Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This recipe is for Tay who does not have a grill (yet!). Make this in your oven and your house will smell incredible. Be sure to cook rice or couscous to soak up the juices. From Ina Garten's How Easy is That? cookbook - thanks to my darling daughter for my birthday!

Lemon Chicken Breasts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic (9 cloves)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (1 large or 2 small lemons)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on (6 to 8 ounces each)
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Warm the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, add the garlic, and cook for just 1 minute but don't allow the garlic to turn brown. Off the heat, add white wine, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, thyme, and 1 teaspoon salt and pour into a 9x12-inch baking dish.

Pat the chicken breasts dry and place them skin side up over the sauce. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle them liberally with salt and pepper. Cut the lemon in 8 wedges and tuck it among the pieces of chicken.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken breasts, until the chicken is done and the skin is lightly browned. If the chicken isn't browned enough, put it under the broiler for 2 minutes. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve hot with the pan juices.

Helen's Notes: I baked this in a glass dish, but would recommend baking in a metal baking pan, then transfer to serving dish. That will also make it easier to broil, if you need to brown them up more. There was a lot of sauce. Definitely serve with rice or couscous to soak up those good juices. I de-boned my own chicken breasts (and left the skin on, as instructed) saving the bones to make chicken broth later. Pop them in a freezer bag (Label the bag. Once I pulled out what I thought was chicken pieces to cook for supper, only to find it was bones for broth! Surprise!)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lemon Oregano Grilled Chicken Breasts

With spring here and summer around the corner, I'm ready for grilled foods. This is one of my "go to" recipes for company or a fast supper. The lemon is bright, light and tangy. Pounding the chicken breasts tenderizes the chicken as well as shortening the cooking time. If you don't have a fancy meat pounder, use the side of a small plate or a rolling pin. Remember to put the chicken in a heavy duty ziploc bag or between 2 pieces of plastic wrap to pound.

Lemon Oregano Grilled Chicken Breasts
4 (6-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
5 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt (or regular)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon water
2 garlic cloves, minced
Grilling Pam
4 lemon wedges
Chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat grill. Pound chicken breasts between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap until 1/4-inch thick.

Combine lemon zest through garlic in a small bowl. Rub mixture over both sides of chicken breasts. Coat grill grates with cooking spray (or oil grates with cloth soaked in cooking oil).
Grill chicken for 3 minutes on each side. (DO NOT OVERCOOK!) Remove from heat and squeeze 1 lemon wedge evenly over each chicken breast. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Strawberry Scones

This recipe is stolen unashamedly from Ina Garten! But, what a great treat for St. Patrick's Day? If you can't find freeze-dried strawberries, substitute your favorite dried fruit. Add a glass of green milk for the little ones!!

Strawberry Scones
4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar, plus additional for sprinkling
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup cold heavy cream
3/4 cup small-diced dried strawberries
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water or milk, for egg wash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine 4 cups of flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in the cold butter at the lowest speed and mix until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Combine the eggs and heavy cream and quickly add them to the flour and butter mixture. Combine until just blended. Toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour, add them to the dough, and mix quickly. The dough may be a bit sticky.

Dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and be sure it is well combined. Flour your hands and a rolling pin and roll the dough 3/4-inch thick. You should see lumps of butter in the dough. Cut into squares with a 4-inch plain or fluted cutter, and then cut them in half diagonally to make triangles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brush the tops with egg wash. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the outsides are crisp and the insides are fully baked.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lemon Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta

This afternoon, Ina Garten was cooking lemon shrimp with capellini. It looked soooo yummy that I went into my kitchen and cooked something similiar for supper tonite. (Do you think Mr. Bill KNOWS how lucky he is???) Here is my version and I must admit it was wonderful!

Lemon Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta

2 cloves garlic, minced
12 large uncooked shrimp (if frozen, defrosted and patted dry)
Extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and drained (optional, you can skip this step)
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
1/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
Hot cooked angel hair pasta (or whatever shape you prefer)
Place minced garlic, shrimp and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Remove the shrimp to a bowl and set aside. Add butter,1 tablespoon olive oil and artichokes to the pan. Cook until artichoke hearts are lightly browned. (If you skip this step, add the butter and oil to the pan and proceed.) Add lemon zest (just the yellow part!) to the pan along with lemon juice and wine. Bring to a boil. Add shrimp and parsley and stir until shrimp are heated through. Serve over hot cooked pasta.
Yield: 2 servings!

