Lemon Picatta Chicken Casserole

lemonpicattachickenbakeIf you try this, you may never want to go back to the tried and true way of making chicken piccata!  My son deconstructed his normal oh-so-good way of making this dish with delicious results. The method could not be simpler. Try the recipe below or use your favorite Lemon Picatta Chicken recipe. Farfalle (Bow-Tie) or Penne pasta adds to the appearance and texture of the dish.  After you cook the chicken breasts, transfer to cutting board, cool slightly, and cut into bite size pieces to combine with pasta in your favorite baking dish. Our family may rename this Ben’s Chicken Picatta.

Lemon Chicken Picatta Chicken Casserole

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • Fresh lemon slices for garnish

16 ounces Farfalle, or Bow-Tie, Pasta, cooked al dente.

Set three wide, shallow bowls on a work surface. Add flour to the first one, beaten eggs to the second, and panko and Parmesan cheese to the third. Mix panko and Parmesan thoroughly.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Season chicken cutlets all over with salt and pepper. Working with one at a time, dredge a cutlet in flour with your left hand, shaking off excess. Transfer to egg dish, then turn cutlet with your right hand to coat both sides. Lift and allow excess egg to drain off, then transfer to bread crumb mixture. With your left hand, scoop bread crumbs on top of chicken, then gently press, turning chicken to ensure a good layer of crumbs on both sides. Transfer cutlet to prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining cutlets.

Fill a large skillet with 1/4 inch oil. Heat over high heat until shimmering. Working in batches and using tongs or your fingers, gently lower cutlets into the pan, laying them down away from you to prevent hot fat from splashing toward you. Fry, rotating cutlets for even browning, and adjusting heat as necessary until bottom side is browned and crisp, about three minutes. Flip cutlets and fry until other side is browned and crisp, about three minutes longer. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt right away. Repeat with remaining cutlets, topping up oil if necessary.  When cooled slightly, cut chicken into bite size pieces.

Drain all but one tablespoon oil from skillet. Add wine and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cooking about two minutes while scraping browned bits from skillet. Add capers and butter, whisking until butter has melted. Lower heat to medium and continue whisking and reducing until sauce is smooth and creamy. Whisk in lemon juice and parsley, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

0Add chicken pieces and cooked pasta to sauce in large baking dish, tossing to combine.  Sprinkle top with shaved parmesan.  Place in oven just until heated through but not brown.  Scatter chopped parsley over top and add a few fresh lemon slices at serving time.

 

Deep Dish Skillet Pizza with Artichokes and Kale

deepdishskilletpizza

 

Deep Dish Skillet Pizza with Artichokes and Kale

1 Tablespoon olive oil

one small bunch kale leaves coarsely chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 c. ricotta

1 1/2 oz. Parmesan, grated (about 1/3 c.)

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 Tablespoon corn meal

1 lb. store-bought pizza dough, at room temperature (I used Artisan pizza dough, from the freezer section at HEB)

6 oz. Mozarella cheese grated (1 1/2 cu1 (14-oz.) can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

14 oz. marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely choppedred

Fresh basil leaves

Heat oven to 450 degrees.Heat oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat. Add kale and garlic and cook until wilted and liquid has evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Cool skillet slightly and wipe clean.

Stir together ricotta, Parmesan, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. Season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle skillet with cornmeal. Stretch dough into a 12″ round. Carefully press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the skillet.

Top dough with ricotta mixture, spinach, grated Mozarella, and artichokes. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes.

Serve sprinkled with basil and cut into wedges.

Christmas Quiche

quicheWe are baking Christmas breads and Christmas cookies, so when I made this quiche a couple of nights ago, I dubbed it “Christmas Quiche.” Joe says it is my best effort for quiche so far, and I make alot of different ones, so this one is a keeper.  I have an old cookbook from The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. One day I noticed a quiche recipe in it titled Quiche with Character.  I like recipe names that catch my eye, so modeled this recipe after that one. Adding chilies, green onions and olives with pimiento makes both appearance and flavor festive – a Christmas quiche!

