Recently in Main Dishes Category

chickenmilanese_sm.jpgPan-fried breaded chicken topped with a salad of arugula, corn, tiny potatoes, and cherry tomatoes in a light lemon honey vinaigrette. One of my absolute favorite summer dishes, with a very pretty presentation.

For the salad:
5 to 6 fingerling potatoes
1 ear corn
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large handfuls of baby lettuce or arugula (or a mix), washed and dried
optional: 3/4 cup sliced hearts of palm
juice of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper
2 ounces ricotta salata or fresh mozzarella, cubed
For the chicken:
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin (about 1/4 inch)
salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the salad:
Bring a small pot of water to boil. Have a bowl of ice water off to the side. Add the fingerling potatoes to the pot and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until one can be sliced in half easily. Remove the potatoes from the pot with a slotted spoon and put in the ice bath until cool. Remove, pat dry, and slice into 1/4-inch rounds.

Cook the ear of corn, in its husk, in the microwave- on high for 3 minutes. Remove, allow to cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then shuck. Cut the kernels off the cob and add to a bowl with the potatoes, tomatoes, lettuces, and hearts of palm. (note: can use canned or frozen corn)

Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard in a bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking vigorously. Add honey to taste. Set aside until the chicken is cooked (you'll dress the salad and use the ricotta salata when you plate the food).

For the chicken:
Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a very large (14-inch) skillet over high heat. Pour the beaten eggs into a shallow pie plate. Pile the breadcrumbs onto a plate or in another pie plate and season with salt and pepper (mix the salt and pepper in with your fingers).

Working with one chicken breast at a time, dip it into the eggs, then allow the excess to drip off. Place it in the breadcrumbs and coat on both sides, then gently lay the chicken breast into the pan. Repeat with remaining chicken breasts. Cook the chicken for about 4 minutes on each side, flipping carefully with tongs, until the breadcrumbs are a deep golden color and crispy. Remove the chicken from the pan, set on a plate, and squeeze the lemon juice over them.

To serve, toss the salad with the vinaigrette. Place one chicken breast on each plate and top with the salad. Crumble the ricotta salata on top of each salad and season with salt and pepper.

Original recipe

chard_tart_sm.jpgAn elegant savory tart full of chard, onion and thyme held together by eggs and Parmesan on an oregano whole wheat crust. Perfect for a tea or brunch. Can made ahead and served warm or cold.

Crust:

1 c. whole wheat flour
1 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp dried oregano or thyme
1/4 c. olive oil
1/2 c. cold water (I used less)

Makes enough to line a 28- to 30-cm (11- to 12-inch) tart pan.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease the pan lightly if it doesn't have a nonstick coating.

Combine the flour, salt, and herbs in a medium mixing bowl. Add the oil and mix it in with a fork. Add the water, mix with the fork until it is absorbed, then knead lightly (with just one hand, in the bowl) until the dough comes together into a ball.

Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle a little flour on the ball of dough and on the rolling pin, and roll the dough out into a circle large enough to fit your tart pan. Turn the dough by 45 degrees (a quarter of a circle) every time you roll the pin and back, adding a little more flour underneath and on the dough when it seems on the verge of becoming sticky. The trick is to do this in quick, assertive gestures to avoid overworking the dough.

Transfer the dough carefully into the prepared pan and line it neatly. Trim the excess dough (re-roll it and cut into decorative shapes to top the tart), and place the pan in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.

You can then blind-bake the crust (prick with a fork first, cover with foil, and cook at 400°F for 12 minutes), or garnish it straight away, depending on the filling. Either way, it will take 20 to 25 minutes at 200°C (400°F) to bake thoroughly.

Filling:

1 bunch of rainbow chard, stems and leaves chopped
1 onion, diced
1 big garlic clove minced
4 large eggs
2 Tb. half and half or milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/2-1 tsp dried thyme
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan
aged balsamic vinegar for garnish

Heat olive oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the chard stems (you will add the leaves later) and thyme. Cook for 7-10 minutes until the stems are tender. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Add the chard leaves. Cook until the leaves are wilted and soft and any liquid has evaporated, 7-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Beat together the eggs and season with salt and a pinch of pepper. Add the chard mixture and parmesan. Mix well and scrape the filling into the prepared shell.

