Jan 31, 2011

Skillet Chicken Parmesan

skillet chicken parm 1

Although I love my favorite chicken parmesan recipe – this one is definitely much simpler and easier to make on a weeknight.  No dirtying a bunch of bowls as you coat and dip the chicken.  Plus the chicken and sauce are all cooked in the same pan.  Crunchy breadcrumbs are added to the top at the end of cooking to give this meal that much needed texture.  

I really enjoyed the end result – I served it with some pasta and a salad.  It was the perfect comfort of chicken parmesan with out as much fuss.  Enjoy!  

skillet chicken parm 4


  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 pound), halved horizontally and pounded to thin evenly
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese


1. Toast bread crumbs in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and half of basil.

3. In separate bowl, combine remaining olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan, remaining basil, garlic, tomatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.

4. Place flour in a shallow dish. Season chicken with salt and pepper and coat with flour.

5. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in now-empty skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add cutlets and cook until golden brown on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to plate and repeat with remaining
cutlets and vegetable oil, as needed.

6. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomato mixture to empty skillet and bring to a simmer.

7.  Return cutlets to pan in even layer, pressing down to cover with sauce.

8. Sprinkle mozzarella, provolone, and remaining Parmesan over chicken. Cover with lid and cook until cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.

9. Sprinkle with bread crumb mixture and serve.

Source: adapted from Cook’s Country

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Jan 28, 2011

Pomegranate-balsamic glazed Salmon

pom glazed salmon 1

Salmon is one of my go-to easy weeknight meals.  It cooks in hardly any time at all and is really good for you too!  I almost always make my go to recipe – chili rubbed salmon, but once in awhile I like to mix things up.  I had some pomegranate juice in the fridge already – so I thought it would be a cook idea to use it in my meal as well.   I really loved the favor that the pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar bring to this glaze – it is not overly sweet.  I kept this meal simple and served it with some wild rice and green beans – perfect, simple, weeknight meal.  Enjoy!


Pomegranate-Balsamic Glaze

  • 3 Tbsp. Pomegranate juice
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • pinch cayenne pepper


  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cornstarch
  • 4 salmon fillets, similar in size and thickness
  • ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. olive or vegetable oil


1. To make the glaze: Whisk together all the ingredients in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook for about 1-2 minutes, until thickened and syrupy.  Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

2. To make the salmon: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

3. Combine the brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a small bowl.  Pat the salmon dry with paper towels, and season with pepper. 

4. Sprinkle the brown sugar mixture evenly over the salmon, rubbing to distribute.

5. Heat the oil in an oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. 

6. Place salmon, skin-side-down (if your has the skin-on), in the skillet, and cook until well-browned, about 1 minute.  Use a spatula to carefully flip each fillet, and cook on the skin-side for 1 minute.

7. Remove the skillet from heat and brush the fillets evenly with the glaze.

8. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the thickest part of the fillet registers 125 degrees, and is just translucent with cut with a paring knife, 7-10 minutes. 

Source: Cook’s Illustrated Jan. 2011

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Jan 26, 2011

Asian Chicken Soba Soup

soba chicken soup 1

It’s definitely cold enough here in Buffalo, NY for lots of soup for dinner – I have two more new soup recipes on my menu for this week.  I’ve never bought Soba noodles before – but they are really hearty and reminiscent of whole wheat spaghetti. 

So, if you are fighting a winter cold and want an easy soup to make you feel better – this is it!  Enjoy!

soba chicken soup 2


  • 3 cans (14.5 ounce) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 Tbsp. grated peeled ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, cut into slivers
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 ounces soba noodles
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, and cut into 1 inch strips
  • 6 ounces snow peas, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper


1. In a large stockpot, bring chicken broth, ginger, garlic, red-pepper flakes and water to a boil over high heat. 

2. Add noodles and reduce heat until a simmer, and cook until noodles are tender – about 6 to 8 minutes.

3. Add chicken, bell pepper, and snow peas.  Cook until the chicken is cooked throughout, about 1-3 minutes.

4.  Add lime juice and scallions, season with salt and pepper to taste.

5. Use tongs to divide noodles among bowls and ladle broth into each bowl.

Source: Everyday Food, Fresh Flavor Fast

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Jan 25, 2011

Vanilla Bean Pudding

vanilla bean pudding 1

Pudding is one of the ultimate comforting desserts – and ever since I made the chocolate pudding that Deb from Smitten Kitchen recommended in this recipe.  I knew that she knew her stuff when it comes to pudding.  It should not be complicated to make – or you might as well open up one of those dried packets and shake it up yourself.

