Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sweet & Spicy Apple Chicken at Boston Market

Sweet & Spicy Apple Chicken
If you like sweet and spicy combinations, you'll want to get in to Boston Market®, to try the new 
rotisserie chicken flavor – Sweet & Spicy Apple, with slow-braised smoky apples, apple cider vinegar, sweet brown sugar, onions and a hint of roasted jalapeƱos. 

To make the start of spring even sweeter, fan favorite Parmesan Tuscan rotisserie chicken with Italian herbs, spices and a garlic Parmesan sauce is also making a triumphant return to the Boston Market menu; both flavors are available through June 4, 2017.

“We’re always looking to bring Boston Market guests new and intriguing flavor profiles that truly complement our signature rotisserie chicken,” stated George Michel, (a.k.a. “The Big Chicken”), CEO at Boston Market. “We’re eager to hear what our guests think of the new Sweet & Spicy Apple flavor and are excited to once again offer Parmesan Tuscan, as it was very popular among guests when we introduced it for a limited time in years past.” 
Parmesan Tuscan Chicken

I'm not always a fan of spicy, but I do love flavor with a kick - as opposed to heat with not much else. This is a perfect blend of spices that is packed with flavor that is just enough. I loved it. Throw in some of Boston Market's sides and I'm a happy camper. I love their creamy potatoes and al dente green beans and of course, the cornbread.

I also tried the Parmesan Tuscan chicken, which was really tasty. I watched as the food was being packaged and it looked like the skin was slathered with butter before the seasoning was added. It was really good. I'm usually one who removes the skin and just eats the meat, but in this case I was wishing there was more skin. Get in and try out both before they are gone.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Enjoy final days of BRIO Tuscan Grille's "A Variety of Flavors" menu

Cucumber Basil Gimlett
BRIO Tuscan Grille in Lombard has become one of my favorite restaurants. I've made a couple visits there in recent months and I love the atmosphere, the friendly service and the phenomenon food. The current special menu is the "A Variety of Flavors" menu and it has some nice choices of appetizers, three entrees (including two that are seafood dishes - perfect for Lent), a dessert and wine options.

Although I didn't have it this time, their Lobster Bisque is fantastic and a must on your visit. It's available daily. Each visit starts with a basket of warm bread - and a crispy herbed flatbread that is irresistible. 

There's a nice selection of wines and cocktails. This time hubby had a Cucumber Basil Gimlett and I had a delicious white peach sangria. We sampled both of the appetizers on the special menu - the Calamari Britto Misto. In the past I have not been a fan of calamari, but this appetizer changed my mind. It was crispy outside and melt-in-your mouth good inside, seven with some nice dipping sauces. We also tried the spicy shrimp and eggplant appetizer. I love eggplant at the combination of the two in this savory sauce were perfect.

We tried both the Perone Beer-Battered Fish & Chips and Braised Beef Pappardelle. The fish was perfection - so succulent and the crispy batter was a winner. The pappardelle was also tasty - such a nice combination of vegetables, including one of my faves - the crimini mushrooms.

The desserts are always so tempting! We each had the perfectly-sized portion of Butterscotch Budino, which includes yet another favorite of mine - Marcona almonds.

The menu runs through Saturday, so be sure to get in and try out some of the items while you can.

One other nice feature of the Lombard location is a cozy nook with a fireplace to relax while you wait to be seated.


About BRIO Lombard – Chicago
BRIO Lombard is located at 330 Yorktown Center, Chicago, IL 60148, off Highland Avenue on the West side of Yorktown Mall near Von Maur. BRIO offers lunch and dinner, as well as a special children’s menu; brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m. The restaurant is open Sunday 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Monday–Thursday 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. For more information, visit For reservations, please call (630) 424-1515.               

About BRIO Tuscan GrilleBRIO (meaning “lively” or “full of life”) is a “polished casual” restaurant serving authentic, northern Italian cuisine. The subtitle, “Tuscan Grille” is descriptive in the menu that features oven-roasted steaks, chops and seafood, similar to what one would find in an authentic ristorante in Tuscany. BRIO’s philosophy is “to eat well, is to live well;” which is why it only uses the finest and freshest ingredients. BRIO brings the pleasure of the Tuscan country villa to the American city. BRIO is part of Columbus-based BRAVO|BRIO Restaurant Group (BBRG). Founded in 1992, BBRG currently operates more than 100 restaurants including BRAVO! Cucina Italiana, BRIO Tuscan Grille and Bon Vie Bistro. Please visit the website for BRIO locations at and follow the restaurant on Twitter (@brioitalian) and Facebook (

Monday, April 3, 2017

Medieval Times Tomato Bisque Recipe

So, for dinner and theatre kind of places, I go in expecting either the dinner or the theatre to be outstanding. Then if one of the two is medicare, I'm still satisfied. However, when you go to Medieval Times, you know that both the show and the food will be spectacular. 

The show is always a magnificent display of pageantry and excitement and really the food is secondary. However, the meal - that you eat with your bare hands as they would have in medieval times - is really impressive. We've been there a few times and I always love the Dragon Blood Soup a.k.a. Tomato Bisque. I was excited to see that they recently posted the recipe for this delicious soup - so in-between visits to the castle, you can make it at home. 

Medieval Times Tomato Bisque (Dragon Blood Soup)

2 Tbl. canola oil
2 ea.  medium carrots, peeled
1 ea.  celery stalk, cleaned and trimmed
½ ea. medium onion, peeled
1 tsp. garlic, minced
2 ea. 6 oz. cans tomato paste
1 ea. 15 1/2 oz can tomato puree
5 cups water
1 tsp. paprika
3 tbls. Sugar
2 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Pinch Italian seasoning
½ ea. lemon, for juice

Cut the carrots, celery and onion into small pieces about ½ inches. Place the carrots, onions and celery into a food processor fitted with the knife blade and pulse until they are finely minced, almost pureed.
Heat the canola oil in a 5 – 6 quart stainless steel sauce pan or pot. Add the finely minced carrots, onions and celery and cook until vegetables are soft but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add the minced garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and stir into the vegetables to combine well and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add the tomato puree, water, paprika sugar, salt, ground pepper, Italian Seasoning and juice from ½ lemon.

Bring soup to a boil while stirring frequently. Once soup comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and continue to simmer for 20 minutes, while stirring frequently to prevent soup from scorching.