What’s Cookin’ in Js Kitchen?

What’s Cookin’ in Js Kitchen?

My family has owned and operated a local restaurant for four generations. I order dinner there nearly every night and as any person who eats at the same place over and over again sometimes one gets bored of chicken, fish, burgers and pasta…I try to eat healthy too so chicken and fish get rather boring. It’s nice to spice things up every now and then which is why I’m so lucky we have a chef there who is imaginative, creative and so nice that he always cooks meals special for me. All I have to say is “can you please make me something”…His response “sure, what do you want”…My response “Surprise me” and I have never once been disappointed by any surprises. His cooking is phenomenal and I always crave his cooking….Below are some of the special dishes he has created for me which are not on our menu. 

Grilled Rosemary Chicken cutlets stuffed with fresh baby spinach and lemon butter sauce. 
Fresh broiled haddock with a steamed broccoli center in a lemon butter sauce
Homemade Sesame Chicken and steamed broccoli
Tuna Steak with Thai Chili Sauce (This item is on the menu, but typically not served in this fashion)
Amazing! Stuffed Bell Pepper topped with melted cheese and marinara sauce


My favorite! Tuna Steak Flatbread (Rare, no seeds) drizzled with balsamic dressing
Creamy Parmesan Chicken with Sun dried tomatoes

J makes some fantastic dishes, but there are other exceptional chefs there as well; check out some of our menu items

Shrimp Scampi~ 8 Jumbo Fantail Shrimp sauteed in lemon butter, wine and garlic on a bed of rice. 
Tuna Steak Selections
Tuna Steak with Asparagus 


Baked Stuffed Haddock
Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Mango and Pineapple Sauce
Surf n’ Turf




Cheese Board

How to make a kick ass cheese board for any occasion. 

Let’s face it, it’s not a party unless there is a cheese board involved. Now there are simple cheese trays that one may put an the end of a buffet line that is easily forgotten or you can create a kick ass cheese board that can be so creative, imaginative and fun that it will have all your guests talking. A perfect centerpiece for your party. A conversation starter. Great with wine and dark chocolates!



Say Cheese!

Creating your kick ass cheese board can be simple but also expensive so Ask Yourself This before you go out to the store and empty your wallet. 

Ask Yourself This:

  • How many people are you serving?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are you going to incorporate on your cheese board?
    • Examples:
      • Simple: Cheese & Crackers
        • What kind of cheese? How many wedges? How many sliced?
      • Adding fruit? 
        • Dried or Fresh? Both? How many?
          • Be sure you don’t add fruit that will brown easily or leak juice all over your beautifully arranged selection of cheeses. 
      • Adding Italian Meats? 
      • Nuts anyone?

If you are stumped on how to put a cheese board together look for ideas on Pinterest. If you want to use the one I made then go for it. Whatever works best for you. 

I decided to do a cheese board for Thanksgiving this year and I am very pleased with the turnout. I was serving approximately twenty people so I knew my tray had to be relatively large especially when serving a group of Italians and the cheese board being the main appetizer.

I wanted this cheese board to have three qualities

  1. Presentable
  2. Tasty
  3. Wide Selection


Since this was the only dish I was bringing to the table I decided not to worry too much about a budget but still I knew I wouldn’t be spending more than a hundred dollars. Yes, I said a hundred dollars and I know some of you might have your eyes bulging from your head at this point. Keep in mind when you go into a grocery store some of the most expensive items you will find are gourmet cheeses, fresh fruit, and quality nuts. If you add Italian meats to the mix a hundred dollars is easily spent. 

Types of Cheese

  • If you don’t like what I’ve chosen and you don’t know what you want to put on the tray I would suggest speaking to a Cheesemonger (Yes, that is really what they are called) and they will point you in the right direction. 

Cabot Cheese

  • These cheeses are relatively cheaper in the stores compared to the Gourmet Cheese which is nice because you can get a couple of bricks to slice up and use as fillers. 
    • Cabot Hot Habanero
      • This cheese is extremely intense and fiery hot so if you don’t plan on labeling your cheese make sure you point out to your guests a friendly fair warning for this particular cheese. It’s one of my favorites but you don’t want your grandma biting into this cheese without knowing how hot it actually is. 
    • Cabot Pepper Jack Cheese
      • This cheese is less intense as the Hot Habanero but it still contains jalapeno picante peppers so it is spicy and a good idea to let your guests know that it is one of the hotter cheeses so they are prepared with a glass of ice water on hand.

Gourmet World Cheese

  • These cheeses are relatively more expensive, whether you buy them in a market or grocery store the price will be about the same and can range anywhere between $5-$12 plus. 
    • American
      • Muenster (Semi-Soft)
    • Denmark
      • Havarti (Semi-Soft & Creamy)
    • France
      • Blue Cheese (Strong)
      • Brie (Soft, Mild & Creamy)
      • Goat Cheese (Creamy & Mild)
    • Italy
      • Gorgonzola (Blue & Creamy)
      • Mozzarella (Soft, Creamy & Delicious)2016-11-24-05-16-30
      • Provolone (Semi-Hard & Sharp) 
    • Netherlands 
      • Gouda (Smoky)

Italian Meats

  • Hard Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Prosciutto
  • Sopressata Salami

Once you’ve got your cheese & meats the rest is easy. Finding fruits and nuts for fillers. 

Adding fruit both fresh and dried

  • Clementines
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Dried Turkish Apricots
  • Pomegranates 
    • Purchase 2, slice in half and you can easily serve 20 people
  • Purple Grapes 

Adding Nuts

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

The nice thing about this platter is that it was perfect for a dessert board as well. 

