Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pecan-Crusted Chicken with Sweet Mustard Dressing

Tonight was my make something new night. I've had my eye on this recipe for quite some time now, and finally bit the bullet! I wanted something refreshing since we've had heavier meals due to the cold weather. This recipe comes from the Pampered Chef cookbook: 29 Minutes to Dinner.

1 egg white
1 1/2 c pecans
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken tenders
1/4 c veg oil

1/4 c peach preserves
2 tbsp stone ground mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp veg oil
4 cups baby greens

1. For chicken, lightly beat the egg white in a small bowl. Finely chop the pecans and place in another bowl. Combine salt and cayenne pepper in a third bowl. Slice chicken tenders in half lengthwise and remove white tendons. Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper mix. Dip chicken in egg whites and then press into the pecans coating the chicken.

2. Add oil to a skillet and heat on medium low until simmering. Cook chicken 2-3 minutes or until deep golden brown. Turn chicken over; cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until centers of chicken are no longer pink.

3. Meanwhile, for dressing, whisk together preserves, mustard, vinegar, salt, black pepper, pressed garlic and oil.

4. To serve, toss greens with 2 tbsp of the dressing; divide among serving plates. Drizzle remaining dressing around edge of plates. Arrange three of the chicken strips around each salad. Enjoy!!

Notes: I just used regular romaine instead. I buy that in bulk and it's pretty much the only lettuce I ever use. Also, I used my large bowl to eat it in, so my chicken went right on top and I spread more dressing over the chicken. I was skeptical on the dressing at first, but it was probably the best part of the dish! Also, don't feel the need to completely coat the chicken with the pecans. I think a light layer is sufficient.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

YUM. What a great sandwich to mix up your everyday boring lunch. It was even satisfying enough to have for dinner. And then to top it off, it's a healthy option- score! I'd HIGHLY recommend you try this and soon. It made enough for about 6 wraps. We each had two, and then I served strawberries and grapes with it. This recipe is again courtesy of the Pampered Chef recipe books.

2 boneless chicken breast halves (I used one large chicken breast- it was plenty)
olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1/4 c red onion (My red onion was no good...I used white)
1/4 c kalamata olives
1/4 c red bell pepper
1 ounce parmesan cheese (It's cheese, therefore I doubled it)
4 cups romaine
3/4 c seasoned croutons
1/2 c caesar dressing
6 8-inch flour tortillas


1. Lightly coat chicken with olive oil and then rub in the garlic. Cook the chicken in a saute pan over medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink, turning once. Remove chicken from pan, allow to cool, and then cut into 1/4 inch strips. Place chicken in a medium bowl (preferably with a lid)

2. Chop onion, olives, red pepper, and lettuce. Grate your parmesan cheese, and crunch down the croutons to your desired size. Put all the ingredients in with the chicken and pour the dressing over it. Put the lid on and toss to coat it.

3. For each wrap, place about 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture on tortilla. Roll up the tortilla tightly and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Cut each wrap in half diagonally. ENJOY!

Vegetable Lasagna

There is this restaurant down the street that has heavenly vegetable lasagna. I mean heavenly. I've never made lasagna, but it has been sounding sooooo good, AND Carl has been requesting it for weeks. So I scoured the interwebs until I found one that sounded good. I modified it a bit to fit my taste, and I'm glad I did. The presentation was...well....lacking. I did say this was my FIRST time making lasagna. It looked good in the pan, but just messy on the plate. Didn't matter, it tasted delicious! I'm not a fan of meat in pasta (i.e. beef lasagna, meat filled ravioli, etc.) but you could easily add that if you really wanted to...I suppose.

I cut everything roughly in half, and also added some frozen cauliflower and broccoli to the sauteed vegetables about half way through their cooking process. I also added thawed, drained frozen spinach to the ricotta/mozzarella mixture. By roughly cutting it in half, it made enough easily for 4 people...maybe 6.


* 1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
* 1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
* 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
* 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Cook the lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, or until al dente. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2. In a large saucepan, cook and stir mushrooms, green peppers, onion, and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3. Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
5. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hot Pizza Dip

I've been making this recipe for years and it's always a hit. It's a Pampered Chef recipe from way back when. The only problem with it? Your guests will want you to make a 2nd batch after they eat the first one in minutes! Do yourself a favor...make two in the first place ;) Oh and if you are thinking- oh she took a scoop out to enhance the picture...no. I just dug into it too fast before I remembered. Oops...so not only your guests will eat it up- you will too!


