Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Garlic and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Some posts require few words as the dish is so darn easy to make.  Tonight's post is one of those dishes.  The only critique that I have on my own dish is next time, I'm adding more mushroom sauce to middle because that stuff is goooood.

Serves 4.
Prep Time:  15 Minutes
Cooking Time:  35 Minutes


4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon Olive Oil, plus a drizzle
12 ounces White American or Baby Bella Mushrooms (or a mixture), cleaned and sliced
1 teaspoon dried Thyme
1 container Philadelphia® Brand Savory Garlic Cooking Cream*
2 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Tablespoons Grill Seasoning for Chicken (I used Weber Canadian Seasoning*)
Cooking Spray

Other:  Toothpicks for securing chicken stuffing.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut a pocket into the side of each chicken breast, careful not to cut all the way through (creates a pocket). 

Sauté mushrooms in olive oil.  Toss in thyme, and let cook for three-five minutes until mushrooms are nice and golden and the thyme is aromatic. 

Stir in cooking cream.

Remove mixture from heat and let cool.

Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the mixture. 

Secure each piece of chicken with several toothpicks to seal pockets.

Add grill seasoning to Panko Bread crumbs.  Dip chicken in eggs and then roll in the Panko mixture. 

Drizzle chicken with a little olive oil.  Bake for 35 minutes.  If the Panko isn't browned enough for you, you can turn up the broiler for a few minutes to finish this dish. 

*No product was supplied to blogger and not a paid endorsement.

This chicken goes great with marinated Asparagus, Artichoke Hearts and Heart of Palm. 

The dressing is simply the juice of one large lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/8 teaspoon anchovy paste, a drizzle of honey, vegetable seasoning and black pepper to taste
Garlic and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Friday, August 26, 2011

Low Country Boil

Low Country Boil

Look what I got in the mail yesterday!

As a member of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, I received these samples of Crisco® 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Pure Olive Oil, and Light Olive Oil.

For this dish, I used both the Pure Olive Oil and the Extra Virgin.  The Pure Olive Oil has a mild and smooth flavor.  It’s great for roasting, grilling, sautés or marinades. The EVOO is great for salads, drizzling, or in sauces.  The “bold and fruity” flavors set this olive oil apart from the competition.  I actually buy these products all the time.  So I was thrilled, THRILLED, to get the samples in the mail.

You probably don’t think of Low Country Boil and Olive Oil in the same sentence.  Here’s the deal:  I don’t use pre-cooked Kielbasa in my Low Country Boil; I use fresh smoked sausage.  I also make my dipping sauce with Extra Virgin Olive Oil to cut down on the amount of butter that I use – and the fat and the calories.

What I do first is preheat my oven to 400°.  I slice up the sausage and I drizzle it with Crisco® Pure Olive oil.  I roast the sausage for 20 minutes until its crispy brown on the outside.  This helps to hold in all the juices when I boil it. 

This dish reminds me of the weekend my hubby, Dan, and I spent in Savannah last year.  Savannah is one of my favorite cities in the US – full of history and culture, beauty and wonderful southern hospitality – and don’t get me started on the great food!

Here’s what you need to make your Low Country Boil:

1 very big Pot
2 – 3 light Beers*
4 - 6 cups Water*
2 - 3 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning*
½ - ¾ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper*
2 crushed/dried Bay leafs
½ Lemon
3 Green Onions, washed
6 – 10 Petite Red Potatoes (depending on how many people you are feeding)
1 ½ - 2 ½ lbs Rock Crab (ditto on the above sidebar)
½ - 1 pound Fresh Smoked Sausage, roasted in Crisco® Pure Olive Oil (ditto again)
3-5 ears Fresh Corn-on-the-cob, halved
One Dozen Large Shell on Shrimp, deveined
Fresh Parsley for garnish, optional

*Increase liquid and seasoning as you increase the amount of fish/sausage/corn in the pot.

For the Dipping Sauce:

¼ cup Crisco 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Butter
½ tablespoon Garlic Powder
2 – 3 shakes Hot Sauce
Juice of ½ Lemon
½ tablespoon freshly chopped Parsley

Add new potatoes, beer, water, seasonings, bay leaf, lemon and onions to a very large pot.  Bring to boil.

Reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, covered.

Add Crab and cook for 5 minutes, covered.

Add sausage and corn and cook for 5 more minutes, covered.

Add shrimp.  Turn off heat, cover and let rest for 7 more minutes. 

Plate and top with fresh parsley.

While the boil is cooking, add all ingredients (except for parsley) for dipping sauce into a microwave safe bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for one minute.  Toss in fresh parsley at the end.

Serve immediately with a few cold beers or southern-style sweet tea.

Note:  May God be with the people of the Low Country tonight as Hurricane Irene barrels down on the coast.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Voila! Sweet & Sour Chicken with Wasabi Panko Crusted Prawns

Voila!  Sweet & Sour Chicken

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program and their partnership with Birdseye Voila!, I was provided a sample of this delicious, tasty and quick Sweet & Sour Chicken.

What?  A healthy home cooking blog promoting a processed food? 

A serving of this Voila! Meal includes over 200 mg. less sodium than a typical can of soup,  zero saturated fat, not to mention vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. 

We all know that Birdseye equals quality. I grew up in the country outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  It was 30 minutes to the nearest supermarket.  In the wintertime, Mom used to stock up on frozen veggies, because we didn’t know when would be the next grocery run. She would always buy Birdseye veggies because she said they were the most nutritional and tasted the freshest. 

Mom was right...

The Sweet & Sour Chicken includes white rice, tender chicken in a Sweet and Sour Sauce with Julienne Carrots, Red and Green Peppers, Diced Pineapple and Onion Strips.

You can find this savory Asian-style chicken in your grocer’s freezer section, along with a variety of others including Shrimp Scampi and Chicken Parmesan.  

I selected the Sweet & Sour chicken because my hubby, Dan, loves Asian food.   When it comes to blending the sauces, my homemade version is always hit-and-miss.  This was spot-on.  In Dan’s own words, “It’s so fresh and so flavorful, it tastes like it came from a restaurant.”

The 22 oz. bag makes three servings, although Birdseye does offer “family size,” too.  I wanted to stretch this to four servings so that Dan and I would have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I paired this with my Wasabi Panko Crusted Prawns.  Prawns taste so good with Sweet and Sour Sauce.  With just a few add ins to the main course; dinner was ready in no time! 


1 – 22 ounce package Birdseye Voila! Sweet & Sour Chicken
1 Can sliced Water Chestnuts
2 ounces Saki (optional)
Freshly chopped Scallions for garnish

For the Wasabi Panko Shrimp:

8 extra large Prawns, shelled and deveined
1/8 cup All Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon of Wasabi Powder, more to taste
1 Egg, beaten
1 teaspoon Soy Sauce
Panko Bread Crumbs


Cooking Spray
Soy Sauce for Passing at the Table


Preheat oven to 350°. 

Spray baking pan with cooking spray.   Beat egg with soy sauce.

Dip shrimp prawns in flour, then egg mixture and then the Panko. 

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, turning once.

While shrimp is baking (here is the easy part), prepare Voila! by package directions; simply add the FROZEN contents of the package, sauce, and the add-in water chestnuts into a large skillet, and cook on HIGH for 2-3 minutes.

Stir, cover, and cook for 7-8 minutes until heated through. 

I like to throw in a little Saki -- just because I can – and stir it up to get the sauce to come together with that wonderful rice and crisp veggies.

I plate it all up just like this… topped with fresh scallions.  You can’t get takeout that looks better than this.

I cannot wait to try the other Voila! recipes. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Late Summertime Minestrone

Late Summertime Minestrone

PS (8/22/11): I just found out this evening that this blog was featured on Real Women of Philadelphia, "Live Richly," on August 3rd. Talk about being too busy lately to stop and smell the coffee. Imagine my surprise when I found out!

Many thanks to the editors for featuring my blog and an even bigger thanks to all the ladies at RWoP. What a great bunch of TALENTED home cooks! 



Something about late summer that often brings on a round of colds and the flu.  It might be your job to get yourself and everyone else in your household healthy for back to school. 

