Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

Looking for a fresh, healthy, and easy chicken dish with the taste of summertime? So was I. I scoured the internet for a chicken bruschetta recipe and all of them contained Stove Top Stuffing mix. Um, bruschetta does not taste like Thanksgiving dinner. I quickly discarded my search and created my own recipe.

Bruschetta Chicken Bake

3 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise
5 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 cup Fresh chopped Basil
1 tablespoon Fresh chopped Oregano
Dash of salt
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
3 Roma Tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup Grape tomatoes, halved
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (optional)
1/4 loaf of French Bread (stale is ideal)

In a 2.5 quart baking dish, place the chicken breast strips. Cover with 4 tbsp of the EVOO. In a separate bowl combine the tomatoes, onions, basil, oregano, salt, garlic, 1 tbsp EVOO, and 1/2 of the mozzarella. Pour mixture over the chicken breasts, cover with remainder of cheese. Cut french bread to cover entire dish. Cover dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked. Serve either warm or cold with extra pieces of bread. Perfect summertime dish.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Eggplant, Capicola, Mozzarella Bake

A few weeks ago my FIL did some experimenting in the kitchen and came up with this delicious  Eggplant, Capicola, Mozzarella dish!

E. C. M. Bake

1 large eggplant
flour for dusting
Olive Oil for frying
Mozzarella cheese
Marinara sauce

Heat about 1/2 cup oil in frying pan. Thinly slice peeled eggplant. Dredge in flour for a light coating. Fry eggplant slices. Let cool on paper towel to soak excess oil. Once cool, line a 13x9 baking dish with a layer of the eggplant. Next the capicola, marinara, and sliced cheese. Repeat until the top layer is the last of the eggplant slices. Spoon more marinara on the top and add some extra cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted. Serve with a fresh garden salad. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recipe: Tzatziki (Yogurt & Cucumber Sauce)

Tzatziki (Yogurt & Cucumber Sauce)

Tzatziki is definitely not an Italian dish; it's 100% Mediterranean and delicious! I suggest to make this a few hours to a day before you plan on using it just so the flavors set in and get stronger. If you can't wait that long, it's still good immediately after making. I use this on falafel, as a side salad, and thin it with a bit of water to use as a dressing for a baby spinach salad. It's of course great on gyro meat and any lamb dish.

1 large, long cucumber
2 Garlic Cloves
1 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1 1/2 cups Plain Greek Yogurt, non fat can be used
1 tbsp Dried Mint or 2 tbsp fresh mint (I use fresh wild mint from my garden)
2 tbsp Fresh Mint for garnish

Peel the cucumber. Thinly slice and quarter it. Put in a bowl, sprinkled with salt. Let sit for about 15 minutes to draw out some of the water.

In the main bowl, crush the garlic with 1 tsp salt until it is almost a paste consistency.  Add the vinegar and olive oil, mix thoroughly. Stir in the yogurt and dried mint.

Place sliced cucumber in colander and rinse for 5 minutes under cold water to remove all the salt. Stir it into the yogurt mixture. Garnish with fresh mint.

Best served chilled.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Dandelion Jelly Recipe

Does the idea of Home Canning intimidate you? Some fond memories from my childhood are of canning.  As an adult I now realize why my parents had me start canning so help break up the time. It does take a good time commitment. To this day string beans make me take cover like a tornado is heading my way! With Spring in the air I had a nostalgic desire to do some sort of canning, quick & easy canning of course.

Tuesday B &I went foraging for dandelions by the canal to make some Dandelion Jelly. "WHAT? You are going to consume dandelions?" Yep, and here's how:

Dandelion Jelly
(Yield: 4 cups)

4 cups dandelion petals
4.5 cups sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 box powdered pectin

Cut the green part off the dandelions and collect 4 cups of just the pretty yellow petals. Its easiest if you do this when they are open. Put the petals in a pan and pour about 3 cups boiling water over them. Cover and let sit overnight. The next day, strain the "tea" into a measuring bowl with a coffee filter to remove all the petals. Add more water to the tea so it equals 3 cups (after the petals are removed...just a reminder).

Put your jelly jars in a hot bath until time to fill them. Add the tea, sugar, lemon juice, and pectin to a large saucepan and boil for 2 minutes. Pour the hot "jelly" into your jars, leaving about 1/4-1/2 inch room from the top. Put your canning lids on then seal them in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes. The jelly should set once the jars cool down, so wait until the next day to eat!

WAIT, you don't have a canning pot with a jar rack? Well, neither do I and until I score one from the thrift store I won't have one. Use a LARGE stock pot, fill with enough water to cover the jars by about 2 inches. Here's where you can get creative and daring: fold up a towel and put on the bottom of the pot to keep your jars from rattling around or falling to their sides OR if you have round cooling rack that will fit, put that baby in there. Bring the water to a boil then add your jars, very carefully. Since you have already cooked the jelly the sealing stage will go quick...about 10 minutes. When you take the jars out, a few minutes later you'll hear a ping...that's a good sound! It's telling you that your jars are sealed and can be stored up to a year!

I paired the jelly with Feta Cheese and Wheat Bread: D-Lish! The jelly has a lemon &  honey taste to it. If I were to try to sound like a foodie, I'd call the taste Regal. It is sweet yet tart and pairs well with other strong cheeses. Of course you can put it on crackers or bread and gobble it up like that too!

Let me know if you try it and what you think!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Taralli Dolci Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Ring Cookies Recipe

Taralli Dolci Di Pasqua - Italian Easter Ring Cookies Recipe

2.75 cups flour
3/4 tbsp baking powder

3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp vanilla extract

3 cups powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl soft the flour and baking powder.

In a medium bowl whisk the eggs then slowly add the sugar then add the melted butter and vanilla slowly.

Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Knead the dough in the bowl until it is a good cookie dough consistency.

Pull 1" size balls of dough, roll between hand to form a 3-4" rope. Loop and pinch ends together. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet 1" apart.

Bake for 22 minutes until brown. Let cool.

Combine icing ingredients. When cookies are cool dip tops in icing, place on cooling rack, add sprinkles.

Pupa con l'uova - Italian Easter Bread Recipe

 Italian Easter Bread
 2.25 tsp instant yeast
pinch of salt
2 eggs, beaten
1.25 cups milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour

1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
6 Easter Eggs
Decorative edible sprinkles

Combine melted butter with milk and heat til just warm. In your mixer bowl combine the yeast, salt, sugar, 2 eggs. Using your dough hook mix these until well incorporated then add warm milk/butter and combine. Once all is combined add the flour until the dough is not too sticky. Knead the dough until smooth and place in greased bowl. Cover and place in warm area to rise until double in size.

Punch down the dough, divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into long strands about 12-14 inches long. Take two strands and twist. Pinch both ends then form a loop and pinch ends together. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Let rise til double in size, about another hour.

Once loaves are risen, paint with egg wash, add the sprinkles and place an easter egg in the center, making sure to push it down for an indention. You do not need to hard boil the eggs before, they will cook in the oven with the bread. Just be careful when coloring and placing them.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until the tops are a golden brown.

These make great gifts too! Put in a cello bag, tie a pretty bow around it and give to your Easter guests as a take home treat. I'd advise you to replace the real egg with a plastic egg for this, real eggs, though cooked will go bad after a bit.

Thumbs up by my official taste tester!