Ok I confess: I am a total corn bread snob. I don't like corn bread too sweet, too non-sweet, too dry, too crumbly, too mushy etc. etc. etc. When we moved to New York I remember my mom coming home and telling us she had a new corn bread recipe to try, and that one of her friends got it from Baker's Square. I know!! Now, just as a disclaimer, who knows if it really is the recipe from Baker's Square, but it's the most delicious corn bread recipe that you'll ever try. Yes--better than the little corn bread muffins at Red Lobster OR Famous Daves. It's a little sweet, and super moist without being too mushy. So I pass this on to you! Oh and it's the easiest recipe ever so I'm not putting step by step pictures--just the final outcome.
1 cup milk
When I say chicken pasta salad, you think of something mayo-based and greasy, right? Try to imagine a chicken pasta salad that is the polar opposite of that and you'd probably be thinking of something very similar to the recipe I'm sharing today. Based on a Cooking Light recipe, it is fresh, light, and deceptively tasty for something so low in fat. It's one of my favorite lunches, but unfortunately it's rare that enough is left over for me to bring as a lunch the next day. Someday I'm going to make a big batch just for myself and selfishly horde it away. And you know what? I won't even feel guilty about it because it's so light and healthy.
You start out with about 8 oz (or 3 cups) farfalle pasta. You may have noticed that farfalle pasta is the shape of choice in our household. I don't have much of a preference one way or the other in a pasta salad, but I know my husband thinks those little bow ties are adorable. If I made the same recipe with a different shape pasta, he might not eat as much. This information may come in handy in the future if he needs to diet, but since right now I have to do everything I can to encourage him to eat we're sticking with farfalle for everything pasta in this house. Boil this up according to the package directions.
Meanwhile, prep the dressing for the salad. See the orange juice and lemon juice? Now do you know what I mean about light and fresh tasting? Mmm.
Also while the pasta is boiling, chop the rest of the ingredients. You've got a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley . . .
. . . some red grapes . . .
I find that this recipe tastes best after sitting for at least a few hours. Overnight is even better.
You may or many not notice - there is no chicken in these finished pasta salad pictures. That's because I finished the salad, took pictures, cleaned up the kitchen and then saw that the shredded chicken was still in the fridge waiting to be added. Ooops. Please imagine chunks of chicken in this bowl with the rest of the salad.
Chicken and Grape Pasta Salad
8 oz (about 3 cups) uncooked farfalle pasta
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T stone ground mustard
2 tsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
1 1/2 cups red seedless grapes, halved
3 green onions, chopped (including white parts; about 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 T chopped fresh parsley
1. Cook pasta according to package directions and cool completely.
2. Whisk together the orange juice, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper. Add in the chicken, grapes, green onions, pecans, cooled pasta and parsley. Stir to combine.
Is there anything better than guacamole and chips? Or guacamole and anything? My husband and I have been known to mash a few avocados, add some pepper and salt, throw in some tortilla chips and call it dinner. Can you tell we don't have kids yet? This recipe is one I use when I make guacamole to bring anywhere. It originates from my brother's childhood friend, who grew up to be a real live chef at a fancy schmancy restaurant. He made dinner for my brother's family when they were visiting once and my brother diligently wrote down how he made everything, including the guacamole. I'm thankful he was persistent in getting the amounts that his friend was just throwing together to taste because I could never have recreated this recipe without them. It makes a sizable batch of guacamole, probably enough for five or six people, but I nearly always double it because it goes that fast.
To start out with, you need some nice, ripe avocados.
Cut them in half and use a spoon to scoop out all their deliciousness into a bowl.
I remember growing up, every Sunday we'd leave for church returning to a home that magically smelled of heaven. Heaven being the smell of roast beef simmering away in the crock pot! I love slow roasted beef, with gravy and mashed potatoes or on sandwiches, it's my idea of heaven. So this recipe is a variation of the one that I grew up on. The aus jus sauce is just the liquid you let your roast cook in. Trust me, it's WAY better than the McCormick powdery stuff that you just add water. So whether you leave for work, church, play when you put this recipe in the crock pot and arrive home hours later, get ready for your mouth to start watering!
