Thursday, June 23, 2011

Basil tomato summer salad

I planted basil, Italian parsely, cilantro, and Thai basil.  Within two weeks, they are growing like weeds!

Whats good about growing herbs is that you can use them immediately and often through the entire summer and fall.

I chopped up fresh plum tomatoes and added Ken's Italian dressing along with cauliflower, carrots, olives and fresh basil. 
Chill for at least 2 hours before enjoying.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rick's Italian Restaurant in Lambertville, NJ

When I go out to eat, I want it to be an amazing experience.  The food has to be fresh, tasty, and the service good to great.  I avoid chain restaurants at all costs.  There are so many independent restaurants out there, it would take forever to try them all.

In Lambertville, NJ I usually go to Siam.  Siam's looks like an abandoned building with seating for only 50 at full capacity.  Siam is Thai and it is always good.  It's a guaranteed amazing.

But, I am expanding my dining experience, so I looked up Italian food in that area.  Lambertville, NJ is right next to New Hope, PA and is an old beautiful town with houses dating back to the 1800's.  Walking around the town is part of the dining experience.

Rick's is a BYOB, and I am a huge fan of such places.  The markup on wine at restaurants is over 200%, so a quick stop at the wine store is fine by me.

Ricks menu is small, another indication of great food.  They have the usual parmigiana veal, chicken, and eggplant, but they also offer tofu parmigiana, that's unheard of!  They have meatballs, sausage, and lasagna as well.

The specials for the night included  baby octopus, crab cake parmigiana, and  antipasto for two.

My husband ordered the veal parmigiana,  his favorite Italian dish.  I wanted to order the crab cakes, but decided on the shrimp over linguine with olive oil and fresh garlic.

The reason I did not get the crab cakes was because it is an Italian restaurant and I wanted to order totally Italian.

We were asked if we wanted to sit inside or out and being a beautiful night, before it gets so humid you can't stand it, we opted for outside.  It was so cute, we were escorted through the indoor dining area and then through the kitchen to the outside patio.  The kitchen staff said hi to us when we passed through.  I thought it was another indication of good food as they had nothing to hide!

We were served a pitcher of ice water and a basket of bread with fresh butter, plus a small dish containing pureed white beans mixed with fresh garlic and olive oil so we could dip our bread.  It was so different and delicious, we ordered another basket of bread.

They offered to open our wine and supplied us with wine glasses.  The outside patio was small and quaint with a four top, two two tops, and an eight top.

We sat on white lawn chairs.

Our dinner arrived within 15 minutes of being seated.  My husband's veal was perfectly cooked and had fresh roasted tomatoes and mozzarella cheese melted on top, without being over whelming.  I tasted it and it was delicious.

My shrimp over linguine was amazing.  I received 5 jumbo shrimp that were cooked exactly they way shrimp should be cooked, chewy, not stringy.  I tasted fresh basil, garlic, and the olive oil was just enough without overbearing the pasta.

We also had a side of spaghetti with tomato sauce that had the same fabulous roasted fresh tomato sauce as the veal my husband ordered.

I will definitely be going back to Rick's to try all the other dishes they have to offer.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicken nuggets made with Progresso Panko Italian Style bread crumbs

These little morsels of wonderfulness are a little bit of work, but well worth it.   Progresso bread crumbs are always so good, I have used them for years.  Now they have Italian style panko bread crumbs.  They are crunchy and the seasonings are spot on. 
 When my grocery store has skinless/boneless chicken breast on sale, I pick up about 3 pounds.  I freeze one or two breasts and with the remainder  make chicken two ways , grilled chicken Caesar salad and chicken nuggets 

I put about 1/2 cup regular flour, 1 beaten egg, and Progresso Italian  Panko bread crumbs in three separate plates.  I cut one or two boneless chicken breasts into nugget size pieces.

Dredge chicken into flour, dip in egg, roll in bread crumbs.  Place on a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes-This helps crumbs adhere to the chicken better.

Heat up 3 tablespoons olive oil in saute pan over medium heat.
Brown chicken nuggets for 3 minutes each side.

Place chicken nuggets on baking sheet and continue to cook in 350 degree oven until internal temperature reaches 180 or about 10 minutes.  
I always use my thermometer on chicken. 
Dip into your favorite sauce or slice lengthwise and mix with romaine lettuce, croutons, and Caesar dressing.

Kandy Kakes

There really is nothing like a Tastykake, be it peanut butter kandy kakes or butterscotch krimpets.
They are always so fresh around this area.

Sometimes, I just have to have one.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quakes Rice Snacks

These crunchy slightly sweet mini rice cakes are almost as good as Cracker Jack.  Only 110 calories per 13 cakes, it's a great alternative to the fat and calorie laden Cracker Jack, minus the peanuts.

They also have 1 gram of fiber, that's a plus.

Try these wonderful treats and not feel guilty afterwards.

Snack Attack-a healthy one

Nabisco has recently introduced a new snack cookie. Not your regular fig newton.
They are called Newtons Fruit Thins.  I saw a commercial and they looked very delicious, so I bought the Cranberry Citrus Oat ones and I must say they are fabulous.  Thin and crispy plus a little chewy from the cranberries.   It is a nice balance of sweetness of the cranberries, oats and a touch of citrus flavor.
 They are made with real fruit, are made with whole grains, and have no high fructose corn syrup.  They pack 8 grams of whole grain in 3 cookies.

Finally, a good for you crunchy cookie!
They come in other flavors too, which I will check out next week!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Asian Meatballs

I had ground beef in the freezer and wanted to try something new and different, so Asian came to mind.  I love the scent and taste of ginger.  This version has1/2 pound ground beef,1 diced green onion, 1  tablespoon fresh ginger, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.  I then formed into one bite size meatballs, placed in 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Serve with sweet and sour sauce.  Makes about 18.

These are great for appetizers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

sorry I have been away

Just a quick note that I have been in the hospital with what I thought was major, but turned out to be minor, in a manner of speaking.  I have been putting in brutal hours at work and with the heat wave, it's been really hard.
I woke up with irregular heartbeat, dehydrated, exhausted and very light headed.  My hubby insisted I go to the emergency room, which I did.  My EKG was perfect, I was hooked up to fluids for my dehydration and given medicine for the vertigo I have been experiencing.  I need to be on bed rest for a few days and avoid any kind of   strenuous activity, which means my work.  I have to quit, it's the only option when it comes to my health.

I will take care of myself, for once!  I will be back posting here very soon.  Thanks for understanding