Friday, February 29, 2008

Chicken Marsala

My sister gave me this recipe. It is Carabbas-style chicken marsala and is really, really good! It does require quite a few ingredients, but once you get's really nothing more than throwing a bunch of stuff together in a pan and simmering. To make things easier and for timing purposes, I prepped all the ingredients first (dice the proscuitto, mince the garlic and shallots, measure out the liquids, combine spices for rub, season the chicken, etc.) This made it much easier for me to ensure that the chicken, the sauce, and my sides would all get done at the same time. Carabbas also serves a sirloin marsala which is fabulous, so I think I will make this sauce with steak next time. *I used 3 slices of proscuitto because I love it so much. I served this dish with baked potatoes and salad.
What You'll Need:
Marsala Sauce:
1/3 cup butter
1 slice prosciutto, diced
2 teaspoons minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 4-ounce cans sliced mushrooms (drained)
1/4 cup marsala wine
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Chicken Spice:
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon marjoram
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
4 chicken breasts
What you'll Do:
Melt butter over low heat in a medium saucepan.
Turn heat up to medium/high to sauté the prosciutto in the melted butter for about 2-3 minutes (be careful not to burn the butter).
Add shallots and garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds.
Add marsala wine, simmer for another 30 seconds or so, then add mushrooms (drain off liquid) and black pepper.
Simmer over medium/high heat for 5 minutes.
Dissolve corn starch in chicken stock. Add stock to the saucepan and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
Add parsley and cream to the sauce and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes or until thick.
Remove pan from the heat, then cover it until needed.
Preheat barbecue grill on high heat.
Combine ingredients for chicken spice in a small bowl. Use your thumb and fingers to crush the spices in the bowl to make a finer blend.
Brush each chicken breast generously with olive oil.
Sprinkle spice blend over both sides of each chicken breast and grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until done. Give chicken a one-quarter turn on each side while cooking to make criss-cross grill marks.
Serve entree by arranging each chicken breast on a plate. Spoon one quarter of the marsala sauce over each serving of chicken.

Monday, February 25, 2008


If you can get past the name of this dish...I think you'll really like it! The name reminds me of something you would have thrown together in a bucket in your backyard when you were a kid pretending to cook, but it really is pretty tasty. It's Paula Deen's recipe and, as I've said before, if it's Paula' know it's gonna good! Definitely nothing fancy, but sometimes that's just what the doctor orders! I only made half of the recipe (and cut down the cooking time) and it still made plenty. I added a dollup of sour cream before serving and it made it more creamy and rich...I love sour cream!

What You'll Need:
2 pounds lean ground beef (I used ground sirloin)
1 pound ground turkey
2 large onions, chopped
3 cups water
1 (29-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon House Seasoning, recipe follows
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 cups dried elbow macaroni

House Seasoning:
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder

What you'll Do:
In a Dutch oven, saute the ground beef and ground turkey over medium-high heat, until no pink remains. Break up meat while sauteing; spoon off any grease.
Add the onions to the pot and saute until they are tender about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups water, along with the tomato sauce, tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, bay leaves, soy sauce, House Seasoning, and seasoned salt. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow this to cook for 20 to 25 minutes.
Add the elbow macaroni, stir well, return the lid to the pot, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaves and allow the mixture to sit about 30 minutes more before serving.

Garlic Cheese Biscuits

These biscuits taste just like the ones served at Red Lobster! So easy to make since you use Bisquick, and you most liklely already have all the ingredients. For the recipe, visit: (What can I say? It was a total "SugarandSpice" week for me! Thanks Celeste!)

Nacho Spuds

This was yummy-licious! My daughter loved it too. It's a nice departure from regular tacos and something new to do with potatoes. For the recipe, visit: Thanks for another great recipe, Celeste! (Originally from Rachel Ray)
*Suggestion for additional toppings: Black Olives and Zesty Ranch Sauce

