It is getting HOT in here

I buy most of my peppers at an Asian Market near my house. This is the only place I can get serranos, but they sell them by the pound. I have no clue what to do with a pound of peppers when all I need is one, so I tend to give them to neighbors or throw them away. Well this time I tried something new, serrano slices, this was an daring experiment on my part since I have never pickled anything before. Once again the wonderful people on the web helped me find a way to do this. I spent about an hour looking at the various recipes for pickling hot peppers and wound up making my own. If you are stuck buying your hot peppers in bulk or you find that store bought jalapeno slices are just too mild for you, this is the recipe for you....
Pickled Serranos
2 1/2 cups of vinegar (I used white distilled)
2 1/2 cup of water
2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt
4 cloves of garlic
1 pound of serranos, cleaned and sliced
2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
In a medium sauce pan add water, vinegar, salt, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. While brine is coming to a boil add serranos to a sterilized canning jar. When brine has reached a boil, pour over serranos making sure to cover all with liquid. When jar cools place in fridge and DO NOT OPEN for 1 week. Serve and enjoy, slices can be kept refrigerated for up to 6 months.

Healthy Fellow, a review

It has been awhile since my last post and for those who follow I am sorry that there has not been anything new or fun for you to read. Well I hope that this post will fit the bill. Over the weekend, I headed out to one of my local farmer’s markets and found one of the biggest zucchinis I have ever seen. I wanted to do something fun with this so I hit the web in search of a new idea and stumbled upon this website . I am normally not one to embrace all health food and the latest in natural health, but I found some useful information and am sharing this site with you to hope that you can find something to help you too. First off let me tell you that I am not a believer in diets, exercise is something I strive for yet have issues trying to squeeze it into my day. I am a believer in eat well, but eating healthy too. I love that this site featured some of my same attitudes while providing those who are way more into the whole healthy living scene so much more. The information provided was pretty well cited and the author made it personal and fun to read. My favorite thing on the site an article about planning for success with great tips on healthy eating. I am going to give some of the steps listed a try. Even better, I found great recipe to try with my super sized zucchini that I think the kids and husband will love too.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rainier Cherries, a meal...

When you find Rainier Cherries at $2.88 a pound, you are going to buy them even if you live 4 hours away and are not leaving for another day. By the time the cherries and I got home, they needed to be used. Trying to figure out what to do with 2 pounds of cherries that need to be used and not wanting to make a dessert item gives one a definite challenge. Here is what I came up with....

Rainier Cherry Sauce

3 cups pitted Rainier Cherries

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup chopped shallot

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
a pinch of thyme

In large saucepan, combine all ingredients; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes or until mixture thickens, stirring frequently. Serve over grilled salmon.

Note: I served this with salmon, and will not do so again, this is a perfect pork chop sauce and should be used as such...

Rainier Cherry Salad

1/2 cup of pitted Rainier Cherries

1 package of Arugula or Mixed Greens

1/4 cup of red onion or shallot, sliced thin

1/2 tablespoon of orange muscat vinegar (available from Trader Joe's)

1/4 cup of olive oil

a pinch of red pepper flakes

2 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled

salt and pepper

In a large bowl mix vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, combine until emulsified. Mix in lettuce, coating with dressing, add shallot, and cherries, top with cheese. If on hand add some homemade croutons and serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Twist on Fall Classic

I love pork chops but, they seems to be more of a fall thing, that is until Asian Barbecue by Vicki Liley gave me an idea for a summer twist on a fall classic. In the recipe in the book, there is an Asian flavor twist. I personally wanted something that reminded me more of the classic oven roasted flavors. Here is what I came up with...

1 package of boneless thick cut pork chops

2 apples (I used Fuji, but go for what you like)

1 large white or yellow onion, cut into wedges

2 tablespoons of parsley

1 tablespoon onion powder

salt and pepper

Using an apple corer, core apple. Cut pork into apple sized pieces and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl large enough to hold all ingredients, mix pork, apple, and onion and season with parsley and onion powder. Place in fridge for 20 minutes, and soak skewers in water for same amount of time. Heat grill on Medium-High. While grill is heating place pork, apple, and onion on skewers alternating each ingredient. Place skewers on grill and cook with the lid on, turning over after 3 minutes until the pork in done. Serve with a mixed greens, cranberry, and walnut salad.

