Stuffed Up Chicken Breasts

pepperoni_stuffed_chicken_breast_2The beauty of this recipe is that the stuffing is pretty much endless. You imagination can take you about anywhere with this, to any ethnic location.

So just swap out the interior as you see fit, or based on what you have on hand and you will end up with something that looks elegant is so far above the humdrum of the usual baked chicken breast.

Keep trying different variations and soon you and your family will be eating far more chicken I can assure you.

Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lg chicken breast split in half (skin on or off as you desire)
  • salt and pepper
  • pepperoni slices
  • about 4 ounces of goat cheese
  • sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded, about 4 oz
  • flour for dredging
  • one egg
  • bread crumbs
  • fresh herbs, about 1 tbsp fresh oregano, parsley, chives, thyme, whatever you like.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pound the breasts until they are no more than 1/4 inch. The thinner the better in terms of being able to fold them up easily.
  2. salt and pepper each side
  3. place 4-6 slices of pepperoni in the middle
  4. On top of each, a slice of sun-dried tomato
  5. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese.
  6. Fold up and secure with toothpicks and twine.
  7. Refrigerate allowing everything to firm up a bit, for 30 min.
  8. Salt and pepper the flour.
  9. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water in a separate dish.
  10. Place the breadcrumbs and the herbs in another dish
  11. Dredge the chicken pieces in the flour, then in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs.
  12. Place on a rack over a baking dish.
  13. Place in a 425° oven for about 50 minutes or until internal temp is 165°.

SERVES: 4

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

NOTES: other combos might be ham and Swiss cheese, roasted green chiles with Monterey cheese, spinach, shallots and blue cheese, mushrooms and goat cheese, Provolone and kale, olives and mozzarella. There is no end to combinations you can come up with.

Advertisements

Do It My Way Apple Dumplings

appledumpOkay, apple dumplings. Sounds like a lot of work. It is. But you can significantly make the job a lot easier and compromise neither taste nor appeal.

No you don’t have to substitute crescent rolls or puff pastry. But you do change the procedure, and change is good.

So listen up and I am very sure that this will work a lot better than the old-fashioned way of making this delightful comfort food.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 recipe for a 2-crusted pie crust. I have a couple so do look at the index.
  • 6 granny smith apple or other crisp tart apple.
  • 6 tbsp butter for the apples
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 3 c water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

This is a fairly standard recipe. We are going to make two very major changes. One, we are not going to make individual squares to cover each apple. Two we are going to simplify the preparation of the apples. It is hard to roll out the dough to the correct size and it tends to want to break on you as you try to bring it up around the sides of the apple. Apples are hard to core well with an apple corer, leaving behind pieces usually. We are avoiding both these problems, and speeding things up.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Prepare your favorite pie crust and divide the dough 2/3 – 1/3. shape into rectangles and cover with wrap and place in fridge for a good hour.
  2. After about 40 minutes begin the rest of the preparation.
  3. Peel your apple with a peeler and then cut off the bottom and top. Slice through from top to bottom. Cut out the cores. Place each half in lemon-water to keep from browning while doing them all.
  4. When apples are done, prepare your butter into individual 1 tbsp for the apples and mix the spices together.
  5. Bring out your larger of the two pie crust doughs and roll out as you normally would into a rectangle that is large enough to come over the edges of a 9 x 13 high sided baking dish.
  6. Butter your baking dish and lay in the rolled out dough.
  7. Dry 2 pieces of your apple, lay with core side up and place a pat of butter in the center, then a tablespoon of brown sugar. Bring the other half up and squeeze together. Place in the baking dish.
  8. Do this with the rest until you have 6 “apples”, three to a side in the pan.
  9. Sprinkle with the spices
  10. Now roll out the second piece of dough. Roll this to larger that the bottom of the pan. You are going to loosely drape it over the top but between each set of apples to the end. Then bring up the sides of the bottom crust over the top to make the seal.  Slice down the top crust across between apples, then push the dough gently between and around each apple. Your seal will not be perfect, but it will be close enough. It’s important to make sure the top crust is really longer and wider than the 9 x 13 pan, so it will be loose enough to do this.
  11. Take the ingredients from 2 tbsp butter down and place in a saucepan, bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes.
  12. Pour in and around your dumplings. You may not be able to use it all, depending on your baking dish.
  13. Bake in a preheated 400° oven for 50-60 minutes or until pie crust is browned and sauce is thick and bubbly.

