Monday, May 10, 2010

Lemon Garlic Grilled Asparagus

I have a problem. I am a garlic ADDICT. Rarely is there ever a dinner in our home that does not in some small way include this heavenly spice. So, when I stumbled upon a way to make an otherwise bland (in my humble oppinion) veggie into a fantastic side dish using my dear beloved garlic, I knew I'd need to share!

I must admit, however, this recipe is not my own. It belongs to an adorable couple who I am blessed to be related to: Aaron and Ami Rodriguez. Ami walked me through my first time making this yumm-o recipe on our recent California vacation, and I have made it twice since arriving home!

I have slightly tweaked the recipe, but the jist of it, and all of the credit is due to Aaron and Ami (my suspicion is that Ami is truly the brains of the operation!). Here's what I do:


1 bunch of fresh Asparagus

10 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped

splash of EVOO

1 Lemon quartered

1 Ziplock gallon sized freezer bag, or similar

Parmesan Cheese for zest!

What I did:
1. Wash the asparagus and trim off butt-ends (only about 1/2 an inch)

2. Combine asparagus, chopped Garlic, and splash of EVOO in gallon Ziplock bag, mix well. Don't be afraid to mush it around really good! Let stand for 10 minutes

3. Heat grill to medium-high heat. When hot, use TONGS to remove asparagus from the bag and place it on the grill. *** BE CAREFUL!! Oil is FLAMMABLE -do not be like me and burn off all your arm hair by pouring the asparagus out of the bag and torching yourself!

4. Use the remainder of the oil/garlic mixture to baste over the asparagus as it blackens. Squeeze lemon quarters over the asparagus while rotating to ensure even cooking. Grill for about 5 minutes, until Asparagus is tender.

5. Remove asparagus from grill, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and serve!

One bunch of asparagus will yield about 5/6 servings. This makes a great side dish to any dinner, but especially a BBQ dinner! Aaron and Ami made it as a complement to my Uncle Ron's BBQ sauce-less ribs, and it was delicious! **So were the ribs!! I'm going to have to try and make those at home soon!**

This side is also good for you, as it is a full serving of delicious veggies and it's only about 95 calories! And I must say, I've never been a big believer in asparagus without loads of cheesy sauce (which = loads of calories), until now. Ladies and Gents, Lemon Garlic Grilled Asparagus; That's what's on our Kitchen Table for Two tonight!!

**Special thanks to Aaron, Ami, Aunt Susan, Uncle Jon, Lauren, and Uncle Ron (for the rib recipe), for making our vacation such fun! We love you!!

Curried Chicken Salad

This lunch staple packs a filling punch with a mere 247 calories!! It's a one stop shop for a balanced and filling meal that you can make up to a week ahead of time. Working moms, career gals, look no further for a satisfying lunch!!

**N.B. I apologize for the poor picture quality. As gnomes have misplaced my camera cord (yes, gnomes - I have an infestation. They misplace things of mine all the time... my phone, bobby pins, etc.), I was forced to text this picture to my email and upload it, hence the poor quality of my cell phone camera (although it does add a certain "retro" flavor to the blog, it's very "MySpace 1999...")**

Anyway... My first delicious taste of a dish similar to this was on Orient Beach, St. Maarten. My mom and I were wandering down the beach (on the top ten list of worlds most beautiful beaches, fyi!), starting to get hungry when we spotted a little hut built right into the sand. When I say "hut," I mean "hut." This little place was no more that 15 feet x 15 feet square, with the ground floor open to the breeze, and the upper deck without railings or chairs, just little pillows for sitting (Moroccan style!). We sat on the upper deck, ordered something we couldn't pronounce and waited. What we got was something that resembled chopped chicken and apples in a curry sauce, served in a pita. It. Was. Delicious!! ever since then, I have been trying to re-create it at home, and I have officially come up with the perfect recipe =)

Like I said before, this is a balanced meal (food from every color and food group), and its filling! Imagine that... healthy food that's actually filling within one serving size! Woohoo! Alert the media!! So here's what I do:


2 Chicken breasts, chopped

1 splash of EVOO

2 Granny Smith Apples, chopped

1 handful of Raisins

1 cup Celery, chopped

1.5 cups Almonds, crushed

4 Tbsp Low-Fat Mayo or Mayo Substitute

4 Tbsp Curry Powder (buy 2 little Tampico packets, only $1.75 as opposed to the $145.76 jars on the spice aisle!)

What I do:
1. Saute chopped Chicken Breasts in a splash of EVOO and 2 tbsp Curry Powder until the pieces are no longer pink in center, set aside.

