Teriyaki Marinade

This teriyaki marinade is quite easy and so much better than a store bought one. You do need to plan ahead a little because it will need to cool before you marinate your raw protein. The recipe comes from an old Williams-Sonoma cookbook, Chicken for Dinner.

Teriyaki SalmonTeriyaki Marinade by Williams-Sonoma
  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • 1 Tbsp.-sized chunk fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
In a small saucepan over high heat, combine all ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil. Boil for one minute, then remove from heat. Pour into a shallow bowl and let cool completely. Once cool, use to marinate 4 servings of chicken or salmon or use as a basting sauce while cooking.
Notes
  • Garnish with scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal and black or white (toasted) sesame seeds
  • I like to put both the ginger chunk & garlic cloves in my mini food processor and pulse them together until minced.
Teriyaki Salmon with BroccoliWhen I made this last I served it with some simple steamed broccoli, sushi rice (known in our house as sticky rice) and an Asian-inspired salad with baby spinach, slivered red peppers & sliced raw mushrooms. I whipped up a simple vinaigrette with rice wine vinegar, soy sauce & canola oil.
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Brussels Spouts, Cranberry Relish and Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce

Back in early November 2012, I was starting to test recipes for Thanksgiving and never got around to posting them. This dinner was a such a definite winner and perfect for the cold weather we’ve been having that I’ve decided to share it with you. The menu consisted of roasted Brussels sprouts, a raw cranberry relish and instead of turkey, sautéed chicken with a mustard cream sauce. I rounded out the meal with mashed potatoes from Costco.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Raw Cran Orange Relish Chick Mustard Cream SauceSimple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
The family (except Andy of course) LOVED the roasted Brussels sprouts. I had never served Brussels sprouts to my family but had seen several recipes for roasted sprouts and decided to try them. They came out deliciously crispy & caramelized and Nate was eating them like candy! Since then we’ve cooked them several more times with variations. I used the method described in my FineCooking Roasting magazine:

Trim sprouts and cut in half lengthwise, through the stem end. Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt & pepper. Preheat oven to 475º. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place sprouts cut side down on the parchment. Roast for 10-15 minutes (depending on the size of your Brussels sprouts).

Raw Cranberry-Orange Relish
I was looking for a low-sugar recipe for cranberries and came across this one from Epicurious.com. The fresh orange taste really complements the cranberries.

  • 1 12-oz. bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 navel orange
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅛ tsp cinnamon (which I omitted)

Raw Cranberry Orange Relish in Food ProcessorZest entire orange into food processor with a metal blade. Cut pith off orange & separate into sections. Place cranberries, orange sections, sugar & cinnamon in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Scrap into a bowl, cover & refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Raw Cranberry Orange RelishSautéed Chicken with Mustard Cream Sauce
This was a really good stand-in for turkey with gravy and the mustard-cream sauce was delicious drizzled over the Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes in addition to the chicken. The recipe came from another favorite cookbook, EverydayFood Great Food Fast. I especially like this book because the recipes are divided into sections according to seasons, with soups, salad, main courses, sides & desserts for a particular season all grouped together.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup dry white wine or chicken broth
½ cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. dried tarragon (I used thyme for a more Thanksgiving-y feel).

Season each chicken breast with salt & pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the chicken and sauté until cooked through 10-15 minutes, turning once. Transfer to a warm serving plate & cover with foil.

Pour the wine into the hot skillet; cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Whisk in the cream, mustard & herbs. Cook, whisking, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Serve chicken with sauce on the side (for my picky child) or drizzled over the chicken.

Oregano and Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

This is part sauce and part vinaigrette. It’s perfect when you need to perk up plain grilled chicken. It’s also fantastic on grilled zucchini and grilled lamb kebabs. And, it’s really good as a salad dressing over lettuce, tomatoes or potatoes. I just love a versatile sauce.

Oregano & Kalamata Olive Vinaigrette

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. capers
  • ½ c. kalamata olives
  • 3 shallots
  • 1 Tbsp. Country Dijon mustard
  • c. red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil

Place garlic, capers, olives, shallots, mustard & vinegar in mini food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in oregano and olive oil. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Grilled Zucchini and Chicken
To prep zucchini, slice lengthwise into quarters. Then slice off the spongy seed-filled tip of the triangle.

Prepped Zucchini

Brush zucchini with olive oil. My husband, Eric, does the grilling in my house. I guess one of these days I’ll have to learn how to use the grill. In the meantime, here’s a picture of him grilling the zucchini and some boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Eric grilling chicken and zucchini

Dinner:

Bruschetta with Peppers and Goat Cheese

This is one of my all time favorite appetizer / snack foods. It’s perfect for right now when peppers are in season.

Bruschetta with Peppers and Goat Cheese

  • 6 sweet bell peppers (a mix of red, orange and yellow or all of one color)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 (or more) Tbsp. chopped fresh basil

Cut peppers into small bite-sized pieces. Place in a large shallow baking dish and toss with the garlic, olive oil, 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar, honey and oregano. Season with salt & pepper and mix well.

Peppers ready for the oven

Bake in a 400 oven for 50 minutes, tossing every so often. Remove and toss with remaining 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar. Cool to room temperature and toss with basil.

