Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cobb Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

8 slices bacon
2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 2-3 pound rotisserie chicken
2 heads green leaf lettuce torn
4 oz blue cheese crumbled
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1 avocado, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped

Cook bacon until crisp. Transfer 1 TBSP of bacon drippings to a small bowl. Add EVOO, vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper to bacon drippins. Whisk and set aside.
Shred chicken.
Combine lettuce, cheese tomatoes, avocado, onion and chicken in bowl. Crumble bacon over salad and serve with vinaigrette.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Tomato Salad

1 6.5 oz jar artichoke hearts; drained and chopped
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
4 6-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon EVOO
salt & pepper
2 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
8 baguette slices, toasted

Mix artichokes, parmesan, and 1 TBSP of thyme in small bowl.
Cut a 2 inch pocket in the thickest part of each chicken breast. Stuff a quarter of the artichoke mixture into each pocket. Rub the chicken breasts with 1 tsp of oil and season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
Heat a pan to medium. Grill chicken, turning once, until cooked through, 6-7 minutes per side.
Mix tomatoes, shallot, vinegar, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, and remaining oil & thyme in a bowl. Slice chicken, and serve with tomato salad and baguette slices.

Pita Bread Salad

Serves: 6 Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 10 minutes

4 pitas, cut into bite sized pieces
1/3 cup EVOO
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
2 small cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1 small head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the pitas to a baking sheet; bake until crisp, about 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, scallions, parsley, mint and pitas. Add the lettuce and toss.

Honey Mustard Chicken and Potato Wedges

Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes plus marinating Cook: 40 minutes

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 limes, 1 juiced and 1 cut into 8 wedges
8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs
2 large baking potatoes
3 tablespoons EVOO
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the honey, mustard, oil and lime juice. Add the chicken and let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, combine the potatoes and enough salted water to cover; bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes, then drain and let cool slightly. Slice the potatoes lengthwise into 1-inch wedges. Transfer to a bowl and gently toss with the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
3. Preheat a grill to medium-high. Add the chicken and potatoes, cover the grill and cook for 10 minutes on each side.
4. Serve the chicken with the lime wedges and potatoes. Sprinkle the chives over the potatoes.

Greek Tuna Salad Pasta

Serves: 4 Prep 15 minutes Cook 10 minutes

1 pound penne rigate pasta
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup EVOO
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/4 red onion, freshly chopped
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
salt & pepper
1 6-oz can solid white tuna in water, drained and broken into chunks
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and spread onto a baking sheet to cool.
2. Meanwhile, pour the vinegar into a large bowl and whisk in the olive oil in a slow, steady stream. Stir in the tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and olives. Add the pasta and parsley and toss; season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tuna. Top with the feta.

Pasta with no-cook tomato sauce

Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 15 minutes

4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons EVOO
1 pound medium pasta shells
2 pounds tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Grated parmesean cheese for serving

1. In a cup, combine the garlic and olive oil. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, about 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, crush the tomatoes with your hands; season with salt and pepper.
3. Remove the garlic from the olive oil and discard. Add the garlic oil, butter and lemon peel to the tomatoes. Add the pasta and toss, adding a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin the sauce, if necessary. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper; toss. Serve with the parmesan.

Sky Blue Potatoes

Serves 12 Prep: 20 minutes cook: 25 minutes

24 new red potatoes, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons EVOO
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/2 cup crumbled cooked bacon, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
1/4 red onion, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium bowl, toss the potatoes with the olive oil. Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake until the skins are crisp, 20 to 25 minutes; let cool.
2. Scoop out the center of each potato half and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the sour cream, blue cheese, bacon, parsley and onion. Fill each potato skin with the sour cream mixture and top with more crumbled bacon and parsley.

Berry-Lemon Sparklers

Makes 8

1 1/2 pints raspberries or blackberries, plus more for garnish
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 cups lemon juice (from 8 lemons)
mint sprigs, for garnish

1. In a medium bowl, mash the 1 1/2 pints berries with the sugar; let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, then strain into a large pitcher, pressing with a spoon to extract any juice. Stir in the lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups more water.
2. Fill 8 pint glasses halfway with ice. Pour about 3/4 cup berry-lemon mixture into each glass, top with a splash of seltzer and stir to combine. Garnish with berries and a mint sprig.

Roast Turkey Sandwich with the Works

Makes 6

1 12 oz container whipped cream cheese, at room temp
2 scallions, chopped
12 slices pumpernickel bread
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds sliced roast turkey breast
6 oz sliced swiss cheese
one 5 oz container alfalfa sprouts (2 cups)

In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and scallions. Spread the scallion cream cheese on each slice of bread. Divide the cucumber among 6 bread slices and mound the turkey on the cucumber. Top with the Swiss cheese, sprouts and remaining bread slices.

