Category: featured recipes
Thursday, October 23
I recently discovered a quick “recipe” for lemon pepper chicken that I simply have to share with you. The chicken is tender and flavorful and it’s just so easy to make! This chicken is delicious fresh out of the oven served with rice and a veggie, but I also love it served cold over salad. It would be great in sandwiches, too!
I sort of accidentally created this recipe. I thought I was making a recipe for luscious lemon chicken that I received from a friend 15 years ago. I was going from memory and the final result was what you see here in this post. Only, when I looked the original recipe up later, I discovered I left a bunch of ingredients and steps out! So, now I have two awesome lemon chicken recipes. And, yes, one day I’ll share the luscious lemon chicken recipe with you, too!
Today’s version of the recipe really is SO easy and delicious. My little Anna especially loves it! Be sure you use the stabbing-the-chicken-with-a-fork trick – that is the key to this tender, flavorful chicken!
Lemon Pepper ChickenPrep timeCook timeTotal timeSuper easy with delicious results, this chicken has a nice peppery flavor with a hint of lemon.Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breasts
- Lemon Pepper
- Salt (kosher preferred)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Stab chicken breast(s) all over on both sides with a fork (click here for details on this trick).
- Sprinkle both sides evenly with salt, then sprinkle liberally with lemon pepper on both sides.
- Place chicken in a baking dish then pour cream over the chicken to coat. Flip chicken breasts in the dish with a fork to coat both sides of the chicken with cream.
- Bake for about 20-30 minutes, until chicken juices run clear and/or internal temperature of chicken reaches 160ºF.
- Serve hot out of the oven with rice and veggies. Refrigerate leftovers and serve cold on salad or in sandwiches.
Tuesday, October 7
The first time Nate and I tasted mole sauce was at a Mexican restaurant in Arlington, MA when we were in college. My roommate and best college friend Estela was from Juárez and was always educating me on what good Mexican food was. One such dish was mole, which she described as a savory “chocolate” sauce served over chicken. When Nate and I spotted it on the menu that night so long ago we knew we had to try it, and we loved it. Sadly, we’ve hardly eaten mole since then. It’s not a dish you generally find served in Mexican restaurants in the U.S. and we had no idea how to make it…until now! (If you live in the Bay Area, Lulu’s serves both green and red mole and they are both divine.)
I finally sat down to figure out how to make a red mole sauce on my own and it turned out so so so good. This recipe is great for about a million reasons, but I’ll just share a few. It’s a crockpot recipe, making it very hands off. You just blend most of the ingredients together, dump it over chicken in the crockpot and let it cook. Easy peasy! Traditional mole sauces can take days to prepare, but the crockpot actually helps speed up the process. (That’s probably the first time a crockpot meal has been described as speedy!) This red mole sauce is quite rich and full of flavor, but not too spicy, so kids can enjoy it, too. However, you can definitely add cayenne pepper for more heat. Heat is good. And the richness from the unsweetened chocolate counterbalances the heat of the peppers beautifully. Lastly, this recipe for chicken mole rojo is healthy! I originally developed it for Disney and had to follow strict dietary guidelines, all of which I met in this recipe.
And, if you have kids, just tell them they are eating mud and they will eat every bite of their dinner. It’s like magic.
Friday, October 3
October is Fair Trade Month and I’m so excited to help support the cause! Plus, I have a completely delicious dark chocolate pumpkin seed granola bar recipe for you. Basically there’s a whole lot of goodness going on in this here post. Before we get to the fair trade chocolate granola bars (mmmmmm….), let’s talk about fair trade for a moment and meet some of the farmers!
There are a lot of labels on our foods these days. Gluten Free. Organic. Cage Free. Natural. GMO-free. The list goes on and on and ON. With so many labels, it’s easy to stop seeing them when you’re shopping. But one label that I always notice is the ‘Fair Trade Certified’ label. And, when I do see that label, I try to stop and think about the people behind the label, the farmers benefiting from that product.
