[parmesan crescent-topped chicken a la king]

Ingredients
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 1/2 cups carrot strips (1 1/2x1/4x1/4 inch)
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, green beans, peas, corn
1/2 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups Chicken Broth
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Topping
1 (8-oz.) can Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls
1 egg white, beaten
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS 
Heat oven to 375°F. In large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper and add chicken to the skillet; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add vegetables; cook until chicken is no longer pink and vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. 
Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. Add flour, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to skillet. Stir in broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Stir in 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Spoon into ungreased 2 1/2-quart oval casserole or 13x9-inch (3-quart) baking dish. 
Separate dough into 8 triangles. Starting at short side of triangle, roll each triangle up halfway. Arrange over hot chicken mixture with tips toward center. DO NOT OVERLAP. Brush crescent rolls with egg white; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375°F. for 15 to 20 minutes or until crescent rolls are golden brown.

[honey cornbread muffins]

Based on a recipe by The Neelys

Ingredients
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup honey
 
Special equipment: 12-cup muffin tin and Pam for baking (the one with the flour in it)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.
 
Prep the muffin tin by spraying each cup with Pam.  Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the cups. Bake for 7 minutes, then reduce oven heat to 375 and continue cooking for 8 more minutes (15 total).  At 15 minutes muffins should be golden brown on sides and a toothpick should come out of the center cleanly.

[chicken cacciatore]

serves 2 generous servings
serve with garlic bread
Ingredients:
3 skinless chicken breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 pound white mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14.5 oz) can whole tomatoes in juice
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more to taste

Directions:
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels.  Season the chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a saute pan, or large electric skillet, over moderately-high heat.  Brown the chicken on both sides, about 8 minutes.  Remove the chicken.  

Reduce the heat to moderate. Add the onion and pepper, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to brown.  Add the wine and the garlic, cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes and juice, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and simmer on low heat,  covered for 10 minutes.  Return the chicken breasts to the pan and simmer on low heat, covered, until the chicken is just done, about 20 minutes longer.

[buttered egg noodles]



serves 2 as a side dish
6 oz wide egg noodles
2 Tbsp butter
chopped parsley or dill
small squeeze of lemon juice
salt and pepper

Cook noodles to al dente (according to instructions on package) in boiling salted water.  Transfer 1/8 cup of the water to a skillet then drain the noodles in a strainer.  Rinse noodles with cold water to stop cooking.  In the skillet with the water, stir in the cold butter and keep heat on low.  Add the parsley or dill (about 1 Tbsp chopped parsley, or 1/4 tsp dried dill), stir in lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the noodles with the sauce and serve warm.

[thanksgiving for two]

We've had our share of what others would consider "odd Thanksgiving meals".  We've done everything from Cornish game hens (so good!) to tacos to chili... but once in a while we sneak in some turkey just for kicks.  Here's what we made for Thanksgiving 2010 - a Thanksgiving feast - just for two.  

Adapted from eatingwell.com

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 small shallot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 turkey breast, remove skin and bone, or buy boneless/skinless
Corn bread stuffing (we lucked out and found the kind that had directions for making a small serving by combining your own celery, onion, chicken broth and butter - find something similar and add your own additives)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup cup dry white wine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
 
Stuffing:
(Follow the directions on the cornbread stuffing mix or proceed to the following with cornbread crumbs); Heat 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, stir in sage and thyme; let cool for 5 minutes.

Turkey:
Meanwhile, place turkey breast between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the smooth side of a meat mallet or a heavy skillet until 8 to 10 inches wide and less than 1/4 inch thick. Be careful not to tear the meat. Remove the top sheet. 

Add cornbread stuffing mix to the celery mixture. Stir in 2 tablespoons broth, salt and pepper. Place majority of the stuffing mixture in the middle of the pounded breast; compress the stuffing into a log. Fold and roll the meat over the stuffing. Stab the turkey roll in 4 places with toothpicks to hold roll together.

Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter melts, add the turkey rolls and brown on all sides, turning occasionally, about 4 minutes.

Line a large pyrex glass pan, or high rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Transfer the browned turkey breast to the lined pan and place in oven and bake until the turkey is cooked through, about 20 minutes.  (do not overcook).

Cover the turkey roll with foil and set aside to keep warm. 

Gravy:
Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add wine.  Cook until dark and almost completely evaporated, scraping up any browned bits, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup broth; cook for 1 minute, just to reduce slightly. 

