Monthly Archives: December 2011

French Tarragon Chicken Rice Bake

French Tarragon Chicken Rice Bake

Ingredients:

8 defrosted chicken tenderloins
3 cups green beans cut into 2 inch pieces, steamed
1.5 cups brown long grain rice (dry measured)
3 Tablespoons French Tarragon ( I use Penzeys)
1 can light cream of mushroom soup
1 cup non-fat half and half
Olive oil for sauteéing
salt and peppa
Cooking spray
Shaved Parmesan for garnish and flavor

Directions:
Cook rice according to directions on package. Spray casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Spread the rice on the bottom. Layer the beans over the rice. Then, heat a saute pan to medium high and coat with olive oil. Place chicken tenderloins in pan and sprinkle with 1 tbsp of French tarragon. Flip, and then cover the other side with French tarragon. Remove from pan and set on cutting board and slice into 2 inch pieces. In the same pan, put the soup concentrate and the half and half. warm up while scraping up the chicken bits and tarragon left in the pan. Add the final tbsp of French tarragon and salt and pepper the liquid. The salt is very important. It brings out the tarragon and the rice can bring the flavor of the dish to the milder side. Feel FREE to add more French tarragon, but I know we all have different taste. Place the pieces evenly over the beans in the casserole dish. Pour the creamy liquid over the top, cover with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes or until bubbly! I like this with a little bit of shaved Parmesan! ENJOY!

Apple, Edam, & Turkey Paninis & Pizza Paninis

Heaven help me I love a Panini Sandwich! Parting with the $150 for a very nice panini press was a fantastic financial move. I use the heck out of it! I no longer make grilled cheese the old fashioned way and the best part is now I have removed all the fat from the layer of butter you need to make a grilled cheese. Not to mention no flipping the sandwich, and the inevitable fall apart that can occur, or the uneven sides….you know what I am talking about. If you don’t have one of these….shame on you. Save your allowance and get one…you will be SO HAPPY YOU DID!

Apple, Edam & Turkey Panini Sandwich:

I will just make this simple….bread, then cheese, then apple, then turkey, then cheese and topper bread. Spritz press with nonstick, then place in press, toast to a nice golden brown, cut and serve! The apple makes it sweet and unexpectedly crisp! ADVICE: Slice thin so that it can cook a bit….makes it SO DELICIOUSO!

Pizza Panini Sandwich:

Again…very simple: bread, cheddar, turkey pepperoni slices (about 6-8) then cheese again and top with bread, spritz the press with nonstick, pop on the press and again, grill to a toasty brown!

ADVICE:
1. Don’t put cheese TOO close to the crust, it will bubble over, remember the weight of the press will push the cheese around
2. Use a top and bottom layer of cheese – it holds the sandwich together. If you don’t do this it is a bummer sammy. No one wants that.
3. DO NOT go overboard on the cheese. Take Coco Chanels advice and before you put it on the grill….take a little off. Again, the weight of the press will melt and smoosh the cheese all fabulously…
4. Thick bread is not meant for paninis. If you use the thin sandwich slims or whatever, remember to cook for less time! Normal, regular, 1 inch bread is da bomb.

ENJOY!!!

Chicken Marsala with Mushrooms


Christmas Eve Dinner…..we are not ham people, and we do a big bird for Thanksgiving. My mom hosts Christmas Eve dinner at her house every year, and we ( the kids) provide the side dishes. She provides the main course and the wine ( a 1994 Leonetti Merlot, to be precise, which was PHENOMENAL) this year she outdid herself with this entree. It was magnificent!!!!

Chicken Marsala

This is a variation on the classic Veal Marsala, which calls for veal cutlets and a dry Marsala (a fortified Sicilian wine) or dry sherry, and does not call for mushrooms. Adding mushrooms and sweet Marsala, makes this dish an amazing and easy main course.

Ingredients:

2 full boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

¼ cup flour

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup sweet Marsala plus extra for mushrooms

1 cup chicken stock or reduced-sodium canned broth

Mushrooms galore (to suit your particular mushroom fancy)

Directions:

Flatten chicken breasts between waxed paper until uniformly thick, approximately ¼”. Cut each piece into two or three equal-sized pieces. Combine flour, salt and pepper, dredge chicken until coated on both sides.

Slice mushrooms to uniform thickness, approximately ¼ inch. Saute in 1 tablespoon butter until they give up their juices and turn brown. When complete and still in the pan, give them a swirl of the Marsala and then remove from heat. Place mushrooms in a dish and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean.

In the same large frying pan melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add as much chicken as will fit in the pan without crowding and cook approximately 4 minutes, or until lightly browned, on each side. Remove to a warmed platter, cover with foil and keep warm. Repeat with remaining chicken, adding remaining butter and oil as needed.

Add Marsala and bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pan. Add stock and boil to reduce liquid to ½ cup, 3 to 4 minutes. Return chicken, mushrooms and accumulated juices to pan and heat through, about 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper.

Serves 4 to 6 depending on size of the chicken breasts and the appetites of your guests!

Lets talk about SAUCE!


I love all pasta dishes! Having a great sauce in your arsenal of dinner recipes can create a fabulous spaghetti dinner or a filling baked ziti when you have a LOT of big boys to feed ( like me!) Here is my standard recipe, hope you enjoy it! It is adapted from a basic recipe on spaghettisaucerecipe.net!

Basic Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients:

1 pound Ground Beef or Ground Turkey ( we use the turkey to try and be healthy)
1 large Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 (1 pound) cans Tomatoes, chopped
1 (8 ounces) can Tomato Sauce
1 can sliced olives-black
1 (12 ounces) can Tomato Paste
1 cup Beef Broth
2 tablespoons minced Fresh Parsley
1 teaspoon Fresh Oregano Leaves
4 tablespoons Fresh Basil Leaves
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Cooked Spaghetti, Noodles or other Pasta

Directions:

1. Break up ground beef with fork.

2. Add ground beef to large pan with onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, fresh basil, salt, and pepper.

3. Cover and cook for 25 minutes on low

4. Serve over hot spaghetti, noodles or other pasta.

Holidays and Friends


What do the holidays mean to you?

I don’t write a lot about personal things. This blog is dedicated to cooking and baking, but every now and then I want to pop in and say a few words. Thank you for allowing me to “have a moment”.

The holidays are special to me. I love the food, the music, all the belly laughs, the time to reconnect with friends and especially the opportunity to reflect. Have a wonderful holiday season…….but PLEASE…………..

Remember to LAUGH…….


Remember to
RECONNECT…..

And reflect on what REALLY
mattered this year…

Saltine Chocolate Minty Bark


I made this recipe up after having some awesome saltine bark, but not wanting to have the caramel that it normally calls for! My husband loves minty things, and so this was created. I was surprised it turned out as awesome as it did!

Saltine Chocolate Minty Bark

Ingredients:
Tube of saltines
1 bag mint chips
1 bag chocolate chips
1 cup marshmallows
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
Holiday Sprinkles
A dash of holiday spirit

Directions:
This is an easy one. Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet withparchment paper, then with saltines. sprinkle the chocolate chips (both bags) to make a full layer over the saltines. Then sprinkle with the nuts. Put into oven for about 8 minutes. Pull out, sprinkle the marshmallows and holiday colored sprinkles evenly over top. Take a SECOND sheet of parchmment paper and cover. Lightly smash all the ingredients down but not so hard you break the crackers, Rub hands gently so the the chocolate, mashmallows and sprinkles all turn into one layer. Put into the freezer for 30 minutes until cold. Pull out, peel back the top layer of parchman paper then cut into squares, or break up like “bark” enjoy!