Thursday, February 16, 2012

Chicken Piccata

  • I came across this recipe on the Williams Sonoma website and thought I'd give it a whirl...I'm so glad I did as it was absolutely delicious! It took me 30 minutes from start to finish to make this meal including a mixed greens salad with my house dressing, and sauteed yellow squash. This would be a perfect recipe if you want a homemade recipe in a hurry.
  • Chicken Piccata
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each 8 to 9 oz., cut in half horizontally and pounded 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in it. Shake off the excess.

In the nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 Tbs. of the olive oil. Place 2 pieces of chicken in the pan and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a platter or individual plates. Warm the remaining 1 Tbs. oil in the pan and repeat to brown the remaining chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium and melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in the pan. Add the shallot and cook until softened and golden brown, about 30 seconds. Add the wine, lemon juice and broth, increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid is slightly reduced, about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the remaining 2 Tbs. butter, the capers and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and pass any remaining sauce alongside. Serve immediately.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

As you now I absolutely love Indian food, but a lot of times it takes hours of cooking and prep work. My friend Lisa sent me this recipe for a slow cooker Tikka Masala, so I had to try it immediately and was pleasantly surprised at how good it turned out.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

15 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes

1 Medium Onion, diced

2 Cloves Garlic, chopped

2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

2 Teaspoons Garam Masala

½ Teaspoon Indian Chili Powder (or cayenne pepper), optional if you like spice

2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

Kosher Salt

½ Bunch Fresh Cilantro

1 English Cucumber, diced

Juice, One Lemon

½ Cup Heavy Cream


Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, chili powder (if using), and ¾ teaspoon kosher salt in slow cooker. Place chicken on top of the sauce, cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

For the garnish, toss the cucumber, cilantro, ¼ teaspoon salt, and lemon juice together, cover and let sit for flavors to meld.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook rice per instructions.

Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken Tikka Masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Indian Curried Shrimp

My co-worker Katie introduced me to this recipe and I have made it a few times since I got it. I must admit that I’m a bit addicted! This recipe is super easy to make and takes very little time and ingredients, while yielding amazing flavor. The only call out is that you must use Indian chili powder, which is much like cayenne pepper.

Indian Curried Shrimp

2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 large yellow or red onion diced small (or 2 small onions if needed)

1 tablespoon ginger, finely minced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)

1 teaspoon red Indian chili powder (you have to use Indian red chili or the taste will be altered and you can add more or less to taste)

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon salt (or too taste)

1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice

1 pound shrimp (shelled and deveined)

chopped cilantro, for garnish

Steamed Rice

Heat oil in large skilled over medium heat, add onions and cook until just starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Next add ginger and garlic, continue to sauté over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes or until garlic is cooked and fragrant.

Add Chili powder, cumin and salt, cook another 5 minutes, while stirring often to keep the onions from burning.

Add tomatoes, and continue to cook for 15 minutes until sauce is a rich dark red color. Add shrimp and cook until bright pink and cooked through.

Serve immediately over rice with a generous amount of parsley as garnish.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Boef Bourguignon

I love this dish, but hate waiting hours for it to cook, so I created this quick cook version, which is just as good. Using steak instead of a pot roast enables you to cook the meat quickly, while the demi glace provides that deep rich flavor you would normally get from a slow roasting method.

Boef Bourguignon

¼ Pound Bacon, diced

4 NY Steaks, about 12 ounces each

3 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Bottle Good Chianti Wine

3 Cups Beef Stock

2 Tablespoons Double Concentrated Tomato Paste

2 Teaspoons Beef Demi Glace (I use Williams Sonoma Brand)

1 Bouquet Garni (3 sprigs each of thyme, rosemary, and oregano)

1 Pound Frozen Pearl Onions

8 Large Carrots, peeled and cut into ¼ inch thick slices, on a diagonal

Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

2 Tablespoons flour

2 Pounds Crimini Mushrooms, sliced ½ inch thick

1 Bunch Parsley

2 Tablespoons Thyme, minced

Heat a large heavy bottom paan on high heat, with 3 tablespoons oil until smoking. Add steaks and cook until seared on each side and medium rare, about 4 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and cover with aluminum foil.

In the same pan, sauté the bacon on medium heat, until crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain fat, except 2 tablespoons from the pan.

Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.
Deglaze the pan with the Chianti wine and cook on high heat for 1 minute, scraping all browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Next add the beef stock, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and bouquet garni. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered on medium-high heat for 10 minutes.

Add onions and carrots, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered, until the vegetables are tender (about 25 minutes).

With a fork combine the 2 tablespoons butter and flour into a paste and whisk it gently into the sauce, continue cooking until sauce is thickened and glossy.

Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms separately in 2 tablespoons butter, until browned and tender.
 Add the steaks, mushrooms, and bacon to the pan, cover and reheat steaks gently for 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Heirloom Tomato Salad

There is nothing better than a fresh, simple salad for dinner on a nice warm day. I got off work yesterday and ventured into Whole Foods and came upon these delicious heirloom tomatoes and knew immediately that I needed to have them for dinner. I added some fresh herbs, mozzarella cheese, and home made croutons, it was delicious! I can't wait to have the left overs for lunch today.