Two of those people are Miguel Romero Martínez, 22, from Tlapa, Guerrero, and Lucía Simón Mariano, 18, from Veracruz. Miguel and Lucía have an adorable two-month old daughter named Dulce Yamilet. Miguel’s family has been living permanently in the Chula Vista II residential area within Divemex’s La Veinte Agricultural Complex in Culiacán since 2006, while Lucía first came to Sinaloa with her parents in 2010. Divemex is a produce cooperative in Mexico that grows bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers. Both Lucía and Miguel are now employees, have an apartment of their own and currently Miguel is the recipient of a Fair Trade-sponsored employee scholarship as he studies open adult junior high school.
The Martinez-Hernandez family, whose first language is Nahuatl and originally come from Tlapa, Guerrero, is one of the most successful cases of migrant families from Southern Mexico, with numerous family members employed by Divemex and recipients of Fair Trade-sponsored scholarships. Currently, two family members receive open adult education scholarships while two others receive stipends given to children of employees. All must keep a monthly B+ average in order to maintain the scholarship status.
From Left to Right: Miguel Romero Martinez (22, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient), his wife Lucía Simón Mariano (18, employee) with two-month old daughter Dulce Yamilet, Floriberto Romero Martinez (16, Junior High School scholarship recipient as child of employee), David Romero Martinez (20, employee), Andres Romero Martinez (24, employee, open adult Junior High School scholarship recipient, and only indigenous member of the Ten-person Fair Trade council at Divemex), Ana Martínez Peralta (family matriarch and employee), Heidi Hernandez Martinez (8, elementary school scholarship recipient as child of employee) and Felipe Hernandez Guerrero (employee, father of Heidi, and step-father to the four young men).
Don’t you love seeing their pictures and hearing just a small part of this family’s story? It’s kind of amazing. Plus, in learning about this family I discovered that fair trade doesn’t just apply to non-perishable goods but to produce, as well. Very cool!
Fair Trade USA sent me a box of goodies (which I will also be giving away in just a minute) and challenged me to use some of the ingredients in a recipe. As I was gearing up to make our weekly supply of granola bars, I decided to change the bars up a bit. So, here’s the deal. We love our chocolate chip granola bars so much I can’t bring myself to change the flavor. But, this week, I decided adding more chocolate would not be a bad choice.
I added fair trade cocoa powder from Lake Champlain Chocolates as well as barkTHINS dark chocolate pumpkin seed bark with sea salt to the granola bars instead of boring chocolate chips. The result was SPECTACULAR. As I was making the granola bars, I realized that I had fair trade brown sugar, fair trade coconut oil and fair trade vanilla to use in the recipe as well. These granola bars are pretty soundly fair trade!
Before we get to the recipe, let’s do a giveaway! One of you lucky commenters will get the same package of fair trade goodies I received, including products from Equator, Guittard, barkTHINS, Lake Champlain Chocolates, LÄRABAR, Traditional Medicinals, Dang Foods, Numi Tea, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, Eco Lips, Alter Eco, Badger Balm, Third Street, Celestial Seasonings, SunSpire, Nourish Organic and the book Where Am I Eating?.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway!
- Leave a comment on this post by Midnight PT on 10/31/14.
- Bonus entry: Click here to repin this granola bar recipe on Pinterest! You need to specifically repin this pin and please leave a separate comment below indicating you’ve done so.
- Bonus entry: Follow Fair Trade USA on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you are following!)
- Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook (leave a separate comment indicating you are following!)
Time for granola bars! Happy Fair Trade Month!
Tuesday, September 23
In case you’ve been wondering what it takes to make a perfect barbecue chicken pizza, well, today is your lucky day.
So, what does it take? If you’ve eaten at pretty much any pizzeria that serves good barbecue chicken pizza, you probably already know the answer: cilantro. Also, mixing gouda cheese in with the mozzarella is pretty much your ticket to pizza heaven.
Also #2…can we go back to the whole naan-bread-as-pizza-crust trick I recently discovered? I am completely and totally addicted and have been making pizza like it’s going out of style. Nothing beats my homemade crust (detailed post coming one day soon, I promise!), but, seriously, the naan bread thing is KILLER.
Without further ado, the non-recipe recipe for PERFECT barbecue chicken pizza. Enjoy!
