Monday, January 30, 2006

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Another chicken success! I came home stressed from a looooooong day at work but, since I got up at 5am to run a few miles I knew I would have some time to do my favorite stress relief – cooking!

1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package, frozen chopped spinach
4 tablespoons butter
1 package sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ red onion, chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup Italian mix cheese
½ cup sharp cheddar cheese

Place breasts in the center of a plastic food storage bag. Pound out with a heavy-bottomed skillet. Be firm but controlled with your strokes.

Defrost spinach in the microwave. Transfer spinach to a kitchen towel. Twist towel around spinach and wring it out until VERY dry. Transfer to a medium-mixing bowl.

Place a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. When skillet is hot, add butter, mushrooms, garlic, and onions. Season with salt and pepper and sauté about 8 minutes (or until onions are transparent). Add the mixture to the spinach. Add the cheeses to the bowl. Stir to combine the stuffing. Return your skillet to stove over Medium high heat.

Place a mound of stuffing on each breast and wrap and roll breast over the stuffing. Secure breasts with toothpicks. Add 3 tablespoons oil to the pan. Add breasts to the pan and brown on ALL sides. (This will take about 15 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken).

Serve with mashed potatoes. OH! Pesto mashed potatoes would be a smash! (LOL). The chicken was a little difficult to "wrap & roll" because the stuffing was falling out and that meant I had to cook it a little longer, but it still tastes tender and juicy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Chocoholics Unite!

With all the gourmet food stores and shops out there who wouldn't be confused on the kind of chocolate to buy their sweetie for Valentine's Day. My suggestion - Why don't you try out the Chocopaedia

I've been using this site for a few years now to give me the latest and greatest review on the high quality chocolate. (I know I don't have the funds to buy a $50 bar of chocolate just to *see* if it tastes good.) This site has it all! You can search of cocoa percentage, chocolate makers, & even gift sets. (My favorite is the chocoalate & champagne set ;) ).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Classic French Toast

3 Tbls sugar
¾ cup of milk
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbls butter
6 slices of bread

In a shallow bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet. When skillet is hot but not smoking, dip bread in egg mixture and place in pan. Brown 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

I serve this classic breakfast with a side of fried eggs & Virginia sausage. It is delish & pseudo healthy because I used my Earth Grains high fiber / high protein bread!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Vodka Gorgonzola Chicken

This is an adapation of Rachel Ray's recipe. As much as I love stinky cheese, the gorgonzola was a little much for me so we decided to add in some spaghetti sauce to lighten the taste. The tomatoes & cheese pair well together and was a big hit in this household.

2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 large egg whites
1 cup chopped pecans
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup cream
1/2 cup Gorgonzola
1 jar Vodka Pasta Sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves, plus extra for garnish – substitute 1 teaspoon dried sage and stir into sauce, if fresh is not available

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Mix flour, poultry seasoning and garlic powder in a dish. Beat egg whites in a shallow plate or bowl. Place pecans on a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap on a cutting board or work surface.

Preheat a nonstick skillet with oven safe handle over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Turn in flour to dust the breasts, then turn in egg whites, then press breasts into nuts on both sides. Wash hands. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan and add chicken. Brown the nuts and chicken 2 minutes on each side then transfer to the oven and finish cooking the chicken through, about 8 minutes.

In a small pot, warm milk over medium heat. Add cheese and melt it into the milk. Add jar of vodka sauce. Stir in 2 tablespoons of chopped sage and simmer 5 minutes.

I served these chicken pieces over a batch of wide egg noodles and then poured the sauce over the top of everything.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love Mexican food, but it's not the healthiest thing to eat. So I had to search high and low for a tasty way to incorporate this dish into my weekly menu.

This recipe was taken from a Mexican Light Cookbook and is fabulous. Adam still has a hard time believing this soup is actually good for him!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 corn tortillas
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 cup canned Mexican-style stewed tomatoes with juices
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
12 ounces skinless boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 1 side of tortillas with oil; cut in half. Stack halves and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Spread strips on nonstick baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet.

Combine broth, water, tomatoes, bay leaf, garlic, cumin and red pepper in saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 5 minutes. Add chicken; simmer until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onions, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.

Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with tortilla strips and serve.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese Chicken with Fresh Basil Cream

Happy Birthday Dinner to Adam!

