Monday, January 30, 2017

Purple Kale Salad with Blueberry Lime Vinaigrette and a #WholeFoods#Giveaway

"This purple kale salad is loaded with goodness and it even tastes great! The combination of blueberries, apples and peanuts with luscious honey goat's cheese, and a blueberry lime coriander vinaigrette puts this salad over the top." Thank you Whole Foods for sponsoring this post!

I must admit that Manservant was not excited when he saw me chopping kale. Kale is not a favorite of his. He still can't figure out why everyone has forgotten spinach. I also chopped up red cabbage (because I love the color of red cabbage) which quickly led me to making a red and purple, very colorful salad. I thought it was quite cosmic, but Manservant was not so sure. Manservant did start to come around when he saw me adding blueberries and fresh, crisp Kiku apples to the kale. The chopped peanuts were a hit, but what he really loved was the goat's cheese. I used the honey variety, but any kind should work. The beets complimented all the ingredients and the red onions? Well, I add onion to almost everything I make.

 Whole Foods this month has me thinking about the large variety of winter greens. Kale is one I've always enjoyed. There are myriads of ways to use it; I love that I can dress it and not have it wilt overnight. I also love using kale in flower arrangements. Kale has such pretty leaves and looks gorgeous with cut flowers. Kale truly is an amazing vegetable. It is easily roasted, fried, dehydrated, sauteed, juiced, chopped, blanched, and well I could go on and on, but why?

The vinaigrette came about because I have so many jars taking up space in my fridge and finding ways to use everything is always a challenge. Yes, I had a jar of blueberry jam taking up real estate and I thought it would work great in a vinaigrette. I was not wrong. This citrusy and sweet dressing was perfect on this salad. However this maple balsamic would taste great as would this lemon maple vinaigrette with garlic.

I'll admit I am not a lover of thick stems or tough leaves, so I always chop my kale pretty fine and discard the stems. Yes, it takes a little time, but makes your salad so much better. One could buy baby kale leaves and those are great, too. Whole Foods has a lot of kale recipes. I just might have to try a few new ones now that Manservant actually praised this salad. He even mentioned it twice to me which is somewhat unusual given his firm stance on kale! But alas, even grown men can grow up.

The winner for December's giveaway is Susan christy. Please send me your email!

To enter the Whole Foods $25 giveaway please share your favorite salad in the comments below.
This post is sponsored by Whole Foods but all opinions expressed are mine. Open only to US residents. No compensation has been given, but products have been provided. Giveaway closes on March 1, 2016. Winner will be chosen by Random Number Generator. Enter again by subscribing to This is How I Cook · Enter again by following me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. 

yield: 2-4 servingsprint recipe

Purple Kale with Blueberry Lime Vinaigrette

This purple kale salad is loaded with goodness and it even tastes great! The combination of blueberries, apples and peanuts with luscious honey goat's cheese, and a blueberry lime coriander vinaigrette puts this salad over the top.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: total time: 20 mins


  • 3 c chopped purple kale
  • 1 c chopped red cabbage
  • 1/4 c thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c fresh blueberries
  • 1 steamed or roasted beet, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 of an apple thinly sliced
  • 1/3 c salted peanuts, chopped
  • 3-4 oz honey goat's cheese
Blueberry Lime Vinaigrette
  • 1 T blueberry jam
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 t ground coriander
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste


  1. Assemble all ingredients. Make vinaigrette. Mix salad ingredients, reserving peanuts and goat's cheese. Add vinaigrette and toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts and goat's cheese before serving.
Created using The Recipes Generator

A few more to try:
Spinach Salad with Za'atar             Hearts of Palm Salad                               Macho Salad


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Chicken Paprikash

"Chicken Paprikash is a celebrated Hungarian dish. It is also a traditional Jewish standard served  on Shabbat; though without sour cream. To me it is comfort food of  the finest caliber."

On the coldest of winter evenings when the snow might be piling up, or even on the chilliest night in Phoenix, chicken paprikash is always a welcome food on the dinner table. There are a million versions of chicken paprikash, but they are more alike than different. To bad our world isn't feeling the same way. Chicken paprikash is kind of a no brainer. Sear your chicken, add some onions, peppers and garlic, a little tomato and paprika and you've got it. Simple and savory and with the golden egg noodles, this transports one from a busy day to a relaxing evening.  Or maybe it was the glass of wine that did that.

As a child I wasn't into anything cooked in a pot. Well, unless perhaps it was spaghetti. I liked food cooked fast. This traditional Shabbat dish wasn't my style. Thanks goodness my styles have changed. This chicken is easily made and easily reheated to be served later in the day. If you want it more stew like, feel free to add more liquid and let it simmer until the chicken falls off the bones.

And those egg noodles? Chicken Paprikash is often served with little egg dumplings. I didn't get to those. However I will say that any starch works with paprikash. Rice, mashed potatoes or even mashed cauliflower. Myself, I would go with potatoes or the wide egg noodles. I love the papparadelle from Trader Joes. Just sayin'.

