Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is delicious, easy and kids LOVE it!!

Grilled Balsamic Glazed Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breasts


3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 teaspoons onion, grated
salt and pepper
3 Tablespoons canola oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts – pounded to ¼ inch thin
1 package Boursin cheese
4 cups mixed salad greens


1. For the dressing, in a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, mustard, grated onion, salt and pepper.
2. Gradually whisk in oil and set aside.
3. Pound the chicken breasts to ¼ inch thin and season both sides with salt and pepper.
4. Crumble boursin cheese over half of each chicken breast and fold over.
5. Heat grill
6. Pour a small amount of the vinaigrette into a small bowl and brush onto each side of the stuffed chicken breasts.
7. Cook chicken for 7 minutes per side or until cooked through.
8. Serve over mixed salad greens dressed with the rest of the balsamic vinaigrette.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Arugula-Almond Pesto with Pasta and Grilled Shimp

DELICIOUS - and even better at room temperature - a good make ahead for easy entertaining that will make you look totally sophisticated...Arugula? Oh yeah - I use it ALL the time...

Arugula-Almond Pesto with Pasta and Grilled Shimp


One 5 ounce package baby arugula (4 cups)
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
juice of 1 1/2 lemons
1 clove garlic - chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups olive oil - I used canola oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 pound uncooked rigatoni, penne or spaghetti - I like whole grain penne
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup pear or cherry tomatoes, halved and tossed with 1/4 teaspoon salt


1. In a food processor combine the arugula, almonds, lemon juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper and 3/4 cup oil.
2. Process the mixture while pouring another 1/2 cup oil through the tube.
3. The pesto should be a medium-fine consistency.
4. Stir in the cheese.
5. Cook the pasta until al dente.
6. Skewer the shrimp and grill 1 to 2 minutes per side.
7. Toss the hot pasta with the pesto and add the cherry tomatoes and the shrimp.
8. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Serves 4-5

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cilantro Rice

This is delicious but needs to be started well ahead of time as the rice needs over an hour to cool. Enjoy!!

Cilantro Rice

For the rice:

1/2 Tablespoon oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 of a 4 oz can of diced green chilis
1 cup white rice
1 can (1 3/4 cups) chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the dressing:

1/4 cup (packed) coarsely chopped cilantro
3 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 garlic clove, peeled
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon diced green chilis


1. Make the rice by heating the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
2. Add onion to oil and saute 3 minutes, add chilis and saute 1 minute, add garlic and saute 1 minute more.
3. Mix in rice and saute, stirring, for 2 minutes.
4. Add broth and salt, bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand - covered - for 5 minutes.
6. Transfer rice to bowl, cool to barely lukewarm - about 1 1/2 hours.
7. Make dressing by combining all ingredients in a food processor or blender - or use a hand blender.
8. Season with salt and pepper.
9. Add dressing to cooled rice, toss to coat, season with salt and pepper.
10. Serve this at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Grilled Chicken Black Bean Quesadillas

These are quick, delicious and healthy!!

Grilled Chicken Black Bean Quesadillas


1 can black beans - rinsed and drained
2 chicken breasts - grilled, cooled and chopped
1 (8 ounce) bag mixed grated Mexican or Taco cheeses
1/3 cup chopped cilantro - divided
1 small white onion chopped finely - divided
8 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil - divided
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 lime - juiced
salt and pepper


1. Heat dry grill pan until hot.
2. Mash half of the beans in a large bowl.
3. Add the rest of the beans, chopped chicken, cheese, 1/4 cup cilantro, and half of the onion to the mashed beans. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Divide mixture evenly over half of each tortilla and fold in half.
5. Brush oil onto grill pan and cook quesadillas until they are golden and the cheese is melted.
6. Meanwhile, combine chopped tomatoes with remaining cilantro and onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let the salsa sit to combine flavors and serve with quesadillas and sour cream.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Butterfly Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer for 2 minutes or until creamy.
2. Gradually add the sugar, beating well.
3. Add the egg and vanilla, beating well.
4. Gradually add the flour and salt, beating until blended. The dough will be stiff.
5. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and chill one hour.
6. Roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cutters.
7. Bake on lightly greased sheets (or sheets covered in parchment or silpat liners) for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees. the cookies should be very lightly browned - almost no color - around the edges.
8. Cool cookies on sheet for 1 minute and remove to wire racks to cool completely.

