Wednesday, February 10, 2016

french onion chicken

Hall of Fame!  This chicken met every expectation I had in my mind when I saw this recipe. Definitely "guest worthy" and if I weren't planning on making Chicken Cordon Bleu for Valentine's Day I'd make this.

french onion chicken (for the love of cooking
2 tablespoons butter (I used 1 tablespoon)
2 large sweet yellow onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups beef broth
2 teaspoons olive oil (I omitted because I have nonstick pans)
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
sea salt and pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2- 1 cup Greyere cheese, grated

Melt the butter in an oven-proof pan over medium heat, add the onions and cook until deeply golden brown, about an hour, stirring often, adding a bit of beef broth to deglaze the pan as needed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Add the garlic, thyme and flour to the onions then cook for another minute, stirring constantly.  Add one cup of the beef broth, deglaze the pan making sure to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat another pan with the oil.  Cut each chicken breast and season with sea salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.  Add the chicken to the hot pan and brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side, set aside on a plate.
Add the remaining cup of broth to the pan that you cooked the chicken in, deglaze it making sure to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan, whisk in the balsamic vinegar and mustard, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer to reduce the sauce by half, about 5 minutes.
Pour the vinegar/mustard sauce on the onions and mix well to combine.  Add the chicken and its juices to the onions then spoon sauce over each piece.  Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the oven and sprinkle the top with cheese.  Place back into the oven until the cheese has melted.  Sprinkle the top with fresh thyme leaves, if desired, and serve.

tomato, cucumber, avocado salad

I love salads.  This salad has all of my favorite fresh vegetables in it with cheese.  I couldn't live without cheese.  Great recipe. (And we always have parsley on hand now that we have a new bunny!)

tomato, cucumber, avocado salad (my friend Amy N.)
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (Amy used grape tomatoes)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and quartered then sliced
1 avocado, diced
4 ounces feta cheese, cubed
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 handful parsley, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
8 twists black pepper from a pepper mill

Combine tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, cheese, onion and parsley in a bowl.  Whisk together oil and vinegar and pour over salad.  Toss gently.  Serve immediately. 
If refrigerating, keep the avocado separate until serving.

garbanzo bean and lentil salad

I am super excited to have this recipe. This is one fancy shmancy salad.  The flavors are rich yet it's still light and perfect in every way.  My friend Therese made it and shared the recipe with me.  Definitely a salad to make for a special meal.

garbanzo bean and lentil salad (my friend Therese)
1 cup French green lentils
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings
1 red pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced 
6 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup basil, cut into thin strips
sun-dried tomato vinaigrette dressing

Cook lentils in salted water.  Combine all ingredients, except basil, and toss with dressing.  Gently fold basil into salad.

sun-dried tomato and vinaigrette dressing
12 sun-dried tomatoes (or less, to taste)
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil

Puree all ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender or food processor.  Slowly add oil while continuing to blend.  Add salt as needed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

grilled lemon garlic pork chops

These pork chops are simple to make and simple to the taste but tender and juicy.  Just a nice simple grilled pork chop.  It paired well with Costco's brown rice & quinoa, one of my favorites, and with a celery slaw that I made that is also on this blog. 

grilled lemon garlic pork chops (adapted from dinners, dishes and desserts)
8 thinly sliced pork chops
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper 

In a large zip seal bag squeeze one lemon, add garlic, pork chops and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Seal bag and use your hands to mix everything together.  Make sure the pork chops are well-coated.  Place in the fridge for a a few hours.
Remove from the bag and grill to perfection.

red quinoa salad with mango, avocado and tomatoes

My taste buds did not know what to expect with this salad.  My friend Kris made it and served it at a luncheon I was invited to.  This salad was excellent.  It was mostly savory with the exception of the bites with mango which were so refreshing and sweet.  I've never cooked red quinoa before but now I have a reason to.

red quinoa salad with mango, avocado and tomatoes (my friend Kris)
 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
2 cups water
pinch of salt

1 large mango, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
3 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 medium avocados, diced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

First, using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water.  Add quinoa, water and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.  Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and avocados.  In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, olive oil and cumin.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and gently stir until well combined.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

chipotle cumin chicken thighs

Hall of Fame.  These are absolutely delicious!!  I am SOOOOO glad I doubled this recipe.  I will always double this recipe.

chipotle cumin chicken thighs (for the love of cooking
 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

Combine the cumin, sea salt, garlic powder, chipotle chile powder, coriander, onion powder and oregano in a zip-lock bag,  Drizzle in the oil and mix until well combined.  Add the chicken and zip up the bag.  Shake well.
Heat up your grill and grill on both sides until done.  Remove from the grill and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

chicken alfredo lasagna

The first pic indicates what the first layer of ingredients looks like.  The second illustrates what the lasagna looks like before the final pouring of alfredo sauce and sprinkling of cheeses before baking. This dish contains all the things that I love- meat, sauce, variety of cheeses, fresh veggies, etc.  Can't go wrong here!

chicken alfredo lasagna (pass the peas, please)
3 chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper
1 onion, diced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup carrots, diced
2 medium roma tomatoes, diced
3 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1 container sliced mushrooms
1 jar light alfredo sauce
1 (16 ounce) container skim ricotta cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (tonight I used an 8 ounce bag of fat free Kraft cheddar)
16 ounces flat whole wheat lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook cubed chicken with basil and oregano.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.
In the same pan, saute onion, garlic and carrots.  When they are tender, add tomatoes and spinach.
Spray your 9x13 with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour about 1/2 cup alfredo sauce into the bottom of the pan and spread it evenly in the pan.  Place approx. 6 lasagna noodles in the bottom of the pan.  Spread half the container of ricotta over the noodles.  Spread half the chicken in the pan followed by half the cooked vegetables.  Place all the mushrooms evenly over the cooked vegetables.  Pour half the alfredo sauce that is left over the mushrooms. Sprinkle with half the cheese. Now start over- Put 6 lasagna noodles down followed by the rest of the ricotta, the rest of the chicken, the rest of the cooked veggies, the rest of the sauce and the rest of the shredded cheese.  Bake for a half hour or until bubbly and the noodles are cooked through.