Lemony Chicken and Orzo

This recipe has everything I love going for it. It’s low fat, super high protein, delicious, and comes together easily in 30 minutes or less. It’s very protein dense if you follow the original recipe, but I’ve been known to keep the chicken ratio where it is (have you seen chicken breasts in the grocery lately. We swear they must come from mutant birdzillas, because each breast half weighs in at nearly a pound – so no need to double the chicken) and then double the other ingredients to be able to stretch it enough (and in a very economically sound way, considering the low cost of the other ingredients) to feed a family of 6 or more.

It’s got kind of a Greek vibe to it (think avgolemono soup flavor, but not thickened as much), which I’m sure you could amp up by adding a little Greek oregano and pairing it with a Greek side salad. But it’s super filling all on it’s own.

Lemony Chicken and Orzo

Lemony Chicken & Orzo
Recipe from Family Circle

PREP TIME: 5 mins

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 tsp. each salt and black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 tsp.honey
2 1/2 tbsp.low-fat sour cream
3/4 cup orzo
8 oz.green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

Cut chicken into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.
Pour broth and lemon juice into a Dutch oven; bring to boil and add chicken. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 9 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Remove chicken from pot; set aside. Increase heat to high and cook sauce for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; whisk in honey and sour cream.
Add 2 cups water to pot and bring to a boil; add orzo and cook for 10 minutes or until pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add green beans to pot for final 4 minutes of cook time. Stir chicken back into pot and serve.

Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 384, Fat, total (g) 4, chol. (mg) 106, sat. fat (g) 1, carb. (g) 39, fiber (g) 3, pro. (g) 47, sodium (mg) 685, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Dill

B. and I used to pay $6.99 a pound back in the day to get a version of this potato salad at Giant-Eagle’s deli. This recipe is as good as, if not better, than Giant-Eagle’s. It’s also considerably less expensive to make. The nice thing about this potato salad is that it doesn’t really need to sit in the fridge for its flavors to come together. You’re also likely to have most of its ingredients in your fridge and pantry already, so you should be able to make this at a moment’s notice without making any special trip to the supermarket.

Sour Cream and Dill Potato Salad

Potato Salad with Sour Cream and Dill
recipe courtesy of chewnibblenosh.com
Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 20 mins Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 6


2-2½ lbs. red new potatoes
1 cup sour cream.
½ – ¾ cup mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
½ cup diced red onion
¼ tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. fresh dill, minced
½ tsp. salt


  1. Wash the potatoes and place in a large Dutch oven or saucepan. Cover the potatoes with water by 1 inch. Bring the water to a boil and let the potatoes cook for 15-20 minutes, until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a knife and remove the knife just as easily. Drain the potatoes and let cool for about 20 minutes.
  2. Stir together the mayonnaise, sour cream, and apple cider vinegar until smooth. Add the red onion, garlic powder, dill, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cut the potatoes into chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the sour cream mixture and stir until well combined. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Introduction to the Cooking for Kids Series

It’s really difficult to tell sometimes when kids are ready to cook – some are extremely precocious and are able to compete like old pros on shows like Masterchef Junior, others lack the interest or even the drive to boil a kettle of water. Every once in a while, the child comes to you and asks if they can help. Believe me when I say that kids like that are a rare thing indeed, so you want to foster that interest as soon as they show it. My great-grandmother started teaching me her recipes at 4 or 5 years old, whether it was helping her with Apfelkuchen, sitting out back snapping the ends off of green beans, or what not. I was still using a step-stool when I started cooking with her.

Yahnni Cooking

Yahnni is my best friend’s daughter, (but is more like a niece to me), a 10 year old extremely intelligent, and extremely creative ball of energy who leaves her mark on everything she touches. We’ve agreed to let her pick out a dish for us all to make on the weekends, and this series will talk about those experiences, what we’ve learned (because as much as we’re teaching her, we learn from her as well), and how it all turned out. So keep your eyes peeled for some of her inventions.

