Grilled Balsamic Marinated Grilled Chicken

Yum-O is how I describe this meal. I was looking for something different (but not TOO different) and this hit the nail on the head. I served it with a salad of baby lettuces, blueberries, raspberries and sugared almonds dressed with Olive Garden’s Italian dressing and “cheese toasts” (pita bread brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and grilled until the cheese melted). Scrumptious!!!

Grilled Balsamic Marinated Chicken Breast

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 t garlic powder
2 T honey
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 t Italian Seasoning
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
4 boneless chicken breasts
8 thin slices fresh mozzarella
8 thin slices avocado
8 thin slices tomato
4 T sliced fresh basil, for garnish
Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

Directions:
In a measuring cup, whisk together first 7 ingredients.
Place chicken in a zip lock bag and pour balsamic mixture over. Seal well and marinate for 20i minutes up to 1 hour.

Heat grill to medium-high. Oil grates and grill chicken until cooked through – about 8 minutes per side.

Top each breast with two slices of avocado, two slices tomato and two slices of mozzarella.

Cover grill and cook until cheese is melted – about 3 minutes.

Remove from grill, sprinkle with basil and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Bacon and Cheese Quiche

Every now and then we enjoy quiche and a green salad for Sunday night dinner and for years the only quiche I have made is my mother’s ham and cheese quiche. Well, this quiche recipe is a game changer and is now my favorite. Paired with a green salad with fresh berries and raspberry vinaigrette this makes for a lovely, no fuss dinner.

Bacon and Cheese Quiche

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Bacon and Cheese Quiche

Ingredients:
1 purchased pie crust
12 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1/4 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup finely chopped sweet onion
4 large eggs
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 t salt
1/4 t sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Unfold pie crust and fit into pie dish, fluting edges. Line unpricked pastry with two sheets of heavy-duty foil. Bake 5 minutes. Remove foil, prick pastry throughout with a fork and return to oven and bake for 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle bacon, cheeses and onion over crust.


Beat remaining ingredients until well blended and pour over the top.


Bake until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean – about 30-35 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.

Raspberry Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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Raspberry Vinaigrette

Ingredients:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup raspberry wine vinegar
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 t Dijon mustard
1/2 t oregano
1/4 t ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Place mixed baby greens in a bowl and top with blueberries, raspberries and crumbled feta cheese. Drizzle with Vinaigrette and lightly toss.



Pepper Steak

This dish I made with my husband in mind. He loves steak prepared almost any way imaginable. This is the first time I made Pepper Steak and found it very tasty served with jasmine rice on the side. I will be making this dish again and again.

Recipe
Pepper Steak

Ingredients:
1/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 T sugar
2 T cornstarch
1/2 t ground ginger
1 lb. top sirloin steak, trimmed and thinly sliced against the grain
3 T Canola oil
1 large red onion, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 green bell pepper, sliced into 1″ strips
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2″ wedges
sliced green onions and freshly grated black pepper for garnish


Directions:
Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, cornstarch and ginger in a large bowl until mixture is smooth. Add steak and stir to coat.

Heat 1 T oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of steak mixture. Cook, stirring, until cooked and well browned; about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and repeat with remaining oil and steak, reserving oil in wok.

Add onion to wok and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, for 4 minutes. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender; about 2 minutes. Stir in tomato and steak and cook until heated through. Garnish with green onion and freshly grated black pepper.

Serves 4

Pork Milanese with Creamy Caper Sauce

Chicken Milanese is one of my favorite meals (though I rarely make it) and I thought the dish might be just as tasty using pork. It is! That, with the addition of a creamy but light tasting sauce, served with a simple green salad tossed with balsamic vinaigrette, and rice pilaf (from a box) makes for a very satisfying dinner.

Recipe

Pork Milanese with Creamy Caper Sauce

Ingredients:

Creamy Caper Sauce
2/3 cup mascarpone cheese
3 T mayonnaise
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup capers, drained and chopped
1 1/2 lemons, zested
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 T fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper

Pork Milanese
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt, plus more for seasoning
1/2 t ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
3 T Canola oil
6 pork chops

Directions:
For the sauce, combine the mascarpone cheese and mayonnaise in a medium size bowl. Slowly add the milk, stirring, until all of the milk is incorporated. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Set aside or cover and place in refrigerator for later.