Bake for 10-20 minutes, or until set. Let cool for 10 minutes, remove from pan and serve warm with a drizzle of balsamic.

Original recipe (filling)

Original recipe (crust)


pizza_crust_sm.jpgWith no rise-and-wait time, this is the fastest homemade pizza crust I've found. The finished product is a perfect thin crust pizza: crisp and crackerlike but sturdy enough to support mounds of toppings without getting soggy. The technique of rolling out the crust on parchment paper and then transferring it directly to the pizza stone saves a lot of hassle (and burned fingers!).

3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don't need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Makes 2 pizzas

About 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm when you test it with your finger (if the water is so hot that you can't leave your finger in it, wait for it to cool down). Add the yeast to the water and use a fork or whisk to stir it into the water. Set this aside for a few minutes and allow the yeast to dissolve.

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together. When it comes together into a cohesive ball (see image below), turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn't yet gotten worked in.

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch--about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it's smooth and silky (below).
Use a bench scraper to divide the dough in two.

Tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Work one piece of the dough in your hands and form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on the parchment paper.

Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough outward until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. You can also use a rolling pin for this part. Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Note: The dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. You'll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out before serving.

Topping and Baking the Dough:

Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce into the center of each pizza and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on all of your toppings except the cheese.

Using a bread peel or the backside of a baking sheet, slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven. If you don't have a baking stone, just bake it right on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 5 minutes and then rotate the pizza 180-degrees (most ovens have 'hot spots' your pizza will bake unevenly if it's not rotated). Bake for another 3 minutes and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for another 2-3 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy.

Remove your pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. At this point, you can slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza. Repeat with second pizza.

Let both pizzas cool for about five minutes and serve.

Original recipe


asian_pizza_sm.jpgAn Asian pizza sounds like a strange idea, but this combination of tangy peanut sauced chicken, Swiss & mozzarella cheeses and a crispy crust was outstanding. Plus, if you have one person make the crust and another make the chicken, it comes together remarkably quickly for a weeknight meal.

3/4  cup  rice vinegar
1/4  cup  firmly packed brown sugar
1/4  cup  low-sodium soy sauce
3  tablespoons  water
1  tablespoon  minced peeled fresh ginger (optional)
2  tablespoons  chunky peanut butter
1/2  to 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4  garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
1/2  pound  skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat, reduced-sodium Swiss cheese (such as Alpine Lace)
1/4  cup  (1 ounce) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4  cup  chopped green onions
Pizza crust

Preheat oven to 500°.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Heat a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add chicken, and sauté 2 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Pour rice vinegar mixture into pan, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook mixture 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan; cook 1 minute or until chicken is done. (Mixture will be consistency of thick syrup.)

Sprinkle cheeses over prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border, and top with chicken mixture. Bake at 500° for 12 minutes on bottom rack in oven (or according to pizza crust directions). Sprinkle with green onions. Place pizza on a cutting board; let stand 5 minutes.

6 servings (really only feeds 2-3 people)
Calories: 293 (22% from fat)
Fat: 7.3g (sat 2.9g,mono 2.6g,poly 1.2g)
Original recipe

walnutrosemarychicken_sm.jpgDelicious oven-fried chicken with a crunchy nut-rosemary crust.

1/4  cup  low-fat buttermilk
2  tablespoons  Dijon mustard
4  (6-ounce) chicken cutlets
1/3  cup  panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/3  cup  finely chopped walnuts
2  tablespoons  grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
3/4  teaspoon  minced fresh or dried rosemary
1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine buttermilk and mustard in a shallow dish, stirring with a whisk. Add chicken to buttermilk mixture, turning to coat.

Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add panko to pan; cook 3 minutes or until golden, stirring frequently. Combine panko, nuts, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper) in a shallow dish. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; discard buttermilk mixture. Dredge chicken in panko mixture.

