Sunday, February 22, 2015

Cheesy Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Veggie Bundles

A good friend sent me a link to the Food Network Chopped at Home Challenge. I love the show so I decided to give it a try. The basket of ingredients included Sargento® Chef Blends ™ 6 Cheese Italian, boneless skinless chicken breasts, red bell pepper, and Greek yogurt.
After some deliberation, here is what I came up with .......

Cheesy Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce & Veggie Bundles

For the chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of excess fat
1/2 cup Sargento® Chef Blends ™ 6 Cheese Italian
1 oz. prosciutto, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated
4 Tbsp basil, chopped
Freshly Ground Pepper
1 cup rice flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup dried Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Cooking spray

For the sauce:
2 roasted red bell peppers
3 oz Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For veggie bundles
24 stalks asparagus, trimmed
1-2 red bell peppers cut into thin strips
4 leeks, top green part only
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp fresh dill, snipped

Preheat the oven to 350F. 
To make the chicken, cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast to make a pocket. Set aside.
In a small bowl, make the filling by combining the cheese, prosciutto, garlic, and basil. Mix thoroughly. Stuff each chicken breast with one fourth of the filling.  To make sure the pocket stays closed which baking, secure with a few toothpicks.
Set up a dredging station with the rice flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs in separate bowls.
Dip a chicken breast into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, again in the flour, egg then bread crumbs. Place chicken on a rack in baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray. Spray the chicken lightly with cooking spray. 
Cook the chicken 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the breasts. Increase the temperature of the oven to 450F and cook for an additional 5 minutes to crisp the coating.

Meanwhile, make the roasted red pepper sauce by pureeing the roasted red peppers in a food processor. Put the puree in a small sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients and heat through.

To make the veggie bundles, bring a small pot of water to a boil. Blanch the asparagus in the boil water for about 3 minutes or until tender crisp. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop the cooking. Blanch the red pepper strips in the same pot of water for about 1 minute or until tender crisp. Remove to ice bath. Blanch the leek top in the water for a bout 30 seconds or until limp Remove to the ice bath.
Remove the vegetables from the ice path and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange 4 pepper strips on top of 4 asparagus stalks then top with 2 asparagus stalks and 2 pepper strips. Tie the bundle together with the leek top. repeat to make 4 bundles.
In a skillet melt the butter over low heat. Add the dill and mix until just fragrant. Add the bundles to the dill butter, turn to coat. Cover the pan to keep warm until ready to serve.

To serve, remove the toothpicks from the chicken breasts. Arrange the chicken breast over the sauce with the veggie bundles alongside.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kielbasa with Spicy Sauce and Tangy Corn Relish

I was looking for something easy but creative tonight. It was enjoyed by all.

Grilled Sausage with Spicy Sauce
adapted from Duff Goldman for Food Network Magazine
1 package kielbasa, cut into bite-size pieces 
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
2 tsp. hot sauce
Saute the kielbasa pieces until heated through. Meanwhile, combine the ketchup, mustard and hot sauce. Serve with the kielbasa for dipping and along side the  Tangy Corn Relish. 

Tangy Corn Relish
1 ear corn, kernels removed
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup chopped sweet piquante peppers
1/4 small red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp. pickle relish
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
3/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1/4 tsp. Splenda
Saute the corn in the oil and cumin until slightly toasted. Transfer the corn to a small bowl. Add the remaining ingredients.Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to blend the favors. Serve with kielbasa.
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Monday, December 8, 2014

Chicken with Rum served with Asian Broccoli with Cashews

I never would have thought to put rum and sage together. This dish does not have a strong rum taste, just enough to make you wonder what the secret ingredient is that's in there.

Chicken with Rum
adapted from
4 large chicken thighs
3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
4 fresh sage leaves
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup rum
Montreal Steak Seasoning

Pat your chicken thighs dry (wet chicken does not brown) and season with Montreal Steak Seasoning.. Melt the butter in a frying pan large enough to hold the chicken without crowding. Add the sage leaves and chicken thighs. Brown the thighs on all sides. 

Add the chicken stock and cook for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the rum. Cover the pan and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.

