Archive for ‘Main Dish’

June 3, 2011

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

Summers in the Midwest are absolutely perfect for grilling. Grilled dinners are actually some of my favorite because it’s the closest my husband and I come to ‘couples cooking’. I usually prepare the food (marinade it) and he does the manly ‘grilling’ and feels involved. Recently, we’ve gotten very much into making salads with grilled additions (grilled chicken, grilled fish, etc). This is a semi-traditional Chicken Caesar Salad (except we didn’t use onions since my husband hates them) that is filling and delicious but still healthy. Enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 roma tomatoes
3 slices country-style bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I omitted this because husband and I aren’t fans of croutons)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, about 6-oz each
1 large head romaine lettuce or 3 hearts of romaine, chopped (we used ‘spring mix’ because it’s what we had on hand)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat (350-450 degrees) and preheat a grill pan.
In a blender or food processor, pulse the lemon juice, garlic, mustard, Worcestershire, salt, and pepper until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream until dressing is emulsified.
In a medium bowl toss the tomatoes and bread cubes with 2 tablespoons of the dressing if making croutons.
Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing over chicken and turn to coat evenly. Marinade 10-20 minutes.
Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill chicken over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the meat is firm to the touch and opaque all the way to the center, 8-12 minutes, turning once or twice. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
During the last 2-3 minutes of grilling, spread the tomatoes and bread cubes in a single layer on the grill pan and cook until the tomatoes start to blister and the bread is toasted, turning occasionally. Remove everything from the grill and let the chicken rest for 3-5 minutes so the juices inside can redistribute. Cut the chicken crosswise into 1/2-inch slices.
In a large bowl toss the lettuce with the dressing a cheese. Divide the salad chicken, tomatoes, and croutons evenly among serving plates. Serve immediately.

Source: Handle the Heat

June 1, 2011

Salmon with Strawberry and Tomato Salsa

Salmon with Strawberry Tomato Salsa


Summer has finally made its way to Michigan! I’m not quite sure what happened to Spring, but we went from frigid 30 degree weather to blistering heat with 90 degree weather and daily thunderstorms. This wouldn’t be so bad if we had a working air conditioning, but given that we don’t, I’ve been able to spend maximum 10  minutes in the kitchen with a hot oven/stove. This recipe is one that I’ve held onto for years (proof of that is that the original blog that I got it from doesn’t even exist any more). It’s a perfect light summer recipe that takes ten minutes to throw together and takes advantage of the delicious strawberries that are on sale right now. Happy summer!

Salmon with Strawberry and Tomato Salsa


4 salmon fillets
juice of half of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
1/4 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 beefsteak red tomato
1/4 yellow tomato
4 scallions, white and light green portion diced
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp olive oil
drizzle of honey
dash of salt and pepper to taste

Preheat broiler on low. Line baking sheet with tin foil, folding edges upwards to contain mess.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto tops of each fillet and generously season each with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom rack of the oven (away from broiler) and broil on low to desired doneness, about 10 minutes dependent upon thickness of fillets.
Meanwhile, prep remaining salsa ingredients and combine in medium bowl. Stir to combine and let sit.
Remove salmon from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Using small spatula, remove salmon from skin (skin should stick to the tinfoil and be easy to remove) and place on plate.
Top generously with strawberry and tomato salsa and serve hot

Source: Adapted from Good Things Catered (a blog that unfortunately no longer exists)

April 27, 2011

Recipe Swap – Asian Grilled Salmon with Coconut Rice

Asian Grilled Salmon and Coconut Rice

Recently, I’ve been trying to get more involved in the ‘cooking community’. Part of this has been cooking more with friends. Part of it has been starting a food blog. Most recently, I ventured out and decided to be a part of a recipe swap hosted by A Taste of Home Cooking Blog. The idea of this is simple; submit an Asian  recipe  and  get assigned one in return to cook and review / blog about.

My husband went to high school in Japan, so coming up with a recipe for me to recommend  was easy, I sent out his favorite Kung Pao Chicken. The ‘recipe’ I got in return, was actually a full meal from Nicole at Baby Food Scoops! The meal included Asian Grilled Salmon, Coconut Rice and Sauteed Snap Peas. Being  that I was in a bit of a hurry the night I made this, and that my husband isn’t really a fan of snap peas, I made the salmon and  rice without the peas (but will still post the snap peas recipe for anyone who is interested).

