Mom de Cuisine

Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad
January 14, 2012, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Chicken, Salads | Tags: , , ,


When I made my blackening spice blend I had this salad in mind.  I wanted to make a light and healthy salad for dinner that was still tasty and satisfying.  While one might think that I was doing this because it’s just after the New Year when everyone has a diet resolution, but that’s not the case.  I don’t do resolutions, remember?

I wanted a light salad for dinner because my husband and I had plans to go to Friday brunch (without the kids.)  While brunch may seem like no big deal, it is a big to-do here.  There is a list of things you must see or do while in Bahrain:  Visit the Tree of Life (we’ve tried four times but have yet to find it,) go to the souq, see the historical forts, and do  brunch. 

All of the hotels and many restaurants host a Friday brunch, but it isn’t what I would really consider brunch to be.  Every brunch here starts after 12:30, there are no breakfast foods and it’s an all-you-can-eat-and-drink smorgasbord.  My husband and I ended up deciding on Muju for their jazz brunch.  And although there were no eggs or pancakes to be found, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The drinks were flowing and the desserts were amazing.  To be honest, their food wasn’t the best, but it did have a phenomenal view to make up for it. 

With hindsight being 20/20, I can definitely say that this salad was the perfect light week night meal before a weekend of indulgence 🙂




Blackened Chicken Caesar Salad

*dressing adapted from Caesar Salad with Sourdough Croutons on



1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ cup blackening seasoning

1 loaf of French bread (stale bread is best)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon anchovy paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

 1 tablespoonDijonmustard

 11/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped

 Parmesan cheese for serving





Divide the seasoning among the chicken breasts and rub in.  Set aside.

 To make the croutons:  cut the French bread into cubes.  Toss with olive oil, salt and garlic powder and toast in a 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Croutons can be made one day a head of time and stored in an airtight container.

 Heat a vegetable oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Cook the chicken breasts 5 minutes per side or until the outside is browned and it is cooked through. 

While the chicken is cooking, combine the anchovy paste, garlic cloves, lemon juice,Dijon, and Worchershire sauce in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in the EVOO. 

 To assemble the salad, toss dressing with the lettuce top with croutons and parmesan cheese. Serve the warm chicken on the side.




Make-Ahead Monday: Curried Chicken “Hot Pockets”
October 10, 2011, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Chicken, Main Course, Snacks | Tags: , ,

I picked up the latest copy of Food Network Magazine this weekend and of course, I bookmarked tons of recipes.  One of their features was for different versions of a DIY hot pocket.  I used to love those things as a kid; my favorite was pepperoni Pizza.  I knew that this would be a great make-ahead meal.  I tried it out once over the weekend with eggs, bacon, cheese, and pesto. It was great.  I thought I’d redo my childhood favorite for an easy dinner, but the curried chicken pockets in the magazine were stuck in my head. 

When I went to pick up another loaf of refrigerated French bread dough (which I easily found in only one trip, YAY!) I passed by the spice isle and the hot curry powder was just calling my name.  So I decided, never mind to pizza hot pockets, I was going to give the curried chicken salad a try.  My experience eating curries is limited and my experience cooking with it is nonexistent so I was very unsure of what to expect.  I tried to follow FNM’s recipe, but when I mixed the chicken salad, I felt that it still lacked a strong curry flavor that I was expecting, so I added aLOTmore. 

Overall, this was a great meal that came together very quickly.  It was easy enough to make a head of time and just pop it in the oven when we got home.  By the time the kids are finished washing their hands and sit down at the table, fresh, homemade Hot Pockets will await them!

Curried Chicken “Hot Pockets”

*adapted from Food Network Magazine



1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for brushing

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 clove garlic

1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken

1/4 cup fresh spinach

1/2 cup miracle whip (or mayo or yogurt)

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon lime juice

Flour for dusting

11 oz. tube refrigerated French bread

1 egg



Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion, curry powder, ginger and garlic.  Cook until fragrant, about one to two minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chicken.

Stir in the cilantro, spinach, miracle whip, lime juice to the chicken and let the mixture cool completely. 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and brush a baking sheet lightly with oil.  On a floured surface, roll out the bread dough to a 6×8 inch rectangle. Divide in fourths.  Put one quarter of the filling inside the center of each rectangle.  Fold over the two shorter sides, then the longer sides to enclose the filling.  Pinch the edges to seal.    Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.  Place the packets seem side down on the baking sheet.  Brush the bread with the beaten egg and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the pockets are golden brown. 

Mexi-Monday: Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup
September 19, 2011, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Chicken, Main Course, Soups | Tags: , , , ,



I think that “Mexi-Monday” will have to become make-ahead Monday.  Now that Ramadan has ended, life has picked up in our host country.  We are able to get out more, meet new friends and enjoy our surroundings.  We’ve been getting home late after a day of play dates, coffees with friends, and ballet and music lessons.  Fortunately, this meal can be thrown together in minutes with a little preparation.  

I first made this soup for my husband some time ago when he was sick.  He needed soup, but doesn’t fancy chicken noodle so much, so I tried to make a version that even he couldn’t resist.  This has become one of the meals that he looks forward to me making.  It was nice for all of us to come home from a busy day to a comforting, homemade soup.   


