Spiced Salmon on Cedar Planks

XL-Catlin-Cedar-Plank-Salmon-263x350Nothing says summer than a good grill recipe and Julia Deane from Culinary Works has just the dish. This serves four and easily doubles for your holiday crowd. To prep you do need to soak the cedar planks (available in store!) in water for at least on hour by weighted down. If you do this and marinate the salmon at the same time you should have a great seasoned dish. Enjoy!
Spiced Salmon on Cedar Planks
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper 4 Salmon filets or steaks 4-6 ounces each
1 lime, cut in half, juiced
1/3 cup rough chopped, cilantro
1/2 small onion, chopped
Extra Virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the salmon with salt and pepper. Combine the spices in a bowl and mix well. Season the salmon with the spice mixture. Let it sit to absorb the flavors. Combine the cilantro, onion, lime juice in a bowl. Add enough olive oil to make it a nice thick paste to garnish the salmon. Brush the planks with oil and place salmon on tops of planks. Place planks on sheet pans if they fit. Cook for 12-15 minutes (especially if your salmon is cut into individual pieces), longer 15-20 minutes if you have a large filet.
If using a gas grill, preheat on high then turn down to medium before placing the plank on the grill. Salmon should take 10-15 minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the salmon and the heat of the grill. Insert a sharp knife gently inside for 6-7 seconds and touch the knife tip to tell if hot and cooked. Spoon the sauce over the salmon and serve on or off the planks, your choice!

Hot Red Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Caramelized Butternut Squash

recipes-Chicken-TacosNeed a recipe to spice up your typical tacos? This recipe from Little’s Specialty Foods adds just the right combination of spice and veggies to keep your dinners tasty and healthy. This is perfect for a ‘make your own taco night’. The Little’s Red Chili is right in our spice area at the store. Enjoy!
Hot Red Chili Lime Chicken Tacos with Caramelized Butternut Squash
2 organic chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
1/5 tsp salt (divided)
1/5 tsp pepper (divided)
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 large organic Vidalia onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp. Little’s Red Chili Lime hot seasoning blend
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, minced
1/2 cup water
4 cups organic butternut squash, diced
3 tbsp. brown sugar (divided)
10 Corn tortillas, warmed
Lime wedges
Sour Cream
Avocado, sliced
Cilantro leaves, chopped
Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 325. Place chicken breasts in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 minutes, or until cooked through. Shred chicken and set aside. Increase oven heat to 425. In a bowl toss squash with 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway through, until squash is tender the sugar begins to caramelize.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a skillet and sauté onion over medium heat until soft and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Then add Little’s Red Chili Lime hot seasoning blend, cumin, brown sugar, and chipotle chilies and sauté about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the shredded chicken and water and stir until it is coated. Cook and let bubble until the sauce is thick and evenly coats the chicken. Warm the corn tortillas by wrapping the stack in a damp paper towel and then a dry kitchen towel and microwave for 45 seconds. Fill with chicken and squash and top with sour cream, sliced avocado, pumpkin seeds, cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

The Best Sugar Cookies Ever

holidaycookieswebIt’s time to start your holiday baking! We reached out to Lisi of Lisi’s Luscious Desserts for this simple recipe of an old time favorite. This sugar cookie turns out crisp, flaky and flavorful. The best part is the decorating possibilities. Enjoy sprinkling color sugar, sprinkles or icing with the kids!

The Best Sugar Cookies Ever

Yield: 60-70 cookies


1 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup vegetable oil (NOT olive oil!)

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

4 1/8 cups flour


Cream sugar, butter, powdered sugar, and oil. Then cream in eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl mix baking soda, cream of tartar, and flour. Start adding dry ingredients to creamed ingredients less than 1 cup at a time. Chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours. Drop 1-2″ balls on the cookie sheet. If you would like, you can flatten the balls with the bottom of a drinking glass that has been dipped in sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are browned. Now you are ready to sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar, colored sugar sprinkles, etc. Here is the great post from Lisi

