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Super-Duper Broccoli Slaw.

Broccoli Slaw With Raisins & Sunflower Seeds

Typically, broccoli slaw recipes can be creamy and fattening. This is a lighter, healthier, fresher version of a broccoli slaw, but with all the crunch and sweetness. It is simple, fast … and yummy, of course!

Serves 4-6.

Ingredients:

  • 1 12-oz bag broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup salted sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp rice vinegar
  • salt/black pepper

Combine the broccoli slaw, raisins and sunflower seeds in a large mixing bowl. Add in the olive oil, rice vinegar and a dash of salt/black pepper and mix well. This salad holds up well, so you can easily make it in advance for a meal or store leftovers in the fridge.

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Grammy’s Corn Flake Chicken.

Corn Flake Chicken With Orange Marmalade Glaze

Let me tell you, this chicken brought back a lot of memories! Sometimes food can trigger the most vivid memories of people and places.When we would visit our grandparents on Cape Cod, my Dad’s mom, who we called Grammy, would make this chicken recipe for us. I have very fond memories of what we called “Corn Flake Chicken” from summer days on the Cape. Below is her original recipe (in her handwriting) that my mom saved. She used to make it using chicken thighs, but I decided to make it a bit healthier by using chicken breasts. Other than that, I followed her exact recipe!

Serves 2-4.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
  • 2 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce

Marinate the chicken overnight in the soy sauce and crushed garlic. Sprinkle corn flakes in a greased baking dish and then place the marinated chicken in the dish. Combine the marmalade and Dijon together, and then spread the mixture over top of the chicken breasts. Then sprinkle more corn flakes over top and bake for about an hour in a 350 degree oven.

Crazy Good Cabbage.

Cabbage & Pancetta Slaw With Parmesan Polenta

This meal is so simple and easy. Not only that, it’s healthy for you but tastes like major comfort food! The cabbage is surprisingly yummy and pairs very well with the creaminess of the polenta. Give it a try!

Serves 3-5.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head green cabbage, chopped
  • 4 0z diced pancetta
  • 1 3/4 cups corn meal
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • salt/garlic salt/black pepper

Parmesan Polenta

Boil 6 cups of water in a large pot. When the water is boiling, reduce the heat and slowly add in the cornmeal while stirring. Stir vigorously to remove any lumps while the polenta thickens. Cook for about 15 minutes and when the polenta has thickened, add 2 tbsp of light butter, a dash of garlic salt and parmesan cheese.

Cabbage & Pancetta Slaw

In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat and add the pancetta. Cook the pancetta for about 7-10 minutes until it has browned and then add the diced cabbage.  Continue to cook the mixture for about 20-30 minutes until the cabbage has reduced down and browned. Add salt and black pepper. Serve hot with a spoonful of polenta!


A Fancy French-Vietnamese Lunch.

Le Colonial (www.lecolonialchicago.com) is an upscale French-Vietnamese restaurant in Chicago’s posh Gold Coast. I’ve walked by the restaurant a million times and was always curious, so over my holiday vacation last week, Gareth and I decided to have a fancy lunch date there. The service is excellent and the decor is very glamorous and reminiscent of the 1920s. The food is a bit pricey, so I would suggest sharing appetizers and sharing a main course if you want to cut down on the cost. Overall, the food was very fresh and flavorful and I look forward to visiting there again to try new things on the menu!

Chao tom: grilled shrimp wrapped around sugar cane with angel-hair noodles, mint, cilantro, lettuce and peanut plum dipping sauce. You remove the shrimp from the sugar cane and assemble these little bites yourself.

Ga xao xa ot: wok-seared lemongrass chicken breast strips with portobello mushrooms in a basil chili sauce. This chicken was perfectly cooked and had a bit of a kick which I enjoyed! The lemon grass and basil gave it a very fresh flavor.

ga xao cari: sautéed diced chicken with Japanese eggplant, mango, yams, string beans and cashew nuts in a yellow curry sauce. The curry was more subtle and mild but complemented the vegetables and chicken very nicely.

New Year’s Eve At The Jones’s

Happy New Years! This year, Gareth and I decided to stay in for New Year’s Eve instead of venturing out. Since it was a special occasion, I wanted to make an extravagant meal for us to share with lots of different flavors and colors. I may have gone a bit overboard, but this meal will certainly give us leftovers well into 2012!

Beef Tenderloin With Puree of Leek & Basil & Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Serves 5.

Ingredients:

  • 1 beef tenderloin (1 lb)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp crushed garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 4 trimmed leeks, diced
  • 6 basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp light butter
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt/black pepper
  • 4 tbsp of Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (or another mixed herb blend)

Begin by marinating the tenderloin. Mix the olive oil, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, crushed garlic, honey and salt/pepper together and pour over the tenderloin in a container. Put a generous sprinkling of the 21 Seasoning Salute over the tenderloin (about 4 tbsp.) Allow the tenderloin to marinate for 3-4 hours in the fridge. After the steak has been marinated, cook in an oven safe pan on 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until cooked to your desired temperature.

While the tenderloin is in the oven, melt 1 tbsp of light butter on medium heat in a pan. Add your diced leeks and sauté for about 10 minutes until they are softened. Remove the leeks from the pan and blend them in the food processor along with about six basil leaves. Blend until the leeks are a smooth consistency. Take the blended mixture and put into a small pot on the stove to heat. Add 1 more tbsp of light butter along with the Parmesan cheese. Add a dash of salt and black pepper to season.

To roast the tomatoes, slice the grape tomatoes in half and put in a mixing bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt. Put on a non-stick baking sheet in the 375 degree oven with the tenderloin for about 10 minutes.

After the tenderloin is cooked, you can plate by placing down the leek puree, then the sliced tenderloin and topping it with a spoonful of the roasted tomatoes.

Potato & Spinach Casserole

Serves 5-7.

Ingredients:

  • 10 small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded 3-cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 bag baby spinach
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • garlic salt/black pepper
Boil the potatoes in a large pot for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. While the potatoes are boiling, heat a large pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the baby spinach to sautee until it’s wilted. Remove the spinach from the heat.
After the potatoes are cooked, drain the excess water and cut them into smaller pieces. Add the chopped potatoes into the food processor and blend until they have become a smoother consistency, but don’t blend too much, it’s best if there are still some small pieces of potato. After the potatoes have been blended, add them back into the pot and stir in the sour cream, mozzarella, 3-cheese blend, parmesan, sauteed spinach and a dash of garlic salt and black pepper. Put the mixture into a greased baking dish and top with a pinch of the 3-cheese blend and grated parmesan. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Carrots Rustica With Honey & Thyme

Serves 5.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag frozen carrots rustica (yellow & orange carrot mix from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp light butter
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • salt
Melt the light butter in a pan on medium heat and add the carrots. Sautee the carrots for about 10 minutes until they begin to brown a bit on the edges. Add in the honey, thyme (just a pinch), and salt.