Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Chicken Muffaletta Sandwiches

It has been quite a long time since I wrote anything in this blog. Sorry for my absence. I made a new recipe at the Senior Center this month and I thought I would share it with you. It was a huge hit! I hope you enjoy it as much as the seniors.

Chicken Muffaletta Sandwiches

4 boneless skinless chicken breast
salt and pepper
1 can of black olives
1 jar of green olives with pimentos
2 tbs chopped fresh parsley
Splash of Olive Oil
Splash of Balsamic Vinegar
2 minced garlic cloves
4-8 sandwich rolls (depending upon how big your sandwiches will be)

Heat a pan on medium high until hot. Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Sear chicken in hot pan for 5 minutes each side. Put chicken in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Meanwhile, chop black and green olives and put into a bowl with parsley, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic. Set aside until ready to assemble the sandwiches.

To assemble, slice chicken into thin strips and put into rolls. Top the chicken with the olive salad.

If you are not enjoying the sandwiches right away, wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap and refrigerate. The flavors will blend and will be fabulous when you are ready to eat or you can enjoy these sandwiches hot.

I hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Beef Stew--My Family is SO Happy!

People who are very close to me know that I have not eaten or cooked beef in about 8 years due to personal reasons. My family was never really happy about this decision because they love beef and I really am the only one who cooks in my household.

After much reflection, for Valentine's Day, I made a steak for my family. I bought all organic, no animal by products or antibiotics beef. After all this time of not eating or cooking beef, it was nice to have this quick meal back in my menu. Let's face it, a steak takes no time to cook and the side dishes, (baked potatoes in the microwave then finished in the toaster oven and stir fried asparagus) cook up really fast.

I also bought a package of stew beef from the same producer. Today I am in the process of cooking up a batch of Beef Stew and it really is coming out great!

Beef Stew

1 pound cubed beef
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces of sliced mushrooms
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 celery stock, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 cloves of crushed or minced garlic
3/4 cup red wine
1 box of stock (I used chicken)
5 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
flour to dust raw beef
Olive oil
1 box frozen butternut squash
Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste.

Heat pan and add oil. Dust beef with flour and brown meat in pan. Once first side is seared, stir and add onion, mushrooms, carrots, celery and garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan. Add bay leaves, stock and some water. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. Add butternut squash and potatoes. Simmer for about 30 more minutes. If you want the stew a little thicker, mix about 2 tbs flour with about 1/2 cup of cold water. Mix until there are no lumps and add it to the stew to thicken. Don't forget to take out the bay leaves to serve.

I hope you enjoy this. So far, mine tastes great!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shrimp Mozambique

Last night we celebrated my daughter's birthday with our family. Each birthday, I have the family over for a meal. Most often, I make a turkey, ham or some type of pasta. This year my sister-in-law recommended I try something with shrimp. So, here again is a shrimp recipe.

I have always loved Shrimp Mozambique in local restaurants but have never tried it at home. I figured I would try it out on my family. I looked at many recipes and also asked for suggestions from my local fish market. I came up with a great recipe that my family really enjoyed. I served it with rice and Portuguese rolls. I hope you enjoy it.

Shrimp Mozambique

4 pounds cleaned and deveined shrimp (I used frozen)
1 onion finely chopped
1 tbs dried parsley
2 packets of Goya Sazon seasoning
1 tsp sea salt
1 head of garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup butter
3 tbs olive oil
1 bottle beer

In large skillet, melt butter and add olive oil. Add onion and garlic. Saute for about 5 minutes. Add spices and saute for 1 minute. Add beer and simmer a few minutes. Add shrimp and mix to coat. Cover and simmer until shrimp is pink (about 5 minutes). Mix shrimp while cooking to make sure the sauce coats shrimp. Serve over rice and use bread for dipping into the garlic sauce.

This recipe fed 12 people. I hope you enjoy this. My family loved it!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Light Shrimp and Pasta

I bought a bag of frozen shrimp thinking I could make something great for my family. My daughter saw the bag in the freezer and immediately started asking if she could defrost them and start eating them. I kept telling her that the bag was going to be for a dinner and she could not have them as a shrimp cocktail. I figured I better make something fast before I came home to an empty bag of shrimp and my husband and daughter on a shrimp cocktail high.

Tonight I adapted a recipe to use up the shrimp. It was a big hit with my family. Hopefully you will enjoy it, too!

Light Shrimp and Pasta

1 lbs pasta
2 tbs oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (with out the juice, if canned)
2 ounces light cream cheese
1/2 cup evaporated 2% milk
12 ounces shrimp (fresh or frozen, cleaned and deveined)
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta to al dente.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet (I used my 12" stainless skillet). Add chopped onions. Saute for about 3 minutes until soften. Add tomatoes and garlic. Heat until hot. Move all vegetables to the sides of the pan and melt cream cheese in the center, when creamy and melted, add the milk and shrimp. Cook until shrimp are pink and cooked. Add Parmesan cheese, butter, salt and pepper.