Remove the toothpicks from the turkey; cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices and spoon half the sauce over each portion. Serve warm.

[roasted red potatoes with rosemary]



I don't know why I'm always trying to find a better, easier recipe for roasted potatoes, but I am.  There's something so simple about roasted potatoes that makes them taste like they're fried, but light because they're not.

This makes 3 servings.

6-8 small red potatoes, quartered
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary*
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl to coat potatoes.  Spray a large baking pan (like Pyrex) with Pam, or similar non-stick cooking spray.  Transfer potatoes to baking pan and cook in oven for 35 minutes or until tender and golden.

*Rosemary can also be replaced by dill or thyme.

[Tacos Carne Asada w/ Pico De Gallo]

Based on recipe by Tyler Florence
Makes 8 (very filling) tacos (we could only eat 3 each). 
We had leftover carne asada we used for burritos and sandwiches.
Tacos:
2 pounds flank or skirt steak, trimmed of excess fat
1 recipe Mojo, recipe follows
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
16 (7-inch) corn tortillas
Shredded romaine or iceberg lettuce, for serving
Diced white onion, for serving
Shredded Colby Jack cheese, for serving
Pico de Gallo, recipe follows
2 limes, cut in wedges for serving

Lay the flank steak in a large baking dish and pour the mojo over it. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 8 hours, so the flavors can sink into the meat. Don't marinate the steak for more than 8 hours though, or the fibers break down too much and the meat gets mushy.

Preheat an outdoor grill or a ridged grill pan over medium-high flame (you can also use a broiler). Brush the grates with a little oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Pull the steak out of the mojo marinade and season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Grill (or broil) the steak for 7 to 10 minutes per side, turning once, until medium-rare. Remove the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal.

Warm the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side in a dry skillet or on the grill, until toasty and pliable.
 
To make the tacos, stack up 2 of the warm tortillas, lay about 4 ounces of beef down the center, and sprinkle with some lettuce, onion, and cheese. Top each taco with a spoonful of the Pico de Gallo salsa and garnish with lime wedges. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Mojo:
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 large handful fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 limes, juiced
1 orange, juiced
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
In a bowl, mash together the garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and pepper to make a paste.  Add the lime juice, orange juice, vinegar, and oil. Whisk it up really well to combine.

Pico De Gallo:
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
1/3 medium red onion, chopped
1 green onion, white and green parts, sliced
1 Jalapeno chile, minced
1 small handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 lime, juiced
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients together. Toss thoroughly. Let it sit for 15 minutes hour to allow the flavors to marry.
Yield: 1 cup

[chicken marsala]

Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.
Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Essence, recipe follows
2 (6 to 8-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in halves and pounded thin
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups sliced mushrooms (cremini, oyster, shiitake)
3/4 cup Marsala
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
 

Directions
In a shallow bowl or plate combine the flour and Essence and stir to combine thoroughly. Quickly dredge the chicken breast halves in the seasoned flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and cook the chicken breasts until golden brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon of the remaining butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges and have given off their liquid. Add the Marsala wine and bring to a boil, scraping to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has reduced by half, add the chicken stock and cook for 3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Lower the heat to medium and return the chicken breasts to the pan and continue to cook until they are cooked through and the sauce has thickened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with chopped chives and serve immediately.

Essence (Emeril's Creole Seasoning):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.
Yield: about 2/3 cup

[fish tacos]

based on Bobby Flay's Fish Taco recipe
4 small servings, (side dish needed), or 2 large servings (no side dish needed)

1 pound white flaky fish, we used mahi mahi
1/4 cup canola oil
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1 jalapeno, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
8 flour tortillas

garnish:
Shredded white cabbage
Fresh cut limes
Crema or sour cream
Thinly sliced red onion
Thinly sliced green onion
Chopped cilantro leaves
shredded cheese, we use aged smoked cheddar and spotted cow cheddar
Pureed Tomato Salsa, recipe below

pureed salsa:
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
4 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 serrano chile
1 jalapeno, sliced
1 tablespoon chipotle hot sauce
1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium high heat, add onions and garlic and cook until soft. Lower heat to medium and add tomatoes, serrano and jalapeno and cook until tomatoes are soft, about 15 to 20 minutes. Puree the mixture with a hand-held immersion blender (or in a couple batches in a blender), until smooth and cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Add the hot sauce, oregano, cilantro and lime juice and season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Set aside to bring to room temperature.  (There will be leftovers of this - so be sure to have some chips on hand for the next day).

