Monday, February 28, 2011

Chicken with Olive-Tomato Sauce

Here is the meal I cooked for the family on Saturday night.  Have made it a couple times and I love that the chicken becomes very moist (you can shred it if you want). 
Preparing the chicken:

My helper Kristina:

Tomato mixture:

2 1/2 hours later:

4 Star rating....

Chicken with Olive-Tomato Sauce Serves: 6 Calories: 300 Prep Time to Table: 3 hours
Recipe : Inspired from Cooking Light

-12 boneless chicken thighs
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-1 tsp olive oil
 - 2 cloves minced garlic
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-4 tbl tomato paste
-2 tsp red crushed pepper
-36 ounces canned dice tomatoes, drained
-1/2 cup sliced, pitted kalamata olives
-2 tbls minced Italian parsley

1. Cut extra fat from chicken and sprinkle evenly with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook 2 minutes on each side or until brown and place in a slow cooker.
2. Add garlic to pan and sauté 30 seconds; add wine and stir and scrape pan to loosen browned bits; cook 30 seconds. Place wine mixture in cooker.
3. Combine diced tomatoes, crushed red peppers and tomato paste. Stir and add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 2 ½ hours.
4. Add parsley and olives and serve.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dinner for the Family...

This weekend we went to Kristina and Benj's to help with a project.  I brought up fixings and dessert for dinner since both K&B are working crazy hours as CPA's and also invited Danielle and her boyfriend.  Before leaving home on Saturday I made Peanut Butter Pie.  This is a recipe from my friend Anna when we lived in NY.  I have never typed it up and work off this copy that I've had for about 20 years (in Anna's handwriting): 

I also drizzle hot fudge and garnish with chopped peanuts...this is 5+ stars!
Before dinner was happy hour - a Red Wine Sangria recipe from Sandra Lee and fire roasted feta dip from the Rochester restaurant called Nupa

This dip is to die for!  A friend brought it to our Super Bowl Party... caution - it is super addicting.  Serve with pita bread 

Dinner was Chicken with Olive-Tomato Sauce - watch for that post tomorrow.  Must get my chores done now so I can watch the Oscars!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Night is Pizza Night

Friday night we have pizza about 90% of the time.  We have it: 1) delivered, 2) homemade, 3)  go out, 4) or semi-homemade which is what I did tonight.  Trader Joe's sells fresh pizza dough - I was skeptical but now impressed!

 I used store bought ingredients and added basil, garlic powder, oregano and crushed red pepper to the sauce... it was too bland for our taste

Dough from Trader Joe's
I cook pizza on a stone that I have in pre-heated oven at 450 degrees (after it comes up to temp I do not add the pizza for at least an additional 20 minutes.  It's a tip I read to make sure the stone is really hot.) Since you must slide the dough from the paddle to the stone - use corn meal so it slides off without a hitch.
I stretched the dough first on my floured big board and once it has the right shape, transfer it to the paddle and add your ingredients.
The mozzarella seemed real soft so I cut into slices instead of grating and added a little grated romano too

Next I slide in on the stone
 Finished product - cooked for 14 minutes
It was really good and I would use the TJ's dough again.  But next time I would read the directions a little better.  It was suppose to sit on counter for 20 minutes at room temp before using.  My pizza is smaller and thicker so it is more sicilian style!  Still dee-lish! 4 stars!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coq au Vin (quick version)

Back to cooking tonight.  I have made this recipe twice now and both times it turned out really good... John said we can't give everything 5 stars so we are giving this 4... but we both went back for seconds! 

Getting started:
 Next the carrots
 Then dice the bacon
 Chicken(after cooking):
 Saute the vegetables:

Seem to be going through a lot of wine lately so needed to open a new bottle:

 Adding wine mixture:
 Simmering with the chicken and the flavors are really melding here:
Dinner is served:

Coq au Vin (quick) Serves: 6 Calories: 230 Prep Time to Table: 45 minutes
Recipe : Adapted from Cooking Light

 -¼ cup flour
-1 tsp dried thyme
-½ tsp salt
-1 tbl olive oil
-6 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
-2 cups (1/4” thick) carrot slices
 -5-6 cups quartered baby bella mushrooms
-1/3 cup diced Canadian bacon
-1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
-1 tbl tomato paste

1. Combine flour, thyme and salt in ziplock bag; add chicken, seal and shake to coat. Remove from bag and shake off extra flour
2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
3. Add mushrooms, carrots and bacon to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Stir in wine, broth and tomato paste, cook 9 minutes. Return chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done.