1 (8 oz). cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¾ cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 (8 oz) pizza sauce
¼ cup diced green bell pepper, sliced green onions or sliced green onions (I prefer the green onions)

I bake in my small oval PC baker, but you can use a glass pie dish too.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine cream cheese and seasoning mix; spread onto bottom of dish.
3. In small bowl, combine mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese mixture over cream cheese mixture. Top with pizza sauce, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese mixture.
4. Bake 15-20 minutes or until bubbly. Top with bell pepper or onion. (Yes Lindsay- you can leave it off!)


24 slices French bread, cut ¼ inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place bread slices on rectangle stone; lightly brush tops with olive oil. Back 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown.

Dijon Mustard Chicken

This is the kind of recipe that happens when you are trying to make dinner without going to the grocery store. So if you are looking for an easy, simple dinner and you have a CrockPot...this is your kind of meal! I only used one large chicken breast- but still used the same sauce amounts. If you make more chicken than that, definitely double the sauce. I served it over rice- tasted delicioso.

* 4 to 6 boneless chicken breast halves
* 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
* 1 can 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* dash black pepper

Wash chicken and pat dry; place in slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and spoon over the chicken. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours.
Crockpot chicken Dijon serves 4.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Molten Chocolate Cakes

I found this recipe thanks to Monica! I could NOT believe how unbelievably easy and tasty it was! I cut the recipe in half since it was just Carl and me having them. I baked them in our ramekins, and it was the perfect one serving size. The only thing I'll do different next time is drizzle some raspberry or strawberry sauce on the top.....now I'm off to find that sauce!

* 4 ounces unsalted butter, plus more for buttering
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
* 2 large eggs
* 2 large egg yolks
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 pinch salt
* 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more to use for dusting


1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Butter and flour the four ramikins, tap out excess flour.
3. Melt butter with the chocolate in a double boiler set over simmering water.
4. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks, salt and sugar at high speed until pale and thickened.
5. Whisk the chocolate and butter until smooth.
6. Fold it quickly into the egg mixture along with the flour.
7. Spoon into ramikins.
8. Place the ramikins on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until the sides of the cakes are firm but the centres are still soft.
9. Watch the cakes as baking them longer than 12 minutes results in them baking completely through.
10. Let them cool for one minute.
11. Run a knife around the edge of the cakes then invert them onto a plate.
12. Let them sit for a few seconds before unmolding.
13. Serve right away.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sauteed Wild Mushrooms

So the second side to our fabulous steak dinner...these sauteed mushrooms. They are the perfect compliment to a good filet! I cut the recipe in half because I knew we wouldn't eat anything more than that, and we still had some leftover. These had so much flavor and were so tender, they'll definitely be made again!


* 2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini, shiitake, porcini, and portobello (I used only about 1 lb of portabello and shitake)
* 1/2 cup good olive oil
* 1 cup chopped shallots (4 large)
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
* 2 teaspoons kosher salt
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 2 tablespoons chopped garlic (6 cloves)
* 1 cup chopped flat leaf parsley


Brush the caps of each mushroom with a clean sponge. Remove and discard the stems. Slice the small mushrooms thickly and cut the large ones in a large dice.

Heat the olive oil in a large (11 - inch) Dutch oven or saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the butter, mushrooms, salt, and pepper and cook over medium heat for 8 minutes, until they are tender and begin to release their juices, stirring often. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Toss in the parsley, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

Oh and just in case you were wondering what the perfect filet looked like...ahem...this is it! To DIE!

Homemade Onion Rings

I was watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa, and usually there will be one or two things I like on the episode, but rarely do I ever like the whole meal! Well, this one caught my eye and so I decided to give it a go. The meal consisted of Filet Mignon, Onion Rings, and Sauteed Wild Mushrooms. First up: Onion Rings.


* 2 large Spanish onions (or 3 yellow onions)
* 2 cups buttermilk
* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup (medium) yellow cornmeal
* 1 quart vegetable oil


Peel the onions, slice them 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick, and separate them into rings. Combine the buttermilk, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. Add the onion rings, toss well, and allow to marinate for at least 15 minutes. (The onion rings can sit in the buttermilk for a few hours.) In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Set aside.

When you're ready to fry the onion rings, preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a large pot or Dutch oven. (A candy thermometer attached to the side of the pot will help you maintain the proper temperature.) Working in batches, lift some onions out of the buttermilk and dredge them in the flour mixture. Drop into the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, until golden brown, turning them once with tongs. Don't crowd them! Place the finished onion rings on the baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with salt, and keep them warm in the oven while you fry the next batch. Continue frying the onion rings and placing them in the warm oven until all the onions are fried. They will remain crisp in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Serve hot.
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