Archive for the ‘Chicken’ Category

Hello 2012!!

Sparkly shoes for New Years Dinner


(Thank God it’s two-thousand twelve!)  For realsies.  It’s high time for a new year. 2011 wasn’t all bad- but, it certainly had its moments.  I’m glad it’s long gone and I’m excited at the prospects for a new journeys and exciting things to come.

So, as I discussed in my last post this holiday season has been hectic, and after the whirlwind that was Christmas weekend I was looking forward to some downtime for  New Years.  New Years &  I have a strained relationship, and the older I get, the less I like it.  There’s so much pressure to do something really fun, go to a crazy party- pay a ridiculous cover to a bar, drink champagne and kiss someone at midnight.  As my Dad calls it, “amateur night.”  I would much rather spend the night with close friends, family, and keep things low-key, certainly pop some bubbly, maybe play a round of Scrabble and watch a movie.

This year, my plan was to cook myself a delicious meal and relax; the ultimate treat these days.  I did just that and it was magnificent.  I didn’t feel lonely or sad, it was just perfect.  I am my own best date sometimes.  So here’s to 2012, living to the fullest, staying true to me, and making it all work.

Here’s what I made to ring in the new year…

Chicken au Champagne or shall we say… Chicken con Prosecco.

I made this recipe a few years ago with the real deal- Veuve Cliquot, but I couldn’t justify the nearly $50 bottle for just me.  And, to be completely honest, I prefer Prosecco and Cava.  To me they are drier and more palatable than the traditional French Champagnes.

Look at that roasted beauty…

And to go with it, Ina Garten’s Herbed New Potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts

herbs and potatoes

And yes, that is a glass of bubbly in the background, I love my antique champagne glasses, not the flutes, but the flat saucers almost.

And of course… dessert… Gluten-Free brownies and Vanilla Ice cream.. oh yes.


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Pumpkin risotto

Leftover apple pie- best one Momma Tallo has made yet!!

I know folks, you’re probably pumpkined- out, post Thanksgiving and all, but this was a great way to use up leftover pumpkin puree!!

A quick note about Thanksgiving- this year was small, just Mom, Greg & I, and I had to work the day before and the day after, so there wasn’t much time for me to whip up anything grand, nor reason to- we three have our turkey day favorites and try to do the big meal as small as possible.  I hope you all had a wonderful, relaxing and satisfying meal- we sure did!

So on to what I made over weekend… pumpkin risotto!  I had made a batch of these (and added chopped cranberries) Saturday morning and was left with about a cup of pumpkin puree. I wasn’t sure what to do with it, and then I remembered an episode of Giada at Home when she made pumpkin risotto with bacon & goat cheese.  It looked phenomenal.  I wasn’t going to go the whole 9 yards with the bacon, but I took the premise and ran with it.

I made a basic risotto, and added the pumpkin puree to the simmering chicken stock.  (Use vegetable and this would be a perfectly awesome vegetarian meal.) At the end I added a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a dash of ginger and ground cloves, as well as salt, pepper, & grated cheese.  Along side it I put a roasted chicken breast with a white wine & rosemary pan gravy that I made with the pan drippings, a tablespoon of cornstarch and wine. Delish!

Check out my new block of parmesan cheese: it looks like Vermont.

Vermont cheese.

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Oy.  Yes, I said sammie.  It sounds so much cuter than sandwiches, just has a fun lil’ ring to it, don’tcha think?

Well anyway.  I love football season for many reasons.  #1 may be that it gives me a reason to whip up tasty game day food and drinks on Sunday afternoons.  Recently I wanted to try something a bit different and use my slow-cooker for the day.  I wanted the flavor of Buffalo wings without having to actually make wings.  I went to the internet and found a bunch of options, but finally settled on this version.  Part of what I love about cooking is the preparation in the kitchen, the hanging out, chopping stuff up, it’s relaxing to me.

Everybody's ready to go!

Sauteeing the veggies

Everybody into the pot... chicken, veggies, & the makings for the sauce.

Weird, I know, most people love slow-cookers so that they can just throw a bunch in and call it day.  Guess I like more of a challenge.  The chicken hung out in the pot for a few hours and then it looked like this: time to shred!

