“Eat More Chicken”…..so who doesn’t these days????  This recipe is not only quick and easy to make but moist and delicious.  Prepare some rice (Near East Rice Pilaf is our favorite), a salad or veggie and you have a healthy meal in under 60 minutes.

First you will want to “pound your chicken” out, to about ½” thickness.  There are several ways to do this, some people like to use a plastic zip lock bag, my preferred method is to place the chicken on a cutting board, put a piece of parchment paper (or plastic wrap) over the chicken and then use a meat mallet to pound the chicken.  Don’t have a meat mallet?  No problem, the back of a small sauce pan works just as good.

Then you will need three bowls, dry (flour), wet (egg mixture), and dry (breadcrumb cheese mixture).  This is known as 3-piece breading.img_5819

After you have breaded the chicken, place on a plate and refrigerator 30 minutes.img_5822

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Add butter to a baking pan, place in preheated oven until butter is melted.img_5825

Remove pan from oven and add the prepared chicken breasts.

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Bake according the recipe directions turning the chicken half way through the cooking time.img_5827

Place chicken on a clean cutting board, let rest 5 minutes covered, slice thinly and serve.  If you would like a little sauce on this, while the chicken is resting, scrap the pan drippings into a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat.   Add ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock and bring to a boil, spoon over sliced chicken.  img_5828

Oven Baked Cheddar Chicken
Prep time: 15 minutes
Rest time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 20-25 minutes
Serves 3-4

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon garlic pepper
1 egg
1 tablespoon Franks Hot Buffalo Wing Sauce, optional
1 tablespoon milk
¼ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
¼ cup panko bread crumbs
1 cup sharp shredded Cheddar cheese
Pound chicken breasts to a ½” thickness (http://www.wikihow.com/Pound-Chicken-Into-Cutlets).

In a bowl, mix flour, garlic salt, and garlic pepper. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, hot sauce (optional), and milk. In a third bowl, mix the bread crumbs, pankos, and cheddar cheese. Dredge chicken pieces in the flour mixture, dip in the egg mixture, then press into the breadcrumb mixture. Place prepared chicken on a large plate. Continue with remaining breasts. Cover chicken with plastic wrap and refrigerator 30 minutes (this prevents coating from falling off).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking dish with ¼ cup butter. Place dish in the preheated oven until butter is melted. Remove from oven and add prepared chicken breasts into the dish. Bake 15 minutes, remove from oven and flip chicken pieces over. Place back into the oven and bake until chicken temperature reaches 160°F, about another 15-20 minutes. Remove chicken from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Buon Appetito!

Easy Baked Cheddar Chicken


It’s that time of the year again, time to attack all that great basil and tomatoes from your vegetable garden (or your favorite vegetable stand).  Below are two of my favorites.  The 1st is what I call “Pesto Butter”.  This little bundle of deliciousness goes with so many great dishes, sauces, breads, etc.  You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to this butter…..the other is my oven roasted tomato sauce.  My friend Amy always provides me a nice sample of tomatoes from her very large garden.  Usually I have already “canned” my tomatoes, so I have found that the oven roasting is perfect, delicious and ohhhh so easy!

Pesto Butter:

1-2 cups fresh basil removed from stems
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 stick of butter (no margarine ever!), softened

Place your basil in a salad spinner, run under cold water and spin to dry.IMG_5501  In the bowl of a food process add 3-4 (more or less if desired) cloves garlic.  IMG_5502

Process until garlic is chopped.    IMG_5503Add basil leaves and continue to process until basil is chopped.  Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula, add softened butter (2 sticks) and continue to process until smooth.  IMG_5504If the color is too green, add another stick of butter and repeat.  IMG_5506Using a small scoop, scoop pesto butter onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper (easy clean up).  IMG_5508

Place pan of pesto butter into the freezer.  Come back an hour later (or more), remove frozen butter and place into a zip lock bag.  Return butter to your freezer and use as desired…..will freeze for 12 months.

Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

5-8 lbs fresh tomatoes, quartered, cored and seeded
2-3 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons black pepper
¼-½ teaspoons chipotle peppers (optional)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 bunch fresh herbs, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil (or 1 teaspoon of each dried)
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced

Preheat oven to 225°F.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, toss gently to coat.  Place tomatoes in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Roast 2 hours or until tomatoes are slightly browned and soft.

Ingredients in Oven RoastedIngredients in Oven Roasted

Cool tomato sauce, place in a zip lock bag and freeze for future use.  Use for spaghetti, over fish, pizza, bruschetta…..YUM!!!!

Buon Appetito!!!!!

