Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre

April 18, 2014 | by Diana

Since it’s National Garlic Day on April 19th, I wanted to come up with a dinner that had some nice garlic flavor.  Originally I was going to make a salad with garlic chicken and asparagus, but while I was at the store other thoughts entered my mind and I went with it.  I grilled asparagus on a grill pan first, but maybe it doesn’t really need it.  We loved the whole meal and I will definitely do it again when my daughter’s home, she enjoys it when I come up with something delicious. Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre is something your family would enjoy too.

Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre Ingredients:

Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top.  Roll the chicken up around the asparagus.  Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs. Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done.  About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.

 

Herbed Garlic Chevre

Sauté garlic in oil to soften.  Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop.  Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine.  Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.

Chicken stuffed with Asparagus and Herbed Garlic Chevre
Stuffing the chicken with Asparagus and Herbed Chevre is a delicious spring meal, for when those asparagus are just starting to poke through the ground.
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • 2 large chicken breasts – sliced in half, then pounded flat.
  • 16 spears of asparagus
Herbed Garlic Chevre
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Herbs – basil, parsley
  • Salt
  • Garlic-Pepper
Instructions
  1. Dollop the Herbed Garlic Chevre on the flattened chicken breast and place 4 spears of asparagus on top.
  2. Roll the chicken up around the asparagus.
  3. Sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese, Salt, Garlic Pepper and Herbs.
  4. Place in glass pan, or casserole dish, and cover with aluminum foil.
  5. Bake in the oven on 350 until Chicken is done.
  6. About 10 minutes before it will be done take the aluminum foil off.
Herbed Garlic Chevre
  1. Sauté garlic in oil to soften.
  2. Peel parsley, basil and thyme off stems and coarsely chop.
  3. Put it into bullet or other small processor or chop finely, and chevre, and whirl to combine.
  4. Use this to dollop on the chicken breasts.

You could really smell the garlic in the kitchen while it was cooking and taste it in the cheese.

I served this with resmashed potatoes.  I added a little cream, some gouda, and parmesan, salt, garlic pepper and herbs.  Place in ramekins, sprinkle with garlic pepper, then parmesan cheese – It will have a nice cooked brown parmesan top to it when it’s ready.  Throw it in the oven with the chicken for about 20 minutes (place in pan with water).

Dinner was a success.  Though the chicken didn’t need a sauce or gravy – it wasn’t dry, the bottom of the pan was filled with good stuff my husband and I kept scraping, so maybe deglazing the pan and making a sauce with it is something I might try next time.

 

 

Don’t forget the Jelly Beans.

April 18, 2014 | by Diana

Mike and Ike Jelly Beans - Cookerati.comJelly beans are a go to for the special Easter baskets. I like jelly beans, but only if they have flavor.  I don’t like the jelly beans that are bland and all taste the same, I want the different colors to taste like different flavors. Mike and Ike have flavored jelly beans that are pretty cool.  You can pick up different assortments, like fruit flavored, or tart, or even cinnamon – which I usually hate, but didn’t this time they were good too. I loved the assortments, and I also like that on the bag, there’s a guide to tell you which one you picked – like banana, pineapple, cherry, citrus punch, lemon lime. They also have a specialty box made with fruit juice (but it also contains sugar and corn syrup) – with a specially Mike and Ike shaped Easter Treats. So don’t forget the jelly beans, and pick up some that have flavor like Mike and Ike!

Disclosure: I was sent some jelly beans in order to do this review, the opinion presented and the photograph are my own.

Irish Country Cooking by The Irish Countrywoman’s Association

April 7, 2014 | by Diana

Recently, my sister brought up our family’s ethnic heritage.  I think every family should explore their roots, and cook authentic recipes as a way to share that heritage. My grandfather’s parents were both born and raised in different areas of Ireland and migrated to the United States in the late 1800s, and early 1900s. A review of Irish Country Cooking – More Than 100 Recipes For Today’s Table seemed like a very appropriate review for me. While this book contains all of the regular St. Paddy’s Day food of Corned Beef and Cabbage or Shepherd’s Pie, it introduces a few new ones plus a few out of box surprises like Hungarian Goulash. My Hungarian grandmother who was married to my Irish grandfather would have had a chuckle.

Irish Country Cooking - Cookerati

The Irish Countrywoman’s Association

The hard covered book was compiled by the Irish Countrywoman’s Association.  The ICA was founded in 1910 and consists of over 700 local guilds throughout Ireland.  Over the years these guilds produced their own local cookbooks with recipes passed down in families from generation to generation.  This book – Irish Country Cooking is a compilation of 100 of the best recipes from those local cookbook collections.

