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Portobello Mushrooms Stuffed with Baby Spinach and Peppers with Alfredo Sauce

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This idea struck me out of the blue. I LOVE big, juicy portobello mushrooms. A lot. First, I marinated them for a few hours, sans stems, in olive oil, oregano, garlic and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Save the stems, cut, and sautĂ©; they’re awesome and shouldn’t be wasted. Next, I grilled the mushroom concave side up, and then flipping them, I dumped the liquid on the ones I already flipped over. I used the indirect-grilling method so as not to have flare-ups from the olive oil. Then, I spooned in a small amount of Alfredo sauce. You can use homemade or store-bought, your choice. Finally, I topped with a mixture of baby spinach and diced bell peppers. You can just load everything, and grill if you want, or bake, or broil, whatever. I just prefer grilling the mushrooms first; but that’s just one of my little quirks. They taste awesome and make such a pretty and colorful presentation. Marinating the mushrooms really makes this dish though 🙂

Chicken Cordon Bleu

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There I was pounding the chicken breasts in the kitchen when my 20-yr-old son asks what I was doing because he couldn’t hear the TV. Gasp. Heaven forbid. I don’t really care because I haven’t watched TV in over two-years, seriously. However, when I said I was beating the meat there was instant silence, not a word, nada. I have finally found a way to shut an older child up… LOL.

After flattening the breasts I put in one slice of Boar’s Head Black Forest ham, some Monterey Jack cheese because I was out of Swiss, and then rolled them up and tied with kitchen twine. You can use toothpicks, but I prefer to tie them up. Besides, the kitchen twine only gets used at Thanksgiving. Coat in flour to which I added a package of Good Seasonings Italian dry dressing mix. After browning in butter on both sides on medium-high heat I added 3/4 cup white wine. I used a Sauvignon Blanc because that is what white wine I happened to have on hand. I also added about a tsp of chicken base paste. I suppose you could use granules. Cover and cook on low for about 20-minutes. Remove chicken and add 1 cup of heavy cream to which 1 TBL of cornstarch was previously added and stirred together. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. I also tossed in some minced garlic and parsley before spooning over the little golden chicken pockets. Mmm, mmm, good 🙂

My Kids are Food Snobs

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I can’t remember the last time I bought a fast-food meal for my kids. I pride myself on making almost everything homemade. I even make homemade cream of mushroom/celery/chicken in concentrate instead of using the canned stuff. My kids, ages 16, 20, and 21 have eaten almost every type of meat available, every herb and almost every spice. They’ve tasted pretty much most cuisines and don’t shy away from new things. I don’t make them eat something they don’t like, but I do insist that they at least try it. Tonight, it has all come back to bite me in the ass. Someone posted a recipe on Facebook that used the refrigerated crescent rolls (I usually make my own potato crescent rolls) and a mixture of shredded chicken, shredded cheese, cream cheese, green onions and bacon. I rarely, and I mean like twice a year, use bacon. I drove to the market and schlepped into the store, loaded up the few ingredients to make a simple dinner tonight so that I could go home and take a super-hot, epsom-salt bath, and read the end of my steamy novel. It’s okay taking the “easy way” and using shortcuts, right? I bought a rotisserie chicken, which I must say was really good by itself. As I’m mixing up everything in a bowl one son walked in and asked what kind of cheese I was using. SCREECHING STOP… what? “Well, I think swiss and cheddar would be good, but please don’t use American. I’m not fond of it, and I don’t think it will be good in it.” Well okay, sounds like good advice, but I already had some American cheese shredded, and surely he wouldn’t notice it, right? <biting nails>.  A second son strolls into the kitchen and asks why I’m putting cream cheese in it. Reasonable question, but I don’t know, the recipe says so and that’s the story I’m sticking with. The kitchen is starting to smell really good at this point, really good. Damn good, actually.

The results: My kids are FOOD SNOBS.