Pesto Butter, Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce


I love being a mom-in-law!  Today my beautiful daughter (in-law) sent me a text asking for a recipe for her office (she’s a wonderful dentist) “Cinco de Mayo” party next week.  I guess you can say she knows where to turn when looking for a recipe.  I immediately thought of one that I wrote for a cookbook several years ago, however that recipe never made the final cut.  Here’s the recipe…

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup tomato salsa
2 tablespoons Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 to 2 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, or to taste1 to 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle in adobo
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cumin
2 tablespoons Mazola Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ to 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack or Queso Fresco cheese
Tortilla chips for dipping

Directions:

Combine black beans, salsa, burger seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, chipotles, adobo sauce, cumin, and oil in a blender or food processor; pulse until blended but still chunky.DSC_0035DSC_0038

Place bean mixture in a two-quart casserole dish.  Top mixture with shredded cheese.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden and bubbly.  Serve with chips for dipping.

Note:  Tonight when I made this dip I was out of canned chipotle peppers, so I substituted 1 tablespoon Chipotle Pepper Seasoning and 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke!  It rocked!!!

Quick Facts:
Prep Time:  5 minutes
Cook Time:  15-20 minutes
Yield:  8 servings
Great dip or use as a topping on eggs, fajitas or sandwichesDSC_0043

Kinta’s Famous House Margarita

1.5 ounces Tequila (Reposado)
1.5 ounces Triple Sec
1.5 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 cup Ice
1 lime
kosher salt

Rub the outside of 1 glass with cut lime. Dip into a plate of Kosher salt.
Combine the Tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice and ice into a cocktail shaker, shake well
and pour into prepared glass…..

Recipe courtesy of Kristopher Wallenta
Kinta’s Restaurant

margarita

Happy Cinco De Mayo


This one is for all my gluten free and vegetarian friends…an easy and very flavorful side dish, or even as a main meal.

Spaghetti squash (also called vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, vegetable marrow, spaghetti marrow, and squaghetti) is a group of cultivars of Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo.[1] The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash

You will need:

1 2lb. spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus additional oil for drizzling over squash
½ onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
red pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1 14.5 ounce can petite diced tomatoes, strained & rinsed
2 tablespoons Panko Breadcrumbs

Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half, lengthwise, scoop out and discard the seeds from center of the squash.  Place squash cut side down in a microwavable pan.  Add 1 inch of water to the pan.  Cover the squash with plastic wrap, microwave for 10 minutes.DSC_0045

Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, add olive oil.  When oil is hot add chopped onion, garlic, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (to taste), cook over medium low heat until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.  DSC_0050

When cooked, remove squash from microwave.  Place squash on a cutting board; use a fork to remove the strands of the “spaghetti” squash, place in a mixing bowl.DSC_0051 DSC_0055

Add chopped parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, tomatoes, salt and freshly ground black pepper to spaghetti squash.  Mix until combined.  Fill each squash skin with mixture, divided evenly.

DSC_0062

Top each half with 1 tablespoon Panko bread crumbs.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (if desired).  Place squash in a preheated 350° oven, bake for 15-20 minutes or until squash is golden brown.  DSC_0065 Buon Appetito!!!

DSC_0071 DSC_0074

 

 

 

Baked Stuffed Spaghetti Squash


What a great way to begin 2015, bananas and chocolate, perhaps a little Mimosa or a Bloody Mary to go along with this New Year’s Breakfast?  This quick and easy dish is certainly to be a favorite amongst any household members.

Banana French Toast

Banana Chocolate French Toast

Yield: 4-6 Servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
12 slices of your favorite bread
1¼ cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1 banana, sliced thinly
1-2 teaspoons Canola Oil
Powdered sugar, maple syrup & butter, for garnish, if desired
Combine milk and eggs in a shallow dish.

Top 6 slices of bread with one tablespoon chocolate spread; arrange banana slices on top of chocolate. Top sandwiches with remaining 6 bread slices.

Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one sandwich at a time, place sandwich into milk mixture, turning gently to coat both sides. Place coated sandwiches into pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Cut each sandwich into 4 triangles and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Buon Appetito and Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! What’s for breakfast? How about Banana Chocolate French Toast!


Thank you all for supporting my blog…2014 in review. 2015 will be even bigger and better!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Quick & Easy Taco Chili

This is for my new friends in St. Louis that attended the “Cooking with the Experts” at Schnucks Headquarters last week.  What a GREAT group you were and a joy to instruct and present to.  I look forward to doing it again next year!  Enjoy!

Taco Chili

Taco Chili

Yield: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
1 lb. ground chuck or ground turkey
2 tablespoons corn oil
½ medium size onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
⅓ cup Spice Islands® Taco Seasoning Mix
2 (14.5 ounce) can Red Gold Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 to 1 ½ cups beef stock
1 (15.5 ounce) can red kidney beans

Garnish:
Chopped Scallions
Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Sour Cream
In a medium sized stock pot, over high heat, brown ground beef or turkey in small batches, removing cooked meat with a slotted spoon (do not overcrowd the pan).

Add corn oil to pan and let heat through. Add onion and garlic. Cook over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Serve in a warm bread bowl (if desired) and garnish with chopped scallions, shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Buon Appetito!