Friday, September 25, 2015

Open Face Tuna Melts

As a child, I hated tuna and not to be discriminating . . .most fish in general.  This is a tough route when your family is Catholic and ate fish every Friday.  And I do mean EVERY FRIDAY (not just the ones during Lent).  In fact, I was even known to tell little white lies about what we had for lunch at school on Fridays.
My Dad (who usually cooked dinner):  "What did you have for lunch today at school?"
Me: "Fish."

I always held out a little hope that if I responded that we had fish at school - that I wouldn't have to eat it again that night for dinner.  I would say it was only a lie about 50% of the time.  However, we did eat fish on Fridays at home 100% of the time.  As for the lying-part . . .I had to have something to confess about at my next round of Reconciliation!

This continued for nearly all my school-hood years.  And in all those years, I had never had a Tuna Melt.  Sure, we had tuna . . .tuna hotdish, tuna macaroni salad  or cold tuna sandwiches.  But never a Tuna Melt.

And how did I ever come about eating such a thing?  We'll just say it wasn't such a happy occasion . . .rather, it was while my father was in the hospital dying.  My Uncle Russell decided I should eat something and took me down to the hospital cafeteria.  And you guessed it . . .it was Lent.  And it was Friday.  And, as you recall, we are of Catholic Faith.  So, he ordered me a Tuna Melt.  It was on white bread, toasty and gooey with cheese  along with a couple slices of tomato.  And it was delicious.

Open Faced Tuna Melts
Serves 2

2 Cans of Tuna
4 Slices Bread
3 Tablespoons Mayonnaise
2-3 Stalks Green Onion
1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar or American Cheese
12 Grape Tomatoes
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Step 1:  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Meanwhile, in your toaster (not the oven) - toast the bread.  Set aside as it is done.  

Step 2:  Drain the tuna and place the meat in a medium bowl.  Clean and finely slice the green onion and add it to the bowl.  Add the mayo to the bowl and stir to combine everything.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3:  Slice the grape tomatoes in half the long way.  

Step 4:  Place the toast on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Next, divide the cheese evenly among the toast.  Now, evenly divide the tuna mixture among the toast.  Top each one with 6 grape tomato halves.  

Step 5:  Place the tuna toasts into the oven and bake for approximately 10 minutes - until everything is slightly bubbly.  Serve immediately.

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.