Crusted Rack of Lamb - Cookerati

Irish Country Cooking – the book

I tried out a few of the recipes and I liked how well they came out.  I made the Crusted Rack of Lamb with Orange and Olive Salad.  My lamb looked exactly like the photo in the book and tasted great too. I shared it with my family for my birthday dinner. My husband and son also loved the Colcannon – a very traditional potato and cabbage dish.

Speaking of photos – there are plenty, though not every recipe has a photo, most do.  There is a table of contents in the front and an index by ingredient in the back (just the way I like it).

We have all of the regulars like Soups, Starters, Main Meals, Side Dishes – which include preserves as well as side dishes and dips, sauces and stocks.  Then we have the sweets which include cakes, puddings and desserts.  To add to the content it starts out with an introduction from the ICA national president, a note from the editor, and a few words from guest chefs.  This book also  contains useful equipment and a glossary.

What else is cool about the recipes:

The only drawback is that it doesn’t have nutrition labels so that you can adjust something if it goes over your dietary limits.

All around this is a really nice book for authentic Irish recipes, some I have seen before and many I have not.  I plan on using it to inspire some of my own contributions to the family meal.

 

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy in order to complete this review.  This is not a sponsored or paid post.  The review is based on my opinion of the book, and is not influenced by anything else.

 

 

Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta

April 4, 2014 | by Diana

Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta - Cookerati

The lamb neck is often an overlooked piece of lamb that people don’t ask their butcher for. I went to a lamb cutting class and when asked which part of the lamb was the favorite, I don’t remember what my response was, but I remember the response of another person, because he said lamb neck.  The butcher said it was one of the lower costing and under-valued. My Braised Lamb Neck Stew Over Polenta is a delicious way to prepare this under utilized part of the lamb that is so delicious.

Lamb neck is a very fatty piece, with a lot of bones, because of this the meat is full of flavor. It also means, that it’s more of a stew piece instead of a steak or thick roast. After you cook it, you have to wade in with your fingers, pull the meat out and the bones and also drain all of the grease to get to the flavor filled stock.  It’s a bit of work, but really worth it. I served it over polenta this time, but a nice root vegetable mash or potato mash would be great. Serving it over a nice thick Sourdough would work well for sopping up that great gravy.

This is not a quick and easy worknight meal.  You can put it into the crockpot, but the meat has to cool, so that you won’t burn your fingers. The gravy will need to cool a little also before you whirl it around in the food processor.

Braised Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
 
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Lamb Neck is an often forgotten but very economical piece of meat that is great for stew.
Author:
Recipe type: Lamb Neck Stew over Polenta
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 1 lamb neck
  • 3 tbs cooking oil
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2 tsp paprka
  • 1 pint lamb or chicken broth
  • 4 carrots sliced into 3 inch pieces
  • 2 large turnips quartered
  • 3 large tomatoes (or a can of stewed tomatoes)
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • (as needed)
  • 1 cup of water
  • cumin
  • all spice
  • garlic
  • pepper
  • paprika
Instructions
  1. Using a dutch oven, heat the cooking oil.
  2. Sear all sides of the lamb neck.
  3. Throw onions, garlic, sprinkle with cumin, all spice, ginger and paprika.
  4. When the onions are soft, add 1 pint broth and simmer for about an hour.
  5. Add in the carrots, turnips and tomatoes and simmer until the vegetables and soft and the meat is ready to come apart.
  6. Place the meat on a plate to cool so that you can work with it.
  7. Place the cooked vegetables (except tomatoes and onions) in a bowl with a cover.
  8. Drain the stock into a gravy separator.
  9. Using the wine deglaze the dutch oven and turn the heat off.
  10. Pour the gravy without the grease into a food processor along with the tomatoes and onions or use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth.
  11. Add water to thin and spices to taste and return to dutch oven if you used a food processor.
  12. Pull the meat off the lamb neck and discard the fat and bones then add the meat to the dutch oven.
  13. Slice the turnips and carrots into smaller bite size pieces and add to the dutch oven.
  14. Simmer on low the vegetables, lamb neck meat and sauce.
  15. Prepare the polenta.
  16. Boil 4 cups water.
  17. Add in cornmeal.
  18. Stir until the cornmeal seems suspended and no longer falls to the bottom of the pot.
  19. Place lid on and give it a stir every so often until thickened.
  20. Ladle the polenta into a bowl, place a serving of lamb neck stew over the center.

