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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Portobello Mushroom, Zucchini and Sage Risotto-Guest Blogger at A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis

Today I'm honored to be a Guest Blogger at A Culinary Journey with Chef Dennis where I shared my newest recipe for this Portobello Mushroom, Zucchini and Sage Risotto

I love risotto and realized that I hadn't made one in a while and this one was certainly worth the wait! This dish was deliciously creamy, not overly rich and contained many of my favorite flavors all in one. Head on over to check out the recipe and be prepared to stay awhile because Chef Dennis has so many AMAZING recipes of his own, just tell him I sent you! 

And now a little bit about my gracious host...

Chef Dennis, as he's known both at work and across the blogsphere, is an Executive Chef, Culinary Instructor, Recipe Developer and an Award Winning Food Blogger and Photographer and all around nice guy. I'm sure you've seen some of his work here on my weekly Seafood Frenzy Friday segments as I've shared several of his delectable seafood dishes throughout the year. But what you might not know is that he's also been one of the driving forces behind Google+, the G+ Food Bloggers Community and Hangouts with topics that range from How to Bake with King Arthur Flour to Food Photography to How to Work with Brands. 

If you haven't signed up for Google+ yet, run don't walk! It's very user friendly, well that is if you take the time to view helpful videos like this one called How to Use Google+-Circles, Posting Etiquette and Food Bloggers. 

Even if you're not a blogger, Google+ is the "up and coming" site for social media. Think Facebook with Skype, Instagram and Twitter combined. I've learned so much in a short period of time, it's just finding the right balance of time in my day to really hone in on all of G+'s capabilities. You can find us both on G+ as +Carrie Farias and +Chef Dennis LittleyStop by to say hello and sign up for G+ if you haven't already to see what all the fun is about! 

Penne with Sweet Italian Sausage, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil

There aren't many foods I like to eat leftover; however, pasta is definitely one of them! Especially when it's pasta mixed with some of my favorite robust flavors like sweet Italian sausage laced with fresh fennel seeds, garlic, fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes and red wine. This was absolutely delicious and I paired it with a tossed salad...Dinner is served!

Penne with Sweet Italian Sausage, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Basil
1 lb. Penne Pasta (I used Barilla Plus)
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1/4 c. Red Onion, chopped
1/4 c. Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 c. Sun Dried Tomatoes (not in oil), chopped
1/4 c. Red Wine (I used a Rioja)
4 Sweet Italian Sausage Links
1/4 c. Pecorino Romano Cheese, grated

1. Place the sausage on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes; turning once. Remove from oven and slice into 1/4" thick slices.  
2. Cook pasta according to package instructions; drain and place back in the pot.
3. While the pasta is cooking, add the oil to a large nonstick saute pan over medium heat.
4. Add the garlic and onions and saute for 1 minute; then add the basil and tomatoes and sausage slices. Saute for approximately 5 minutes until the sausage is browned on both sides, then add the red wine and allow to simmer for another 5 minutes until the wine is reduced. 
5. Add this mixture to the cooked pasta, add the cheese and mix well. Serves 8. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 468, Carbs 44.8g, Fat 16.4g, Protein 33.1g, Fiber 5.3g, Sugar 4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.


*If you want to make this during the week and are short on time, precook your sausage up to two days beforehand and keep refrigerated until ready to use. You can also substitute hot sausage if you like a little extra heat, turkey sausage if you are watching your caloric and fat intake or omit the sausage altogether for a meatless meal. 

HURRY! If you haven't entered to win the Table for Two Cookbook yet, you only have until tonight! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hearty Beef Noodle Soup

I never get tired of soup and like a variety. My husband loves it as well and asked me to make a Beef Noodle Soup a while ago, but I only tend to make this kind of soup if I have leftover beef from a roast or steak.  To me, it just seems to be a waste of time to go through the of trouble cooking the meat just to put it in the soup alone. 

For this particular soup, I used some leftover london broil. We don't do much outside grilling here in NJ between November-February as it's usually too cold or snowing. However, this year has been odd with warm days in the upper 50's followed by a snow storm or temperatures in the teens the next. So this soup came at the perfect time! 

If you have extra soup, don't worry! Here are some tips on how to store it. 
1. Allow the soup to cool completely before refrigerating or freezing. 
2. If you are going to be eating it within a few days: Divide the cooled soup into shallow, air tight containers; then cover and refrigerate up to 3 days. 
3. If you want to freeze the soup: Divide the cooled soup into shallow, air tight, freezer safe containers leaving a 1/2" space between the top of the soup and the rim of the container. This will allow room for the soup to expand while frozen without the lid coming off. You can freeze soup for up to 3 months. Also, do not freeze soup that has been thickened with cornstarch or flour. Leave it out and add it once defrosted and reheated. By freezing soup with thickener, it changes the consistency and thickening capacity causing it to look congealed. 

