Saturday, April 30, 2011

Barbeque Chicken Turnovers

This recipe is another quick one, similar to the calzone recipe I posted a while back. In this case, the inside consists of cooked chicken, onions, barbeque sauce, and shredded cheddar. I used frozen whole wheat pizza dough again, which is a real timesaver.


  • 1 recipe pizza dough (I used frozen whole wheat), divided into 4 pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. barbeque sauce
  • 1/2 lb. cooked chicken, cut into small pieces or shredded
  • 1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese

If using frozen dough, thaw according to package directions. Divide into 4 pieces and roll each into a thin rectangle. Brush each rectangle with about 1 Tbsp. of the barbeque sauce. Top half of each rectangle with onion, chicken, and cheese. Fold the other half of the dough over to form a triangle. Press to seal the edges of the dough.

Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes, until golden.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Lentil Salad with Strawberries and Asparagus

Today it feels like summer here in NoVa: muggy and hot. Ugh, who said we could skip spring??? I didn't feel like heating up the house any more than necessary, plus it's meatless Monday, so I decided on a salad for dinner. We were out of town for most of last week, so I took a look in the pantry and found some green lentils. Combined with leftover asparagus and strawberries from Easter dinner, I put together a yummy, healthy meal in no time.

For the lentils:

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried mustard
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 C. vegetable broth
  • 1 C. green lentils
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes, until they start to soften. Add the garlic, mustard, and thyme and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the stock and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the broth is absorbed and the lentils are tender, about 25 minutes.
For the salad:
  • salad greens
  • 1 C. asparagus, gently cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 C. sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 C. sliced cucumber
  • goat cheese
For the dressing:
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp. maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
Once the lentils are finished cooking, let them cool slightly. Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Arrange the other salad ingredients in bowls. Top with the lentils and goat cheese, then drizzle with dressing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stuffed Cinnamon-Raisin French Toast

This is a fancy breakfast, perfect for a holiday, that is really a cinch to make. To save time, I used a store-bought loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread, but sometime I'd like to try to make my own.


  • 1 loaf of cinnamon-raisin bread, thickly sliced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • 4 oz. mascarpone
Mix the eggs and milk in a shallow bowl. Heat a griddle over medium heat. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter on the griddle. Dip the slices of bread into the egg and milk mixture, allowing the excess to drip off. Cook on the griddle for about 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly, and cook the rest. When all of the french toast has been prepared and has cooled slightly, spread half the slices with the mascarpone. Cover each with a second slice, like a sandwich. Cut in half and serve with maple syrup.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Salmon Cakes and Light Potato Salad

This is a super simple dinner for a hectic weeknight.

For the salmon cakes, in a small bowl mix 6 oz. of canned salmon (I like the kind in the pouch - no draining required); 1/4 cup of mayonnaise; 1 beaten egg; 1/2 an onion, finely diced; 1/2 tsp of garlic powder; 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper; and 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs. Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Form the salmon mixture into four patties and saute for about 4 minutes per side. We had ours plain, but you could serve it on a roll to make it more like a burger.

For the potato salad, chop 3 medium size potatoes into large chunks (I leave the skin on - just be sure to clean them well first). Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 12 minutes, until the potatoes are fork-tender. Be sure that they don't get mushy! Drain the potatoes and rinse them with cold water. Set aside. In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and 1/2 an onion, finely diced. Add the potatoes and toss, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

I also made a simple green salad to serve on the side. Easy and quick!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Pancakes with Strawberry Syrup

I saw a recipe online for PB&J pancakes. I was worried that the peanut butter might make them heavy, but they are fluffy and delicious. Since fresh berries aren't in season, I used strawberry preserves to make the syrup.

For the pancakes:
1 C. AP flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 C. milk
2 Tbsp. oil
1 egg
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, heated in the microwave for 60 seconds

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Whisk in milk, oil, egg, and peanut butter until combined. The batter will be slightly lumpy. Set aside. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter on griddle. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake on griddle and cook for about 2 minutes or when air bubbles form and break on top. Flip the pancakes over and cook for about 1 minute more. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 12 regular sized pancakes.

For the syrup:
1/2 C. strawberry preserves
2 Tbsp. water

In a small saucepan, heat the preserves over low heat. As the preserves begin to melt, whisk in the water and simmer on low until the pancakes are ready. Cool slightly before drizzling over the pancakes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Banana Bread Pudding

My favorite desserts are often unconventional. Don't get me wrong, I like chocolate, preferably dark, but I tend to go for pies, cobblers, tarts, etc. One dessert that I absolutely love is bread pudding. This one has caramelized bananas in it; it's perfect with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream.


  • 3 bananas, sliced (use firm bananas, if you have them, as they hold up better)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 C. brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 loaf of challah bread, cut into cubes (you could also use brioche or croissants)
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 2 C. half-and-half
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar


In a skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Carefully add the bananas in a single layer, then sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook for about 2 minutes, then carefully flip the bananas over to caramelize the other side. Be gentle or the bananas will turn to mush.

Meanwhile, grease the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Cover the bottom with about half the bread cubes. Pour the bananas over top, then add the remaining bread pieces.

In a large measuring cup, mix the eggs, half-and-half, salt, vanilla, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture over the bread pieces, being sure to push down on the bread to make sure it is all covered. Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

After the bread has absorbed much of the liquid, bake the pudding at 400 for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned and puffy.

Serve hot, with ice cream on top.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Easy Quinoa Salad

Have you ever had quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)? It is a delicious grain, a seed actually, that was originally grown by the Incas in South America. It is full of protein and has a light, nutty flavor. It is a great, healthy side dish, but it makes an even better vegetarian main course.

This salad is very easily customized to what you have on hand. I usually try to use a combination of flavors and textures: sweet, bitter, salty, crunchy, etc. It's a snap to prepare because you just combine everything into individual servings; the only cooking required is the quinoa. Serve the salad with flatbread on the side.

Tonight I used

  • 1 cup of quinoa, cooked according to the package directions (cooking it in broth will add flavor) - this should be enough for 4 servings
  • arugula
  • sliced cucumbers
  • halved cherry tomatoes
  • diced carrots and celery
  • chickpeas
  • currants
  • sliced green olives
  • slivered almonds
  • feta cheese
  • lemon-poppy dressing (recipe below)

For the lemon-poppy dressing, whisk together the juice of 2 lemons (about 1/2 cup), 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 tsp. of sugar, 2 tsp. poppy seeds, and salt and pepper to taste.

Note: This probably makes more dressing than you will need for 4 servings. I try not to buy bottled salad dressings, so I just keep the extra in a closed container in the fridge. Then I have dressing available for side salads.