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Place fish in a medium size dish. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, ancho, jalapeno, and cilantro and pour over the fish. Let marinate for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove the fish from the marinade place onto a hot grill, flesh side down. Grill the fish for 5 minutes on the first side and then flip for 2 minutes, or until fish is cooked and beginning to flake, and remove. Let rest, covered with foil for 5 minutes then flake the fish with a fork and remove any bones and skin.  Place the tortillas on the grill and grill for 20 seconds. Divide the fish among the tortillas and garnish with any or all of the garnishes.

[tuna melt panini]

2 (5 ounce) cans solid white tuna in water, drained
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped celery (1 stalk)
2 green onions, sliced thinly
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper
4 slices wheat bread
4 slices ripe tomato
4 slices Swiss cheese

Combine the tuna, mayo, celery, onion, parsley, vinegar salt and pepper.   Toast the bread, or place in panini maker until golden brown.  Spread tuna on two pieces of bread.  Divide each slice of cheese into two triangles and place two triangles on each sandwich.  Place 1 tomato slice on each piece of cheese and top with remaining 4 triangles of cheese, one on each tomato.  Assemble sandwich with other piece of bread and place in panini maker until golden brown.  Cut each sandwich in half and serve.

[grilled shrimp and scallop scampi on angel hair pasta]

This recipe is a little tricky the first time only due to handling so many pots in the kitchen at once with very time sensitive ingredients, like seafood.  Once you've made it once, it's easy to master.  The bacon can be replaced by prosciutto if you can find it.
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 pound of angel hair pasta
6 garlic cloves,minced
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
about 16 shrimp, medium to large size, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
8 medium sized scallops
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine or sherry
juice of one lemon
4 Tbsp cold unsalted butter
4 pieces of bacon
4 green onions, thinly sliced
Parmesan, if desired

Perheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lay bacon strips in a pyrex pan and cook for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside between paper towels to drain.

Bring a large pot of boiling water to a boil.

In a bowl, combine the garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil.  Place half of the mixture with the shrimp and scallops and toss to coat evenly.  

Cook the pasta per the directions on the box by adding the pasta to the water along with some salt, cook until al dente (about 4 minutes).  Reserve 3 ladles of the water.  Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.

Heat a skillet to medium high and add the shrimp and scallops once it's hot.  (If using a nonstick pan - no need to add more oil - the marinade has enough).  Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until the scallops are lightly browned and the shrimp is pink.  Once cooked, remove skillet from heat and set aside.  

In a large pan/skillet, add the reserved garlic mixture and the red pepper flakes and cook over medium high heat until fragrant (don't let the garlic brown).  Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes.  Add about 2 ladles of the reserved pasta water, and the juice from the lemon.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the butter, stiring until it's melted.  Add the shrimp and scallops and toss to coat.  Add the onion and bacon and toss again.  Last, add the pasta and toss to warm up the pasta.  

Serves two generous servings.  Top with a little shredded Parmesan if desired.

[pan-fried walleye with lemon butter sauce]



Yields: 4 servings 

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4
walleye filets
1
Tbsp vegetable oil
3
Tbsp cold butter, cubed
2
Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1
Tbsp chopped parsley
 
Place flour, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Dredge fish one piece at a time into flour, shaking off excess. In a medium skillet heat oil and 1 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add filets and cook 2-3 mins. on each side or until fish flakes with a fork. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.  Add lemon juice to the skillet. Whisk in the butter until thickened. Pour sauce over the fish and sprinkle with parsley.

[chicken cordon bleu]

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
salt
pepper
2 slices Swiss cheese
2 slices cooked ham (the thick stuff - not deli thin)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
3 Tbsp butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a baking dish with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  
Pound chicken to 1/4 inch thickness between two pieces of saran wrap.
Sprinkle each piece of chicken with salt and pepper, flip and sprinkle with pepper.  Place one piece of Swiss cheese and 1 piece of ham on each chicken breast.  Roll the chicken breasts and roll each in the melted butter to coat.  Then roll chicken in bread crumbs to lightly cover and place seam side down in baking dish. 
Bake for 30 minutes.  Let rest for 3 minutes and serve.

[rosemary roasted potatoes]

This is adapted from a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine - since there's only two of us, we're often copying flavors but not quantities... 
serves 2

1 large potato
salt
about 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
extra virgin olive oil
black pepper

Cut the potato into 1-inch cubes and place in a pot with cold water (enough to cover the potatoes).  Bring the potatoes and a pinch of salt to a boil and let simmer for 12 minutes.  Drain the potatoes and return to the pot to dry out the chunks.  

