New Look!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I don't know if I have any regular readers, but I got bored with my old layout and am trying a new one on for size.  Let me know if you like it...  :)

Pork Milanese

As some know, I often buy proteins and vegetables separately, and then flounder around looking for a recipe to fit them...  This usually ends up with something good, but sometimes results in disasters, or as Nick would say "nasty casseroles".  This time, I had 4 boneless pork chops (not good enough for him to make his Cajun Smothered Pork Chops)...and no recipe.  Enter Giada again.  Nice job, Giada.  This was really, really good.  And pretty easy.

Pork Milanese

Here's what I used:

4 boneless pork chops, pounded 1/4" flat with mallet
2 cups AP Flour (In bowl #1 for dredging)
2 eggs, beaten (In bowl #2 for dredging)
2 cups Italian Bread Crumbs (In bowl #3 for dredging)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp butter
1 Lemon

Here's what I did:

Preheated oven to 170 degrees.  Lined cookie sheet with foil, and added cooling racks on top.  Set aside.

Pounded pork chops flat with a kitchen mallet, inside of a large ziplock bag, and then seasoned each one, on both sides, with S&P.  Dredged each pork chop in #1 Bowl (Flour), then #2 Bowl (eggs), and finally #3 Bowl (Bread Crumbs). 

In a nonstick skillet, heat oil and butter to med-high.  In pairs, cook breaded pork chops for 3 minutes per side, and then place on rack/cookie sheet, and set in oven to keep warm while finishing the other pork chops.  Once all pork chops have browned, allow them to rest in the oven for an additional 5 minutes and then serve with pasta/sauce or other sides of your choice.

Just before serving, squeeze 1 wedge of lemon overtop the pork chops, or serve wedge on the side to your guests.  Yummm.

Chicken Saltimbocca with Sauteed Mushrooms and Israeli Couscous

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nick picked this recipe out of our Giada de Laurentiis cookbook, and I ended up making it.  While preparation is detailed/tricky, this is a great meal to wow guests or really surprise a special someone.  We had leftovers, too.  Yummm.

Chicken Saltimbocca

Here's what I used:

3 chicken cutlets, pounded to evenly flatten
6 slices prosciutto
1 16 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or Parmesan/Mozzarella mix
1 (14-ounce) can low-salt chicken broth (or 2 cups water & 2 cubes bullion)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 cups button mushrooms
1 cup uncooked israeli couscous
garlic salt

Here's what we did:

Nick pounded the chicken breasts flat with a mallet on the cutting board until they were about 1/4" thick.  Then he seasoned both sides of each cutlet lightly with S&P.  He also microwaved the frozen spinach in a bowl with a little water for 2 minutes, until thawed, and then drained off the excess water.  Then he drizzled 1 tsp of olive oil and lightly seasoned spinach with S&P.

Then he had leave to get his hair cut...

So I picked up where he left off.  Laying slices of prosciutto across each chicken breast, then a few heaping spoons of spinach, and finally a generous 1/3 of the cheese.  Once all ingredients were on the chicken breast, I rolled them together, and used my cooking rubber bands to hold the rolled chicken together.  I needed two across the width, and one across the length to hold them together.  You can also use toothpicks, but we didn't have any...and the bands are super easy.

Next I added the remaining olive oil to a large nonstick skillet and set it on a med-high flame.  Once the oil was hot, I added my chicken rolls and allowed them to lightly brown on all sides, for about 2-3 minutes total.  Then I added in the lemon juice and chicken stock, turned down to a simmer, covered, for another 8 minutes, turning once midway through.

Meanwhile, in another pot, I sauteed some button mushrooms with 1 tsp of olive oil and garlic salt, and also added the remaining spinach.  I set 1 cup of water and garlic salt to boil in a small saucepan, and cooked my israeli couscous as well.

Once the chicken was cooked through, I removed the cooking bands, and plated each chicken roll with the couscous and spinach and mushrooms.  It was delish.  Give it a try!

Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This original recipe was a hit last night, as a side to Nick's classic BBQ Chicken.  Just enough for 4-5 people as a side portion...if you want more, double it!

Vegetarian 3-Bean Chili

Here's what I used:

1 can dark kidney beans
1 can black beans
1 can great northern beans
1 can Rotel (spicy diced tomatoes and green chiles)
1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 tbsp olive oil
3 chicken bullion cubes (or 2-3 cups chicken stock)
2-3 cups water (if using bullion)

2 tbsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tbsp Chili Powder
S&P to taste

Here's what I did:

Rinse all beans in a colander to remove residue.

In a large pot or stock pot, heat up olive oil on medium heat and saute onions and green peppers 5-7 minutes, until slightly clear/opaque.  Add garlic and saute for one more minute. 

Add remaining ingredients and stir to incorporate.  Add all seasonings, omit Cayenne if milder heat is desired.

Simmer on med/low for 15-20 minutes, or until chili has thickened slightly.  If flavor is too spicy, add in more bullion/water or chicken stock.

I just had this again for lunch.  I venture to say this was better than the chicken.  (Don't tell my hubby).

Rosemary Sage Pork Rib End Roast

Friday, March 19, 2010

Here's another easy one, that got rave reviews from the hungry crowd last night..with enough leftovers for Sydney's lunch today...

Rosemary Sage Pork Rib End Roast

Here's what I used:

1 4-5 lb Pork Rib End Roast (or any roast/tenderloin of pork)
2 heaping tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried sage
3-4 tbsp olive oil

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Combine olive oil, garlic and dried herbs in a bowl and stir to incorporate.  Meanwhile, set pork roast into a roasting pan, and season lightly with S&P.  Then brush or spoon on the marinade, and cover pork roast completely.

Roast at 500 degrees for 15 minutes, turn once to evenly brown.  Turn oven down to 325 for another 35-40 minutes.  Allow pork to rest 5-10 minutes before serving, tented with foil.

I paired this with some baby carrots that I steamed, and seasoned with nutmeg (carrots are SO GOOD with nutmeg), a little butter, S&P.  I also made steamed cauliflower, cut into small 1/2" pieces. 

This was easy with not a lot of prep and the pork was very tender.

Lemon Oregano Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I have really been slacking in the kitchen lately.  Nick went to New Orleans for 4 days and during that time, Sydney Grace and I just ate what we wanted...simple, quick, easy meals that are probably not worth mentioning.  I assume most of you can make boxed mac n cheese, yes?  ;)  And turkey dogs with ketchup that ends up all over little hands, trying so carefully to dip each little wedge before popping into her little mouth.  With a resounding "MMmmm Mommy!"  Who can argue with that?

But I did start up again last night.  Yes I did.  And it was a good one, let me tell you.  And 100% my own creation, which is not usually the case.  The key to this recipe, I think, is the fresh oregano.  While I usually substitute dried herbs for fresh, when I don't have the fresh on hand, fresh oregano is really key to this one.  And let me tell you, the aroma that filled my house with this one....oh man, I could bathe in it.

Lemon Oregano Chicken with Roasted Vegetables

Here's what I used:

1 6 lb chicken fryer
1 large lemon
1 bunch fresh oregano (1/2 chopped, 1/2 on the stems)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
Garlic Powder

4 large red potatoes, cubed into 1-2" pieces
1/2 bag small carrots
2 medium onions, cubed into 1-2" pieces

Here's what I did:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse and pat chicken dry.  Line roasting pan with foil to save on cleanup.

Season inside and outside with S&P and Garlic Powder in a nice, even coat.  Squeeze lemon juice from 1/2 of the lemon on the inside and outside of the chicken.  Then stuff the lemon into the bird.  Drizzle the outside of the chicken with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil, to coat.  Finally, sprinkle 2 tbsp of chopped oregano leaves over the bird.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 2 tbsp chopped oregano with the juice from the remaining lemon 1/2 and the remaining 1-2 tbsp of olive oil and season with S&P.  Add vegetables and stir to coat all veggies evenly.

