Category: Dinner

Baked Crispy Chicken With Citrus Teriyaki Sauce

Baked Crispy Chicken With Citrus Teriyaki Sauce

No deep fryer needed here because this chicken is 100 % baked! That’s right, it’s made in the oven and it comes out crunchy and crispy every time. It’s perfectly paired with a Citrus Teriyaki Sauce that is great for dipping, or even better just poured right over the chicken.

Japanese panko, the flaky and feather-light breadcrumbs, is the key ingredient to the crisp and the crunch. Each piece of chicken is coated with panko, then lightly covered with cooking spray before it is baked at a very high temperature that results in what looks and tastes like its deep fried…but it ain’t.

Make sure you don’t leave out the Citrus Teriyaki Sauce, and definitely don’t substitute it with another sauce. The chicken may have the crisp and the crunch but it’s really the sauce that makes the chicken taste so amazing. Serve it with steamed rice, over a bed of lettuce, or both. Enjoy!

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Spanakopita – Remembering Spinach (CWF: Nadja and Esmee)

Spanakopita – Remembering Spinach (CWF: Nadja and Esmee)

Do you remember spinach? You know, that green superfood that kinda got pushed to the sidelines when foods like kale and chard started taking center stage as the new trendy superfood? Lucky for you I’m here to remind you how tasty spinach can be, that it’s still packed with a wealth of health benefits, and that there is a popular Greek dish called Spanakopita, or spinach pie, that will make you fall in love with spinach all over again.

I still remember the first time I tried spanakopita. It was in a charming Greek restaurant in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago called The Athenian Room. My college girlfriend (who happened to be Greek) worked there on the weekends, and it wasn’t long before the rest of us became frequent diners. The Athenian Room is famous for their Kalamata Greek Chicken, their signature dish, but for me it was their Spanakopita that had me going back.

Spanakopita is a very popular savory pastry pie in Greek cuisine. It’s made with very thin layers of phyllo dough that is filled with spinach, feta cheese, onions and fresh herbs, all perfectly baked to a lightly brown crust. It’s traditionally made in a large pan and eventually cut into square pie pieces, but I like to prepare mine in small individual triangle-shaped servings so that I can serve them either as a snack, an appetizer or a vegetarian meal.

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Italian Pasta Salad – Make It Your Own

Italian Pasta Salad – Make It Your Own

I fell in love with Italian Pasta Salad the first time I tried it. It’s my favorite kind of pasta salad. I can eat it non-stop and I never seem to get full from it.

Italian Pasta Salad is not known here in the Netherlands, and neither is Italian salad dressing which is the main ingredient you need to make Italian Pasta Salad. But it’s the start of BBQ season, the start of picnic season, and the start of summer potluck parties. I was really starting to crave this Italian Pasta Salad, the salad that I enjoyed so much in the summer season back home in Chicago.

I don’t know why I never bothered to look up the recipe for Italian salad dressing until now. There are tons of recipes to choose from and it is sooooo easy to make. I guess I thought that if it comes in a bottle then it must be the only way you can get it. I was fortunately wrong.  And not only is freshly made Italian salad dressing much tastier, it is much healthier without all the unrecognizable preservatives.

Aside from the favorite choice of pasta for this salad, rotini or fusilli, you can prepare this salad with any of your favorite vegetables. I like mine with broccoli florets and cucumber slices, but you can also add in black olives, sliced pepperoni, carrots, or just about anything you like with Italian salad dressing.  It is, afterall, the kind of pasta salad that is meant to be your favorite.

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Spaghetti with (or without) meatballs

Spaghetti with (or without) meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs is a classic Italian-American dish.  It’s believed by many Americans, me included, as being an authentic Italian dish, but it’s actually an adaptation of Italian cuisine that has immigrated to the American culture. During my childhood spaghetti and meatballs was always a favorite. I didn’t have it too often since my mom traditionally cooked mainly Korean cuisine, but it was always a treat when I had the opportunity to have it at friends’ homes or at restuarants.

Since becoming a mom I’ve been on the search for the perfect spaghetti and meatballs recipe. I wanted to be able to make it from scratch, the sauce and the meatballs. I knew it would be more work but i also knew it was a healthier and tastier option. Spaghetti and meatballs is such a great kid-friendly meal but also a meal that can be enjoyed by adults alike. It was a must in my dinner rotation. Up until recently, there was always something not right with the recipes I’ve tried, but now I have THE recipe.

Try this recipe for your next family meal. It’s also great for a large crowd as you can make the sauce and prepare the meatballs the night before. Just cover the meatballs and keep in fridge until ready to bake the next day. Alternatively you can freeze them and enjoy it at a much later time. The sauce also tastes better the next day. The extra time allows the flavours to blend and mature.

