Thursday, October 31, 2013

Recipe #252: Chicken Parmesan

I'm not sure what took me so long to make this meal, but here it is.  It turned out very fresh tasting and juicy.  It's a great recipe from (of course...) if you like the traditional flavors of chicken parmesan.  I halved the recipe and pounded the chicken breasts thinner and used olive oil instead of vegetable oil.  I used pasta sauce made in Cleveland's Little Italy, and served it with a side of capellini.

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
7 ounces seasoned bread crumbs
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces pasta sauce
6 slices Monterey Jack cheese
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2.Pour beaten eggs into a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow dish or bowl, mix together the grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Dip chicken breasts into beaten egg, then into bread crumb mixture to coat.
3.In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add coated chicken and saute for about 8 to 10 minutes each side, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear.
4.Pour tomato sauce into a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking dish. Add chicken, then place a slice of Monterey Jack cheese over each breast, and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is completely melted.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Recipe #251: Lobster Bisque

The other day, I saw some frozen lobster tails for a good price at the store, so I grabbed them without knowing what recipe I might use them for.  With the weather getting colder, though, I was inspired to make a lobster bisque.  This is a very easy recipe that could be the base for some changes, or fine on its own.  Except for the onion, I halved the recipe and used two lobster tails, and it worked out to be two big bowls of soup.  Here's another one from

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons minced onion
3 cups cooked lobster meat, shredded
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 cup light cream
1.Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the flour, salt, pepper and celery salt until well blended. Gradually stir in the milk so that no lumps form, and then stir in the chicken stock. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the soup begins to thicken. Add the onion and lobster; season with paprika. Cook and stir for 10 more minutes. Stir in the cream, heat through and serve.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Recipe #250: Oyako Donburi

I've been fretting for awhile about recipe 250.  I wanted something unique, but nothing was catching my attention.  I also couldn't decide what to make for dinner today, so I sat in the parking lot at my little grocery store and used my Allrecipes Dinner Spinner app to help me decide.  I picked "main dish" "chicken" "ready in 45 minutes or less"..... and scrolled through the results.

This one caught my eye immediately for the unrecognizable name, and then I knew when I saw the ingredients that this would be the meal.  According to the poster of this recipe, it is a Japanese dish very popular in Hawaii.  It's simple to make and very hearty.  I used a full pound of chicken and skipped the salt.  I also used fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken
breast halves - cut into strips
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
6 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked until
soft, then sliced into strips

1 carrot, julienned
2 tablespoons white sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped green onions
5 eggs, beaten
1.Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Saute chicken strips and onion until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Drain off as much liquid as possible.
2.Stir in the chicken broth, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and carrot, and let simmer for a few minutes before stirring in the sugar, soy sauce and salt. Simmer for 3 more minutes. Sprinkle in half of the green onions, stirring gently. Pour beaten eggs over the chicken mixture, and simmer until the eggs are cooked through, about 10 minutes. Serve over Japanese sticky rice.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Recipe #249: Jambalaya

I previously posted a jambalaya recipe that is made in a crock pot (see this link), but this recipe from has many more ingredients, including all the spices to make the cajun seasoning from scratch.  This is not a saucy jambalaya- the rice absorbed all of the broth as I made it in this recipe, so adjust accordingly if you prefer more sauciness.  This is a SPICY meal to warn those who prefer things to be mild.  My comments are in red.


For the spice mix:

  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (I used half)
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch celery salt

For the jambalaya:

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 large yellow onions, medium dice
  • 12 ounces andouille sausage, medium dice  (I used the whole pound in the package.  Why not??)
  • 4 ounces tasso or smoked ham, medium dice  (I couldn't find either, so I just used black forest ham.)
  • 2 large green bell peppers, cored, seeded, and medium dice
  • 3 medium celery stalks, medium dice
  • 1 jalapeño, cored, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes  (I used a can of whole tomatoes that I crushed)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 medium scallions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)
For the spice mix:

Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine; set aside.

For the jambalaya:

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the lower third. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and set aside.

Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed, ovenproof, 7-quart pot or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place about one-third of the chicken pieces in the pot and cook, stirring rarely, until browned all over, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove to a large bowl and brown the remaining chicken in 2 more batches; set aside.

Remove and discard all but about 1/4 cup of the fat from the pot. Add the butter and melt over medium heat. Add the onions, scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to release any browned bits, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions just begin to brown, about 6 minutes.

Add the sausage, ham, and half of the reserved spice mix. Stir to coat everything with the spice mix and cook, scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally, until the meat is browned and the onions are very tender, about 10 minutes.

Add the bell peppers, celery, jalapeño, garlic, measured salt, and remaining spice mix. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pot occasionally, until the bell peppers have softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the reserved chicken and any accumulated juices, the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, and the tomato paste. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Add the rice, stock or broth, and bay leaves, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Cover with a tightfitting lid, transfer to the oven, and bake until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.

Remove the pot to a wire rack and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir to evenly combine the jambalaya, taste, and season with salt as needed. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Recipe #248: Weekday Cassoulet

Even once I took this out of the oven, I was skeptical about the flavor... thought it might be on the bland side.  I couldn't be more wrong.  I'm nearly speechless about this one.  Just amazing and perfect and so simple!!  This is from the Food Network channel site, with my changes in red.