4th of July Continued

We were lucky enough to be invited to celebrate not just the 4th of July, but the 50th Birthday of three of our neighbors. The work for the feast started at 6:00 in the morning with the smoker being lit and the whole pig started it cooking journey. The night before the pig had been seasoned with a dry rub, and rather than mop the pig, its own juices were used to keep the meat moist. When I got back to see the progress at 11:00 the pig was well on its way to being done. The pig was cooked for a total of eight hours and the end results were delicious. The pig was removed from the heat and fat, skin, and bones were removed to create a southern style pulled pork that was served with a Carolina style sauce and a regular barbeque sauce. For those who have not ever had a Carolina style sauce with pulled pork, I recommend that you try it. It is very simple to make, take some hot sauce, a tiny bit of ketchup, red pepper flakes, and cider vinegar. Mix all together and smother the pork with the sauce. The best way to eat this type of pork is on a bun with coleslaw. That is exactly what I did with the delicious meat and I must say that I enjoyed every bite and am very thankful for all the work that my neighbors put into to getting the pig, the smoker, creating the rub, waking up early and staying up late, and most of all sharing this great 4th of July feast with all of us. I hope that everyone got some great cookout food on the 4th, next year we are looking forward to a trip to St. Michael's and partaking in the festivities there while attempting to cook out on the boat.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July Breakfast

Happy 4th of July everyone. I hope everyone has plans to enjoy the holiday and eat some great food. This morning I treated the family to a red, white, and blue breakfast. Well I should amend that to a white and blue breakfast but I think that the juice from the blueberries can qualify as red. I made some lemon biscuits with a blueberry sauce. I think everyone enjoyed them as my husband had thirds, my son took seconds, and the baby even ate one. Here is the quick and easy recipe.

For Biscuits:

5 cups of instant pancake mix (see note)

1 1/2 cups of water

1/4 cup of milk

zest from two lemons

For Sauce:

2 cups of clean blueberries

1/2 cup of sugar

juice from 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Using a non stick cooking spray, spray cookie sheets, using a tablespoon, spoon dough onto sheet making sure to leave some room between biscuits. Bake in the oven for 8 to 11 minutes. While biscuits are baking, in a medium saucepan cook blueberries, sugar and lemon until the blueberries release their juices, about 7 minutes. Take sauce off of the heat and place in a bowl to serve. When biscuits are done transfer to a large plate and serve with sauce and butter. Enjoy...

Note: Make an instant pancake mix or use something like Bisquick.

For instant pancake mix use Alton Brown's recipe that can be found on the Food Network website.

And now for a little preview of what is coming later...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

My 1 year old is eating solid foods now and some day it is a challenge to come up with healthy things to feed her. I have been reading about what a super food the sweet potato is and have been looking at different ways to bring this vegetable to the table. The vegetable is a excellent source for vitamin A, vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, dietary fiber, potassium, and iron, why wouldn't I want to serve it to my kids. So thinking of ways to eat this that did not involve the use of forks, or pureeing the sweet potato where a challenge until I remembered how many people keep telling my how good sweet potato fries are. French fries are a great finger food, my daughter has never had them that I know of (a question for my husband perhaps?) so why not make her first experience a healthy one. I looked up some sweet potato french fries recipes and realized that I was going to want to bake them and not to season the fries so much that the nutritional benefits of the sweet potato were lost. I was amazed at the amount of recipes that called for tons of sugar my only thought was why bother adding sugar to something that is already so sweet. So here is what I came up with:

Sweet Potato Fries

1 sweet potato, peeled

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the sweet potato into strips about 1/2 inch thick. In a bowl large enough to hold the potato strips mix olive oil, salt, and paprika and toss potatoes making sure that each is coated. Place seasoned fries on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 45 minutes for a slightly crispy fry. Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cookbook Crazies