Unlike traditional spaghetti with meatballs where the meatballs are cooked in the sauce, i like to keep the meatballs separate from the sauce. This allows you to offer a vegetarian meal or include the meatballs for the complete spaghetti and meatball experience. The only problem with this is trying to keep my kids from eating up all the meatballs before dinner is served.

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Penne Alla Vodka – A husband favorite

Penne Alla Vodka – A husband favorite

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Myth or not, I am always happy to make meals that my husband loves and enjoys.  Penne alla vodka is no exception. Personally it never appealed to me, but apparently my husband loves it and I didn’t even know it.

A few years ago my husband and I were in Rome. I noticed that with every opportunity he had, for lunch and dinner, he would order the penne alla vodka. I found this a bit strange because after all we were in Italy, the land of pizza, pasta, and antipasto! Why would you subject yourself to just penne alla vodka? When I finally questioned him about it, his response was, ’I love penne alla vodka…it’s my favorite pasta dish.’  After 10 years of being married to him, how did I not know this about him???

As soon as we returned back home I started researching recipes for penne alla vodka. I must say I found THE PERFECT one, the Penne Alla Vecchia Bettola from the famous East Hampton restaurant, Nick & Toni’s.  It’s a premium twist to the standard penne alla vodka.  It is creamy and velvety, but what makes this recipe exceptionally savory and flavorful is the cooking method used for the tomatoes. The tomatoes are first cooked with 1 full cup of vodka (the vodka helps release certain flavors in the tomatoes that are otherwise inaccessible) and then it’s oven-roasted (this concentrates the flavors and releases the natural sugars in the tomatoes, resulting in a deep rich flavor).

If you’re a penne alla vodka fan (or not) you’ve got to try this recipe.  It’s amazingly packed with flavor and simply one of the best pasta dishes, if not THE best, I’ve ever had.

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Penne with Cherry Tomato Sauce – Can You Say ‘EASY’?

Penne with Cherry Tomato Sauce – Can You Say ‘EASY’?

If you’ve never made tomato sauce from scratch before, then the Cherry Tomato Sauce should be your first. It is unbelievably SUPER EASY, using only fresh ingredients.  In this recipe the cherry tomatoes are cooked just long enough to bring out all their juice, which blends with the garlic-flavored olive oil to make a great-tasting pasta sauce. I’ve been making this for years and I still can’t believe how simple and fast this comes together without sacrificing taste and quality.

I came across this recipe years ago one day during work. Yes, I did have a career before becoming a mom, before moving to the Netherlands, and before managing a foodblog. For over 15 years I worked in the housewares industry as a product developer, creating, designing and developing beautiful products for the home. I worked long and hard hours, but back then with no children, well, I just could. I guess you can say I immersed myself into my work, but is it really work when you are having fun?

Anyways, back to how I found this recipe. Every morning at the office for about 15 minutes I looked through a collection of home and lifestyle magazines for inspiration and motivation. Yes, I got paid to look through magazines! It was in the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine where I found the Penne with Cherry Tomato Sauce recipe. What attracted me to this recipe was the simple fact that I knew what all the listed ingredients were, and often times this wasn’t the case for me, being then the inexperienced cook that I was. Little did I know that my lack of cooking skills would land me a great pasta recipe.

For a tomato-based sauce that is fresh and light without the added efforts of making a traditional red tomato sauce, this is it! The Penne (or any other short pasta of your preference) with Cherry Tomato Sauce will be your best friend when you’re short on time to prepare a great dinner.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

The Kimchi Burger

The Kimchi Burger

Being a Korean-American  living in the Netherlands, you can’t blame me for stopping in my tracks when I came across a recipe for Kimchi Burgers. I mean, how Korean-American can you get? I must admit it’s an unusual combination and not a typical way of eating kimchi, and kimchi is obviously not a typical burger topping, but nowadays I guess everything is possible. So I HAD to try it.

To clarify any misconception, this burger is not your standard classic burger with a simple topping of kimchi. In fact the kimchi is only a small element to what makes this burger so unique and flavorful, yet definitely a very important ingredient in which this burger gets its ultimate flavor from, not to mention its titled name. There are actually many elements to this burger (i.e. marinated beef patty, the special sauce, the seasoned slaw and of course the kimchi) that make it complete and delicious. So whatever your feelings are towards the traditional Korean kimchi, it doesn’t really matter when this burger is concerned.

Take it from me who doesn’t even like burgers all that much (I’m a wrap kind of girl), this burger is the tastiest burger you will ever have, and I’m not just saying that because I’m Korean and I like kimchi. It’s not typical American, not typical Korean, and certainly not typical Dutch, but in my family we are the essence of all the above, and we LOVE this kimchi burger!