4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, cut in 1/2 through the bone
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound slab bacon, sliced into large lardons  (I could only get a typical pack, but got thick-sliced, cut them into about 2" pieces)
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups cooked Northern white beans (I just used one can of Northern beans)
1 bay leaf
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tomato, sliced very thinly
Garlic Bread Crumbs, recipe follows
1 baguette, sliced, for serving


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Rinse and dry the chicken well and season with salt and pepper. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium-low heat, add the bacon and slowly render the fat. Remove the bacon to a plate when crispy, leaving the fat in the pan. Raise the heat to medium-high and add the chicken, skin side down. Brown the chicken on both sides and then remove to a plate. Add the onion, celery, carrots and garlic and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. I had a lot of bacon fat left, so I got rid of half of it.  Deglaze the pan with white wine and reduce by half. Stir in the beans, bay leaf and thyme. Nestle the chicken thighs and bacon into the pot. Add the chicken stock, cover and bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, remove the lid and top the cassoulet with sliced tomatoes and the Garlic Bread Crumbs. Return to the oven and bake, uncovered, 15 minutes longer. Serve the cassoulet with baguette slices.

Garlic Bread Crumbs:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 slices slightly stale or dried bread, pulsed into crumbs in food processor  (I just used about a cup of regular bread crumbs)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a small saute pan over low heat, add the oil and the garlic. Stir until the oil is fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss in the bread crumbs and cook until the bread crumbs start to turn golden, about 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from heat.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Recipe #247: Easy Taco Dip

I wanted to make something to snack on for when we went to my Aunt and Uncle's house, so I looked through one of my books titled What Can I Bring? Cookbook.  This was super easy and really hearty- we all had to force ourselves to stop eating it so we'd have room for dinner!  This is my adapted version of the recipe.  Use as much of the ingredients as you need to create a layer.


1 can re-fried beans
1 large or 2 small-ish tomatoes, diced
16 oz sour cream
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1-2 ripe chopped avocados
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
1/2-1 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cups sliced black olives (the little can)
1 can chopped green chilies
1-2 cups iceberg lettuce, shredded
Fresh cilantro leaves
Tortilla chips, for serving


In a square casserole dish, layer as follows:

1.  Refried beans
2.  Mix the sour cream and the taco seasoning.  Layer half of it on top of the beans
3.  Tomatoes
4.  Avocado
5.  1 cup cheese
6.  Scallions
7.  Olives
8.  Green chilies
9.  The rest of the sour cream mixture
10.  1 cup cheese
11.  Lettuce
12.  Cilantro

Cover and refrigerate until ready to eat.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Recipe #246: Braised Lamb Shoulder

The little grocery store at the end of my street doesn't often carry lamb, and I have to make special trips to bigger stores to get it when I want it.  Luckily, though, when I was there earlier this week, they had cuts of lamb shoulder, which I gleefully bought with no recipe in mind.  I did a little research and found this recipe on a new (to me) site,  It looked delicious, but I was honestly blown away by how good this turned out.  Moist meat, really hearty sauce, served over some leftover rice I already had.  This would be great with stew meat or cut up lamb, too.  I changed the recipe just a little bit.  I'm going to have to check out that website more often....  Ingredients are approximate/what I used/adaptable due to the style of her site.


2 cuts lamb shoulder steaks
1 carrot, chopped fine
2 small ribs celery, chopped fine
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
Small handful of fresh parsley, minced
Tablespoon minced garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Can of peeled plum tomatoes
1 cup white wine (or, in my case, a mix of chicken broth and red wine)


Heat oil in a pot that will give you some good browning (meaning, NOT a non-stick).  Pat lamb steaks dry and season with salt and pepper.  Brown both sides in the pan, then move to a plate.  Into the pan, put carrot, celery, onion, parsley, and garlic.  Saute until lightly browned, bringing up the browned bits from the lamb.  Add the broth or wine and reduce until almost gone.  Add the tomatoes and sauce they are in, and then the lamb, and cover the lamb with the sauce.  Cover the pot and reduce to a simmer and cook until lamb is tender, about an hour.  Serve over rice, potatoes, or pasta.

Browned lamb

Cooking veggies

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Recipe #245: Thai Shrimp Wonton Soup

I had lots of leftover wonton wraps from my mini taco recipe, so today I searched for a way to use them.  This was the winning recipe, and as a result, I also found a new website to try recipes from:!  Expect plenty of postings from there in the future.

This was simple and tastes like what you'd get from a restaurant, I think.  BE SURE to use unsalted broth and low sodium soy sauce, because it still comes out salty.  It would be too much if there was more.  I bought some frozen egg rolls to make on the side.  Some day I'll try making those fresh too.


  • ½ pound of shrimp, minced into small pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 scallion stalked, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce  (LOW SODIUM!!)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 3 tbs cilantro
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 12 wonton skins
  • 4 cups chicken broth  (UNSALTED!!)
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp sweet rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce


  • In a large bowl, combine shrimp, garlic, scallions, soy sauce, fish sauce, cilantro. Blend well, and let stand for 15 minutes.
  • Place about one teaspoon of the filling at the center of each wonton skin. Moisten all 4 edges of wonton wrapper with egg yolk, then pull the top corner down to the bottom, folding the wrapper over the filling to make a triangle. Press edges firmly to make a seal. Bring left and right corners together above the filling. Overlap the tips of these corners, moisten with egg yolk and press together. Continue until all wrappers are used.
  • Bring the chicken broth, fish sauce and sweet rice wine vinegar to a rolling boil. Gently drop the wontons into the broth. The wontons are cooked once they float to the top and you boil the dumplings for an additional 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped scallions, and serve.  (I added the scallions to the soup while cooking)