Notes: Cooking uncovered or high heat will reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavor. Most of the liquid is evaporated during this process. This is good served over egg noodles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I admit, I have a sweet tooth after eating dinner. I finish eating and then immediately look for something to end the meal with.... these usually do the trick:

Can you guess what they are???

I keep them frozen in the freezer... good for a quick fix!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Fig"uring out Dinner

Tonight was a new recipe that I found through the MyRecipe site.

Rosemary-Fig Chicken with Port

Chicken that is pounded will cook more get at it!

This handy tool is really called Shredding Scissors that I found at the Container Store in Edina.  A few months later I saw them pop up at Crate & Barrel

Here is the finished product - 5 stars from John!

Rosemary-Fig Chicken with Port Serves: 4 Calories: 330 Prep Time to Table: 25 minutes
Recipe : Oxmoor House

 - ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic power
-½ tsp fresh ground pepper
- 4 (6 ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
 -butter flavored PAM spray
-2/3 cup fig preserves
 -1 tbl minced fresh rosemary
-6 tbls port or other sweet red wine

1. Pound chicken breasts to ½ inch
2. Sprinkle salt, garlic power and pepper evenly chicken and coat chicken with PAM
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-heat heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until browned
4. Combine preserves, rosemary and wine in a bowl; add to chicken stirring gently
5. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 5-6 minutes or until chicken is done. Uncover and cook 1 minute over medium-high heat or until sauce is slightly thick. Serve with sauce over chicken

Notes: This is good served over long grain and wild rice

Monday, February 21, 2011


Tonight we had leftovers from Saturday - Mexican Chicken Casserole.  The first night we gave it 3 stars but found it tastes better after it sits a day or 2... so now it is 3.5 stars! 

Mexican Chicken Casserole Serves: 8 Calories: 370 Prep Time to Table: 60 minutes Recipe : Adapted from Cooking Light
 - 1 cup fat-free chicken broth
 -2 (4.5 ounce) cans chopped green chiles, divided -28 ounces boneless chicken breasts
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 cup chopped onion
-1 cup evaporated 2% milk
-1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack Cheese
-½ cup tub-style light cream cheese
-1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce -12 (6”) corn tortillas
-Cooking spray
 -½ cup (2 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
-12 crushed tortilla chips

1. Combine broth and 1 can of chiles in large skillet; bring to boil. Add chicken. reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is done, turning once. Remove chicken, reserve liquid and cool chicken; shredding with forks when cool and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Heat oil in large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 can chiles and onion; saute about 3 minutes. Add reserved liquid, milk, cheese, cream cheese and enchilada sauce. Stir in shredded chicken and stir well. Stir in shredded chicken and cook 2 minutes.
4. Spray a 2 quart casserole with cooking spray. Add 4 tortillas, spoon 2 cups of mixture over tortillas. Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken. Sprinkle cheddar cheese and crushed chips. Bake for 30 minutes and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Notes: We thought this tasted better a day later. We served with taco sauce and sour cream.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Snowed In

Today we had snow, sleet and more snow. A good day for Beef Barley Soup. I love soup and John does too but he can't give it more than 4 stars... which is the highest rating soup can get :-)

Beef Barley Soup Serves: 8 Calories: N.A. Prep Time to Table: 90 minutes
 - 2 lbs. beef stew meat; 1” cubes
- 1 Tbl olive oil
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
- 2 Tbl tomato paste
- 1 cube beef bouillion
 - 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried parsley
 - ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 4 ounces red wine (optional)
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley

1. In dutch oven or soup pot, brown meat in oil and cook until most liquid evaporates on medium-high heat (about 15 minutes)
2. Add water, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, bouillon, seasonings and wine.
3. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50 minutes.
4. Stir in barley and simmer an additional 15 minutes
Notes: if doubled, you will need to remove some of the liquid in step one. You could also add more veggies if desired.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning...

There - now I can tell what I have in the refrig... and in the process discarded about 15 bottles of expired products and some mystery food!