September 20, 2016

Chicken Mustard Milanese with Arugula Salad

Wow, summer flew by, and fall is here, just like *that*!

Today's recipe is a quick elegant dinner that works great for a weeknight dinner or even a make-ahead dinner party with friends.

You can prepare the chicken up to a a day in advance.  To prepare the chicken, you would butterfly a chicken breast, pound it out, and then dip it in flour, egg white mixture, and bread crumbs.  Pounding the chicken makes it much more tender. The egg white mixture will contain egg white along with some herbs and Dijon mustard.  Once you coat the chicken, it needs to be chilled so that the topping will set.  The longer you refrigerate, the more the topping sticks to the chicken, and the more the mustard and herb flavors marinate into the chicken.  You could do this the day before a dinner party and minimize your prep time the next day!

When it comes time to cook the chicken, you just fry the chicken in some oil, pat it dry with paper towels, and stick it in the oven to keep it warm.  Think of this as a much easier way to make fried chicken at home.  The thin chicken stayed very juicy and moist, and the breading made it even more flavorful.  It felt more "dressed up" with the French Dijon mustard, too.

Serve this chicken with a simple arugula salad, and you're all set.

Chicken Mustard Milanese with an Arugula Salad
Yields 2 servings


For the chicken:
1 large boneless chicken breast
1/4 cup (33 grams) all-purpose flour
1 egg white
1 tbsp. smooth Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
3/4 cup (40 grams) panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
Grapeseed oil, canola oil, or other oil for frying

For the salad:
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 cup olive oil
3 oz. arugula leaves

Using a very sharp knife, butterfly the chicken breast on a cutting board with a very sharp knife.  Slice the chicken breast all the way through so that you end up with two cutlets.  Using a meat pounder, pound the cutlets out between two pieces of plastic wrap to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white, Dijon mustard, oregano, parsley, and lemon zest.

On your counter, set up three large plates.  On the first plate, add the flour.  On the second plate, add the egg white mixture.  On the third plate, spread out the breadcrumbs.

Pat both sides of the chicken lightly in the flour mixture.  Next, dredge both sides of the chicken heavily in the egg white mixture.  Then, pat both sides of the chicken heavily with the breadcrumbs.  Repeat with the second piece of chicken.  Arrange the breaded chicken on a large plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to 1 day.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 175º.  Pour 1/2 inch of oil in a large pan and heat over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is heated, cook the chicken until golden on both sides, about 3 to 5 minutes on the first side, and 2 to 3 minutes on the second side.  Remove the chicken from the heat, and salt and pepper the chicken again on both sides while draining on paper towels.  Once it is drained, transfer the chicken to a baking tray and insert it in the warm oven.  Repeat with remaining chicken.

For the salad dressing, whisk the lemon juice, mustards, and olive oil together in a large bowl.  Add the arugula to the bowl and toss.  When ready to serve, plate the salad and add the chicken.

Source: Smitten Kitchen cookbook

July 26, 2016

Ina Garten's Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake

Today, I have a simple make-ahead dessert to share, and it will be a huge hit at any summer party!

I love hosting dinner parties at my house, but I especially love having pizza parties (and my annual Christmas cookie party!).  At pizza parties, it's always hard to come up with a good dessert that is indulgent but not super heavy.   I remember watching an Ina Garten clip where she talked about making this cake and serving it as "thin wedges."  I'm not sure why I thought that "thin wedges" of a chocolate chip cookie layered creation would be a "lighter" dessert, but I decided to give it a go and made for a summer pizza party.  

For this cake, you whip up mascarpone cream, heavy whipping cream, cocoa powder, sugar, and some kahlua.  Then, in a springform pan, you layer thin chocolate chip cookies and top them with the whipped cream.  Refrigerate overnight, and voila, the cookies soften, and you have a chocolatey goodness dessert.  The chocolate Kahlua whipped cream adds a regal flair.  Though I'm not a coffee or Kahlua fan, this did not seem too heavy on the coffee flavor to me.  I think substituting Bailey's would also be good, though you could certainly leave out the liqueur.

You can use homemade or store-bought cookies here.  Ina suggests Tate's Bake Shop cookies, which are thin, crispy chocolate chip cookies.  You can find them at Whole Foods and sometimes even at Costco.  I read that Trader Joe's has a version of thin crispy chocolate cookies and that they are made by Tate's Bake Shop.  I'm not sure if that is true, but the packaging design did look a little similar.  Any chocolate chip cookies will do! :)

So, I may not have exactly served this in the thin wedges described by Ina Garten, but thick or thin, a wedge of this cake will do you and your friends well.

Ina Garten's Mocha Chocolate Icebox Cake
Yields 10 servings

2 cups heavy whipping cream
12 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 8-ounce packages of crisp chocolate chip cookies (such as Trader Joe's crisp cookies or Tate's Bake Shop)
Shaved chocolate, for garnish

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, combine the heavy cream, mascarpone cheese, granulated sugar, Kahlua, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and vanilla.  Mix on low speed to combine, and then increase the speed until firm peaks are formed.

