Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli

I can’t believe I waited until I was 46 47 years old young to try my hand at homemade pasta. And all without a pasta maker. That’s right folks, it doesn’t get more scratch and primitive than this! And who knew that a homemade vodka sauce was so easy and more tasty than jarred sauce? What was I thinking all these years? Oh, wait, I wasn’t! That’s why it’s never to late to “teach an old dog a new trick.”

According to various social media posts, many of you up North have been trapped inside for days at a time in what seems like endless snow and ice storms. Often, with the kids off on yet another snow day and complaining how bored they are. What better way to fill up the days then making homemade pasta. Everyone can join in and be a part of. Or, it could have them scrambling out of kitchen and out of your hair faster then you can say… “Hey kids, let’s have some fun in the the kitchen!” Either way, pour a glass of vino and enjoy!

Why not give them something they can create with their own hands, as well as taste the fruits of their labor. Cooking with your children can keep them occupied in addition to strengthening the bond between you. It’s something they will remember forever. The traditions you instill in them might just surprise you as they grow older. Who knows, you may even be creating the next Giada or Mario!

There are so many combinations and flavors you can add once you get the basics down. Now, granted, I only made this once, but that is all you will need to understand that the fresh taste is well worth the effort. I use the word effort loosely, as pasta is quite easier to make than you might think.

I have fond memories of my mother making homemade pasta when I was a little girl. She even has her original pasta maker. Back then; however, I was too young to appreciate the full concept of creating something from scratch, let alone savor the flavor notes created by homemade pasta. All I ever understood was the processed boxed pasta that comes off the shelf at the grocery store. It’s the same concept with naps, really. You don’t ever fully appreciate them until you’re an adult.

*Note: See very end of recipe post for a printable version.

PASTA INGREDIENTS:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour (You can substitute bread flour. Semolina is a high gluten flour as is bread flour)
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
2tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons milk (You can also use water. I used milk for a richer flavor)

DIRECTIONS:

On a clean countertop, large pasta mat or cutting board, mix flours and salt together with a fork. Clear out a spot in the center, forming a well for your all your liquids. i.e. eggs, olive oil, and milk.

With a fork, slowly incorporate dry flour into wet mixture until it becomes a solid ball. If too dry add more liquid and if too wet, add more flour slowly.
Hand knead for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with flour as you are kneading so it doesn’t stick to your hands or the surface.

I think it’s best to hand knead the dough first time so you can get the feel for how the dough should feel. Smooth and elastic. Much like a babies soft bottom.  Sprinkle with flour and cover with plastic wrap. Place on counter and place a ceramic or glass bowl upside down over the dough. Let rest for one hour at room temperature. This allows the gluten to relax.

While the dough is resting, prepare your filling. You can use any filling you desire. Same with your sauce. Get creative. I was craving lobster and shrimp with a vodka sauce.

LOBSTER AND SHRIMP FILLING INGREDIENTS:

12 medium  defrosted cooked shrimp (Reserve 6 of the shrimp for the vodka sauce.)
2 lobster tails reserve some for vodka sauce (Reserve one of the tails for the vodka sauce.)
4 tbsp ricotta cheese
2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp fresh parsley
One egg yolk
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place 6 of your shrimp in the fridge to keep cool.

Bring a pot of salted water with 2 tablespoons of butter to a rolling boil. Turn off burner completely and place lobster tails in for approximately 3 minutes. That is all you will need. Remove from water and drain on a paper towel. Let cool for a few minutes. Place one of the tails in the fridge with the shrimp. These will be used in your vodka sauce.

Chop your shrimp and lobster finely with a knife. You want some chunk. Chop your onion and parsley as well. I chop all my ingredients separately and then mix them all together.

In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well with a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and set in fridge to keep cool.

The vodka sauce doesn’t take long to make at all. I made mine right before cooking my ravioli. However; I infused 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes in one cup of high quality vodka and set aside while I was rolling and stuffing the pasta. So, you may wish to do that step now or eliminate if you aren’t using the red pepper. The quality of vodka really does make a difference, so splurge a little. You’re worth it!

Don those aprons! Now it’s time to roll the pasta. Remove bowl and plastic wrap from dough. You will immediately see and feel how the gluten has relaxed. Cut in half with a sharp floured knife.

I don’t own a pasta maker/roller, so I went all old school and used a wooden rolling pin. In my head, I heard Italian grandmothers everywhere clapping their hands together and shouting “Bravo! Bravo!”

The trick is to roll out your dough very thin. As you can see here, it’s almost see through. This is what’s referred to as the window test. I recommend rolling it out by hand once, just to see what it’s like. It’s not hard. I will invest in a pasta maker at some point. I just haven’t decided which one I want to purchase yet.

Flour your surface well and roll the first half of your dough out as above. I used a small biscuit cutter dipped in flour to cut out circles. I got about 20 ravioli with each half of the dough.

