Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lovin' CSA delivery day!

We signed up for CSA summer delivery from Lucky Field Organics and are loving it! Every week we receive a bag full of beautiful squash, greens, garlic, herbs and we even had fresh bread last week. I love vegetables but many of them are still new to me. I feel foolish asking Winston, the farmer, what some things are, but I really want to learn. One of my goals in trying to be healthier is to eat more greens like chard and kale and all the others I don't know, but I am still learning the different ways to cook them. For dinner last night, I sauteed kale with fresh garlic and natural gso and squeezed lemon over it with a dash of salt before serving. I roasted zucchini as it's one of Oliver's favorites and I also roasted yams which I tossed with maple syrup and butter gso. They tasted like candy! I breaded chicken in whole wheat flour seasoned with scampi, ca garlic pepper and rotisserie blends! I started them on the stove top in a cast iron pan and finished them off in the oven. Dinner was delicious!! Oliver loved the yams and even though he didn't try the kale - I put some on his plate and hope that one day he will!
Happy, healthy cooking!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Crispy Onion Chicken

I have been making a very simple chicken dish for years - Pour Sesame Tahini or Honey Mustard Salad Dressing over chicken breasts, sprinkle with Durkee Fried Onions and bake at 350 degrees until done. The onions bake into the dressing to create a yummy sauce!Yesterday I found a slightly different version that was delicious!! This golden brown chicken, with its crunchy french-fried onion coating was great with veggies from our CSA - roasted zucchini and kohlrabi, sauteed red chard and jasmine rice. Everyone, including Oliver, devoured it! To top it off, Mom made a delicious Blueberry Crostada.

Crispy Onion Chicken
1/2 cup butter, melted (I would cut the butter in half next time)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (We didn't have any Worcestershire so I used Teriyaki Sauce and would add more next time to make up for less butter.)
1 teaspoon ground mustard (I used Honey Mustard - and would use more next time to make up for less butter.)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt (I used our Scampi Blend)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (skipped this step)
1 can (6 ounces) cheddar or original french-fried onions, crushed
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, combine the butter, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, add 1/2 cup-fried onions. Dip chicken in the butter mixture, then coat with onions. Place in a greased 9-in. square baking pan (I used a Deep Dish Baker from Pampered Chef). Top with remaining onions; drizzle with any remaining butter mixture. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Yield: 4 servings

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Some Old Pampered Chef Favorites!

Many of you know I love Pampered Chef, especially their Stoneware! My favorite piece is the Large Bar Pan and I cook everything on it. I roast potatoes, zucchini, butternut squash, yams, turnips, parsnips, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. I bake fish, chicken, turkey meatloaf, pork roast and meatballs. I also make desserts on it too!!

But enough about the Bar Pan. As I leafed through my Pampered Chef cook books looking for some ideas for sweet treats to make for the Cuttyhunk Church Fair, I came upon some of my old favorite recipes and thought I would share them here.

Chicken, Avocado & Grapefruit Salad

For Chicken:
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Dressing and Salad:
1 large ruby red grapefruit
1 tbsp orange marmalade
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4-6 radishes
1 firm, ripe avocado
1 bag (6 oz) fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup sliced red onion (optional)
Sweet Caramel Cashews (optional)

1. For chicken, combine ingredients in bowl. Heat grill pan over medium heat 5 minutes. Cook chicken 4 minutes or until grill marks appear. Turn chicken over; grill 4-6 minutes or until thermometer registers 170°F. Remove chicken to cutting board; let stand 10 minutes.

2. For dressing, zest grapefruit to measure 1 tsp zest. Cut grapefruit in half; remove sections to using a grapefruit knife. Juice grapefruit halves to measure 1/4 cup juice. Combine zest, juice, marmalade, oil, salt and black pepper in small bowl; mix well using whisk.

