Friday, March 27, 2009

Pizza, pizza, pizza

Tonight, we had Cheese pizza (for the kids):

Barbecue Chicken pizza (for the hubby):

And Pesto/Prosciutto/Arugula pizza (for ME):

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grilled Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Ohhh la la, these were yummy; so yummy that Hubby was confused: "These taste so good, they must be bad for you, but they're not, right?" Right.

Because I used skinless chicken tenders, which I sauteed and tossed with hot sauce, we forfeited the calories that are usually associated with deep-fried chicken wings, but got all the flavor.

I had intended to stuff the wraps with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and shredded carrots and serve them at room temperature, but I knew hubby and son would like them better if I 86ed the veggies and served them hot. So I heated up the panini press and the "Grilled" Buffalo Chicken Wrap was born.

No real recipe to share, but here's what I did.

Sprinkle 1 lb. chicken tenderloins with Montreal Chicken Seasoning. Saute in 1 T. canola oil for about 3 minutes per side, or until done.

Slice tenders lengthwise and toss in a bowl with about 2 T. Frank's Hot Sauce.

Have 4 warm flour tortillas ready. For each wrap, place a couple of pieces of prosciutto on the tortilla. Then lay a couple of pieces of the chicken on top of the prosciutto. Sprinkle with some blue cheese. Roll up. Place on hot panini press and grill for a minute, or until grill marks appear and cheese begins to melt. Slice in half and serve with a side salad or some carrots and celery sticks with Ranch dip.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto

Tonight's dinner was "Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto," from the April issue of bon appetit. I was excited to make this dish because it's finally warming up around here, and the dish enabled me to use fresh produce and the grill on a beautiful, sunny Sunday.

After my shopping trip to Russo's, I spent about 30 minutes prepping (washing lettuce, chopping herbs, slicing the cukes and radishes) and making the pesto and vinaigrette. While the grill heated up, I sliced the baguette, brushed it with oil, and chatted with my daughter. When I stepped outside to grill the chicken and bread, IT WAS SNOWING! I kid you not. It continued to snow on me the entire time I was out there (all of 10 minutes). By the time I got TS (teenage son) off the couch to take a picture of the freaky event, there were only a few flakes lingering and the sun was coming out again.

The dinner was a delicious taste of spring, but I can't put away my ski jacket quite yet.

Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto
from bon appetit, April 2009

1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves plus 2 teaspoons chopped
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley leaves
4 tablespoons pine nuts, divided
5 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
2 teaspoons chopped shallot
6 tablespoons EVOO, divided (I used only 4 T.), plus more for brushing
4 boneless chicken breast halves with skin (I used skinless)
4 1/2-in. thick slices sourdough bread
1 5-oz. package mixed baby greens (I used what I had on hand: romaine, Boston lettuce and baby spinach)
1 cup thinly sliced radishes
1 cup thinly sliced cucumbers

Place 1/4 cup tarragon leaves, parsley, 2 T. pine nuts, 1 t. lemon juice and shallot in a mini processor and chop coarsely. With machine running, gradually add 3 T. EVOO. Season pesto with salt and pepper and set aside.

Whisk 2 t. chopped tarragon, remaining 4 t. lemon juice and 3 T. EVOO (I used 1 T. EVOO) in a small bowl. Season with salt and papper and set aside. (I shook it up in a jar.)

Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper (I used McCormick Grill Seasoning). Grill for 3 - 7 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Flip and continue to cook (3 - 6 more minutes) until chicken is cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest.

Using a clean brush, brush the bread with oil. Grill the bread until dark grill marks appear on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Place greens, radishes and cucumbers in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Season the salad with salt and pepper. Divide among 4 plates. Cut grilled chicken into slices. Arrange on top of salad. Spoon tarragon pesto over chicken and sprinkle with remaining 2 T. pine nuts (oops, I forgot that part). Serve with grilled bread.

Serves 4.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

April and May Cooking Class Schedule

Just posted my April and May Cooking Class Schedule on my website.

Take a look!

I aim to "peas"

Menu planning for the coming week is underway. Many of our meals have been inspired by the April bon appetit, which is one of the magazines currently sitting on my desk.

I'll start with a trip to Russo's for fresh produce. My list is a mile long and includes such goodies as fresh peas, fresh tarragon, asparagus, butter lettuce, spring onions, mint, sugar snap peas and baby carrots with the stems. Russo's didn't have the last item last Sunday; I'm hoping they will tomorrow.

