Archive | April, 2012

Basic Breaded Chicken Cutlets

29 Apr

This “recipe” is so basic it’s not even funny. But I figured there are some people who didnt grow up eating this chicken so I wanted to share. This was a basic chicken recipe my mom would start with and then maybe make a mushroom and wine/sherry sauce for the top. Hers always tasted great and was nice and moist.

This is also the base for some of the more popular, yummy italian chicken dishes: parmigiana, francaise, scallopini, etc.

Ingredients

Flour, egg wash, breadcrumb station

The key is dipping thin pieces of chicken into egg wash, then flour, then egg wash, then bread crumbs or panko. I prefer bread crumbs (Robbb prefers panko)iugoyp.pp.

Yes, butter AND olive oil

Since you are using thin cuts of chicken, it wont take long to sautee. When you sautee, remember to use butter AND olive oil for a richer taste.

Raw breaded cutlets

Cutlets sauteeing

This is an easy weeknight meal. You can do a number of things to make this meal as basic or as lavish as you want. We tend to keep it basic. Robbb enjoys either plain or sometimes with ketchup (gross). I prefer mine with a lot of lemon juice on top. Tastes fresh!

Yummy plate o'chicken

Closeup of Yum

Breaded Chicken Cutlets

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of chicken breasts, pounded thin (or buy the pre-pounded package)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs (more if needed)
  • butter and olive oil

Directions:

Put flour, salt, and pepper in a plastic bag (or dish). Beat eggs in a wide bowl. And put breadcrumbs in casserole dish or plate. Put butter and olive oil in a large sautee pan.

Take chicken and dip into egg wash, then place into flour mixture and mix well. Then dip back into egg wash quickly, and then dip into the breadcrumbs and coat well.

Place chicken in hot sautee pan and cook well on both sides on medium heat. Top – or finish as you like.

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Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry Pinwheels

26 Apr

This recipe is a variation on the one that Pepperidge Farm puts on their Puff Pastry box. I have never tried either, but this one looked more appealing to me for some reason. And fancier without being any additional work.

Mixture in a bowl

Mixture on Rolled-out Puff Pastry

The key is to really defrost the puff pastry and the spinach. They are more maleable to work with when fully thawed. The rest is super easy.

Roll of Goodness

Ready to Bake

Dont they look all fancy? And they are hardly ANY work at all. I brought them for Easter Dinner this year as an appetizer. Everyone loved them.

Pile of Yum

Look at that – doesnt that look perfect for company or your next get-together?

Spinach Gruyere Puff Pastry Pinwheels


Ingredients:

  • 1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Wrap the spinach in a towel or paper towels and squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can. If you don’t, the puff pastry may end up soggy.

Combine the spinach, both cheese, the salt and pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together.

Place the sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it into a roughly 12×12-inch square, lifting and turning as you go to ensure it’s not sticking. Brush a thin layer of the egg wash over the surface of the puff pastry, then spread the spinach/cheese mixture in an even layer.

Roll the puff pastry like a jelly roll and pinch to seal at the seam. Cut the roll into approximately 20 1/2-inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of each lightly with the egg wash.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until the pinwheels are golden brown.

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

23 Apr

These cookies are deliciously interesting.

Ingredients

Everyone first remarks on how chocolately but yet not overly sweet they are. Then they want to know what the “nut” is in the cookie.

Batter halfway mark

That’s not a nut! Those are steelcut oats and they give this cookie a great crunch!

Crumbly dough

My mom has been making these for the past 3-4 years. I always forget about them until she makes them – and then it’s a nice surprise. She got smart and put the recipe in the Family Cookbook 🙂  Oh, and the dough is very tough but easily comes together.

Uncooked

Be careful – they are addicting.

Cooked

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

¾ cup flour

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

½ cup sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup (or more) steel-cut oats

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a large rimmed baking sheet.

Sift first 4 ingredients together into a medium bowl.

In separate bowl, using electric mixer, beat butter until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla, beat until blended.

Add flour mixture and beat until moist clumps form.

Mix in oats and chocolate chips until blended. Dough will be very firm – use your hands if you want.

Using moistened palms, shape 1 generous tablespoon of dough into a ball.  Place on prepared sheet, flatten to 2-inch round. Space rounds about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies for 14 minutes – until center is slightly firm and top is cracked. Cool on sheet.

Roasted Tomato, Herb, and Snøfrisk Tart

21 Apr

What the heck is a snøfrisk? I had no clue so I googled it. Okaay…..well I wont be finding any of THAT. But a perfect substitution is Boursin cheese. Who doesnt love Boursin?

Ingredients

Draining Tomatoes

I also found this recipe online on someone’s blog….and from the way the recipe was written, it was definitely someone in another country because it’s all in the metric system. So I loosely translated and ran with it.

Pre-bake

It goes together SO easy, it looks impressive to serve company, and you can custom slice it as big or little as you want.

