Recipe – Grilled Chicken with Feta Cheese Sauce

So, I’ve been absent for a little over a week. Vita and I have had a lot going on and I’ve been avoiding posting, since many of the meals have been really quick. This is one of those quick meals, that happens to really kick butt. This is a very fast, very good, reasonably healthy meal that’s big on flavor.

Grilled Chicken in Creamy Feta Sauce

Here’s how you do it.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 onion sliced thin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 2 chicken breast
  • 1 teaspoon of corn starch

Preparation:
1. Heat a large grill pan over medium high heat. Grill chicken breasts for 6 to 8 minutes per side.

2. As chicken grills, heat olive oil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, add onions, garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened and beginning to caramelized (about 6 minutes). Add garlic, cook for 1 minute.

3. Add half-and-half and feta cheese. Stir until thickened and cheese begins to melt. For a thicker sauce dilute corn starch in a 1/4 cup of water and add to sauce gradually. Stir constantly until desired thickness is reached.

We served ours with asparagus spears and some sliced cherry tomatoes. The feta sauce was great over the asparagus as well. Give her a go. Let me know how it turns out.

February 16, 2009 at 10:16 pm 3 comments

Recipe – Grilled Chicken With Spinach Pesto

The past few nights I’ve been working a bit later than I’d like to be. This fact usually means we do very quick things for dinner, like pre-made soups, leftovers worked into something new and different or meals that I can pick up on my way in from the office. Even though I knew I was in for a longer day, I’d have none of that tonight. Since I had leftover fresh spinach from Souper Sunday’s Creamy Chicken Florentine, I opted for a twist on a traditional Basil and Pine Nut Pesto.

Grilled Chicken with Spinach and Pine Nut Pesto

We did our spinach pesto over a grilled chicken and paired it with balsamic marinated asparagus spears and fresh Roma tomatoes seasoned with salt and pepper. Here’s how you do it.

Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 fresh lemon squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Pine Nuts, Spinach, Black Pepper and Kosher Salt

Preparation:

1. Heat a grill pan on medium high heat. Lightly oil the grill pan. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and some garlic salt. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Grill asparagus that has marinated in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper on separate portion of the pan. Turn asparagus at the same time you turn the chicken. Remove after about 6 to 8 minutes. It should cook a little faster than the chicken. Just set it aside to cool.

2. While you’re grilling, combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a food processor. Lightly pulse. Pause occasionally to gradually add the 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy.

3. Transfer the spinach mixture to a bowl. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve.

It’s awesome and super fast (like 15 minutes fast). I don’t think I’ve made something recently that Vita has enjoyed so much. She was raving about the spinach pesto and found herself looking for things to put it on after the chicken and tomatoes were gone. Enjoy!

February 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Creamy Chicken Florentine Soup

For the past two weeks Vita has been pining over a soup they serve in the Detroit Medical Center’s Sinai Grace cafeteria. So, when I launched Souper Sunday last week, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d be forced to come up with a version of Chicken Florentine Soup. The most important thing for Vita was that it be creamy, but the most important thing in my eyes was that it wasn’t overpoweringly flavored by just chicken stock. I think we came up with something pretty tasty, even if it wasn’t as creamy as Vita was hoping for.

Creamy Chicken Florentine Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Onion Diced
  • 1 Cup Chopped Fresh Spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/4 Tablespoon Pepper
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Heaping Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper
  • 3 Cups chicken meat, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Curry Powder
  • 1 Cup of Half and Half

Spinach, Red Bell Pepper and Yellow Onion

Preparation:

1. In a large stock pot, bring stock to a slow boil; simmer until reduced by 1/3.
2. Dilute cornstarch in 1/4 cup water, add to stock and stir until it thickens.
3. Reduce stock to a simmer. Add spinach, bell pepper and chicken meat.
4. Add curry powder to taste. Check for flavor and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add heavy cream, heat for a few more minutes and serve.
Makes 8 cups

Really simple and really tasty. It’s nice and light but still has some nice creaminess.

February 1, 2009 at 4:04 pm 4 comments

Recipe – Gluten Free Pasta in Portobello Mushroom Cream Sauce

One of the things I was most worried about losing in the move to being gluten free was pasta. I love Italian food, especially the various textures and forms that pasta can take. Thankfully, Vita was able to find a gluten free option to pasta. So, tonight we tried it for the first time, mainly because we had some lovely portobello mushroom caps that we didn’t want to let go to waste and we needed a meal that I could make quickly. So, we whipped up the gluten free pasta (which is made from potato, rice and soy) and I made a portobello mushroom cream sauce.

Gluten Free Pasta in Portobello Mushroom Cream Sauce

Here’s how you make it.

Sliced Portobello Mushrooms

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (about two large caps) finely chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1/2 cup of cream or half and half
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Gluten Free Pasta

Preparation:
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a large saucepan.
2. Add the chopped shallots and fry for 3 – 4 minutes followed by the garlic. Cook for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the chopped mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.
5. Stir all of the ingredients together and cook until the mushrooms have softened and darkened in color then turn the heat up on the stove and pour in the white wine and add parsley.

Portobello simmering in white wine

7. Stir the ingredients and cook until the wine had reduced by two-thirds, then reduce the heat and stir in the cream.

That’s all there is to it. It’s very simple and really pretty quick. The mushroom cream sauce has a really subtle sweetness to it, but it’s also very flavorful and adds a nice dimension to the gluten free pasta. There’s lots of great textures and the color is really nice as well. I think the gluten free pasta will be a fine replacement to the normal semolina. There is a notable taste difference, but covered in sauce it’s actually really nice.