Miso Orange Glazed Scallops with Stir-Fry Vegetable Soba Noodles

Miso-Glazed-Scallops-with-Stir-Fry-Vegetable-Soba-NoodlesNeed a recipe to charm your Valentine this weekend? This dish of Miso Orange Glazed Scallops with Stir-Fry Vegetable Soba Noodles is a wonderful way to enjoy fresh produce and seafood at its finest. It’s light yet satisfyingly delicious. Jeanette Chen from Jeanette’s Healthy Eating shared this recipe which, although it has a number of ingredients, it quite easy to prepare. Our U.S. Wild Scallops, which are so fresh that we offer a 200% guarantee, are the mainstay of this meal.
Ingredients  (Serves three)
2 bunches (3.8 ounces total) dried gluten-free soba noodles
1½ tablespoons light miso
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons mirin
2 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sambal olek
10 ounces fresh scallops
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup scallions, cut into 1½” pieces, white and green parts
1½ cups snow peas, trimmed
1 cup red bell pepper, cut into strips
½ cup carrots, julienned
2 cups baby bok choy, cut into bite size pieces
1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon gluten-free soy sauce
black sesame seeds
1. Cook soba noodles according to package directions; rinse in cold water; drain and set aside.
2. In a bowl, mix together miso, orange juice, mirin, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ginger, garlic and sambal olek. Add scallops and toss gently to coat. Cover and marinate 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator.
3. Remove scallops from marinade using slotted spoon (save the marinade) and place on baking sheet that has been lined with foil and oiled. Turn scallops over so the other side has a little oil on it. Broil 7-9 minutes until cooked through.
4. Heat oil in wok or large skillet. Add white parts of scallions and stir-fry a minute. Add snow peas, carrots, bok choy, and mushrooms; stir fry about a minute; add reserved marinade, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, soy sauce and remaining scallions. Cook another minute. Add cooked soba noodles and toss to coat and heat through.
5. Plate soba noodles and arrange scallops on top. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.
You can find her recipe and wonderful story here

Baked Pasta & Mini Meatballs

DSC_0530-1-710It’s hard to believe October is here! And now that we’re firmly entrenched in the fall season our appetites and meal preferences have changed. We are in the mood for comfort meals. So this week we’re featuring a perfect cold weather, family meal from The Parsley Thief. It’s easy to make it ahead, store it & heat it up when you’re in a pinch…trying to come up with something quick to make for dinner. Something that the whole family will eat. This recipe is my spin on the classic Baked Ziti. I added some mini meatballs, because I knew my kids would go nuts for them.
It deviates from my traditional meatball recipe, because I have added some ground pork to these. I thought it would keep the meatballs moist, since they are getting fried, simmered & then baked. It worked.
The sauce is a version of the Tomato Sauce with Onions & Butter I made recently, from Marcella Hazan. So good! I’m a seriously hooked on that stuff. I added a bit of garlic & pureed the sauce through a food mill…the smoother texture goes over better with my kids. But, you can easily leave it chunky…or, even use a good quality jarred sauce to save time.
Baked Pasta & Mini Meatballs by The Parsley Thief

Serves 6
This is my spin on the classic baked ziti, with the addition of mini meatballs…making it even more kid-friendly. This dish can be split in two & one batch reserved for another meal. Cool the baked pasta completely, wrap well & freeze. Reheat in a 350 degree oven, covered in foil, until hot, about 30 minutes.
I added ground pork to my basic meatball recipe to help insure they would stay moist. But, you can use all beef, if desired. The sauce is a version of Marcella Hazan’s delicious Tomato Sauce with Onions & Butter.1 cup chopped onion
3 small cloves of garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 35 ounce can whole tomatoes, chopped
1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese {divided}, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley {divided}
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1 pound pasta
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
For the Sauce: Add the onions, garlic & butter to a medium saucepan & cook over moderate heat, until the onions are softened lightly, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes & season with some kosher salt & freshly ground pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low & cook for 45 minutes.
When finished, run the sauce through a food mill & transfer back to the saucepan.
For the Meatballs: While the sauce is cooking, prepare the meatballs. Add the pork, beef, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, breadcrumbs, milk, 1/4 cup parsley & egg to a mixing bowl. Add a generous sprinkle of kosher salt & freshly ground pepper. Gently mix until all the ingredients are just incorporated. Do not over mix. Roll out into small meatballs {each meatball is approximately 2 tablespoons}.
Heat the olive oil in a medium, non-stick skillet. Add as many of the meatballs as possible, without over-crowding the pan. Cook, flipping the meatballs around frequently, until golden brown {they don’t have to be cooked through}. Continue with another batch, if necessary, until all the meatballs are browned.
Add the meatballs to the sauce. Cover the pot & keep the sauce on low. Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are completely cooked.
To Assemble: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta cheese, 1 cup of Parmesan, 1/4 cup parsley & the nutmeg. Stir to combine. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until barely al dente. Drain & transfer back to the pot. Add the ricotta mixture, fresh mozzarella, meatballs & most of the sauce. Stir to combine & transfer to a large, greased, oven-safe casserole dish. Cover with foil & bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil & sprinkle a bit of grated Parmesan over the top. Return to the oven & bake for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. Serve with some of the remaining sauce on the side.
Click here for the printable recipe.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Banana Cake