3. For salad, slice radishes. Peel and dice avocado. Slice chicken crosswise into thin strips. Place spinach into large bowl. Top with sliced chicken, grapefruit, radishes, avocado and onion, if desired. Pour dressing over salad; toss gently. Garnish with Sweet Caramel Cashews, if desired. Serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings

Cook’s Tips: Poppy seed dressing can be substituted for the grapefruit dressing, if desired. CA Garlic Pepper can be used to season the chicken in place of the Lemon Pepper Blend, if desired.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 medium red onion, sliced into 1/2-inch wedges
1 tablespoon natural gso
2 garlic cloves, pressed OR substitute the natural gso for 1 tbsp garlic gso
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
3/4 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 package (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup pitted whole kalamata olives
1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
1/4 cup prepared Greek vinaigrette dressing
 Romaine lettuce leaves (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Combine asparagus, bell pepper, onion and oil in mixing bowl. Press garlic into mixing bowl using garlic press; toss to coat. Season with salt and black pepper, if desired. 2. Spread vegetables in a single layer on Large Bar Pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden brown. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool completely. Cut asparagus and bell pepper into 1-inch pieces.

3. Meanwhile, prepare orzo according to package directions in small saucepan; drain and rinse under cold running water in small colander. Place orzo in mixing bowl. Add vegetable mixture, beans, feta cheese, olives, parsley and salad dressing; toss gently. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve over lettuce leaves, if desired. Yield: 4 servings

 Cook’s Tips:
~ Vegetables can be roasted up to 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature until you're ready to use them.
~ Orzo is a tiny, rice-shaped pasta, which can be found in the pasta section of most grocery stores.
 ~ To trim asparagus, snap off and discard tough stem ends.
~ Italian dressing can be substituted for the Greek vinaigrette dressing, if desired.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

1 lemon
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
 1 tbsp sugar
 1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp poppy seeds

¼ cup sliced natural almonds, toasted
8 oz. (1 ½ cups) strawberries, hulled and quartered
½ med. English Cucumber, sliced and cut in half
¼ small red onion, sliced into thin wedges (1/4 cup)
1 package (6 ounces) baby spinach

For dressing, zest lemon to measure ½ tsp zest. Juice lemon to measure 2 tbsp juice. Combine zest, juice, vinegar, sugar, oil and poppy seeds in small bowl. Whisk until well blended. Cover; refrigerate until ready to use. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For salad, spread almonds in single layer over bottom of Small Bar Pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove from oven; cool almonds in bar pan. Meanwhile, hull strawberries and cut into quarters. Slice and halve cucumber. Slice onion into thin wedges.Place spinach in large serving bowl; add strawberries, cucumber and onion. Whisk dressing; pour over salad, gently tossing to coat. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

Cook's Note – add cooked chicken or steak to make into a hearty meal.

Quick Chicken Primavera Risotto

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 ounces each)
 Salt and ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut in half crosswise
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cups cooked rice (I have used long grain jasmine rice) For best flavor, prepare rice with chicken broth instead of water.
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
1 medium zucchini, chopped in to bits size pieces
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
 2-2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Asiago cheese
 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil leaves
2 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese


 1. Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness using flat side of meat tenderizer. Season both sides with salt and black pepper. Heat skillet over medium-high heat 5 minutes; add a drizzle of garlic gso. Arrange chicken and lemon halves, cut sides down, in skillet; cook 6-8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning chicken once (do not turn lemon halves). Remove chicken and lemon from skillet. Cool slightly; slice chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside.

2. Using same skillet (you might need to add a little more gso). Cook onion over medium heat 4-6 minutes or until onion is tender.

3. Add rice and juice from caramelized lemon halves using a citrus press. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until lemon juice is completely absorbed into rice. Add vegetables and 2 cups of the broth to skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 4-5 minutes or until broth thickens slightly. Stir in chicken; cook until heated through.

4. Remove risotto from heat. Add Asiago cheese and basil; stir until cheese melts and sauce thickens (adjust sauce consistency with additional broth, if necessary). Stir in mascarpone cheese, if desired. Yield: 6 servings

Cranberry Chicken

This is such an easy and delicious recipe to make! You can substitute pork for chicken, maybe even tofu although I haven't tried it yet. You can also interchange the cranberry sauce with orange marmalade or apricot jam and the 'red' salad dressing with Italian.

