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.)

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie and Pear Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing

I prepared this dinner last night, not expecting anything great. The ingredients sounded good, but Shepherd’s Pie has been a winter recipe that I may make once a year. The one I usually make calls for ground beef and is really good, but it’s also very filling. This one tastes light and filling at the same time. It doesn’t leave one feeling stuffed to the brim (given an “appropriate” portion size). It was truly scrumptious! The salad is simple and delicious – the pears really make it pop. I cut the pear slices in half only to make it easier to eat. Enjoy!

Recipes

Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:
2t unsalted butter
1 cup diced celery
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 t minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups cooked chicken, shredded or diced
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
1 cup pearl onions
1 T minced fresh thyme
salt and black pepper to taste

2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 T unsalted butter, cubed and softened
1 1/2 cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
1 T Dijon Mustard

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. with rack in center position.
Melt 2 T butter in a large sauté pan over medium to medium high heat. Add celery, carrots, mushrooms and garlic. Cover pan and sweat until softened – about 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1-2 minutes. Add sherry and stir until absorbed. Stir in broth. Add chicken, peas, pearl onions and thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer while preparing the potato topping, about 20 minutes.

Cook potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water until fork-tender, 12-15 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to the pot. Cook over low heat to remove excess moisture, stirring constantly about 1 minute. Mash potatoes with a potato masher until no large lumps are present. Add 4 T butter and stir with a spoon until incorporated, smashing any more clumps. Stir in Cheddar and Dijon until cheese melts into potatoes. Season with salt.

Spoon topping, dropping by large scoopfuls over filling in pan. You can use a small ice cream scoop for consistent scoops, or simply use two large table spoons.) Place in oven and bake until topping is lightly browned – about 30 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Pear Salad with Parmesan- peppercorn dressing – serves 6

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 t coarsely grated ground black pepper
1/2 t minced fresh garlic
1/2 t kosher salt

2 heads Romain lettuce, chopped
2 Bartlett pears, thinly sliced and chopped in half
3/4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Directions
Combine first 7 ingredients in a container with a lid. Attach lid securely and shake until combined.
Toss lettuce, pears walnuts with dressing and serve.

Asian Salmon Packets

This is a super easy, palate-pleasing, suitable for guests dish. Also, it can be prepared earlier in the day and refrigerated, making it perfect for a dinner party.

Recipe

Asian Salmon Packets

Ingredients:
4 slices sweet onion
4 – 6 oz. salmon filets
3 T chili sauce
1 T lime juice
1 T olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 t mustard seed
1 t fresh gingerroot
1/2 t sesame seeds

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place each onion slice on a double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil about 12″ square. Top with salmon filet. Combine next 7 ingredients and spoon over filets. Fold foil over top and crimp edges to seal.
Place on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. (When opening packages, be careful of escaping steam.)

Serve with cooked jasmine rice tossed with sliced green onions and steamed vegetables tossed with a dressing of reduced sodium soy sauce, seasoned rice wine vinegar and olive oil.

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef with Apple Slaw

If you’re looking for something easy and scrumptious this could be it. It is so easy to put together and tastes like it was a lot more complicated to make. I served it open face, to cut some calories, with plain potato chips on the side.

Recipe:

Slow Cooker BBQ Beef with Apple Slaw – serves 8

Ingredients:
4 lbs. boneless chuck roast, trimmed of fat, cut into 2″ cubes and seasoned with salt and pepper
2 T canola oil
12 oz. apple cider, apple cider vinegar or one bottle of apple ale (I used apple cider vinegar and it was wonderful!)
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
2 cups ketchup
1 T dry mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
2 T pickling spices (I used the one for dill pickles), tied in cheesecloth
1 T apple cider vinegar
Sesame seed topped hamburger buns for serving.
Bread and butter pickles for serving


Directions:
Brown beef on all sides in oil in batches so as not to crowd, over medium-high heat. Transfer to a 6 to 8 quart slow cooker.



Deglaze skillet with apple cider, vinegar or ale scraping up browned bits.

Add broth and reduce by half – about 15 minutes. Stir in ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

I put the ketchup, mustard and Worcestershire sauce in the same container and add all at once.

Add mixture to slow cooker and add pickling spice sachet.

Cover and cook on high 5 hours.

Remove beef from slow cooker and shred using two forks.

Discard pickling spice sachet and transfer braising liquid to a large saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced by half – about 20 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Add beef to sauce and heat through – about 5 minutes.



