June 30, 2011

Jessica is cooking again.

Give her plenty of warning when it's her turn to cook and Jessica really comes through.  She does love to putter in the kitchen, which is odd, because at that age I couldn't be bothered.  This meal was based on a recipe out of Food Network Magazine, called Chicken Parmesan Rollatini.

Tomato Reduction
1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes
1 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
5 or 6 chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
Cook the broth, garlic, basil, and tomatoes and basil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened - about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and cover to keep warm.

Chicken Rollatini
4 large chicken breasts, flattened to 1/8 inch thickness
6 ounces shredded cheese (gruyere and mozzarella work well)
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Prosciutto (enough to cover flattened chicken breasts)
5 or 6 chopped fresh basil leaves (or more to taste)
1 large egg white
Freshly ground pepper
Cooking spray

Position a rack in the upper third of your oven, preheated to 450 degrees.
Season the chicken with pepper, and place smooth-side down on a work surface. Layer with prosciutto, cheese, and then chopped basil. Starting at the short end, roll to enclose the filling, seam side down.

Mix the shredded parmesan and Panko breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Put the egg white in another dish, and whip with a fork until foamy.

Mist a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Working one at a time, dip the chicken rolls in the egg white, coat with the breadcrumb mixture, and place seam-side down in the glass baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs, and mist finely with cooking spray. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked and breadcrumbs are golden-brown.

Serve with the tomato reduction, either on top of the chicken, or on the side.

 *So happy I don't have to worry about her taking care of herself, as she gets ready to leave the nest*

-Julie (and Jessica, too)

June 28, 2011

Monday night dinner....

In testament to my laziness this summer I'm posting last night's dinner tonight, and perhaps I'll continue the trend and post tonight's dinner tomorrow....does that make sense?  Probably only to me ;)

Joe smoked a whole chicken on Sunday, and with the left overs I made a penne casserole. 

1/4 lb bacon (I buy the end pieces because the pieces are thicker)
Penne pasta
Cooked chicken (1 1/2 cups)
1 cup cheese (your choice)
chopped garlic (to taste)
1/4 sour cream
1/4 mayonnaise

Okay, for my ingredients I'm not listing the basics I think most kitchens have, like butter, flour, and chicken broth (although most kitchens should have fresh garlic).

Make a basic roux with butter, flour, and chicken broth.  Milk can be used but it adds extra calories, and some are sensitive to dairy (like me).  I had approx. 3 Tbsp heavy cream in the fridge and added that to the roux as well.  Let the roux cook on low heat for 10 min to get the "flour" taste out.

Cook the penne according to directions and drain well.  Add the cooked bacon, chicken, cheese, mayo, and sour cream.  Add black pepper and garlic to taste (which in our house means A LOT).  Don't add salt, the bacon will do that for you.  Add the roux, mix well, and cook at 375 for 25 minutes. 

The penne will absorb liquid overnight, so if the casserole is creamier any left overs will be that much better the next day.

June 25, 2011

Simple Summer Suppers....

 (I know alliteration is corny, but I love it!)

Recurring themes seems to be appropriate titles for both my blogs this week.....yeah, it's been a while since I've blogged.  No excuse except that I've been lax in just about everything.

Summer has *finally* made it to Northern California, and with that comes the freshest fruits and veggies one can get.  I made it to the farmer's market in Elk Grove Park last week and was happy to get cherries (mixed Rainer and Bing), 5 lbs for $5.  Great price.  I also found fresh green beans, $1 for a large bag. 

So, this morning I marinated a flank steak with soy sauce, a few TB veg. oil, a few tsp. brown sugar, chopped green onions, dijon mustard, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, pepper, and lots of garlic.  Joe grilled it for approx. 5 min.

The green beans were steamed, and served with a little pat of butter and Montreal Steak Seasoning.

From my new issue of FNM, and the small pullout section of potato salads:  red potatoes with olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, and pepper. Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.  Add chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp dijon, and 2 tsp lemon juice.

Serve with any red wine of choice, but if I'm coming it had better be a Zin, and a good one at that.  I recommend 7 Deadly Zins by Michael David winery of Lodi, CA.

Helpful Hints

Of course all the seasonings are to taste.  We tend to go heavy on garlic in  everything. 

A good roasting pan is a necessity in every kitchen.  Mine is ceramic from Portugal.  For those familiar with Home Goods I suggest shopping there for any kitchen item.  Really, they are my go-to place when I need a pan, serving dish, or a new, funky towel. 

Fresh vegetables are always better when a little crisp.  NEVER steam veggies until they're soggy.  Not only do they lose nutritional value that way, but the flavor evaporates as well.

For those wondering if my family is starving....

No, I've just been preoccupied with a lot of other family issues.  For the second year in a row I've received a layoff notice, forcing me to re-evaluate my future career plans.  Still not sure what's going to happen there, but I have decided a new line of work is probably called for.  Also, Jessica's high school graduation (and the weeks preceding) were extremely busy.  Sometimes I feel as if my kids joined EVERY single activity available.  And, I've just been allowing myself to be kinda lazy.

We've actually eaten very well and have many meals worthy of blogging about, but again, I've been lazy......