My menu for the coming week includes the fabulous looking recipe on the cover of ba: Grilled Chicken Salad with Tarragon Pesto. We'll also be dining on Pasta with Peas, Asparagus, Butter Lettuce and Prosciutto; Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Baby Carrots; and some sort of baked fish accompanied by Spring Vegetables with Herb Butter.

There truly aren't enough days in the week for me to prepare all the new dishes I'd like to try. Thank goodness I have my clients to cook for as well!

Stay tuned for pictures and reviews!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


My kids are on school vacation: two weeks when all they want to do is sleep and have me take them places. We've been on a 4-day trip to the Berkshires (hubby, me, kids and 2 of their friends); to the mall and American Girl Place; to the dermatologist's; and to the movies ("Race to Witch Mountain"). Upcoming events include a birthday party; a visit to the aquarium; dinner with SIL and her daughter; and both kids' dental appointments.

Sandwiched in between their needs are mine: cookdates, paperwork, and cooking class preparation; volunteer commitments; exercise; errands and that never-ending list of "to dos."

We have been eating, but nothing really photo-worthy. I haven't had a lot of time to plan, prep, shop, etc. Last night was panini, tonight will be turkey tacos, and tomorrow night I'm testing out a crockpot recipe which may or may not be very photogenic.

The good news is, spring is here and with it, lots of exciting produce for me incorporate into our meals. So I'm optimistic that next week, once the kids get back to school and life returns to normal around here, I'll have some great new recipes and pictures to share.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Homemade Bread + Snow Storm = Happy Family

I started making this bread yesterday, when the flakes were just starting to swirl around outside my window. Now, we're enjoying warm slices while we look out at the foot of snow Mother Nature decided to dump on us overnight.

As I warned you, this recipe also comes from the March issue of Cooking Light. It's called "Monday Morning Potato Bread and Rolls," because the woman who created it was using up Sunday night's mashed potatoes in the process. She also confessed that the rolls don't last past Tuesday in her house. I believe it. The bread and rolls were both fantastic; flaky, light and really delicious.

Monday Morning Potato Bread and Rollsfrom Cooking Light, March 2009

1 cup cooked mashed potatoes
1 cup fat-free milk (I used 2%)
3 T. honey
2 T. butter
4 1/2 cups bread flour, divided
2 1/2 t. dry yeast (I used one packet)
1 1/2 t. sea salt (I used kosher salt)
2 large eggs
1 t. olive oil
cooking spray

Combine first 4 ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at high for 2 min., or until mixture is 110 degrees. Stir with a whisk until smooth.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add potato mixture and stir with a fork until combined. Add about 2 cups of flour to the potato mixture and stir until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (I used my daughter for this!). Add enough of the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands.

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with olive oil, turning to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentations remain, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down and let rest 5 minutes.

Divide dough in half. Roll one portion into a 14x7 rectangle on a floured surface. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets. Pinch seam and ends to seal. Place loaf seam side down in an 8x4 loaf pan coated with cooking spray.

Shape remaining portion into 9 balls. Place into a greased 9x9 square baking dish. Coat tops of bread and rolls with cooking spray, cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tops of rolls are browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi

This blog post is brought to you by Cooking Light. Not really, but you might think so. I seem to be drawn to this month's issue, like a (hungry) moth to a flame.

Today for lunch I whipped up the Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi, a super-simple meal that used ingredients I already had on hand. It was bursting with that great lemon-garlic flavor, and not drowning in butter.

Meanwhile, DD and I have the dough for the Monday Morning Potato Rolls and Bread (p. 160) rising right now, and I'm planning to make the Halibut with Coconut-Red Curry Sauce (page 126) for dinner tonight. Stay tuned for more reviews!

Lemon Pepper Shrimp Scampi
Serves 4

1 cup uncooked orzo
2 T. chopped fresh parsley (plus more for garnish, if desired)
1/2 t. salt, divided
2 T. butter, divided
1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined shrimp
2 t. minced garlic
2 T. fresh lemon juice
1/4 t. black pepper
lemon zest (my addition)

Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain. Place in a serving bowl and stir in parsley and 1/4 t. salt. Cover and keep warm.

While orzo cooks, melt 1 T. butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining 1/4 t. salt and saute 2 minutes, or until almost done (this can be done in batches if your skillet isn't large enough). Remove shrimp to a plate. Melt 1 T. butter in the same pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in shrimp, juice and pepper and cook 1 more minute, or until shrimp are done.

Serve shrimp over orzo. Top with lemon zest and additional chopped parsely, if desired.

Recipe from Cooking Light, March 2009.