To make the cake, arrange a piece of parchment paper on the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan, and then arrange the chocolate chip cookies flat on the pan, covering the bottom as much as possible.  Then, spread about one-fifth of the whipped cream evenly over the cookies.  Place another layer of cookies on top, and then add more cream.  Continue layering cookies and the cream until there are about 5 layers of each, and make sure to end with a layer of cream.  Use a spatula to smooth the top, and then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Before serving, sprinkle with chocolate, cut, and serve cold.

Source: Ina Garten

July 18, 2016

Greek Frittata

I have an egg-celent breakfast for you.  Ha, I couldn't resist that one! ;-)

For the past few months, I've been eating eggs for breakfast and have enjoyed coming up with all different ways to incorporate them in my breakfast repertoire.  Egg white oatmeal, omelettes, poached eggs, and hardboiled eggs -- the possibilities are endless!

I've experienced some positives with having eggs in the start of the day.  Eggs have kept me feeling more full longer because of the protein and fat in the eggs.  I've also had some weight loss with eating eggs for breakfast.  I read up on this, and studies have shown that people who eat eggs for breakfast are more likely to lose weight than people who eat a more carb-centric breakfast.

I've been getting a lot of zucchini in my produce box from Door to Door Organics, and one can only make so many spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles) and zucchini bread. ;)  I'm always looking for more ways to incorporate veggies into breakfast, and a plain veggie omelette is just boring to me.  I had never made a frittata before (not sure why it took me so long), so I experimented with making a Greek frittata with zucchini, garlic, dill, parsley, and feta.  It captured those fresh Greek flavors and made for a filling breakfast.


Greek Frittata
Yields 2 servings

4 large eggs
1 large zucchini, shredded or 2 cups of spinach
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. fresh dill or 2 tsp. dried drill
1 tbsp. fresh parsley or 1 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, as desired

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, and add any desired salt and pepper.  Then, add in the dill, parsley, and feta cheese, and stir to combine.  Set aside.

In an 8-inch skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil.  Add the zucchini or spinach, and stir for about 4-6 minutes until the zucchini/spinach softens.  Then, add the garlic and continue to stir lightly for about another minute.   Once the mixture is softened, transfer the contents to the egg mixture bowl and stir.

With a paper towel, wipe the skillet so that nothing is sticking to it.  Return the skillet to the stove over medium heat and add in another tablespoon of olive oil to warm.

Pour in the egg mixture.  Tilt the pan or use a spatula to ensure the mixture spreads evenly in the pan. Reduce the heat to low and place a cover over the skillet.  Allow the frittata to cook for about 3-5 minutes untouched so that it can set.

Remover the cover, and use a spatula to loosen the edges of the frittata.  Slide the frittata from the pan onto a flat plate or a cutting board.  Then, use the plate or board to flip the frittata back into the pan, and return the pan to the stove.  Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the bottom of the frittata becomes more gold.

Source: A Simply Sweet Justice Original

June 21, 2016

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Cantaloupe Salad

Summer is officially here!  Having grown up in the Palm Springs area, I am very used to hot, dry summers with triple digit temperatures.  Denver has had some days in the 90's lately, and it makes me shake my head to hear how vocal people are about their disdain for the heat.   We may not be setting records for high temperatures, but we are setting records for the number of people talking about the weather!  It's summer--summer is warm. :)  

With summer here, I'm all about the light, fresh summer fare.  This recipe combines a lot of the popular summer produce into one great salad.  Who says salad always has to involve lettuce (or kale - ha!)?  Lightly grilled asparagus and cantaloupe are combined with crisped proscuitto, pine nuts, and fresh mozzarella, and the salad is dressed with a light lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.  It's summer on a plate!  It is a light dinner, but a filling one, and all of the colors just make it feel like a happy dinner.

Prosciutto, Asparagus, and Cantaloupe Salad   
Yields 4 servings

3 oz. prosciutto
1 lb. asparagus
2 cups or 12 oz. melon, sliced into cubes or balls
4 oz. fresh mozzarella balls
2 tbsp. pinenuts
4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon liner.  Place prosciutto slices across baking sheet.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, until crispy.  After crispy, remove from oven and allow to cool for about three minutes.  Then, use paper towels to blot excess oil.  Finally, chop the prosciutto and set aside in a small bowl.

Preheat grill on medium heat, or alternatively heat a grill pan over the stove on medium heat.  In a bowl, toss the asparagus spears with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Grill for about 4 minutes, grill each side for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

If desired, you can toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat for about four minutes.

Combine the asparagus, melon, prosciutto, and mozzarella in a large bowl, and toss with the remaining olive oil and the lemon juice, adding extra salt and pepper to taste.  Then, top with the pine nuts.  Serve and enjoy!

Source: Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis

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