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  1. Tuesday, October 7

    Cozy Chicken Mole Rojo

    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.)

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    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.

    recipe for mexican chicken mole rojo by @janemaynard

    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.

    (>> Find out more…)


  2. Friday, July 19

    Blueberry Breakfast Salad and Why Alison Sweeney and I Should Be Besties

    A month or so ago, a company reached out to see if I could attend a fun event in Los Angeles, where I would have the chance to meet and interview Alison Sweeney. Because of the move I couldn’t go to the event. And then, the very day of that event, I received an email from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council to see if I would like to interview (you guessed it) Alison Sweeney! For real, the gods want us to be besties. Hopefully Alison gets the memo, too!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

    Our family loves blueberries, especially Miss Cate, so I was more than happy to work with the Blueberry Council and ask Alison a few questions! July is National Blueberry Month. (I think we should all eat lots of muffins to celebrate.) The council and Alison Sweeney are spreading the word about how dynamic blueberries are and how they can add energy and flavor to our daily routine. To find out more about these Little Blue Dynamos, click here to visit their website!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

    As I was poking around the blueberry website myself, I came across a recipe for a Blueberry Breakfast Salad. I was intrigued by the idea of getting greens into our breakfast routine and clicked through. The recipe for the salad dressing caught my eye and I knew I had to give it a try. People, this dressing is SO GOOD. The salad was good, too – I loved the sweet crunch of granola mixed in. However, the dressing is the real find here. It is surprisingly savory, with just a hint of sweetness from the blueberries. Nate and I had several salads this week! (See recipe below!)

    Back to my new best friend Alison. Here is our interview!

    Jane: What is your favorite savory dish that uses blueberries?

    Alison: Hands down – Blueberry Turkey Burgers! My kids love the tangy blueberry surprise, such a burst of flavor in the burger. Plus, you feel very “Master Chef” preparing them – blueberries are the secret ingredient!

    Jane: How do you fit in exercise as a busy, working mom? (I know that question seems so cliché, but I really am so curious what your techniques are!)

    Alison: You must make it a priority to take care of yourself. Put your workouts on the calendar to ensure you make time to work out. Sometimes I’ll have time for a quick run, other times I’ll be able to take a spin or yoga class. If I can’t work out, I make sure I adjust my nutrition accordingly.

    Jane: Kids will be kids…how do make sure they eat their healthy foods? (Again, sort of cliché, but would love your insight!)

    Alison: Getting my kids involved in the kitchen is really important to me because eating habits form at a young age. One of our favorite hot-summer-day activities is making smoothies. Not only are they nutritious, they’re also easy and fun. Here’s a quick and easy blueberry smoothie recipe we love.

    Here are a few more tips from Alison about kid-friendly recipes (something I am always thinking about!):

    Now, for real, go eat some muffins and put this recipe in your recipe box!

    blueberry breakfast salad | thisweekfordinner.com

     

    Blueberry Breakfast Salad
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Salad
    Ingredients
    • Mixed, torn salad greens: 2 pounds
    • Blueberry Vinaigrette: Recipe follows
    • Fresh blueberries: 4 cups
    • Fresh orange sections or canned mandarin oranges, drained: 4 cups
    • Granola : 2 cups
    Instructions
    1. Toss salad greens with 1½ cups of the Blueberry Vinaigrette. Divide the dressed greens among eight large plates. Arrange ½ cup orange sections and ½ cup blueberries on top of each salad. Sprinkle each salad with ¼ cup granola. Drizzle remaining dressing on top and serve immediately.

    Blueberry Vinaigrette
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Salad Dressing
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup olive oil
    • 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 2 teaspoons minced shallot
    • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    Instructions
    1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and process until mixture is smooth. Chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. Makes 2 cups.

    Please visit the Blueberry Council on FacebookTwitterYouTube and Pinterest for more inspiration and feel free to share how you plan to #BeDynamic this month!
    Thank you to the Blueberry Council for sponsoring this post. I was compensated for my work but, as always, all opinions are my own.


  3. Tuesday, January 12

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood

    Have you heard of the Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks? If you have a vegetarian friend (or you are a vegetarian) who likes to cook, then you probably have. I can’t believe how many vegetarians in the last week have recommended various Moosewood Restaurant cookbooks to me. I think it’s time to go cookbook shopping. (Click here to read more about this interesting restaurant.)

    moosewood restaurant's pasta primavera from @janemaynard

    My friend Nikki made Pasta Primavera for us one night and it was divine. I couldn’t wait to get the recipe and she happily shared. It’s from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook, which she said is her favorite of their books. If you want to buy it, click here.

    Let me warn you, this dish is a labor of love. Chopping all those vegetables takes time…especially if you add  more vegetables than the recipe calls for like I did. But it is an excellent dish, is super healthy, and if you’re only feeding 4 people like me you will have tons of leftovers. Blanching the vegetables as indicated in the recipe makes for perfectly cooked veggies.

    One more quick tip…I had some Tuscan Tomato Soup leftover when I made this pasta. Pouring a bit of that soup over the pasta was oh so good.

    Pasta Primavera from Moosewood
     
    My friend Nikki discovered this fabulous and filling vegetarian recipe and shared it with me. I will be forever grateful to her!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Vegetarian
    Ingredients
    • 6 garlic cloves (Nikki sometimes uses more)
    • 2 tsp olive oil (Nikki sometimes uses more, I think I did more like 2 Tbsp.)
    • 3 cups chopped tomatoes
    • ¼ cup dry white wine
    • ½ – 1 tsp salt (I’ve added this because it definitely need more salt, and if you add at this point with the sauce I think it will diffuse through the ingredients better than seasoning at the end)
    • ½ cup sliced fresh basil leaves (slice them crosswise)
    • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
    • 2 small carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks
    • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki leaves this out, I kept it in)
    • Handful snow peas, cut in half width-wise (Nikki & Jane addition)
    • Handful sugar snap peas, cut in half width-wise (Jane addition)
    • Handful green beans, cut into 2-inch lenth pieces (Nikki and Jane addition)
    • 2 small zucchini, cut into 2-inch matchsticks (Nikki likes summer squash better)
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
    • salt and ground black pepper to taste
    • 1 pound fettuccine or butterfly pasta (farfalle)
    • ¼ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
    Instructions
    1. Bring a covered pot of water large enough to accommodate a colander or steamer basket to a boil (neither Nikki nor I have one of these setups, so we use a slotted spoon to scoop the veggies out of the hot water when it’s time). Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oil in a saucepan for about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, wine and salt and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the basil and red onions, cover, and remove from the heat.
    2. When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables. (If you prefer to steam the vegetables, allow 3 minutes between each addition of vegetables). Put the carrots in first. After 1 minute, add the asparagus and bell peppers (if doing snow peas, sugar snap peas and/or green beans, toss them in at this point). After another minute, add the zucchini (or summer squash) and peas. Cook for 1 minute more and then lift out the colander and all of the vegetables and set aside to drain. Reserve the pot of boiling water for cooking the pasta. Stir the vegetables into the tomato sauce. Add salt and pepper (if needed). Cover and set aside.
    3. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Toss the pasta with the reserved cooking water and 3 tablespoons of the grated cheese. Top with the tomato-vegetable sauce. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve immediately.

    moosewood pasta primavera2 web