1 (16 oz) pkg powdered sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
5-6 Tablespoons warm water
liquid food coloring

1. Stir together the powdered sugar, almond extract and water using a wire whisk.
2. Divide and tint with food coloring if desired.
3. Place in wide shallow bowl and place cookie face down in glaze.
4. Pick cookie up, allowing some of the glazeto drip off.
5. Place cookie face up on wire rack and pop any bubbles with a toothpick.
6. Allow glaze to dry/harden completely before decorating with Royal Icing.

Royal Icing:
1 (16 oz) pkg powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons meringue powder - available at Michael's or any cake decorating store
5 to 6 Tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon light corn syrup
food coloring - optional

1. Combine powdered sugar, meringue powder, water and corn syrup in a large bowl.
2. Beat on medium-low speed with an electric mixer for 5-7 minutes.
3. Divide and tint with food coloring.
4. Icing dries quickly - so keep covered!
5. Spoon royal icing into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 2, 3, or 4 round tip.
6. Decorate cookies as desired.
7. If using sprinkles - apply quickly after piping on the frosting - it dries quickly!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Ultimate Steak Sandwich

Brendan found this on Food Network and requested it for his birthday. It is AWESOME - I cannot explain how good it is...we did it without the Fennel Slaw and it was still awesome - I might recommend increasing the amount of meat...

Tyler Florence's Ultimate Steak Sandwich

Gruyere bechamel:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated Gruyere
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

Arugula mayonnaise:
1 bunch baby arugula
1/2 lemon, juiced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Steak sandwich:
2 soft hoagie rolls
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound rib-eye, finely sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Fennel Slaw, recipe follows

To make the bechamel cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly to incorporate - you do not want any color. Gradually pour in the milk as you stir, and whisk out any lumps. As the mixture thickens up continue to stir until it reaches a boil - this ensures the flour is cooked completely. Dump in the cheese and stir for another minute until the cheese is completely melted. Stir in the horseradish and season with salt and pepper, then set aside to keep warm.

Tomake arugula mayonnaise: Put arugula in a food processor with the lemon juice and salt and pepper. Top with mayonnaise and process until well combined. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning if required.

Prepare the steak: Take the finely sliced steak and shingle it out into 2 portions on a clean cutting board lined with parchment. Put the shingled meat between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound out using either a saute pan or a meat mallet. After first pounding, remove the plastic wrap, fold in the edges, replace plastic and pound the meat some more. Store wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator. Now the meat is ready when you want to cook it.

Heat a large, flat grill-pan over medium heat. Split hoagie rolls in half, drizzle with olive oil and place onto griddle.

Take the meat out of the refrigerator. Peel off 1 side of the plastic wrap and season with salt and pepper. Put this side down in the pan and then quickly peel off the other side of the plastic wrap and season again. Cook slowly in the pan until juicy and tender and just past pink in color. Turn the meat over and then fold with some of the cheese sauce.

To serve, smear each half of the roll with arugula mayonnaise. Top the bottom with the steak and cheese, then lay a scoop of fennel slaw over the top.

Fennel Slaw:
1 large fennel bulb, fronds removed and halved
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 heaping tablespoons sour cream
1 bag coleslaw mix
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely slice fennel using a mandoline, or the grater attachment on your food processor. In a large mixing bowl combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, and sour cream and stir to combine. Add the finely sliced fennel and coleslaw mix, herbs, and olive oil and fold together. Season with salt and pepper.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jimmy's Shrimp Gumbo

This is my friend Mark's favorite Gumbo recipe. Be warned: it makes enough to feed an army, and it's a bit on the spicy side. Enjoy!

Jimmy's Shrimp Gumbo
from the Blue Star Cookbook

3-4 yellow onions, medium chopped
small head of celery, medium chopped
2 green peppers, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 lb. butter
1 1/2 T. chopped garlic
1 1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1 T. fresh basil, chopped
2 bay leaves
1/2 c. white wine
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 T. black pepper
3/4 tsp. white pepper
2 c. water
1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
1 T. Tabasco
4 c. canned tomatoes, with liquid
1 c. chopped green onion
1/2 c. fresh Italian parsley
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. water

1 1/4 lb. shrimp, shelled and deveined

Saute yellow onion, celery, and bell peppers in the butter (yes, all
the butter) until onions go translucent. Add garlic, thyme, basil, and
bay leaves; cook until all vegetables are soft. Add the wine, cayenne,
and peppers. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the water and stir. Add Worcestershire, Tabasco, and tomates. Stir
well. Add green onion and parsley. Adjust flavor using pepper and
Tabasco. Bring to a boil.

