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Enjoy Dinner Again

Scroll down for Gluten-Free Granola Bars! My active, athletic boys love them!

Life is a Bowl of Cherries --

Poached in Grand Marnier and Champagne!

That's right.  Just take those farm-fresh cherries that are so plentiful now and add them to a pot with 1 C Champagne (prosecco, sparkling wine -- you get the idea) and 1/4 C Grand Marnier. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.  Take the pot off of the heat and let it cool.  Place in the refrigerator until ready to unveil.  Voile!  A sexy appetizer or a pre-dessert, dessert. 


Today's Featured Recipe: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars! Protein, Fiber and Fat (the good kind) Rolled into a Bar!

2 Cups Bob's Red Mill Old Fashioned Rolled Oats -- Gluten Free


1 Cup Puffed Rice Cereal

2 Cups Crushed Gluten Free Pretzels (Glutino is a good brand)

1/2 Cup Flaxseeds

1/4 Cup Quinoa Flour or other Gluten-Free Flour e.g. King Arthur or Rice Flour

2 Cups Roasted Unsalted Peanuts

1 1/2 Creamy Peanut Butter (if you have Vitamix or strong blender make your own)

2 Teaspoons Vanilla

2/3 Cups Local Honey

2/3 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl combine oats, flour, cereal, pretzels, peanuts, faxseeds -- stir to combine.  Add in peanut butter and mix with your hands to combine and create a dough.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Mix melted butter and vanilla, add to dough and mix well with hands.  Add in honey and stir to moisten completely.  Mix in dark chocolate chips. 

Spray two 9x13 baking dishes with non-stick spray such as organic Canola oil.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the top is golden brown.  Remove and let cool completely before cutting. Or you can crumble and use to mix in with yogurt. 



Patty Pan Summer Squash Stuffed with Risotto, Zucchini, Spring Onions and Carrots

I made this for a couple's celebration of their sixth anniversary.  It played a co-starring role with my champagne-pomegranate glazed prime rib.

2 large Patty Pan Summer Squash

Vegetable Stuffing:

1 C Shredded Carrots

1 C Shredded Zucchini

1/2 C Spring Onions

1 pinch of salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1TBS. olive oil


1 C Risotto

1 TBS. Butter  or Olive Oil

1/4 C Dry White Wine

1 1/3 C Boiling Water

Grated Parmesan Cheese

 1tps. butter

Cover Patty Pan Squash with water and boil for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

While Patty Pan is boiling, heat the butter or olive oil in a pan.  Add the risotta and stir to coat.  Add wine and allow it to boil off, stirring frequently. Add boiling water, do not cover, and cook for 15 minutes stirring occassionally.  It is done when tender but firm to the bite.  Remove from heat and add parmesan and butter.

Heat 1 TBS. olive oil in a pan.  When the oil is hot, saute carrots, zucchini and finely chopped spring onions for 5 minutes or until tender.  Add the salt and pepper and stir for one more minute. Add to finished risotto and mix together.

When the squash has cooled, but the top off -- put the top to the side and use as a pretty "lid" when stuffed.  Hollow out the core of the Patty Pan making a space for the risotto mixture.  Place risotto inside the hollow and place the "lid" on top. 

Bake the squash in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. 


Baked, Whole Red Snapper with leeks, spinach and limes

Holy, Whole Fish – Snapper – Heads and Tails

Cooking a whole fish can seem a bit intimidating. It’s so much to manage — the head, the tail, the scales, the cleaning. In reality, there are resources available at grocery stores that have invested in their fish departments. Ask the fishmonger to scale and clean the fish for you. Filets are easy to get, if you prefer to have it from the whole fish rather than just whats on display. I went to Whole Foods today and the whole fish all looked so fresh and inviting, One in particular caught my eye. A red snapper with a yellow stripe. The fish from head to tail was about 16 inches — perfect for me and my best friend and official taste tester Ramon. I decided to bake the fish. Much more healthy and a great way to really taste the fresh fish. I seasoned it inside the cavity and on the skin. Slitting the skin on both sides, I placed sliced fresh garlic inside. I seasoned the inside and outside with lavender pepper and salt. Stuffing the fish with thin lime slices, a bit of leeks and spinach. Then I scattered the remaining leek and spinach under and around the fish, drizzled some olive oil over the top and placed in the oven at 400 degrees.

Tip: Set your timer for 10 minutes. Then every four minutes after. Check the fish and you’ll know it’s done when all the “red” from the red snapper is gone. Every oven is different. I had mine on convection bake. It took a total of 22 minutes — with the last four with the fish flipped on it’s underside. This is the BEFORE cooking pic.


This One's for Gayle

Chicken Breasts with Creamy Leeks and Red Peppers

The beauty of the internet and facebook and all of this social media stuff -- is that it allows for long-separated friends to re-connect.  It sounds a little silly to those in their 20s, but it's true.  As a result of FB, one of my dearest friends from college and I have been able to share our post-college, post-clove cigarette smoking, post-Smith's (no, that can never happen, right Gayle?!  The Smith's will always be part of us) lives.  Recently, Gayle posted she's looking for easy, healthy recipes.  So here goes Snakey K!

Adapted from The Splendid Table's "How to Eat Supper" by Lynne Rossetto Kasper and Sally Swift

2 cups sliced leeks - white and light green parts

1 Tbs. chopped garlic (either fresh or the pre-chopped store-bought)

2 cups chicken broth (tetrapak, organic)

2 Tbs. unsalted butter (I've reduced the butter, it's plenty creamy with this amount)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 red bell pepper, chopped fine (I add this for color and crunch)

Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper

(The original recipe calls for tarragon -- I love it, but it's not necessarily kid-friendly)

1. Put 2 Tbs. of butter in a large skillet, let it melt over medium heat and add leeks and garlic.  Once the garlic is golden, add the chicken broth.  Finish sautein leeks until somewhat soft and whites are translucent. 

2. While the leeks are cooking, salt and pepper the chicken breasts.  Place the chicken on top of the leeks -- spooning some leeks on top of the chicken. Cover tightly with lid and reduce heat to to low. 

3. Allow about 15 minutes for breasts to cook. 

4. To check for doneness, press the chicken -- it should feel firm. 

5. Place the chicken on plates, pour leeks and sauce over them and serve. 

6. This is especially nice with a fresh baby spinach salad and Brianna's French vinaigrette.


Thai Shrimp and Papaya Salad

10 large, raw prawns
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper or black pepper

6 C spinach, other mixed greens
¼ tsp. salt
¼ C freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ C olive oil

Papaya Salsa:
½ C cilantro
1 C cubed papaya*
¼ C cubed red pepper
¼ C diced red onion
1 small habanero, seeds out and minced
2 Tbs. lime juice

Preheat broiler for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the prawns in a medium bowl and add the sesame oil and pepper. Toss to coat the prawns completely and evenly. Lay the seasoned prawns on a baking sheet and broil until pink and done -- 2 to 3 minutes.

Toss the salad greens with salt, lemon juice and oil.

Pinch the leaves off the cilantro stems. Put them in a small bowl with the remaining salsa ingredients and mix thoroughly with a spoon. Toss the shrimp into the papaya salsa and stir until they are coated. Put the salad on a each plate and lay the prawns on top.

*My son is allergic to papaya. Mango is a good substitute.