SERVES: 12 (1/2 per person is more than enough I promise)

NOTES: Wonderful served with whipped cream or ice cream.

SOURCE: Sherry Peyton

OVEN: 400°

COOKING TIME: 50-60 minutes

Tangy Tomato Chutney

chutneyI’ve always steered clear of chutneys. Mostly because they seemed to pair things I didn’t think sounded very good together.

Well, I was wrong. And I’m seldom wrong I tell ya.

But this stuff is good.

It’s like something to just put on the table with just about everything. You could use it on sandwiches, hotdogs, and along with roast meats of any kind.

It’s just delicious, easy to make, and should be in your refrigerator ALL the time.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 large cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (at least half a head–I know it sounds like a lot in the ratio, but it really is okay. I checked the recipe more than once)
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, chopped or grated
  • 1 28 oz of tomatoes or equal amount of fresh “real tasting” tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 c red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne (as you wish)
  • 2 tbsp golden raisins
  • 2 tbsp slivered almonds

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Place the garlic, ginger and 1/2 c of the red wine vinegar together in a blender and whir up until completely smooth.
  2. Put everything else in a non-metallic heavy clad saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. When it reaches a boil, add the puree.
  4. Lower heat and continue to cook at a low simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  5. Cool. The mixture should be like honey when tipped from a spoon.
  6. Add the raisins and almonds.
  7. Store in the fridge.

SERVES: 1 pint

NOTES: If it doesn’t thicken enough after it’s cool, then I would put it back on and simmer some more. It should be more or less like a thick ketchup.

SOURCE: An Invitation to Indian Cooking, by Madhur Jaffrey

Sweet Jesus Chile Pepper Jam

chilepepperI have looked for this stuff for years! Back a few decades I came across some sweet but hot chile pepper jam in a store. I fell in love.

They stopped carrying it, and I was never the same. Well, almost not.

Enter Rufus and his recipe.

I have returned to heaven.

This is better than the other stuff. This is as hot as you like, or as mild as you like. It is simply the gift of the gods.

it goes with anything you can imagine–hotdogs, grilled chicken or pork. on sandwiches. Heck it probably works on ice cream.

Go to Rufus’ food blog. I’ve never met a recipe that didn’t come out perfectly. Still come here of course, because I love to bring good recipes to a palate near you.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 c finely chopped chile peppers (put together your blend of heat. I made a half recipe of 3 cups with 2 lg hatch chiles, five jalapeños (4 red), one Serrano. That gave me a healthy 3 cups which made one filled-to-the-brim pint with a couple of tablespoons leftover for dinner that night.
  • 3 red bell peppers similarly chopped
  • 4 c sugar
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 1  1/4 c cider vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Use a food processor if you have one. This will go much faster.
  2. Place all in a large saucepan and bring to boil.
  3. Boil 30 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Ladle into sterilized jars, cap and screw top
  5. Cool on the counter.
  6. Store.
  7. Any jars that don’t ping, place in fridge until consumed.

SERVES: 2 pints

NOTES: I made a half recipe and next time will make a full one. I cooked mine a bit, since it thickens up more when cooled (mine was kinda sticky but the taste is still fine). The heat is up to you. You can go from poblanos to Habanero and all in between. That’s why I just made one jar–to test my heat level.

SOURCE: Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

 

BlueBerry Freezer Jam

blueberry freezerI made up a few jars of blueberry jam a few weeks ago when the main crop of blueberries hit the stores and prices dropped. If you have purchased store-bought blueberry jam, you know you pay premium prices, so it just makes sense to make your own.