Perfect Barbecue Chicken PizzaPrep timeCook timeTotal timeCilantro is the key to truly killer barbecue chicken. Also, gouda. You're welcome.Author: Jane MaynardIngredients
- Good barbecue sauce (I use one a sweet BBQ sauce for flavor contrast)
- Grilled chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
- Thinly-sliced red onion
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
- Shredded gouda cheese
- Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Spread pizza crust with barbecue sauce. Scatter chicken and red onion evenly then top with mozzarella and gouda cheeses.
- Cook pizza until cheese is melted and bubbly. After taking out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
Tuesday, September 16
My mother-in-law Pat claims she’s not a good cook, but I wholeheartedly beg to differ. Some of my very best cooking tricks, tips and recipes have come from her. And some of my favorite non-recipe “recipes” come from her. Pat has a knack for making easy-to-prep food taste really good.
Today I’m sharing one of those non-recipe recipes. It is seriously beyond easy with only 3 ingredients. The recipe is a little old school, i.e. there is canned cream-of-whatever soup involved. I rarely buy canned soups, but I certainly do for this chicken recipe! The chicken comes out so tender and juicy, and the stuffing cooks perfectly, soft and yummy where it touches the chicken with a nice crunch around the outside.
Tuesday, September 9
A few months ago I was thinking that naan bread would make a good crust for quick pizzas. I wrote it on my “to try” list and then ignored the list all summer. Then, this week, I picked up the America’s Test Kitchen magazine “6 Ingredient Recipes” (which is on newsstands now until October 20 and it’s great!) and guess what they had as one of the recipes? Naan pizza! I decided to finally get my act together and give it a try.
This past Sunday I was planning to make homemade pizza. I have really perfected the pizza-making process (not to brag or anything) and was looking forward to having pizza for dinner. (Here is my crust recipe – I will also be doing a full post about making homemade pizza soon, so keep an eye out.) But Sunday ended up being really busy as well as ridiculously hot. I simply didn’t feel like turning my oven on at 550º F for 2-3 hours. So, I broke out the naan bread and fired up the grill!
Naan bread works perfectly as a pizza crust. Following the technique below, it gets nice and crispy on the bottom but still has some chew, and it’s just so quick and easy! Making the naan pizzas on the grill worked beautifully, but I also cooked one in the oven and that worked great, too. If I had to choose I would go with the grill, but you can’t lose either way!
Naan pizzas are also a great lunch option – I made one for myself yesterday in the toaster oven and it was quick and painless!
For the record, I love my homemade crust more. But these naan pizzas are still pretty amazing and are perfect for when you need a good homemade pizza cheat!
Pizza flavors pictured: Barbecue Chicken (BBQ sauce, chicken, cheese and cilantro tossed on after cooking) and Honey Goat Cheese with Caramelized Onion
Wednesday, September 3
Confession: I’m not that into fruit pies, cobblers or crisps. I mean, they’re okay but not my first choice. Nate, on the other hand, goes weak in the knees over a good apple crisp and loves those other fruity desserts almost as much. That’s really saying something because he rarely goes weak in the knees over food. This is just another of the many ways in which he and I are complete opposites! (Shout-out to the ever wise Paula Abdul.)
But there are a few fruity desserts that I can get on board with. This Apple Bavarian Torte is one of them. The recipe has been hiding on my blog since Day One, but I have never written a post about it or photographed it for you. Honestly, I’m usually making this torte late the night before Thanksgiving so photographing has never been an option!
Since autumn is in the air I decided it was a good time to finally give this apple recipe the attention it deserves. It is SO GOOD. Even this apple dessert hater loves it.
A friend named Sarah gave me this recipe nearly 15 years ago. (Sarah is also the one who gave me the pizza crust recipe that I still use to this day. I sure am glad I met Sarah!) Sarah got this apple Bavarian torte recipe at a Pampered Chef party and that’s about all I know about it. Well, besides the fact that it’s amazing.
Tuesday, August 5
The last night we were in New Hampshire this summer we were planning to build a fire and make s’mores. But then we got lazy and didn’t feel like doing the whole fire thing. But we did still feel like doing the whole s’more thing, especially since we had amazing chocolate bark and homemade coconut marshmallows from the Granite State Candy Shoppe that needed to be s’morified stat.