Serve with toasted baguette slices and goat cheese (I like the Chavrie pyramids which seem a little more spreadable)

Bruschetta Platter with Peppers and Goat Cheese

Ideas for Leftovers

  • Toss with fettuccine and grilled, sliced chicken
  • Spoon over goat cheese stuffed turkey burgers
  • Sauté with shrimp or scallops. Serve with angel hair pasta.
  • Spoon on top of a hoagie roll with grilled sausage and melted provolone
  • Spoon over grilled salmon

Hummus

Making your own hummus is so easy and tastes so much better than store bought. Plus, it’s extremely versatile. Take hummus with a bag of pita chips and a bowl of tzatziki sauce when you’re asked to bring something to a party. Serve with warm flatbread and cucumber slices before a Mediterranean meal or as an afternoon snack (for you or the kids). Serve it at your break-the-fast after Yom Kippur. Add it to your Sunday brunch menu. Make my very favorite wrap for lunch with hummus, sliced deli turkey, matchstick-cut carrots, lettuce, diced tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Hummus

  • 1 19-oz. can Progresso chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained, liquid reserved (do not rinse)
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. reserved chickpea liquid
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sweet paprika

Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend until the hummus is pureed. It will not be perfectly smooth. Scrape into a shallow serving bowl. Just before serving drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sweet paprika. Serve at room temperature.

Notes: Tahini is a paste made from sesame seeds. Tahini will separate at room temperature, much like natural peanut butter, and will need to be mixed which is a pain. If you can find a refrigerated version use it. My local Whole Foods carries a refrigerated tahini in the case with prepared fresh salsas near the chip aisle. (As an aside, when my younger son was little we found out he was allergic to sesame seeds when he broke out after eating hummus. He has since grown out of that allergy and his egg allergy. Halleluyah!)

Cedar Plank Salmon with Corn Relish and Caprese Pasta with Fresh Pesto Sauce

We ate well last night. Wild Alaskan salmon. Summer corn and tomatoes. Fresh pesto made with basil from my garden…. Since you’re probably already drooling I won’t bore you with any further introduction and go straight to the pictures and recipes.

Cedar Plank Salmon, Corn Relish, Caprese Pasta with Fresh Pesto

Cedar Plank Salmon Rub
Makes a lot – store in an airtight container in your pantry and use as needed.  Keeps forever. Salmon could be broiled instead of grilled.

  • 2 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1 Tbsp sweet paprika

Cedar Plank Salmon Rub (one piece left plain for the picky child)

Corn Relish
Delicious with salmon or flank steak

  • kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh corn
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 Tbsp minced red onion
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp chopped oregano (can use basil or cilantro instead)

Cook corn kernels in microwave for 1 minute.  Set aside. Cut up tomato & onion. Add to corn. Add olive oil and red wine vinegar. Season liberally with salt & pepper. Chop herbs and add to corn.  Mix well. Let sit at room temperature until ready to serve

Corn Relish

Caprese Pasta with Fresh Pesto Sauce
Serves 6-8 as a side dish or 4 as a main course

  • 1 13.25-oz. box medium shells pasta
  • ¾ cup packed basil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into large dice

Make fresh pesto: place basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil in a food processor and mix until it becomes a thick paste. Set aside.

Prepare tomatoes and place in the bottom of your serving bowl.  Season liberally with salt. Set aside. Prepare mozzarella and place in separate bowl; set aside.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving some of the pasta cooking water. Pour hot pasta directly over the tomatoes. Add pesto. Stir to combine. Add about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the pasta-pesto bowl and stir to incorporate. Add the mozzarella and stir gently. Serve immediately or let sit and serve at room temperature.

Notes: For this dish I left the customary Parmesan out of the pesto sauce because I was combining it with fresh mozzarella. To make a more traditional pesto, add 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan to the food processor before blending.

Caprese pasta with fresh pesto sauce

Enjoy!

— Suzanne

Easy Greek Marinade and Tzatziki Sauce

Last Sunday (yes, I’m behind), after spending several hot hours at the pool (the car thermometer read 109), I was trying to decide what to do with the chicken I defrosted for dinner and, came up with my easy fall-back recipe – a Greek-style marinade for the chicken which hubby then grilled. This is my go-to recipe when I’m not feeling particularly imaginative, inspired or motivated to cook dinner. I served it with tzatziki sauce and roasted zucchini.

Greek Marinade

This is delicious with chicken, lamb and shrimp. It makes enough to marinate your choice of protein for 4-6 people and takes just a few minutes to mix up. I have no idea where I got the original recipe but it’s been modified numerous times over the years anyway.

The ingredients are readily available and with the exception of the Cavendar’s you probably already have them in the house. And, after you buy the Cavendar’s, you can whip it up any time.

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is better but bottled is fine)
  • 1 tsp Cavendar’s Greek Seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
Mix it all together. I generally marinate in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag.
Note: Cavendar’s Seasoning is also great on roasted potatoes and mixed in with orzo tossed with olive oil.

Tzatziki Sauce

This recipe is modified from one in a Williams-Sonoma cookbook called “Small Plates”. We love this served with the Greek chicken above. Sometimes I’ll cut up the chicken and serve it with flatbread (in the deli area of the grocery by the pita bread) and diners can make their own chicken “gyros”.  It’s also wonderful paired with hummus (I’ll have to put that recipe in another post) and pita chips or flatbread cut into wedges as an appetizer. This is very popular when brought to parties

  • 1 English cucumber, ends trimmed (I don’t bother peeling or seeding)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 cups Greek yogurt (I prefer Fage Total 0%)
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Grate the cucumber (I use my food processor) and spread on a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt. Let sit; the salt will draw the water out of the cucumber which will make your tzatziki less runny, which is a good thing.

Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, garlic, mint, dill, olive oil & lemon juice.  Add cucumber and mix to incorporate. Chill until serving time.

Notes – in my photo of ingredients there is no mint because: (1) this was a last minute dinner idea, (2) I only have dill growing in my garden and (3) wasn’t about to run to the grocery for mint after spending a couple of hours at the pool. If you don’t have fresh dill you can substitute dried dill; use about 2 tsp. Don’t bother substituting dried mint for the fresh; it’s not worth it and the sauce tastes fine without it.

Do you have a favorite fall-back recipe? What is it? Let me know if you try mine and what you think!