The Ultimate Caesar Dressing

Nothing is more delicious than a well made Caesar salad. I’ve never been a huge fan of anchovies, so when my friend Jacki made this dressing for me, I was hooked. It’s so delicious and simple, the creaminess of the blue cheese balances the tangy citrus of the lemon juice. Grill up some chicken, salmon or steak and this makes the perfect weeknight dinner or side!

Caesar Dressing (Click for printer friendly version)

What you’ll need

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 raw egg
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • croutons
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

What you do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. In a large bowl combine washed and chopped Romaine lettuce, croutons, and Parmesan cheese
  3. Toss with dressing until lettuce is coated, add chicken, salmon or steak and Enjoy!

New Zealand Penne Pasta with a touch of Sundance!

Finished pasta

So much has happened this January! Ski Boots in the Kitchen was homeless for a little while, making it very difficult to cook with out a kitchen. No need to worry though, we are now settled into our new home with a great kitchen. Last week, Sundance invaded Park City for ten days of amazing films, parties and events. I was so exhausted from having so much fun, I was scared to go near a stove for fear of setting myself on fire. sundance

It’s always entertaining to watch the Angelinos descend on PC, it’s usually pretty obvious who is from out of town by how under prepared they are for a snowy mountain town in their light jackets and shoes that have never seen snow. ThefrayI got to see the Fray which was pretty awesome. They sing that song “how to save a life” which was the opening song of Gray’s Anatomy back in the day… oh wait I think that show still exists?

I also organized a “Women at Sundance” brunch for 150 people, which was quite an undertaking. This is what breakfast for skinny LA women looks like… no bacon and egg sandwiches here (although we did have some delicious scones and fruit bars).

Jacki’s love of Wonder Woman and Girl power set the theme for the party, which was a huge success – Check out a recap of the party and the new women and film research that was released on Jacki’s website. All that partying left me wanting a big bowl of pasta and glass of wine. While I was abroad in New Zealand many years back a friend made this dish. I never knew the real name of the dish but I did ask for the recipe and have been calling it New Zealand Penne Pasta ever since. Its the perfect dish for a large crowd, a snowy night or when you’re looking for an excuse to open another bottle of wine (although I never really need an excuse). Enjoy!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 box penne pasta
  • 1 lb. sweet or mild Italian sausage (decased)
  • 1 sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 15oz. can diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen with Italian herbs)
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • parsley for garnish

What you do:

  1. In a large skillet, decase sausage and cook until brown.
  2. In another large pot bring salted water to boil and cook penne according to the box.
  3. Add chopped onion and cook 3-5min until onions are translucent.
  4. Add white wine and simmer until alcohol has cooked off.
  5. Add tomatoes and half and half
  6. Strain pasta and transfer to serving bowl.
  7. Combine pasta, sauce and parmesan until all the pasta is coated.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve with garlic bread

Black Bean, Kale and Quinoa Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Quinoa… I’ve underestimated your amazingness. As part of my goals for 2013 which include, cooking healthier and more whole foods, hosting more dinner parties and teaching my dog how to do the dishes- quinoa is one of my new favorite ingredients for just about everything I’ve been cooking lately. I love how easy it is to make and keep on hand so you can throw together a quick salad for lunch or add it to chili (like the black bean, sweet potato & quinoa chili I posted earlier).

The longer you let this salad marinate in the dressing the better it is. I made this the night before and it made the perfect lunch topped with avocado!

What you will need:

  • 1 large bunch of kale, about 3 cups, finely chopped with ribs & stems removed
  • 1 small carton of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pomegranate, seeds removed
  • 1 avocado, sliced

For the vinaigrette:

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 4 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (Optional)

What you do:

Cook quinoa according to package directions and allow it to cool, this can be done a day ahead and kept in the fridge if desired. Chop kale and combine in a bowl with cherry tomatoes, onion, black beans, quinoa and pomegranate seeds. In a separate bowl combine all vinaigrette ingredients and whisk together. Pour vinaigrette over kale salad and toss making sure to coat all ingredients with the dressing.

Cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or over night if possible. Serve salad with sliced avocado on top and ENJOY!

My favorite cocktail- Love Potion

I’m pretty sure this cocktail is called love potion because you will fall in love with it and never want to have any other cocktail…ever. It is perfect for any season and it tastes like there is no alcohol in it which is both deadly and amazing. Over the holidays I threw a few pomegranate seeds for some festive color but a slice of grapefruit and a few ice cubes will do the trick!

What you need:

  • 4 oz. citron Vodka
  • 3 oz. Lillet (white)
  • 3 oz. St. Germaine
  • 1 Cup Grapefruit Juice
  • Splash of Prosecco (optional… but not really)
  • Sliced grapefruit or pomegranate seeds for garnish

What you do:

  1. Combine all ingredients in pitcher and stir
  2. Put a hand full of ice cubes in a glass and fill 3/4 of the way with love potion
  3. Top with Prosecco and grapefruit slice or pomegranate garnish
  4. ENJOY!

Healthy Whole Wheat Carrot Coconut Morning Glory Muffins with Sour Cream Frosting

I have a serious weakness for carrot cake. My mother makes the most delicious carrot cake- She’s made it for me on my birthday for as long as I can remember. I usually eat the leftovers for breakfast the whole week. Turns out all that cream cheese frosting, butter and sugar is not so good for you when you eat it three meals a day. Then I came across this recipe… fantastically delicious and healthy but tastes just like her buttery, creamy carrot cake.

