Thai Chicken Pizza

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The Honey and I have a Sunday night tradition which involves two staples: homemade pizza and dvr catch up. It’s our favorite way to cap off the weekend and wind down before the Monday morning alarm goes off.

We generally opt for fresh veggie toppings from our little garden – tomato slices, spring onions, peppers and fresh herbs – but lately we’ve been experimenting with some new flavors, like this Thai chicken pizza topped with grilled chicken, peanut sauce, and lots of fresh veggies.

This one was such a hit, it was the Honey who actually suggested I make it for Swoon – I’m sure in the interest of sharing it with you lovelies, and not just so that I would make it again this week to shoot for the site!

Thai Chicken Pizza | Fork Knife Swoon… 

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Crispy Baked Parmesan Chicken

Baked Chicken Parmesan | Fork Knife Swoon

I’ve been working on developing the perfect baked Parmesan Chicken recipe for a while now; the key is creating a crispy, flavorful crust while maintaining succulent, juicy meat inside. Too often the results can be soggy, greasy or overdone. I’ve experimented with different cooking methods, seasonings and breadcrumbs, but still wasn’t quite satisfied.

So when Hellmann’s recently invited me to participate in their Making Over the Best celebration, and put my twist on a recipe Mario Batali has made over in honor of Hellmann’s 100 Year anniversary, it was kismet. The first recipe to catch my eye was Batali’s Favorite Parm Chicken, and I knew I had my solution to the Chicken Parmesan quandary.

Baked Chicken Parmesan | Fork Knife Swoon

While the traditional Italian Chicken Parmesan dish employs a flour dredge and egg dip to adhere a breadcrumb coating, Batali substitutes Hellmann’s mayonnaise dressing with olive oil, which adds flavor and keeps the chicken moist while baking. I added some fresh herbs and switched the Italian-style breadcrumbs for Panko, which makes for a crispier crust. I’m wary of calling any recipe “perfect”, but this updated Chicken Parmesan recipe is a standout, and sure to become a family favorite.

To watch Mario share his modern twist on more classic Hellmann’s recipes – or to submit your own – visit Facebook.com/Hellmanns. There’s even a chance to enter to win a seat at the Blue Ribbon table in NYC for Hellmann’s 100th Birthday celebration.

Baked Chicken Parmesan | Fork Knife Swoon… 

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Thai-Spiced Chicken Meatballs with Red Pepper Curry Sauce

Thai-Spiced Chicken Meatballs with Roasted Red Pepper Curry Sauce | Fork Knife Swoon

The Honey and I make time every week for date night; one night a week carved out for just the two of us to explore new local restaurants. The tradition started when I first moved to the South and has become our weekly ritual – even when things get busy or stressful with work, it’s our night to decompress and spend quality time together. We’ve discovered some gems along the way, and keep a running list of new places to try.

One of the restaurants that has been on the list for months is a little – and highly elusive – Thai restaurant in the town just next to ours, that was recommended to us shortly after we moved in. On our first attempt we discovered that they only serve lunch. The next time we got rained out. Then over-an-hour-waited out. This week we tried for a lunch date, on Monday, when it turns out they are closed. The stars just haven’t aligned.

Instead, I came home and whipped up these scrumptious Thai-spiced chicken meatballs; my way of making up for our latest strike-out. But don’t think these flavor-packed nibbles are some mere consolation prize. Packed with fresh herbs and spices and dipped in a bold roasted red pepper curry sauce, these Thai-inspired meatballs are full of flavor and won’t last long as either a tasty appetizer or easy dinner.

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Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa | Fork Knife Swoon

Every year since we first moved into my childhood home, my parents have hosted a pot-luck barbecue over Memorial Day weekend for friends and neighbors. When we were little, the neighborhood was bustling with dozens of other kids around the same age, and we spent the afternoon running around the yard and munching on classic burgers and hot dogs. Now, with most of us well out of college, it remains an annual tradition.

This year however, for the first time since it began, the festivities are being postponed. My cousin is getting married, and the family is converging on my Aunt and Uncle’s lovely home in Santa Rosa for the wedding this weekend.

Grilled Chicken with Mango Salsa | Fork Knife Swoon

I’ll be flying back to California tomorrow for a few days of R&R before the family celebrations begin, and soaking up some sun in my old coastal stomping grounds. It just wouldn’t be Memorial Day weekend without some great barbecue dishes though, so while I’m gone I’m leaving you with some easy and delicious grilling ideas and recipes for outdoor gatherings.

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Crispy Baked Chicken Tenders with Rosemary and Parmesan

Crisypy Baked Chicken Tenders with Rosemary and Parmesan | Fork Knife Swoon

These next words may get us in trouble given that we are based in the South, where golden brown, crispy fried chicken is a culinary staple, but these oven-baked chicken tenders are just as tasty, flavorful and texturally-fantastic as their fried counterparts.

The trick is the light coating of herbs, Parmesan and panko – or Japanese-style bread crumbs – which creates the required crunch (without the fat and grease of oil and chicken skin) and helps keep the chicken moist and juicy while it cooks. The result is an out-of-this-world little chicken nibble, that’s healthier and actually easier to make. Try them alongside our classic buttermilk blue cheese dressing, or pair them with your other favorite dips or sauces.

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Chicken with a Quick Mustard Cream Sauce

Chicken with a Mustard Cream Sauce | Fork Knife Swoon

As if on cue, the arrival of Daylight Saving Time this weekend ushered in not only an extra hour of evening light, but the lovely, unexpected surprise of warm, sunny weather. After weeks of cold, dreary days, it suddenly feels as if Spring is here. While I know we may very well have snow again in the near future, for the moment I am focusing on this warm bliss.

Simply-seasoned chicken breasts drizzled with a creamy mustard pan-sauce pair nicely with grilled veggies and a glass of white wine for a delicious Spring supper. The recipe comes together quickly, leaving plenty of time to spend outside in the beautiful weather.

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