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Category Archives: Appetizers/Snacks

Chicken Parm Sandwiches

December 16, 2015

chicken-parm-sandwichesThis meal is a favorite one in our house- well one of the favorites amongst many! My husband loves chicken parm in all forms. He loves it with spaghetti and as a sandwich. My daughter loves the chicken cutlets I make for the chicken parm. I love making it as well as eating it. I love cooking marinara sauce at home. It makes the house smell warm and cozy, especially on a cold evening. The mixture of tomatoes, onions and garlic makes me really happy! Good thing about making a big batch of marinara sauce is that I can re-use it for other meals that week or freeze it for later. I usually make pasta primavera with the leftover marinara. The chicken cutlets are very versatile as well. I usually make extra since my daughter loves them so much- she says the cutlets taste just like the chicken nuggets she used to have when she was younger. The chicken tastes extra delicious because of the marinade I use before breading it.
I love using really fresh crusty rolls for the sandwich part of this dish. In this case, I found rosemary focaccia rolls. I thought they would go really well with the chicken and the sauce and they did! I also like to toast the rolls with a little drizzle of olive oil. The other flavor enhancer I use is a whole clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the toasted roll gives it a mild and subtle garlic flavor! The sandwich was bursting with flavor! I served it with mixed greens and beer!

Chicken

  • 4-5 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4-inch thick. You can use either a meat mallet or a rolling pin.

Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients in a small bowl and marinate the pounded chicken breast for 4-5 hours.

Breading

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded low moisture part skim mozzarella cheese
  • 4 Rolls- sliced in half
  • 1 garlic clove- whole
  • Olive oil to drizzle on the rolls

Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and a pinch of salt. On a third plate, combine the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup grated Parmesan. Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip both sides into the egg mixture and dredge both sides in the bread-crumb mixture, pressing lightly. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan and cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts.
Lay the cooked chicken pieces in an ovenproof casserole. Ladle spoons of marinara sauce over all the chicken pieces. Add the shredded mozzarella on top and bake for 5-10 minutes in a 350 degrees oven until cheese is melted. In the same oven, place the open rolls drizzled with olive oil. Toast for 3-4 minutes and rub a clove of garlic on all the rolls. Once the cheese is melted, place the chicken pieces on the toasted rolls and serve!

Indian Style Latkes

December 6, 2015

Here is my take on potato latkes… Happy Hanukkah!

  • 2 large russet potatoes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 2 green onions, minced
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 2-3 tablespoons chickpea flour (all-purpose flour will be fine)
  • ½ cup extra light olive oil heated to about 200 degrees.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Place a small lined cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Line a large mixing bowl with a cheese cloth. Grate the potatoes in the cloth and squeeze all the liquid out and put back into the bowl. Add the shallots, green onions, ginger, chile, cilantro, egg, salt and the coriander powder. Slowly add the flour, mix well until the mixture is thick.
Scoop the mixture with a ¼ cup measure. Place it gently in the hot oil and flatten it with the back of the cup measure. Cook on medium high heat for 4-5 minutes on both sides or till golden brown. Take out on a platter lined with paper towels, drain well and place in the oven to keep hot.
Serve with cilantro cream or apple chutney.

Makes 9-10 medium sized latkes.

Latkes1 Latkes

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Cilantro Cream

  • ½ cup low-fat sour cream
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 teaspoons salt or to taste

In a blender, add the sour cream, cilantro, lime-juice and salt. Blend till smooth- you may need to add a couple teaspoons of water to start the blending process. Take out in a small bowl and serve with the latkes.

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Apple Chutney

  • One large honey crisp apple, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ cup apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • Salt

In a small saucepan, add the apple, cider, vinegar, sugar, cloves, ginger, cayenne pepper and salt. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook the apples till they are soft and the liquid is half the amount- about 10 minutes. Smash the apples with the back of a ladle and mix with the thickened liquid. Cook for another 5 minutes and take out in a bowl and serve with the latkes.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

August 3, 2015

Simple summer salad!

