Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Braised Chicken with Cremini Mushrooms in a Frangelico Cream Sauce

Every now and then my experiments don't come out as I had originally anticipated, but I'm usually able to tweak the recipe so that it's edible or in this case FANTASTIC. My kitchen is no different than yours, trust me!

Let me start from the beginning...

The reason for creating this dish to begin with was because as my brother in law John was combing through his liquor cabinet recently, he came across several bottles of Frangelico given to him as gifts. As much as he enjoys it, he would never drink that much so he asked me if I wanted to take a bottle home and make something with it.  And, being Me, I accepted of course....I just love a food challenge!  For those of you unfamiliar with the liquor, it is hazelnut flavored and sweet and usually not used in cooking savory dishes, but rather in sweet recipes like desserts. The challenge was on! 

I started out with a concept of braising chicken thighs and making a reduction out of the Frangelico, but a couple of things happened along the way.  


1. The chicken thighs I had purchased were skinless AND boneless; which made the cooking time shorter than I had anticipated. I did adjust the recipe below to use the bone-in thighs and cooking time. 

2. As I tried to reduce the sauce, it just boiled away and never thickened. So I added the flour and heavy cream to turn it into this cream sauce. 


If you read this blog frequently, you will notice that I tend not to make a lot of dishes with cream sauces as I'm trying to avoid obvious ingredients known to be extremely high in fat since my last cholesterol check was a little high, but luckily I had purchased some heavy cream for a dessert I needed to make and had some left over to use in this dish. 

Thankfully, it all came out perfect in the end. The family loved it despite the craziness happening in the kitchen as I was trying to get this dinner ready on a night where we had to be on a tight time schedule for sports practice pick ups. And of course, I just HAD to stop to take some pictures. Ahhh...the life of a food blogger! 



Braised Chicken with Cremini Mushrooms in a Frangelico Cream Sauce
8 Chicken Thighs, bone-in and skinless 
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10oz. Cremini Mushrooms, washed and halved
1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary
2 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 c. Frangelico (or other Hazelnut liquor)
1/4 c. Red Wine (I used a Chianti)
1 c. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 c. Heavy Cream

Directions:
1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large pot, then add in the chicken thighs. Lightly brown on all sides, approximately 5-8 minutes, then remove chicken and set aside. It will not be fully cooked at this point. (You may have to do this in batches). 
2. Once all of the chicken has been removed from the pan, add in the mushrooms and rosemary and saute until the mushrooms start to soften. . 
3. Next, stir in the flour, then add in the Frangelico and red wine; mix well. 
4. Add in the chicken broth and heavy cream and mix all ingredients together until it forms a slightly thickened sauce. 
5. Add back in the chicken and simmer on low for approximately 30 minutes to finish cooking off the chicken. Serves 4. 

Enjoy! 

*Tip: You can also substitute boneless chicken breasts; however, I would dust them with flour, brown in the oil and set aside. Then create your sauce separately to pour over the chicken. 


Happy Halloween! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Fennel & 3 Bean Chili

I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm always looking for new ways to prepare some of our favorite meals, like my latest version of this vegetarian chili with roasted fennel and three types of beans. And since tomorrow is Halloween and you'll either be busy handing out candy or Trick or Treating, I'm sure your time will be limited in the kitchen. This dish takes only 15 minutes to prepare, then plug in the 'ol slow cooker and let it do the rest of the work for you! This chili was loaded with flavor and smelled even better while cooking away all day in my kitchen. 


Roasted Fennel & 3 Bean Chili (Slow Cooker)
1 Fennel Bulb, chopped
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 - 15oz. Cans Black Beans
2 - 15oz. Cans Chick Peas
2 - 15oz. Cans Kidney Beans
1/2 c. Red Wine
28oz. Crushed Tomatoes (I used Hunts)
1 tsp. Chili Powder (more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp. Dried Oregano
1 c. Vegetable Broth
1 tsp. Kosher Salt

Directions:
1. Mix together the fennel, onion, garlic and oil, then place on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes, then remove from oven and add to your slow cooker. 
2. While the fennel is roasting, rinse all of your beans and add to the slow cooker. 
3. Next, add in your wine, tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, salt and vegetable broth. 
4. Mix all ingredients together and cook for 4-6 hours on low or 6-8 hours on warm. Serves 8. 


*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 434, Carbs 76.9g, Fat 4.1g, Protein 22.6g, Fiber 22.7g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Plum, Pecan and White Chocolate Granola Bars

Today is National Oatmeal Day and did you know that oatmeal is full of fiber which helps you stay fuller longer. Oatmeal makes a great breakfast to help fuel your day and also a great snack, like thee Plum, Pecan and White Chocolate Granola Bars I made last week. The kids loved them though I think I'd make them smaller next time. By using the brownie pan they were neat and uniform in size, but a little too large to eat for a snack as they were very filling. Also, by making these yourself, you get to control the amount of sugar than those found in the store bought varieties. Play around with it. It you don't like white chocolate or would prefer a healthier option, use carob or dark chocolate instead or leave it out entirely...it's completely up to you. 

