Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lemon Dijon Chicken over Baby Greens

It has been hotter than H....E....double hockey sticks!!! It is the end of September but our summer is just a little late this year. I was cooking chili and crock pot meals this summer and my readers back East were scratching their heads. It was cold here this summer. But dont get too excited about this warm spell as I am sure it will be gone with in a couple days. While it is here, it is too hot to really cook. I had some beautiful boneless, skinless chicken thighs which were to be used for a stew (obviously that isn't happening, it was 104 today) so I figured I would marinade them and grill them up for a salad. Chicken thighs take flavor like no other part of the chicken. This marinade I did in the afternoon, but you could do it before work and let it sit all day in the fridge. You probably have all the ingredients for the marinade in your fridge too! These type of meals are my favorite, pulling a rabbit out of a hat!

Lemon Dijon Chicken over Baby Greens
1 package of Boneless, Skinless chicken thighs (my package had 6 in it)
1/2 cup Dijon Mustard
2 TB olive oil
2 TB lemon juice (or juice of one lemon)

This is too simple, combine dijon mustard, lemon, oil and chicken in a bowl or ziplock bag. I seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper first but you could season it on the grill instead. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate until ready to grill. Mine sat for about three hours. It would have been longer but I spaced out and forgot.
The Fireman cant be bother tonight to BBQ (he is busy so we wont blame him until I over heat the house) so I heated up my grill pan on high and sprayed with cooking spray. Cook till thoroughly cooked.
While the chicken is cooking, make the honey Dijon dressing.

1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 TB honey
1 TB Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1 TB Italian seasoning
1 pinch kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
Taste and adjust your seasonings.
Place baby greens on each plate and slice the chicken thighs to top. Drizzle dressing over each.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hasselback Potatoes

These potatoes are almost too pretty to eat. I say that fully knowing that I will eat it and not feel bad about it. Sorry, potatoes are like chocolate to most. Except I dont crave chocolate...ever!

Hasselback Potatoes
3-6 cloves of garlic sliced uber thin. (I like a lot of garlic but most dont)
4-6 large potatoes (but dont get the ones that are the size of a football)
olive oil
butter (stick but you wont use but a couple TB at the most)
Kosher salt and pepper

I am a garlic nut. I will use just about all this garlic and what I dont use will end up in my Mushrooms that I am cooking. Vampires should be warned, we eat a ton of garlic every day.
Slice them as thin as you can with out taking a finger with it
Wash your potatoes. Not that I am afraid of a little dirt but really it has no place in this recipe. If you are good with you knife skills, cut slices into the potato with out cutting all the way. I manage alright but if this is hard for you, you can place a large serving spoon under the potato or a ruler next to the potato.
Being the garlic freak I am, I alternate garlic through the slices. I also like to thinly slice butter and cut each slice into quarters and alternate again between the slices. See there is some garlic left over. Don't worry, I will use it....somewhere! Now carefully drizzle some olive oil on the potatoes. I like to rub to cover using my left hand so I can season with my right hand some Kosher Salt and Pepper.
Bake in a preheated 400 oven for about an hour and half.
See they are almost too pretty to eat. Nice for when you are entertaining. Very easy to make.
I served with some Cube steak that I topped with Bacon and Mushrooms.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cube Steak with Bacon & Mushrooms

I grew up eating foods that my kids would never dream of eating. Chicken Livers with gravy, Liver and Onions, and meats that were hunted for just for dinner. Some of the food I do miss. My mom made liver and onions that tasted like steak. Since my kids can't even be tricked into eating liver, this is the next best thing. No liver was used, instead cube steak which my kids will eat. I served with Hasselback potatoes. (Which are almost too pretty to eat!)

Cube Steak with Bacon & Mushrooms

3 pieces thick sliced bacon cut into small chunks
1 large onion halved and sliced
1 package baby bella mushrooms sliced (could buy already sliced but it usually is cheaper to not)
3 cloves of garlic minced
1/2 cup Marsala wine
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 cup flour
1 TB lemon pepper seasoning
2 TB season all salt
fresh cracked pepper
1 package of cube steaks (mine had four)
3 TB oil for meat
1 TB butter

First cut up the bacon. I use a cutting board just for meats since I really dont want the bacteria on my wood board. Place in a cold saute pan and start cooking on medium high heat. Do not drain the drippings unless you have something against pork fat. You are going to add the mushrooms, onions and eventually garlic to the pan.
While the bacon is starting to cook, start slicing up the mushrooms, onions and garlic. I love these mushrooms. They are so meaty tasting.
What could be wrong with these ingredients on some meat?
Get your flour ready for the meat. I have some cake tins that are old just for this. Add the Lemon Pepper Seasoning and the Seasoning Salt to the flour.
The bacon is half way cooked so its a good time to add the onions and mushrooms. Keep on medium high heat. Dont judge my old stove. It's a dinosaur! Dont salt and pepper until the mushrooms start browning. But make sure you salt and pepper.
Get the pan ready for the meat. Heat the oil and butter over medium high heat. The mushrooms will go fast.
Dredge the meat in the flour and then place in the hot oil.
Dont flip until nice and crusty.
The Mushrooms should have the perfect amount of color so add the garlic
Let cook to get the rawness out of the garlic. This is where The Fireman and I have to be careful. Hunger takes over and picking at the pan occurs. The mushrooms need to be checked to see if there is enough salt and pepper. Once garlic is cooked, add the Marsala and Worcestershire sauce. I dont measure so a little extra Marsala may end up in the pan.
Let simmer until just about all the liquid reduces down and the mushrooms absorb all the sauce.
Serve! Of course the mushrooms go on top of the steak, but somehow extra from the pan ends up on my potatoes too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Speedy Cheesy Augratin Potatoes