I was suggesting that maybe we just microwave a few s’mores. This does not make for the very best s’mores in the world but the technique works when you find yourself in a s’more emergency, which I’m sure happens all the time. My sister-in-law Hannah, however, suddenly had a stroke of genius, and that genius was quickly named the S’Morrito (she’s good with words like that). The grill was still fired up from dinner and she figured wrapping s’mores up in foil (s’mores that look like burritos…s’morritos…get it?) and throwing them on the grill should work pretty well. It actually worked great.
Not only is this a great way to make s’mores, but it’s an especially great way to serve s’mores at a party. Here’s what I recommend:
- Set up a s’mores bar, complete with graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows, as well as a bunch of pieces of aluminum foil and a Sharpee marker.
- Everyone then makes their own s’mores, wraps the uncooked s’mores in foil and puts their initials on the foil with the marker.
- Put all of the completed s’morritos on the grill and, voila, s’mores everyone can enjoy at the same time!
As for the taste, I’m sure some of you have questions. Yes, s’morritos taste good. Yes, the warmed graham cracker is actually totally and completely wonderful. Yes, the marshmallow gets a little browned on the edges even in the foil. Yes, your s’mores will be totally gooey but who cares because they’re supposed to be. Yes, the marshmallow and chocolate heat very evenly. Yes, I may never make s’mores the old way again. (Fair warning: the s’mores are hot and super gooey when you first take them off the grill. If you let them cool for 5-10 minutes, they become less so.)S'Morritos!Prep timeCook timeTotal timeS'Mores on the Grill - a great way to serve s'mores to a crowd!Author: Jane MaynardRecipe type: DessertIngredients
- Graham crackers
- Chocolate of your choice (I've stopped buying Hershey's bars and we use Dove chocolates now - it's just that much better. And, if you really want to go gourmet, buy some super fancy chocolate like we did in NH. It's kind of amazing.)
- Heat grill on low. (If you want to try this in your oven, go for around 400º F)
- Place graham cracker on the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Layer with chocolate then marshmallow then another graham cracker. Wrap carefully so you don't break the crackers inside.
- Place on grill chocolate side UP, close grill lid and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Open grill, flip s'morritos then cook for another 2-3 more minutes. (Experiment with the time based on how hot your individual grill gets.)
- Remove from grill, unwrap and dig in.
- The s'morritos are especially gooey when it comes to s'mores since everything is warm and melted. You can dig in right away, but you've been warned. If you let them cool for 5-10 minutes, they may be a bit more manageable. If you decide to eat them hot off the grill, be sure to lift them out of the foil by lifting from the bottom so as to avoid squishing all the good stuff out before you even take a bite!
Wednesday, July 9
I’ve mentioned my wonderful neighbor Ari a few times. She is from Mexico and gives me tips for cooking Mexican food that make my life happy. The latest is a recipe for salsa that she got from one of her aunts the last time they visited family in Mexico.
Ari and I were sitting by the pool and she said, “My aunt made some salsa. It’s my favorite. And it’s soooo easy.” She then told me how to make this magical salsa. I asked her to repeat it a few times and then, of course, emailed her later to ask her to write it down. This is basically what happens every time she shares a recipe with me – I make her repeat it a million times and then have to call her and/or email her multiple times before I get it down. Don’t you wish I was your neighbor?
Okay, so, for real, this salsa is easy, simple and delicious! It has a rich, smoky flavor and the perfect amount of heat (well, at least I think it’s perfect). Most of the kids didn’t try it because they were scared it would be too spicy, but my brave little Anna dug in. She described the salsa as hot and then proceeded to tell us how she has a “sensible tongue.” It was so cute. In terms of “hotness,” I would consider this a hot salsa. Depending on the heat of your particular serranos and what your final proportion of tomatoes to chiles is will determine exactly how hot it ends up being, but, even with those variations, it’s a spicy salsa. My dad, my sister-in-law and I ate almost all of it in one sitting. I can’t wait to make this salsa for Nate when we get home from traveling!
I’m sure you could add onions and garlic and cilantro and yummy stuff like that. But, honestly, the beauty of this recipe is its simplicity, so just go with it!
