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Archive for the ‘Dipping Sauce’ Category

Lucas and I spent over an hour driving around several neighborhoods in Austin, looking for “For Rent” signs in yards. We’re both fond of a place we saw a few days ago, but we just wanted to get a taste of what’s out there. Not much apparently. At least, not from what we saw. Still, I seem to be of the mindset of “If it isn’t on Craigslist, then it isn’t out there.” Because everyone posts on Craigslist, right? Wrong. But that’s what I like to think.

Anyway, we were in the midst of our search when hunger hit. We were thisclose to grabbing dinner at Chipotle. By thisclose, I mean we had pulled into the parking lot and had our hands on handles of the door, ready to make a mad dash for Mexican. Then I opened my big fat mouth and said, “But even if we eat here, we’d still have to cook tonight for lunch tomorrow.”

And with that, we headed home.

Bummer.

But not really, because we had Restaurant Night.  Look at this delish fish dish we made, inspired by the Fish Tacos & Shallot Ginger Dipping Sauce from Z’Tejas.

Food:
Afternoon snack: 4 delicious medjool dates
Pre-dinner: A whole wheat tortilla and a glass of red wine.
Dinner: 2 fish tacos. Grilled fish on a whole wheat tortilla, topped with shredded cabbage and carrots. A tangy dipping sauce jazzed it up.

Dessert: A serving of Swiss chocolate with nuts.

I’m getting sleepy. Very, very sleepy……

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Restaurant Night is my new culinary project! Restaurant Night happens in the kitchen at home, but you make a dinner inspired by a dish featured at a restaurant that you like or would like to go to. Your inspiration comes from your past dining experience, or from the restaurant’s online menu’s description of the dish.

Tonight’s dish is inspired by the Parmesan Pecan-Crusted Chicken Salad from Z’Tejas.  It’s pretty much the only thing I ever order when I go to Z’Tejas. The menu describes the salad as “baby spinach, Roma tomatoes, crispy bacon mixed with warm bacon dressing and topped with parmesan pecan-crusted chicken and goat cheese.”

I’m calling my version Almond Chicken Spinach Salad: baby spinach topped with grilled chicken, finely chopped almonds, and almond-crusted feta cheese, with a honey dijon mustard dipping sauce.

With my version, I wanted to go a bit healthier and use ingredients that I already had in the kitchen; all I had to buy was the spinach and chicken.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:
1 chicken breast
1/3 – 1/2  pound of baby spinach
4 tbs of feta cheese
handful of almonds
2 tbs of honey
6 tbs of dijon mustard
1/2 tbs of balsamic vinegar

1) Cut chicken breast into strips, approximately 2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide.
2) Season chicken with salt and pepper.
3) In a large frying pan, heat several tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat for a minute or two.
4) When pan is hot (you should be able to hold your hand a few inches above the pan and feel the heat. If the oil is splattering, you’ve waited too long).
5) Add chicken to pan. Heat on medium.
6) Once chicken is half-white, half-pink, flip each piece over.
7) Heat until white all the way through. Remove from heat, and let cool.
8) Chop a handful of almonds into fine pieces. (If you have food processor, use it!)
9) Make 2 feta cheese balls. Each ball has 2 tbs of feta cheese. Form the cheese into a ball, and sprinkle well with some of the chop almonds.
10)  Place half of spinach onto a plate (other half goes onto other plate:) Top with grilled chicken, and sprinkle with remaining almonds. Place feta cheese ball on the side of the salad.

Dipping sauce:
In a small dish or bowl, mix honey, dijon mustard, and vinegar well. Serve on the side of the salad.

This recipe was quick and easy. I think the Z’Tejas is tastier, but this was much cheaper, healthier…and still delicious. Give it a try!

Food:
Dinner: The above salad and a glass of wine.
Dessert: Maybe chocolate?

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