Vinaigrette with Maple Syrup – the new Salad Dressing you’ve been looking for

photo (5) photo (11) photo (8)photo (11)photo (5)I got this dressing from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook and it is very easy and very tasty.  Everyone is always looking for new dressing for their salad. The reason I was attracted to this one was because I had never used maple syrup in a salad dressing before. How bad can it be if it has maple syrup in it??? It’s delicious. This recipe was originally posted in 2011 when I discovered the recipe and has gone on to be an absolute staple in our house. Make it your new “go to ” salad dressing and you won’t be sorry. Using all staples that we all should have in our pantry.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (I use Grey Poupon and probably heap those teaspoons)

2 teaspoons real Vermont Maple Syrup

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons Canola or Vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, and vinegar in a bowl. Slowly whisk in the oils, and season to taste with salt and pepper. I probably add about 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and if it needs more I add a bit, and then a few turns of the pepper mill.

Roast Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Dressing – Weeknight Salad

DSCN0069photoI was in the mood for something light for dinner and wanted to make a dressing with buttermilk since I had it in the house and wanted to use it.  I picked up a roast chicken from the market because I was very pressed for time.  I grabbed some beautiful romaine, but I know this would be perfectly awesome with kale or any greens you would like to use.  In any event I used romaine this time. I removed the skin from the chicken and shredded it with my hands. Just used romaine, tomatoes, chicken and dressing. Next time out I add avocado for sure and would love some bacon in this salad.  This is an awesome lunchtime salad and so easy to pull together for a light dinner meal and mix in whatever other veggies and ingredients you’d like.  Dressing is killer and only 3 Tablespoons of Buttermilk! This is also awesome if you have leftover chicken and don’t know what to do with it.

This dressing should be good for at least 4 servings. Feel free to double it.

Ingredients:

Buttermilk Dressing:

1 clove garlic

1 egg yolk ( let egg sit out at room temperature) just not really cold

3 tablespoons of buttermilk ( low-fat is fine)

1 tablespoon whole grain mustard

1/4  teaspoon kosher salt and a few grinds of the pepper mill (you can always add more salt if you would like)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup olive oil

*feel free to double

Combine all ingredients except for olive oil in the blender including salt and pepper . Keeping blender on , add olive oil from the top in a slow stream until well incorporated.

Put salad greens, avocado , chicken and any other vegetables you’d like in a large bowl. Add dressing (start small)  and mix salad adding dressing as needed.

Ginger, Honey Soy Salmon

Another recipe from Jessica Seinfeld that we enjoy. This is a wonderful recipe which is very tasty and very light. And did I mention easy? Very easy with very few ingredients. 5 ingredients including the salmon.

I made it this time with roasted brussels and rice pilaf .

Perfect weeknight meal or any night meal.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs. skinless salmon fillets — I like to have it cut from the center so they’re the same size

1/3 cup soy sauce– I like to always use low sodium

2 Tablespoons Honey

2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice — juice from probably 1/2 an orange

1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger ( app. one inch piece maybe a little more) if you absolutely cannot get fresh ginger use about a 1/2 tsp.. powdered ginger

Directions:

Place the salmon fillets in a large ziplock bag.

In a liquid measuring cup measure the soy sauce, then add the 2 Tablespoons Honey and fresh orange juice.

Using a vegetable peeler peel the ginger, cut off any small knobs before you peel. Grate the ginger then add to the soy sauce mixture. Whisk it all together.

Reserve 3 Tablespoons of the mixture and set aside. Pour the remaining mixture over the the salmon in the bag , squeeze the air out of the bag and seal the bag and put in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes ( flip it over half way through so both sides get marinated ) don’t marinade too long — I marinaded for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile spray or line a sheet with aluminum foil — this is a sticky marinade so pan will burn — I sprayed .

Heat the broiler with oven rack app. 4 inches from the top.