I brushed all of them with an egg wash, (one egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of water) so they will form a tight seal. Then I filled half of the ravioli with less than a teaspoon of the lobster and shrimp mixture. Next, place the other half of the discs over and seal the edges well with a fork. You may need to keep dipping your fork in flour so it doesn’t stick to the edges.

You can put smaller amounts of filling in and fold those over to a half moon to get more ravioli, but I seem to like to make more work for myself in the kitchen. It’s my nature!

Once you have sealed the edges well, carefully transfer the ravioli to a baking sheet on a well floured surface of parchment paper. Put in fridge uncovered until ready for cooking.

How about we get that vodka sauce on now? Mmmmmm, it’s so delicious. I will never eat jarred vodka sauce again, if I can help it. Just remember, homemade does not always equal hard. It does; however, always equal fresh and flavorful with ingredients you control and can pronounce.

VODKA SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
2 tbsp salted butter
28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
16 oz. tomato sauce
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup high quality vodka
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large minced garlic clove
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
4 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese & basil for garnish

Retrieve the reserved lobster tail and shrimp from the fridge. Chop into 1/2″ pieces for the sauce. As well, chop your garlic, onion, basil, parsley, and oregano if using fresh. Also, take the 20 oz. can of whole tomato and in a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes until smooth. Set aside.

In a large sauce pan, over medium high heat, melt your butter. When pan and butter are hot, add all your chopped ingredients to the pan. Sauté for a couple of minutes to draw out and marry the flavors. The lobster and shrimp are going to give your sauce a nice seafood flavor note.

Next, add your vodka mixture to pan. The vodka should have a nice peppery taste, so either strain or carefully hold back the flakes while pouring into the pan. Let the sauce simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the alcohol burns off.

Next, add your processed mixture of whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir well and turn sauce to a low simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add whipping cream and stir well. When completely incorporated add parmesan cheese. Turn to low heat and occasionally stir while preparing pasta.

Fill a large pan with generously salted water and a hint of extra virgin olive oil and bring to a rolling boil. Carefully add the pasta and cook for about 4-5 minutes or when the ravioli begin to float to the top.

Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon a few at a time and place them in the sauce to absorb all that saucy goodness. I do apologize for some of the blurry pictures. I am in the process of learning to use my new camera I got for Christmas and had to revert briefly back to my iPhone in my cooking haste. The horror!!!!

Time to plate your masterpiece for all to admire. Can you believe you just made this beautiful dish completely from scratch? Pinch yourself, because it’s not a dream. It’s Belissimo, No!

Load that plate and Mangia, mangia! Savor the fruits of your labor.

You will be hooked on homemade pasta for life. Plus, you’ll have bragging rights once your family and dinner guests get a look at the inside of your masterpiece! 

Lobster & Shrimp Ravioli
Author: 
Recipe type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
 
Homemade never tasted so good.
Ingredients
  • PASTA INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour (You can substitute bread flour. Semolina is a high gluten flour as is bread flour)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk (You can also use water. I used milk for a richer flavor)
  • LOBSTER AND SHRIMP FILLING INGREDIENTS:
  • 12 medium defrosted cooked shrimp (Reserve 6 of the shrimp for the vodka sauce.)
  • 2 lobster tails reserve some for vodka sauce (Reserve one of the tails for the vodka sauce.)
  • 4 tbsp ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley
  • One egg yolk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • VODKA SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 28 oz. can whole plum tomatoes
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup high quality vodka
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 large minced garlic clove
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano
  • 4 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese & basil for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place 6 of your shrimp in the fridge to keep cool.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water with 2 tablespoons of butter to a rolling boil.
  3. Turn off burner completely and place lobster tails in for approximately 3 minutes. Remove from water and drain on a paper towel.
  4. Let cool for a few minutes.
  5. Place one of the tails in the fridge with the shrimp to will be used in your vodka sauce.
  6. Chop your shrimp and lobster finely with a knife. You want some chunk.
  7. Chop your onion and parsley as well.
  8. In a bowl add all the ingredients and mix well with a spoon.
  9. Salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Cover and set in fridge to keep cool.
  11. Add ¼ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes in one cup of high quality vodka and set aside.
  12. You may eliminate above step if not using red pepper.
  13. Remove bowl and plastic wrap from dough.
  14. Cut in half with a sharp floured knife.
  15. Flour surface well and roll out the first half of dough very thin.
  16. Use a small biscuit cutter dipped in flour to cut out circles.
  17. Brush all your discs with an egg wash, (one egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of water) so they will form a tight seal.
  18. Fill half of the ravioli discs with less than a teaspoon of the lobster and shrimp mixture.
  19. Place the other half of the discs over and seal the edges well with a fork.
  20. Keep dipping your fork in flour so it doesn't stick to the edges.
  21. Carefully transfer the ravioli to a baking sheet on a well floured surface of parchment paper.
  22. Place in fridge uncovered until ready for cooking.
  23. Retrieve the reserved lobster tail and shrimp from the fridge.
  24. Chop into ½" pieces for the sauce.
  25. As well, chop your fresh garlic, onion, basil, parsley, and oregano.
  26. Take the 20 oz. can of whole tomato and in a food processor or blender, process the tomatoes until smooth.
  27. Set aside.
  28. In a large sauce pan, over medium high heat, melt butter.
  29. When pan and butter are hot, add all chopped ingredients to the pan.
  30. Sauté for a couple of minutes to draw out and marry the flavors.
  31. Next, add vodka mixture to pan.
  32. Either strain or carefully hold back the flakes while pouring into the pan.
  33. Let sauce simmer on medium heat about 10 minutes until alcohol burns off.
  34. Next, add processed mixture of whole tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir well and turn sauce to a low simmer for 15 minutes.
  35. Add whipping cream and stir well.
  36. When completely incorporated add parmesan cheese.
  37. Turn to low heat and occasionally stir while preparing pasta.
  38. Fill a large pan with generously salted water and a hint of extra virgin olive oil and bring to a rolling boil.
  39. Carefully add pasta and cook 4-5 minutes or when ravioli begin to float to the top.
  40. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon a few at a time and place them in the sauce for a few minutes to finish cooking.
  41. Plate and garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan cheese.

