Category Archives: white wine

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

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This is another idea I found on Pintrest. I loved the sound of it alone. I mean Crispy + Cheese + Chicken? Heck ya sign me up!! It was a fantastic recipe and you can see the original recipe at Jamie Cooks It Up. But you know how I am about trying to healthify recipes if I can. It is just a thing with me. So I switched the Ritz crackers for Seasoned panko bread crumbs, subbed the regular cheddar cheese with the 2% variety, and in place of the condensed soup gravy I made a quick white wine pan gravy. 
It makes a bit of a…well I should say I make a bit of a mess while making this, but the mess is worthwhile. We both really enjoyed this chicken. Kevin took the rest to work for lunch the next day. I think his boss is starting to feel  a bit left out. They used to get fast food for lunch everyday and now that I am just cooking for two there are always leftovers that then become Kevin’s lunch. Oops no fast food buddy now. Sometimes I am nice and send along extra for him to eat too. 

This chicken with a nice side salad or veggie makes a fabulous week night meal!
Crispy Cheddar Chicken
Serves 2
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 3 large chunks each
Salt and pepper
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups 2% cheddar cheese, grated
2 cups Italian seasoned Panko (can use plain and add some Italian seasoning blend)
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped


Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. Pour the egg, cheese, and panko bread crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Dip each piece of chicken into the egg, press into the cheese, and then into the bread crumbs. 
Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute, then whisk in the white wine. Slowly whisk in the stock to avoid lumps. Cook until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the chicken and garnish with the chopped parsley.

ENJOY!
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Make Ahead Turkey Gravy

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I know today is supposed to be Tinsel Tuesday, but I had several of my Facebook followers ask for this recipe when they found out I was making it yesterday. This year I am trying to get as many things done ahead of time so I am not in a time crunch on Thanksgiving day. I am entertaining my son’s girlfriend’s family, so there will be anywhere from 10 to 15 people here at the house. Small kitchen + lots of people = I need to try to de-stress as much as possible! I have a 26 pound bird to cook so that has me stressed out enough!
The whole time I was cooking up this gravy Kevin kept saying “Wow it smells good in here” and it did. It smelled like Thanksgiving in my kitchen! Talk about  making you hungry? I wanted my turkey right then and there. That is the downside of make ahead gravy. This recipe takes a bit of time but creates such a rich flavorful gravy it is worth it!! Kevin and I were dipping bread in the remnants at the bottom of the pot!! I think we could have easily made that dinner had there been much more in the pan (the gravy in the rubbermaid container was off limits!).

The recipe I use makes about 8 cups of gravy total. You could cut it in half, but I seriously doubt you will have to worry about leftovers!!
Make Ahead Gravy
4 pounds turkey wings (can substitute chicken wings)
2 onions, quartered
6 carrots, cut in large chunks
6 stalks of celery, cut in large chunks
1 bottle dry white wine (I use Chardonnay)
2 quarts chicken stock (plus more if needed)
10 fresh sage leaves
9 cups water
3/4 cup corn starch
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Place the wings, onion, carrots, and celery in a roasting pan and roast for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the wings are a deep golden brown. Remove the wings and veggies from the roaster and place them in a large soup pot   or dutch oven (8 quarts or  more) along with 2 quart of stock, 8 cups of water, and the sage leaves. 
Place the roasting pan on the stove top and heat over high heat. Add the wine and using a wooden spoon scrap up any browned bits that are on the bottom. Continue cooking until the wine cooks down to 1 cup of liquid. Add the wine to the pot with the wings. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours uncovered.
Strain the broth into a large bowl, discard solids and skim any fat from the top. If broth is less than 8 cups add enough stock to bring it up to 8 cups. If it is more than 8 cups, return to soup pot and heat until reduced to 8 cups.
Bring the broth to a boil. Meanwhile whisk corn starch into the last cup of water. Whisk into boiling broth. Cook until mixture thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool and store in plastic container. You should have approx 7 cups of gravy. Refrigerate up to 5 days.
On the day you want to serve the gravy. Add the gravy to a large pot to reheat it. Add the strained drippings from the turkey and additional stock if needed to thin the gravy.  
ENJOY!!

Sausage and White Bean Soup

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Yesterday was a cold, drizzly, windy day here in Western Washington. I know you are thinking “cold, drizzly, and windy in Washington? NO WAY!” But yes dear friends, it was miserable. On top of mother nature bringing me down, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. I wanted to curl up under the covers in my jammies, I wanted to watch cheesy 80’s movies,I wanted my Mommy! But my jammies were in the laundry, and there were no 80’s movies on TV so I knew I would have to settle with something warm and yummy in my tummy. I took up the challenge and I ransacked my pantry. I was very happy with what I found.

