Italian · Poultry · Quick Dinner

Chicken with Tomatoes and Fennel

The original recipe was made with Red Snapper but I changed it to chicken since its cheaper and I had the other ingredients on hand.  It is a quick one pan meal that goes well your choice of grains ( rice, quinoa, or even some crusty bread).  It is fresh and light, perfect for a nice lunch. So here goes.

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken ( breasts or thighs)

1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved

1 fennel bulb, sliced

1 Tbsp of dried basil, thyme and tarragon. ( the original recipe called for Herbs de Provence)

salt and pepper to taste

approximately 1/2cup (or less) to white wine–use something that you would drink !

Method:

Preheat oven to 375F

Arrange the sliced fennel on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish.

Top with the chicken pieces in one single layer

Next add the tomatoes.

Sprinkle the whole arrangement with the herbs and salt and pepper

Cover the bottom of the dish with white wine, the ingredients should not be submerged in it, just enough to create a liquid bath to allow the ingredients to steam in.

Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 30 min or till the chicken is cooked through.

For the 5-10 mins, remove the tin foil broil on high.

Serve hot/warm with your choice or grains and enjoy this light and simple meal !

 

Italian · Quick Dinner

Sausage Spinach Saute

A hearty, speedy skillet dinner.  With hints of Italian flavors, this dish would pair really well warm, crusty garlic bread on a cool summer evening.  With just a few ingredients that don’t even need to be fresh (i.e canned and frozen will work) and you can have dinner on the table in less than an hour.  Here is what you will need.

Ingredients:

1 lb of spicy Italian sausage

16 oz bag of thawed frozen spinach

1 medium onion sliced

1 can of white beans

1 Tbsp of olive oil

1 tsp of chopped garlic

A dash of nutmeg

salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste.

Method:

In a skillet add the sausage links and fill with a little bit of water and 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Cook the sausage till cooked through and the casing in lightly browned.

Remove the sausage, and to the same pan add the remaining oil and add the garlic.  Saute till fragrant and then add the onions.  Saute till pale golden.

Then add the spinach and the beans and saute till the spinach wilts down.

Season with nutmeg, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and then toss in the sausages.

Plate up hot, straight from the skillet with some garlic bread !!!!!

Classics · Dessert · Italian · Pastry · Treats

Cannoli Cups

A shortcut to a classic italian treat !  Super simple and oh so delicious, you will need to make a double batch !

Ingredients:

For Cups

Flour for dusting surface

4 refrigerated pie crusts

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For Filling

1 (32oz) container of whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting finished cups

2 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (well I used a little more, its chocolate, satisfy your cravings)

Method:

Strain the ricotta cheese overnight or long enough to remove all the water.

To the strained cheese add all the flavourings and sugar and mix to combine.

At the end, add the chocolate chips and fold it in gently. Chill in the fridge while you make the cups

Heat oven to 425°F. Unroll the piecrusts onto a lightly floured surface and sprinkle the top of each crust with the natural sugar and the cinnamon. Lightly roll over it with a rolling pin so that sugar and cinnamon are pressed into the dough.

With a 2 1/2-3 inch round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles and lightly press them inside an ungreased mini muffin or mini cupcake pan to create a pastry cup.

Bake for about 10 minutes or until cups are golden. Remove from oven and allow cups to cool. Once cups are cool they can be removed from tin and filled.

Fill the cooled cups, right before serving (or they will get soggy) and top with more chocolate chips.

Enjoy !

Classics · Italian

Eggplant Cutlets

A baked version of an Italian classic.  I love making this when I am craving something salty and crunchy and greasy–but the best part about these cutlets are they are vegetarian and healthy.  Pairs perfectly with a bowl of tomato soup.  Ofcourse you could turn it into eggplant parm or even stack it up on a sandwich.  I like it as is with a side of spicy marinara dipping sauce !

Ingredients:

Eggplant cut into rounds, salted and set aside so that the water can drain out

1 or 2 eggs depending on how many cutlets you want to make

1/4-1/2 cup flour

1 cup of italian style breadcrumbs

Methods:

This is as easy as it gets !!!

Once the water has drained out from the eggplant, pat it dry.

Create a breading station, starting with flour, egg, and ending with breadcrumbs.

Note:  I like to season the flour with a good amount of salt and pepper and the eggs with red pepper flakes.

Dip eggplant in flour, shake off excess flour and then dip in egg and them in breadcrumbs.

Once all the cutlets are made you could either freeze them for later use (which I frequently do since fresh eggplant will go bad quickly)

If you are making them immediately, preheat oven to 400F and spray both sides of the cutlets with some cooking spray and bake for 20-25 mins till golden brown and crunchy !

