Posts tagged ‘Italian’

Recipe – Stuffed Peppers with Ground Chicken

I recently downloaded a new iPhone app called Lose It, to track my daily calorie intake. And what I’ve noticed, is that while the meals I make are reasonably nutritionally balanced, I’m killing myself with snacking later because I don’t always feel full when we’re done. So, to combat that, Vita and I are making some really hearty meals, including these awesome stuffed peppers.

Ground Chicken Stuffed Peppers (Red)

They’re easy to make, albeit a tad time consuming. Since you’re getting a whole bell pepper, you’re getting a lot of veggies, and the ground chicken with melted Parmesan is really warming. Here’s how you make it.

Ingredients :

  • 1 lb. Fresh Ground Chicken
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped Spanish onion
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (gluten free)
  • 4 medium sized red, green or yellow peppers
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Heat the oil in a pan; add garlic, onion, ginger and ground chicken; cook until chicken is cooked through and white in color.

2. Drain any grease from the pan add tomato paste, water and soy sauce.

3. Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.

4. Cut the tops off of the peppers; remove the seeds and the white inner fleshy parts (veins).

Yellow and Red Bell Pepper

5. Stuff each pepper with the cooked chicken mixture, sprinkle stuffed peppers with Parmesan cheese. We layer our cheese throughout, building it the same way you would a layer cake.

Ground Chicken Stuffed Yellow Pepper - Pre Cooking

6.Place your peppers on a non-stick baking sheet and bake at 325°F, until they are brown or the cheese melts (about 30 minutes).

Ground Chicken Stuffed Peppers (Yellow)

Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional info:
Calories: 431
Total Fat: 19g
Sat. Fat: 8g
Cholest.: 139mg
Sodium: 2,800
Carb.: 20g
Fiber: 2g
Protein: 44g

They’re absolutely fantastic and impossible to screw up.

March 1, 2009 at 9:28 am 2 comments

Recipe – Broiled and Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes

Last night, I didn’t make anything particularly exciting for dinner, but wanted to do something different for a side dish. More often than not, I often just wing it with my side dishes, using whatever I happen to have in the pantry or the fridge. One of the skills I’m trying hard to develop is pairing sides with meals properly and coming up with things that are different than sauteed veggies or the common side salad. So, when I found a recipe for “Blue Cheese Crusted Tomatoes” on Epicurious, I decided to modify it to something that sounded more interesting to me and came up with these Broiled and Stuffed Beefsteak Tomatoes (the stuffing is Danish Blue Cheese, Seasoned Bread Crumbs and Minced Garlic).

Broiled Stuffed Tomatoes

First of all, deepest apologies for the blurry photo of the finished product. I’m think my camera may have not been properly set on my manual macro settings and I got camera shake. Unfortunately, wifey and I had already eaten said tomatoes before I noticed the error. Rest assured, they look fairly appetizing upon exit from your oven. We had these guys with grilled spinach and feta chicken sausages and side salads. The creamy Danish Blue Cheese melted nicely with the breadcrumbs and the beefsteaks held up nicely to the broiling process. I always think I’ve found a winner when my wife says, “I’d order this in a restaurant.” Those words make for one happy would-be chef.

Beefsteak Tomatoes and Danish Bleu Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium/large beefsteak tomatoes (buy them the day of to make sure you can get some reasonably firm specimens. If they’re too ripe, they’ll turn out stewed)
  • 1/4 cup of dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1.5 to 2 ounces of Danish Blue Cheese
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:
1. Pre-heat your oven using your broiler setting. Low is fine, but if your oven forces a temperature on you, shoot for 350 to 400 tops.

2. Cut the top 1/4 of the tomatoes off. Use a pairing knife cut out a good portion of the ribs and seeds from the tomatoes and scoop them out with a spoon. Be sure to leave some of the seeds and juices so the breadcrumbs and cheese have some of those great tomato flavors to merry.

Beefsteak Tomatoes

3. Mix breadcrumbs, herbs and olive oil in small bowl, mashing to coat. Sprinkle tomatoes with salt and pepper and place in a small roasting pan.