This weekend, soup was on our menu as the hubby and I were both under the weather.  I didn’t want to make a soup that was too heavy or too winter-like, as it’s still in the 90’s outside.  I came up with this version of Minestrone which uses fresh veggies and whole gain penne pasta.  It’s not only lighter and delicious, but it’s just what the doctor ordered.

*Note:  I like to use sliced baby carrots for this dish because I think it looks pretty, but use whatever you have on hand.

**Note 2:  Substitute Vegetable Broth for Chicken Broth if you want to keep this dish vegetarian.


2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 cup Baby Carrots, thinly sliced*
¾ cup chopped Celery
2/4 cup thinly sliced Red Onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon crushed dried Rosemary
Pinch or two of Crushed Red Pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Course Sea Salt, more or less to taste
4 cups All Natural Chicken Broth**
1 – 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
1 – 15 ounce can Cannellini Beans or Light Red Kidney Beans, undrained
¼ cup Marsala Wine
Two Pinches of ground Allspice
2 cups Broccoli Florets
2 cups sliced Zucchini (slice into half moon shapes)
½ pound Whole Grain or Whole Wheat Penne Pasta

1/4 cup 2% Milk
1 cup seeded and chopped Tomato
Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Chopped Fresh Basil for Garnish, optional

Add olive oil to Dutch oven.  Turn to coat bottom of pan evenly.

Add carrots, celery and red onion.  Sauté for three minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

Add garlic, rosemary and crushed red pepper to vegetables.  Continue to cook over medium-low heat for two minutes, making sure that the garlic does not burn.

Add sea salt and stir.  Cook one more minute.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, Marsala wine and Allspice.  Stir well.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.  Cover but leave the lid ajar a bit so that the soup begins to reduce and thicken up; about 30 minutes.

Add broccoli, zucchini and penne pasta.  Bring soup back to a boil, uncovered, about 10 – 11 minutes until the pasta is cooked. 

Stir in 2% Milk.

Serve in big bowls with a side of crusty bread or garlic bread.  Top with fresh seeded tomato, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil.

Suggestion:  If you have any leftovers, let it cool and then freeze it.  The pasta won’t have a chance to expand and soak up all of the remaining soup juices.  Thaw and reheat it in the microwave. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perfect Cajun Rotisserie Chicken

Perfect Cajun Rotisserie Chicken

I own one of those counter-top rotisserie ovens.  I love it, but I don't use it nearly often enough.  If you don't own one, you can still make this as a roasted chicken in a 400 degree oven on a rack.  You can also make this on a bbq spit.  No matter how you make it, it's sure to become one of your favorite "go to" chicken recipes.


1 - 5 1/2 ounce Organic Chicken, cleaned
1 teaspoon Course Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper 
1/2 Lemon, halved
2 Fresh Oregano Sprigs
2-3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
2 tablespoons Cajun Seasoning
1 tablespoon dried Thyme
1/4 cup Canola Oil
2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar

After cleaning the chicken and removing the gizzard, rub cavity with salt and pepper. Tuck lemon, fresh oregano and fresh time inside. You can truss or not truss. 

Note: I do a lazy-person's truss and wrap it up if I'm using the rotisserie. Probably not technically correct, but it works. You can also use a metal skewer to keep the cavity closed.

Add Cajun Seasoning, dried Thyme, oil and vinegar to a large mixing bowl and toss. Add Chicken and turn until it is coated with the mixture. 

On the rotisserie, the chicken needs to cook for about 15 minutes per pound. 

Adjust cooking time for oven until juices run clear.

This chicken works great for leftovers.  I promise this winter I will give you my lemon chicken soup recipe!  It's good and good for you!  Having the leftover chicken to make this soup came in handy this week, as both the hubby and I were under the weather.  The soup fixed me right up!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beer Braised Pot Roast with Mushrooms and Two Onion Gravy

Beer Braised Pot Roast
with Mushrooms and Two Onion Gravy

Beer Braised Pot Roast with Mushrooms and Two Onion Gravy
My husband, Dan, makes one of the best pot roasts around.  It’s a savory blend of roast, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, Guinness beer, and an array of herbs and spices. 

