Friday, March 17, 2017

Grilled Chicken & Raviolis

Since I have been grilling a lot of chicken for use during the week, I have been looking for good recipes that are quick and simple.  This one is not only both quick and simple, but gives you a burst of Summertime as well...I have been using the refrigerated Tortellini lately and they work great!

Grilled Chicken Breast with Raviolis and Citrus Cream Sauce

Grilled chicken - ~1 breast per person
1 Stick butter - melted
3 Sprigs Rosemary - finely chopped
1 Tbsp. flour
1/2 Lemon - Juice and zest of ~1/4 of lemon
1/2 c White wine or Chicken Broth
1/2 c Heavy cream
Fresh ground pepper to taste.
1 pkg. fresh Cheese Raviolis or Tortellini

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat, then add chopped rosemary.
Stir in flour just to make sure sauce will slightly thicken.
Add in lemon juice, zest, pepper and white wine.  Reduce slightly ~2 min. then add cream.
Gently simmer until the sauce is thickened and heated through stirring often to make sure the sauce doesn't stick to the bottom of the saucepan.

Cook raviolis per package and serve on a platter/large pasta bowl.

Slice chicken to desired thickness, and spread neatly over raviolis, then pour sauce over chicken and raviolis.  Garnish with thinly sliced lemon pieces and a couple of sprigs of rosemary.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sprintime in Utah...

I love Spring in Utah...we emerge from the blanket of cold, snow, ice, inversion to days of relative warmth and sunshine.  Every year, our chives come back the same as they always do...
...peaking through the snow, until one day here they are!  We have had these for 15 years. Very Cool!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Deep thoughts...Preparation v. Practice

“To cook or fix some food, is not preparation; it is practice....Whatever we do, it should be an expression of the same deep activity. We should appreciate what we are doing. There is no preparation for something else.”- Dogen (1200-1252)

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Easy Mushroom, Parmesan Risotto

I have been looking for a good Risotto recipe for a long time now, but everything I have found is very time consuming and a real pain in the ass to stand over a stove for an hour stirring, adding, etc.

Sooo...I found three recipes* that sounded good, made some of my usual adjustments and voilà, here we go:

Total: 1 hr.           Active: 10 min
Yield:  8 to 10 servings 

Note: Recipe can be cut in half with no problem.  You can also do this on the stovetop as long as you have a heavy-bottom Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid.

2 cups Arborio rice
6 cups simmering chicken stock, low sodium, divided
3 Tbsp. Olive Oil, divided
1 large shallot, diced, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced, divided
1 lb. fresh Portobello and cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 Bay leaf
2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped, divided
1 ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup dry white wine, divided ½ & ¼ .
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add ½ shallot and 2 cloves garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the fresh mushrooms, ¼ cup wine, herbs and 1 Tbsp. butter.  Sauté until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

Coat a Dutch Oven with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.  Sauté the remaining ½ shallot and garlic cloves.  Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute.  This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking.  Stir in ½ cup wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.

Add Bay leaf and 5 cups of the chicken stock to the Dutch oven.  Stir to combine well.  Cover and bake for 45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.  If cooking on the stovetop, bring mixture to a slight boil then cover and simmer on low for ~35-40 minutes, stirring half way through the process.

Remove from the oven, take out the Bay leaf, add the remaining cup of chicken stock, the Parmesan, mushroom mixture, butter, salt and pepper to taste, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy. Top with chopped parsley and serve hot.

*Recipe compiled/adapted from Ina Garten, Tyler Florence, Giada De Laurentiis (Easy Parmesan ‘Risotto’, Mushroom Risotto, Mushroom Risotto with Peas)

Might I add that baking the risotto in the oven made ALL of the difference in the world, and still came out perfectly!

Julie's Birthday Dinner

It was recently Julie's birthday, and as is customary I made her a Birthday Dinner of whatever she wanted and we invited the family (minus Lauren & Austin, plus Beau and Holly) to celebrate.

Marin French Cheese Company Triple Cream Brie w/Crackers
JD's Salsa & Mexican-Style Tortilla Chips
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail w/House-Made Cocktail Sauce

Mixed Greens, Grape Tomatoes, Candied Bacon, House-Made Croutons, Toasted-Slivered Almonds
Ranch and Italian Dressings

Pan Roasted Veggies
Onions, Mushrooms, Red Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Red & Yellow Peppers, Yellow & Green Zucchini, Baby Carrots

Mushroom, Parmesan Risotto – Recipe to follow…

JD’s Grilled, Marinated Salmon

Cold-Stone Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Cake
Holly’s Double Chocolate Cake

We had a good time, as always!  I grilled 6 lbs. of Salmon and had enough for leftovers and to send some home with CD & Kristen and Parker.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Super Easy Salsa

A while ago we had a Pot Luck at work and a bunch of us brought stuff to munch on during the day.  One of my buddies brought some homemade salsa that was out of this world.  Expecting a 'secret recipe' response, I asked him how he made it and the recipe he gave me was very easy.  Now, I bring this salsa to every family party and always have a jar or two in the fridge for whatever...

JD's Salsa

1 container fresh, store-made, mild salsa from the grocery store, usually found in the deli section
1 jar Tostitos Medium salsa
1 can diced green chiles
1 bunch cilantro - leaves only

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix well until salsa has a somewhat smooth texture, but still a little chunky.
Serve with your favorite chips or include in your favorite recipe.