Posted in Fish, Grilling, Saute`, Season, Shrimp, Spices

A new Spice of Life

We were in Costco today and I saw a new smoke flavor that looked really good so I picked it up.  I am sure you can find it in the supermarket since it’s made by McCormick.  The spice combination is called “Smokehouse Maple”.  In order to get a real taste for it, I simply sprinkled a tablespoon over 2 pounds of shrimp and grilled the shrimp on an indoor grill.  The flavor is sweet with a hint of smokiness in the background.  After tasting the shrimp, I decided that it would be a great base that can compliment BBQ grill recipes.

Spices are a great way to add a lot of flavor to your meals without adding any fat and almost no calories.  For this reason, I enjoy experimenting with spices.  In the past few years, the food companies have become really creative in introducing new spice combinations that focus on ethnic or American regional cuisine.  By combining many individual spices in one jar, the companies make flavorful cooking easier.  I usually like to further enhance specific flavors and often use the spice combinations as a beginning.

The best way for you to try a new spice combination is to cook something very plain (such as chicken breast, shrimp or steak), sprinkle a little on and grill or sauté it in a pan without adding anything else.  This way you know if you like it and what type of dish it may compliment.

So don’t be shy, go out there and try some new spice combinations; I think you’ll find that your meals come out flavorful , delicious and light.

Enjoy and happy experimenting!!

Posted in Cooking Styles/Techniques, Main Courses, Pasta dish, Poultry, Sauces, Saute`, Tips/Hints

A friend for dinner

My son had a friend over for dinner tonight.  Since I wasn’t sure what he likes to eat (he’s 5 ½), I decided to take the safe route and cook chicken cutlets with pasta and sauce.  This isn’t really what I would call a gourmet recipe but the boys ate them with pleasure and Nick’s friend even asked for a second serving.  When I met up with his parents, they seemed delighted that their son ate an entire chicken cutlet for dinner.  Because of the reaction I received from the parents, I thought it would be a good idea to post this recipe for tonight.

Chicken Cutlets with Pasta and Sauce

Serves 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time 30 minutes

Tomato Sauce Ingredients:

½ onion – chopped

1clove garlic – minced

1 can crushed tomatoes

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Heat sauce pan and spray generously with cooking spray.  Add onions and cook on medium low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. 
  2. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Increase the heat to medium high and add tomatoes, salt, pepper and onion powder. 
  3. Simmer on low heat for at least 15 minutes. 


Chicken cutlet Ingredients:

4 split skinless/boneless chicken breasts

¼ cup flour

½ teaspoon dried basil

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup egg substitute

½ – ¾ cup Panko bread crumbs

½ pound (8 ounces) penne pasta (or any shape pasta you like)


  1. While sauce is simmering, prepare chicken cutlets.  If they are thicker pieces of chicken breasts, pound them with a rolling pin until about ¼ inches thick (the thinner they are, the quicker they cook).
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, basil, oregano, garlic powder and salt and mix until blended.  In a separate bowl, measure and pour the egg substitute and place the bread crumbs in a third bowl.
  3. Press one chicken breast at a time into the flour mixture, then dip in egg substitute and finally press into bread crumbs on both sides.  Continue for each chicken breast until all are coated. 
  4. Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Add chicken cutlets and cook for 5 – 7 minutes on each side.
  5. While chicken cutlets are cooking, boil a large pot of water and cook pasta according to the package directions. 
  6. Drain pasta and add to tomato sauce.
  7. Place chicken cutlets on a serving platter and serve pasta in sauce in a separate serving bowl.

NOTE: You can prepare the chicken cutlets in advance, cover them and refrigerate them when about 15 minutes before you plan on serving.  The sauce can also be prepared in advance and simmering on low, covered, for several hours.

Estimated values per serving:

Calories = 510          Fat = 3 grams