Cookbooks are one of those things that cooks can have a love/hate relationships with. Me, I like to check out cookbooks from the library and get inspired to try new things. Yesterday while at the library I found an book that I had high hopes for, but ultimately had to ask myself why would someone publish this. The cookbook I am talking of is Couscous by Kitty Morse, I am not attempting to offend Ms. Morse, and I really enjoyed the traditional recipes and I can't wait to make some preserved lemons, but really I think this book just goes too far. I really do not think that if I am going to take the time to make truffles from scratch that I would add couscous to the mix. I also did not like that almost every recipe was flavored with herbes de Provence. I like herbes de Provence, but I really do not think that they are the right flavor for everything. I would not use them in recipes that this book had them in, fine herbes maybe, but herbes de Provence, no. There are some great recipes such as the couscous and parsley salad which is something that I make all the time, but never thought to add some toasted pine nuts to mine. I will definitely be making the baked onion filled with couscous and preserved lemon which is pictured on the cover. But I think I will leave the desserts to others and look for some of the authors books that feature North African cuisine, her speciality.

Revenge of the CUPCAKES

About two weeks ago my daughter turned 1, it is hard to do a real party for a 1 year old so I decided since we do not have a ton of family in the area and my daughter does not have a huge social circle at this point in her life that we would keep it small and do a cupcake theme since the kids that would be attending are much older that her. I am not a baker at all and since hubby was out of town for work I made this as easy as possible on myself. I used some white cake mix, lemon cake mix, chocolate cake mix, and a funfettti mix. Let me tell you I should have stuck with lemon and chocolate and saved myself some time. The kids just loved the lemon. I also had every kind of sprinkle available, 3 different kinds of frosting, and some maraschino cherries. One of the children who attended is allergic to eggs and I wanted him to be able to eat a cupcake or two also so I searched around for a recipe that used cake mix and was egg free and stumbled across something that I never had heard of before. You can use soda and cake mix to make a low calorie and egg free cake, cupcake, etc. The trick is that you need to cook it for just a little longer. These tasted just fine, but were much stickier than all the rest of the cupcakes. I gave these ones to the little boy to take home with him so that got rid of a dozen, but I was left with close to 3 dozen more cupcakes. Thank God for 5 year olds and the fact that mine is always hungry, I feel like we were living off of cupcakes for a week. I was having them for breakfast, letting my son eat like three a day and we still had to throw away about a dozen. At this point I hope to not have to do or see anything cupcake related for awhile.

Eggs in a Basket or Eggs in a Covered Basket?

Some people may call them frog eyes, but since V for Vendetta I think most people know this great dish as Eggs in a Basket. I have been making this since high school, it is one of those great midnight snacks after being out drinking, it is also a great breakfast. My son has never had one and so I NEEDED to make this for him. He said that this was one of his new favorite breakfasts, but the big flatterer may have been trying to just make mommy happy because he has yet to ask for this again. So for those of you who don't kn0w about this tasty morsel at all let me give you a crash course in making an egg in a basket.
The first thing to consider is the bread, me I like a nice thick Texas Toast so that the eggs has enough room to stay in the basket rather than get all over the bread. The next thing is to butter the bread on both sides and then cut out a hole for the egg. By this time I already have my skillet heated and after I get the hole cut out I place my bread in the heated skillet and toast it on one side until it is nice and golden brown, at this point it is time to flip the bread and add the egg. I then place the cover on the skillet and after about 3 to 5 minutes it is time to decide whether or not to cover the basket. If you want it covered take a piece of cheese and cover the egg and toast with the cheese, reduce the heat, and place the cover back on the skillet, check after 2 minutes and it should be good to go. Add some salt and pepper if you wish, serve and enjoy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer Brews

There is something about beer that just screams summer to me.

