Thursday, November 29, 2007

Tuscan Pasta with Basil Cream

The name of this pasta makes it sound much fancier than it really is! In fact, it uses a jar sauce and pre-made ravioli. So, it's great for a quick week-night dinner when you are tired and hungry. You pretty much just throw everything together and warm through...and, presto, dinner is served!

What You'll Need:
1 (20 oz) package refrigerated 4-cheese ravioli (I use Buotini)
1 (16 oz) jar Sun-Dried Tomato Alfredo sauce
2 Tbs. white wine
2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh Basil
1/3 cup Parmesean Cheese

What you'll Do:
Prepare pasta according to package directions
Pour alfredo sauce into saucepan. Pour white wine into jar, shake, and pour into sauce.
Stir in chopped tomatoes and basil.
Cook over med-lo heat for about 5 minutes.
Toss pasta into sauce and top with Parmesean cheese.

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

I used chicken cutletts for this recipe because that's what I had in the freezer, but I think it would have worked best with chicken breasts that you pound out yourself. This is because the cutletts are much smaller and I wasn't able to put as much filling in. Also, I had to use several picks in each one to get them to stay closed. The next time I make this, I will add salt to the spinach mixture while cooking and I will put more feta cheese inside. They were still really good though!
What You'll Need:
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach (about 4 oz)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp. olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheeese
1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 tsp. oregano
What You'll Do:
Preheat oven to 400.
In a saucepan, cook spinach and garlic in olive oil until spinach is tender. Set aside.
Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet to 1/4 inch thickness.
Spoon one-quarter of the spinach mixture down the center of each breast. Top with 1 Tbsp. of the feta.
Fold in long sides and roll up from a short end. Secure with picks.
Brush rolled-up breasts with some olive oil and sprinkle on the lemon pepper and oregano.
Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Top with chopped parsley and additional feta, if desired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Roasted Fish with Cherry Tomatoes and Capers

This recipe originally called for Flounder, but I used Tilapia. I think it would also be good with Grouper or any other white fish. The cherry tomatoes are so good...they get sweet and juicy, and go very nicely with the capers and balsamic vinegar.

What You'll Need:
3-6 Fish Fillets
30 Cherry Tomatoes
6 Garlic Cloves, skin on and crushed
3 Tbs. Capers, rinsed and drained
2 Tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
3 Tbsp. EVOO
1/4 Tsp. Salt
1/8 Tsp. Pepper
1 Tsp. Dried Thyme

What You'll Do:
Make a marinade out of the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Put the tomatoes, garlic, and capers into the marinade and gently mix.
Pour onto a baking sheet and roast for about 10 minutes on 400 degrees. You should start to see the tomatoes split open.
Add fish, resting on top of tomatoes.
Season fish with more salt and pepper. Drizzle on some EVOO and sprinkle on the thyme.
Bake for another 10 minutes or so, until fish is done and flaky.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Double Layer Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Wow! This pie is a winner! It tastes just like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup! If you love peanut butter and chocolate...this pie is a must-try. I'll warn you is so rich, I couldn't even finish my entire piece. And that never happens! (Tip: I used the larger sized graham cracker crust that holds more filling. I think the regular size would have been too small.) This recipe came from

What You'll Need:
1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon cold milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust
2 (3.9 ounce) packages instant chocolate pudding mix
2 cups cold milk
4 peanut butter cups, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

What You'll Do:
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and peanut butter until smooth. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of whipped topping.
Spread mixture on bottom of pie crust.
In a second bowl, stir pudding mix with 2 cups milk until thick.
Immediately stir in remaining whipped topping.
Spread mixture over peanut butter layer.
Scatter peanut butter cups over top of pie.
Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Harvest Salad

This salad reminds me of Fall and Thanksgiving for some reason. It has so many yummy things in it, and the dressing is different than most because of all the fresh basil in it. It is a sweeter dressing, so if don't like sweet, you may want to put less sugar than called for.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup cider vinegar (more or less to taste)
2 cloves garlic
1 package fresh basil, chopped or torn
Salt & Pepper to taste

Romaine Lettuce
Bacon, crumbled
pples, very thinly sliced
Craisins, large handful
Pecans, broken into pieces
Blue Cheese, crumbled

Mix everything together just before serving.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Chicken Piccata

This is one of my absolute favorite chicken dishes. This recipe comes from Giada on Food Network. If you like butter, lemon and capers, you will love this! I use chicken cutlettes when I make this, but you can just butterfly regular breasts if that's what you have. Also, I usually leave off the parsley just because I usually don't have any in the's still great without it.

