Monday, March 29, 2010

Grilled Chicken with Arugula Pesto and Caesar Spaghetti

Grilled Chicken with Arugula Pesto

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast (tenders removed)


Heat a grill pan to high.
Toast the nuts lightly in small skillet over low heat, then add them to a food processor.
Add the arugula, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine.
With the processor on, stream in the extra-virgin olive oil to form thick pesto.
Lightly pound out the chicken, then rub all sides with the pesto. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray or rub with a little oil and grill the chicken 2 to 4 minutes on each side.
Cook's Note: Serve sliced on top of Caesar Spaghetti or, pile it onto ciabatta bread with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for an outta-sight sammy.


Caesar Spaghetti

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
  • 6 anchovy fillets, drained
  • 4 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, eyeball the amount
  • 2 medium heads escarole, washed
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano


Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, salt the water. Add the pasta and cook until just shy of al dente, according to package directions.
Heads up: you need to reserve about 1 cup of the starchy cooking water just before draining.
While the pasta is cooking, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the extra-virgin olive oil. Add the anchovies and cook until they've melted into the oil, about 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the garlic, stir 1 minute then add in Worcestershire. Shred the escarole and add several handfuls at a time, wilting the greens in the garlic oil. Dress the greens with lots of pepper and a little nutmeg, then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the pan. Add the reserved starchy cooking water to the eggs in a small bowl and beat together to temper them. Turn off the heat and add the drained pasta and the egg mixture. Stir to combine. Add half of the cheese and toss vigorously for 1 minute. Dress the pasta with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and transfer to a serving dish. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.
So I came home from work, changed my clothes and headed straight into the kitchen to fix my feast.  Altogether it took me a total of an hour and a half.  I'm sure it will take me half the time once I get used making this recipe a couple more times.  I didn't take as many pictures as I would have wanted to but then you would have thought the Tasmanian Devil had paid us a visit.  I really made a mess.  I cleaned up a lot of the mess as my hubby made me sit down and rest so that he could do the dishes (isn't he the most to say the least???)  :)
Anyways, Don wasn't too crazy about this recipe.  He wasn't too crazy about the chicken but really liked the spaghetti.  I guess he just thought the chicken had too many spices.  This pesto is spicy and it's got a lot of different kinds of spices that we're not used to from the arugula to the anchovies to the nutmeg.  I told him the chicken could also be eaten in a pita pocket so maybe he'll like it better that way.  All in all, I would make this again but will have to wait for Don to go out of town again.
Oh and by the way, this whole dish would be perfect to make for St. Patricks Day just because the pesto is really bright green and covered the chicken in green like a dye.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Peach Cobbler and then Some

Well I'm starting off with dessert today just because I didn't cook a big meal this weekend.  To make a long story short I went to 3-4 stores at least twice looking for some Arugula and for some Escarole over a two week span and FINALLY found them today in West Lynchburg, where all the rich people live.  So, I will make my tasty main course tomorrow (Monday).  Today's dessert, Peach Cobbler, was VERY easy as I was VERY lazy and just bought a pre-mix.  After I took it out of the oven and let it cool down for a bit I served it in a bowl along with a couple of scoops of Dark Creamy Chocolate Ice-cream and mmmmmmm, I mentioned to the hubster that I could eat this stuff for the rest of my life!!  It was soooo good.  We enjoyed it immensely!  ~isavortheweekend

Saturday, March 13, 2010

White Chicken Chili w/ Rosemary Buttered Rolls

16 oz uncooked navy beans
1 can Hunt's roasted tomatoes
3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsps. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper
1 med onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups of chicken broth (fat free)
1/2 cup chopped celery
Seasoning to taste:
coarsely ground pepper
bay leaf
celery salt
hot pepper sauce or Sarichi sauce
Garnish: a dollop of fat free sour cream.

In large pot, simmer beans for two hours or follow directions on package.  Season with salt and pepper.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan, take the chicken breasts and rub the salt, pepper, cumin, onion and garlic powders on both sides until well coated.  Brown chicken in heated oil and cook both sides until golden brown. Remove chicken from pan and set the pan aside.  Cover the chicken with foil until it's cooled down.  Add the broth to the pan of chicken drippings and scrape up bottom with a spatula.  Add the garlic and  onions.  Simmer about 10 - 15 minutes, adding more liquid (chicken broth) if needed.  Cut the cooled down chicken into bite sized cubes, and set aside.
Add the pot of liquid to the pot of beans then add the celery, roasted tomatoes, cubed chicken and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer for an hour stirring if needed. Remove about 2 cups of mostly beans from the pot and mash them with a fork, then return to the pot and simmer for about 15 more minutes -- this thickens the chili. Adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve in a bowl, top with a dollop of sour cream and serve with the Rosemary Buttered Rolls (see recipe below).


