Sunday, April 17, 2011

Redesigning Recipes

Hey, everyone! I just finished eating a delicious meal of Rosemary Alfredo Chicken. I redesigned the recipe so it would be much healthier and tastier, and I succeeded! The reason I redesigned my recipe was because I realized that my original recipe wasn't as healthy as I thought it was. Sure, cream is alright to use in cooking. So is milk, cheese, and a tad of butter. However, when all of these ingredients are combined, they aren't as healthy as just one standing alone is. I thought long and hard about how I could make this healthier. I wasn't just going to get rid of this recipe, because it was the very first one I ever created! It holds fond memories. The solution came to me while I was flipping through my favorite cookbook (Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs  - by Rozanne Gold). Rozanne uses a lot of vegetable purees for her sauces, such as a jade zucchini sauce for pasta primavera, and a red pepper sauce for mac n' cheese. I thought that I could make a cauliflower puree. It is still alfredo, which means "white" in Italian, because cauliflower, milk, and parmesan cheese are white. With a bit of fresh rosemary, dried oregano, and 3 garlic cloves, this sauce was a winner. It still has that nice, cream flavor because of the milk, and it also tastes lighter and healthier. For an extra bonus, this recipe has 3 - 4 servings of vegetables per person! (It serves 3-4 people, so if you are serving four you will have 3 servings, and 3 people get 4 servings each.)

My blog has also made some drastic changes. I have discontinued the mailing list because there were only two people on it, and I have also discontinued the "Question of the Week" feature. Nevertheless, I have added something even better: Madison Dillon's Test Kitchen! I have a list of 7 recipes that I believe need to be improved, and of course, there will most likely be new additions to this list. All test kitchen members will receive an email about once a month with a recipe that I have redesigned and eaten myself. Then, they have to make that recipe within the next thirty days and give me all of their feedback. It would really help if I can have a lot of test kitchen members. This way, I can get a good idea of how other people receive my recipes.

If you are interested in being a part of Madison Dillon's Test Kitchen, send me an email titled "test kitchen" and I will add you to the list. If you would like to receive my redesigned Rosemary Alfredo Chicken recipe, please join the test kitchen within the next week. The very first test kitchen email will go out on the 25th or 26th of April.

Please follow this blog, subscribe to my YouTube channel, and join the test kitchen! Stay healthy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hawaiian Chicken

Hey, everybody! I just uploaded my newest video. Hawaiian Chicken is now on YouTube! Go to to look at my YouTube channel and all three of my videos. Please follow this blog, subscribe to my channel, join the mailing list and tell your friends! You also have the whole month to create a local/global dish. Email your photos and recipe to me at Thanks!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Everything Oatmeal

Hey, everybody! I am very excited to share my recipe for oatmeal. It uses ingredients from both the local and global food system.

Everything Oatmeal
Serves 3

This oatmeal is a delicious, hearty way to start off your day. A mixture of crisp cameo apples, pears, soft bananas, and tart blueberries give you the extra nutrition you need to fuel your body for the day. Plus, you can use the perfect amount of cinnamon, maple syrup, and nutmeg for your taste buds; not mine.

1 1/2 cups dry rolled oats
Maple syrup, to taste
Ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg, to taste
1/4 of a cameo apple, diced
1/4 of a d'anjou pear, diced
1/2 of a banana, sliced
1/4 cup fresh blueberries

1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the oats. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, uncovered.

2. Stir in maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple, pear, banana, and blueberries. Serve.

The final product! 
 When it comes to the local and global food systems, I believe that we depend on both. I love buying local ingredients because I feel good about supporting local farmers, but at the same time, some of my favorite food come from halfway across the world. If I come across the decision between apples from Washington and apples from New Zealand, I'm picking the locally grown apples. If I have the choice between having bananas in my oatmeal or not buying bananas at all, I'm going to buy the bananas. A good balance between local and global is, in my opinion, best. Please use the rest of the month of April to make your local or global meal. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Local Meal: Baked Thyme Chicken with Other Side Dishes

Hey, everybody! I just finished eating a fantastic dinner made of entirely local foods. I made baked boneless chicken breasts with thyme sprigs, salt, and pepper tucked underneath the skin and served it with two side dishes: leek and mushroom sautee and pear and apple slices with melted gouda and honey. I bought all of my ingredients at Whole Foods Market in Bellevue, WA. Finding ingredients was easier than I expected, for there was a large selection of local foods, but it still wasn't a quick shopping trip. I roamed the produce section for a few minutes while I figured out what was available locally and what wasn't. Then, I checked in the meat department to make sure that they had locally raised chicken. After that, I formed a recipe in my head and bought the ingredients. I probably spent about 20 minutes in the produce department, and I only had to get 5 items. The picture below shows most of the ingredients I bought. Cameo apples, d'anjou pears, crimini mushrooms, leeks, thyme, and boneless chicken breasts went into my meal tonight.

