Spicy, Sweet & With an Attitude

I was in the mood for something fruity & sweet for dinner and found this recipe for Apricot Honey Chicken. The recipe looked like it needed a bit more complexity and attitude. So with a few changes noted below, we had success! Dinner definitely hit the spot because the sweet flavors of the honey and apricot preserves paired well with the bite and kick of the ginger and chili paste. I served this with brown jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

Here’s my adapted recipe for Spicy Apricot Honey Chicken:

1/3 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 bone in chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon of Thai chili paste
salt & pepper to taste

1. Blend mustard, preserves, ginger and chili paste. Marinate chicken in mustard mixture for at least an hour or even overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place marinated chicken on lined baking sheet and baste with marinade.

3. Bake chicken in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear.

*You can also grill the chicken if you’d like!
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Citrus Basil Chicken Salad

Remember that leftover Beer Can Chicken I made a couple days ago? Well today I took the remaining chicken and made a Citrus Basil Chicken Salad to enjoy this week. Here’s the recipe:2 -3 cups cooked chicken
1/3 cup real mayonnaise
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Citrus Basil rub
1 cup sliced red & green grape halves
1/4 cup pecan halves
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a bowl & combine.

Just Grill It!

It’s a gorgeous Saturday here in Chicago and we’re taking advantage of our grill. For lunch, I made this Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken which used up some random ingredients I had on hand. I served this with a portabello mushroom & spinach pilaf too!
Here’s the recipe for Dijon Tarragon Grilled Chicken:

1/3 cup chopped fresh (or dried) tarragon
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Chicken pieces or boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine first 5 ingredients in processor. Process until smooth. Place chicken pieces in 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Pour tarragon-mustard mixture over chicken; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour or refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place chicken on barbecue. Cover and grill until chicken is almost cooked through, turning every 5 minutes and basting with marinade, about 30 minutes. Grill without basting until chicken is cooked through, about 7 minutes longer. Serve chicken hot, warm, or at room temperature.

I’m also submitting this to the Eat Healthy: Protein Rich blogging event, hosted by Sangeeth. Check out her blog for some great recipes too!

The hubby is off to work this afternoon so I’m flying solo for dinner. Since it’s just me, rather than having a full meal I’m snacking. One of my favorite snacks are nachos… or anything crunchy & salty that I can dip into something preferably cheesy.

I had some leftover ingredients from yesterday’s corn & black bean salad, as well as a package of Trader Joe’s guacamole. In my pantry I had a tub of On The Border Cheese. My random snack/dinner? A five layer dip w/chips!

3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup guacamole
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup shredded cheese or prepared nacho cheese
1/4 cup pico de gallo salsa

In a pie plate, layer the above ingredients in order, with the sour cream on the bottom.
Enjoy with tortilla chips & a margarita!

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette

Tonight is focused on my Traditional fare menu and some desserts. Everything is set for the most part… and I approached it as if it were just one of my cooking class events where everything is prepped and ready to assemble. Here are recipes of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes on my menu.

Harvest Salad & Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing:

½ cup oil
½ cup raspberry puree
½ cup white wine vinegar
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¼ teaspoon italian seasoning salt & pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients well.
This dressing will accompany my harvest salad that includes baby spinach, mache, Danish blue cheese, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and chopped apples.

Ham & Swiss Croissant Puffs

We made these appetizers during the holiday appetizer cooking class I hosted. You can view pictures, the entire appetizer menu and get links to the other recipes from the class HERE.

Ham & Swiss Croissant Puffs

1 can croissant dough
¼ cup flour
1 cup sliced ham
1 bottle Dijon mustard
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare muffin pan by spraying the inside of each well with cooking spray.
Open can of croissant dough and layout into one large rectangle.
Seal perforations in the dough.
Carefully cut out 24 equal squares of croissant dough.
Place a croissant square in each well.
Dip the tart shaper in the flour to prevent sticking.
Using the tart shaper, gently push the croissant square inside the well to form a cup.
Repeat until all wells are filled with a croissant square.
Fill each well with ham.
Squeeze a small dollop of Dijon mustard over ham.
Top each well with shredded swiss cheese.
Bake in preheated oven for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Porkchops, Hold the Applesauce!

Earlier today we had a dismal grease-pit lunch so I definitely needed to get rid of the bad taste in my mouth with dinner. Tonight, I whipped up some dijon porkchops with roasted asparagus & potatoes.Dijon is a city in eastern France. Dijon is also famous for its mustard, even though nowadays around 90% of all mustard seeds used are imported, mainly from Canada. The term Dijon mustard (moutarde de Dijon) designates a method for the making of mustard, particularly strong if made in that fashion. Most Dijon mustard (brands such as Amora or Maille) is produced industrially, and doesn’t need to be produced around Dijon. However, Dijon mustard ships also feature in exotic or unusually-flavored mustard, often sold in decorative hand-painted faïence (china) pots.Here is my super easy & quick recipe for dijon porkchops:

4 sirloin pork chops, cut 3/4″ thick
salt & black pepper to season
2 tablespoons olive oil
splash of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Season porkchops with salt & black pepper.
Combine remaining ingredients in shallow bowl.
Brush both sides of porkchops with mustard mixture.
Place breadcrumbs in shallow bowl.
Dredge porkchops in breadcrumbs.
Heat up cooking oil and brown chops.
Place porkchops on bake sheet.

Bake porkchops at 350 for 10-15 minutes to finish cooking.
I served this with roasted aspargus & potatoes.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Roasted Leg of Lamb
(adapted from AllRecipes.com)

1 cup honey
1/4 lemon juice
1/4 cup prepared Dijon-style mustard
1/4 cup rosemary & garlic seasoning
1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic, minced
3 pounds whole leg of lamb

– In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except lamb. Mix well and apply to the lamb. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
– Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
– Place lamb on a rack in a roasting pan and sprinkle with salt to taste.
– Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C) and roast for 55 to 60 more minutes for medium rare. The internal temperature should be at least 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) when taken with a meat thermometer. Let the roast rest for about 10 minutes before carving.