Quick Dinners: Soy-Tahini Chicken Salad with Marinated Avocados

This recipe was recently published in our “rotisserie chicken magic” series for the San Jose Mercury News’ “Fast and Furious Weeknight Cooking” column. It’s light and fresh and perfect for a summery lunch or supper! Get the recipe here:


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Avocado TimeAvocados! Love ’em in avocado toast, guacamole, grilled (!)….. but I recently discovered the magic of marinating them which is especially great for salads or sandwiches. I’m learning, the more I cook, about the importance of seasoning each element of a dish — especially for things like tacos, salads and sandwiches. The result is so much more than the sum of its parts…. and avocados while dreamy and creamy, definitely need a boost in the seasoning department.

This avocado marinade/salad dressing is a good quickie because it requires no mincing of shallots or garlic, simply a vigorous shake in a jar (a nice mini cooking project for kids). I love the nutty, toasted sesame flavor of the tahini in this but you could certainly substitute your favorite creamy nut butter.  I’m a big fan of the tahini they have in the bulk section at Rainbow Grocery in SF (sometimes jars of tahini can be off in flavor if they’ve been sitting too long). There’s also a DIY tahini how-to over at the Kitchen, if you want to give making it from scratch a try.

Get the recipe for Soy-Tahini Chicken Salad with Marinated Avocados

More avocado & tahini yumminess:

 

Quick Dinners: Udon Salad with Shredded Chicken & Gai Lan

This easy dinner idea combines rotisserie chicken, fresh veggies and udon
noodles. (Photo: A Little Yumminess)

 

This recipe is the most recent from our “rotisserie chicken magic” series for the San Jose Mercury News’ “Fast and Furious Weeknight Cooking” column. It’s perfect for summer! Get the recipe here:


Here’s a light and flavorful noodle salad that is enthusiastically endorsed by my two young noodle slurpers: chewy udon noodles, crunchy gai lan (or your favorite green veg), and shredded rotisserie chicken all tossed in a tasty soy-mustard-sesame dressing, with just a kick of chili ;).

Slurper 1 (9 years old): “I loved this dish because it has all different flavors and when they come together they taste great. (I like to add fish sauce to  this dish.)”

Slurper 2 (6 years old): “I would put this on a kids’ menu at a restaurant.”

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Quick Dinners: Mexican-Inspired Rice Bowl with Chorizo & Avocado Salsa

Rice bowls are one of the easiest and most delicious ways to tackle dinner.
And this Mexican rice version with a chorizo-bean saute and avocado salsa
is sensational. (A Little Yumminess)Simran and I are both big fans of the one-bowl supper. They’re so great for repurposing leftovers and work well for packed lunches the next day too (leftovers of leftovers, the gift that keeps on giving!). In this version we’ve layered rice (but you could use any leftover cooked grain) with a tasty chorizo-bean saute, and a super quick, semi-homemade avocado salsa. Add shredded carrots, chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes or whatever else you have on hand and your “what’s for dinner?” problem is solved.

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Soup for Supper: Weeknight Seafood Chowder

Our recipe for “Quick dinner: Fantastic seafood chowder” (San Jose Mercury News)

This seafood chowder is really pretty quick to make and definitely feels like a little bit of luxury for weeknight dinner. Love that you can use any mix of seafood that you choose (fish, shrimp, clams whatever!). In thinking about this recipe our main goal was to avoid the clump factor that you can sometimes get with some of the traditional chowder recipes that call for a flour-based roux mixture to thicken them. So, this recipe leaves out the roux altogether and results in a chowder that lands on the more brothy side of things (which I personally don’t mind). It’s brothy but it does feel substantial if you keep the pieces fish and potatoes chunky and you’re generous with the amount of seafood that you add. But if you happen to be a chowder fan (like my dad for one) who prefers a texture with a bit more body, you can try this quick trick:  just mash some of the potatoes into the soup once they’re tender.

I absolutely love this with a hunk of good, sourdough bread and a tossed salad — glass of white wine or a beer wouldn’t hurt either 😉 ! Click here for our recipe in the San Jose Mercury News’ “Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking” column.

Comfort Food Cravings: Nonni’s Quick Chicken Parm

Chicken Parm

Yeah, Chicken Parm!

Cooking withnonni

Nonni Laura in the Kitchen

In my last blog post, I introduced you to the one and only Nonni Laura who showed you (via this video) how to make a humongous pot of minestrone, Italian grandma-style. Yum yum!

I wanted to share another of our very favorite Nonni recipes: this time ooey, gooey chicken parmesan, a true Italian-American classic…. and a meal near the top of my kids’ all time “most requested” list. It’s pretty hard not to love that magical combination of rich tomato sauce, melty cheese, herbed breadcrumbs and juicy chicken.

This particular version of chicken parmesan is mostly Nonni’s recipe, but with a few added tweaks and shortcuts by me to make it a bit more doable for busy weeknights.   [The recipe recently appeared in the “Fast and Furious Weeknight Cooking” column for the San Jose Mercury News.]

Hope you’ll give it a try…BTW the leftovers make killer sandwiches!

Get the recipe for Nonni’s Quick Chicken Parm.

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Nonni hugs are the best!


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Easy Weeknight Cooking: Asian Fish Parcels

asian-fish-parcels_blog-2This super easy recipe is one that our kids can make by themselves in the kitchen.  And easy in this case, doesn’t mean lacking in taste at all.  It’s the perfect combination of French technique (“en papillote) and Asian ingredients.  It’s kind of an origami project for the kids to wrap up the fish in foil or parchment.  The drama of opening the packets table-side always impresses everyone.  You can omit the chile paste if you want to, to make the dish more palatable to little taste buds.  Happy weekend!

Check out the recipe on San Jose’s Mercury’s Quick Dinner Weeknight Cooking section……

Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking: Simran’s Chimichurri Black Beans

chimichurri-beans

These brothy, flavorful chimichurri beans are so versatile — a tasty base for soups and stews; a hearty sidedish; or, of course, a filling for tacos, quesadillas, tortas and yes… nachos! Simran developed this recipe after enjoying a similar dish when she was in Belize and it’s our latest article for our “Fast & Furious Weeknight Cooking” series for the San Jose Mercury News. Read the article and get the recipe right here. Continue reading