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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Chicken Parmesan

Serves: 2
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 15min

- 2 Whole Chicken Breasts
- 2 cups Pasta
- 1/2 bottle Pasta Sauce
- Breadcrumbs
- Seasoned Salt
- Cajun Seasoning
- Canola Oil
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

- Bring water for the pasta to a boil while preparing other items.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts, so that you have one large piece of chicken, of roughly even thickness.
- Lightly wet chicken with water.
- Place chicken on a large plate.
- Sprinkle chicken with bread crumbs, seasoned salt, and Cajun seasoning, flip over and cover the other side.
- Pour oil into a large pan (Cast Iron is preferable, but stainless works as well, I recommend against using non-stick for this), until the oil is about 1/8th to 1/4 of an inch deep. Bring this up to temperature over medium heat.
- Cook the pasta as per the directions on the package, and warm 1/2 of the bottle of sauce in the microwave, or via stovetop.
- Cook the chicken in the now hot oil, for about 2-3 minutes on one side, flip, sprinkle with some of the leftover breadcrumbs. Cook 2-3 minutes on the other side, flip, and sprinkle with leftover breadcrumbs. Cook 2-3 minutes, and flip one last time.
- Remove chicken from pan and let sit on a paper towel for 30 seconds to one minute before serving.
- Serve pasta, top with sauce, place chicken cutlet on top and sprinkle with cheese.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Cherries and Apricots

This is a quick and easy dessert that will please anyone, especially unexpected company.  I always have a large stash of chocolate bars in my chocolate shelf and chocolate dipped fruit is always a satisfying luxury even though it only took minutes to make.  :-)

Chocolate Dipped Cherries and Apricots
approx prep time: 10min
approx chill time: 20min

1/2 pound of cherries
2 whole apricots sliced

1) Line plates with parchment paper or wax paper
2) Break chocolate bar into chunks and crumble into a bowl.  Microwave dark chocolate 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each 30 second interval, until chocolate is just melted and smooth (do not overheat, chocolate can burn).
3) Dip cherries and apricots into chocolate and place on wax paper.
4) Put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
5) Serve cold, don't let the dipped fruit come to room temperature.
6) Store leftovers (if there are any), in sealed containers in the refrigerator.  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mini Burgers

Serves: 6-8
approx prep time: 15min
approx cook time: 15min

INGREDIENTS (Makes 12 mini burgers): 
- 1.5lbs Lean ground beef
- 6 strips of Bacon
- 1 small white onion (or 1/2 of a large white onion)
- 5 sweet gherkin pickles
- 3tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Toppings of choice (Pickles, Tomato, etc..)
- 12 Mini buns, or, alternately, sliced Baguette

- Cook the bacon in half strips until crispy and set aside.
- Very finely dice onion and gherkin pickles.
- Combine ground beef, diced onion, diced gherkins, Montreal steak spice, and Parmesan cheese, mixing thoroughly.
- Form mix into patties, roughly 1.75 to 2" in diameter and 0.75" thick.
- Cook in a grill pan to desired doneness. For medium well, this should be about 4-5 minutes per side. You'll want to rotate the burgers around the pan, as the heat in different portions of the pan may be uneven.
- Once cooked, put the burgers on the bun, with all the fixings, and serve hot!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dutch Baby

People say it is the thought that counts when it comes to gift giving, and my thoughts were on this recipe when I picked out Nick's Christmas present. For Christmas, I gave Nick an All Clad stainless steel 10 inch frying pan.  The only reason I did this is so we could make a Dutch baby together *no pun intended*.  The recipe is dead easy and it is a lot of fun to watch the batter grow and rise up in the oven.  This recipe is basically an egg pancake recipe with the egg as the rising agent and it is just so simple that I couldn't resist trying this out.  The result is a crunchy exterior, soft and chewy interior, and perfect with either macerated strawberries and ricotta, or if you like it simple like me, just drizzled with some good maple syrup and served with a side of fruit.  It was absolutely delicious and now one of my breakfast favorites! 