Here are 10 Health Benefits of Oatmeal:
1. Lowers Cholesterol
2. Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure
3. Full of antioxidants
4. It prevents arteries from hardening
5. Can prevent the development of breast cancer
6. Stabilizes blood sugar
7. Prevents the development of diabetes
8. Gives the immune system a boost
9. Can prevent weight gain
10. A great substitute for those following a gluten free diet

Plum, Pecan and White Chocolate Granola Bars
3 c. Quaker Oats
1 c. Dried Plums, chopped
1/4 c. Pecans, chopped
1/3 c. White Chocolate Chips
1/2 c. Honey

Directions for Pampered Chef Non Stick Brownie Pan:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. 
2. Pour the oat mixture evenly into a 12 section Pampered Chef Non Stick Brownie Pan
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then allow to cool. (I placed mine in the freezer once the pan was cool enough to speed the process). Makes 12. 



*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 224, Carbs 38g, Fat 6.8g, Protein 3.9g, Fiber 3.8g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.


Directions for 8x8 inch baking pan:
1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. 
2. Pour the oat mixture evenly into a 12 section Pampered Chef Non Stick Brownie Pan
2a. Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with parchment paper and pour in the oat mixture and spread so that it is evenly distributed in the pan. 
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then allow to cool. (I placed mine in the freezer once the pan was cool enough to speed the process). Cut into 20 individual bars. 


*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 134, Carbs 22.8g, Fat 4.1g, Protein 2.3g, Fiber 2.3g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

And for all of my fellow East Coasters, please stay safe during Hurricane Sandy these next few days!  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Seafood Frenzy Friday (Week 40)

Welcome to Seafood Frenzy Friday where each week I share seafood recipes I find from some of my foodie friends with you since I don't eat seafood myself.  To get the recipe, click on the name underneath the picture to be taken to the author's original post. 

Enjoy the selections this week, thank you to this weeks' bloggers for allowing me to share and have a wonderful weekend! 
The Roasted Root

Pinoy Kitchenette

The Fountain Avenue Kitchen

The Foodie Physician

Rich and Sweet

Don't Disturb This Groove

Wanna Be a Country Cleaver

Family Fresh Meals

Part Time Housewife


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes

I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, mainly because I can't eat a lot of maple syrup (gives me a headache). But every once in a while I crave them. So, in keeping with the experimental theme of this blog, I decided to jazz up my regular homemade pancake recipe for the fall by adding some pumpkin puree and spice. These were INCREDIBLE and I loved the fact that they had so much flavor I didn't even miss eating them without the syrup. 


Pumpkin Pancakes
2 c. All-Purpose Flour
2 tbsp. Baking Powder
3 tbsp. Granulated Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/4 tsp. Pumpkin Spice
2 Eggs
1/2 c. Pumpkin Puree
1 1/2 c. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Cooking Spray


Directions:
1. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and pumpkin spice; mix well. 
2. In a separate larger bowl, whisk the eggs, then add in the pumpkin, milk and vanilla; mix well. 
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk together until there are no lumps. 
4. Heat your frying pan or griddle on medium heat. When you sprinkle a few flecks of water on your pan and the water 'dances' or jumps off the pan, then you know the pan is hot enough to cook on. 
5. Spray the pan with cooking spray and ladle some of the batter onto the pan (approx. 4" in diameter)
6. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until the pancake starts to bubble on the top and around the edges. Flip the pancake and cook the other side until it is golden and remove. Makes 12 pancakes. 


*Tip #1: Heat your syrup in a pan or in the microwave in a microwave safe carafe or pitcher before pouring over your pancakes!


*Tip #2: You can also use butter to cook the pancakes, but I prefer using cooking spray with a non-stick pan to reduce the calories. 


*Nutritional Information per Pancake: Calories 107, Carbs 20.8g, Fat .6g, Protein 3.7g, Fiber 1g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Ideas

I'm not a big fan of Halloween. There I've said it. Though I have gone to a few parties in the last several years, it's just not my thing. I hate dressing up and the thought of going house to house begging for candy that will be either be given or thrown away because my children cannot possibly eat it all seems like such a waste to me. Maybe because I'm not big on candy in the first place. But, with Halloween looming around the corner, I thought I'd share some Halloween party food ideas with you.

*Warning: None of these are my own recipes, but rather some fun finds on Pinterest. If you're not on there yet, what are you waiting for? Maybe it's just because I'm an organized freak, but the thought of being able to categorize recipes, things I like, crafty holiday ideas, etc. into their own specific boards where I don't have to print out everything and safe it just appeals to me. When I'm ready for it, I simply log on, go to the virtual folder I created and voila..there it is!

Ok now for some fun Halloween fun! Here are just some of the ideas that caught my eye, but click HERE for a full board of Halloween ideas!