 

 

Cashew Crusted Chicken

Wow, it’s been a spell since I’ve posted a new recipe. It’s probably a bit conceited of me to think you even noticed or care. Things have been nonstop crazy busy around here. My boyfriend and I drove back to Ohio a few weeks ago to gift my daughter Maria my car after I leased a new one. Why you ask?

She attends college and works two jobs and still is flat broke. Her car pooped the bed. My car was paid off and still in great shape and runs well, so I took one for the team and handed her over the keys.  I believe my exact words at that exchange were…”This car was good to me…be good to her.” *sniff sniff.  Seriously, who am I kidding!? It’s awesome sauce driving a new car. Smells and looks fresh!

It’s also football season and that means anytime there is a Miami Dolphins home game, we have my boyfriend’s brother and two dogs visiting for the weekend. They are seasoned professional tailgaters and don’t mess around. Our kitchen looks like a tornado went though it…or what I like to call “Hurricane Terry!” Those weekends are a whole nother level of crazy. Mostly, fun, but still crazy.

When you live in Florida, family members and friends usually like to start visiting this time of year until Summer begins again. They are in denial that summer is over and need to warm up their blood. For us, that means that we basically are running a bed and breakfast and turning around the spare room for a new visitor every few weeks. I know, (cue violins) Florida problems! Right?

Today is a quiet Saturday morning; however, and I’m enjoying the peacefulness of it all. So I thought I would get a recipe post up that I started and never finished a few weeks back. Wait fooor iiit….Baked Cashew Crusted Chicken. So simple, yet exquisite. It boasts a nutty crust that compliments the chicken so well. And with a hint of honey mustard mixed in with the egg mixture, it will have your tastes buds questioning what that extra special something is?

Cashew Crusted Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Simple yet exquisite. Will have your taste buds questioning what that extra special ingredient is.
Ingredients
  • 6 think skinless boneless chicken breasts rinsed and pat dry.
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • ½ tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp organic honey
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 8 oz can cashews
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Line baking sheet with tin foil and place a wire rack on top of cookie sheet. This will allow the chicken to bake to a golden crust on both sides.
  3. Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper and pound with mallet. This step is optional. Especially, if you begin with thin breasts.
  4. Lightly sprinkle breast with a dusting of salt and pepper
  5. Process cashews until they are small pieces, but not a fine dust.
  6. In small deep bowl add flour and salt and pepper.
  7. In medium size deep bowl mix in cashews and panko bread crumbs. Set aside.
  8. In small bowl beat egg and add dijon mustard and honey. Mix well. Set aside.
  9. Coat chicken in flour.
  10. Next, dip in egg mixture.
  11. Coat in cashew and panko mixture.
  12. Place on wire rack and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your 3 separate bowls of ingredients as instructed above. Coat in flour, dip in egg mixture, and coat in cashew and panko break crumb mixture.

Place on raised wire rack on tin foil lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 20-30 minutes. Raising the chicken off the pan will allow for a nice evenly browned crust on both sides.

You can also serve this in strips with a side of honey mustard sauce. The flour and egg coating seal in the juices and keep your chicken nice and moist.  This is definitely a winner winner chicken dinner. C’mon you knew I had to throw that cheesy line in!

Lemon & Garlic Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Spring is here, and that means it’s time to lighten up the palate with tastes of citrusy meals.  I have never made shrimp scampi before and never knew it could be so easy and fast. Let’s face it, most of you have been hold up in doors all winter and now that Spring has sprung, everyone wants to be outside. Which means, less time indoors and in the kitchen.

