Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Rustic Chicken Sausages Sauté


Rustic Chicken Sausage & Pasta

2 links of Tomato Basil Chicken Sausage, sliced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
3 cloves of garlic, sliced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced fresh San Marzano tomatoes or Heirloom cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine (I used Moscato)
2 cups baby spinach julienned
2 -3 Tbsp. fresh basil, julienned & divided
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Fresh grated Asiago or reggiano 
Pasta of choice, I used bucatini tonight, linguine would be great also.

In medium skillet, sauté sausage in EVOO for 3 minutes, add onions & garlic, sauté a few more minutes to soften onion. Deglaze with wine & add red bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, S&P. Cook 5-7 minutes. Add spinach & basil, cook for 1 minute to wilt spinach. Spoon over desired pasta, garnish with grated cheese & fresh basil.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2015 Newsletter

August 2015 Newsletter

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:


When I'm an old lady, I'll live with each kid,
And bring so much happiness just as they did.
I want to pay back all the joy they've provided.
Returning each deed! Oh, they'll be so excited!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
I'll write on the walls with reds, whites and blues,
And I'll bounce on the furniture wearing my shoes.
I'll drink from the carton and then leave it out.
I'll stuff all the toilets and oh, how they'll shout!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
When they're on the phone and just out of reach,
I'll get into things like sugar and bleach.
Oh, they'll snap their fingers and then shake their head,
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
When they cook dinner and call me to eat,
I'll not eat my green beans or salad or meat,
I'll gag on my okra, spill milk on the table,
And when they get angry I'll run if I'm able!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
I'll sit close to the TV, through channels I'll click,
I'll cross both eyes just to see if they stick.
I'll take off my socks and throw one away,
And play in the mud 'til the end of the day!
When I'm an old lady and live with my kids.
And later in bed, I'll lay back and sigh,
I'll thank God in prayer and then close my eyes.
My kids will look down with a smile slowly creeping,
And say with a groan, "She's so sweet when she's sleeping!"
-by Joanne Bailey Baxter

RECIPES:
Creamy Chicken Basil Fettuccine
From Blue Apron

On the Cutting Board
  • 8 Ounces Ground Chicken
  • 8 Ounces Fresh Basil Fettuccine Pasta
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¾ Pound Plum Tomatoes 
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese 


    2Cook the chicken:
    In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

    3Cook the aromatics:
    Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium until hot. Add the garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

    4Add the tomatoes & chicken:
    Add the tomatoes, cooked chicken and 1 cup of water to the pan of aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

    5Cook the pasta:
    Once the tomatoes and chicken have simmered for about 10 minutes, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, gently stirring to separate. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

    6Finish & plate your dish:
    To the pan of tomatoes and chicken, add the cooked pasta, mascarpone cheese, all but a pinch of the Parmesan cheeseand half the reserved pasta cooking water. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently to thoroughly coat the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Stir in all but a pinch of the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding); season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!

    ******************************

    Creamy Mexican Kale Salad

    Healthy Creamy Mexican Kale Salad
    Ingredients
      Salad:
    • 4 cups baby or full-grown kale (stalks removed & coarsely chopped), packed
    • 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used my cooked beans)
    • 1 cup corn (thaw if using frozen)
    • 2 large bell peppers (any colour), finely chopped
    • 1 + 1/2 large avocado, finely chopped
    • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp jalapeño peppers, seeded & minced
    • Dressing:
    • 1/2 large avocado
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 1/2 lime, juice of
    • 1 tsp cumin
    • 3/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    Directions
    1. Add Salad ingredients to a large bowl. In a food processorblender or Magic Bullet, process Dressing ingredients until smooth. Pour over salad, toss and serve. P.S. You could prepare Salad and Dressing in advance and combine before serving. The Dressing does get brown a bit but once mixed with the Salad, it's not noticeable.
    2. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate tossed or separately for up to 24 hours.
    ********************************