Serve hot !

Classics · Comfort food · Dinner · Italian · Lunch

Fennel and Sundried Tomato Chicken Burgers (freezer friendly)

I have always enjoyed the combination of Fennel and sun-dried tomato.  I had leftover shredded chicken left and I decided to make these burgers.  Also, the days are warming up and it’s always nice to have homemade burgers ready to go in the freezer.

Ingredients:

4 cups of shredded chicken, ground in a food processor

1 medium onion chopped

2 Tbsp of sun-dried tomato

1/2 Tbsp of fennel seeds, garlic powder, parsley, chilli flakes

salt and pepper to taste

1 egg

1 cup of bread crumbs (add more or less depending on the moisture of your mixture)

Method:

Grind the shredded chicken and set aside

In a food processor, blend all the ingredients other than the bread crumbs.

Pour the spice, onion, tomato, egg mixture to the chicken.  Add the breadcrumbs.

Mix to combine. DO NOT overmix.

Form into burgers ( size? well that is up to you– I made 8).  Arrange on wax paper on a cookie sheet and freeze.

Once frozen, throw them in a ziploc bag and you have burgers ready to go !

When you want to cook these, throw them frozen on a greased cookie sheet (lined with tin foil) in a 400 degree preheated oven for 40 mins turning half way.  OR ofcourse, you could grill them too.  I like to bake them and have them ready for lunches/dinners for the week.

Breakfast · Cookies · Italian · Treats

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I love biscotti.  I follow a basic biscotti recipe from Martha Stewart but I change it up every time by playing with the ratio of flour and nuts and baking morsels.  This time I had dark chocolate and I bought pistachios, so the combination was pretty obvious ! They came out quite well too !

Ingredients

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup white sugar

¼  tsp salt

¼ cup brown sugar

8oz dark chocolate

4 Tbsp of unsalted butter

3 medium eggs

¼ cup + 1Tbsp ground pistachio

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together first four ingredients.

In a double boiler melt dark chocolate, butter and brown sugar.

Add the melted chocolate to the flour mixture.

Add the beaten eggs and mix.

Fold in ¼ cup of the ground nuts and shape into a 12-inch log.

Top the log with remaining 1Tbsp nuts.

Bake until logs are puffed and outside is firm, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 2 hours. While you are waiting, raise the temperature of the oven to 375F.

Using a serrated knife, thinly slice the logs crosswise, 1/4 inch thick. Lay slices cut side up on a baking sheet.

Bake until crisp, rotating pans and turning biscotti over halfway through, 20 minutes total. Cool completely before serving or storing in an air tight container.

Biscotti say hello to Sunday morning coffee !

Italian

Piccata Pinwheels

This recipe is created from three different recipes that have similar Italian flavors–Chicken Breasts stuffed with artichokes, Fontina and artichokes; Chicken roulade (which had a spinach filling) and finally the classic Chicken Piccata.  I took bits and pieces from each of these recipes and created my Piccata Pinwheels !

Ingredients:

4 thin sliced chicken breasts

For filling:

1 can of artichoke hearts

1/4 cups od chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed in olive oil)

1tsp of dried basil

For coating:

1/8 cups of flour

2 tsp of salt

2tsp of pepper

2tsp of dried basil

red pepper flakes (add according to you heat tolerance)

For the sauce:

1Tbsp of olive oil

1tsp of chopped garlic

juice of 1/2 a lemon

1Tbsp of drained capers

red pepper flakes (add according to you heat tolerance)

1/4cup of water

Process:

1. In a pan, saute artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  There is no need to add oil since the tomatoes are packed in olive oil.

After the ingredients are mixed and heated through, puree in a blender to make a fine paste.

2. Spread the mixture generously over the chicken breast and roll them up.  Secure with toothpicks.  At this point you could cover then with plastic wrap or put them in a tupperware to cook later.

3. Mix flour, salt, pepper, basil, red pepper flakes.  Coat the chicken in the flour mixture.

4. Heat 1/2Tbsp of oil in a skillet and sear the chicken on medium high, placing them seam side down first.

5. Remove the browned chicken and set aside.

Reduce the heat and add remaining 1/2 Tbsp of oil.  Saute garlic and red pepper flakes till fragrant.  Then b the pan with lemon juice and water.

6. Let the liquid simmer for a few minute and stir in 1Tbsp of the remaining coating mixture to thicken the sauce.

7. Add the chicken back to the pan and mix in the capers.

8. Let the sauce reduce till desired consistency and serve immediately. Pairs really well with a simple salad and warm crusty bread !