Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Chicken Pot PIe

Our favorite recipe from RealSimple.com did not disappoint us tonight. The crust was store bought that I had the freezer. You should always have a pie crust in the freezer, homemade or store bought.
This is one of our favorite comfort foods. And after driving home in some pretty bad weather conditions, comfort food a welcome dinner choice.

Ingredients -
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups 1 percent milk
1 10-ounce package frozen peas
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 9-inch store-bought pie crust, thawed if frozen

Method -

Heat oven to 400° F.
Cook the chicken in a pot of simmering water until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes; let cool, then shred.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook, stirring, until they begin to soften, 6 to 8 minutes (do not let them darken). Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add the wine and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer until the sauce thickens 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the chicken, peas, thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Transfer to a shallow 1 1/2- to 2-quart baking dish.

Lay the crust on top, pressing to seal. Cut several vents in the crust. Place the pot pie on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and the crust is golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Minestra Maritata

Minsestra Maritata. Or the closest to my Mother's recipe that I could find.The recipe is from Cooking with Guiseppe. A perfect soup for a cold January night. This is a meal I grew up eating. My Mom would add beans to this but I decided not to. I used Kielbasa, Pork Ribs, Short Ribs, and Chicken. Instead of water for the broth, I used homemade chicken stock. If you make this recipe do not forget the most important thing. You have to serve it with a lot of Italian Bread!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Chicken Piccata

Tonight I made one of our favorite chicken recipes. Chicken Piccata was from Giada De Laurentiis. Easy and fast and most importantly - delicious! The vegetable was our go to winter vegetable, Roasted Acorn Squash.


2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

All-purpose flour, for dredging

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice 

1/2 cup chicken stock 

1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed 

1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped 


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. 

When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other the side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in the same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate. 

Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock, and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to a platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Club! Book Lovers Never Go To Bed Alone.

Ah, Book Club night! I love book club night. Tonight's book was The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro. We did not seem to stay on the topic of the book that much. But it was fun to get together with friends. And I love the fact that Kelly made one of my favorite things for dinner. Panna Cote. Oh, this was so delicious. And I got a container to bring home!!!

And one soup was not enough. Kelly also made a Thai Chicken Soup. Wow. This is something I have never made. It was perfect. But the Panna Cote was my favorite! Thank you Kelly for dinner and for sending the recipes typed out!!!

Panna Cote/ Escarole and Bean Soup
2 heads of escarole chopped and soak in a big pan to get the grit off
2 boxes of good chicken stock
2 - 4 garlic cloves sauteed in olive oil, stay with it, you want it soft not browned
½ pepperoni cut into little pieces
2 cans of small white beans or white beans, I drain and rinse one can, the other I dump the whole can helps to thicken it
Salt and pepper
Cook for about½ hour
You can serve it as a soup with parmesan cheese on top OR
Scoop into a baking dish, top with crusty bread, parmesan cheese and bake at 375 till hot .

Easy Thai Chicken Soup
2 cloves of garlic/ smash
2 boxes of good chicken stock
1 or two boiled chicken breasts cut into cubes
1 cans of coconut milk
1 tbs. fish sauce
2 tsp. red curry paste (Traders Joe's)
2 red bell peppers sauteed till very soft do not brown ( you can use green, I used one green) didn't have 2 red.
Squeeze of lime
Fresh ginger or powdered, I used powered about a tsp.
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
A few mushrooms
I put in about¾ cup of cooked jasmine rice/ you can use rice noodles.
The rice thickens the soup if you like it thicker make a cornstarch rue
I used a combo of two recipes, google Thai chicken soup, most call for Lemongrass, I do not care for the taste and leave it out.

My contribution was cookies! I tried a new recipe. Authentic Italian Butter Cookies. A new favorite recipe I might add! Also made Nutella Biscotti as a backup in case the Butter Cookies were not up to par. For the butter cookies, I added some Chocolate Sprinkles just for variety.

230 g butter at room temperature
1 tbsp. of vanilla extract
320 g flour
1 tbsp. of fine salt
100 g granulated sugar
Powdered sugar (for decorating)

Cut the butter into cubes and place them in a mixer, with the salt, granulated sugar, and vanilla extract.

Mix them until they blend, forming a cream.

Sift the flour, add it to the mixture and continue to mix until it has a crumbly texture.

Place the dough on a lightly floured pastry board. The dough will be very soft and easily workable. Compact it, to make it smooth, then use your hands to flatten it.

Cover it with a plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator, to harden for at least half an hour.

Afterward, take the mixture from the fridge and cut it with a knife in 4 cylinder shapes of 3 cm diameter, then cover the rolls using plastic wrap and place them in the fridge again for 3 hours, so that the dough is compact enough.

