Friday, October 31, 2008

641.5 -- Chicken Florentine

This recipe comes to you courtesy Giada de Lorentiis, by way of my good friend Briana. The final results will wow your guests, but the recipe is a tad involved. Although the steps are easy to follow, this recipe does require that you be in the kitchen nearly the entire time. For me, this was about an hour. If you're serving four good-size portions, I'd recommend increasing it by half.

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and ground black pepper
All-purpose flour
6 tbsp shallots, sliced
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 10-oz packages frozen cut-leaf spinach, thawed and drained

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken in the flour to coat lightly. Shake of any excess flour. Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a place and tent with foil to keep it warm.

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic and saute until the shallots are translucent, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the skillet (about 1 minute). Add the wine. Increase the heat to medium-high, and boil until the liquid is reduced by half (about 3 minutes). Add the cream, and boil until the sauce reduced by half, stirring often (about 3 minutes). Stir in the parsley. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the sauce. Turn the chicken to coat in the sauce.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter in another large skillet over medium heat. Add the spinach and saute until heated through. Season the spinach to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange the spinach over a platter. Place the chicken atop the spinach. Pour the sauce over and serve. (Try serving it atop bow tie pasta!)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

641.8654 -- Peanut Butter Blossoms

This recipe has been a staple on "cookie day" for as long as I can remember having a cookie day with my family. We'd all bring designated ingredients (flour, sugar, butter, chocolate chips, etc.) and convene at someone's house for a day of baking and camaraderie. Sometime during my college years, cookie day went by the wayside, but I still love baking these fun, delicious cookies and reminiscing about 26 people gathered around my grandma's kitchen table (inevitable covered in flour and peanut butter!)

1 can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 cups Bisquick
1 tsp vanilla
Hershey's chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 375. Mix sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter in large bowl. Add Bisquick and vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Roll dough into 1.25 inch balls (approximate obviously). Roll cookie balls in granulated sugar. Bake on ungreased baking sheet for 8 - 10 minutes. Unwrap kisses while baking. When the cookies come out of the oven, while the cookies are still hot, press one kiss onto each cookie. The dough will crack and gush up over the kiss a little.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

641.815 -- Pumpkin-Banana Bread

Owing to my lack of recipe-posting yesterday, I was more delighted than usual to be gifted with the following recipe from a coworker this morning. This marks the first recipe posted that I have not personally tried, so if someone tries this, please let me know the result. That said, pumpkin bread and banana-nut bread are two of my favorites, so how can this not be delicious?!

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cooking oil
4 eggs
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2/3 cup water
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large)
3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a very large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Alternately add flour mixture and the water to sugar mixture, beating after each addition just until combined. Beat in pumpkin and banana. Stir in pecans. Spoon batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing, if you like.

Friday, October 10, 2008

641.5 -- BLT Bites

An easy appetizer that makes a great presentation Bonus: it's pretty much good for you, too!

16 cherry tomatoes
1 pound bacon (cooked and crumbled) *
1/2 cup mayonnaise (the low fat stuff is fine)
1/3 cup chopped green onions
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp snipped fresh parsley
(notice: there actually is no lettuce in this recipe :)

Cut a thin slice off the top of each tomato. Scoop out and discard pulp. Invert the tomatoes on a paper towel to drain. In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; mix well. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate for several hours.

*Hint: use the precooked, precrumbled bacon available near the condiments and/or salad dressings. It saves time and tastes just as good.

*Another hint: The tomatoes will roll around, being round on the bottom as tomatoes usually are. Next time I make these, I'm going to try cutting a sliver off the bottom to give it a flatter surface. If you try this, let me know how it works.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

641.5 -- Pumpkin pie dip

This recipe was a hit at our last house party. Serve in a hollowed out pumpkin for a neat fall presentation. The original recipe called for gingersnaps for dipping, but I used apples. Yum!

8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners sugar
15 oz can solid pack pumpkin
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp frozen orange juice concentrate

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners sugar. In another medium bowl, mix solid pack pumpkin, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and frozen orange juice concentrate. Thoroughly mix in the cream cheese blend. Chill in the refrigerator until serving. Makes about 4 cups.