I have a stash of vanilla beans in my freezer – so making this recipe didn’t even require a trip to a specialty store.  And not only was this easy to make – it was so smooth, creamy and a wonderful vanilla taste. 

vanilla bean pudding 2


  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg


1. Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. While the milk is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean in a medium, heatproof bowl.

3. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.

4. Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon.

5. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer. Stir in vanilla extract and divide among serving dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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Jan 24, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

tortilla casserole 3

It’s kind of a misnomer to call this dish a ‘casserole’ – in reality is is really baked chicken nachos (it’s not ultimate nachos – but still pretty darn good).   This is a dish that I’ve made in the past and forgot about until recently.   And now that I a food blog to keep track of recipes I like – hopefully it will not be so long until I make this again.   One thing I did to make this meal easier on a weeknight – was that I cooked the chicken breast earlier in the week – when I was making something else for dinner.   That make this come together in no time at all – and good thing since my husband would eat the entire dish of these if I let him.   

Also, this would be a perfect dish to make for the Superbowl coming up – it’s fulfilling enough for a meal – but at the same time its kind-of snacky – so you can leave room for other treats to enjoy while you watch the game.   

tortilla casserole 2


  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion , minced
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can pinto beans , rinsed
  • 1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
  • 5 cups tortilla chips (3 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded cheese (pepperjack, monterrey jack, cheddar, etc..)


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

2.  Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add chicken broth and bring to simmer.

4.  Stir beans, tomatoes, and chipotle into sauce and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.

5. Stir in chicken, 3 tablespoons cilantro, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

6. Spread 1 cup tortilla chips over bottom of 9x13-inch baking dish and top with 1 cup chicken mixture. Spread 2 more cups tortilla chips into dish and sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Spread remaining chicken mixture into dish and top with remaining tortilla chips. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese over top.

7. Bake until cheese is golden brown and casserole is bubbling, abut 10 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro before serving.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated

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Jan 20, 2011

Mini Chocolate Mocha Cheesecakes

chocolate mocha cheesecake 1

It’s definitely that time of year when people try to eat healthier and lighten-up after the holiday season.  This is definitely a hard feat for someone with a sweet tooth like myself.  I love a nice rich dessert – but I also need something to satisfy my sweet cravings after dinner that won’t bust the waistline.   Luckily, the latest issue of Everyday Food magazine (aka the Light issue) has come to the rescue with these mini chocolate mocha cheesecakes.  They are perfectly portioned and estimated 174 calories and 2 grams of fat!  The secret ingredient is nonfat cottage cheese! 

chocolate mocha cheesecake 2

My favorite thing about these cheesecakes was how unbelievably easy they were to make – you just blend everything together in the food processor and then bake.  You would never know that there is cottage cheese in there!  The texture is so smooth and creamy. 

chocolate mocha cheesecake 3


  • 1 cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. espresso powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 chocolate wafer cookies, such as Famous
  • whipped cream, for serving (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

2. Line 6 standard muffin cups with cupcake liners.

3. In a food processor combine cottage cheese, egg, sugar, cocoa powder, flour, espresso powder and vanilla. 

4. Process until smooth – about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed.

5. Divide mixture evenly among cups and place 1 cookie on top of each.

6. Bake until filling is set and cookies soften – about 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack in pan until room temperature.

7. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, then serve with whipped cream.

Source: adapted from Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2011

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Jan 19, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chicken

sweet and sour chicken 2

I know you are thinking – this does not look like the sweet and sour chicken you can get a take-out Chinese restaurants.  Well – it isn’t – it is a much healthier version.  Packed with some bell peppers, green beans, fresh ginger and scallions – it is a complete meal.  And perfect for a weeknight meal, after coming home from work and the gym.  Delicious and easy – can’t get better than that!

sweet and sour chicken 1


  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and halved
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • sesame seeds or chopped peanuts, for topping (optional)


1. Cook rice according to package instructions.

2. Whisk together cornstarch, sugar, soy sauce and vinegar. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over high heet. 

4. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. 

5. Add in bell peppers and green beans and cook until vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. 

6. Add in scallions, ginger and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is cooked and vegetables are tender.

7. Add in soy sauce mixture to the skillet and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

8. Serve over rice and top with peanuts or sesame seeds.

Source: Everyday Food Jan/Feb 2011

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Jan 18, 2011

Sponge Candy

sponge candy 1

Growing up in Buffalo, NY, sponge candy is undoubtedly sold at every chocolate shop.   Never having lived anywhere else – I’ve just become accustomed to it.  Unfortunately for most people – it is not made or available everywhere. You can check out the Wikipedia entry to find out the fun and cool names it goes by in other parts of the world – hockey pokey, sea foam or fairy food – anyone?  

