Chicken banh mi sandwich 

First off, priorities: the beer. A local MN brew called Hunny Do. Light, fresh and a touch of honeydew melon. Intended to be consumed while checking things off the ‘honey do’ list, which in this case was manning the grill. Perfect summer beer!

As for the food, we’re taking advantage of the peak of summer with fresh herbs, vegetables and grilled meat, so while this has a lot of flavors and ingredients it actually comes together fast. I’m looking forward to trying the marinade with shrimp and tofu. 

I used this recipe for the side salad, quinoa with ginger-peanut dressing and tweaked a bit based on what I had on hand (frozen edamame and green onions being nice adds).

Chicken banh mi sandwich 

  • 3 large chicken breasts, sliced in half horizontally 
  • Baguette, cut in 4
  • 1/2 c light mayo
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp Sriracha 
  • 1/4c water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp Sriracha 
  • Splash of fish sauce
  • Sliced radishes
  • Sliced jalapeño 
  • Matchstick carrots
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Cilantro sprigs
  • Mint leaves

Make marinade: Heat water until sugar dissolves, add garlic, lime, fish sauce, Sriracha. Cover halved chicken in 3/4 of marinade, refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Make mayo: mix mayo, lemon, Sriracha. (This is “spicy” level, cut back if you don’t like heat).

Toss radishes, carrots and lettuce with remaining marinade. Grill chicken. 

Assemble sandwiches: mayo, radishes, carrots, jalapeños, herbs, lettuce. 

BLT chicken salad sandwiches (and thanks mom!)

My mom grew up on a dairy farm and learned resourcefulness from my grandmother, who was an incredible cook and seemed to be able to whip up something out of nothing. (I’m pretty sure always having cream and butter on hand helped!) 

During my childhood I remember end of week being a bit ragged in the fridge–not much left. The hopeful look from dad: are we going to have to go out? Mom saw that as a challenge–She’d always figure out how to put a meal together. Poor dad, Mom always won. (Side note: we took mom out for her birthday a couple weeks ago for breakfast. Dad ate 4 courses, topped off by wild rice ice cream with a butterscotch sauce. It was 9am. He’s still always hungry.)

I faced a similar end of week dilemma, several miscellaneous ingredients to use up. Not enough of any one thing to make it the star, but gosh darnit when you put a bunch of those things together in an unexpected way it can be pretty tasty! 

Plus I am super excited because it was plant sale day so I have a whole lotta herbs to go to now, and a bit of tarragon or any other fresh herb can make any plain jane dish better. Yea spring! And thanks mom for doing the herb shopping. Happy Mother’s Day! 😊

BLT chicken salad sandwiches 

  • 2cups shredded rotisserie chicken 
  • 3 pieces cooked bacon, chopped 
  • Handful of grape tomatoes, halved 
  • Handful of baby arugula 
  • 1/3c mayo
  • 1 tsp fresh tarragon
  • Squeeze of lemon juice if you’ve got it
  • Salt, pepper, dash of onion powder

Mix it all up and serve on buns.

Basil, oregano, mojito mint, thyme, lemon thyme, dill, parsley, sage, lavender, rosemary, succulents and 3 types of tomatoes ready to plant!

Cobb Salad (technique tips)

Sometimes it’s the simple things. Cobb salad makes everyone happy. Here are some technique tips to prep the ingredients.

  1. Bacon. Use a broiler pan in the oven to get crisp bacon, while the fat drips through. It’s nice to not have to monitor a greasy pan.
  2. Hard boiled eggs. Place in muffin pan and bake at 325 for 30 min. Drop into ice water. Super easy to peel! Shout out to Inside Kel’s Kitchen for highlighting this FoodNetwork tip!
  3. Avocado. Cut in half, use the back end of a chef knife to remove the pit. It’s always easier to slice avocados in the skin and then turn them inside out.
  4. Chicken. Easiest thing to have on hand for either chicken or pork 4-3-2-1 spice rub (4 tsbp salt, 3 tsbp brown sugar, 2 tsbp paprika, 1 tbsp cayenne).
  5. Tomatoes. Always salt and pepper!
  6. Blue cheese. Don’t skimp on fancy ingredients. Buy less, but buy the best.

Serve over romaine.
Blue cheese dressing

  • 1/4c buttermilk
  • 1/2c sour cream
  • 1/3c mayo
  • 2 oz blue cheese
  • Dashes Worcestshire and Frank’s Red Hot
  • 2 green onions chopped
  • Salt and Pepper

Mix together and adjust to taste (creamier, cheesier, spicier!)


Crazy for carrot souffle

It’s November now, which means the holidays will quickly be here. As I say most years, “This is the year I’m going to be more organized and get everything done early.” Yeah. I really mean that.

But truly what that takes on the food side of things is trying out a few recipes well in advance. This is one that is a standing request at our friends-of-the-family holiday celebration because it appeals to young and old. It travels extremely well too, so it can be served at room temperature or reheated (microwave if necessary). **Recipe credit to Cooking Light magazine**

Carrot souffle

  • 2 lbs carrots
  • 2/3c sugar
  • 1/4c low fat sour cream
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2tbsp butter, melted
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 3 eggs

Boil carrots until soft, about 15 min. Drain. Place carrots in food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Pour into a baking dish coated in cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

The best way to tell if it’s done is to jiggle the pan — the middle should stay firm. NOTE: While this puffs up some, it is not a true “souffle” in its lightness or presentation. But still good, and still healthy!

Shown here with parmesan chicken and garlic butter noodles.

Photo Oct 20, 6 34 29 PM

Chicken sage pesto sandwiches

Using up the last of the herbs from the summer garden–this week: Sage. This savory herb is great inside a whole roasted chicken, I also like to make this sandwich, with a fresh take on pesto using sage.

Chicken sandwiches with sage pesto

For chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1/4c vinegar (I used VOM FASS calamansi–light and citrusy)
  • 1/3c olive oil
  • Baguette
  • Granny smith apple

For pesto:

  • 1/3c sage leaves
  • 1/2 bunch arugula
  • 1/4c walnuts (or pine nuts)
  • 1/3c parmesan
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

Tenderize chicken, marinate in garlic/olive oil/vinegar mixture for at least a couple hours. Make the pesto by processing sage, arugula, walnuts, parmesan and garlic in a food processor or blender. Add oil until the mixture is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken. Top baguette with chicken, sage pesto and sliced granny smith apples.

Photo Sep 27, 6 03 23 PM

Everyone’s favorite salads

This week is a crazy week for us. Not a single weeknight for dinner together. We will all be eating on the go 😦

To keep us eating healthy vs stopping for unfulfilling junk, I prepped ahead everyone’s favorite salads on Sunday night. I simply grilled off a whole cutup chicken using the easiest ever salt n pepper chicken technique –some of it got eaten that night and others got used in salads.

  • Pasta with chicken, tarragon and grapes (unique lower-fat tangy dressing: 1/2 c buttermilk, 1/2c yogurt, 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 c mayo, 1 tbsp tarragon, salt+pep).
  • Asian sesame chicken salad (make the dressing ahead and cut up vegs)
  • Egg salad for wraps (Matt’s favorite — add dill!)
  • 5 bean salad (I use this recipe as the base, but add green beans, wax beans, small white beans, garbanzo and light red kidneys)
  • Grilled vegetable salad (side dish for the grilled chicken the first night, great leftover!)

Fresh herbs really make these salads pop.

I am thankful too for grill night at baseball 🙂

Photo May 31, 6 33 00 PM