White wine is not really summer, mixed drinks remind me more of vacations, red wine well in my opinion it is just too heavy tasting for summer. So BEER it is! Working out in the yard, mowing grass, weeding, planting flowers, checking the vegetables and herbs growing, after a couple of hours in the sun on a hot day, nothing sounds better than a nice cold one. There are beers that fit occasions, for summer my beer of choice is Samuel Adams Summer Ale. This I have noticed that more and more breweries are following Sammie's lead and coming out with some great seasonal brews. I am sure it has been out for a bit, but I just noticed Sierra Nevada's Summerfest, which I doubt I will try since I am not a huge fan of the company's product to start with. Trader Joe's is offering a summer selection and my local wine shop has at least three other summer seasonals. I have tried a few, but none seam to have the summer taste of Summer Ale perhaps it is because of the special ingredients. According to the company's website this American wheat ale, "...uses malted wheat as well as lemon zest and grains of paradise, a rare pepper from Africa first used as a brewing spice in the 13th Century to create a crisp and spicy flavor and body. The ale fermentation imparts a background tropical fruit note reminiscent of mangos and peaches. All of these come together to create a quenching, clean finishing beer perfect for those warm Summer days." I could not agree more. Well it's 5 o'clock somewhere so it is time to crack a brew, get a break from the heat, start enjoying summer for more than great beer, and ask you what is your favorite summer brew?

Simple Pleasures

I love the berries of summer and finding new ways to incorporate them in meals. In my opinion a simple salad for lunch on a hot day is a great way to experiment with the flavors of berries. In order to combat the junk food craving my 5 year old is having we took a trip to Dean and Don's and came home with blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, peaches, apricots, plums, and nectarines. My son has already eaten all of the raspberries and blackberries, but I got my hands on some of the blueberries before they were gone too. I made a simple salad of rocket greens, 1 oz. of feta, a handful of blueberries, lemon juice, and pepper. Next time I will have to add just a hit of zest so that I can add another bold color to this dish. Simple but satisfying lunch.

Jacques Pepin, Fast Food My Way

I have been watching this show every so often on the Create Network and on a recent library trip found a book of recipes from the show. I was inspired to try one for a light lunch after a trip to a local market found us some red radishes. I normally roast radishes or add them to a salad, obviously my french cuisine education has been lacking or I would have been eating these tasty bites long before now. It is simple, thinly slice a radish, cut up a nice baguette into slices, add some good quality butter, place radishes on top of the butter, dust with sea salt, and your done. I love this easy snack and will be on the look out for fresh from the radishes to enjoy in a new (well at least for me) way.

Bresaola and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

I love Italian meats, one of my all time favorites is Bresaola. This air-dried salted beef is a beautiful shade of reddish purple that makes it a eye stopper when used in a rocket salad. Which is how I normally serve it. The other evening I decided to go for something a little different. I drizzled the meat with olive oil, squeezed a little lemon juice on it, added some fresh grated Parm and cut up some crusty bread and enjoyed with a montepulciano d'abruzzo. The earthy cherry and raspberry flavors of this type of wine make it an easy to drink red wine that with just a hint of acidity and tannins that make it hard to miss with these or almost anything else at the dinner table. Find a bottle and give it a try.

Fried Rice

I am sure that I have mentioned that I normally purchase fried rice from Trader Joe's but never again will I. For some reason fried rice was something that I was scared to make. I did not know how to make it, so I never bothered trying to figure it out, this changed when my 1 year old started eating solid foods. Fried Rice is a great food for new eaters as it has everything but dairy in one dish. I found a recipe on and started to play, I made some chicken fried rice and some beef fried rice, and both were a huge hit with the whole family. Here is my recipe modified from the link above:

Basic Fried Rice Recipe

4 cups of cooked rice

1 cup of frozen peas

1/3 cup of chopped carrots

1/2 cup of diced onion

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 1/2 cups of cooked Chicken, Beef, or Pork

Cook rice following instructions on package. Pour rice into a large bowl to let it cool in the refrigerator. If adding meat to the recipe, cook meat and set aside. Scramble the eggs in a small pan over medium heat, separating the eggs into small pieces while cooking. In a large pan add some butter, and cook onions and carrots until the onions are translucent, set aside with eggs and meat if using. Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in the same pan that you cooked the onion and carrots over medium/high heat. When butter has completely melted, dump the cold rice in the pan and make sure that it is coated with butter. Add all other ingredients into the pan and add soy sauce. Cook rice for 6-8 minutes over heat, stirring often. Serve.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Yorktown Farmer's Market