Ahhh soup, glorious soup. As you all know I am a lover of all things “soupish”. Stews, Chowders, even Chili’s make me such a happy camper during the cold dreary months here in the Pacific Northwest. Which by the way last pretty much from October to July so I have tons of soup days!
I know I have mentioned that Kevin does not share this love of mine. In fact it is quite the opposite. He looks at soup as maybe and appetizer? He is looking for the real meal that goes with it. Many a time he has to walk away disappointed, or with a grilled cheese sandwich to supplement his meal experience. 
This evening though was much different though my friends. On this evening he was not only perfectly content with the idea of this soup as the main meal, he went back for seconds and thirds!! I was afraid to get between him and the pot for fear of being stabbed with his spoon!!! I have to agree though, this really is one of my favorite soups. You have the meatiness of the sausage, the creamy white beans, and just enough heat to make your mouth warm and tingly but it doesn’t blow the top off of your head. 
When a soup warms me, fills me up, and makes me want to curl up on the couch and purr with contentment, well I am just a happy happy camper!!
Sausage and White Bean Soup
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian turkey sausage
1 large sweet onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
4 stalks of celery with leaves, diced
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves, chopped
3 teaspoons dried oregano
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
1 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce cans cannellini beans 
1 quart chicken stock
In a deep soup pot heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and  brown well, breaking it up into little bits. Remove sausage from pot and reserve.

To the pot add the remaining olive oil, onions, garlic, chili peppers, celery, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the white wine, scrapping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits there might be. Return the sausage to the pot. Add the crushed tomatoes, cannellini beans, and chicken stock.

Bring to a boil, once boiling reduce heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let it cook for 30 mins stirring occasionally.

ENJOY!!!


Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole

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Last night was a great night. Spur of the moment my kiddos (my son and his girlfriend) decided to pop by. It was happy for one because we needed his help moving my china hutch. But mostly because ever since we all got our own places I miss the crap out of them! It is funny, we all knew that we needed to move on and get places of our own. But dang it is so had to be away from them, at least for me.
It is funny, I spent a lot of the day on Monday unpacking boxes and putting things away in my dining room. We are having about 15 people here for Thanksgiving so I figured it might be a good idea to finally unpack the boxes that have been sitting there for a couple of months. Once I had the boxes unpacked and all of my china and crystal on my dining room table I started to look around at the room and decided I wanted to change how it was arranged. 
Now it was no surprise to my son, or would it be to anyone that has known me for a long time, but Kevin was kind of hit out of the blue with it. I move furniture all of the time. I have to get a “feel” for the room, and until it feels right I am constantly rearranging. He tried arguing with me about the need to move the hutch, but he eventually backed down. My son could have saved him the time, you will never convince me it doesn’t need to be moved if I think it does!

But due to my dining room table be covered with dishes and such, and the days getting so short that it is pitch dark by 5:30 PM here. I am having a heck of a time getting any pictures of my food. Kevin even went to Home Depot last night to pick up some under the counter lights just to help me in the kitchen. As you can see by the pictures, the lights help for cooking, but not so much for picture taking. Oh well, I will figure something out.
Now on to the dish. I found this recipe on the internet quite some time ago. I loved it because I love spinach and chicken and, well who doesn’t love a good casserole? They can be great comfort food and remind me of growing up because my Mom was the casserole Queen. But in those days it was the canned condensed soups that were used as the base. This one didn’t use the soup, but it called for whole milk and sour cream and tons of butter. I knew I could make is so much healthier!
The kids and Kevin loved it. I of course am always harder on myself than anyone else. I loved it but felt it didn’t have that “Wow” factor. Kevin pointed out to me that every dish doesn’t have to blow you off your seat, and my son said that he loved it because it was warm and creamy, it was just plain comfort food. We all agreed that if you like a bit of zing you could add some crushed red pepper to it. But it was a great meal for a cold Washington night. We sat in the living room, with the fireplace going, and enjoyed some nice comfort food together. That can never be wrong!!
Chicken, Spinach, and Noodle Casserole
Adapted from a recipe found on Real Simple
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces egg noodles (I used No Yolk noodles)
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken (I used the whole rotisserie chicken)
  • 5 ounces baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Butter flavored cooking spray

Heat oven to 400° F. 

