Friday, September 18, 2015

Grilled Chicken Marsala

Who loves Chicken Marsala?!?!?!  ME ME ME!!  I just recently tweaked my original (more traditional) version into a grilled version . . .and I am enamored.   It's a few less calories because you omit the flour.  In fact, I might even like this version better . . .the sweet Marsala sauce, juicy and tender chicken breasts along with the meatiness of mushrooms.  Oh my, I'm swooning just thinking about it!  

Grilled Chicken Marsala
Serves 4-6

1 Pound Chicken Breasts, Boneless and Skinless
1 Envelope (about 1 oz) Brown Gravy Mix
3/4 Teaspoon Morton's Nature's Seasoning (OR 1/2 Teaspoon Salt and 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
2 Cups Fresh Mushrooms, Sliced
2/3 Cup Marsala Wine
1 Pound Pasta, Cooked and Drained

Step 1:  Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.  Sprinkle the chicken with the Nature's Seasoning (or salt and pepper).  Cook on the grill until cooked through and juices run clear when cut into. 

While the chicken is cooking . . .

Step 2:  Prepare the gravy mix as directed on the packaging.  Set aside for later use.

Step 3:  In a large fry pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the chopped onion and mushrooms to the pan. Cook until the onions and mushrooms are soft.  Stir in the Marsala wine.  Then, add in the prepared gravy.  Stir to combine.  If it seems a little thick, add a bit of water to thin it.  Remove from heat.

Step 4:  To serve, place the grilled chicken on top of the bed of pasta.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and pasta.  Ta-Da!  Dinner is served.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chicken and Stuffing Hot Dish

My favorite meal growing up was my mom's fried chicken served with stuffing (and mashed potatoes with gravy and vegetables . . .which were not my favorite parts of the meal).  We ate this almost every Sunday and I always looked forward to it.  Fast forward to adulthood - who has time to fry chicken now days?  Forget it!  Instead, this hot dish captures that essence of chicken and stuffing and is just as satisfying without all the oil of frying.  Tender chicken, creamy sauce . . .and stuffing on the top which remains soft and squishy and just a little bit crunchy.  Oh my.  All the things I love!

Chicken and Stuffing Hot Dish
Serves 4-8

1 - 2 lbs of Boneless, Skinless Chicken 
1 (10.75 oz) Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 (6-oz) Box of Stuffing, such as Stove Top
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
2 Cups Frozen Peas (or other choice of frozen vegetable)

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 400 degree F.  Prepare a 9x13 baking dish by spraying it with pan spray.
Step 2:  In a large bowl, dump in the stuffing mix.  Add 1 and 2/3 Cups really hot water (from your sink should be okay).  Stir to combine.  Set aside.
Step 3:  In a small bowl, combine the mushroom soup and sour cream.  Mix together until well blended.
Step 4:  Place all the chicken pieces in the prepared baking dish.  Spread the soup/sour cream mix over the chicken.  Pour the frozen peas over the soup/sour cream layer.  Lastly, top it with the stuffing.
Step 5:  Place in the oven to bake for 30-40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.

Let stand at room temp for 5-10 minutes before serving.  It will be very, very hot!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Savory Breakfast Muffins

Okay, who doesn't need another new breakfast option?  This one is just too cool.  It's a savory breakfast muffin with an egg baked into the center of it.  yes, that right . .  a whole egg baked into the middle of each muffin!  Mind.Blowing.

I saw these originally over at Jo and Sue.  And I also viewed their inspiration for the muffin at Recipe Tin Eats.  Here is my version.  What makes mine different?  I made mine a lower-fat version by using reduced fat cheddar cheese, omitting the oil and using applesauce instead (it adds no flavor), as well as lessening the amount of bacon and cheese.  If you want to go with the original version, more power to you!  I just wanted to 'healthy-ize" these a bit.  I also want to try them with spinach and Swiss cheese . . but that's for another day.  

Enjoy.  These are just too yummy to not make!

Savory Breakfast Muffins
with Bacon, Cheddar and Chives
Serves 4

1/4 Cup Bacon Pieces (I used real bacon pieces that you buy in the salad fixin' aisle at the grocery store)
1/4 Cup Chives
4 oz Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
1 and ¼ Cup Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Cup Buttermilk
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Tablespoon + 2 Teaspoons Lite Sour Cream 
2 Tablespoons No-Sugar Added Applesauce
5 Eggs (1 for the muffin batter and 1 ea for the center of each muffin)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare your extra large muffin tin by lining it with paper liners and spraying them with pan spray.  Remember, this will make 4 extra large muffins.