Spread foil over a rimmed cookie sheet.  Spread the potatoes on the foil and sprinkle with rosemary.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat the potatoes.  (There should be enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom).  Roast the potatoes for 45 minutes, stirring a few times and adding olive oil if needed.  When the potatoes are starting to brown, (about 45 minutes), tilt the cookie sheet and pour off any excess oil.  Roast the potatoes for 15 minutes longer, until browned and crisp.  Serve warm.

[broiled salmon with herb mustard glaze]

1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp cooking sherry (eyeball it)
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (eyeball it)
2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 

Mix all together and set aside until needed.

2 4-6oz salmon fillets
salt and black pepper
nonstick spray

Preheat broiler.  Line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil.  Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Arrange the salmon fillets and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Broil for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from broiler and spoon mustard mixture over the salmon.  Return pan with salmon to broiler and broil for 5-6 minutes.  Let sit for one min under a piece of foil and serve.

[frontega chicken panini]

Frontega Chicken @ Panera
We used to get this sandwich at Panera - but then they changed their bread so it didn't taste like foccacia bread, but cardboard... so we've missed it.  Now we have the panini maker and I thought I'd give it a shot and as Ben said "Nailed It!"  We're happily basking in the afterglow of a full meal, so I better write this down before I forget what I created...
Chipotle Mayo: (eyeball these amounts)
1/4 cup mayo
1 tsp ground chipotle
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried rosemary
Mix together and adjust to personal taste - cover and place in fridge until ready to use.

2 chicken breasts
3 slices mozzarella
red onion 
foccacia round - about 8" (our local Target sells these rounds that have Parmesan and tomatoes on top -we use that)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil

In a large skillet, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat.
Pound chicken breasts to about 1/2 or 1/4" thickness.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in hot skillet.  Flip chicken when side is golden brown.  Prepare a large square of aluminum foil.  When both sides of chicken are golden brown - place on foil and wrap tightly in a foil "purse".  (Note - this means carefully fold the foil so the chicken is well wrapped, but not crushed.  Don't grab the foil and just mush it up - fold it!)  Let the chicken sit for 20 minutes.  

Slice the red onion into very thin slices (you'll need about 6 thin slices of onion, use all of it except the very middle - you want all the circles from each slice).  Set aside.

Cut the foccacia (so you have a top and bottom).

Once the chicken has rested for 20 minutes, remove it from the foil and slice into 1/4" thick strips.  Get the mayo and slather about 1/3 of it onto the bottom piece of the foccacia.  Layer the two chicken breasts, now in strips, on top of the mayo.  Spread out the onion on top of the chicken, try to make it evenly distributed.  Place 3 slices of mozzarella on the chicken.  Slather the top foccacia piece with the rest of the mayo and place on the mozzarella.  Place in a panini maker until cheese is melted.

[classic chocolate chunk cookies]

Adapted from the Original NestlĂ©® Toll House® Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

INGREDIENTS:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz. package) semi-sweet chocolate chunks

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat the oven to 375° F.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Mix in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chunks. Drop cookie dough by tablespoons onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 2″ of space between each.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

[chicken pesto paninis]

Hello New Best Friend: GDL Panini Maker
The panini makers we kept passing at Target were calling my name - so I finally caved in and bought it - and it was one of the best decisions ever.  Panini makers look like a stupid device, but once you realize how awesome sandwiches are with it - the whole world looks new again.
Ingredients:
Focaccia bread (our Target also sells these 10" focaccia rounds - they're awesome)
2 chicken breasts
6 strips bacon
3 slices provolone cheese
pre-made pesto
olive oil
salt and pepper
panini maker!

Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness between saran wrap.  Heat about 1 Tbsp Olive Oil in a skillet.  Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place in the hot skillet.  Cook on each side until golden brown, about 4 minutes.  Transfer browned chicken breasts to a large piece of foil and tightly wrap the chicken in a "foil purse".  Let the chicken rest (tightly wrapped up), while you make the bacon.  

Heat oven to 375 and bake bacon in a pyrex pan for 20 minutes, or until crispy.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towels.  

Cut focaccia in half and spread the top and bottom with pesto.  Set aside.  