I am blessed that I can wake up on a Saturday morning, pack up the family and head out for a 10 minute drive and be not only at a great beach area, but at the site of the end of the American Revolution. Yorktown is one of my favorite places in Hampton Roads and this weekend was the opening of the Farmers Market held at the Riverwalk Landing. There is a wide selection of seafood, meat, fresh herbs, plants, veggies, and baked goods at the market with some local businesses, and live music thrown in. One of my favorite things there is the bacon cheddar bread, forget about calories, forget about sodium, cholesterol, and anything else, this is a great bread that is worth the trip to the market alone. I was super excited to find a stand that as i was about to ask about their selection of herbs, I saw what I was looking for right away, french sorrel. I feel blessed. I am looking forward to next week's visit. To get more information head over to

Roasted Leg of Lamb

My husband loves Greek food, since he is going to be out of town for bit I asked what he would like to eat and a good bye meal and he asked for leg of lamb. I have never made this before, but boy would I again. This came out great, my only issue was that so many recipes for lamb tell you to cook it well done, why would you want to ruin a leg of lamb this way beats me, but I got mine out of the oven before it was too late. We served this up with some Mediterranean Style Humus from Trader Joe's, a Greek salad, and pitas.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

1 2-4lb butterflied leg of lamb

1/4 cup of olive oil

1 lemon

4 cloves of garlic

some fresh oregano

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Rinse lamb and pat dry. Place lamb fat side up in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Using a knife make 3 slices spread out evenly in the lamb and add 1 clove of garlic into each slice. In a small dish or measuring cup pour 1/4 cup of olive oil, add the zest of 1 lemon, and the juice from half of the lemon, mince some fresh oregano and 1 clove of garlic and add to oil. Mix well and pour over lamb. Cook lamb for about 10-15 minutes per pound (for rare) basting lamb every ten minutes. Slice, serve and enjoy.

Teriyaki Sauce

I am a very bog snob when it comes to my teriyaki sauce only one will do, Soy Vay Veri Veri Teriyaki. This sauce uses preservative free soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, onions, expeller pressed soy and sesame oils , and sesame seeds to create the perfect marinade for your meats. Over the weekend I used a great tri-tip roast from the farm and grilled up a great meal. My tip for the use of this sauce is if you are doing steak/tri-tip let is soak up the marinade for at least 3 days. I know that this sounds crazy, but every bite of your meat will have the great flavor of Veri Veri Teriyaki and you will not be disappointed with the results. Check out Soy Vay at you can find out more information about the company's products and get some great recipes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Chicken Finger Parmigiana

The kids have been off with the husband for the past few days and to welcome them home I decided to make some baked chicken finger parmigiana. This is a super simple recipe and works great for a healthier version of chicken fingers too.

Baked Chicken Parmigiana

6 chicken tenders

1 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

1/2 cup of marinara sauce

1 egg beaten

salt and pepper to season

1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese

1/3 cup of parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place bread crumbs in a bowl and in another bowl add the beaten egg. Dip chicken tenders in egg, then dip in bread crumbs, place on cookie sheet and bake for 14 minutes. In a shallow baking pan spread some marina sauce, place chicken tenders in dish, cover with cheese and more sauce. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is melted and chicken is fully cooked.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mexican Grilled Chicken with Black Bean Salad

Like I said in the wine post, it was girls night so we decided to go south of the border for our flavors and attempt a recipe that my husband makes much better than I do. I will have to update this post after he makes it one night so I can figure out what he does differently with the marinade, but for now here is my version.

Mexican Grilled Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

2 bottle of Mexican Beer (I recommend Pacifico)

1 lime

1/4 cup of coarsely chopped onion

1/4 cup of Tapatio

In a large bowl combine beer, hot sauce, and onion. Cut lime in half and squeeze the juice from both halves into beer mixture and add the lime halves to the mix. Taste and if flavors are all present add chicken. Cover bowl and marinade overnight. Heat grill on high and cook chicken for around 10 minutes on each side. Serve with black bean salad.

Black Bean Salad

1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup of frozen or fresh corn

1/2 cup of diced red onion

2 serrano peppers, sliced thin

1 red bell pepper, diced

the juice from 2 limes

In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate, serve when cool.