I think comfort is what we all need about now. Whether we voted for or against or not at all, it seems we all need some time to adjust. Chicken paprikash may not be the antidote, but let's all be grateful for where we came from, what we have, and realize we truly are more alike than different. So until things stabilize, I'll just set my sights on a big bowl of comfort and perhaps a glass of wine. Or two.

yield: 4-6 servingsprint recipe

Chicken Paprikash

This soothing dish of braised chicken, paprika, peppers, garlic and onions is perfect for a cold winter night. Served over egg noodles, this chicken is a hit with everyone.
prep time: 40 MINScook time: 35 MINStotal time: 75 mins


  • 4-5 lbs of bone in skinless chicken (dark meat is recommended but I cut up a whole chicken.)
  • 2 t Hungarian paprika, hot, sweet or smoked (I use a combination)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 c chopped onion
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 red or yellow peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 c low sodium chicken broth
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 c sour cream (optional)
  • 12-16 oz wide egg noodles (I prefer papparadelle from Trader Joes)


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Pat chicken pieces dry. Sprinkle chicken with paprikas and salt and pepper. Feel free to use liberally. (My measurements are just a starting point.) In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Brown chicken, in batches if necessary. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Add the onions to the Dutch oven. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add peppers. Increase to medium high and saute until peppers begin to brown. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in diced tomatoes and broth and bring to a simmer. Return chicken pieces to Dutch oven and spoon some of the vegetables and sauce over the chicken. Cover the pot and place in oven for about 30 minutes, turning the chicken in the sauce every 10 minutes or so. Check chicken after 30 minutes for doneness.Remove chicken from pot and stir in sour cream if you desire. Personally, I prefer it without.
  4. While chicken is baking prepare your egg noodles. I really love the papparadelle from Trader Joes. Serve chicken and sauce over noodles or dumplings, if you are so inclined. Check for seasoning before serving. Sprinkle well with chopped Italian parsley before serving. I also like to sprinkle with a little extra paprika.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Need More Comfort?

        Chicken Pot Pie                          Chicken Soup Chicken                  Cap'n Crunch Meat Loaf

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Salmon with Garlic, Ginger and Black Pepper (Fast and Easy) Plus Smashed Cucumbers

"This salmon marinated for just 30 minutes, bursts with the flavor of garlic, ginger and black pepper. Baked in the oven for about 12 minutes, makes this a fast and easy weeknight dinner."

I love simple dinners! Yes, I love to cook, but everyone needs a few magic tricks up their sleeve. This roasted salmon is full of flavor and easy to make. I'm a sucker for anything Vietnamese and these seasonings really work for me. In about 30 minutes you can have dinner on the table-depending on how long you want to marinate this fish-and everyone will think you've worked you tail off.

This salmon is also healthy, easily roasted in the oven, and can be served with rice, noodles or potatoes. And if you don't want to go that route, this gorgeous fish would be perfect on a bed of greens. In my case I had leftover rice in the fridge and some smashed cucumber salad that I threw on the top at the last minute. We ate a lot of cukes in China and now I find myself making them quite often here. In China they give them a good whack, before they marinate them. I whack them also...great way to get your aggression out, if I must say!

Alex comes home next week-only for a week, but I can't wait. I feel the need to get my freezer stocked with chocolate chip cookies and probably some meat. I promised Manservant I'd make a rib roast when the boy arrives. That way he can drink up some of the red wine that he covets. I also need to get sandwich fixin's. He loves to make a sandwich when he arrives, as China isn't to big on sandwiches. I feel the need to deep clean-not that he'll notice or anything! Now if I can just get Manservant to replace a bunch of light bulbs and hang some hooks and pictures, we'll be off to a good start! And if he's nice maybe I'll even make him dinner! Have a great weekend!

yield: 2-3 Servingsprint recipe

Salmon with Garlic, Ginger and Black Pepper with Smashed Cucumbers

This salmon marinated for just 30 minutes, bursts with the flavor of garlic, ginger and black pepper. Baked in the oven for about 12 minutes, makes this a fast and easy weeknight dinner.
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 32 mins


  • 1 lb salmon fillet
  • 1 2" piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 2 T fish sauce
  • 1 t sugar
  • 2 t fesh lemon juice
  • 2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 t minced fresh garlic
Smashed Chinese Cucumbers (Lucky Peach)
  • 1 T Chinkiang vinegar
  • 1 t chili oil
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t turbinado sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 3 mini cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
  • 1 t toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 T chopped peanuts
  • 2 T cilantro leaves