Remove the chicken from the foil and cut into strips.  (It should look like those chicken strips you can buy at the grocery store - about 1/2 inch thick, as long as the chicken breast).  On the top half of the foccacia bread - place the following items in this order: 3 slices provolone cheese evening spread out, 6 slices of cooked bacon, chicken slices.  Place the bottom focaccia half on the chicken and heat your panini maker.  Grill the sandwich (right side up - it should be easy to flip), until golden brown marks appear.  (About 5 mintues).  Cut and enjoy.

[butterscotch blondies]

it's like a cookie, a brownie and a good memory of butterscotch pudding all got together for a party... in my mouth.
butterscotch blondies
Ingredients:
3/4 cup (1 + 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1+3/4 cup butterscotch chips (1 11oz pkg)

Heat oven to 350.  Spray a 13x9x2 baking pan with Pam (the baking kind that has the flour mixed in).
Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with a mixer until creamy.  Add eggs, beat well.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl; gradually add to the butter mixture, beating until well blended.  Stir in butterscotch chips.  Spread in prepared pan.  
Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars (about 36 bars).

[spicy shrimp scampi]

a variation on the chicken scampi
Sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced white onion
1/8 cup minced garlic (4-6 cloves)
3/4 cup sherry (regular, not cooking sherry)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 jalapeno, sliced
1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups (dry) shell shaped pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 pound, peeled & deveined uncooked shrimp
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 chopped white onion

Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make Sauce: Melt butter in a pan over medium/low heat.  Add minced white onion and saute for 2 to 4 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add wine, salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to half.  Add jalapeno and cream and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Do not let mixture boil.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the shell-shaped pasta and cook according to directions on the box  or until pasta is al dente.  Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to keep it from continuing to cook.  

Preheat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet/sauce pan over medium heat.  Lightly pepper the shrimp, then coat with flour.  Shake excess flour from shrimp and add to hot pan.  Saute for 3 to 5 minutes on one side or until golden brown.  

When the shrimp is brown on one side, flip each of the pieces and move them to the side of the pan.  Add the sliced peppers and chopped onion to the center of the skillet.  Continue cooking the shrimp and vegetables for 4 to 6 minutes or until the shrimp is browned and the veggies begin to brown on the edges.  Pour the sauce over the shrimp and vegetables and add the cooked pasta.  Toss everything and continue to cook for a couple minutes.  Divide evenly between two plates and sprinkle with Parmesan (if using).

[dijon and lime chicken]

serves 2
4 small boneless and skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lime
3/4 tsp black pepper
salt
chopped fresh parsley 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rinse the chicken and pat dry.  Place in a large bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together: mustard, mayo, garlic, zest and lime juice and pepper.  Season the chicken with salt.  Pour the mustard mixture over the chicken and toss with hands to coat chicken.  Arrange the breasts on a large baking dish and bake 30 minutes.  Garnish with chopped parsley and serve hot.

[potatoes au gratin]

serves 2-3 as a side dish
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 Tbsp flour
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp or so of freshly chopped parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut potatoes into 1/4 inch slices, then quarter each slice.
Beat together cream, milk, flour, garlic salt and pepper until well mixed.
Coat the inside of a large baking dish with the softened butter.
Arrange 1/4 of the potatoes on the bottom of the dish.  Pour some of the cream mixture over the potatoes.  Repeat this layering two more times.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are starting to brown on top.  
Sprinkle cheese on potatoes and bake for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown.  Sprinkle parsley on cheese and let cool for a couple minutes.  Serve and enjoy.

[super easy corn and shrimp chowder]

Serves 2 generous servings.  Serve with garlic bread.
3 ears corn, kernels cut off the cobs, cobs reserved
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 green onions, white and green parts, chopped
4 strips bacon

Heat oven to 375 and place bacon on pyrex pan.  Cook for 20 minutes or until crisp.  Transfer to paper towels and let rest.  Chop and reserve.

Put the corn cobs in a large pot with just enough water to cover, (at least 5 cups).  Bring the cobs to a boil and boil for 20 minutes.  Discard the cobs and reserve 1 1/2 cups of corn-infused water.  

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until opaque and softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the corn kernels you cut from the cobs, chicken broth, cream and 1 1/2 cups of the corn water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add the shrimp and simmer until opaque, about 2 to 3 minutes.  

Ladle the chowder into soup bowls and garnish with the green onion and chopped bacon.  Enjoy!

[alice springs chicken quesadillas]

We've finally nailed one of our favorite dishes from Outback.... we hate eating there, but love the food for curbside takeaway.  
Honey Mustard Sauce/Dressing

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp Grey Poupon Dijon mustard
Whip ingredients in an electric mixer for 1 minute.  Chill until needed.

