Thursday, May 23, 2013


Grand Rapids, OH

Isn't that just a fun word to say?? One of our favorite toppings for bruschetta or used as a dip for crackers or fresh veggies is baba ganoush...roasted eggplant dip. Since Jeff posted his recipe for Flatbread, I've made it several times. It's such an easy recipe and it's perfect for this recipe! I told him when he came for the photo shoot that it tastes much better than it looks. His comment when I uncovered the dish and he first saw it "Ohhhhhh....." . Yeah, that pretty much says it all until that first taste! It's delicious. Use it the same way you would use hummus. It's thick enough to spread and hold up on a piece of cracker or toasted bread and makes a healthy choice for an appetizer.

I don't really have a recipe for this one. Just slice two eggplants lengthwise in half, drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the cut side, and place oil side down on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for about 1/2 hour at 400 degrees. The cut edge will be toasted and the inside of the eggplant will be completely soft and easy to scoop out. After scraping the insides, leaving the peel behind, place in a food processor along with the juice and zest of a lime, 1 tsp. salt, 1 good Tbsp. of tahini, and blend to combine all the ingredients. It's really great if you can serve it warm right out of the oven, but serving it chilled it's still very flavorful. Add a little more salt if you need to, and spread on flatbread, crackers, or toasted bread for a nice appetizer.

A little side not about the flatbread recipe on the blog! I followed the recipe, but after rolling two pieces out thin, I sprinkled one with zaatar (spice) and place 5-6 small, fresh sage leaves on the bread, then laid the second piece on top and rolled out again, carefully embedding the herbs between the two layers. The sage flavor is really great with the baba ganoush, but don't try to lay it on top...the leaves will burn! Biting into the baba ganoush flatbread is such fun when you see those little leaves peeking out at you...and your taste buds will thank you!

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY Panera Bread Asian Sesame Chicken Salad

Contributor| KRISTINA JONES Toledo,OH

So who loves the Asian Sesame Chicken Salad from Panera? 
I do!  It is absolutely delicious and my favorite.
Well, now you can make it yourself with this easy recipe.
If you can't tell, I'm ready for spring and summer!  I'm getting 
 excited about  picking fresh lettuce and cilantro right from the
 garden. This recipe really tastes exactly the same as Panera,  but
you can feed your whole family for a fraction of the price
you'd pay at the restaurant.

2 Wonton wrappers
Canola oil, for frying
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
4 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces, loosely packed
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
3 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast, grilled and sliced thinly on a bias
1/4 cup Panera Bread Asian Sesame Dressing (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Asian Sesame Dressing:
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup canola or vegetable oil

Preheat, the oven to 350 degrees F. To prepare wonton strips, cut wonton wrappers into ¼-inch strips. In a deep skillet, pour canola oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches. Heat Oil to 365 degrees F. Carefully drop wonton slices into hot oil and fry for about 30 seconds, or until crisp and golden. Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

Arrange almonds in a single layer on a sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes, toss nuts, then toast for an additional 5 minutes, or until golden. Remove from pan to cool.

To make the asian sesame dressing, combine all ingredients except canola oil in a medium mixing bowl with a wire whisk. Once ingredients are combined, slowly pour in the oil while whisking to form an emulsion.

To make the salad, toss the lettuce, cilantro, wonton strips, chicken and dressing in a large mixing bowl until combined. Place the mixture on a serving plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and almonds and serve.

Presented By: Panera Bread