I made this meal in less than 30 minutes and would have thought it came from a 4 star restaurant, had I not cooked it myself.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lemon & Garlic Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
 
Cooks up Fast
Ingredients
  • 6 tbsp butter (you can substitute 4 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for the butter if you would like to lighten up the recipe.)
  • Juice of 2 lemons (plus zest of one whole lemon. I usually cut my lemon peel off with a serrated knife then chopped very finely.)
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 2-3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (reserve some for topping at end)
  • 2 large (2-3 small) chopped fresh garlic
  • 1 lb. Fresh or frozen large peeled & deveined shrimp thawed
  • ¾ lb think spaghetti (Suggested Barilla)
  • 2 tbsp chopped red onion
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese + some for topping
Instructions
  1. Melt butter low med heat.
  2. Sauté lemon zest, garlic & onion for a few minutes.
  3. Turn up heat times high.
  4. Add white wine and burn off alcohol for 5-10 min.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese.
  6. (Optional - to make a creamy version you can add 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream)
  7. Turn heat back down to low med.
  8. Boil water add salt to liking and a drop of EVOO. Cook al dente.
  9. Add shrimp to scampi mixture when pasta is about half way done.
  10. Add half of fresh parsley
  11. Strain pasta.
  12. When shrimp is slightly turning from grey to pink add pasta and toss until hot and all shrimp are pink. Don't overcook shrimp. They are at their peak as soon as they turn pink.
  13. Top with fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve hot.

 

 

 

Pistachio Lemon & Garlic Chicken

Betcha didn’t know pistachios are jammed packed with some great health benefits? Some may argue this dish is bad for you. I say leave the negative Nellies behind and focus on the health benefits this dish has. Not only are pistachios healthy for you, but so are garlic and lemons. They all have been proven to exhibit major health benefits.  And (skinless) chicken is low in fat, high in protein, and packed with vitamin B.

Have I convinced you yet? No.

Health Benefits of Pistachios:

Pistachios have been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol after only a short period of regular consumption. High in antioxidants such as vitamins A and E, they fight inflammation, protecting blood vessels and reducing risk of heart disease. Even a moderate intake of pistachios has been shown to increase levels of lutein, an antioxidant well known for protecting against oxidized LDL, reducing heart disease. (Excerpt taken from Eat This! Seven Health Benefits of Pistachios.)

Health Benefits of Garlic:

Modern science has shown that garlic is a natural antibiotic. It also can aid in the management of high blood pressure and cholesterol. Read more here.

Health Benefits of Lemons:

There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection. Read more about it here. (Excerpt taken from Beliefnet Fifteen Health Secrets of Lemons.)

Hopefully, if you are still reading this you are 1.) convinced. or 2.) don’t give a darn and still want to eat it anyway. Either way I’m happy.

Ingredients:

4 Thin skinless chicken breasts

2 cups shelled pistachio nuts

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 cup all purpose flour

1 whole lemon peel (reserve lemon juice for egg mixture)

Lemon slices for garnish (optional)

2 eggs

4 cloves of garlic

3-4 Tablespoons EVOO (or enough to cover bottom of frying pan)

Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cut lemon peel carefully off lemon. Together with lemon peel and peeled garlic cloves, minced finely or put in food processor or blender to chop. In bowl whisk eggs and add lemon and garlic mixture. Set aside. Put flour in deep plastic container. Set aside. In blender finely chop pistachios and panko bread crumbs and pour in deep plastic dish or bowl. Make sure blender is dry. Wet crumbs won’t stick to your chicken.

Heat EVOO on med high heat. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

Rinse and pat dry chicken cutlets.Pound out chicken cutlets with a meat mallet in large ziploc bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and salt and pepper to liking. Dip in flour mixture. Dip in egg mixture. Dip in pistachio and panko breading.

Fry off both sides of chicken (about 2 minutes each side) in EVOO (make sure it is hot enough when you put chicken in pan.)



Transfer cutlets to raised wire rack (this will keep the crust crispy) on cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Garnish with lemon wedges and serve with your favorite side dish. *Note to make the dish even healthier simply skip the frying step and bake in the oven longer or use coating on your favorite fish. Also, see below for printable recipe.