Wine and Cheese


a match made in Heaven

Add Dark Chocolate 

and you’ve got a Winning Trio!


  • Dark Chocolate
    • A variety of dark chocolate goes perfect with cheese and wine. I added three types. 
      • Dark Chocolate with Almonds & Sea Salt
      • Dark Chocolate Raspberry
      • Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight


  • Coluccio Fig & Acacia Honey Jam
  • Coluccio Pear & Acacia Honey Jam
  • Breadsticks
  • Crackers (at least 3-4 types)
  • Rosemary to garnish your board

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff and I know it can seem a bit overwhelming but if you already know how you are going to design your board then putting it together will be a piece of cake. The hardest part may be finding the perfect board to fit all of your items. I had a large beautiful chocolate brown tray that was perfect in size. Below are a few Helpful Hints in putting your final masterpiece together.

Helpful Hints:

  • First, I washed the tray that I was planning on using. Then, I placed linen napkins down on the tray so that the food did not come in contact with the tray. 
  • Decide which cheese you want to slice an which cheese you want to keep in wedges. 
  • Place the wedged cheese down first, but not all in the same direction or in a straight line. 
  • Place your large fruits such as pomegranate and grapes down on the tray. (One pomegranate should be sliced and scooped so you can use the shell as a holder for your loose seeds while the other is only sliced)
  • Next, add your sliced cheeses and nuts into small open areas. 
  • Then, add your meats (rolling your meats will add height to your board)
  • Now, add your smaller fruits (Apricots, Clementines, Cranberries) into open areas.
  • Lastly, garnish with Rosemary. 


  • As far as your jams go, keep them in their containers, take off the top and put out on a separate tray. 
  • Same goes for crackers, keep them on a tray separate from your board. 
  • Bread sticks will go in a vase to give height. 
  • The chocolate can be placed in bowls, separate by kind of chocolate. 

At this point your tray should be full and finished.


If you have leftovers make an extra small tray and put it out. Trust me, people will eat it.


Other similar and smaller trays I’ve done. 


Nutrisystem Food

944859_624797964327952_5535765158025911605_nThe Turbo Shake is quite thick. The first couple times I made it I didn’t really like it because I could still taste the power; I could taste the water and chunks of ice. So once I started blending it more it began to taste better. 

I love the Nutricrush shakes because there is no prep work to it and it tastes just like chocolate milk. I also love it because the ad says “helps crush hunger” and that’s exactly what it does, every time. 

I love the chocolate frosted donut. Usually I put it in the microwave for about 5-10 seconds. And then I dunk it in just a little bit of Almond Protein Plus Milk. 

Another of my favorite breakfasts is the cinnamon roll. Again I just pop it in the microwave and I’m all set. It’s delicious. 

The Loaded Potato has amazing flavor. It tastes much better than instant potatoes you would make from a box. 

I also love the Three Cheese Chicken. It’s easy prep work; the noodles are never crunchy, so it’s easy to cook properly. And it is tasty and filling. 


Chocolate for lunch? Hell yeah! My all time favorite lunch is the double chocolate caramel bar. I like it much better after popping it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. It melts quite a bit, and it tastes amazing!

One of the greatest things is as an Italian I love pasta. When someone tells me okay you can no longer have pasta that’s a huge downer. With Nutrisystem I can have Chicken Parm and Spaghetti, I can have Shells, and Rotini. Now of course, Nutrisystem pasta is nothing like Italian pasta that’s a given but it’s still very good, and I can still enjoy the things I love. 

I love the Turkey dinners with a vegetable. This will be a great substitute to have on a holiday. For example, with Easter coming up. Usually at work we prepare this massive dinner buffet and we don’t serve off our menu. So after a long shift, we always get something off the buffet. Well, instead I can cook this up; and then grab some green beans and carrots from the buffet. I love the turkey and mashed potatoes. 

Ah’ the absolute best dinner of all…The Chicken, bacon ranch pizza. It’s so good. I wish I had ordered more. For my next order I definitely will. It’s true what they say “It takes pizza to a whole new level.” 

Desserts. Being on a diet program when you can have dessert. The Nutrichocolates can be a little dangerous because they are so good, but they are also very small and there is only a few in a package so if you have a chocolate craving it’s easy to over eat these if you order more than one package. I think they are great though. 

Pizza puffs, they taste a lot like cheese balls. A great snack. 

Finally a great ice cream bar for under 100 calories. They should just sell these in the stores. It’s one of the best orange cream bars ever and the same size as one you would buy in the store. 

I also get cupcakes and ice cream. It’s delicious. Of course, you can only have one snack a day but each snack is filling. The cupcakes are awesome, the ice cream sandwich is just like a normal ice cream sandwich and the brownie sundae reminds me of Edy’s double fudge brownie except I don’t have to feel guilty about eating this one. 

Nutrisystem isn’t for everyone. Food critics, people who are picky; people who haven’t yet realized this is a diet program so it’s not going to look or taste exactly like what you find in a restaurant or in the grocery store. Well then the program isn’t for you. You have to be willing to adjust to change and enjoy what you are eating because you know why you need to be eating this type of food for now. 

Nutrisystem is such an easy program to follow as long as you are motivated and dedicated to it. I’ve tried a lot of the food that isn’t posted here and so far hardly anything I don’t like. There have been a few things, but I just learn from it, so next time I will order more of what I do like..Love-love-love the program!