Category Archives: Recipes

Dijon Mustard and Panko Breadcrumb Chicken

Panko chicken with brown rice and steamed green beans

Verdict: my most cooked recipe, three years running! It taste like a master chef prepared meal but is incredibly easy and oh so tasty.

I found this recipe on Serious Eats ‘Eat for $8 column’ four years ago. It was love at first bite and remains my favourite ‘go to’ recipe. The flavours and textures are incredible! The Dijon mustard keeps the chicken moist and provides a slight bite while the panko bread crumbs contrasts with crispiness and savoury flavour.

This dish is a modern twist on a classic French dish where chicken pieces are coated with Dijon mustard and bread crumbs, then baked to perfection. Instead of plain bread crumbs, this recipe uses Panko, a Japanese bread crumb that has a very subtle soya flavour and gets incredibly crispy when baked.

panko breadcrumbsPanko bread crumbs, the last step of the chicken seasoning process.

We make this all the time! Simple, delicious and affordable. Does anyone else wonder why chicken thighs can be so inexpensive? It’s one of the first recipes I taught Andrew (his sleeve is pictured below).

panko chicken with dijon mustardUsing a spoon to coat the chicken with Dijon mustard.

This chicken is great paired with brown rice because they cook at about the same time, 50 minutes in total. What I love about this recipe is after you have cooked your brown rice and put the chicken in the oven, there’s nothing more you need to do. You can take a long shower, chill out on the couch, or if you’re good, you can wash the dishes. After your break, a lovely dinner is ready for you!

Moist and tender chickenSuper moist and flavourful panko chicken.

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Japanese Dressing

Japanese dressing jar

Verdict: one of the best salad dressings I have ever made at home. The first time I made this dressing, I made 3 more batches within the same month. So delicious and light, it makes me excited to eat salad!

Do you ever feel like you should be eating more salad? For me, when I take a break from salads and need to get back into them, it’s hard to think that a cold salad could be satisfying. Thank goodness I have this Japanese dressing recipe in my back pocket, it makes me look forward to having salad again! It’s a light, soya based dressing. The sesame oil gives it richness and depth while the rice vinegar brings a brightness. The small amount of onions is subtle, mellow, and sweet.

salad and dressingJapanese dressing will bring more veggies into your life.

This dressing makes any salad irresistible. I once brought this dressing and a very simple salad to a Thanksgiving dinner and witnessed people go for seconds and thirds of salad – not for the stuffed turkey or beautifully roasted fall vegetables. Seeee, you can make friends with salad!

You will probably need a trip to the supermarket but it’s well worth getting all the ingredients. Throughout the year, the mustard powder and rice wine vinegar serve no purpose other than to help create this dressing but it’s okay, this recipe is so spectacular, I don’t mind these items taking up the pantry space.

Japanese dressing ingredientsThe dressing ingredients.

Linh’s Kitchen favourite salad:

Watercress, spinach and arugula mix, red and green cabbage mix (sometimes called ‘Crunchy salad’ mix), red onion, cucumbers, and grape tomatoes.

Simple salad: spinach, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

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Easy 3 Ingredient Miso Salmon

Verdict: Simple and spectacular! It doesn’t get easier and more delicious than this 3 ingredient miso marinade.

I was really impressed the first time I made this dish, so much flavour for so little effort! A truly versatile meal: great for a quick weeknight dinner yet impressive enough to save for a special dinner. You can add sake and ginger but it’s such a nice dish, I’ve never felt inclined to add more.

Miso, mirin and sugar is all it takes!

If I have green onions around, I thinly slice them and garnish for extra flavour and to add a pop of colour to the presentation.

Sliced green onions add a pop of flavour and colour.

The cucumber salad included in this recipe is quite nice but I like my salads a little heartier so my favourite way to enjoy this dish is to start with a big salad dressed with Japanese dressing (recipe later this week!).

P.S. It might be the rice lover in me but I love to eat this miso salmon with a mountain of jasmine rice. Add an extra half cup of rice to your cooking process just in case you find yourself in the same mind set.

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Easy Lemon Dill Salmon and the Truth about Fats

Dill and lemon salmon

Verdict: I love how simple, healthy and delicious this dish is. Salmon infused with lemon, complementary dill and a light crust of garlic. Can’t wait to make it again!