Dan’s recipe takes a little time.  Time was not something that I had today so I came up with a version that Dan calls “Simple, easy and delicious.” 

By “simple,” Dan means that the flavors, while less complex than his version, remind you of something mom would make on a Sunday afternoon.  It’s “easy” because this roast requires no browning, and there are very few ingredients.  And… “delicious,” well… we think so!

Get out your slow cooker, and let’s make a pot roast.


1 ½ - 2 pound Boneless Shoulder Roast
2 teaspoons Seasoned Salt (Suggest Lawry’s)*
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 large Sweet Onion, quartered
½ tablespoon Herbes de Provence
1 packet Brown Gravy Mix (suggest Lawry’s)*
12 ounces Light Beer
1 ¼ cup Button Mushrooms, halved
½ cup Frozen Pearl Onions
Fresh Parsley for garnish, optional

Sprinkle roast with seasoned salt and pepper.  Add to slow cooker.

Quarter onion and add to pot, along with dried Herbes de Provence. 

Mix one packet of brown gravy mix with 8 ounces of the light beer; reserve the other 4 ounces.  Pour mixture over meat.

Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours.

At the end of the cooking time, remove meat from crock pot and tent under foil.  Let meat rest for about 30 minutes.

Add mushrooms and pearl onions to the slow cooker, along with the remaining 4 ounces of beer.  Stir and turn heat to high. Let cook for approximately 30 minutes until mushrooms are cooked.
Skim fat (there won’t be much) from the gravy and serve with meat.  Top with fresh parsley.

Serving suggestion:  I like to serve this with mashed potatoes and my husband’s favorite carrots:  These are frozen whole baby carrots cooked in water, honey, brown sugar and butter until the sauce reduces into a glaze.  Top it off with freshly ground cinnamon.  Sweet and amazing!

*I suggest Lawry’s products because they are flavorful and – face it – these folks know beef.  Not a paid endorsement and no products were given to the blogger for use in this blog.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Salzburger Schnitzel; Inside - Out

Salzburger Schnitzel

Salzburger Shnitzel – say that three times, fast.

But seriously, folks… 

Schnitzel is a popular German Style dish.  It is usually made with veal, although you can substitute escalloped (thin sliced and pounded) pork or chicken. 

In Austria they often serve a stuffed version which includes bacon, mushrooms, onions and herbs.  I’ve already put in a long day, so no stuffing meat for me tonight.  I came up with this quick and easy version that you can whip up on even the busiest of days.  The extras are served on the outside. 

This is so easy and delicious; you have to try it.

Note:  Ask your butcher for the scaloppini to save you extra time.  And don't forget to click on my food pictures to get the "Full (food) Monty."  ;.)  You must click on the picture above tonight.  Wow!

Serves 2:


2 Veal, Chicken or Pork Scaloppini
1 teaspoon Garlic Salt
Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
¼ cup All Purpose Flour
1 large Egg, beaten
¼ cup Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon Olive Oil, divided
1 sliced Bacon, chopped
1/8 cup Sweet Onion, slivered
¼ cup whole Button Mushrooms
Juice of Half of a Lemon
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Parsley
Lemon Slices for garnish, Optional

Sprinkle meat of choice with garlic salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour, dip in egg and then coat with Italian breadcrumbs.

Add one tablespoon of olive oil to pan.  Add the teaspoon of olive oil to a non-stick skillet.  Add bacon slices and cook until crispy.  Remove from pan.

Drain bacon grease from the pan but do not wipe the pan out.  Return to stove and add tablespoon of the oil.  Add onion and mushrooms.  Sauté for five minutes over medium heat, until both ALMOST start to brown.  You are looking for a nice, golden color without caramelizing. 

Remove from pan and add coated meat. 

Note:  You can add a little extra oil if necessary. 

Brown meat on both sides, approximately 6-7 minutes total. 

Squeeze fresh lemon juice over meat.

Top with fresh herbs and lemon slices.