Review: My husband really liked the salmon. He thought that the marinade was great! Definitely a keeper! We love grilling in the summertime, so we will definitely make this again. The rice, my husband isn’t a huge fan  of coconut, so I knew he’s be a bit apprehensive about this…that and he isn’t a hue fan of anything that isn’t made in his Japaneese Rice Cooker. My mother however LOVED the rice. She actually got the recipe from me so that she could make it again.

Asian Grilled Salmon

Asian Grilled Salmon

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp unsweetened pineapple juice
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 4…we like garlic in this household…)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (I used a full tsp)
1 salmon fillet (2 pounds)


In small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients.
Pour 3/4 cup into large resealable bag; add salmon.
Seal bag and turn to coat. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, turning occasionally.
Set aside remaining marinade for basting. Create a ‘pan’ for salmon with a sheet of aluminum foil. Drain and discard marinade.
Place salmon skin-side-down on aluminum foil. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade. Grill 15-20 minutes longer or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice

2 cups Thai jasmine-scented rice
2 cups good-quality coconut milk, not fat-free (or 3 tbsp cream of coconut + milk to equal 1 cup)
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. canola oil
Optional Garnish: 2 Tbsp. dry shredded coconut

Rub oil over the bottom of a deep-sided pot. (Note: the pot will need a tight-fitting lid).
Place rice, coconut milk, water, and salt in the pot. Place pot on the stove over medium to high heat. Stir well.
Continue to stir occasionally until the coconut milk & water come to a bubbling boil (stirring will keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot and burning).
Once the rice has begun to bubble, stop stirring. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Place lid askew on the pot, so that it is at least 3/4 covered.
Allow to simmer in this way for 10 minutes, or until rice has absorbed most of the coconut-water.
Now turn off the heat, but leave the pot on the burner. Cover the pot tightly with the lid and allow to sit 5-10 minutes, or until the rest of your dinner is ready (the rice will “steam” and be nice and sticky).
When ready to eat, remove the lid and “fluff” rice with a fork or chopsticks, gently loosening it in the pot.
Optional Step: “dry fry” 2 Tbsp. shredded coconut in a (dry) frying pan over medium heat, stirring continually until the coconut turns golden-brown. Sprinkle this toasted coconut over the rice for an extra coconutty treat. (I skipped this step since due to the whole ‘coconut issue’ with husband)

Sauteed Snap Peas

1 pound sugar snap peas, rinsed
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Heat oil in large skillet. Add peas and sea salt to skillet and stir fry 10-15 minutes. Toss with sesame seeds and serve warm.

Source: Adapted from: Baby Food Scoops

April 11, 2011

Chicken Ghiveci


Chicken Ghivich

People often ask me what “Moldovian food” is. This is a pretty difficult question to answer since I’ve figured out that it is truly a mishmash of Romanian, Ukranian and Russian food. Growing up, my family would often get together for meals and I always assumed that what we were eating was just “Moldovian food”. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out that so much of what I eat is actually Romanian or  Ukranian. I usually make a list for people that includes “chicken jello” (trust me, you don’t want to know…its actual name is Halodets), “Olivier salad” (the Eastern European version of potato salad), and “pirozhki” (post on these will happen very soon as they are one of my favorite foods in the world).

Ghiveci is usually on this list as well. This ‘chicken ghiveci’ is a Romanian dish that I absolutely love. It can be made vegetarian just by excluding the chicken (and still tastes great). It’s a very good dish for cleaning out your refrigerator as you can throw pretty much any vegetable into it. Warm and very similar to a vegetable/chicken stew, for me, this is truly comfort food.

Chicken Ghiveci

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 mild onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 lbs chicken breast
6 Tbsp tomato paste
3 potatoes, diced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 carrots, cut into chunks
1/2 small celeriac, cut into chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 zucchini sliced
salt and black pepper


Heath the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Add the onion and garlic andcook for 1-2 minutes, until soft.
Add the chopped red peppers
Cut the chicken into 1-2 inch cube, place in the casserole and brown on all sides.
after 15 minutes, add the tomato paste, potatoes, herbs, carrots, celeriac and white wine and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook over low heat, covered for another 40-50 min.
Add zucchini slices 5 min before end of cooking. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Serve with dark rye bred.