Quick Intro to Fats

Most fats are delicious and not all of them are bad! To begin our Beach Body Gourmet series, here’s a quick intro on the three main types of fat and a recipe that falls in the “good fat” group.

Types of Fat

(1) Saturated Fats – found in all animal foods and some vegetable oils such as coconut and palm oil.

Important note: eat less saturated fat (no more than 10% of your daily caloric intake).

Disclaimer: Saturated fat may not always be harmful.

Personally, I pick natural saturated fat over its hydrogenated version any day. For example, I’ll enjoy butter in small amounts but never margarine because it falls under the second fat category.

(2) Trans Fat aka Hydrogenated Fat – formed when vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening and found in high quantities in most processed foods.

Important note: eat fewer processed foods and restaurant meals.

(3) Polyunsaturated Fats aka Omega-6s and omega-3s
a) Omega-6s – found in all vegetable oils like soybean, sunflower, corn and sesame.

Important note: easy to overwhelm body with omega-6 because of the vegetable oil used in processed and fast foods.

b) Omega-3s – found in cold water fish such as salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel and plant foods such as soybeans, flax seeds and nuts.

IMG_9480Heart healthy salmon with dill and lemon plus a surprise garlic crust.

Important note: omega-3s have been known to lower risk of heart disease but many do not eat enough.

Reference: Leslie Beck’s 10 Steps to Healthy Eating: Boost Energy, Manage Weight, Prevent Disease With the Right Foods

Here’s a recipe to help you get your omega-3s!

IMG_9471The recipe uses generous amounts of dill, garlic and lemon.

IMG_9495And creates a nutritional powerhouse meal with salmon, quinoa and salad.

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Intro to the Beach Body Gourmet

Varadero, Cuba beachMy sister and I in Varadero, Cuba

The Beach Body Gourmet was inspired by my first all-inclusive beach vacation. In May, I met up with my sister in Varadero, Cuba  and have a small confession about the pre-trip jitters. I’m embarrassed to admit this because my frame is boyish and my lifestyle is healthy; there are few reasons to fret over weight. At first, I couldn’t stop imagining the beautiful beaches but it wasn’t long before the body insecurities started kicking in and the beach body anxiety overtook the excitement of the trip.

To pull myself out of the temporary lapse in self-esteem and judgement, I started exercising more regularly, dedicating at least 3 to 4 days to exercise instead of the 1 – 2 days. I also started making lighter meals leading up to the trip. I went to Cuba with a lean body and a bit of a swagger, feeling strong and healthy.

Varadero beach hutHello from the pristine beaches of Cuba!

However, I learned that body shape has little effect on a vacation, it is the sensory memories that shape your trip – the sounds of the lapping ocean and the rustle of palm trees, the warmth of the sun on your back, the taste of minty mojitos on your lips. Outside your hotel room was sun-drenched beaches, crystal clear waters and silky sand; the day trip to Havana was vibrant and bustling; and the jeep excursion, with its off roading, snorkeling, and natural deep water cave, was an exciting day of many new experiences. I can’t wait to go back!

Driving in Havana, CubaBeep beep! Havana, Cuba cruising.

One downside of Cuba resort living was the constant buffets and lack of fresh veggies. I was booked for eight days, and by the fourth, I was already craving lighter meals and fresh salads. Upon my return to Calgary, I dove into the light recipe trove again. As a result, I created Beach Body Gourmet,  a collection of healthy and easy recipes.

Before I publish the series, I wanted to share some personal insight on the topic of healthy eating and some tips on how you can achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They won’t defend you from all bouts of body insecurity but they will help you achieve a healthier lifestyle, which in turn, will help those bouts pass quickly. These are the 5 key healthy eating principles that I live by.

5 Principles of Healthier Eating

1) My #1 tip: know your food groups and your portions.

As an average adult, you need about 6 – 8 servings of grain products a day. Did you know that ½ cup of cooked pasta, about the size of half your fist, is 1 serving of grains? The amount of pasta served at your favourite restaurant averages at about 6 servings, almost your full daily grains intake!

Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, but did you know that they play a crucial role in portion control? If you aim to have veggies take up half the plate at lunch and dinner, that means you have less room for the more decadent but unhealthy items.

Canada’s Food Guide

Canada's Food Guide table

Check out Canada Food Guide – What is a portion?

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