For the Pork Milanese, combine the flour and the 1/2 t salt and pepper in a shallow dish and stir together. Crack the eggs into another shallow dish and beat until combined. In a third shallow dish, place the breadcrumbs. (I did not have “seasoned” breadcrumbs on hand so used panko breadcrumbs and a few shakes of dried Italian Seasoning). Place one pork chop on a cutting board and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. With a meat mallet, using the flat “non tenderizing” side, flatten chop to about 1/8′ – 1/4″ thickness and repeat with other chops. Season flattened chops with salt and pepper. Taking one chop at a time, dip first in the flour, then eggs and lastly the bread crumbs. At this point they can be placed in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap until ready to cook. When ready to cook, pour canola oil into a large skillet and heat over medium-high temperature. When the oil is hot, place the pork in the pan and cook until golden on each side and cooked through; about 4-5 minutes per side. Serve immediately with the sauce on the side.

Serves 6

Pork Chops with Sweet Onion Jam

I didn’t take photos while I was preparing this dish because, frankly, I didn’t think it was going to be tasty enough to be post-worthy. Golly I was wrong! This was so flavorful that it’s going in my notebook of favorite recipes. I served it with a salad of mixed baby greens and parmesan cous cous (from a box).


Recipes
Pork with Sweet Onion Jam

Ingredients:

Onion Jam
1/4 cup olive oil
4 large onions, thinly sliced (about 3 lbs.)
1/4 cup apricot or orange marmalade
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped fresh thyme
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T sugar

Pork Chops
1 T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 t kosher salt
1 t black pepper
6 pork chops
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

For the onion jam, place a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and onions. Stir to combine and cook until the onions start to sizzle. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook for 2 hours, stirring at least every 30 minutes to scrape up any brown bits. When ready, the onions should be a soft, jam-like consistency and deep burgundy in color.

For the port chops, combine the rosemary, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Using your fingers, rub the herb mixture over the pork chops. Cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.

About 20 minutes before the onions are done, remove the pork chops from the refrigerator. Preheat a gas grill. Spray grates with cooking oil (to prevent sticking) and grill pork chops about 7 minutes per side for medium doneness – depending on thickness of the chops.

To serve, spoon the onion jam over the pork chops, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Serves 6

Mixed Baby Greens with Oranges and Cucumber

Ingredients:
1 container, 10 oz., mixed baby greens
1 can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 English cucumber, quartered lengthwise and sliced
4 T rice wine vinegar
2 t sugar
3 T Canola oil
salt and ground black pepper

Directions:
Combine greens, oranges and cucumber in a salad bowl. In a jar, combine vinegar, sugar and vegetable oil. Shake vigorously. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss with greens.

Serves 4-6

Baked Feta and Pasta

Apparently this is a “thing” and I’m simply late to the party in discovering it. Oh boy do I understand why folks are raving about this dish! It is super easy to prepare and the flavor is outstanding. It’s so good that I forgot to take a photo of the final plating until after I had already taken a few bites. I served it with a simple grilled chicken.

Recipe

Baked Feta and Pasta

Ingredients:
8 oz. dried cavatappi pasta, or whatever pasta you prefer, cooked to package instructions
2 pints cherry tomatoes
8-oz. block feta cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup packed fresh basil, chopped, plus more for serving

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the cherry tomatoes in an oven safe baking dish. Pour the olive oil on top and season with salt and pepper. Toss until combined.

Place the block of feta in the middle of the baking dish surrounded by the cherry tomatoes and turn over a few times to coat well with the olive oil and seasonings.



Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes burst and the feta cheese melts. (You may need to poke at the cheese if the cherry tomatoes have burst and it still looks in block form – it will probably be soft and ready to serve.)



Remove from oven and add the garlic and basil leaves and toss everything to combine.



Add the cooked pasta to the baking dish and toss to combine. Sprinkle with more chopped basil and serve warm

Serves 6

Chicken Piccata, Angel Hair Pasta and Asparagus with Parmesan

Chicken Piccata is one of my favorite things to eat and the addition of this asparagus recipe as a side take the whole meal to a different level. (I typically serve sliced tomatoes with a balsamic drizzle.) This meal was light, scrumptious and so easy to make. The key is prepping everything ahead of time – measure and chop all of the ingredients and have them ready to go.

Recipes

Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta

Ingredients:
10 ounces angel hair pasta
4 (4-5oz.) chicken breasts
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
3 T olive oil
6 T butter
3 T minced shallot
1/3 cup lemon juice
2/3 cup dry white wine
3 T capers, drained
3 T flat-leafed parsley, chopped and divided

Directions:
Prepare pasta according to package instructions.

Preheat oven to 200 degree F. Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thick and sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Remove from pan and place on oven safe plate, cover with aluminum foil and place in oven to keep warm.

