Chicken Marsala

This is one of my favorite dishes to order when we go out to eat Italian. So when I saw this recipe in my Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate Spring 2012 magazine I knew that I had to try it. I never knew it was so easy to make. We all loved this recipe! It was just as good as what I order at our favorite Italian restaurant! Will be making this many many more times to come. Here are the ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced white button mushrooms
  • 8 thin chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup Marsala wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Garnish: chopped parsley

  1. In a large nonstick saute pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until tender. Remove from pan, and set aside.
  2. Season chicken breasts on both sides with garlic salt and black pepper. Dredge in flour, shaking off excess. In same pan, heat remaining 1/4 cup olive oil on medium-high heat. Cook chicken breasts, in batches, 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. (If browning too quickly, reduce heat to medium, and add oil if needed.) Remove chicken from pan; set aside.
  3. Deglaze pan with wine, using a wire whisk and stirring briskly to loosen brown bits from bottom of pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add chicken stock and butter, whisking to combine. Return chicken and mushrooms to pan, and cook until heated through. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Serve with pasta!

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Ricotta mini cakes

These are called mini cakes but are definitely a cookie. We all loved these! My mom said that my Italian great-grandmother used to make something like this, but she thinks that she used almond extract instead of vanilla. I wish I had all of my great grandmas recipes written down by her, for me to treasure forever but I don’t. So it leaves me searching. In my search I came across this recipe in an old Family Circle magazine and I knew that I had to try it. I might try almond next time but the vanilla is delicious! I added sprinkles to some of the cookies while the frosting was still wet, just for fun. Enjoy!

The ingredients are:

Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons milk

Cookies:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and granulated sugar together until blended. Add egg, ricotta and vanilla, beating until combined.
  3. On low-speed, add flour mixture and beat until blended. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 13 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Let cool on sheets 3 minutes, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

  1. Beat cofectioners’ sugar and milk together until well blended. Dip tops of cookies into glaze and set aside (this is when I put on the sprinkles) until glaze has hardened.

Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

My Aunt Johnnie brought this Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella salad over to one of our family dinners and we all loved it! I had never tried Panzanella salad before but had been curious about it for a while now. I thought that the bread would get soggy and yucky and that didn’t appeal to me at all. The bread in this salad was delicious and even though it absorbed some of the flavors it still stayed crisp arround the edges. The bread with the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and olives was wonderful! Aunt Johnnie adapted the recipe from one of Giada De Laurentis’.

The ingredients are:

  • 3 cups 1-1/2 inch-cubed Ciabatta bread
  • 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (it looks like halves or quarters)
  • 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
  • 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup manzanilla olives, halved
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  1. Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.

Rigatoni with Tomato Cream Sauce

 

As it states in the title of this blog, I am a very busy mom. I am always on the look-out for recipes that I could throw together in a hurry. This recipe is definitely one of those to have on hand for those busy nights. Soccer didn’t get over till 7:00 tonight and I did not want to feed my kids fast food…….. I was able to get this Rigatoni with Tomato Cream Sauce made for them in less than 30 minutes and they really liked it. My son had his friend over for dinner and he even asked for seconds. I will be making this again for sure!

The ingredients are:

  • 16 oz. Rigatoni
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 clove Garlic, crushed
  • 14 oz. canned, Italian style stewed tomatoes
  • 1 Cup half and half
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, torn
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute garlic in butter. Add tomatoes. Break up tomatoes with a spoon while stirring. Cook for 10 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan boil half and half until reduced by half (5-10 minutes). Add tomato mixture. Add basil (I didn’t have fresh basil on hand so I sprinkled fresh parsley over the top), salt and pepper. Toss with rigatoni. (I didn’t end up using all of the rigatoni, next time I think I will double the sauce.)

 

Romaine salad with crispy prosciutto and homemade garlic croutons

I know I post a lot of sweets on my blog (my weakness for sure), but we do eat healthy foods as well. Like everything else in life there has to be balance, right? I do like to bake and make rich foods, but we also eat a lot of stir fry, fish, fruits and veggies. My kids get some kind of fresh fruit in their lunch and some type of fresh veggie with dinner every day. We also love salads and could eat them daily, my daughter even prefers a salad for her school lunch over a sandwich. I’m going to post a couple of salads that I have made recently for you. The first one is a Romaine salad with crispy prosciutto and homemade garlic croutons. I adapted the recipe from one in an Everyday Food magazine.

The ingredients are:

  • 1 loaf of fresh bread with garlic, (I get mine from Costco), cut into chunks
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 9 slices prosciutto
  • 3 romaine hearts, chopped
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay prosciutto on another baking sheet. Bake until both are golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl add romaine, croutons, prosciutto (crumbled), beans, and scallions and toss to combine.

I served this salad with a simple red-wine vinaigrette, (red-wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste). This recipe makes a big salad you could cut this in half or even in a third.

Bruschetta Chicken

This recipe for Bruschetta Chicken is very good and very easy to make. I got the recipe out of my cookbook Taste of Home’s Contest Winning Annual Recipes 2006. The tomato, basil and garlic bruschetta topping really make this dish delicious and give it a real fresh taste. I served the chicken over buttered noodles and sprinkled parmesan cheese over the top. The family loved this and declared it a hit!

