Monday, September 16, 2013

Orecchiette Pasta with Chicken and Goat Cheese

For the last 2 months we’ve been having a particular chicken dish at least once a week and still love it, haven’t gotten tired of it at all.
Here’s what we’ve been making - Orecchiette Pasta  with Chicken and Goat Cheese.    It’s pretty simple to make and real tasty.  We first had this dish at the Nordstrom’s Bistro at Easton back in 2003 or so.  It was a simple, almost elegant dish with a lot of flavor, and was the first time we had had goat cheese.  A few years later, I saw goat cheese in the grocery store, remembered that dish and decided to recreate it at home.  It turned out to not be a difficult task at all.  Here’s how I do it:

Ingredients (for 3 servings):
Orecchiette Pasta , 8 oz.  (Reserve a ½ cup of the cooking water!)
Chicken broth, ½ cup
Goat cheese, 4 oz. (I’ve been using Kroger Private Select crumbles, < $3)
Mrs. Dash® Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend
2 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 lb)
Garlic powder
Cayenne pepper

Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne and paprika.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  When done, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
While the pasta is cooking,:
Spray a non-stick 10 – 12 inch pan with an oil spray, heat over medium low heat.
Place the chicken breasts in the pan and cover, cook for 6 minutes.
Turn the chicken over and cook for 6 more minutes, covered.
Set the chicken aside to rest for a couple of minutes, then slice into about ½” thick slices, cut those slices in half to make bite sized pieces.  Reserve the juices.
Heat the chicken broth to boiling
Into each of the three pasta bowls, add a couple of tablespoons of the goat cheese, and sprinkle with some Mrs. Dash.
Spoon about 2 oz. of hot broth and a couple of tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water into each of 3 pasta bowls over the goat cheese. 
Top the cheese broth with a third of the pasta, the a third of the chicken.
Sprinkle with a bit more of the goat cheese and serve.

Mix it all up in the bowl and dig in!
 (pictures soon)


Friday, May 24, 2013

Shrimp Roll, Refreshing & Spicy

With warmer weather, I was looking for something lighter, and bursting with flavor.   Hmmm, saw that the grocery store had lobster on sale, but still too pricey.  I had shrimp, though, and had recently made a nice fresh how about a shrimp roll?  ok, how do I make that?  Quick, to the internet!

How I made them:
1 lb raw shrimp, peeled
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, diced
the green tops of 3 green onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sriracha
Old Bay seasoning
Salt to taste
4 good quality hot dog buns (Pepperidge Farm's New England style if you can find them!)

- Mix the celery, onion, green onion tops, mayo, lemon juice, hot sauce, and salt together in a bowl, stirring to carefully incorporate.  Refrigerate for at least a 1/2 hour.
- Once the mixture is chilled prepare the shrimp as follows below.
- Lightly toast the hot dog buns until the sides are nicely browned. 
- In a large pot, boil a couple of inches of water.  Add couple of teaspoons of Old Bay seasoning to the water
- Stir the raw shrimp into boiling water, remove from heat and let stand for just a couple of minutes to just cook through.
- Remove the shrimp from the water and place into the chilled mixture.
- Divide the shrimp mixture among the rolls. Garnish with a light sprinkle Old Bay and serve immediately.

This is the recipe I based mine on, not too much different, but just a bit!


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Soup

We've made Classic Stuffed Peppers the Betty Crocker way for years, so I was a bit leery of this new thing going around - Stuffed Pepper Soup.  One of my co-workers brought me some that his SO had made (she's a great cook!), and it was pretty darn good, so I set out to make my own.  I used the basic recipe and ingredients from our standard stuffed pepper recipe and the end result was really tasty!

