FAIRYTALE FEASTS

BECAUSE ONCE UPON A TIME, I HAD THE MOST AMAZING [INSERT FOOD HERE] …

January 27, 2010

Fairytale Mini-Feast - Tropical Salsa

The sun was shining in Pennsylvania today! And as those of us on the East Coast know, when the weather is above 30 degrees in January and the sun is out, you take advantage of it! Otherwise, you head south! But for those of us who cannot take a trip to a tropical paradise, here is a salsa recipe a friend sent me that is sure to enlighten your senses.




I promise you that with the a little bit of sunshine and a little bit of this tropical salsa, your mind and body will be tricked into believing you are having a seaside treat in a fairytale paradise.

1 mango
1 avocado
1/4 cup red onion
1 lime
Handful cilantro

Chop mango, avocado, onion. Combine in a medium bowl. Add the juice of one lime. Stir in a handlful of chopped cilantro.






I recommend serving this salsa over grilled chicken, a grilled white fish (i.e. tilapia) or even salmon. It also goes great with blue corn tortilla chips. I recently used it to decorate and kick up my breaded chicken cutlet and let me tell you, it really changed the flavor of the dish.

Enjoy!

January 25, 2010

A French Fairytale - Le Cirque

It's here!!!!!!!!!!!!! New York City restaurant week starts today! In honor of this much anticipated occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to comment on an amazing restaurant oparticipating in this special event: Le Cirque, one of NYC's landmark restaurants.


While I would normally refrain from commenting about a restaurant unless I have dined there on multiple occasions, Le Cirque was so enchanting that I simply have to have my say about it now.   Named one of the Top 40 Restaurants in the world, Le Cirque has been in business since 1974. It has thrived at three separate locations and most recently made its home at the Bloomberg Tower on 58th St. Owned and operated by Cirio Maccioni and his family, Le Cirque has gained a reputation for being one of the best restaurants in the world and has been frequented by political dignitaries, celebrities, and New York's social elite. Former President Bill Clinton, the late Jacquelin Kennedy Onasis, Rudy Giuliani, Robert Di Niro, Billy Joel, Henry Kissinger, Regis Philbin, Vera Wang, and Martha Stewart are just some of the influential people who have dined here.

Le Cirque even has its own HBO documentary, created by filmmaker Andrew Rossi. The film, "Le Cique: a Table in Heaven," chonicles restaurant's transition to its present location. The film gets its name from a conversation between Sirio Maccioni and the pope, who actually phoned the restaurant to see if he needed to make a reservation three months in advance. Maccioni reportedly replied, "What about making me a reservation for a table in heaven?"

While dining at Le Cirque, I certainly felt like I was in heaven.  We arrived drenched and without a reservation.  It was a miserable night in Manhattan complete with monsoon rains and tropical hurricane force winds and we came upon the place purely by accident, enticed the warm glow of its decor and the faint smell of France tainting the rainsoaked and misty NYC streets.  While we had never dined at Le Cirque before, we were well aware of its renowned reputation and hesitant to venture inside.  When we did, we were immediately greeted with open arms.

  

Being the starving young professionals that we are, we requested the Cafe and were seated promptly.  Our table was oversized and comfortable, a rarity in the NYC restaurant world, and I felt as if the staff were genuinely happy to accomodate us.  When our server arrived she was more than happy to answer our questions and succinctly describe almost all of the options on the menu as well as the nightly specials.  She was happy to make her own suggestions and we trusted her.  The salmon and the croque monsieur, pictured below, were among our choices.  The salmon, our pick healthy of the night was succulent and juicy, medium rare but warm.  The croque monsieur was the perfect comfort for patrons seeking relief from the stormy weather and a must have in any French dining establishment, including this one.




But the highlight of the meal was undoubtedly the dessert.   Le Cirque is famous for its creme brulee, and after tasting it, I found out why. Picture below, the creme brulee was the best I ever had and the good news is that for those who finish it (who wouldn't?), the recipe is painted into the porcelain at the bottom.  We were also positively delighted when our server brought out another dessert for us to sample, a brownie with peanut butter creme and vanilla ice cream. The result? A dining experience one can only dream about.

 

While it did not take us long to devour our little plates of heaven, we spent almost three hours dining in Le Cirque for one reason: we felt like we were at home.  I will fondly remember my trip to Le Cirque as one of those rare Manhattan dining experiences where everything the ambience, the service and the food  turned out to be perfect and fit for a fairytale.