Carrots, raisins, apple sauce and almond milk make this recipe moist and hearty. photo-205

Topped with toasted coconut and a sour cream frosting, it was hard not to eat the whole plate of muffins. And its gets even better…photo-204

Each muffin is only about 188 calories! They are a perfect power breakfast before heading out to ski. Wrap them individually and freeze them, when you’re looking for a quick bite, pop it in the microwave. The whole wheat flour makes them filling and nutty! photo-203

These are delicious without the frosting too but why would you ever want them without frosting? I know you are going to love these! Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Carrot Coconut Morning Glory Muffins (Click for printer friendly version) 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons olive, coconut, or canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (or you can use sweetened)
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • Extra coconut (toasted for topping)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with liners and spray the inside of the liners with cooking spray.
  3. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt and set aside.
  4. Beat brown sugar, vanilla, oil, egg, and egg whites together until creamy. Add in almond milk and beat again. With a wooden spoon fold in carrots, applesauce, raisins. Mix in flour mixture until just combined be careful not to over mix! Fold in the walnuts and the coconut flakes.
  5. Spoon batter into the liners and bake for 23-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Oven temperatures vary so you may find you need more or less time depending on the flours you use.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack.
  7. While muffins are cooling combine sour cream and powdered sugar in a small bowl and set aside until muffins are cool.
  8. With a small spoon drizzle the sour cream frosting over muffins. Lightly toast coconut in oven or toaster oven until golden brown (about 2minutes) and sprinkle over the top of frosting. photo
  9. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ambitious Kitchen.

Game Day Buffalo Chicken Dip

chickenIts NFL playoff season… which means food, beer and watching Tom Brady look amazing in his football pants. Yup I said it, and you were thinking it- girls want him and boys want to be him. But seriously, nothing says a good football party like apps, dips and pizza. Well I’ve got you covered- this awesomely delicious Buffalo chicken dip can also double as the perfect pizza topping. Serve it anyway you like it, this stuff is ADDICTING. Like seriously addicting… photo-198Like lick the platter clean- people all over town will be fighting for you to come to their football party… because they want the dip not because they like you (just kidding). photo-199Its the magically vanishing appetizer… and its stupidly easy to make! I’m a huge fan of 5 ingredients or less and quick- no one wants to be stuck in the kitchen while Gronkowski is spiking the ball!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Preheat the oven to 350degrees

  • 16oz Cream Cheese (2 blocks at room temperature)
  • 8oz Franks Red Hot
  • ¾ cup Celery
  • 2 cups Chicken (rotisserie chicken is best, I pull the meat off one of the small chickens from the market- no need to measure, just chop it up and throw it all in)
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese

Here’s what you do:

  1. Combine cream cheese, franks red-hot and celery and heat in microwave until gooey and easy to mix.
  2. Add chicken and cheddar cheese  (you can reserve a little to sprinkle over the top).
  3. Put in a casserole dish or square baking dish and bake for 30 min until top is bubbly and delicious.
  4. Serve warm with toasted bread, tortilla chips or just about anything else!

Now for the amazing part- double this recipe and reserve some chicken dip for a pizza. You can buy pre-made dough from Wholefoods or the grocery store. Flatten the pizza dough onto a pizza stone. Spread a thin layer of spaghetti sauce over the dough and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.chickenpizzaTake as much cooked buffalo chicken dip as you desire and sprinkle over pizza dough. Top with some more mozzarella cheese and bake at 425degrees for 15-20 minutes or until crust becomes golden brown and crispy (cooking time will depend on how thick your crust is so make sure to keep checking the pizza so it doesn’t burn!) As the cook, I always like to test a slice first to make sure its “cooked properly” which is code for “I’m getting my slice before its all gone it two seconds flat” ENJOY!

Healthy Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle Cream

chiliHappy New Year Ski Boots in the Kitchen fans! What a wonderful holiday season of eating it was… and now my pants are feeling a little tight. Seems like people all over have been making New Years resolutions to eat healthier and exercise more (the gym parking lot has been pretty full lately) But why not eat yummy food that’s both healthy and tastes good? New Years resolutions don’t mean giving up everything you love. This healthy (and easy) chili is vegetarian (can be vegan if you skip the Chipotle cream) its loaded with flavor and is a perfect alternative to meaty (calorie packed) classic chili (which I also love!) This recipe is from Ambitious Kitchen – I hope you enjoy! I’m looking forward to sharing all my holiday recipes with you soon!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Chili with Smoked Chipotle Cream
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced small
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce (I used Cholula because I didn’t have Chipotle Tabasco)
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 can black beans (15.5 oz), drained
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock, plus more to thin if desired
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced into small cubes
  • For Chipotle Creme:
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons Smoked Chipotle Tabasco sauce (Again I used Cholula)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  1. Heat the olive oil in  a medium pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots and salt; saute for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  2. Add the entire can of tomato sauce to the pot. Next add the black beans, vegetarian broth, all spices, and quinoa. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium, add diced sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.
  3. Make the smoked chipotle yogurt combine tabasco sauce, honey, and dijon mustard in a medium bowl.
  4. Spoon chili into bowls and add yogurt sauce on top.