Weekly Winner: Seriously, Who Doesn’t Need a New Chicken Breast Recipe??

Spicy Garlic ChickenAs much as I like to think that on any given evening, I am prepped and ready to put a gourmet meal on the table with just a moment’s notice, it seems that reality likes to slap me in the face with a dose of the real world.  There are days that it just is not going to happen.  But I can dream, can’t I?

This was a crazy busy week of making marvelous meals for others, so when time for a mid-week dinner at home arrived, I was very pleasantly surprised by this recipe.  It’s easy.  It’s quick.  But perhaps most importantly – it’s different!  It has a wonderfully fresh and bright taste and is unique from every other sautéed boneless, skinless chicken breast recipe I have.  It requires no special ingredients and will go well with a wide variety of side dishes.

The recipe comes from Cuisine at Home magazine, which recently has become a go-to resource for me.  Admit it:  You’re getting tired of more than half of the ways you prepare chicken breasts, aren’t you?  I know I am. (My recipes that is, not yours — I’m not judging.  Yours might be fabulous).  But seriously, can’t you use another good chicken recipe.  Here it is!  Enjoy.

Spicy Garlic Chicken with Lemon Glaze

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

¼ tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

¼ cup panko breadcrumbs

2 tsp minced fresh garlic

¼ tsp dried oregano

1 tsp minced lemon zest

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp honey

2 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions

Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Stir together panko, garlic, and oregano; place in a shallow dish.  Dredge both sides of chicken with panko mixture.

Whisk together zest, lemon juice, honey and Tabasco.

Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium.  Add chicken and sauté until browned on both sides and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side.  Transfer chicken to a plate.

Add lemon juice mixture to the skillet; reduce until syrupy, about 1 minute.  Return chicken to skillet, flipping them to coat in the glaze.

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Weekly Winner: Fungi Fabulousness

mushroom lasagnaI love mushrooms.  I love pasta.  I also love cheese and white sauce.  Therefore this lasagna was really a no-brainer.  I knew it would be fabulous.  But it was incredibly fabulous.  Earthy, savory, creamy, luscious – just plain yummy.  Like all lasagna, I think it actually was as good as it was because I made it early and froze it for a while.

Last Monday I found myself in a cooking frenzy.  If I had been thinking about making it, it got made on Monday.  I made soups, slow-cooker recipes and this lasagna.  We didn’t have it until Friday and after three very long, crazy days working late and not being home, knowing I had this gem tucked away in the freezer made me very happy.  And then I ate it and was incredibly happy.

The recipe (and the photo) comes from Sunset Magazine and thanks to the no-boil noodles was incredibly easy to make.  I was far too anxious to dig in and far too exhausted to remember to snap a picture myself.  But trust me… mine looked exactly like this!

Mushroom and Fresh Herb Lasagna

Serves 12

Ingredients

12 no-boil lasagna noodles (1/2 lb.)

1 qt. milk

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup flour

About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

About 1/2 tsp. pepper

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided

About 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided

2 medium leeks, sliced into thin rings

1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced

1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. coarsely shredded Asiago cheese

Instructions:

  1. Soften noodles in a pan of very hot water while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Make béchamel (white sauce): Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, 2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour mixture all at once and whisk until smooth.  Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon; if it isn’t, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, 2 tbsp. parsley, and 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Keep covered.
  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a deep, wide pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Swirl in 1 tbsp. oil and add leeks. Cook until tender but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop leeks into a bowl and set aside.
  4. Swirl 2 tbsp. oil into pot. Add mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, covered, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to release juices, about 5 minutes.  Uncover and cook until edges start to brown. Stir in leeks and remaining  1/2 tbsp. thyme. Remove from heat.
  5. Mix parmesan with Asiago.
  6. Assemble lasagna: Oil a 9- by 13-in. baking dish.  Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles crosswise in dish, then spoon on about 1/2 cup béchamel, followed by a third of the mushrooms and 1/3 cup cheeses. Repeat layers twice more. Top with a final layer of noodles and béchamel, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  7. Bake lasagna until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. parsley and let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Weekly Winner: My Idea of “Going Green”

parsley pesto spaghettiI have to admit it, I’m not a terribly “eco-friendly” person.  I don’t fret over eating organic, I don’t have an electric car and I don’t lose any sleep over my “carbon footprint”.  I’m not a juicer but I do tend to eat relatively healthy and generally believe locally sourced food tastes better and is fresher which is why I choose it when I can.  So, having said that I did decide to “go green” last night — with a parsley pesto.  It was delicious.  This is a very simple, honest-tasting pasta dish from Cooking Light Magazine that comes together in no time.  And as I just discovered — sorry Kermit, but apparently it really is easy being green.

Spaghetti with Parsley Pesto and Sausage

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 ounces uncooked spaghetti

3 ounces spicy pork Italian sausage, casings removed

4 garlic cloves, crushed and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 ounce fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated and divided (about 1/4 cup)

5 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, divided

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add pasta to pan, and cook 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid. Discard the remaining cooking liquid.
  2. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add Italian sausage to pan; sauté 6 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan, reserving drippings; drain on paper towels. Add garlic to drippings in pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan; bring to a boil, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in 2 tablespoons olive oil; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly with a whisk. Add pasta to pan; cook 1 minute, tossing to combine. Remove from heat.
  3. Combine about 2 tablespoons cheese and 4 3/4 cups parsley leaves in a food processor; process until finely ground. With motor running, add remaining 1/4 cup cooking liquid and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; process until smooth. Add parsley mixture and salt to pasta; toss well to coat. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 shallow bowls; top evenly with sausage, remaining 2 tablespoons cheese, and remaining 1/4 cup parsley leaves. Serve immediately.