When I received a holiday card from the Maccioni Family offering Season's Greetings from everyone at Le Cirque and it's sister restaurant, Osteria del Circo, I was reminded of this dining experience fit for a queen. What a perfect touch for impeccable service.

I highly recommend giving Le Cirque a try, especially while their restaurant week menu, when a three course meal at this world renowned restaurant is a mere $35.  With items like Cannellini Bean Soup and Venison and Pistachio Sausage as appetizers and  Diver Sea Scallops and Berkshire Pork Belly, as entrees, this menu looks TOO good to pass up.  And don't worry, the famous creme brulee IS on the menu! The best part? Le Cirque will be offering this menu until February 27th!

One thing I know is that I will be saving up for my next stop in 2010: Osteria del Circo!

Enjoy! :-)

January 23, 2010

Fairytale Recipe: Renaissance White Chicken Chili




Hear ye, Hear ye! All those looking for something to make during tomorrow's playoff games take heed: my Renaissance White Chicken Chili Recipe is here just in time! If you enjoy the flavors of tortilla soup, you will be sure to love this special chili. And if you don't have all ingredients on hand, don't stress - just improvise. The amounts of the chili powder, jalepeno peppers, and chipotle peppers are all suggestions. If you like spicy foods, then feel free to add the maximum amounts and also cut back a little bit on the cinnamon.

This unique chili recipe puts a spin on the classic chili and packs a powerful punch of Latin flavors that is sure to please and impress Jets and Colts, Vikings and Saints fans alike. It's Renaissance chili because it will reinvent the way you think about chili and reinvigorate your spirit just in time for the game! So what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
 
Renaissance White Chicken Chili

Serves 4-6


2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 cloves garlic (minced or chopped)

1 bunch of scallions chopped

½ jalapeño pepper seeded and chopped

1-2 teaspoons of chili powder

6 cups (1 large can) of Chicken broth

1 can of corn (can substitute frozen), drained and rinsed

1 can Cannellini (White) beans, drained and rinsed

2 carrots sliced

1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed

1 store bought rotisserie chicken

½ -1 teaspoon of adobo sauce

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dash of Cayenne Pepper

Dash of oregano

Salt

Optional:
Cilantro
Tortilla chips (I like blue corn for this recipe)
Shredded colby jack or monterrey jack cheese

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot and add garlic, scallions, jalapeño pepper, and chili pepper. Sauté for about 1 minute.  Add the chicken broth, corn and carrots and bring to a boil. Add the black beans, Cannellini beans, and adobo sauce. Add  shredded chicken. Stir and cook on medium for about 10 minutes.

Mix in cilantro before serving.


Optional: Garnish with some shredded colby or monterrey jack cheese and tortilla strips.




Coming soon ... Fairytale Superbowl Sunday Banquet Menu!

Enjoy!

January 21, 2010

Fairytale Restaurant Week Pick: El Vez (Philly)

Once upon a time, I waited for two hours to have dinner at a restaurant where I already made a reservation. On another occasion, during the time I was studying for the bar exam, I paid over $40 to have two items from this restaurant delivered to my doorstep. (I admit, I did this repeatedly, and without complaints or the slightest amount of remorse.) I would only do these things for food that is so out of this world amazing that they belong in a fairytale. This fairytale takes place in Philadelphia at El Vez.

In honor of restaurant week in Philadelphia, I thought I would share one of my favorite culinary experiences with you. I recommend that you run, not walk, to El Vez, which in my opinion is one of Steven Starr's best restaurants. Those who enjoy Latin/Mexican decor and are familiar with Union Square's Coffee Shop in NYC will enjoy the campy ambience of El Vez, which describes itself as a mix of "Mexican-American pop culture."  Part restaurant, part lounge, part bar, El Vez has a reputation for attracting a trendy crowd. But don't let that deter you. It's reputation and popularity are well deserved, and you will NOT be disappointed.
Designed by Chef Jose Garces (of Amada, Tinto, Distrito, etc.), the Latin menu at El Vez is creative yet reliable, quirky yet appetizing. After all, anyone who could defeat renowed chef Bobby Flay in an Iron Chef challenge must have extraordinary flare for Latin cuisine, and Chef Garces certainly does. He proves this time and time again at each one of his extraordinary restaurants.

