Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Spicy Chicken Lettuce Wraps

7-8 large Romaine lettuce leaves
4 chicken breasts, cut into strips
15 – 17 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 (red or yellow) onion, diced
3 Tbsp. chili garlic sauce (I used a basic Vietnamese sauce found in the Asian food
section of the grocery store)
1 c. red cabbage leaves, chopped
1 c. Spinach leaves, chopped (or chiffonade)
¼ c. cilantro, chopped
¾ Tbsp. chili powder
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
1 ½ tsp. dried thyme
1 lemon
1 ½ Tbsp. olive oil

Heat olive oil in large skillet on stove top. Cook chicken strips and onions together. Stir and cook, turning chicken over to brown all sides. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder and dried thyme. Just before chicken is finished cooking, add chili garlic sauce and continue stirring and cooking for about a minute or so.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine tomatoes, cabbage, spinach leaves and cilantro. Once chicken is cooked through, remove from pan and toss with vegetable mixture. Scoop into Romaine leaves. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Back by Popular Demand: Triple Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes

I had a request to re-share this amazing recipe from last August. Believe me, try this one once and you’ll be hooked! You’ll definitely be making it again and again.

Triple Chocolate Mini-Bundt Cakes


2 c. all-purpose flour
¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder (plus extra for dusting cake pans)
1 ½ tsp. espresso powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 ¾ c. granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. Gainey Vineyard Pinot Noir wine
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache
4 oz. baking chocolate
1 c. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray inside of baking pans (whether you’re using mini cake pans or 8x8 rounds) and dust with cocoa powder. Set aside.

In large bowl of stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat again until combined. Add one egg at a time and beat well after each. Add vanilla extract and wine. Mix well.

In separate bowl, sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix well between each addition.

Once all the dry ingredients have been added, mix in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan(s) filling each well ¾ of the way full (if using mini-Bundt cake pan).

Bake for about 35 minutes or until toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and allow to cool. If cake has puffed up and over cake pan, use a serrated knife to gently slice off excess so cakes will sit flat when removed from pan. Run a butter knife around each cake to loosen it from the pan. Invert a large baking sheet over the mini-Bundt cake pan and turn cakes out onto the pan.

For ganache: use either a double boiler or a heavy pot filled 1/3 of the way with water and a glass bowl on top. Place the baking chocolate in glass bowl over pot with water. Let the water come to a boil and melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat and pour in heavy cream. Whisk until fully incorporated and ganache is creamy and smooth.

Carefully spoon over ganache over tops of each cake.



Friday, January 27, 2017

Panko Crusted Chicken Thighs

I used Gainey Vineyard's Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard for this recipe for an extra tang - SO good! I just love when great flavor and great texture meet up for that YUM factor :)

Panko Crusted Chicken Thighs

4 chicken thighs, skinless, bone-in
½ 8.5oz. jar of Gainey Vineyard Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard
1 c. Panko bread crumbs
¾ c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 ½ Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Traditional Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 375°

Evenly distribute olive oil in baking pan and set aside.

Pour mustard in small bowl.

In separate bowl combine bread crumbs, Parmesan and Italian seasoning.

Coat both sides of each chicken thigh in mustard, then coat in bread crumb mixture.

Arrange evenly in baking pan (I love using a cast iron skillet for this dish).

Bake about 45 minutes until golden brown and juices run clear.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Shrimp and Veggie Stir-Fry

This was so good - it was my lunch AND my dinner!! :) Delicious shrimp paired with fresh vegetables, tossed in a flavorful, homemade sauce with chow mein noodles....it doesn't get much better than that :)

Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry


3 Tbsp. corn starch
½ c. cold water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. paprika
1 ½ Tbsp. Hoisin sauce
¼ c. low-sodium soy sauce
3 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Pear Balsamic Vinegar
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

12 oz. bag shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (I used the frozen
kind found in the freezer section, thawed)
1 medium head of broccoli, chopped (florets and stems)
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ red bell onion, diced
1 med. zucchini, diced
6 oz. pkg Chow Mein stir-fry noodles
2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Sesame seeds, optional

Combine all sauce ingredients in medium bowl. Whisk and set aside.

Cook chow mein noodles according to package directions. Drain.

In a wok or large, deep skillet over medium high heat, melt butter with sesame oil. Pour in chopped broccoli and diced bell pepper, onion and zucchini. Cook and stir 4-5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes.
Pour sauce over the top and stir well to evenly distribute. Cook and stir for another minute or two.

