Wednesday, July 20, 2011

500 "Degrees" of Summer: Chicken Salad

This week- I definitely think I am going to be a firm believer in global warming. With the heat index in Chicago being 110, it's been really hard to cook lately, because heating your oven totally defeats the purpose of having the air conditioner on. 

Summer is just flying on by, but I feel that's usually how it goes after July 4th. However, I am having fun running around like crazy (as usual), staying warm or now should I say cool, and trying to cook light meals/desserts. 

Chicken salad is one of the best classic summer dishes because it's so versatile. You can serve it straight up, put it on a bagel (I do that at school), or even make it into a sandwich. It can be room-temperature or chilled. You can use leftover chicken or make some when it's cool at night. No matter which way you serve it, it's an easy recipe that you should keep on file. 

This recipe goes a lot on how it tastes and eyeing ingredients, WAIT DO NOT CLOSE OUT!! It's still really really easy. I have had a couple disastrous attempts at using chicken salad recipes online- (lesson learned: not everything online is good! Always check reviews!), but my mom has finally taught me the secret! 

PS- Let me know what you think of the new layout on the site and logo :) ! 

Mom's Chicken Salad

Mom said, and I quote, "There is no exact recipe, but this is my estimation and you can do it!"

1-1 1/2 cups of cooked chicken 
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup grapes
1 teaspoon tarragon 
2-3 tablespoons of Italian dressing
3+ tablespoons of Mayo- (taste to your liking)
Optional: chopped walnuts and pecans 

  1. Combine chicken, celery, grapes. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Marinate in Italian Dressing
  3. Add Mayo to your tasting
  4. Serve! (For sandwiches, you can put a little lettuce in as well) 

Bon Appétit!

Monday, July 11, 2011

La Dolce Vita: Risi e Bisi Risotto

This summer Ryan traveled to Italy, and I found my own little Italy in Kenosha, Wisconsin. We spent a Sunday afternoon on a double date with Ryan's friend and girlfriend, Marco and Stephanie. 

We started off a Sunday afternoon at Frank's Diner, which is not so much with the Italian theme but we wanted to go after seeing it on an episode of Food Networks' Diner Drive-ins and Dives.  I definitely suggest ordering their famous "Garbage Plate". It's a mix of hash-browns, eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese, and all sorts of veggies. Our waiter was very animated, kind of like an Ed Debevic's feel. I was nicknamed cupcake, dessert, and baby. Steph was dubbed team blonde. 

Afterwards, we went outlet shopping and decided to refuel in little Italy.  Tenuta's is an Italian Deli in Kenosha and is like my local Caputo's on crack (I couldn't think of a nicer way to say it!). There are just racks of imported olive oils and balsamic vinegars. There's a deli full of imported Prosciutto (you know how much I'm addicted to that) and Pecorino Romano and various kinds of Parmesan. Anything Italian that you can imagine- I'm pretty sure they have it. 

I ended up going a little crazy and buying a giant bottle of my mom's favorite olive oil, a can of sun-dried tomato bruschetta, imported balsamic vinegar and some homemade fehttuchini noodles. Ryan's favorite dish I make him is my fehttuchini alfredo- so we'll see if the noodles make it even better. 

I was inspired by our Italian adventure so my mom and I decided to have a famous Italian dish. Risi e bisi is a famous kind of risotto and it's also a perfect summer dish as well. In the past two weeks, my mom and I have made it twice. 

I promise more updates soon- all I can say this summer theme is "la dolce vita!" Translation: I'm living the good life!

Risi e Bisi Risotto 


2 teaspoons butter or stick margarine
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup finely chopped prosciutto
1 1/2 cups shelled green peas (about 1 1/2 pounds unshelled green peas)
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice or other short-grain rice
3 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  
  2. Add onion and prosciutto , saute 3 minutes.  
  3. Add peas and rice; cook for 2 minutes. 
  4. Add broth and wine; bring to boil.  
  5. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
  6. Stir in cheese, parsley, and pepper

and serve! 

La Dolce Vita to you all! 

Bon Appétit!