Sunday, April 27, 2008


I am trying some chicken recipes. I am considering entering this one in a contest. It was inspired by an appetizer I ordered in a restaurant last weekend. It was asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The appetizer wasn't so hot (the asparagus was totally dried out, definitely needed some olive oil.) I made this for my husband and another couple. As you can see from the picture, I tried putting the prosciutto inside and outside the chicken. The consensus was that it is better outside. I think I will also try to use more cheese next time, or maybe even grate a little on top to brown!!

Asparagus Chicken Roll-ups

1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
8 pieces chicken breast tenders (about a pound)
1 bunch asparagus
6 oz. Fontina cheese, cut into 4 pieces
8 slices prosciutto

In a large plastic zip baggie, lay each chicken tender flat. With a small heavy pan, pound the chicken tenders until they are thin. Pour the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, oregano, basil, salt and pepper into the bag with the chicken. Close and shake to mix. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 375 F.
Cover a baking sheet in foil. Lay the eight pieces of prosciutto on the sheet. Place a chicken piece on top of the prosciutto. Then put the fontina and three pieces of asparagus on top. Then roll the chicken and prosciutto around cheese and asparagus, and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle some olive oil over the roll-ups, especially the asparagus ends sticking out of the roll-ups. (I used a pastry brush to really make sure the asparagus was coated in oil.)
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink inside.

I also served crostini with a olive tapenade-type dish. I found citrus-stuffed green olives at Giant (made by the Simply Enjoy brand). I chopped these up then added:
a squeeze of lemon juice
a little lemon zest
olive oil
balsamic vinegar
lots of fresh ground pepper

It was pretty tasty. The citrus olives had a lot to do with that, they had a lot of flavor. My husband also enjoyed them in his martini!!

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Filling Southwest Turkey Soup

Usually I am a planner-aheader. I like to know what meals I will be cooking all week long. And usually I get the recipes from a cookbook or magazine.
I am trying to make up more of my own though. And today provided a good opportunity. I thought we were going to have dinner out, but when we did not I looked at what I had already and came up with this soup. Originally might have been nachos or a rice-turkey-cheese casserole. But the discovery of a little box of Campbell's Southwest Corn soup in the pantry turned it into.....soup!
NOTE-I get the habanero cheese from S. Clyde Weavers, a local store here in Lancaster, PA. They have some high quality cheese. Pepper jack would be a good substitute.
Ingredients: Serves 3-4 people.

1/2 cup Texmati (Basmati) rice
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 medium onion
1 hot pepper (I used serrano)
1/2 lb-3/4 lb ground turkey
a few shakes of chipotle powder (or cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp cumin
1 small box (18.3 oz) Campbells Southwest Corn soup
Toppings (Optional, select the ones you like)
fresh cilantro
hot sauce
sour cream
tortilla chips
grated cheddar cheese (I used spicy Habanero cheese.)

Put the rice and broth in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down, put the lid on and simmer for about 15 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, chop the onion and the pepper. Spray a non-stick pan and saute for a few minutes, then add the ground turkey. Season with salt, pepper, the chipotle and cumin. Cook until turkey is no longer pink.
When the rice is done, add the turkey mixture to the pot. Then add the box of soup. Cook for a few minutes, until heated through.
Spoon into bowls. Top with whatever combination of the toppings you like!!!

This was a very thick soup. You could add more soup or add some chicken broth to thin it out also.
If you like things spicier, try using a hotter pepper. Maybe half of a habanero!
Or if you don't like spicy food just use a red bell pepper instead.

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Monday, April 21, 2008

The Epitome of Real and Good Food-Bread

Since this blog will be all about cooking and eating only food that is REAL, I am starting with what should always be real but sadly is not.
Bread in the supermarket is just plain gross. Filled with sweeteners, preservatives... so your options are to buy expensive bread from a real bakery or spend lots of time making your own bread at home, or use a bread machine.
Personally bread machine bread leaves me cold. So I resorted to buying fresh bread most of the time.
Until I discovered this book on Amazon. While you literally won't be able to spend five minutes a day making bread, it comes close. You simply mix flour, water, salt and yeast in a mixer until combined. Then let it rise 2 hours. Then store in the fridge until ready to use. No kneading, no waiting to punch down.
I have made baguettes, English muffins, pizza dough, stromboli, brioche, and all without spending hours.
My most recent recipe using the bread used a portion of brioche that I made weeks ago and stored in the freezer. I found a brunch casserole in the newest Rachel Ray magazine. I had five hungry guys eat it up!

Ham and Scallion Brioche Bread Break (from Everyday with Rachel Ray May 2008)
8 large eggs
3 cups milk (I use organic whole milk)
1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 1/2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 bunches scallions, white and light green, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch asparagus, top parts (I added this in, wasn't in magazine recipe)
pinch red pepper flakes
One 1-lb loaf brioche, cubed (I used the Brioche recipe from Artisan Breads in 5 Minutes a Day, baked in a loaf pan)
1/4 lb ham, chopped
2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

1. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and black pepper.
2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the scallions, asparagus, garlic, red pepper and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
3. Transfer the bread cubes to the baking dish. Add the scallion mixture, ham, and half of the cheese. Pour the egg mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.
--I actually put it in the fridge overnight to have it ready for Sunday!
4. Preheat the oven to 350F. Bake about 45 minutes, let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

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