My local ingredients
 Baked Thyme Chicken
Serves 4

This delicious chicken retains moisture and flavors from the seasonings tucked underneath its skin. Fresh herbs and freshly ground black pepper give the chicken a savory flavor that anyone could enjoy. Plus, this dish is made from many ingredients that can be locally grown in a lot of places, particularly Washington State.

1 whole boneless chicken breast, halved (skins on) 
2 tbsp olive oil
10 large sprigs fresh thyme 
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place the breast halves in a Corning Ware baking dish (or something similar) and coat with the olive oil. Lift up the skins. Making sure they do not become detached from the chicken, season the meat with salt and pepper underneath the skin and on the skinless parts of the bird. Tuck 5 sprigs of thyme underneath the skin of each half. 

3. Put the lid on the baking dish. Bake the chicken for 23-25 minutes, making sure that it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve. 

Thyme chicken before it is baked

Leek and Mushroom Saute
Serves 4

This dish pairs nicely with Baked Thyme Chicken, and has a simple and comforting taste to it. A sprinkle of fresh thyme enhances the natural flavors of the mushrooms. When washing a leek, you will want to slice it first and then soak it in a bowl of cold water. This loosens up the leeks and releases the dirt. Drain away the water and the dirt and give it a rinse in a colander. This assures that you won't get much dirt in your food.

2 medium-sized leeks, sliced and washed
1 1/2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
The leaves of 3 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Slice the leeks and soak them in a bowl of cold water. Move them around to release the dirt particles. Drain away the water and dirt, and transfer the leeks to a colander. Rinse the leeks to assure that there in a minimal amount of dirt. 

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and saute until the leeks just begin to soften. Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme and saute for 4-5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Serve.

Sauteing leeks and mushrooms

Honey Drizzled Apples and Pears with Melted Gouda
Serves 4

If you've ever had pears with melted cheese and honey, then you'll certainly love this side dish. It's the perfect snack, appetizer, or sidekick to baked chicken. Cheese and fruit may seem strange, but it doesn't taste that way! 

1 cameo apple, quartered and sliced
1 d'anjou pear, quartered and sliced
2 oz gouda cheese, thinly sliced

1. Preheat the oven to a low broil.

2. When slicing the fruit, make sure you place the slices of each quarter on separate portions of the cutting board. Match up an apple quarter with a pear quarter. Place each pair of quarters on a baking sheet and lay out the slices in your desired order. 

3. Break apart the gouda slices into smaller bits. Lay the gouda on top of the arrangement of fruit. Broil for about a minute, making sure you are watching the fruit through the oven using the oven light. Make sure you do not broil the fruit past the point where the cheese has melted. 

4. Serve each pair of quarters with a drizzle of honey on top.

The final product! 

 Go to the Whole Foods Market website to discover which products they carry locally in your area. Take a look at their guides to vegetables and fruits if you want to learn about a specific vegetable or fruit. Please comment on all of recent posts about the food systems stating your opinion in this worldwide debate. If you are interested, please make some food using ingredients from your favorite food system (this includes a mixture of both systems if that is what you support) and email me your recipe and photos! Stay healthy! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Global Meal: Sesame Beef Stir Fry

Hey, everybody! I'm super excited to share my global meal with you. Last night, I made a sesame beef stir fry with cabbage, yellow peppers, onions, snow peas, garlic, ginger, and some sriracha sauce. It was delicious. Here's the recipe and a picture.

Sesame Beef Stir Fry
Serves 4

This beef stir fry uses only ingredients that are from the global food system (if you live in the Seattle area). None of the vegetables can be grown during the spring in Washington State. Delicious organic flat iron steak strips pair very well with crunchy cabbage and snow peas, and the kick from the sriracha sauce amplifies the flavors of the sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic as well. Before you slice your beef, throw it in the freezer for just 10 minutes. I'm not sure why, but it helps you slice it better. It also freezes the fat, which makes you want to trim it off. This is good because in this dish, it's better to have less fat on your beef.

1 lb. flat iron steak, thinly sliced
2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Sesame seeds
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 of a small head of Napa cabbage
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 1/2 cups snow peas, trimmed
1/2 of a large onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 in. fresh ginger root, coarsley chopped
3-4 dashes sriracha hot sauce

1. Combine soy sauce, chili powder, salt, pepper, sesame seeds (however many you think you need) and beef strips in a glass dish.

2. Boil 3 cups of water. Once boiling, add rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, never uncovering the pot.

3. Heat the sesame oil in a wok on medium-high heat. Add beef, garlic, and onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add ginger and stir until beef is browned, but not fully cooked through.

4. Add snow peas, peppers, cabbage, and sriracha sauce. Saute until beef is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables have the right balance of crunch and softness. Serve over a bed of rice.

The final product!

Please comment on this post and the previous post stating your opinion about the food systems. I hope you make a local/global meal as well! Please follow this blog, subscribe to my YouTube channel, join my mailing list, and tell all of your friends about this blog. If you take this local/global challenge (which I hope you do), please email me at with your recipe and some pictures. Creating your own recipe is definitely not required. I hope to see some local/global dishes in my inbox soon!