 

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata

March 23, 2014 | by Diana

Uncooked Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata - Cookerati.com

Spring is officially here, and the time has come to change things up from the vegetables and fruit that overwinter in the basement to the freshly growing like asparagus.  Red pepper isn’t too local right now, but the southern states have a little coming ripe right now.  This Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata is light, but full of flavor.  It’s great for Sunday Brunch or even for a quick worknight dinner.

<Click here to get the recipe. >

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata - Cookerati.com

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata

Slice of Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata - Cookerati.com

Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata
 
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This Spring Red Pepper and Asparagus Frittata is a delicious light brunch or breakfast for dinner.
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Egg Dish
Serves: 4- 6
Ingredients
  • 1 small shallot
  • 14 asparagus spears
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper
  • 8 eggs.
  • 3 tbs chevre (soft goat cheese)
  • 2 ounces swiss cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to a low broil or 400 degrees.
  2. Mince asparagus.
  3. Slice the bottom woody portion of asparagus off and cut the spears into 1 to 1½ inch pieces leaving the top of the asparagus whole.
  4. Cut the red pepper in half, remove seeds, stem and pith.
  5. Slice pepper into thin slices similar in size to asparagus spears.
  6. Save back a few red peppers and asparagus spear tips for later.
  7. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan.
  8. Saute shallots.
  9. When they are translucent, throw in peppers and asparagus to heat up.
  10. Whip together 8 eggs.
  11. Dollop in the goat cheese in small amounts, whipping it into the eggs.
  12. You don't have to break the cheese up totally, a creamy dollop is a treat.
  13. Grate swiss cheese and stir into egg mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  14. While the non-stick pan is still on the stove, pour the egg mixture over the vegetables.
  15. Place the asparagus tops and some saved back red peppers on the top of the egg mixture in a pleasing design.
  16. Put the frittata on the top rack of the oven.
  17. When the eggs are firmly set across the top but lightly browned and fluffy, remove from the oven and sprinkle the rest of the grated swiss cheese across the top.

 

Deviled Green Guac Eggs for St. Patrick’s Day

March 13, 2014 | by Diana

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and Green is the color of choice (or if you are anti-green, then it’s orange but that’s a different story).  Deviled eggs are great for any gathering and with the help of Wholly Guacamole, my Deviled Green Guac Eggs are a fast way to put together an appetizer for your St. Paddy’s Day gathering. I put my own ingredients together along with a sample of Wholly Guacamole that I received and when my son saw what I was mixing up, he was intrigued and delighted.  He said that it had to be healthier than mayo, and I had to agree.  My husband had a taste when he came home from work and he was equally delighted. We all agree that this makes a fantastic bite.

Deviled Green Guac Eggs - Cookerati

You can find Wholly Guacamole in the refrigerated produce section of the store. If you have more time, you can make up your own guacamole using avocados, garlic powder and lemon or lime to keep from turning brown. If you wish for a little more heat use the Spicy Guac or add some hot peppers.  More Wholly recipes can be found on Pinterest – and if you like discounts check out the coupon tab on their Facebook Page.

Green pea shoots make a great 3 leaf cloverish like green to sprinkle around the eggs and give it a little Irish flair on your serving plate.

<Click here to get recipe.>


Deviled Green Guac Eggs for St. Patrick's Day
 
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Deviled Green Guac Eggs - a good St. Patrick's Day appetizer and also a little healthier than the mayo recipe. I add onion and chipotle pepper seasoning to give it a little smoky spicey kick.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 package of Wholly Guacamole Classic
  • 1 Green onion minced
  • ¼ tsp Smoked Chipotle Pepper seasoning
Instructions
  1. Peel egg and slice in half lengthwise.
  2. Remove yolks into a bowl, set aside whites onto a plate.
  3. Smash yolks until they are finely ground.
  4. Add in minced onion, smoked chipotle seasoning and green onion.
  5. Mix well.
  6. Place mixture into a piping bag or a ziplock bag with the corner cut off and pipe into the white portion of the egg, or use a spoon and spoon it into the white.
  7. Sprinkle pea shoots around for garnish - and sprinkle with more chipotle pepper seasoning (optional).
Notes
If you would like a little spicier, add in a chopped hot pepper, or use the spicy version of the Guacamole Dip.

Disclosure:  I was given samples of Wholly Guacamole, a brand I like. The recipe is my own take on subbing guacamole for mayo in deviled eggs.