Hearty Beef Noodle Soup
1 c. Carrots, sliced
1/2 c. Red Onion, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
1 tbsp. Canola Oil
2 c. Cooked Beef, diced
4 c. Low Sodium Beef Broth
4 c. Water
3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 c. Egg Noodles, dry

1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add in the carrots, onion and celery. 
2. Saute until the vegetables start to soften, then add in the beef, beef broth, water, and thyme. 
3. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 45 minutes, then add in the egg noodles and simmer for another 15 minutes. Makes 6 cups. 

*Nutritional Information per Cup: Calories 167, Carbs 12.7g, Fat 6.6g, Protein 13.6g, Fiber 1.5g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate. 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Low Fat Blueberry Muffins

I love cooked blueberries; however, I don't like to eat them raw. Isn't that weird? I'll eat them in cakes, pies, pancakes and in muffins though. Maybe it's a texture or hot vs. cold thing, I'm not quite sure. But I do LOVE blueberry muffins. 

I don't usually make many muffins at home because when I do, my youngest thinks that they're all for her and the rest of the family winds up eating more than they wanted to just to get some before she devours them all. I keep telling the little stick with a high metabolism that one day it's all going to catch up with her when she least expects it and BAM! Those muffins and desserts she keeps eating will be permanently planted on her hips! :) 

So lately, when I do make desserts or breakfast treats, I try to make them a little healthier, which leads me to these Low Fat Blueberry Muffins I made a few weeks ago. They really were moist and delicious and you would never tell they were low fat. Or at least she didn't because she probably consumed 8 out of the 12 muffins these made over the course of a few days! 


Low Fat Blueberry Muffins
2 c. All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 c. Skim Milk
1/2 c. Plain Yogurt (I used Chobani)
1/3 c. Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 tbsp. Canola Oil
1 pt. Blueberries, rinsed
Cooking Spray, if needed

1. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. 
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, add your milk, yogurt, sugar, eggs and oil and beat until blended. 
3. Next, add in your dry ingredients and combine until all ingredients are wet; then fold in the blueberries by hand. 
4. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper muffin cups and fill them with batter three-quarters of the way to the top. 
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes; depending on your oven. They are done when the top springs back when lightly touched or when a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. 
Makes 12 muffins. 

*Nutritional Information per Muffin: Calories 136, Carbs 27.2g, Fat 1.2g, Protein 4.6g, Fiber 1.4g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.


*Muffins freeze beautifully and make a quick, morning breakfast on the run. To keep them fresh, allow to cool completely, then place side by side in a resealable plastic freezer bag. When you're ready to eat, remove one muffin at a time 10 minutes prior to serving. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sauteed Chicken with Soy Sauce & Lemon, Sauteed New Potatoes with Rosemary and a GIVEAWAY

As I mentioned once before in a previous post I was on a quest to get some new cookbooks over the holidays, especially those written by my foodie friends. Table for Two by Warren Caterson was the second book I received and I couldn't wait to try out some of his recipes. His book features over 235 recipes made with fresh, readily available ingredients and is a great cookbook for young couples, empty nesters and everyone in between that are looking for recipes geared towards serving two people. I really wish I had this when I was single and living on my own. I would always make meals then either have a ton of food left over or I had continuous guests! 

I've been craving Asian flavors lately so I decided to make this Sauteed Chicken with Soy Sauce and Lemon. The recipe was easy to follow and I was able to adapt it slightly to increase the portion sizes to feed my family of four using the same ingredients. My family and I LOVED the flavor combination of the soy and lemon in this dish and I served this with steamed rice and a vegetable to complete our meal. 

Sauteed Chicken with Soy Sauce and Lemon(Copycat)
12 Chicken Thighs, bone-in, skin removed
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 c. Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 tbsp. Sugar
1 c. White Wine (I used a Chardonnay)

1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven, then add in the chicken and allow to brown on both sides; approximately 10 minutes in total. You may have to do this in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pot. 
2. Remove the chicken and set aside. 
3. Add in the garlic, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper and saute for 1 minute; then add in the soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar and wine. 
4. Return the chicken to the pot, reduce heat to low, cover and allow to simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes. 
5. Remove chicken to a serving plate and spoon sauce over chicken. Serves 6. 

*Nutritional Information per Chicken Thigh: Calories 146, Carbs 3g, Fat 6.9g, Protein 14.2g, Fiber 0g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

The next dish I tried out of the book were these Sauteed New Potatoes with Rosemary. I just love this flavor combination, but I had never cooked them on top of the stove before. They were delicious and the butter gave the potatoes a crispy coating. 

Sauteed New Potatoes with Rosemary (Copycat)
6 Medium Red Potatoes, skins washed and cubed
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp. Butter
1 tbsp. Fresh Rosemary, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste

1. Add the potatoes to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer until tender; approximately 10-15 minutes. Drain. 
2. Heat oil in a large, nonstick saute pan over medium-high heat; then add the potatoes and saute until brown; approximately 15-20 minutes. 
3. Add the rosemary and garlic and saute for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serves

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 178, Carbs 34.4g, Fat 3.3g, Protein 4.1g, Fiber 3.7g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.

And now for the Giveaway!!! 

Warren has graciously offered to give one of my readers a copy of his book, Table for Two, and there are several ways to enter through Rafflecopter below. The more points you accumulate, the more chances you have to win the book. The winner will be selected on Friday, March 1, 2013 and notified by email where they will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected. 