Source: Adapted from: Russian, German & Polish Food & Cooking

March 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Wrap


Buffalo Chicken Wrap

I can safely say that hospital food would fall under both my and my husband’s  list of ‘least favorite foods’. It is often fried and over-salted and just not very appetizing. However, once in a while, they will hit it spot on and make something actually good! Francis had the pleasure of visiting me at the hospital one day last year when they had buffalo chicken wraps and since then, he has been requesting that I make these wraps in our kitchen. I didn’t really have a recipe for them, but tried to throw them together with what I had and they actually turned out better than the originals (Homemade food tasting better than hospital food? Shocking!). Also, I know that ‘the match’ is not for two weeks (the day that decides where I will spend the next seven years of my life for residency), but if it happens to not be at my current hospital, it’ll be nice to know that I will have this dish as a reminder of my med school hospital.

Buffalo Chicken Wraps


For the chicken:

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce
2 Tbsp Butter, melted
salt and pepper
Vegetable oil (approximately 2Tbsp)

For the wraps:

3-4 9″ Flour tortillas
Shredded lettuce
Ranch dressing for spreading
1 Roma tomato
Mexican blend shredded cheese
1/2 chopped shallot


Place flour seasoned with salt and pepper in a shallow dish.
Pour the buttermilk in another dish.
Dip the chicken pieces in the buttermilk followed by into the flour.
Heat up the vegetable oil in a skillet and cook the chicken pieces for 7-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix the melted butter and buffalo sauce.
When the chicken is cooked through, throw the chicken into the bowl with the buffalo sauce and toss to coat.
Heat up a tortilla and spread ranch dressing on it. Add vegetables and chicken.

Source: Adapted from: Eat at Allie’s

February 28, 2011

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad


Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad

I’ll be honest…steak is not one of my strong suits. This could possibly have to do with the fact that I don’t eat red meat. I’m always interested in finding different ways to marinate and  prepare  steak but then when it comes to actually grilling it and taste-testing it,  I’m completely useless. So, this dish is pretty much  as close as my husband and I come to cooking ‘together’ in  our kitchen. I marinate the steak and then he stands over me while I  grill it going  “Flip it! Now! Now!” It’s  pretty amusing. And he of course does the taste testing to determine if it’s a good recipe. That was pretty much the case with this recipe. I prepared  the steak and we jointly grilled it. It was actually husband’s idea to throw it over spinach and toss some cheese on (which  surprised me tremendously). Overall, I’d say this was a success.

Grilled Balsamic Steak Salad


1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
2-3 cups Spinach leaves


Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at room temperature 8hours or overnight, turning once.
Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 Tbsp butter.
Sprinkle both sides of steak with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper.
Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness.
When turning the pan, put the other 1/2 Tbsp of butter on top of the steak.
Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil; let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices.
Place steak over bed of spinach and cheddar cheese.

Source: Adapted from: Cooking Light
*Disclaimer: Steak was grilled to medium by my husband, Francis,  because I’m completely incompetent when it comes to steak grilling.

February 16, 2011

Grilled Portobello Mushrooms


Grilled Portobello Mushrooms

So, do you have cavities yet from all of the sweet posts?

Now that Valentine’s Day is past, I thought I would start posting “real” food posts again…not that dessert isn’t ‘real’ food but I think I’m in the minority when I claim that dessert should be the bottom of the food pyramid.

I’m not a red meat eater, so whenever I make my husband steak, I usually scavenge around the kitchen trying to find something for myself to eat…and that ‘something’ usually ends up being a Boca burger. Well, one night, I got tired of doing  that so I decided to actually make a gourmet meal and make grilled portobello mushrooms for myself. I had only had portobellos in sandwiches before but let me tell you, these were incredible! They were juicy and flavorful, and I didn’t feel at all like I was missing out by not eating steak that night.

This recipe would probably work well with the whole portobello caps too, but I used what was on sale (pre-sliced stems) and it was so delicious. I highly recommend this recipe for any vegetarian or non-vegetarian willing to be adventurous.


Grilled Portobello Mushrooms


4 large portobello mushrooms, washed, stems cut off and caps cut into slices
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
black pepper, to taste


Melt the butter, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic & pepper together in a small saucepan.
Brush the mushrooms generously with the melted butter and olive oil mixture.
On a grill pan, grill the portobello mushrooms for about 8 minutes. Turn and grill the tops of the portobello mushrooms for 6 to 8 minutes longer. The grilled portobello mushrooms should be tender and nicely browned.