8 6 Oz. Boneless/Skinless Butter-flied Chicken Breasts
1-Cup Goat Cheese Mix (recipe follows)
Taste Salt & White Pepper
Egg Wash (recipe follows)
Pecan Breading Mix (recipe follows)

1. Pound The Chicken Breasts To 1/2" Thick, Be Sure To Make The Breast Uniform In Size.
2. Lightly Salt & Pepper The Breasts. With A Pastry Bag, Pipe 2 Oz. Of The Goat Cheese Mix Onto The Center Of The Breast, Fold In Half To Enclose, Envelope Style, The Goat Cheese.
3. Coat The Stuffed Chicken Breast With Flour, Remove Any Excess. Dip The Floured Breast Into The Egg Wash, Remove Any Excess. Coat The Egg Washed Breast With The Pecan Breading Making Sure To Cover The Entire Breast Evenly. Reserve, Refrigerated, Until Cooking Time.
4. To Cook, Fry In A Frying Pan With Corn Oil, Or In A Deep Fryer Until Golden Brown. Place The Fried Breasts In A Pre-Heated 350-Degree Oven For 6-8 Minutes, Or Just Until The Internal Temperature Reaches 140 Degrees (Use A Meat Thermometer)
5. Place On Serving Plates And Top With The Basil Cream Sauce. Garnish With Starch & Vegetables Of Your Choice.

Goat Cheese Mix:
1 Lb Cream Cheese
1 Lb. Goat Cheese
1/2-Cup Oven-Roasted Garlic Puree
1/4 Cup Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
Mix Cheeses, Garlic Puree, And Dry Ranch Dressing In Food Processor Until Well Blended.

Roasted Garlic Puree:
2 Cups Peeled Fresh Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tsp Salt

Coat Garlic With Oil And Season With Salt. Wrap In Foil And Bake At 375 Degrees For One Hour, Until Garlic Is Golden Brown. In Food Processor With Knife Blade, Process Garlic To A Smooth Puree.

Basil Cream Sauce:
2 Tbls. Butter
2 Tbsp Garlic, Minced
Pinch Salt
Pinch Fresh Pepper
1 Qt. Chicken Stock
1 Qt. Heavy Cream
1 Cup Fresh Basil Leaves, Julienne

In A Sauce Pan Over Medium Heat, Sautee The Garlic In The Butter Until Lightly Browned. Add The Chicken Stock And Simmer Until Reduced By Half. Add The Heavy Cream And Simmer To A Smooth Sauce Consistency. Season With Salt & Pepper, Add The Basil And Reserve Warm Until Service Time.

Pecan Breading Mix:
2 Cups Flour, All Purpose
2 Cups Pecan Pieces, Medium
1 Cup Pecan Meal
Pinch Salt
Pinch Fresh Pepper

In A Mixing Bowl, Combine All Ingredients Until Well Mixed.

Egg Wash:
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup Milk
Pinch Salt

In A Mixing Bowl, Combine All Ingredients Until Well Mixed.

A fantabulous meal by a fantabulous chef. Recipe compliments of Michale Ancho Chile Bar.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sumo Cookies

Now, I haven't celebrated Valentine's day in quite a while, but these cookies are so awesome that I just have to post something.

My first experience with SUMO cookies was last Mother's day when I ordered a large seven layer cookie for my mom. It arrived the next day in a tastefully decorated box and looked fantastic. My mom was thrilled with the gift because of how unique it was and how great it tasted.

For Valentines this year, I highly recommend you getting that special someone one of these delish cookies. Who knows what the future will hold for you afterwards!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Uncle Andrew's Extra Special Sunday Morning Pancakes

We recieved this recipe from Adam's uncle as an addition to our wedding cookbook. But there was no way I could wait 6 months before I tried some extra special pancakes!

Uncle Andrew’s Extra Special Sunday Morning Pancakes

1 cup flour
1 egg
2 Tablespoons oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons baking powder - TWO tablespoons, no kidding!
1 cup milk - approximately

Stir together dry ingredients, add oil, egg and half of milk, beat until smooth. Continue adding milk until consistency is like thick cream. Cook on hot griddle. May sprinkle with small blueberries if desired before turning.

The recipe was quick and very easy to make. I also enjoyed the pancake's light and fluffy texture. I cooked each one with a tab of butter which helped crisp the outer rim.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fort Worth Chicken

I've had this recipe for a while, but haven't had the desire to make it. Mainly because I LOVE honey mustard and knew that if I made it I would eat too much of the sauce and then not enjoy the dish. So when Adam offered to make dinner tonight, this was my first choice. We had most of the ingredients in the house already so it was going to be a cheap at home date for us!

