Archive for You know what I made last night?

Lettuce Wraps

I’ve had delicious lettuce wraps a couple of times this past week–the perfectly filling, yet cool, lunch during the summer. And I’ve been desperate to find a great recipe for lettuce wraps that I can make at home. So I combined a few items, and it actually turned out just as great!


In the iceberg lettuce leafs, I put in rice, cold cooked chicken, chopped cucumber and onion, Thai sweet chili sauce, asparagus sauted with sesame oil, and peanut sauce. But experiment on your own! You could switch out the rice for couscous, and chicken for seared shrimp, and perhaps plum sauce instead of the peanut sauce. It’s delish!


Grilled vegetables – your quandries solved!


     Who doesn’t love grilled veggies in the summer? When asparagus, squash, or corn is seasoned just right and thrown over the coals, the crispness of the flesh is preserved, and the spices you’ve chosen to accentuate the flavor are seared onto the skin, resulting in an incredible texture. Nothing beats it, right?

     Unfortunately, my kids will beg to differ. Proponents of the old “veggies should be steamed, not grilled” movement, they prefer that the green on their plate has “no black marks and doesn’t taste like fire” (yes, they really say it like that). And, while I love the taste and surface consistency of grilled veggies, I too enjoy certain kinds (i.e. the squash and its many cousins) both ways. So, what’s a mom – or, perhaps a BBQ event host – to do in this situation?

     My solution: People like them both ways – so cook them both ways! There’s no rule that says you can’t serve fried chicken and roast chicken at the same time; likewise, who says you can’t serve grilled veggies alongside steamed? Check out the meal we had last night: fettuccine alfredo with chicken cutlets, paired with steamed zucchini rounds – and grilled zucchini slices (thanks to my mom’s stellar gardening efforts, we had plenty!).  You’re happy, your kids/guests/other assorted picky eaters are happy, and everyone gets their veggie quota met. It’s a win-win! Have you ever tried this? Let me know!


-Brook Flagg, 6/22/08

A homemade Starbucks pesto spread? Kind of…

Ok, I know the food at Starbucks is a little on the pricey side. But everyone has at least one favorite item from the illuminated case. Mine? The Turkey Pesto Baguette, hands down. However, the last time I slapped down that $6.75 (or is it $7.45?) , I arrived at a crucial decision: Figure out how to duplicate their delectable pesto spread – and don’t forget those dried cranberries. Hence, I present you my version, which also pairs nicely with bagel chips, Wheat Thins…pretty much anything you’d like to add some oh-so-worth-it calories to.

Turkey Pesto Spread, ala Starbucks

  • 8 oz. whipped cream cheese
    12 basil leaves, washed with stems trimmed
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Dried cranberries as desired

Mix cream cheese, basil, garlic powder, and salt in food processor until cream cheese is smooth and basil appears minced (about 30 pulses, or 45 continuous seconds). Spread desired portion (I think Starbucks uses about 2 tbs.) on baguette sandwich, topping with cranberries as desired. Transfer unused portion to storage container.


Pineapple Chicken, Better Homes and Gardens Feb. 2008


I love the simplicity of BHG recipes. But if you’re a complex person like me, you may find it necessary to add your own complicated touch to easier formulas. So, my version of this recipe (just a slight alteration to the measurements and method) appears below. However, if you’re a by-the-book type (BOOO!), the original can be found here. My version (I figured, why not change the name too?) is as follows:

Coconut Curry and Pineapple Chicken over Rice

6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs

1 tsp. curry powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

¼ tsp. salt

2 tbs. olive oil

1 sweet red pepper, cut into strips

1 pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into strips

1 serrano pepper, cut into thin strips

1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or light coconut milk)

2 tbs. packed brown sugar

5 cups cooked brown rice

1. Sprinkle chicken with curry powder, garlic powder, and salt. In 12-inch skillet or wok, heat oil, add chicken, and brown on both sides (one minute per side). Reduce heat to medium-high and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Drain off fat, reserving apx. one tbs. in skillet).

2. Add sweet pepper, pineapple, and serrano peppers to skillet. Sautee for two minutes over medium-high heat. Return chicken to skillet; add coconut milk and brown sugar. Bring to a boil uncovered. Reduce heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 20 minutes (sauce will thicken as mixture cools). Test chicken for doneness, remove from heat. Serve over cooked rice. Makes 6 servings.

– Brook Flagg 4/3/08