Step 2:  In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients:  flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix together.
Step 3:  To the dry ingredients, add the chives, bacon and cheese.  Stir.
Step 4:  In a seperate bowl, stir together the buttermilk, lite sour cream, applesauce and 1 egg.  Mix until well combined.
Step 4:  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Step 5:  Place 3 tbsp of the batter into each of the 4 muffin tin holes. Flatten the batter by tapping the tin against the counter a few times.
Step 6:  Make a divot in the center of each muffin batter (so the egg yolk settles in the middle). Crack an egg into each hole.
Step 7:  Divide the remaining batter between each hole to cover the egg. Don't dump the batter right on top of the yolk - you may break it that way.  Rather, I found it best to place about 3 tablespoons of batter around the edge of each muffin, which kind of forced the yolk to stay in the center.  Then, with any batter left in the bowl, I placed it on top of the yolks.  I then dipped my finger in water and gently spread the batter of each muffin so that it covered the entire egg.

Step 8:  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the begin to brown.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5-10 minutes.  Serve warm.

Note:  I've made these a few times now and am really loving them.  I did a second version with bacon, Swiss and spinach.  They were definitely tasty, but weren't as visually appealing.  I had one yolk break and ooze out during the baking process . .. I think my frozen spinach poked it.  As well, of all things, when I pulled the these ones out of the tin, the liners were wet.  I'm sure it was from the batter/spinach - I used frozen spinach that is IQF (not the block spinach) - and I am sure it was from the extra moisture.  They were completely cooked though and mighty delish.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken

Every once in a while you just have to treat yourself to something sweet, succulent and savory . . .such as Honey Mustard Chicken.  This recipe is really about the sauce.  The honey-mustard sauce is a home made, easy, and delicious.  You don't even really need to put it on chicken.  A spoon is a perfectly acceptable vehicle for consumption of the sauce!!  But, it does make a mighty fine glaze for grilled chicken . . .

Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken
Serves 4

1 lb Boneless Chicken Pieces (I used breasts)
Salt and Pepper
1 Teaspoon Rosemary (crushed)
1 and 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
1/4 Cup Mayonnaise
1/3 Cup Honey

Step 1:  Prep your chicken and season with salt and pepper.  Preheat your gill to medium.

Step 2:  Now to make the honey  mustard sauce.  In a small/medium sized bowl, combine the mustard, mayo and honey.  Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the rosemary and stir until combined. Divide the mixture in half so that you have 2 containers.  You will use one of these for glazing the chicken and one as reserve for extra sauce :)

Step 3:  Once the grill is heated, place the chicken on the grill and cook as you normally would (over medium indirect heat).  When you are ready to flip the chicken, flip it - usually about 5 minutes on our grill.  Then take a cooking brush and brush the honey mustard on top of the chicken.  Continue to grill the chicken until it is nearly done.  Once it appears close to being done, flip the chicken and spread the new topside with the honey mustard.  Continue cooking the chicken until it reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  Discard the any leftover honey mustard sauce that the brush has touched.  We do not want any cross contamination or any potential raw chicken juice to be consumed.

Step 4:  Remove the chicken from the grill and serve with the additional honey mustard sauce that you set aside earlier.  You can store any unused or leftover sauce in the fridge for later consumption.

A.  Don't have crushed rosemary?  Take your regular dried rosemary and mince it with a knife.  Or, run it through a spice grinder.  

B.  Watch your chicken so it doesn't burn!  Especially once you have glazed it with the sauce.  The sauce contains honey - which will burn if a flame catches hold of it.  This is why you should cook with indirect heat (not direct heat) on the grill for this recipe.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lemon Pepper Pork Piccata

Thinly sliced pork cutlets that are breaded and sauteed - laid upon a bed of pasta along with a sumptuous sauce made from the pan drippings along with lemon juice and zest, capers and butter.  Soooooo gooooooood.  Fancy-schmancy with little effort.  It takes about 1/2 hour to pull this meal together - and well worth every minute!

Lemon Pepper Pork Piccata
Serves 4

1 lb Thinly Slices Pork Cutlets
1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Capers
2 Green Onions (optional)
3/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper, Divided (in other words, 1/4 teaspoon and another 1/4 teaspoon)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided
Pasta for 4 Servings (prepared according the package instructions)

Step 1:  Zest your lemon and set the zest aside for later.  Juice the remaining lemon and save the juice for later in the recipe.  Clean and slice the green onions.  Set aside for later.

Step 2:  Step 3:  In a large skillet, heat 1 TB olive oil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl or dish, combine the flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Dredge each thinly sliced pork cutlet in the flour.  

Step 3:  You will cook the pork in two batches. Place half of your dredged cutlets in the hot pan.  Let cook until the bottoms are browned - then flip them and let cook until browned on both sides.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Add the remaining olive oil to the pan.  Let the oil heat for a minute or two and then cook the remaining pork cutlets.

Step 4:  It's time to make the sauce!  In the skillet, add the butter and let melt.  Next, add the chicken broth and stir, stir, stir - all the while scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen all those great tasty bits of pork.  Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of pepper.  Stir and continue to let the sauce cook and reduce to desired consistency.  Taste and adjust seasoning of salt/pepper to your desire.