You can find kimchi in your local Asian market (even at the Asian market in the Netherlands!). Or if you are lucky enough to have a Korean friend, ask them for a small portion. Trust me, they won’t mind a bit. Koreans love to share their love of kimchi.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

Entrecôte Steak Sauce – A Reason To Share (CWF: Albertien)

Entrecôte Steak Sauce – A Reason To Share (CWF: Albertien)

A few years ago my husband came back from a business trip in Paris and he couldn’t stop talking about a Parisian bistro called Le Relais de l’Entrecôte. The uniqueness about this place is that there is no menu. Aside from the dessert everyone in the restaurant is served the same single course menu: a walnut salad, an extra tender sirloin steak with its famous green sauce, and delicious golden thin-cut french fries. Just simply tell your waitress how you like your steak: blue, rare, medium or well done. That’s it…and moments later you will be served the most delicious steak-frites meal ever. What makes this place even more special is the feeling of home you get. Towards the end of your meal just as you are scraping off the last bit of the famous green sauce from your plate a waitress comes by to serve you seconds!

I eventually had the opportunity to dine at a Le Relais de l’Entrecôte restuarant, my first time being at the one located in the Village of Marylebone in London. I must admit it was pretty darn good, and what sets this menu apart from any other steak and fries dish is indeed their FAMOUS GREEN SAUCE. This sauce has well earned its title. It makes all the difference in the steak, even the french fries, and it can turn an ordinary steak and fries into a gourmet meal. My children loved it too, and I was happy to know there is a restaurant all 5 of us enjoy.

So back home, just like my husband after his Paris trip, I also couldn’t stop thinking about this bistro. I knew I needed to recreate this sauce. I wasn’t going to wait for the next time I was in Paris or London to have it again. When I started to do research on this sauce I wasn’t surprised to see many others out there also loved this sauce, and lucky for me they have already recreated their own version of this recipe. My search was made easy and I soon adapted a recipe that tastes just as good, arguably even better than the famous green sauce from Le Relais de l’Entrecôte itself.

Since today is Dutch-American Frirendship Day I invited my Dutch girlfriend, Albertien van Tilburg, to join me in my next MNSDK Cooking with Friends post. As she expressed a need for a recipe her whole family could enjoy, I immediately thought of the famous green sauce. To be honest I was never EVER going to post this recipe. It was that one secret recipe I was going to keep for myself, and for my family, but I thought this recipe is just way too good not to share, and certainly way too good not to share with a very special Dutch friend.

CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce – Penny For Your Thoughts

Thai Peanut Dipping Sauce – Penny For Your Thoughts

When I think of Thai food I always have to think about Penny’s Noodle Shop in Chicago. It was there that I had my first Thai food experience. I was just out of college and worked nearby, so it was a popular lunch destination, one where my co-workers and I visited often. And when I think of Penny’s Noodle Shop I am always reminded of how I love their Vietnamese spring rolls. Why they had Vietnamese spring rolls on a Thai menu I really don’t know, but I surely did not mind.

These Vietnamese spring rolls as you may know are not fried. They are made with softened rice paper that is filled with vegetables, noodles and a variation of meat such as chicken, pork, beef or shrimp. What makes these spring rolls so tasty though is the THAI PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE that is served with it. It never failed to have the peanut dipping sauce disappear before I could finish all my spring rolls. I always had to order a second portion of this yummy peanut dipping sauce.

Since living in the Netherlands I haven’t been able to find a good Thai restaurant that serves their Vietnamese spring rolls with a peanut dipping sauce that is as good as Penny’s Noodle Shop’s, but luckily I was able to find a peanut dipping sauce recipe that is equally as delicious. It includes the taste of red curry, so it has an extra authentic kick to it.

Whether you are having spring rolls, chicken satay, salad, or just need a dip for your veggies, this peanut dipping sauce won’t disappoint.

SEE RECIPE

Orzo Salad With Roasted Vegetables – A Nephew’s Request

Orzo Salad With Roasted Vegetables – A Nephew’s Request

When your 18-year old nephew actually takes the time to write you an email, out of the blue, to ask you for the Orzo Salad with Roasted Vegetables recipe, you know it’s a gooooood salad. So good that i wasn’t surprised that he asked for the recipe. I was, however, a bit puzzled as to how he would cook it in college, in his dormitory. Does he have a pot? measuring cup and spoons? chopping knife and board?? I don’t remember ever cooking during my freshman year of college. I think i survived on pizza and Taco Bell, and frequent trips back home for home-cooked meals.

2 years ago my nephew came to the Netherlands to visit us for the holidays, and without doubt I knew i had to make him his favorite orzo salad (a double batch no less) for his first meal. I think deep down inside he was hoping for some roasted vegetable orzo salad during his visit, and I certainly couldn’t disappoint. Sometimes it just tastes better when someone else makes it for you, especially when that someone else is your favorite auntie. Right, MR??

CLICK HERE FOR THE RECIPE