March 19, 2011

Tastee Trends: PotPie is Fashion’s Food Fad?

Mmm...chicken pot pie!photo © 2010 jeffreyw | more info (via: Wylio)
It’s pretty easy for me to keep up with popular new restaurants and what’s hot in the food industry.  But when it comes to the world of fashion, I’m lucky if I know a few of the trends each season and I’m even luckier if I’ve actually purchased something “trendy”. So the idea of fashion insiders annointing a culinary dish to runway worthy seemed strange. According to the New York Times, fashion industry insiders are gravitating towards chicken potpie.

This Spring season among 70’s style flashbacks, thick stripes and solid color block clothing trends, chicken potpie is the popular kid featured on elite fashion event menus. A designer for Calvin Klein prefers his with lobster (yum), others prefer theirs loaded with traditional chicken and vegetables. This concept seems strange for someone like me who snubbed my nose at potpie growing up, I think I’ve gone my entire life without trying one. My mom will tell you that I grew up loathing casseroles and in my opinion, chicken potpie sounds like nothing more than a glorified casserole.  

So why is this fattening one pot-meal the fashion industry favorite?? Shine! Yahoo blogger Piper Weiss speculates: “Pot pie is sloppy, fattening, home-style American, and everything you don’t equate with exclusive couture circles. It’s as ironic as retro t-shirts and five-figure flip flops. And fashion loves irony.”

Over the years, I’ve reconsidered my stance against casseroles. Maybe now it’s time to try potpie. I guess I’ll follow fashion’s fads once more and see what the fuss is about.

Here’s a few I wouldn’t mind trying from Food Networks Comfort Food PotPie Collection:

From Wolfgang Puck (Puff pastry version): Lobster and Chicken Potpie
From Robert Irvine (Puff pastry version): Lobster and Crab Potpie
From Emril Lagasse (Pie Crust version): Lobster Potpie
From Rachel Ray: Tarragon Cream Chicken and Polenta Potpie
From Sunny Anderson: Shrimp Potpie

February 3, 2011

HealthyFinds: Baked Chicken Tenders

Baked Chicken Tenders with Sweet and Sour Saucephoto © 2010 Evan Swigart | more info (via: Wylio)
Today’s featured heart healthy recipe in honor of American Heart Month is family friendly, simple, and amazing as a leftover snack. This baked version of chicken fingers takes a classic that tends to be greasy and fattening and makes it heart friendly. Bonus: baking the chicken in the oven rather than frying it is much easier and cuts out the mess.

There are a lot of baked chicken recipes out there but this is one of my favorites. I love the salty falvor of the parmesan mixed into the crumbs. Plus, I add a little extra flavor and texture by using half Italian seasoned bread crumbs added to half crispy, panko bread crumbs.  I keep all these ingredients on hand and bake a quick batch of chicken tenders whenever I need a delicious and quick dinner. (They go great with a fresh arugula salad or sauted spinache).

Baked Chicken Tenders 
Recipe from Food Network, by Giada De Laurentiis


  • 4 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders (about 18)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 cup Italian-style seasoned bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Brush 1 tablespoon of oil over each of 2 heavy large lined baking sheets. Place the buttermilk in a large bowl. Add the chicken tenders and stir to coat. Let stand at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the garlic with the salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in the vinegar and then the remaining 1/2 cup of oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with pepper. Transfer the vinaigrette to a small serving bowl.

Stir the Parmesan and bread crumbs in a pie dish. Remove the chicken tenders from the buttermilk and dredge them in the bread crumb mixture to coat completely, pressing to adhere. Arrange the coated chicken tenders on the prepared baking sheets, spacing evenly. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over the chicken tenders and bake until they are cooked through and golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Transfer the chicken tenders to a platter and serve the vinaigrette alongside for dipping.

February 2, 2011

Recipes: Smoked Salmon and Herbed Butter

Adding this to my “to try” list! If you try it, let me know what you think. 

Courtesy of New York times Food: Herbed Butter and Smoked Salmon Sandwiches

February 1, 2011

Recipes: “Snowy” Desserts in Honor of Chicago’s SnowMagedon

Coeur a La Creme Photo

By Todd Coleman,

If you’re in the midwest and your power doesn’t go out, consider celebrating your snow day with one of these 11 Snowy Desserts by Saveur. What else are you going to do with all that time on your hands, no better way to enjoy some down time than baking! Put on some sweats, hunker down, make some hot chocolate, dust of your measuring cups and fire up your oven. Or if you’re watching the news of the Midwest’s SnowMagedon from a comfortable and warm distance, consider recognizing our weather woes with a little sugary goodness of your own. It doesn’t have to be snowing outside to enjoy snowy baked treats.

Alternatively, like me, you can turn up your electric blanket and write about making delicious snowy treats – desperately wishing that you could actually try out a recipe or two. If only the grocery delivery hadn’t been canceled due to blizzarding.

Recipe for Coeur a La Creme from after the jump.

Continue reading

February 1, 2011

HealthyFinds:Heart Month Recipe of the Day

In honor of American Heart Month and the efforts of the American Heart Association and other organizations’ to promote heart health and education, I’ve decided to feature recipes each day this month that contain heart healthy ingredients. 

Heart Fact Courtesy of

Today’s featured ingredient? Salmon! So good, you’ll never know you’re feeding your heart instead of your tastebuds.  I discovered this Asian Glazed Salmon recipe on and have added it to my recipe files to use whenever I need a quick and easy dinner. I adore the sweet, fresh and spicy asian flavors combined with the rich, velvety texture of the salmon. Make sure you don’t overcook it! I recommend serving with rice pilaf and asparagus. 