Wine Tasting

On Saturday night a friend and I were having a girls night and decided to try some wine that was recommended by a helpful employee at the local wine shop. Our meal was grilled Mexican chicken with a black bean salad. We were recommended a Chenin Blanc, and a Vouvray. The first wine we tried was Biltmore Estate's 2007 Chenin Blanc. This wine is a sweet wine that most recomend for dessert or sipping however, the sweet flavors of pineapple, banana, pears, and spices make this a fresh and fruity wine that is a great accompaniment to spicy foods. If you are able to find a bottle of this, give it a try. The 2007 Vouvray from Bougrier Depuis is very similar to the Chenin Blanc (duh, same grape) but the flavors of the two differ greatly. The Vouvray is more melon, peach and grapefruit. These are two wines that I would definitely try again and would also recommend to those who do not really like wine as the sweetness helps these goes down smooth.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Easy Canapés

Trader Joe's has a great new product, Blue Cheese with Roasted Pecans dip. I love the flavors of this and felt that this would make a great canapé.
1 baguette, sliced and toasted
2 Pink Lady apples, Sliced thin and cored
3 pieces of Organic Arugula for each piece of bread
2-3 dried cranberries for each piece of bread
1 package of Trader Joe's Blue Cheese and Roasted Pecan dip
Using a butter knife, spread dip on each piece of bread, add arugula, top with apple and sprinkle with dried cranberries. Serve.


We had a 20 degree drop in temperature and now that the weather is in the 60's I finally got to make my soup. It rained all day yesterday and I thought that this would be the perfect meal. I looked at tons of recipes and wound up making my own based on Julia Child's recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Here is my recipe, I hope that you get a cold day to enjoy it on.

French Onion Soup

5 onions, sliced into thin half moons
3 tablespoons of butter
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 pinches of sugar
¾ cup of vermouth
2 tablespoons of flour
1 quart of beef broth
1 quart of chicken broth
8 springs of thyme
1 whole clove of garlic smashed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Place butter and oil in a 4 quart pan and heat on medium low, when butter is melted add onions and cooked covered for 15 minutes. Uncover onions and stir in sugar. Raise heat to medium and cook stirring regularly until onions are caramelized and have a deep golden brown color. Add flour and stir for 3 minutes. Pour in vermouth and deglaze pan.
Add thyme, salt, pepper, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat add garlic and simmer for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours. Check flavor season again if needed. Remove from heat, and serve with Gruyere topped garlic baguette slices.

Gruyere Topped Garlic Baguette Slices

1 baguette, sliced into 1 inch thick slices
1 clove of garlic
2 cups of shredded Gruyere

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Rub slices with garlic clove, top with cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted and bubbly.

1 Steak 2 Meals

Last week was pretty crazy around here. I barley got a chance to cook what I was hoping to so instead of the promised salads, here is the first of one night of cooking equals two meals posts. This features a kid friendly steak and fries meal, plus a great summer salad that can be used in various ways.

Grilled Steak to Pita Pocket

When looking to feed just myself and my son, I like to make simple meals that appeal to a 5 year old, yet are fun for me to eat to. my son loves steak, so I fired up the grill, seasoned the steak and made a simple meal.

2 8oz. New York Strip

1 teaspoon of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning

Heat grill on high. Cook steak for 3 minutes on each side. Let it rest, slice and serve half of one steak to each person. Reserve extra steak for meals the next day. Serve with Garlic Fries.

Garlic French Fries

1 package of frozen french fries or microwaveable fries (use enough to serve 2)

1 teaspoon of parsley leaves (fresh or dried)

1 to 3 pinches of garlic powder or 1/2 clove of diced fresh garlic

Salt and Pepper

Cook french fries according to package directions. Season with salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley. Mix well and optionally add some grated Parmesan cheese.