P.S. If you’d like to join in, put the link to your entry as a comment. I will see all that are submitted and will edit the entry to link you all up.

Jello Poke Cake

This was the first recipe I helped my mother to make. When I was a kid, she did all the baking and my father did all the cooking. Given that he didn’t trust me with a rusty butter-knife, I never got a chance to cook as a child; however, Mom let me help with baking all the time. I remember that Mom got a 13x9x2 covered aluminum specifically for the Poke Cake; since it has that fluffy Cool-Whip icing on top, it needs a protective cover when it’s stored in the fridge. B. and I still have that pan, and we still use it for (among other things) Jello Poke Cake.

Jello Poke Cake

Jello Poke Cake
recipe courtesy of Food.com


1 (18 1/4 ounce) packages white cake mix
egg, water, oil as needed to make cake
1 (3 ounce) packages raspberry Jell-O gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup cold water
8 ounces Cool Whip


Bake cake according to package directions. Cool completely.
Poke cake with a fork. Mix jello with boiling water until dissolved. Mix in cold water. Pour over cake. Top with cool whip. Keep in refrigerator.

Review: Flipside Burger Easton

Recently B. and I had a doctor’s appointment at a practice located at Easton. Since we were famished and knew we were going to go grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s later, we decided to get a late lunch from a restaurant we’d never tried before. The restaurant B. suggested was FlipSide Burger.

FlipSide Burger is a small Ohio chain (only five restaurants; four are in the Cleveland area) that’s trying to be a somewhat upscale casual eatery that offers interesting takes on traditional pub grub (burgers, salads, appetizers, sandwiches) and a fair selection of adult beverages.

The appearance of the restaurant was a somewhat Spartan sport bar, with flatscreen televisions scattered throughout the establishment displaying various games. The restaurant has an outdoor patio adjacent to the surface parking lot off the street; it’s reachable through a nifty floor-to-ceiling sliding patio door. All in all, a decent, if not particularly inviting, environ in which to enjoy our food.

With no further delay, let’s get down to business and talk about the food!
We started by ordering beverages. B. got her usual ice water; I decided to try FlipSide’s take on my favorite mixed drink (the Bloody Mary), their BLT Mary-Tini ($10). This is a Bloody Mary in a martini glass topped with a crispy bacon garnish; the vodka (a double pour, apparently; this puppy was good and strong) is a house-infused Applewood smoked bacon vodka. Its flavor was nicely bacony, boozy and “bloody”, but I’d probably get a good strong ale next time.


We chose a single appetizer to share between us, the Chef’s Made Chili ($6). This was a sizable tureen of chili; its liquid component was a bit thin but very flavorful, and it was dotted with rustic-cut chunks of carrot and celery as well as beans and the hero of the dish, deeply seasoned fork-tender braised beef. The chili was topped with an aged white cheddar cheese and minced chives. We agreed that this was a very good chili, neither too bland nor too spicy. The split bowl left us with a warm feeling in the belly yet ready for the main event – our burgers.


B. ordered FlipSide’s signature burger, the One Red Door Burger ($10.50). This sandwich has seven ounces of medium-rare Ohio grass-fed beef topped with crispy shallots and brie cheese on a toasted brioche bun, with lettuce, tomato, onion and a bacon-date aioli on the side. We agreed that this was a fine choice, and easily one of the better burgers we’ve eaten in Columbus.


I decided to take one for the team, so I selected the Sandwich of the Month, which was the Thanksgiving Turkey Burger. This sandwich consisted of seven ounces of well-done but still juicy all-natural ground turkey, stuffing, house-made mushroom gravy and crispy shallots on a toasted brioche bun with cranberry chutney served on the side. I’ve made something similar myself at home (Thanksgiving Burgers with Cranberry Mayo), and this just as good – instead of putting stuffing IN the burger itself, it topped the burger, and the mushroom gravy gave the stuffing the savory moistness it would’ve otherwise been missing. B. agreed that it was, indeed, a good sandwich.


