Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Dinner is prepared! Chicken Piccata with Pasta

Chicken piccata was on the menu tonight with an old summer favorite, Asian Cole Slaw.  Our daughter has been so busy since she got home from school.  She is working about 30 hours a week at Starbucks and has also picked up hours at her old job as a hostess and now being trained as a waitress.  While she was grumbling at the beginning of her summer about working so much, she is now reaping the benefits of 2 jobs and 2 paychecks.

Today she had the day off and no wheels for transportation, so she was in charge of dinner.  She called me at work with an idea of what she wanted to make, which would require a trip to the grocery store.  So when hubby got home he took her to the store to finish off her list.  They got home just after I did and off to the kitchen she went.  With a little help from me, dinner was ready an hour later and tasted delicious.  One bad thing about this is if you make dinner you really don't have to pick up.  So that left me with the dishes because she went off to the gym and our son went to study for his Algebra regents.    It is a small price to pay....

Chicken Piccata with Mushrooms

  • 6 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 chicken cutlets, (3/4-1 pound total), trimmed
  • 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 10-ounce package mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons butter

    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just tender, 4 to 6 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and rinse.
    2. Meanwhile, whisk 5 teaspoons flour and broth in a small bowl until smooth. Place the remaining flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the middle, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate; cover and keep warm.
    3. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they release their juices and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add garlic and wine to the pan and cook until reduced by half, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the reserved broth-flour mixture, lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
    4. Stir in parsley, capers, butter and the reserved mushrooms. Measure out 1/2 cup of the mushroom sauce. Toss the pasta in the pan with the remaining sauce. Serve the pasta topped with the chicken and the reserved sauce.

    And because our daughter is going to be a registered dietitian, here is the nutrition values from Eating Well where this recipe came from.


    Per serving: 397 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat, 3 g mono); 54 mg cholesterol; 45 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 28 g protein; 5 g fiber; 544 mg sodium; 609 mg potassium.
    Nutrition Bonus: Selenium (37% daily value), Vitamin C (18% dv), Potassium (17% dv), Iron (16% dv).
    Carbohydrate Servings: 3
    Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 1/2 vegetable, 3 1/2 lean meat

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015

    Easy Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

    Pinterest is great website.  My only problem with it is I have no idea what I have pinned.  Hubby likes to peruse my Pinterest account and adds a number of pins daily.  95% of the pins are recipe related.  He will say"what are you thinking for dinner?"  But already have an idea of what he would like because he just pinned it.  I can't complain....He picks pretty good recipes that are easy to make.  And if we need an ingredient he can get to the store during the day pretty easily.

    This particular recipe we made together on a recent Friday night.  Reminded us of a dish at PF Changs. The real ginger makes this dish so don't leave it out.  Serve this over Jasmine rice with a side salad to make a complete meal. 

    Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry

    1 pound chicken breast (about 2 breasts), cubed
    3 scallions, whites only, thinly sliced on an angle
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 -inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    2 tablespoons sugar
    1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
    1 1/4 teaspoons salt
    1 tablespoon dry sherry
    1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
    About 1/3 cup water
    3 tablespoons vegetable oil
    5 to 6 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
    3/4 to 1 teaspoon red chili flakes, optional
    1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    Garnish: toasted sesame seeds, optional
    Serving suggestion: Jasmine rice

    In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the scallion whites, about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with 1/3 cup water.

    Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccoli stems, and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but still crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

    Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and chili flakes if using. Stir-fry until the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, about 3 minutes. Add the hoisin sauce, return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates and garnish with sesame seeds; serve with rice.

    Notes: The garlic and ginger can be chopped together in a minichopper to save time.
    Scallion greens can also be used to garnish, if you like that extra onion-y flavor and you want to use up the scallions.

    The broccoli stems are used (love all that fiber) to add textural contrast and also to help bulk up the dish, and why waste them?

    Monday, June 1, 2015

    OMG! Awesome Macaroni and Cheese

    What is up with this Weather?  We had a great stretch of warm weather with the air conditioning cranking and then poof - a cold snap.  The heat kicked on and I am hiding under a blanket.  With this cold-snap we needed to make something that warmed the old bones and used the oven.  Our dear daughter request a Mac and Cheese dish.  So while scouring through the recipes I found this one from my favorite blogs The Noble Pig.  I love this blog and have made a bunch of great recipes from there.  someday I might make it out to the wineries.  Might make a great wine trip with our peeps.

    This recipe is rustic and decedent with the four different types of cheese and the bacon.  Trust me there is no calorie counting with this one....  I don't want to know.  Hubby actual made this while I has hanging new curtains in our sons room.

    Quadruple Cheese Macaroni with Smokey Bacon

    1 pound rotini pasta
    1 pound Applewood smoked bacon
    4 Tablespoons butter, divided
    3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
    2 cups whole milk
    1 teaspoon onion flakes
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
    4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
    4 ounces shredded mozzarella
    8 slices American cheese slices
    3 Tablespoon panko breadcrumbs
    Preheat oven to 350o F.  Spray a 3-quart baking dish that can also withstand the broiler with cooking spray.  Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Cook rotini pasta according to package directions and drain.
    Cook bacon until crisp and transfer to a dish with paper towels to absorb the fat.  Pour of bacon fat drippings, reserving 2 Tablespoons in the pan.  Add 1 Tablespoon butter.
    Whisk flour into butter and bacon fat until smooth and cook for one minute to remove flour taste.  Whisk in milk.  Stir in onion flakes, garlic power, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmering about 2 minutes.  Toss together cheddar, Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheese.  Remove sauce from heat and whisk in the American cheese and about 1-1/2 cups of the cheeses.  Toss the bacon with the remaining shredded cheese.
    Combine cooked pasta with the cheese sauce.  Pour half of it into the baking dish.  Sprinkle with a heavy-hand of the bacon-cheese mixture.  Repeat with one more layer.  Melt 3 Tablespoons butter and combine with 3 Tablespoons panko breadcrumbs.  Sprinkle over the top layer.
    Bake for 20 minutes and then broil for 3-5 minutes to get the top nice and brown and crunchy.