Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

We had a surprise 80th birthday party for one of our hiking buddies.  We made all gluten-free dishes. I made this from Kalyn's kitchen. She mentioned that all South Beach Diet phase 1 is gluten-free.  We had such a good time planning and pulling-off this surprise for Shirley. She is totally responsible for all of us hiking all these years. She is a great role-model for us all.

Printable Recipe

6 chicken breast halves
12 pieces Canadian Bacon (II only needed 1 1/2 for each chicken breast)
6 oz. Gruyere cheese sliced into 8 thin slices (I had the cheese deli cut 12-14 slices for me)
(Don't substitute, the nutty taste of the Gruyere makes this dish.)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup half and half
1 Tablespoon olive oil, for browning chicken
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pound chicken breasts until fairly thin, then rub each one with poultry seasoning. Saute' chicken in olive oil until nicely browned on both sides. Spray glass or crockery baking dish with nonstick spray or olive oil. Place chicken breasts in baking dish in a single layer. Top each with two pieces of Canadian bacon and then a piece of Gruyere.

Deglaze pan that chicken breasts were browned in with chicken stock, scraping off any browned bits, and let stock cook until slightly reduced. Add half and half and warm over low heat about 2 minutes. While it warms, cut the rest of the cheese into tiny pieces. Add cheese and stir until melted and smooth. Pour a little sauce over each chicken breast. (There will not be a lot of sauce.)

Bake 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and mixture is hot and bubbly. Serve hot.

Friday, December 24, 2010

White Chocolate Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these for dessert for Christmas dinner with the family.  I wanted you to see a picture without icing so you could see the filling and the plug.  I had some Harry and David Chocolate Cherries and cut them in 1/2 instead of using the maraschino cherries.  I also didn't have enough filling to cover the plug so made some buttercream icing.  I would suggest you just double the filling recipe and after you fill the cupcakes and replace the plug, put the icing back in the refrigerator and then ice the top, not the whole cupcake. This recipe is adapted from Emeril's Kitchen.
Printable Recipe:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee (optional- but Ina Garten would say to use it, Emeril doesn't)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, cracked into a small cup or saucer
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
White Chocolate Filling, recipe follows
16 maraschino cherries, garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 1 (12-cup muffin tin. The recipe actually made about 18 cupcakes when I made them. I used paper liners, so I didn't need to butter the tins.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and coffe if using.  Add remaining ingredients, adding the hot water last. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Divide the batter evenly among the greased muffin tin wells.Bake until the cupcakes are puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Cool to room temperature in the tins. Run a thin, sharp knife around the sides of the muffin cups to loosen the cupcakes, and carefully lift out. Place the cupcakes on a work surface.

Transfer the white chocolate filling to a pastry bag fitted with a small tip. With a small paring knife, cut a small plug from the top of each cupcake, reserving the plug, and scoop out a hole in the center of each cupcake to hold the filling. Place the tip in the cupcake and pipe in the filling to fill the hole. Replace the plug and place the cupcakes upright. Pipe a small amount of filling on top to hide the plug and top with a cherry.

Arrange the cupcakes on a platter and serve.

White Chocolate Filling:
4 ounces white chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In the top of a double boiler, combine the white chocolate and milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted. Let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, beat the softened cream cheese, and vanilla. Gradually add the cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours before filling cupcakes. Use to fill the chocolate cupcakes as directed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Salmon Croquettes

We love salmon croquettes at our house and I usually have a small can of salmon in my pantry.  I use the 7.5 oz can. I have used some of my favorite recipes and combined it to make it my own.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

Printable Recipe:

1 small can (7.5 oz) of salmon ( open the can and remove the bones that are down the middle)
1 Tablespoon diced onion
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 egg
1/4 cup  wheat germ + extra for coating the cakes.
Open the can of salmon and remove the bones that are in the salmon.  Add zest of 1/2 lemon, egg, onion, and wheat germ.
Add about 2/3 cup of wheat germ to a pan and coat each side of the cake with wheat germ.  This is a weight-watchers recipe and I really like it just as well as using the panco bread crumbs.  I cook the cakes in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes and then turn them over and cook another 5 min.

Roasted Asparagus
Cut the hard end off the asparagus and coat with extra virgin olive oil.  Use your hands to make sure each asparagus is coated.  Salt and pepper each asparagus. Put in a broiler pan and bake 15 minutes at 400 degrees.  Sometimes, I like to bundle about 5 asparagus together and wrap 1/2 slice of bacon around them.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Chicken with Pesto Cream

I happened to be watching Robin Miller while I was getting dressed today and saw the end of this dish. It looked so good, I just had to go get the recipe. She makes hers with Sole, but I had chicken and decided that it would be great with chicken. I was right. This is a winner. I will definitely make this again.