Here's what I did:

3 green peppers, quartered, seeded, cored, ribs trimmed
3 cloves garlic, minced
one medium yellow onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
15 oz can tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 lb ground round
1/3 cup minute rice

Boil the peppers in a large pot of water for about 5 minutes.
**Save 2 cups of the water, discard the rest of the water. 
Remove the peppers, cool, slice and chop coarsely (1" x 1/2" chunks).
Put the pot back on the burner and brown the beef in it, breaking up the beef as you cook it. When the beef is about half way done, add the onion and garlic. Finish browning the beef and if there's a lot of grease, drain some off.
Add the basil, oregano, rice, tomato sauce and soup. Add the reserved water and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce and slowly simmer ~20 minutes uncovered, stirring often (don't let anything stick to the bottom!).
Served topped with shredded mozzarella and with some crusty bread.
Yummy!  Thanks, Renee!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jalapeno cheddar chicken sausage in spicy cilantro alfredo with penne

On my most recent weekly shopping excursion to Kroger, I bought some jalapeño cheddar chicken sausage thinking I could make some sort of pasta dish with it.  Tonight I did just that, and I have to admit, it turned out amazingly good - jalapeño cheddar chicken sausage in a spicy cilantro Alfredo.

I based the sauce on this recipe with more than a few twists: jalapeño cheddar chicken sausage

Remember, save any liquid that remains in the pan after cooking the sausage, you'll need it for the sauce!

Ingredients I used:
Pan dripping/cilantro/garlic/chili pepper mixture
¼ cup butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ cup half & half
1 ounce heavy cream
3 ounces 2% milk
3 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
3 ounces Mexican cheese mixture (
1/8 teaspoon fresh coarsely ground black pepper
½ pound penne pasta
1 can (4 ounce) green chilies
2 cloves garlic
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro + 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish
4 links jalapeño cheddar chicken sausage (about a pound)

What I did:
           - In a large pan over medium low heat, brown the sausage on all sides. 
           -  Add ½ cup of water to the pan and cover, lower the heat to low and let simmer for 5 minutes. 
3         -  Remove the sausage to a plate and cover to keep warm. 
           -  Scrape fond from the bottom of the pan and put all of the pan drippings into a food processor 
           -  Add to the food processor bowl: green chilies, ¼ cup cilantro, cayenne, garlic cloves
          - Start the penne, cook per package directions. 
          While the water comes to a boil…
          - Run the processor  until the ingredients are  blended smooth.
          - Pour the mixture back into the pan with the heat on medium-low.
          - Add the butter to the pan and whisk until melted
         -  Add the cream cheese, whisk until melted and blended
         -  Add the garlic powder, whisk until blended.
         -  Add the black pepper and whisk…
         -  Slowly Add all of the dairy while whisking  and blending it together
         -  Add the cheeses, whisk to melt and blend.  Keep whisking and stirring.  Do not let it get too hot, as it could break.  As you stir, it will thicken up, too.
         - Slice the sausage, about ½ inch thick.
         - When the penne is al dente, drain it off and place it into the pan with he sauce, add the sausage and stir it all together.
         - Serve, garnished with cilantro and with a sourdough bread side.

          I have one photo of the dish, not a very good one.  It tasted way better than the photo lets on!  The family devoured it.  It was very rich, thick, creamy and spicy- delicious!

Jalapeño cheddar chicken sausage in a spicy cilantro Alfredo with penne


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grilled Asian Burgers

A paper with this recipe was laying around on the kitchen counter of one of the offices where I work. I thought it sounded interesting so I gave it a try - twice! Once with a mixture of beef and veal, once with a mixture of beef and pork. Not bad either time, and 'll be trying it with just beef (I'm not a big fan of ground turkey, though I'm sure it would work well with that, too).

• 1 1/2 lbs ground meats
• 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 scallions, finely chopped (both green and white parts)
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce (low sodium)
• ½ teaspoon sesame oil
• 1 tablespoon minced ginger
• 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Mix all of the ingredients together, but don't overwork it. Spit into ~4-5 ounce portions. Either pan fry in a bit of sesame oil on high heat or cook over a very hot grill. Should get a nice char on the outside

• For the mayo, blend together:
• 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon Sriracha

Serve with:
• Sriracha mayo
• Bibb lettuce
• Tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
• Hamburger buns


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Potato Onion Skillet, another for the colder weather

(Updated 2/29/12, now with yummilicious pictures!)

I'm not really sure where I got this recipe, though I think it may be another from Jeff Smith's "Frugal Gourmet" show. This is a fantastic tasting and easy winter time recipe that always leaves us with a warm and full belly. The basic recipe has only 6 simple ingredients and uses only one pot, so both prep and cleanup are a breeze.