This salad was inspired by a wrap that I had for lunch one day at a restaurant by my work. I don't know if I've eaten anything Thai-inspired that I didn't like, but I especially like the peanut flavored sauces. Can you go wrong with peanut butter in anything? I didn't think so. For a week after eating this wrap the peanut flavored sauce would just call to me and beg me to eat it again. Since I'm not much for going out to eat a lot, I tried to recreate the wrap at home in a salad form. (I'm just as inept eating wraps as I am tacos. In my opinion, all my food is much better of being speared by a fork than handled by my hands.) I looked up some Thai peanut sauces and dressings and found most sauces were yummy but WAY too heavy for a salad with lettuce. After some trial and error, I put together a dressing that is peanutty enough for my cravings but not too much to put on a green salad. This salad works great with some chicken as a dinner salad, or as a side dish. You can even put it in a wrap if you are more coordinated than I am, which I'm sure you are.
To put it together I start with the dressing. If you cook Asian food a lot these are things you probably already have. If not, I'd say most of them are easy to find in the Asian section of your grocery store. The bottled fresh ginger, which I think is genius in terms of convenience and shelf life, is usually in the produce section on an endcap with the minced garlic and sundried tomatoes.
All you do is put everything together and whisk it up. If you have on of those little dressing shakers, that would work, too. The peanut butter is the hardest part to mix in, so you might need to be patient.
Next, prepare your rice noodles. These are also in the Asian section of the grocery store. To soften them, just cover with hot tap water for about ten minutes and then drain.
Chop up your veggies. I usually used red bell pepper because I like the taste and color.
Throw everything together in a big bowl.
Add your dressing and serve.
Simple Green Thai Salad
3 T peanut butter
2 T rice wine vinegar
2 T lime juice
2 T soy sauce
1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
1/2 tsp sriracha chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
Mix together and taste. You might want to add a few T of water to get the dressing to a consistency/strength that is good for you.
1 head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 red bell pepper
1 cup rice sticks (sometimes called rice noodles)
1 cup bean sprouts
1/2 peanuts, chopped
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (optional)
1 T chopped green onions (optional)
While my broth/pasta mix is coming to a boil, I chop up my broccoli. Chop may not be the correct word. I like the use kitchen shears for my broccoli because I can get right at the base of the floret much neater and faster than with a knife.
Next I chop up some roasted red peppers. Sure, you could roast your own and they'd be delicious. But you could also save yourself some time and buy some jarred ones. I just rinse them off to get rid of that juice they've been sitting in.
Once the mixture is boiling, add your chopped broccoli and red peppers. So pretty!
Cover this and cook until the broccoli is bright green, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken back in and simmer until it is cooked through.
Add some parmesan and lemon juice and serve.
Broccoli Chicken Skillet Pasta
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breats, cubed into 1 inch pieces
3 T unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces (2 1/2 cups) farfalle pasta
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 broccoli crown, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup jarred roasted red peppers, rinsed and chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T lemon juice (optional)
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Melt 1 T of the butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until it is lightly browned but not fully cooked, about five minutes. Transfer the chicken to a bowl.
2. Add 1 more T of butter to the empty skillet, and add onion, red pepper flakes, oregano and 1/2 tsp salt. Cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
3. Sprinkle the farfalle evenly into the skillet. Pour the broth and cream over the farfalle. Cover and bring to a boil, about five minutes.
4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir in the broccoli and roasted peppers. Cover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta begins to soften and the broccoli turns bright green, about 8 minutes.
5. Stir in the chicken and any accumulated juice. Cover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
6. Stir in the remaining 1 T butter, the parmesan and lemon juice (if using). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Source: adapted from Cook's Illustrated
I always wonder what it is about cilantro that you either LOVE it, or HATE it. I am one of those people that could have cilantro on everything, and never tire of it. My husband on the other hand, gags at even the mere sight of the green leafy herb. So in our house cilantro is always a side garnish, unless if of course, you found a wonderfully fresh and delicious creamy dressing, which I have. Don't act surprised, I found it on ourbestbites.com. It's the kind of dressing that literally lights your mouth on fire. The earthy fresh taste of the cilantro combined with the fresh lemon zest....my mouth is watering just thinking about it. So enjoy!