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Showing posts from December, 2008

Happy New Year!

Instead of partying it up, we actually had a GREAT New Year's Eve dinner with friends at Sullivan's Steakhouse in Downtown Naperville. Despite an understandable wait, we had a great time and rang in the new year around the table.



One-Dish Chicken and Rice Bake

We had this for dinner tonight and it was a great and FAST meal for a night were I was late coming home from work.

1 can cream of mushroom soup (condensed) -- you can use cream of chicken if you are not a mushroom eater
2 soup cans water
1 packet onion soup mix
1 1/2 c white rice
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Preheat the oven to 325.

In a saucepan, combine soup, two soup cans of water and onion soup mix over medium meat. Beat with whisk to break up condensed soup and heat just enough to mix all ingredients together (about 4-5 minutes).

In 9x13 inch baking dish, spray with non-stick spray (I used olive oil spray). Pour in rice evenly and top with chicken breasts (thawed). Pour over soup evenly to coat.

Cover with aluminum foil tightly and place in middle rack of the oven for 40-70 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. This also works for boneless, skinless chicken tenders (You'll cook them about 40 minutes; Thicker breasts will cook longer).

Fluff rice with a fork and serve with…

Grilled Marinated Vegetables

My sister-in-law Bess, who is a fabulous cook, made this Christmas Day as a side dish and it was wonderful! I look forward to trying it again at my own home and hope you enjoy it!

3 red, orange ,or yellow bell peppers, seeded and halved
3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
12 cremini mushrooms
1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
12 green onions, roots cut off
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Using a grill ba…

Garlic-Pea Hummus

1 can green peas, drained
1 can plain chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c plain fat-free yogurt (I use Fage)
1 medium scallion, chopped
1/2 c dill, fresh (or 1/4 c dried)
2 t fresh lemon juice
2 t olive oil, extra-virgin
1 medium garlic clove
1/2 t ground cumin, or more to taste
1 t table salt, or more to taste

Put all ingredients in a mini-prep or Cuisinart. Blend until smooth.

Serve with sliced carrots, celery, sweet peppers, cucumbers, chips, or any other dippers you enjoy! Will hold in the fridge, covered, for about three days.

Asian Lettuce Cups

These are a great (and quick) weeknight meal -- and a nice alternative from a usually carb-laden diet. They are great on their own, or with a side of steamed white (sticky) rice, if you like a little extra side with them! It also pairs well with a garden salad topped with the ginger salad dressing found in the marinade.

Shrimp (1 cup) or Chicken (1-6 ounce breast) (your choice)
2T ginger salad dressing
2T teriyaki marinade
1t soy sauce

Mix all sauce together and toss in a zip-top baggie with your choice of chicken or shrimp (If chicken, slice into strips). Let marinade for at least two hours, or overnight. Cook shrimp/chicken until cooked through on a skillet or grill pan on your stove top.


For the wraps:
Boston Bibb lettuce
1/4 c shredded carrots
1/4 c chopped celery
1/4 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 c yellow onions (caramelized)

Wash lettuce leaved and pat dry with paper towel. To caramelize onions, saute over medium-high heat until onions begin to soften and the sugars caramelize (about 10-12 minues…

Fresh Tomato Sauce

I feel it is important to have the basics under control before anyone delves into more complex recipes and food challenges in the kitchen. This recipe for fresh tomato sauce is one of my favorites. I usually keep a jar of this in the refrigerator at all times because it is so versatile. Enjoy!

4 cups rougly chopped tomatoes (I prefer beefsteak tomatoes, but any larger tomatoes will do)
1/4 c fresh basil, cut into ribbons
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 t olive oil
1 t salt
1/2 t ground black pepper
1 T balsamic vinegar

In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add minced garlic to hot oil and saute for 4-5 minutes. Do not let garlic brown or overcook, as this will make the garlic flavor very bitter. Once garlic begins cooking, add all other ingredients to saucepan and reduce heat to low-medium for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour contents of the saucepan into blender and pulse until smoothed, but with as many chunks as you like (pulse less time for chunkier tomato sauce; For a…