Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Best Pasta Salad you have ever tasted

Fresh ingredients, quick vinaigrette and equally pretty and tasty!  
This pasta salad tastes better on day 2 and because there is no mayo it is perfect for a tailgate, picnic or a school lunch box!  It uses fresh ingredients available all year long and comes together in the time it takes your pasta water to boil.  Fill up your big pot with water, grab your favorite knife and let's get cooking!  Like most of my recipes, everything is flexible; orzo can be substituted for penne, red onions can be omitted and if you prefer gorgonzola or goat cheese, go for it!

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the recipe, or

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pan Fried Chicken Eggrolls

These eggrolls are a family favorite….great for dinner with plenty of leftovers the next day for lunch.  However, if I'm being honest, I tend to eat them cold for breakfast b/c I am always running late.  They are easy to make and kind of fun if you have your kids help you roll them up.  The mix can also be served over rice or just as is if you are avoiding carbs and fried wontons are on the “banned list.”  You will find the wonton wrappers, broccoli slaw mix, shredded carrots, mushrooms and ginger in the produce section at the grocery store. 

This recipe is very forgiving as well….you DO NOT need to measure and if you are don’t have an ingredient, don’t worry.  The mushrooms, ginger and sesame seeds are all optional.
                                         You can add garlic, chopped onions or scallions as well.

I promise you will love these and you will make them at least 2 times a month.  Leave a comment after you raid the fridge in the morning and decide to try these bad boys cold, eating the entire one in a few bites while your coffee is still brewing!

My kids have even help make these....check out Kitchen Kidz

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the pictures, or


Canola or other light cooking oil
1T sesame oil
1 pound ground chicken
½ Tablespoon ginger from a tube
or 1 inch minced fresh ginger
Half a bottle of hoisen sauce
¼ cup soy sauce (give or take)
1 Bag of broccoli slaw
½ bag shredded carrots
1 pound baby portabellas, cleaned and chopped
1 Tablespoon black and/or white sesame seeds
Black pepper
1 package wonton wrappers

Saute 1-2 T canola oil, 1T sesame oil, ginger and a few cracks of fresh pepper for around 1 minute.
Add chicken and continue to brown and break up chicken.
Add soy sauce to chicken while cooking.
When chicken is cooked ¾ the way through add broccoli slaw and carrots, after 4 minutes, add mushrooms.  Continue to toss, mix and cook veggies down.
When chicken is cooked (no longer pink) and veggies are soft add ½ to ¾ bottle of Hoisen and sesame seeds. Toss to coat completely, remove from heat and allow mixture to cool.

Gather a small bowl of water for dipping your finger in to seal your eggrolls.
Line up 4-6 wrappers at a time and place a small spoon of mixture towards one corner of the wrapper, do this on a diagonal.
Fold corner over mixture, fold sides in and roll eggroll sealing in the mixture.
Dip your finger in water and lightly wet last corner of wrapper.  This will seal your eggroll up so you can cook it.
Heat about ½ inch canola oil in a huge sauté pan until hot
Add eggrolls to oil and begin to cook (my eggrolls are not submerged in oil at all)
Cook on each of the four sides of eggroll until wonton wrapper is crispy.
Drain on paper towels and serve hot, warm or grab in the morning as you are running out the door and enjoy cold!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Red, White and Blue Fruit Pizza

My favorite holiday is Independence Day, I simply love the 4th of July!
I love there are no gifts to purchase.  I love the attire for the day is bathing suits, shorts, tank tops and flip flops.  I love you can show up to a party with only a watermelon and look like a rock star.   I love this holiday because it is stress free.  Everyone is happy, kids can run wild, the food is simple, the drinks are cold and best of all the weather is perfect for "skinny and tan."

Cheers to summer, the 4th of July 
 and making the perfect
Red, White and Blue dessert!

This fruit pizza has a "not too sweet" 
cookie-like crust, 
cream cheese icing 
and lots of fresh fruit. 

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the pictures, or
Click here for a printable version

First make the crust:
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (pecans work too)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a stand mixer, food processor or by hand,
beat butter and sugar until combined
Add flour, oats and nuts
Mixture will be crumbly at first but will press nicely in a cookie sheet.
Press (with your hands) into a greased (cooking spray is fine) 11 x 17 cookie sheet

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes however start checking around
13 want edges brown but don't want crust to burn

In stand mixer, or with hand beaters cream together 16oz softened cream cheese,
2/3 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla

Spread cream cheese mixture over cooled crust and top with fruit.
Think Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries for Red, White and Blue

For any other holidays or occasions get creative with kiwi, peaches and mango.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Groceries delivered to your door.....sign me up!

