Monday, September 19, 2011

Semi-Homemade Chicken Primavera Risotto

This is one of my favorite dishes from Pampered Chef. It's a creamy and lemony dish of rice and veggies. Using a flavored pre-cooked rice substantially decreases cooking time and adds, well, flavor. ;)

I want to try using some leftover white/brown rice to see how much flavor I actually lose. If the loss is tolerable then I can avoid buying the prepackaged stuff. That's good for two reasons: the prepackaged stuff has soy bean oil & it would decrease the cost.

cooking oil spray
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
olive oil
 1 lemon, cut in half crosswise
 1 medium onion, chopped
 1 large garlic clove, pressed
 2 packages (8.8 ounces each) buttery or roasted chicken flavor pre-cooked rice
 1 medium carrot, peeled & julienned
 1 medium zucchini, sliced
 2 plum tomatoes, seeded & diced
 2 - 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
 1/4 cup snipped fresh basil
 2 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese (optional)

Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness, then season with salt and black pepper. With cooking oil spray,  lightly coat a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat 1-3 minutes or until hot. Arrange chicken and lemon halves, cut sides down; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until center of chicken is no longer pink (do not turn lemon halves). Remove chicken and lemon. Cool slightly; slice chicken into 1/2-inch pieces.

Lightly spray the skillet again.  Add onion and a pinch of salt, saute for about 5 minutes. And garlic, cook  until fragrant.

Add the rice; juice caramelized lemon halves into the rice. Cook and stir 3-4 minutes or until juice is completely absorbed into rice. Add vegetables and 2 cups of the broth:bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; simmer 4-5 minutes or until broth is slightly thickened. Stir in chicken; cook until heated through.

Remove risotto from heat. * Add Asiago cheese and basil; stir until cheese is melted and sauce is thickened (adjust sauce consistency with additional broth, if necessary). Stir in mascarpone cheese, if desired.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Herbed Pizza Dough (Bread Maker)

The addition of Italian seasoning boosts the flavor of a simple pizza crust or bread stick. 

2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons water, heated to between 100-110 degrees
    2 teaspoons dried granulated yeast
    2 tablespoons oil
    3 cups bread flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

    MEASURE all ingredients except cornmeal into bread pan in order listed; Select dough setting.
    When the dough cycle is complete, place the ball in a well greased bowl.
    Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes
    Preheat oven to 400
    Knead the risen dough lightly. Roll the dough into the desired shape
    Place on well greased baking sheet, or pizza pan (12x 15 rectangle) dusted with cornmeal.
    Partially bake the crust for about 8 minutes. remove crust and increase oven setting to 425 F.
    Top crust with your favorite fixings.
    BAKE 20-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and delicious.

    Monday, September 12, 2011

    Zucchini Sausage Frittata

    A straight edged pan is not the right pan to use when making a frittata, as I learned making this the first time.When I made it again, per the boys request, I used a sloped edge pan. It was so much easier to slide out of the pan and onto a serving platter.


    1/2 cup oil
    2 cups 1/2 inch cubes of potatoes
    kosher salt
    ground pepper
    garlic clove
    1 pound sausage, removed from casing or crumbled*
    1 onion
    2 cups 1/2 inch cubed zucchini
    10-12 eggs, beaten

    Heat oil to medium high heat. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. When the potatoes are almost golden brown and delicious add the garlic. Remove from the pan to drain on a paper towel.

    Next brown your sausage until no longer pink. Remove from the pan to drain on a paper towel.

    Saute the onions with some salt until almost translucent. Add the zucchini and cook until both begin to brown.

    Stir in the sausage, potatoes and beaten eggs. When the edges of the egg mixture is cooked, fold them in to the middle of the pan so that more raw eggs ooze out to the side and cook. Continue until no more raw eggs oozes out. Then leave it alone to firm up.

    • Moving the middle of the egg mixture like scrambled eggs will help to cook the eggs also. But don't over do it or you will be making scrambled eggs. 
    Waiting to be flipped
    Once the bottom part of the frittata (pan side) moves as a whole when the pan is rocked back and forth, it's time to flip. 

    Take a dish or pan larger than your frying pan and place it on top of the frittata then gently flip the pan over. The uncooked top portion will now be the bottom. Slide the frittata back into the pan. Cook until the frittata moves as a whole. cut into slices and serve.

    *Chef's Note: If all you have is breakfast sausage and you want to give this dish more of an Italian flare, add 1/2 tsp each dried basil, dried oregano, dried thyme and 1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage to the sausage as it browns.

    Mediterranean Style Veggies & Orzo


    The tomatoes, onion, and zucchini came straight from the garden. It was very flavorful even though I forgot the garlic and we had no feta cheese. Bummer! I think the feta and artichoke hearts really make this dish. We did have Parmesan cheese, a delicious solution. This would be a lovely accompaniment to a Lemon Roasted Chicken. Mmmm. . . We added some shredded rotisserie chicken to make it a main dish rather than a side.

    1 1/2 cups of cooked orzo (3/4 cup dry)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 small onion, diced
    1/2 cup chicken broth
    1 small zucchini
    1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained & chopped into eighths
    1 small tomato, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
    1 can sliced black olives

    In a  large nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil  shimmers, add the chopped onions and a pinch of salt. Saute the onions until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.

    Add the zucchini and chicken broth then reduce the heat. Let the zucchini simmer until it is crisp tender (about 5 minutes).

    Add the orzo, artichokes, tomato, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir together and allow the mixture to heat through before serving.

    Serve sprinkled with feta (or Parmesan) and topped with black olives.