6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
16-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
8-ounce bottle Catalina, French or Russian salad dressing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I use a piece of Pampered Chef Stoneware (the Rectangular Baker or the Deep Dish Baker if I cut the recipe in half) but you can also use a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Place breasts in a single layer in the baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine the cranberries, dressing and soup mix. Blend well. Pour over chicken, making sure each piece is well covered with the cranberry mixture. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the cranberry mixture has formed a glaze on the chicken.

Cooking Tips ~ Pound your chicken breasts before you cook them - they will cook quicker! Or cut them into big chunky pieces - that will also cut down on cooking time.

Nutrition Tips ~ I used to make this recipe with Lipton Onion Soup Mix until I discovered it has MSG (in several forms), loads of sodium, corn syrup and trans fats!! I now use Wildtree's Absolutely Onion Mix and often only use 1/2 a packet.

Happy, healthy cooking!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Lobster Tale (and some other dinner ideas!

There is something about Cuttyhunk - the fresh, salty air perhaps, that the moment you step off a boat,all you want to do is eat & nap! We have definitely been eating and only wish there was more napping happening!

Here are some quick dinner ideas we have been enjoying...

Surf & Turf (With a bit of a tale to tell.)
Oliver begged for lobster one day so we stopped by the fishing dock on our way home from the beach to pick up 2 culls as Andy doesn't eat lobster! Oliver had great fun examining the lobsters as they crawled around on the counter-top. Then it was time to put the lobsters into the boiling water...and Oliver lost it! He wanted to bring them back to the ocean to let them go. He refused to eat them and cried inconsolably. I tried to comfort him, to offer a prayer of thanks similar to Native American tradition to show gratitude and respect to the lobster's spirit. Nothing worked! When we sat down to dinner, Oliver ate his entire lobster and begged for mine!!! He was lucky...I shared that day. But our journey to vegetarianism is definitely on the table!

As for the rest of the meal, I served Horizon's Tenderloin Tips, marinated in Wildtree's Ponzu Sauce, and cooked in a cast iron grill pan on the stove top. I drizzled a little grapeseed oil in the pan and put some sliced onion in as well with a drizzling of Ponzu. So yummy!!!! We had jasmine rice cooked with 1 tbsp of Wildtree's Butter Grapeseed Oil and a huge summer salad made with fresh produce from our CSA delivery.

Fresh Veggie Pasta Toss
This is one of our go-to favorites for any season and it takes the amount of time to boil the water for pasta! In a large saute pan, heat a little Wildtree Butter GSO, Garlic GSO and Natural GSO (sometimes I also add a little Lemon GSO), add sliced red onion, zucchini, summer squash (yellow crooked neck squash) and a sprinkle of sea salt and start browning. I added left over chicken to add some protein too. Then add grape tomatoes and baby spinach to wilt. Toss cooked pasta (we used fusilli this time) and a little pasta water if needed into the saute pan (heat now OFF). Grate fresh parmeggiano reggiano cheese over top and bocconcini mozzarella. I served it with a garden salad with fuji apple, cucumber, carrots and scallions.

Onion Burgers Real simple!
Ground beef mixed with Wildtree's Absolutely Onion Blend and some sea salt served on brioche rolls with sliced red onion. I also sauteed some onion, zucchini and summer squash in WIldtree's Butter GSO and sea salt (a favorite of Oliver's) and a salad with blueberries, carrots and cukes. For dessert...Fat Witch Brownies!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cuttyhunk Bound!

We finally made it to MA!
A 2 hour plane delay was not fun - but Virgin America is a great airline to be delayed on! I have been so busy these past few weeks and then preparing to be away for 2 months that I have not been posting my dinner plans! Keep an eye out for some yummy meal planners that will be posted over the next few days!
Hope you have a wonderful 4th of July!