Once it was shredded I put it pack in a large pan on the stove to warm things up and added some extra hot sauce (Frank’s of course) and butter (see the bowl to the top left of that picture) and the remnants of the slow-cooker

Throw this on top of a toasted bun with some blue cheese dressing…. HELLO delicious.

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In preparation of a busy week, I made lunch for the week.  I decided at the grocery store to make some sort of chicken & rice.  I didn’t want it to be boring so I thought of doing a stuffed chicken, and moved from there to a roulade of sorts-  chicken filets layered with proscuitto, provolone, spinach, then rolled, seared & baked until cooked through, then sliced to show off how pretty the inside is.

See? Lovely.

Here’s how to do it:

Take a chicken breast, and pound it out.  Great stress reliever.

Layer on some provolone

Then proscuitto

Then some thawed frozen spinach that’s been patted dry

Roll and secure with toothpicks, season with salt & pepper.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large oven-proof saute pan and brown chicken on all sides

Put pan in a preheated oven (350 degrees F) to cook chicken through for about 30-35 minutes


Let sit for a few minutes so you don’t loose all the cheese when you slice it up! Et, voila!  Chicken roulade.

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Hello lovelies!  It’s Tuesday so that means a new post.  I made a fantastic new meal last week and was going to post it then, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you.  (Or, what really happened was, I had a busy week and decided to keep up with the Tuesday theme for awhile.)  I had a Junior League event, dinner with my Dad, and wait for it…. a night of dancing with some fabulous ladies set to the soundtrack of the 90s out at Common Ground in Allston.  It was amazing.

I will pause to also tell you about where I went to dinner last week, it was a very impromptu event.  I had a tough afternoon (a lot of manual entry for nearly two hours, yikes!) at the office and called my Dad to see if he was heading straight home, or if he could meet for a glass of wine at this place near his office in Newton Centre, Tartufo.  A glass of wine turned into dinner (yay me!) and I’m so happy I did, everyone needs to go to Tartufo asap.  It’s this little italian restaurant that has yet to disappoint me.  More importantly, it has yet to disappoint my Dad, and he’s tried almost everything on the menu.  You may even have a local celebrity sighting of Matty in the Morning, Mr. Matt Seigel of KISS 108.  Anyway, I digress.

I ordered a glass of chianti, just what the doctor ordered, and the butternut squash ravioli.  It was so flavorful and comforting, but light at the same time.  It was topped with a butternut sauce (I think) a few pieces of buffalo mozzarella and arugula, it was perfect.  It’s right off the D line, (Green Line for you out of towners), and it’s worth the trip!

If you take my advice it looks like you’ve got a nice lil’ weekend set-up, 90s night this Friday, and Tartufo for dinner on Saturday.  You’ll thank me Sunday.  🙂

Back to what was going on in this Cucina.  I have, as discussed previously, not been a fan of mushrooms.  Recently though, I’ve come to appreciate them.  Awhile back, like a long while back, I ordered chicken marsala at my favorite neighborhood restaurant, and it was the most amazing thing.  So rich & unexpected for a chicken dish, and I loved the mix of the sweet marsala sauce, the earthy & hearty mushrooms, and a touch of salt.

Last week I had some leftover mushrooms and chicken breasts in the freezer and thought, aha! Chicken Marsala.  Nevermind the fact that I didn’t have any Marsala wine… details.  I went to the liquor store, bought Marsala and all was right with the world.

After what turned out to be a “when it rains, it pours” kind of day, (no, literally, it was pouring outside, and in my apartment, 2 stern phone calls to the landlord later, things are sealed up) I set up shop in la cucina and got to cooking.

Ready, set, cook!

And once again, cooking up a storm proved to be the best therapy for a rough day.  Especially when the end product is so delicious.

After perusing recipes online and in Joy of Cooking, I did a sort of combination.  Though the next time I make it I am using much more Marsala, it cooked down so much, there was barely enough for 2 servings.  I also made up a mashed potato, yes it was just one lone potato, and green beans with slivered almonds and the zest & juice of an orange (thank you Kate for that idea.) I was very pleased with myself.

What is a delicious meal without dessert?  Incomplete I say!  So I also made brownies.  Martha Stewart’s double chocolate brownies, but I had to go and one-up Martha, I added a third chocolate, because two is never enough.

