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Friday, June 28, 2013

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I live in New Jersey, aka The Garden State, and we have some of the most delicious summer produce.  Despite all the jokes about my home state, we have the best tomatoes in the country.  So I frequent our local farmers' markets here, where the produce is so fresh and the price is right!  I got two beautiful pints of red grape tomatoes for $3, and combined them with a pint of yellow tomatoes I did purchase at the grocery store to make this delicious sauce.  Roasting the tomatoes gives a complexity you would not otherwise get.  This sauce freezes very well.

2 pints red grape tomatoes, washed and pat dry
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes, washed and pat dry
1/4 EVOO
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp basil pesto (I had fresh made, but you can use store bought)
1/2 tsp sugar
few shakes red pepper flakes (optional)
2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed (or 2 tsp garlic paste)
6 large fresh basil leaves (or about 8 if they are smaller)
1/4 cup fat free half and half
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Toss tomatoes, EVOO, pesto, salt and pepper, sugar, red pepper flakes and garlic.  Place in non stick foil lined 9x13 baking dish.  Roast in oven about 20 minutes or until tomatoes start to "burst," releasing juices.  Pour all contents of dish into medium sized pot, add fresh basil leaves and puree with immersion blender.  Adjust seasonings to taste, add fat free half and half and parm and cook over low until hot.  Serve over pasta.
**I highly recommend the purchase of an immersion blender if you do not have one, at $30 they are one of the most useful cooking instruments and not very costly.  If not, you can puree this sauce in blender or food processor, just stop processor and open lid a few times to let steam escape.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lemon Garlic Chicken

ok, so here is another very requested recipe that is so so simple.  The chicken marinates for about 20 minutes and cooks for about another 22....on the grill it would be quicker probably, but I don't have one of those fancy things....I just have my trusty oven.  This is one of my go to recipes....and it is always the dish I make for a guy for the first time (works like a charm) shhhhhh.....
This recipe is designed for 2-3 chicken breasts so double accordingly.

Lemon Garlic Chicken

juice of 1-2 lemons...1/4 C juice (some yield more juice than others)
1-2 cloves garlic (make it as garlicky as you like...keep in mind not all the garlic will end up on the chicken)
1/2 C olive oil
salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste (the last part is optional)

2-3 pieces of thin cut skinless boneless chicken breasts (I use this recipe with two, but I think you can stretch it for 3)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients for marinade and put in ziploc bag.  Add chicken and "massage" and seal and put in fridge for about 20 minutes.....don't leave in too long or it will start to cook bc of the citrus juice and it will NOT be good.  I use a glass plate with nonstick foil for two chicken breasts.  Place in oven for approx 22 min...if it is thicker cut cook longer until no longer pink inside.  This dish is also good cold in a salad for the next will thank me, because this recipe is awesome.  Please feel free to comment!!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mashed Cauliflower

I get so many requests for this recipe every time I post a picture, and it truly is very easy and very delicious.  I actually like it more than mashed potatoes (don't tell my Irish grandmother!).  Disclaimer: You do have to actually like cauliflower to like this has the consistency of mashed potatoes, but I think the taste of cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower

20 oz bag frozen cauliflower florets
1 Tbsp butter (please don't use margarine, which is a chemical shitstorm)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp sour cream (can use low fat)
2 tsp. cream cheese (can use low fat)
salt and pepper to taste

Bring salted pot of water to boil and add cauliflower.  Boil for approximately 22-25 minutes (until pretty the lectures about overcooking the is necessary for this recipe).  Basically once a fork goes effortlessly into the cauliflower, it is done.  Drain and pat with paper towels to absorb most of the moisture.  Heat butter over medium and saute garlic for 1-2 minutes.  Add drained cauliflower and turn heat off.  add Sour cream, cream cheese and salt and pepper.  Use immersion blender to blend cauliflower into the consistency of mashed can alternately use a food processor, but you have to be careful about the heat and opening the food processor a few times to let steam out so it doesn't explode on you.  Trust me....invest in an immersion blender, they are $30, and they make life easy. Blend until proper consistency and voila!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Best and Easiest Hummus Recipe

I love hummus and always wanted to make it myself, my friend Melissa gave me this easy and delicious recipe that her brother in law makes.  Thank you so much, I will probably never buy it again!!!  It is very easy and you can easily add different things to it to make it different.  I am going to try it with roasted garlic next time, you can also make it spicy by adding red pepper flakes, and mix in a little olive tapenade and you have olive hummus :)


15 oz can of chickpeas (they come anywhere from 15oz to 16 oz, use either)
1/4 Cup of the liquid from the can of chickpeas
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp tahini
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Olive oil
paprika for garnish

Combine all ingredients except liquid from can in food processor and blend.  Add liquid from chickpeas and blend 3 minutes until very smooth.  Serve with a sprinkling of paprika and a drizzle of olive oil.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

creamy spicy shrimp over whole grain penne

The original recipe for the shrimp is a Giada De Laurentiis original, I couldn't find it online for a link.  I usually serve this over brown rice, but there is usually so much yummy sauce that gets wasted so I served it with penne.  Another thing that I have made with this dish is whole wheat orzo with butter and feta and serve the shrimp over top with sauce.  For this recipe I used Barilla Plus for the extra protein and whole grain.  It is delicious pasta but keep in mind it takes a little longer to cook.

Creamy Spicy Shrimp over Whole Grain Penne

20 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (if frozen, defrost)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon (squeeze into measuring cup)
enough white wine to equal 1/2 C with lemon juice
1 Tbsp hot sauce (more if you like it really spicy)
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1/2 package of whole wheat penne rigate (I used Barilla Plus)

Cook penne according to package directions (for the Barilla plus and most whole wheat pasta it takes almost 20 minutes).  Heat olive oil over medium heat, saute garlic 1-2 minutes (do not brown).

Squeeze lemon juice into measuring cup and add white wine to equal 1/2 C.  Add to pan and whisk in hot sauce.  Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes on each side or until pink throughout.  Once cooked, add heavy cream and parmesan cheese, stir.  Drain penne and add to sauce.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

blueberry pecan french toast casserole

The original recipe came from Bon Appetit magazine, I have been making it for years and have made adjustments and simplified it a bit.  Here is the link to the original recipe:
I am going to post the recipe as I modified it.  I added Cream cheese cubes to the casserole is just right.

Blueberry Pecan French Toast Casserole

24 inch baguette
6 large eggs
3 C milk (I used 1%, original called for whole)
1/2 tsp fresh ground nutmeg (use fresh, it is worth it)
1 tsp vanilla
1 C brown sugar, firmly packed
4 oz cream cheese cut into cubes
1 C pecans
1/2 stick (1/4 c) butter, unsalted
1 Cup fresh blueberries (original called for 2 C, I think that is too much)
** the original recipe calls for making blueberry syrup.  I think that is overkill on the blueberries.  I use regular maple syrup.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with non stick foil (or butter the pan, I find the foil is way easier!).  Cut 20 1 inch slices from baguette and arrange in one layer in baking dish. scatter cubed cream cheese over bread. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, vanilla, and 3/4 C brown sugar.  Pour evenly over bread and cream cheese.  Chill mixture, covered, overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Sprinkle pecans and blueberries over bread mixture.  Cut a 1/2 stick of butter into pieces and in a small saucepan heat with remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar until melted.  Drizzle over bread and bake mixture 35-40 minutes until bread is browned and mixture is bubbling.  Serve immediately with your favorite maple syrup