Serrano SalsaPrep timeCook timeTotal timeMy friend Ari shared this recipe with me - her aunt made it for her in Mexico. Enjoy!Author: Ari Serra's AuntServes: 1 cupIngredients
- 3 tomatoes (my tomatoes were a little smaller than normal, so I used about 9 tomatoes)
- 3 chiles serranos
- salt, to taste
- Cut the tomatoes in half and place them cut-side down in a pan. (I used a non-stick pan and would recommend that.)
- Cut off the stems of the serrano chiles and place them whole in the pan with the tomatoes (no cutting or seeding necessary!).
- Cook the tomatoes and chiles over high heat to burn them. Ari said about 3-4 minutes per side, but I think it took mine more like 5-10 minutes per side. You will see little brown and black spots on the tomatoes and chiles when they are ready to come off the heat. You cut the tomatoes in half and put them on a pan with the chiles (chiles are complete with seeds). The tomato skins will also start to peel off.
- Remove from heat, put everything in the pan in a blender and blend well. Season with salt to taste, probably about ¼ - ½ teaspoon.
- As Ari said, "Habemus salsa!"
Posted by Jane Maynard at 5:32 am 8 Comments
Categories: featured recipes, Recipes, side dishes, simple side dishes Tags: chiles serranos, mexican food, salsa, serrano peppers, tomato recipes, tomatoes |
Tuesday, June 17
A few weeks ago my parents were staying at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach (the same hotel we stayed at a few years ago and LOVED). My mom was a head honcho for a work meeting they were holding at the hotel, so the Hyatt delivered a cheese and charcuterie tray to the room as a gift. Lucky for my mom we were all there to help her eat it! (Don’t worry, we left her a few bites.)
On the tray was a jar of sweet tomato jam. Between the six of us, the jar was empty by the end of our snacking and, ever since that day, I’ve been thinking about that tomato jam. Then my friend Gaby mentioned on social media that she was going to do a bruschetta bar for a party, which I then decided to do for my lip sync battle party last Friday night, giving me the perfect excuse to finally try a sweet tomato jam recipe myself.
Not to brag, but the tomato jam I made was just as good as what we had at the Hyatt. And thank goodness since I pretty much constantly crave it now.
The recipe is really simple but oh-so-scrumptious. The only labor-intensive part of the process is prepping the tomatoes, which isn’t hard, just a little time consuming. But it is WORTH IT. And, for those of you into canning, tomato jam can be canned, although you may want to follow the original recipe on Epicurious that has twice as much sugar and, therefore is more conducive to preserving. (Thanks to commenter Alice and my friend Aimee for input on this!)
So, what is tomato jam good for anyway? Everything! It’s a great topping for bread and pairs beautifully with all kinds of cheeses. It’s also a great condiment for just about anything – sandwiches, burgers, whatever your heart desires! It’s sweet but with a savory flavor to it. It’s basically pure deliciousness.
I found the recipe on Epicurious but cut waaaaaaaay back on the sugar. My jam was still super sweet so I can’t even imagine what their recipe would taste like!
Tomato JamPrep timeCook timeTotal timeAdapted from EpicuriousAuthor: Jane MaynardRecipe type: AppetizerServes: 2 cupsIngredients
- 4 pounds plum or heirloom tomatoes (I used a variety of heirlooms, all different colors!)
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika (smoked paprika if you have it)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Make an ice bath in a separate bowl and set to the side. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water in batches, boiling for about 1 minute. Remove tomatoes from the boiling water and place directly in the ice bath. Remove the skins by hand right in the ice water, leaving the skins in the water. I would empty the ice water bowl between batches. By removing the skins in the ice water bowl you cut down on some serious messiness in the kitchen!
- Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise, seed them, then chop into pieces.
- Place chopped tomatoes in a large pot. Mix with sugar and stir well. And let stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Bring tomatoes and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook for 15 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper and parika and cook until thickened, about 10-15 more minutes.
This post was sponsored by Q Squared NYC. Pictured: The Heritage Small Bowl and the Cool Montecito Tapas Plate. I am as addicted to my Q Squared Dishes as I am to this tomato jam, by the way!