Although I've called this a skillet dish, it works even better when made in a deep pot, such as a soup or stock pot because you can make more layers of potato, onion and cabbage and fit more sausage on top. Warm up with this dish once when you are feeling chilled. It is sure to become a cold weather regular for you, too.

Potato Onion Skillet

3 medium onions, sliced thin and separated into individual rings
3 or 4 Large potatoes, sliced thin
Use Yukon Gold potatoes, if possible.
They really add to the flavor and texture to this dish.

3 cups shredded cabbage
½ pound (or more!) Polish or smoked sausage, sliced thin
1 cup chicken broth
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Cover the bottom of the pot with a layer of potato.
2. Cover the potato layer with a layer of the onion rings.
3. Add a generous grind of pepper.
4. Make another layer of potato, another layer of onion and pepper, then a third layer of potato.
5. Add another generous grind of pepper.
6. Make a layer of cabbage.
7. Layer the sliced sausage over the cabbage
8. Turn the heat on to high until you hear the potato start to sizzle on the bottom. This should take just a minute or two.
9. Pour in the chicken broth, turn the heat down to low simmer and cover tightly.
10. Cook covered for about 20 minutes.
11. Turn off the heat. Top with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and put cover back on.
12. Let stand 5 minutes so that the cheese melts slightly and serve.

We like to serve this with a nice Sourdough bread. And this is another "even better the day after" dishes.

The first layer. Don't forget the pepper!

Three layers of potato, starting to top with the cabbage.

Topped with sausage slices. The more you can fit, the better!

Simmered for 20 minutes, then topped with the Parmigiano-Reggiano

Yum. Don't forget the bread!


(Originally posted 09/30/2006)

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Barely's Smokehouse dinner tonight

We went to Barley's Smokehouse tonight, used the Prestige Dining Card and got one meal for free.
The boy and I shared a plate of ribs called "The Great Debate", a half rack of baby backs with Texas Smokedip sauce and a half rack of St. Louis Spareribs with the sweeter Kansas City BBQ sauce. Karen had the Smokehouse Half chicken (w/KC sauce). Most of both were demolished! Accompanying the meal was an amazingly smooth creamy and malty St Joan's Revenge Nitro Imperial Stout - Not CO2'd, but nitrogened instead (thus the intense creamy feel and flavor). It matched with the Texas sauce perfectly.

Good food, good beer, lots of wet naps on the table and EXCELLENT service. It was a good dinner.

If you live in or near Columbus or Dayton and you haven't gotten a Prestige Dining card yet, go to this link to see what I've said about it previously, then buy one! I think they are about $40 each and well worth it - BOGO at >100 restaurants! There are lots of Indian restaruants in this years as well as many of our other favorites (both Barley's, Vino Vino, Cuco's, Carfagna's Kitchen...). Buy one get one free - who doesn't like that?


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Skillet Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli

This week’s “Kid meal” (no, not that kind, the meal was MADE by the kid!) was a tasty selection from his DSi game “Let’s Get Cooking” from America’s Test Kitchen. This is a great little application with 300 recipes and easy to follow instructions, hints, tips, tricks, and even basic instruction, like how to chop an onion. He’s made several dishes from it before and all have been very good. Last night’s Skillet Ziti with Chicken and Broccoli was no exception. Though it has several ingredients, it only uses one pot and had a good depth of flavor.

The recipe can be found here.

He did a great job and was justifiably proud of his creation:
Give the DSi game a try and try this dish, too!


Monday, January 02, 2012

Baked Egg Cups

I saw a couple of interesting posts while perusing Printerst a couple of nights ago and tried my hand this morning - Roasted Egg cups with ham.
Here are the two posts that I saw:
Bacon, Egg, and Toast Cups
Baked Egg Cups

I didn't have any bacon in the house (I know, for shame...), but I did have some deli ham (Kroger Private Select Smokehouse ham) that I had just bought, so off I went.
First, I spray greased the muffin pan and the cups with some bread I had rolled flat.
Then I placed a slice of ham in the cup, a little bit of cheese, and then cracked an egg into it.
I topped each with a little salt & pepper and a couple of strips of prosciutto.
Then into the oven (375º) for 20 minutes, and voila, breakfast!

Give it a try!