Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baked Chicken Penne

I LOVE this recipe! It turned out great and everyone ate it leftovers!

I doubled the recipe and made a 14 x 9 pan and froze an 8 x 10 pan for later.

Serves 8
6 tablespoons butter, plus more for baking dishes
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound penne pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (8 ounces each), halved horizontally
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
4 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups whole milk
10 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups shredded provolone (8 ounces)
1 cup finely grated Parmesan (8 ounces)
(I used 2 of the Kraft Parmesan/Provolone 8 0z Cheese bags)

1.Preheat oven to 400. Butter two shallow 2-quart baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 3 minutes short of al dente; drain pasta, and return to pot.
2.In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season chicken with salt and pepper; cook until opaque throughout, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Halve each piece lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise.

3.In a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, melt butter over medium. Add flour and garlic; cook, whisking, 1 minute. While whisking, gradually add milk; bring to a simmer, whisking frequently. Add mushrooms and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Off heat, gradually stir in provolone and 1/2 cup Parmesan.

4.Add chicken and pasta to pot; season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta mixture between baking dishes; sprinkle each with cup Parmesan.
5.Bake, uncovered, until top is golden and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

6.Prepare through step 4; let cool. Cover tightly with foil, and freeze, up to 3 months.

7.Preheat oven to 400, and bake (still covered in foil) on a rimmed baking sheet until center is hot, about 1 1/2 hours. Remove foil; bake until golden, about 15 minutes more.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grilled Quail with Blackberry Sauce

My husband loves to hunt birds. Quail was one of his preys this last year. So, for New years Eve dinner I made this yummy and easy recipe. paired with fresh steamed green beans and some Rice pilaf it was DIVINE! Even my 8, 5, and 2 yr. old loved it!

Ingredients2 (14-ounce) packages quail, dressed with breasts deboned

1 (8-ounce) bottle Italian dressing

1/2 cup dry red wine

1 (9.5-ounce) jar seedless blackberry spread

Preparation: Rinse quail, and pat dry. Place in a large shallow dish or heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; add Italian dressing. Cover or seal, and chill 8 hours. Remove quail, discarding marinade.Cook wine in a small saucepan over medium heat 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Whisk in blackberry spread until smooth. Reserve 3/4 cup.Grill quail over medium heat (300° to 350°) 15 minutes, turning once and basting with remaining blackberry sauce. Serve with reserved 3/4 cup sauce.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Birthday Cake!!

This is the cake I made for my husband's birthday!! It is a vanilla buttermilk cake with layers of strawberry preserves, fresh bananas, and strawberry meringue buttercream.
It was so yummy with a dollop of fresh whipped cream!

Buttermilk Vanilla Cake

2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
10 T unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 c sugar
2 t vanilla extract
2 egg whites plus 2 whole eggs
1 1/4 c buttermilk

Strawberry Meringue Buttercream
1 pkg frozen strawberries
1 1/2 c sugar
1⁄4 cup water
5 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 t cream of tartar
1 c unsalted butter, softened

3 bananas, diced
3/4 c strawberry preserves

plus fresh whipped cream and fresh strawberries for garnish

Cake: Heat oven to 350ºF. Coat two 8 x 2-in. round cake pans with baking spray. Line bottoms with parchment or wax paper rounds; spray parchment. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In large bowl with mixer, beat butter, sugar and extract at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg whites and whole eggs until smooth. With mixer on low, alternately beat in flour mixture and buttermilk until incorporated. Continue to beat batter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake for 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen edge of cakes and invert onto rack. Cool completely.

Buttercream: Purée strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar in blender; scrape through a fine sieve into a small saucepan to remove seeds. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer until reduced to 1/3 cup, about 8 minutes. Cool completely. In saucepan, bring 1 cup of the sugar and the water to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar with mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gradually pour in boiling syrup in a thin stream. Increase mixer speed to high and beat until meringue is very thick and glossy, and completely cool, about 6 minutes. In a large bowl, combine butter, strawberry purée and food color, and vigorously beat with a rubber spatula until well combined and smooth. Fold in meringue, in two additions, until combined. Refrigerate buttercream 1 hour or until spreadable.

To assemble: Using a serrated knife, halve cake layers horizontally. Place 1 layer, cut-side up, on a serving plate; spread with 2/3 cup buttercream. Arrange 1/3 of the diced bananas in a layer over buttercream. Spread 2 T jam on a cut side of second layer and place, jam-side down, over strawberries. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Cover cake with buttercream. Serve with fresh whipped cream if desired.

Mindy's Version of Greek Pasta Salad

My mom makes a pasta salad very similar to this and I LOVE it! My version is very similar except for a few red onions, additional oregano, and I use a mixture of pastas!! Everyone always wants the recipe it is so yummy!!
Greek Pasta Salad

1 12 oz. bag "Wacky Mac" veggie shapes pasta (I buy mine at Walmart- it has purple wheels, green penne rigate, orange rotelli, and white shells! It brings a lot of color to the salad!)
16 oz pasta (in various shapes-radiatori, wheels, bowties, rotelli)
1 square feta cheese, crumbled
2 cans olives, cut in half
1 package grape tomatoes, cut in half
2 peeled cucumbers, diced
6 peeled carrots, sliced
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 bottles zesty Italian dressing
1 T dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta, drain and rinse with cold water. Add all ingredients and chill until serving! This recipe makes A LOT- one big HUGE bowl!! Perfect for parties!!

Sweet Potato & Russet Potato Oven Fries

Sweet Potato & Russet Potato Oven Fries
2 sweet potatoes
6 russet potatoes
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Spices (I used a combination of Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder, Garlic & Herb Seasoning, Italian Seasoning, and Onion Powder)

Preheat oven to 425*. Peel potatoes and cut into strips. Spray two large cookie sheets. In a bowl combine potatoes, EVOO, and spices. Mix until evenly distributed and place on sheets. Bake 35-40 minutes, turning potatoes half way. Potatoes are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Spaghetti and Meatballs

2 cans stewed tomatoes
½ cup brown sugar
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 tsp salt (to taste)
1 package Zesty Spaghetti Mix from Shilling
1 shredded onion
1/8 tsp pepper
1 can tomato paste
1 lb hamburger
salt and pepper to taste

Blend both cans of stewed tomatoes in the blender. Add rest of ingredients and warm on stovetop. Form hamburger into balls, salt and pepper to taste and fry until brown on all sides. Transfer onto paper towel to drain then add to sauce mixture. Bring to boil and lower heat to simmer. Cook 2 hours.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Layered Cookie Bars #2 MY VERSION!

Mindy's Layered Cookie Bars

1 cube butter, melted
1 bag graham crackers, crushed
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup sliced almonds
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

Preheat Oven 350*
Layer all ingredients into 13x9 pan.
Bake for 25 minutes and let cool.
E N J O Y !! (VERY Rich!!)
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