Friday, June 28, 2013

Frittata with salmon two ways

Fresh magazine from Hannaford came up with another spring or summer winner...a fabulous frittata that uses both fresh and smoked salmon.  The flavor is amazing, and it's super simple to make!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fast and easy pork marsala

To make Chicken Marsala or pork marsala the "right" way is a fairly time-consuming proposition.  What about when you need to put something together more quickly?  Here's a method that really is pretty good, even though it skips the brining and braising.  I'd still rather have it done the traditional way, but sometimes there just isn't know?

Fast and Easy Pork Marsala

2 - 4 thin cut boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper
Flour for dredging
Onion, chopped
8 oz white mushrooms, quartered
3/4 c Marsala Fine Sweet
1/2 c vegetable or chicken broth
A splash of lemon juice
Parsley or arugula for garnish, chopped

Slice the pork into small cubes, salt and pepper it, and dredge it with flour in a plastic bag.  In a Dutch oven or non-stick skillet, melt some butter and brown the pork quickly.  Set aside.

Add a bit more butter to the pan and saute the onion and mushrooms until cooked through.  Add a sprinkle of flour and stir well.  Add the Marsala and broth, scraping up the browned bits.  Simmer until slightly thickened.  Add the pork and heat through.  Hit with a splash of lemon juice and serve over rice, noodles, or other grain.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Healthy chicken nuggets

I tried the Lean and Crunchy Chicken Nuggets from Hannaford's Fresh magazine, with a great deal of skepticism.  I've had baked nuggets before, and they either weren't crunchy, weren't tasty, or (worst) both.

These turned out to be a very nice surprise.  While you're never going to mistake them for deep fried (and frankly, I wouldn't want to), they are very very good.  We used regular chicken breasts and cut them up rather than buying the more expensive frozen tenderloins.  I didn't have flax seed on hand (shame on me), but I will next time!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chicken and mango quesadilla pie

I've made Quesadilla Chicken Pie several times since I first started experimenting with it, and my most recent rendition involved mango salsa and feta cheese!

Quesadilla Mango and Chicken Pie

Extra large flour tortilla
Cooking spray

Vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, chopped 
Large handful of arugula

1/2 c mango salsa plus more for serving
1 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder 
1/2 c milk
1 egg

Spray 10 inch deep dish pie pan and press tortilla into it.  Lightly spray the tortilla. 

Saute chicken until cooked thoroughly.  Add arugula and wilt.  Remove skillet from heat.

Spread mango salsa onto tortilla.  Top with the chicken mixture and add about 3/4 c of the cheese.  In a small bowl, mix the flour through the egg well and pour over the tortilla.  Top with the remaining cheese.  Cook at 450 for about 20 minutes.  Serve with more salsa.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Godiva chocolate

Because you just can't beat it.  And a beautiful box like this makes an incredible gift...hint, hint :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Sesame linguine with chicken

There are many variations you can make on this dish, once you've mixed up the perfect sesame sauce.  We like it with chunks of chicken breast and rainbow chard, but asparagus is great too!

Sesame Linguine with Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
Vegetable oil
1 lb linguine
Large bunch of rainbow chard or other greens, chopped
1/2 c peanut butter
5 T rice vinegar
2 T fish sauce
1 T chili-garlic sauce
2 t grated fresh ginger
2 T toasted sesame oil

Start the pasta water in a large pot.

Cook the chicken in oil in a large skillet and set aside. Mix the peanut butter through the sesame oil in a small bowl. Add up to 1/3 c of the pasta water later if needed to make it smooth enough.

When the linguine is almost done, about 8 minutes, add the chopped greens to the pot for the last few minutes. Drain well, reserving some of the pasta water if needed for the sauce. Mix the linguine, chicken, greens, and peanut butter mixture together in a pot and serve.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Lentil soup with chorizo

I make quite a few variations on lentil soup, but until this Lentil Soup with Chorizo came along, I don't think I really had ever exactly been excited by any of them.  Liked them, yes.  Craved them, no.  Until now.  Chorizo, oh chorizo...just like bacon, you make everything better!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Waldorf-inspired salad

I came across an oversized salad suggestion in Hannaford's Fresh magazine for a Waldorf type of salad.  It was too big for us, and still used mayonnaise, which I just cannot eat.  So I changed it quite a bit and have shared it below.  Still, they gave me the basic plan, so they deserve the credit.  See their version at the link above!

