Monday, August 31, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Breast

I randomly came up with this, since chicken breast are on sale at Publix this week, and it is amazing! I made it for a cook-out we had with the neighbors and it won them over so I thought I would share it!

Stuffed Chicken Breast
1.5 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (about 3 breast)
1/2 bottle Italian Dressing
Handful of Sundried Tomatoes
1/2 container of Goat Cheese
2 teaspoons of Minced Garlic
3 Tablespoons of Prepared Pesto Sauce
Salt & Pepper to taste

Rince and pat dry chicken and place into ziploc bag, add Italian Dressing. Let marinate in bag for about 20 minutes. While marinating, chop sundried tomatoes in half. Place tomatoes into bowl, add goat cheese, garlic, and pesto. Blend into all ingrediants are mixed well (shoud be at a paste consistency), you can taste it to see if you need to add salt or pepper. Set bowl aside. Remove chicken from bag and place on cutting board, slice a 'pocket' into the chicken, it's easiest to do by placing your hand on the top of the breast and starting at one end about halfway through the chicken slice down, but not through the bottom. After you have 'pockets' in all the chicken take one tablespoon of chesse mixture and place into each breast, continue until there is none left. Now you're ready to grill! Place the chicken on the grill for about 10 minutes on each side, but make sure to cut a slice in the middle to make sure it's not pink inside, because chicken needs to be cooked throughly before eatting!

Brands I used:
-California Sun Dried Tomatoes, Julienne Cut
-Classico Basil Pesto
-Wishbone House Italian Dressing
-Spice World Minced Garlic

**Instead of Goat Cheese, any of the crumble cheese and/or fresh mozarella cheese will make it delicious!
**Tomatoes can be omitted as well!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Using Leftovers: Wine

I'm a big wine drinker and always have wine in my house, but sometimes there are times when the bottle doesn't get completely used. When this happens I use the little bit of wine that's left to make a variety of recipes. Also, you can always add a splash of wine to sauces and cooking. Remember white wine goes with fish, chicken, pork, and white sauce, where as red wine goes with meat and red sauce.

White-Wine Vinaigrette
1/3 cup white wine
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 2 to 3 lemons)
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a bowl, whisk together the wine, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. While still whisking, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Use in salad or over fish, will last for one week just remember to stir before pouring.

Poached Pears
1.5 cups red wine
1 lemon
1 orange, quartered
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
4 small ripe pears, peeled

In a saucepan, combine the wine, the juice from the lemon and orange, 1 of the squeezed orange quarters, the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon stick, and cloves. Add the pears and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, turning the pears occasionally, until they can be pierced with the tip of a knife (about 25 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to individual plates. Remove and discard the orange quarter and spices. Return the liquid to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced by two-thirds, about 15 minutes, depending on size of pan. Spoon the sauce over the pears.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Chicken Tetrazinni

I had a delicious chicken tetrazinni at a resturant a couple weeks ago and it was delicious. This Tuesday was my day to cook for a few of my friends, we rotate houses and cook for each other once a week, and I thought it would be a perfect time to try to cook it. It takes almost two hours to make but it's well worth it! I took Giada De Laurentiis' recipe and tweaked it a bit.

9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
1 cup chicken broth
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
12 ounces linguine
1 cup grated Parmesan/Motzorella
1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl. This is the time consuming part, I think it's a good job for an assistant :)

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil, watch the sauce as it will start to burn if you don't stir. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain and return to pan. Add sauce and chicken mixture to the drained pasta. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes, watch it since all ovens are different, mine took about 20 minutes!

Let the dish cool before serving as it's extremely hot when it comes out of the oven.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Refreshing Refreshments!

I live in North Florida and even though it's almost the middle of August it's still scorching outside, at the moment it's 91 degrees and only getting hotter as the day continues. Now as much as I love the Sunshine State, I hate being hot and feeling lethargic from it. But rehydrating with just water can be so boring, however i will say that sometimes a nice cold glass of ice water is so very refreshing! Anyways, I've decided to share with you a few easy updates to make water more appealing when it gets boring.

The most refreshing take on water is Spa Water also known as cucumber water...
1 gallon water
about 5 lemon slices
about 5 cucumber slices
Put everything in pitcher and place in fridge for about an hour, then serve.