Well, it is sponge candy here is Western New York – and we always have it coated in chocolate.  So one day while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping at Wegmans – I noticed a small cookbook entitled “Buffalo Cooks with Janice Okun”.  And I knew Janice Okun to be the local food critic in the area – so when I stopped to peruse the book – I opened right up to the page with a sponge candy recipe, and the book immediately ended up in my cart without a second thought.   I can’t wait to try more local recipes featured in this book!

sponge candy 3

So by now I’m sure you are wondering how you get those bubbles (aka sponge) in the candy, and surprising it is much easier than expected.  When I read the recipe I immediately realized what makes the bubbles. It is just white vinegar and baking soda – just like the volcano that many of us made in elementary school. 

Candy making can be tricky – so I was thrilled at how this turned out – it was perfect.  Just a note though – it is best to make this when the humidity is low or it may become gummy.  Also – use a candy thermometer to ensure the mixture reaches 300 degrees.     

sponge candy 2


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 8-12 ounces bittersweet, semisweet or milk chocolate


1. Combine sugar, corn syrup and vinegar in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.

2. Continue cooking, without stirring, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer. 

3. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and mix well. 

4. Pour in a parchment and butter lined 9x9 inch square pan.   Cool completely.

5. Break sponge into pieces with a large knife.

6. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between each increment, until completely melted. 

7. Using a fork or tongs – dip into chocolate and place on parchment lined baking sheet to harden. 

Source: Buffalo Cooks with Janice Okun

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Jan 17, 2011

Yeasted Waffles

yeasted waffles 3

Do you want to know the perfect Sunday morning breakfast?  Well – it’s yeasted waffles.  Essentially you mix together almost all of the ingredients the night before – and in the morning you add a bit of baking soda and crack an egg – and you have waffle batter. Even better than that is that you house will smell like fresh baked bread!  Does it get any better than that?  And if you run your dishwasher the night before – you won’t even have any dishes to do! Winking smile 

yeasted waffles 1

This is the batter when you wake up in the morning – look at all of those yeast bubbles!

The best part is that they tasted even better than I expected – so you can’t beat that!   Enjoy!

yeasted waffles 2


  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda


1. Combine the water and yeast in a large mixing bowl and let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Add the milk, butter, salt, sugar and flour to the bowl.  Whisk until well blended and smooth.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.

4. When you are ready to make the waffles, preheat the waffle iron.

5.  Whisk the eggs and baking soda into the batter until smooth (the batter will be thin).

6. Fill waffle wells and cook according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Cook until crisp and golden. 

Source: Annie’s Eats, who adapted from Orangette, originally from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham

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Jan 14, 2011

Chocolate Truffles

chocolate truffles 3

Seriously – who doesn’t love a rich, dark chocolate truffle?  It melts in your mouth and is so smooth and creamy.  It is the perfect one bite dessert treat.  I’ve been making the same recipe for years – and since you don’t want to mess with perfection – I would never try another version.   

chocolate truffles 4

My biggest piece of advice when making your own truffles is to buy yourself a some disposable plastic gloves.  When I am cooking/baking – I wash my hands a lot – I hate to have food all over my fingers.  Well – it is unavoidable when rolling your own truffles.  So the plastic gloves really do the trick – and it helps to keep some of the heat from your hands melting the chocolate too much.   Trust me – don’t try this without gloves. 

chocolate truffles 2

For coating the truffles – I did two versions one dipped in melted chocolate and one dipped in cocoa powder.  You can also toast coconut or chopped nuts.   Any way you coat it – I promise they will be good!  Enjoy! 

chocolate truffles 1


  • 2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Bittersweet Chocolate Chips 
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

coating suggestions:

  • cocoa powder
  • melted chocolate
  • toasted coconut
  • chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc)


1. In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer.

2. Add the butter and stir until melted. Add the chocolate chips. Stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and pour into a shallow bowl.

