As part of our Fresh Cooks Live: TODAY's Spring Cookalong series, former model Lorraine Pascale, author of "A Lighter Way to Bake," was given a challenge: to make a delicious three-course meal in 30 minutes or less.
Watch the full demo, which was livestreamed for the East Coast on Thursday morning. Lorraine also answered viewers' cooking questions.
Below are her recipes for pan-friend balsamic pear salad with pancetta, gorgonzola and a warm honey dressing, baked kitchen-cupboard chicken with lime, honey and soy and a skinny fruit tart — which can be whipped up in no more than 30 minutes.
Pan-fried balsamic pear salad with pancetta, gorgonzola and a warm honey dressing
- Two 5-ounce bags baby arugula
- 16 slices pancetta, about 6 ounces
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 pears, peeled, cored and quartered
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- 6 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Distribute the arugula evenly among four serving plates. Put the pancetta into a medium skillet over medium-high heat and cook until really crispy, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.
Put 2 tablespoons butter and the oil into the skillet and reduce the heat to low. When the butter has melted, place the pears in the pan and season with salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons honey. Turn up the heat to medium and cook until the pears are lightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and cook for another minute. Remove the pears from the pan, reserving any juices that may be left.
Arrange the pears and pancetta on top of the arugula so each serving has 4 pear quarters and 4 slices pancetta. Put the pan back on medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, remaining 1 tablespoon honey, remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, mustard, pine nuts, salt and pepper. Cook briefly until the dressing is heated through. Pour the dressing over the salads, then scatter over the gorgonzola crumbles. Serve immediately.
Baked kitchen-cupboard chicken with lime, honey and soy
Yields 4 servings
- 8 chicken pieces (either drumsticks or thighs, or a mix of the two), skin removed
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled and gently crushed
- 1 tsp chili powder
- Leaves from 3–4 sprigs of thyme
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp English mustard powder
- 1⁄2 tsp soy sauce
- 1⁄2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 1⁄4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp corn starch
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Toss the chicken pieces in a large roasting pan with the garlic, chili powder, thyme, lime juice and salt and pepper. Lay them out in a single layer and pop them into the oven to bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the honey, mustard powder, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and lime zest in a small bowl to give a sticky glaze.
Once the chicken has been cooking for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven and brush over half of the glaze. Then brush over the remaining glaze after another 10 minutes of cooking. Pop it back into the oven for the remaining 5 minutes or until the chicken is piping hot in the center and cooked through. Remove from the oven, transfer the pieces to a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
Put the roasting pan on high heat on the stovetop. Pour in all but about 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock, stirring all the time and scraping up any yumminess from the bottom of the pan. Blend the corn starch with the remaining stock to give a smooth liquid and pour this into the pan, stirring constantly. Let this bubble away for 2–3 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until reduced and thickened. The sauce may have a few lumps, which you can just sieve out before serving if you like. Season to taste and remove from the heat.
Serve two pieces of chicken per person with a little sauce poured over and a scattering of mint leaves on top.
The skinny tart
- 3 ounces butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing
- 10 ounces store-bought filo pastry
- 4 tbsp apricot jam
- 1 lb 2 oz low-fat Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
- 1 small bunch of black seedless grapes, halved
- 1 bunch of redcurrants
- 1 dragon fruit, peeled and cubed
- 2 large figs, quartered
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-hole muffin tin or cupcake tin well.
Cut the filo pastry into squares that are big enough to fit into the muffin holes and hang over the sides a little. Brush each piece of filo with lots of melted butter to stop it from burning in the oven, then push a filo square into eight of the holes and top with another filo square, you will need to layer up 3–4 pieces.
Place the filo cases into the oven for five minutes or so, giving them time to crisp up. Once they look golden-brown and crispy, remove them from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Remove them from the muffin tray and place them on serving dishes.
Put the jam in a small pan and heat gently until warm. Mix the Greek yogurt, honey and vanilla together in a bowl, then place a good dollop into each pastry case. Divide the fruit among the tartlets, piling it up high. Brush with the warm apricot jam to make a shiny glaze and serve.