Pistachio Lemon & Garlic Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
This dish is both delicious and packed with powerful health benefits. Moist and juicy.
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 4 Thin skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups shelled pistachio nuts
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 whole lemon peel, (reserve lemon juice for egg mixture)
  • Lemon slices for garnish (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3-4 Tablespoons EVOO (or enough to cover bottom of frying pan)
  • salt & pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut lemon peel carefully off lemon. Together with lemon peel and peeled garlic cloves, minced finely or put in food processor or blender to chop.
  2. In bowl whisk eggs and add lemon and garlic mixture.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Put flour in deep plastic container.
  5. Set aside.
  6. In blender finely chop pistachios and panko bread crumbs and pour in deep plastic dish or bowl.
  7. Make sure blender is dry. Wet crumbs won't stick.
  8. Heat EVOO on med high heat.
  9. Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
  10. Rinse and pat dry chicken cutlets.
  11. Pound out chicken cutlets with a meat mallet in large ziploc bag or between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and salt and pepper to liking.
  12. Dip in flour mixture.
  13. Dip in egg mixture.
  14. Dip in pistachio and panko breading.
  15. Fry off both sides of chicken (about 2 minutes each side) in EVOO (make sure it is hot enough when you put chicken in pan.)
  16. Transfer cutlets to raised wire rack (this will keep the crust crispy) on cookie sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.

 

Grilled Chipotle Lime White Chicken Enchiladas

“1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”  Maybe that part was true, but did he REALLY “discover” America?  Of course, not. It was already inhabited by Native-Americans. I’ll save the debate for the history buffs and scholars.  I’m just thankful that it gives me a day off from the office. And let’s not forget about the great shopping deals!  Just a little fun fact. Did you know South Dakota changed Columbus Day to Native-American Day? You go South Dakota!

This post wasn’t inspired by Christopher Columbus or even Spanish Cuisine, although I did incorporate Spanish Rice into my Mexican recipe.  So I guess there is a small connection. These Grilled Chipotle Lime Chicken Enchiladas were inspired by the White Chicken Enchilada recipe circulating on Pinterest by Joyful Momma’s Kitchen.  Oh, and this post counts as Day Two of my Pinterest Recipe Reviews. Figuratively, killing two birds with one stone today. *Disclaimer- no birds were actually harmed during the composure of this blog.

Obviously, this recipe is a keeper!

I wanted to kick up the enchiladas with some heat and spice. I marinated the chicken breasts in an adobo chipotle and lime sauce and grilled the chicken. True to my nature, I have trouble following recipes to a T. I always seem to adjust it to my liking. Isn’t that what being in the kitchen and cooking is? Discovering new ways. Making it your own. Throwing caution to the wind and being fearless. Sure, it may not always work out, but failures often times lead to success. It’s through trial and error that we learn.  At least in my kitchen.

Grilled Chipotle Lime White Chicken Enchiladas
Author: 
Recipe type: Mexican Cuisine
 
Adapted from Joyful Momma's Kitchen
Ingredients
  • MARINADE INGREDIENTS
  • 1 6 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (can find this in mexican cuisine isle)
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Zests from 2 limes (Reserve limes for marinade)
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cummin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • WHITE SAUCE INGREDIENTS:
  • 3 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 Cups chicken stock
  • ¼ Cup white cooking wine
  • 1 4oz can chopped chili peppers ( I only use half )
  • 1 teaspoon chopped jalapeño peppers
  • 1 8 oz container sour cream
  • 8-10 oz shredded monterrey jack cheese (I buy two 16 oz packages. Cheese will also go in the chicken mixture and top of enchiladas.)
  • 3 LARGE BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS (these will go a long way trust me. I only used two and had plenty left over after I filled 10 tortillas.)
  • 10 SOFT SHELL TORTILLAS (I used Old El Paso)
  • TORTILLA STRIPS FOR GARNISH (can use fresh chopped cilantro, scallions, or olives)
  • 1 PACKAGE KNORR SPANISH RICE
  • 8 oz SHREDDED MONTERREY JACK CHEESE (for chicken mixture)
  • Small chopped red onion (optional)
Instructions
  1. Please see picture tutorial on blog.

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a large bowl. Mix in your adobe sauce and chipotle peppers. I can never find fresh chipotle peppers in my Publix supermarkets.  I wish they had a bigger variety of peppers. Oh well, I digress. You can take some of the peppers out if you prefer less heat. I take out about half. Mix in olive oil, spices, lime zest, ( I usually peel my limes like an orange and chop them finely.) garlic, and squeeze in juices from both limes.  Whisk together. Place chicken breasts in zip lock bag and pour marinade over. Marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours. Overnight is always best, but not required.

White Cheese Sauce:

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Once melted add flour and whisk until blended into a thick paste. Add chicken stock and white wine and continue to whisk periodically over medium heat until mixture thickens. Add chopped chili and jalapeño peppers. Mix in sour cream. Make sure sauce is hot and add in shredded monterrey jack cheese. Whisk until cheese is melted and turn sauce to low heat. Check and stir periodically.

Prepare Knorr Fiesta Spanish Rice according to instructions.  I always throw in 1 tsp of butter with the water and cook in a glass bowl in the microwave. Do what works best for you. Set aside when cooked.

Grill chicken breasts on medium heat for 3 minutes and rotate 90 degrees for perfect grill marks. It smells so good while its sizzling. Cook another 3 minutes and flip over and repeat process. Take chicken off the grill and slice thinly and shred with two forks.  I only used two chicken breasts. This really does go a long way especially with the Spanish Rice. If you prefer not to use rice then I suggest shredding the last breast of chicken.