The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  1. Place flour and eggs in separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in flour, then in eggs; place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Combine the Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and butter; sprinkle over chicken. Loosely cover baking dish with foil.
  2. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until top is browned.
  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Spoon over the chicken. Return to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until tomato mixture is heated through.

 

Olive Oil Cake

This Olive Oil Cake was so good. It was moist and the orange zest gave it a light fresh taste. I found the recipe in an old BonAppetit magazine ( september 2009) but it says in the magazine that the recipe is from Abraco Coffee Shop in Manhattan. Normally I would have been thinking of a way to make this dessert more decadent, by adding a glaze over the top, but I really enjoyed the simple fresh taste of this cake. I had another piece this morning with my coffee, YUM!

The ingredients are:

  • 1-1/2 cups organic unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 3/4 cup organic whole milk
  • 1/2 cup mild-flavored organic olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel

(I did not have all organic ingredients and substituted them for what I had on hand and my cake still turned out great so don’t worry if you don’t have organic ingredients it will still turn out fine.)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Oil and flour 9x5x3-inch loaf pan.
  2. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk eggs, milk, olive oil, and orange peel in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk egg mixture into dry ingredients. Transfer to prepared pan.
  3. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 60 to 65 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 20 minutes. Invert pan to remove cake. Cool completely, top side up.

 

Eggplant Parmesan

Here is a good recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. I have to say, not as good as grandmas but still very good. Now only if I could get my grandma to write down some of our families traditional Italian recipes I’d be happy, but older Italian women don’t follow recipes for Italian food they just make it like their mom taught them. Well that’s at least how it is in my family….. This recipe was very tasty and could be adjusted however you like it, more cheese, less cheese, more sauce, less sauce. I adapted the recipe from the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. If you don’t have this book yet I would go get it. I have already gotten so many good recipes out of it and I have at least 50 others marked to try…… The ingredients are:

  • 2 medium-to-large eggplant (2 to 3 pounds total)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Flour for dredging
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 Cups Basic Tomato Sauce (I made a very easy and quick tomato sauce but you could use what ever sauce you like)
  • 2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  1. Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm (as you can see I left the skin on). Cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Start with about 5 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium – medium high. When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle), dredge the eggplant slices, one at a time, in the flour (I season my flour with salt and pepper), shaking off the excess. Place in the pan, but do not crowd; you will have to cook in batches. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned, then drain on paper towels. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
  3. Lightly oil a baking dish, then spoon a little of the tomato sauce into it. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a thin layer of each of the cheeses. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. End with a thin layer of the cheeses.
  4. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling hot.

(I served the eggplant with a simple green salad.)

Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta

I’m so excited! I tried two new appetizers last night for our families weekly dinner night and they both turned out fantastic! You know how it is when you try new recipes, you never know how it is going to turn out. That’s the risk we take right, but when something turns out great it makes all the wrongs worth it. Last night I had two successes! The first one is for an Olive & roasted pepper bruschetta. I was thumbing through an old December (2009) issue of Taste of home magazine when I came across these two recipes. They had an appetizer recipe contest and this recipe was one of the runner ups. You definitely need to like green olives to enjoy this recipe, which we all do. Even the kids liked them! Not to mention this was super easy to make. You could have these ready to go in 15 minutes. To save even more time you could make the topping ahead of time.

The ingredients are:

  • 1/2 Cup grated Romano cheese (I had Parmesan so I used that instead)
  • 1/2 Cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 1/2 Cup chopped roasted sweet red pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 16 slices French bread baguette (1/2 in. thick), toasted

Make sure that you have toasted your baguette slices. I almost forgot to do that. I put the slices on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients (I did not add the Parmesan cheese with the olive mixture because we have a couple of people who can’t eat it. So I sprinkled it over the tops of about half of them). Top each bread slice with 1 Tbsp. olive mixture.

I would definitely double this recipe next time. With our family they only lasted a couple of minutes!

( Thank you Taylor for being my hand model!)

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

Here is a recipe for Sausage and Peppers that my family really enjoys. It’s not a traditional Sausage and Peppers with a tomato base but it is very good. The peppers and onions give the dish a slight sweetness with big flavor. All of the ingredients combined create a wonderful meal! The ingredients are:

  • 1-2 Pounds of Sausage (which ever one you like, I use a mild Italian Sausage)
  • Sweet peppers, cut into slivers ( about 2 Cups) I get the bag of mini peppers from Costco and use them.
  • 1 onion ( cut the same way as the peppers)
  • 4 t. Chicken bullion paste
  • Garlic (minced)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Italian seasoning
  • Fresh Parsley
  1. Boil sausage untill cooked. Then slice it up and  put it in a pan and fry untill brown.
  2. While you are doing this you can put the peppers and onions in a pot and cook with 1 cup of water and bullion paste.
  3. When sausage is done add the peppers and onions, along with the garlic and seasonings.
  4. Cook for about a half hour and serve over buttered Penne Pasta.
  5. Sprinkle fresh parsley over dish and serve.