Now, how easy was THAT?
Helen's Notes: Ina Garten baked her shrimp, but since I had a Cream Cheese Pound Cake in the oven (for 1 1/2 hrs) that was not happening in my kitchen tonite! I threw in a few extra ingredients,too. The sauce is light and lovely! DO NOT add cheese to this... completely ruins it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Dense, rich, quick and easy.... and VERY chocolate-y... what more could you ask for???

Chocolate Pudding Cake

Pudding Sauce:
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 teaspoon instant coffee (powder or granules)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)

3/4 cup all- purpose flour
1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large egg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF and place rack in center of oven. Butter, or spray with a non-stick cooking spray, an 8 inch square baking dish.

Pudding Sauce: Stir instant coffee into the boiling water. (Can use freshly brewed hot coffee.) In a separate bowl, stir together the white sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa powder.

Cake: Sift flour with the cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder. Whisk the egg with the melted butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until combined. Stir in the chopped walnuts. Spread the batter evenly onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle the sugar/cocoa mixture evenly over the cake batter. Gently pour the coffee mixture over the cocoa mixture. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cake is puffed and just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature, either plain or with vanilla or coffee flavored ice cream. Leftovers can be covered and stored in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave.
Serves 8.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Low-Fat Broccoli Rice Casserole

Here is a pared down, skinny version of a favorite casserole. It's quick to make and tasty, too!

Low-Fat Broccoli Rice Casserole
1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped broccoli, cooked and well-drained
2 cups cooked rice
1 can fat-free cream of chicken soup
1 (8-oz.) block low-fat Velveeta
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl; stir to combine. Pour into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 3o minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly.

Helen's Notes: You might want to add buttered breadcrumbs (soft bread) for a topping or a thin layer of shredded cheese. Just be careful not to add too many calories!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"French" Braised Chicken Thighs with Herbs and Potatoes AND my secret to cooking canned green beans

Dinner for tonite is in the oven, Food Network on tv, glass of white wine by the laptop... and I MUST share the recipe with you along with my "secret" to canned green beans! Riley, our 10 yr old grandson, LOVES Grandma's green beans! Cracks me up! They are canned beans (3 / 15-0z cans) with a HAM bouillon cube and a tablespoon of sugar. That's it. Nothing else. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. The HAM bouillon is Goya, usually in the Hispanic foods section at the grocery store. If I can find it here, you can, too! The chicken recipe MUST be French, because it has wine in it (my dear husband's definition of French food!). Whether it is or not, it's a flavorful one dish meal. I'm cooking mine in my large le Creuset pot in the oven. You can make it in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, if you wish.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Herbs and Potatoes
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or use bone in and remove the skin)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups sliced (2-inch thick) carrots
1 large onion cut into wedges
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, quarted

Combine the first 6 ingredients (thru black pepper) in a large zip top plastic bag. Add chicken, seal and shake to coat.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chicken and remaining flour mixture to pan; cook for 3 minutes on each side or unti lightly browned. Add carrot and onion, cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add broth,wine and potatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 35 minutes or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. (I put mine in the oven and cooked on 350 degrees for 45 min.)

And, as the French would say, Voila! You are done!!
Helen's Notes: I added 2 cloves of fresh garlic and a sweet potate along with the other veggies. It was WONDERFUL! Serve with crusty French bread to soak up the delicious juices.

Grilled Pork Chops with Melon Salsa

The recent warm weather has made me crave grilled food. Sadly, our grill is covered and 'winterized'. In anticipation of its 'coming out', I'm posting one of my favorites from last summer! Maybe this will spur us on to get ready for grilling season! And to those of you who grill year 'round - ENJOY!

Grilled Pork Chops with Melon Salsa
1 cup chopped seeded watermelon
1 cup chopped honeydew melon
3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cooking oil
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut pork chops
Cooking spray

Combine the 1st 7 ingredients ( melon through salt); set aside. The salsa is made! How easy was that?

Combine oil with remaining ingredients through black pepper. Rub oil mixture over both sides of the pork chops. Spray grill grates, heat to medium-high. Add pork chops and cook 4 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Do not overcook! Remove from grill, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve with Melon Salsa.

Helen's Notes: Use any fruit in season for the salsa - peaches, pioneapple, mango...