Arrange a wire rack on a large baking sheet; coat rack with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on rack; coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 13 minutes or until chicken is done. Garnish with rosemary leaves, if desired.

Calories: 287
Fat: 9.4g (sat 1.6g,mono 1.6g,poly 5.1g)
Original recipe

olivepasta_sm.jpgPenne pasta with rich Italian flavors of kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Fresh herbs and lemon juice brighten the flavors, and crispy garlic breadcrumbs add crunch and flavor. Easy roasted chickpeas add protein for a full one dish meal.

2 T olive oil
6 medium garlic cloves, minced (~2T)
1 T minced anchovy fillets (4-6 fillets)
1 T tomato paste
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 c. drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, rinse, patted dry, and cut into thin strips
1 c. pitted kalamata olives, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 lg. slices sandwich bread, torn into quarters
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 lb. pasta (we used penne)
1/2-1 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 T chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)
1/2 c. fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Optional: Oven Roasted Chickpeas
1 15 ounce can organic chickpeas

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon chunky sea salt

Heat the oven 400°F. Pour the chickpeas into a colander and drain and rinse very well under running water. Pat dry.

Toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and spread out on a large cookie sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until brown and crispy. Turn and stir every ten minutes so they don't burn. Take out and toss to taste with salt and spices.


Combine 1 T olive oil, 1 T garlic, anchovies, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives in medium bowl. Set aside.

Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about 16 1-second pulses. Heat remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add bread crumbs and cook, stirring frequently, until beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in remaining tablespoon garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt. Cook and stir until garlic is fragrant and bread crumbs are dark golden brown, 1-2 minutes longer. Transfer to plate to cool. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

Meanwhile, bring 4 quarts of water to boil over high heat. Add rigatoni and remaining 1 1/2 tsp. salt. While pasta is cooking, return now-empty skillet to medium heat and add olive mixture. Cook until olive mixture is aromatic and oil has turned rusty red, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove 3/4 c. pasta cooking water from pot and add to skillet. Bring to simmer and cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat while pasta finishes cooking. When pasta is just shy of al dente, drain pasta, reserving 1/2 c. cooking water. Transfer back to pot, add olive mixture and toss over medium heat until pasta absorbs most of liquid, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 c. Parmesan. Remove pot from heat and stir in parsley and basil, adjust seasoning with pepper. Sprinkle with bread crumbs, serve with lemon wedges and extra cheese.

From Cooks Illustrated, July & August 2008 

creamy_pasta_sm.jpgA simple, hearty, all-in-one pasta dish with main flavors of sausage, garlic, and fresh pepper. Mushrooms, onion, and wilted greens round out the vegetables. Feel free to use whichever dark leafy green you like. Could easily be a good vegetarian meal or side dish if you omit the meat.

1 pound whole wheat pasta, like penne or farfalle
1 large onion, diced
8 ounces button (or portabella) mushrooms, sliced
greens: 1 bunch chard (about 1 pound), stems removed and diced, leaves cut into ribbons
            OR 1 bunch kale, stems removed and discarded, leaves chopped
            OR 1 bunch rapini, stalks removed and discarded, leaves and florets chopped
2 sausage links (8 ounces), sliced, or chopped ham (optional)
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces cream cheese, marscapone, or other soft creamy cheese
1/2 cup pasta water, saved from cooking pasta
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper
optional: red pepper flakes

Cook the pasta in a large amount of boiling water with a good palm-ful of salt. Just before draining, use a measuring cup to dip out about a half cup of the starchy pasta water, and set this aside.

If using meat, saute it over medium-high heat until brown and crispy, set aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat . Add the onion with a pinch of salt and cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the mushrooms and another pinch of salt. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, the liquid has boiled away, and the mushrooms are turning golden. Stir in the diced chard stems and the sausage. Cook until the stems are softened and the sausage is warmed through.

Clear a space in the middle of the pan and add the garlic. Cook just until the garlic is fragrant, then stir it into the rest of the vegetables. Lower the heat to medium and stir in the chard leaves. Continue stirring frequently until the leaves are bright green and wilted.