There is nothing more comforting to me than potatoes. Sweets are not even on my radar. Potatoes are heavenly. Tonight I am making The Fireman a manly meal, Steak with Mushroom Topper, Roasted Cauliflower and Speedy Augratin Potatoes. Now to be honest, I would be a happy camper with the steak and mushrooms. Its very hearty and very satisfying. But my man needs a starch to go with his meal and being the girl I am, how can I refuse him?

This potato dish is as easy as it comes for Augratins. You dont need to slice it all up pretty. It's a dump it and bake it dish. I dont even really measure. I am giving you measurements but feel free to wing it.

Speedy Cheesy Augratin Potatoes
4 large potatoes cut into quarters. Don't cut too thick
2 cups of whole milk
2 TB butter
2 heaping TB flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cups cheddar cheese grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the 2 TB butter into chunks and place into the bottom of a Pyrex dish
In a bowl mix together with a whisk milk, flour, salt and pepper
Put 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the Pyrex dish. Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture over the potatoes. Cover with cheese.
Repeat two more times.

Cover with foil and cook for 1 hour.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta

"Hi! My name is _______ and I am a carbaholic!" I need to attend a meeting. I think there should be Carb meetings along with the AA meetings. After all I am addicted. And to be frank, I dont think I ever will give it up completely. So here is another very quick and very satisfying pasta recipe. I am making it for me (and me alone) for lunch today. You can double/triple for your family. The added pine nuts are my favorite. This is one of those recipes that you can toss together and not measure.

Sun Dried Tomato Pasta
recipe is for 1
Angel Hair Pasta
2 TB sun dried tomatoes in oil
1/2 fresh grated Parmesan cheese
6 Calamata olives chopped
2 TB pine nuts roasted (I use these a lot, so I buy them at Trader Joes or Costco in a big bag. Unfortunately I haven't made a run to either store and had to settle for this little over priced bag)
1 clove of garlic minced (oh heck with it how about 2 cloves...I love garlic)

Start your water boiling. In the pan you will make your 'sauce' in, toss the pine nuts in and toast over medium heat. You are looking to lightly brown. It will take maybe a minute, so keep an eye on it.

Transfer the toasted nuts to the bowl you plan on serving the pasta in.

Scoop out the sun dried tomatoes and oil. I happened to grab the julienned version so I dont have to chop but if you have the whole tomato, carefully scoop out without oil and chop. Place in pan and add some of the oil. Having them already chopped is just easier. Add the garlic to it and cook till the garlic is browned but dont burn! If the garlic cooks and the pasta is not done, take off the burner.

Add the olives to the pan.

Grab a couple TB of pasta water, careful to not burn yourself. Sometimes I need the water and other times I dont. It depends on how much oil I scooped into the pan with the tomatoes.

Add the cooked pasta (as you can see I cooked more than one serving) to the pan and toss with the cheese and the pine nuts. Add the pasta water if if seems too dry.

I am so hungry I could eat it out of the pan.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Pork Chops with Bold Mushroom Gravy

To be honest, tonight I planned on making my favorite Mustard Pork Chops but I couldn't find any hard cider so I saved half the mushrooms from last night's Steak with Topper. I am a sucker for any recipe with mushrooms in it. This is very similar to Chicken Marsala expect the obvious, it's pork and its much more zesty with the addition of Worcestershire sauce. Very easy to make. You can get dinner on the table in 15 minutes with the aid of using Angel Hair pasta instead of mashed potatoes.

Pork Chops with Bold Mushroom Gravy
1 package of thin pork chops (mine are boneless to cook faster)
1/2 package baby Bella mushrooms
4 TB Marsala wine
2 TB Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken or beef stock
4 TB butter
2 cloves of garlic minced (I actually added more but we are garlic freaks)
salt and pepper
2 TB milk or cream

Start boiling the water for the Angel Hair pasta. Do not add the pasta until you are almost down with the sauce. It only takes three minutes to cook once you add it to the boiling water.

Melt half the butter in a saute pan. Salt and pepper the chops on both sides. You could dredge in flour but frankly I dont have time and dont want flour all over my outfit. I have plans tonight.

Cook the pork chops in the butter over medium heat. You are looking to have them cooked.

Place on a plate while you make the sauce.

If you have butter left in the pan do not add more, I had to add more. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cook until brown. Add the garlic to the pan and brown but do not burn.
Add the flour and let cook.
Add the Marsala, Worcestershire Sauce and Chicken stock. Keep stiring the entire time. Lower heat to a simmer. Add the milk.

Once the gravy starts thickening up, add the pork chops to the pan. You are looking to cover and warm then as they are already cooked.

Drain the pasta and serve.
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