 

Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco

February 15, 2014 | by Diana

So breakfast this morning uses up the black bean dip that I made last night.  I’ll get that recipe in here too, but I wanted to show off my soft tacos that we had this morning.  It was fast and easy to put together and eat – before heading out to shovel more snow.

Scramble eggs, throw a soft tortilla spread with black bean dip (or refried beans if you like) and some swiss cheese (or cheddar or your favorite) onto a cookie sheet with a silicon sheet lining it into the oven.  Top with some quick guacamole made with chopped up avocado and minced shallots.   Fold it up and eat.

<Click here to get the recipe. >

Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco - Cookerati

Scrambled Egg and Black Bean Soft Taco – Cookerati


Scrambled Eggs and Black Bean Soft Taco
 
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Quick breakfast using leftover bean dip, scrambled eggs and homemade guacamole.
Author:
Cuisine: Breakfast
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 tbs bean dip
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 small soft corn tortillas
  • 4 oz swiss (or cheddar) cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • ½ shallot
Instructions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with a silicon sheet.
  2. Heat non-stick pan over medium low on stove top.
  3. Place the corn tortillas on the silicon sheets and spread 2 tbs of bean dip over each.
  4. Shred or chop 4 oz of cheese and sprinkle over beans.
  5. Whisk 4 eggs in a bowl and pour into heated pan, softly stirring to scrambled perfection.
  6. When the eggs are soft scrambled, pull out the cookie sheet and place ¼ portion on each soft taco, and place the cookie sheet back in the oven.
  7. Quickly remove the pit and dice up the avocado and mince the shallots, stir together in a small bowl while smashing.
  8. Pull the cookie sheet with the soft tacos out of the oven and place on a plate, top with the guacamole and serve.
Notes
Actually, my husband and I didn't stop at one. We ate two. Feel free to add tomatoes when they are in season (and have flavor) or top with a little salsa.

 

I made this low sodium by using home made black bean dip and using dried beans instead of canned.  I used Swiss Cheese because it is lower in sodium.  I used soft tortilla shells that were only 10 mg of sodium as well.  My husband is on a low sodium diet but it is not for everyone as sodium is necessary, check with your doctor before deciding on a low sodium diet.

Sees Candy For Valentines Day

February 11, 2014 | by Diana

I received a boxSees Valentines Chocolate of Valentine’s Day Candy from Sees to try out. Sees candy has been American made since 1921 founded on Mary Sees basic principle of quality without compromise.  This really is a quality chocolate, made without preservatives. The Chocolate is rich, and the fillings sweet and delicious without being cloying. I’ll say it again, it’s quality chocolate.

There are two hundred shops across the US including Columbus, OH , and you can still get Valentines candy delivered to your door by Valentines day with their free two day shipping upgrade available in their online store right now.

 

Disclosure:  I received a box of Sees Candy to sample in order to do the review.  There was no monetary compensation for this review and the opinions are my own.

Sees Classic Heart

 

The Classic Red Heart I received was jam packed with delicious, delightful and delectable Sees Chocolate Candy. There were Chocolate Covered Nuts, Creams and Brittles. Stick to your teeth but really good brittles.

Though I can only vouch for the Classic Red Heart, they have many options available to try out. Chocolates, Brittles, Chocolate Covered Nuts, Lollipops, as well as Sugar Free and Kosher.  Take a look at Sees, and get a jump on that Valentines Day present that you left for the last moment.  You still have time….

 

 

Magic Seasonings by Spike – Review and Giveaway

February 9, 2014 | by Diana

Spike Gourmet Natural SeasoningsIf you are space or seasoning-ally challenged, it’s nice to have a little magic on hand, like the kind Spike Gourmet Natural Seasonings provides. I do have a cabinet full of spice jars and seasonings, however most are not blends, but single spices – which means I have to search and put together my own combinations.  That’s okay for me, but my son and husband prefer to have the blends ready for them.  They don’t want to search through individual jars, give them a couple of jars, not a handful or more.  My son likes all the combinations and while my husband has to avoid a few due to being on a low sodium diet, my son is claiming any and all that my husband is not able to enjoy in our recipes. Spike Gourmet Natural Seasonings is giving away all of the same magic seasonings that they sent to me to try out,  1 jar each of : Original Magic, Salt Free Magic, Hot N’ Spicy Magic, Vegit Magic, 5 Herb Magic, Onion Magic, Garlic Magic,  Vege-Sal, Lemon Pepper Magic and Tenderizer Magic.

