April 2007


As promised, I’ve attempted to recreate some of the amazing dishes I ate while I was in Mexico. Specifically, we went to Puerto Vallarta. In addition to the nice beaches, awesome weather and relaxing environment, Puerto Vallarta is home to an international food festival. As such, the city attracts some great chefs from all over the world.

We ate at some restaurants that blew us away – the food was unbelievable, but the views were as well. What could be better than eating a delicious meal on the top of a mountain, looking at a beautiful sunset!

But I digress… The meal I recreated for today’s issue came from our dinner at Vista Grill. I found it so interesting I just had to make it at home this week, and it turned out superb.


Serves 4 as an Appetizer

I know what you’re thinking – Why would I choose to eat soup in Mexico? Well, the description lured me in, and I wasn’t disappointed. The soup we ate probably had more fat and calories, but this version is just as good and super healthy.

Preheat a soup pot with 3 tb. extra virgin olive oil. Add 1 cup of chopped onion and 1 tbs. chopped garlic. Saute about five minutes or until the onion is slightly translucent – make sure not to allow the garlic to burn. Add 1/8 tsp. – 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, depending on whether or not you want a kick to your soup. Stir.

Add 2 cans of drained quartered artichoke hearts (in water). Cook for 1 minutes. Add 1/2 cup. white wine (any will do) and enough chicken stock to barely cover the artichokes – 2-3 cups. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a blender (or food processor) and blend until there is a uniform consistency. Transfer the pureed mixture back to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add 2 tbs. half and half. Stir to incorporate and serve!

I added snipped fresh chives and garlicky croutons as a garnish.

Serves 4

Tea? Yes, tea! I thought it sounded weird too, but I was definitely intrigued. It turned out to be a great compliment to the coriander and super easy to recreate!

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine 4 tbs. finely chopped shallot and 4 tbs. finely chopped parsley in a bowl. Add 1 tbs. ground coriander and the contents of a tea bag.

I used a Bromley decaf tea bag but I’m sure any type of tea will do.

Stir to incorporate. Add salt and pepper.

Lay out (4) 6 oz. pieces of salmon on a foil-lined baking sheet. Cover each piece of salmon completely with the coriander/tea mixture. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the covered salmon filets.

Bake exactly 10 minutes for perfect doneness.

Bon Appetit!

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings



I love meals that you can make on a Sunday and eat throughout the week. I know that my mom makes a huge pot of spaghetti and meatballs on Sundays when she knows she’s going to have a hard work week. Another special person in my life who thrives on leftovers is my best friend Jamie. Jamie is a great cook, but during the week, she’d rather heat up something for dinner and watch Friends reruns than spend time making it.

This past Sunday, Jamie made a turkey meat loaf recipe adapted from Cooking Light, and raved to me about it. The recipe serves six, so she had enough for the first few nights of the week!

Jamie says that even though you may thinks its weird to put ketchup on the top, it keeps the meat loaf moist AND adds extra flavor. She served it with roasted butternut squash.


TURKEY MEAT LOAF – Adapted From Cooking Light
Serves 6

2 pounds ground turkey breast
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh basil
1 tablespoon freshly chopped garlic
Cooking spray
1/4 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 400°.
Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large bowl.

Place the turkey mixture in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Top with 1/4 cup ketchup. Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until done. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

Hi! I meant to post this yesterday but I was in North Carolina for business and just too tired when I got home to think about it! I made this dinner on Sunday night, and made 4 servings so I could have some the next night, and Ben could take some to work for dinner – it was the perfect amount!


Lasagna Rolls with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Serves 4

8 uncooked lasagna noodles
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
1 (6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (7-ounce) bottle roasted red bell peppers, undrained
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

To prepare lasagna, cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, spinach, and 3 garlic cloves; sauté 5 minutes or until onion and mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat, and stir in cheeses, 2 tablespoons basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper.

To prepare sauce, place vinegar and remaining ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.

Place cooked noodles on flat surface; spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture over each noodle. Roll up noodles, jelly-roll fashion, starting with short side. Place the rolls, seam sides down, in a shallow 2-quart microwave-safe dish. Pour 1/4 cup sauce over each roll, and cover with heavy-duty plastic wrap. Microwave at high 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons basil.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 2 rolls)


As you know, I’m all about quick and easy recipes- especially on the weeknights. Last Thursday after work, I got home later than expected and had to pull together a fast dinner with only the ingredients I had on hand. I came up with a great faux chicken Marsala dish that was delicious, took 15 minutes to make, and required just SEVEN ingredients!


Serves 2

Remember the Cremini mushrooms in the potato recipe from last week? I used the leftovers for this dish!

Pound your skinless, boneless chicken breasts so they are 1/4 inch thin. Sprinkle salt and pepper on them liberally.

Preheat a skillet at medium-high heat with 1 tbs. olive oil. Add the chicken breasts and brown them on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side.

Don’t worry if the chicken is not completely cooked through.

