Thursday, April 30, 2009

Roasted Chicken with Asparagus Pan Sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus, blanched and bias cut ½ long pieces
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and jullienne
2 shallots, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup Pinot Grigio (or chicken stock)
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Preheat a large frypan over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the canola oil, when it starts to lightly smoke add the chicken breasts and sear on one side about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip over and place the whole pan in the oven. Cook for another 13 to 15 minutes or until the chicken breasts reach an internal temperature of 165° F.
When finished remove and set aside while you make the pan sauce. Place the pan back on medium heat and add the shallots and garlic. Move quickly so as not to burn them (this should take only 30 to 45 seconds). Add the asparagus and sun dried tomatoes and saute an additional minute. Off of the heat (or you may have the fire department over for dinner too...)hmmm not a bad thought? Ok onward.. sorry... add the wine to deglaze then place back on the heat making sure to scrape up any of the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the pan. Bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low; add the butter and whisk to emulsify. Make sure not to boil the sauce, or it will break.
Serve. Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chicken and Spinach Fettuccine

ok, so this one i just made up as i went along...
the other night i needed to think of something for dinner (cause i didn't make it to the grocery store so i could actually make what i planned in my menu!)

it has:
2 chicken breasts, evoo'ed, and S&P'd
-i browned it in a saute pan, then stuck them in some foil, sprinkled on some italian seasonings, folded the foil into a pouch, and baked for 10 min at 375 degrees
-when the chicken was done, i added the juices from the foil into the spinach
-slice chicken into bite-size pieces
some bacon i chopped and cooked in a small fry pan (i say 'some', because one of the kiddo's found the cooked bacon and ate most of it before i noticed!)
fettuccine, cooked (i had the DeCecco brand on hand, and i forgot how delicious it is!)
a bag of spinach
-i wilted the spinach in the same saute pan as i browned the chicken
1 fresh tomato, diced
some goat cheese to dress it up in the end

i combined the chicken, tomatoes, spinach and fettuccine together, then dished those ingredients onto plates. i put whatever bacon was left on top and then dolloped the goat cheese. if you like the goat cheese more melted down, try adding it to the chicken, tomato and spinach along with a ladelful of the water you cooked the fettuccine in - it makes the dish much creamier. i think i also sprinkled a bit of parmesan on top, but it was more for the kids, grace loves parmesan. :)
and as we were eating, my son asked me what the 'green stuff' was. i hesitated, but told him, spinach. he said, mmmm, it's really good! phew...
hope you like this as much as we did! let me know if you try it...

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sauteed Chicken in Mustard-Cream Sauce

boneless skinless chicken breasts
*salt and pepper

in a large skillet, heat evoo on med-hi heat. sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper and saute until chicken is cooked through. transfer to a plate & cover to keep warm.

for mustard sauce:
1/4 cup dry white wine or chicken broth (next time i would put in the wine instead of the stock, it was really salty)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 T dijon mustard (but if you don't like dijon, this would be just as good with a spicy mustard or whole grain)
1 tsp dried thyme

pour the wine/stock into the hot skillet; cook, stirring, until reduced by half. whisk in the cream, mustard, and tarragon.

pour sauce over chicken.

i served mine with brown rice and green beans...

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Monday, April 27, 2009

menu #2

monday: chicken and parmesan-chive sauce
brown rice

tuesday: chicken chilaquiles
spanish rice
black beans

wednesday: tomato, mozzarella, and basil salad
grilled chicken

thursday: ranch chicken
baked potato
green beans

friday: carnitas soft tacos
cole slaw
black beans

saturday: chicken, potato, greens & goat cheese quesadilla
green salad

Saturday, April 25, 2009

check this out!

