We had some old friends come by for dinner this past weekend and I didn't want to be stuck in the kitchen and missing good conversation, or some good wine and cheese either! So I wanted something for dinner that would be really easy and really good, that I could make ahead. Chicken Lombardy fit the bill. It's Chicken Marsala, topped with mozzarella and then baked in the oven. You can prepare it way ahead so all you have to do is stick it in the oven to finish it while you enjoy the company. Unless it's company you really don't feel like being with, LOL, and then you can make while they are in another room! Just don't enjoy your company too much or your cheese will go beyond golden. We chatted a little too much. Ask me how I know?
My friend, Cindy5_NY gave me a perfect side for the Lombardy Chicken. Orzo. This one is a great side, it has great flavor to stand on it's own, but when the sauce from the chicken sort of mixes in a bit from the plate, it's a really delicious combination! And if you want to make this one ahead, just prep everything a little before the company shows, and add the milk and heat it up just before you are ready to serve!
The Chicken picture is from when I made it the last time, and the orzo is from a phone, not a clear shot, I was trying to be inconspicuous. Which I really am not, not one bit, so bringing a camera out to start shooting dinner with company would just give them more to tease me about! So instead I went with the cell camera :)
2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
3 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup butter, cubed (I used less)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used a bit more)
1/4 cup milk (I used low-fat)
2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cook orzo according to package directions; drain. In a large skillet, sauté garlic in butter until tender. Add the orzo, Parmesan cheese, milk, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook and stir until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.
4 lbs chicken wings
flour for dredging
optional: cayenne pepper, salt
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup Frank's hot sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar (I omitted)
Separate wings at joints, snip off wing tip. Dredge in flour (mix in optional cayenne or salt) and choose method of browning:
*deep fry in 2" oil, 10-12 minutes (I used a bit more! and needed to cook a little longer, I crowded the pot, not a good idea)
*brown in skillet, 5 minutes each side
*bake at 425 for 35 minutes on sprayed sheet, turn once
*grill, until browned and crispy all over
Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients, simmer until slightly thickened, coat browned wings with sauce.
Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing.
And for the Cherry Chipotle Wings, I just used half of the wings I was frying and mixed them up with our favorite sauce...
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I just sliced the onions, it'll get whizzed up when you use the stick blender or food processor)
8 ounces cherry preserves (3/4 cup) (I use a bit more!)
1/4 cup minced seeded chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I use 2 – 3 chipotle's, and leave them whole – it’ll get pureed when you put it in the processor or blender. I use an immersion stick blender)
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until bubbling, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let cool before using. The glaze can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.
NOTES : Use this spicy, smoky, sweet barbecue sauce to glaze grilled meat or poultry in the last few minutes of cooking. It can also be served on the side.
It's been a very busy few days at our house, we have a new, very unexpected addition!
And puppy makes three...
This is Frankie! He's part Rottweiler, part your guess is as good as mine!
Maybe Lab, maybe not! But he stole our hearts. And now he is keeping our other two dogs very busy, not to mention me :)
One of my favorite local restaurants makes this dish, Chicken Parm Ravioli with Foccacia Bread Crumbs. and I loved it. Never had it anywhere else, and the other day I decided to try make it myself. The easy way, with wonton wrappers. I had already tried to duplicate an eggplant ravioli from a different place, for Miss Picky, and those came out great. This wasn't too bad, I had an idea of what to do, so I looked at the menu for the description of what was in it, and worked it out. They actually came out very good. Next time instead of wonton wrappers, I'll try fresh pasta sheets! Either way, these will be made again! Very good! Not exactly like the restaurant, pretty close, except for the pasta and not as pretty, but otherwise, very close, great flavors! This is a keeper. I served it with sauteed string beans and a Caesar Salad
4 chicken cutlets, cooked (just bake them in the oven with the garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and some olive oil, until cooked through, drain the juices before you put it in the food processor)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
Salt and pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (plus more serving)
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 quart vodka sauce (recipe below or use your favorite jarred sauce!)
1 package won ton wrappers (I used Nasoya brand)
a couple slices of a crusty bread, like Italian or Baguette, whizzed in a food processor then toasted in a skillet, for serving
fresh basil, for garnish
1/2 cup warm water
Using a food processor, finely chop the cooked chicken and garlic cloves. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the skillet, and heat for about 10 minutes. Add a 1/2 cup of vodka sauce, and cook that down for another couple of minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs and cook for another few minutes. Check for seasoning. If it seems dry, add a little more sauce. Stir in the mozzarella and a 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. When it's all mixed together, transfer to a bowl.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill each wrapper with 1 rounded teaspoon of the chicken mixture; moisten the edges with water and fold in half, or for a larger ravioli, put 1 tablespoon of the mixture in the middle of one wrapper, moisten the edge and top with another wrapper, pressing the edges to seal. Working in 2 batches, cook the ravioli until tender, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the ravioli to plates or use one bowl, top with vodka sauce, sprinkle with the toasted bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, fresh basil and serve .
Note: You can freeze the uncooked ravioli, separately on a baking sheet, when frozen put them in a ziploc freezer bag. When you want to use them, do not thaw.