Source: Adapted from: Southern Food About dot com

January 18, 2011

Indonesian Grilled Swordfish


Indonesian Swordfish

Whenever I eat swordfish, I think of that line from Finding Nemo about the “fish with a nose like a swooord”…wow, I know that movie way too well, but it’s one of those movies that just makes me feel good whenever I’m having a terrible day.

This fish is an Ina Garten recipe and while absolutely delicious and healthy (a bonus), I have a confession…an appalling and shocking confession. Okay. Here it goes: I don’t like Ina Garten. I know…how could a person not like the Barefoot Contessa? Don’t get me wrong, I think she’s a wonderful chef and has a lovely personality, but because of her and her popularity, people have been calling me Ina (enunciate the ‘I’) as opposed to the proper way to pronounce my name Inna (like the ending of Tina or Dina or Nina…EEEEnna). I will still continue to love her food and make it all the time, but I do get a bit disgruntled whenever I introduce myself to people or they see my name and say “Oh! Ina! Like the Barefoot Contessa!!!”. Alright, enough of  the rant.

This swordfish is as delicious as it is simple to make. It has a ton of flavor and the best part is that I bought  this swordfish on sale (frozen, but on sale) at the grocery store 🙂

Indonesian Grilled Swordfish


1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
vegetable oil spray for grille pan
2 Tbsp fresh lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup minced or finely chopped ginger root
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
3 Swordfish steaks


Combine the soy sauce, vegetable oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ginger root, garlic, and mustard in a bowl.
Pour the sauce in a bowl and place swordfish stakes inside, ladling the marinade over the fish.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
Heat up a grill pan with vegetable oil spray.
Cook swordfish steaks approximately 8-10 minutes per side, brusing with extra sauce every time you flip the steaks.

Source: Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, Back to the Basics

January 11, 2011

Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)


Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Francis and I have a ‘thing’ for Indian food. About once a month we’ll get these cravings where we absolutely must have Indian. Unfortunately for us, there are about two Indian restaurants in our town and they’re both (while very tasty), fairly expensive. Over the past several years, we’ve both figured out how to imitate Indian cooking. Francis’s ‘signature dish’ is Butter Chicken (and he makes Butter Shrimp for me) while mine is Chickpea Curry.

When we first began cooking Indian food, it was all very intimidating. Garam Masala? Curry powder? Somehow though, the realization that Garam Masala is sold right between Fennel and Ginger at our local grocery store made it less scary.

This dish is extremely easy and quick…perfect for those nights where I’m working late and want a quick and delicious dinner. Its degree of spiciness depends on how much cumin and red pepper flakes you add to it, so if you’re feeling adventurous, pour it in.

We usually serve this over white rice or alongside “Naan”, traditional Indian bread that is also (surprisingly) found in the bread section of our local grocery store…that adventure in cooking is to come hopefully soon (one of my cooking resolutions for the year is to make Naan…). Enjoy!

Channa Masala (Chickpea Curry)


4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2  can diced tomatoes
1/2 can (10.5oz) condensed tomato soup
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup cream or milk
1 (12 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained


Place potatoes in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat; simmer until the potatoes are tender. Drain, and set aside.
Warm oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion and garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until the onions are soft and translucent.
Stir in curry powder, garam masala, ginger, cumin, and salt. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes, stirring. Pour in diced tomatoes, red pepper, tomato soup, cream, and chickpeas. Stir in potatoes. Simmer 10 minutes.


January 4, 2011

Blackened Salmon


Blackened Salmon

As a medical student, I am always looking for new ways to make dinners…and quick! On those nights when I come home late and want nothing but to curl up on the couch with a Snuggie (yes…I’m a Snuggie person), dinner does not have a very high priority in my mind. Luckily, I came up with this dinner. It’s simple, delicious and does not take much time to make. Pair it with steamed green beans or mashed potatoes and voila; an easy solution to a weeknight meal!

Blackened Salmon


2 6oz salmon fillets
1 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
2 Tbsp butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Mix together Paprika, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano and basil in a small mixing bowl.
Pour melted butter over salmon fillets.
Sprinkle spices over salmon fillets and rub them in.
Cook salmon for 20-24 minutes.

Source: Innochka’s Kitchen