Heirloom Tomato Salad

1 Small Loaf Crusty French Bread
2/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, divided
1/2 Cup Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
3 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
3 Regular Red Tomatoes
1 Pound Small Mozzarella Cheese Balls

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Cut the crust off the bread and tear the remaining loaf into 1-inch pieces. Toss with 1/3 cup of the olive oil, squeezing the bread to help absorb the oil. Sprinkle lightly with a bit of salt, and place on a baking sheet. Toast stirring a few times until the croutons are golden brown, about 15 minutes, let cool.
Using a wooden spoon or muddler, pound the oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt in a large bowl to release the oils from the herb. Add the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, salt, vinegar and basil and whisk to combine.
Stem and chop tomatoes into large pieces and add to the vinegar mixture. Cut the cheese into bite-sized pieces, if necessary, and add to the tomato mixture, stir well to combine. Let rest for about 15 minutes to let flavors meld together, stir again. Serve in a bowl with the fresh croutons.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Boozy Cupcakes

I spent the last weekend puttering around the city checking out all the tourist attractions with my friend Damon who was visiting from Portland…we went to the Navy Pier and rode the Ferris Wheel, looked at the Millennium Park Bean Sculpture, enjoyed the beautiful harbor on Lake Michigan, and did a bit of shopping on Michigan Avenue, it was so much fun! Thank god the weather is finally getting warmer here so we could enjoy our time outside and not freeze.

We also spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking up some yummy meals. My favorite recipe was for these Boozy Cupcakes they were absolutely amazing! I only had one cupcake pan so I made one batch of cupcakes and one 9-inch cake. Damon found this recipe which has excellent step by step instructions and pictures, so make sure to check it out. The only thing I would change would be to add Chopped Pecans to the top, which we did with the cake, it really added a perfect balance to the sweetness of the cake. Cheers!

Boozy Cupcakes


1 Cup Guiness Beer

1 Stick + 1 Tablespoon Butter, cut into pieces

2 Cups Brown Sugar

¾ Cups Sour Cream

2 Eggs

¾ Cups Cocoa Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Cups Flour

2 ½ Teaspoons Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line 24 cupcake tins with paper liners (or 12 cupcakes and one greased 8-9 inch cake pan).

Combine Guinness and butter in a large saucepan, heat to melt butter, remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa and sugar. In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla, then add Guinness mixture and whisk to combine. Next, add the baking soda, and flour and whisk to combine. Pour into cupcake pan and bake 25 minutes for cupcakes, or 35 minutes for cake, or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely.

Gnache Filling:

12 Ounce Bag Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

½ Cup Heavy Cream

2 Tablespoons Butter

2 Teaspoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

Place the chocolate in a heat-safe bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until simmering, then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for one minute then whisk until smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, place bowl over a double boiler. Add the butter and Bailey's and stir until combined. Set aside and cool until thick enough to be piped. Meanwhile, cut a portion from the center of each cupcake, pipe cooled gnache into cupcakes.


1 Stick Unsalted Butter, at room temperature

3 Cups Powdered Sugar

4 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

4-6 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey

Chopped Pecans (optional)

Place butter in a mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed for a minute until light in color and fluffy. Add the Irish Cream and Whiskey and mix to combine. Next slowly add the powdered sugar and adjust with more to create a spreadable consistency. Ice filled cupcakes and top with chopped pecans (if desired).

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Beach Shrimp

I braved my first blizzard here in Chicago! It was actually a ton of fun, and absolutely amazing. I got over two feet of snow where I live and it drifted to the top of cars in front of my house. I was up until about 3am watching the weather, we even had thunder and lightening during the storm, so strange! There were gusts up to 50 mph as well, so it was definitely a doozy of a storm ;)
No onto the food...this is another easy and delicious recipe from my friend Doug. We made this one night and then sat in the living room and watched a few movies and literally pigged out until we couldn't eat any more shrimp! This would also be great for parties as an appetizer, or even served over rice for a light dinner. We decided to make it easy and used bread as our side dish, which we dipped into the yummy sauce.

Beach Shrimp

4 lbs large raw shrimp (frozen actually works best but fresh is fine)
1 16 oz bottle zesty Italian dressing
1/2-1 t freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, halved
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 C butter, cut into small cubes

Place shrimp, dressing, pepper and garlic in 9x13 baking dish.
Juice 4 lemon halves over ingredients and stir.
Add lemon halves, sprinkle with parsley and dot with butter.

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes (for frozen shrimp) or 20-25 minutes (for fresh shrimp, stirring halfway through.

Serve with crusty bread for dipping.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chessmen Banana Pudding

My good friend Doug made this yummy and very easy dessert when he was in town this last fall, and I finally got around to asking him for the recipe! I'm a huge fan of banana in desserts and this really is quite delightful and so easy to make. Thanks Doug for the recipe!

Chessmen Banana Pudding

2 bags Pepperidge Farm Chessmen Cookies
6 bananas sliced
2 cups whole milk
1 5-oz box instant French vanilla pudding
1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 12-oz container whipped topping

Line bottom of 9x13 dish with one bag of cookies.
Layer bananas on top.

In a bowl combine milk and pudding and blend with an electric mixer.
In another bowl combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until smooth.
Fold the whipped topping into the cream cheese mixture.
Add the cream cheese mixture to the pudding and stir until well blended.
Pour the mixture over the bananas and cover with the second bag of cookies.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.