Lisi from Lisi Luscious Desserts shares this cake recipe that is gluten and dairy free…protein packed, and very tasty. This is a quick cake recipe, perfect for a breakfast treat or dessert!
3 cups blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate (she suggests 73 percent – but again for kids or for sweeter flavor go semi-sweet)
1 cup (2 to 3) very ripe bananas (mashed)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch pan with grape seed oil and dust with almond flour – or use a parchment or foil liner. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl whisk together the grape seed oil, agave nectar, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate and mashed bananas and then pour into prepared pan. Bake for 33-43 minutes – but check often and try not to over bake as usual! Let the cake cool in the pan then serve.
(adapted from The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam)

Jeanette’s Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas

Mini-Egg-FrittatasWith off the kids back in school, Jeanette Chen has a great weekday, breakfast-on-the-go favorite. Frittatas are basically an open-faced omelet that is baked in the oven. The base is made of eggs and the toppings are endless – it’s the perfect medium for using up all the little bits and pieces of vegetables in your refrigerator.
Mini Ham and Cheese Frittatas

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup reduced salt ham, chopped
  • 1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chives or scallions, finely chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme, Fines Herbes or your favorite dried herbs
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 2 large eggs
  • cooking spray


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat. Add peppers and onions and saute until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add ham; saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool 5 minutes.
    3. Combine cheese, chives, thyme, pepper, egg whites and whole eggs in a medium bowl; whisk together. Add pepper/onion/ham mixture and stir well.
    4. Spoon into 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray (use a non-stick pan and be sure to spray the cups well to prevent sticking).
    5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until set.

{adapted from Cooking Light}
Jeanette Chen, a resident of New Canaan for 20 years, is the busy mom of 4 boys and author of a popular health and wellness food blog, Jeanette’s Healthy Living.  She was recently nominated for Best Health Blog by Healthline and is always looking for ways to make healthier meals for her family and friends.
See more by clicking here

Grilled Thai Shrimp with Garlic Sauce

Thai-Grilled-Shrimp-with-Garlic-Sauce_edited-1This week, our friend Jeanette shares her delicious and easy  summer Grilled Shrimp recipe. Nothing better that fresh shrimp on the grill. This recipe has minimum prep with a surprise Thai taste twist. We’ve halved the the soy sauce and oyster sauce to make it a healthy dish without sacrificing flavor.
Grilled Thai Shrimp with Garlic Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Serves 4
1 pound jumbo shrimp (Jeanette prefers white shrimp), shells on
Garlic Sauce 
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Using a sharp knife, carefully butterfly shrimp, cutting shrimp through the shell (start just above the tail, and cut through the middle of the shrimp until you reach the end) and removing the vein. Flatten shrimp with the palm of your hand. The shrimps should lie flat. Mix Garlic Sauce ingredients together. Marinade shrimp in Garlic Sauce for 20 minutes. Lightly oil a large piece of aluminum foil. Place shrimp in a single layer on top of foil. Grill until just cooked through, flipping shrimp halfway through cooking, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Jeanette Chen, a resident of New Canaan for 20 years, is the busy mom of 4 boys and author of a popular health and wellness food blog, Jeanette’s Healthy Living. She was recently nominated for Best Health Blog by Healthline and is always looking for ways to make healthier meals for her family and friends.
See more by clicking here.