So, let me tell you about the food at El Vez! I'll start with the most important course: dessert. The restaurant week menu, featuring four courses for $35, includes one of my favorites from the restaurant: the Warm Mexican Chocolate Cake. This little heavenly cake is served with Madagascar vanilla creme anglaise, vanilla ice cream, and fresh blueberries and raspberries. (When you have it delivered, you do not get the ice cream and instead it is sprinkled with powdered confectioner's sugar.) This is not the kind of chocolate cake that will remind you of that scene from the movie Matilda where the little boy is forced to consume an entire 5 layer chocolate cake. No. This cake is irresistibly fresh and light. If you've ever dreamed about chocolate cake, chances are, this was the cake of your dreams. The creme and berries even trick you into believing you are eating something decadent but healthy. YOU HAVE TO ORDER THIS CAKE!


Now for my other favorite fairytale dish at El Vez - an appetizer, cleverly called the "Nacho Mamma."  Let me tell you, these are not your average nachos. I can honestly say that these nachos were the best I have ever eaten in my lifetime - they were even better than the Mexican nachos I had in Mexico. I have tried to recreate them myself at home but to no avail. There is something about these nachos that just doesn't make sense to me - there is some magical ingredient that has to be present in them to make them so mouthwatering and addicting. The menu states that they are simply tortilla chips topped with black beans, smoked chile salsa, white cheddar and monterry jack cheeses. They are served drizzled with sour cream and some kind of hot sauce and topped off with a handful of greens. But there's something about these nachos that just makes them too good to put into words. Just one of these loaded tortilla chips will make even the strongest "dieter" forget their dreams of a Kim Kardashian bikini body, fall to their knees and begggg for more, more, more!!!

Also on the restaurant week menu, the Tortilla soup, composed of your standard shredded chicken, avocado, tortilla strips. What differentiates this soup, however, is the cojta cheese. It's a must have.
Other notable menu items:
Bazooka Limon Guacamole - smashed avocado, goat cheese, pistachios, chili flakes and roasted tomatoes. 

Tijuana's Original Ce'Sar Salad - romaine lettuce, garlic dressing, fresh grated cheese, fried croutons. An oldie but goodie. Definetly add the grilled Pasilla Shrimp to spice it up!!!

Taco Tasting Platter - 5 tacos: sea bass taco; pulled pork taco; crispy mahi mahi taco (w red cabbage and chipotle pepper remoulade; chicken chipotle taco. I absolutely recommend getting this dish because you get to have a little bit of everything.

Surf and Turf Tacos - strip steak and crab taco with chipotle mashed potatoes. 

Chipotle Chicken Tacos - shredded chicken, avocado, shredded lettuce, sour cream and grated queso fresco.


There are many places in Philadelphia that serve amazing food, but for my, El Vez has to be one of the best.  If you're going to go for restaurant week (Jan 17-22; 24-29), I suggest you try to make a reservation on OpenTable.com: Philadelphia Restaurants as the wait can get pretty long. So, go, go, go! And if you try the open faced shrimp quesadillas, I want details!

Note: If you can't get into El Vez, try another one of Steven Starr's restaurants on January 25 as 10% of all gross sales from meal proceeds will be donated directly to the Clinton Bush fund for Haiti Earthquake relief.  

Enjoy!

January 15, 2010

Fairytale Popcorn for your Fairytale Golden Globe Party

It's that time of year again - the time when dreams really do come true (at least for a select group of beautiful and ridiculously talented individuals who seemingly already  "have it all") - AWARDS SEASON!

This Sunday the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air on NBC at 8PM ET.  Get ready to watch some of Hollywood's most glamorous actors and actresses from television and the big screen come out in style to claim their coveted awards and test the waters in anticipation of an even bigger Hollywood fairytale ending (the 82nd Academy Awards, of course!).

So naturally, what comes to mind when we are sitting down to enjoy a movie, a television show, or an awards show celebrating the best of the best? Popcorn! This tasty and salty treat was originally "invented" by the Native Americans, who were the first ones to discover that corn could be "popped." In the 1920s, street vendors used to push steam or gas powered popcorn poppers around through crowds in carnivals, parks, etc. But popcorn became associated with movies in 1925 when the first electric popcorn machine was perfected by inventor Charles Manley. Manley, being the genius that he was, came up with the idea of marketing the popcorn to theater vendors. During the Great Depression, at 5 - 10 cents a bag, popcorn was one of the only indulgences that people could afford. (And sadly enough during these troubled times there have been multiple reports of movies and popcorn making a comeback as well.) Popcorn became even more popular during World War II when sugar was rationed and candy became scarce. And thus, one of the great fairytale romances was born:  popcorn and a movie.

