Monday, January 31, 2011

Pasta with Pink Sauce

This is a very light and flavorful pasta dish that would be great with shrimp or chicken.

Pasta with Pink Tomato Sauce:
2 tbs Extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper
1 cup tomatoes, cherry halved or regular diced 
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Kosher salt
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 pound pasta
1/4 cup grated parmesan
6 basil leaves chopped

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook pasta.
Coat a large saute pan with olive oil and add the garlic and the crushed red pepper. Cook until garlic is browned. Add tomatoes and half the stock and season with salt. Simmer the pan until the tomatoes have wilted and let off their juices. Add the corn and the remaining stock and simmer until the corn is cooked through.
If adding shrimp, add along with corn.
If adding chicken, brown in pan before adding garlic and let chicken finish cooking as you add ingredients to the same pan.

Drain pasta and add to pan with the tomatoes and corn. Add about a half a cup of the pasta cooking water and cook on low for about 5-7 minutes until sauce thickens and clings to pasta. Toss in the parmesan and basil.

Monday, January 24, 2011

White Chili

White Chili:
1 pound ground beef or chicken
2 can cannellini or white kidney beans
1 large onion chopped
4 garlic gloves chopped
2 tablespoons cumin
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons flour
1 lb baby spinach
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
parmesan cheese

Brown meat in a pan (drain of needed) add onion and garlic and cook until tender. Add cumin, chili powder, fennel seeds, oregano, beans, flour, a pinch of salt and pepper, combine. Add spinach and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cover and let cook for 1 hour. Add red pepper flakes. Serve with parmesan cheese grated over top.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Chicekn Saltimbocca:
4 chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten
Salt and pepper
4 thin slices proscuitto
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and water squeezed out
olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth
1/2 lemon 

Place the chicken cutlets flat on the work surface. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 slice of prosciutto atop each piece.
In a bowl add spinach and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place a couple tablespoons on top of prosciutto. Then a tablespoon of cheese. Beginning at the skinny end, roll up each chicken cutlet and secure with a toothpick.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy skillet on high. Add the chicken and cook just until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Add the chicken broth and lemon juice, and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 8 -10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Simmer the cooking liquid over high heat until it is reduced to about about 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks from the chicken. Drizzle the reduced cooking liquid over the chicken and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Banana Bread with Streusel Topping

Banana Bread with Streusel Topping:

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
7 tablespoons uncooked oats
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup (3/4 stick) cold butter cubed

1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butted
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup nuts (optional)

This recipe makes 2 7"x4" loafs or 3 mini loafs

Preheat oven 350 degrees

Combine streusel ingredients and combine using fingers till until crumbly but forms when pressed.  Set aside

For bread: In a large mixing bowl combines bananas, eggs, sugar, and melted butter until smooth. Add in flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix until combined but don't over mix. Stir in vanilla and optional nuts. 

Pour into greased pans. Top with streusel and bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted on middle comes out clean. Let cool before removing from pan

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Foil Baked Salmon

Foil Baked Salmon:
(4) 5-6 oz salmon filets skin removed
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 can chopped tomatoes (drained)
2 chopped shallots
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme

Preheat oven 400 degrees

Mix tomatoes, shallots, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Place each piece of salmon on its own large piece of foil. Drizzle both sides with Olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with tomatoes and close foil like a boat. Place on baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes until salmon is cooked through.

Reserve the tomato juice from the can and pour it over half a pound of cooked pasta with a little salt, pepper, olive oil and parmesan cheese. For an easy side.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chicken with Basil sauce, Roasted Tomatoes, Simple Salad

Chicken with Basil Sauce:
For sauce:
1/2 cup fresh basil
juice of 1 lemom (1/4 cup)
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 small garlic glove
Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a food processors or blender. Use with in a couple hours of making then freeze the remaining for another meal.

Salt and pepper two chicken breast and grill about 10 minutes each side or until cooked through. Drizzle a tablespoon of basil sauce over each piece and serve! (A little goes a long way).

