Sunday, August 19, 2012

Panko Crusted Salmon with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Oil and vinegar aren't friends. Oil is fat based while vinegar is water based. Whisking them together with an emulsifier, such as Dijon mustard, allows the ingredients to blend into a creamy vinaigrette.


1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. Dion mustard
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 c. panko bread crumbs
12 oz.salmon filet, skin removed


1.Preheat oven to 450F.

2. Whisk together the honey, mustard, vinegar, thyme, and olive oil until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Mix together the panko and 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette until moistened.

4. Place the salmon on a baking sheet. Brush 2 Tbsp. of the vinaigrette on the salmon. Pat the moistened panko crumbs on the top of the salmon.

5. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

Tip: Toss the remaining vinaigrette with a vegetable side or over a salad!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Leftover Spinach Dip = Chicken, Spinach, & Orzo Casserole

You had a great party last night. Fun was had by all, the food and drink were great, and today you're blearily (possibly hungover) looking into your refrigerator trying to determine what to make for dinner. Sitting in front of you is a bowl of leftover spinach dip. Sure, you could park yourself on the couch, grab a spoon, and catch up on your DVR, or you could take 20 minutes to throw this chicken, spinach and orzo casserole together.


1.5 c. spinach dip
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. uncooked orzo
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 c. shredded Swiss cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400F  

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the first nine ingredients (spinach dip through black pepper).

3. Cook the pasta according to package directions, reducing the suggested cooking time by two minutes. (It will continue to cook in the oven.)  Drain and add to the dip mixture.

4. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a medium skillet. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink (like the orzo, it will finish cooking in the oven.) Remove from skillet and add to dip-orzo mixture.

5. Mix thoroughly and place in 8x8 pan. Top with the shredded Swiss and bake at 400F for 20-30 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Let rest for 10 minutes, and serve.

Don't Pan Fry Your Pork...Bake Your Bacon!

Bacon - lots of people love this smoky, salty meat. However, different cooking methods can have some drawbacks. Pan frying bacon in a skillet requires somewhat constant attention and turning, and the bacon sits in its own fat. Microwaving bacon produces uneven results.  The solution - bake your bacon!

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, then place a wire rack inside it.The rack elevates the bacon, so the grease drips away, and the foil allows for quick cleanup.
  2. Lay the bacon strips on the rack. Try to keep space between the strips.
  3. Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until crisp, but not too dark.
  4. Move strips to a paper towel lined plate, add another paper towel on top of the bacon, let rest for five minutes, and enjoy! I'm using this batch in a Swiss and Bacon Dip, which is an easy, tasty appetizer.