2 chicken breasts
1 cup sliced white mushrooms
4 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter + 1 Tbsp divided
shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
4 medium tortillas

Heat oven to 375.  Place bacon in Pyrex pan.  Cook bacon for 20 minutes or until fully cooked.  When done, let bacon drain on paper towels.  

Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thickness.  Season with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.   Cook chicken on each side until golden brown.  Place breasts in foil and wrap to keep warm and continue cooking until ready.

Keep skillet on medium heat and melt 1 Tbsp butter.  Add mushrooms and saute.  Remove mushrooms from skillet and set aside in a bowl.

Slice chicken into thin strips about 1/2 inch to 1 inch in length.  Set aside.  Rough chop the mushrooms and set aside.  Chop the bacon and set aside.  Heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat.  Place tortilla on melted butter and cover with 2 spoonfuls of honey mustard sauce and spread to cover most of tortilla.  Sprinkle 1 chopped chicken breast over sauce and cover with 1/2 of mushrooms and bacon and enough cheese to lightly cover tortilla.  Drizzle 1 spoonful of honey mustard sauce over cheese and cover with another tortilla.  Flip quesadilla when light brown and cook on other side until also light brown.  Repeat with other 2 tortillas.

Cut quesadillas into 6 pieces and serve with honey mustard sauce for dipping.
Serves 2.

[chicken scampi]

Serves 2, (very generous servings)
Sauce:
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp minced white onion
1/8 cup minced garlic (4-6 cloves)
3/4 cup sherry (regular, not cooking sherry)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh parsley
1/2 cup heavy cream

8 ounces angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 chicken tenderloins
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into bite-size strips
1/2 chopped red onion
1 tsp minced fresh parsley

Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Make Sauce: Melt butter in a pan over medium/low heat.  Add minced white onion and saute for 2 to 4 minutes or until the onion begins to brown.  Add the minced garlic and saute for 30 seconds.  Add wine, salt, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to half.  Add parley and cream and simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes.  Do not let mixture boil.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add the angel hair pasta and cook for 4 minutes or until pasta is al dente.  Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water to keep it from continuing to cook.  

Preheat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet/sauce pan over medium heat.  Lightly salt and pepper the chicken tenderloins, then coat with flour.  Shake excess flour from chicken and add to hot pan.  Saute for 3 to 5 minutes on one side or until golden brown.  

When the chicken is brown on one side, flip each of the pieces and move them to the side of the pan.  Add the sliced peppers and chopped red onion to the center of the skillet.  Continue cooking the chicken and vegetables for 4 to 6 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the veggies begin to brown on the edges.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables and add the cooked pasta.  Toss everything and continue to cook for a couple minutes.  Divide evenly between two plates and sprinkle each with fresh parsley.  (If including Parmesan cheese, serve with parsley and cheese on top).

[chicken madeira]

It looks harder than it is - this is our new favorite dish.  It's amazingly light and delicious.
Serves 2-4
For two: serve with garlic bread, each serving having 2 breasts
For 4: Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, one breast each
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 skinless chicken fillets
8 asparagus spears
4 mozzarella cheese slices

Sauce: 
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups sliced fresh white mushrooms
3 cups Madeira wine
2 cups beef broth
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Pound chicken breasts to about 1/4 inch thick.  Sprinkle each fillet with salt and pepper.  Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet/sauce pan over medium heat.  Saute the chicken fillets 4 to 6 minutes per side, or until the chicken has browned up a bit.  Remove chicken breasts and wrap them together in foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.  Don't clean the pan - add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and keep pan at medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the Madeira wine, beef broth, butter and pepper.  Bring sauce to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce reduces to about one-quarter of it's original volume.  When the sauce is done it will thicken and turn a dark brown color.  

As the sauce is simmering, bring a medium saucepan filled about halfway with water to a boil.  Add a little salt to the water.  Toss the asparagus into the water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes until they're tender, but not mushy.  Drop the asparagus into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  (Keep them in the bath until sauce is done.)

When sauce has finished, set oven to broil.  Arrange chicken breasts on a baking pan (discard the foil).  Lay two asparagus spears on each fillet and cover each with a slice of mozzarella cheese.  Broil chicken for 3 to 4 minutes or until the cheese begins to melt with light brown spots.  

Serve with a ladle of sauce (with mushrooms) on each breast. 
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