Do you love cookbooks? I do! Mine looks like its been put down the disposal a few times. Many of my recipes are old and grease stained.. crusty and falling apart. You see, most of them are my grandmothers recipes that have been around for decades. Maybe centuries. As much as I love to log on my laptop and find a new recipe, often I just need that old, faithful pancake recipe.
I found this website, This is a website where you can both enter your own, personal recipes.. and pick from thousands of recipes from many of our favorite sites! Sites like Cooking Light, Food & Wine, Food Network, etc. Not only do you keep these in your own recipe "box", you can make your own cookbook! I got mine recently, and I LOVE it! Isn't it pretty?
The cookbooks start at $19.95!! You even design your own cover and pictures! They have so many beautiful, colorful photo's to choose from. You can also upload your own photo's. The beautiful, hardcover book is a binder and comes with 10 tabbed chapters. You can remove your recipe at any time, or add more! Speaking of adding more.. I bought my cookbook for $35.00. It came with 100 recipe credits. I didn't feel like adding 100 recipes at the time, so I added the ones I had and have 63 left. As I add recipes, I order the cards and add to my cookbook. You can also buy more recipe credits at any time. So goodbye my old, shredded, sticky, greasy cookbook.
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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

chicken piccata

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 1/4 inch thickness
2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. flour
salt and pepper
4 tbs. olive oil
4 tbs. butter
1/2 cup chicken stock or dry white wine (hint, its better with the wine)
3 tbs. lemon juice
1/4 cup capers, drained
1/4 c. fresh chopped parsley

Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness. Mix together flour, salt and pepper, Parmesan cheese. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture. Heat olive oil and 2 tbs of the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add half of the chicken pieces, don't crowd the pan. Brown well on each side, about 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan, and place to the side on a plate. Continue to cook the remaining chicken in the same manner. Remove all chicken from the pan, and place the plate to keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
Add the chicken stock, or wine, capers and lemon juice to the pan. Scrape up all the browned bits from the pan. Simmer for about 3 minutes to reduce the sauce by about 1/2. Add the remaining 2 tbs butter to the sauce. Plate the chicken and cover in the sauce. Serve.
Serves 2-4 delicious over pasta
recipe adapted from Ina Garten
show: Barefoot Contessa
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chicken in Parmesan Chive Cream Sauce


1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup brown rice

If you use brown rice, you'll want to start it before you start chopping and mincing... it usually takes 45 minutes to cook.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken breasts, cook for 5-7 minutes on each side (it doesn't have to be completely cooked, you'll add it again to the sauce later. Remove chicken and let rest. Add thyme and bay leaves to the pan and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Slice chicken thin and return to pan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Add parmesan cheese and simmer for 1 minute or until sauce has thickened. Remove bay leaves and stir in chives. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

place a scoop of rice on a plate, place the chicken on top and pour a spoonful of sauce of over chicken and rice. the sauce adheres to the rice really well, and it's a creamy, delicious, very mild entree. (my kids love it!) i usually serve with green beans or broccoli.

adapted from a Recipe courtesy Robin Miller 2007

Show: Quick Fix Meals with Robin MillerEpisode: Fish and Fowl

menu #1

monday: crisp goat cheese salad with grilled chicken

tuesday: sauteed chicken in mustard-cream sauce
brown rice

wednesday: lasagna rolls

thursday: steaks, cauliflower and breadcrumbs

friday: make your own pizza

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Ginger salad dressing

Do you have a favorite Japanese restaurant? I do.. or, I did until they tore it down and shipped the building back to Japan where it came from, or so I hear.. Who's big idea was that anyway?? I'd like to know. Gasho House of Japan. mmmmmmmm. Just thinking about it makes me happy. Okay back to the subject. I dunno about you, but I am madly, deeply, desperately in love with the salad dressing. I mean, I'd give my left pinky for the actual recipe. Well.. no one wants it, so here is one that I think is the closest I have ever gotten to the actual gold mine. Yumm-y

