Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Easy Chicken Pasta Vegetable One Skillet Meal

This tasty chicken & pasta one-skillet meal can easily be adjusted to meet your tastes. I started with a recipe at  http://www.food.com/recipe/italian-chicken-in-a-skillet-19871. The original serves six. I adjusted the amount of chicken and pasta to serve three, and I substituted corn nibblets for the green peppers. My version is below.


- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 (15-ounce can) chicken broth
- 1 (15-ounce can) diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 (11-ounce can) extra-sweet corn nibblets, drained
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup small shell pasta. I used penne.


1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.

2. In large skillet, brown chicken in oil

3. Add onion, cook for 5 minutes

4. Add broth, tomatoes, corn, and spices; and cook for 2 minutes.

5. Add pasta, reduced heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes, or until pasta is done.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Delicious and Easy Shortbread

I wanted to make some shortbread to go with a Lemon-Lime Satin Cream I was making for dessert. I found this excellent recipe at: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/shortbread-recipe. It is very flexible. The King Arthur site has a number of suggestions for serving it, including drizzling it with caramel, or spreading melted chocolate on top and decorating it with nuts. It has only five ingredients.


- 1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at cool room temperature. (It needs to be soft enough to mix with the other ingredients, but still solid. Do not melt it.) King Arthur suggests using a top-quality butter because the butter is such a critical ingredient for this recipe.
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract - optional. Or use another flavor of your choice, like eggnog flavor.
- 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Lightly grease two round 9" cake pans. If you worry about the shortbread sticking to the pans, line them with parchment paper and grease the parchment. (I used parchment.)

2. In a medium-sized bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Then beat in the flour. The mixture may seem a little dry at first. Keep beating until it comes together. (It took a while for me to do this, but I think it's because the butter was too firm. I used a wooden spoon to beat these ingredients.) If it absolutely won't come together, dribble in up to 1 tablespoon of water until it does. This is a stiff dough.

3. Divide the dough in half. (If you have a kitchen scale, each half will weigh about 10 & 1/2 ounces.) Press each half of the dough into one of the prepared pans, smoothing the surface with your fingers or a mini rolling pin. (I used a mini rolling pin.)

4. Use a fork to prick the dough all over. This allows any steam to escape and prevents the shortbread from bubbling as it bakes. Prick the dough in a random pattern, but it looks nicer pricked with some kind of symmetry.

5. Bake the shortbread until it's light golden brown across the surface, and a deeper golden brown around the edges, about 35 minutes.

6. Remove it from the oven and immediately turn each shortbread round out onto a clean surface.

7. Using a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut each round into 12 wedges. (Do this while the shortbread is still warm. If you wait until it's cool, it won't cut easily.) Transfer the shortbread wedges to a rack to cool. (I recommend using a spatula to transfer the wedges so they're not likely to break.)

8. Serve as is or decorate.

Lemon-Lime Satin Cream - A Delicious and Easy Dessert

For a recent dinner with friends, I was in a mood for a citrus-flavored dessert. I found this tasty and easy New York Times Lemon-Lime Satin Cream recipe at http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/5595-lemon-lime-satin-creams. It has only five ingredients. I served it with a homemade shortbread, whose recipe I'll post separately. It serves six. I made the mix two days ahead of time until I was ready to cook it in the oven.


- Finely grated zest and juice of two lemons
- Finely grated zest and juice of one lime
- 1 & 1/2 cups superfine sugar. (Our Publix does not sell superfine sugar. I processed regular sugar in a small electric food chopper. I've done this before when I've needed superfine sugar. It works great.)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 & 1/4 cups heavy cream


1. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon and the lime zest and juice, the sugar, and the eggs. Whisk until smooth. Add cream, and whisk again. Transfer to a large pitcher. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate from 2 hours to 2 days, the longer, the better to bring out the fullest flavor.

2. When ready to bake, heat oven to 300 degrees. Heat a kettle of water until just steaming. DO NOT BOIL.

3. Place six 1-cup ramekins into a roasting pan and pour cream mixture into them. Pour hot water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until cream is just set - 30 to 35 minutes. (I did it for 35 minutes.) The cream will still wobble, but it will firm up as it cools.

4. Remove ramekins from water and allow to cool. Serve at room temperature, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with shortbread, or plain, crisp cookies. (It was great with the shortbread.)

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Scrambled Eggs with Mascarpone, Pancetta, Cream, and Croutons

I created this easy concoction because I was looking for a light dinner entrée that could use some leftover pancetta, mascarpone cheese, and whipping cream. I loved the results. It serves 2.


- 5 eggs
- 4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- 1 tablespoon whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons garlic and butter croutons
- 1 tablespoon dried chopped onion mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 tablespoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 ounces diced pancetta (I buy 4-oz. packages of diced pancetta)


1. Whisk together eggs, whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, dried onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then add croutons and whisk again.

2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add pancetta. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Add egg mixture and cook.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Delicious and Easy Baked Grouper and Potatoes Recipe

When I was at Detwiler's Farm Market yesterday, I saw some beautiful, fresh Gulf of Mexico Grouper for what I thought was a reasonable price ($10.99 per lb.). So, I decided to make it for dinner. I found a very simple on-line recipe - Baked Fish and Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic from the renowned Italian-born cook and cookbook author, Marcella Hazan. The recipe states it can be used with firm-flesh fish such as grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper, or striped bass.

The name in Italian is, "Pesce Arrosto al Forno con all'Aglio e Rosmarino."

I modified the recipe to serve two and added a couple of ingredients - fresh lemon juice and capers. I would suggest looking at the original recipe and reviews at: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/baked-fish-and-potatoes-with-rosemary-and-garlic-230907. Some of those reviews suggest modifications like using oregano instead of rosemary. Below is my modified version, including rewording the directions.

Total cooking time is about 40 minutes.


- 12 oz. small potatoes, washed and cut into quarters. I used Honey Gold potatoes, and did not peel them.
- an oven-to-table baking dish that can accommodate both the fish and the potatoes in a single layer
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 sprigs fresh rosemary. (I used rosemary from our yard. It has grown into a huge bush that requires no attention.)
- 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled. (I cut them into a couple of pieces.)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon capers
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A one-pound fillet from a firm-flesh fish such as grouper, mahi-mahi, snapper, or striped bass
- 2 tablespoons fine, dry, unflavored bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 400°

2. Place potatoes in the baking dish and pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil over them. Add 2 sprigs of rosemary, the garlic cloves, and salt, and pepper. Toss thoroughly. 

3. Put the dish in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. 

4. Remove the dish; turn the potatoes over; return the dish to the oven; and cook for another 10 minutes or so until the potatoes feel tender when tested with a fork.

5. While the potatoes are cooking in step 4 above, wash the fish fillet and pat it dry with paper towels. Also strip the leaves from the remaining rosemary sprig.

6. Remove the dish from the oven. Push the potatoes to the sides, making room in the center for the fish fillet. Place the fillet into the dish, with skin side down. (Our fillet came with skin already removed.) Scatter the rosemary leaves over the fish; pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the fish; and sprinkle salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and capers over the fish.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for 14 minutes. Let the dish settle out of the oven for 3-4 minutes before bringing to the table. (I just placed each serving of the fish on each of our plates rather than bringing the baking dish to the table.)