  1. Combine ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lemon juice, pepper and garlic in a shallow baking dish.Mix well. Place salmon fillet in dish and brush with marinade. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400. Bake the salmon on a foil lined baking sheet for 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes and is done to your liking.
Smashed Cucumbers
  1. Whisk together the vinegar, chili oil, sesame oil, sugar and salt in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set the dressing aside.
  2. Halve the cucumbers lengthwise. Scoop out seeds if they are seedy. Set them cut side down on a cutting board and lightly smash them with a cleaver or chef's knife until they crack in a few places. Slice into 3/4" half moons.
  3. Toss the cucumbers in the dressing and top with sesame seeds, peanuts and cilantro. Serve on fish or on the side as a salad.
Created using The Recipes Generator

A few more great dishes:
Moroccan Fish with Chickpeas        Roasted Salmon with Fennel      Cajun Fish with Browned Butter


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Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sugared Almonds and Mandarin Orange, Green Salad

"This sugared almond and mandarin orange green salad has been a family favorite for years. Sweet mandarin orange slices and crisp, sugary almonds with the addition of crunchy, salty celery make this a kid and husband pleaser. A simple sweet and sour vinaigrette puts this green salad over the top!"

It's been a long time since I made this tasty salad and I'm not sure why I ever stopped. It has always been a crowd pleaser and is so simply put together. Way back when, when I wondered if my kids would ever eat a fresh green salad, I came upon this recipe. It is a popular one and I'm sure you've had a version of it. Maybe I knew the kids would love anything with mandarin oranges straight from the can. I remember dumping orange slices onto their high chair trays and watching them carefully pick up each slice, one by one, and plop them into their mouths.  Mandarin oranges were a special treat for them and for me too, because it meant I didn't have to peel an orange!

My kids were great eaters and I really didn't have many problems with their habits. Zoe was always cautious about not eating anything peppery and Alex had to watch his lactose intake, but other than that I was a lucky mom with kids that were easy to please. We did have one rule which required two bites of everything, because it was magic that made one's tastes change. If one didn't taste, the magic wouldn't happen. My kids actually believed this and I think they were always testing me on when the magic would work. I can truly remember them saying their tastes did change when all of a sudden they discovered that something they didn't like, became something they did. They also loved Caesar salads at an early age. I think it was the croutons that caught their eye, but as they got older Manservant quickly convinced Alex that the anchovies were the best part. Really.

But today we are talking about something as simple as sweet oranges out of a can. Combined with green celery and a few green onions and yeah...the magic of sugared almonds, this salad is sure to please even the pickiest eaters.

yield: 4-6 servingsprint recipe

Sugared Almonds and Mandarin Orange Green Salad

"This sugared almond and mandarin orange green salad has been a family favorite for years. Dressed with a sweet and sour vinaigrette this green salad is a kid and husband pleaser!"
prep time: 25 MINScook time: total time: 25 mins


  • 1/2 c sliced almonds
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/2 head Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 head Butter Lettuce
  • 1 c sliced, chopped celery
  • 4 green onions, chopped fine
  • 1 11oz can Mandarin oranges, drained
Sweet and Sour Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 t salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 1 T chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 T red wine or apple cider vinegar


  1. In a small skillet over medium heat, cook almonds and sugar, stirring constantly until almonds are coated and sugar has dissolved. This burns easily so stir constantly. It may take about 10 minutes, depending on the heat of your burner. Cool. (This may also be made ahead and stored for future use.)
  2. Combine lettuce, celery and onions in a large bowl. (If you want to make ahead, I always cover the top of the bowl with a paper towel and store in the fridge until I'm ready to use.)
  3. Combine all dressing ingredients together and chill until ready to toss salad.
  4. When ready to serve add almonds and oranges and toss with the dressing. (This is also great with feta cheese, or slices of chicken if you choose to make this a main course.)
Created using The Recipes Generator

More great salads:
Farro and Kale Salad           Hearts of Palm, Avo and Oranges                    Macho Salad


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Sunday, January 8, 2017

10 Top Recipes 2016

" Recipes from Asia to Mexico to good old fashioned American chocolate chip cookies were what my readers chose as their 10 favorites of 2016. Check out potatoes and pasta and and a whole lot more to try in 2017. Just in case you missed them in 2016!"
This year it seems many of my blogger friends are posting top posts from 2016. This got me wondering what mine were. After checking I was quite surprised by the variety of posts that I found were popular with my small group of readers. (Next year I'd like to make that a big group of readers!) What fun to be able to see that Mexican recipes are important, as are Asian, and even a Jewish recipe made the top 10. I'm so glad desserts still rank and my favorite make ahead cheese souffle was a hit. And those potato bundles? Oh my! My readers have chosen some good ones and I am happy to say I agree with their choices! 

4 Ingredient Fettucine Alfredo

I'd love to hear about your favorites and what you'd like to see in 2017. I appreciate each and everyone of my readers and hope you all continue on the journey with This is How I Cook!

A few more that should have made the cut:

Poblano Cheese Casserole              Ketchup Chicken                    Red Chile Breakfast Enchiladas



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