Christmas Quiche

Pie  Crust for 9 inch pie (I used Pillsbury refrigerated crusts)

1 1/2 cups shredded Mexcian 4 Cheese blend ( Cheddar, monterey jack, asadero, queso quesadilla)

4 strips thick cut bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled into small pieces

2 chopped green onions, including green tops

1 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning

3 large eggs

1 cup half -and-half

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 teaspoon salt

4-5 drops Tobasco

1 4 ounce can chopped green chiles, drained

1/3 cup sliced green olives stuffed with pimiento

Line pie plate with crust and chill.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread shredded cheese over bottom of pie shell.  Sprinkle with Creole Seasoning.

Add crumbled bacon.

Beat eggs and add cream, half and half, salt, Tabasco, chlies, olives, and green onions. Pour over cheese and bacon. Bake 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

 

 

 

Smothered Chicken

smothered-chicken

Smothered Chicken is an old Southern favorite, often served with rice.  The tender chicken and smooth sauce is also a wonderful with mashed or baked potatoes.  Add some wilted greens or green peas and a salad for a hearty meal.  We had this a few days ago on a cold, wet night – perfect for warming body and spirit!  Sprinkle sauce with your favorite dried herbs for seasoning if you like, but be sure to brown the chicken first. I brown the chicken in an iron skillet, lift it into a baking dish, and make the gravy or sauce in the same skillet.

Smothered Chicken

4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or 2 thighs per person.

Flour

Salt and Pepper

Cooking oil for a level of about 1/2 inch in the frying pan.

2 cups of sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and pat dry chicken and dust with flour, salt, and pepper. Fry in hot oil in a heavy skillet until lightly browned on both sides.  Remove and place in baking pan.  Pour sauce over the chicken, cover, and bake for 1 hour, or until chicken is tender.

Sauce or Gravy for Smothered Chicken

3 Tablespoons butter

4 Tablespoons flour

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Roasted Lemon Chicken

lemonchicken1I love cooking in my iron skillet, flavoring with herbs and lemon, and easy entrees, so this is a new favorite. Served with a mixture of white, brown, and wild rice and a pan of roasted brussel sprouts with apples and pecans, everyone at our table gave it a thumbs up!  This is my version of Ina Garten’s recipe.

Roasted Lemon Chicken

1 teaspoon thyme (I used Penzey’s French Thyme)

 1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup good olive oil

2  lemons, 1 halved and sliced, the second lemon juiced

1 onion, sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

½ cup dry white wine

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the thyme, 1 teaspoon salt,  1 teaspoon pepper and 1/3 cup olive oil  into a small bowl and set aside.

Put the lemon slices in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet and scatter the onion and garlic over lemons. Place the chicken on top and rub with about half the herb mixture. Turn chicken breasts over, pat dry with paper towel. and rub with the rest of the oil and herb mixture.

Roast the chicken for 30 minutes. Pour the wine into the pan at edges of chicken and roast for another 15 minutes. Cover skillet tightly with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for about 10 minutes Serve hot with the pan juices, lemon, and onion.

lemonchicken2

 

Chicken Shawarma

chicken-shwarma

True shawarma is cooked with stacked, spice-marinated meats– lamb, turkey, chicken, beef, or a mix of meats– on a vertical spit. This is an oven roasted dish, chicken shawarma style because of the delicious layers of flavor delivered by the mix of Mideastern spices. A friend shared the recipe from the New York Times on Facebook and I adapted slightly to arrive at this version.  I served this with green beans,  pita chips, tabouleh, and tzatziki. Wonderful!

Chicken Shawarma

  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon turmericshwarmaplate
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 4 large or 6 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (could use boneless thighs)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or mint

Put the chicken in the oven and roast until it is browned, crisp at the edges and cooked through, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to rest 2 minutes, then slice into bits.Scatter fresh herbs ( I used mint)  over the top and serve with tomatoes, cucumbers, pita and yogurt sauce plus a vegetable of your choice.

 

Ham and Swiss Quiche with Greek Yogurt

yogurtquiche

This quiche made a lovely Saturday morning breakfast for us, but it is just as good for lunch or a late supper.  I experimented with using a different ingredient and found that a cup of Greek Yogurt works well with other traditional quiche ingredients. I used a heaping cup of chopped ham here, but will try it soon with chopped fresh vegetables instead. Serve with fresh fruit or green salad tossed with a citrus vinaigrette.