At book club a few weeks, over some amazing roasted golden beets with orange segments and dill, my friends were discuss grocery stores....mostly b/c none of us read the book and that is what women in the suburbs do.  Turns out, one of my friends gets her groceries delivered to her door, on a day's notice, in the same zip code I live in.  She claimed this magical grocery store has grass fed, organic food as well as prepared dishes and paper towels.  What?!?!?!?!  This time of year is ridiculously busy for us all, safe to say, if someone can deliver dinner to my door,  I had to check it out!  Elephant Grocers is PHENOMENAL!  They have amazing quality, deliver the next day for a small fee, and have an amazing selection of products similar to a Whole Foods or Fresh Market for around the same price.  Did I mention they deliver!!!  You can get your groceries while in your jammies....assuming you do not usually shop in your sweat pants and glasses right after carpool, hoping you don't run into Harry Connick Jr. in the frozen food section.

I took the plunge, ordered a ton of food and was blown away!  The quality is exceptional and so were the prices.  My favorite products were the beets (obsessed), my Beecher Peppercorn White Cheddar from Seattle and lastly a jar of blue cheese olives, can you say, "Bloody Mary Bar!"

My groceries came to my door in 3 boxes;  packed with dry ice and regular ice packs with everything labeled and ready to go.  I had a dinner to prepare, snacks for our kids, perfect produce and kept a box to mail my holiday gifts in.  OH, and they gave me a coupon for 25% off my first order!  Game on!

Check them out...order lots of stuff...try the Grass Fed Beef...tell me what you think!

If you need inspiration, here is a recipe using food from Elephant Grocers.  And stay tuned for my Bloody Mary bar....those olives are insane!

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the pictures, or

Grass Fed Beef Burgers with Sauteed Portabellas, 
Vidalia Onions and Beecher’s Peppercorn White Cheddar served with a side of Crispy Garlic Wedge Potatoes

1 pound Grass Fed Ground Beef
1/2 Tablespoon Steak Seasoning (or just add kosher salt and pepper)
4 Tablespoons Minced Garlic, divided
2 Russet Potatoes, scrubbed clean but leave skin on, sliced into wedges
1 pound baby portabella Mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 Vidalia onions, cut in half and sliced
Beecher’s Peppercorn White Cheddar sliced very thin
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Hawaiian Rolls or soft slider buns

Pre-heat oven to 450 and place a large sheet pan in oven

Cut potatoes into wedges.
Add wedges to a large bowl and toss with 4 T Olive oil, 
10-12 cloves of chopped garlic (3 T give or take), 
handful of Parmesan Cheese, and a few pinches of salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
Toss to coat and add to hot sheet pan from oven.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and cooked. 

Add 3-4T olive oil to pan on med high. 
Add sliced onions and cook for 5 minutes, toss/stir frequently.
Add sliced mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are tender and onions are soft.

In same bowl you made potatoes in, add grass fed beef, 
1 T steak seasoning (or salt, pepper and some garlic powder),
and 1-2 T minced garlic.
Mix gently and form into small slider side patties. 
Grill to within 2 minutes  of perfection for your preference, top with Beecher cheese, 
close lid and cook an additional 2 minutes. 
Top each burger with sautéed mushrooms and onions.  
Serve with a side salad, and a huge helping of crispy potatoes wedges. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner

I have a slight obsession with Costco.  For instance, if I won the lottery, it would be my first stop (ok, so I would follow it up with Nordstrom).  You can buy anything and everything there....including a car or a casket.  I make a weekly trip and always leave with a rotisserie chicken.  I may or may not also leave with 17 items that were not on my list, usually including something that will only fit on a flat bed cart.

Here is the part where I tell you what I do with my Costco, cooked to perfection, golden brown, still warm, rotisserie chicken.  I make a fabulous mayo free chicken salad and lots of chicken stock.  I freeze half my chicken stock and keep the rest for making Chicken and Broccoli Rabe and Cannellini Bean, Kale and Garlic Soup.  Using my rotisserie chicken without waste, I feel like a "pro" in the kitchen.  The chicken salad is also great to have on hand when I hit the 2:00 mark, need a nap, and raid the refrigerator in an attempt to "wake up."

If you are used to reading my blog, you know you
can follow along with the pictures, or
Click here for a Printable Recipe

I start by cutting everything up for both my stock and my chicken salad.  
I like to use only one cutting board, so order is important. 
Here is the order I dice and chop:

Celery: 3 stalks diced for chicken salad, 3 stalks roughly chopped for stock
Onion: Red, white, yellow, Vidalia; whatever you prefer for stock, 
just need one, peeled, cut in big chunks
Chop 1/2 red onion or 4 scallions for chicken salad
Red Grapes: Slice in half about 30 red, seedless grapes
Almonds: Whole almonds roughly chopped or sliced almonds 
(but first toast in a dry pan or oven over medium heat for 4-6 minutes)
Garlic: 5-6 whole cloves, just peel, for stock only 
Carrots:  Throw in a handful of baby carrots...or chunk up a real carrot, stock only
Spices:  In your stock pot, add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, 
2 bay leaves, and 1 tablespoon each of kosher salt, Herbs de Provence, 
and a few cranks of black pepper

Next I cut up the chicken, I don't use the skin in my chicken salad but I 
do throw it in my huge soup pot for extra flavor (and fat).
There is no easy way to cut up an entire are going to get dirty!
I know some of you are squeamish around the bones, 
and some won't eat the dark meat. 
Whatever you won't eat; bones, skin, the yucky part of the chicken 
(you know what I'm talking about) goes in your stock pot. 
The white meat (and dark if you like it) gets chunked up and 
goes in your chicken salad bowl. 