The original recipe from my friend called for a few other ingredients but I changed them to match the flavors of the Wendy's Texas Cheeseburger. I always thought the cheese and mustard would do well on chicken and I knew I could make it for far less calories & fat.

Boy! Was I right! This meal is AWESOME. We paired our dinner with some steamed broccoli & roasted garlic and a glass of red wine.

1 pound, boneless chicken breast
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
6 slices bacon, cut in half
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup fat free mayonnaise
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 cups shredded Sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Rub the chicken breasts with the seasoning salt, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until crisp. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the mustard, honey, corn syrup, mayonnaise and onion. Set aside. Saute mushrooms for 3-5 minutes in 1 TBLS olive oil.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place the breasts in the skillet and saute for 3 to 5 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove from skillet and place the breasts into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Apply the honey mustard sauce to each breast, then layer each breast with mushrooms and bacon. Sprinkle top with shredded cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken juices run clear. Garnish with chives and serve with the reserved honey mustard sauce.

(In case you are wondering, Adam threw in some smoked sausage too)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Blackberry Cheese Pie

For Christmas I received baking tools to please any baking obsessed person. And since opening thme, I had been fantasizing about using my new found baking gadgets.

Patiently I waited...and waited...then waited for things to get back in the swing of things... then today I was swinging!

A co-worker gave me some recipes to add to my wedding cookbook and I was in heaven when I saw a recipe for homemade pie crust! I've never made pie crust from scratch and this looked awesome. The moment I got home I started pulling out my ingredients.

Pie Crust:
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. shortenting
6 tbls. water

Combine flour & shortening. Add water mixed with salt. Depending on amount of humidity, will need to add/dust rolling pin and mat with flour to prevent sticking.

1 can of Blackberry filling
8 oz. cream cheese
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tbls lemon juice (1 used lime because that was all I had)

Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium high. Add the egg & lemon juice and beat until creamy.

Spread the mixture on the pie crust and then bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and spread the blackberry filling on top. Continue to bake at 400 degrees for another 25 minutes.

I was so excited when I was making this that I messed up a lot of steps in the recipe. Surprisingly the recipe came out okay. It was the first pie I have ever made (okay, first pie crust) and I am pretty proud. I even went as far to use my new star cookie cutters and make a decorative topping.

Overall, a good dish.
Crust = 8.5/10
Filling = 6/10

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

New Year, New Food

I hope those that are reading this didn’t make resolutions to lose weight this 2006. It won’t change your body’s physical appearance if you are working out one hour each day but still eating fast food for lunch and dinner. Take the time to learn how to prepare healthy meals. Nutrition is approximately 80% of your body’s development. So go beyond the ho-hum typical American goal! Dare to make one new dish a week, try a foreign veggie, or dare I say, take your homemade dinner to work for lunch *gasp*.

Sunday nights are what I call my “cook nights”. I’ll make a meal big enough to feed a family of eight and that is then split it into individual dinners for myself and Adam (a trick I learned from my mom back in the day). When we are in a rush in the morning or trying to grab a quick bite to eat before we head out for the evening, these frozen dinners make a huge difference. Sure, not all of them are the most low-fat dinners (like tonight’s lasagna), but at least it is made with all natural ingredients and virtually no “added” ingredients.

Another trick I have is pre-packaging all my fruits and veggies in individual snack size Ziploc bags. This makes packing lunches super easy in the morning. For example, tonight when I made the lunches, my lunch got the following:

1 cup fresh raspberries & blackberries
1 cup carrots
1 cup Goldfish crackers
2 hard boiled eggs
1 cup Mediterranean couscous (made with curry, artichoke hearts, & raisins)
1 Myoplex Lite Protein shake
1 Lean Cuisine Spinach & Garlic Pizza

Adam’s lunch got the following:

1 cup carrots
1 cup Goldfish crackers
1 pear
2 servings of Lasagna
4 ants on a log (pieces of celery with peanut butter and raisins)
1 protein bar
1 packet brown sugar & vanilla instant oatmeal
1 sliced buffalo chicken sandwich with spicy brown mustard
2 hard boiled eggs

I know that I am in the minority in not wanting to lose weight during the New Year *le sigh*. I do, however, hope to keep this foodie blog going strong and inspire some people who never had the courage before to step inside the kitchen and try something new.