Either pour mixture over chow mein noodles or add the noodles to the wok if you prefer.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

Serve hot.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Creamy Red Potato Soup

So, I have a new favorite soup! This creamy, dreamy comfort-in-a-bowl concoction will definitely bring lots of smiles around the dinner table. A big pot of this would be perfect for game day, a cold, rainy day or really ANY day of the week. Enjoy!!

Creamy Red Potato Soup

6 red potatoes, diced small
5 slices of bacon
½ yellow onion, diced small
1 stalk of celery, diced small
2 green onions, diced small
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. milk (I used 2%)
¼ c. plus 2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 c. heavy cream
8oz. bag Italian 5 cheese blend
1 tsp. Creole seasoning
Salt and pepper


Put diced potatoes in medium pot. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp. salt and bring to boil. Allow to boil until fork tender. Remove from heat and drain.

Meanwhile, cook bacon over medium low heat in large stock pot. Remove bacon from pot. Allow to cool, then crumble into small pieces.

Add diced yellow onion, green onion and celery to bacon drippings. Stir and cook until almost done, then add garlic. Stir and cook for about a minute.

Whisk in sour cream, heavy cream and milk. Add Creole seasoning.

Add potatoes and bacon and stir well. Stir in the cheese blend.

Simmer and stir occasionally for about 30 minutes. Serve hot. (NOTE: This soup will thicken as it simmers. Add a little milk as needed to thin to the desired consistency).


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Sourdough Mini Loaves

(Pictured here - I used Gainey Vineyard's Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard for a delicious addition to this ham and provolone sandwich). 

Yes, it's another bread recipe, LOL. I can't help myself. Baking bread has become an absolute passion of mine. I have played around with this recipe since Christmas when my son gave me my sourdough starter.

These little mini loaves are a great sandwich size, AND this is the same recipe I use for baguettes.

This is an easy recipe to put together. The dough is smooth and wonderful to work with. I hope you'll give this recipe a try and I especially hope you will come to enjoy bread baking as much as I do.

Sourdough Bread (mini loaves)
(Note: This recipe used sourdough starter. You can either order it directly from King Arthur Flour, or visit their site for the recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-starter-recipe)

1 ½ c. sourdough starter
1 c. warm milk (about lukewarm - too hot and it will kill your yeast)
1 ½ tsp. sugar
2 ½ tsp. yeast
1 Tbsp. salt
3 Tbsp. melted butter
3 c. all-purpose flour (+ ½ c. more if needed for dusting)
1 egg
2-3 tsp. heavy cream

Pour sugar and warm milk in large bowl of stand mixer and whisk until sugar is dissolved. Sprinkle with yeast. Let it sit undisturbed for about 15 minutes until “bloomed” and frothy.

Add starter, salt, melted butter and all 3 cups of flour.

Fit mixer with dough hook and mix/knead for several minutes until all ingredients are fully combined and dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface. Dough will be sticky. Add a little flour while kneading, but no more than ½ cup. Knead dough about 10-15 times (don’t overwork it).

Place dough in large bowl that’s been thinly coated in butter. Turn dough over so all sides are coated in butter.

Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour. (I like to turn the oven on to the warm/proof setting and then turn it off again).

After dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto lightly-floured surface and knead a few times. Separate into two loaves or leave as one large loaf. For this recipe, I cut the dough into 8 equal portions. I lightly buttered my mini-loaf pan and placed the dough in each loaf well. Form into desired shape (round, 1 baguette or 2, in a cast iron skillet, mini-loaf pan, etc ).

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rest about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 °

In small bowl, beat egg with heavy cream and brush over the top of each mini loaf. Use a sharp knife to cut diagonal slits across each one. Place pan on the middle rack in preheated oven and bake about 50 minutes or until crust is browned.

(TIP if making baguettes: on the stove top, boil a couple cups of water in an oven-safe skillet, like cast iron. Place pan of water in the bottom of the oven when bread is baking for a crunchy crust).


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Tuna Salad in Romaine Leaves

I put this recipe together for Gainey Vineyard using their Lemony Dill Seasoning. I've shared many recipes using their delicious seasoning mixes mainly because, 1: they are ALL SSSOO GOOD, and 2: they're so versatile! You can take a simple, everyday recipe and definitely amp up the WOW factor just by simply adding a little of their amazing goodness. If you haven't checked out the pantry items on their web site, you really should take a minute to "go shopping." You'll be so glad you did: HERE

Tuna Salad in Romaine Leaves

2  4oz. cans chunk (light) tuna in water
1 celery stalk, diced small
½ red onion, diced small
¼ c. dill pickles, diced small
1 ½ Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Lemony Dill Seasoning
¼ c. mayonnaise
2 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3-4 Romaine lettuce leaves

Combine diced celery, onions and pickles in medium bowl. Stir in Lemony Dill seasoning.