Step 5:  To serve, place the prepared pasta on a large shallow serving dish.  Lay the pork cutlets on top.  Pour the sauce over the cutlets.  Top with the capers and green onion.

Tip:  Instead of using regular pasta - try using lemon pepper pasta for a little extra lemony kick!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Unstuffed Tomatoes

Ahhhhhhhh . . .the dog days of summer.  Hot, humid days and the kids are almost ready to go back to school.  Scratch that (kids are almost ready to go back to school).  I am ready for the kids to go back to school ;)

In the meantime, why not feed them something easy and fresh while we enjoy these last few days of summer?  If you are like me, your tomatoes are going crazy!  I had planned on using some of my bumper crop of tomatoes to make 'stuffed tomatoes'.  However, I realized that my sweet, precious, -baby-boy-who-isn't-a-baby-but-really-a-little-and-mischevious-boy had decided to take a bite out of each tomato that I had picked and placed on the counter.  Yes.  I said each tomato.  Not one tomato.  Not two tomato.  But all 5 of them.  And as my memory flashed back, I can pinpoint the time of the crime . ..we were getting ready to leave the house and I had heard him say "mmmmmmmmmm...tomatoes yummy!" And then we were out the door.  

Anyhow, I decided to make the tomatoes regardless.    I had my heart set on them for dinner.  So, I took the recipe and made them 'unstuffed'.  I removed the 'bites' and used the remaining tomato parts.  What else was this mom supposed to do?  Any how, this recipe is not so much the visual show-stopper as when they are stuffed, but equally delicious.  

Unstuffed Tomatoes
Serves 2 as a Main Dish or 4 as a Side Dish

3-4 Medium Sized Fresh Diced Tomatoes 
12 oz Mushrooms
2 TB Low-Sodium Soy Sauce 
3 TB Butter
2 Green Onions
1 Clove Garlic, Minced
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

Step 1:  Spray a 9x9 baking dish with nonstick spray.  Set aside.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  While the oven is heating, wash the tomatoes.  Cut each tomato in half and remove the core, seeds and excess "slimy guts" part.  We really just want the firm flesh for this recipe.  Dice the firm flesh part of the tomato into medium sized pieces and place in the baking dish.

Step 2:  Finely chop the fresh mushrooms or pulse in a food processor.  Set aside.  Clean and prepare the green onions.  Thinly slice them.  Set aside.  Next, In a medium saute pan, melt the butter.  Add the mushrooms, green onions, soy sauce and garlic to the pan.  Saute over medium high heat until the butter and any liquid is absorbed and the mushroom mixture appears 'dry' and hot.

Step 3:  With a spoon, place "dollops" of the mushroom mixture on top of the tomatoes in the baking dish.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Step 7:  Place baking dish into oven and bake for 15 minutes or so - until the Parmesan cheese browns.  Serve hot.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Blueberry Cookie Crumble Bars

Do you ever find that you've invited company over to visit . . .and then realize that 1) your schedule is soooooooooooooo busy that you don't have time to make anything not mention pick up the house and 2) your cupboards are bare?  
Well, I think most people in this situation would like get some take-out of some sort.  Not this girl though.  No, no, no . . .just not my style!  I put the teenager and hubby to work cleaning the house while I comb the cupboards for a culinary challenge of something that will be quick, easy and delicious.  The only catch:  my hubby insisted on something blueberry.  

Bam!  That's how these crazy, delicious and easy bars came about.  They are very blueberry and very sweet.  It like a cookie, a pie and crumble collided . . .with all the sugar and the easiness of a handheld bar.  I will warn you though - they are very sweet and very indulgent.  A small piece goes a long way.  The picture below doesn't show it . . .but they also pair well with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Just sayin'.  

Blueberry Cookie Crumble Bars
Serves 9-12

1 Tube Sugar Cookie Dough
1 (21 oz) Can Prepared Blueberry Pie Filling
1/3 Cup Oatmeal
1/3 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter (room temperature)

Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9x9 glass baking dish with baking spray.  Press the cookie dough into the pan to form a crust.  When pressing in the dough, go up the sides of the pan as well - about 1/2 up the pan (don't go to the top).  Place pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and set aside.  Keep oven on.

Step 2:  While the crust is baking, prepare the crumble.  In a bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, cinnamon and salt.  Mash together with a fork until all is incorporated.  Set aside.

Step 3:  Once the crust is out of the oven, pour the blueberry pied filling over the top of the crust.  Spread it out evenly.  Next, pour the crumble mixture over the blueberry filling.  Try to distribute evenly.  Do not "pack it down".  It's okay to be lumpy!

Step 4:  Return to the heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the blueberry is bubbling and the crumble is lightly browned.  Cool completely before serving.