Posts tagged #menu

Dinner, planned

Have you ever been overwhelmed by the idea of cooking a (nice) dinner menu? I may very well be alone here (I am not known for my cooking skills. That said, I excel at folding laundry and styling the house :). But if there is a slight chance that you are in those same shoes, I wanted to share with you our experience of planning, cooking and eating one of the most delicious dinners we have ever had.

Right here, at home.

Now, none of these recipes are originally mine... All I can attest to is that each one turned out more delicious than we ever imagined!

The total prep and cooking time for this dinner was about 90 minutes (not a terrible time investment). I actually started off with the dessert since I was able to whip it up and put it in the fridge and be done with it. That way, it was also nicely chilled by the time of serving. 

Next, I started on the soup... while that was cooking, I was working on the one-pot wonder. During the 15-minute wait times of the entree, I quickly threw together the mushrooms. 

And voila! There's the order of events. Oh, and savoring every bite was rather wonderful too.


Cream of Cauliflower Soup

  • 1/4 cup butter, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil1onion, finely chopped
  • 1 leek (white part only), thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 lbs cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 cups chicken stock
  • 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 oz Gruyère, coarsely grated
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 

Heat butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, leek and garlic and stir occasionally until tender (7-10 minutes). Add cauliflower, stir to coat in butter, add stock and simmer until very tender (40-45 minutes). Add milk, bring to the simmer, then purée in a blender until very smooth. Stir in Gruyère, crème fraîche and mustard, season to taste and keep warm. Original recipe here

One-Pot Chicken, Quinoa, Mushrooms and Spinach

  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • ¾ tsp crushed, dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low-fat chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups sliced spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Place the chicken thighs in a medium bowl. Add the rosemary, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and toss to coat the chicken. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and mushrooms, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir the quinoa and broth into the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Nestle the chicken into the quinoa, and cook (covered) until the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes (total of 30 minutes). Transfer the chicken to a plate. Stir the spinach into the quinoa. Serve with the chicken. Season to taste. Original recipe here. 

Garlic Thyme Roasted Mushrooms

  • 12 oz white mushrooms, stems trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt, or to taste
  • 3 dashes ground black pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat up a skillet and add the butter, olive oil. Add the garlic, thyme, garlic powder, salt, pepper and lime juice. Saute to combine well before adding the mushrooms. Stir the mushrooms to coat well with the ingredients. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top of the mushrooms.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast the mushrooms for 12 minutes. Serve immediately. Original recipe here

Strawberries Romanoff

  • 12 cup sour cream 
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cognac or 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 12 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 cups fresh strawberries

Mix sour cream, brown sugar and cognac in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whip cream until starts to thicken and add sugar - whip until thick. Fold cream into sour cream mixture and blend well. Serve with fresh strawberries. Original recipe here.

Posted on January 16, 2017 and filed under Test Kitchen.

Happy New Year!

Some Party Essentials

I Always Start with the Menu 

Delicious Party Favors

Wrap it in a Theme (Polar Bears!) 

Unify with a Color Scheme (White, Gold and a bit of Black)



Happy Holidays!!

I must confess, I am rather sad the holidays are over. But at the very least, I have this blog to write about them and remember how much fun it was to plan for a good meal and enjoy the party with my loved ones!

A few posts ago, I shared with you the menu I was planning on for Christmas and I am happy to report that all the dishes came out beautifully! Hands down, my favorite was the turkey. It was fresh, juicy and just perfect! And as usual, I spent quite a lot of time setting up the table decor (my favorite part of any party). This time however, I had help from the best of helpers: mom. After a trip to the local Marshall's (where we purchased placemats and a few decorations) and Target (where we found the polar bears at 50% off plus the paper christmas trees and candles), we were able to complete our polar bear theme. 

The colors we used this year were gold, white and a punch of black. It was all inspired by the design of the menu I did a few weeks back. The menu also inspired the handsomest party favors - custom made cookies by Cakes and Cookies by Claudia. 

All in all, I think I am really liking the idea of hosting celebrations! I am already looking for an excuse to have another one soon!

PS: A shoutout to our lovely hosts: Jessica and Stefan Popov and the great help from Jenny Blair (still dreaming of that casserole!) and of course, mom and dad, who are always willing to assist in any loving way they can. 


Posted on January 1, 2014 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Make-Ahead Christmas Breakfast

To continue with my favorite topic for the holidays (food)... I have been thinking long and hard about making Christmas Day breakfast delicious, presentation-worthy and easy at the same time (for 8 people nonetheless!). In my search for a solution, I came across an article discussing the art of making breakfast ahead. So here is what I came up with for our family! Most of these can be made ahead of time and the rest are a quick 5-10 minute preparation. You can click on each picture and get the particular recipe. Also, since I will have a very international family gathering, I thought it would be fun to include a bit of fun/trivia information per each food item on the Menu... 

Oh, About the Parfait...

Almost a year ago, I attended a Leadership Summit at the Houston Sorella hotel. During my three-day meeting, I must have eaten about 16 delicious yogurt parfaits which fueled my obsession of finding the perfect ingredients to recreate it at home. After trying 12 different yogurt/granola/fruit combinations, I finally nailed it! Here is what I use:

1st Layer: Trader Joe's Organic Vanilla Bean Yogurt2nd Layer: Trader Joe's Praline Pecan Granola3rd Layer: A combination of Raspberries and Blueberries. The most important ingredient is honey though. I pour honey over the granola and the fruit. Amazingly delicious!

Hope you enjoy!! 


Posted on December 13, 2013 and filed under Test Kitchen.