Waldorf-Inspired Salad

1/2 c Greek yogurt
1 T fresh lemon juice
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 t garlic powder
pinch salt
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
Milk, added just to thin dressing if desired
1 cups seedless red grapes, halved
1/3 c chopped celery
1/3 c chopped pecans
1/4 c dried cranberries
1 Gala apple, skin on, chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, skin on, chopped
Chopped or baby romaine lettuce

In a glass measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth, adding milk if needed.

In a large bowl, mix the grapes through the apples.  Toss with romaine lettuce and dressing.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Agave nectar and syrup

I was soooo disappointed to learn recently that agave is extremely chemically processed during its extraction, and that its glycemic index is higher than regular table sugar!  Bummer.  Just when you think you've found a better "natural" alternative.  :-(

Read about 5 top eating "healthy" myths on GoodGreens blog.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Herb-crusted salmon

We made a two-part crusted salmon that just didn't end up thrilling us all that much.  The idea was to keep the tender herbs close to the fish flesh, and surrounded by moisture, but to allow the crust to dry out and crisp.  To that end, we added some beaten egg to panko crumbs with some additional tougher herbs.

Our response?  Meh.

It was ok, but a bit too fiddly for the results.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Buttermilk cake

Nicole, over at Baking Bites, shared a recipe for a wonderful "every day" sort of cake: moist, delicious, and pretty quick to make!  Hers featured cherries instead of the blueberries I used above, but I've made it both ways now and believe me...both ways work just fine!  Visit her blog.  You'll be very glad you did.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Dora the Explorer party

A few days ago, I showed you all the fun stuff that Kids Party World sent me to try out on some unsuspecting party-goers, and I'm here to report that all the props and decorations were a big hit!  A lot of my granddaughter's extended family is bilingual (Spanish and English), and Dora is definitely a family favorite.

It's fun to have all the matching tableware, but I think my favorite has got to be the oversized poster for the wall.  It really helped to set the mood!

As regards FTC disclosure guidelines: I have received selection of Dora the Explorer party supplies free of charge from Kids Party World in order to write a review.  I have not been paid for my endorsement as it pertains to the products received.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Basic chunky granola

I am totally fed up with cereal, and I don't even eat it.  Well, once in a great while, but not frequently.  However, Mike eats it almost every day, and that gave me reason to start looking a little more closely at the ingredients.  I'm sure most of you already know that even "healthy" cereals (by whose standards??) are loaded with unnecessary sugar, salt, and other garbage.

I'm not opposed to sugar or salt, and I use them liberally in cooking where I know exactly how much is in there.  But who needs them added to every processed food on the shelves?  The food manufacturers, that's who. They have trained our taste buds away from the taste of actual food and made us lovers of processed crap.

Ok, down off my soapbox.  I've removed nearly all the processed foods from our personal shelves, so now it's time to look at cereal.  Don't worry, there's sweetener in this recipe!

Basic Chunky Granola 

1/3 c maple syrup
1/3 c light brown sugar
4 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1/2 c canola oil
5 c rolled oats (not quick cook or steel cut)
2 c almonds, chopped, raw preferred
2 c raisins or other dried fruit

Spray a rimmed baking sheet and line it with parchment.  Set the rack to the upper middle position and preheat to 325.  In a large bowl, whisk the syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt together, and then whisk in the oil.  Stir in the oats and almonds and work with your hands until the sugar mixture is worked through.

Scrape out the oats onto the baking sheet and compress the mixture firmly into a thin, even, and tight layer.  Bake for about 40 minutes, rotating the pan once. Remove from the oven to a wire rack and cool thoroughly.  Break the granola into pieces and stir in the raisins.  Store in an airtight container.