In a large pot boil water for noodles, salt the water before adding the noodles and cook the noodles according to the package directions; drain and return them to the pot.

Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, until foamy, 1 to 2 minutes (do not let the mixture darken). Add the white wine and whisk for a minute to cook off the alcohol, then slowly add the chicken stock, whisking as you go. 

Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking often, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the yogurt and thyme. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the sauce, chicken, and spinach to the noodles and toss to combine. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch or some other 3-quart baking dish, sprinkle with the bread crumbs, and spray the top with butter spray to dampen the crumbs.

Bake until the bread crumbs are golden and the filling is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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ENJOY!!!

Shared at The Lady 8 Home

Chicken with Herbed Dumplings for Soul Warming #SundaySupper

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I love the fact that this is one of the recipes I make that when my kids hear what I am making I hear a resounding YAY!!! They refer to it as my “Famous” Chicken and Dumplings. Gotta say that makes me feel good. I have been chomping at the bit for Fall weather to arrive just to make this meal! So you know when I found out this weeks Sunday Supper theme was “Soul Warming Dishes” I jumped ALL over it!! This truly is a soul warming meal. It is the perfect comfort food to me. There is never a time (OK maybe if it is 80’s degrees outside) that this doesn’t sound good to me, and I know the family feels the same.

This is one of the fist recipes that I came up with and have the recipe in my head. It has become more “a little bit of this and ……. oh ya, some more of that……ok lets add this too vs a strict recipe. So you can imagine when I got down to the business of cooking I though “Hhhmmmm I had better pay attention to what I do so I can actually “write” a recipe. I was glad I caught myself from the beginning so I didn’t have to back track and guess. I am sure you all wouldn’t appreciate a recipe that was a “guess” more than an actual recipe. Nobody wants to cook an experiment when they are hoping for a good meal!

If you are trying to eat healthier you can leave the dumplings off but they are OH so good, it would be hard for me to do that. I have made them from scratch but have used a little help from my friend Bisquick at times too, so if you want to make the dumpling and still be a bit “healthier” they have reduced fat Bisquick now and that can be an option as well.

Either way I am sure you will love this one!!

Chicken and Herbed Dumplings

For the soup
1 rotiserie chicken, shredded with skin and bones removed
2 large carrots, diced
3 stalk celery (with leaves on), diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
Kosher salt and cracked black pepper 
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine 
5 cups chicken stock
For the dumplings
2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick mix
2/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and poultry seasoning to the pot and stir well. Cover the pot and continue to cook the  veggies over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid and add the flour, stir to combine well and cook for about 1 minutes to cook away the raw flour taste. Add the white wine, and stock (If you do not use wine add 6 cups of chicken stock). Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer soup for 30 minutes, until sauce has thickened and the vegetables are soft. Adjust seasoning if needed and add the shredded chicken.
In a medium bowl mix Bisquick, milk, and parsley. Stir until combined and drop by spoonfuls into soup. Cook the dumplings uncovered for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove lid and turn off heat. Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Soup will be HOT!
ENJOY!
We have over 50 contributors this week, bringing you their best warm you up dishes.  We have everything from stews, soups, main entrees and even some hot drinks and desserts. 
Just look at the list below that is coming to the #SundaySupper table this week!
Main Entrees: 
Chili/Stews:
Soups:
Desserts/Beverages:
Join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat. 
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your Sunday Supper Soul Warming Recipes on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board and share them with all of our followers, too.

Also share at Under the Big Oak Tree’s Soups On Party

Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples

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I have been trying to come up with some new side dishes that include ingredients that you might not think about using together. I of course have a difficult time not using pasta or rice because, well I a just a huge pasta lover. Rice runs a close second. So I knew I wanted to start with one of those as a base. Pasta of course won the battle. Caramelized onions are another love of mine and I like to use them in many of my dishes. Shoot, sometimes I just caramelize a bunch of onions to have in the fridge so I can use them on sandwiches or in omelets.
Just over this past year or so I have discovered that I really enjoy Brussles sprouts. When I was a child I couldn’t stand them. Mostly because all my Mom did was steam them with no seasoning. I didn’t like that strong cabbage flavor, I didn’t like them hard, and I surely didn’t like the smell of them cooking! So when Kevin and I were looking through some food magazines before Thanksgiving last year, we ran across a recipe using Brussels sprouts and Kevin told me liked them and wondered why I had never made them, I decided I needed to let my childhood aversion of them go and give the little green guys another shot.
OK so now I have pasta, onions, Brussels sprout, but I knew I wanted another level of flavor. I decided with the bitterness of the Brussels sprouts, and the smokiness of caramelized onions, i wanted to add something sweet to balance it all out. What came to mind? Apples. I mean I do live in Washington and right now you have a difficult time going anywhere without tripping over an apple! OK I am exaggerating a bit, but there are a butt ton of apples available in Washington right now!!