Try not to overcook the chicken on the grill, as it is going back into an oven.  It should be tender and juicy. I can never resist tasting a bite or two of the chicken. Mmmmm, so good!

Put shredded chicken into a large bowl or plastic container and add Spanish Rice, chopped red onion, (optional) and shredded monterrey jack cheese and mix together well.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon in chicken and rice filling into a soft shell tortilla. Don’t be afraid to fill it.

Roll tightly. Don’t be afraid to stuff the sides back in either! Line tortillas in a large glass baking dish.

You should be able to comfortably fit 10 enchiladas in your glass dish.

Pour over generous amount of cheese sauce. I never use all of it. But you can use as little or as much as you like.

Cover with tin foil and bake for 20 minutes on 350. Uncover and sprinkle a generous helping of shredded monterrey jack cheese and bake uncovered until cheese is melted.

Garnish with your favorite toppings and serve.  I usually serve this with a side salad since a side of rice is tucked inside.

I hope you enjoy my variation of White Chicken Enchiladas.  Please rate this recipe if you try it.  As always…stay hungry.

 

7 Days of Pinterest Recipe Reviews Day 1 Parmesan Crusted Chicken

 

Phew! I’m exhausted.  Last week was a crazy one.  We decided to host a first ever dinner party in our small but cozy townhouse, and my other half decided this was the week he should start a couple of major home improvement projects.  I blame those catchy Lowes and Home Depot commercials during the football breaks. They make it looks so easy on TV.  Weekend my Aunt Fanny!

Needless to say, one of those projects was happening in our already small cramped kitchen.  I lived all week, in what felt like… a bad episode of Hoarders.  I can’t live in chaos, it disrupts my whole chai and makes me grouchy, but I bit my tongue and went with the flow.  Okay, okay, I flipped out a couple of times but quickly got it under control with a glass of wine.  Wine always makes everything better. Wouldn’t you agree?

This was also the week I was trying out new recipes on Pinterest to review on my blog.  How was I going to work in such disarray in my kitchen? Somehow, I managed to pull it off and get all my recipes made.  There may or may not have been several glasses of wine involved.

Now it’s time to review.  I introduce to you Day One: Parmesan Crusted Chicken.

This recipe for Parmesan Crusted Chicken discovered on Pinterest from  Once Upon a Chef is definitely a keeper.  I’ve already made it a couple of times.  Crispy. Very flavorful. Pounding the chicken breasts like she suggested also helped to keep the chicken moist. I have since changed up just a few things, like adding more parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. I also threw in a handful of Panko bread crumbs with the Italian bread crumbs.  I also used a little garlic powder in the breading mix.

You can check out her recipe. It has great photos and step by step instructions. Here is my adapted recipe.  I hope you enjoy this as much as we do.  Thanks Once Upon a Chef!

4.0 from 1 reviews
7 Days of Pinterest Recipe Reviews Day 1 Parmesan Crusted Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: Chicken Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
 
Adapted from Once Upon a Chef
Ingredients
  • BREADING
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅔ cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese ( I like the fine powder, it kicks it up a flavorful notch and sticks to the chicken better.)
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • 4-8 boneless chicken breasts ( you can buy thick breasts and slice in half.)
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
Instructions
  1. Pound out chicken breasts
  2. Beat eggs in separate bowl.
  3. Place flour, and spices in separate deep plastic container. (This allows you to easily shake and coat without making a mess.)
  4. Place breadcrumbs, cheese and parsley mixture in deep plastic container.
  5. Preheat large frying pan on medium heat and coat with ¼ inch Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Just enough so chicken isn't swimming in oil. Make sure oil is hot enough before placing chicken in to fry.)
  6. Salt and pepper chicken breast
  7. Coat in flour mixture first
  8. Dip in egg mixture.
  9. Coast in breadcrumb mixture.
  10. Wait until all breast have been coated and place in pan together.
  11. Test oil by dropping in small amount of breadcrumbs. If it sizzles you are good to go.
  12. Fry on one side about 6 minutes until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
  13. Drain on paper towels
  14. Plate and serve with lemon wedges.

Pinterest Recipe Review Day One was a success.  This recipe will definitely show up often in our dinner rotation.  It’s great to also serve with a side of pasta. Red or white sauce. Mmmmm.

By the way, our dinner party was also a success.  All that whining wine-ing and complaining all week over nothing. Easy peasy. Yeah, right!

My BFF also brought me a lovely Orchid to show her appreciation for dinner.  How sweet and beautiful is that?

I hope you all have a great Sunday.  And I hope you join in for the rest of this week’s Pinterest Recipe Reviews. Until then, Stay hungry.

