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As co-owner and executive chef at Marble Mountain Guest Ranch for the past 15 years I often have guests ask me or my family “Do you eat like this all the time?”  to which our children usually respond with “no, and thank goodness.”  They get tired of the fancy guest meals and long for winter comfort foods.  Living on the ranch through the winter presents many challenges, one of which is often the inability to get to the store due to severe weather, slides, and the 4 hour round trip.  For that reason I have often found myself asking “What’s in the cupboard tonight?”  While I’m sure all of you have found yourselves in the same situation, for me there is no possibility of just running to the store for a few missing items or ordering take out. Some of our favorite family meals have been created out of whatever was left in the refrigerator and on the pantry shelves.

Tonight was another such night and I have decided to start a New Blog Entry entitled “What’s in the Fridge tonight?” In this blog I will share with you recipes that I create while scouring my kitchen.  I invite you to send me a list of some of the items that you most often find yourself left with in your own kitchen on nights such as this and I will attempt to create recipes with only those items.  No running to the store or borrowing from your neighbor!!

Pumpkin Pie

To complicate the cooking for this evening, Doug, Cierra, and I are still attempting to loose those extra pounds we put on traveling this past fall, followed by a yummy holiday season.  Low Calorie, high value, and filling are my main goals for this month.   So tonight here’s what I found between my fridge, freezer, and cupboards.  Shopping day is Wednesday!!!

Leftover rice                                    Litehouse Cranberry Salad Dressing                  Celery
Cilantro                                           zucchini ( on it’s last leg)                                     onion
Canned black beans                       freeze dried basil                                                1 orange
Frozen Orange Juice                       3 chicken breasts                                               chili powder
Dijon Mustard                                 Guittards Champagne Dressing                           olive oil
Green Apple                                    fresh spinach                                                       Gorgonzola

Here’s what I created

Winter Rice Salad

In a bowl mix 2 cups cooked rice, 8 Tablespoons, Litehouse Cranberry dressing,  cup chopped celery, 3 Tbsp. minced Cilantro, cup peeled, diced zucchini, cup black beans (drained and rinsed), cup minced onion, 1/3 cup diced apple, juice from one orange, 1 tsp. freeze dried basil, 1 cup cubed, cooked sweet potato, fresh ground pepper to taste!  Toss all together and place in the refrigerator while you prepare the chicken.  This made 5 cups.  172 calories per 1 cup serving

Orange Mustard Sauce for Chicken

(I’m thinking this will be pretty good on Salmon as well)

  • 1 cup reconstituted Orange Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • cup light Italian Dressing (I used Guittards Light Champagne)

Place Orange Juice, onion, and chili powder in saucepan and simmer until it has reduced by half.  Stir in Mustard and dressing.  Set aside

Lemon Chicken

Place 1 chicken breast per person in hot pan coated with 1 – 2 Tablespoons Lite Olive Oil.  Sprinkle each piece with Lemon Pepper.  Brown lightly, Turn chicken and lightly sprinkle additional Lemon Pepper on other side.  Continue cooking until done.  Don’t overcook!!!  It will be dry.

To serve:

Place about 8 spinach leaves on dinner plate.  Put 1 cup of Winter Rice Salad on top of Spinach.  Place chicken on plate, spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of Orange Mustard Sauce over Chicken.  Place two slices of tomato on plate and sprinkle lightly with crumbled, Gorgonzola cheese and fresh ground black pepper.  Enjoy!  (Whole dinner is about 378 calories)



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