Add both cans of tuna and stir to break up large chunks of tuna.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Fold in mayonnaise and boiled eggs.

Serve on lettuce leaves (Tip: spread tuna evenly on lettuce leaves, fold it over and eat as a wrap).


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

2 Recipes in One: Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard Sauce and Brandy-Glazed Carrots

Tender pork chops baked with tangy Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard from Gainey Vineyard accompanied by delicious carrots cooked and then tossed in a butter, brandy, brown sugar glaze - 
 hot, hearty and good to the bone!

Pork Chops in Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard Sauce

5-6 pork chops, thin cut, bone in
½ c. butter, melted
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper
4 Tbsp. Gainey Vineyard Roasted Garlic Champagne Mustard
2-3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. corn starch
¼ c. cold water

Preheat oven to 375°

Combine melted butter, poultry seasoning, onion powder, salt and pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in small bowl. Whisk until smooth.

Coat both sides of pork chops.

Arrange in 9” x 13” baking dish.

Cover with foil and bake at 375 for 1 hour.

After an hour, remove foil. Transfer pork chops to a metal baking pan (if using a glass baking dish). Place on top rack in oven and broil for another 4-5 minutes until browned.

Mix corn starch with water and add to remaining pan drippings. Whisk until thickened and pour over meat. Enjoy!

But wait! There's more! Check out my delicious carrot recipe below:

Brandy Glazed Carrots

6 medium carrots, sliced
¼ c. butter
½ c. light brown sugar
½ c. brandy
1 ½ tsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
½ tsp. dried thyme

Place carrots in medium pot. Add enough water to cover carrots and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Partially cover with a lid and allow to cook about 8 to 10 minutes until carrots are tender.

Meanwhile, in small pot melt butter and brown sugar. Whisk until smooth.

Very carefully pour in brandy. Allow alcohol to burn off and reduce heat.

Stir until thickened. Add parsley and thyme.

Drain cooked carrots and pour brown sugar brandy mixture over the top. Stir well to coat. Finish it off with a little extra parsley, if desired.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Quick & Easy Dinner Idea: Chile Relleno Casserole

I remember "helping" my mom make chile rellenos when I was young and for some reason, I've been craving them. Of course, it's been many years since we made them together, and I sort of forgot the process. This casserole version is a somewhat simplified way to achieve that same great flavor without the fuss.

I love the combination of flavors in this dish, and I know you will, too!

Chile Relleno Casserole

2 10oz. cans whole green chilies
8oz. Monterey Jack cheese, grated
8oz. Sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
5 eggs
¾ c. milk (I used 2% reduced fat)
½ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 °

Lightly grease a baking dish (I used my 10-inch cast iron skillet for this recipe) with a little butter, margarine or cooking spray. Set aside.

Remove chilies from the first can. Use a sharp knife to slice down one side to “butterfly” them. Arrange them evenly across bottom of the baking dish (or skillet).

Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese over the top.

Open the second can of chilies and do the same butterflying them and layering them over the cheese.

Sprinkle ½ of remaining cheese over top of chilies.

Meanwhile, crack eggs into medium bowl.

Add milk, flour, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

Use a hand mixer to mix ingredients until well combined.

Pour egg mixture over top of chilies and cheese. Top with remaining cheese and place in preheated oven. Bake 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Fabulous French Croissants

One of the (many) things I’ve decided to do this year is to expand my food-related knowledge by enrolling myself in some short-term cooking and baking classes. I was so happy to find the great variety of classes offered at Sur la Table.

I went ahead and registered for the “Fabulous French Croissants” class in Woodland Hills and learned SO MUCH in about 2 ½ hours. Chef Kate Silberling was awesome! Knowledgeable, personable and down-to-earth, she taught me that to make a recipe a success not only requires the right ingredients, but also the right technique. And after coming home and spending the next couple of days cranking out 2 batches of these things, I couldn't agree more.

So, if you're intimidated by tackling the big-scary unknown, DON'T be. Jump in! Endeavor to learn something new. You'll be so glad you did :)

Click HERE for full recipe and instructions!