Good luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, February 22, 2013

Seafood Frenzy Friday (Week 49)

Welcome to Week 49 of Seafood Frenzy; which allows me to showcase seafood recipes from other bloggers, since I don't eat seafood myself and rarely prepare it. 

I hope you enjoyed this past weeks' recipe selections including my updated Wine List,  Energy Bars (Copycat), Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce, and yesterday's recipe for Sauteed Fresh Spinach and Garlic. Comment below or let me know if there was a recent recipe you tried at home. I'd love to hear how your family enjoyed it! 

In these posts, I share the name of the blog, an image of the recipe and a link to the author's original post. I also write a comment on each person's blog with a link back to this post letting them know that I shared their recipe, as that is also the right thing to do. Plus, it's just nice to hear when someone appreciates your work and is willing to share it with others. I will also share these posts on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ and Pinterest

I hope you enjoy this weeks' selections and thank you to today's bloggers for allowing me to share their creations. Click on the name of the recipe below the image to be taken to the author's original post. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sauteed Fresh Spinach and Garlic

I know this is a REALLY simple recipe, but sometimes I just have to think about all of those new cooks out there just starting out. This Sauteed Fresh Spinach and Garlic HAS to be in your recipe repertoire and goes perfectly with just about anything you're serving. I love spinach and generally buy it frozen because once you cook down fresh spinach you really don't get much of a yield. I say this serves 4 as a side dish, but I could eat the entire bowl myself! 

Sauteed Fresh Spinach and Garlic
10 oz. Fresh Spinach
4 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced
1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick saute pan; then add the garlic and spinach. 
2. Saute until the spinach starts to wilt and garlic has released it's smell. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 4. 

*Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories 51, Fat 3.8g, Protein 2.2g, Fiber 1.6g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.


To remove the stem from a fresh spinach leaf, fold the leaf in half along the spine, grab the bottom of the stem and tear toward the tip of the leaf. To clean spinach, swish in a bowl of cold water, let sit for a minute, and then lift into a colander to drain. Empty the water and repeat. After doing this, taste a leaf. If you detect even the slightest bit of grit, wash the leaves again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicken in a Lemon Butter Sauce

How many of you are over 40? Well if you're not there yet, let me tell you that once you pass that milestone the brain goes. I don't know where it goes, but information is cycled in and out on a daily basis and you only get to keep what's happening in the near future in the forefront. That is until you wake up in the middle of the night remembering something that was funneled in at one point and you forgot all about it. Now, these can be REALLY important things or things that in the grand scheme of things aren't as important but they matter nonetheless. Which brings me to today's post. 

About 2 weeks ago, I woke up and remembered that my Aunt Renee had asked me if I had a Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce recipe. At the time, all I had was a Chicken Francaise recipe (which is in the cookbook), but she said that wasn't it as it wasn't battered in egg. So I told her I'd make it soon and gone it went into the abyss! It's generally hard for me to make something that I haven't tasted before myself, but this one seemed easy enough. Well, at least I hope it's the same thing she was thinking of. 

So I made this Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce in honor of my aunt and I hope she likes it. Since she lives in Michigan and I'm in New Jersey, it's not like I can have her try it out with me there. I know we all loved it and I paired it with white rice and steamed spinach, because isn't rice that much better when you have a sauce to put on top of it? Now if only I could remember what that abbreviation means on a date in my calendar! 

Chicken in a Lemon Butter Sauce
4-6oz. Boneless Chicken Breasts
1/2 c. All-Purpose Flour
3 tbsp. Canola Oil
2 tbsp. Butter
Lemon Butter Sauce; see below

1. Slice chicken horizontally into three or four thinner pieces, then pound flat using a meat mallet. 
2. Dredge the chicken into the flour until all pieces have been coated.
3. Heat oil and butter in a large non-stick saute pan, then add the chicken. Allow to brown and cook through on each side; approximately 3-5 minutes per side depending on their thickness. 
4. Once done, place in an oven safe dish until all of the pieces have been cooked. 
5. Top with the sauce, then bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Serves 6 (approximately 12-14 pieces of chicken)

Lemon Butter Sauce
2 tbsp. Butter
1 Garlic Clove, minced
3 tbsp. All-Purpose Flour
2 c. Low-Sodium/Fat Free Chicken Broth
1 Lemon, zest and juice
1 tbsp. Chives
1 tsp. Fresh Thyme, removed from stem
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan and add the garlic. Saute for 1 minute, then whisk in the flour forming a roux. 
2. Gradually add in the chicken broth, whisking as your pouring so as not to form lumps. 
3. Next, add in the lemon zest and juice, chives, and thyme. Bring to a boil then allow to simmer for 5 minutes until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper. 

*Nutritional Information per Piece of Chicken (I got 14 pieces out of mine): Calories 130, Carbs 4.8g, Fat 7.4g, Protein 10.7g, Fiber .6g
*Calculations based on ingredients entered into CalorieCount and may not be 100% accurate.