Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

In my family pasta is like gold.  Cherished, loved, truly and genuinely desired!  We really like it.  But with said love so fervent, it makes it a little difficult to come up with different ways to prepare it and I don't like getting a rut where I cook the same thing all of the time.

I came across this Mediterranean style recipe the other day and so we gave it a shot.  The savoy goodness of the sun-dried tomatoes coupled with the creamy feta was heaven!

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta
1 pound chicken breast tenderloins
Greek seasoning (I used the no-salt version)
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
4 tsp chopped garlic (about 4 large cloves)
6 Tablespoons jarred sun dried tomato bruschetta (or sun dried tomatoes in oil)
1 cup dry white wine (I used Pinot Grigio)
2 cups chicken stock
1 Tbsp corn starch
4 oz package of crumbled feta cheese
6 Tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh baby spinach, stems removed
1 lb cooked penne noodles, al dente, drained and rinsed
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
additional sun dried tomatoes
sliced black olives to garnish

Make ahead time savers! You can make the garlic wine sauce ahead of time. You can make, drain, and rinse the pasta ahead of time. Then when you want to cook dinner, all you need to do is cook the chicken and throw it all together. Also, get all of your veggies chopped.

Garlic wine sauce:
To a sauce pan, add olive oil, half the garlic and half the shallots. Saute them until golden brown, then add the white wine. Allow it to come up to a boil, then reduce by half, stirring frequently. In a measuring cup or bowl, stir together the cold chicken stock and corn starch to make a slurry. Add the slurry to the reduced wine sauce. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until it has thickened up a bit. Strain the sauce and discard the garlic and shallots. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator until you need it if you are making it ahead of time.

Season the trimmed chicken breast tenderloins liberally with Greek seasoning and veggie rub seasoning if you like. Saute until golden on both sides in butter and olive oil over medium high heat.  Remove them to a plate and cover to keep warm so they won't overcook and dry out.
Add in the other half of the chopped garlic and shallots. Add in the sun dried tomato bruschetta (or sun dried tomatoes that were packed in oil). Add in about half of the garlic wine sauce. Add in the butter and half of the feta cheese. Stir in the chopped spinach and drained noodles. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
By this time, the chicken breast tenders should be cooked through. Please don't over cook them. To finish, add in the remainder of the garlic wine sauce, and garnish with the remaining feta, toasted pine nuts, and sliced olives.
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes

With so many delicious treats growing in the garden I have been on the hunt for new recipes to try while they are still abundant in the backyard!  I made this one for a recent Sunday Dinner and it was a tremendous hit!

Spaghetti in Garlic Gravy with Herbs and Lemon Marinated Chicken and Cherry Tomatoes

1 lb. thin spaghetti pasta (cooked al dente)
1 pound chicken breast fillets (sliced into 1 inch chunks)
For the chicken marinade:
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped (if using dried, use half of the amount)
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt (not table salt)
½ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (to sauté the marinated chicken)

Add all the marinade ingredients into the chicken and marinade for 20 minutes (if making this dish in pronto) or over night (if making this dish the next day… much better).  Saute the marinated chicken in extra virgin olive oil until cooked (about 4-5 minutes) then set aside.

For the garlic gravy:
½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 ½ cups chicken stock
1 Tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup parsley, chopped (to sprinkle/finish the pasta)
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes

Place sauté pan over medium heat and add butter and olive oil.  Saute garlic until fragrant and soft.  Add the flour and cook for a minute.  Add chicken stock and simmer gravy until thickened then add the chopped basil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the sauteed chicken in the gravy then toss the cooked spaghetti into this sauce.  Add the cherry tomatoes and finish the dish with the chopped parsley and grated parmesan cheese (serve extra on the side).

Makes 5-6 servings
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Jalapeno Ranch

Every year it seems that there is one particular part of my garden that absolutely goes crazy with growth!  This year, in my garden, it was the jalapeno peppers.  

I have been trying to think of all kinds of things to do with these spicy devils since I am a little intimidated by anything with the peppery kick so when this recipe came to mind I thought it would be perfect!

Jalapeno Ranch

1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeded
1 clove garlic
1 bunch scallions
1 tablespoon lime juice (~1/2 lime)
1 handful cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a food processor and puree.

I served it over bibb lettuce with mangoes, tomatoes, and avocados...the family went crazy with delight!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Caper-Garlic Roasted Salmon

Looking for a simple, delicious, yet seems-gourmet meal?  This is the money shot!  Simple its preparation and divine in the flavors, you cannot miss with this recipe!

Caper-Garlic Roasted Salmon

2 lb. salmon fillet
1&1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons  olive oil (not extra virgin)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 dashes cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried dill
3 tablespoon capers (add a little caper juice if you like the taste)

Combine all ingredients, except salmon, in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.  Place salmon skin-side down in heavy-duty foil with sides turned up. Pour sauce over fish.  
Place on medium hot grill and cover with lid for =/- 20 minutes.
Skin should remain attached to the foil when salmon is lifted.  Alternate method: cook in the oven set to 375 degrees, +/- 10 minutes, or until fish is light and flakey.

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