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Chicken Divan

I got this recipe from "RubyRedBride06" and her great blog: Thanks Celeste! The recipe originally comes from Paula Deen with the Food Network. I knew it was going to be good...I mean, what does Paula make that isn't scrumptious? I used a Rotisserie chicken from the store. I was worried that it wouldn't produce 6 cups of chicken, but it ended up being the perfect amount. Also, I used Panko bread crumbs because that's what I happened to have on hand. I really like the texture and consistency of them too. I doubled the bread crumb topping too because that's one of my favorite parts of a casserole. This makes alot, so unless you have a crowd, I would half the recipe or make it in two seperate dishes and freeze half.
What You'll Need:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen broccoli, chopped
6 cups cooked and shredded chicken
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 cup grated sharp Cheddar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
What You'll Do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the outer wrappers from the boxes of broccoli. Open 1 end of each box. Microwave on full power for 2 minutes, until thawed. Drain the broccoli and put into a bowl with the shredded chicken.
In a seperate bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, sour cream, Cheddar, lemon juice, curry powder, salt and pepper and wine. Whisk together to make a sauce. Pour the sauce over the broccoli and chicken. Mix well with a spatula.
Place the mixture into an 11 by 7-inch casserole dish or 2 (9-inch) square disposable aluminum foil pans that have been sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray. Pat down evenly and smooth with a spatula.
Combine the Parmesan, bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
Bake for about 30 to 45 minutes.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rib-Eye Steak with Black Olive Vinaigrette

Most people love a good steak, right? We do too. Especially's our favorite cut. But, this black olive vinaigrette was unlike anything we had ever tasted on steak before. It made it super tasty and extra special. This recipe comes from Everyday Italian with Giada. I saw her make it and knew I had to try it. I adore black olives. If you've ever had a black olive tapanede, this kind of tastes like that...only a little tangier and not as thick. Speaking of black olives...make sure to get really good, Italian black olives. Definitely do not use those little watery things from a can! Giada grilled her steak, but it was way too cold here for that so I seared it and finished it in the oven. I was amazed at how tender it was! I had never cooked a steak like that before, but will certainly do it again!
What You'll Need:
Rib-eye Steak:
1 2-inch rib-eye steak, boneless
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Black Olive Vinaigrette:
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
What You'll Do:
For the Rib-eye:
Turn on your oven to 400 degrees. Get a cast iron skillet super hot over medium-high heat. It should be VERY hot.
Coat the beef with olive oil and sprinkle with the Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper.
In the skillet, sear the steak on each side for about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 8 minutes longer or until desired doneness...depending on how thick the steak is.

For the Black Olive Vinaigrette:
Combine the olives, red wine vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender and blend until mixed. Drizzle the oils into the blender with the machine running. Transfer the vinaigrette to a serving dish. Stir in the parsley and serve with the rib-eye.

Roasted Asparagus with Parmesean

Couldn't be faster or easier and makes for a nice, elegant side. Pretty healthy too! I like to get the skinny asparagus rather than the big, fat ones because they tend to be more tender.
What You'll Need:
Salt & Pepper
Shredded Parmesean
What You'll Do:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and dry asparagus. Cut off the woody part at the ends...hold one asparagus on each end and bend it...where it naturally snaps off is how much you need to remove from the rest.
Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cook for 8-10 minutes. They should still have some texture to them...should not be mushy.
When they come out of the oven, sprinkle with parmesean.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Seared Scallops with Wasabi Mayo

Seared scallops are so easy to make...I don't know why I tend to save them for special occasions. The wasabi dressing with the avocado goes perfectly with the scallops. To make it more of an appetizer, you could get a leaf of Bibb lettuce and place a piece of avocado on it, a scallop, then a drizzle of the dressing.

What You'll Need:
6-8 Jumbo Sea Scallops
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
1 Avocado
3/4 Cup Mayonaise
Juice of Half a Lime
1 Tbsp. Wasabi Paste (more or less to taste)
2 Tbsp. Cilantro, chopped

What you'll Do:
Rinse the scallops making sure the "beard" has been removed. Thouroughly pat dry.
Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with Salt and Pepper.
In a VERY hot pan, sear the scallops on one side and allow to cook for about 3 minutes until they loosen from the pan. Flip them over and do the same for the other side.
To make the dressing, combine the mayo, lime juice, wasabi, and cilantro and refrigerate until ready to use.
Serve the warm scallops with the avocado on the side drizzled with the wasabi mayo.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

My husband's all-time favorite sweet treat is chocolate covered strawberries. In fact, he loves them so much that we had a tower of them at our wedding rather than having a groom's cake! I made them for him last Valentine's Day and thought I would continue on the tradition this year. They are super easy to make and taste so yummy. It's a nice ending to a romantic dinner. Sure, my white chocolate drizzle may look more like blobs than the professional drizzle you see in the Godiva shop....but, I don't think my husband will mind once he tastes them!