Melt 2 T butter in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallot and sauté, stirring often, for 30 seconds or until tender. Add lemon juice, wine and capers. Bring to a slow boil and boil for 1-2 minutes until slightly reduced. Remove skillet from heat and stir in remaining 4 T butter until melted. Stir in 1 1/2 T parsley.

Remove chicken from oven and slice into thin pieces, arrange over prepared pasta and pour caper sauce over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 T parsley

Serves 4


Asparagus with Parmesan

Ingredients:
1 T olive oil
12 ounces trimmed asparagus
1/4 t salt
2 t white wine vinegar
2T grated Parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling

Directions:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add asparagus and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until tender crisp and slightly browned. Remove from heat and toss with salt, vinegar and Parmesan. Sprinkle top with a little more cheese and serve.

Serves 4


Ham and Noodle Casserole with Chive and Parmesan Biscuits

For a simple, weeknight (or any night), easy to prepare dinner, this recipe hits the spot. I added sliced grape tomatoes tossed with balsamic glaze to add a little acid to offset the pasta and biscuit.

Recipes

Ham and Noodle Casserole

Ingredients:
4 cups uncooked egg noodles
2 cups deli ham
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup condensed cream of celery soup
2/3 cup milk
2 t finely chopped onion or shallot
4 T butter, divided and melted
1/2 t poppy seeds
1/2 t dried oregano
1/4 t salt
1/4 t dried basil
6 T dry bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the ham, cheese, soup, milk, onion/shallot, 2 T butter, poppy seeds and seasonings. Add noodles to ham mixture and stir to combine.

Coat a 3 qt. baking dish with cooking spray.

Transfer ham and noodle mixture to prepared dish.

Combine bread crumbs and remaining 2 T butter and sprinkle over casserole.

Bake, uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until heated through.

Serves 4-6

Chive and Parmesan Biscuits

Ingredients:
1/4 cup milk
3 T beaten egg (1 egg)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
6 T cold butter, cubed
2 T minced chives
1 t water
3 T shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine milk and 2 T of the beaten egg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk mixture and chives.

Turn lightly onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times.

Roll out to 1/2″ thickness. Cut with a floured 2 1/2″ biscuit cutter. Place 2 ” apart on a parchment paper lines baking sheet. Combine remaining egg and water. Brush over biscuits and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 8 biscuits

Chicken and Vegetables Alfredo

This dish is so satisfying and simple to make. The Boursin cheese adds a wonderful flavor and the fresh veggies lighten it up. No side dishes are required for this tasty meal.

Ingredients:

6 oz. uncooked fettuccini
2/3 lb. boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, sliced on the bias into 2″ pieces
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 T butter
3/4 cup grape tomatoes
1 t all-purpose flour
1/4 t kosher salt
2/3 cup half and half cream
2 1/2 oz. basil and chive Boursin cheese
2 T minced fresh parsley

Directions:

Cook fettuccini according to directions on package.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt butter and sauté the chicken, peas and garlic, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through.
Serves 2

Add tomatoes and sauté 2 minutes longer. Combine the flour, salt, pepper and cream and stir into the chicken mixture. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Stir in Boursin and parsley and cook, stirring, until the cheese is melted. Toss with fettuccini or serve, spooned over, fettuccini.




Start planning your Fall planting now

What? Why am I writing about Fall now? It’s Spring and our gardens are bursting with renewed life! Well, some buds and blooms and foliage won’t be around in the Fall and that’s when it’s time to plant … BULBS! Most plants grown from bulbs will not be visible above ground come Fall. Daffodils are among my favorite flowers grown from bulbs. There are over 13,000 different daffodil varieties available AND…they’re deer proof! Deer won’t touch them! So, if you already have daffodils, take a look at where they are and where you would like to add more. Place stakes or flags to mark the area of planting come Fall. If you’re so inclined, make a note of the color of the existing daffodils (or take a photo of them to refer to later) and note what types you would like to add. Also, don’t cut off the leaves after the bloom has faded. The bulb is gathering energy from those leaves for next year’s blooms. So, let them die back naturally.

In the photo above, there are daffodils in the foreground and up to the right. I have placed “flags” (hard to see in the photo) about 1 foot away to the left of the daffodils. The hydrangea (leaves just emerging) and Viburnum will still be there in the Fall so they will be the other marker for Fall planting. I will plan on 100 +/- daffodil bulbs to be planted in this area. (I will probably write planting later, but there is a wonderful invention that makes planting bulbs a breeze. There are dirt auger drill bits that connect to ones power drill. They can be purchased online or inquire where one purchases plants.)