Corn and Salsa Tortilla Soup

Serves: 4

3 poblano chiles
6 corn tortillas, halved, then cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 ears fresh corn, kernels scraped from the cob, OR 2 10-oz boxes frozen corn kernels
1 red onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 32-oz container vegetable broth
1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 avocado chopped
1 lime, halved
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
1/4 cup sour cream

1. Preheat the broiler. Broil the poblanos until blackened, 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover and let cool. Peel, seed and chop the poblanos.
2. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a baking sheet, toss the tortilla strips with 1 tablespoon oil and the cumin. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes; season with salt.
3. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the corn and cook until charred at the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the red onion and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes and poblanos.
4. Divide the tortilla strips among 4 soup bowls. Add the avocado and a squeeze of lime juice. Ladle the soup over the avocado. Top with cilantro; serve with the sour cream.

Sloppy Veg-Head Joe (vegetarian sloppy joe)

Serves: 4

1 tablespoon veg. oil
1 red, green or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
two 15 oz cans black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
salt and pepper
one 15 oz can diced fireroasted or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
juice of 1 lime
4 crusty rolls, split and lightly toasted
2 large dill pickles
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil, 1 turn of the pan, over mediumhigh heat. Add the bell pepper, jalapeƱos, red onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the black beans, cumin and coriander; season with salt and pepper.
2. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Add to the black beans and simmer for a few minutes. Stir in the lime juice. Serve the Sloppy Veg-Head Joe on the rolls. Top with the pickles and cilantro.

Chicken Succotash

Serves: 4 Prep 5 minutes Cook 10 minutes

2 tablespoons butter
1 bunch scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced separately
salt and pepper
one 10-oz box frozen corn
1 cup frozen lima beans (I'm going to substitute edamame)
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1 tomato, chopped

In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the scallion whites, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the corn, lima beans and cream and bring to a boil. Stir in the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato and scallion greens just before serving.

Chicken Little Nuggets

Serves: 10 Prep: 20 minutes Bake: 25 minutes

1 stick (4 oz) melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 inch cubes

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a small bowl, combine the butter, cayenne pepper and salt. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs and coconut.
2. Brush the chicken cubes with the butter mixture, then toss in the coconut mixture to coat. Place the chicken on a rack set on a baking sheet and bake until crisp and golden, about 25 minutes.

French Onion Bread Soup

Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minute Cook: 35 minutes

2 tablespoons EVOO
2 pounds onion, thinly sliced
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt & pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups beef broth
1/2 baguette, cut into small cubes
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, lower the heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, about 15 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook for 3 minutes. Add the beef broth, reduce the heat to low and cover the saucepan.
2. Divide half of the bread cubes among four small ovenproof bowls and cover each with 1/4 cup cheese. Divide the soup among the bowls, then top with the remaining bread and cheese. Set the bowls on a baking sheet and bake until the cheese is bubbling, about 10 minutes.

Pretzel-Crusted Chicken Finger and Zucchini Sticks

Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
8 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
salt and pepper
1 12-oz bag whole grain pretzels
2 teaspoons dried thyme
4 large eggs
2 zucchini, halved crosswise and cut into sticks
1 1/2 pounds chicken tenders
3/4 cup EVOO
carrot sticks, celery sticks, and dill pickle spears for serving

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the chicken broth and milk. When the milk begins to bubble, stir in the cheese and mustard. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
2. Preheat the oven to 250°. Using a food processor, finely grind the pretzels. Transfer to a shallow bowl and add the thyme. In another shallow bowl, beat the eggs. Coat the zucchini with the pretzel crumbs, then the egg, then the pretzel crumbs again. Repeat with the chicken.
3. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat. Cook the chicken in 2 batches, turning, until firm, about 3 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels; keep warm on a baking sheet in the oven. Repeat with the zucchini, adding more oil if necessary.
4. Serve the chicken fingers and zucchini sticks with the cheese sauce, along with the carrot sticks, celery sticks and dill pickle spears.

Chicago Style Butter and Garlic Pizza

Makes 1 14" pizza Prep: 20 minutes plus rising Bake: 30 minutes

1 package active dry-yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
3 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 clove garlic, ground
toppings of your choice

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Add 1/4 cup flour and the sugar; stir together. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 20 minutes.
2. Stir the remaining 1 cup lukewarm water, 3 cups flour, the cornmeal and salt into the yeast mixture. Combine the butter and garlic; mix into the dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until soft and elastic, 10 to 12 minutes.
3. Lightly grease a large bowl, add the dough and turn to coat. Cover and set in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size, 1 hour.
4. Punch down the dough, then knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan, then press in the dough to cover the bottom and 2 inches up the sides; let rise for 20 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 500°. Top the pizza dough with your favorite toppings. Lower the oven to 450° and bake for 30 minutes.

Apple Butter Pork Loin

1 2-pound boneless pork loin roast
1 1/2 cups apple butter
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup long-grain rice
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the pork with salt. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat, then brown the pork. In a small bowl, combine the apple butter and cayenne; slather the mixture onto the pork. Roast until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145°, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the rice, coconut milk, 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve with the pork.

