Key West Salad with Mango Mustard Chicken

Key West Salad with Mango Mustard Chicken

There is a little restaurant here in Dunedin right off the Pinellas Trail called Jolli Mon’s. They have been through some ups and downs, a couple of owners, and a few different menus, but there are a couple of items that I love that have made it through, one being the Key West Salad. It is a light and refreshing salad that I crave on warm summer days. I have recreated it to the best of my ability and topped it with a simple Mango Mustard Chicken. This is a great summer time meal.

Key West Salad with Mango Mustard Chicken

1 10 oz bag romaine hearts

1/4 c sliced toasted almonds

1/2 c shredded smoked gouda cheese

1 can mandarin oranges drained

1/4 c Nautrally Fresh Poppy Seed dressing

4 chicken breast cutlets

1/4 c mango jelly

2 T Dijon Mustard

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350, Place chicken cutlets in a shallow baking dish. Add mustard and mango jelly to a small sauce pan and heat over med until jelly is melted and combined with mustard. Pour over chicken in pan, season with salt and pepper. Place in oven and cook for about 15 minutes, turn on broiler and cook 5 minutes more, to add some color.

Mango Mustard Chicken

Mango Mustard Chicken\

Meanwhile put salad together, add all remaining ingredients to a large bowl and toss.

Key West Salad

Slice the chicken and top the salad, makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

Key West Salad with Mango Mustard Chicken

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A Perfect Pair; Cheese and Sangria Wine Jelly

What goes better with cheese than wine?  I love little cheese plates for snacks and parties. I always like to serve them with fruit spreads to add a little sweetness and contrast. Apricot jam, Pear preserves etc.. but then I heard of wine jelly and thought, yum! I decided to incorporate some fruit and other flavors into mine, much like you would for a sangria. I am not a jelly/jam maker. I don’t have jars and tongs and all that jazz so I made a simple batch and just refrigerated it. Do plan ahead because even though this is easy to make it can take 1-3 days to get to a jelly like consistency.It will loosen at room temp, but re-jells when refrigerated. Serve as a side on a cheese plate, over cream cheese with crackers, or on top of grilled chicken or pork.

Sangria Wine Jelly

2 1/2 c of wine ( I used a Cabernet)

Juice from 1 Orange

Juice from 1 Lime

Juice from 1 Lemon

1/2 t cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of zest from above citrus fruits

1 pkg dry pectin

2 1/2 c sugar

Add all ingredients to a medium sized sauce pan, bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and add to an air tight container.  Refrigerate until set 1-3 days.

Served over Cream Cheese

Going for the Gold: Olympic Fruit Tart

Hosting an Olympic themed party, try this cute and festive dessert, you may take home the gold.

Olympic Fruit Tart

2 packages of dry sugar cookie mix

1 80z tub Cool Whip

12 oz cream cheese softened

1 t vanilla extract

2 T sugar

1 cup apple jelly

about 1/2 c each of:

Raspberries, Blackberries, Pineapple, Blueberries, and Green Grapes

Mix up sugar cookie dough according to package directions, spread into a large rectangular cookie sheet sprayed with non stick spray. Cook for about 15 minutes or until cookie is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Flip cookie onto a large flat board or platter (you can leave in pan if desired). To make frosting, combine cool whip, cream cheese, vanilla and sugar in a large bowl, I used my kitchen aid mixer with the paddle attachment, you could use a hand mixer or food processor. Beat about 4 minutes on high or until no longer lumpy. Spread on cooled cookie.

To make olympic rings use a small bowl and make circular indentations onto the frosting.

Use the fruit to make rings, Chop black berries and grapes in half, and pineapple into small pieces

Melt apple jelly in a small sauce pan over med/low heat and brush over tart with a silicone brush.

Put in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Day Tripping With My Favorite Teen Age Botanist

I love to travel. Yes, I know everyone says that, but I really do. I love exotic trips full of adventure.  I love relaxing tropical vacations where I just plop my bottom down in foreign sand, but I also love a day trip to a rural town and a meal at a mom and pop restaurant just as much. Everything is an adventure to me, no matter how big or small, I just like to experience new things.

This week my kids had a day off of school and, as we usually do, my fourteen year old son and I went on a little day trip. He was once my constant companion, attached at my hip whether I liked it or not, now he is a teen, ready to start high school. I appreciate our time together more because I know we don’t have much time left. Not like this anyway. He’s not much into sports, cars, or shopping. He is a lover of nature, and always has been. Even during his terrible two’s and now his angsty teens, he is most calm and at peace on a nature trail or surrounded by trees. This is his zen. He calmly waits for bugs or squirrels to come to him,  he notices the differences in leaf shapes of various ferns, he walks quietly not to disturb the birds. We plan our trips accordingly.

This week we went to the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, kind of a far drive from our home just to see plants, but this is what we do. We were not disappointed, the gardens were beautiful, the tower amazing.We saw the largest koi we had ever seen and a trail of just different species of ferns.

For fun, we stopped at  Spook Hill where your car is supposed to magically roll up the hill in neutral, but ours didn’t. Maybe because we had the top down so we could feel the wind in our hair, maybe because it’s a hoax. Either way the adventure was in trying and it gave us a chance to hypothesize on why it didn’t work for us.

Our next stop was a local candy factory in Dundee that makes it own chocolate and citrus candies and jellies. The sign said it was once featured on food network, how could we resist. This was my kind of place, I am a sucker for anything homegrown or made. We found a bag of candy for each of our family members, carefully decided based on their tastes. I got some jellies and local honey. This was a citrus town and they were proud of it. The lady at the counter was happy to answer all our questions, confirming all products were produced locally and even ran a catalog out to our car after we had left in case we wanted to place an order, “free shipping”, she assured us.

Time for the two hour ride home, my son ate his Fruit Pearls, another local Dundee, Fl product, I thought of different ways to use my newly purchased jellies. This is why I love to travel.