What You'll Need:
Strawberries (ripe and large...stem on looks even nicer)
Milk Chocolate (I use the chocolate that you buy by the pound from Fresh Market, but you can use chips, squares, bars...whatever you like best.)
White Chocolate

What you'll Do:
Gently rinse the strawberries and dry them very well. They should not be even the slightest bit damp. I like to leave the green leaves on.
Melt the milk chocolate. (I just use the microwave on 50% power for a minute at a time, stirring in between. You can use a double boiler if you prefer.)
Dunk the strawberries into the milk chocolate. Put into refrigerator to cool and harden for a few minutes.
In the meantime, melt the white chocolate.
Take the strawberries out of the fridge and, using a fork, drizzle the white chocolate on. This will work best if you lay your strawberries on some wax paper before drizzling so that you can make long, sweeping motions with your drizzle. Then, transfer them to your serving dish.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Crispy Fried Chicken Cutlettes

This chicken is great served with freshly squeezed lemon. Although they are fried, the cutlettes are so thin that they don't seem heavy or greasy at all. Pair them with a salad, some corn and/or rice, and you have a great weeknight meal that doesn't take long to cook.

What You'll Need:
4 Chicken Cutlettes (Or 2 breasts, butterflied and pounded thin.)
1 Egg
Flour for Dredging
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. Butter
Hot Sauce
What You'll Do:
Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium.
Put the flour in a container. Season with salt and pepper.
Crack egg into a seperate container. Put a few dashes of hot sauce into the egg.
Put the breadcrumbs into a third container.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Dredge one piece of chicken at a time into the flour. Dip into egg then into breadcrumbs, pressing them into the chicken.
Add oil and butter to pan.
Put chicken into pan and continue with other pieces.
Cook for about 4 minutes. Flip and cook other side for about 4 more minutes.
Place cooked chicken on a wire rack after removing from pan so that they don't get soggy.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Italian Panini

Oh My!!! I think I could eat a panini every day of my life and not get tired of it! Of course, you can make them with just about anything that you love...turkey, roasted peppers, pesto, artichoke hearts...but I love it this way because it reminds me of a panini that ate while in Italy. It was in one of those fabulous little cafe windows and I couldn't resist. Eating one at home just makes me smile remembering how great it tasted while I walked the streets of Venice!
What You'll Need:
Good bread (Ciabatta, French Loaf, Italian Loaf, Baguette)
Fresh Mozzerella
Fresh Basil
S & P
What You'll Do:
Slice the bread in half long-ways.
Add the proscuitto, salami, cheese, basil, and tomatoes to the bread, layering any way you like.
Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with S&P.
Drizzle a hot panini press, grill pan, or griddle with some olive oil. Put the panini on the pan and press with something heavy. (I just use a heavy cast iron skillet on top of the panini to press it down).
Cook for about 3 minutes then flip to cook the other side.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I combined several recipes to make this one my own. I love the smoked gouda in gives it such good flavor. I really think, though, that what makes a pizza great is its crust. I just used a Pillsbury pizza dough from a tube that I rolled out, but I think it would be much better with a homemade dough or one that you buy from a local pizzeria. For the BBQ sauce, I used a combination of Sticky Finger's North Carolina Sweet and Stubb's Original. Use whatever you like best.
What you'll Need:
Pizza Dough
1 lb. chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. smoked gouda, shredded
1-2 cups shredded mozzerella
2 oz. bacon bits
Small can pineapple tidbits
1 bottle BBQ sauce
cilantro, chopped
What You'll Do:
Prepare your crust according to directions. (I drizzled my store-bought crust with EVOO and baked it on 400 for about 8 minutes.)
Put a little oil in a pan and sautee the onion and garlic over medium until soft. Add the cooked, shredded chicken, bacon bits, and about 2/3 of the BBQ sauce and heat through.
Pour the remaining BBQ sauce on the crust and all the chicken mixture on top of that.
Add the pineapple and sprinkle the cheese all over.
Bake for about another 10 minuites until cheese is melted.
Sprinkle cilantro on top.