Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicken Parmigiana

I'm in an Italian food phase. Tonight I cooked Chicken Parmigiana adapted from the Pioneer Woman (I love her!!). Didn't do everything the recipe called for like hammering the meat to make it thinner. My chicken was almost 1.5 inches thick!! But it was tasty and tender.

Chicken Parmigiana
Prep Time: 10 minutes      Cook Time: 35 minutes
2 chicken breasts
some olive oil
some flour
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp butter
14 oz tomato sauce (I use Ragu Pasta Sauce)
some tomatoes
some olive oil
some parmesan cheese (or other cheese you would like to melt on top of the chicken like pecorino, mozzarella cheese)
3/4 cup wine (I used red but either red or white would work)

Season your chicken breast first. Some salt, pepper, lemon on both sides. Then put some flour on a big plate. Coat the chicken breast by placing it into the flour. Flip the chicken breast and repeat until it is covered evenly in flour. Do the same for the second breast.

In a big pan with a lid (I don't think you need a lid but I was avoiding splatter), heat about a tablespoon of oil (more if you like). Melt butter also. I fried my floured chicken breasts six minutes per side because they were about 1 1/4 inch thick!! (If your chicken breast are about half an inch thick, three minutes will suffice. If they are 3/4 of an inch thick, about four minutes would be enough. It depends on the thickness of your chicken.) Once you have a nice golden brown on both sides, remove from heat.

*Note: Don't forget to boil water for your thin spaghetti noodles (or your choice) at this time.

Using the same big pan with drippings and all, saute the diced onions for about three minutes. Pour in the wine. Stir and cook until about half of the wine has disappeared (Not from you drinking it..). After about four minutes, throw in the tomatoes. I had orange cherry tomatoes on hand that I cut in half. Pour in the tomato sauce. Stir well. Cover with a lid to let it simmer for 10 minutes. Remove lid and stir again before allowing it to simmer with the lid on for another 10 minutes.

Place the fried chicken breasts into the sauce.

Spoon the sauce around the chicken breast on top to cover the whole breast. Top it with cheese generously. I didn't have fresh parsley so I added some parsley in a spice jar instead.

Plate noodles. Add some sauce before you lay down the chicken breast. Carefully lay the chicken breast (Mine was HUGE) on top of the pasta. I was surprised at how gigantic my chicken parmigiana became.

It was moist, juicy, and flavorful. My husband said that the sauce tasted like it was homemade. It was definitely the wine factor. heheh. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

Mini Pecan Pie Tartletts (without corn syrup)

Not only are desserts cuter as mini versions. You can cut your portion size more easily (unless you keep eating them one by one). I have another pecan pie recipe in this blog, but this one is without corn syrup. This recipe is for the filling. Use any crust you like.

Mini Pecan Pie Tartletts (without Corn Syrup) - Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp Bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1.5 cups of pecans

In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until foamy. Continue whisking while adding melted butter.

Then add the brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and bourbon. Stir in pecans.

In a muffin pan, gently press in your crust. Spoon the filling (but make sure it is not all the way full). Bake at 400F for 20 minutes. Let it cool for another 15 minutes.

There are many desserts that I could have tried but my Valentine adores pecan pie!!
*Lucky me!!* I used a heart tartlett shape for two of them. The rest were in the muffin pan tins.

Happy Valentine's Day!! 

*This is posted the day after Vday since my Valentine reads this. heheh*

Healthy Meatloaf with Oatmeal

I have posted Turkey-Quinoa Meatloaf before. Traditionally, there are breadcrumbs in meatloaf; however, many people do not have the ingredient on hand. Sifting through various recipes, I finally decided to use a combination of recipes.

Healthy Meatloaf with Oatmeal 
1 lb ground meat
1 onion (chopped)
1 egg
1/3 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup of ketchup
4 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

ketchup mixture = ketchup + dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients in a medium sized bowl except for about three tablespoons of the ketchup mixture.

Place in an 8x8 pan. Top with the leftover ketchup mixture.
Bake for 40 minutes. Let it sit for five minutes.

Cut and serve. 


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Creamy Soup

Most everyone loves a creamy soup. But usually when it's creamy, that translates to extra calories. I set out to make a creamy soup with the "cream". The reason it's called Creamy Soup is that you can do Creamy Potato Soup, Creamy Mushroom Soup, Creamy Broccoli Soup, or all of the above. I prefer recipes where I can add my own ingredients.

Creamy Soup = 2 cups chicken (or other) broth + 2 cups milk (I prefer Vitamin D milk)

Now that you have the base for the soup, you can jazz it up!!

Creamy Potato Mushroom Soup
2 cups milk
2 cups chicken broth (or broth of your choice)
1 onion chopped
2 slices of bacon
3 potatoes (diced)
3 shittake mushrooms chopped (or mushrooms of your choice)
1/2 tsp pepper
some broccoli (optional)

Grab a medium sized pot. Cook two slices of bacon (I used lean Turkey Bacon). Remove from heat. Cut the cooked bacon into small pieces and throw it back into the pot. With the bacon drippings, add the chopped onions to sautee to soften. Add chicken broth and milk.

Add all the vegetables you desire. In my case, it was potatoes, mushrooms, and broccoli (since I had leftovers). Add some pepper. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes. You can whip up this soup in less than half an hour.

Creamy soup without the cream...err...fat. The bacon made the soup so much more fragrant.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Farro - An Italian Grain

Most everyone has heard of quinoa. This is a lesser known grain, farro. It is the Italian grain from a wheat species that has twice the fiber and protein than most wheat. Farro also helps improve the immune system, lower cholesterol, and maintain blood sugar levels. I bought precooked farro since Trader Joe's started carrying it a couple weeks ago. (I will look for farro at different supermarkets to see what other kinds I can find.)

To cook farro, just put 2 cups of chicken broth (or water) with 1 cup of farro in a small pot. It takes roughly 15 minutes. I added chopped green onions, diced bell peppers, and chopped green beans. Gave it a stir before starting to cook it.

Farro has a chewy texture that reminded us of oatmeal. Adding the chopped green onions and veggies made it more interesting.

If you want an easier way, you can cook farro like i cook quinoa. Put the ingredients in a rice cooker!!

Then to make it a meal, I had a couple Wild Alaskan Cod pieces. Heat up some oil in the pan, add cod. Sprinkle salt, a squeeze of lemon, and some freshly ground pepper. After three minutes, flip the cod fillets. Add a squeeze of lemon and fresh ground pepper. Cook for three minutes more on this side. Place on top of farro.