3. Cool, cover, and refrigerate the mixture until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

4. Using a small spoon, scoop and roll (with gloves!) the mixture into 1-inch balls.

5. After all the truffles are rolled – coat with desired topping (melted chocolate, cocoa powder, coconut, nuts, etc..).

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Source: Ghirardelli

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Jan 13, 2011

Spicy Mac and Cheese

spicy mac and cheese

This was one of those meals that constantly got moved around my weekly menu – week to week it was on the list, but for one reason or another it never got made and then got bumped to the following week.  Well, finally I made it – and it was absolutely delicious.  I really wish I had made it sooner.  The jalapeno and pepperjack cheese make this dish just spicy enough– but not so much that your mouth is on fire.  Speaking of fire – I really need to be more careful when I am chopping and seeding jalapenos – I must of had some of the oil on my hand and touched my face.  I was totally on fire and even my finger hurt for a day or two before it finally went away.  I am going to wear disposal gloves next time – I’ve learned my lesson! 

spicy mac and cheese 2


  • 4 cups dried pasta
  • 1/3 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 roasted red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • 7 Tbsp. butter, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 8 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs


1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  When the water boils, cook the pasta according to the package directions, minus 1-2 minutes, strain, then set aside.

2. In the meantime, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan medium-high heat.  Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside in a separate bowl.

3. In the now empty saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter is completely melted, whisk in the flour.  Cook the mixture, whisking constantly, until it turns a light golden brown color and begins to foam, about 2 minutes.

4. Whisk in the milk until well blended.  Cook the mixture, whisking or stirring frequently, until it begins to bubble and thicken, about 5 minutes.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Whisk in the spices.  Add the cheeses to the mixture and whisk until completely melted and well incorporated.  Remove from the heat.

5. Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Return the drained pasta to the large pot.  Add in the cooked vegetables and the cheese sauce, and mix until well blended.  Transfer the mixture to a 4-quart casserole dish.

6. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and toss with the bread crumbs.  Sprinkle the crumb mixture in an even layer on top of the pasta.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until the mixture is heated through and the topping is golden brown. 

Source: Annie’s Eats

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Jan 12, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

chocolate chip cookie dough truffles 1

If you love raw cookie dough – these are the dessert for you!  But don’t fret – there are no raw eggs in these (although that doesn’t even concern me – maybe it should though?)   They were super easy to make – I made the ‘dough’ two nights before I needed it, then dipped them the next day and kept them in the refrigerator until I needed them the following day.  OMG!  Are they divine – and they were a huge hit with my family who got to enjoy these.  You will not be disappointed with these! 


  • 8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ lb. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped [I use Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips – they melt perfectly for dipping]
  • additional mini chocolate chips (for garnish)


1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

2. Beat in the flour, sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until incorporated and smooth. 

3. Stir in the chocolate chips.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the mixture has firmed up enough to form balls.

4. Shape the chilled cookie dough mixture into 1-1.5 inch balls (I used my cookie scoop).  Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

5. When ready to dip the truffles, melt the chocolate in the microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. 

6. Dip each chilled truffle, one at a time, coating in chocolate and shaking gently to remove the excess.  Transfer to parchment paper lined surface to set. 

7. If using mini chocolate chips for garnish, sprinkle on top quickly after dipping each truffle before the chocolate sets.  Once all the truffles have been dipped, store them in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Source: Seen on Annie’s Eats, who adapted from My Kitchen Cafe, originally from Taste of Home

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Jan 11, 2011

French-style Stuffed Chicken Breast

french style chicken 1

I’ve always wanted to go to France – I took French in high school and the romanticism associated with Paris has allured me through the years.  I think at this point in time though – the closest I am going to get to France is making ‘French’ food.  Although, I do hope to go there someday.   I was really excited to try these stuffed chicken breasts – they make for a beautiful presentation when sliced.  The filling is a mushroom and leek mixture – that was really delicious.  And it is finished with an easy pan sauce that really brings this dish over the top.  I served these at a dinner party with garlic rice pilaf, rustic dinner rolls and green bean almondine.  I would say that is was a success!  Enjoy!    

french style chicken 2


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 oz. each)
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
  • 1 small leek, white part halved lengthwise and chopped (about 1 cup) [note: soak in water to clean cut leeks and then dry in a salad spinner]
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter


1. If your chicken breasts have the tenderloin attached, remove the tenderloins and set aside.  Using a sharp knife, butterfly each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through but not quite, leaving the two halves attached like the pages of a book.  Open up the butterflied breasts and lay them out flat.  Place each piece of chicken, laid out flat, in between plastic wrap one at a time.  Pound the chicken pieces to 1/4-inch thickness.  Trim about 1 1/2 inch from the long side of the cutlets, to remove about 2 ounces per piece of chicken.  (Use the reserved tenderloins in place of or in addition to the trimmings to equal about 1/2 cup total reserved chicken pieces.)  Process the trimmings in a food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds.  Transfer the puree to a medium bowl.  Do not wash out the bowl of the food processor.

