Friday, April 28, 2017

Creamy Garlic-Basil Chicken


This dish is pretty rich. If you use evaporated milk instead of the half-and-half, and eliminate the butter, that will tone it down.

But why do that? Enjoy! Enjoy! It’s uber-yummy.

Ingredients: Chicken 
  • OLIVE OIL, 2 tablespoons
  • CHICKEN THIGHS, 6-8
  • SALT and PEPPER, to taste
  • BASIL, minced, ½ tablespoon

Ingredients: Cream Sauce 
  • HALF AND HALF CREAM, 1½ cups
  • (Alternate) EVAPORATED MILK, 12-ounce can
  • FLOUR, 1½ tablespoons
  • GARLIC, minced, 1 tablespoon
  • BUTTER, 2 tablespoons, diced
  • BASIL, minced, 1 tablespoon
  • SALT and PEPPER, to taste
  • ASPARAGUS, 1-pound, 2-inch pieces
  • PARSLEY, minced, for garnish

Directions 
  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick skillet.
  2. Season the chicken with the salt, pepper, and dried basil.
  3. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes, or until browned.
  4. Flip the chicken and cook for about 8 more minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.
  5. Combine half and half (or evaporated milk), flour, minced garlic paste, butter, dried basil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl; whisk until well combined.
  6. Add the prepared sauce to the hot skillet and bring to a boil.
  7. Stir in prepared asparagus, place the chicken back in the pan, and lower heat to a simmer.
  8. Cover and cook for 4 minutes, or until asparagus is tender and chicken is heated through.
  9. Garnish with parsley and serve.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lemon Chicken Strips


This entree is a little messy to process, but believe me, the results are well worth it. Just be prepared to have flour-clumpy fingers that you'll need to clean off every now and then.

Chicken goes well with citrus, and this recipe takes advantage of the partnership.

I garnished mine with minced sweet pickled peppadaw and green onions.


Ingredients 
  • CHICKEN (Options: breasts or tenders) 1 pound
  • CORN STARCH, ½ cup
  • FLOUR, ½ cup
  • EGGS, 3, beaten
  • SOY SAUCE, 1 tablespoon
  • LEMON JUICE, 1 lemon
  • LEMON JUICE, ½ cup
  • WATER, ½ cup
  • SUGAR, 2 tablespoons
  • LEMON ZEST, 1 lemon
  • SALT, pinch
  • CORN STARCH SLURRY, 1 tablespoon

Directions 
  1. Heat a deep pan of canola oil.
  2. If using chicken breasts, pound to flatten, and cut into 1-inch wide strips.
  3. Combine the corn starch and flour, mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, soy sauce, and juice of 1 lemon.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the flour, coat in the egg mixture, and again in the flour.
  6. Deep-fry the coated chicken until golden brown on both sides.
  7. In another pan, combine ½ cup of lemon juice, water, sugar, lemon zest and salt, whisking to combine as it cooks.
  8. Thicken the sauce with the cornstarch slurry.
  9. Coat the chicken in the sauce and serve on steamed rice.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Honey Tangerine Dressing


This is amazing on a Romaine and Apple Salad—subtly flavored, not overly sweet, and so light that the olive oil almost disappears.

Chop up some Romaine lettuce (purists may rip the leaves apart); peel, core, slice and acidulate some apples (I like Fuji) to prevent browning, add some crispy, crunchy cucumbers, and toss everything in about a third of a cup of dressing … not too much now!

This recipe makes one cup. You’ll have plenty leftover to keep in the fridge.

Ingredients 
  • DIJON MUSTARD, 1 teaspoon
  • HONEY, 1 tablespoon
  • GARLIC, 1 small clove, minced
  • SHALLOT, 1½ teaspoons, minced fine
  • TANGERINE JUICE, freshly squeezed, ⅓ cup
  • WHITE WINE VINEGAR, 1 tablespoon
  • SALT and PEPPER, to taste
  • OLIVE OIL, ⅔ cup

Directions 
  1. Briskly combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil, whipping very briskly until everything is emulsified evenly.

And that’s it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Zuppa Toscana II


Here's a similar, yet different and easier version of Zuppa Toscana (Tuscan Soup) that I’d previously posted. This one-pot soup is copied from an Olive Garden Tuscany soup recipe. Five minutes to prep, 40 minutes to cook. And that's it. Serves 6.

Oh, and it is delicious beyond belief! Comfort food.