  • 1 cup small mozzarella balls, sliced in half
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic glaze
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • ½ cup basil, chopped

Add the mozzarella balls, tomatoes, garlic, balsamic glaze, oil, salt, pepper and basil in a medium bowl. Mix well and check for seasonings. Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Grainless Granola

June 23, 2015

If you are gluten free or just want to cut back on grains, etc, this is a delicious granola to have on hand all the time. I was buying a really delicious one from Whole Foods but it was expensive and so I thought why not make it at home!! I am not gluten free but I like to cut back on grains, etc where ever I can… so my usual lunch of yogurt and fruit is delicious with a handful of crunchy, yummy granola!

  • 1 cup raw sliced almonds
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup raw pistachios, chopped
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and keep aside. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add all the ingredients to a glass measuring cup and microwave for a minute. Mix well and add to the nuts. Transfer the ingredients to a large lined cookie sheet. Spread and bake for 20 minutes.

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

Take the granola out and add the pumpkin seeds, mix well and return to the oven and bake for another 5 to 6 minutes. Take out of the oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Chicken Tikka

April 1, 2015

Simple, healthy and juicy chicken tikkas!

  •  1 lb chicken-either boneless breast or thighs cut in small pieces
  • Marinade
  • 1 Cup low fat sour cream
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 inch piece of ginger
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tsp salt
  • Juice of one big lemon
  • Oil to drizzle

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Blend all the ingredients in a blender and marinate the chicken for at least
3-4 hours (over night is preferable). Take the chicken out of the marinade (save the marinade) and place on a cookie sheet, drizzle some oil on the pieces. Bake for about 15 minutes and turn the pieces and drizzle some more oil. Cook the pieces for another 15 minutes.  (If using chicken breast, be careful not over bake) Bring the saved marinade to a boil and serve as a sauce with the chicken.

Coconut Shrimp

March 22, 2015

Coconut ShrimpThis dish is worth reposting. I used the recipe this past weekend for a dinner party I was having. I thought it would be fun to post the dishes I made… next time you want to have a dinner party and cook Indian food- you may want to use this menu…I changed it up a bit by adding sliced onions- made it super delicious…

 

This dish is truly delicious! I made it the other day- concocted it in my head the day before I was supposed to cook and take it to my friend’s house.

She was having a get together and wanted to know where to get a few meat snacks for a cocktail party. I suggested we cook at home instead. It is so hard to find a place that makes and delivers yummy food. Also, by the time they bring the food over, it’s cooked and cold and doesn’t taste the same reheated. We decided I will cook the shrimp and take to her house. I decided to do a stir fry style dish which will taste good room temperature as shrimp is not so tasty reheated.

There used to be a South Indian restaurant in Edison, NJ that served delicious seafood. We would go once in a while and make it a point to order a shrimp stir fry for appetizer. It was yum! It had cumin and fennel seeds amongst other ingredients. I started to think of that dish and got inspired to make the coconut shrimp.

I roasted the cumin and fennel seeds and powdered them in a spice grinder. I also had fresh frozen shredded coconut which I roasted as well- just to give it more of a crunch in the dish. Store bought, packaged coconut can be substituted for the dish.

The overall flavor was enhanced by the marinade- which was simply lemon juice, garlic, salt and olive oil. I sauteed the marinated shrimp with the spice mix and added the coconut. Very simple, yet very tasty.

It was a big hit at the party. This dish will definitely be part of my repertoire going forward. Give it a try- you won’t be disappointed!
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Spicy Pear Compote

February 4, 2015

Winter entertaining can be fun- especially if one makes a delicious, cozy stew with lots of crusty bread and red wine! I love serving a big plate of cheese before hand and like to make a fresh compote to complement the cheeses. I made this one with pears which are in season. I added some smoked paprika and chipotle pepper to make them a bit spicy….. delicious!!!

  • 2 Bosc pears, diced
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
  • ½ cup cilantro

Transfer the pears, apple cider, vinegar, honey, salt, paprika and chipotle powder to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for about 15 minutes or till most of the liquid has evaporated. Let cool and add cilantro. Check for seasonings and serve with cheese and crackers.