Saturday, August 29, 2009


I sometimes forget how much I enjoy cooking! I went to the Central Market yesterday and got some beautiful produce, cheese and other goodies. I wasn't sure of my plan for how to use it all, but I had a feeling it would be delicious. I wanted to make enough food to eat dinner tonight and also bring leftovers to work tomorrow and Monday. Here's my menu:

Green salad
Cinnamon chicken with apples
Maple dijon sweet potatoes
Lemon garlic mushrooms

I enjoyed my dinner so thoroughly, I thought I'd share my recipes with all of you. Enjoy!

Green salad:
1 large head green leaf lettuce
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cubed extra-super-sharp cheddar cheese
Balsamic vinegar glaze & olive oil

I think y'all know how to make a salad- chop it up and toss it together.

Cinnamon chicken with apples:
3 chicken breasts, butterflied and pounded thin
1 granny smith apple, cubed
1 red delicious apple, cubed
1/2 small onion diced
1/4 cup apple juice
Salt & Pepper

Start by seasoning the chicken with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a generous amount of cinnamon. In a hot skillet, heat 1 T. oil and 1 tsp. butter. Brown each side of the chicken about 45 seconds. Remove from pan. Saute onion and apples, adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste). Using a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan. Once onion and apples have softened, deglaze pan with apple juice, return chicken to pan, cover and simmer until finished.

Maple Dijon Sweet Potatoes

3 medium orange sweet potatoes or yams
1 T. light dijon mustard
1 T. whole seed dijon mustard
1/2 cup real maple syrup
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel sweet potatoes and chop into 1/2- 3/4 inch cubes. Toss with mustards and maple syrup until coated. Make 3 "pouches" with aluminum foil and divide mixture between them. Top with salt, pepper and a pat of butter on each. Close pouches completely and place on a baking sheet. Bake 25-30 minutes or until tender.

Lemon Garlic Mushrooms

1/2 pound button mushrooms, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
Italian seasoning or dried basil, oregano and thyme
1 clove minced garlic

In a sautee pan, heat garlic, then add mushrooms, lemon juice and spices. Cook until tender.

Ok, the mushrooms don't really go with the rest of the meal, but I had to do something with them, and this is my favorite way to eat them. They added a nice tart acidity to an otherwise sweet meal. The salad was AMAZING. The cheese was aged 4 years and so fabulously sharp. It was perfect with the tart cranberries, the crunchy almonds and the balsamic glaze. The sweet potatoes are so delicious, you'll never make sweet potatoes any other way again. The chicken I would do differently next time. I'd deglaze using chicken stock instead of apple juice- it was all just a little too sweet. Also, I was rather light-handed with the cinnamon and I think I'd change that as well. The cooking process seemed to mellow out the flavor too much or something. (Hey, I'm no Top Chef- don't expect me to know what goes wrong!) Also, the whole chicken dish needed more salt. I actually put some of the cheese from my salad on the chicken. It got all melty and made the chicken a LOT more tasty. The sweet potato recipe is from my mom, but the rest is my creation. If you try any of these recipes out, let me know how they turn out!