Roasted Tomatoes:
1 plum tomato per person sliced length wise.
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
1 tsp of crumbled gorgonzola for each tomato
1 tsp of bread crumbs for each tomato

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rub each tomato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix together bread crumbs and gorgonzola, breaking it between your fingers and divide into tomato halves. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and bake 15-20 minutes until Golden brown. 

Simple Salad:
Greens of your choice
1/2 peeled and diced cucumber
1/2 cherry tomatoes halved
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese

Add all ingredients into a bowl, and toss with hands until everything in coated. Sprinkle top with parmigiano.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Bars

Chocolate Caramel Bars
          2 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
          1/4 cup light brown sugar
          1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted

         3/4 cup heavy cream
         1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
         2 1/4 cups light brown sugar

Chocolate Top:
        3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
        3/4 cups heavy cream
        1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional, but really adds depth of flavor)
         sea salt (optional)

You will need a candy thermometer
                        heavy bottom pan for caramel
                        9x13 baking dish

For the crust, melt butter and pour over sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Mix until well combined and press into a buttered baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and cool completely before adding caramel layer

For Caramel, you will need a large heavy bottom pan. The mixture will boil up alot. Over medium high heat mix all the ingredients together. Set up your candy thermometer and wait until mixture reaches 240 degrees. About 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and pour gently over graham cracker crust. Let set for 30 minutes until set before adding chocolate layer
      * you can try melting caramel squares if it becomes pourable, then they should work as a replacement to this process

Chocolate Layer: Using a double boiler combine chocolate and cream. Stir occasionally until smooth, then add espresso powder if you wish. Pour evenly and gently over caramel and smooth out. Sprinkle salt on top if you choose too. 

Let set at room temperature for 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!!

Double Boiler: Heat a medium sauce pan with an inch of water to a steady simmer. Place a glass boil on top that will not touch the water. The steam from the water gently melts the contents of the bowl.   

The recipe came from the cookbook Giada at Home, but with a few alterations.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Chocolate Kahlua Trifle

This is an amazing recipe courtesy of my Sister, Laura Lynn

Chocolate Kahlua Trifle:
1 box devil food cake
1 3.9 oz instant chocolate pudding
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup kahlua
1 pk heath bits
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Bake cake according to package directions and cool completely. Cut into cubes.

Whip cream until soft peaks

Mix pudding with milk and kahlua just before assembling trifle.Want it to be pourable while layering

Layer 1/4 cake cubes, pour 1/3 pudding, sprinkle heath bits, then 1/3 whipped cream. Cake, pudding, bits, and rest of whipped cream. Top with heath bits.

Refrigerate for a couple hours before serving.

Usually 2 layers with half the cake fills a regular trifle dish. But if you use a larger dish, get a 5 oz box of pudding, 1 cup kahlua, 2 cups milk, 4 cups whipped cream, and use the whole cake.

Tomato Basil Soup with Mozzarella grilled cheese

Tomato Basil Soup:
4 cups peeled chopped tomatoes (4 large tomatoes)
4 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 cup lowfat milk
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese softened

Bring sauce and tomatoes to a simmer for uncovered for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth and return to pot. Add remaining ingredients and let simmer until everything is melted and flavors marry.

Grilled Cheese:
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, patted dry and slices in 1/4 inch slices
Any bread you like. (i like a sourdough or french bread)
olive oil

heat a skillet or grill pan. Place 2 slices mozarella between 2 slices bread. Drizzle out side slices with olive oile and sear in pan until golden brown and cheese is melted.


Cheese Cake:
Need 9" Spring form pan wrapped in aluminum foil

3 tbs melted butter
3 tbs sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs.

Mix and press into pan and partly up the sides  (I like to use the bottom of a cup). Bake in 325 degree oven for 5 minutes and cool completely

(4) 8oz package cream cheese at room temperature
3 tbs all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 pint (8oz) sour cream
1cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Using a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese until smooth. Then add remaining ingredients.  Until incorporated well. Do not over mix.

Pour into pan and bake on 325 degrees until set. Usually 1 hour and 15 minutes, but since each oven varies start checking at 1 hour. It may still jiggle, but if you press in the center, it feels firmer than you'd expect. If you bake it too long it will crack (like i did in the picture) but that is better than under cooking. And as long as you don't exceed the cooking time by much, you can't mess it up.