Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Chicken Cordon Blue Panini

Disclaimer to all foodies...this is a kid recipe so it's super simple and not gourmet but it's darn tasty. My girls love this I dig that they adore blue cheese as much as I do. It doesn't hurt that there's ranch dressing involved since my youngest would eat a shoe if she could dip it in ranch. This is perfect for a panini maker but could be grilled without the fancy press!

Chicken Cordon Blue Panini

4 soft sandwich rolls (kaiser rolls work fine)
1 1/3 cups chopped white meat rotisserie chicken
4 deli slices ham
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup ranch dressing

Pre-heat a panini press. Place the roll bottoms on a work surface and top with the chicken and ham. In a small bowl, mix the cheese and ranch dressing and spread on the cut side of the roll tops. Cover the sandwiches with the roll tops and ask your GH to place in the panini press.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lemon-Onion Chicken

I'm a bit of a reality TV junkie but who isn't? The competition, the drama, the crazy people...and all in a cooking show! We were watching the Food Network's "The Next Food Network Star" and were hooked. Even my daughter was into the drama and in particular watching a bubbly blond win a new show. This recipe is what the winner, Melissa d'Arabian, made on her pilot and based on our fantastic dinner - give the woman a series! This chicken was fast, economical and all of us ate it as leftovers for days. If you like lots of lemon - go with all three but cut back it you don't want a pronounced lemon bite.

Lemon-Onion Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced in half crossways and pounded thin (I found thin cut breasts at my local grocery store and skipped the pounding!)
1 teaspoon dried thyme, plus 1 small bunch fresh thyme, leaves chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup white wine, optional (but lord knows I had it opened!)
1 cup chicken broth
3 lemons, juiced
1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Season chicken with dried thyme and salt and pepper. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat and add the oil. Dredge the chicken in flour, add to the hot oil and saute until cooked through. If thin, maybe 4 minutes a side. Set chicken aside to rest on plate tented with foil.

In same saute pan, over low heat, add onions and fresh thyme and cook until aromatic.

In a measuring cup, measure out wine, if using, and broth, and add the lemon juice. Turn the heat up to high, and deglaze the pan with the broth mixture until starting to reduce.

Remove the pan from the heat and finish the sauce by whisking in butter. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mmmmm....Bran Muffins

In an earlier post I mentioned that I was searching for old standby bran muffin recipe. Well, happy day because my dear husband finally dug out the Bauman Family Cookbook and made them for me. On a workday no less! That's how fast these beauties come together. We like them plain but raisins are certainly an obvious addition.

Jan's Bran Muffins

1 1/2 cups All Bran cereal
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Cover bran cereal with boiling water and let sit a few minutes. Mix all ingredients together. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Batter will keep in fridge for up to six weeks so double the recipe and enjoy these fresh anytime!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pasta with Pecorino and Pepper

My family went camping this weekend which is always fun but exhausting. In my post camping, laundry-induced coma I could do nothing but collapse on my couch, stare at the t.v. and mentally think of all the things I had to do. Cooking dinner was one problem and my overgrown herb pot on the patio was another. Yard work was beckoning and my parsley and basil needed an industrial weed whacker. Then divine intervention came in the form of Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I watched her deftly turn a bunch of parsley into a fabulous meal with pasta and a few quality ingredients. This recipe seemed just too simple but boy, did it hit the spot. I also used our home-grown cherry tomatoes which made me feel very industrious indeed. I modified her recipe a little but given my state yesterday, I was just happy I could boil water!

Pasta with Pecorino & Pepper

1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 pound dried Italian egg pasta, such as tagliarelle (I just used regular linguine)
1 cup freshly grated aged Pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
3 - 4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves
1 - 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
large handful of cherry tomatoes - sliced in half

Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1tablespoon salt and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package until al dente. Ladle 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into a glass measuring cup and reserve it. Drain the pasta quickly in a colander and return the pasta to the pot with a lot of the pasta water still dripping.

Working quickly, with the heat on very low, toss the pasta with 1 cup of the grated Pecorino, tomatoes, pepper, cream, butter, parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt, tossing constantly. If the pasta seems dry, add some of the reserved cooking water. Off the heat, toss in the remaining 1/2 cup Pecorino. Serve immediately with a big bowl of extra grated Pecorino for sprinkling. Toss a simple green salad, pour a nice summer wine and enjoy.