Mexican Chicken Noodle Soup



2 cups shredded chicken (you can use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, or shred up leftovers)

5 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1/4 cup jalapeno, diced (remove the seeds if you don’t want it too spicy)

2 cloves garlic

1 can fire roasted tomatoes

4 tablespoons cumin

1 chipotle chili, finely diced

2 cups dried egg noodles

Cilantro for garnish

Lime for garnish



In a heavy bottomed pot, sauté the onion and jalapeno in the olive oil over medium-high heat.  When soft, add the garlic, chipotle, and cumin and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.   Add chicken and tomatoes and stir in stock.    Simmer 20 minutes, or until liquid reduces slightly

While soup simmers, prepare noodles.  Add noodles to salted, boiling water.  Cook until just shy of al-dente.

Ladle soup in bowls.  Add noodles and top with cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.

Orange Chicken Stir Fry
August 24, 2011, 6:04 am
Filed under: Chicken, Main Course | Tags: , , ,

I usually don’t follow recipes exactly.  I use them more as a methodology, an idea of how to make something, making changes according to my family’s preferences.  However, Epicurious has a great recipe for orange chicken.  While I didn’t follow the recipe to a “T” I did use the exact orange sauce the recipe calls for.  I love chinese take-out and this sauce is the closest I’ve come to the “real thing.”  I didn’t serve my chicken with rice (“M” always makes a huge mess when she eats rice and I didn’t feel like the clean-up after dinner.)  I also didn’t make it spicy (“C” hates spicy food so I thought I’d save his taste buds.)

Orange Chicken Stir Fry (adapted from


3/4 cup orange juice

6 tablespoons soy sauce, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 small red onion, halved, thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds chicken cutlets, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips

1 pound snap peas

1 package Chinese egg noodles

Scallions and sesame seeds for garnish (optional)



Whisk juice,  half of the soy sauce, and cornstarch in medium bowl until cornstarch dissolves. Mix in orange peel.

Heat oil in large wok or nonstick skillet over high heat. Add onion. Stir-fry 30 seconds. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add to wok and stir-fry until onion is crisp-tender and chicken is just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Add snap peas and juice mixture. Toss until sauce thickens and comes to boil and peas are crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook chinese egg noodles according to package instructions.  Drain and immediatly toss with other half of soy sauce.

To serve, top egg noodles with stir fry chicken.  Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped scallion.

Spaghetti and Chicken Meatballs
August 16, 2011, 7:40 am
Filed under: Chicken, Main Course, Pasta & Rice | Tags: , , ,

I’m not a sneaky chef.  I don’t want to spend hours pureeing coliflour to mix into mac and cheese just to get another serving of vegetables into my kids.  No judgement for parents out there that do that, I have mommy friends who swear to this method of getting kids to eat veggies.  I’m just not one of them.  Call me crazy, but I have a theory that my kids will never learn to like vegetables if I’m hiding them in their food.  However, with all that being said, one way I do like to add a few extra veggies is to meatballs.  Using lean ground chicken also makes these meatballs lighter and healthier than ground beef. 

Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs


  • 1 lb lean ground chicken
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 bunch spinach, diced
  • 1 tbs fresh basil
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 slice stale bread
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 16 oz can whole peeled tomatoes (best quality available)
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 1 tbs each, dried basil, dried thyme, dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 250 grams dried spaghetti noodles
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


  • To make meatballs:  puree carrot, 1 onion, spinach, basil,  2 cloves garlic, salt until thick paste forms.  Soak slice of bread in milk.  Combine egg, bread, paste.  Add chicken and mix until just combined, being careful not to mix too much.  Form chicken mixture into balls and bake at 350 until cooked through, about 35 minutes
  • To make tomato sauce:  In pressure cooker, saute onions until translucent.  Add dried herbs, tomato paste and garlic, saute one more minute. Add whole tomatoes, with juice and crush with a potato masher.  Bring sauce to a boil for 2-3 minutes.  Place cover on pressure cooker, and cook on medium high heat for 45 minutes.  Add salt/pepper to taste.   
  • While meatballs bake and sauce cooks, bring large pot of water to a boil.  Season water liberally with salt and add spaghetti.  Cook spaghetti until shy of al dente.  Drain spaghetti and immediately toss with tomato sauce. 
  • Serve spaghetti with more tomato sauce, meatballs and freshly shaved parmesan cheese. 

Shwarma: The Middle Eastern Taco
August 15, 2011, 11:58 am
Filed under: Chicken, Main Course | Tags: , , ,

I love Shwarmas.  I could eat at least 4 a day.  Ever since we arrived in the Middle East, I just can not get enough Shwarma.  They are cheap, they aren’t too filling, and they are soooooo delishous!  If you don’t know what a Shwarma is, don’t worry, I didn’t either until about two months ago.  I would describe it as a Middle Eastern taco.  It’s thinly sliced chicken or beef in a pita (sometimes a tortilla depending on where you go and what size you order.)  They slice the meat from a cone shaped thing which, at least in my mind, makes it tender and juicy.  It’s usually stuffed with some fresh pickled veggies, some sort of mayonnaise based sauce, maybe some Tabasco if you ask for it spicy, and maybe some fries (french fries in the Middle East are the best fries I’ve had anywhere.)  I don’t have a cone-shaped-shwarma thing, so I just had to roast the breasts in the oven.  I’m sure that this was anything but traditional, but I had to try making one for myself.  The results:  good enough if all other Shwarma sources are unavailable. 

Chicken Shwarma


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbs Shwarma spice
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 pitas
  • for garnish, thinly sliced cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo


  • Preheat oven to 350.  Coat chicken breasts with shwarma spice.  Put on non-stick baking sheet and drizzle with vegetable oil.  Bake chicken until cooked through. 
  • Thinly slice chicken breasts.  Drizzle mayonnaise on pita, add chicken breasts, cucumber, tomato, and lettuce.  Serve with fries.