Alternative Cooking Method: Instead of broiling the salmon, pan fry the filets on high heat or place on an indoor grill for a minute or two on each side. Read more for full recipe and preparation. Continue reading

February 1, 2011

Healthy Finds: Healthy Heart

Alpha Phi Red Dress Pin

Alpha Phi Foundation's Red Dress Pin

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and the #1 killer of women in America. A key element in addressing the problem is education and awareness. Many of us know what we SHOULDN’T eat, but do you know what foods are heart approved? offers the following list of the 10 heart healthiest foods

1. Oatmeal
2. Salmon
3. Avacado
4. Olive Oil
5. Nuts
6. Berries
7. Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and black and kidney beans)
8. Spinach
9. Flaxseed
10. Soy

Read the full article for details on why these foods help to keep your heart beating – many of them have omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, or anti-inflammatory properties. Some are considered “heart healthy” fats (which seems almost counter-intuitive but is more and more a familiar concept.)

Archer Farms Blueberry Granola Blueberry Granola with Flax Cereal

Lucky for me- and hopefully you- some of these things are already on my list of favorite foods. Others, I have to work to incorporate into my diet. If you’re new to flaxseed, I highly recommend a Target brand Blueberry Granola with Flax cereal. It’s so deliciously sweet and addictively crunchy you won’t even notice the flaxseeds.

For more information on how to prevent heart disease check out the tips and resources on the American Heart Association’s website.

Check back here for more recipes this February featuring these top ten heart healthy ingredients!

February 1, 2011

Recipes: Serve Up Something Savvy for Superbowl

Whether you’re watching the Superbowl or the Puppy Bowl on February 6th, make sure you impress your friends by serving them something a little different. If you’re like me, you celebrate the Superbowl as an excuse to eat food, lots of it. In fact, the only reason I know who’s playing this Sunday is because I linked the NFL site for the sake of this post. So whether you’re partying for the game or partying for the food, we all know and love the typical Superbowl Sunday fare. But this year consider spicing it up a bit! Your friends who are only pretending to be interested in the game (me) will secretly appreciate your creative food for giving them something else to do!

Shake up your traditional nachos and wings with these fun recipes assembled by Huffington Post. Try recipes like “Chocolate Beer Truffles” (ingenious superbowl combo), “Hummamole” (yes. the two best dips -hummus & guac – combined), “Tequila Mango Salsa” (my favorite alcohol and my favorite fruit, I’ll be making a double batch), “Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Jalapenos Peppers”, and “Fig Glazed Burgers with Red Onion Jam.” Are you drooling yet? Cause I am.

Wondering about dessert? Isn’t it obvious. CUPCAKES. The SuperBowl Cupcake – Chocolate cake, maple cream cheese frosting, and bacon streusal! OH YES. You’re guests will never leave. Recipes for all of the above are printed after the jump.

Continue reading

February 1, 2011

CaffeineFiend: Coffee Prices Rise and a Cocoa Shortage Crisis?

Chocolate Fondant

Photo: (Vintage Confections)

If you’re on a tight budget and have a hard time sticking to it like me, the news that prices for coffee and chocolate are on the rise is more than a little alarming! Two staples of my regular, everyday diet are about to cause me even more financial stress?! Sad day.

MSN Money recently posted an article from Beth Pinsker at listing 11 things that are getting more expensive this year. My heart sank when I saw coffee made the list and I almost started to cry when I skimmed further and saw chocolate too.

Reports claim that the world is going to see a drastic reduction in the availability of chocolate as the cocoa market faces a significant shortage. According to the U.K.’s Dailymail, the shortage is a result of weather patterns affecting crops in the Ivory Coast (a region which accounts for 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa beans). MSN reports that unrest in the region is also a factor. Some sources say cocoa prices are going up, and so is the cost of your your favorite chocolate bar, but MSN reports that chocolate markets have already factored in the supply issues, so there is no cause to worry about the cost of that 3pm Twix fix!

The news from ABC-KGO is not so optimistic. They indicate that this shortage has been building. According to their experts, a key problem is the lack of incentive for cocoa farmers who face a 3 year wait for cocoa trees to mature and only earn $1 a day. They claim that in 20 years, “the average joe won’t be able to afford chocolate unless new research into growing higher-yielding trees prove fruitful.”

January 30, 2011

Healthy Finds: Healthiest Foods

I love Real Simple magazine and its website. Their newsletter recently featured an article listing the “30 Healthiest Foods” that they’re assembled experts could find. They claim that most of us are probably already eating many foods on the list. I’m not convinced! Mushrooms? No thanks. Oats? Nope. Peanut butter, lentils, quinoa, almonds, bulgur, sardines, kidney beans, kale, walnuts? NO. I am not already eating many of these things! You might be. Read the full article for details.


Photo by: Petrina Tinslay from

One healthy item, Quinoa, has been making headlines lately for its recent rise in popularity. Its claimed to be a new super food because it is a complete protein that can replace meat. It has all nine amino acids contained in meat but none of the fat or cholestorol. It looks like  a grain but its really a plant and provides the same energy boost as meat. Chicago is home to a restaurant called Protein Bar near the Willis (formerly Sears)  Tower. Almost all their menu items substitute Quinoa for rice. The restaurant is wildly popular and usually has lines out the door. I gave it a shot once, I’ll never go back. Still, I’m sure Quinoa is great for those vegetarians out there!

January 30, 2011

TasteeTrends: Twitter Top 100 Restaurants

Top Chef Masters/Frontera Chef Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless (Credit:Tribune photo by Chris Sweda.)

If you’re like me, you get some of your food “fixes” everyday from restaurants, chefs, bloggers and foodies who tweet their daily specials, recipes and more. Here’s more to add to your addiction. Are you following any of these “Top 100 Twitter Restaurants of 2010“? Restaurant and food tweets may be the only thing I get out of twitter and some of my favorites are on this list!

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