I had the major players for the dish but now had to think about how I wanted to put it all together. I of course turned to my favorite liquid, wine! I don’t know which I do more of, cook with wine, or drink wine. I am a huge wino errr wine connoisseur and really enjoy trying different wines to boost the flavors in some of my day to day dishes. While I was cooking with Heather (my son’s girlfriend) last night she asked me what things she could do to pep up some of the less expensive dishes she might be making. I told her that a little splash of wine, fresh herbs, or even lemon juice, can give a dish a whole new life.
So now we are down to make this dish. When Kevin came home and asked what was on the menu I told about the dish I had come up with. He gave me a funny look. When I questioned him as to why the look. He said it sounded good but he would have never thought to put those things all together in a dish. He said he was still very excited to try the dish, especially when I told him I had decided to add bacon as well. Bacon makes everything better right? I just thought the saltiness would be a nice addition and remembered a dish I made last Christmas that had Brussels sprouts as well as bacon in it and they played very nicely together.
Now we are down to make this meal. I was making my Pesto and Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts as well, so I had many dishes, pots, and ingredients all over my kitchen counters. OK remember I told you my new kitchen is small? I mean it is seriously small! Like so small you have to go outside to change your mind small!! Now that you know that, picture counters covered, and two people in the kitchen, one of which is on the verge of a panic attack! Why was I loosing my cool? Well again you have to remember I have never cooked on an electric stove. WOW who knew that it is sooooo different from gas and why did they not beat  this information into my head?
I prepared the chicken easy enough, minus the heart attack I damn near gave Kevin (see above linked recipe for my attempt on Kevin’s life), and had all of my veggies chopped and ready to go. I cooked the bacon and removed it to drain. Then place my little green buddies cut side down in the bacon dippings to get a nice browned edge on them and crisp them up a bit. Once they were browned I was going to add my onions and then cook them both down a bit to caramelize them. However my stove had another plan for the dish. After placing just a few of the sprouts in the pan I realized that they were going to burn before I could get the others in the pan to join them. Now I am trying to grab sprouts out of a hot pan and panicking trying to figure out how I am going to get them to cook evenly. Kevin calmly stepped in and took over. He removed the pan from the heat long enough for me to place all of the Brussels sprouts in it and then returned it to the heat. 
I know it seems simple, but at the time I was arguing because the pan should be hot to sear the Brussels sprouts and I was cooking it the way I always do. Mind you I was saying these things in the middle of bouncing around and muttering like a mad woman saying things like “wait..will that work” “but….I never do it that way” “God bless America this is going to burn” and (almost in tears) “I am going to ruin this dish”. Yes, not my coolest moment folks. But I allowed Kevin to take over for a bit, and he smoothly took me to a calmer place and I was able to step in and take over. Finishing the dish without another hitch, and feeling like a complete idiot for my previous freak out. He just smirked at me. Hey he owed me one right?
Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Brussels Sprouts, and Apples
6 slices of bacon, chopped
10 to 12 ounces of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and vertically halved
1 medium onion, sliced
3/4 cup chicken broth (can sub Vegetable stock for a vegetarian meal)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 apple (recommend Honeycrisp), cored and chopped
1/2 box of spaghetti noodles
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste


Cook bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp.  Remove bacon with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserve.

 Increase heat to medium-high, place Brussels sprouts cut-side down in the pan and cook without stirring, until sprouts begin to crisp and brown, about 2 minutes. Add the onion and toss to combine with the sprouts, cooking and stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn a golden brown. Add the broth, wine, andapples, scraping up any fond from the bottom of the skillet, and bring to a fast simmer. Cover, reduce heat to medium,  cook 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package directions, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. Transfer pasta to the skillet with the sprouts and liquid and toss continuously over medium-high heat for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Add reserved cooking water a bit at a time if needed. Add the Parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper and  top with reserved bacon.

ENJOY!!