Now, this is the recipe as I tried it. However, if you are using your blender.. hello?? No need to mince the veggies. Just cut er' up and throw er' in. It turns out fine.
1/2 cup onion, minced
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons celery, minced
2 tablespoons ketchup (ketchup, really? did the Japanese use ketchup?! maybe next I'll try it with a slice or two of tomato, I'm embarassed.)
4 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients in a blender.
Blend on high speed for about 30 seconds or until all of the ginger is well pureed.
Recipe from

Monday, April 13, 2009

lasagna rolls


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch ground nutmeg
1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta (i used skim and it turned out great)
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry (i used fresh spinach, sauteed and squeezed dry)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
1 large egg, beaten to blend
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
12 uncooked lasagna noodles
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)


To make the sauce: Melt the butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high. Whisk the sauce until it comes to a simmer and is thick and smooth, about 3 minutes. Whisk the salt, pepper, and nutmeg into the bechamel sauce.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.

Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the bechamel sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll. Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the bechamelsauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.

Lasagna Rolls

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Friday, April 10, 2009

Thai Coconut Soup by Elisabeth

My sister, Elisabeth, sent me a recipe this morning... I thought I'd post it, as it's been awhile since we have been regularly posting recipes :) sorry...

1 Tbsp veg oil (I used EVOO)
2 Tbsp grated ginger
4-6 tsp Thai Red Curry Paste (I used 4tsp yellow curry paste cuz that's what I had, but will use less next time)
6 C chicken broth
3 Tbsp Fish sauce or soy sauce (fish is preferred if you have it--I will use a bit less next time as it was a tad "fishy")
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk (not light)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used thighs), sliced into 1 inch strips
1/2 lb white mushrooms, trimmed and sliced thin (I diced up small cuz we don't really like mushrooms--I also added thinly sliced carrot)
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
fresh cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat until shimmering. Stir in ginger and curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add 1/2 C of broth and stir until the curry paste dissolves. Add the remaining broth, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for 15 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk, chicken, and mushrooms (and carrots, if desired). Simmer until chicken is cooked, about 5-10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and season with salt (if needed). Sprinkle the bowls with the cilantro leaves and serve.
With our leftover soup I brought it back to a boil, and added diced potato and carrot, and more chicken. Serve over rice for a second meal. So cheap and fast and easy!
Let me know if you try it! (really! let TBNB know what you think!!)

I got this recipe from that America's Test Kitchen Cookbook. It was so good, I wanted to share. :)
Jonah (her son) even had a second helping! It turned out a tad spicy, but by chasing it with a glass of milk the kids liked it! It's the best soup I've had of this genre. I wouldn't tell the kids what it was until they were done eating (they're funny about things like that sometimes!) and that was incentive enough to get Jonah to start taking bites--he is so curious!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


almost-famous soft pretzels

1 cup milk
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 T packled light brown sugar
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
10 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
1 tsp fine salt
1/3 cup baking soda
2 T coarse salt

Warm the milk in a saucepan; pour into a medium any NON-METAL bowl (my sis used a metal bowl and the dough never rose!) and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes; stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Dice 2 T butter and soften; stir into the mix.

Add the remaining 1-1/4 cups flour and the fine salt to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if needed, until smooth but still slightly tacky, about 5 minutes. Shape into a ball, place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
Let it rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. and grease a large baking sheet. Punch the dough to deflate it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. (If the dough seems tight, cover and let rest until it relaxes. - i have know idea what that means!) Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands in to a 30-inch rope, (i didn't stretch mine far enough and they came out fat and puffy, which made me think they would make a yummy bread for a sandwich!)) holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.

Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups of warm water in a shallow dish (i used a jelly roll sheet). Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution, (this is what gives the pretzels their golden exterior, you'll see what i mean when they are done!) then arrange on prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the coarse salt. Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes.

Melt the remaining 8 T butter in a shallow dish. Dip the hot pretzels in the butter, turning to coat (i brushed the butter on with a silicone basting brush and didn't use nearly 8 T of butter); place on a wire rack to let the excess butter drip off. Serve the pretzels warm.

feb/mar 2009 * Food Network Magazine
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