Place Salmon on the prepared pan and discard the marinade from the bag. Broil until the top of the salmon starts to char– 5-6 minutes depending on your broiler. Pull out the pan and spoon the rest of the soy marinade over the salmon and broil for another minute or so. The salmon should be blackened in spots but not burnt. ( see photo)

You can check for doneness by inserting the tip of a paring knife into the thickest part of the salmon. If it flakes easily but still has a darker orange center it’s done. If not broil for another minute.

I like my salmon medium rare to medium. If you like it cooked more, you can broil it until it is the same color throughout.

www.jessicaseinfeld.com

Cashew Chicken

This cashew chicken recipe with stir fried chicken and roasted cashews in garlic sauce tastes like take-out from your favorite Chinese restaurant. It’s a perfectly easy weeknight meal and I added Jasmine Rice but any rice will do .

It is pretty healthy and if you don’t have all the ingredients just improvise — if nuts are an issue leave them out and add some crunchy cut up water chestnuts. You can also add baby corn , broccoli or peppers or whatever vegetable you have in the house and would like to use. Sometimes I add the vegetables and sometimes I don’t– totally up to the cook. This is the basic recipe and add or don’t whatever you’d like.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup roasted unsalted cashews

1/4 cup water

2 teaspoons cornstarch

4 Tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 Tablespoon soy-sauce

1- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, cut into 1 – 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil

6 medium garlic cloves, minced

8 scallions — 1 bunch white and green parts separated , cut into 1 inch pieces — a rough chop and I like the flavor of the green onion but use as much or as little as you like or none at all

2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar

1/4 teaspoon Asian Sesame Oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Place the cashews on a baking sheet in a single layer, toast in the oven until fragrant –app. 5 minutes. Set aside they will crisp up as they cool. Be careful — as soon as you smell them take them out because they will burn up quickly

Prepare the sauce in a small bowl; whisk together the water, cornstarch, hoisin sauce and soy sauce–set aside

Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and with clean hands make sure chicken is coated as evenly as possible

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil till very hot. Add half of the chicken to the skillet and stir-fry until lightly browned but not cooked through, about 4-5 minutes should be good depending on the thickness of the chicken.  Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of the vegetable oil to the skillet –then add the remaining chicken, garlic, and white parts of the scallions. Stir fry until the chicken is lightly browned but not cooked through ( app. 4 – 5  minutes). Return the first batch of the chicken to the pan with the rest of the chicken. Turn the heat down to medium and add the rice vinegar ; cook for a few minutes to allow vinegar to evaporate. Add the sauce mixture to the chicken; continue cooking and tossing until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is nicely thickened — a few more minutes to thicken and be hot.

Remove from the heat, stir in the scallion greens, cashews and the sesame oil.

Delicious served over Jasmine Rice , brown rice, white rice whatever you like. Perfect with simple steamed broccoli stirred in or stir fry the broccoli right in there with the chicken!

 

Shrimp Marinara

I made Marinara Sauce last week and had it in the freezer but if you don’t want to make your own try and get a hold of some Raos Marinara Sauce in a jar you’ll be just fine. Raos is my go-to jarred sauce when I need sauce and don’t have my own. Making your own is super easy but I know not everyone wants to do it. I have some recipes on my site for making your own. Look for Sunday Night Red Sauce ( Marinara) .

I made this for the 2 of us and this is what I did if you have more people just increase ingredients. No exact science here and you can make changes to suit your own preferences. I had left overs and would say that a pound of shrimp with pasta should serve 3-4 nicely. I used 1/2 a box of pasta but for more than 2 you would use a whole box and maybe increase amount of shrimp.

I used Bucatini type spaghetti because we like the ropy texture but you can use any spaghetti you like or no pasta or use zucchini zoodles.