Rosemary Buttered Rolls by the Pioneer Woman

•Frozen, Unbaked Dinner Rolls
•Melted Butter, Regular, Salted
•Fresh Rosemary, Coarsely Chopped
•Coarse Sea Salt

Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray (or coat with olive oil). Place frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours.
After rising, brush rolls with melted butter.
Sprinkle on chopped rosemary. Brush with additional butter. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake according to roll package directions (usually 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes), until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.
Serve skillet on the table.

This has been a favorite chili recipe of ours for several years now.  Ever since I tasted Ruby Tuesday's Chicken White Chili, I knew I just had to find the recipe to make it at home for my family.  I found a recipe, tweeked it quite a bit and even though it does not taste like the Ruby Tuesday version, it's still very good.  My hubby loves it and quite often asks for it.  The rolls were more than a magnificent sidekick to the chili.  They were delectable and melted in my mouth and once again the credit goes to the Pioneer Woman.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to make these rolls everyday for the rest of my life!!  Thanks Pioneer Woman :)  We watered this meal down with Rasberry Tea (see recipe in January 2010).  What a delightful, filling, tasteful and did I say low-fat? meal (shhh! don't tell the hubster).

Spring break is here and everyone returns on the 22nd and once they do Spring ball begins!!!  Yippee, skippee!!  Can't wait :)  ~isavortheweekend

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Chicken Piccata

Added by Ree on March 7, 2010 in Main Courses, Pasta


•4 whole Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
•Kosher Salt To Taste
•Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
•4 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
•5 Tablespoons Butter
•4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
•1 cup Dry White Wine
•¾ cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
•2 whole Lemons
•3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
•Chopped Fresh Parsley
•1 pound Angel Hair Pasta (I used whole wheat)

Preparation Instructions

     This is how you make Chicken Piccata when you’re out of capers and you have a pathological fear of cooking anything without adding heavy cream.
     Have a pot of water simmering for the pasta.
     If chicken breasts are overly thick, pound until slightly flattened. Sprinkle with salt and pepper on both sides, then dredge in flour.
     Heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry two of the chicken breasts at one time until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes on each side; a little longer if breasts are thicker, a little shorter if breasts are thinner. Remove to a plate, then add the other 2 tablespoons each of butter and olive oil. Fry the other two breasts until golden, monitoring the oil/butter mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. Decrease heat as needed!
     After removing the chicken, have the heat on medium to medium-low. Pour in wine and chicken broth, and squeeze in the juice of two lemons. Whisk the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan. Allow sauce to cook and bubble and thicken until reduced by about half. Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper as it’s cooking.
     Reduce heat to low and pour in cream. Whisk together and allow to cook for a couple of minute until sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasonings or other ingredients. Expect the sauce to have a real tang to it; counter it with a little more broth and cream if it’s too strong! Sprinkle in some chopped parsley and stir.
     Right at the end, cook angel hair until al dente—do not overcook!
     With tongs, place a medium-sized mound of pasta on a plate. Place a cooked chicken breast beside it, then spoon sauce over the chicken and the pasta. The sauce is strong, so no need to drown it. Sprinkle a little minced parsley over the top.

WOW!  That was a lot of pasta on my hubby's plate but you know what?  It was all delicious and it disappeared in no time.  Once again, I owe this plate of deliciousness to the Pioneer Woman.  I'm really diggin' her site.  She's witty, very thorough and has a picture for every step which I LOVE and appreciate since I'm a "visual" learner.  I had my hubby cut the chicken up before I got home and although there were more pieces than what I expected it all turned out okay.  It was a change of what we usually have during the week but it really hit the spot.  Hubby says it's a keeper and I have to agree.  The lemon flavor sauce was so good,  I really wish I had enough leftovers to bring to work but oh well.    I'll just have to make more next time. :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Mexican Feast ~ again :)


