Archives

Carpese Chicken Breasts

This is a guaranteed way to cook chicken breasts that will turn out juicy, tender and delicious. The cheese and tomatoes create a moist and flavorful filling enhanced by the basil leaves. 

Resist the urge to over-stuff the breasts. All that extra filling looks beautiful,but most of it will wind up in the bottom of the pan. You should be able to close the pocket and secure it with a toothpick or two.

Searing over high heat insures a nice light crust without the need for breading. The oven finishes the cooking process quickly and evenly.

This is a time when a meat thermometer becomes your best friend. Check at the 15 minute mark. Once it is flirting with 140 degrees remove it from the oven. It will continue to cook as you garnish it with the pesto.

This will lend itself to any filling you can dream up. Just keep the filling moist and the amount in moderation. 

Carpese Chicken Breasts
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Carpese Chicken Breasts
Print Recipe
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven heats prepare the chicken
  2. Carefully cut a pocket in each of the chicken breasts. Do this at the thickest part being careful not to cut completely through.
  3. Fill each breast pocket with half of the tomatoes, 1/2 ounce of cheese, and 4 of the basil leaves. Gently pull the pocket closed and secure it with tooth picks,
  4. Heat an over proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it begins to ripple.
  5. Sprinkle the Italian herb blend evenly over the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in the skillet. Brown for 3 minutes, turn the breasts, and brown the other side 3 minutes more.
  6. Carefully pour in the chicken stock and transfer to the oven.
  7. Bake 10 minutes. Add the remaining cheese to the top of the chicken and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (140 degrees).
  8. Remove the chicken to serving plates. Pour a little of the pan drippings over the chicken. divide the pesto evenly on top of the chicken and serve.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Caramelized Onion and Pepper Relish

We are all still basking in the fading glow of summer. Grills are still being called into service on a regular basis. Chicken, pork, fish, and beef proudly take to the grill. We all know that grilled protein is delicious, but sometimes it can feel a bit under-dressed on the plate.

There are lots of ways to make them feel a little more complete and this relish is one colorful alternative. It can be viewed as the bright colors of summer or the tones of the changing leaves of fall. Whatever your perspective it is a tasty addition to a meal.

I must confess that this came about as a result of a refrigerator clean-out mission. Mini bell peppers, and started red and sweet onions were all languishing in the crisper. The slow and aromatic caramelizing process came to mind. This does take some time ; 40 minutes give or take, but the depth of flavor is definitely worth it.

I brought some other bold flavors to the mix in the form of garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and sherry vinegar. I also added several serious glugs of dry sherry and a dollop of honey. Salt and pepper were added throughout the process. The acidity created by the vinegar gave it enough bite to qualify as a relish in my book and the petite sirloin it topped was very happy indeed.

 

Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Carmelized Onion and Pepper Relish
Print Recipe
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and spread over the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the dry sherry and the thyme sprigs to the skillet and continue to cook for another 5 - 10 minutes.
  4. One everything looks beautifully golden, stir in the vinegar and honey and allow it all to cook a few minutes more.
  5. Remove the thyme sprigs (many of the leaves will remain in the relish) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with your grilled protein of choice.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy

I am a firm believer that a slow cooker has a specific place in the kitchen of love. That is in the realm of soups and chili and now gravy. While I am not overly fond of large (or small)pieces pf meat prepared this way, I do find that soups, chili and other “liquidy” recipes work well. I do also like the convenience of setting and then forgetting these long cooking recipes.

Soups and chilies benefit from long slow cooking. With a slow cooker to keep an eye on things, the cook is able to go about life without the burden of being constantly available to stir and adjust the heat. At times that can feel like a life changing occurrence.

I had never thought to make Sunday Gravy in the slow cooker. I rather enjoy the process of stirring and tasting and adjusting. It brings back wonderful memories of my father making his gravy, meatballs, and sausage. Please, journey back with me by clicking on this link:

More Memories From the Kitchen of Love 

Back to the present and the slow cooker. This recipe takes the heart of my father’s recipe and introduces it to elements of the classic Bolognese Sauce. San Marzano tomatoes replaced my father’s Tomato paste and puree, though a good amount of tomato paste was needed to pay respect to the bolgonese.

I used meat that I had in the freezer; in this case two spicy Italian sausage links and a bag of “meat bits”. The bits were mostly chicken, remnants of trimmed thighs and breasts, but there were a few pork scraps as well.

I browned the meat and onions before adding them to the cooker. We all know that a slow cooker can’t brown things. Which in my opinion is one of the factors that contribute to the watered down taste. In this case it was worth the time because the flavors were really there. The tomato paste also had a chance to cook out a bit before jumping into the “hot tub”.

