Thursday, November 12, 2015

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

I love soup. Can I just say, I LOVE soup. Yup that's right, soup, my favorite. That being said, I noticed one of my favorite soups has not ever been featured on this blog. Now my family might say, Bob, this is your favorite?  Ok well maybe it's my second favorite. My favorite has to be my potato soup. (That one was featured in Taste Of Home magazine). 

So here's my newest favorite soup, Velvety Potato Leek Soup. Now, those that know me, know I don't follow recipes, and in a lot of cases I just wing things. This recipe was a “wing it” recipe. So bear with me if things are off a bit. 

Potatoes and the leek cut in half, before cleaning,

Cleaned leek and butter,

Diced potatoes ready for the pot,

Leek and potatoes, seasoned with salt and pepper, 

Add the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pan,

Once everything is tender, blend until smooth, 

Half way there,

Coming together, just add the cream and we're ready to eat. 

Soup and a panini sandwich. A perfect dinner!  

Velvety Potato Leek Soup

1 cube butter
1 large leek, sliced and cleaned
5-6 small Yukon potatoes, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic
4 cups chicken broth
¼ cup cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Melt better, and sauté the leeks. Add the potatoes and garlic, continue to sauté. Deglaze the pot with the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes. Once everything is tender, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. Or blend in small batches, until smooth. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

I'm It's been a while since I've posted anything. With the catering business, and work I have still been cooking, and taking pictures, so as I get time I will post again. Not to worry!!  

I wasn't really sure what to think when I came across this recipe. What would the end result be like?  Well, I have to tell you, what a delicious take on Chicken Parmesan. Splitting and pounding the chicken breasts is probably the most daunting part, but very necessary. 

Make and enjoy this baked dinner!  Maybe serve with some pasta au burro (buttered pasta) and a steamed vegetable. 

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

All of the ingredients you'll need
Take a chicken breast,
Slice it 3/4 of the way through, leaving a hinge,
Open it up, it should look like this,
Before pounding the breast,
After pounding, then I cut it down the hinge line, 
Baby spinach,
Chopped baby spinach, 
Into the sauté pan, 
And stir,
Mix together the filling ingredients,
Add the sautéed spinach,
Take the chicken,
Add a scoop of the filling to the breasts,
Spread the filling,
(I then added a slice of mozzarella)
(Oops and a piece of sundried tomato, at the urging of my husband)
After dipping in the egg and rolling in the bread crumbs, place in the pan (I ran out of fresh mozzarella so I topped two with Parm),
Bake, then serve. Lastly enjoy!!

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

8 large boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 clove minced garlic and olive oil for sauteeing
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
3 eggs, beaten
3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
fresh basil for topping

1. Prep the chicken: split the chicken breast (butterfly style) and pound the pieces until they are thin (for quick cooking) and have expanded in surface area (for more filling). Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
2. Prep the filling: Chop the spinach and sauté it with the garlic and just a drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted. Combine the sautéed spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 2-3 tablespoons of the eggs. Place the remaining eggs in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
3. Assemble the chicken: Spread a thin layer of the marinara in the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a "seam". Dip the entire chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.
4. Finishing touches: After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Cover the chicken with the marinara sauce and slices of fresh Mozzarella. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Don't try to cram all the pieces too close together because if the sides are touching each other, they won't get crispy. Leaving a little space between each piece allows the breadcrumbs to bake, brown, and crispify perfectly.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Chicken Chasseur (or Hunter’s Chicken)

Julia Child

Being a child of the 70/80's, I can say that TV molded most of my younger life. Not in a way that the VCR generation, with their Disney movies, but in a way that we can quote a Looney Tunes cartoon ("which way did he go, George.") or understand that violence on the TV was just that. We didn't go out and push each other off a cliff like Roadrunner and Coyote. That being said, with Sesame Street, we had the TV turned to our local PBS station quite often.  Which brings me to the subject of this post, growing up, I (unfortunately) didn't care for Julia Child. I found her shows boring and uninteresting (please, before you come to a judgement, finish reading!), but I was 9 in 1980, so I was heavily influenced by my parents viewing decisions. A few years later, I did take to watching Yen Can Cook. And found a few techniques I still use, daily. 

Fast forward 35 years into the future, and I am truly sorry for all of the history I missed, right in front of my eyes.  Julia, I have learned to love and respect you more now than ever!  You were truly so far a head of your time.  