To finish your chicken salad mix: 1 container plain Greek yogurt with 
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste.  This is your "mayo"
You can adjust and use more yogurt, mustard, etc.  
Chicken Salad also tends to be more dry on day 2 or 3. 

Mix together and chill before serving
Optional: add 1 T chopped fresh rosemary and add some blue cheese crumbles, or
omit the red grapes and almonds and substitute with dried cranberries and walnuts

For the Stock:
Cover entire chicken, veggies and spices with water
Bring to a boil and simmer for about an hour, let cool
Strain with a fine mesh strainer over mason jars
You can freeze as well however leave 1 inch from lid empty
Discard chicken, bones, etc.  

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Broccoli Rabe is the new Kale

Kale is trendy and popular while boosting health benefits.....Broccoli Rabe does the same and is crazy delicious...I'm putting it on the map!  Also known as Rapini, this dish reminds me of my Italian Father from NY....partly b/c he taught me to LOVE this dish and partly because he says Broccoli Rabe way cooler than me.  The original dish uses sausage but I wanted to make it healthier (plus, I always have chicken in the house).

The leaves and stem of this vegetable have a distinct flavor that you will come to adore....they become fragrant as soon as they hit the heat! This dish is relatively low in fat, few ingredients make it conducive to weeknight cooking and leftovers are great for lunch the next day.

Put Pavarotti on Pandora, pour yourself a glass of Chianti and let's all fall in love with Broccoli Rabe!

Here you go...if you cook often you can follow the pics and short instructions
For a more detailed recipe, click below

Here is what you need....Olive oil, garlic, chicken broth, flour, 
chicken cutlets, orecchiette pasta,  broccoli rabe, and all purpose flour 
To avoid using 2 cutting boards begin by cutting 1 inch off the bottom stems 
from the Rabe, discard, and roughly chop the rest in 1-2 inch chunks.
Note, the leaves and stems are edible! 
Rinse well in a colander.  Leave aside to drain until ready to add to dish. 

Start by peeling and chopping about 12 cloves of garlic 

 Over medium heat, sauté, 4-5 Tablespoons Olive oil, about 10 cranks of freshly 
ground black pepper and your chopped garlic 
 I cut 2 large chicken cutlets into strips on the horizontal, see below, 
and coat lightly in flour, salt and pepper
Add the Broccoli Rabe to the pan when your garlic is a light golden color
(be careful if Rabe is a little will cause the oil to spit a little at you)
 Once the Rabe is wilted, add to one side so you can 
cook the chicken 
 Add the chicken to the pan in a single layer. 
Cook each side for a few minutes, it will turn white with a 
light golden color.  Flip and cook the other side.  
 If you need to cook additional chicken, add the cooked cutlets 
to the rabe and continue cooking in a single layer.  
 Once the chicken is cooked, mix everything together and add 
1/2 cup chicken broth 

 Toss with cooked pasta (orecchiette or bow ties) and add freshly grated parmesan cheese
This is a good place to add a few pinches of kosher salt
and a few cranks of black pepper
 Serve family style right out of the pan with extra parmesan 
and some crusty bread 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

My ode to corn and salsa.....

Buckets of White and Sweet Yellow Corn
Bought off the truck with the broken horn
Pick some tomatoes fresh off the vine
Margaritas on ice with hand squeezed lime
Pair with fish tacos or just a good 'ol chip
Grilled Corn Salsa is the ultimate summertime dip

This Grilled Corn Salsa is literally the most delicious things I make all summer.  It tastes like a garden and pairs with just about anything from Fish Tacos to grilled chicken to a good ol' blue corn tortilla chip.

I beg you to make this before the corn in husks is replaced by pumpkins and acorn squash...mostly because I don't have a fall poem yet.

Here you go...if you cook often you can follow the pics and short instructions 
For a more detailed recipe, click below

First...grill your corn in the husk 
(you can also cook in husks in the oven, or peel and boil)
 Peel back the husks when done...hopefully a few kernels
will have some grill marks on them
 Cut the corn off the cob, try to keep some intact in big chunks
 Add 1-2 cups halved cherry tomatoes (red or orange), half a chopped red onion,
a huge handful of chopped cilantro, the juice from a lime, salt, pepper
and about 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil. 
I mix everything in a bowl and store in several mason looks fancy that way.  
It is always better then 2nd day!  
Not much left the 3rd day if you made it correctly!