Freezer jam is the easiest and preserves the fruit in the most natural way. It really does taste like fresh blueberries since you don’t cook the berries. It is even better for strawberries and since you can get those year round, there is really no excuse to not make them.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups  blueberries crushed with a potato masher to 2 1/2 cups
  • 3 c sugar
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 pkg pectin

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix the blueberries, sugar, zest together. Stir, and let sit 20 minutes until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally.
  2. Put the pectin and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil while stirring constantly.
  3. Boil for 1 minute.
  4. Pour over the blueberries and stir in, stirring constantly for 3 minutes.
  5. Place in sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Cap and place screw tops on loosely.
  6. Cool on the counter and then place in freezer.
  7. Once in the fridge, use within three weeks.

SERVES: I got 10 jam jars from this recipe

NOTES: the orange zest is optional.

Source: Betty Crocker.com

Microwave Dill Pickles

dill7I love making my own stuff, mostly because I believe in avoiding the additives and preservatives in most things. I’m not a fanatic, but as long as it’s not too laborious, I’ll try making my own.

This is certainly true of pickling. It’s both easy and gives a great quality product as good or better than what you can buy. However, I do not want to make up twelve quarts at a time, usually I want a pint or two.

Microwaving really works, and it keeps the cukes really crisp. I made up a couple of pints in probably about 30 minutes time. So when you have extra cukes, even big ones, give this a go.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Enough cukes to fill one quart jar or two pints. You can make them in spears, cut them in half, cut in rounds, leave whole, whatever you have will work just fine.
  • 1 clove garlic, into two pieces if using pint jars
  • 3/4 tsp dill or a sprig in each jar
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • 1 jalapeño, split if using pint jars (optional if you want a bit of spiciness)
  • 1/2 c cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 2 tsp salt
  • canning jars, lids and screw tops

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Bring your jars a boil and then let sit in the hot water until needed. Put the lids and screw tops in a small saucepan and bring them just off the boil. Turn off and retrieve as needed.
  2. Wash your cukes and cut them up or not as you desire.
  3. Fill the jar(s) leaving 1/4 inch head space at the top, as follows. Place the garlic, dill and turmeric, and hot pepper in the jar, then put in the pickles, fitting them as tightly as you can. Note: if you are using two jars, divide the dill and turmeric in half.
  4. Add the vinegar, water and salt to a microwave safe bowl and heat on high until it boils. Stop the microwave.
  5. Pour over the pickles until the liquid comes to the 1/4 inch head space.
  6. Place a sealing lid on, and then the twist lid. Do not tighten the twist lid too tight.
  7. Leave on counter until the jars are no more than tepid and then transfer to the fridge.
  8. Pickles must be left in fridge until eaten.

SERVES: 1 quart

NOTES: You can now buy a small english cucumber in little bags of about 5, this will be pretty close to 2 pints. You can just make your pickles two pints at a time as needed year round.

SOURCE: Food.com

Summery Corn Pudding

corn puddingThere are so many ways to make corn pudding. I have one that I use in the winter with cornmeal, and another in the wings I have yet to make that looks promising.

I tried this one and really liked it. It has a clean corn taste that is really terrific especially in the summer when corn is so darned fresh.

I did change the method a bit, but the ingredients are the same.

Give it a try and see if you like it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 7-10 ears of corn (you will want a good three cups of corn)
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • i tsp salt
  • 1 lg jalapeño finely diced (seeds removed if you wish)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/3 c chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 c sour cream
  • several grinds of black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the corn off the cobs until you have around three cups. Place in a food processor and pulse six times. This releases some of the juices which give a great corn flavor. Alternately you can hand grate, but this will take a lot longer.
  2. Melt half the butter in a skillet and saute the jalapeño and onion until onion is translucent.
  3. Beat the egg yolks until lemony. You can do this with a whisk.
  4. Add everything but the egg whites to the yolks and mix.
  5. Beat the whites until stiff. Fold half into the corn mixture and then the other half.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  7. Pour the corn batter into a baking dish buttered well with the other two tablespoons.
  8. Place in oven for 15 minutes and then reduce to 350° for another 30.

SERVES: 6

NOTES: The chile is optional of course. You could use red pepper if you would prefer no heat at all. Cilantro can be replaced with parsley.

SOURCE: Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide

OVEN: 425° and 350°

COOKING TIME: 45 minutes