Ingredients

  • ITALIAN SAUSAGE, 16 ounces
  • BACON, 8 slices cut into lardons
  • ONION, ½ large, diced
  • GARLIC, 2-3 cloves, minced
  • CHICKEN BROTH, 3½ cups (28 ounces)
  • WATER, 3 cups
  • RUSSET POTATOES, 5 medium, thinly sliced
  • CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES, crushed, 1 teaspoon (optional)
  • SALT and PEPPER
  • KALE, 4 cups chopped
  • HEAVY WHIPPING CREAM, 1 cup
  • PARMESAN CHEESE, grated, to garnish

Directions

  1. Brown sausage in a large pot.
  2. Remove sausage with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Add bacon to pot and cook until crispy.
  4. Stir in chopped onion. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes or until onion is translucent.
  5. Stir in minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  6. Add chicken broth and water to the pot. Add crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper if desired.
  7. Add thinly sliced potatoes and the cooked sausage to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  8. Continue cooking until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.
  9. Add the kale to the soup, and simmer for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  10. Stir in the heavy cream and let heat through.
  11. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hawaiian Pasta Salad


This is a wonderfully light, cold, tasty and filling dinner with very little work involved—most of it is chopping. I didn’t have bow-tie pasta and I didn’t want to go shopping, so I used some left-over rotini pasta.

Advisory: This recipe makes a helluva big bowlful, enough to feed at least 6 people.

Ingredients
  • ROTINI or BOW-TIE PASTA, 8 ounces
  • PINEAPPLE (CRUSHED), 1 14-ounce can, juice reserved
  • RED PEPPER, 1, diced
  • HAM, 2 cups, diced
  • GREEN ONION, 1, chopped
  • PINEAPPLE CHUNKS, 1 14-ounce can, for topping

Dressing

  • MAYONNAISE, ½ cup
  • SOUR CREAM, ¼ cup
  • DIJON MUSTARD, 1 tablespoon
  • PINEAPPLE JUICE, ⅓ cup
  • CIDER VINEGAR, 1 teaspoon
  • HONEY, 1 teaspoon
  • GARLIC POWDER, ¼ teaspoon
  • BLACK PEPPER to taste

Directions
  1. Cook the pasta.
  2. Chop the red peppers, ham and green onions.
  3. Add the pineapple and mix.
  4. Make the dressing.
  5. Mix everything together and refrigerate to cool and meld the flavors.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Honey Garlic Butter Salmon


It’s surprising what four simple ingredients will do when combined in the right proportions and poured over a side of salmon.

Service this dish with whatever sides strikes your fancy. A fresh garden salad, any kind of vegetables (sliced and buttered carrots are great) and some simple potatoes or rice in any form will do wonders for your meal.

Ingredients  
  • BUTTER, ¼ cup
  • HONEY, ⅓ cup
  • GARLIC, 4 large cloves, crushed
  • LEMON JUICE, 2 tablespoons
  • SALMON, 2½-pound side
  • SEA or KOSHER SALT, to taste
  • BLACK PEPPER, cracked, to taste
  • LEMON SLICES, for serving garnish
  • PARSLEY, 2 tablespoons fresh chopped

Directions 
  1. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a large piece of foil, big enough to fold over and seal to create a packet.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low-medium heat. Add the honey, garlic and lemon, and whisk until the honey has melted through the butter and the mixture is well combined.
  4. Place the salmon onto the lined baking tray. Pour the butter/honey mixture over the salmon, and using a pastry brush or spoon, spread evenly over the salmon. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and cracked pepper.
  5. Fold the sides of the foil over the salmon to cover and completely seal the packet closed so the butter does not leak.
  6. Bake until barely cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  7. Open the foil, and broil for 2-3 minutes to caramelize the top.
  8. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately with lemon slices.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Italian Wonderpot with Scallops

I wondered why they called this a "Wonderpot." Now I know. It's wonderful—wonderfully easy to make, wonderfully fast to cook, and wonderfully tasty!

The only actual work you have to do, besides opening a couple of cans, is slice up an onion.

You can slice up fresh garlic if you want, but I used crushed garlic from a jar.

The actual cooking is ridiculously easy. Although, next time I make this, I think I'll use fresh baby spinach.

Ingredients 
  • VEGETABLE BROTH, 4 cups
  • OLIVE OIL, 2 tablespoons
  • FETTUCCINE, 12 ounces
  • SPINACH, frozen/chopped (or fresh), 8 ounces
  • DICED TOMATOES, 28-ounce can
  • ONION, 1 medium, sliced
  • GARLIC, 4 cloves, sliced
  • BASIL, ½ tablespoon
  • OREGANO, dried, ½ tablespoon
  • RED PEPPER FLAKES, ¼ teaspoon
  • BLACK PEPPER, freshly cracked, to taste
  • SEA SCALLOPS, frozen, 1 cup, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • PARMESAN CHEESE, 2 ounces, grated or shaved

 Directions 
  1. Add four cups of vegetable broth to a large pot.
  2. Break the fettuccine in half and add it to the pot along with the canned tomatoes (with juices), olive oil, spinach, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper, and some freshly cracked black pepper.
  3. Make sure the ingredients are submerged under the liquid, place a lid on top of the pot, and then turn the heat on to high.
  4. Allow the pot to come up to a full boil over high heat, then remove the lid and turn the heat down to medium.
  5. Allow the pot to continue to boil over medium heat, without a lid, for 10-15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Stir the pot every few minutes to prevent the pasta from sticking to the bottom, but avoid over-stirring, which can cause the pasta to become sticky.
  7. Just before serving, stir in the scallops, let sit for a minute or so.
  8. Sprinkle with Parmesan before taking to the table.