What You'll Need:
2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped

What You'll Do:
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil.
When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning.
Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter.
Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously.
Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Zesty Corn Quesadillas

These corn quesadillas make a great appetizer for a party or a side dish with dinner. With only 4 ingredients, they are quick and simple. You probably already have everything you need to make them! Just make sure you drain the corn well and try to use a chunkier salsa that does not have much liquid. I serve them with a dollup of sour cream and a squeeze of lime. Cilantro would be great too...and you could add some chopped, cooked chicken to the mix for a main dish.
What you'll Need:
1 can Corn, drained
1/4 cup Salsa
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4 Tortillas (I use the soft taco size)
What You'll Do:
Heat just a little oil in a pan over Med-Hi.
Add one tortilla to the pan and put corn filling on one side.
Fold over the tortilla and cook.
Flip over and cook other side.
Cheese should be melted and tortilla should be brown on both sides.
Repeat with remaining tortillas and cut into 3 wedges each. You should end up with 12 wedges.

Picante Black Bean Soup

This is my mother's recipe. She makes about three homemade soups every week, and this is one of my favorites. It couldn't be any more simple to make...just cook some bacon, sautee some onions, and then throw the rest in the pot. And, I promise, it tastes better than this picture makes it look! It's great with a loaf of good, crusty bread.
What You'll Need:
4 slices Bacon, diced
1 Onion, chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced
2 (15 oz) cans Black Beans
1 can Beef Broth
1 1/4 cups Water
3/4 cup Pace Picante Sauce
1/2 tsp. Oregano
1/2 tsp. Salt
What you'll Do:
In a heavy pot, brown the bacon and remove.
Sautee the onion until tender.
Add the garlic and sautee just another minute.
Add the bacon back in with all other ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Linguini with Shrimp

This pasta dish is so light and delicious. It's not a typical pasta dish in that it doesn't feel heavy like most. The lemon juice and parsley give it a very fresh taste. It is very simple to make and ready in about 10 minutes. I served it with Ceasar salad and garlic toast.
What You'll Need:
1 lb Linguini
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
What You'll Do:
Cook linguini to al dente.
Heat oil and butter in a pan. Sautee garlic making sure that it doesn't brown. Add white wine and simmer for about 2 minutes. Place shrimp in sauce and cook until pink, about 5 minutes. Take off heat and add lemon juice and parsley. Mix linguini with shrimp and sauce. Shave some fresh parmesean on top and add a splash of EVOO if desired.

Turkey Milanese

We love this dish! Even my 8 year old gobbles it up! (No pun intended...haha!) It is very similar to a dish that I had in Italy, only it was made with chicken. Squeezing fresh lemon on top after it's cooked gives it a great finishing touch. I bought turkey cutlets from the store, but if you can't find any, you can always pound out the turkey yourself. Also, it calls for fresh breadcrumbs, but I use the kind from a canister and they are find. Panko bread crumbs would also be good!

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 pounds turkey cutlets (about 1/4-inch thick)
All-purpose flour seasoned with salt and pepper, for dredging
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups fine fresh bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
What You'll Do:
Pat the turkey cutlets dry and spread seasoned flour on a plate.
In a small shallow bowl, beat eggs lightly and in another small shallow bowl stir together bread crumbs and Parmesan.
Dredge cutlets in flour, shaking off excess, and dip in egg, letting excess drip off.
Coat cutlets with bread crumb mixture and put on a waxed-paper-lined tray.
Chill cutlets 15 minutes.
In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Saute cutlets 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, or until golden and just cooked through.
Remove the skillet from heat.
Transfer cutlets with a slotted spatula to paper towels to drain briefly and arrange on plates. Serve with lemon wedges.