4. Top each with 1 or 2 tablespoons of blue cheese and top it off with as much of the breadcrumb mixture as you’d like.

5. Toss it under your broiler and and cook tomatoes until slightly soft and cheese melts. Mine took about 10 to 11 minutes. Just be sure to check on them to be sure they don’t get too soft.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk about some of my new breakfast experiments, as I’ve found a chicken and turkey Chorizo that Vita can eat. That means breakfast burritos y’all.

February 17, 2009 at 10:31 am 1 comment

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 Chicken With Lemon Basil Dressing

After our morning workout, I decided to give a recipe I originally saw on Giada De Laurentis’ Food Network show, Everyday Italian a go, while making a few modifications of my own. So before leaving for work, I made the marinade for grilled chicken with lemon basil dressing. I’m happy to report that it turned out fabulously.

Grilled Chicken with Lemon Basil Dressing

Looks pretty appetizing huh? Allow me to attest, the dressing is AMAZING. I’ll be using it for everything from salads, to marinades Here’s how to make the whole shebang.

Ingredients:
Fennel Seed

  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (for marinade) plus 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds (the original recipe calls for a course crush, but Vita isn’t a big fennel fan. I left them intact for a milder flavor)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • teaspoon grated lemon zest

Lemon, Basil and Garlic on Cutting Board

Preparation:

MARINADE:
Raw Chicken with Lemon Fennel Marinade

Whisk in 1/3 cup of oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, fennel seeds, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a heavy-duty, zippered, plastic bag. Add the chicken and seal the bag. Massage the marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes and up to 1 day, turn the chicken occasionally if you have time. Just be sure you get to toss it every now and again before you bring it to the grill.

DRESSING:
Basil, Kosher Salt, Pepper, Lemon Zest and Garlic in Food Processor

Blend the basil, garlic, lemon zest, remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a blender until smooth. Once you’ve got it evened out, blend in the remaining 1/3 cup oil. Season the basil sauce, to taste, with more salt and pepper, if desired. I don’t think you’ll need it though, as it’s already a flavor backed punch.

GRILLING
Prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to plates. Drizzle the basil sauce over and serve.

Thoughts;
The lemon basil sauce adds a huge kick to the chicken, giving it a lot flavor. The marinade makes the chicken really, really moist and the fennel adds a lot of earthy tones to the meat. This is a recipe I have a feeling I’ll be making over and over again. Vita said the chicken “dances” in your mouth. I’d agree, it’s really strong and very zippy. Try it, I have a feeling you’ll like it.

January 21, 2009 at 8:43 pm 1 comment

Recipe – Day Old French Bread Pizza

Do you ever wonder what to do with your old French (or Italian) bread after a day or two? Have a ton of breadcrumbs already? Want an alternative to ordering crappy delivery pizza on game day? Rejoice friends, for my Day Old French Bread Pizzas are your salvation from the ordinary and from tossing perfectly awesome bread.

I did this for my Gorumet From the Tailgate series this week, because I had leftover French bread from pasta night. It’s really hearty, filling and the best possible alternative to delivery.

Ingredients:

  • Day old French Bread (about a foot of bread is best)
  • 1/8 cup black olives, quartered
  • 15 pieces of spicy pepperoni
  • 1/2 a cup of pizza sauce
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Garlic Salt to taste

Preparation:
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

2. Slice your 12-inch section of bread into equal halves. Then, carefully slice off the upper crust vertically. Use a spoon to dig out the soft insides and the edges. Be careful not to break the crust (which should be firm since this is day or two old bread), as it will be the reservoir for your sauce and toppings.

3. Lay down a base layer of pizza sauce (I use about a 1/8 cup toppings, and another 1/8 cup per section of bread), followed by your toppings of choice. I used spicy pepperoni and Greek black olives. Then, use the rest of the sauce to pour over your toppings. Layering your toppings in the center, assures that the sauce will warm them from both sides during cooking.

4. Toss on your Mozzarella over the top, drizzle it with olive oil and then lightly spread some garlic salt over the top. Place it on the center rack of your oven or a cookie sheet. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

That’s it.

These little pizzas are awesome. By hollowing out the French Bread, you have a little deep dish area for a ton of sauce. I’m huge on sauce and even bigger on toppings, so a 6 inch area can be really filling if you pack it in.

Alas, the Lions are still not performing as efficiently as my ovens. We’re 0-4 folks, with little hope of recovery. At least the Red Wings will provide me some excitement soon!

October 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm 3 comments

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