I wanted to give my friend, Danielle, a personalized gift for her birthday; so, I told her I’d make a homemade dinner of her choice–wine included, of course. :) She chose these mini chicken pot pies and boy were they delicious, with a few tweaks to the original recipe. Though the individual ramekins held more than enough food, we both liked the idea of personal pot pies. One thing is for sure–this meal is hearty.
Thank you everyone for your kind words last week. I can’t express how much that meant. Though I’m sure it’ll be tough for a while, my family is doing much better.
It’s finally starting to warm up in LA again, so I decided to make my mom’s Chinese chicken pasta salad. Growing up, I remember my family and I eating this cold pasta by our pool on warm summer days. But since I’m limited to eating the pasta at my work desk now, I’ll just have to pretend that I’m on a comfortable pool chair, clad in my bikini, soaking up the sun. A girl can dream, right?
Italian food is one of my many weaknesses. All of the pasta, bread, cheese….carbs—there’s really not much to complain about.
My mom and I made this Ellie Krieger recipe for zucchini ribbon pasta—a healthier alternative to fettuccine alfredo or pasta with marinara sauce. We made a few alterations to the recipe, and the pasta turned out absolutely delicious with an abundance of flavor. I ate this dish for dinner and even packed it for lunch the very next day.
Last night, I was given the task of choosing and cooking a meal for dinner. I flipped through Giada de Laurentiis’ Everyday Italian cookbook for some inspiration and came across her recipe for chicken cacciatore. I had never made this dish before and suggested the recipe to my mom. She approved of my choice, but suggested I use my Uncle Tom’s recipe instead.
I used his recipe for the dish and couldn’t have been more pleased with the result. After simmering in the tomato mixture for over an hour, the chicken was tender and juicy with an abundance of flavor. The sauce had the perfect combination of spices, all of which complimented each other. When paired with orzo, jasmine rice and green beans cooked with chopped sweet red onion, the meal was even more spectacular.
We devoured the meal while taking turns answering the door for trick-or-treaters. My dog, Chloe, was even in the Halloween spirit. Yesterday, my mom and I spontaneously decided to take her to Petco to pick out a costume. Since we went to the store last-minute, the options were scarce. This, however, made the decision process much easier. We grabbed the last XXL bumble bee costume and called it a day. Chloe was definitely a hit with the trick-or-treaters. Hopefully we didn’t humiliate her too much! Photo of my dog in her costume below.
Before my dinner party last weekend, I tested out a few potential recipes. I felt that Wolfgang Puck’s chicken aioli sandwich had a lot of potential as an appetizer (if cut into small bites) for the party. The recipe turned out somewhat time-consuming, from marinating the chicken to chopping the vegetables and spices.
I was ecstatic, however, with the result. The garlic aioli stood out as the star of the sandwich for me—possibly because I applied a generous amount of the spread on the sandwich. The bite of the garlic in the aioli and the ginger-infused chicken worked wonderfully together. Toasting the ciabatta bread provided the perfect amount of crunch and served as an extra element to the sandwich, in addition to the onion, tomato and lettuce.
What I found most difficult about this recipe was making the aioli. I admit, my first attempt was an utter failure—rather than a mayonnaise texture, my aioli was a bowl full of green oil. I made the mistake of blending the ingredients for the aioli in a large food processor, which was too big of a space to properly blend the mixture.
I complained to my mom about the oil soup I created and as always, she came to my rescue. Instead of using a food processor, I used a small metal bowl and hand mixer for my second try. Before adding the oil to the garlic and egg yolk mixture, I whisked at high-speed (speed 7 or so) until the mixture was thoroughly combined and somewhat fluffy. Next, I began to SLOWLY pour in the oil, while still mixing at high-speed.
After about 5 minutes of mixing, with the oil incorporated, a beautiful creamy aioli stared up at me from within the bowl. I was so pleased that my second attempt was successful—all thanks to my mom. I can now say I know how to make homemade mayonnaise!
The only reason I decided against this sandwich for the party was because of the strong garlic taste from the aioli, which clings to the tongue for an entire night. I figured people wouldn’t want to worry about having garlic breath while socializing with other guests. Otherwise, I highly recommend this sandwich, as it offers a delicious marriage of flavors.
The other night, my brother mentioned that he was craving pizza for dinner. His suggestion inspired me to make homemade pizza, since I was not about to let him make DiGiorno pizza or order from Pizza Hut. I decided to make a pesto pizza topped with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and dollops of ricotta cheese, as well as a bbq pizza topped with chicken, fontina cheese, red onions and cilantro.
Both pizzas turned out absolutely delicious, which my brother and I proved when he moved on to his seventh piece and I onto my fourth.
Pizza making is not necessarily an art. The amount of toppings added and thickness of the crust, for example, is entirely up to the chef. Therefore, I do not have exact measurements for my pizza recipes. I just dumped and sprinkled ingredients until satisfied. As seen in one of the pictures, my bbq chicken pizza did not turn out perfectly circular. But I love that the pies weren’t flawless—the imperfections gave them character.
As a little last hurrah before I got my wisdom teeth out yesterday, I decided to cook dinner for my family the night prior to my surgery—something that I wouldn’t be able to eat for a while. To be honest, I made sure to feast the entire day and indulged in a turkey and avocado sandwich on a freshly baked French roll from my favorite deli by my house.
For dinner, I flipped through one of my mom’s three massive recipe binders and found a chicken dish that I had never made before. I decided on tender chicken breasts stuffed with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and Fontina cheese drizzled with a creamy white wine and Fontina cheese sauce. It was the perfect hearty meal, which was even better served alongside a glass of my favorite pinot noir, La Crema.
As expected, I wasn’t able to eat such a gourmet meal yesterday. My food for the day consisted of some Ramen noodle broth and vanilla frozen yogurt from Golden Spoon. Since my mouth is in pain and it’s difficult to open my jaw, I really don’t have much of an appetite—that’s definitely a rare statement for me to make!
I’m always searching for healthy and savory recipes on the Internet. My mom and brother stumbled upon Robin Miller’s grilled chicken with brie and baby spinach salad recipe a year ago and it has stayed at the front of our cookbooks since. This chicken dish offers salty (bacon/pancetta) and bitter (vinegar) components with various textures, from crunchy (bacon/pancetta) to silky (Brie cheese). What’s even better than the flavor of this entrée is its simplicity. The total preparation and cook time is only about twenty minutes.
I was debating on a light and simple chicken dish to make for my family the other night when I flipped to this recipe in my cookbook. I hadn’t made the dish in a while and figured it would suit all of our requests. As usual, the meal was delectable.
If you want to make this recipe even healthier, feel free to leave off the Brie cheese (or use less) and the bacon/pancetta. Cheese or no cheese, the sauce is what really makes this dish dazzle!