They didn’t like it. It was too cheesy, too creamy. “Why does it all taste the same.” “What herbs are in here?” one son asks. Um, none, I reply. I hear a snort as feet shuffle out of the kitchen. This is a meal that they all would have loved a couple years ago. Every single one of them. But NOOOOOO, these are kids that are used to stuffed portobello mushrooms, prime rib, rack of lamb, stir-fried local veggies, roasted asparagus and cauliflower, and fiddleheads picked from a friend’s property. Next time they can make a peanut butter sandwich when I feel the need for a quick and easy dinner. All in all, I’m glad my kids have good taste in food and know the difference in quality of things. So, if I have to skip some of the great looking quick recipes I find on Pinterest, well, so be it. Here is the original recipe that I used. I’m sure it’s fine, but not for my budding Julia Child and Emeril Legasses. http://recipetipster.com/roasted-garlic-chicken-puffs/

Baked Tortilla Bowls (no oil)

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So, I found a set of tortilla bowl molds, and knew that I had to pick them up. I think it was $10 for the set. What is awesome about these is that you put tortillas in them, bake at 375 for about 15 minutes and you get a hard taco-shell bowl to fill to your hearts content. No oil. None. You can use any kind of tortilla that you want… white or whole wheat flour both work fine. I would recommend bringing them to room temp first or they will crack. You can do this quickly by wrapping in a damp towel and microwaving for a few seconds, but not too long or they’ll dry out. Yes, you can use corn tortillas too. I know, it’s EXCITING!!!! You can also use any size tortilla you want. I went with a 6″ flour and you can see the size it made. You can also use an 8″ or 10″ tortillas for much bigger bowl all from the same mold. This is wonderful. I happened to have lentils that were in my fridge and I spiced them up Mexican-style with taco seasoning and the kids were none the wiser, but to be fair, my kids like pretty much everything so… I bought my set locally, but you can get them on Amazon. Here is the link 🙂  http://www.amazon.com/As-Seen-On-T-V-PT011124/dp/B008UA4POE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370895589&sr=8-2&keywords=tortilla+bowl

Fiddleheads – Spring is in the air

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Oh, I love this time of year so much. Why? Because fiddleheads are available for roughly a two-week window. If you’ve never had fiddleheads then you simply must try them. If you like vegetables, you’ll love them. Fiddleheads are the tightly-furled frond of a fern leaf before it, well, before it unfurls. I’d describe them as having a very mild asparagus or green bean taste; very mild, mind you. First, I soaked them to get all the bits of dirt out of them, and then boiled for about 7 minutes. Afterwards, I drained and sautĂ©ed in olive oil, butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Mmmm, delicious. I’ve heard that if you don’t steam/boil them first that you can get stomach cramps as they might be too hard to digest. I don’t know if that’s true or not; I just continue to do it the way I was taught. Next time I might try roasting them. Roasting is my favorite way of preparing most veggies. I served them with sausage stuffed Portobello mushrooms and crispy chicken cutlets, my husband’s favorite chicken EVER 🙂 Have a BEAUTIFUL evening 🙂

Asian Chicken BBQ on Scallion Toast

I tried this recipe from Allrecipes.com and fell in love with the sauce. I’ve made it with turkey and chicken. I’ve also made it without the English Muffins and just served in a lettuce wrap. I’m not sure how Asian the scallion English Muffins are, but my kids loved them. It’s all good. Thanks for a wonderful recipe, Janice Elder. I served it with marinated cucumbers in a sweet Thai Chili sauce. I also added fennel seeds to the cucumbers, which was a great addition. Here is the link for the original recipe. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Asian-Turkey-Barbecue-on-Sesame-Scallion-Toasts/Detail.aspxImage

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil, divided
  • 3 cups cooked, chopped cooked chicken
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup diced green onions, divided
  • 4 English muffins, split

     Directions

  1. Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together hoisin sauce, barbeque sauce, ginger and 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Mix in turkey, salt, pepper and green onions, gently tossing until all ingredients are well blended. Cook approximately 10 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the remaining sesame oil and remaining green onions. Brush the cut sides of the English muffins lightly with the mixture. Place the muffin halves face up on a medium baking sheet.
  4. Broil English muffins 2 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and top with turkey mixture. Serve warm.

Rustic Potato and Caramelized Onion Rosemary Tart

A rustic tart filled with potato slices, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, bacon, cheddar cheese, garlic and fresh Rosemary. A quick egg-wash on the dough and then baked until bubbly and golden (about 40 minutes @350F) on parchment paper, which I love using. I got home too late to make my own dough since it would have had to sit in the fridge for about an hour; so, I used pre-made phyllo sheets instead. I know, I know, bad pastry chef wannabe… LOL. I saw this made when I was shadowing a culinary student at the cooking school I am going to be going to this fall. I changed it up a bit with the added mushrooms, garlic and phyllo. They made an easy tart dough, but it really does need to be refrigerated for about an hour.Image