Category: Lunch

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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Tabbouleh Salad With Quinoa – Chop Chop

Tabbouleh Salad With Quinoa – Chop Chop

Tabbouleh Salad (or tabouli) is one of my favorite Mediterranean dishes. It’s tart and tangy with an abundance of herbs, veggies and the healthy craze of quinoa (pronounced ‘kin-wha’). A typical tabbouleh is made with bulgur wheat, but I choose to make mine with quinoa because it’s gluten-free and vitamin-rich.

The star ingredient to any tabbouleh salad is finely chopped parsley, and this recipe is no exception. A lot of parsley goes into this recipe, so don’t be shy with it and definitely don’t scale back thinking I made a typo in the ingredient section. I didn’t.

The secret to making a great Tabbouleh salad is making sure everything is finely chopped, especially the parsley since it’s the star ingredient to tabbouleh. It is the essential method to releasing the strong herb flavors and distributing the proper flavors evenly throughout the salad. Although cucumbers are not traditionally used in Tabbouleh salad, I like to add it to mine as it adds crunch and freshness. You can also cater your Tabbouleh Salad to your liking by adding in your preferred vegetables. Just don’t forget to finely chop and you’ll have yourself a delicious treat.

Try Tabbouleh Salad as a side dish (goes great with chicken or fish), or try serving it on a bed of lettuce or with a side of pita bread for a fresh and light main course.

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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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Watermelon Feta Salad

Watermelon Feta Salad

The combination of watermelon and feta cheese may sound a little bit unusual, but you need to trust me on this one and try it. It’s the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and it’s going to be your favorite salad this summer.

We’ve had some pretty hot temperatures already here in the Netherlands, and we haven’t even dove into the summer season yet. Luckily, watermelon has already made its appearance in the supermarkets, and I’ve made frequent trips already just for the watermelon, just to make this Watermelon Feta Salad.

This Watermelon Feta Salad is from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook. It’s a beautiful cookbook filled with many vegetarian recipes and mouth-watering pictures. I read this cookbook from beginning to end, and good thing I did because this Watermelon Feta Salad recipe is the very last recipe in the book.  I guess you could say Ottolenghi saved his very best recipe for last.

This is a great salad for a BBQ, picnic, brunch, or actually anytime on a hot summer day. With only five simple ingredients you can prepare this Watermelon Feta Salad in no time all summer long.

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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

Spring Rolls – The Magic Spell (CWF: Sylvia)

Spring Rolls – The Magic Spell (CWF: Sylvia)

I grew up calling them egg rolls, and then into my adult years started calling them spring rolls. I think somewhere in between I even called them summer rolls. I know there is a difference in the wrapping, filling, size, and whether they are fried or not, but which is for which? Does anybody know? I live in the Netherlands now and luckily the Dutch have just one name for it: Loempia. So that is what I call it nowadays.

Just a few weeks after we moved to the Netherlands it was soon Easter. My in-laws were coming to visit and not knowing what a typical Dutch Easter brunch was (after living here for 7 years I still don’t know) I decided that having égg’ rolls on the menu was a fun idea. So an idea was born, and the search for the best loempia recipe was on.

I did indeed eventually come up with the best loempia recipe. It was honestly one of the few things I knew how to cook at the time, and if you were going to have a prize recipe in your recipe index this one was sure to be it. Everyone loved it. I was proud and happy to see that friends and family enjoyed it. I think I brought it to every potluck, holiday party, and every other event we had where I needed to bring a dish. These loempias actually misled a lot of people into thinking I could cook.

This week my dear friend, Sylvia from Hackbarth Art, came over to help me make (and eat) my loempias for this blogpost and new segment, Cooking with Friends. When I sent her a text asking if she would be interested in taking part of this post it was only a matter of seconds before I got her response. That is how good these loempias are. It works like a magic spell. Make them yourself…and use the loempias to get what you want!

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