Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

Spinach Salad with Japanese Ginger Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons minced onion
  • 3 tablespoons peanut, or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach, (see Note)
  • 1 large carrot, grated
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
  • 1 small can of mandarin orange sections (drained)
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

 

  1. Combine onion, oil, vinegar, ginger, ketchup, soy sauce, garlic, salt and pepper in a blender. Process until combined.
  2. Toss spinach, carrot and bell pepper and mandarin oranges with the dressing in a large bowl until evenly coated.

Mushroom-Beef Noodle Soup

Mushroom-Beef Noodle Soup

  • 1/2   ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1   cup boiling water
  • 2   teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2   cups chopped celery
  • 1 1/2   cups chopped carrots
  • 3   cloves garlic, minced
  • 1   pound cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 1/2   cups chopped onion
  • 1   pound boneless sirloin, or flank steak, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2   tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2   cup dry red wine
  • 1   tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 6   cups reduced-sodium beef broth
  • 1   large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1   bay leaf
  • 1/2   teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2   teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4   teaspoon salt
  • 2   cups whole-wheat egg noodles, cooked
  • 1/2   cup chopped fresh parsley, or dill for garnish
  1. Place porcini in a bowl; add boiling water and soak for 10 minutes to soften. Line a sieve with a paper towel, place over a bowl and strain, reserving the liquid; finely chop the porcini and set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook celery, carrots and garlic, stirring frequently, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Add cremini and onion; cook over medium-high heat, stirring, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
  3. Add steak to the pot and cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes; add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine and Worcestershire and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Stir in the porcini and liquid, reserved vegetables, broth, turnip, bay leaf, thyme, pepper and salt; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in noodles. Garnish with herbs, if desired.

Tonight I’m serving the soup with artesian crusty bread a fresh garden salad and fruit compote.

Chicken Breast with Roasted Chile-Mango Sauce

Chicken Breast with Roasted Chile-Mango Sauce

  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced shallot, (about 1 medium)
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seed
  • 1-2  dried red chiles, such as Thai, cayenne or chili de arbol, stem end removed (see Note)
  • 1 medium mango, ripe, slightly soft, peeled (see Tip) and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound Boneless Chicken Breast
  1. Position oven rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler. Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, coriander and chile(s); cook, stirring, until the shallot begins to brown and the spices smell fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shallot mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil and mango. Process until almost smooth (it will be slightly gritty from the bruised coriander seed). Transfer the sauce to a small bowl; stir in 1 tablespoon cilantro.
  3. Combine garlic and salt in a small bowl. Spread the salted garlic on top of the chicken. Place the chicken, garlic side up, on the prepared broiling pan. Broil, 3 to 4 inches from heat, until opaque in the center, 8 to 14 minutes, depending on the thickness. Serve the Chicken topped with the sauce and sprinkled with the remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro.

Tonight I’m plating the chicken with steamed rice, green beans, fresh garden salad and fruit compote.

Tips:

Note: Fresh and dried chiles vary widely in spiciness depending on variety and seasonality. Smaller varieties are generally hotter. What makes chiles hot, capsaicin is found in the inner membrane and seeds. Add chiles with caution when cooking, tasting as you go. Tips: To peel and cut a mango: Slice both ends off the mango, revealing the long, slender seed inside. Set the fruit upright on a work surface and remove the skin with a sharp knife. With the seed perpendicular to you, slice the fruit from both sides of the seed, yielding two large pieces. Turn the seed parallel to you and slice the two smaller pieces of fruit from each side. Cut the fruit into the desired shape.

Steak with Merlot-Peppercorn Steak Sauce

Merlot-Peppercorn Steak Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup Merlot wine
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the mushrooms, garlic, and peppercorns, and sauté until the mushrooms are tender. Pour in the wine, balsamic, and Worcestershire sauce, increase the heat to medium-high, and reduce by 1/3. Stir in the rosemary and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.

Serve over favorite grilled steak cook the way you like it.

Tonight I’m serving with garden salad, tater-tots, Lima beans and fresh fruit compote.

Rosemary & Garlic Crusted Pork Loin with Butternut Squash & Potatoes

Rosemary & Garlic Crusted Pork Loin with Butternut Squash & Potatoes

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, or 1 tablespoon dried
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1  2-pound boneless center-cut pork loin roast, trimmed
  • 1 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup port, or prune juice
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine rosemary, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a mortar and crush with the pestle to form a paste. (Alternatively, finely chop the ingredients together on a cutting board.)
  3. Coat a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Place pork in the pan and rub the rosemary mixture all over it. Toss potatoes with 2 teaspoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; scatter along one side of the pork.
  4. Roast the pork and potatoes for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, toss squash with the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a medium bowl.
  5. Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Carefully turn the pork over. Scatter the squash along the other side of the pork.
  6. Roast the pork until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 155°F, 30 to 40 minutes more. Transfer the pork to a carving board; tent with foil and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. If the vegetables are tender, transfer them to a bowl, cover and keep them warm. If not, continue roasting until they are browned and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more.
  7. After removing the vegetables, place the roasting pan over medium heat and add port (or prune juice); bring to a boil, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Simmer for 2 minutes. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes to intensify the flavor. Add any juices that have accumulated on the carving board.
  8. To serve, cut the strings from the pork and carve. Serve with the roasted vegetables and pan sauce.

TIP: By placing the potatoes along one side of the roast and the squash along the other, you have the flexibility of removing one of the vegetables if it is done before the other.

Wok-Seared Chicken Tenders with Asparagus & Pistachios

Wok-Seared Chicken Tenders with Asparagus & Pistachios

  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, tough ends trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces (see Tip)
  • 4  scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon oyster-flavored sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chile-garlic sauce (see Tip)
  • 1/4 cup shelled salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

 

  1. Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add chicken; cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. Stir in scallions, ginger, oyster sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring, until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Stir in pistachios and serve immediately.

 

Tonight I am serving over a bed of fettuccine, and a salad of mixed greens with mandarin orange  sections with a citrus-balsamic dressing.

TIP:

Chicken tenders, virtually fat-free, are a strip of rib meat typically found attached to the underside of the chicken breast, but they can also be purchased separately. Four 1-ounce tenders will yield a 3-ounce cooked portion. Tenders are perfect for quick stir-fries, chicken satay or kid-friendly breaded “chicken fingers”. Chile-garlic sauce is a blend of ground red chiles, garlic and vinegar and is commonly used to add heat and flavor to Asian soups, sauces and stir-fries. It can be found in the Asian-food section of large supermarkets. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 year