2. To make the stuffing: Heat 1 Tbsp. of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8-11 minutes. 

3. Add an additional Tbsp. of oil as well as the leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 2-4 minutes.  Mix in the garlic and thyme and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and cook until the moisture has evaporated, about 30 seconds.  

4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of the food processor.  Return the pan to the heat; add the wine and scrape the pan to loosen browned bits.  Transfer the wine mixture to a small bowl and set aside.  Turn off the heat on the pan.

5. Pulse the mushroom mixture in the food processor until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses.  Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the pureed chicken.  Mix in half of the parsley, and the salt and pepper.  Use a spatula to fold together the stuffing ingredients until well combined.

6. With the chicken breasts laid out flat, spread a quarter of the filling mixture over each of the breasts, leaving a clear edge around the perimeter.  Roll up each breast as tightly as possible without squeezing out the filling and place seam-side down.  Tie evenly with 3 pieces of twine around each chicken breast.

7. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper.  Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Add the chicken bundles and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Add the broth and reserved wine mixture to the pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160˚ F, about 12-18 minutes.  Transfer to a plate or cutting board and tent loosely with foil.

8. While the chicken is resting, whisk the mustard into the cooking liquid.  Bring the heat to a high simmer, scraping the pan bottom to loosen browned bits.  Simmer until reduced, about 7-10 minutes.  Off the heat, whisk in the butter, remaining parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

9. Remove the pieces of twine, slice the chicken pieces on a slight diagonal, and serve with sauce spooned over the top.

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, seen on Annie’s Eats

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Jan 10, 2011

Grasshopper pie

grasshopper pie 2

I am finally getting back in the swing of things after the holidays, new years, my birthday, etc…  Being thrown off my routine set me back with keeping up with my blog. But this pie could not be forgotten.  As I mentioned it my last post – I had bought some crème de menthe and crème de cacao for a recipe – well this was it!   And I really hoped that we would enjoy this pie – since it also entailed a trip to Premier gourmet (a local liquor store) on the day before Christmas eve to get the liquors.  And when a store has people directing traffic just to find a parking spot – it is usually not worth it to go inside.  But they had what I needed and with lots of registers open – we got out of there quickly – since I have no patience when waiting in line.   

Now back to this pie – it was really simple to mix together.  I made the crust the day in advance – so it had time to cool.  Just a note that this pie is definitely ‘boozy’ since the liquor is not cooked – but I thought that was the best part. Smile  Enjoy!

grasshopper pie 3

grasshopper pie 1



  • 16 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled


  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) unflavored gelatin
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup green crème de menthe
  • 1/4 cup white crème de cacao


1. To make the crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Process the cookies in a food processor until fine.  Sprinkle butter over crumbs and pulse to incorporate. 

2. Sprinkle mixture into a 9-inch pie plate and press into bottom and sides. 

3. Bake until the crust is fragrant and set – about 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool completely

4. To make the filling: Combine 1/2 cup cream, sugar, gelatin and salt in a medium saucepan and let sit until gelatin softens – about 5 minutes.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks. 

6. Warm the cream mixture over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves and the mixture is hot – about 2 minutes. 

7. Slowly whisk the hot gelatin mixture into the egg yolks to temper.  Pour back into the saucepan and continue to cook stirring constantly over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 2-5 more minutes.

8. Off heat, stir in the crème de menthe and crème de cacao.  Pour into a clean bowl and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thick – about 20-25 minutes.

9. Whip the remaining 1 1/2 cups of cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute.  Then increase the speed to high until soft peaks form – 1 to 3 minutes.

10. Thoroughly whisk 1 cup of the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture to lighten it.  Then gently fold in the remaining cream until no more streaks remain. 

11. Spread the mixture into the cooled pie crust and smooth the top.  Refrigerate until the filling is set – about 6 hours. 

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

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Jan 4, 2011


grasshopper 1

A grasshopper walks into a bar and hops up onto the counter. The bartender says 'we have a drink named after you.' The grasshopper replies 'You have a drink named Carl?'

Such a funny joke – now I have a drink for you once you stop laughing!  Smile 

I’ve never had a grasshopper before – but since I bought both crème de cacao and crème de menthe for another recipe (coming soon), I had a mix one up for my husband and I.   It’s a really great substitute for dessert – especially if you blend in some ice cream – yum!  Enjoy!

grasshopper 2


  • 1 ounce green crème de menthe
  • 1 ounce white crème de cacao
  • 2 ounces milk, cream or soy milk


Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass to serve.  Top with whipped cream (optional). 

Source: adapted from Drinks Mixer