Happy New Year! I have posted a new recipe in so long…maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution, to post on here more often. Since I posted last, one major thing has taken place. I bought a condo! I’m very excited to move in just about 3 weeks and cook in my new kitchen!

So, I have been wanting to share an amazing Chicken Pot Pie recipe with you all. I recently participated in a chicken pot pie cook-off with one of my friends. We both made chicken pot pies and a group of friends had dinner with us to judge to recipes. Needless to say, I won and this is why.

Ina Garten’s Chicken Pot Pie recipe is delicious. While I normally cook pretty healthy food, there is always a little room for real comfort food like this. This is the perfect meal to cook for guests as you make it in individual ramekins. The recipe does take a little time but the results are worth it. Your guests are sure to be impressed!

 Enjoy!

I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to post such an amazing recipe. Risotto, yum! This Bacon and Wild Mushroom Risotto with Baby Spinach has a ton of flavor and is pretty healthy, too.

This recipe comes from the May 2010 edition of Cooking Light. Just looking at the photo made me drool my mouth water. I finally cooked this risotto up a few weeks ago and it did not dissapoint.

Risotto is a fancy name for a rice dish. There are a lot of varieties (from seafood to butternut squash) and normally arborio rice is used. I have used arborio rice in the past which is great, but this time I used a whole grain rice mixture for this recipe. I also used all natual bacon from Trader Joe’s and because you cook the bacon first, there is no added oil or fat.

You may have heard that risotto is difficult to make or it takes to long. While I wouldn’t call this recipe difficult, it does take some time but it’s so worth it. Just turn on some good music and prepare to be in your kitchen for about 30-45 minutes. Between cutting vegetables and stirring the risotto often, this recipe does take a bit of patience. But, the recipe is very straightforward and it’s a great risotto to make for guests – they will  surely be impressed!

A warm risotto dish is great for the fall. Interested in other risotto recipes? Check out my Butternut Squash and Spinach Risotto here.

Blueberries are in season right now, which means they are not only delicious but they are inexpensive. I love the taste and health benefits of blueberries – they are low in calories and packed with antioxidants. I have been eating a lot of them on cereal and in yogurt but I’ve been looking forward to baking with blueberries. Over the weekend, I made Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins from Cooking Light.

I followed the recipe as it was written except I used fresh blueberries. The muffins turned out really tasty and moist – especially when fresh. Even a few days later, the muffins were delicious heated in the microwave. Each muffin is under 200 calories so it’s a guilt-free treat or breakfast food.

I looking forward to including more fresh fruit in my recipes before the summer is over. This time of year is the best for fresh berries, you just can’t go wrong.

Enjoy!

I hope you’re having a great August so far. (Today’s my mom’s birthday actually – Happy Birthday, Mom!!) I’ve enjoyed a little vacation in Maine so far this month and I’m happy to report that it’s starting to cool down a little here in the Boston area. We’ve had a hot and humid summer and I’m excited for a little relief from the heat. Although, I’d take it over snow anyday. :)

The one nice thing about the summer is I’m able to catch up on reading books and magazines. I had a growing stack of cooking magazines that I was able to begin to tackle in Maine. It’s such a great way to relax – on the beach flipping through magazines.

I have been subscribing to Bon Appetit magazine for about a year now. While most of the recipes look delicious, I’m often intimidated by the number of ingredients or amount of preparation for some of the recipes. I’m always afraid that if I try a recipe, I won’t be eating dinner until 10 pm! That being said, I have a pile of Bon Appetit clippings of recipes I want to try…when I have the time.

In the June issue, a recipe caught my eye and I recently made it for dinner at my parents’ house. I’m a sucker for Asian-inspired dishes, including this one – Grilled Asian Chicken with Bok Choy, Shitake Mushrooms and Peppers. (Please note, the original recipe calls for radishes but I left them out. I also roasted the vegetables instead of grilling them). I especially like this dish because making the main dish prepares you to make a noodle dish with the leftovers…only if you don’t use up all the sauce like we did!  

This meal is pretty easy to prepare and takes three main steps – making the sauce, roasting the veggies and baking the chicken. When you’re done, you have a unique but delicious chicken and vegetable stirfry. This sauce was really tasty – lightly sweet with a lot of citrus and Asian flavors. The mix of vegetables added addiitonal flavor and textures and the chicken was moist. We used brown rice for this dish, instead of the recommended Asian rice.

