Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Baby Greens Salad with Accoutrements

From time to time, my body just craves something light and healthy.  I don't know if it's the yoga I've started doing or the warmer, longer days, but this weekend was a good time to eat light.  And this salad hit the spot.  I've said it before, but salads can be really good or really boring.  I like to experiment with different fruit and veggies, nuts and cheeses in my salads - there are many winning combinations.  This salad is sweet and tropical with golden brown chicken and a satisfying crunch.  

Baby Greens Salad with Accoutrements

Baby Greens
Chicken, sliced (grilled, pan-fried or rotisserie)
Gorgonzola Cheese
Strawberries, sliced
Mandarin Orange wedges
Nuts (almonds, pistachios or pecans)
Champaign Vinaigrette (or your favorite dressing)
Salt & Pepper

In an extra large bowl, toss the mixed greens in a couple tablespoons of the salad's dressing.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  (This is how they do it in a restaurant; so the salad is completely coated, but not soggy).  

Transfer the greens to a plate and top with the chicken, cheese, fruit and nuts.  Top with more dressing and salt & pepper.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Kung Pao Bánh Mì

Not too long ago, a thought occurred to me while I was eating cold, leftover Kung Pao Chicken for breakfast.  Yes, breakfast.  (You know you've done it too).  The flavors were still great but it wasn't substantial enough for a meal since the rice had dried out.  So, I spooned it onto a baguette, topped it with some mayo, cilantro and cucumber et voila!  A homemade version of Vietnamese Bánh Mì without all the daunting hassle of the original.  This Kung Pao Bánh Mì has all the flavor of the classic Chinese take out dish, but it's served anew on a crunchy light fresh delectable vessel. 

*Bánh Mì means baguette and was introduced to the Vietnamese culture by the French during its Colonial Period.  

Kung Pao Bánh Mì 
1 Mini baguette, sliced laterally
3/4 C. Leftover Kung Pao Chicken
Cilantro, chopped
Cucumber ribbons
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350.  

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on both sides of your baguette. Spoon the Kung Pao Chicken onto the bread.  Pop the open-faced sandwich onto a baking sheet and into the oven.  Allow it to just warm through, about 8 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with cold cucumber ribbons and fresh cilantro.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper to finish.  Place the top of the baguette on the laden bottom slice and enjoy!  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Apricot BBQ Meatballs with Basil & Peanuts

Sometimes, one recipe's just not enough.  Awhile back, I learned about Grape Jelly Meatballs, the best and easiest meatballs you'll ever make.  After making them a hundred times over the past 2 years, I decided I was ready to switch up the recipe.  This is a take off of that recipe, with a few new flavors added to the mix.  These meatballs are sweet and robust, with a hint of asian flare.  They are splendid as a party food or appetizer or as a main course served with rice and veggies.  

Apricot BBQ Meatballs with Basil & Peanuts
1 C. of Apricot jelly
1 Small can of crushed pineapple
1 C. of BBQ sauce
1 Pinch of red chile flakes
1 Bag of traditional frozen meatballs (not italian flavored) 
Basil, sliced thinly 

Turn your crockpot to low heat.  Add the apricot jelly, pineapple BBQ sauce and chile flakes.  Stir to thoroughly combine.  Add the meatballs and gently toss to coat them in the sauce.  Cook on low heat until they are cooked through, up to 8 hours.  Toss them a couple times so the meatballs soak up all that great flavor.  To garnish sprinkle with basil and peanuts.  

*You could use this sauce as a mild, sweet version of General Tso's chicken, especially for kids.