I originally planned to let the sauce cook 6 – 8 hours. It wound up going closer to 10. That was a good thing. It resulted in a thick rich sauce that was wonderful. I strongly suggest waiting until the next day to eat this. The aroma that is created in the house will make that difficult but be strong, I guarantee that the wait will be worth it. You have my permission however, to dip a chunk of bread into the pot to check for proper seasoning. That’s where the salt, pepper and perhaps a bit of sugar listed in the recipe come in.

Serve this over your favorite pasta. I chose spaghetti (Papa D’s favorite). I also used my mother’s technique of serving. A ladle of gravy in the bottom of the bowl with a sprinkle of cheese. Half of the pasta and another ladle of gravy, a quick toss, then repeat. Top with two generous ladles of gravy and a generous sprinkle of cheese and bring it to the table. 

I don’t know if my father would have embraced the slow cooker. Back then I think he was as concerned about the process as the product. I do believe that if he were around now he would approve of this take on his prized recipe.

Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Slow Cooker Sunday Gravy
Print Recipe
Servings
12
Servings
12
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Pour the tomatoes into a 5 -6 quart crock pot. Use a potato masher or your hands (if you want to be one with the tomatoes) to crush the tomatoes.
  2. In a large skillet, heat a bit of the olive oil. Crumble the sausage meat into the skillet. Discard the casing. Brown the sausage lightly. When it is barely cooked through add it to the slow cooker.
  3. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add the finely chopped chicken meat. You want this to brown, so if you need to, do it in two batches. Again we are looking for some color and barely cooked. Add this to the cooker as well
  4. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the onions and garlic. cook these until they are just getting translucent and lightly browned.
  5. Add the tomato paste to the onion mixture along with a splash of stock. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes.The onions should be coated and the mixture should be a lovely russet color.
  6. Add this to the cooker along with the parsley and Italian herbs. Stir everything together and cover the pot. Set the temperature on low and let it go. 8 -10 hours should do it.
  7. When you feel that it can't get any more wonderful, turn off the pot. If it seems to thick, add a little more stock. .
  8. Cool slightly. Divide the gravy into 3 containers. Freeze 2 and put the other one in the refrigerator for dinner tomorrow.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a favorite of many with good reason. It’s a grain (actually a seed) that is loaded with protein and is gluten-free. It is easy to prepare and is the perfect blank canvas for many creative additions.

I love it in a salad because it can stand up to big tastes like the ones in this recipe. There is an explosion of tastes and textures, yet there is also a pleasant balance of flavors. Grilling the corn and mushrooms gave them both a flavor boost. The chewiness of the mushrooms gave the dish a “meaty” feel and the tomatoes and onions gave it just the right amount of crunch. Quinoa is innately toothsome and was a perfect counterbalance.

I opted for a vinaigrette liberally laced with lemon and rosemary and a big hint of garlic to keep with the Mediterranean theme. You could use another bean, maybe cannellini if you were so inclined. The addition of a little cheese, perhaps feta, wouldn’t be a sin either. As with all of my recipes, I want you to make it your own.

This would make a wonderful side dish at a cookout, but it would be equally at home starring as they main attraction.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Print Recipe
Servings
8
Servings
8
Ingredients
Dressing
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa in the vegetable stock according to the package directions adding the lemon peel, crushed garlic, and rosemary sprig at the beginning of cooking. Once it is cooked, remove the garlic, lemon, and rosemary as well as any un-absorbed broth and transfer into a large bowl.
  2. Trim the stems on the mushrooms. Cut any very large ones in half. Toss with the olive oil and grill in a basket over medium heat until lightly browned. Add to the bowl of quinoa.
  3. Spray the ears of corn lightly with cooking spray and grill over medium heat until lightly charred on all sides. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the kernels off the cob and add them to the quinoa bowl.
  4. Drain the artichoke hearts well and roughly chop them before adding them to the bowl along with the red onions and garbanzo beans.
  5. Cut the tomatoes in half and add them to the bowl
  6. Toss the ingredients together gently. Add the dressing and toss once more. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve.
Dressing
  1. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small food processor. Blend until the dressing is smooth. There will be small flecks of rosemary...that is a good thing.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza

Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza
Print Recipe
This is a great recipe for the grill, but it can also be done in the oven.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Roasted Tomato and Ricotta Pizza
Print Recipe
This is a great recipe for the grill, but it can also be done in the oven.
Servings
2
Servings
2
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Slice the tomatoes in half. Toss on a foil lined sheet pan with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast at 425 for 10 minutes.
  2. Combine the ricotta, pesto, half & half, and Romano cheese. Set aside.
  3. Heat the grill . Place the nan bread on the grill to toast one side (2 - 3 minutes). remove from the grill.
  4. Spread the toasted side of the bread with the ricotta mixture and top each bread with the tomatoes. Divide the Italian blend and feta cheeses evenly between the two breads.
  5. Grill covered for 7 - 10 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and the bread is golden brown.
  6. Remove from grill. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with the shredded basil. Serve.
Share this Recipe
Powered byWP Ultimate Recipe