I will definitely be making this one again and I suggest you try it too! It’s a light but filling dinner, great for a summer night.

What a heat wave we’re having on the East Coast! It’s so hot in my apartment, I can’t even think of cooking. But, last week, when it was a bit cooler, I cooked up some Honey Soy Chicken Kabobs – in my oven!

Kabobs are so versatile – and such a summer staple. They are easy to prepare and grill – or roast, in my case. I do have an indoor grill but sometimes it’s just easier to use my oven. Call it laziness, I guess! :)

I created this recipe from one I read online a while ago. I had a bunch of the ingredients I remembered so I just went with it. This chicken turned out moist and the sweetness of the veggies paired perfectly.  Now we can have kabobs all year long!

Here’s my recipe:

Honey Soy Chicken Kabobs

Makes 4 kabobs

Ingredients:

2 – 3 chicken breasts, cut in cubes

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 sweet onion, cubed

1 red pepper, cubed

Four wooden skewers

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix oil, honey, soy sauce, garlic and a little salt and pepper in a bowl to create marinade.
  3. Put chopped chicken in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken.
  4. Refrigerate chicken and marinade for at least 30 minutes.
  5. When ready, add chicken and vegetables to wooden skewer – alternating between chicken, onion and red pepper.
  6. Put skewers on baking sheet and roast in over for 12-15 minutes or until juices from chicken run clear.
  7. Enjoy (with a side of brown rice)!

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted last. Bad me. But, I hope you’re enjoying the summer so far. Any big plans?

One exciting thing a few of my friends are doing this summer is splitting a CSA share from a local farm. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and, basically, we pay a fee to get a share of the farm’s vegetables each week from June to November. I really enjoy going to farmer’s markets and this takes things a step further. It’s been fun so far and has allowed me to try a few new recipes. I am a big proponent of supporting local farms and businesses plus, by being apart of the CSA, we are getting fresh organic vegetables soon after they are picked. Oh, and we get fresh, organic eggs, too! 

Included in our share last week was escarole - a hearty green and part of the endive family. Have you had escarole before? I had eaten it in a restaurant but I hadn’t cooked with escarole so I quickly went onto my favorite recipe website, allrecipes.com, to find the perfect dish. I immediately saw a recipe for Escarole and Beans which was simple and healthy so I gave it a whirl. I actually had all of the ingredients on hand, which is always a plus!

This recipe was really simple to put together and made plenty of leftovers. I would actually consider it a comfort food based on it’s thicker consistency so you can definitely enjoy this dish year round. Escarole and beans makes a fiberful side dish or a light dinner. I was expecting it to be basic in flavor but the garlic and red pepper flakes gave it a nice kick and I really enjoyed it. Leafy greens, such as escarole, are a great source of fiber as well as vitamin A and K. Who can’t use a little tasty nutritious dish in their life?

I’ll be back with another easy summer recipe in a few days so stay tuned!

If it’s hot where you are, like it is here in Boston, hope you’re staying cool. It’s supposed to be in the mid 90′s here tomorrow! Have  a great week!

Happy Memorial Day weekend! The weather in Boston has been very summer-like…and you’ll hear no complaints from me. While I love cooking, the summertime calls for simple, lighter meals that don’t involve much stove-time. Don’t you agree?

Not only do I crave colder foods, I also want to maximize my time outdoors (especially after working in an air-conditioned office all day). Salads are a great option for this time of year and they are so versatile.

I wasn’t recently catching up on one of my favorite food magazines, Cooking Light, and found this recipe for Bell Pepper, Tomato and Cucumber Grilled Bread Salad. I immediately folded over the page. Not only is this dish easy, it’s light and involves using the grill (another summer favorite, although I use an indoor grill right now).  Another plus…it includes BREAD.

Just as I suspected, I loved this recipe. The veggies were delicious mixed with the light dressing and grilled bread (I used a wheat baguette). Mixing bread into a salad just makes life better. The recipe suggests adding grilled shrimp or chicken as an option. I had the salad vegetarian-style the first night and, for lunch the next day, I added tuna for a little protein. It was a great addition.

If you’re looking for a salad that’s a little different but still easy and delicious, give this one a try. The bread alone will win you over.

PS – Last year, I made a delicious Panzanella Caprese - another bread salad. With fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil and bread, it was a perfect Italian-style summer meal.

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