Lemony Tuna Salad

Serves: 4 Prep: 20 minutes

1/4 cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
salt and pepper
1 6-oz can solid white tuna, drained
1 cup canned white beans, rinsed
1/2 english cucumber, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 large head romaine lettuce, shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice and lemon peel; season with salt and pepper. Add the tuna, breaking it apart slightly with a fork, then the beans, cucumber and onion. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Arrange the romaine on 4 large plates and top with the tuna salad and tomatoes.

Cheesy Potato Corncakes

Serves: 8 Prep Time: 25 minutes From: Rachel Ray

2 pounds peeled yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup finely chopped chives
1/2 cup cornmeal
one 10 oz box frozen corn kernels, thawed
6 oz pepperjack cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
3/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Place the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with cold water by 1 inch. Salt the water and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, then mash the potatoes in the pot. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat for 1 minute. Let cool, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, stir together the eggs and chives. Place the cornmeal on a large, shallow plate.
3. Combine the potatoes with the corn, the cheese and the egg mixture; season with pepper. Scoop out 2 rounded tablespoons and roll into a ball. Set on a sheet of waxed paper; repeat with the remaining mixture (you should have 30 pieces). Flatten each ball into a 1/2-inch-thick patty, coat in the cornmeal and transfer to a baking sheet.
4. On a griddle or in a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Working in 3 batches, add the corncakes and cook until golden-brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.

Crispy Chicken and Homemade Fries (the healthier kind!)

Serves: 4 Prep: 15 minutes Cook: 45 minutes From: Rachel Ray

3 large baking potatoes
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 4-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg white
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika

1. Position 2 racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 425°. Slice the potatoes into 1/3-inch-thick fries. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, toss to coat, then arrange in an even layer. Bake in the upper third of the oven until crisp and golden, about 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, remove and discard the skin from the chicken, except for the wings. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Add the chicken pieces and toss to coat.
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs, flour, Cajun seasoning and paprika; season with salt. Coat the chicken with the crumbs and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. In a large, heavy skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken pieces and cook, turning once, until golden, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a clean baking sheet and repeat with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil and 4 pieces chicken.
4. On the bottom rack of the oven, bake the chicken until cooked through and crisp, about 22 minutes. Season the fries with salt and serve with the chicken.

Baked Macaroni and Cheddar

Serves: 4 Prep: 10 minutes Cook: 35 minutes.

1 large bunch broccoli, cut into bite sized florets and stalks peeled, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 pound whole wheat elbow pasta
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup finely chopped shallots (about 3)
3 tablespoons flour
3 1/2 cups low fat milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces cheddar cheese cubed
6 tablespoons grated parmesean
Salt & Pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tablespoons bread crumbs

1. Fill a large pot with enough water to reach a depth of 2 inches and bring to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 1 minute; drain and rinse with cold water. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and add the broccoli in an even layer.
2. Fill the same pot with salted water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente; drain.
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400°. In the same pot, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 cup milk until thickened, then whisk in 1 cup more. Whisk the cornstarch into the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, then whisk the mixture into the pot. Simmer, whisking, until the sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the cheddar and 4 tablespoons parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the pasta. Spoon the mixture over the broccoli.
In a small heatproof bowl, combine the garlic and remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter; microwave at high power until melted, about 20 seconds. Stir in the bread crumbs, the remaining 2 tablespoons parmesan and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Discard the garlic, then sprinkle the bread crumb mixture on the pasta. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

Mini Ham and Egg Casseroles

Serves 4, Prep: 15 minutes Bake: 15 minutes from Rachel Ray

1/4 baguette, cut into small cubes
4 ounces cream cheese, cut crosswise into 12 slices (use light cream cheese)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/4 pound thinly slice ham, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 scallions, white and green portions, thinly sliced and separated
1 1/2 cups of half and half
6 large eggs
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 pound plum tomatoes, sliced into wedges

1. Preheat over to 350. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan and fill each cup halfway with bread cubes. Top each with a slice of cream cheese.
2. In a small saucepan heat the EVOO over med. heat and add the ham, scallion whites, and a pinch of pepper.
3. Cook, stirring, until scallions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the half and half and bring just to a simmer before removing from heat.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and thyme. Then whisk in the warm half and half mixture. Fill muffin cups with egg mixture and bake until puffed and golden around edges, about 15 minutes.
5. Let cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edges and invert onto a a cooling rack.
6. Drizzle the tomato slices with EVOO, top with the scallion greens, and season with salt and pepper. Serve with the mini casseroles.

Crunchy Parmesan Chicken

Serves 4 Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes from Rachel Ray

1 cup cornflakes, lightly crushed
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper
Four 6 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon, cut into wedges
3 large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In a shallow bowl combine cornflakes, cheese, and 1/4 tsp each of salt and pepper.
3. Place eggs in another bowl. Coat each chicken breast with the cornflake mixture, then the eggs, then again with the cornflake mixture. Transfer to a wax-paper lined baking sheet.
4. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until golden. About 2 minutes per side.
5. Transfer to a clean baking sheet. Bake chicken until coated through, about 10 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
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