chinesegrandma

Breakfast-for-dinner salad

It’s the sounds, not the clock, that tell me when it’s time to get dinner on the table. The creak of cabinet doors opening and the firm slam of them shut. The suction release of the refrigerator door tugged, then the electric hum as its contents are casually contemplated, with no regard for the cold []

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Chicken adobo – a one pot wonder

Main course recipes don’t get any easier than this classic Filipino dish. Throw chicken and simple seasonings in a cold pot, then stick it on the stove and simmer until you have a glossy brown succulent chicken to serve steaming hot over rice. The sauce is a piquant mix of soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, []

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Baked pasta (cheater lasagna)

It’s not sexy food, but done right, baked pasta is cheesy, meaty, tomatoey contentment. A good baked pasta communicates caring – soothing tastebuds, filling tummies, and showing love with warmth and abundance. It’s just what I want to be eating on a cold winter’s night, and everyone loves it just as much for lunch the []

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Chicken and veggie lettuce cups

I picked up a wavy green head of butter lettuce at the farmers market last weekend, fully intending to make salad. But as I washed its ruffly leaves, the neatly cupped shapes begged for something warm and savory to hold. I felt like the mouse in the kids’ book, If You Give a Mouse a []

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Chicken Marbella revival

When you have 87-year-olds over for dinner, even hip and cool 87-year-olds like our family friend Bob, it doesn’t seem right to serve quinoa for dinner. So this weekend I broke out some old-school favorites that wouldn’t require explanation in a buffet line: roasted brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, wild rice salad, warm lemon-dijon potato []

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Macho salad

I love this hefty-not-heavy salad, featured in a number of Hillstone restaurants, in spite of its goofball name. I’m not sure what makes it macho – lots of dates; very corny? And shouldn’t a macho salad be beefy, not chicken? But name aside, it’s the mix of flavors and textures – greens, chicken, chopped dates, []

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Oven polenta – and breaking bread

I’m all about breaking bread these days. Not necessarily in a literal sense, since no one but me seems to eat wheat anymore. But in a figurative sense, breaking bread is increasingly how I like to think of eating with loved ones in my home. It’s the antithesis of entertaining. No elaborate preparation, stress or []

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Chinese braised beef noodle soup

For Chinese New Year – the year of the dragon begins Monday – I have one more recipe from my mom’s kitchen: a long-braised beef shank cut thinly and piled in a bowl of steaming noodle soup. It’s a celebratory meal for the new year, as long noodles symbolize long life, but it’s also comfortably []

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Orzo with zucchini, lemon, mint and feta

Bright flyers from my kids’ backpacks keep reminding me that summer is almost here. But I wasn’t feeling it until one of my favorite summer dishes floated back into my consciousness this week: orzo salad loaded with well-roasted vegetables and feta cheese, dressed with bright lemon juice. I live on this dish in the summertime, []

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Easy brunch: Egg, cheese and sausage strata

I love having people over for dinner, but too often I don’t actually sit down and eat with them. Brunch is a different story. Kids can help themselves to bagels, scones and fruit, and adults can dig into this savory egg, cheese and sausage strata. I make it the night before, and all I have []

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Mom’s (even better) barbecue chicken

My mom always drew the raves for her barbecue chicken – tangy and sweet, salty and sticky, equal parts American and Asian – and indeed she spent years gradually perfecting the recipe. But it was my dad who worked the old brick fire pit in our backyard, tending to the coals like incubating eggs, now []

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Crunchy curry chicken salad

To me there’s one problem with most chicken salads: too much chicken. Plain old chicken and mayonnaise seems like a lost opportunity when instead you could add in fruit, nuts and spice have something crunchy, savory, sweet, nutty, creamy and tastebud-tingly. In my house, curry chicken salad makes leftover chicken a reason for celebration. The []

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Mom’s barbecue chicken

To many immigrant families, fusion cuisine is not a restaurant trend, it’s what’s served at home. Immigrants bring food tastes and memories from their old home country and combine them with available ingredients in their new home country. Sometimes they create faithful reproductions of traditional cuisine, but sometimes – as in the case of my []

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Fried rice: Leftover Chinese takeout makeover

Fried rice is the chinese grandma way of rescuing the old and making it new. In today’s modern version we’ll use tired leftover Chinese takeout and turn it into a fresh one-bowl meal. Fried rice is made with cold rice (hot fresh rice is too moist), so by definition it’s a leftover meal. This is []

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Eggs and zucchini in tomato sauce

Daily dinner in my house probably isn’t what you imagine. With four kids in three schools, and an activity or two per kid, every day is a lot of screeching around corners in my loaded minivan hauling people hither and yon. I might use a brief stop at home to rummage around and prep, but []

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