Perfect Sunday Night Dinner or any night Dinner.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 lb. Shrimp — I used app. 12 large shrimp for the two of us –peeled and de-veined

4 Whole garlic cloves, peeled and minced

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Marinara Sauce — I made my own but probably 1/2 a jar or more depending on how much sauce you like–I love Raos Marinara or Arrabiata Sauce ( spicy version)

Spaghetti –any type you like for the two of us I used 1/2 a box but if you make the whole box it’s great leftovers the next day

*Basil is really nice served chopped up in this but I didn’t have any

*crushed red pepper is a must for us but also totally optional

Directions:

I pat the shrimp dry after cleaning and de-veining it and place in a bowl and sprinkle salt and pepper and mix around with the shrimp — or lay out the shrimp on some paper towels and sprinkle S and P , just make sure you get salt and pepper all around the shrimp– I like a bowl but it really doesn’t matter.

Heat 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 minced garlic cloves and cook till golden not burnt if heat is too high turn it down the garlic cooks very quickly so sometimes I will put in hot oil and remove from heat till garlic turns golden and softens.

I then add the shrimp into the hot oil and cook the shrimp but not all the way through– maybe 2 minutes on each side you’ll want the to start curling and turn pink around the edges. When shrimp is cooked set aside shrimp in a dish– If you’re making double the amount of shrimp don’t crowd the shrimp in the pan you want them to sear not steam

Prepare the Pasta according to the box directions– I prefer it al dente.

After you remove shrimp pour the marinara sauce into the pan and bring to a low simmer stirring up any small bit from the shrimp. I added crushed red pepper because we like it spicy this is totally optional.

When pasta is ready I put shrimp into the simmering marinara sauce and probably cook for app. 4 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp. Obviously if you’re using small shrimp this will cook faster you’ll have to watch it.

I plated up the pasta added sauce and shrimp and served immediately

 

 

Roasted Salmon with Corn and Tomatoes

Sometimes you just need to lighten up the meal and I find Salmon always does the trick . It is filling enough without that full feeling when you’re done eating . This Salmon dish is light but satisfying in every way. This is what I did and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. This will become your new favorite way to eat salmon.

*this recipe should serve 4 nicely–easy to cut in 1/2 for 2

Ingredients:

I asked for 6 oz. fillets– just make sure they are the same size and I like from the middle of the salmon not the end–you will need 4 for 4 people. One fillet for each person

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper

1 small container of cherry or grapes in any coloration you’d like-halved

2 cups frozen or fresh whole kernel corn

2 tsp. olive oil

1 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. lime zest

1 Tbsp. Lime juice

1 tsp. honey

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion — I used a shallot this time because I didn’t have a red onion in the house

*if you love it snip some fresh cilantro in there at the end –while I love cilantro I don’t always have it to add and have to say equally as delicious

*also makes for delicious leftovers

Directions:

Pick up Salmon from your local fish store or Whole foods type of market

I rinse the salmon off and pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 15×10 baking dish with aluminum foil or spray with your favorite cooking spray and I prefer to just spray and it’s fine but if no cooking spray then use aluminum foil.  Place fish in prepared pan. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. kosher salt over salmon and about 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper–you will have to eyeball it but the salmon needs salt and pepper it’s a question of how much. Lightly sprinkle.

In a medium sized bowl combine tomatoes, onion/shallot,  corn, oil , chili powder, cumin and a little more salt and pepper ( app. 1/4 -1/2 tsp. more salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper) Toss to coat. Spread tomato mixture around the fish in the baking pan. Roast uncovered, app. 15-18 minutes or until fish flakes easily and is cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of your fish so you should check on it after 15 minutes.

Meanwhile in a small bowl , stir together lime zest, lime juice, and honey

When fish is done to your liking remove fish to a platter. Brush fish with honey mixture. Add  cilantro to tomatoes in pan, stirring gently to combine all ingredients. Top fish with tomato mixture and if you’d like a little more cilantro this would be a good time to add it.