One 35-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano) with their liquid
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled (I use a lot less, maybe 2-3)
crushed hot red pepper (to taste) (I used about 2 pinches)
1/4 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream (I use less, a bout 1/3)
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil for finishing the sauce (optional)
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Pour the tomatoes and their liquid into the work bowl of a food processor. Using quick on/off pulses, process the tomatoes just until they are finely chopped. (Longer processing will aerate the tomatoes, turning them pink.)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Whack the garlic cloves with the side of a knife and add them to the hot oil. Cook, shaking the skillet, until the garlic is lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Lower the work bowl with the tomatoes close to the skillet and carefully (they'll splatter) slide the tomatoes into the pan. Bring to a boil, season with salt and with crushed red pepper to taste (you can always add more it needed!) and boil about 2 minutes. Pour in the vodka, lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer, and simmer for a few minutes.
Take the garlic cloves out of the sauce and pour in the cream. Add the 2 tablespoons butter or oil, if using, and carefully swirl the skillet to incorporate into the sauce. Check the seasoning, adding salt and red pepper if necessary. Simmer until the sauce is reduced a bit.
Remove the pot from the heat, sprinkle a little cheese in the sauce and stir. Serve immediately, serve with additional cheese if you like.
*My note - Sometimes I add a little pancetta or prosciutto, about 1/4 lb. sliced thin and cut into 1/2-inch pieces, to the sauce. Saute it with the garlic.
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
5 large yellow onions, sliced thin
1 1/4 cups dry white wine, dry sherry, vermouth, cognac or brandy
1 32-ounce box beef broth (or 2 14-ounce cans)
1 32-ounce box chicken broth (or 2 14-ounce cans)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
slices of Swiss cheese, fontina, mozzarella, provolone, muenster or whatever
1 loaf French or any crusty bread, sliced (and toasted in the oven with the cheese melted on top, if you like)
Melt the butter and oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, cook and stir for about 20 minutes, or until onions are very soft and browned, add the wine or sherry to deglaze the pan. Pour the onions into the soup pot with the broth, salt, pepper and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for at least an hour or two, or longer for best flavor. Serve with bread dropped in and top with cheese. Or top the bread slices with cheese and toast in the oven until the cheese gets bubbly!
The late December blizzard here still hasn't melted. Now they're saying more of the same for tomorrow night. Whichever way this next storm blows, we're in for a mess. Slush or snow. Definitely soup weather. Which soup is a good guess. Depends on the pantry!
The Griller had a birthday the other day. Snow still piled high in the backyard somewhat, so no grilling yet, or he'd have been having a Porterhouse! Instead he chose his mother's brisket and noodle kugel for his special birthday dinner! He was a very happy camper. The Griller is a meat and potatoes kind of guy, prefers home cooked to a restaurant. Opposites attract, I never cooked a thing the first ten years we were married, I love going to the restaurants. My Grandmother and his mother did a lot of the cooking. Thank goodness for Tupperware! I didn't have to bother, they schlepped the dinners to us. Until his mother moved to Florida and my Grandma passed away. Then we were hungry until I figured out it was cook or starve. Shoe leather brisket the first few birthday dinners. I just couldn't get it right. Tough brisket, flavorless noodles. Took years and a lower oven temp, but I got it right this year. He loved it!
I used a different cut that the butcher recommended. Probably because he didn't have a flat cut brisket on hand. And I needed something. Seemed to be the one issue of the day, no one had a brisket. So he raved about this Monterey cut. French-style, he said. I took a chance. It didn't have that layer of fat like a flat first cut brisket has. But it looked great. Like a very thick brisket. Very thick. And it cooked beautifully! Tender, flavorful. What a fantastic cut. Probably a marketing thing, Monterey, and I'll never find it again! Going back to that butcher to find out more, I couldn't find information online.
And the Lipton Soup mix recipe that my mother in law made for years is pretty great, too! We both agree on that one, LOL!
1 bag of extra wide egg noodles, cooked according to package directions. do not overcook!
oil, to fry, a few tablespoons
4 eggs, beaten
Prepare egg noodles according to the package directions, careful not to overcook them. Drain in a colander and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
Put substantial amount of oil in a pan, and turn on medium heat.
Add eggs, salt and pepper to the noodles. Don't be frugal with salt or pepper because otherwise the noodles will be very bland.
After about 15 minutes or so, check with a spatula to see what the kugel looks like, it should be set on the top and the underside should be golden, if not, leave it for 10 more minutes, if it is golden then grab a large plate and slide the kugel onto the plate, then take another plate on top and flip it so the golden side is now on top. Slide the kugel back into the pan so that the golden side is now face up and the raw side is down. Let it fry for another 15 minutes to make sure the bottom is getting golden. Watch to make sure it doesn't burn. Serve immediately!
Don't skimp on oil, it needs a nice amount to fry just right. At least a big puddle in the bottom of the pan!
Don't cover with foil while it's hot or it will get soggy. Just leave out on a plate so it stays crispy until you serve it!
brisket (flat cut)
1 envelope Lipton mushroom-onion soup mix
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
carrots, sliced thin
potatoes, cut in chunks
1 tablespoons flour (more or less)
mushrooms, quartered (optional)
*If you have porcini powder, you can sprinkle some on top of the brisket, adds great flavor!
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Empty soup packet into a large cup and mix in the flour. Add the water to the cup and stir to dissolve. Put the brisket in a large baking dish and add carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and pour on the soup mix. Cover with aluminum foil. Cook for a few hours, until the brisket is tender. Slice thin, against the grain and serve with the vegetables and gravy. It's even better the next day.
Here's how my MIL makes it, if you prefer to use a higher temp and a Reynold's Oven bag. Click HERE!