In honor of this timeless fairytale romance, I've posted some savory and sweet popcorn recipes from my favorite Foodnetwork stars.  And in light of the recent news surrounding the terrifying nutritional contents of movie popcorn, we may all be better off making our own anyway - at least we will know what's in it!

If you are having a Golden Globe viewing party and want to get creative with the way you serve your popcorn, try serving the popcorn in small brown (or white) paper lunch bags. This is especially helpful if you want to make the popcorn before your guests arrive and are making different flavors. Simply write on the bag with a black marker what flavor your popcorn is and staple together. If you do decide to whip up a batch of Paula Deen's decadent chocolate popcorn or Tyler Florence's Carmel corn, I suggest bagging a cup of popcorn in little clear plastic bags tied with a ribbon and perhaps a little ticket with the names of the nominees of the night. (i.e., Sandra Bullock - Best Actress - The Blind Side, Meryl Streep - Best Actress - It's Complicated, and so on!). After all, there's nothing better than having a bowl of salty popcorn covered in dark chocolate to munch on and tear up into when your favorite star finally gets their fairytale ending. So don't be caught without yours when your favorite actor/actress is making a sappy and uncomfortable acceptance speeches!  Get ready and get poppin'!

Enjoy!



Rachel Ray - Spiced Popcorn
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
15 cups hot unsalted stove- or air-popped popcorn (½ cup unpopped)

In a small bowl, mix the chili powder, paprika, cayenne and salt. In an extra-large bowl, drizzle some olive oil over the popcorn and sprinkle with some of the spices. Mix with your hands; repeat until the popcorn is evenly coated.

1/2 cup popcorn kernels
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Pop the popcorn using a large, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid or a popcorn maker.

Coat the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil and heat over low heat. Drop in 1 kernel of corn and when it pops add the remaining corn, cover and shake pan. Continue to shake pan until all the corn has popped, being careful not to burn.


1 cup popcorn kernels
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Rosemary Infused Oil, recipe follows
Salt

Stir the popcorn kernels and 1/2 cup of the oil in a heavy large pot. Cover and cook over medium heat until the kernels have popped, shaking the pot halfway through cooking, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the popcorn to a large serving bowl. Toss the popcorn with the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Sprinkle with salt, to taste, and serve.

Rosemary Infused Oil:
1 cup olive oil
5 to 6 fresh rosemary sprigs (each 5 inches long)

Combine the oil and rosemary in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Transfer the sprigs to a 4-ounce bottle or cruet. Add the oil and seal the lid. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Yield: 1 cup
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 stick butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups popcorn

Over medium heat, using a 4 quart pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cocoa, and salt and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is well mixed, add the popped corn. Cook and stir until popcorn is coated, approximately 2 minutes. Cool mixture and shape into 3-inch balls.

3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 ounces popcorn kernels, approximately 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Place the oil, popcorn and salt in a large, 6-quart, metal mixing bowl. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and poke 10 slits in the top with a knife.

Place the bowl over medium heat and shake constantly using a pair of tongs to hold the bowl. Continue shaking until the popcorn finishes popping, approximately 3 minutes.

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup white popping corn
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1/3 pound) piece assertive blue cheese, frozen
1/2 cup coarsely chopped lightly toasted walnuts
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

In a large, partially covered saucepan, heat the oil and 1 kernel of popcorn until hot enough to make the corn pop. Add the remaining popcorn and cook, partially covered, shaking until all the corn is popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. While popcorn is hot, grate the blue cheese over the popcorn. Add the walnuts and chives and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch cream of tartar
1/2 (10-ounce) package marshmallows, about 4 cups
10 cups hot, salted popcorn, uncooked kernels removed

In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, corn syrup, butter, and cream of tartar (this bit of acid keeps the sugar from crystallizing.) Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to dissolve the sugar. When the sugar syrup reaches a boil, stop stirring and swirl the pan around over the heat so it doesn't burn. As the syrup reaches the caramel stage, the bubbles on top will become smaller, thicker, and closer together. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the caramel coats the back of the spoon. (If so inclined, stick a candy thermometer in the pot and cook until the syrup reaches the soft-crack stage, about 270 degrees F. When you drop a bit of this syrup into cold water, it will solidify into threads that, when removed, are hard yet bendable.) Remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the marshmallows. Fold the marshmallows into the hot caramel so they all melt into a gooey caramel sauce.