Lemon Couscous with Chicken and Peas

photo (11)  Lemony couscous with grilled chicken and peas!!! Love it!!! It was so easy using very few ingredients and very yummy!   I used chicken breasts and threw them on the grill pan with a little olive oil , salt and pepper. If you really want to make this easy you can use a store-bought rotisserie chicken. You can also substitute any grain of your choice. I happen to love the Israeli couscous ( pearl couscous), it’s not as mushy and has a better texture for this dish especially. I also like to use organic lemons when I’m using the zest of a lemon. If it’s just the juice of a lemon I don’t get as nuts but I have to say I prefer the organic ones when I know I’ll be eating the skin of the vegetable or fruit.  The flavor of the fresh lemon is just wonderful . 

Enjoy this one!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous ( pearl)

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

Zest of 2 large lemons ( organic)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1/2 – 1 teaspoon kosher salt ( start with less and you may need to add a little more) the parmesan is salty, and you’re salting the chicken.

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

4 green onions, chopped

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb. thin chicken breasts, a little olive oil and salt and pepper or use a rotisserie chicken breast

Directions:

On a baking sheet, brush chicken breasts with a little olive oil and lightly salt and pepper. The thin cutlets grill up very quickly app. 3 minutes per side. Grill and set aside . I cut chicken up into small pieces before adding them to couscous. You can also cut up thicker chicken cutlets into 2 inch pieces and using a grill pan or frying pan cook them the same way ( olive oil salt and pepper) I like to put chicken in a bowl glaze them with olive oil and s and p and then cook them.

In a large saucepan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the couscous and cook until lightly toasted , 2-3 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered until the couscous is tender but still firm to the bite, app. 8 minutes.

I then stirred parmesan cheese into couscous along with the green onions, peas and cut up chicken. Taste for salt and pepper.

I plated it up and we totally enjoyed!

Easy Israeli Salad

This salad is so delicious and fresh and works so well with grilled chicken, fish or really any protein.

I just love it for lunch or dinner and it’s so easy that anyone can do it. Add in feta cheese, olives, or canned chick peas to add to this wonderful deliciousness.

Whatever and whenever you decide to serve this it will be most wonderful.

Just a word about making ahead… I chopped and diced all the vegetables and put in a bowl and put in the fridge. I juiced my lemon and had it set aside. Right before serving I added olive oil and lemon juice stirred it up well and tasted for salt and pepper.

If you add oil and lemon juice too soon it will be very soggy and I don’t like it that way at all. So just have it all ready to serve and add dressing right before.

Ingredients;

this is what I used feel free to substitute or add in whatever you’d like. ( Canned Chick Peas are also delicious in this) Olives, Scallions, Feta Cheese, whatever you feel like.

1 Large Seedless Cucumber or remove the seeds from a seeded one or just keep the seeds if you don’t care

1 box grape tomatoes halved

1 yellow pepper, diced or an orange one. I used orange and yellow about 1/2 and 1/2

1/2 cup diced red onion

2 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley , chopped

2-3 Tablespoons Olive Oil– I used 3 but you can start with 2 add the salt and pepper and add for more flavor after

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together all the vegetables. Add the lemon juice, olive oil and chopped parsley and mix thoroughly to coat.

Season with Salt and Pepper to your liking. Serve cold or at room temperature. I like it cold but it’s delicious either way.

Clams and Spaghetti–White Sauce

I made this recipe for the first time back in 2014 and highly recommend it for a quick and delicious meal.IMG_6286IMG_6287 (2)IMG_6283 (2)It is super easy and not intimidating at all. I got the recipe from Jessica’s Seinfeld’s book The Can’t Cookbook .

http://www.doitdelicious.com this is Jessica Seinfeld’s site or you can just buy the book “The Can’t Cookbook”.

Ingredients:

2 dozen littleneck clams

3 cloves garlic

app. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc. I actually used what I had open which was a Pinot Grigio

1 box spaghetti, you can use any kind of spaghetti you like. I actually had bucatini style in the house so that’s what I used

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil

*if you’d like a little heat and you should know your audience because mine didn’t so I put on table for those who wanted to add heat. If you are adding add app. 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Kosher Salt , to taste. I have to say I added almost no extra salt at all.