    Chicken Tetrazzini Casserole

    From 12 Tomatoes
    Serves 6-8

    Ingredients
    • 1 pound whole-wheat linguine (or spaghetti)
    • 1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, shredded (3-4 cups)
    • 2 (8 oz.) packages sliced mushrooms
    • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
    • 1 cup 2% milk
    • 1 cup white onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 1/3 cup low-fat cream cheese
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • toasted almonds, optional, garnish
    Directions
    1. Preheat oven to 375º F and lightly spray 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil and cook pasta until al dente.
    3. In a large pan or skillet, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat and swirl pan so that it evenly coats the bottom.
    4. Add mushrooms to pan and sauté until softened. 3-4 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is translucent and garlic fragrant.
    5. Pour in white wine, reduce heat and let cook until reduced.
    6. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and whisk in flour to create a roux.
    7. Once smooth and a dark, golden color, slowly pour in milk and chicken stock, stirring continuously.
    8. Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes, or until thickened.
    9. Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and cream cheese, salt and pepper, and stir well.
    10. Carefully pour the sauce into the mushrooms and onions, and add the pasta and shredded chicken. Toss to combine well.
    11. Pour mixture into baking dish, place in oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through and bubbly.
    12. Remove from oven, let rest 5 minutes, if desired, garnish with toasted almonds and serve hot.
    *****************************
     Mushroom Cream Sauce

    Paula Smith

    1 package stir fry dehydrated mushrooms reconstituted in 2 cups warm chicken broth
    1/4 cup diced red onion
    2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
    1/2 cup white wine ( I used Moscato )
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    1/2 cup shaved Parmesan 

    Sauté onion in olive oil over medium heat. Drain mushrooms, chop & reserve liquid. Add mushrooms & pepper to skillet & continue sautéing for 2-3 minutes. Add wine & cook down slightly, scraping bottom of pan. Add 1 cup of the cooking liquid & cook 2-3 minutes. Reduce heat & stir in heavy cream & shaved Parmesan, heat through.

    Serve over ravioli ( I used lobster ravioli ) polenta or grit cakes. 

    Enjoy!

    ********************************


    Lemon Honey Panna Cotta

    For the panna cotta:
    ¼ cup fresh lemon juice 
    2 ¼ tsp gelatin 
    1 cup whipping cream 
    ½ cup fine granulated sugar 
    ¼ cup honey 
    Zest of 1 lemon 
    1/8 tsp (pinch) salt 
    2 cups low-fat or no-fat unsweetened yogurt 
    1 tsp pure lemon extract 
    ½ tsp pure vanilla extract 
    ¾ cup apricot jam 
    1 tbsp honey 
    1 tbsp Limoncello 
    Zest of ½ lemon 
    Make the panna cotta:
    Pour the lemon juice into a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over. Let soften for a couple of minutes.
    Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the whipping cream, sugar, honey, lemon zest, and salt. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the cream is hot. Remove from the heat and whisk in the softened gelatin; whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Set aside.
    Place the yogurt in a large liquid-measuring cup (a spout will make it easier to pour later). Add the lemon and vanilla extracts and whisk to combine and lighten the yogurt. Gradually, whisk in the hot cream-gelatin mixture. Divide the mixture equally between 12 4-oz bowls, glasses or ramekins. Once cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
    Right before serving or close to the serving time, combine the jam, tablespoon of honey, and Limoncello in a small microwave-safe bowl. Warm the mixture gently, so it’s barely warm to the touch, then put it through a fine-mesh sieve. Stir in the lemon zest. Divide the jam mixture equally between the panna cotta, gently spread the jam. Please, note that the jam should be spreadable but not hot; otherwise, it will melt the panna cotta. Serve right away or refrigerate until needed.