The caramel will coat better if the popcorn is hot, so make it while boiling the sugar or pop it first then keep it warm. Put the popcorn in a big bowl and pour the caramel marshmallow mixture over the popcorn. Gently fold with a wooden spoon to coat each kernel. Grab handfuls of the popcorn and squeeze it together to form popcorn balls; make them about the size of a tennis ball. Put the popcorn balls on a sheet pan lined with waxed paper to cool completely.


January 12, 2010

Fairytale Fantasy - "Sassy Water"

At long last, I have found something about a diet to love .. 


No, it's not a detox drink and it's NOT from the cayenne pepper and lemon diet. It's SO much better and it's actually healthy!!!  It's called "Sassy Water." 





Developed by Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD,  former nutrition editor of Prevention, this refreshing beverage will definitely entice you to drink those 8 glasses of water per day. The water is said to get its "sass" because it absorbs the flavors of fresh lemons, cucumbers, mint leaves, and freshly grated ginger.  


This recipe for this magic water appears in the Flat Belly Diet, written by Liz Vaccariello and coauthored by Sass. It is a core component of the book's "Four Day Jumpstart" Diet and is intended to serve as a reminder to those attempting to lose weight on the jumpstart diet that "life is different now" and they should "focus on the days ahead."  The freshly grated ginger also supposedly soothes the GI tract. 


My "sassy" water bottle has become a daily fixture on my desk and while it hasn't made my life much different, it certainly has made it more refreshing! It also secretly makes me happy because the sight of the mint leaves floating around in the water remind me of drinking mojitos, which I often dream about during a stressful or long day at the office. I highly recommend trying this recipe!  Enjoy! :-) 


Sassy Water

2 liters water (about 8 ½ cups)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium lemon, thinly sliced
12 small spearmint leaves.


Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and let flavors blend overnight.

Drink the entire pitcher by the end of each day.


P.S. If you've never used ginger before, here is a helpful article that will explain how to grate ginger - and I'm promise, its SIMPLE and WORTH IT!

January 10, 2010

Fairytale Fantasy - Lobster Heaven

"He who dines well lives well." Horace, Epistles, C. 20 B.C.





Last night I decided to treat myself to a lobster tail, photographed below. This jumbo tail is from the family restaurant, the Gramercy (or the "G" as we like to call it) and was every bit as juicy, buttery, and delightful as it looked. 


Accompanying the lobster, I chose to have another one of my favorite dishes, a simple side of freshly cut french fries - served hot, of course, and sprinkled with coarse salt.







While eating this divine seafood dish, my mind was transported to a warmer place and suddenly it was summer again. Indeed, for a moment it was not January and my body felt the breeze of a seaside wind rather than the chill of the frigid air.  As I tasted the first bite of my lobster, in my mind, I imagined I was free of this bitter winter.  Gone were my bulky winter sweater and staple furry Uggs, both having been replaced by a simple dress and sandal. My lobster gave me the freedom to remember how it feels under the sun when your blood boils and races through your veins in eager anticipation of the perfect summer seafood. I was free and I was in my glory. 


My lobster magically took me away to a place where the tables were not dressed in linens nor winter flowers but instead covered by large disposable pieces of thick brown paper which was dramatically overshadowed by a mess of empty lobster, clam and crab shells and spewed melted butter and french fry grease. The air smelled of the salt water, seafood, fresh limes, and beer. The sound of other patrons roaring with laughter and smashing their tables with king crab hammers couldn't drown out the band playing covers of Jimmy Buffet and Kenny Chesney, which made them even livelier.  And the seafood was there, at the center of it all, like the matriarch of a family bringing everyone together.







With every bite of my lobster, I tasted salt water and felt the ocean wind stinging face, my hair wildly blowing in the wind as I tried to grab hold of my fleeting napkin. The winter had faded from my reality. I laughed and I smiled and I carefully savored each bite.  "Make it last," I said to myself for throughout each bite I was in a tropical heaven. I was in a fairytale.

Enjoy. :-)

January 7, 2010

Fairytale Recipe: Chicken with Artichokes and Melted Lemons

In my desire to "eat clean" this week in hopes of detoxifying my body from my edible holiday sins, I decided to make chicken tonight. (After all, what other choices are there really when you are "dieting," besides chicken, turkey or plain fish?) 

Now, I've never been a big fan of chicken and would pick a rare, juicy steak or a succulent piece of fresh seafood over the bland bird anyday. Chicken can easily become dry and tasteless to me. But there ARE recipes out there that give it a little zest and this is one of them! 