2. In medium size mixing bowl, combine Mayo and remaining 2 tbsp Curry Powder until thoroughly mixed.

3. Add the cooked Chicken, chopped Apples, Raisins, Almonds, and Celery to the curried-Mayo and mix well with spatula. Refrigerate.

THREE steps?! AWESOME!! For me, texture is key; that's why I love the crunchy/chewy nature of this recipe. Its totally versatile as well. Don't like raisins? Leave them out, or substitue another dried fruit of similar size. Hate celery? Try subbing cauliflower in its' place! There's a million ways to do it, just pick your favorite.

Here's the best, Best, BEST part for me: this recipe makes 7 (that's right S-E-V-E-N) huge sized portions. That's one for every day of the week! Here's another kicker: each serving had only 247 measly little calories! Add a 100 calorie sandwich roll (I recommend 100% Whole Wheat Oroweat Sandwich Thins-find them in the bread aisle), pita, or tortilla (or two!), and you've got yourself a filling lunch for only 350 calories! Who doesn't love that?? Everyone can get behind a meal that's easy to prepare, lasts all week (without getting mushy, whoohoo!), tastes great, and is great for you!

I make it at least twice a month, and it never gets old because you can change it up every single time! Got kiddos? Try packing all the ingredients in their lunch separately and asking them to mix it together in the cafeteria. Send a tortilla with them and voila! Instant healthy lunch-able with about half the calories for about half the price, and double the nutrition!

Add in your favorite veggies, or dried fruits and let me know what you think! Ladies and Gents, I give you Curried Chicken Salad! And that is what's on our Kitchen Table for Two tonight!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I'll have the Monte Cristo Sandwich...

...and one order of congestive heart failure please. That is how one should be required to order this particular entree at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. As my husband and I just returned from two wonderful days at the park, I cal tell you this: we walked over 5 miles both days, and I have still gained approximately 27lbs from this sandwich. So why, why on earth would I order such a health risk? It. Tastes. Like. Heaven. I figure, I have this sandwich about once every 3 years, which gives my arteries just about enough time to recover from the damage they sustain every time.

I generally like to keep the recipes on here under about 600 calories a serving. WARNING: The Monte Cristo plate is roughly 1388563239 calories per serving - but worth it, unless your name is Jillian Michaels. If you are not from or have never visited the South, and thus have no knowledge of the Monte Cristo, here's the jist: thinly sliced ham and turkey, and liberal amounts of swiss cheese, layered between two slices of Texas toast and deep fried. In fact, the recipe is so easy I should just call this post finished... However, there are some finer points to perfect Southern Cooking so, here I go!

It is possible to fix restaurant quality food at home, I've made the sandwich at home before, and while it can be quite messy (picture a large grease fire and me with no eyebrows...), the sandwich is worth the effort.


6 thin slices of oven roasted Turkey Breast

6 thin slices of Honeybaked Ham

6 slices of Swiss Cheese (notice I left off the "thin" qualifier? ALWAYS go liberal with cheese)

12 slices of Texas Toast (use nice thick white bread, people!)

Powdered Sugar and Honey for garnish

1.5 cups Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

0.5 tsp. Salt

1.5 cups Water

1 Egg, beaten

Hot Oil for frying


Here's what I did:

1. Prepare batter by sifting Flour, Baking Powder and Salt together. Add Water and Egg to dry ingredients and mix well.

2. Prepare sandwiches for frying by layering the meat and cheese between the two bread slices.

3. Cut the sandwiches into 4 triangles. Using the toothpicks, place one or two through each triangle to hold the "sandwich-ettes" together.

4. CAREFULLY dip the triangles completely into the batter, remove, and fry in hot oil at 360 degrees until golden brown.

5. Remove sandwich-ettes from hot oil, pat dry, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with honey, and serve.

I personally reccomend serving them with grape jam for dipping (as do many other cooks), and also a side of Garlic Grilled Asparagus (I feel another post coming on!!). They also make a GREAT after-thanksgiving recipe. Lord knows I had ham, turkey and bread coming out my ears last year! And while it might cause your early death, the Monte Cristo Sandwich will certainly make your mouth happy! And that, ladies and gentlemen is what's on our Kitchen Table for Two once every 4 years =)