We’ve been trying out the Magic Seasonings by Spike the last few weeks. My son adds the garlic, the onion powder and the Salt Free Magic along with the 5 Herb Magic to tomato sauce for use with pasta.  He also made oven baked fries (in which he was very heavy handed in the spices there but we’re experimenting) using the onion, garlic, salt free magic and the Vegit – a low sodium spice (along with a bunch of black pepper). My husband was out of town so I used the Original Magic Seasoning in a Potato, Sausage and Veggie dish. The spices are good, and though the print on the bottle is really small, I can read that most of the ingredients are natural and good, though I’m a little foggy on hydrolyzed soy protein and these are natural, but not organic. There is a little caking, but that’s because there isn’t an anti-caking agent added and that’s more than fine with me.

Disclosure:  I received ten jars of Spike Brand Gourmet Natural Seasonings to try out for this review.  I have not received compensation for this review or to hold a giveaway. My opinions are my own.

The Spike Natural Gourmet Seasonings can accommodate different dietary restrictions depending on which one you are using.

The gluten free seasonings are: Original Magic, Salt Free Magic,  Hot N’ Spicy Magic,  Vegit Magic, 5 Herb Magic, Onion Magic and Garlic Magic.

Low sodium (1/4 tsp): Vegit Magic – 15 mg, Spike Salt Free – 2 mg, Onion Magic – 10 mg sodium.

No sodium: Garlic Magic, 5 Herb Magic.

 This Giveaway is over.

Anyone who wins this collection of seasonings will be thrilled to experiment with the different blends.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup

February 5, 2014 | by Diana

I told you I was going healthy for the Superbowl.  We brought this  – Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup.  We also brought some berries and greek yogurt with honey – plus vegan chocolate avocado cupcakes.  We did splurge though because my sister in law made some awesome queso with sausage that was great with chips and they also had some Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was a small gathering, but there was plenty of food and even though our favorite team disappointed, we had a good time (well most of us).

I bought my butternut squash last fall at the farmer’s market.  We put them into baskets and stored them on shelves in the unheated basement.  The food doesn’t freeze down there, but it does get rather nippy downstairs. Last year I tried storing them in a warmer spot, but some of my squash went bad.  This year, they are in perfect condition and not even drying out.  I’m thrilled that we put up a nice shelving unit to use for winter storage.

Anyway, I also have been trying to work with beans more, but dry beans not canned beans, and so that was the start of this soup. I roasted most of the vegetables in a glass pan in the oven until almost cooked.  I also baked the chicken breast rather than fry it up.  I wanted the broth to be clear when I served it and not muddied, which is why I did it this way.  And to give it a nice bright taste, I grated lemon peel and squeezed lemon juice into it.  This soup is one of my best tasting, I recommend it for family dinner, or a gathering of friends, or just the two of you.

Ingredients:

Take the first four ingredients and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, place in a single layer in a glass pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 until the butternut squash softens.  Place the ingredients in a soup pot along with the diced chicken, the beans (rinsed and drained), and the broth.  Grate the lemon rind into the broth and squeeze in the lemon juice.  Heat soup and when it starts to simmer, dump in the chard.  Simmer until chard has softened.  Salt and Pepper to taste.

My husband and I had two bowls, my sister in law had a couple of bowls, a friend had a bowl, plus there were a few leftovers.  It’s really a delicious tasty soup and yet it wasn’t all that difficult to throw together.  You can do most of it ahead of time and then throw all of the ingredients together into the pot at a later time and finish the recipe.  You can also leave out the chicken for a nice vegetarian soup with a lot of flavor.

 

Chicken, Chard, Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
 
Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and diced into 1 inch squares
  • ½ onion diced into 1 inch squares
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 celery stalks diced into 1 inch squares
  • 1 large cooked chicken breast - cooked and diced into 1 inch squares
  • 2 cups prepared beans ( or 1 can of white beans such as northern
  • 2 quarts chicken broth (or two large tetra paks)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1½ tsp paprika
  • big bunch of chard leaves (about 4) chopped
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Take the first four ingredients and sprinkle lightly with olive oil, place in a single layer in a glass pan, cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 until the butternut squash softens.
  2. Place the roasted ingredients in a soup pot along with the diced chicken, the beans (rinsed and drained), and the broth.
  3. Grate the lemon rind into the broth and squeeze in the lemon juice.
  4. Heat soup and when it starts to simmer, dump in the chard.
  5. Simmer until chard has softened.
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste.

 

~~~~This is an update of a previous post as evidenced by the reference to the Steelers winning in one of the links.  I thought today’s snowy day was the perfect time to bring out a good soup recipe.