Easy Scalloped Potatoes

I’m definitely a meat and potatoes girl. I eat a lot of mashed potatoes…and I mean a lot.  Another of my personal favorite potato recipes is scalloped potatoes. This is so easy to prepare. It really can’t get any easier. It’s a great compliment for steak or grilled pork chops.


Easy Scalloped Potatoes
Author: 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A great compliment to steak or grilled pork chops
Ingredients
  • 4 Large Idaho Potatoes
  • 1 can of Campbell's cream of chicken soup
  • 1½ tablespoons butter
  • ¾ can milk
  • ½ can water
  • 2½ tablespoons chopped red onion
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Mix milk, water, and soup in a medium baking dish and microwave on high for 4 minutes
  3. Whisk after it comes out of microwave to break up all soup clumps
  4. Add chopped onion
  5. Peel and slice potatoes ¼ inch thick (slice evenly so they bake evenly)
  6. Salt & pepper to taste
  7. Bake for about an hour or until potatoes easily break apart with a fork.

Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken Recipe

 As lazy as I am sometimes to cook I’m even more lazy to leave the comfort of my home for some take out.  My go to take out food? Chinese. Definitely. I’ve been wanting to make a Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken rendition of P.F. Chang’s. Chinese food isn’t on my list of top prepared dishes.  Truth be told, I’ve never even thought of adding it to my repertoire. That was until my niece mentioned she wanted some Crispy Honey Chicken.

I have to mention out of blog courtesy and proper due credit that I did look up a base recipe and adjusted and added ingredients to my liking.  You can find that recipe at Blog Chef (dot) net  Chinese Honey Chicken.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crispy Honey Lemon Chicken Recipe
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Take out home made
Ingredients
  • CHICKEN:
  • 3-4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts diced into even chunks
  • lightly salt and pepper to taste
  • Deep pot with 3 cups olive oil or use wok
  • BATTER:
  • 3 tablespoons of corn starch
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • ⅓ cup water
  • CRISPY BREADING:
  • Plain Panko bread crumbs
  • HONEY LEMON SAUCE:
  • 1½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced or powdered ginger
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of 1 whole fresh lemon
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch mixed with 2 teaspoons water
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Scallions for garnish
Instructions
  1. BATTER INSTRUCTIONS:
  2. Add all ingredients for batter above to a med size bowl
  3. Mix well with a fork
  4. Add sliced evenly cubed chicken pieces
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and leave sit for 30 minutes
  6. Heat Olive Oil to temperature of 350 degrees (must be hot for chicken to get crispy)
  7. While oil is heating up pour panko bread crumbs into small bowl and add a few chicken pieces
  8. Coat evenly
  9. Set aside in another bowl
  10. Continue until all chicken pieces are coated
  11. When oil is hot immerse 7 to 10 pieces of chicken at a time ( judge accordingly depending if you use a pot or wok)
  12. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes
  13. Strain chicken on a paper towel to soak up excess oil
  14. Make sure oil is always at hot temperature before adding more chicken
  15. Repeat until all chicken pieces are cooked
  16. SAUCE INSTRUCTIONS:
  17. Heat oil on medium heat in small pot on stove
  18. Add garlic, ginger, and salt to pan and sear for 30 seconds
  19. Remove from heat
  20. Add water, honey, lemon juice, rice vinegar together and stir
  21. Pour in pot with garlic and ginger place pot back on med heat
  22. Add corn starch and water mixture
  23. Stir until it thickens
  24. Keep warm on low heat

Now combine your dishes. Take the chicken you have resting on paper towels

 

Place in bowl and pour on honey lemon sauce

 

Sprinkle on a generous amount of sesame seeds and stir gently in bowl to coat all the chicken.  Serve with your favorite sides. I cooked white rice and a side of honey lemon snap peas and carrot sticks steamed in the microwave. Garnish with scallions if desired.

 

This dish is every bit as tasty as take out and restaurant quality worthy.The only thing missing was some shiny new black chop sticks.  I couldn’t even find any at Target.  Looks like some online shopping is in order.

Homemade Meatballs and Sauce

Mangia! Mangia! That’s Italian for “get your grub on!” What’s more Italian than meatballs and sauce? When my kids were little Sunday was usually a consistent pasta day with meatballs and sauce.  It was our time to sit down to a family dinner and savor the day before the crazy week began again.

Now that they are grown it’s not something I make as often. Although you couldn’t tell by my waistline.  The smell wafting through the house brings me back to the days the kids were little and elicits fond memories.

I still remember the first time I attempted my home made sauce at the tender age of 21.  I didn’t have the internet or google to look up an easy recipe. So I did what technology back then allowed me to do which was get on the horn and call up my sister-in-law. She gave me the basics and over the years I perfected it to my own unique ingredients and taste.

Everyone has their own secret ingredient that makes their sauce unique. Mine is cream cheese and brown sugar.  It gives the sauce a creamy sweet taste.  I’ve been adding it to my sauce since my son was a baby.