This chicken with artichokes and melted lemons is a recipe from Bob Greene, Oprah's trainer and diet guru. In my opinion, Greene has some of the tastiest recipes around to ensure one stays on a path to their "best life."  This one, taken from his "Best Life Diet," is sure to awaken your senses and excite your taste buds without breaking your diet bank. 

Warning: this dish is for LEMON LOVERS ONLY! It is a little tart -  so if you are wary, go light on the lemon juice. If you are a lemon lover, as I am, then you HAVE to try this!  Let me know what you think!


Chicken with Artichokes and Melted Lemons

"Simple and elegant, this is the kind of dish that's perfect for entertaining." ~ Bob Green
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 pieces boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, such as Health Valley no-salt-added chicken broth or Pacific Foods low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons capers with juice
  • One 14-ounce can quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper




Heat the oil in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is heated, swirl it to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add the chicken breasts and sear them until browned.  Turn the chicken breasts and brown them on the other side.  Remove the chicken to a plate and increase the heat to high.  Deglaze the pan with the lemon juice, scraping up any browned bits into the sauce.

Add the stock and bring to a simmer.  Add the lemon slices to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, and place the chicken breasts on top of the lemon slice.  Add the capers, cover, reduce the heat to medium, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.  Remove the lid and add the drained artichoke hearts.  Cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes, or until the breasts are cooked through.

Remove the chicken to a warm plate.  Increase the temperature and reduce the sauce to a glaze.  Taste the  sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper as needed.  Just a little salt will reduce the acidity of the lemon, capers, and artichoke hearts and balance the flavors.  Serve the chicken with the artichoke hearts, capers, and melted lemon drizzled with the glaze.

Serves: 4

Per serving, about: Calories, 186; Protein 29 g; Carbs 34 g; Dietary Fiber 6g; Total Fat 4g; Saturated Fat 1 g



Enjoy!

Fairytale Frozen Feast (Yes - frozen!)

Craving comfort food but trying to stick to those New Year's Resolutions? Dreaming about macaroni and cheese? I have the answer: Amy's Macaroni & Soy Cheeze.        

Though rarely a fan of frozen entrees, I have to admit that this dish is the exception. Made with organic cooked whole wheat macaroni and a smooth cheddar style soy cheeze, this dish is lactose and cholesterol free. Coming in at only 370 calories and 15 grams of fat, it is a healthy alternative to your favorite mac and cheese. It also packs a heart healthy 3 grams of fiber.

This frozen "mac & cheeze" is also another convenient thing to brown bag for lunch on these bitter cold winter days (if you have access to a microwave).

Note: I like to overcook mine (in oven or microwave) so that the cheese is firm and bubbly when ready.
And for those who just love that crunchy mac & cheese topping that you get from a homemade dish and certain restaurant varieties, try sprinkling some Japanese panko breadcrumbs (1 tsp) on the top, spraying lightly with I Can't Believe it's Not Butter spray, and popping it into the oven to let it brown and crunch up.

Now, I have been known to make an amazing macaroni and cheese, which I can assure you far surpasses the cal/fat counts here (I will post someday!), but I wanted to show you a healthy alternative that does the trick. I am in no way a diet guru - I'll leave that to my favorite NYC housewife Bethenny. And if you are looking for some really cute and fun low-cal snacks, try the Hungry Girl.  But I had to mention Amy's Macaroni and Soy Cheeze because I love it and it tastes GREAT!!!
Enjoy!

January 6, 2010

Feisty Fairytale Egg Salad



I am always looking for simple lunch recipes that are convenient to brown bag so I can take them to work. This is no easy task as the flavors, consistencies and textures of certain brown bag lunches can easily lose their magic if you make them the night before and then transport them during your morning commute.


This simple egg salad recipe manages to retain its flavorful kick and will give you something to look forward to during your lunch. And it's light on the calories, just in time for the new you in the new year! :-)



Feisty Fairytale Egg Salad
Serves 2

4 hardboiled eggs
1 handful of Spanish green olives, chopped (10 queen size or 20 small)
1 tablespoon chopped yellow onion
2 tbs fat free Mayo
1 tsp of Franks Hot Sauce
Salt + Pepper to taste


Light Wasa Crackers
Mixed greens for garnish


Gently chop the hardboiled eggs and mix in olives, onions, and mayo. Add the Frank's hot sauce to taste (I use at least 1 teaspoon but I am certain hot sauce lovers will want more.)  Pile desired amount onto light Wasa crackers. Top with mixed field greens as a garnish. Enjoy!