You’ll need a large deep pot to cook clams in. I used my Le Creuset Pot.

Directions:

I placed my clams in a colander and I put the colander in a larger bowl in the sink and I filled the bowl with cold water. I let the clams soak for a few minutes, then rubbed with my fingers to dislodge any dirt; then drained the clams. Throw away any clams that remain open or were smashed. ( my clams were pretty clean) I purchased them clean from Whole Foods. Any Fish Store will clean them for you, but always run them through this process to remove any residual sand, etc.

Smash the garlic and chop it . Chop the Parsley. Measure the Wine. Place all your ingredients near to the stove.

Cook Pasta according to directions on box.

Place a large pot on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Pour in 2 Tbsp. of Olive Oil until it heats up and shimmers ( a few minutes) Add chopped garlic to the pot, and cook , stirring , for at least a minute, until you can actually smell the garlic breaking down. Don’t Burn!!!! Now add the wine and the clams and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and you’ll want a fairly high flame, probably medium-high . Cook clams until they open, I probably cooked for about 10 – 12 minutes. Looked so beautiful! Add the parsley and the red pepper now if you’re using. Throw away any unopened clams, they are no good.

Once pasta is al dente and drained I transferred to a large serving bowl and added 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil to pasta, top with clams. Sprinkle if you’d like a tiny bit of coarse salt now if you feel it needs it. I did not need to add any additional salt or pepper. Adjust to your taste.

Amazing!!!! and did I mention Super Easy!!!!!

Springtime in a Bowl – Shrimp, Asparagus and Tomato Pasta

Since it is really Spring it just makes you want to lighten up the menu a bit and my mind immediately goes to asparagus!  This recipe is a variation on my Summertime Tomato Pasta. I wanted to use some of those beautiful asparagus out there. Even though I knew Joel would pick them out , I still made this dish. The asparagus are large enough for him to easily pick out and put on my plate. This dish is light and delicious and pretty quick to prepare. It is like springtime in a bowl!  There are so very many things to do with asparagus but this just appealed to me  and if you leave the shrimp out you have a lovely vegetarian pasta dish and if you leave the pasta out you have a super light dish!  I used the shrimp.  I also used linguine in this recipe because it just seems to hold on to the flavors nicely. Happy Spring and Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 lb. box linguine ( I used Fini Linguine , it was lighter than regular linguine and was just perfect)

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 pint size containers of little grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or any small tomato ( app. 16-20 oz. of tomatoes)  I cut tomatoes in 1/2.

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper

* crushed red pepper ( we like the heat) use your own discretion depending on how you like it, totally optional

3 large cloves of garlic, chopped finely

1/2 cup dry white wine ( I use whatever I have open)

1 lb. Asparagus , trimmed, stalks cut on a diagonal into app. 1 1/2 inch pieces

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

fresh basil chopped ( app. 1/2 cup)

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to box directions.( Fini Linguine cooks in 6 minutes perfectly)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the tomatoes, app.  1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and app. 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes are soft , it takes at least 5 minutes . You want the tomatoes to start to burst so they make a delicious sauce.  Add the crushed red pepper and garlic. Cook for another few minutes ( don’t burn the garlic)keep on low heat and stir around. Add the wine and the asparagus. Bring to a low boil and simmer for at least 5 minutes . Taste for Salt and Pepper, if it needs more this is when I would add it, and I did. I added a bit more salt here, pepper was fine. You need to use your own discretion about the salt .

Sprinkle shrimp in a bowl with a little salt and pepper. Add the shrimp to the pan and continue to simmer until the shrimp is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Shrimp needs to be firm to the touch, and opaque if cut into. Stir in the chopped basil and the oregano.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and toss well to combine.  You can always add more crushed red pepper when finished.

This was really delicious and light. Joel of course picked out every piece of asparagus, and put them in my bowl. That was fine with me because I love asparagus.

*this dish will easily serve 4, if you like you can always add another 1/2 lb. of shrimp for 4 people.