As a side with our burgers, we ordered the Triple Cooked Fries with Truffle Oil and Grana Padana cheese ($6) to share between us. The fries were crisp, hot, and tasty, but lacked even the slightest hint of truffle aroma or flavor. If truffle oil had touched these pommes frites, it had been chased through at a full gallop. Still good, but without the truffling, we might as well have gotten the plain salt-and-herb fries ($4).


Our verdict? A pub that does a few things and does them well. Worth a second visit, absolutely.

If you’d like to go:

Flipside Easton
3945 Easton Station
Easton Town Center

Tel: 614-472-FLIP

Weekend Dog Blogging: Farmer’s Market Edition

When B. hasn’t been feeling well, she sends me out to the Saturday farmers’ markets alone. I usually go to the North Market, Worthington Market and Clintonville Market. Of late (read: 2014), I’ve gone to just the Clintonville Market, since all my favorite vendors are there, and it seems pointless to fight the crowds in the Short North and Worthington when there’s little reason to do so.

Since there are so many people bringing their dogs to the Market, I’ve made a point of taking pictures of them — at least when they’ll let me. Dogs are fickle about taking candids; not these fellows, however.  Shout-out to Hamilton the Pig, whose owner takes him to Worthington regularly (fifth picture below).

Wistful Dog


Italian Greyhound


Hamilton the Pig




Australian Shepherd

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

B. had a hankering one weekend for an apple bundt cake. Now, our go-to apple bundt cake has always been the Jewish Apple Cake, but she wanted something more interesting this time, so she found this recipe. It turns out that this cake is even better than the Jewish Apple Cake, and looks like something a professional bakery might sell. I’m not the only one who loves this recipe — thousands of rave reviews can’t be wrong.

This is about as foolproof as it gets; I made absolutely no changes to the recipe and it came out perfectly.

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
recipe courtesy of Southern Living

1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped pecans
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar


1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.

2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.

3. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.

4. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).

5. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

I have to admit, my luck is a bit hit or miss when it comes to trying to reproduce Asian recipes that I see on Pinterest. Sometimes things that look awesome on camera turn out tasting like an abomination that ends up in the garbage can, pin deleted never to be seen again (I’m looking at you, tamale pie). Other times, you happen to stumble upon a recipe that tastes as good as it looks. This baked sweet and sour chicken tastes just as good as the fried version, and is a dead on reproduction of the stuff with the bright orange sauce that you get at your favorite Chinese takeout. In my book, that makes this recipe a winner. I served it with leftover fried rice from earlier that week, but the recipe for fried rice below sounds like it’s a perfect partner for the chicken.

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken and Fried Rice

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
recipe courtesy Life in the Lofthouse

3-4 boneless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
1 c. cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
¼ c. canola oil

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
¾ c. sugar
4 tbsp. ketchup
½ c. distilled white vinegar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Start by preheating your oven to 325F. Rinse your chicken breasts in water and then cut into cubes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.

Heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet and pan-fry chicken pieces just until slightly browned but not cooked through. Place chicken in a 9 x 13-inch greased baking dish.

Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. Pour evenly over the chicken. Bake chicken for one hour, uncovered. During the baking process you will need to turn the chicken every 15 minutes.

Serve immediately with the fried rice recipe below.

Fried Rice

3 cups cooked white rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
3 Tablespoons sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
1 cup frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 small onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3-4 Tablespoons soy sauce

On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok. Add the peas/carrots mix, onion and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour eggs on the other side of skillet. Stir fry until scrambled.

Now add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated!

