Monthly Archives: October 2012

Chicken Piccata with fresh Pesto

Below is a simple recipe for fresh pesto. I like this with the pasta I make when we have Chicken Piccata. The fresh herbs and the lemon sauce on the chicken go great together. When I toss the pasta and the pesto, I add about a quarter cup of pasta water to help things mix and stay together.

Classic Pesto

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp fresh Lemon Juice
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Process garlic, nuts, basil, oil, Parmesan in food processor until smooth.
  2. Scrape down bowl as needed, about 1 minute.
  3. Add lemon juice.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Process again.
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Skillet Chicken Vesuvio

Another skillet meal. After making this dish, I have decided it needs a makeover. The potatoes and chicken need to be more golden. The sauce should be thicker and brighter. Stay tuned for a new and improved recipe. However, the one skillet concept may be gone.

Skillet Chicken Vesuvio

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby red potatoes, scrubbed and halved
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Cook chicken until golden, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate.
  4. Add remaining oil to pan and heat until shimmering.
  5. Cook potatoes, cut-side down, until golden brown, about 7 minutes.
  6. Stir in garlic, rosemary, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add wine and broth, scraping up any browned bits with wooden spoon, and bring to boil.
  8. Return browned chicken to skillet on top of potatoes.
  9. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered.
  10. Cook until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
  11. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken and potatoes to serving platter; tent with foil.
  12. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, uncovered, until sauce is reduced to 1 cup, about 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in peas and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.
  14. Off heat, whisk in butter and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  15. Pour sauce over chicken and potatoes. Serve.

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Beef and Barley Soup

I woke up to the second straight day of cold and snowy weather after sunny and 80 degrees earlier this week. Colorado, we love your abrupt weather changes! Something warm and hearty is in order for dinner today. Something that is ready when we walk in the door shaking off the cold. I am thinking beef and barley soup in the slow cooker.

Beef and Barley Soup

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 8 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca
  • 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS;

  1. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  3. Brown half of beef, about 8 minutes.
  4. Transfer to slow cooker.
  5. Repeat with additional 1 tablespoon oil and remaining beef.
  6. Add remaining oil, onions, and carrots to skillet.
  7. Cook until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  8. Cook garlic, thyme, and tomato paste until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  9. Stir in wine, using wooden spoon to scrape up browned bits.
  10. Transfer to slow cooker.
  11. Add broth, tomatoes, tapioca, and barley to slow cooker.
  12. Cover and cook on low until meat is tender, 7 to 9 hours.
  13. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Serve.

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Chicken Parmesan and Pasta with Sundried Tomato Toasted Walnut Pesto

I decided to make Chicken Parmesan for the Monday Night Meal. It is very easy, but I am trying something new tonight. I am going to make a pesto I read about on the Simply Scratch food blog last week. It sounds really tasty and very easy. Always a big plus for Monday night! The chicken parmesan is just italian breaded chicken fried until crispy, add red sauce, and top with a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake until melty, bubbly, and delicious.

Below is the recipe for the sundried tomato and walnut pesto. This version is doubled since it is for three people and one leftover. OK, after making this, it was too much. So I used half and froze the other half for another time.

 Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup packed Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese, plus more for serving
  • 10 large Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 2 clove Garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup Olive Oil, more if desired
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed for juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • White Wine, to taste
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 box of Spaghetti Noodles
  • 1/4 cup reserved Pasta Water

Instructions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water.
  2. Mean while, toast the walnuts in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 5  minutes.
  3. Combine the tomatoes, walnuts, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper.
  4. Add to a mini food processor.
  5. Process until thick and paste-like. Add more olive oil if it is too dry and crumbly.
  6. Drop in the pasta and cook as directed on the package.
  7. In a skillet over medium heat, add the sun-dried tomato/ walnut pesto.
  8. Stir often while the pesto starts to caramelize on the bottom of the pan.
  9. De-glaze the pan with a good splash of white wine.
  10. Turn the heat off and, using tongs, add in the spaghetti noodles straight from the pot.
  11. Add a 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water and toss some more.
  12. Top with shavings of parmesan and serve.