I hope you enjoy my family meatballs and sauce recipe as much as my family does.

Homemade Meatballs and Sauce
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 8
 
I'm sharing my family secret sauce.I also add some hot sausage to flavor the sauce with a spicy kick. Mangia! Mangia!
Ingredients
  • MEATBALLS/SAUSAGE:
  • 1 lb of ground beef 80/20 (you can mix pork for a leaner meatball)
  • 1 small chopped red onion
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan and ramano cheese
  • ¼ cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs (I usually just eyeball mine so I'm giving you an estimate)
  • ¼ cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic (use fresh if you want also you can use more or less of any of the ingredients)
  • Italian seasoning
  • sea salt
  • pepper
  • oregano
  • pinch of garlic salt
  • Splash of garlic milk
  • 3 HOT SAUSAGE LINKS: (cooked separately to flavor sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon chopped garlic
  • drizzle of oil oil
  • pinch sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • tablespoon small chopped red onion
  • SAUCE:
  • 1 large can of Dei Fratelli Sauce (add ½ can of water after emptied into pan)
  • 1 large can of Dei Fratelli Puree
  • 1 small can tomato paste (smallest can available)
  • 1 small chopped red onion
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Oregano
  • approximately 1 cup of parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 small spoonfuls soft cream cheese
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar (add to you get your desired sweetness)
Instructions
  1. MEATBALLS:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. prepare cookie sheet with tin foil
  4. put all meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl
  5. mix all ingredients with freshly washed hands of course
  6. roll meatballs and place on cookie sheet
  7. bake at 350 for about 12 to 15 minutes
  8. SAUSAGE:
  9. Preheat a med side frying pan on med flame on stove
  10. Drizzle pan with oil oil
  11. Slice sausage diagonally into about 4 pieces and add to pan
  12. add onion, garlic, and seasonings.
  13. Cook until just about done (will finish cooking in sauce)
  14. Add your tomato paste to pan to marry all the flavors and cook on high for about 2 minutes stirring constantly
  15. SAUCE PREPARATIONS:
  16. Stove on med heat
  17. Pour the contents of you sausage and tomato paste into a large deep sauce pan
  18. Add onions and garlic
  19. Add can of tomato sauce and tomato puree and
  20. Add ½ can of water
  21. Stir the sauce and mix together
  22. Add all your seasonings and taste (it's better to add less initially and then add more if you need it)
  23. Add Parmesan cheese
  24. Add cream cheese
  25. Add brown sugar
  26. you can add a small carrot to soak up the acidity of the sauce too. It's an old Italian trick my sister in law taught me.
  27. Stir all your ingredients and make sure all lumps are out and and cheeses are melted.
  28. When meatballs are done drain off any grease and add to sauce.
  29. Cover sauce and simmer for at least 2 to 3 hours. I let mine simmer almost 4 and stir every so often.
  30. Serve over top your favorite pasta

The finished product? Mmmmmm so goooooood!

What’s your secret sauce ingredient?

 

Old School Lunch Lady Hamburger Gravy

A few weeks ago while sitting at work I had a strange craving.  It was a lunch I had remembered from elementary school. Hamburger gravy with mashed potatoes.  I decided right then and there I had to have it for dinner. I looked up a recipe and found what I thought was a decent one on Allrecipes.com .

Needless to say, it was an epic fail. Not quite how I remembered it tasting back in the day. All I could envision was a hair netted lunch lady dancin’ round the school cafeteria singing into her wooden spoon MC Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This.”

It tasted horrible. I don’t know who posted the recipe on that site but they should immediately take it down.

Tonight I thought I’d give it another go. I tweaked it to my liking and it turned out and tasted just how I remembered it.  It’s a savory hearty, but more importantly, easy meal after a long day at work. Whips up quickly and you can take short cuts thanks to the miracle of pre-made mashed potatoes and Pillsbury biscuits.

Ingredients: (Feeds 3-4)

1 lb of beef 80/20 fat content

1 10 oz. container Swanson’s beef stock

1 container Simply Potatoes Traditional mashed potatoes

1 small can Pillsbury Biscuits

Pillsbury All Purpose Flour 3-4 Tablespoons

1/4 Cup 2% milk

Salt, Pepper, Onion Salt

Directions: Brown hamburger in skillet. Salt and pepper to taste. Add Onion salt to your liking. Do not drain fat. Add 3-4 tablespoons flour until all juices are absorbed. Then add milk and beef stock. You can add stock to your liking until you get the consistency of gravy you want. Don’t add too much because you don’t want it watery. Then turn on low and let simmer for half hour.

Bake biscuits according to package directions and right before they are brown microwave mashed potatoes according to directions.  Dish up and serve.  The family will love this quick hearty meal. It’s a great comfort food. I think I gave the Lunch Lady a run for her money today.

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