Left Over Steak Pita Pockets
2 Pitas, Sliced in half
1 steak, cut into thin slices
4 teaspoons of Mediterranean Humus (available at Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup of Greek Vegetable Salad (recipe follows)
Open 1 pita half and add 1/4 of humus to pita. Add steak and veggies. repeat until each pita is filled.
Greek Vegetable Salad
1 English Cucumber, peeled and sliced in to 1/4 inch thick slices
1 red onion, sliced into thin half moons
2 to 3 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1/3 cup of Greek Salad Dressing (I like Kraft for this)
In a large bowl add all ingredients an mix well. Cover and place in fridge overnight. Serve with Crumbled Feta.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Too Hungry

I do not know if I am the only food blogger who has this problem, but lately with my crazy schedule and two kids to take care of, but by the time I have finished cooking, I am too hungry to take pictures. I have made some great food lately too. I made some Mexican Chicken on Cinco De Mayo, a Greek grilled steak with a cucumber, tomato, and red onion salad, a grilled lemon chicken with a snow pea and avocado slaw (recipe available at served with a great Sauvignon Blanc, made some inari (yumm), and found a great new website for helping pair food and wine, Yet each time i prepared a great meal my rumbling stomach and my five year olds "Mommy, I 'm hungry" gave me no time to take a picture. I am hoping that this does not become a habit. I love taking pics of my food, I love sharing my creations, and hoping that other enjoy them enough to try them too. So I am going to be taking a new approach to my cooking, I am going back to menu planning. I love just being hit by a craving for something and creating a meal around it, but I think that the running around to grab ingredients is getting to be to time consuming. So, for you dear reader here are some things to look forward to: Salads, lots of them, all that fit different cuisines, new product tasting, some semi-homemade meals, finger food meals for baby, and quick and simple dinners. I hope you enjoy the upcoming posts and I know you will love some of the salads that are coming up. I promise that these will be great meals that will give you something refreshing and light to serve on the upcoming hot summer days.

The Drama of it All

So, Oprah announces free a KFC meal deal to get people to try the new Kentucky Grilled Chicken that the company is offering. Websites get bogged down, coupons, do not get printed, KFC runs out of chicken (which the company does not foresee), and now there is a rain check that will be good only on certain dates. Really people, all this over free food. Is our economy so bad that people need these coupons to feed their families? Has it gotten that bad for KFC that they need Oprah to get people into their restaurants? To be honest, I tried to get a coupon, that would have gotten me to at a KFC for the first time in almost 10 years. I am curious about the new product, it would have been nice to try it without paying, I may still try the product anyway, but on one condition. KFC responds to my complaint about the coupon printing problems. I downloaded the needed software, pressed print and what do you know, nothing happened. I filled out a complaint form, and was told that I would be contacted shortly, I am curious on how shortly this will be. I am sure I am not the only American with this problem, what is the company going to do for us? I only hope that the chicken is worth all the hype.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto

I had some left over cantaloupe that I wanted to use before it went bad, ditto for some fresh mozzarella, and prosciutto. I started thinking that cantaloupe and prosciutto taste great together, prosciutto and mozzarella taste great together, what tie these three together, basil. Let me tell you, this was light, refreshing and would be great for a brunch menu, plus it only took 3 minutes to put together. Give a whole new meaning to fast food. My only wish is that I keep getting these inspirations when looking in my fridge.

Cantaloupe Salad with Prosciutto

1/2 cantaloupe, cut into 1/2 cubes

6 slices of Prosciutto

2 oz. of fresh mozzarella

4 leaves of fresh basil

Put cantaloupe into a bowl, dice prosciutto into small bite size pieces, add to cantaloupe. Mix in cheese and basil. Serve.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Recipe Testing

I get a few magazines each month, Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, Bon Appetit, and Gourmet. Each has some articles that inspire me one way or the other. This month it was the strawberries in BHG and Bon Appetit. For breakfast I made this recipe from Bon Appetit.
Strawberry Citrus Salad


3 cups of sliced strawberries

2 large navel oranges, supremed

2 tablespoons of golden brown sugar

2 tablespoons of thin sliced fresh mint leaves

Toss all ingredients in a bowl let sit for 30 minutes, and serve. For the original content please visit

To make this recipe right I wanted to learn how to segment an or as I learned supreme. This site gave me enough confidence to give it a try. I must say that some practice will definitely be needed before I am perfect at this.