This post also shared on Morsels of Life

White Wine Braised Chicken

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Last night was the first night that we have had the kids over for dinner since we moved. They have been getting settled into their new place and we have been getting settled into ours. It was nice to have a bit of family time so we could all relax and take a deep breath after all the craziness (moving sucks…just saying). So I really wanted to make a nice hearty home cooked meal for them. Plus I had gotten a phone call from my son saying, “Mom I really miss your food!”. Tasty dinner coming right up!!
I have been making sandwiches, and fast food knock offs all week. I decided I wanted a meal that was balanced, filling, and full of good stuff. I mean we know what kids eat when they are on their own right? Protein, veggies, and some nice crusty bread seamed like a wonderful choice. I really do miss cooking for the whole family. It is nice for Kevin and I to have our own space but I’m seriously going through the empty nest thing here!!

I made this with skin on bone in chicken thighs because, well I just love the flavor and juiciness of thighs. But you could do this just as easily with breasts if you prefer. I would use skin on bone in breast though if you want that nice golden brown crust on the meat. I wish I had browned mine just a tad bit longer.
This one of my meals that I call a “kitchen sink” meal. I threw a tons of stuff in the that was on hand. Beans, veggies, herbs, you name it. That is the beauty of a recipe like this. Once you  have the meat and braising liquid you can go crazy and make it your own! 
Everyone loved it and it just ended up being a nice tummy filling comfort food kind of dinner to share with my family! I hope you give it a try!!
White Wine Braised Chicken
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 large leeks, white and light green portions, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise, rinsed clean of grit
  • 1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 19-ounce can of Cannelinni beans, drained
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (2 ears of corn)
  • 8-ounces frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 2 Tablespoons. fresh lemon juice
  • Kosher salt 
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 loaf of crusty bread, opptional


Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides and, working in batches if necessary, brown the chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes total per batch. Remove to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the leeks and red pepper to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and wilted and absorbed most of the chicken fat. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. 

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine using a wooden spoon to scrape up and browned bits that are on the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for a minute or so to cook off the alcohol. Add the chicken stock to the pan and bring back to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Return the chicken to the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover the pan and allow to cook for 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with tin foil to keep it warm.

Add the beans and corn to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Continue to cook while stirring occasionally, for about 5 to 7 minutes, or until the corn kernels have softened. Add the peas, chives, and lemon juice and cook for an additional few minutes to heat up the peas. Remove from heat and adjust seasoning.

Ladle the broth and veggies into a bowl and top with 2 chicken thighs. Serve with crusty bread.

ENJOY!!


Food Star Friday – Shrimp Fra Diavolo

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Happy Friday my friends. I hope this week has been kind to you and that you are winding down and getting ready for this holiday weekend. You know Labor Day is a classic grilling day and right now there is much “debate” going on in my house about what and who will be grilling. There may be a compromise in sight though. I was thinking about trying a slow cooker rib recipe so if I do that and focus on side dishes the boys can argue without me over who gets to be master of the grill.
Anyway, when the dust from that debate settled I realized I had not planned a Food Star Friday meal. Dang it! So after browsing Food Network and The Cooking Channel I was still at a loss as to what I would make. That was when I got the idea to pose the question to my Facebook and Twitter followers. I asked people to give me the name of a food star and a protein. After several hours of responses the protein I would be using was quite clear – shrimp. OK I love shrimp so I was excited about that idea. But the food star was not as easy. I never really thought about how many food stars there are out there. Wow you all came up with some great people. It was a very close race but Giada was the winner. As soon as I realized she was the food star I knew exactly what I was going to make. I have watched the show that she makes this dish on several times and it always looked and sounded so good to me. Why I didn’t come up with this idea I don’t know, but I am sure glad that you all did it for me. It was fantastic!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil. Season with more salt, to taste, and serve.

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Beurre Blanc

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Hello my fine foodie friends! Today’s Food Star Friday post is courtesy of Kelsey Nixon from Kelsey’s Essentials. I know she isn’t a “big” food star, but I have been watching a lot of the new shows lately trying to get a feel for the up and comers. This episode of her show was all about sauces and, as you know, a sauce can make or break a recipe. So I thought I would share the link for the episode as well as one of her recipes. The episode was entitled “Sauces” and the recipe, well as you can see I made some very yummy roasted asparagus with a Beurre Blanc sauce.

I am an asparagus fanatic! Hands down it is my favorite veggie with the artichoke coming in a close second. I have made asparagus just about every way possible I think, but am always open to new ways. A certain pizza I just found on Pintrest comes to mind so stay tuned for that one too!