•1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
•1 Tablespoon All-purpose Flour
•1 can (28 Ounce) Enchilada Or Red Sauce (I used 2 10oz. cans and along with homemade sauce)
•2 cups Chicken Broth
•½ teaspoons Salt
•½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
•2 Tablespoons Chopped Cilantro

•1-½ pound Ground Beef (I used Chicken instead)
•1 whole Medium Onion, Finely Diced
•2 cans (4 Ounce) Diced Green Chilies
•½ teaspoons Salt

•10 whole (to 14) Corn Tortillas
•½ cups Canola Oil

•3 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
•1 cup Chopped Green Onions
•½ cups Chopped Cilantro
Preparation Instructions
Step #1 – The Sauce
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil and flour and whisk together to make a paste, cooking for one minute. Pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes.

Step #2 – The Meat
Brown the meat with onions in a skillet. Drain off fat. Stir in 2 cans diced green chilies and seasoned salt. Set aside.

Step #3 – Tortillas
Line a platter or cookie tray with paper towels.  Heat canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. One by one, using tongs, fry tortillas in oil until soft, not crisp – about 7-10 seconds per side. Remove to paper—towel lined platter/tray. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried.

Step #4 – Assembly
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour ½ cup red sauce in bottom of baking pan. Spread to even out. Dip each tortilla into red sauce, then remove to work surface. Spoon meat, a little grated cheese, a little black olives, and green onions in the center of tortilla. Roll up and place, seam down, in baking pan. Repeat until pan is filled. Pour extra red sauce over enchiladas. Top with remaining cheddar cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly. Optional:  Sprinkle cilantro over enchiladas before serving.

Pinto Beans and Mexican Rice
The beans should be the first item since it takes at least 2-3 hours for them to simmer.  So, start at least 1 hr. before you start on the Enchiladas.  The Mexican Rice should be the last step since it probably only takes about 20 minutes to cook.

1 small bag of pinto beans
4 qts. of water in large pot
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 1/2 tsps. cumin powder
1 -2 tsps. chili powder
Salt and pepper

Rinse the beans thoroughly in a strainer.  Pour beans in water pot.  Bring to a boil on high then turn the heat down to simmer and pour in all the spices.  Simmer on low for 3 hrs.  Stir occasionally and do not allow the water to go beneath the beans.  Always have the water level at least one inch over the beans.

2 tbsps. Canola oil
1 cup rice
1/4 cup green onions (borrow some from the Enchilada recipe above)
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
2 cups water
1 tsp. garllic powder
1 tsp. cumin powder
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in pan, add the rice and brown for 8-10 minutes.  Add the green onions and stir for another two  minutes.  Carefully add the whole can of tomato sauce and carefully add the water and mix.  Add the garlic and cumin powders and salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all the water has evaporated and the rice is not pasty tasting but very tender.  Let the rice set until ready to serve but first stir it around to get an even color.  See results on top picture.

Don, Grandma and I ate this meal.  I have to say these were THE BEST Enchiladas by far!! WOW!!!  They were so good.  I finally found the best Red Enchilada recipe thanks to once again, The Pioneer Woman.  I tweeked in several areas but basically the same exact recipe and gotta say, this one's a keeper and would make my Mama proud!! :)  Both Don and GMa enjoyed it too ~ no complaints although I personally would like to have it a bit more picoso (spicy hot) so next time I'll make sure to make it picoso :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Inside Out Cordon Bleu

M-m-m-m-m Cordon Bleu in the middle of the week.  I am sooo spoiled.  So delicious and so filling.  Thanks Lisee!!


3 tablespoons fig jam
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese (about 3 ounces)
8 thin slices black forest ham
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 cups baby greens
Mix the jam, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Lay out a long piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board. Place the chicken on the plastic and brush half of the jam mixture evenly on top of each breast. Mound a quarter of the cheese on each piece of chicken, then wrap 2 slices of ham around each breast to cover the cheese. Place another piece of plastic over the chicken and gently pound with a mallet or heavy skillet until about 1/4 inch thick.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side until cooked through but still moist, 3 to 4 more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the shallot, mustard, vinegar and the remaining jam mixture in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil to make a smooth dressing.
Place each piece of chicken on a plate and drizzle with dressing. Toss the greens with the remaining dressing; serve with the chicken.
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