This is why I go to Spin class at 6:30 am.

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I bought my own box of Bells, I just love the packaging.

Oh winter in New England.  It has begun.  A cold has started creepin’ around my office and it’s not ok with me.   Colds are such a frustrating illness because in a lot of ways, you’re not really sick- no fever, not tossing your cookies, you just feel crummy and sometimes no amount of Halls throat drops and Sudafed can make it better.

It started with my cube-mate who still has a hacking cough and wears his winter hat inside all day, then K-Fed got the sniffles, then it moved onto my boss.  I have thus far refused to get sick, like I have an actual choice in the matter.  But. But, I have been making sure to take extra care of myself and though I can tell the cold symptoms are creepin’ up on me, I have yet to succumb to the full-blown cold, and I plan to keep it that way.

How is this possible you must be thinking?  Lots of rest, a touch of sweating it out at the gym, plenty of liquids (water, teas oj), and, a big pot of home-made chicken soup.  I spent all of Saturday, (really all day) in my apartment, I broke up my day between movies, OSU football, and cooking. In honor of the Buckeyes game I made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. (Ok, so it’s not a buckeye, but I thought the peanut butter chocolate combo was a good homage to OSU, right??). I moved on to rolls and chicken soup.  The weather was not right for rising bread that day, I got nice lil’ hockey pucks instead of soft chewy dinner rolls. 😦

For a person who as recently as two years ago claimed “I’m not really a soup person” I’ve been making a lot of soup lately!  Blame it on Martha Stewart.  Everyday Food last month had those great recipes (the roasted squash and the roasted beef & mushroom soups) which have inspired me to try roasting other things and making soup.  Why not use chicken and carrots?

That’s what I did, I roasted carrots and cubed chicken breasts, and half a yellow onion diced and roasted them for 25 minutes or so at 425 degrees F.

When they were done, I moved everything to the dutch oven with about 4 cups of chicken broth, another cup or so of water, 3/4 cup quick cooking barley, a couple stalks of chopped celery and seasonings and let it cook away.

This should help fend off the cold for one more week at least.

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Pumpkin Pop-Tart

The Fall frenzy continues in La Cucina this week.

I had first heard of this whole home-made pop tart thing thanks to, where else, Smitten Kitchen.  It’s a recipe on my “I want to spend a Sunday afternoon baking this” list.  It’s more than a list really, it’s a binder.   The problem with the binder is, as soon as I put something in it, I find another gem.  Case in point: homemade pop tart pastries.  I had been planning/wanting to make a cinnamon sugar version, or even raspberry jam, but then. Then, I found this.  Oh Joy.  How you know me so well.  I love pumpkin things. Obvi.

This past Sunday I cleared my calendar.  Well, let me re-phrase.  I put a baking session on my calendar.  I’m serious.  After brunch with my grad school girls, there was “Pop-Tarts” in my calendar.  I like making lists.  It’s in the family what can I say.

something good is bakin' up in there!

Anyway.  I’m not a baker either.  I know I’ve mentioned this before, but baking is just not my strong suit.  The exact measurements, exact dimensions, ugh.  But. I tackled this pastry delight head on, made a complete mess of my kitchen and my self in the process but oh boy! It was worth it.  I make a pretty mean pastry.  Just sayin’.  Now, throw a bit o’pumpkin pie filling in the middle and HELLO! Delicious! Warm! Flaky! Buttery! Gah! I could go on for days.

fresh pop-tarts!

After that, and a couple of Halloween themed movies, I set my sights on Roasted Butternut Squash soup.

Roasting chicken & squash for soup

Thank you Ms. Martha Stewart for the below tip in this month’s EveryDay Food.  Sidebar: the Beef & Barley soup a couple of pages ahead of this one is also fantastic, one of my co-workers made it last week and I had a taste.

The makings of a warm sunday dinner

Healthful and satisfying!!

The only bit I changed was that I used my immersion blender and made it a silky smooth soup before adding the roasted chicken back in.  I was a bit skeptical of this recipe at first I’ll admit.  It wasn’t the traditionally seasoned or creamy squash soup.  It calls for ground cumin, coriander and tops it with cilantro.  I met Martha half-way and used the blender to make it a fuller, creamy-like soup, but sans cream.

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