After the three hours have passed, place each cylinder in granulated sugar, making sure that the surface is even.

Using a knife, divide the cylinders in discs of 2 cm thickness, then place the cookies on baking paper over a tray.

Bake them in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius (392 F) for about 15 minutes, until they get lightly browned.

Remove them from the oven, then immediately place them on a rack, so that they keep their sandy texture.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

So What Have We Been Having For Dinner?

Whoa! January 7th was my last post. Why? Well, let's just say I have taken on some extra work. I like what I do for a living so I do a lot of it. That being said, I have not had time to do a post.  I even started the year trying to take part in the #cook90. Yeah, that was the first thing to be dropped. It seemed like fun but it always comes down to the issue of time. Enough talk about things other than food. If I can not write the posts for every day I missed this month I can at least share some of the photos! Never too busy to take a photo! And these are in no particular order.

 Some breakfast food. Granola.

Mark Bittman's Lentil Soup with Georgia Hots

 Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup.
This recipe made enough for 2 dinners and a meal for the freezer.
DIY White Castle Burgers. Love these!
Did not saute the onions this time. Not bad!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin and Butternut Squash Risotto

After a day a baking we still needed something for dinner. I had a small piece of Pork Tenderloin in the freezer along with some bacon. The start of a delicious dinner. Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin was so easy to make it was scary. Sear the tenderloin. Wrap it in bacon and put it in the oven. That's all there is to it. The original recipe called for a glaze. I did not do the glaze.

Here is the recipe as it appears on RecipeTinEats

8 to 10 slices of streaky bacon, long enough to wrap around the pork 1½ times.
1lb / 500g pork tenderloin, at room temperature
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F (fan forced/convection) / 200C/390F (normal oven).

Lay the bacon next to each other on a cutting board, slightly overlapping. The width of the bacon should be enough to wrap the length of the pork.

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Tuck the thin end under so the length of the pork is roughly the same thickness.

Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over high heat. Sear the pork on all sides until nicely browned.

Place pork on the bacon. Use a knife to help keep the bacon together and roll the pork up, finishing with the seam side down.

Use the knife to transfer back into the skillet. Drizzle over honey and brush all over.

Roast for 25 to 30 minutes (Note 1), basting once or twice with the pan juices, mopping up plenty of the honey pooled at the base of the pork. Remove from oven and baste again. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Baste once more just before serving. To serve, cut into thick slices.

The Roasted Butternut Squash Risotto was my favorite part of dinner. The recipe is from Cookie and Kate. Another easy recipe. The risotto bakes in the oven. No standing over the stove with a glass of wine in your hand stirring, stirring and stirring. You would of course need a glass of wine in your hand, right?

The onion is sauteed. The rice is added with the broth and into the oven it goes. The squash roasts at the same time. Perfect! Oh and the fried sage leaves are brilliant! The recipe called for Brown Aborio Rice. I had the regular Aborio and it worked out fine.

Click here for the recipe!

It Snows I Bake

Not sure why. Not sure when this started. All I know is if it snows I find it necessary to bake bread. Last night Chris mentioned we would be getting a lot of snow today. Yes, I live under a rock. I was clueless!
But the first thing that popped into my head was a bread recipe I had seen that required the Biga to be started the night before.

If had paid attention I would not have been in the grocery store doing my normal weekly shopping with the "Gotta get milk and bread" shoppers. After securing my milk, I came home to bake bread.

I continued the recipe I had started last night, Panmarino, aka Italian Rosemary Bread. The just kneading the dough was nice. The aroma from the Rosemary was heavenly.
Here is the link for the Panmarino, aka Italian Rosemary Bread recipe.

The other bread, oh yes I made 2 batches of bread today, was Walnut, Olive, Rosemary Bread. You see I had all that fresh rosemary from the Christmas appetizer wreath left over. No waste! This recipe was a little different. There was mention of olive oil in the ingredients but no mention of where to add it except for greasing the pans. I ended up adding the oil to the dough along with more water and flour... quite the guessing game. But after all that the dough rose beautifully and the aroma was fantastic.