Review: Bibibop

Since I’ve spent the better part of the past year in a hospital bed (both inpatient and here at home), and the last 4 years struggling with my health, I’ve become a bit out of the loop when it comes to the food scene here in Columbus. More than a bit, actually. Your average person on the street can probably give you better advice than I can when it comes to somewhere great to eat. Openings, closings, so many changes in so little time that I’ve lost track. But part of the joy is in the rediscovery. Old favorites. New haunts. With old and new friends.

But the one thing we can all agree on, I’m sure, is that hospital food SUCKS. Really sucks. Sucks to the point where you’d rather eat nothing at all than another dried out, bland piece of what is supposed to pass for a chicken breast. For the time I was inpatient, Paul was my proxy, both by getting me outside food to eat and by taking over some of the blogging duties. One of the new discoveries, and new favorites, is Bibibop.

Rice Bowl from Bibibop

Think Chipotle, but with an Asian spin. Pick a base (bowl, salad or wrap). Choose a protein (regular or spicy chicken, seasoned tofu, or seasoned steak), with sautéed potatoes, bean sprouts, and black beans, and steamed white or purple wild rice. Or all of the above. Pick toppings (cucumber, lettuce, carrot, daikon, corn, cheese and egg). Pick a (or more than one) sauce (teriyaki, yum yum, siracha, or Korean red sauce). Personally, I find a kids bowl ($3.95 base) to be more than enough for two meals. My personal fave? A kids bowl with half white rice, half purple rice, potato, a few sprouts, black beans, double steak ($1.75 extra), with all of the toppings, including double egg (for the added protein). I top it with 1, maybe 2 yum yum sauce. Mayonnaise based, so be careful not to make your healthy bowl unhealthy by loading it down with 4 or 5 like Paul does. Walk out the door with two filling protein-dense meals for well under $6. If you have a bigger appetite, get the regular sized portion for well under $10.

With 4 locations in Columbus (Grandview, Upper Arlington, Polaris and Easton), there’s no excuse not to try something new in the “make your own meal assembly line style” vein.

Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding

To me, bread pudding (whether savory or sweet) is definitely a cold weather dish. There’s nothing quite like waking up on a cold morning to eat something warm and filling. A little goes a long way, and this is one of those dishes where it doesn’t pack much nutritional quality, so I enjoy it in moderation. It reheats beautifully in the microwave. I love the combination of chocolate and cherry – this recipe is definitely a winner, and will go into the rotation.Maybe next time I can scale it down to half, so it’s more suitable for a couple with no kids.

Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding

Chocolate Cherry Croissant Bread Pudding
recipe courtesy Betty Crocker

Prep Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 hrs, 20 min
Servings: 12

Bread Pudding:
4 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
¾ c. sugar
2 ½ c. milk
2 ½ c. whipping cream
1 tbsp. vanilla
7 large (5 ½ x 4 ½ inches) croissants, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces (10 cups)
1 c. dark chocolate chips
2 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp. sugar
½ c. dried cherries

Cherry Sauce:
¼ c. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
½ c. water
1 bag (10 oz) frozen dark sweet cherries
½ tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 325F. Grease bottom and sides of 13×9 inch (3 quart) glass baking dish with shortening or cooking spray. In large bowl, beat 4 whole eggs, 1 egg yolk and ¾ cup sugar with wire whisk until well blended. Beat in milk, whipping cream and vanilla until well blended. Stir in 7 cups of the croissant pieces. Let stand for 20 minutes. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Lightly press remaining 3 cups croissant pieces on top of mixture. Brush top of croissant pieces with butter, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar. Sprinkle with dried cherries.

Bake uncovered 55 to 65 minutes or until top is light golden brown (center will jiggle slightly). Cool 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, mix ¼ cup sugar, the cornstarch and water until blended. Stir in frozen cherries. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serve sauce over warm bread pudding. Store bread pudding and sauce covered in refrigerator.

Nutrition (per serving): 600 cal, 330 cal from fat, 37g fat (22 g sat, 1 g trans), 200mg chol, 120mg sodium, 57g carb