Add 1 tbs. butter and 10 thinly sliced cremini mushrooms to the pan. (You can surely use more mushrooms if you want
– my dining partner doesn’t care for them). Cook until the mushrooms are browned and are starting to shrivel, a few minutes. Sprinkle garlic powder (1/8 tsp. – a little goes a LONG way) on the chicken/mushroom mixture. Stir.

Add 1/3 cup marsala wine to the pan and let the sauce boil and thicken. Add 1 tsp. fresh tyme leaves to the mixture and stir.

Once the chicken is fully cooked through, you’re done!

Bon Appetit!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s Hillman’s Helpings! If you have a recipe you’re dying to tell the world (or this little e-mail list) feel free to send it my way.


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

So Good! Use your mini-prep for the grinding!

Sesame-Orange Chicken
Serves 4

2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Dash of ground red pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon whipping cream

Combine sesame seeds, rind, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a food processor; process until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/8 teaspoon salt.

Heat oil and butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until butter melts. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.

Add ground sesame mixture to pan, stirring with a whisk. Add broth, and bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Cook broth mixture until reduced to 2/3 cup (about 3 minutes). Add orange juice and cream; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken.

My boyfriend’s sister and brother-in-law stayed with us this weekend so I decided to make a nice (and light!) dinner on Saturday night. I went to my favorite place to look for recipes – Cooking Light – and I found one for oven poached halibut provencale. It seemed like tha perfect option for the night.

We went to our local fish market and bought WAY too much fish, enough for another great dinner for just the two of us last night. I made another halibut dish last night that was just as great! I’ve included them below for you – they come highly recommended.


Oven-Poached Halibut Provençale
Serves 6

Vegetable cooking spray
1 cup dry white wine
6 (6-ounce) halibut steaks
6 cups diced tomato
2 cups finely chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped fresh or 4 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or 4 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons minced kalamata olives
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350°.
Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Pour wine into dish, and arrange halibut steaks in dish. Combine tomato and next 9 ingredients (tomato through garlic) in a bowl; stir well, and spoon over steaks. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, and 1 teaspoon oil in a bowl; stir well. Sprinkle over tomato mixture, and broil until crumbs are golden. Serve immediately.

Soy-Ginger Steamed Halibut with Vegetables

Serves 4

1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons minced seeded jalapeño (1 small)
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 cup thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (about 2 ounces)
1 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper (1 large)
4 (6-ounce) halibut fillets, skinned
8 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 425°.
Combine first 4 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Set aside.

Fold 4 (16 x 12-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil in half crosswise. Open foil; layer 2 tablespoons carrot, 1 tablespoon onions, 1/4 cup sugar snap peas, 1/4 cup mushrooms, and 1/4 cup bell pepper on half of each foil sheet. Dip fillets into soy mixture, turning to coat evenly. Place one fillet on each mound of vegetables. Spoon remaining soy mixture evenly over each serving. Fold foil over halibut; tightly seal edges. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 13 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 3 minutes.

While packets bake, cook soba according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain and rinse under cold water; drain. Place 1 cup soba on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with contents of 1 packet. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro. Serve immediately.


My sincere apologies for the brief hiatus. My vacation wasn’t all fun and sun, though. After eating some impressive meals in Mexico, I have great ideas for new recipes (with Mexican flare, of course) that I hope to share with you in the coming weeks.

To me, veal is one of those meats that should be reserved for a special night or when you’re entertaining. It’s not overly expensive but it has that “wow” factor that chicken often lacks. It also doesn’t hurt that it takes no time to prepare.

In addition to this veal recipe, I’m providing easy (and kosher for Passover) side dishes that your guests are sure to love.


Serves 2

As I’ve said in before, veal cutlets are great to cook with because they cook quickly. For two servings plan on getting 1/2 lb. of thinly sliced veal – you can usually find it in the meat section of the grocery store.

Melt 2 tbs. butter in a sauté pan. Sauté veal about three minutes on each side or until cooked through and remove from pan. Add 1 large chopped shallot (use 1/4 cup onion if you don’t have shallots) and stir. Once translucent (about 4 minutes) add ½ cup red wine and 1 tbs.. butter. Boil the sauce and reduce until thick.

Serve the sauce over the veal.

Serves 2

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking pan with foil (to save clean up).

Saute 1 sliced shallot and 5 sliced cremini mushrooms in 1 tbs. butter for five minutes. Add 1 tbs. red wine and saute five more minutes. Remove the mixture from heat.

Slice the shallot so that you can break the pieces into little rings.

Note: Cremini mushrooms are baby portobellos. You can find them in any grocery store nowadays. You can also substitute white button mushrooms if you prefer.

Scrub 1 lb. small red potatoes, and place them in the baking pan. Drizzle them with 1 tsp. each of dried rosemary and garlic powder, and sprinkle salt and pepper. Pour the shallot/mushroom mixture over the potatoes and toss to coat. Add 1-2 tbs. extra virgin olive oil.

Roast for 1-1.5 hours, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Hillman’s Helpings!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

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