Combine water and cornstarch; add to sauce and stir to desired
thickness. Turn down the heat and let simmer until you're ready to

Grill or saute the shrimp. Either mix them into the creole or serve
them on top of the creole and rice, optionally garnished with more
green onions. Makes 6+ generous servings.

MARK'S NOTES: When I made this, I varied widely from the letter of the law.
In place of the thyme and basil, I just used a healthy amount from my
bag of "Mixed Italian Spices". I skipped the parsley entirely--it was
expensive--and the two types of pepper (that's white versus black, not
the red versus green ones) left me mystified enough that I only used
black. I also forgot to add the green onions when it said to and so
used them only as a garnish, which worked just fine. Perhaps most
critically, I'm not a huge fan of shrimp, so I sauted a couple of
decased sausages. He explicitly mentions andouille in here, but Kiwis
are afraid of hot things in general, so I went for a similarly piggy
sausage with no spicings. The recipe also has a page-long substitute
for my "water" above where you basically make a spicy stock out of the
shrimp shells, but it was too much work for me--especially since I
wasn't using shrimp--and I figure this recipe is already long enough.
I can get you the addition if you're interested. Finally: what the
recipe does NOT mention is that if you're anything like me, you'll
need a boatload of rice to go with this. Plan on 6-9 cups of cooked

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Corned Beef and Cabbage

In honor of our friend St. Patrick I thought I would post. This is a really good and easy recipe for corned beef.

Corned Beef and Cabbage


One 3 pound corned beef flat cut brisket, in brine
Water to cover in pan
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons black peppercorns
4 whole allspice
2 whole cloves
½ head green cabbage cut into wedges
8 small new potatoes (about 1 ¼ pounds) halved
4 carrots, cut into chunks
Freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2. Place the corned beef in a colander in the sink and rinse well.
3. Place the corned beef in a large dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.
4. Add the water to cover, bay leaves, peppercorns, allspice and cloves.
5. Bring to a boil, uncovered and skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
6. Cover the pan and transfer to the oven, braise until very tender, about 3 to 3 ½ hours.
7. Transfer the corned beef to a cutting board and cover tightly with foil to keep warm.
8. Add the cabbage, potatoes, and carrots to the cooking liquid and bring to a boil.
9. Lower the heat and simmer until vegetables are tender – about 20 minutes.
10. Using a slotted spoon – remove the vegetables from the liquid and transfer them to a large platter.
11. Slice the corned beef across the grain in thin slices and arrange on platter with vegetables.
12. Ladle some of the hot cooking liquid over the corned beef and season with pepper.
13. Serve immediately with stone ground mustard or horseradish sauce.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Breakfast Puffs

Becky mentioned to me a month or two ago that she likes to have this recipe for lunch, and since then I've been making it for dinner about once a week. It's quick, easy, delicious, and I swear it's good for you, what with all the fruit and natural ingredients and all. Enjoy!


1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
Dash vanilla
Dash cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Sliced apple, banana, etc. sauteed with butter, cinnamon and brown sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
  2. Put an 8 inch round pan in the oven to heat up
  3. Combine the milk, flour, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.
  4. Once the oven has reached temperature, put 2 tbsp of butter into the pan and allow to melt inside the oven.
  5. Once the butter has melted, pour batter into the pan.
  6. Cook until the batter has puffed up, is golden brown and dry to the touch, about 15 minutes.
  7. Top with sauteed fruit, yogurt, or ice cream.

I've been buying frozen mango, strawberries, and blueberries, and heating them up in various combinations (not usually mango/blueberry) with a little sugar and using them as topping. I highly recommend it! Apples and cinnamon with vanilla ice cream is also a classic favorite.

Monday, February 25, 2008

White Chicken Chili

I got this recipe from Kate Clarke and it has become one of our favorites! Anyone who tries it LOVES it - so go ahead - just try it!