Gluten Free Pasta in Portobello Mushroom Cream Sauce

See you next time.

January 28, 2009 at 10:16 pm 2 comments

Recipe – Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

Tuesday night was one of those nights that I honestly didn’t have anything planned for dinner. So when Vita sent me a text asking for a meal that she’d originally had at my mother’s house, I took it as a welcome out of having to come up with something original. I made two different meals. For myself, I made a Grilled Greek Chicken Salad. For Vita, simply grilled Greek chicken, grilled veggies and Tzatziki sauce.

Grilled Greek Chicken Salad

The real secret is good chicken breasts and the right blend of Greek spices. The best in my opinion is the blend my mother uses, which we buy at Rafal Spice Company in Detroit’s Eastern Market area. You can order it online here.

Various Veggies on a cutting board

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Red onion – chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper – Diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper – Diced
  • Black Olives – Diced
  • Cherry Tomatoes – Halved
  • 2 medium sized chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons of Greek Seasoning Mix
  • 4 cups pre-packaged salad mix
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat Greek Dressing
  • 4 tablespoons Feta cheese

Preparation:
1. Preheat grill pan over medium high heat. As your pan is heating, coat both sides of chicken breasts with the Greek seasoning mix.

Raw chicken with Greek spices.

2. Dice vegetables and spray grill pan with non-stick spray. Grill chicken four minutes per side and grill veggies until tender. Turn chicken and remove from grill. Allow chicken to rest.

Grilled Greek Chicken

3. Slice chicken and add to salad. Distribute toppings and dress to your liking.

This is so simple and so good. Vita’s dinner is pictured below.

Greek Chicken with grilled vegetables

Not really a complex recipe, but it’s really, really tasty. It’s so much more fun to make your own grilled salads anyway.

January 27, 2009 at 9:49 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Soup

When I was a boy, I was never a big fan of soup. But as we age, so do our tastes. Now I can say that soup is one of my favorite things. I find myself pining for it in the summer months, and cherishing it throughout the fall and winter. In Michigan, it has been one of the coldest winters I can remember. We’ve had lots of snow and only a few days above freezing, which makes it absolutely perfect to start a weekly series on soup. So I give you round one of Souper Sunday!

Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Soup

For the first Souper Sunday, I’ll go with an awesome Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Soup. It takes a little while to do the roasting, but the payoff in flavor is definitely worth it. I borrowed the roasted tomato soup recipe from Kat over at A Good Appetite and modified it to add in the Parmesan and a little bit of a kick. Here’s how it’s done.

Raw Garlic, Onion, Roma Tomatoes and basil

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Halve your tomatoes and remove the seeds. You can do this easily with a spoon or a pairing knife.
2. Put the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a large baking pan. Coat with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Try to arrange the tomatoes so the cut sides are up.

Tomatoes, Onion and Garlic pre-roasting

3. Roast for 45 – 55 minutes until everything is soft and starting to brown. Allow to cool slightly.

Roasted Tomatoes, garlic and onion

4. Put the tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh herbs and any liquid in the roasting pan into a food processor. Purée until smooth.

5. Put purée into a large soup pot and add remaining ingredients. Add cheese slowly in small batches. If you want a little kick like I did, add the three tablespoons of crushed red pepper. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes before serving. Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 big, tasty servings.

January 25, 2009 at 7:54 pm 4 comments

Recipe – Grilled Steak With Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

There are some days you just need to spoil yourself a little. Today, was one of those days for me. My wife is away for the remainder of the weekend visiting girlfriends, which makes it the perfect evening for me to do something that’s beef based. I’ve been having a craving for a nice grilled steak, so I opted for a steak with gorgonzola cream sauce.

Grilled steak in Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

The cream sauce takes a very long time, and requires a lot of attention, but the payoff is ohhh so worth it. Here’s how you do it.

Raw Steak

Ingredients:

  • 2 10 ounce New York Strip steaks
  • 4 cups heavy cream
  • 4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Gorgonzola and Parsley

Preparation:

1. In a medium saucepan bring the heavy cream to a full boil over medium-high heat. Once the cream has come to boil continue to boil rapidly for 45 to 50 minutes until it thickens. If you’ve never boiled cream before, it has a tendency to boil over VERY quickly. Make sure you stir it occasionally and keep an eye on it. This isn’t something you can set and forget.

2. As the cream begins to boil, rub your steaks in olive oil and give them a generous rub with salt and freshly ground pepper. After 35 minutes, toss your steaks onto a grill pan or on a traditional grill. Cook steak to your liking. I do about 4 to 5 minutes a side tops for a medium rare finish. Halfway through the grilling process, toss on 8 to 10 spears of asparagus and cook through.

3. Off the heat, add the Gorgonzola, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and parsley. Whisk rapidly until the cheeses melt and serve warm.

4. Plate your steaks and let the meat rest for approximately 4 minutes. Spoon Gorgonzola sauce over your steak and asparagus and grind two or three turns of freshly ground pepper over the top.

It’s a fantastic sauce and you’ll undoubtedly have leftovers. It’s great on crackers, grilled chicken or even as a salad dressing. Reheating it is VERY easy or you can have it cold.

If you must reheat, warm the sauce over low heat until melted, then whisk vigorously until the sauce comes together.

Let me know if you try it… the sauce is really easy but tastes gourmet!

January 24, 2009 at 8:22 pm 4 comments

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