Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brie Cheese Chicken

I rarely take the time to bake chicken breasts and often either sauting or grilling them. I had a wheel of brie cheese on hand, however, and thought it woudl be lovely to stuff chicken breasts with brie and bake it, what a subtle, yet creamy flavor! I also used some of the great produce that I got for free from Whole Foods outside of the Hill Country Food & Wine festival last weekend which I was so excited about.

Brie Cheese Chicken

4 chicken breasts, sliced horizontally almost all the way through
1 wheel of brie cheese, cut into slices
1/2 cup fig jam
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread a couple tablespoons of fig jam on the brie slices and then place in the slits in the chicken breasts. Place the chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish and cook, uncovered about 50 minutes to an hour. Enjoy!

Parmesan and Basil Mashed Potatoes

3 pounds potatoes (I used a combination of peeled russets and red potatoes with skins on)
1/3 cup milk, warmed
2 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Slice potatoes and place in salted boiling water, cooking until tender (about 20 minutes depending on size of the slices); drain. Place potatoes back in warm pot and smash, then add m
ilk and butter and stir. Add in cheese, basil and salt and pepper and combine.

I served this with a side salad of fresh romaine lettuce, sliced carrots (also from whole foods!), crumbled bacon from that morning's breakfast and a light caesar dressing.

The purple potatoes I got from Whole Foods were fun to play with, so we experimented making purple potato chips by just frying them in oil and seasoning with sea salt. So fun!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Leftovers? What Leftovers?

First off, let me apologize for my blogging hiatus. Yes, I am still alive :) Sometimes the cooking gets in the way of the blogging! That and an extended Easter weekend in Houston. Here's my sister and brother and law at the Gingerman in Rice Village being silly- fun times had by all!

Anyway, Easter was a pretty simple affair this year. Hash brown casserole, seared asparagus, grilled pineapple, and of course, ham. We like to get the huge ham for our small gatherings and then fight over the leftovers (I get as much as I can for new meals, and my brother in law Brian wants to get as many ham sandwiches out of it as possible). I came away with a pretty sizable bag of ham, which I happily dreamed up recipes for on my drive back to Austin.

First up, two massive Hawaiian pizzas after a long night of tennis. Thanks to my mom for buying a second pineapple so I could make this beauty!

Hawaiian Pizza

2 regular crust pizza doughs
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups munster cheese
4 cups ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 cups pineapple, diced

Roll out pizza dough on two large baking sheets. Spread 1/2 cup sauce over each pie, then sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Place 2 cups ham and 2 cups pineapple on each pie and bake about 18 minutes until the crust is golden. Enjoy!

Take two was a comforting fettuccine recipe with crisp asparagus- we all scarfed it down!

Ham and Asparagus Fettuccine

24 ounces dry fettuccine
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup gruyere cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends snapped off and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cups ham, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch scallions, diced
8 fresh basil leaves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Place a large pot of water to boil, salt and add fettuccine. While fettuccine cooks, melt butter in a medium sauce pan, whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in milk and cook over medium low heat until milk thickens, about 8 minutes. Stir in gruyere and set aside. Drain fettuccine.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Add oil and saute asparagus about 5 minutes. Add ham and warm, then remove pan from heat. Add fettuccine, cheese sauce and salt and pepper to taste and toss to combine. Top with scallions, fresh herbs and parmesan cheese and toss. Serve and enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chicken and Veggie Pesto Toss

I got some great Texas cilantro at the store and thought up this nice, light dinner for a weeknight meal. Since I always have oil, garlic, and lime juice on hand, my ingredient list was actually pretty short at the grocery store!

Chicken and Veggie Pesto Toss

1 1/2 pound small russet potatoes, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 zucchini, sliced into 1-inch pieces
2 yellow squash, sliced into 1-inch pieces
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound chicken breasts, pounded 1 inch thick
2 leeks, sliced
2 cloves garlic, lighty roasted
1/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons lime juice
1 cup cilantro leaves
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place potato slices on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place zucchini and squash slices on a separate baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast both at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

While vegetables cook, season chicken with salt and pepper and grill on medium-high heat about 6 minutes on each side, until juices run clear. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes then slice.

Saute sliced leeks in a bit of olive oil on medium-low heat about 5 minutes.

To make pesto, combine first 5 ingredients in a food processor and pulse. Add cilantro and pulse until combined. Streat in olive oil until you gain desired consistency. Since this will be used as a "sauce," your pesto should be thinner than usual.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Mango Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad, but I try to mix things up every time I make it. We just did a mango testing at work for some recipes coming up, which inspired me to try dried mango in my chicken salad- the result was surprisingly refreshing and tangy!

Mango Chicken Salad

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 4 cups)
/4 cup red onion, minced
1 package dried mango, diced
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
3/4 cup light mayo
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Buns for serving (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate at least one hour or preferably overnight. Add more or less mayo depending on your preferred chicken salad consistency.