Hungry Couple

Entertainment

The Kitchen Life of a Navy Wife

Hungry Happenings

Food Thoughts of a Chef Wannabe

Amee's Savory Dish

Just Putzing Around the Kitchen

Everyday Moms Meals

Mom Advice

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Deconstructed Roasted Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan is my absolute favorite thing to eat and ultimate comfort food, but I wanted to try it a new way without frying the cutlets. So I deconstructed it, which means that you use the same ingredients called for in a recipe but assemble it differently. In this recipe, I roasted the eggplant first, then mixed it together with the rest of the ingredients commonly found in a good eggplant parmesan. I used this more as a side dish than an entire meal and served it with linguine (for the kids) and a garden tossed salad (for me!). YUM! 




Deconstructed Roasted Eggplant Parmesan
1 Large Eggplant, rinsed and cut into chunks (about 10 cups chopped)
4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Black Pepper
1 c. Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
1 c. Marinara Sauce (homemade or store bought)
1/2 c. Italian Flavored Bread Crumbs


Directions:
1. Add the eggplant, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to a bowl and mix together. 
2. Place mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes; turning halfway. 
3. Remove from the oven and add roasted eggplant mixture back to the bowl. 
4. Add in 3/4 c. of the cheese, sauce and breadcrumbs and mix well. 
5. Place mixture in an oven safe baking dish, and sprinkle with remaining cheese. 
6. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is bubbling. Serves 6. 


*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 264, Carbs 19.4g, Fat 16.9g, Protein 12.3g, Fiber 5.7g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

Enjoy! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cream of Asparagus Soup



Did you know that asparagus contains folate which is a cancer fighting food? Some other cancer fighting foods that contain folate are orange juice, spinach, romaine lettuce, dried beans, peas, peanuts and brussel sprouts. Vitamin D, tea, cruciferous vegetables like kale and turnips, ginger and curry are also good food sources. 

I'm not particularly fond of asparagus; however, my husband loves it. I recently made it for him as a side to one of our dinners, but there was still quite a bit left over and with him traveling, it would go to waste. I decided to make this soup using what I had left and not only did he like it, the girls even tried it and liked it as well. I used 2% milk in this recipe, but if you prefer creamier soups, you can substitute heavy cream instead. 

      
Cream of Asparagus Soup
1 c. Cooked Asparagus, chopped
1 tbsp. Butter
1 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
2 c. Vegetable Broth
1 c. Milk or Heavy Cream, heated
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 tbsp. Cornstarch, if needed
2 tbsp. Cold Water, if needed


Directions:

1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter then add in the asparagus. 
2. Saute for 2 minutes then add in the flour, forming a roux. 
3. Stir in the vegetable broth and warmed milk, stir and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Use your immersion blender* to blend all of the ingredients together. 
5. If it isn't thick enough for your liking, mix together the cornstarch and cold water; then add it to the mixture and simmer for an additional 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 2. 


*Nutritional Information per Serving (based on using 2% milk): Calories 197, Carbs 23.5g, Fat 8.4g, Protein 7.7g, Fiber 2.3g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.


Enjoy! 

*Tip #1: If you do not have an immersion blender, simply pour the mixture into a regular blender and puree until smooth. Just be very careful not to fill it too much to the top as it will be extremely hot and you don't want to pop the lid off of your blender.



*Tip #2: To cook the asparagus, first trim the asparagus by cutting off about 1" from the bottom. Rinse under cold water and add to a double boiler. Steam asparagus for approximately 5 minutes so that it has softened but still firm.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Top 5 Recipe Recap (10.21.12)


Each week, I see what the top viewed recipes are here on the blog and thought I'd share them with you  in case you missed any posts. Simply click on the name to view the recipe!

Here are the Top 5 Viewed Recipes for 
Week Ending October 20, 2012 

And the #1 Most Viewed Post was: 

Which one was YOUR favorite?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Martha Stewart Living Magazine & Book Signing Event

I normally don't post much over the weekend, but wanted to share some news with you in case you don't follow me on my social media. 

In the spring, I entered my recipe for Sausage and Spinach Lasagna with Parmigiano Reggiano Cream Sauce in a Chinet Bakeware contest. I had won the weekly contest then was put in the running to win the Grand Prize; which was to have the recipe featured in a 2 page advertisement for Chinet Bakeware in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. Guess who won! :) The recipe and November issue are on page 72 and are on sale now. 




Some other exciting news is that I will be attending my first book signing event at the Women's Empowerment Expo on November 13, 2012 in Pompton Plains, NJ. It will be a fun evening with several local authors, shopping and speakers addressing issues like "Women and Social Media", "Transforming the Parent-Teen Relationship" and "Challenges of the 21st Century Job Search for Women". Tickets are $20/pp and you can click here to register. I hope to see you there! 


Friday, October 19, 2012

Seafood Frenzy Friday (Week 39)


Welcome to Seafood Frenzy Friday where I share seafood recipes I find from some of my foodie friends to share with you since I don't eat seafood myself. 

Today is National Seafood Bisque Day so today's theme revolves around soup recipes including seafood. To get the recipe, click on the name underneath the picture to be taken to the author's original post. Enjoy the selections this week and have a wonderful weekend! :)
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