    ,

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Summertime cookin'

Cornbread Salad & Tomato Pie





Cornbread Salad

 I layered 4 cups chopped romaine, divided...2 tomatoes, peeled & diced, can of black beans, rinsed & drained, 1 can southwestern corn, drained, 6 green onions, chopped, 6 slices bacon, cooked chopped, 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese, 6 cornbread muffins & 1 bottle chipotle hidden valley ranch. Layer 1/2 lettuce, tomatoes, 2 muffins cornbread crumbled, beans, corn, onions & 1/2 of dressinG. Repeat layers, top with cheese, bacon, & remaining 2 muffins crumbled. Cover with plastic & refrigerate 1-2 hours before serving.

Tomato Pie



I didn't use a recipe, blind baked the crust. Sliced 6 heirloom tomatoes red, pink, yellow, salted them and let sit in colander for about 30 minutes. Pressed more of the liquid out and layered in crust, added fresh ground pepper to layers. Combination of fresh rosemary, basil, thyme & flat leaf parsley...about 1/3 cup. Sprinkled over tomatoes, reserving 1 Tbsp. Combined 2 cups sharp cheddar, 1 cup shredded mozzarella & one cup mayo. Spread over top & bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved herbs. Let it stand about 5 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Creamy Chicken Basil Fettuccine

Creamy Chicken Basil Fettuccine
From Blue Apron

My Notes: I used Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage that I removed casings & chopped. In lieu of the Basil Futtuccine, I used dry linguini.


On the Cutting Board
  • 8 Ounces Ground Chicken
  • 8 Ounces Fresh Basil Fettuccine Pasta
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Red Onion
  • ¾ Pound Plum Tomatoes 
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Mascarpone Cheese 


    2Cook the chicken:
    In a large pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground chicken; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a bowl, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

    3Cook the aromatics:
    Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan of reserved fond and heat on medium until hot. Add the garlic and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until softened. Add the tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until dark red and fragrant.

    4Add the tomatoes & chicken:
    Add the tomatoes, cooked chicken and 1 cup of water to the pan of aromatics; season with salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium-high. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the tomatoes have broken down and the sauce has thickened.

    5Cook the pasta:
    Once the tomatoes and chicken have simmered for about 10 minutes, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water, gently stirring to separate. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

    6Finish & plate your dish:
    To the pan of tomatoes and chicken, add the cooked pasta, mascarpone cheese, all but a pinch of the Parmesan cheeseand half the reserved pasta cooking water. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently to thoroughly coat the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Stir in all but a pinch of the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding); season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat. Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the remaining Parmesan cheese and basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

JULY 2015 NEWSLETTER

Pralines, Bacon Stuffed Eggs, Bang Bang Shrimp & More







July 2015 Newsletter

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Reflecting Independence
by Paula George
June 26, 2006

As Independence Day approaches, many thoughts and memories travel through my
mind and heart.

Thoughts of the freedoms, others have sacrificed home and lives for bringing us
to this point in time.

Families divided, others brought closer as they faced enemies seeking to destroy
these freedoms.

Goodbyes said as loved ones shipped to foreign lands, never to return, yet;
giving their lives to protect their homeland.

Unfortunate the divisions in our own homeland, families divided, others
reunited...infiltrated within by...

Outsiders...taking advantage of our freedoms and government, unwilling to accept
our land according to the laws it was founded upon.

Only taking of the opportunities...unwilling to become an intricate part of the
Independence we have because of lives sacrificed.

Reflections still remain that I have the opportunity to live in "freedom" and I
am a "citizen" of the "Land of Independence".

Reflections of those who serve in our military forces...those near and
far...those past and present...those willing to sacrifice home and family to
protect our freedom and homeland..."Reflecting Independence".
*******************************************************************************************
Cadelle Richardson's Pecan Pralines

Cadelle was my step-grandmother...lived in Algiers, LA. 
She taught me to make these in the early 70's.

In a heavy saucepan, combine:
2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small can evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
Bring to a soft boil over medium heat and boil for 8 minutes.
Remove from heat and a dd:
1 teaspoon vinegar
2 cups chopped pecans
Stir until pecans are coated and drop by spoonfuls onto cookie
sheets lined with waxed paper. Let stand until firm.