Add pasta to the shrimp mixture to coat. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.


Just so you know, I did leave some shrimp to the side for my daughter and husband to have a little shrimp cocktail! They were happy with the meal and the shrimp cocktail.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cauliflower Ham Mac N Cheese

I saw a recipe somewhere for a Mac N Cheese that included cauliflower and thought "Great way to get my kids to eat vegetables!" I roughly scribbled the recipe on the back of an envelop (I think). I promptly lost the envelope and recipe!

Never letting the lack of a recipe deter me, I decided to make the recipe from memory, while changing it slightly. Well, it got great results from my family. I have to admit that my kids do not mind cauliflower in mashed potatoes, so there was precedence. I also had some leftover ham from the weekend, so I chopped it up and added it to the mix.

Here's what I came up with:

Cauliflower Ham Mac N Cheese

1 bag frozen cauliflower
1/4 cup milk (more or less)
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb pasta (I used a mixture of baby shells and elbow)
1 cup coarsely chopped ham
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup bread crumbs

In a sauce pan, boil cauliflower in water until tender. Take out the cauliflower and put into a blender or food processor. Add pasta to the cauliflower water. Cook until tender and drain.

Meanwhile, blend the cauliflower until smooth. Add some milk, all the cheese except about 3/4 cup, Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.

Combine the cauliflower mixture with the pasta and ham. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with cheese and then bread crumbs. Bake at 400 degrees until golden and bubbly. About 20-30 minutes.

I hope you enjoy this. It's a great way to use leftover ham and get your family to eat some vegetables.

Monday, January 11, 2010

For the Love of Ham

I find certain items go on sale at regular intervals. For example, all baking supplies tend to go on sale before each major holiday. So, if I want to stock up on flour and sugar, I should purchase them at the rock bottom prices during the Thanksgiving/Christmas and Easter seasons. This year I purchased flour at $1.49 for a 5 pound bag and sugar at $1.25 for a 5 pound bag. When I bought my sugar at Target for $1.25 per bag, the guy behind me said, "What, are they giving it away?". I replied, "Practically!".

This week I went to my local PriceRite and noticed ham at $.49/lb and $.59/lb. I bought two. There was another women looking at the ham and said there must be a mistake with the pricing because the regular hams were so inexpensive and the spiral hams were regular price. I told her there was no mistake. Spiral hams definitely are more expensive because they are totally precooked and are already cut. But, I think spiral hams tend to be dry. I hardly ever buy a spiral ham because I want my ham really moist. The women ended up buying a regular ham.

What will I do with the hams? One went into the freezer for my daughter's birthday party in February. The other was cooked last night. When I make ham for my family, I just bake it at 300 degrees in my Stoneware Covered Baker. Cooking the ham this way, makes it "fall off the bone moist and tender"! We had this with sauteed cabbage (yum!) and corn. The corn was for my kids who only like cabbage in coleslaw.

What will I do with the leftovers? I put them in three containers. One will be use for sandwiches this week and to eat during the week. The other two will go into the freezer for meals when I do not have time to make anything or in a casserole, quiche, calzone, frittata, etc. There are so many ways to use leftover ham.

The bone is going into the freezer for a soup. There is nothing like a Ham and Bean Soup. I sometimes make split pea (double yum!), white bean, lentil, etc. So many options...all really good. Never throw away a ham bone! In fact, one of our local restaurants sells their ham bones for $1.00 each. I have bought one in the past and made some great soups for my mother and my family. My mother loves soup, too!

So when you see a ham at a rock bottom price, go buy it and make some great meals!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sausage Veggie Soup

This week I taught my cooking class at the Council on Aging. Every January, I have done two soup recipes. I made a Corn Chowder (I think I have this recipe in another post) and a Sausage Veggie Soup.

It was a perfect day for a soup class. It was bitter cold outside. As always everyone loved the soups. I have included the recipe for the Sausage Veggie Soup below. We added croutons in the soup instead of crackers. Enjoy!

Sausage Veggie Soup

1 lb Italian Sausage, casing removed
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
2 tbs oil
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 can beans, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
½ cup dried small pasta such as orzo, small shells, elbows
2 cans chicken stock
Garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Saute sausage, onion, carrots and celery for a 3-4 minutes in oil. Break up sausage. Add minced garlic. Add chicken stock and can of tomatoes with juice. Add shredded cabbage and zucchini. Bring to a boil. Add beans and orzo. Salt and pepper to taste. When hot and cabbage and zucchini are wilted, enjoy.