Add remaining lemon and oregano (on stems) into the bird.

Using kitchen twine, or cooking bands, secure drumsticks together, tightly against the bird.  This will help seal in moisture, and keep the legs from getting dried out.  Also, fold the wings back behind the bird, for the same reason.

Cook the chicken for 30 minutes, and then add vegetables to the base of the pan, inside the foil. 

Cook an additional 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until bird registers 160 degrees with a meat thermometer and potatoes are fork tender (give way when you stab them with a fork).

I find it helps tremendously to re-apply olive oil 1-2x throughout the baking.  The skin of the chicken still gets really nice and crispy, without being tough or stringy underneath.  I just put my thumb overtop the olive oil bottle, and allow the oil to drizzle over the chicken and vegetables.

This turned out really, really nice.  The potatoes had a nice, crusty browning to them, and the skin of the chicken was crispy, fragrant and really yummy.  While Sydney didn't make it till the end of the cooktime (daylight savings has us all thrown off!) she does have some delicious chicken and roasted veggies waiting for her in her lunchbag today!

Chicken Parmesan with Whole Wheat Spaghetti

Friday, March 5, 2010

I don't have a witty intro for this one.  Plain and simple I used the preparation from a favorite Barefoot Contessa Chicken Piccatta recipe, and then modified the second 1/2 of the recipe and went towards Chicken Parm vs. Chicken Piccatta.  It was yummy, and Sydney loved the pasta, which she calls "newls" (instead of noodles) and the chicken ends up with a crunchy exterior much like a crispy chicken finger.  :}

Chicken Parmesan

Here's what I used:

3-4 thin chicken breasts (or you can flatten regular ones with the bottom of a glass or w/ a meat pounder)

In three separate bowls for dredging:

1.  1 1/2 cups AP Flour
     1 tbsp kosher salt
     1/2 tbsp black pepper

2.  2 eggs, beaten
     1 tsp water

3.  2 cups italian bread crumbs

2/3 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into thin rounds
2-3 tbsp olive oil

1 box whole wheat spaghetti
1 jar good pasta sauce (I used a sweet basil variety that we like)

Here's what I did:

The first step of this recipe is prep. 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Wash and rinse chicken breasts, and then pat dry.  If you have regular chicken breasts (not thin), an easy way to flatten them is to put each breast into a large ziplock bag, or between saran wrap, and pound them flat with the flat bottom of a drinking glass or with a meat pounder device until the reach about 1/8" thick.

Set up the dredging stations as well, using three shallow bowls for the Flour, Egg Mixture and Bread Crumbs, in that order.

At this time I also set a large pot of water to boil for the pasta.

Once the chicken is prepped, dredge each piece in the flour, egg mixture and then bread crumbs.  Make sure that they are evenly coated and that no flour is showing through.  If there are spots that did not coat, redredge in egg and breadcrumbs until completely covered. 

In a non-stick skillet, brown chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes per side on medium heat with 2-3 tbsp of olive oil, or until just golden brown, and then set aside on a foil-lined cookie sheet.  I usually make enough for two skillets worth of chicken, so in between, I put my first batch in the oven, while the second batch cooks.  Once all chicken has been browned, add 2 mozzarella slices to the top of each chicken breast, and cook until cheese has melted and just started to brown on top.

Meanwhile, cook pasta to al dente and warm up your pasta sauce.

I plated about 1 cup of pasta alongside each chicken breast and topped with the sauce.  Sydney LOVED this, Nick loved it, and I really like it.  I usually shy away from recipes with pasta or breaded chicken, but this was healthy and the portions were perfect.  We also have leftovers.  You can easily reheat the chicken breasts in a toaster oven or regular oven at 350 for about 5 minutes.

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