Stir in the cooked pasta and the cream cheese. When the cheese has melted, pour in half of the reserved cooking water to make a creamy sauce. If the sauce seems too thick, pour in the remaining pasta water a little at a time.

Grind the fresh pepper right over the pasta. Don't be shy! Taste as you go to gauge how peppery the pasta has become and how you like it. Season with additional salt, if desired.

Leftovers will keep refrigerated for up to one week.

Original recipe


greek_pork_sm.jpgAlthough the dill-yogurt sauce and tomato salad give the dish a unique Greek flavor, the super easy marinated pork was the real star. It is so delicious and versatile I plan on using it for my go-to pork chop recipe with many other sides, like cheese grits and okra or rice pilaf and green beans.

Pork:
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
2 tsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
3-4 thick cut boneless pork chops
Cooking spray
Combine the vinegar, oregano, olive oil, and garlic in a zip lock bag. Add the pork to the bag and seal. Marinate the meat for 20 minutes at room temperature, turning after 10 minutes.Heat a grill pan or frying pan coated in cooking spray over medium high heat. Remove pork from marinade and season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Add pork to pan, and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from pan and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.

Dill Yogurt Sauce:
1/2 cup of Greek style (or regular) plain yogurt
1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 1/2 tbsp fresh dill weed, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 clove of garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl until mixed thoroughly. Place in the refrigerator until needed.

Tomato Salad:
2-3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 bunch of green onions, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper
optional: chopped cucumber and kalamata olives
Combine all ingredients.

Original recipe

In Oregon there is a chain of German restaurants called Gustavs that makes amazing cabbage rolls. These aren't them, but they're still delicious. They are quite a bit of work, though, so allot 1 1/2-2 hours total cooking time.

1/2 lb. ground turkey
1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
2/3 c. water
1/3 c. uncooked long grain rice
1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme, crushed
8 medium to large cabbage leaves
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese (1 oz)
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano or thyme, crushed
1/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese (1 oz)

In a large skillet cook meat and onion until meat is brown and onion is tender. Drain off fat. Stir in undrained tomatoes, water, uncooked rice, 1/2 tsp. oregano, and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.

Trim veins from cabbage leaves. Immerse leaves, 4 a a time, into boiling water for 2-3 minutes or until just limp.

Stir 1/4 c. Swiss cheese into the meat mixture. Place about 1/3 c. of the meat mixture on each cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, carefully roll up each leaf, making sure folded sides are included in the roll.

For the sauce: in a small bowl stir together tomato sauce, sugar and 1/2 tsp oregano. Pour 1/2 of the tomato mixture into a 2-quart. square baking dish. Arrange cabbage rolls on the tomato mixture. Spoon remaining tomato mixture over cabbage rolls. Bake, covered. in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake until cheese is melted.

4 servings: 353 cal, 16 g. fat per serving

From: Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook

turkey_kale_soup_sm.jpgThis soup was ad-libbed into existence through so many substitutions and tweaks to a recipe that it was completely different at the end. But the final result, I think, is better than the original.  The slightly bitter kale is nicely balanced by the sweet potatoes and red pepper, and the ground turkey pushes it over into the category of comfort food. Ingredient amounts and cooking times are approximate.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 bunch (or more) kale (or other leafy green such as chard), stems and large veins discarded, leaves chopped into bite size pieces
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
4 c. chicken broth (low sodium)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, and chopped into bite-size cubes
salt, pepper
herbs (suggestions: oregano, basil, sage, rosemary)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss sweet potatoes in olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 20-30 minutes until tender but not mushy.

Saute ground turkey in large soup pot until cooked through. Remove, drain. Heat a little olive oil in the same pot over medium heat, add onion, saute until soft and transparent. Add red pepper and kale, cook until kale is well wilted and pepper is tender. Add turkey, tomatoes, broth, and herbs. Simmer 10 minutes or so to allow flavors to meld. Add sweet potatoes, cook a couple minutes until heated through.
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