White Chicken Chili


2 (15 oz.) cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained (Bush's if you can find them)
1 large onion, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (1 14 oz can)
2 cups half and half (or 1 cup milk and 1 cup half and half)
1 teaspoon Tabasco – optional
1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
dash cayenne pepper
two 4-ounce cans mild fire roasted chopped green chilies with their juice
1 whole rotisserie chicken shredded – white and dark meat
6 ounces grated Monterey Jack Cheese – about 1 ½ cups
½ cup sour cream

Garnish – fresh cilantro sprigs


1. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.
2. Melt stick of butter in large heavy pot over medium high heat and add onions. Saute until the onions turn translucent but do not brown.
3. Add flour to butter and onions.
4. Turn heat to LOW and whisk constantly for 2 minutes making sure it doesn’t turn brown.
5. Add broth and half and half, whisking constantly.
6. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. The mixture should be thickened. If it is too thick add a little broth or water to thin it.
7. Stir in Tabasco - if using, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
8. Add beans, chilies, chicken and cheese.
9. Cook over medium low heat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
10. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
11. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips on the side.

It is so easy and makes a lot - great for Sunday dinner. You'll have lunch for a few days!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dancing Pasta

Jeff has named this dish the "dancing pasta" because everytime I make it he gets so excited he dances around. Its very simple and I am guessing on the quantities of the ingredients because I have never measured everything out, I usually do it to taste. So bear with me and you can adjust your's to taste as well.


8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms (you can use whatever kind you choose)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1 tbspn olive oil (or any cooking oil)
2 cups white wine (chardonnay or sauvignon blanc work best-- nothing sweet)
1 cup cream
1 roma tomato chopped
1 small package of fresh basil- torn
2 cups of parmesan cheese (I love parmesan and probably add more than the average person)
10 oz of cooked penne pasta
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Saute mushrooms and garlic in oil for about 5-7 minutes over medium heat
2. Add wine and let simmer for another 5 minutes
3. Add cream, tomatoes, basil
4. Add salt and pepper to taste
5. Toss with pasta and parmesan cheese

This is a very simple recipe that I serve with chicken. Another variation of it is to use red bell pepper instead of mushrooms for a little spicier dish. This may be good for you, Becky, since Brendan hates mushrooms!

Friday, February 8, 2008

New Header

Like the new header?? I took the picture - cute, huh?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Braided Bread

Use this bread when making the French Toast Casserole posted below. The recipe makes 2 large loaves - you only need one for the casserole.

Braided Bread


1 pkg dry yeast
¼ cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter or margarine
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5-6 cups flour


1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup water and let proof for 5 minutes.
2. Scald milk. Remove milk from the heat and add butter to milk and allow to melt.
3. Add sugar and salt to the milk mixture. Allow this to cool to lukewarm.
4. Add eggs and vanilla to mixture.
5. Add the yeast/water mixture to the milk mixture.
6. Add enough flour to make a dough the is stiff enough to knead, but not too stiff. Dough should be a bit sticky.
7. Knead dough 10-20 minutes until it’s smooth or knead in an electric mixer for 5-8 minutes until dough bounces back when pressed.
8. Place kneaded dough in a large greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in size in a warm place.
9. Punch the dough down.
10. Divide the dough into 6 equal part and roll each into a rope that it 12-15 inches long.
11. Braid 3 ropes loosely together, tucking under the ends.
12. Place on a greased baking sheet and cover with a towel.
13. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size again, about 1 1 ½ hours.
14. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
15. Brush tops of loaves with a beaten egg and a dash of water.
16. Bake 20-30 minutes or until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Baked French Toast Casserole

I made this for Christmas morning and we ate it ALL - it is so good!!

1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
Butter, for pan
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Raspberry Syrup, recipe follows

1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs).
2. Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.

3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly.

4.Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.

5. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

6. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 45 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with Raspberry Syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread over bread as directed above.

Raspberry Syrup:
1 cup raspberry preserves
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons raspberry liqueur (recommended: Framboise)

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until warm and thinned out like syrup.

from the Food Network

Friday, February 1, 2008

Panko Crusted Pork Chops with Napa Salad

This recipe is from and in Aidan's words "This dinner is awesome!"


Serves 4

  • 1/2 small napa cabbage, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 ounces each), trimmed of fat
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light-brown sugar
  1. Make salad: In a medium bowl, combine cabbage and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Set aside.
  2. Trim the fat off of each pork chop and pound until half and inch thick.
  3. Place flour, egg, and panko, each in separate shallow bowls; season each with salt and pepper. Dip pork chops into flour and then egg, shaking off excess. Dip into panko, pressing to adhere.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add pork, and cook until browned and cooked through, 3 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate.
  5. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together ketchup, Worcestershire, sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; season with salt, and stir to combine. Thinly slice pork chops crosswise, and serve with Napa salad and sauce on the side.