Ricotta Pancakes for Father’s Day

DSC_0295-1-710_MAINRicotta Pancakes by The Parsley Thief, perfect for Dad’s special breakfast! “When my kids were smaller, we had a regular weekend ritual of making pancakes. Now, with crazy sports schedules, we don’t have very many lazy weekend mornings. We made these pancakes for Father’s Day a few weeks ago. I wanted to try something new & this recipe was on my list of things to try. They are super light & fluffy, with a texture unlike any pancakes I’ve made before. Everyone loved them! They require a bit more effort than regular pancakes. But, that’s what makes them perfect for special occasions, like Father’s Day.”
(Katie Vitucci, The Parsley Thief)
Ricotta Pancakes
Adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 12-4″ pancakes
1 cup ricotta cheese
3/4 cups flour
1/2 teapoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups milk
3 large eggs {divided}
Drain the ricotta in a sieve, set over a bowl, for 30 minutes, to drain out excess moisture. In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar & salt. In another bowl, whisk the ricotta, milk & egg yolks.
Add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat until stiff.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & stir to combine. Fold in the egg whites, until just incorporated. It’s okay to have lumps.
Heat some butter in a skillet, or griddle, over medium heat. Ladle the batter in a 1/3 cup measure & cook the for 4 minutes a side, or until golden brown. Serve with some real maple syrup.
Click here for the printable recipe.
More Detailed Instructions:
Begin by placing 1 cup of ricotta cheese in a sieve, set over a bowl, or the sink & let it drain for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, get the other ingredients ready. In a large mixing bowl, combine 3/4 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar & 1/8 teaspoon salt. Whisk it together. Next, divide 3 large eggs. Add the egg yolks to a separate mixing bowl, along with 3/4 cups milk & the drained ricotta. Give it a whisk.
Add the egg whites to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment {or, you can use a hand mixer} & add a pinch pf salt. Beat on high, until stiff. {Mine got a little over-beaten. But, that’s what happens when you have 2 kids in the kitchen helping.} Whisk a bit of the egg whites into the batter, just to loosen it up a bit. Then fold in the rest. It’s okay to have lumps…no need to over-mix! Heat some butter in a skillet, or griddle, over medium heat. Ladle the batter in a 1/3 cup measure & cook the for 4 minutes a side, or until golden brown. Serve with some real maple syrup.

Beef, Mushroom & Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Parsley Thief – Beef Stir Fry

When Katie, “The Parsley Thief“, saw this recipe in Bon Appétit, she thought she’d give it a try. It looked so good and she knew her family would love it.

“Stir-fries are generally easy to make, quick-cooking & healthy. In the past, I’ve made chicken stir-fries, this delicious spicy tofu one, veggies only varieties…but, steak? Never made one. Maybe because I think of them as being healthy…a lot of the time, diet worthy. Somehow adding red meat to the mix seems counter productive. But, I live in a home with three boys…and, my boys love steak. The original recipe didn’t really need any tweaking, but I did change a few things to suit my taste. It called for using shiitake mushrooms, which I love. But, I decided to add in some portabellas too, because I love the combination of steak & portabella mushrooms. I also substituted sugar snap peas for snow peas…I’m not the biggest snow pea fan.

While making a stir-fry is quick in the pan, it usually requires a bit of effort in the prep department. This one is no different. But, once you get everything washed, peeled & chopped, the actually cooking part is super quick.”

Beef, Mushroom & Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Adapted from Bon Appétit, October 2010 by The Parsley Thief
Serves 41 tablespoon minced ginger
12 ounces mixed shiitake & baby portabella mushroom caps, sliced
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 pound NY Strip steak, cut into 1/4″ thick slices
8 ounces sugar snap peas, cut into small pieces
1 bunch scallions, sliced {divided}
1 cup cilantro leaves {divided}
5 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons sriracha chile sauce {or, to taste}
1/4 teaspoon 5-spice powderSeason the beef with salt & pepper. Combine the hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sriracha & 5-spice powder in a small bowl. Whisk to combine & set aside.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in the mushrooms & minced ginger. Cook until the mushrooms release their liquid & begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add in the beef; cook until the beef is browned, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the snap peas, half the scallions & half the cilantro. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, or until the snap peas are just tender. Add in the sauce, and stir to combine & heat through. Transfer the stir-fry to a serving bowl, scatter the remaining scallions and cilantro on top & serve.
Note: I recommend adding 1/2 the sauce to start & then adding a bit more, until it’s well coated. Serve the remaining sauce on the side. For kids, you might want to take some of the stir-fry out before adding the sauce, as it’s a bit spicy.