Romesco Chicken with Zucchini Ribbons

Romesco Chicken with Zucchini Ribbons

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Romesco Chicken

Ingredients:
1 cup jarred roasted red bell peppers, drained
1 cup Roma tomatoes, seeded
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 t black pepper
1 t kosher salt, divided
2 cups Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup sliced almonds, ground in a food processor
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
2 T water
1/3 cup Canola oil

Directions:
Process bell pepper, tomatoes, broth, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Transfer mixtrue to a saucepan and boil for ten minutes or until slightly thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Slice each chicken breast lengthwise, so you have two full size, thinner pieces. Season each with pepper and 1/2 t salt.

Combine bread crumbs and almonds in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, combine Parmesan and remaining 1/2 t salt. In a third shallow dish, blend eggs and water.

Dredge both sides of each chicken cutlet in flour mixture, then dip into egg mixture to fully coat and then into crumb mixture. Place on baking sheet. (For make ahead prep, chicken can be prepared to this stage, then covered and refrigerated until ready to cook.)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté chicken breasts 5 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully flip and sauté five more minutes or until cooked through.

Zucchini Ribbons

Ingredients:
4 large zucchini, ends trimmed
2 T extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Julienne the outside only of each zucchini (avoiding the seedy core) lengthwise using a mandoline or by hand. Discard core.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and sauté 5-10 minutes until soft and starting to slightly brown. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle Romesco sauce on bottom of warmed plate, using tongs, place a pile of zucchini to one side and top with one or two pieces of chicken. Enjoy!




Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is one of those desserts that, frankly, I make for the frosting. There is just something so scrumptious about a sweet cream cheese frosting that I could (almost) eat it with a spoon. I have tweaked different recipes to suit my Carrot Cake tastes – I do not care for raisins (which many recipes include) IN things. Tweak this recipe as you wish too! If you like raisins, add 1/2 to 1 cup. If you would like more nuts, press 1 cup of chopped pecans into the frosting (you can toast them as well). Also, instead of applesauce, crushed pineapple can be used. There are many options to make it to your liking as well.

Carrot Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy medium
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Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canola oil
4 large eggs (room temperature)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t ground nutmeg
1/4 ground cloves
2 cups finely, fresh grated carrots
1 cup chopped pecans


Cream Cheese Frosting
16 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Directions
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, line with parchment paper (cut to fit inside) and grease parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla together until no brown sugar lumps remain.

In a slightly larger bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, fold the ingredients together until just combined. Fold in the carrots and pecans.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the cakes are done. If not, continue to bake until cooked through, rechecking with a new toothpick every 2-3 minutes. When done, remove from oven to wire racks and allow to fully cool in pans. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting.

Make the frosting: In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together on medium-high speed until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar, 1 cup at a time, vanilla and salt. Beat on low for 1 minute then increase speed to high and beat until completely combined and creamy. Add more confectioner’s sugar or place bowl in refrigerator for 30 minutes if frosting is too thin. Add a little milk if frosting is too thick. Frosting should be soft but not runny.

Assemble and Frost: Place one cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. (I have a Rubbermaid Lazy Susan that works very well for icing and serving cakes if a fancy presentation isn’t necessary.) Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with second layer and cover top and sides with frosting. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides. (When icing a two-layer cake, I sometimes score the frosting in the bowl into thirds and use each third for each of the two layers and the sides. This method ensures a more even distribution of frosting.) Refrigerate cake for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Place a sheet of waxed paper on cut edges of remaining cake and store in refrigerator.

Steak Grillades with Cheese Noodles

This is a super easy and delicious recipe that comes together quick if ingredients are prepped and ready to go. I do not add a side dish because this already has a starch and vegetables in it.

“Steak

  • Servings: “3”
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Ingredients:
3/4 – 1 lb. beef tenderloin, cut into thin strips (I try to get tenderloin tips)
2 T Cajun seasoning
2 T all-purpose flour
4 strips thick-sliced bacon, chopped
1 cup onion, sliced
1 cup red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 cup low sodium beef stock
cheese noodles
1 1/3 cups tomato, diced
1 T chopped fresh parsley

Directions:
Season steak strips with Cajun season and dredge in flour – shake off excess. Sauté bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove to towel-lined plate and set aside. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return bacon to pan, deglaze with stock and bring to a boil and simmer 3-5 minutes or until thickened.
Serve over Cheese Noodles garnished with tomatoes and parsley.

Cheese Noodles

Ingredients:
8 oz. dried egg noodles
3/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 T unsalted butter

Directions:
Boil noodles in salted water according to package instructions. Drain well. Return to pot and add cheese and butter. Toss until cheese and butter are melted. Serve immediatly.






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