Chicken en Papillote

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This is by far one of the easiest ways to make a delicious and healthy meal, fast.  It’s also a great option if you’re cooking for more than one, or with kids – you can customize each parchment paper package with whatever protein, vegetables, and spices that you’d like, and because each option is individually sealed,  you won’t have any cross-contamination of tastes or scents.  I personally love cooking en papillote because it looks super fancy, and you can cook fish without having the entire house smell like a boat dock.  Plus, it all cooks up in 15-20 minutes, depending on what type of protein you use.  How amazing is that?


– 4 oz. chicken or fish

– raw, mixed vegetables

– 1 t olive oil

– cooking spray (optional)

– salt and pepper, and any other seasonings desired

– parchment paper



Preheat your oven to 350° for chicken, or  375° for fish.  Gather, wash, and cut your vegetables into bite sized chunks, or long strips (julienned, if you will) for presentation purposes.  Having some longer or leafier vegetables helps to create a bed for your protein to bake on – keep in mind, your vegetables won’t cook down much, so the size you cut will be the size you eat.  Tear off a piece of parchment paper that is about 1½ times as big as the meal you want to eat.  When in doubt, remember it’s always better to have a larger piece.  Spray the sheet with cooking spray, or drizzle with 1t of olive oil.  Put your vegetables on top of the spray/oil in the center of the parchment, and place your protein on top.  Add another teaspoon or so of oil, and all of your spices.  The more fat and spice you add, the more flavor – I’ve found 1t of fat to be the minimum amount to use.  Once all of your ingredients are prepped, it’s time to seal the package.  Take two opposite corners of the parchment, and fold them together.  Continue folding and rolling the edges together until you’ve completely sealed the package – it will look sort of like a giant empanada (or calzone) on its side.  Place your finished packages on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 15-18 minutes for fish, or 18-20 minutes for chicken.  The vegetables and protein will steam, and the flavors will circulate in the parchment as it cooks – hungry yet? When the timer goes off, let the packages sit on the stove to rest for 3-5 minutes.  Place the sealed packages on dinner plates, and open them up – the aroma that floods out of that package is going to make you so happy – I’m salivating just thinking about it.

This time around, I used chicken, asparagus, zucchini, grape tomatoes, spinach, and red bell peppers, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and dried oregano and basil, and finished the cooked chicken off with some balsamic vinegar.  I’ve also used the same vegetables, 4 oz. of swordfish, a few lemon slices, garlic, and red pepper flakes – it’s hard to go wrong with this one.

I’d recommend eating this meal right after it’s cooked – you can’t replicate that experience!

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Upcycled Clementine Crates

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Every time we finish a batch of clementines, I always feel the need to keep the cute little wooden crate that they come in. I am the biggest sucker for cute packaging! But after compiling a few of these after this year’s clementine season, I decided it would be nice to pretty them up a little if I was going to keep them around. Heres what I did to upcyle these cuties into some fresh looking storage boxes:


What you will need:
– empty clementine crate (or 2 or 3 or 5!)
– craft paint
– Mod Podge (I used the hard-coat kind but any type will do)
– some pretty paper
– foam brush
– a craft knife or scissors

I decided to go with a sea foam green paint and floral scrapbooking paper, but you can customize these with any combination you like to match your style or decor.

First remove any excess staples or splinters from your box so that you don’t poke yourself, then get to painting. I painted all the wooden surfaces of the crate except the bottom.


Trace the ends of the crate onto the back of your paper sheets. Cut these 2 pieces out, making sure to keep nice straight lines. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the end surface and lay your paper on top to adhere. Press flat to remove any bubbles or wrinkles.

Cover the papered AND painted surfaces with a liberal coating of Mod Podge to seal and protect your crate. This layer will dry clear. Once the Mod Podge has hardened, you’re all done! These little cuties (pun intended!) are great for corralling any kinds of odds and ends around your house, or piled up with someone’s favorite goodies, and would also make an adorable gift basket!

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Weekend Frittata and Bruschetta

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I love breakfast. Breakfast makes it OK that your first waking thought is food and makes eating mandatory.  It’s the most important meal of the day, and it’s my favorite meal of the day.  I also love to eat fresh foods, but cooking every morning is hard!  Frittatas and egg bakes are great options for single-chefs, because you can cook them in bulk and eat them all week.

This recipe is easy, affordable, and versatile – substitute any vegetables you want, or swap the basil, red onion, olive oil and parmesan for cilantro, white onion, lime juice and manchego and you’ve got a completely different dish.  It can also be eaten at any temperature!



  • 2 t extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 10 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 1 pack of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 large carton of egg whites, or about a dozen eggs



  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 medium kumato tomatoes (taste the same, but adds awesome color)
  • ¼ red onion
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 t garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • really good parmesan



Start by preheating your oven to 350°.  In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Dice your onion, and chop up the mushrooms and spinach.  When the oil looks like it’s starting to spread around the pan by itself, you’re ready to start cooking.  Add in the minced garlic and onion, and turn the heat down to medium.  Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until the onions become translucent.  Add in all of the mushrooms and about ⅔ of the chopped spinach, and continue to cook and stir for 5 more minutes or until the mushrooms soften and the spinach wilts.  While you’re sauteeing, spray your baking dish with non-stick spray, and add in the uncooked spinach – this will add bright color and texture to your frittata, and it will also help to cool down the cooked veggie mixture so you won’t cook your eggs before they go into the oven.  Once the veggies are done, toss them in with the raw spinach, pour the egg whites over the mix, and set the pan to bake for 20-25 minutes or until the mixture doesnt wiggle when you shake it.

While that’s baking away, get started on your bruchetta by chopping up the tomatoes and onions.  I like to finely dice half of the tomatoes, and keep the other half bite-sized – bruschetta always looks better when it’s rustic.  Mix the olive oil and garlic in a bowl, and add the tomatoes and onion.  The red onion adds some spice that, along with the basil, turns these tomatoes into bruschetta and not salsa.  Don’t worry if there is a lot of tomato juice in your bowl.  It will help to spread the spices around and act like a dressing.  To cut your basil, layer the leaves on top of one another, and roll the stack along the longer edge.  Then chop the leaves into thin ribbons, and sprinkle them over the tomatoes, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir.

At this point, your eggs will be (almost) done – let them cool, cut, and serve!  Top your eggs with the bruschetta, and a few parmigiano shavings, or chunks. I never need an excuse to add more cheese.  And this is bruschetta, so don’t forget about the toast.

That’s it! From start to finish, the entire meal takes less than an hour and looks pretty impressive.  If you don’t want to eat the eggs right away, stick them in the fridge. You can even make the bruschetta ahead of time and keep it in the refridgerator to let the flavors marinate.

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