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Avgolemono Soup

Avgolemono

My wife has been craving that wonderful, silky, soothing lemon chicken soup from Pete’s Central One restaurant. Otherwise known as Avgolemono Soup. I read several recipes out on the web and found a lemon chicken soup recipe in my computer files from the late 90s. After reading all these and thinking about it for a day, I decided to give it a try.

Avgolemono Soup
Ingredients:

  • 4 lemons
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups shredded chicken
  • 6-8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces orzo
  • 1 medium yellow onion, small dice
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Fresh ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Melt butter in Dutch oven.
  2. Add onions and sauté on medium low for 8 minutes.
  3. Add flour and cook additional 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  4. Deglaze with wine.
  5. Add 6 cups chicken broth.
  6. Set heat to medium and simmer.
  7. In medium bowl add eggs and lemon juice.
  8. Whisk to combine.
  9. While whisking continuously, slowly add 4 ladles soup to egg mixture.
  10. While whisking soup continuously, add egg/lemon/soup mixture back to soup pot.
  11. Add chicken.
  12. Add orzo and stir continuously until cooked.
  13. Add pepper to taste.
  14. If soup is too thick for you, add the remaining 2 cups broth.
  15. Ladle into bowls.
  16. Enjoy with warm pita bread!

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How Sweet It Is Cashew Chicken

I adapted this recipe from the how sweet it is website. Of course, I altered it a bit due to the way I cook and for proportions. The technique of coating the meat with cornstarch is called velveting. I really enjoyed the addition of the edamame, it is not something I normally add to my stir fries. But I do now! My kids really love the addition of the honey. Of course, I could not resist adding the ginger. I hope you enjoy!

How Sweet It Is Cashew Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced or sliced
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 red pepper, sliced or diced
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh minced ginger
  • 1/2 cup unsalted cashews
  • 6 Tbsp honey
  • 6 Tbsp soy sauce

 Instructions:

  1. Heat a skillet on medium heat and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mix soy sauce and honey.
  5. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  6. Add chicken and cornstarch to gallon freezer bag and shake to coat.
  7. Add  another 1 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and add chicken.
  8. Brown on all sides until cooked, about 10 minutes.
  9. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  10. Add  1 Tbsp olive oil to skillet and add garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute.
  11. Add red pepper, edamame, and cashews to skillet and stir for 2 minutes.
  12. Turn heat to medium low and add chicken and mushrooms.
  13. Pour soy sauce mixture into skillet, coating chicken and vegetables.
  14. Cook additional 2 minutes until chicken is re-heated.
  15. Serve with jasmine or brown rice.

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Black Shadow

I found this interesting cocktail on Drink of the Week. I know it is a pitch/plea to use the Perfect Puree Blackberry, whatever that is. I am guessing it is a fruit syrup which is easy to make on your own. Another item to note is the raspberry liqueur. To me, that is always Chambord. The richness and depth of Chambord is unequaled and well worth the price. Another interesting note is the lemon juice, sweet and sour mix, and simple syrup ingredients. That is a puzzling list because it could easily be just lemon juice and simple syrup, or just say sweet and sour mix and be done. A simple sweet and sour mix is one part lemon juice and one part simple syrup. So, using that formula, you would get 1.5 ounce lemon juice and 1 ounce simple syrup. This is where we will experiment and see what works best. Oh, and the bourbon. I am going to use Four Roses Bourbon, because it is what I have on hand at the moment. Now let’s get started.

Black Shadow (original recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • ¾ oz. raspberry liqueur
  • 1 ½ oz. The Perfect Purée Blackberry
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. sweet & sour mix
  • ½ oz. simple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass.

Black Shadow (Revised)

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounce bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce Chambord
  • 1.5 ounce blackberry puree
  • 1.5 ounce lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled glass.

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