Printable Recipe:

4 boneless chicken breasts w/o skin
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup prepared basil pesto]1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 cup rice, regular or instant, cooked according to package directions
ground paprika
Using a heavy-duty freezer bag, pound the chicken breasts until they are flat and even thickness all over.
Season both sides of chicken with salt and black pepper. I also put the paprika on at this point. I like the color that it gives. In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. In a medium bowl, whisk together heavy cream, pesto, and lemon zest. Add mixture to pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 2 minutes, until sauce thickens. Transfer rice to a serving platter. Top the rice with fish and spoon sauce over the top. Sprinkle paprika over top just before serving.

I did not make the rice today, but I'm sure it would be delicious.  I had some other sides that I needed to use.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Penne with Turkey Meatballs

This is a recipe that I have made before, but it is the first time I have posted it.  Bodie is with us for 2 days and he loved the Pasta.  Mia and Grandad liked it too.  The recipe for the Simple Tomato Sauce will follow and it makes enough for two meals. I used 1/2 of it in this recipe and froze the other 1/2 for a later use.
Giada De Laurentiis - Foodnetwork

Printable Recipe:

1/4 cup plain dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten  I only used 1
3/4 cup grated Romano
1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil for frying meat
5 cups tomato sauce, recipe follows
1 pound dried penne pasta
In a large bowl add bread crumbs and milk. Mix well until combined. Mix in egg and 1/2 cup Romano cheese and mix well. Add turkey and gently combine, being careful not to overwork the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Shape into golf-size balls. 

In a large skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. When almost smoking, add meatballs and without moving or turning the meat, allow it to brown for about 3 minutes. Turn meatballs and brown other side. Continue to cook until all sides are golden brown, about 8 minutes total. Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil. Lower heat and allow meatballs to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and keep warm on stove. Be careful not to overhandle the meatballs since they are soft and fragile.

In a large pot, bring to boil 6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander. Do not rince pasta with water wince you want to retain the pasta natural starches so that the sauce will cling to the penne.

Remove meatballs from sauce and place in serving bowl. Pour some tomato sauce over meatballs, but leave about 1 cup of sauce in skillet. Place the cooked penne into the skillet with the remaining sauce and toss well. Pour sauced pasta into a large serving bowl. Serve alongside the meatballs with extra cheese.
Printable Recipe:

Simple Tomato Sauce:
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 (32 oz) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves

This is a picture of the sauce before you put it in the food processor

This is a picture of after the sauce has been blended and put in the pot to warm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cauliflower Gratin with Almond Crust

There was an article in the Taste Section of San Antonio Express about the best recipes in the 25 years of Taste. This was one of them. I loved it.  I ate it tonight as my dinner. I will definitely make this again.

Printable Recipe:

1/4 cup butter
1 head cauliflower separated into florets
1 small onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt (I think it could have used a little more)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 cup (4 oz)  shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs (panko)
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup grated Paremsan cheese
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cauliflower, onion, and garlic. Sauge' 10 minutes or until golden and just tender. Sprinkle with flour, thyme, and salt. Stir well. Remove from heat. Spoon cauliflower mixture into a 11" X 7" baking dish and drizzle with cream.  Sprinkle with Gruyere cheese, bread crumbs, almonds, and Parmesan, in that order. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lentil/Sausage Soup

This is a recipe from kalynskitchen that I have adapted. Since we are not on South Beach diet, I have used some different additions. I'll put those in itallics.  I also had some left-over pinto beans that I added.

Printable Recipe:

1/2 onion, diced very small
1 carrot, diced very small
2 large stalks celery, diced very small
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic (from a jar, use less if fresh garlic)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon Spike seasoning
3 links pre-cooked chicken or turkey sausage, diced in 1/4-1/2" pieces -I used some deer sausage my brother gave me.
6 cups chicken stock
1 can petite diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup brown lentils
1/4 cup red lentils - I just used 1/2 cup lentils from the grocery store. They seemed to be green and brown
I added about 1 1/2 cups of cooked pinto beans because I had them
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup long-grain brown rice (I like Uncle Ben's brown rice) I used long-grain white rice
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Crockpot method:
Dice onions, carrot and celery. Heat olive oil in heavy frying pan, add veggies and saute' until starting to soften, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and Spike Seasoning and saute' about 2 min. more. Add veggies to crockpot.

Add diced chicken sausage, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, brown lentils, red lentils, and salt and pepper to crockpot and cook on high about 3 hours (or until brown lentils are soft and red lentils are starting to dissolve.)
Add brown rice and chopped spinach and cook about 1 hour more. Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook 15 minutes. Serve hot, with Parmesan cheese if desired.
Stove-Top Method
Use at least 1 cup more of stock or chicken broth for stove-top cooking.

Heat oil in a heavy soup pot, then saute' vegetables, garlic, and seasonings as above. Add diced chicken sausage, canned tomatoes, chicken stock, brown lentils, red lentils, and salt and pepper and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.

Add brown rice and chopped spinach and simmer about 30 minutes more, or until rice is soft. (Check to see if you need to add a little more liquid when you add the rice and spinach.) Stir in balsamic vinegar and simmer about 5 minutes more. Serve hot, with Parmesan cheese if desired.