In the past I have tried many variations of this dish. Asparagus wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with a little bit of Swiss cheese tucked under the prosciutto wrap, etc. But when I saw one of my favorite side dishes made with a sauce I had never tried I knew it was meant to happen.

The sauce takes a little bit of time but is oh so worth it! Actually it is not as much time as attention. If you let it get to hot you will break the sauce. But like I said this sauce is just, well perfect! We even drizzled it over our baked potatoes and steaks!!

Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto with Beurre Blanc

1 large bundle of asparagus (18 spears)
Proscuitto (6 slices)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground black pepper
Beurre Blanc sauce (recipe follows)


2 shallots, finely chopped
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
1/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the woody ends of the asparagus spears trimming the spears to the same length.

Bundle 3 asparagus stalks together and wrap each grouping with one slice of prosciutto, leaving the tips exposed. Drizzle the bundles with olive oil.

Roast the bundles for 10 minutes, or until the asparagus ends and the prosciutto slices are crisp.

Drizzle each prosciutto-wrapped asparagus bundle with the prepared beurre blanc and serve.
To make beurre blanc:
Bring the shallots, vinegar, and wine to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan until the liquid is reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 5 minutes.

Add the cream, salt, and pepper and bring to a boil for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in a few tablespoons butter. Continue to whisk and add a few pieces at a time of the remaining butter. Wait until each addition is incorporated before adding more butter. The sauce should remain warm, but never hot or the sauce will break.

Remove the sauce from the heat and season with salt, and pepper, to taste. If desired, strain the sauce through a sieve to remove the shallot. Discard the shallot. Serve the sauce immediately.

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup

Standard

I am a tomato soup lover, well OK I am a soup lover period but tomato soup is a comfort food that takes me all the way back to my childhood. Tomato soup and grilled cheese, how many people grew up with that? I passed that love on to my children. In our household you better not make a pot of tomato soup with out a grilled cheese to go along side for dunking. I did exactly that for this meal, but I will post the recipe for the mozzarella, pesto, and tomato paninis I made tomorrow.

Back to this soup. I was very excited to see fresh roma tomatoes on sale at my local grocery store. As soon as I saw them I knew what I wanted to do with them, SOUP!! This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Melissa d’arabian. I loved the idea of roasting the tomatoes before using them but I knew I wanted to add my own spin on this recipe. As I have said in the past, we all love a bit of spice here in my household and this recipe begged for some in my opinion. If you are not a lover of heat like we are you can use a pepper with less heat like a cubanelle. I actually think the next time I will try a poblano in place of the jalapeno but that would just be me tinkering again with a recipe that everyone thought was perfect to begin with.

The toughest part of this recipe is being patient. It takes anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours to roast the tomatoes. Once that is done it is a breeze to whip it all together. But the roasting gives this soup such a depth of flavor. You will never go back to canned soup again after you try this. I also suggest making a big batch like this even if you are only feeding a couple of people. Soups freeze so well and make for a very quick meal on nights that you don’t feel like putting that much work into dinner.

An added bonus to this soup is that it is a healthy way to make creamy soup minus the cream. Trust me, you will  never miss it!!

Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup
  • 16 Roma tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  •  tablespoon water
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (we actually used 2 but that is a lot of heat)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de provence
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • Sour cream or olive oil, for garnish, (optional)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the tomatoes, cut side down, on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle 2 tablespoons water over the tomatoes. Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove from the oven. Carefully peel off the skins and discard. Flip the tomatoes over so they’re cut side up, and place back in the oven until the tomatoes are shriveled but not dry, another 30 to 60 minutes. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Coat the pepper with olive oil and roast on a grill, over the eye of a gas stove, or in a broiler, turning occasionally to blacken it on all sides. Once the pepper is roasted place it in a bowland cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled peel the blackened skin from the outside of the pepper (it is OK to still have some black remaining it gives more of the smoky roasted flavor to the soup), remove the ribs and seeds.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, saute the onion in the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over low heat until very soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the garlic and herbes de provence and cook until fragrant, another 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cup of white wine and allow the alcohol to cook off, a couple of minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes. 
In a blender, puree the tomatoes (including any cooking liquid on the baking sheet), pepper, and stock mixture until very smooth. You may need to work in batches (or add blended tomatoes and pepper to the pot and use an immersion blender to get to the desired consistency, which is what I used). If using a blender, pour the soup back into the saucepan, season with salt and pepper, and heat gently. To serve, ladle into cups or bowls and top with either a swirl of olive oil or a little sour cream, if desired.