Asian Broccoli with Cashews
1 bunch of broccoli florets, separated
1 Tbsp canola oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
4 thin slices of ginger
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Handful of cashews

Steam the broccoli until tender crisp. Saute the garlic and ginger in the oil until golden. Add the broccoli, salt and water, stir fry until heated through. Stir in the oyster sauce, vinegar and cashews. Serve warm.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Muffin Cups with Beef and Caramelized Onions

What to do with leftover steak? I usually just make steak and cheese sandwiches but this is a fun variation. I left the onions out of some for Nick who ate 4 of them in 2 days. I guess they were a hit.

The cut open version needs many of a food stylists techniques to look good but we wanted to be able to eat the food when after the picture was taken.

Muffin Cups with Beef and Caramelized Onions
adapted from Taste of Home 2011
medium onions, thinly sliced2 Tbsp butter,
1 tsp. flour
1/8 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 cup beef broth
6 oz. leftover steak, sliced thin
1 tube (16.3 ounces) large refrigerated flaky biscuits
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat the oven to 375oF.

Cook the onions in the butter until very tender.Stir in the flour and salt until blended; gradually add broth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened. Add the steak to the mixture and heat through

Separate biscuits, splitting each horizontally into three portions. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of eight ungreased muffin cups,making sure that the sides and tops overlap. Fill each with about 2 tablespoons beef mixture. 

Combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses; sprinkle over filling. Fold dough over completely to enclose filling. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese. 

Bake in oreheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand  for 2 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm. 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie

Warren loves pumpkin pie. I can certainly live without it but I bake or buy a different version each year at Thanksgiving. This year is a no bake pie which got a double thumbs up from my pie connoisseur.
The recipes is straight from Taste of Home Magazine October / November. I did not change a thing. Well, after meting the marshmallows I did stick the pan in the snow on the deck to get it to cool down quicker but I do not think we can rely on that method to always be available.

Marshmallow Pumpkin Pie
1 package (10 ounces) large marshmallows
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust (9 inches)
Additional whipped topping, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the first six ingredients; cook and stir over medium heat 8-10 minutes or until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat; cool to room temperature.
Fold in whipped topping. Spoon into crust. Refrigerate 3 hours or until set. If desired, serve with additional whipped topping.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Steak with Three Sauces ... Creamy, Spicy and Oniony

I felt like playing and seeing who would like which on the best. Warren liked all three but particularly liked mixing the spicy and the creamy. Nick liked the creamy. I preferred the onion but the spicy was a very close second.
Prepare you favorite cut of meat to your preferred doneness and see which one you like best.

Creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Sauce
2 Tbsp. fat free Italian salad dressing
1/3 cup reduced fat sour cream
2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan Cheese 
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 

Combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/3 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbsp cup water
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1/3 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
few drops of hot pepper sauce

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 min.  Serve warm..

French Onion Sauce
adapted from EveryDay with Rachael Ray October 2013
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 large onions, very thinly sliced and quartered
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt and finely ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup water
1 tsp beef soup base*

Cook the onions, thyme and bay leaf, salt and pepper in the butter, partially covered, until the onions are extremely soft and a light-caramel color; stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Add the wine and cook 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, then remove from the heat. Serve warm.

*I prefer Penzey's soup base because it is not very salty. Beef bouillon granules can be substituted but be careful of the salt content. 1/4 beef stock could also be used but the beef flavor would not be as strong.

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Slow Cooker Poultry Stock

I had enough points at the local grocery store to get $0.80 off per pound of a fresh turkey this Thanksgiving. Since it was only going to be the 3 of us and the boys wanted ham and not turkey, I cut it into pieces and put it in the freezer for later use. The spine and wing tips were add to some other ingredients and toss into the crock pot to make a tasty stock.

Poultry Stock
adapted from Slow Cooker Cooking by Laura Brody, William Morrow  p.8
4 pounds of chicken and / or turkey parts and bones
2 medium onions, quartered
1 large carrot, cut into 6 pieces
1 large parsnip, cut into 6 pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 3 pieces each
2 bay leaves
8 whole cloves
10 whole peppercorns
3 garlic cloves, whole
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 springs fresh parsley
8 cups water

Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours. All the stock to cool. Strain solids through a fine mesh sieve. Put the stock into a grease separator to remove as much fat as possible. There may still be bits of chicken and herbs floating in the stock. If you want to remove them strain again through food grade cheesecloth. I prefer to leave them as them add another depth of flavor and texture.
Refrigerate until ready to use for freeze for later.