Lightly broil/toast hamburger buns. Place BBQ on bun, top with pickles, apple coleslaw and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Green Apple Coleslaw

Ingredients:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 T canola oil
2 T Dijon mustard
2 T minced shallots
1 t honey
1/8 t cayenne pepper
1-14 oz. bag coleslaw mix
2 granny smith apples, cored and julienned
1 cup very thinly sliced red onions
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup fresh parsley

Directions
Whisk together first six ingredients.

Combine coleslaw mix, apples and onions in a large bowl and toss with vinaigrette.

Thinly slice cored apples.
Line up cut slices in same direction.
Cut slices into matchstick sizes and then slice in half.

Season with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle with parsley just before serving.

Note: As the size of apples can vary, tweak the ratio of coleslaw mix and apples to your liking. Also, I halved this recipe.





Prosciutto Wrapped Baked Chicken

This recipe is very similar to “Chicken Saltimbocca”, however the chicken is brined and baked and served with a white wine sauce. Served with cooked fettucine and sliced tomato with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, this is a yummy dinner that can be enjoyed year round.

Recipe

Prosciutto Wrapped Baked Chicken

Ingredients:
4 boneless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
8-12 sliced prosciutto
4 T butter, divided – 3T softened and 1 T melted
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T finely chopped fresh sage
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
salt and sugar
fresh lemon wedges

Directions:
To bring chicken, fill a large bowl with 1 quart warm water and 1/4 cup kosher salt. Stir until most of the salt is dissolved. Add the chicken breasts and let them sit to brine for 15 minutes or cover the bowl and refrigerate for up to 6 hours. Remove the chicken from the brine, rinse with cold water and pat dry.)

Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
Wrap each chicken breast with 2-3 slices of prosciutto so that the prosciutto covers most of the chicken.



Brush the chicken breasts evenly on each side with 1T of the melted butter.

Season both sides with pepper and lay them in a single layer in a large baking dish. (I lightly sprayed the bottom of the baking dish with baking spray to avoid any potential sticking.)

Bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

Once the chicken is cooked, remove the dish from the oven and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes.



While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce.
Over medium heat, melt remaining 3 T butter. Add garlic, sage and crushed red pepper flakes and sauté for 6-8 minutes. Slowly add in the white wine and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add salt and a pinch of sugar to taste.

Spoon sauce over chicken breasts and serve with lemon wedges.

Chocolate Cream Pie

This pie take a little planning, but it’s totally worth the wait. Each layer, from the chocolate cookie crust to the smooth chocolatey filling and the whipped cream topping, is a bite of deliciousness.

Recipe

Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients:

Crust:
30 Nabisco Chocolate Wafers (or 1 1/2 cups finely crushed crumbs) – these are usually
found near the ice cream aisle in the grocery store.
1/3 cup sugar
4 T unsalted butter, softened

Filling:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 t salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
5 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. good quality unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 T unsalted butter
1 t vanilla extract

Topping:
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream
1 T sugar
1 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, grated or shaved

Directions:

For the Crust –
Preheat oven to 385 degrees F.
Combine the chocolate wafers, sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until the cookies are finely crushed. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. (You can use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs across the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 10 minutes.

For the Filling –
Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a heavy, medium saucepan. Whisk until combined.

In a bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the milk and egg yolks. Add the milk mixture to the saucepan in a slow, steady stream, whisking until mixture is smooth. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking frequently until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.

Immediately turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly for one more minute until thickened. (I like to to use a small whisk as it’s easier to get into the corners and bottom of the pan with a smaller whisk.) Remove from heat and immediately stir in chopped chocolate, butter and vanilla extract and whisk until evenly combined.


Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the filling to prevent a film from forming. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

For the Topping –
When pie has chilled 8+ hours, prepare the topping. Place heavy cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, whip on medium speed until the whisk or beaters begin to leave tracks in the cream.

To reduce splattering of the cream, I tear off a square shape of waxed paper, tear it half way across and halfway towards to the middle and place it around the beater whisk. I keep it there until the cream starts to firm up.

Add sugar and whip until the cream holds peaks.

Spread the whipped cream over the filling. Sprinkle with the grated chocolate and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Vegetable Dressing

This is a favorite salad dressing of mine. It tastes wonderful and as a bonus, there are so many veggies in it, there’s hardly any need to add any other ingredients to the lettuce. I like to serve this with Shepherd’s Pie because it’s a nice foil to the hearty “Pie”.

Recipe

Vegetable Dressing

Ingredients
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 t kosher salt
1/3 cup good extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot
1/2 small red bell pepper, minced
1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
3 T white wine vinegar
2 T minced flat leaf parsley
2 T water
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions
Combine all ingredients in a jar or cruet and shake.
Serve