How about some Lemonade it's easy and tasty! Here's how...
1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (takes about 12 lemons)
1/2 cup sugar
6 cups cold water
lemon slices

Put the lemon juice, sugar, and about a cup of water into the pitcher and stir until dissolved. Add the remaining water and lemon slices, mix together. Serve over ice. Enjoy :)

Or you could easily make Southern Sweet Tea with a fresh ingredients:
1 quart water
4 family size tea bags (Luzzienne)
2 cups sugar
mint leaves and lemon slices (optional/for garnish)

In a large pot bring the water to a boil. Remove pot from heat, add the tea bags, cover with a lid, and steep for about 20 minutes. Pour sugar into pitcher, add some water and stir to dissolve sugar. Once the tea has steeped, remove tea bags and pour tea into pitcher and stir. Add cold water to fill the pitcher. Serve over ice with lemon slices and mint.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Using Leftovers: Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Grabbing a rotisserie chicken from the deli is a quick and easy way to get a delicious meal for those nights when time is limited and the best part is if you don't eat it all you can use it for another meal! Here's my take on Round 2 of Rotisserie Chicken... Chicken Salad Sandwiches!

To make the chicken salad sandwiches you will need:
-leftover rotisserie chicken, shredded
-salt and pepper
-dried dill (can be omitted)
-a squeeze of a lemon
-celery, diced (I make two batches one with and one without)
Combine all ingrediants into bowl and mix well. Toast bread, and make a sandwich using a couple spoonfuls of the chicken salad, some lettuce, tomato slice, and two cucumber slices. ENJOY :)

Habanero Salsa

I love salsa, especially the kind at Mexian resturants but my favorite salsa is my own version. I've had a number of friends tell me it's just as tasty if not better than most resturant salsa. The best part is that it's inexpensive and makes a large amount! It's got a lot of heat but you can adjust that by the ammount of jalapenos you use. The slow burn of the habenero also gives it quite the kick!

-3/4 red onion (chopped)
-2 to 3 tablespoons of diced green peppers in a can
-1 tablespoon sugar
-1 tablespoon salt
-1/2 tablespoon pepper
-1 tablespoon of garlic
-large can of diced tomatoes (drained)
-2 jalapenos
-1 habenero (seeded and chopped)
-1 lime, for juice

Place jalapenos on baking sheet in put in oven on Broil until skin blackens. After allowing them to cool, remove the skin and seeds from the jalapenos and chop. While waiting on it to blacken you can put chopped onion, green peppers, sugar, and salt & pepper in the blender, pulse until it's a semi-thick consistency. Remove onion mixture from blender and set aside in bowl. Next add the tomatoes and jalapenos into the blender and pulse until smooth. Add the onion mixture, habenero cilantro, lime juice, and remaining tomatoes to the blender. Do a quick pulse so there are some chunky pieces, pour mixture into a resealable container and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow everything to come together. Serve with chips

Monday, August 3, 2009

FakeOut TakeOut: Beef Stir Fry

I love take out food, but I don't like the price. The other day I was in the mood for some hibatchi but didn't want to fork over the $10 for one serving of salad, rice, veggies, and meat. However I did remember that I had some bottom round steaks in the freezer that needed to be cooked, since it was already late I figured I could go ahead and prepare them for the next day's dinner and that would allow the meat to be marinated.

Beef and Veggies over Brown Rice

Marinade mixture:
-Brown Sugar
-Soy Sauce
-Salt & Pepper

-Beef (either round steak or flank steak)
-vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, etc)
-peanut oil
-brown rice

Defrost the meat, as soon as it was thoroughly defrosted I sliced the steaks into thin strips, made the marinade, and combined both in a zip top bag. I left my meat marinating until the next evening, almost 24 hours. When I was ready to cook, I added peanut oil to my wok pan and heated it over med-high head. I added a teaspoon of garlic and then the meat. As the meat started to cook I sliced some baby bella mushrooms and added them into the leftover marinade mixture, (you can use any veggie here I was just in a mushroom mood!). At this time I started to cook the rice according to the package. After the meat is almost done remove from pan and set aside. Add the veggies with the sauce and cook on medium heat for a minute or so, remember to stir so they don't stick, then add the meat back to the pan and set heat to low. By this time your rice should almost be done. While waiting for the rice to finish you can make a quick salad using spinach, sundried tomatoes, and a feta or goat cheese, topped with your favorite Asian dressing. I love the honey-ginger dressing by Makoto that's in the produce section. By the time you have the salad made your rice should be ready to serve. I serve my Stir-Fry in deep bowls placing the rice on the bottom, then the beef and veggie mixture topped with the sauce. It's delicious! :)

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