Serves: 2
approx prep time: 10min
approx cook time: 20min

2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of nutmeg
1.5 tablespoons butter
10 inch frying pan that can go in the oven

1) Set the oven rack set in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Place a 10-12 inch frying pan into the oven with the butter.
3) Once the butter melts, pour the batter into the pan and return it to the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown and serve immediately. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Serves: 4-6
approx prep time: 20min
approx cook time: 25-30min

- 3 large white potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 spring onions
- 1/4 of a large white onion
- 1/2 cup shredded old cheddar cheese
- 1tbsp butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Sour cream and chives (optional topping)

- Finely dice onions and set aside.
- Beat egg in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Wash and grate potatoes (with the skin on), into a large bowl.
- Using a cheese cloth, ring all the water out of the shredded potatoes. You may want to do this in 2 or 3 batches, due to the quantity of potato. Once you've rung the potatoes once, and no more water comes out, mix up the potato and repeat the process. There should be almost no water left in the them before continuing.
- Combine potato, flour, egg, onions and cheese in a large bowl, mixing throughly by hand.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, mixing well.
- Melt butter in a non-stick fry pan over medium heat.
- When the butter is melted, spread evenly around pan and dump potato mixture on top, patting down into a flat cake with a spatula.
- Cook for 12-15 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook for 12-15 minutes on the other side.
- Slide onto a plate, cut into wedges, and serve plan or with sour cream and chives.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grilled Sandiwches

Serves: 1
approx prep time: 5min
approx cook time: 5min

- 4 slices of bread (for 2 sandwiches)
- Shredded cheese of your choice (Cheddar Cheese in this example)
- Deli meat of choice (Smoked Turkey in this example)
- Butter (softened)

- These sandwiches were made in a Croque Monsieur sandwich press, and they work best if made in some kind of sandwich press, however if you don't have access to one, a Panini press works just as well. As a last resort, you can use a frying pan.
- Pre-heat your sandwich maker or fry pan (medium heat).
- Lightly butter one side of each piece of bread.
- Assemble your sandwiches, with the bread buttered side OUT (so that it's in contact with the pan or press. This helps give a nice crispy brown exterior to the sandwich).
- If using a sandwich press, cook for approx. 4-5min, checking once or twice, until the outside is a nice golden brown.
- If cooking in a frying pan, cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, flipping carefully with a spatula, until the cheese is melted and the bread is a nice golden brown.
- Serve hot, with some snack-able sides (gherkin pickles, carrot sicks, etc..)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

Not all pumpkin pies are made equal.  Some are too mushy and sweet, some too spicy, but I found this perfect.  The filling for this pumpkin pie is a custard where the eggs set the pumpkin puree.  This puree is seasoned with spices and cream to give it a decadent texture before it goes into the pie crust.   

This is the pumpkin pie Nick requests over and over again and friends rave that it's their favorite.  I've never liked traditional pumpkin pie, however, I love this one because it's more of a custard base, similar to a creme brulee then sugar and spiced pumpkin mush.

Pumpkin Pie
Makes 2 pies (with store bought crust)
approx prep time: 20 min
approx cook time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
1 package of Tenderflake deep dish pie crust (it has 2 pie shells)
2 cups of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup of firmly packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon of ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon of grated/ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (35% whipping cream)
1/4 teaspoon of salt

Pre-bake the pie shells
1)  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Take out Tenderflake crusts from the box and let both crusts sit for 15 minutes to thaw.
3) Poke crust thoroughly with a fork (so the steam escapes while it bakes).
4) Put pie shells in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown on the rim.
5) Let the shell cool completely.  NOTE: This step is very important or else your pie have pock marked pumpkin pie if your pie shell is warm.  It will taste fine, it just won't be as pretty.
6) Place pie shells on a baking sheet.

Pumpkin pie mixture
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) In a bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and sugar.
3) Whisk in eggs one at a time into the mixture, beating well after each addition.
4) Stir in all the spices, salt, and cream until well mixed.
5) Pour mixture equally into cooled pie shells already on a baking sheet.
6) Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the centre no longer moves when you gently move the sheet pan back and forth. In my experience, it usually takes approx 50 minutes.
7) If the crust starts to get too brown during cooking, please a aluminum foil ring over the edge to prevent further browning.  
8) Let pies cool completely and set

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Turkey Vegetable Soup

Soup.  I love soups in the wintertime, and nothing is better or easier then making soup from Christmas dinner leftovers.  This makes a very large pot of soup.

Turkey Vegetable Soup
Makes about 12 cups of soup (a large pot)
approx prep time: 20min
approx cook time: 2.5 hours

- 1 turkey carcass
- 2 cups of carrots
- 3 stalks of celery
- 3 medium onions
- 1 large potato (optional)
- 1 tomato (optional)
- other root vegetables (optional)
- bundle of herbs (ie. Rosemary and Thyme is optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste

1) Chop all the vegetables into bite sized pieces
2) Throw all of the ingredients (except salt and pepper) into a large soup pot and fill the pot up with water.
3) Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to medium and let simmer for 2.5 hours. 
4) Once finished, take out and discard bones, skin and skim the fat, add salt and pepper to taste.