***********************************************************************************************************88
Bacon Stuffed Eggs

INGREDIENTS
6 large eggs
  1/2 of an (8 ounce) cream cheese, softened
2 -3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
DIRECTIONS

Place eggs in a large sauce pan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to measure at least 1 inch above eggs. Cover and quickly bring to a boil. Remove from heat.Let stand covered in hot water 15 minutes. ( This is always how I boil my eggs, it helps to keep eggs from cracking, and gives a more even cooking.) Drain. Immediately run cold water over eggs or place them in ice water until cooled completely.
To remove shell ,gently tap each egg all over, and roll between hands to loosen shell; then hold egg under cold running water as you peel shell.
Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and carefully scoop out yolk; mash yolks with a fork. Add cream cheese and next 4 ingredients to yolks, stirring until smooth.Stir bacon, and spoon into egg whites. 
**************************************
Another Cannoli Dip

 Ingredients 

10 servings
 2 cups ricotta cheese
 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Beat ricotta cheese and cream cheese together in a bowl until smooth; add sugar and vanilla. Continue to stir mixture until sugar is completely incorporated. Fold chocolate chips through the cheese mixture.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 10 minutes.

Serve with waffle cones broken into chip size pieces.
**************************************
Bang Bang Shrimp
Aka Paula's Mo' Betta Shrimp
Dipping sauce:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. Thai chili sauce 
1 Tbsp. honey
Dash of Kosher salt
Few grinds of coarse black pepper
1 Tablespoon water

Whisk together ingredients for dipping sauce.

Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup buttermilk

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/4 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail-on
Bibb lettuce leaves, for serving
Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Directions
Make the sauce: Mix the mayonnaise, chili sauce, honey, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, Old Bay and 1 tablespoon water in a large bowl; set aside.

Prepare the shrimp: Heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees. Meanwhile, pour buttermilk in a shallow bowl. Whisk the flour, cornstarch and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, Old Bay in another shallow bowl.

Working in batches, dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, dip in the buttermilk then return to the flour mixture, turning to coat each side. Fry the shrimp in the hot oil until lightly golden, 2-3 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain the oil temperature. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate with a slotted spoon.

Arrange the lettuce in a shallow serving bowl or on individual plates. Top with the shrimp and garnish with scallions. Serve the dipping sauce on the side.
*****************************************
Ham & Cheese Sliders

Ingredients 

Original recipe makes 24 servings
 3/4 cup melted butter
 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
 1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seeds
 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
 24 mini sandwich rolls
 1 pound thinly sliced cooked deli ham
 1 pound thinly sliced Swiss cheese

PREP
15 mins
COOK
20 mins
READY IN
35 mins 
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking dish.
In a bowl, mix together butter, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, poppy seeds, and dried onion. Separate the tops from bottoms of the rolls, and place the bottom pieces into the prepared baking dish. Layer about half the ham onto the rolls. Arrange the Swiss cheese over the ham, and top with remaining ham slices in a layer. Place the tops of the rolls onto the sandwiches. Pour the mustard mixture evenly over the rolls.
Bake in the preheated oven until the rolls are lightly browned and the cheese has melted, about 20 minutes. Slice into individual rolls through the ham and cheese layers to serve.
***********************************
JACK SNACKS

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
2 medium jalapeno, sliced real thin
DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350º.  Place a sheet of parchment paper on 2 metal cookie sheet.  DO NOT use a silicone/silpat sheet, waxed paper or foil (unless it’s the special non-stick foil) to bake these or they will not cook properly.  Using a tablespoon, scoop up 1 T. of cheese and make a small pile on the parchment.  Press it slightly flat.  Repeat 30 more times. Place a slice of jalapeno on top of each pile.  Pop into 350º oven for about 12-15 minutes until golden. These are somewhat pliable if under browned. Allow them to completely cool and fully firm up before removing from the pan for best results. :)





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