Both breads baked up nicely. I will report on the tastes later in the week.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken, Bacon and Potato Soup

When I first saw the recipe on Facebook it seemed like it would be a heavy soup but it was actually a Cooking Light recipe. Surprise! Only 174 calories a serving. Nice! It was delicious and perfect for the rainy cold day this was. And for the #cook90 challenge, this will be tonight's and tomorrow night's dinner.
Here is the recipe with my revisions -

4 center-cut bacon slices, diced
1 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skinned  and 1 pound bone in chicken breast, skinned
salt and pepper
2 cups thinly sliced leek (from 2 large leeks)
1 cup sliced carrot (from 2 large carrots)
1 cup sliced celery (from 2 large stalks)
4 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
5 thyme sprigs
12 ounces baby potatoes
2 cups coarsely chopped baby spinach

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving 1
teaspoon drippings in pan. Set bacon aside.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to bacon drippings in pan; cook 8 minutes, browning on all sides. Transfer chicken using a slotted spoon to a 6-quart electric slow cooker, reserving any drippings in pan. Add leek, carrot, and celery to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Add leek mixture, bacon, remaining 3 cups stock, salt, pepper, and thyme sprigs to slow cooker.

Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours. Add potatoes; cover and cook on LOW for 2 more hours or until potatoes are tender.

Remove chicken from slow cooker with a slotted spoon; discard thyme sprigs. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces; discard bones. Return chicken to slow cooker; add spinach, stirring until spinach wilts.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy Birthday Mom!

 Wish you were here so I could make you dinner.
But first, we would go shopping and have lunch somewhere nice.
We would come home have some tea and then fix dinner.
Thank you for teaching me how to cook and not to be afraid to try anything.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Lentil, Sausage, and Chicken Soup

The story goes that you are suppose to have Lentils on New Years Eve or New Years Day for good luck in the upcoming year. We are a couple of days late. This is Mark Bittman's recipe. It is the only Lentil Soup recipe I every plan to make. The sausage was added to fill the spot of an Italian meat which is served with Lentils on New Years Eve or New Years Day, Cotechino, a large pork sausage. I have not been able to find this kind of sausage locally so I used a Polish Kielbasa. The chicken was from the soup I made on New Years Eve. This was very good. The soup is fine without the meat but both the Kielbasa and the chicken gave it some nice flavors.

Here is the recipe for the soup without any of the added meats -

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 celery stalk, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 cup lentils, washed and picked over
1 bay leaf
6 cups chicken stock
Fresh ground pepper


Put the oil in a large deep pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently until soft, just a minute or two. Add the carrot and celery and keep cooking and stirring until brightly colored and hot about 2 minutes.
Add lentils, bay leaf and stock; sprinkle with fresh ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and cook stirring occasionally, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Bread and Vegetable Lasagna

Meatless Monday! Well there was some leftover meat that made its way to the table but the main item on tonight's menu was Bread and Vegetable Lasagna. This is a favorite of ours. The original recipe is from livingthegourmet.com. Tonight I used a Rosemary Focaccia that I picked up at Robert's. Delicious!

Bread and Vegetable "Lasagna"

About 9-10 sliced of bread – toasted
2 zucchini – sliced lengthwise
1 onion – sliced
2 large beefsteak tomatoes – sliced
16 oz. Mozzarella cheese – shredded
Grated Romano cheese
2- 3 tablespoons of Olive oil

Toast the bread.

Heat a large frying pan with the olive oil.  Add the sliced onion and sauté until it is slightly golden. 

Add the sliced zucchini and sauté until it is slightly golden and set aside.

Preheat the Oven 350 degrees:

Prepare a baking dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Place some slices of bread to fit the bottom of the dish.  Place zucchini, onion and garlic and slices of tomato.  Top with the shredded cheese and grated Romano; repeat this process until all of the bread and veggies are used.

Finish with shredded cheese, grated Romano cheese and a little drizzle of olive oil.

Preheat Oven 350 degrees:

Bake this for 40-45 minutes.  Let the dish rest for 10 – 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Hello 2017 and #cook90

It is not like I don't have enough things going on. I am now taking part in a challenge. The #cook90 challenge is found on Epicurious. The idea is that you cook all you meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner for the month of January. Okay we do that every day anyway, not counting Chris's sandwiches for lunch. Well I do make those but the cold cuts are store bought...
Anyway, it seemed like a good thing to take part in.

Breakfast! Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Scones.
I bought a can of Pumpkin Puree at Thanksgiving and thought I would make these scones at that time. Well here it is New Years Day and I finally made them. I was really not crazy about them. Not the usual texture of scones. They were not bad they just were not up to our scone standards. Yeah we are scone snobs. You see I am not even sharing the recipe!

Lunch! We had a late breakfast so Day One of the #cook90 and already not following the rules.

Dinner! (Almost forgot to take a photo!) Another slow cooker recipe, I have no time to cook today! Went back to a post from last January. Lemon Pepper Roast Chicken in a Slow Cooker.  The recipe is from The Little Kitchen site. Easy as pie and we all, including a certain black cat, love this dinner.