The first thing that brought Julia into my life was watching Merrill Streep in "Julie and Julia". I was so enraptured. I have seen that movie at least 6 or 7 times.  In addition to the movie, I have read every biography I could get my hands on about her life, even if it's just a different perspective of the same story, I find it so very interesting. Even to the point of buying a copy of Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, granted I have yet to make anything out of it, but I feel it makes me closer to Julia.  Of course, tonight's recipe is featured in Vol. 2. 

So, the second part of this post is that last week , I decided to make a French chicken dish for dinner. I've tried Coq Au Vin, and a few others, so I wanted something different. That's when I came across this delicious dish, even rated "good" by my husband!  (and you all know that that's close to 5 stars in his book, the only thing higher is, "can you make this again") It's a classic dish, with lemon, wine, mushrooms and all the other cast of characters. Check it out, it's really not that intimidating. 

Chicken Chasseur, or Hunter’s Chicken, is a simple French country meal.  A hunter would have brought back his game and maybe a few mushrooms he’d found along the way, and his wife would have thrown the lot in a pot with some wine and simmered until tender. It’s ready in less than an hour and cooks all in one pot!  I served it with mashed red potatoes, and Frenched green beans.  

Chicken Chasseur

* 2 T Butter
* 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
* 2 lbs Boneless Chicken Breasts
* 1/4 Cup minced Shallot
* 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
* 10 oz Baby Bella Mushrooms (sliced thin)
* 2 Tomatoes (seeded, and diced small)
* 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
* 1/2 Cup Dry White Wine
* 1/2 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Stock
* 2 T Lemon Juice
* 1 Tablespoon Flour
* 2 T Basil (chiffonade)
* In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your butter and oil. Pat your chicken breasts dry with a paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper, liberally. When the butter starts to foam, add in your chicken and sear on both sides (about 3-4 minutes per side) until a golden brown crust forms.
* Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Add in your shallots and garlic to the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add in your mushrooms and tomatoes and saute about 8 minutes over a medium heat, stirring frequently.
* Return the chicken to the pan and add in your cream, wine, stock, and lemon juice immediately. Bring the liquids to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the chicken has cooked through. Remove the chicken again from the pan and place on a serving platter, and stir in your flour, cooking the liquid another 3 minutes to thicken. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
* Pour the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle the fresh basil on top. Serve hot.

Dried chicken seasoned with salt and pepper 

Chicken sautéed and resting

The dripping of the chicken, waiting for mushrooms 

Tomatoes and shallots

Saluting shallots, mushrooms and tomatoes

Chicken, back in the pool!


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Crab Bisque

Years ago my family used to frequent a restaurant in Portland (Pa's Kettle) that their signature soup was chicken bisque. It was amazing. You could just fill up on it alone. For years I've read about bisques, and have wanted to make one, be it chicken, tomato, or tonight I made crab bisque. It turned out amazing. 

Crab Bisque


* 1 cup  onion, minced
* 1 cup  carrot, minced
* 22 ounces seafood stock
* 4 tablespoons  flour
* 6 tablespoons  butter
* 1 cup  heavy cream
* 1⁄2 cup  cooking sherry (or vermouth)
* 1 tablespoon  lemon juice
* 1 teaspoon  Worcestershire sauce
* 1⁄2 teaspoon  cayenne pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
* fresh chives, minced
* salt
* 1⁄2 lb. lump crabmeat
* hot chili oil, to taste

* Saute onion and carrot in 2 tablespoons butter until soft. Set aside.
* In 4 quart saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter and add flour, whisking constantly over medium heat until roux becomes light brown (about 5 minutes). DO NOT BURN!
* Slowly add seafood stock, whisking constantly to ensure mixture stays smooth.
* Add onions and carrots, cover, and simmer for 1/2 hour.
* Add cream, sherry, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and lobster or crab and simmer an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
* Garnish with fresh minced chives, hot chili oil & crab. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad

This week, after the wedding we catered this weekend, Craig and I decided to "clean out" the pantry and freezer. First up a bag of shrimp...... So I decided to make a shrimp salad.  I found this recipe and adjusted it a bit, and it was delicious. 

Zesty Lime Shrimp and Avocado Salad


1/4 cup chopped red onion (3-4 slices)
2 limes, juice
1 tsp olive oil
kosher salt, black pepper to taste
1 lb jumbo cooked, peeled shrimp, chopped* (16/20)
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 medium hass avocado, diced (about 5 oz)
1 jalapeno, seeds removed, diced fine
1 tbsp chopped cilantro


In a small bowl combine red onion, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Let them marinate at least 5 minutes to mellow the flavor of the onion.

In a large bowl combine chopped shrimp, avocado, red pepper, jalapeño. Combine all the ingredients together, add cilantro and gently toss. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.