Voila!

I made this for my work girls night dinner. It was simple to throw together, beyond slicing the tomatoes and letting them drain. I definitely recommend – this is a simple appetizer or side dish.

Roasted Tomato Tart

Ingredients:

  • 1 box puff pastry
  • 3-4 large or 6 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 125 g. snøfrisk or any other cream goat cheese (2-3 pcks of Boursin)
  • 3 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
  • Sea salt and pepper

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the garlic cloves, Boursin and herbs together (because I selected an herb-filled Boursin, I only used rosemary). Spread the cheese mixture over the puff pastry leaving a 1-inch border on each side. Place the tomatoes on top.

Brush outside edge of pastry with egg white to encourage browning during baking.

Bake at 400 F for about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

19 Apr

Have 1-2 old bananas to use up? Want a quick sweet treat? I think these are solidly the best chocolate chip banana muffin out there.

Ingredients

My old work-friend, Alli Braus, posted these on facebook over a year ago. They looked so easy and delicious – and she vouched for them saying they were excellent. The recipe comes from AllRecipes.com!

Muffin Cups

These are so moist and fresh and delicious. And the greatest part is that you can stick them in the freezer for later and just pull one out when you want one!

Yummy

Ingredients

  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1   teaspoon baking powder
  • 1   teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1   egg
  • 1/2  cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2  cup plain yogurt (I use greek yogurt)
  • 1  teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1-2 bananas)
  • 3/4  cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla.

Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in bananas and chocolate chips.

Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

Sausage Lentil Soup

14 Apr

I have been going CRAZY on this Rachael Ray soup all winter. And I get to use some of my Homeade Sausage in it!

Ingredients

My homemade sausage

I have made about 5 big pots (sometimes double recipes) of this soup and I freeze containers of it for healthy work lunches.

Veggies

Simmer

We’ve been having such a mild winter, that my Rosemary bush is still alive and fresh as ever. So I love using fresh rosemary in this soup. I tend to veer a lil less on the escarole just because personally I dont like a lot of lettuce-y greens in my soups.

These guys go in at the end

Delicious

This soup is so delicious and tasty. It takes no time to make. And it makes great lunches throughout the week for work. Pair it with a piece of bread and you are set!

Sausage Lentil Soup

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO
  • 1 pound sweet italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 8 ounces brown lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 head (3/4 lb.) escarole, coarsely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

  1. In a large dutch oven or soup pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until browned; transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon.
  2. Add the onion and carrot to the pot and cook until slightly softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender, 25 to 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in the escarole and sausage, cover the pot and cook until the escarole is wilted and the sausage is heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Versatile Vanilla Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

12 Apr

I knew I wanted to make a cake on Superbowl Sunday for Robbbb since his Patriots were playing. I wanted to make a vanilla cake since that’s his favorite, but wanted to use chocolate icing since that is MY favorite.

Basic ingredients - except buttermilk is something most people dont have on hand

Batter

I looked around for a couple days for some decent recipes. I ended up turning to Martha Stewart. I read some reviews on various cakes and netted out on her Versatile Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Ganache.

Beautiful Layers

Chopped Chocolate

I hadnt made a cake in a long time so I was excited. And I’m ashamed to admit this, but I’ve NEVER made a layer cake with icing before. And as you all know, I am always excited to get out my KitchenAid mixer and mix something!

Cream mixing with the Chocolate

Cooling the Ganache

I set out slowly and with confidence. I followed Martha’s instructions to a T and used quality ingredients. For the icing, you HAVE to use quality chocolate – 60 or 70% cacao at least. I used Ghirardelli brand 8 oz at 60% and 8 oz at 70%.

Iced Cake

It turned out AMAZING. The cake was moist and delicious and so flavorful. The chocolate ganache was the richest icing I’ve ever had. I will ALWAYS use this ganache from now on. It couldn’t have been simpler to make, too. I think the next time I make it, I’ll try using 2 cups of whole milk instead of 2 cups heavy cream just to see if I can make it a smidge healthier.

Delicious

I have since made this cake again for a Girls Night get together and it was once again, a total crowd pleaser. Robb’s compliment about this cake: “This cake reminds me why I love cake so much“. Believe it.

Versatile Vanilla Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pans
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-by-2-inch cake pans, tapping out excess flour. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and yolks, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined.
  3. Divide batter between pans; smooth tops. Bake until cakes pull away from sides of pans, 32 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans and invert cakes onto a wire rack. Let cool completely.
  4. Place one cake, bottom side up, on a cake stand. Tuck strips of parchment paper underneath. Using an offset-spatula or table knife, spread top with frosting. Top with remaining cake; frost top, then sides.

Dark-Chocolate Ganache

(Makes 3.5 cups)

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Remove from heat; add 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped, and let stand, without stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk just until combined. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until spreadable, about 1 hour.
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