Ham and Swiss Quiche with Greek Yogurt

1 9 or 10 inch pie unbaked pie crust

1 generous cup chopped ham

1 cup grated swiss cheese

1 shallot, sliced very thin

3 large eggs

1 cup Greek yogurt

2/3 cup milk

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. (a pinch!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Fit the unbaked pie crust into Quiche baking dish. Sprinkle chopped ham over bottom of crust, top with 3/4 of the grated cheese, reserving 1/4 cup. Scatter thinly sliced shallot over this mixture. In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add yogurt and milk with nutmeg,

In a medium bowl, beat eggs and add yogurt and milk with nutmeg, salt, and pepper..  Blend, then pour slowly over ham and cheese.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and sprinkle extra nutmeg over top if desired. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Alice Springs Chicken

 AliceSpringsChickenIf you have visited an Outback Restaurant, you probably have seen Alice Springs Chicken on their menu.  On our occasional visits to Outback, we usually order beef, so I have never eaten this dish there, but there are dozens of copycat recipes online. This is my version, voted “please make this again soon” by my family.  I use a downloaded image because this was one of those meals served immediately. It looked and smelled so good, we only took time to say Thank you God for our family and food and listen for 2-year-old Nora’s hearty “Maymen!” before enjoying.
Alice Springs Chicken
4-5 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup mustard
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
6 slices bacon
1/3 cup honey
2 cups sliced  Baby Bella mushrooms
2 cups shredded cheddar
salt and pepper to taste

 Sprinkle chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper. Cook bacon until crisp, remove and set aside. Do not discard grease. Brown chicken in the bacon grease for 3 to 5 minutes per side. Place chicken in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish or pan.

In a small bowl, mix the mustard, honey, mayonnaise and dried onion flakes.

Spread Honey Mustard over each piece of chicken, then layer with mushrooms, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheese.

Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is done.

 

Nana’s Barley Burger Stew

BarleyBurgerSoup

I took a break from my blogs last week since we were still finding our way between boxes. Even though we are not unpacked and settled, I am enjoying a return to being in the kitchen for reasons other than unpacking dishes!  Our area is presently experiencing a history making flood with rain still coming down, so I thought of this hearty stew my mother used to make.  I still have the recipe written in her firm, flowing handwriting on a sheet of lined notepaper although I no longer need to pull it out to go by.  It was a fine meal to have on a cool rainy early June evening. And there are plenty of leftovers for a weekend lunch.

Nana’s Barley Burger Stew

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 8 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups water added as needed as stew cooks and thickens
  • 1 cup medium pearl barley
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add onion, carrots, and celery, stirring as vegetables wilt.  Stir in the tomato juice, barley, chili powder, salt and pepper. Add about 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until barley is tender, adding water if mixture becomes too thick. Serve in bowls along with crusty French bread.

Shrimp in Pastry Shells

20160309_174852

On our first wedding anniversary (over 52 years ago) we lived in Corvallis, Oregon. Our budget did not allow restaurant meals and I was still a beginner cook. But I served Joe Shrimp in Pastry Shells on our wedding china and we still consider it one of our fanciest dishes. Somewhere I still have the index card on which I taped the simple recipe clipped from a magazine, using Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup and canned shrimp.  These days, I do not buy the little shrimp in a can, but I do keep a bag of frozen peeled and deveined shrimp as a freezer staple. This version is how that first anniversary shrimp n shells dish has changed, definitely for the better.  However, Pepperidge Farm still makes their wonderful Puff Pastry Shells that make it so easy to pull puff pastry out of my oven for the base of a wonderful entree.

Shrimp in Pastry Shells

Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry shells (6 shells)

1/2 to 1 pound medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined (fresh or thawed from frozen) We like plenty of shrimp.

2 Tablespoons butter,

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 can Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup

1/2 cup milk or half and half

1 Tablespoon minced fresh dill,

1/4 cup Sherry

Bake Puff Pastry according to instructions on package..  Be sure to save the discs of pastry that you remove from the top after baking to top each serving. Place each pastry on serving plate, with tops on the side.

Melt 2 Tablespoons butter in saute pan, add mushrooms and simmer until mushrooms have cooked down and liquid begins to reduce. Add soup  plus only 1/2 cup milk and simmer until well blended and beginning to thicken.  Add shrimp and cook, stirring, 4-5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through. Blend in dill and sherry and ladle into pastry shells.  Top each with a puff pastry topper.