I like to serve this dish with a side of mashed cauliflower (with sour cream and nutmeg added) and a nice simple salad of spring greens, antipasti olive mix (store-bought), crumbled goat or feta cheese and tomato, drizzled with a little red wine olive oil and vinegar.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Caesar Chicken in the Slow Cooker

I don't use my crock pot nearly enough.  This is a simple dinner for two.  It takes a few minutes to prep, but it's worth it.  All the flavors of a Caesar Salad are in here, and it's fall-off-the bone good!

Caesar Chicken with Veggies

Note:  I purchased a whole, cut up chicken and put the rest in a freezer bag for another meal. 

2 Bone-in (split) chicken breast halves, skin removed
1/4 cup Self-rising Flour
1 tablespoon Grill Seasoning for Chicken
1/2 medium sweet Onion, sliced
2 stalks Celery, sliced
2 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 tablespoon butter
2 Chicken Livers (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Anchovy Paste
1 or 2 dashes Crushed Red Pepper
1 clove Garlic, minced
Juice of 1/2 Lemon, lemon half reserved and sliced
1/4 cup dry White Wine
1/2 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 dried Bay leaf (optional)
1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms (optional)
1 cup Frozen Pearl Onions (optional)
1 cup Frozen Whole Baby Carrots (optional)
Fresh Chives for garnish

Dredge chicken in flour seasoned with the grill seasoning.   Set aside.

Heat a large non-stick skillet.  Add one tablespoon of the olive oil and the butter.  Once butter is melted add the chicken livers (if using), anchovy paste and crushed red pepper.   Sauté for two minutes. 

Add remaining olive oil to pan.  Add Chicken.  Brown on both sides, about 2 - 3 minute per side. 

Meanwhile, layer the onions and the celery in the bottom of the slow cooker.  Turn the slow cooker to low to begin warming.  

Add the slightly warm, browned chicken to the warmed slow cooker. 

Add garlic to pan. Sauté for one more minute, being careful not to burn garlic.   Deglaze pan with lemon juice and white wine, scraping the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Pour sauce over chicken in crock pot. 

Add broth to crock pot along with bay leaf, if using.  Top the chicken with lemon slices. 

Cover and cook on low heat for 7 - 8 hours. 

During the last hour, you can add fresh sliced mushrooms, frozen pearl onions and frozen carrots if you like.  Or mix it up and add whatever vegetables you like. (Adjust cooking time depending on the vegetable).

Top with Fresh Chives

Suggestion:  Serve over cooked rice with peas.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Easy Pork Marsala

Have boneless pork chops in your freezer?  This is a great way to use them up.  I like to serve this with  buttered pasta and fresh veggies on the side.

  Easy Pork Marsala

I don't normally dredge when I make chicken or veal Marsala.  I normally add cornstarch to the sauce.  Because I finished these pork chops in the oven, I wanted to hold in the moisture and having the "crust" on the chops helped to do just that.  Note that I used self-rising flour here. 

Serves 2:


2 boneless Pork Loin Chops
1/4 cup Self Rising Flour
Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 Egg, beaten
2 shakes Worcestershire Sauce
2 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
1 tablespoon Butter
1/2 cup sliced Mushrooms
1/4 teaspoon fresh Thyme
2 cloves fresh Garlic, minced
1/4 cup Marsala Wine
1/4 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
Splash of 2% Milk
Chopped Fresh Basil, for garnish

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Dredge chops in self-rising flour seasoned with salt and pepper.

Beat egg and Worcestershire sauce together.  Dip chops into the mixture.  Then run the chops back through the flour to coat.

Add half of the olive oil to an oven safe pan and heat pan until oil start to sizzle.  Add chops and quickly brown on both sides. 

Remove pan from heat and transfer to the oven.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 15 minutes or until chops reach 160 degrees internally. 

Remove chops from pan and tent lightly with foil.  Let the chops rest.

Carefully return hot skillet to stove top  Add remaining oil and butter. 

Once butter is melted, add the mushrooms and the thyme and cook for three minutes.

Add garlic.  Lower heat and cook for one minute, being careful to not burn the garlic.

Add Marsala wine and deglaze pan.  Add chicken broth.  Lightly simmer for three-to-five minutes until sauce reduces to desired consistency.  Add milk and stir.

Pour sauce over chops.  Top with fresh basil.  Serve Immediately.