bangin’ leftovers

If I’m having a bad day, I’m extra susceptible to the smallest miscue in the kitchen sending me into a tantrum-throwing tailspin. For example, I recently found this bang bang chicken recipe on Table For Two, and had planned to serve it atop some white rice for a spicy little weeknight dinner. But then I didn’t have enough panko. And the oil was being feisty and burning my hand. And I somehow managed to screw up a single serving of rice in my Cuisinart rice cooker. Feeling fairly defeated, I dropped the rest of the chicken in my deep fryer, ate a few pieces standing over the sink and threw the leftovers in the fridge.

no, that’s not Cheez Whiz…

The next day, the most amazing thing happened: My leftovers were even better than the original dish. (Or maybe I was just in a better mood.) All it took was a roll and some reheating to create this bang bang chicken sandwich. Continue reading bangin’ leftovers


avocado spinach salad

Looking back over my last few posts, it’s hard to believe I haven’t spent the last week in a sugar coma. To get back to the savory side of things, I’m sharing this steak and avocado spinach salad with warm mustard vinaigrette. This is an easy weeknight meal whose leftovers can be easily morphed into a satisfying lunch. It also works well as a vegetarian dish by nixing the steak.

♦5 oz. baby spinach (fresh or bagged)
1 ripened avocado
1/2 lb. London broil (or chicken breast, if you prefer)
1 tbs. McCormick’s barbecue seasoning
salt and pepper
3 tbs. olive oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 tsp. spicy mustard
Optional: 2 tbs. bacon bits 

Season meat with McCormick’s and salt. Let rest for 10 minutes, then sear on medium-high heat for two minutes per side (or longer for well done). Remove from heat, and slice just before dressing the salad (see below).

While steak is cooking, wash spinach leaves and gently pat dry.  Place in a large bowl. Cut avocado, remove seed and cut into slices. Heat one tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add sesame seeds and cook until golden. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Add lemon juice, remaining oil and mustard to mixture.

Add sliced steak to salad. Pour dressing over salad and gently toss. Serve warm.

Total time? 17 minutes prep (includes 10 minutes rest for meat).
Cost? $2 London broil, $1.50 avocado, $2 baby spinach, $3.29 sesame seeds.
Overall success relative to expectations? 9 out 10. I’m not a big salad person — or a steak person, for that matter — but I loved this. The juicy bits of steak, creamy avocado and tangy mustard vinaigrette worked really well together. I threw in some bacon bits for a crunch, but they’re not necessary. You can also substitute steak for chicken, or nix the meat altogether. This recipes makes enough for two, but if you’re planning for leftovers, reserve some steak and vinaigrette for the next day and warm them both separately before adding to the salad. Also, throw a little lemon juice on the avocado to keep its color.

cupcakes fit for the champs


The Super Bowl is the Thanksgiving of the sports world: At the heart is a celebration of an American tradition, but most people are just there for the food.


As I mentioned in my last post, I was a little overzealous in the kitchen this weekend because I was not only cooking for a big group of people, but also super pumped for the game itself: a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl played since I’ve been alive, and maybe of all time. I get chills whenever I think about Super Bowl XLII — the Giants’ final drive, Eli’s Houdini-like escape, David Tyree’s epic helmet-catch, ruining the Patriots’ 19-0 dreams. Pure magic. Continue reading cupcakes fit for the champs

Super Bowl XLVI cookies

Because I don’t often cook for more than two people, I go a little overboard when I’m attending potlucks, which is the case for this Sunday’s Super Bowl gathering. Officially, I’m bringing chipotle guacamole and chocolate chip cookie-bottom vanilla cupcakes, but I went on a bookmarking binge, and now I’m unofficially bringing, like, seven dishes.

These Giants-themed sugar cookies might get some jeers because I’ll be the lone Big Blue fan at the party, but I’m hoping my friends will at least appreciate the effort because, honestly, this was a lot harder than I thought it would be! Continue reading Super Bowl XLVI cookies